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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, February 28, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. - Frederick Douglass

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UAE Tour stage four reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Caleb Ewan's Lotto-Soudal team:

Caleb Ewan took his first official victory for Lotto Soudal today! During the fourth stage of the UAE Tour - finishing on the short but steep Hatta Dam - the Australian launched an impressive sprint to take the win ahead of Italian Moschetti and race leader Roglič.

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan leaves the others behind.

Early in the race, six riders escaped the peloton and were granted a maximum advantage of around eight minutes before Jumbo-Visma - the team of overall leader Roglič - started the chase. After a relatively quiet first part of the race, crosswinds caused the peloton to split in different groups. However, it all came back together only moments later. With around 50 kilometres of racing left, the GC teams tried to drop some of the sprinters in the lumpy run-up to the finish but they did not succeed in their attempt as an almost compact peloton headed for the Hatta Dam. A crash in the deep finale marred the sprint preparation but Caleb Ewan managed to avoid the danger as he reached the foot of the final climb in a perfect position. The Australian Lotto Soudal rider timed his uphill sprint to perfection and beat the Italian Moschetti and Slovenian Roglič to take glory in the fourth stage of the UAE Tour. That way, Ewan takes his first UCI victory in the Lotto Soudal shirt.

Caleb Ewan: “It feels really good to take my first official Lotto Soudal win. Going into the stage, we knew that if we got to the bottom of the climb in good position, it could really suit me because I am one of the smallest sprinters. With so many good sprinters here, I really thought that this stage would be the one that I could possibly win. The boys did a perfect job, holding me in the good position and keeping me out of the wind all day. During the finale - because I was moving up to the front at the outside - I heard the crash happening but I did not see it. When I started the climb - in third position - my legs felt really good and that’s when I realised that I could win.”

“From 50 kilometres to go, it was a really tough stage. Then, we were not stressing too much but suddenly one team tried to create some echelons. The peloton split a little and we had to do an effort to get back to the bunch. Actually, I was pretty tired there but I rested a little once I got over the top. There was a long downhill section, after which we had two more little climbs to do, but once I had recovered from the effort before, I felt good again.”

Here's the post from GC leader Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

Primoz Roglic has done well in the fourth stage of the UAE Tour with regard to his classification. The Slovenian leader of Team Jumbo-Visma finished third on the steep Hatta Dam. Due to the time differences and time bonuses, Roglic now has a twenty-one second lead over world champion Alejandro Valverde.

The stage was characterized by an early breakaway and echelons. Team Jumbo-Visma controlled the stage and kept Roglic out of trouble.

The leader in the UAE Tour was happy to extend his overall lead. “It is always better to gain time than to lose time. The boys have worked perfectly for me again today. That is also how we avoided the crash by racing continuously in the front. In the end it was up to me and luckily I could take a few extra seconds on the competition. It was a tough climb. A real wall. It was a fight to the finish.”

And Bora-hansgrohe sent me this stage four report:

The fourth stage of the UAE Tour traversed over 205km from Palm Island Jumeirah to Hatta Dam. The race once again crossed the desert today, and was characterised by undulating terrain in the closing 50km. To conclude the day’s racing, the riders had to take on a short but steep climb with a maximum gradient of 17 per cent. Right from the get go, a 6 man strong group distanced themselves from the field and rode at the head of the race for a significant portion of the day. However, in the last third of the course, their gap of previously 8 minutes had been whittled down considerably.

Increasingly strong winds in the desert made the stage a difficult task for the riders at times, however the last 40km saw the weather conditions improve, and calm was restored once more to the peloton. The breakaway ultimately disintegrated on the second final climb, after which point T. Dumoulin launched an attack, and was able to put some daylight between him and the peloton. Not long afterwards, a crash occurred in the peloton, and Emanuel Buchmann and some teammates were held up behind. However, BORA – hansgrohe was able to bring him back to the peloton for the finish. Shortly before the finish line, M. Moschetti began to launch his sprint, however C. Ewan was able to push past his opponents to take out the win. After today’s stage, Emanuel Buchmann maintains his fourth position in the general classification, while teammate Davide Formolo holds on to his tenth place. 

