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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, September 29, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. - Albert Einstein

Current racing:

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Tiesj Benoot & Tim Wellens look to Men's Elite World Road Race Championship

Lotto-Soudal sent me this:

On Sunday 30 September, there will be a battle for the rainbow jersey at the men’s elite road race. Lotto Soudal will be represented in the Belgian national team by Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens, who will lead the team together with Greg Van Avermaet and Dylan Teuns. They will be supported by Laurens de Plus, Ben Hermans, Xandro Meurisse and Serge Pauwels. The route in and around Innsbruck, which is 252.9 kilometres long with an elevation gain of 4,670 meters, is considered to be one of the toughest World Championships in history. This year, the Belgian team isn’t perceived as a top contender, but hopes to play an important role either way. Lotto Soudal riders Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens share their pre-race thoughts.

Tiesj Bennot

Tiesj Benoot at this year's Vuelta

Tiesj Benoot: “Yesterday, we did a recon of the course and it’s really tough. I had already read many things about the course, and it turned out to be more or less what I expected it to be. The climb in the local lap is quite okay, but the final ascent is really steep. It’s definitely the toughest World Championships’ route I’ve ridden so far. The final climb will be a crucial point in the race, but our team has to try and escape before tackling it. This way, we might increase our chances of winning. Hence, I’ll try to attack earlier in the race and won’t wait until the final climb. We still have to talk things through for one last time, but everyone quite knows what his role will be. Tim and Dylan could wait until the finale, for example, while the others have to take their chance earlier. As we’re not at the starting line as one of the race favorites, it won’t be our job to control, but to race offensively.”

“Last Saturday, I did the Tour de l’Eurométropole and I felt really good. Afterwards I completed some trainings and took some rest before heading to Austria. I had a good preparation with the Vuelta. The wound of my crash healed quite quickly, but I suffered more from the complaints of the antibiotics. Yet, I finished the Vuelta in a good shape. At my last race, I had the same feeling and strong legs like I had in the spring Classics, which is of course a very good sign! I hope to benefit from a super compensation of the Vuelta, but we’ll have to wait and see if that will be the case. Either way, I’m feeling strong and ready for Sunday.”

Tim Wellens: “For sure, this course is the toughest World Championships’ course I’ve ridden so far. A few months ago, I already did a recon of the route and it was clear quite early that it will be a hard day. It’s an ‘honest’ course, but it will be extremely difficult. There are only a few one-day races that are as tough as the one of coming Sunday, but I’m not scared of what lies ahead and I am looking forward to racing!”

“There are already a few climbs in the run-up towards the local laps, but I think the most important developments will take place in the local circuit. The ascents in the first 80 kilometres are situated at the beginning of the race and therefore probably won’t decide the Championship. The final climb is really steep and the descent is quite technical - in contrast to the descent of the climb in the local lap. The descent of the Gramartboden has many sharp corners, so I think it will be difficult to make up for any time losses made on the ascent. If someone opens up a gap of a few seconds, it might be enough to stay ahead of the others.”

“Belgium is not considered as one of the favorites for the world title. However, we weren’t a top contender at the Olympic Games in Rio neither, but we managed to take the golden medal with Greg Van Avermaet anyway. Having little chances to win doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t win at all. We still have to discuss our team tactics one last time, but we have many possibilities and trump cards to play. My shape is really good and I’m well prepared for coming Sunday. The last races I rode were the GP de Québec and GP de Montréal. In those two races I felt really strong, but I had to deal with some bad luck as well and didn’t manage to stay ahead. The result was a bit disappointing, but I had a real good feeling on my bike, which is a good sign. After Canada, I kept training in Monaco, where I did many uphill trainings, also with a derny pacer. It now comes down to resting those legs and start Sunday’s road race in the best way possible.”

Peter Sagan to stay with Bora-hansgrohe through 2021

Bora-hansgrohe sent me this release:

The star of cycling will remain the key rider in Ralph Denk’s team. Peter Sagan feels at home at BORA – hansgrohe and the team is looking forward to keep working with him to achieve further success. Next from Peter Sagan, the team is also extending the contracts of brother Juraj, Erik Baška, Maciej Bodnar, Daniel Oss and Marcus Burghardt until the end of 2021.

