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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, October 18, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it. - W. C. Fields

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Tour of Guangxi stage one reports

We posted the report from stage winner Fernando Gaviria's UAE-Team Emirates with the results

Second-place Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this:

BORA - hansgrohe took on the first stage today of the Gree-Tour of Guangxi, the final WorldTour race of the season. The third edition of the six-day Chinese race took the riders on a sprinter-friendly parcours around the southern part of China. The 135.6km-long route around Beihai consisted of three laps of the port city with three small climbs along the way, which, however, would not pose any significant challenges.

Immediately after the start, a trio went clear, but the field remained attentive and didn’t let the elastic snap on this group, which was only able to attain an advantage of around two minutes. Shane Archbold was consistently active at the head of the peloton, and the gap to the leaders was down to a minute with 45km remaining. A few kilometres later, a soloist escaped from the leading trio, but the field was once again onto this move, and his attack remained in vain. Shortly afterwards, several riders attempted to break free from the peloton, but BORA - hansgrohe rode actively at the head of the peloton, with the German champion Max Schachmann countering many of these attacks.

With 10km remaining, two riders escaped from the field and managed to gain a slight advantage, but back in the main field, the sprinter teams took up the chase in earnest and their attack again remained fruitless. The opening stage came down to the expected bunch sprint, and in the finishing straight, Fernando Gaviria managed to find the wheel of Pascal Ackermann. After a strong lead-out from Rudi Selig, the German sprinter was ahead of the bunch gallop with 300m to go, but was ever so slightly pipped at the post by the Colombian rider.

Fernando Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria (far left) wins a close one.

From the finish line:
“We wanted to control the stage, and we managed to achieve this. The guys always rode at the front of the peloton and kept the gap to the breakaway within a reasonable distance. Rudi prepared me well for the final sprint, but I might have started slightly a bit too early. As a result, Gaviria was able to overtake me from behind, over the last few metres, and take the win, but it was very close. Having said that, there are still more chances to fight for the stage win here, and now we’ve seen that the team is in good shape, so we’re optimistic about the upcoming days.” ­ Pascal Ackermann

“Today we rode in support of Pascal for the final sprint, so we wanted only a small group to get away. This plan worked out, with only three riders having ridden clear. With assistance from UAE Team Emirates and Bahrain – Merida, we were able to control the race at the right time and take over the pace setting work. Around 40km ahead of the finish, two of the original escapees were reeled back in, and shortly afterwards the last rider up front was also forced to give in. With 45km remaining, several riders launched attacks, but our team, particularly Michael Schwarzmann, Max Schachmann and Felix Großschartner, remained attentive. On the last climb, we tried to ride at the head of the field, because we had expected potential moves to come there. The guys executed this plan perfectly and, all in all, they rode a good race today. In the final sprint, Rudi brought Pascal into a good position, but there may have been a slight error in coordination at this point, and Pascal launched his sprint slightly too early, and Gaviria was able to overtake him over the final few metres. In addition, we also unfortunately started the race with only six riders, with Andreas Schillinger unable to participate due to health reasons. However, after today’s performance, we’re still very motivated for the upcoming stages.” – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director

And here's the report from third-place Matteo Trentin's Mitchelton-Scott team:

Italian Matteo Trentin sprinted to third place on the opening stage of the Tour of Guangxi in Beihai as the day ended in the expected bunch kick finale.

Mitchelton-SCOTT took control in the closing kilometres to lead out the form European champion, but the 30-year-old didn’t have the pace to match the pure sprinters in the field and was forced to settle for third.

It was a routine start to the race as a small group of three riders formed the breakaway in the early stages. The trio were never allowed much of an advantage as the sprint teams controlled the gap and began to bring them back as the final lap approached.

The remains of the breakaway were eventually hauled back by the peloton with 30 kilometres remaining with counter attacks launching immediately. Neo-pro Edoardo Affini was tasked with covering the moves for Mitchelton-SCOTT as the attacks failed to get away.

Riders continued to attack as the sprint teams struggled to take control of the bunch and the pace was high as the pack raced up the short climb on the final. This time Trentin was on marshalling duty with another short-lived attack quickly being closed down by the peloton.

However, the attacks didn’t relent, and two riders managed to clip off the front inside the final 10-killometres. The bunch struggled to get organised, but the attackers were eventually brought back inside three kilometres to go as a sprint finish looked inevitable.

Mitchelton-SCOTT then took control of the pack with Affini driving a strong tempo for teammate Trentin. 2020 signing Kaden Groves was the next rider to swing off before leaving Australian Alex Edmondson to deliver Trentin to the line with the finish insight.

Pascal Ackermann (BORA – hansgrohe) was the first to open up his sprint and Trentin quickly jumped onto the German’s wheel, but he couldn’t come around his rival in the run to the line, with Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Team Emirates) stealing the victory in a photo finish.

Matteo Trentin:
"I think we nailed the lead out, even if we’ve never really raced together on this matter before! Everyone delivered his own job really good!"

“For sure winning with such a lead out would be better but in this kind of race condition where the stage is pretty easy and not too long, I'm not the quickest here. But the race has just started and we’ve started in the right way."

Matt Wilson (Sports Director):
"The boys did a great lead out, a really good lead out. The plan was to sit back and let the big sprinter’s teams take control and to try and come late with the whole team with our lead out."

"And that’s exactly what we did, we came with four guys into the last corner with 600 to go and gave Matteo every shot. But he was just beaten by faster guys on the day, but it’s a great result for us and we’re happy with how things look for the rest of the week."

