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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, May 4, 2017

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. - J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb, quoting the Bhagavad-Gita

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André Greipel & Adam Hansen preview the Giro d'Italia

Lotto-Soudal sent me this:

Yesterday, Lotto Soudal arrived on Sardinia where the hundredth Giro will start on Friday. Sports director Bart Leysen already looked ahead to the race, today André Greipel and Adam Hansen give their preview.

André Greipel won six Giro stages during his previous four participations. In 2016, he triumphed three times. This edition there are six sprint opportunities.

André Greipel: “I am happy to return to the Giro. A stage victory is the goal again this year. It was a hard spring for me, with a lot of stage races: Abu Dhabi Tour, Paris-Nice, Volta a Catalunya and a few Cobblestone Classics. I took some rest after Paris-Roubaix, to recover physically and mentally. I started training again after one week. Maybe I will need some days to get used to the race rhythm again, like I did last year. The first weekend was not so successful last Giro, but after a few days I got better and better with three stage wins as a result. I wouldn’t say no to wearing the first Maglia Rosa of the 100th Giro. Of course we need to be realistic: winning one stage in a Grand Tour is already a huge performance. We will try to win one stage with the team during the hundredth Giro. My teammates will also have individual chances.”

“If I will complete the Giro? Let’s say the course of the last week doesn’t suit me so well.  I love riding the Giro and also the team and the race organisation want me here at the start, but we need to find the right balance in my race programme to achieve our goals. So there is a chance that I quit the Giro before we get to Milan. Of course we prefer participating in such a fantastic race like the Giro to a different programme.”

Andre Greipel

André Greipel wins 2016 Giro stage 12

Adam Hansen is about to start his seventeenth consecutive Grand Tour. In 2013, when he rode his fifth of eight Giros, Adam won the seventh stage.

Adam Hansen: “I have ridden countless Giros, but to me it still feels like I am more excited than any other rider who is standing on the start line. Not only because it is the hundredth Giro, but just because it is the Giro. I feel that I am in the best shape of the last three years. I want to aim for another stage win this edition. The team goal is to take a stage victory with André. For the other stages we have several riders who can join a breakaway and try to win a stage as well. I will be disappointed if I can’t take a stage win or at least if I have not been in the running for one. I really hope André can win a stage. Once you have won one stage with the team, you can look further ahead. I hope our team will animate the race, so we have more chances of winning too.”

Team Quick-Step Floors headed to Giro d'Italia

Here's the team's update:

Between 5-28 May, we're going on an adventure, which will see our riders cover 21 stages and 3572 kilometers.

The Giro d'Italia is celebrating its 100th edition this year, one that will set out from Sardinia, go to Sicily, the Apennines, the Alps and the Dolomites, before coming to a conclusion in Milan. Sixteen of the country's twenty regions will be visited by the peloton, who'll have plenty of opportunities to fight for victory and glory, from the expected bunch sprints of Olbia and Tortona and the individual time trials of Foligno and Milan to the tough and legendary mountain top finishes of Etna, Blockhaus, Santuario de Oropa or Piancavallo.

In 2016, not only that he became the first Luxembourger in nearly six decades to don the coveted maglia rosa, but Bob Jungels – who was making his Giro d'Italia debut at that time – conquered the white jersey on his way to finishing sixth overall. The 24-year-old returns to the start, having built his season around the Italian Grand Tour, and will lead Quick-Step Floors' general classification ambitions here, encouraged by his convincing display in the Tour de Romandie, where he finished eighth overall.

Bob jungels

Bob Jungels riding stage 16 of the 2016 Giro

For Fernando Gaviria (22 years), who has scored four victories in 2017, the Giro d'Italia will be a learning experience, but this doesn't mean the talented South-American won't try to get in the mix every time a stage will conclude in a bunch sprint. Gaviria will be one of the three Quick-Step Floors riders to make their Grand Tour debut in May, together with Laurens De Plus (21 years) and Davide Martinelli (23 years).

