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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, March 3, 2018

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul. - Douglas MacArthur

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Weather forecast for Siena, Italy on Saturday, March 3, where the Strade Bianche race starts and finishes: Thunderstorms, 100% chance of rain. Low of 2C (36F), high of 11C (52F). Wind from the SSE at 14 km/hr (9mph).

Zut alors! Tour de France to end the use of podium girls

Bicycling Magazine posted this news:

The Tour de France plans to do away with “podium girls,” the longstanding but controversial tradition in which models present awards and pose with winners after each stage of the race, according to The London Times.

Podium girls, also known as hostesses, are a common sight in pro cycling. Their signature pose—two conventionally attractive women standing on either side of a male winner, each giving him a kiss on the cheek—makes for photo-ready moments that appear in the media every racing season.

But critics have said the use of podium girls reinforces a sexist culture that reduces women in cycling to their looks and harms the experiences of female competitors and fans.

In a blog post last month, pro mountain biker Amanda Batty referred to podium girls as “sexual placeholders” whose “job[s] relied solely on the assumed idea that only straight men participated and spent money inside of that sport.”

The Vuelta a España became the first Grand Tour race to end the tradition last year. Organizers for the Tour de France say they will likely follow suit this summer (both races are owned by ASO). If so, the Giro d’Italia will become the only event in the Grand Tour to still use podium girls.

Chris Froome

The Tour de France awards ceremonies will be a bit different in 2018

Smaller races, like Australia's Tour Down Under, have ditched podium girls in favor of junior racers and other presenters. The Cyclocross World Cup in Iowa City relies on young fans to give out awards.

Other racing series, however, have attracted nothing but controversy when it comes to podium girls. Peter Sagan—usually known for his fun, hammy media image—was caught on camera groping a podium girl during the 2013 Tour of Flanders. Two years later, the Belgian road race E3 Harelbeke came out with a poster that seemed to approve of the offensive butt-grab, prompting a swift and angry backlash.

You can read the entire story here.

BMC Racing Team with multiple objectives at Tirreno-Adriatico after Richie Porte ruled out

BMC sent me this update:

2 March, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team will line up at Tirreno-Adriatico next week (7 - 13 March) with a strong team with multiple objectives, after Richie Porte was ruled out of racing due to illness.

"Richie Porte developed an upper respiratory infection after Volta ao Algarve which forced him to miss the best part of a week's training. Given Tirreno-Adriatico was one of Richie's goal races this season, it did not make sense to line up when his preparation was far from ideal. Richie and the BMC Racing Team management and medical team agreed that it was in his best interests to miss Tirreno-Adriatico and adjust his race program, in order to recover properly." BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa explained

Richie Porte

Richie Porte won't be on the line at Tirreno-Adriatico

Sports Director Maximilian Sciandri said BMC Racing Team will be targeting both stage wins and the General Classification at the seven-day UCI WorldTour stage race.

"We are going to Tirreno-Adriatico with various ambitions, and it all starts with defending our team time trial victory from 2016 and 2017. There are then a couple of stages that should suit Greg Van Avermaet, who we know is in good shape and is always motivated to do well. Looking at the General Classification, Damiano Caruso will take on a leadership role, and we are confident that he can step up and show the form we know he has. We will also see what Rohan Dennis can do, and I'm sure he will be motivated for the final time trial again," Sciandri explained.

Caruso is looking to challenge himself on home soil. "It is always nice to race Tirreno-Adriatico, and I always like racing in Italy. This year will be a hard race because there are a lot of really hard days including one stage with almost 5000 meters of elevation. We have a strong team lining up with different goals. We start with the TTT which is really important for us and then we also have Greg Van Avermaet who can go for a few stages. A new scenario has opened up for me at this year's race, and hopefully, I can try to fight for the GC but with a day by day philosophy and with no pressure. There are many champions in this race, so it is very difficult to get a result but I have nothing to lose, and so I will give it a try," Caruso said.

Dennis, who finished second in 2017, has his sights set on the final individual time trial. "I'm looking forward to going back to Tirreno-Adriatico next week. One main goal of the team will be to win the opening team time trial again, and we are motivated to do that. For me, the individual time trial will, of course, be another target and I hope to repeat my success from last year. In between the two, we will see what happens," Dennis added.

Tirreno-Adriatico (7 - 13 March)

Rider Roster: Alberto Bettiol (ITA), Patrick Bevin (NZL), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Stefan Küng (SUI), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)

Sports Directors: Maximilian Sciandri (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA

Paris-Nice: UAE-Team Emirates aiming for stages and general classification

The team sent me this news release:

Rui Costa, Martin and Kristoff will lead the Emirati formation in the French race
High quality is the main feature distinguishing the UAE Team Emirates formation that will participate in the Paris-Nice, a World Tour race that will take place March 4 – 11.

Dan Martin

Dan Martin (shown in his 2017 Quick-Step kit) will ride Paris-Nice.

