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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

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

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: "President Can't Swim." - Lyndon B. Johnson

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Giro d'Italia stage 4 video

Giro d'Italia team news

Giant-Alpecin sent me this update:

Story of the Giro d'Italia volume 2

After finishing in second place on stage four of the Giro d'Italia, Tom Dumoulin (NED) retakes the pink leader's jersey in the hectic finale, as action resumed after yesterday's rest day. Another good performance was put in by Georg Preidler (AUT), who is now fifth overall.

Tom Dumoulin (NED): "I was feeling good at the start of the stage. We knew that the finale was hard but we weren't sure if it was difficult enough to regain the pink jersey.

"We made a plan to pull on the 2nd category climb and we were able to decimate the bunch. From then on the race was completely uncontrollable but we had four guys in the top 10 so we had several cards to play with.

"On the final climb, Georg was really strong and could follow the late attack. Our aim was to play it smart and get in a good position, as there were not a lot of riders left in the bunch.

"It is fantastic to be back in the pink jersey, which is what we were aiming for at the start of today.

"Once again my main focus for this Giro is on the time trials. I didn't have any specific general classification preparation in terms of an altitude training camp. So I don't expect my level to be good enough to compete in the high mountains during the last week."

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin (left) gets second in Giro stage 4

Marc Reef (NED): "It was a very fast start to the race today with some dangerous riders for the GC in the early break. Therefore, the bunch was always in control and the gap never exceeded the 3'.

"The plan before the stage was to race offensively and we decided to open up on the first climb of the day. We needed to do something because we had four guys in the top 10 and there was a big possibility to go for a stage victory or to regain the leader's jersey.

"On the final climb of the day, Georg was able to follow the first group as Tom remained in the GC group. He followed his instinct and sprinted to the second place and managed to retake the pink jersey. The team rode a very impressive race and they executed the plan very well."

Here's Tinkoff's Giro news:

After the race’s excursion to the Netherlands for the first three days, the Giro hit the Italian roads, and for many of the GC riders, this is where the race began. After three stages that suited the sprinters, on today’s 200km stage, which crossed two categorised climbs, and had a much more undulating parcours than the stages in Holland, the race for the Maglia Rosa shifted up a gear. After a strong solo effort stole the stage honours, Tinkoff leader Rafal Majka crossed the line in 12th position after a hard effort on the final climbs of the day, moving himself up to 13th in the GC.

Starting in the town of Catanzaro in the deep south of Italy, the profile with only two third category climbs meant the sprinters still held a chance of holding on to the end of the stage, but all depended on how the day's climbs were raced. After the early skirmishes a break away of four riders eventually formed but their lead was to be closely controlled with the peloton making it hard to create a significant time gap on the group, sitting at just two and a half minutes after the first 100km.

While the break did manage to increase the gap to three minutes, this quickly came down as the stage’s finish came closer, and with 51km remaining, the break was pulled in near the top of the San Pietro as the pace increased and the sprinters started to struggle.

From the finish, Sport Director, Tristan Hoffman, explained the impact of the breaks. “In the start there were a few guys in front, and the peloton took the first climb quite easy, but then next time the pressure was put on and there were splits. During this, the guys got Rafal into a good position and there was never any real problems today for us.”

With 35km remaining, more attacks came – with the more capable climbers using the smaller climbs towards the stage’s finish to their advantage, trying to build a gap over the peloton. This group started small, with only a couple of riders, but a chasing group of fifteen was working to bridge the gap. No sooner had these escapees been caught, when another attack of six riders went clear, with 25km remaining.

These last few climbs were to be pivotal in deciding the stage’s outcome, as Hoffman explained from the finish. “From 25km to go the roads were really tricky, so it was great to see Jay in the break there as the racing was full gas. That allowed Rafal to stay well positioned behind as the group thinned.”

With 13.5km to go, on the short, fast descent before the final climb, the speeds rapidly increased and the attacking group, which saw Jay McCarthy at the front, increasing their gap on the peloton. With the Maglia Rosa losing time, the GC riders came to the front of the chasing group, ready to start their campaigns, and Rafal Majka was one such rider. Finishing 12th on the stage, and six seconds after the solo stage winner, the Tinkoff leader moved up to 13th on the GC after a strong ride.

Jay McCarthy gave his thoughts on the stage after returning to the team bus. "I’m happy that I got across to the move but also a bit disappointed that I couldn’t follow Ulissi when he went and to go for the stage – but overall I’m pleased that I was there for the team and that I had my chance to go for the stage victory. It was probably one of the warmest days since I’ve been in Europe – it’s the type of weather I like racing in but it was a bit of a shock to the system too!"

