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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different. - Peter Drucker


Upcoming racing:

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Latest completed racing:


Remco Evenepoel to restart training after 2020 August crash

Here’s the good news from Team Deceuninck-Quick Step:

Remco Evenepoel has today undergone a further examination of the injury sustained while crashing at last August’s Il Lombardia, which has revealed that the injuries have healed sufficiently for the 21-year-old to commence on-bike training again.

Remco Evenepoel

Remco Evenepoel winning the San Sebastian Classic in 2019.

In the coming weeks his progress will continue to be monitored by the Deceuninck – Quick-Step medical team, who will continue to consult with Remco and the team’s management, before planning his return to racing.

“I am obviously really happy that I can get back on my bike and ride again. For now, I have to take it step by step and depending on my progress we can decide my future program, but the main thing is I am making progress”, a delighted Remco said.

“The recovery process from a crash of the magnitude that Remco had will always have some ups and downs. In the beginning it was all very positive and healing very quickly but then we had a slowing of the process. While this was nothing too severe, we had to pause and we are now happy that Remco can continue training and build towards the start of his season. We will have to proceed with caution and it will still be a long road to him being on the start line of a race, but it is now going in the right direction”, added Deceuninck – Quick-Step team doctor Phil Jansen.

Team DSM to ride Tour de la Provence

The team sent me this release:

Tour de la Provence: FEB 11-14

Michiel Elijzen - Team DSM coach:
"After a good team camp together at the start of the year, we're all excited to get our season underway at the Tour de la Provence this week. Over the four stages our goal is to go for day results with a nice mix of riders; with Romain, Andreas and Niklas making their debut for us. The parcours looks demanding but we should get some chances to go for a sprint on stages one and four, where we will work to set up Max for those fast finishes. Mark will have the chance to test his legs on the famous Mont Ventoux climb and see how he goes there. Overall, we have four opportunities to go for a solid stage result and with some good teamwork throughout the race, we hope to start the season in a nice way."

Nicholas Roche

Nicolas Roche (shown at the 2019 Vuelta) will be on the Tour de la Provence start line. Sirotti photo

Line-up:
Romain Combaud (FRA)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Max Kanter (GER)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Nicholas Roche (IRL)
Jasha Sütterlin (GER)

Team Bahrain Victorious is also headed to Provence

Here's their press release:

Monday, 8th February 2021 – The 6th Tour de la Provence will start on 11th February in Aubagne and end four stages later in Salon-de-Provence. Provence’s beautiful landscape provides ideal scenery for an early season race and a perfect challenge for riders at the beginning of a new season.

The Provence’s first race was organized in 2016 under Tour Cycliste International La Provence, and renamed in 2019, Tour de la Provence. This year’s opening stage covers 182.3 km, from Aubagne to Six-Fours-Les-Plages. The riders will start the second Stage in Cassis, a popular tourist destination famous for its cliffs, finishing 174.6 km later in Manosque, the largest town and commune in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in southeastern France. The third Stage of 153.9km is where the GC will most likely be decided with a mountain-top finish on Mont Ventoux. The climb will be an excellent rehearsal for all the riders heading to Tour de France this season, where it features on Stage 11. The last 163.2 km Stage starts in Avignon and concludes the race at Salon-de-Provence.

Sports Director Rolf Aldag reveals the strategy for the first race of the season: “We had a super good training camp with the whole team, and now we are looking forward to scoring results in the first race of the season. We will consider every Stage like a one day race and fight for the win. Phil will fight on the sprint stages, Dylan on the hilly stages and, Jack, Dylan, and Wout during the GC showdown halfway up to the Mont Ventoux.” “It is always tough to predict the first race of the season,” continues Aldag, “since we don’t know how well prepared our competitors are and how they trained during the winter. That’s why we won’t wait to see what others will do but ride with an offensive strategy from the very beginning.”

