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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, November 10, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. - Michelangelo

Latest completed racing:

Orica–Scott announces men’s team line-up for 2018

We posted the Orica-Scott women's team line up yesterday. The team sent me the men's team update today:

Tour de France: the Inside Story

ORICA-SCOTT has confirmed their 25-rider squad for the upcoming 2018 season with head sport director Matt White describing the team as “stronger in all areas.”

Strong additions to the squad include Italian classics specialist and sprinter Matteo Trentin who enjoyed a rich vein of late season form including four stage wins in the Vuelta a Espana and comes to ORICA-SCOTT on the back of the most successful season of his career. Trentin will strengthen the classics side of the team alongside experienced and versatile New Zealander Jack Bauer.

“We are in a better place than we were 12 months ago in all areas,” said White. “One of the reasons for that is we have bought very well; our new signings definitely compliment the squad we already have in place. For example, Trentin and Bauer are two riders who are going to bolster our classics group and also add a lot to our sprint train around Caleb Ewan so I am sure we will see significant gains for us in those two areas.”

The two classics specialists are joined by the vastly experienced climbing pedigree of Basque climber Mikel Nieve, who knows first-hand what it takes to achieve repeated Grand Tour success and will step into an important role within the team as both support and mentor to the team’s young general classification leaders.

Mikel Nieve

Riding for Sky in 2016, Mikel Nieve wins Giro stage thirteen.

“Obviously bringing in a rider like Nieve, who has been one of Chris Froome’s right hand men through numerous Grand Tours is a great signing for us,” continued White. “He will be playing a similar role here and lending his experience and support to our younger GC guys while also being very capable of winning some big races in his own right.”

With positive additions made throughout the squad and the racing calendar getting fuller every year, programming and goals for 2018 are beginning to take shape.

“The strengthening of our squad in key areas allows us to work towards clear objectives for 2018 and it’s really exciting.” concluded White. “Going after more monument success and results in the classics are definitely part of that along with stages and GC results in all three Grand Tours.”

“There is only one monument we haven’t already won and that’s the Tour of Flanders, it’s possibly the hardest one to win, but we have a team capable of winning it and we want to be up there challenging.

“Then comes the Grand Tours, we want to be competitive in all three and that includes stage wins and the general classification. It will be a busy year and we are really looking forward to it.”

ORICA-SCOTT Men for 2018:

Lotto-Soudal unveils 2018 team jersey

Here it is:

Lotto-Soudal 2018 jersey

Online presence drives Halfords UK sales

Bike Europe sent me this report:

REDDITCH, UK – Despite poor summer weather and uncertainty on the British economy, Halfords UK reports a 7% increase in cycling sales to GBP 245.5 million (€ 277m) in the past 6 months. Especially Halfords’ online presence through Cycle Republic and Tredz contributed to the positive results.

Halfords’ cycling sales increased 2% on like-for-like basis for the 26 weeks to 29 September 2017. Thanks to the first-time results inclusion of Tredz and Wheelies (acquired in May 2016) and newly opened Cycle Republic stores, Halfords could report a 7% increase in total cycling sales. Though the Halfords Group’s total revenue increased by 3.8%, profit shrank by 9.8%.

“We did not repeat the strong expansion of last year, which drove strong volume growth in 2016, but the volume decline for the first half of this year was more than offset by the increase in average selling prices,” explained Halfords CFO and interim CEO Jonny Mason at the presentation of the results this morning. Still Halfords reports particularly strong e-bike sales, reflecting the popularity of the company’s new own-brand ranges launched at the beginning of the year.

“We have opened three new Cycle Republic stores this year and now have 18 fully operational,” said Jonny Mason. “We are encouraged by the continued double-digit like-for-like sales growth and also the success of the transactional website since launch in August last year. This webstore contributed approximately 15% of the total Cycle Republic sales in the first half. We expect to grow the number of Cycle Republic stores in the future.”

In the past months Halfords made several upgrades to their websites, focusing on making the customer journey more seamless on mobile devices. These improvements contributed to a 22% increase in the total value of orders made through mobile devices, year-on-year.

The company’s profit was negatively impacted by increasing costs, including the weaker pound sterling. Halfords UK expects no further depreciation in the value of the pound for the second half of its fiscal year.

You can read the entire story here.

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