Peter SAgan

Peter Sagan after the 2017 Worlds. Will he be dressed in these rainbow colors Sunday afternoon?

“Thanks to my main sponsors BORA and hansgrohe, both of which already extended their contracts early this season, we are in the fortunate position of being able to plan on a long-term scale. Peter is thestar of cycling. He is not only one of the most successful riders, but also a real brand ambassador who fascinates even those outside our sport. It’s quite understandable that we have re-signed him early. It is a pleasure to work with him and we all get along well.

"This is just our second WorldTour season, yet we have already had some remarkable successes together. His victory at Paris-Roubaix was of course a true highlight. But we are still aiming to progress further. We continue to foster ambitious goals, and with Peter we can count on a rider who is gifted with incredibly rare talent. Yet in his slipstream there is also ample room for our young guns to develop, with all the attention, public interest and media being focused upon him. For riders like Patrick Konrad, Pascal Ackermann and Emanuel Buchmann, this setup has worked very well. I think we are on track heading into the future. We are still growing as a team and Peter Sagan will remain a foundational aspect of this process.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager

“I am delighted to commit myself to BORA-hansgrohe until the end of 2021. It was a straightforward decision for me to take, even if I still have one more season to go under my current contract. I've enjoyed two remarkable years with this team and I wouldn't want to move from somewhere that has given me so much trust, support and belief in me, even in the most difficult moments. I feel confident the coming years with BORA-hansgrohe will be as fulfilling as the first two."– Peter Sagan, UCI World Champion

"We are very pleased that Peter has made this early decision to extend his contract. This is a reflection of our common ideas and goals, and the excellent cooperation of all involved. BORA had already signalled their intention in April, extending our commitment until 2021. With Peter’s future committed, we continue together on our journey with the team. Peter Sagan is an ambassador for cycling. He not only shines through his extraordinary achievements, but also as a team player. He pushes boundaries and he surprises and excites people. He is a star for everyone in a sport for all, a star even beyond sport. And he is our brand ambassador for one product for all. Together, we are on the right path, getting closer to realising our vision of „the end of the extractor hood". - Willi Bruckbauer, founder and CEO BORA

“We are pleased that Peter extended his contract with the Team. This is a sign of continuity and a big chance to further strengthen our performance. Peter is not only a real ambassador for the BORA - hansgrohe Team, but also for its sponsors. As the hero in our Tour de France campaigns „Shower like a pro“ and „Your Daily Dose of Energy“, he clearly communicated the benefits of showering and deep relaxation. Thanks to the performances of Peter and the whole Team, these campaigns drove excellent results. We even developed an exclusive Peter Sagan hansgrohe hand-held shower, which can be bought on his website. We are looking forward to continued success with Peter!" – Philippe Harinck, Sponsoring Project Manager of the Hansgrohe Group 

Collateral damage? Tariffs force Light & Motion to move light production to the Philippines

Bicycle Retailer & Indistry News sent me this:

MARINA, Calif. (BRAIN) — The bike industry learned just a week ago that many of its Chinese-made products would become subject to a 10 percent tariff, increasing to 25 percent in January. There were only a few product exceptions, and Daniel Emerson's heart sank when he saw they included completed bike lights, in the name of safety, while light components are still subject to the tariff. U.S. Customs began collecting the tariff Monday.

Light & Motion manufactures in the U.S. but uses mostly Chinese components. So Emerson's competitors, almost all of whom manufacture overseas, will pay no additional tariffs on their complete lights, while his costs go up 10 percent.

"Basically the U.S. government is providing a huge boost to our China-based competition, which is virtually every other product on the market. They are telling us very clearly we are not welcome in the U.S.," he told BRAIN on Monday.

While the light exemption took Emerson by surprise last Monday, he's not waiting around to react. He heads to the Philippines in a little over a week to start setting up production there. He said that before the tariff announcement his company had stocked up on parts for U.S. production, which will continue for six or nine months during the transition.

Light & Motion has about 45 employees, including about a dozen in production. The production jobs will likely disappear.

You can read the entire story here.

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