From the Finish Line:
“The guys rode a good race today. Our goal was to support Sam Bennett and also bring Emanuel Buchmann and Davide Formolo into a good position in the final few kilometres. However, we had a bit of bad luck, because with 7km to the finish, Emanuel was involved in a crash. But with the assistance of his teammates, he was able to bridge the gap to the main field. Although the guys did a good job today, they were not able to take part in the battle for the stage win. Yet in terms of the general classification, it was important that Emanuel and Davide maintained their positions in the overall standings, and they were able to successfully achieve this today.” – Enrico Poitschke, Sport Director 

Iccrea is the main sponsor of the 30th Giro Rosa

The Giro Rosa organizer sent me this update:

Milan, 27th February 2019: The Giro Rosa Iccrea is born. The 30th edition of the Giro Rosa, the women cycling race that will take place in the North of Italy, has Iccrea Group as main sponsor. The new sponsorship, lasting three years, has been presented today in Milan during a press conference.

This is the for the new Cooperative Bank Group, which has chosen the opportunity of the Giro Rosa to glorify the central role of the woman in today's society. As well, because the Group thinks that the potential of women, sometimes unexpress, deserves to be promoted in every range - starting from the professional - to support a continuous, cultural and social evolution. In the end,for a strong share of the sport values of cycling, like the promotion of the single athlete, without forgetting the cooperation and the force that make a team united to the finish.

The choice of the sponsorship is coherent with the Cooperative Credit Banks which, like cycling, express a strong interation with the territory. There are 142 Banks which have accepted to the Iccrea Cooperative Bank Group, with 2641 offices and 4.2 million of guests. There are 46 BCC Banks in the Central-Northern Italy, twelve are directly involved or are near the route of the Giro: Banca d'Alba, Banca Alpi Marittime, BCC Carate Brianza, BCC Brianza e Laghi, BCC di Triuggio e della Valle del Lambro, BCC Milano, CRA Cantù, Banca San Giorgio Quinto Valle Agno, Banca di Udine, CrediFriuli, BCC Pordenonese, Banca della Marca.

"In Group we arrive everywhere" is the new claim that will carry the participation of Iccrea at the Giro Rosa as Main Sponsor. A claim that distinguish the approach of the athletes who will race the Giro, and at the same time will carry the birth and the work of Iccrea Cooperative Bank Group with all the BCC as first Local Bank of the Country.

"This partnership makes us proud, not just because it is the first sponsorship of Iccrea, but first because it proves the effort that Icrea is producing to give value to the female universe to support, more generally, the "System Country"" - says Leonardo Rubattu, general Director of Iccrea Banca. - "In the last decade" - continues Rubattu - "the presence of women at the top of the BCC but I think that there is still a lot to do."

The importance that sport has in the process of the female emancipation has not to be forgotten.

"The years since Pierre De Coubertin, creator of the modern Olympic Games, said that the female participation seemed to be useless and unestethic." Today the athletes work hard and obtain wins at the same level of men, or even more. But the connection between sport and women, especially in our Country, remains complicated. This sponsorship is a sign that we want to give to change or modify this situation.

The Giro Rosa Iccrea realizes a strong synergy between the territory and the BCC that find themselves near or in the route, and thanks to its diffusion, they can give a help to their customers and partners."

The Maglia Rosa of the Giro Rosa
The Maglia Rosa is since many decades a symbol of the national and international cycling. The leader of the Giro Rosa General Classification wears it. The Giro Rosa is the longest and most prestigious stage race of women's cycling. It is in the Women's World Tour, created by the UCI to replace the Road World Cup.

The last Giro Rosa winner is the Dutch Annemiek Van Vleuten, Time Trial World Champion in two editions, who in 2018 dominated literally the competition directed by Giuseppe Rivolta. The South-African Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio arrived second, and the Australian Amanda Spratt third.

Fabiani Luperini

Fabiana Luperini, winner of the Giro Rosa five times!

Fabiana Luperini is the most-winning athlete of the Giro Rosa, with 5 victories overall in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2008. Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Nicole Brandli (Switzerland) follow with 3 wins.

"The activity of women is, more than ever, very important" - commented the President of the Italian Cycling Federation Renato Di Rocco - "The Giro Rosa this year has its 30th edition, the most important international stage race, and its level increases year by year with the direction by Giuseppe Rivolta."