Dylan Teuns

Dylan Teuns after stage 6 of the 2019 Vuelta. Sirotti photo

Team Bahrain Victorious prepared a strong line-up for their first challenge of the season. Phil Bauhaus will aim for the win on stages 1 and 4, Dylan Teuns will try to win Stage 2 and, Jack Haig, Wout Poels and, Dylan Teuns will target Stage 3 with the mountain top finish. “I’m motivated to race again, and the Tour de la Provence is a perfect start, with a few stages that fit me very well,” commented Dylan Teuns before the race.

Wout Poels is also looking forward to the first race of the season: “I had a good winter and successful training camp with the team. I believe we have a strong line-up, and I’m curious to see how the first race of the year will turn out.”

Jack Haig shares the excitement of his co-riders: “I am excited but also a little nervous. That will be my first race with the new team, and it’s also a race I haven’t done before. I think it will be a good race to know how the team works and how I fit into the team. It’s also some rehearsal for some of the big races coming up, especially the UAE Tour, which will be my first race directly after Tour de la Provence.”

Team Bahrain Victorious’ line-up for Tour de la Provence: Phil Bauhaus / Jack Haig / Heinrich Haussler / Gino Mäder / Wout Poels / Dylan Teuns / Fred Wright

Steve Cummings to be INEOS Grenadier coach

The team sent me this:

Steve Cummings spent his racing career leaving a unique mark on some of cycling’s biggest races and became known as one of the most tactically astute riders of his generation. Now, the 39 year old is ready for his next adventure with the INEOS Grenadiers.

Cummings officially joined the team at the turn of the year and will be taking on a varied role as a development Sport Director and coach.

Steven Cummings

Steve Cummings with the late, great Raymond Poulidor in 2014. Sirotti photo

The two-time Tour de France stage winner and former British national road and time trial champion stopped racing at the end of the 2019 season and embarked on a new journey, studying a sports business management degree with an open mind to what his future held. Yet he soon found he missed the buzz of competition - the lifelong racer missed racing.

“When I stopped racing, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” says Cummings, from his family home on the Wirrall. “I started studying because I felt like I needed a bit more in my life. I tried to do a few things but I missed that competitive edge and competition.

“I’ve always kept in touch with Dave and we spoke for a while about various things, and eventually he offered me an opportunity to be a part of the team.  A lot of the studying I’ve done is around leadership and anywhere you go, Dave is used as an example. I guess he’s kind of like a role model to me. I’ve always been interested in that side of the sport, the leadership and team culture, and to be joining now when Dave is adding an extra dimension to what the team already does so well is so exciting."

Cummings will work closely with his fellow Sport Directors as well as Director of Racing Rod Ellingworth and Director of Performance Dan Hunt, as the team seeks to build on the more expansive style of racing that proved so effective at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana in 2020.

“For me, that’s the really exciting part,” enthuses Cummings. “That’s what I’m passionate about - riders winning, everyone getting an opportunity, and how that can affect the group. Starting as many races as we can thinking about how we’re going to win the race. That’s quite a challenge and very inspiring.

“This team has been so incredibly successful in what they’ve done, and that isn’t being changed, it’s just being tweaked and an extra dimension added, which hopefully will bring more success. Riders will see that everyone will get an opportunity, but to earn that opportunity you need discipline and commitment.”

The lead-up and preparation to this season has been like no other but Steve is excited about the challenges and opportunities ahead.

“I’m so keen to learn and even though it hasn’t been straightforward so far with a lack of face-to-face time and the difficult period we’re all living through, it’s been great to see how Dave, Rod, Dan and the Sports Directors all work up close. The year is all about learning and making the most of the opportunities I have. I’m here to support the other Sport Directors and riders as best I can.

"It takes time to become a good Sport Director and coach. I’m working hard in the background and I’ve done a lot of theory work and now I need to connect that with the practical side. This year, success for me would be integration, continued learning and building trust and a rapport with team members.”

It’s clear that Cummings has got that competitive buzz back. And that he’s ready for his next adventure, this time as a Grenadier.

