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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, December 16, 2017

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes. - Goethe

Latest completed racing:

Adam Yates returns to the Tour de France while Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates double-up at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana

Orica-Scott sent me this update:

Story of the Giro d'Italia volume 2

2016 Tour de France fourth place finisher and white jersey winner Adam Yates will make his return to the Tour de France in 2018.

The confirmation comes as ORICA-SCOTT, to be known as Michelton-SCOTT in 2018, reveal their Grand Tour plans for 2018, which will see two-time Grand Tour podium-placer Esteban Chaves and this year’s Tour de France white jersey winner Simon Yates double-up and focus on the 101st edition of the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta Espana and young Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan also make his Tour de France debut.

The team has clear ambitions to push for high general classification results across all three Grand Tours and Head sports director Matt White believes it is a well-balanced programme for the trio of climbing stars and young sprint ace Ewan.

“We’ve made it no secret that the next progression for us is to win a Grand Tour, while at the same time challenge our riders,” White explained. “With this in mind we have some exciting goals to chase across the board in all three Grand Tours at that means stages wins and general classification targets.”

Esteban Chaves - 2018 Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana

Colombian climber Chaves will return to a similar race program of 2016 that saw him finish second at the Giro d’Italia, third at the Vuelta a Espana and win Il Lombardia for the 2018 season.

After a tough season plagued with injury and personal tragedy in 2017, Chaves is looking forward to a fresh start.

Esteban Chaves

Esteban Chaves has a good day at the 2016 Giro di Lombardia.

Matt White: “The Giro d’Italia really suits Esteban’s characteristics in general. He loves the long climbs and because he grew up at high altitude, the higher the road goes the more comfortable he becomes. Next year's edition also doesn't have as many time trial kilometres as past years and this is also beneficial for Esteban's ambitions in May.”

Esteban Chaves: “I love racing in Italy. Italy gave me the hardest moments in my career but also the most beautiful ones, so I am happy to go back to Italy to race. There’s just 44kilometres of time trialling and this was one of the reasons for the team’s choice and my choice to do the Giro d’Italia.

“This year we learnt a lot. Myself and all of the team are really hungry now for next season.”

Simon Yates - 2018 Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana

Having been forced to amend their Grand Tour plans this season, which saw Simon Yates race the Tour de France, 2018 will see 25-year old Yates finally make his debut in the Giro d’Italia.

Despite his young age, the Briton will draw on his experience of sixth place at the 2016 Vuelta a Espana and seventh at last year’s Tour de France to hold him in good stead for his first Italian three-week challenge.

Matt White: “Simon handled the pressure of riding GC at the Tour de France incredibly well this year and went straight into his second Grand Tour in one season, the Vuelta,” White continued. “I think he really gained a lot from doing two Grand Tours and it will be great to see him at the Giro for the first time next year.”

“With this programme, Esteban and Simon will have ample time to recover between the Giro and the Vuelta and we’ve used this template before with Esteban in 2016 and he came back very strong in the second half of the season. So no matter what the course looks like for the Vuelta we are confident these two guys will be ready to get the job done.”

Simon Yates: “To keep progressing as a rider I think you need to challenge yourself in different ways, and riding the Giro instead of the Tour de France is one of these ways. It will be an extremely difficult race and I look forward to the new challenge.”

Adam Yates - 2018 Tour de France

As the team’s only general classification rider at next year’s Tour de France, Adam Yates will share the leadership role with young sprinter Caleb Ewan in what will be his third Tour de France appearance.

After starting the Giro d’Italia in 2017, finishing ninth and putting in some very solid performances, Yates returns to the scene. In 2016 he went from being a world class climber to join the top echelon of the world's GC riders with a spirited performance finishing fourth and winning the white jersey.

Matt White: “Adam is happy to go back to the Tour de France, after skipping it this year and taking on two Grand Tours for the first time,” White explained. “He of course had a breakthrough Tour de France in 2016, with a fourth place and winning the white jersey. He will return to France with a big year under him this year and a lot more experience in the role of leading a team for general classification.”

“We won't be the only team heading to the Tour with a world class sprinter and GC leader and I am confident we have a group of guys who can manage helping both Caleb and Adam in this two-pronged approach.”

Adam Yates: "It feels good to be going back to the Tour de France and I am very excited about the challenges it will bring. The Tour will always be a special race for me having watched it growing up through to getting the opportunity to race it for the first time in 2015.”

