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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. - T. S. Eliot

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Elia Viviani & Simone Consonni win Six Days of London

Here's the report from Viviani's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

Multiple European Track Champion writes history together with Simone Consonni on the Lee Valley Park Velodrome.

Elia Viviani and Simone Consonni put in a stunning recovery on the final night of the Six Days of London and became the first ever Italian team to win the prestigious event, in front of thousands of feverish fans who made an electric atmosphere.

Elia Viviani

London must suit Viviani. Here he wins this year's RideLondon race.

Third overall after five days of spectacular and intense racing, Viviani and Consonni were on a mission Sunday evening, when they lined up at the start knowing they had to erase the one-lap deficit separating them from the top of the leaderboard. The Elimination, Time Trial and Derny didn’t deliver any significant changes to the general classification, meaning that it would be once again on the Madison that would play a decisive role in the final outcome.

Fresh off the back of success at the Apeldoorn European Championships, where he added a seventh gold medal to his outstanding palmares, Elia went all guns blazing right from the offe, taking back one lap and drawing level with the other three teams vying for overall glory in London. Attack continued at a rapid pace and for the most of the race, the two Italians were forced to come back from behind, not just to gain laps, but also to make sure they’d score enough points which could have proven vital in case of a tie.

Inside the final 20 minutes of an exciting night, as the Madison was coming down to crunch time, Viviani went all out and immediately opened a small gap on the chasers, which together with his teammate he managed to stretch to the point they lapped the peloton and moved into the provisional lead. For good measure, the duo picked up as many points possible on the last four sprint laps, before Elia expertly shut down a late attack with two laps remaining and surged to a memorable victory, which he sealed by emphatically taking the final sprint of the day.

“We wanted to be in the lead before the closing race, but that didn’t happen, so we had to change our tactic for the Madison. We felt strong and despite the flurry of attacks that came, we remained confident and poised to stick to our plan of trying something in the last 15-20 minutes, when we knew we could make the difference. It all worked perfectly and we can now celebrate this great and unforgettable win, which came after a crazy, challenging, and in the end, really beautiful week here in London”, an ecstatic Elia said after capturing the sixth triumph of his career in a six-day race.

Bora-hansgrohe signs Martin Laas

The team sent me this release:

The 26-year-old Estonian rider has signed a one-year contract with BORA – hansgrohe. He will play an important role in strengthening the team’s capacity in the sprints and will assume a crucial place in the squad’s sprint train.

“I’m very excited about joining BORA – hansgrohe. From the time that I spent with my teammates and the staff at the team camp, I had the impression that this team is akin to a family, which is not something that all teams can say about themselves. Having said that, the team is also exceptionally professional and is also one of the best teams that there is in professional cycling. The most important goal for me next year will be to utilise the support of the team to adapt to the WorldTour level, and grow together with my teammates and the staff. It will be a challenge, but it’s one that I think I will enjoy. I’m looking forward to supporting my teammates during the races and doing all that I can to help them achieve good results.” - Martin Laas

“Martin is a talented rider who is not afraid of challenges. He has won several times over the past few years at smaller professional races, and we feel that he is ready to take the step up to the WorldTour next year with us. We will therefore work on preparing him adequately for racing at this level, and we believe that he will be valuable in strengthening the team’s sprint train. He is very motivated to do so, and I’m looking forward to seeing the progress that we can make together.” - Ralph Denk, Team Manager

Chantal Hoffmann retires from cycling

Here's the post from Hoffmann's Lotto-Soudal team:

Chantal Hoffmann ended her cycling career last Tuesday. The Tour of Guangxi (1.WWT) was her last race. The Luxembourgish rider, who turns 32 the day after tomorrow, wore the Lotto Soudal shirt six seasons. On 6 October she was part of the squad that won the Belgian Team Time Trial Championships in Borlo. Afterwards, she got a surprise party. We have some questions for Chantal now that she’s retired from cycling.

When and why did you decide to retire from cycling?

Chantal Hoffmann: “I had decided to retire, before the beginning of the season. I always wanted to stop at a moment that I still loved cycling and not once it had become a burden. Last year I was already doubting if I should continue racing, but I wasn’t ready yet to take the decision to stop. Now I was. I combined cycling with a part-time job and it became quite hard to get recovery in between. And the financial part played a role too.”

What’s next?

Chantal Hoffmann: “That’s a good question. I’m not really sure yet. The past weeks were quite busy and now I’m just enjoying my holiday and clearing my head. I will continue to work as a physio and I will definitely remain active in cycling, because I love this sport too much. But there are no concrete plans yet.”

What are your three best memories as a rider?

Chantal Hoffmann: “Definitely the Giro of 2014 when our team won three stages with Emma Pooley. The Giro of 2015 is another great memory, because we had really good fun again and we also achieved good results. And then there’s the Trophée d’Or of 2016 where Elise Delzenne won the GC. And I would like to add a fourth one: that’s my participation in the Olympics of 2016 in Rio.

How do you look back on your career in general?

Chantal Hoffmann: “I would say I’m satisfied. I never expected to get so far. I don’t have any regrets. You cannot plan everything and things happen for a reason or you come out stronger. I had six amazing years with Lotto Soudal and there are so many unforgettable memories. It’s like a second family for me. I’m so grateful for these years. I’ve met so many amazing people who have become friends. I’m happy to have been so lucky to be part of this team.”

How was the surprise party?

Chantal Hoffmann: “The gathering after the Belgian Team Time Trial championships was a big surprise. I was actually sick and I didn’t want to race that day. But Liesbet De Vocht told me I needed to start anyway. It became a great day that I’ll always remember. I hadn’t expected it at all. I’m so grateful to Liesbet for organizing this! Some of my best friends had come to Borlo, which made me emotional. And our victory made it even sweeter!”

How was the last race in China?

Chantal Hoffmann: “The last race in China was a lot of fun and we had a great time. There was the UCI gala afterwards and later on we continued to party. It was wonderful. Both goodbyes were emotional. Belgium because I was so surprised to see all those people and China because it really was the last race. It was by the end of September, the beginning of October that I realized my career was almost done. Having my dad at the Lotto Belgium Tour was also emotional, because he was by far my biggest fan. I had people I loved around me in China too, including my boyfriend who waited for me at the finish. I really couldn’t have asked for more. Now I am just very grateful for all those years in the peloton.”

Former Pearl Izumi president Chris Sword named president of Bell & Giro

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

ANOKA, Minn. (BRAIN) — Chris Sword, who has been president of Shimano-owned Pearl Izumi for about two years, will become president of Vista Outdoor's Bell & Giro brands effective Oct. 30.

Sword will be responsible for Vista's Action Sports business unit. He will serve as a member of Vista Outdoor's senior leadership team, reporting to CEO Chris Metz.

"Chris has a strong outdoor industry track record for building brands, shaping culture and providing on-point direction. He is an exceptional leader, marketer and business strategist," Metz said. "Sword's initial objectives will focus on streamlining performance, improving profitability and positioning these strong brands for long-term growth and success."

At Pearl Izumi Sword pushed for the adoption of an extensive social purpose program, which included the adoption of more sustainable practices across its design, production and packaging. Prior to Pearl Izumi, Sword served as North American president of the outdoor brands Salewa and Dynafit. He has also spent time in leadership positions at Ford Motor Company and Russell Athletic.

"I'm thrilled to work closely with a set of brands I've admired and personally used for years. I'm confident we will develop and implement strategies to drive these brands forward," Sword said.

You can read the entire story here.

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