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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, February 1, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. - Thomas Carlyle

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Dubai Tour stage 1 team reports

This came from LottoNL-Jumbo:

Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to second place behind German Marcel Kittel (Quick Step) the Dubai Tour’s first stage today. Marc Cavendish (Dimension Data) placed third, right behind LottoNL-Jumbo’s rider.

"It’s a good result and I'm ahead of several top sprinters but yet, it’s not a win and that’s what I was looking for," Groenewegen said. "We could have done better. It gives me hope for the coming days. I’m glad to be the best young rider but I want to win as well."

It was soon clear that this stage was to end in a bunch sprint. Early in the 181-kilometre stage, a group rode clear. The sprinters teams were not in agreement, though. With only 10 kilometres left, the group was absorbed and the peloton was gearing up for a sprint. Quick Step, Dimension Data and Sky were prominent at the front. After a fight for position, Groenewegen sat on Kittel’s wheel.

Kittel appeared too early in front, but he held his speed and nobody could pass. Groenewegen held his spot right behind. "The final was very hectic, I was in Tom Leezer’s wheel, but we were just too far behind. 500 meters from the finish, I decided to move up. I joined Cavendish’s wheel and 300 metres before the finish, I started sprinting. Kittel went, and I could only hold his wheel. Even so, I look forward to the next sprint."

Marcel kittel

Marcel Kittel wins Dubai Tour stage 1

Sports Director Grischa Niermann debuted today as sports director. From the car, he saw a typical sprint stage. "A breakaway went and Sky and Quick Step controlled the peloton,” Niermann said. "We decided not to participate in the chase because we wanted to focus on the final. There were some hiccups in the sprint train. The team is continually refining it, however, to deliver more wins."

"Dylan was led in the last three kilometres, but then he lost his team-mates. This is quite different from training. Here we are among the highest-level lead-out trains. The Dubai Tour, however, is the perfect place to improve ours."

Here's what Mark Cavendish's Dimension Data team had to say:

The first mass sprint of the year took place during today’s stage 1 of the Dubai Tour. The victory went the way of Marcel Kittel (Quickstep-Floors) with Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) following his wheel home in 2nd. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Mark Cavendish get his season off to a solid start by placing 3rd, despite crossing the line with a flat back wheel.

The opening 181km road stage of the Dubai Tour was poised to be the first real showdown of some of the big-name World Tour sprinters. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were motivated for a fast finale and this was evident from early on, as we sent riders to assist with chasing the 5-rider breakaway that formed in the first 10km.

The early escapees were given a leash of only 5-minutes as our African Team, along with some assistance from Quickstep-Floors and Team Sky, controlled the gap throughout the stage. With no real wind to speak of and a pan flat profile, the peloton was always in control of the race situation. We had our South African diesel engine, Jay Thomson doing the majority of the work for the peloton today.

With 20km to go, the gap had dropped to just under 1-minute and this was when all our riders committed to the head of the race. Thomson did one final turn just before the break was caught at 10km to go and setting our train into position. Nic Dougall, Bernhard Eisel, Scott Thwaites and Ryan Gibbons then took turns in stringing out the peloton up to the roundabout at 3km to go. A crash in the circle took out a Bahrain-Merida rider and disturbed the rhythm of the lead out slightly.

Quickstep-Floors emerged from the roundabout in the leading position but a monster pull from Thwaites brought our finishing trio back into position. Cavendish then had the space to take the wheel of Kittel, as the German’s team led under the 1km to go banner. Kittel’s acceleration could not be matched as he took the win. When Cavendish crossed the line 3rd but with no air in his rear wheel, it was clear that more was certainly possible today.

Mark Cavendish – Rider: I feel alright after today’s stage actually, a bit disappointed though because I punctured with 4km to go. There was obviously no time to get a wheel change but I wanted to get in on the time bonuses for a decent general classification position. Sprinting with a puncture is always going to be difficult against the best sprinters in the world so I’m quite happy in the end. Our team was fantastic today and in the final the plan was always to take Kittel’s wheel. If there was no Quickstep here we would lead out but his wheel was the best to be on.

2017 Tour of California route revealed

Here's the map and stages:

2017 Tour of California

Struggling German bicycle manufacturer MIFA to start production

This came to me from Bike Europe:

SANGERHAUSEN, Germany – The struggling bicycle manufacturer MIFA is finally able to start the production in the brand new factory which was opened late December. The family Von Nathusius that owns MIFA provided a 3.5 million euro loan; urgently needed for sourcing parts.

The opening of the new factory in December was immediately followed by a January 4, 2017 insolvency. Previous reports mentioned that MIFA needed a total of some 8 million euro to get the factory running again. The 3.5 million euro loan which has been provided yesterday by Von Nathusius can only be used to buy the parts necessary to start-up the factory and is by far not enough to pay for all the MIFA debts. This loan is an final attempt of the Von Nathusius family to save at least some of its multi-million investment in MIFA after their were asked by the state of Saxony-Anhalt to help-out the bankrupted bicycle factory in 2014.

According to unconfirmed German media reports also banks and suppliers helped to temporarily close the financial gap. However, this funding is not enough to provide a sustainable future for MIFA.

The 3.5 million euro loan by Von Nathusius has been approved by the debtors committee which is part of the preliminary insolvency. The ruling of the insolvency court is expected later today.

You can read the entire story here.

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