“I am still developing as a rider and, as always, do not feel pressure after my result in 2016, I will do my best and we will see how it goes. It was good to try a different race programme last year but there is no denying that I am looking forward to lining up in Vendee next July.”

Team Sunweb unveils 2018 race kit

The team sent me this release:

Team Sunweb are proud to present their 2018 race kit, which retains its prominent, recognisable two-stripe design and features the latest fabric technologies. Alongside its new technological features, the kit contains some exciting additions following a stellar 2017 season.

In 2018, Team Sunweb's three programs will once again share the same two-stripe design kit. For the fifth consecutive year the kit retains its two distinguished “Keep Challenging” stripes, continuing its reference to the team’s DNA. The left stripe represents the continuous development of the riders both as individuals and as athletes, and the team as a whole. The right stripe represents the creation and continual enhancement of an elite sports environment. The 2018 design features the new "S" or "Spark" of Team Sunweb’s title partner, Sunweb, on both sleeves and sides, and on the back of each jersey, making riders even more noticeable in the peloton.  

2018 Sunweb kit

2018 Team Sunweb kit

Once again, the Giant race clothing is manufactured by Etxeondo and the team's scientists continuously work alongside both, as well as DSM to insert the latest technologies into their cycling gear. Aerodynamics and safety are two key characteristics in this process; vigorous testing in the research facilities and wind tunnels at the Technical University of Delft ensures optimised drag in all circumstances. Etxeondo’s protective shorts by DSM Dyneema have undergone further advancements to the fibre in 2018 for increased comfort and safety on the bike. 

The newly crowned team time trial champions from both Team Sunweb’s men’s and women’s programs will proudly showcase the corresponding UCI logo on the team's 2018 race kit, representing the prestigious victories from the Bergen world championships. 

Team Sunweb’s CEO Iwan Spekenbrink (NED) said: “We are pleased to present our new kit for 2018. It is with pride that we continue to showcase our deeply embedded “Keep Challenging” stripes as the jersey’s key design feature. We are certain that the technological features from our improved kit give us the competitive advantage that we are continuously searching for.” 

House committee passes bill giving local managers discretion over bikes in Wilderness Areas

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this update:

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — The House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday passed HR 1349, legislation that would let local land managers decide if bikes and other human-powered vehicles are allowed in Wilderness Areas. The bill, which passed the committee in a 22-18 vote, now heads to a full House vote.

The International Mountain Bicycling Association does not support the legislation and submitted written testimony in opposition. The Sustainable Trails Coalition supports the bill, which was introduced by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.

Last year, BRAIN published opinion pieces from STC's Ted Stroll and former IMBA director Ashley Korenblat regarding similar legislation.

In a statement last week, IMBA indicated it will continue to work for mountain bike access on public lands with other designations, and in some cases will oppose new Wilderness designations in order to preserve existing mountain bike opportunities.

"Mountain bikers and the recreation community depend on public lands and thoughtful conservation," IMBA's executive director, Dave Wiens, said in a news release. "Public lands are being threatened at an unprecedented level right now, and it's imperative that public land users come together to protect these cherished places and offer our voices in this critical dialogue.

"We know Wilderness hits some mountain bikers' back yards, and we understand why those riders support this legislation. To continue elevating mountain biking nationally, IMBA must remain focused on its long-term strategy for the bigger picture of our sport." Ackowledging that the stance was unpopular with its members, over the weekend Wiens also posted another blog post on the subject, which accepted comments.

In its testimony, IMBA also raised concerns, unrelated to HR 1349, about bike access to “recommended wilderness.” The group said rules governing lands with that designation are inconsistently applied, with bikes being banned from 800 miles of trails in the National Forest Service's Region 1, which encompasses Montana and parts of Idaho and North and South Dakota.

In a news release following the HR 1349's committee passage, McClintock emphasized that it would restore the original intent of the Wilderness Act. "When the House considered the Wilderness Act in June of 1964, the record is clear that its framers intended that the term 'mechanical transport' be applied to non-human-powered vehicles like motorcycles — not human-powered devices like bicycles. The Forest Service built this understanding into its original implementing regulations by explicitly allowing all forms of human-powered travel in Wilderness areas," McClintock said.

You can read the entire story here.

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