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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, November 24, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

When all is said and done, more is said than done. - Lou Holtz

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Team Sunweb & Province of Limburg join forces

Team Sunweb sent me this release:

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Team Sunweb and top sports oriented Province of Limburg have entered a partnership focused on the further professionalisation of the sport of cycling. The foundations of the partnership aim to inspire people, young and old, to ride their bike.

It's no secret that Team Sunweb's mission is to spearhead the movement of cycling becoming a genuine team sport. The team takes team sports such as football and basketball as successful examples of their vision for cycling, with athlete development at its core. Team Sunweb’s early thoughts about taking the next steps towards the movement include the centralisation of facilities, where athletes could work together on a daily basis, whilst being a part of everyday society in a location from where (altitude) training camps in Southern Europe are initiated.

In the upcoming period, progress will be made on concreting plans and the Province of Limburg will play a pivotal role. From Limburg, emphasis will be on the cross-border activities with its ‘neighbour’ Germany, thus enabling Team Sunweb to utilize the full “Euregio” region to focus on the optimisation of developing athletes into team players and progressing cycling into a team sport.

The central location, excellent training routes with cycling-friendly traffic, nearby airports and the knowledge of companies like Team Sunweb’s technology partner, DSM, have earned the region of Limburg a special place in the hearts of most cyclists and the team aim to further develop and build on this through the partnership.

Sports deputy of the Province of Limburg, Ger Koopmans, said: “Connecting our province to a top sports organization like Team Sunweb adds an important stimulus to sports in our region. More people will be attracted to cycling and live healthier, which is one of the driving forces of our policy. There are also positive effects for the sport itself when we stimulate people from all ages to cycle, and we further proceed in positioning us as the cycling province.”

“We’re excited about the partnership with the Province of Limburg, as it allows us to professionalise further in turning our sport into a true team sport,” said Team Sunweb CEO, Iwan Spekenbrink. “With hills, the German Eiffel area and the Ardennes around the corner, there is a great variety of training grounds for athletes. The sport is alive in Limburg which is also reflected by the knowledge institutes like DSM and prestigious universities in Maastricht and Germany, who work on concrete innovations which will progress the sport.”

Switch to bicycle omni-channel distribution is starting now

Bike Europe sent me this important industry analysis:

DOETINCHEM, the Netherlands – The switch to omni-channel distribution is starting now. It’s still on a limited scale and especially taking place in markets where disruptions caused by online players have a big impact.

These markets – especially the Netherlands and UK – are forerunners for what’s to happen in all EU markets. It’s no longer a question of ‘if’ the websites of all major brands will feature virtual shopping carts for online sales but rather ‘when’ they will start.

Along with the Netherlands and the UK, in North America rapidly growing online sales  are also having a big impact. Major market players see not only their sales impacted, but also their dealer relations by the aggressively and continuously advertised discount offers by webshops. It prompts them to start the switch to omni-channel.

Before digging deeper into the ramifications that the switch to omni-channel brings; first more on the disruptions caused by webshops in the Netherlands and the UK. Starting with the Netherlands, two newcomers stand out. They are   – which stands for Bike shop dot NL – and Stella e-bikes. was founded in 2009 as part of a company named International Bike Group (IBG). Behind IBG stands one of the investment funds  of the richest man in Holland. Its subsidiary Bike shop dot NL operates by intensively and aggressively advertising the discounts it offers on bikes from renowned brand names. In addition, the company operates about fifty stores and test centers along with the webshop.

IBG is the self-proclaimed “leading omni-channel bike retailer in Europe.” Looking at its European presence outside of Holland, IBG is currently active in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, with webshops that carry the ‘HelloRider’ name.

HelloRider webshops are coming in Germany and France as these domains have been claimed. And more major bike markets like Italy and Spain are undoubtedly going to follow.

Here IBG will be applying its business model of offering local well-known brands like Kildemoes in Denmark and Monark, as well as Crescent in Sweden, along with international brands. And of course the bikes of these brands are offered with discounts of 30% to 40%, which kills the competition by local dealers.

However, the question is whether the business model of online providers like IBG is viable in the long run. In particular as it is hurting the dealer business of all  brands highlighted at the named HelloRider websites. Online marketing experts have strong doubts about this business model. In particular because of the conflicting interests of these webshops and its suppliers. In the Netherlands Accell Group wanted to stop its cooperation with International Bike Group and got involved in a legal fight.

You can read the entire story here.

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