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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

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If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there. - Lewis Carroll

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Chris Boardman compares cycling in Holland and Britain

Chris Boardman, one of cycling's most accomplished athletes (World Hour Record, Yellow Jerseys, Olympic Gold Medal, etc, etc...), produced a enlightening video about Holland's effort to get people to use bikes for transportation, and how it has improved both the Dutch quality of life!

My dream is for the Dutch cycling model to be taken up everywhere.

Tinkoff's Final Tour de France Wrap-Up

After the race’s second and final rest day - a chance for the guys to reflect on another stage win and a large buffer in the green jersey contest - the Tour roads turned upwards for the final five day’s racing. Green was all but sewn up, but a few big days lay ahead for Rafal Majka in his quest for a second King of the Mountains jersey, and he got straight to work after hitting the road again.

Stage 17 took riders over three categorised climbs before a final ascent up Finhaut-Emosson, covering 10.4km at an average of 8.4% - a big opportunity to rack up some serious climbing points. Being in the breakaway was key, and with an amazing support role from Peter, Rafal was able to achieve this and set about finishing first over the first three climbs. On the final ascent, the day’s large breakaway was whittled down to just three, with Rafal moving clear in the hunt for a stage win. The battle for the breakaway and the points earned over the stage started to take their toll however and Rafal had to set his own pace to the line, finishing third but adding a huge 83-point buffer over second place.

The following day was the race’s final time trial, a hilly 17km effort that took in a bit of everything over its profile. It was a pure GC day for the team, with Roman Kreuziger putting in a strong ride to finish 13th on the stage and maintain his position just outside of the top 10.

After his points spree two days previous, Rafal only had to keep an eye on those around him in the mountains classification until Paris. Following a large move on the first climb of the race, Rafal once again found himself up the road and picked up points on each of the day’s climbs before eventually dropping back ahead of the final climb to the finish. Riders were fighting to stay upright as well as against each other after testing rain conditions make for treacherous racing, and unfortunately Roman suffered, losing some time to those around him on GC. There was still one chance to propel himself up before Paris though, and Roman wasn’t going to let this pass him by.

Come Stage 20, Roman had over two minutes’ gap to make up if he was going to crack the top 10, but after getting himself into the day’s main breakaway, he set about putting in a strong ride to gain time over those around him. Negotiating difficult, wet conditions, Roman raced to sixth spot on the day, after cresting the final climb of the Joux Plane in the same position, and in doing so moved himself into tenth spot on GC. His efforts may not have been possible had Peter not been present in the day;s breakaway to give a heavy helping hand - yet another show of strength from the green jersey.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan on the wet roads of stage 20

With all of the climbs over and done with, all that Rafal and Peter had to do was to finish safely in Paris to reap the final reward for their hard work in the points and mountains classifications. The final leg into Paris also presented one last shot at glory for Peter and the team, and after an initial procession and then an increase in pace on the Champs Élysées, the race was set for one final bunch sprint. Opening his effort slightly late, Peter crossed the line in a close second place, rounding out a hugely successful Tour de France for the team. As a testament to his fighting spirit over the three weeks of racing, Peter was also awarded the accolade of most aggressive rider of the race, something to cement the grit and determination the UCI world champion shows in every pedal stroke.

Peter’s strong ride crowned a great edition of the Tour for himself. “The Tour de France has always been good for me - the last two years I didn't win but this year I won three stages and I'm happy for that. I always try to give my best and nearly got a fourth today. I started my sprint a little late today, but André did a good sprint and I'm happy for him to have won a stage too. Everybody's happy. Now after the Tour de France I can go and relax a little bit, and I will then go for the mountain bike at the Olympics. It would be something special for me as I started in mountain bikes. That would be nice.”

For Rafal, triumphing through adversity through teamwork was one of the key features of the Tour for him. “After five years this is our last season as Tinkoff and we did our best, not only me but all the team – also fighting for Roman's top ten and our jerseys, as well as three stage wins – it has been a great Tour de France. After our bad luck at the start of the Tour it was hard but we had a good talk with the Sport Directors and knew we had to fight for our other goals and we did.”

