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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, June 23, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people. - Orson Welles

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1950s-1960s Tour de France caravan icon Yvette Horner dies

I only just now learned of Yvette Horner's passing. She died June 11.

In 1952, the French Calor company paid her to play her accordion on the roof of a Citroën that was part of the Tour's caravan that accompanied the race. She was a hit and went on to accompany 11 Tours (1952 - 1963). To this writer, Yvette Horner symbolizes those post-war Tours and their wonderful feel and flavor.

Horner was an accomplished accordionist, having won the Accordion World Cup competition in 1948. She recorded more than 150 albums and sold more than 30 million records.

Here's a video I think you'll enjoy:

Lotto-Soudal previews Belgian road championships:

Who will get to wear the Belgian tricolor jersey for twelve months? Sunday noon, around 180 Belgian riders will be at the start for thirteen laps of 17.2 kilometres (=223.6 kilometres) in and around Binche. For the first time, pros and elites without contract will race together, which makes the start list twice as long.

Traditionally, some strong and big teams such as Sport Vlaanderen, Lotto Soudal, WB Aqua Protect Veran Classic, Cibel Cebon, Veranda’s Willems and Wanty Group Gobert will participate. These teams represent not less than half of the bunch. Among the most frequently cited favourites are Van Avermaet, Gilbert, Lampaert, Vanmarcke, Stuyven and Naesen. Which Lotto Soudal riders will sports director Herman Frison set against these main contenders?

Jens Keukelieire

Who will be Belgian Champion? Jens Keukeleire (shown in 2016)?

Herman Frison: “I always call the Belgian Championship the most difficult race of the year. People expect Lotto Soudal to play a decisive role in the race and battle for the victory. It is natural to say so because Lotto Soudal will be at the start with seventeen WorldTour riders. But, the Championship is also the most unpredictable race. A big group could escape during the first lap, and if several strong teams are represented, the race could be over. That was the case in Tervuren three years ago. The distance of the race, 223 kilometres, is certainly not a disadvantage for our team. I hope the tough finale and the thirteen laps will ensure a selection between the riders.”

“But, one could also think too early that a seemingly decided race is over. When some of the strong teams decide to cooperate, the race could start all over again. In an ideal scenario, we will be strongly represented in each of those situations. But a small group could also battle for the national title. Who will be our main contenders for the victory? The course should really suit guys like Jasper De Buyst and Jens Keukeleire. But I secretly hope that for every Lotto Soudal rider the different pieces will fall into place. More than every other race, the riders start with a lot of ambition. In the end, it is only the victory which matters. A podium place is nice but won’t be remembered.”

Line-up: Armée, Benoot, Campenaerts, De Buyst, De Gendt, Debusschere, Frison, Keukeleire, Lambrecht, Maes, Mertz, Monfort, Van der Sande, Vanendert, Wallays, Wellens, Wouters.

Lawrence Naesen is recovering from mononucleosis and won’t be at the start.

Team Sunweb renews Chris Hamilton's contract

Here's the team's press release:

Team Sunweb are pleased to announce their first contract renewal of the year, as Chris Hamilton (AUS) extends with the team for an additional two years. Already in contract until the end of 2019, he will now represent the team in the peloton until the end of 2021.

The 23-year-old Australian has shown his immense potential in his early development at Team Sunweb, supporting the team's GC ambitions across stage races and Grand Tours. He played a part in the team's 4th at the Vuelta a España in 2017, and most recently was part of the squad that helped the team finish 2nd and 9th at the Giro d'Italia. An upcoming talent, Hamilton finished 6th at his national road race championships in January and took a bundle of solid results in the Tour of Slovenia.

Hamilton said: "I'm really excited to be extending with the team.  For me it was a pretty easy decision when I look at the development they have already given me in just one and a half years. Team Sunweb have always had a lot of faith in me which gives me a lot of confidence in what we can do together over the coming three years and I'm looking forward to making the next steps with the team."

Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts (AUS) said: "We're really happy to be able to extend our corporation with Chris. He's come into the team as a neo-professional and he's shown some really good gradual improvement during his time with the team so far. We've been happy with his progression; his personality fits into the team's way of working really well and we see a bright future ahead of him. He has a big engine and we see potential in his climbing and time trial capabilities, but whilst still at such a young age we will continue to develop him all round to give him as much experience and learning across the board."

Supreme Court says states can require online retailers to collect sales tax

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that states may require online retailers to collect sales tax revenue from online consumers who live in their states.

The National Retail Federation called the decision "a major victory" for retailers.

“Retailers have been waiting for this day for more than two decades," said NRF's president and CEO, Matthew Shay. "The retail industry is changing, and the Supreme Court has acted correctly in recognizing that it’s time for outdated sales tax policies to change as well. This ruling clears the way for a fair and level playing field where all retailers compete under the same sales tax rules whether they sell merchandise online, in-store or both."

The decision provides clarity that could lead to Congress passing legislation to create uniform national rules for collecting state taxes, to avoid a hodgepodge of individual state rules that would make the tax collection especially onerous for small e-commerce businesses.

In recent years, brick-and-mortar retailers, including bike retailers, had supported federal legislation that would create a nationwide system to collect state taxes. Legislative action has been stalled while the Supreme Court was deciding this case.

You can read the entire story here.

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