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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, April 26, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

It was impossible to get a conversation going, everybody was talking too much. - Yogi Berra

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Tour de Romandie stage one team reports

We posted stage winner Omar Fraile's Team Astana report with the results.

Here's the report from new GC leader Primoz Roglic's Team LottoNL-Jumbo:

Primoz Roglic is the new leader in the Tour de Romandie. In the first stage, the 28-year-old leader of Team LottoNL-Jumbo crossed the finish line in the peloton in thirteenth position. This was enough to conquer the yellow leader’s jersey.

The stage was marked by a long breakaway of five riders, a scenario that sports director Sierk-Jan de Haan had taken into account. The peloton exploded just ten kilometres before the finish. Subsequently, Roglic kept in the forefront of the thinned peloton as a result of the attentive work of Steven Kruijswijk and Stef Clement.

De Haan looked back at a stage in which his team had shown initiative. “We were able to lead during the final climb of the stage. Before that, Bram Tankink had already been of great value to the team. The final saw a battle between the classification riders, leaving only the best of them in the front of the peloton. Because of this,  we can conclude that Roglic owes his yellow jersey to his performance during yesterday’s prologue.”

Tomorrow, the sports director doesn’t expect an easy stage, but a less heavy one than today’s. “The sprint teams will see an opportunity. We must take control and then see how the course develops. I expect the climb time trial on Friday and the queen stage on Saturday to be decisive.”

Primoz Roglic

New GC leader Primoz Roglic

Rui Costa's UAE-Team Emirates sent this:

Former world champion Rui Costa took third the Tour de Romandie’s first stage today, 166.6km from Fribourg to Delémont.

Costa stepped on to the podium thanks to a sprint behind stage winner Omar Fraile (Astana) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida). Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) commands the general classification.

“We raced with the right mentality, according to the indications that the sports directors gave this morning in the pre-race meeting,” Costa said. “In the final, we controlled the race with Bono and then on the last climb I tried first and then Dan Martin tried, and he created a good gap.

“We had to stay alert watching the small groups that were forming, also on the descent and the flat finish. In the end, the other teams kept it together and we arrived in a sprint. I gave it my all and took a good third place.”

Tomorrow they face the third day, or the second road stage from Delémont to Yverdon-les-Bains. The 173.9km day covers two climbs, one third and one second category, with 1988 climbing metres.

And Bora-hansgrohe sent this report:

The first stage of the Tour de Romandie made for an extremely hectic finale in Delémont, where O. Fraile emerged victorious, while Emanuel Buchmann finished the stage as the highest-placed BORA-hansgrohe rider, in 17th position. Following his result today, he moves up 10 places in the general classification, and now sits in 17th position overall.

The Stage
Today’s stage from Fribourg to Delémont led the peloton over mountainous terrain, which, at least on paper, provided a somewhat good chance for a breakaway to snag the victory. The stage took in a large cross section of the region, crossing through no less than five cantons, Fribourg, Vaud, Bern, Neuchâtel and Jura.

The 166km-long course contained five climbs that were spread out relatively consistently throughout the stage, namely three Category 2 climbs and one Category 3 ascent, which combined to create 2200m of climbing in total. After 107km, the riders crossed the finish line in Delémont for the first time, after which they completed two local rounds before reaching the finish line for the final time. Both laps contained two ascents each, specifically the 6km long and up to 9 per cent steep Le Sommet (2nd Cat) as well as Le Rond Pre, an 800m long climb with gradients of up to 7 per cent. From then onwards, the route took a long downwards turn before once again peaking uphill in the final kilometre.

The Team Tactics
In light of the parcours, it was not expected that the day would end in a mass sprint in Delémont. The mountainous terrain meant that today was a stage for riders with climbing legs. It was important for our climber Emanuel Buchmann to take this chance to maintain or hopefully improve his current standing in the general classification today.

The Race
After only a few kilometres, a group of 5 riders managed to establish themselves as the breakaway of the day, building up a lead of 4 minutes after 14km of racing. For a long time, the race situation remained unchanged, however after the break crested the first classified climb of the day, their advantage increased to a maximum of 6 minutes. Team Sunweb, the outfit of race leader M. Matthews, subsequently attempted to increase the tempo to close the gap to the breakaway, and with 48km to the finish, the advantage of the escapees came down to 3:30. On the last climb of the day, the break split up, leaving only 2 riders at the head of the race. At the same time, several riders, including race leader M. Matthews, slipped off the back of the peloton.

Team LottoNL-Jumbo assumed control of the pacesetting and managed to chip away at the break’s advantage, which stood at 40 seconds with 13km to the finish line. The breakaway duo was caught a few kilometres later. In the last kilometres, several riders attempted to launch attacks, including Emanuel Buchmann. However, his attempt was unsuccessful. In the last kilometre, everything came together again for a reduced sprint in Delémont, with O. Fraile emerging victorious by day’s end. Emanuel Buchmann, who finished the stage in 17th position, was the highest-placed BORA-hansgrohe rider today, and due to this result, also moved up ten places to 17th position in the general classification.

From the Finish Line
“Emanuel was in good form today. At the beginning of the final climb, he had good legs and tried to put in his own attack. However, it was difficult for him to be in amongst it in the final sprint. Nevertheless, he is optimistic about his chances in the following stages, and he will focus on improving his standing in the genral classification in the days to come.” – Steffen Radochla, Sports Director 

Kent buys Univega brand, will relaunch it as a US-made IBD brand

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this interesting piece:

MANNING, S.C. (BRAIN) — Kent International is bringing back the Univega brand, once a bike shop mainstay. The company will roll out a new line of Univega bikes — all made in the U.S. — at Interbike in Reno, Nevada, this fall, with price points from $200 to $800. The line will be sold exclusively by IBDs.

Kent purchased the trademark and intellectual properties for the U.S. from David Menahem, who is the brother-in-law of Ben Lawee, Univega's founder.

All Univega bicycles will be produced at the Bicycle Corporation of America factory in Manning, South Carolina.

"Making Univega in Manning is a great way to differentiate the brand, and a good story for retailers to tell," said Arnold Kamler, Kent International's CEO.

"It used to be when I showed up at bike shows with my Kent badge no one wanted anything to do with a company that sold to Walmart. Since we started making bikes in South Carolina all that has changed: dealers thank me for bringing bike making back to the U.S. and being able to sell a USA bike is a plus," he added.

You can read the entire story here.

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