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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, January 2, 2020

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Justice consists in doing no injury to men; decency in giving them no offense. -  Cicero

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Mitchelton-Scott women looking for more results in more races

The team sent me this: 

Mitchelton-SCOTT will boast its most international roster since the team’s inception in 2020, as they look to build on consistent results and dominant performances, with the exciting and motivating addition of the world championship rainbow jersey.

Mitchelton-SCOTT women achieved 18 UCI victories from six different riders during the 2019 season, including back-to-back championship titles at the only Grand Tour of the season, the Giro-Rosa, and a hat-trick of wins at the team’s home race, the Santos Tour Down Under.

Annemiek van Vleuten

Annemiek van Vleuten, winner of the 2019 Giro Rosa (GC, points & mountains!), will ride another season for Mitchelton-Scott.

The squad’s foundations have strengthened significantly over the previous few seasons as they turned their attention to general classification success, and of the ten riders from the 2019 roster, nine continue into 2020 with the Australian outfit.

As one of the eight registered UCI Women's WorldTour teams for 2020, Mitchelton-SCOTT head into their ninth racing season with a fortified group, thanks to the addition of two new international riders, 33-year-old Dutch rider Janneke Ensing and 20-year-old Briton Jessica Roberts.

“With these two new riders we will have even more opportunities to play the game in the races,” sport director Martin Vestby acknowledged. “We are generally making the team stronger in all areas and now we will have all types of riders with different strengths, so we can be active and aggressive in a lot more scenarios of racing.”

The 2020 team increases from 10 to 11 riders and is will be made up of six Australian’s and five international riders.

“I think we have a really good team in general for 2020 and the team remains much the same which I think is important,” Martin added. “Having a slightly bigger roster will help us balance out the racing schedule and allow riders to come in fresher for races and then be able perform at a higher level throughout the whole year.”

Welcoming fresh talent is an exciting prospect for the squad and will be an important factor in balancing the team, which is made up of many mature experienced riders, heading into what will be an important and memorable year of racing, thanks to the addition of Annemiek van Vleuten’s rainbow jersey.

“It is very exciting getting a younger rider in with Jess Roberts and I think it is good for the balance and atmosphere in the team and it is good for us as a strong and established WorldTour team to support some young talent,” Martin continued.

“It’s also really beneficial to keep healthy competition within the group and helps riders continue to step up to another level. After the great season we had this year, it is exciting to think what we can achieve next year."

Mitchelton-SCOTT women officially begin their 2020 racing season at the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under from the 16th -19th January. A couple of riders will pin a number on slightly earlier at the Lexus of Blackburn Bay Crits starting on 3rd January.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Women for 2020:
• Jessica Allen - (AUS 26)
• Grace Brown - (AUS, 27)
• Gracie Elvin - (AUS, 31)
• Janneke Ensing - (NED, 33) - New signing
• Lucy Kennedy - (AUS, 31)
• Jessica Roberts - (GBR, 20) - New signing
• Sarah Roy - (AUS, 33)
• Amanda Spratt - (AUS, 32)
• Moniek Tenniglo - (NED, 31)
• Annemiek van Vleuten - (NED, 37)
• Georgia Williams - (NZL, 26)

Mitchelton-SCOTT Women Stats:
• No. of riders: 11
• No. of Australians: 6
• No. of internationals: 5 (3x NED, 1x GBR 1x NZL)
• Youngest rider: Jessica Roberts - (20)
• Oldest rider: Annemiek van Vleuten - (37)
• Average age: 29.7

* Due to an alleged infringement to the Anti-Doping Policy and Code of Conduct of the Team and pending results from an ongoing investigation, Sofie De Vuyst’s contract has been suspended and her name removed from UCI registration.

Rick Vosper: The Last Mile is changing the face of bicycle retail

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this insightful piece:

The Last Mile is a common problem among all kinds of logistics providers. If you're delivering 100 packages by truck (or phone connections via wire or cell towers, or schoolkids via bus), there's a constant operational cost per mile. That means the cost of the first miles can be shared among all the deliveries. But for that last one, the proverbial last mile of service, the entire cost is borne by the last stops on the route, making them exponentially more expensive to deliver to than the ones at the beginning.

The Last Mile problem is why, 70 years after commercialization of cable TV, folks who live out in the sticks still have to use satellite dishes for cable and internet and 1920s-era technology twisted-pair cables for their phone connections. Farther back, it took a literal act of Congress, the Rural Free Delivery Act of 1893, to get mail to the rural houses and farms of 19th century America.

With bikes, the Last Mile problem comes not in literal form, but from the self-evident fact that a bicycle needs to be properly assembled — and hopefully checked and tuned — before it's safe to be ridden by the average consumer.

Just ask the Walmart corporation. A few years after ditching its contract bicycle assemblers in favor of the same retail store employees who put together barbecues and patio furniture, the world's largest retailer found itself on the receiving end of a more than $5 million class action complaint filed in U.S. District Court. The 2017 action alleged improper assembly, lack of training for assemblers, and failure to adopt basic best practices like assembly checklists for its "free in-store bike assembly" program. As best I've been able to determine, the filing was withdrawn at some point. But the principle is clear: lack of professional assembly produces lack of professional results.

Which brings us to the ongoing question of direct-to-consumer sales of bicycles.
One of the toughest things about writing editorials for the bike business is its appalling lack of quality information. Case in point, how many IBD-level bikes get sold consumer-direct each year? Are they really taking over the market, as many dealers and suppliers fear?

Nobody really knows. Because there are no real mechanisms in place to capture this critical information. But there are some things we do know which can help us make educated guesses.

Since 2016, for instance, imports of all bikes with 20-inch wheels and up across all channels are down by not quite 10%. In the same time, units sold-in to retailers by the BPSA (now PeopleForBikes) are down about 13%. The good news, such as it is: due to rising price points, the value of BPSA shipments to retailers are down less than 2% in constant dollars. (The hidden bad news: as retail margins continue their steady march downward, retail profit dollars have necessarily decreased more than that 2%.)

You can read the entire piece here.

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