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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness. - Edgar Allan Poe

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Paris-Nice stage three news

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from GC leader Max Schachmann's Bora-hansgrohe team:

At 212.5km, stage 3 was the longest of the race so far, and the second longest of the race overall. The flat parcours meant the distance would be covered with relative ease, but once again the riders faced crosswinds and damp weather from the start. One brave rider went on the attack early on, and it was this solo breakaway that led the race for almost the whole day, only being caught with 25km as the peloton prepared for the predicted bunch sprint.

After a day chasing on the front, it was BORA-hansgrohe’s turn now to push the pace high for the fast finale, with Peter Sagan pulling hard to close down the late attacks, the atmosphere in the bunch frenetic and nervous. In a stroke of bad luck, Pascal Ackermann suffered from a mechanical 4 km ahead of the finish line, and was unable to contest the upcoming sprint.

The long uphill drag to the finish line would take out the pure sprinters, and in his first sprint of the race, Peter put in a big effort, taking second spot after nearly six hours in the saddle. Race leader, Maximilian Schachmann crossed the line in thirteenth position to keep hold of the yellow jersey for a third day, ahead of tomorrow’s individual time trial.

Max Schachmann

Mach Schachmann still has the yellow jersey.

From the Finish Line:
"Third stage and third day of racing in cold and rainy conditions. Although it was easier at the beginning, there was a lot of tension and nerves in the final kilometres. Most of the sprinters found themselves without many teammates in the final stretch, so it was more of an individual battle. Unfortunately, I was at the front quite early and I wasn't able to keep the pace to the finish line but I took a strong second place. Max was also well protected and finished in the leading group, keeping the yellow jersey." – Peter Sagan

“The race essentially had two parts. The first half was pretty relaxed, everything was under control and Juraj did a particularly good job there. Just before the final, it became very hectic, with the field splitting, and at the end of all of this, Peter finished second in the sprint. I was able to keep my lead in the overall standings, but tomorrow is the time trial, which will cause changes in the overall standings, but of course we will do our best there, and I’ll try to defend the jersey as long as I can.” – Max Schachmann

"Today we had two goals, we wanted to defend the positions of Max and our other GC riders, as well as achieve a top placing in the sprint. Like yesterday, it was on the road that we decided if we’d support Pascal or Peter in the sprint. It was a nervous day with crosswind and a few splits in the field. Ahead of the finale, Pascal had a mechanical and wasn’t able to contest the sprint anymore, so we concentrated on Peter. In the end, he showed his good form through his second place, and that he also has good legs ahead of the important classics that are around the corner. All in all, it was another good day for us, and we’ll try to defend the yellow jersey tomorrow. After the time trial, we’ll be able to put together a more precise plan for the rest of the race." – Christian Pömer, Sports Director

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

For our team, the history of Tuesday’s stage – the second-longest of this edition – was written inside the 200 meters, on the uphill drag to La Châtre, a town which in the past had played host to finishes at the Tour de l’Avenir and Tour de France: just as he was preparing to launch his sprint, Sam Bennett was shoved into the barriers by Hugo Hofstetter (Israel Start-Up Nation) and went down, where he remained for a couple of minutes, before eventually crossing the line surrounded by his teammates and in pain.

Before that happened, our team was more than prominent at the front of the bunch, controlling the breakaway with the one and only Tim “El Tractor” Declercq and splitting the field in the crosswinds thanks to some massive accelerations of Julian Alaphilippe, Bob Jungels and Yves Lampaert, while at the same time protecting and keeping the Irishman in a good position as things became more and more scrappy.