Ruben Guerreiro joins EF Education First Pro

The team sent me this:

For Ruben Guerreiro, joining EF Education First Pro Cycling feels like coming home. Although he is Portuguese, Guerreiro grew up in an American development team, Axeon Hagens Berman. EF Education First Pro Cycling's American roots, riders and cultures proved attractive for him.

Ruben Guerreiro

Ruben Guerreiro at the 2018 Tour Down Under. Sirotti photo

“I developed as a U23 rider with Axeon,” explains Guerreiro. “I learned English with the team. For me this is a homecoming. America is my second country, and I’m really happy to come home to an American team, EF Education First.”

The 25-year-old has shown promise in the one-day races and as a stage hunter and, following his maiden Grand Tour, harbors ambitions in the three-week races. 

“I did my first Vuelta this year, and I was surprised with what I could do,” Guerreiro, who finished 17th overall, notes. “I’m really looking forward to continuing to grow as a Grand Tour rider.”

Guerreiro completed his neo-pro seasons, his first two years in the WorldTour with Trek-Segafredo, before moving over to Katusha-Alpecin for a season. His ride at the Vuelta ultimately earned him a spot with EF Education First Pro Cycling.

“Ruben is bold, but he can back it up,” EF Education First Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters explains. “During contract negotiations, he told me he wouldn’t accept my offer, that he was worth more. He told me to watch the Vuelta the next day and that he’d show me. He didn’t win the stage, but he came second. I was impressed.”

When Guerreiro thinks about world travel, he thinks about the United States first. “California is a part of the world that I want to go,” he says. “I have been once already for the Amgen Tour of California and something moved me there. I want to go back. I don’t know why. I can’t name it. I just know that I motivated to return and to race well there.”

Guerreiro is excited to share his story with his new EF Education First co-workers. “I want them to know we don’t just jump on the bike and pedal, pedal, pedal,” he says. “There’s much more to it than that. I want to teach my new co-workers how we prepare every single detail, how we work, how the group around you in the most important thing. I also want them to know that we do so many races around the world and that all the travel gives us experience with different people, different cultures, and that those things, not only cycling, make us who we are.”

Press release from the MPCC - Movement for Credible Cycling

The MPCC sent me this:

The MPCC held its annual General Assembly on the 14th October 2019 in Paris. This meeting was representative of the more than 700 members of the movement - nearly half being active professional riders.

The President of the MPCC Roger Legeay first paid tribute with deep emotion to Dr Armand Mégret, who recently passed away. Armand has greatly contributed in advancing the fight against doping and participating in the development of the internal regulation of our movement, having been in charge of its cortisol level tests for 13 years.

The composition of the Board of Directors changes: after 2 years as the MPCC's treasurer, Yvon Sanquer is replaced by Sébastien Hinault after the unanimous approbation of the General Assembly.

The members of the MPCC have reviewed the discussion that was initiated with the WADA earlier this year. Following an open letter the MPCC addressed to WADA one year ago, a meeting was held on the 12th March 2019.

A few days ago in Paris, the MPCC met with a rider linked with the Aderlass case - a doping affair that have occurred during winter, mainly involving skiers and cyclists. Convinced in its ability to make concrete proposals to improve the fight against doping, the MPCC will continue to fit with its philosophy by pursueing the dialogue with the UCI.

264 cortisol level tests have been carried out in 2019, in collaboration with the UCI. In 2020, the MPCC has the desire to increase the total number of tests. Dr Pierre Lebreton has been named as referring doctor of the movement in charge of the implementation of the tests. He will allow the MPCC to continue the excellent work of Dr Armand Mégret.

On the request of the physicians of the MPCC teams, tests on Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) will be added to cortisol level ones our movement will perform. The goal is to collect anonymous and accurate data so the working group the MPCC is setting up can provide a framework for a new regulation on thyroid hormones. In case any anomaly is found, the team physician responsible for the involved athlete will have to line things up in the proper way.

Giant to sell 600,000 E-Bikes this year

Bike Europe sent me this news:

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Giant Manufacturing Co expects to sell about 600,000 e-bikes this year. If the company actually lives up to this expectation, it will exceed outlooks previously expressed by the company’s chairwoman Bonnie Tu. The sales success comes while Giant is investing heavily in its second production facility in Europe. This new plant in Hungary is focused on assembling e-bikes and production is planned to start this fall.

Listed at the Taipei, Taiwan stock exchange Giant Manufacturing Co is quickly catching up with the biggest in e-bikes. In 2018 Giant shipped about 385,000 e-bikes; close to doubling the number recorded a year earlier. Last Monday the company reported that it had sold 290,000 electric bikes in the first half of the year and aims to sell more than 310,000 units in the second half of 2019. With this year’s total aimed at 600,000 the company’s sales growth will stand at 56 percent compared to 2018.

Last March at the Taipei Cycle Show, Bonnie Tu said to expect that the company’s sales of electric bicycles were to grow by 30 percent this year and to contribute up to 25 percent of its total sales; up from last year’s 19 percent.

What the Giant Manufacturing Co. also reported earlier this week is that its sales grew by close to 5 percent in September to TWD 6.01 billion (177 million euro). It’s the highest monthly sales figure recorded this year which is thanked mostly to the introduction of new traditional and electric models. For the first nine months of 2019 Giant’s cumulative sales rose by 5.1 percent year-on-year to TWD 47.66 billion (1.4 billion euro), with e-bikes contributing about 20 percent of the total, company data showed.

You can read the entire story here.

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