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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, October 25, 2022

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Jayco Herald Sun Tour cancelled for the third year in a row

CyclingTips web site posted this bad news:

The Jayco Herald Sun Tour, Australia’s oldest stage race, has been cancelled for a third-straight year. The 2023 edition of the race through regional Victoria won’t be run “due to ongoing logistical, planning, timing, and workforce challenges.”

In a statement to CyclingTips, race organisers explained that they had “been working diligently behind the scenes in a bid to make the event possible next year” but that, after much consideration, “there are now genuine health and work safety issues for riders and staff” that ultimately forced both the men’s and women’s races to be shelved.

It is not clear what those “health and work safety issues” are but CyclingTips has requested further information from race organisers.

“This has not been an easy decision, or easy process to arrive at this point, and as custodians of this historic race we are disappointed that it will not be proceeding in 2023,” said Jayco Herald Sun Tour chairman Tom Salom. “We thank the [Victorian state] government and industry stakeholders for their collective efforts, and we are acutely aware of the importance of this as an event across the state.”

The Sun Tour last ran in 2020 when now-Giro d’Italia-winner Jai Hindley took out the men’s event, and Lucy Kennedy won her second-straight edition of the women’s race. The 2021 Sun Tour was cancelled due to “the uncertainty and unpredictability caused by the impact of COVID-19”.

2020 edition winner Jai Hindley winning stage four of that year's race. Photo: Con Chronis

There were plans to bring the race back in 2022, but again the knock-on effects from COVID proved a barrier. “The unpredictability that COVID-19 brings to our event presents too many challenges for us to proceed next year,” Salom said in September 2021. “In particular, the quarantine restrictions that come with COVID made it very difficult to attract the best international riders.”

Again, the hope was for the race to return in 2023 but those plans, too, have now been abandoned.

You can read the entire story here.

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Lotto Dstny Ladies team finalizes fifteen-rider roster for next season

The team sent me this announcement:

The Lotto Dstny Ladies Team has finalized its selection for the 2023 season. The team will consist of fifteen riders, with again a strong focus on developing young talents.

From the end of last season, a new approach has been taken with the women’s team, that of developing and supporting talent. The continental development team has raced a mixed program the past year including Classics, stage races with plenty of climbing but also events of the Lotto Cycling Cup. A mix of Belgian and non-Belgian talents was given the opportunity – through the support of the professional team’s infrastructure – to further develop themselves. Next year, the team will continue along this path, explains sports manager Kurt Van de Wouwer.

Lotto-Soudal Ladies team in 2021.

“To reduce the step between the women’s junior and pro category, we deliberately chose another strategy at the end of last year, that of developing young talent, both Belgian and across the borders. The role our team plays in the women’s ranks is crucial, as there is no or hardly any U23 category. From the juniors, you immediately end up in the elite peloton. We raced a balanced program in which every rider had the chance to further discover and improve the specific qualities”, begins Kurt Van de Wouwer.

“With such a young team, we can’t expect results at the highest level straightaway. Nevertheless, several ladies performed really well the past season and showed to have the necessary talent to make it. Next year, the goal is to further build on the foundations we laid this season. The riders who stay in the team, have an additional year of experience and we have also signed some reinforcements. With Fauve Bastiaenssen (24), Julie Hendrickx (19) and Julie Nicolaes (18) we added three young Belgian talents to the team. Julie Sap (30) is a bit older but she only discovered cycling recently and immediately took the Belgian time trial title at club level this year. With the Finnish Wilma Aintila (18), the Dutch Quinty Van de Guchte (23) and the Danish Mette Egtoft Jensen (21), we have also attracted three non-Belgian talents. And with Grace Verbeke, we have appointed a new and very experienced sports director. For this roster of fifteen ladies in total, we will make up a balanced race schedule, so everyone can further develop themselves on their specific terrain”, concludes Kurt Van de Wouwer.

Selection Lotto Dstny Ladies 2023: Wilma Aintila, Fauve Bastiaenssen, Kristyna Burlova, Katrijn De Clercq, Mieke Docx, Mijntje Geurts, Esmée Gielkens, Julie Hendrickx, Mette Egtoft Jensen, Julie Nicolaes, Julie Sap, Nicole Marla Sigmund, Ines Van de Paar, Quinty Van de Guchte and Sterre Vervloet.

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Carlijn Achtereekte extends contract with Team Jumbo-Visma Women

The team sent me this release:

Carlijn Achtereekte will continue to cycle for Team Jumbo-Visma Women in 2023. The first six months with the team, in which the former long-track speed skater was introduced to the professional peloton, have been successfully completed. As a result, the team management and Achtereekte are very optimistic about a continued partnership.

Carlijn Achtereekte

After five years of competing for Team Jumbo-Visma as a speed skater, the 32-year-old Achtereekte switched to cycling in June this year. Although she initially lacked technical and tactical cycling knowledge, the former Olympic 3000-metre champion's superior sports mentality, strength, and fitness gave her the confidence she needed to advance in her cycling career. 

At the Tour de Suisse, Achtereekte made her professional cycling debut. Many facets of cycling passed were presented, such as a time trial and climbing. "It took some getting used to", Achtereekte concludes, "but overall, it went better than planned." The rider also participated in the the Vårgårda WestSweden, the Tour of Scandinavia and the Ceratizit Challenge by la Vuelta.

"In Scandinavia, I experienced for the first time what it is like to be able to contribute to the team's performance", Achtereekte reflected. "Marianne Vos was riding incredibly well and had already won three stages. We also wanted to ride for her on the final day. So the race coach gave me a particular duty that morning. We got the leading group back and dropped Marianne off well for the last local lap. She lived up to her favourite role and won. That made me feel so good. It felt like I had won myself."

Rutger Tijssen, Team Jumbo-Visma Women's sports technical manager, asserts that Achtereekte has demonstrated in recent months that she fits with the group. "Carlijn is a diamond in the rough. We see a lot of potential, which she is not yet fully utilising. Therefore, we will keep guiding her so she can frequently play an important role. Next year, I expect her to shine, especially in the tougher stage races."

Achtereekte has given herself the objective of having a successful winter training season so she can begin the spring season in shape. "Additionally, 2023 will be a discovery-filled journey for me as I have never ridden a spring classic. But I know it will be good, so I'm looking forward to it."

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The Pro's Closet cuts workforce 15%, citing 'economic headwinds'

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News posted this:

LOUISVILLE, Colo. (BRAIN) — The Pro's Closet laid off 15% of its workforce last week, the certified used bike and component retailer confirmed to BRAIN on Monday.

"As reported in mainstream and industry press, the economy and cycling industry have faced macroeconomic headwinds, and as a result, TPC made the difficult decision to rightsize our workforce," said CEO John Levisay in a statement to BRAIN. "We continue to stay optimistic for the future and have seen year-over-year growth. These cuts, while extremely difficult, enable TPC to remain nimble and competitive while building a strong foundation for continued success."

TPC quickly expanded in size and workforce since beginning in 2006 as an eBay store. In May 2021, TPC announced it raised an additional $40 million in Series B funding that would be used to grow its workforce, among fulfilling other goals. That announcement followed TPC reporting the doubling of first-quarter sales year-over-year. It reported then that revenue more than quintupled in the past two years.

You can read the entire story here.

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