Team Sky partners with Garmin

Team Sky sent me this press release:

Team Sky has agreed a partnership with Garmin International Inc., a world-leader in GPS technology, for the 2019 season. The partnership will see the team be equipped with Garmin products that will inform, guide and motivate riders, while helping to provide a safe riding environment.

Having worked closely with Garmin in recent seasons, Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford, is excited about the formal collaboration, commenting: “Technology is key to successful performance and at Team Sky we are always looking for new ways to improve our training and in race experience with the best products.

“Our coaches and riders know that in Garmin we have a best in class partner for our many different needs. We trust their products. They are reliable, intuitive and state of the art. But importantly we look for partners that will innovate to develop new tools and methods for the future. We think the potential is huge and that this exciting partnership opens up a new world of possibility for us to explore together.”

As part of the agreement, Garmin will supply the team with Edge® GPS cycling computers and the Varia™ RTL510 rearview radar for use during training.

Team Sky will also be able to take advantage of other cutting-edge test products within the Garmin portfolio throughout the term of the deal. “Team Sky is known for being an ambitious and successful team full of talented riders, and we are excited to welcome them to our network of sponsored professional cycling teams,” said Susan Lyman, Garmin vice president of global consumer marketing.

“As a world-leader in cycling technology, we are pleased to supply Team Sky with top-of-the-line products for use in some of the most demanding races in the world, and we look forward to working closely with them in the development and testing of future cycling products.”

ASI (Fuji, Kestral, SE, etc) ready for business, new owners say

Bicycle Retailer and Industry News sent me this:

PHILADELPHIA (BRAIN) — Advanced Sports Inc., the distribution arm of Advanced Sports Enterprises, is now ready to return to full-scale business, selling Fuji, Kestrel, Breezer, SE Bikes and its other brands to U.S. retailers.

BikeCo, a partnership of Tiger Capital Group and Advanced Holdings, bought ASI at a bankruptcy sale earlier this month for $16.1 million. ASI had continued operations during the bankruptcy, but its long-term fate had previously been unclear. It is now being operated as a going concern, separate from Performance Bicycle, Nashbar and other parts of ASE.

Before the bankruptcy, ASI did roughly $100 million in sales each year and was profitable, according to ASE executives, who said debt from the acquisition of Performance, combined with declining sales in the stores, led to the bankruptcy. Performance and Nashbar liquidated much of their retail inventory in sales that will continue until about March 1 (Performance and Nashbar were purchased by California e-commerce company AMain.com for $1.2 million).

During the liquidation ASE held back 2019 bikes and some other "evergreen" inventory, providing the new owners of ASI with two warehouses full of in-season inventory ready to ship, said Ryan Davis, ASI's interim CEO.

Davis is a director at Tiger Group LLC, well known as a large-scale liquidator that's been involved with the liquidation of bankrupt retailers including Toys R Us and Circuit City. But in an interview with BRAIN, Davis said Tiger Group intends to operate ASI. Said Davis, "Tiger is also known for financing the restructuring and turnaround of companies like PPS Partners, Aly Energy, and Quantum Foods." Davis further noted that "ASI is a strong business. We want to maximize the value and give its leaders an opportunity to succeed."

Those leaders include longtime ASI executive Karen Bliss, who has been named president. She also remains chief marketing officer. ASE's former CEO, Pat Cunnane, is leaving the company after a transition period of several weeks.

Davis said he is an avid road cyclist who frequents IBDs in the Boston and Los Angeles areas. "I grew up as a bike enthusiast. " he said. "I have friends who own bike shops and I have a great appreciation for what they do. I know that as a consumer, you choose the shop owner before you choose the bike."

Davis said he was aware that the liquidation sales at Performance had devalued the ASI inventory of its other nearby dealers.

"That was the worst part about the whole process," he said. "It was not a good short-term result for the dealers in proximity. The flip side is that we will have those concerns behind us as we come into the bike season, and there is an opportunity for dealers to grab significant market share as the Performance stores wind down. Our goal is to be a strong partner to the dealers to help them achieve that."

Bliss said that in addition to the 2019 models that were held back from liquidation sales, new models will be launched soon.

"Some of our product launches were on hold during the bankruptcy," Bliss said. "We are expecting product to start flowing in soon so we can focus on some of our new road and mountain technology."

You can read the entire story here.

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