Eros Capecchi, Dries Devenyns, Iljo Keisse, Maximiliano Richeze and Pieter Serry, all seasoned pros, who between them have amassed 21 participations and four stage victories at the Giro d'Italia, will add experience to the team which is set to be led from behind the wheel by Davide Bramati, Geert Van Bondt and Rik van Slycke.

"If you look on our outfit for the Giro d'Italia, you can see it's a young one, with three Grand Tour rookies, but at the same time a very motivated one to have a say in the race. After last year's performance, we'll try to help Bob make another step forward. The Giro is always a challenging race, but he is prepared; we will see how things pan out and we'll make a first assessment after the Foligno time trial, although we are aware that the difficult third week can easily change the general classification", said sport director Davide Bramati.

Besides Bob Jungels, Quick-Step Floors has its eyes also on the bunch finishes, where Colombian prodigy Fernando Gaviria – who has two wins on Italian soil, at Tirreno-Adriatico – will count on the services of Maximiliano Richeze, one of the best lead-out men in the business.

"Fernando will race a Grand Tour for the first time, and the most important thing for him will be to gain experience, but we aren't hiding the fact we have faith in him, as he's capable of getting a good result in the flat stages. Overall, our squad is a balanced one, capable of supporting both Bob in the mountains and Fernando in the sprints, so we look with confidence to the first Grand Tour of the year, which we hope to be a good one to our team", concluded Davide Bramati.

Nairo Quintana, Movistar Team's Giro leader comments on the team's strengths:

Nairo Quintana

Quintana (left) assesses his Giro teammates below. He's shown here a few days ago winning a miserable stage in the Asturias Tour.

Andrey Amador: "He's a warrior, tough as nails. He's always leaving his best energy on the road, from start to finish. He doesn't depend on the terrain, the race conditions nor the weather to offer his 100% - he's always there."

Winner Anacona: "A hard-working man, always devoted to help his team-mates out, taking care of them so they carry on well."

Daniele Bennati: "Bennati is a clever veteran, an intelligent kind, a strong rider. We got on well with each other easy as he joined the team last winter. He's been a crucial factor at some of this season's victories we got."

Víctor de la Parte: "A 'currela' ('hard-working', in slang Spanish). A spectacular person, always attentive so you don't miss anything you need. Everything a leader requires, you have it from him. Any need, he's there."

José Herrada: "He's got skills on the bike, he reads races really well. Plus, he's a strong rider when you need him at the front on a mountain stage. He really helps to create a selection in the finale."

Gorka Izagirre: "I always appreciate and admire from Gorka that he's a rider committed 100% on giving his full energy. He's a fighter, he tries to step up his game at all times."

José Joaquín Rojas: "Rojas is really an all-rounder. We all saw at last year's Vuelta a España, how he left everything on the road. A fighter from start to finish."

Rory Sutherland: "Rory is also a man at service of everyone who needs it here, whenever he's required. You can keep breaks of any kind at reach with him and manages himself well over all terrains, always giving his best."

Shimano starts 2017 with stable sales

Bike Europe sent me this news:

OSAKA, Japan – Shimano reported last week a stable result in net sales of bicycle components in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2016. Last year Shimano reported a decline in net sales of more than 20%, while this year it was limited to only 0.9%.

Between January and March Shimano’s net sales of bicycle components totaled JPY 64,674 million (580 million euro). Shimano’s operating income decreased by 3.2% to JPY 13,992 million (125 million euro). In its market outlook Shimano describes the European market ‘as expected’ during the winter off-season. In North America the situation was completely different as sales of complete bicycles on the West Coast were sluggish because of many rainy days, those on the East Coast and inland exceeded the forecast because of a rather warm winter.

According to Shimano, “Distributor inventories of bicycles in Europe and in North America remained at an appropriate level.” In China distributor inventories adjusted to an appropriate level as expected. As regards other emerging markets, retail sales in Southeast Asia continued to lack vigor just as the previous year, and those in Brazil, the largest market in South America, showed no signs of recovery.

You can read the entire story here.

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