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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion. - Jack Kerouac

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:


Tour de France Rest Day One notes

We'll start with GC leader Julian Alaphilippe's Deceuninck-Quick Step team's update:

Eight years have passed since the last time a Frenchman went into Le Tour’s first rest day with the yellow jersey on his shoulders. At that time, Julian Alaphilippe was only 19, still into cyclo-cross and more than two years away from starting his pro career with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, which has now taken him to the top of the Tour de France general classification.

Julian Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilippe after stage 10. Sirotti photo

Ten days into the race, where he is making just his third appearance, Julian is unquestionably the star of this edition, having caught everyone’s attention with his swashbuckling style, huge display of panache and excellent results. Each day, hundreds of fans come to see Loulou before and after the stage, having found in him the new hero of the French public, and for good reason, as Alaphilippe has been so far the standout rider of the season.

Not only supporters, but also journalists showed their enormous interest in Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s rider, dozens of members of the media attending the rest day press conference at the team’s hotel in Albi, where Specialized launched the new Creo electric road bike, which the riders used to go for a coffee ride on Tuesday.

“It has been a very good start to the Tour and having yellow after the first half of the race gives me a unique feeling. This is a special moment of my career and I’m motivated on honouring it on every stage. At the same time, I want to remain with my feet on the ground, because I’m aware that the hardest part is still to come”, said Alaphilippe, who commands a one-minute lead in the general classification over his closest opponents.

Asked about his chances of keeping the jersey until the Pyrenees, Julian was confident he can carry the prestigious garment for a few more days, but refuted the idea that he’s got a chance of arriving with it on the Champs-Élysées: “Everything is possible and I hope to surprise myself on the tough stages. I feel good, am confident, and would be really nice to have yellow for a couple of more days, but at this point, everything that comes will be a bonus and I want to enjoy every single moment in yellow. Of course, it’s one thing to wear the maillot jaune for a week, and another to ride into Paris with it. No matter what, I won’t change my approach and way of racing, because this is what gives me joy and brings a lot of pleasure to fans.”

And here's the Movistar rest day update:

Nairo Quintana:
“I’d say we’re almost lucky to reach this far in the Tour having lost arguably the smallest margen in the last few years against our biggest rivals. I feel like we’ve got a decent chance. It won’t be easy, yet we’re in good condition and we’ll try to play our cards intelligently to make up time, and at the time trial, do our best to lose as little time as possible. I think I’m well prepared for the TT, I’m ready to go into it. My body feels right at the moment. We know we will be losing time, since I’m not a specialist compared to the others. I’ll concede some time, and I just hope it won’t be too much.”

“We’re still eleven stages away from Paris, there’s so much left in this race. There are mountain stages which could suit us really well. The work by our team-mates throughout this race has been really, really good, most especially yesterday, when we were all at the front before Mikel’s crash. The team is in good condition, and after the TT we will seek for a strategy to try and get back to the top. There are mountains which suit us well and, together with Alejandro, who is always there supporting us, and Mikel, I think we can do well together and achieve our goal for this race.”

“With all due to respect to Alaphilippe as race leader – we don’t really know how far he will reach in yellow – the team carrying all responsibility at this moment is INEOS, and we must plan our strategies considering how they will race and tackle the mountain stages. They had two cards to play and they still keep Thomas and Egan in a perfect position.”

Mikel Landa:
“I felt in a little bit more of pain when I woke up today, but fortunately it’s nothing serious: a blow to my arm, another one to my face, and nothing else. I’m a bit more down when it comes to morale: it’s another tough blow, and another year when we have to bounce back after misfortune. There’s still a long race ahead, and we must think only about that. I obviously started thinking about yesterday’s crash after the stage: why me? Why was it me crashing? I was feeling so strong, the stage had gone so well for us up until that moment, it would actually have been a good chance to close in on our goal in the TDF – and you crash once again. However, the past is water long under the bridge, we mustn’t lose time thinking about it again.”

Mikel Landa

Mikel Landa racing in stage 6. Sirotti photo.

“We’ll have to chase for a stage win and get back into GC contention as soon as possible. We’ll see how we can react – I haven’t still digested what happened yesterday, I need some more time to get back into the mood. I haven’t found how to get myself into the race again yet. I need to go through these two ‘bad’ days, have others let me alone (laughs), and we will turn things around and change our luck for the better.”

