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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

The great man is he who does not lose his child's-heart. - Mencius or Meng Ke (post-Confucius Chinese philosopher)

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BMC Racing Team to Begin Ardennes Classics Campaign

This came from BMC:

11 April 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): After an eventful start to the Classics, BMC Racing Team will commence the Ardennes Classics at Brabantse Pijl this Wednesday, 13 April.

Sports Director Fabio Baldato said the team is going in without a designated leader. "Brabantse Pijl is a race where anything can happen and we have a diverse line up of riders, all of whom are capable of getting a result. We'll take any opportunity and see how things play out on the day."

Defending champion Ben Hermans will line up again, supported by a young BMC Racing Team. "I'm looking forward to returning to Brabantse Pijl with the number 1 on my back. It's always a nice race with a spectacular final. I hope to have good legs on Wednesday and also going into the rest of the Ardennes."

Ben Hermans

Ben Hermans winning the 2015 Brabantse Pijl

Brabantse Pijl (13 April): Rider roster: Tom Bohli (SUI), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Silvan Diller (SUI), Floris Gerts (NED), Ben Hermans (BEL), Manuel Senni (ITA), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).

Sports Director: Fabio Baldato (ITA)

Here's Lotto-Soudal's news about De Brabantse Pijl:

On Wednesday 13 April the 56th edition of the Brabantse Pijl will take place. In and around the region of Vlaams-Brabant, the riders need to cover 26 hills. This race, which is trying to become a WorldTour race next year, is generally considered as the start of the second part of the Belgian cycling season.

Sports director Marc Wauters: “It will be the first time that I’m doing the Brabantse Pijl as a sports director. It’s a very nice race which is the start of the ‘Walloon’ cycling spring after the cobbled Classics. Each year, a lot of good riders are participating and it will again be a race with many attacks. The team leaders will certainly test their legs with the tough triptych in mind (Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, LTS). When a rider doesn’t have a good feeling in the Brabantse Pijl, it will be difficult to be at his best in the Ardennes Classics. This race is a good indicator.”

The start will be given on the Market of Leuven, then the peloton needs to ride a local lap of 3.8 kilometres through the centre of the city. After that it goes towards the first climb of the day, Rue de Hal. Eleven hills need to be surmounted before the riders cross the finish line for the first time. With among others the Alsemberg, Bruineput and Krabosstraat this is more than just a run-up. At 70 kilometres from the finish the riders will enter the first of three local laps of 23 kilometres. Five hills need to be covered in each lap. The Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide, IJskelderlaan and Schavei will certainly determine the race. The finish line is situated after 205 kilometres in Overijse.

Marc Wauters: “The course is very tough, especially because of the sequence of the hills. These climbs can't be compared to the hills of the cobbled Classics. The riders ride more aggressively on the cobbles, the climbs from the Ardennes Classics are steeper. It’s the sequence that reduces the amount of riders in the finale. It’s just a different type of racing.”

“This race is something for the riders who dare to attack early. Types like Philippe Gilbert are always very good on this course. There’s a big chance that it will be a sprint with a small group. Also a solo finish is possible. It’s a race which is hard to predict and that makes it so beautiful. It depends on so many little things.”

Lotto Soudal will participate with among others Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens. They will compete with Ben Hermans, the winner of last year. Also riders such as Michael Matthews, Julian Alaphilippe, Tom Jelte Slagter and Thomas Voeckler will try to obtain the victory.

Tony Gallopin

Tony Gallopin will be at the start line

Marc Wauters: “In my opinion, BMC starts with the strongest team. Riders such as Ben Hermans always want to make the best of it. Almost all riders from our roster participated in the Tour of the Basque Country (except for Sean De Bie and Pim Ligthart, LTS) and the stages were very hard, certainly due to the bad weather conditions. Hopefully everyone stays healthy during the next few days. Tim Wellens and Tony Gallopin already showed this year that they’re in good shape. They will be the leaders during the Ardennes Classics. Then we have also a rider like Thomas De Gendt, he will get a free role. If Thomas has a very good day like in Catalunya (De Gendt won the fourth stage in the Volta a Catalunya, LTS), there are a lot of possibilities. He’s also someone who likes to attack. We start with a strong selection, I’m pretty sure that our boys will show themselves.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée, Sean De Bie, Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin, Pim Ligthart, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Sports director: Marc Wauters.

Giant-Alpecin sent me their upcoming racing plans:


Team Giant-Alpecin will begin its Ardennes campaign at De Brabantse Pijl this Wednesday. The 56th edition starting in Leuven features a course unchanged compared to last year. The parcours is a total distance of 203km and after 133km of racing the riders will tackle three rounds of a 23.4km local circuit containing five of the toughest climbs of the race, the Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide, IJskelderlaan and the Schavei.

The team comes to the race with Tom Dumoulin added to the line-up, currently preparing himself well with some good training weeks for the period of racing ahead. "De Brabantse Pijl is always a nice race to compete in and I am anticipating a hard race with the 26 climbs to overcome," explained coach Arthur van Dongen (NED).

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin at last year's Vuelta

"I expect the peloton to be significant once entering the three local laps, after that it will become an elimination race with many riders being dropped on the final climbs. The key moment is the difficult Schavei climb where the victory is expected to be decided. Tom is in the middle of an important training block and we will need to see to what extent he can go for a result on Wednesday."

RACE: De Brabantse Pijl (1.HC)

DATE: 13/04/2016

COACH: Arthur van Dongen (NED) 

LINE-UP: Tom Dumoulin (NED), Caleb Fairly (USA), Cheng Ji (CHN), Koen de Kort (NED), Sam Oomen (NED), Albert Timmer (NED) 


On Sunday the team heads to the Dutch hills for the 51st edition of the Amstel Gold Race. The race favours the attacking riders who are both capable of sprinting and climbing, as the course is anything but flat. The constant rolling roads cover a total distance of 258km with 34 climbs to tackle including the Cauberg, Gulpenerberg and Eyserbosweg.

Coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: "The weather forecast looks optimistic for Sunday, therefore I am anticipating a traditional Amstel Gold race. The section after the Kruisberg always is an important moment in the race and we need good teamwork to position our leaders ahead of the decisive climb, the Cauberg.

"The team leaders will be Warren, Simon and home rider Tom. Together with Roy as our experienced road captain, our aim is to focus on positioning ahead of the crucial climbs and we will target a top 10 result."

RACE: Amstel Gold Race (WT)

DATE: 17/04/2016

COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED) 

LINE-UP: Warren Barguil (FRA), Roy Curvers (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT)

Giant Manufacturing Suffers from Chinese Market Decline

This was in Bike-Europe:

TAICHUNG, Taiwan – In its 2015 financial statement, Giant Manufacturing Co Ltd reports that, “While sales at home, the US and in Japan were solid last year, they declined 17 percent year-on-year in China. Due to the depreciation of the euro, sales in Europe improved only slightly.”

In 2015 Giant’s net income reached TWD 3.84 billion (106.7 million euro) down by 6.6 percent from TWD 4.11 billion (111.6 mn euro) in 2014. Consolidated revenue was TWD 60.42 billion (1.64 billion euro), up just 0.62 percent from TWD 60.05 billion (1.63 bn euro) the previous year.

You can read the entire story here.

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