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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, November 1, 2019

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I went to a restaurant that serves 'breakfast at any time'. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance. - Steven Wright

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Michael Albasini to retire in 2020

Albasini's Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this:

Suisse veteran Michael Albasini has signed with Mitchelton-SCOTT for 2020 with the plan of retiring at home race, the Tour of Suisse, in June.

Michael Albasini

Michael Albasini racing Liege-Bastogne-Liege earlier this year. Sirotti photo

Known for coming into his own in wet and harsh weather conditions, Albasini is one of the founding members of Mitchelton-SCOTT and a crucial contributor, not just in results but also to the team’s culture.

The 38-year-old, who will turn 39 before the 2020 season, has taken 18 professional wins in his past eight seasons with the team and is motivated to make the most of his final six months as a cyclist.

Fittingly, his farewell will be on home turf, in his 16th appearance at the Tour of Suisse, and in front of family and friends.

Michael Albasini:
“It’s great to finish your career in a race that you really like as a rider. It’s a race I’ve always had a good relationship with, it’s a home race and for any rider it is great to be able to finish at home.

“Even within the organisation there’s a lot of former teammates, so it’ll be like finishing with your school class and it makes it much easier for family to come and that is one of the most important points.

“This season it was getting harder to find motivation and to keep motivated. It cost me, in time, more and more energy, and often in the second half of the season it’s different.

“Like this, I have my finish line, and this is the best way to finish.

“I don’t have any set goals in terms of results for this final part of my career. I just really want to nail my last preparation, do everything right and get up to the highest level possible.  If I can get that, some results will come, but for myself I just want to have the best possible approach and shape for the last part of my career and enjoy myself.

“If it all comes together, there will be results, individual or for the team, but I will finish knowing I have done everything right and be proud of that.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“Alba was a founding member and the first year, with Volta Catalunya for starters, he had some big wins and helped put this team on the board.

“Ever since then he has been a heavy contributor, on and off the bike, to the development of the culture of this team.

“It’s a really nice at 38/39 years of age, that he can finish his career on his terms.

“We expect another big six months next year, starting somewhere in Spain in February and finishing on his own turf in Switzerland. There’s still a lot of racing to go for Alba, but he knows where the finish line is, and that’s at home.”

Michael Albasini:
Date of birth: 20 December 1980 (38)
Nationality: Suisse
Turned Pro: 2003
Joined Mitchelton-SCOTT: 2012

Team Jumbo-Visma completes line-up with Christoph Pfingsten

The team sent me this news

Team Jumbo-Visma has signed German rider Christoph Pfingsten for the coming year. The 31-year-old allrounder comes over from Bora-Hansgrohe. With the signing of Pfingsten, Team Jumbo-Visma’s line-up for 2020 is complete.  

“Team Jumbo-Visma is one of the best teams in the world. The past years, the team has grown bigger and it has become more professional. I’m very happy that the team wants me and that I get this opportunity”, Pfingsten said.

At Team Jumbo-Visma, the former cyclocross rider will meet quite a few familiar people. “Besides the riders I know from the peloton, I know my compatriots Tony Martin and Paul Martens well. I also was teammates with Dylan Groenewegen at Cyclingteam De Rijke a few years ago.”

Shimano downgrades importance of China as production base

Bike Europe sent me this industry news update:

OSAKA, Japan – Shimano Inc expects to generate extraordinary income this year with the return of land belonging to one of its Chinese (Kunshan and Tianjin) plants. This striking statement makes the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycle parts in its financial overview of the results achieved during the first nine months of the year. That Shimano is downgrading the importance of its operations in China is undoubtedly prompted by EU’s anti-dumping measures for both e-bikes and regular bicycles as well as the Trump Tariffs.

That Shimano apparently reduces the importance of China as production base can be concluded from what the company mentions in its full-year outlook which is part of its financial statement for the first nine months of this year. Here Shimano states “The full-year forecasted consolidated business performance will be changed as follows due to the recognition of non-operating income during the first nine months of fiscal year 2019 as a result of depreciation in Asian currencies, and the posting of extraordinary income associated with the return of public land at China Plant.” This return of land points to the company downgrading the importance of its Kunshan and/or Tianjin China facilities.

On its results Shimano reports that net sales have grown by 6.1 percent in the first nine months of this year. The company mentions Deore XT, SLX high-end MTB components, and GRX middle- to high-end gravel road components were well received in the market while the same goes for the company’s STEPS E8000 drive unit for e-MTB’s.

Shimano’s Inc. net sales amounted to JPY 269,523 million (2.2 billion euro) while the company’s operating income increased by 5.4 percent to JPY 50,394m (416m euro).

You can read the entire story here.

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