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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, May 9, 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

I learned a long time ago that reality was much weirder than anyone's imagination. - Hunter S. Thompson

Current Racing:

Latest completed racing:

Lotto-Soudal previews 4 Days of Dunkirk

The team sent me this:

The 63rd edition of Les 4 jours de Dunkerque starts Tuesday 9 May and finishes Sunday 14 May in Dunkerque. Due to the cancellation of the Tour de Picardie, Lotto Soudal will go to the north of France for the first time since 2010.

Les 4 jours de Dunkerque is a tricky name because it is indeed a six-day stage race. The main part of the stages include relatively flat courses where the sprint will be decisive. Saturday, the fifth stage, is the queen stage where the riders will face some tough climbs. This day will probably decide the GC. With Lotto Soudal, FDJ, AG2R La Mondiale and Bahrain-Merida, four WorldTour teams will participate. Les 4 jours de Dunkerque is part of the UCI Europe Tour in the category 2.HC.

Marcel Sieberg

Marcel Sieberg will be at the 4 Days of Dunkirk

Mario Aerts, sports director Lotto Soudal: “Our classic riders Nikolas Maes, Jens Debusschere, Frederik Frison, Marcel Sieberg and Jelle Wallays, are returning into competition. Sander Armée and Rémy Mertz just came back home from the Tour de Romandie. I’m especially looking forward to see Enzo Wouters race again. He didn’t ride a lot this year due to a knee injury, but he’s back in business for Les 4 jours de Dunkerque.”

“The big goal of this six-day stage race is a stage win and showing ourselves in the attack. There is no real leader appointed, so it doesn’t matter who wins a stage. In the Tour de Romandie freedom was the key to success so we are going to try that again. Jens Debusschere is the sprinter in our team. If it comes down to a sprint he is our man. But everyone gets his chance. Les 4 jours de Dunkerque is also a preparation for the Belgium Tour so it’s important that our guys become stronger.”

“There are not many top riders at the start, but Arnaud Démare and Sylvain Chavanel are two big names. How and where the race will be decided is difficult to predict. Because there are only four WorldTour teams there will be less control in the bunch. In the first stage, the riders will have to cover some cobblestone sections from Paris-Roubaix, so I’m not expecting a sprint with the whole bunch but a big group could head to the finish. “

“The second and third stages seem to be a prey for the sprinters, but the fourth day isn’t. The last five kilometres are going up and down and the riders have to climb a short steep hill of ten percent in the local laps. The tough penultimate stage will probably decide the GC. The last day I’m expecting another sprint. I don’t know yet if we will play our part for the GC. That’s something we will have to see day by day.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée, Jens Debusschere, Frederik Frison, Nikolas Maes, Rémy Mertz, Marcel Sieberg Jelle Wallays and Enzo Wouters.

Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Kurt Van de Wouwer.


Stage 1 Tuesday 9 May: Dunkerque – Iwuy (197 km)
Stage 2 Wednesday 10 May: Saint Quentin  Saint Quentin (171 km)
Stage 3 Thursday 11 May: Beauvais – Amiens (152 km)
Stage 4 Friday 12 May: Marck en Calaisis - Le Portel (167 km)
Stage 5 Saturday 13 May: Boeschepe – Cassel (184 km)
Stage 6 Sunday 14 May: Coudekerque-Branche  Dunkerque (159 km)

Team Sky's Mikel Landa looks forward to Giro's Mt. Etna stage

Here's the team's posting:

Mikel Landa is pleased with his start to the Giro d’Italia and has hailed the efforts of his teammates for helping him negotiate some tricky opening stages in Sardinia.

After the opening trio of stages, the race has moved to Sicily and will see the riders take on Mount Etna, which Landa believes will suit his strengths.

Mikel Landa

Mikel Landa

He said:  "I feel good, I think that we are doing a good job to stay safe and not lose any time. The coming stages - they are good stages for me. I have never ridden Etna, but I think maybe the hot weather, and it's the first mountain stage can make some difference.

"But this is the first mountain stage and I think these stages are not going to be so important looking towards the final GC."

He added: “I feel not so bad, it was difficult for me to be in a good position there, but with teammates I was in a good position and I stayed well so I am happy.”

Dorel’s (owner of Cannondale, Schwinn, GT) Q1 results: gains overall but bike business sees 1% decrease in revenue

Bike Europe sent me this news:

MONTRÉAL, QUEBEC — Dorel Industries released their first quarter results for 2017, with adjusted net income for the quarter up 15.4%. However, historically low inventory levels, North America’s long winter, and the fact that the Easter holiday sales occurred in April (second quarter 2017) combined to leave the company’s Cycling Sports Group (CSG) segment with an organic revenue decline of 9.9%.

“The bicycle industry is currently facing short-term challenges,” said Martin Schwartz, Dorel President & CEO in the media release announcing the results. “Therefore sales growth opportunities in 2017 could be limited. Dorel Sports has re-structured itself to increase earnings this year through improved margins and lower operating expenses, and we expect this to more than offset sales challenges.”

Total revenue for the first quarter was USD 646.7 million compared to USD 645.9 million in Q1 2016. Adjusted net income rose 15.4% to USD 22.7 million from USD 19.7 million in 2016. Reported net income decreased to USD 8.8 million compared to USD 16.7 million last year.

According to Schwartz, Dorel is meeting its expectations for 2017, noting, “In the outlook provided with our year end results, we stated that for 2017 all three of our business segments were positioned to improve earnings. In the first quarter, both Dorel Home and Dorel Sports delivered on that expectation. Dorel Juvenile had a slower than anticipated start to the year as our factory in China faced challenges on new product launches, but we are proactively managing this and will see improvements through the year.”

First quarter revenue for Dorel Sports fell US$2.5 million or 1.1% to US$214.0 million – approximately 1.3% after removing the impact of varying exchange rates year-over-year. After factoring in foreign exchange fluctuations and CSG International’s switch in its business model from a licensing model to a distribution platform, organic revenue saw an approximately 9.9% decline. Along with weather, holidays, and inventory reductions at the retailer level, lower discounted sales compared to previous years account for mass channel revenue shortfalls according to the published news release.

You can read the entire story here.

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