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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

In my house I'm the boss, my wife is just the decision maker. - Woody Allen

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Vuelta a España stage three team reports

We posted the organizer's report here.

Stage three winner Vincenzo Nibali's Bahrain-Merida team posted this:

“This victory is for the Team – comments Vincenzo Nibali – and for my teammate Javier Moreno,  he has been really unlucky yesterday“. Bahrain Merida Team’s captain wins stage 3 of La Vuelta (Prades - Andorra La Vella 158.5 km). The Shark claims a spectacular victory in the first mountain stage, sprinting to 1st place ahead of De La Cruz and Froome.

“We’re only on the third day. It wasn’t easy to be ready for climbs and to win such a stage contesting the sprint” says Nibali speaking just after the finish “I had some difficulties on the last ascent, where my rivals keep a high tempo. I was behind and I must recover on the downhill to close the gap to the front small group of riders and try my chance to take the win”

In the final km the Italian rider surprised his rivals, anticipating the sprint. “I knew that it was difficult to win, because there were very fast riders and today’s stage was really demanding due to high temperature too” adds Nibali, who after the stage wears the Green Jersey of leader of the points classification “It’s a long way to go”.

“We told him from the team car – says Head of Performance Paolo Slongo – to try in the finale and after his fantasy and his class did the rest“.

The Win for Nibali and the Red Jersey for Chris Froome. Tomorrow the La Vuelta goes finally to Spain.

Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali gets the jump on the rest of the leaders.

David De La Cruz was second. Here's the report from his Quick-Step team:

On the first mountain stage, the Spaniard finished runner-up and is now a mere two seconds off the leader's jersey.

Quick-Step Floors is the team of the opening days of the Vuelta a España, with one stage victory, three second places and a stint in the red and green jerseys. In fairness, all these results can't be regarded as surprise, considering the fact that our outfit is the most successful this season in Grand Tours, with 11 stage victories, three secondary classifications and with a rider in the top 10 overall of both Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.

Most recently, David De La Cruz took a strong second on the third stage of his home Grand Tour, after a day of climbing, suffering and attacking, from Prades to Andorra la Vella, which hosted for the first time in history a stage that didn't finish with a mountain summit.

Quick-Step Floors controlled the race in the first part of the day, amassing the entire team at the front and protecting red jersey wearer Yves Lampaert, before the GC teams stepped in and rode a furious pace on Coll de la Rabassa; under their impetus, the escapees got reeled in and the peloton reduced considerably before the final ascent of the day.

Alto de la Comella (4.3 kilometers, 8.6%) signaled the start of the hostilities, as Chris Froome (Team Sky) attacked and gapped all his rivals, before Fabio Aru (Astana), Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) countered and scratched off the deficit, joining the Brit before cresting the top and changing turns at the front on the descent. David De La Cruz was just a few seconds off the pace, but the Catalan put in a smooth ride on the fast descent to Andorra la Vella, and together with a strong group made the junction inside the final kilometer.

De La Cruz, a stage winner at the previous edition after an entire day spent in the break, came from the back of the group as Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) surged clear 400 meters from the finish, taking the stage victory. De La Cruz, one of the few GC contenders with a strong sprint, concluded the day as runner-up and thanks to the bonifications snatched on the line, he climbed to second in the overall rankings, just two seconds behind the new leader.

"I'm a bit sad, because I wanted the red jersey here in Catalunya, in front of my fans and family. But there's still a long day to go, I am motivated, and who knows, maybe I'll get the jersey eventually. I am confident for the Vuelta; I'm not thinking about finishing in the top 3, top 5 or top 10, I just want to show that I can be again an important player in the general classification. I have a strong team around me and this gives me even more motivation to push myself and be up there when it matters", said 28-year-old David after the first test of the race.

Davide Villela is King of the Mountains. His Cannondale-Drapac team sent me this update:

Davide Villella pulled on the Vuelta a España’s blue and white spotted King of the Mountain jersey in Andorra la Vella on Monday. The Italian flew the #GreenArgyle flag in an eight-rider breakaway and picked up points on two of three categorized climbs on the stage three menu.

“This morning at the bus, I was one of the riders that could go into the escape,” explained Villella. “I wasn’t really thinking about the mountain jersey – only about the good opportunity the break might have to make it to the finish. We were a strong group of eight riders.”