Hoffman was pleased with his team leader’s strong performance on the stage. “On the final climb when the moves came, Rafal had no problems in following the leaders there. He told me that he was feeling good and easily able to move up on the climb so he’s looking in good shape. I’m quite happy that this stage is over as in the last 20km were really tricky and if you had a problem it would have been really hard to come back to the front.”

The stage wasn’t without is challenges however, as Hoffman explained. “Jesus Hernandez had a small crash today but he was OK and finished without any problems. Now we refocus on tomorrow.”

Tomorrow’s stage starts in Praia a Mare – today’s finish – and takes the riders over a long, undulating 233km stage. The stage starts with the day's only categorised climb before following a rolling route for the next 150km. With a long, downhill ride to the finish, riders will have a chance to pull in any breakaways that remain out front although a small kick to the finish line may give riders a chance to surprise at the end of a long day in the saddle. Tomorrow’s strategy was still open, Hoffman explained. “Stage 5 is 233km on pretty good roads but the whole day up and down so it could be a day for a breakaway or maybe another sprint but it depends on how it is raced. We will make a plan for the day and be ready again tomorrow.”

Lampre-Merida had this to say about the day's racing:

First stage in Italy and first success for an Italian cyclist in this Giro d'Italia, thanks to the victory of Diego Ulissi in the 4th stage, 200 km from Catanzaro to Praia a Mare.

The Lampre-Merida cyclist realized an impressive attack which allowed him to reach as solo the final straight in Praia a Mare, crossing the finish line with 5” on Dumoulin (back in pink) and Kruijswijk, 6” on the top contenders for the general classification.

When the first and main breakaway of the stage was neutralized (Mohoric was a brilliant member of this action), Ulissi built up his victory attacking from the bunch at 30 km to the arrival, bridging the gap from the head group of 12 riders in which the blue-fuchsia-green Conti was pedaling.

Conti was great in leading this group of attackers and he set the conditions for approaching the final hill, whose summit was at 8700 meters to the arrival, with a fairly good advantage of the peloton.

Ulissi made an amazing progression and no opponents could resist, so he could manage a 20” advantage which gave him the victory and the third place in the general classification at 20” to Dumoulin.

Diego Ulissi

Diego Ulissi wins Giro stage 4

“This victory, my 5th one in the Giro d'Italia, is so special because it came after that we planned it and we realized the program we had decided with the team's sports directors – Ulissi explained – We wanted that one member of the team was in the main breakaway and we did it thanks to Mohoric, my team mates supported me perfectly in approaching all the climbs in good positions, Conti had the task of being with me in the final part of the stage and he was impressive for his actions in leading the breakaway.

"I thank all my team mates, all the team's staff members and the sponsors of the team: it's something so beautiful to share with them the joy for this success”.

Here's LottoNL-Jumbo's report:

In the Giro d’Italia’s first stage in Italy after its Dutch start, Steven Kruijswijk went on the attack with Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) and gained five seconds. Team LottoNL-Jumbo GC leader jumped to fourth place with a one-second gain and a four-second time bonus.

Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) won the stage and Dumoulin took second, and re-gained the pink jersey.

Kruijswijk showed fight already in the first week. Halfway through the fourth stage, on the Bonifati climb, team LottoNL-Jumbo lined it out for him. “You’re able to save a lot of energy on the first climb of the day, but you have to be in front to accomplish that,” he said. “Last year, I lost a lot of time in a moment like this. If my team-mates support me as they did today, I’m able to start the final part of the race fresh to compete for a stage victory. I’m happy to reward the team a little bit today so they will keep faith in me.”

“Steven was among the first riders all day,” Sports Director Addy Engels added. “The roads on the climbs were narrow and steep, so you have to be attentive. That’s where Steven improved. He showed that in the Netherlands. He is sharp.”

He proved so when Dumoulin attacked in the final kilometre. “I saw a chance to go along with Tom,” Kruijswijk continued. “I was able to do one effort and finished third. That is a good result, but I wasn’t thinking about that actually. The most important thing is that today’s stage gave me a positive feeling.”

On Wednesday, the sprinters including Moreno Hofland will probably have another chance in Benevento. “It’s a special finish, typical for the south of Italy,” Engels said. “It’s not for the pure sprinters, but something for men with a lot of power. Moreno proved to be strong and I think that he has a big chance.”