“There are still many contenders left in this race. Those currently trailing, such as Fuglsang and Pinot, who are strong attackers, will surely try to go from afar and will play a significant role in the upcoming mountain stages. Hopefully, with this time lost I will have a chance to attack and be let go further than others. However, the Tour is always hard in that respect: the teams defend basically any position, and as soon as you approach 10th place, you get teams interested in retaining such a position, so it’s hard to bounce back.”

Here's the update from Geraint Thomas' Team INEOS:

Geraint Thomas is pleased with Team INEOS’ start to the Tour de France and is confident, but cautious of his chances of winning a second Grand Tour.

A fantastic team performance in stage 10’s crosswinds moved Thomas up to second overall, with teammate Egan Bernal now third and leading the best young rider classification.

And while the 2018 Tour de France winner was delighted to have made significant gains on a number of his general classification rivals, the Welshman still trails race leader Julian Alaphilippe by 1’12” ahead of the race re-commencing on Wednesday in Albi, and reckons the next week of racing will be crucial. He said: “We feel we’re in a strong position, a combination of everything coming together has helped us get to this point at the first rest day. We’ve made a great start, but we’re fully aware that there’s still plenty of racing left.

GEraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas at the start of stage 8. Sirotti photo

“To have gained time on our GC contenders is massive and a really good bonus - but now the really tough stages start. It’s been a great 10 days. It would be better if we were a couple of seconds behind Alaphilippe, but we’re pleased with how we’ve fared so far.

“We’ll know a lot more about Alaphilippe after the second rest day, but he’s rode a great race so far. We’ll see how he goes, it’s an unknown for him as well, so it’ll be an interesting second week.”

The team’s work ethic and cohesion were displayed on the final stage before the rest day, when they combined well in the crosswinds to split the peloton, but also on stage eight when they came together to ensure an ill-timed crash in the final 15 kilometres for Thomas did not affect his overall standing.

And the Welshman believes it is the Grand Tour experience of the Team INEOS lineup which has been crucial in navigating the tricky start to the race. He added: “We’ve got huge Grand Tour experience in this team, so we won’t allow ourselves to become complacent - we’ll just focus on each stage and give ourselves the best possible chance of winning when we get to Paris. I’m not feeling any extra pressure this year.

“I’m enjoying the race so far though, it’s been a good opening block of racing for the team and the support we’ve had has made it even more enjoyable. We’ve got a lot of winning experience on this team, the guys know what it takes to get over the winning line at the Tour - that experience is massively important in a race like this. We are always prepared for this race - we have one goal. Other teams go for stage wins, but our only goal is to try and win the Tour.”

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford echoed Thomas’ sentiment about the opening 10 stages of the 2019 Tour de France and hailed the team’s efforts which helped Thomas and Bernal move up the general classification. He said: “We'll continue to do what we’ve been doing so far. To be at this point in the race, second and third overall on GC, is probably the best it could get for us really. The way the guys have handled themselves and the way the team have approached the first 10 days of racing will be the way we continue - I’m confident it will continue to work well from here.

“This feels like one of the most positive Tour de France races since we started, in terms of the support we’ve received. We’ve had nothing but positive support since the start of this year's race. We love France. We love the Tour. We love the passion – it’s what makes this race so special. We’re all really enjoying it.”

Accell Group sells Canadian rights to Raleigh, Redline, Diamondback and IZIP to Canadian Tire

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (BRAIN) — Accell Group has sold its Canadian brand registrations for Raleigh, Diamondback, Redline and IZIP to Canadian Tire Corporation for $16 million cash. Canadian Tire is one of that country's largest retail chains.

The move takes some work off the plate of U.S.-based Accell North America, which had been handling sales of the brands to Canadian IBDs. It also gives Canadian Tire four exclusive house bike brands, something that major sports retail chains are increasingly seeking to develop or acquire. Last year, the company acquired the Helly Hansen outdoor brand for $985 million.

Accell North America closed its Canadian office and warehouse in 2018 and began servicing Canadian accounts from its Kent, Washington, offices and a U.S. warehouse, John Short, ANA's CEO, told BRAIN.

ANA used independent sales reps in Canada, where it had 128 dealers with 195 storefronts, Short said. ANA will continue to provide warranty service to those dealers and customers who bought bikes through them, but ANA is terminating sales in Canada.

You can read the entire story here.

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