Looking back on the Tour, Sport Director, Steven De Jongh, had every reason to be happy with the team’s strong performance. “Overall it was a good Tour. It was very unfortunate that we lost Alberto after two stages really, as after that he was not the same. All the boys did well though, especially Peter – he was showing himself as a true champion – yesterday he helped Roman to get into the top ten and before that he helped Rafa go in the decisive break for the polka dot jersey. He was an amazing team-mate.”

Overcoming set backs and disappointments in the early stages of the race, the team rallied together as one, changes its goals and setting about putting in the hard work to achieve these. A huge chapeau to everyone involved, from the riders to the Sport Directors, the mechanics to the Soigneurs and everyone else involved behind the scenes in making the show work.

Tom Dumoulin injury update

Giant-Alpecin sent me this:

Team Giant-Alpecin reports that Tom Dumoulin (NED) involved in a crash at the Tour de France is recovering well. Dumoulin arrived back home in the Netherlands on Saturday and went for further check-ups, which have shown a good healing and surgery will not be necessary.

With the recovery heading in the right direction, this Saturday Dumoulin will be able to join up with TeamNL to travel to Rio, Brazil. Once there, the progress will be closely monitored by the medical staff and the decision to compete in both the road race and time trial events will be made.

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin getting clear in stage 9

Team physician Anko Boelens (NED) explained: "The healing is progressing really well. As known, Tom has a distal radius fracture, which is a clean fracture, not in the joint and without any dislocation. He has a custom brace to mobilize the fracture for a proper recovery.

"We hope the progress continues in this way in the coming weeks to be ready in time for both races and to race pain-free, without his brace."

Dumoulin said: "It’s was a huge disappointment to drop out of the Tour. After the crash I directly knew something was wrong, Rio was in danger. The first x-rays confirmed my feeling. I had additional examinations at the hospital which confirmed that the fracture was a clean one. The belief that Rio was still possible started to become stronger yesterday after I went to fit my brace and I carefully restarted my training with an easy test ride. It went well and I am just really happy to be able to ride the bike again so soon."

"The preparation went a little bit different than planned. Instead of recovering from a complete Tour and having a relaxed time at home doing the last training before going to Brazil, I am now going for check-ups to the hospital and fitting braces. However I have a good medical support with now almost two weeks to go, the brace and special exercises we’ll go for it."

BMC headed to San Sebastian

This came to me from the team:

26 July 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team will bring a strong eight-rider roster to the UCI WorldTour one-day race Clásica Ciclista San Sebastian this Saturday, 30 July.

Sports Director Yvon Ledanois said the team has multiple options given the difficulty of the course. "Clásica Ciclista San Sebastian is not an easy race, but when you look at the team we are bringing with a number of Classics specialists and good climbers, we're confident. Greg Van Avermaet came so close to victory last year so he is especially motivated this year to take the win," Ledanois explained.

On-form Van Avermaet is confident following his success at the Tour de France. "I have good legs and good form, and with the race days I accumulated at the Tour de France I know that this is a race I can win. The moto crash of last year makes me even more determined to come back and have a good race, and this is the perfect preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games. We've got a great team and I think we're in for a good race," Van Avermaet explained.

Greg van Avermaet

Greg van Avermaet in Tour stage 7

Clásica Ciclista San Sebastian (30 July)

Rider roster: Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Richie Porte (AUS), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Peter Velits (SVK).

Sports Director: Yvon Ledanois (FRA)

Accell looking for improved on-line sales

This article was in Bike Europe:

HEERENVEEN, the Netherlands – Accell Group [Raleigh, Nishiki, Atala, Diamondback, Redline, etc.] will facilitate increased online consumer sales for its brands. The holding company of bicycle companies worldwide announced this change in strategy at the presentation of its first half of 2016 results last Friday.

Accell’s press release on the company’s half year results says about the increased focus on online sales, “To enable the company to compete more effectively in the fight to win the favour of consumers in the future, Accell Group is currently tightening its strategy on the marketing and distribution fronts.”

The company statement continues, “To make sure Accell Group can continue to serve consumers effectively, omni-channel strategies will be necessary in many counties. Part of this plan is to make it easier for consumers to order bikes directly (online), often in cooperation with specialist retailers.”

You can read the entire article here.

And, there is another story in Bike Europe about Accell's efforts to sell on line. you can read it here.

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