BMC's plans for Tour of California

This came from the team:

10 May 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Greg Van Avermaet will make his return to racing at the Amgen Tour of California following the crash at Ronde van Vlaanderen which left him with a broken collarbone.

BMC Racing Team Sports Director Jackson Stewart said he is expecting a strong showing from the eight-rider squad. "We're taking a really strong team to the Amgen Tour of California so we are going in with both General Classification and stage win ambitions. There's not one rider on the team who isn't capable of getting a good result and for Brent Bookwalter and Taylor Phinney, it's one of the few occasions they can race on home soil too, which is extra motivation. Of course it's great to see Greg back racing too."

Greg van Avermaet

Greg van Avermaet

Van Avermaet is looking forward to getting back into the peloton. "It's been a long road to recovery since breaking my collarbone at the beginning of April so the Amgen Tour of California is a perfect race to use as a transition and build up my racing form again. At this stage it's not so much about getting a result but more getting the race days in the legs. I'm really looking forward to racing with my teammates again!"

Amgen Tour of California (29 April - 1 May)

Rider roster: Brent Bookwalter (USA), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Taylor Phinney (USA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI).

Sports Directors: Jackson Stewart (USA), Valerio Piva (ITA)

Eurobike trade show boss explains changes in the cycle business

This was posted in Bike-Eu:

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany – There’s a lot of attention to Eurobike [the major European bicycle trade show] lately. The changed set-up, cooperation with Taichung Bike Week and the fact that yet another major brand – Derby Cycle – skipped its participation is all generating conversation in the industry. How does all this affect Eurobike? With its 25th edition scheduled for August 31 to September 4, 2016, is it still the global bike industry platform? Bike Europe interviewed Eurobike manager Stefan Reisinger.

“In the past decades, Eurobike has developed from a trade focused fair into a global industry platform. This has led to a change in needs: next to product presentations, showcasing brands and their image became enormously important. Also the need increased to offer testing opportunities to distributors and consumers for experiencing the products. That’s why it’s the right decision to have a second consumer day with enhanced testing facilities; it boosts consumer appeal.”

“Our new concept will not lead to Eurobike losing any of its magnetic attraction as the leading trade fair for the bike business. Eurobike will still feature three business days. The two festival days are certainly going to strengthen our end-consumer relevance. The Demo Day will now be integrated as a permanent part of Eurobike which means that testing services will be even better for trade visitors and for bike fans too.”

Exhibitors at the 2016 Eurobike Show are facing a new dilemma. For the first time they have to choose whether to participate in only the first 3 Business Days, or agree to participate in all 5 days (including 2 Festival Days mainly for consumers). How did they decide and is it what you expected?

“The previous configuration with three days for trade visitors and one final day for consumers was a compromise for all sides. Our exhibitors had no options to choose from and “had to” support and also finance the public day. The new arrangements offer all brands the opportunity of a dedicated show presence with a clear focus.”

“Companies with no appeal to end consumers, who operate exclusively in the B2B market benefit by being involved purely in the Business Days. However, companies seeking additional contact with consumers can raise this to a new level during the Festival Days. About 85% of the exhibitors have chosen to stay for the entire event, and 15% decided to concentrate their efforts on the three Business Days. This matched our expectations and we are looking forward to offer(ing) both exhibitor groups a dedicated setup.”

With several big brands pulling the plug, are there other brands increasing their booth size or presence that you can speak of? How will this change the floor space?

“We see new brands joining and established ones dropping out every year. It´s always a pity to lose a long-term customer. However, this process is part of a (trade) show business model. It also drives innovation and offers opportunities for small brands and newcomers. We have many new companies on board and there are brands with bigger booths than in the past.”

“With the new set-up we drastically changed the hall layout. Major changes are: Hall A1 and Zeppelin Hall will accommodate brands exhibiting at the Business Days only. Halls B2 (Accessories) and B5 (Apparel) switch over to A4 and A7. There will be more complete bike brands in the B halls with the new testing facilities, open on all five days, close by. Space demand from interested companies is high and we once more expect a fully booked show for 2016.”

Are you aware of any other brands that are choosing to skip the show this year? Like Derby Cycle; the biggest bike maker in Germany. What is your comment on their decision?

“It’s much to our regret that Derby Cycle interrupts its engagement at Eurobike 2016 to focus on their own targeting. It’s important for us to know that this does not happen because they question the Eurobike concept. As long term partners it goes without saying that we keep up the dialogue. We are happy to welcome again the Derby Cycle partner brands of the Pon Bicycle Group at this year’s show.”

You can read the entire interview here.

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