Sports Directors Joxean Matxin (Spain) and Philippe Mauduit (France), with support from their colleague Simone Pedrazzini (Switzerland), will be counting on:

– Sven Erik Bystrøm (Norway)
– Rui Costa (Italy)
– Alexander Kristoff (Norway)
– Daniel Martin (Ireland)
– Oliviero Troia (Italy)
– Rory Sutherland (Australia)
– Ben Swift (United Kingdom)

Daniel Martin: “I’m feeling good heading to Paris-Nice. In Algarve I had good days and bad days but was the perfect way to get the legs and body going but also to start working with my new team mates, both riders and staff.

Paris-Nice is one of the hardest races on the calendar because there is no easy day. The race can be lost everyday as we saw last year. On paper the first stages seem easier but then there is the possibility of bad weather and crosswinds. Of course the TT and mountain top finish on stage 7 will see the biggest time gaps and the race will be won there, but what makes Paris-Nice hard is the concentration and endurance to not lose the race on the other stages, but also save enough energy to be good when it counts.

My place on the podium last year was my first big result at Paris Nice having not taken the start on many occasions. I’m definitely back this year to contest the GC but of course need to survive the first days and then we will see the situation after the TT“.

Alexander Kristoff explained, “There won’t be many opportunities for sprinting arrivals; the route will be particularly difficult and insidious every day.
I’m going to try to take advantage of every chance I get to make the most out of good timing. I’m getting into better and better shape and the victories and placements I achieved in Oman and Abu Dhabi are motivating me.
The Paris-Nice will be especially useful to enhance my training as I look forward to the Milano-Sanremo and the Belgian Classics.”

Timo Roosen and Steven Kruijswijk renew contracts with Team LottoNL-Jumbo

The team sent me this news:

Timo Roosen (25) and Steven Kruijswijk (30) will represent their current team also in the next few years. Their contracts with Team LottoNL-Jumbo were due to expire at the end of this year but have been extended to 2020 and 2021 respectively. The contract news follows Jumbo's announcement yesterday that the Dutch supermarket chain will continue for a minimum of five years as the main sponsor of the squad of manager Richard Plugge.

Timo Roosen

Timo Roosen winning a stage at the 2017 Fjords Tour

Both riders have joined the Dutch team as youngsters and may be considered as role models for the structure of Team LottoNL-Jumbo, which is built on talent development. Kruijswijk didn’t feel the need to leave the team at all, now he’s enjoying the benefits of his development. "The team has hugely improved in terms of ​​professionalism, guidance, innovation and collaboration in recent years. We really are a team together and I'm happy to be part of it", said the intended Tour de France captain in a comment. "Jumbo's commitment gives confidence and peace and that stability is reflected in our team."

Although Roosen triumphed twice last season, his best years reasonably are yet to come. "Those victories proved that I am getting stronger, which is the most important. My focus is on being successful with Dylan Groenewegen, as his lead-out, but also on the classics, which are the goals we are working on at Team LottoNL-Jumbo. I like it a lot here: the coaching, the technical equipment, everything is organised well. The team is improving every year, we have just implemented a new nutrition system, the team is innovative and runs smoothly. Those are the reasons to renew my contract.”

REI suspends orders of Vista Outdoor brands (Giro, Bell, Blackburn, etc), encourages Vista ’to lead’

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

SEATTLE (BRAIN) — REI, like its Canadian co-op cohort MEC has decided to suspend orders of Vista Outdoor products because of the company's connection to the firearms industry. REI sells Vista's Giro, Bell, CamelBak, Camp Chef and Blackburn brands.

Two separate petitions asking REI to stop carrying Vista's brands had drawn thousands of signatures in a week.

"REI does not sell guns. We believe that it is the job of companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition to work towards common sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida last month. In the last few days, we've seen such action from companies like Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart and we applaud their leadership," the company said in a statement Thursday.

Dick's has said it will stop selling assault-style weapons like the one used in the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting. Dick's also no longer sells high-capacity magazines or guns to anyone younger than 21. Walmart said Wednesday it will not sell any gun to anyone under 21. It also said it would no longer sell items resembling assault-style rifles, including toys and air guns. Walmart ended sales of assault-style rifles in 2015, citing lagging sales.

Vista, which does about half its business in the shooting sports and ammunition market, has not made a statement about the Florida shootings or the reactions of some retailers. In its statement, REI was critical of the company's silence.

"This morning we learned that Vista does not plan to make a public statement that outlines a clear plan of action. As a result, we have decided to place a hold on future orders of products that Vista sells through REI while we assess how Vista proceeds.

"Companies are showing they can contribute if they are willing to lead. We encourage Vista to do just that," the company concluded.

Another major retailer of Vista's bike-related brands, Performance Bicycle, said it does not plan to stop sales of those products.

You can read the entire story here.

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