The plan shifted from chasing the stage win to hunting mountain points early on in stage three. The 153-kilometer day took the peloton into the Pyrenees as it headed out of France and into Spain and Andorra. Three categorized climbs tested fresh legs: Col de la Perche (category 1), Coll de la Rabassa (category 1) and Alto de la Cronella (category 2).

Fabrico Ferrari (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) was the first to attack, and Villella was part of a trio of riders that bridged across. Another four joined the escape before the group hit the lower slopes of Col de la Perche after 12 kilometers of racing with a four-minute advantage over a QuickStep-led peloton.

“There was a small possibility that the break was going to be a successful one today,” said sport director Juanma Garate. “We decided this morning to involve five riders and Villella was one of them. He jumped in the right moment and went in the move, but once he was in, we saw the reaction of QuickStep and decided to go for the points. We saw that we didn’t have chances to arrive at the finish because QuickStep was riding too hard.”

Villella was second to crest the summit of Col de la Perche, behind de Gendt, to pick up six points. “It wasn’t stressful to race for the points,” said Villella, who spent much of the stage as virtual race leader. “I was having fun.”

Villella and company continued to collaborate until the run-in to Coll de la Rabassa when Dumont attacked the group. His escape was short-lived. The rest of the break caught Dumont at the base of the Rabassa. They began the climb three minutes ahead of the peloton. The break shattered up the Rabassa, and Team Sky, who took over the pace-making in the peloton, thinned out the field to less than 50 riders en route to the summit.

Toward the top of the Rabassa, only Genize and Villella remained out front. Geniez led over the top of the Rabassa. Villella pocketed another six points in the KOM classification. The pair were swept up by the reduced bunch on the decent, but by then, Villellla had all but secured the KOM jersey.

With the general contenders battling up the final climb, the Alto de la Cronella, Villella’s 12 points proved plenty. He’ll start the pan-flat stage four with a two-point advantage over both Geniez and De Gendt.

“I’ve never worn a jersey at a Grand Tour,” said Villella. “I won the mountain jersey in 2014 in the Basque Country, but that’s it. I hope to keep the jersey as long as possible,” he added. “It will be tough, but it’s also not the main priority. The biggest goal here is to fight for a stage victory, so that will be my focus.”

Edco Engineering goes bankrupt

Anyone who has been riding or been in the cycle trade for a while has run into Edco. I sold their fine products in my shops and distributed them when I owned a wholesale company. I loved their beautifully made goods and was saddened to see that the company is again on the ropes.

Here's the report Bike Europe sent me:

‘sHERTOGENBOSCH, the Netherlands – Edco Engineering, manufacturer and supplier of hi-end carbon wheels, components and accessories, has been declared bankrupt. Main reason for the bankruptcy is that one of the major Edco shareholders, Joseph Hsu from Best Top Industrial, decided to withdraw from the company end of 2016.

Last March Full Tech Composites (FTC) and Shenlong stopped delivering rims to Edco. Both companies are connected with Hsu. It meant that Edco Engineering was in trouble.

Edco Engineering CEO Rob van Hoek, is extremely unhappy about the bankruptcy and how it came about. “In 2015 and 2016 we have grown substantially in sales, especially in exports. In order to expand on this growth we needed an additional investor end of 2015. FTC already supplied us with rims and Joseph Hsu wanted to act as extra investor. So he became a shareholder. One year later, end 2016, he suddenly insisted on selling his shares.”

Rob van Hoek further explains that with FTC and Shenlong a discussion started on leadtimes and the quality of the delivered rims. “At Edco Engineering high quality was our focal point and innovation was a constant process. The quality of the FTC rims could no longer totally meet our standards.”

It resulted in the fact that FTC wanted its entire investment repaid in one go. This proved almost impossible for Edco Engineering with, next to Van Hoek, a limited number of other shareholders. To put Edco under pressure, FTC and Shenlong stopped delivering rims last March. With that Edco going bust became inevitable and FTC and Shenlong filed for Edco’s bankruptcy on July 28. Directly after the bankruptcy became official one of Joseph Hsu’s companies purchased all Edco Engineering assets including Edco’s trademark leaving all other Edco shareholders empty handed.

You can read the entire story here.

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