Ivan Garcia

It was Ivan Garcia who took the day's stage. Bettini photo

One of the main favourites on what was going to be the first bunch sprint of this year’s Paris-Nice, Bennett was up there in the tense and aggressive finale, but that incident stopped him from fighting for the win. After the stage, Sam was examined by the Deceuninck – Quick-Step medical staff, and fortunately, it was soon revealed that he hadn’t sustained any fractures, just a gash in one of his right hand fingers, which required four stitches

“I lost some skin and needed those stitches, because when I went into the barrier, I hit the metal part, but luckily, everything else seems pretty ok. In the beginning, as I was lying on the road and there was a bit of shock, as I had no idea how serious it was, but it’s a good thing nothing is broken. I will continue the race and start Wednesday’s individual time trial. I’m quite happy it will be a short stage tomorrow and I hope things will turn around for me at some point”, a confident Bennett said at the team hotel.

Team Sunweb previews its upcoming races

The team sent me this:

Istrian Spring Trophy: MAR 12-15

Bennie Lambregts - Team Sunweb coach:
“We have good memories of this race from last year when Felix [Gall] won the GC and we took two stages with him and Niklas. Leon has made some good progression with us and that was visible in our pre-season tests, so the team will ride to support him and set him up as best as possible for a solid GC result. In the sprints, we will once again work to position Niklas for the finales, while making sure Leon stays close to the front to not lose any unnecessary seconds in the GC battle."

Line-up:
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Marius Mayrhofer (GER)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Ludvig Anton Wacker (DEN)
Hannes Wilksch (GER)

Drentse Acht van Westerveld: MAR 13

Albert Timmer - Team Sunweb coach:
"Like a lot of races in the area, the wind and weather can decide the outcome. If it is windy then we could see some echelons and a small group come to the finish. If not, we expect the day to be decided in a bunch sprint. For the sprint the team will work to set up Susanne in the finale. We have a strong team for the race, with every rider able to cope with the conditions and we aim to be active at the front if the conditions do become more challenging. With the different cards we have to play at the race, we're confident of getting a nice result."

Leah Kirchmann

Leah Kirchmann will be racing the Drentse Acht van Westerveld.

Line-up:
Susanne Andersen (NOR)
Anna Henderson (GBR)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Franziska Koch (GER)
Pernille Mathiesen (DEN)
Julia Soek (NED)

Bevrijdingsronde van Drenthe: MAR 14

Roy Curvers - Team Sunweb coach:
"We head to this race with a nice mix of riders from our Men and Development programs. It gives our young riders the opportunity to learn from their older WorldTour colleagues in a hectic race like Bevrijdingsronde van Drenthe. With the cobbled sections and narrow climbs of the VAM-berg it is a race that is really suitable for our team. We have lots of different cards to play, with several guys who can finish well in a sprint or reduced sprint. This gives us an opportunity to ride aggressively and we want to be active at the front throughout the race."

Line-up:
Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Enzo Leijnse (NED)
Jarno Mobach (NED)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Jasha Sütterlin (GER)
Casper van Uden (NED)

Rossignol considers restructuring, closing or selling its Time Sport frame business

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

SAINT-JEAN-DE-MOIRANS, France (BRAIN) — France's Rossignol Group — which besides its ski business owns Rossignol Bike, Time Sport and Felt Bicycle — says it is considering making big changes to the Time frame business and its frame factory in Gajary, Slovakia.

The changes could include downsizing, closing, or selling the factory, according to a statement Rossignol's PR agency provided to the French trade press. Time's shoe and pedal business is excluded from the company's strategic review of options. Rossignol bought Time in 2016 a few months after the brand's founder, Roland Cattin, died.

"Sales of frames and bikes under the Time brand have dropped by almost half in the past year," the statement read, translated from French. "We are still facing too-high costs. Our limited production capacities do not allow us to offer competitive prices against high end bikes competitors that design their products in countries with low manufacturing costs, despite the synergies achieved following the consolidation of the production of the frames activity at our factory in Gajary, in Slovakia, at the beginning of the year."

The brand's employees were told that this examination concerns the carbon frame production and assembling site in Gajary and the brand's headquarters in Saint-Jean-de-Moirans, France, where the design and marketing departments are located.

A U.S.-based representative for the brand told BRAIN the company will release more details about its strategy soon.

You can read the entire story here.

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