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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. - Pablo Picasso

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Tour of Guangxi final team reports

We'll start with GC winner Tim Wellens' Lotto-Soudal team report:

Tim Wellens has claimed the overall victory of the inaugural edition of the Tour of Guangxi. The Lotto Soudal rider won the fourth stage on Sunday, he then conquered the leader’s jersey and didn’t give it away anymore.

With the stage win and overall victory of Tim Wellens Lotto Soudal successfully finished the season with a total of 25 victories!

The last stage of the Tour of Guangxi was 168 kilometres long and also today it was impossible to avoid a bunch sprint. Unlike yesterday the break of the day was quickly established. Again it consisted of three riders: Wang Meiyin, Jon Irisarri and Daniel Oss. The bunch, led by Lotto Soudal, gave them four and a half minutes advantage. The escapees were reeled in within the last ten kilometres. Fernando Gaviria won the sprint, ahead of Niccolo Bonifazio and Dylan Groenewegen. Tosh Van der Sande got eleventh.

Tim Wellens won the overall classification with a lead of six seconds over Bauke Mollema and eleven seconds over Nicolas Roche.

Tim Wellens

Tim Wellens wins stage Tour of Guangxi stage four.

Tim Wellens: “The past two days went well. On Sunday I had conquered the leader’s jersey, but the gaps were small so the support of my team in the last two stages was crucial. Yesterday, it took a long time before a breakaway was established and my teammates controlled the race very well, they were all really strong. Thanks to them I was able to win this WorldTour race. And this means a lot to me. Even though it was the end of the season, there were a lot of strong and motivated riders at the start here. I had to fight for this win.”

“It’s wonderful to finish the season with a victory, just like I started it. Tomorrow we head home. First we fly to Hong Kong where we have to wait twelve hours for our next flight. Adam Hansen has lived there and will give us a tour. We are all looking forward to that. Soon, I will be going on a holiday. I will be off the bike for two weeks. Then I will start running and swimming, go to the fitness and ride on my mountain bike. First I will enjoy this victory and then the preparation for 2018 can begin!”

BMC sent me this race update:

24 October, 2017, Guilin (CHN): The 2017 season came to a close with the final stage of the Tour of Guangxi which saw Nicolas Roche secure third overall and Daniel Oss on the attack to claim the King of the Mountain classification.

Oss went on the attack, for the second consecutive day, as soon as the flag dropped and was joined by Wang Meiyin and Jon Irisarri (Caja Rural). The peloton sat up and allowed the trio to go more than four minutes clear with no change for the first 100km of racing.

Oss consolidated his lead in the KOM classification by taking maximum points at the second KOM, by which point the advantage was down to two minutes.

The peloton brought the trio to within one minute inside 25km to go, and Oss attacked to try and stay clear before the race eventually came back together with 4km remaining. The sprint teams assumed control of the race and set the stage for the expected bunch sprint which was won by Fernando Gaviria (Quickstep-Floors).

Roche crossed the line safely in the peloton to retain third on the General Classification, as did Ben Hermans who was fifth overall and Silvan Dillier who finished in eighth place.

With 66 points, Oss claimed the KOM jersey ahead of Roche and BMC Racing Team finished as the best team overall.

Nicolas Roche: "I think it has been a great first edition of the Tour of Guangxi. Overall, it was very well organized, and I think we can say that it was a success. As a team, we really enjoyed our week here. We rode competitively as a group, and we did a good race. I am pretty happy to be on the podium at a UCI WorldTour one-week race this year and to wrap up the 2017 season in this way."

Daniel Oss: "It feels good to win the KOM jersey. I have enjoyed racing in China, and I took the opportunity to go for the jersey. It was nice to do this and to ride out at the front of the race. Today, we were so close to the finish, but the bunch was just too fast. It has been a good week for the team. We were able to defend third place overall today, and we also have Ben Hermans and Silvan Dillier in the top ten."

Marco Pinotti, Sports Director: "Overall, it's been a very good week. The race itself was great. The level of organization was very high, and the number of spectators on the side of the roads was impressive. As a team, we saw all of the riders performing at a high level, and we finished with three riders in the top ten overall, including Nicolas Roche on the podium. We also won the team classification, the KOM jersey with Daniel Oss and we had someone in the breakaway almost every day."

"The riders came here motivated and well-prepared, and we did the best that we could. We fought hard all the way to end. Everyone was 100% committed to the team, riders and staff, and it was a good way to end the season."

UK bike sales looks to be heading to decline by a third in 2017

The bad news came from Bike Europe:

LONDON, UK – According to data provided by ‘Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) the bicycle import into the UK showed a dramatic drop in the non e-bike sector during the first two quarters of 2017. It prompted UK’s trade journal BikeBiz to report that the country’s bike market looks to be heading for a 17-year low.

BikeBiz has reported that “According to HMRC statistics for the second quarter of this year, bike imports are down by 11%. This came after a steep decline in the first quarter also. If extrapolated over the full year this could result in 2.5 million bikes sold in 2017, or one million less than in 2016. If so, that would be a 17-year low for the UK cycle industry.” The article also reveals “It is the UK which is suffering from the greatest decline of bicycle sales in Europe.”

The retail bike sector is certainly presenting a complex and changing picture after steadily hovering at around 3.5 million bikes sold annually for several years prior to 2017. Reasons cited for the decline include a Brexit-induced weakness in the pound against major foreign currencies (the vast majority of bikes sold in the UK are imports), the rising average price of bikes as part of a general ‘upselling’ trend within the UK bike industry and, according to Bikebiz, the general cyclical nature of the UK bike industry.

The market decline results in IBD casualties as the tough selling environment hits especially the bricks and mortar stores. This prompted for example the closure of six of thirty high street Cycle Surgery stores.

UK’s big drop in the import of regular bicycles is in line with the decline in export by Taiwan’s bicycle industry. Excluding e-bikes Taiwan’s total export of regular bikes dropped by 26% during the first half of 2017. That export to the UK showed a 14% decline.

You can read the entire story here.

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