Sarah Roy solos to Australian Road Race title as Grace Brown takes silver

I should have posted this report from Team BikeExchange yesterday. My apologies.

Team BikeExchange took a famous one-two at the Australian Road Race Championships, after a dominant performance saw Sarah Roy solo to victory ahead of teammate Grace Brown in Ballarat.

Grace Brown

Here's Grace Brown winning a stage in the 2018 Tour Down Under.

Roy made it into the five-rider breakaway on the opening lap of nine, before attacking her fellow escapees on Mount Buninyong with 55km to go. The move split the break into pieces, with only Lauretta Hanson (Trek-Segafredo) able to stick with the 34-year-old as the duo headed across the line with three laps to go.

The gap back to the peloton stood at four minutes, with Team BikeExchange teammates Brown and Lucy Kennedy marking the counter attacks behind. Roy then made her decisive move with 30km to go, once again attacking on the climb to drop Hanson and go solo.

As the bell rang out for the final lap, the gap back to Hanson was 55 seconds, with Roy on course to take her first national road race title. Back in the peloton, Brown made her bid for the silver medal as she jumped across to the group ahead before attacking them inside the final five kilometres.

There was no catching Roy and the victory began to sink in as she crossed the line to take a dominant win, while Brown proved to be the strongest in the two-up sprint for second place, making it a one-two for Team BikeExchange.

Sarah Roy:
"I can’t believe it, I did not expect this coming into today. I’ve never won the green and gold before, so I’m super stoked. Thanks to my awesome teammates, Grace got second too.

"We just had to play to our strengths today and my strength is being in a break and the best chance that I have. So that was one card, and I knew I could trust my teammates behind to follow anything from the likes of Sarah [Gigante] coming from behind.

"I felt pretty confident that we would have a good race today, I didn’t think it would be me across the line first, but I think as a team ride we can be super proud of that.

"I never get confident enough to think that I’m going to win it on this course, anything can happen, even in the last 500 metres. With one kilometre to go my team car came up and said ‘you’ve got it, you’ve got it’, but still with 500, 200 metres to go I kept checking my shoulders to see if anyone was going to do a late flyer, you never know!

"I wasn’t super confident until I crossed the line actually, I had to play the tactics and when there was a group coming from behind I attacked on the QOM. I just thought ‘this is my only chance’, push this out a bit further, so I think tactically we can be really proud."

Women’s Australian Road Race Championships 2021 – Results:
1. Sarah Roy (Team BikeExchange) 3:01:52
2. Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) +01:16
3. Lauretta Hanson (Trek-Segafredo) +01:18

Bookkeeper indicted for wire fraud and other charges at a Seattle bike company

Here’s the story from Bicycle Retailer & Industry News:

SEATTLE (BRAIN) — A bookkeeper could face up to 20 years in prison after she was indicted for embezzling at least $200,000 from a local bike manufacturer.

Federal prosecutors said Joan C. Trower, 50, used several schemes to steal from the company, using the proceeds to, among other things, gamble at local casinos.

Prosecutors did not release the name of the bike company, which is described in the indictment as "a private company that manufactures and sells high-end mountain bikes and related accessories." Under federal privacy rules, prosecutors don’t identify victims of crimes, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office told BRAIN.

Trower was a contracted bookkeeper and accountant for the company from 2015 until 2018, when she was fired after the embezzlement was discovered, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors said among other schemes Trower printed unauthorized checks from the company's QuickBooks software and forged the Chief Operating Officer's signature on them. The checks were made out to herself, friends and family members. The indictment said the forged checks netted Trower at least $188,000 but said the true cost to the company was likely between $200,00 and $300,000.

In another charge in the indictment, Trower is said to have made transfers from the company's account to the account of a fictitious accounting firm that she controlled. The indictment said that in early 2018 she transferred at least $26,000 to the phony company's account.

You can read the entire story here.

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