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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, January 12, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. – Henry James

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Nettie Edmondson wins Santos Women’s Tour opening stage in fast bunch sprint

Here's the posting from Annette Edmondson's team:

TDF volume 1

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Nettie Edmondson has won the opening stage of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, in Gumeracha, in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia, in a fast bunch sprint. The 26-year-old Adelaidean outpaced former black and orange teammate Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance Pro Cycling) at the finish, to cross the line more than a length clear of the former World Champion, with Lauretta Hanson (UniSA-Australia) third.

“Today was very, very good!” Edmondson laughed after the finish. “I’m very happy with that. The team rode so well. We talked about going for the sprint, but there was always a bit of a question mark with the first race of the year because you’re not really sure how you’re going to go against the rest with all the international riders coming. You don’t know who’s targeted the race and who hasn’t.“I knew that my form was good the last couple of weeks, so I wanted to have a crack. I haven’t been in this form for a while at the Tour Down Under so I thought that this was the year I was going to do well if I was ever going to.

“To be honest I really thought that stage 4 would be the best opportunity for us, but if we were going to win a road stage then stage 1 would also be good. It’s a bit more of a flatter course if it wasn’t going to be windy along the back straight up the KOM.”

There was a worry for the sprinters in the second half of the stage when a solo breakaway from 2012 World Championship Silver Medalist Rachel Neylan (UniSA-Australia) got more than a minute clear. Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling worked with other teams to pull her back, however, and she was back in the peloton with two kilometres to go.

“We had amazing team and it did a great job,” Edmondson explained. “We had Audrey [Cordon-Ragot] constantly going back for bidons to keep the team cool, and Rachele Barbieri was a great team player; she kept around me the whole time, and made sure I was out of trouble.

“When Rachel Neylan got away with 20km to go, it was a really good move. She got straight out to a minute 20 and all of a sudden we thought that could be the end of the race. [Mitchelton-Scott] went to the front, because they’re going for the overall, so we chucked in a couple of girls.

“Audrey and Amy Cure did a great job, working really hard, and then Eri [Yonamine] popped in when Amy was tired, so the three of them went really well and helped [Mitchelton-Scott] bring Neylan back. I’m really proud of them for doing that and it makes the victory so much sweeter because we deserved it.”

Into the final kilometre the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team organised around Edmondson and, despite it being their first race together, managed to perfectly position the former double Track World Champion. There was a crash with around 300m to go, which saw black and orange debutant Macey Stewart come down hard, but not before the former Junior World Time Trial Champion had set her sprinter up for the finish.

Annette Edmondson

The stage is Edmondson's

“Rachele found me coming into the finish and put me in a really good position,” said Edmondson. “And then I found Macey [Stewart] as well and she finished off the last bit, putting me into the UniSA lead out train. We did what we could in the messy situation, and I jumped on the train.“Then with about 400m to go we took the last corner and I tried to be patient. Lauretta Hanson kicked with about 200m to go, but I left my run really late because of the headwind and, sure enough, timed it perfectly!

“I’m really happy with that, and it means a lot to take this win with a home crowd on home soil!”

As well as the stage victory, Edmondson earned the first Ochre Jersey of the 2018 Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, which she will wear on the second stage between Lyndoch and Mengler’s Hill on Friday.

1. Annette Edmondson (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance Pro Cycling)
3. Lauretta Hanson (UniSA-Australia)

Team Sky rider Owain Doull looks forward to 2018 season

Sky sent me this interview:

Owain Doull feels all the experiences gained in his first season as a pro will stand him in good stead heading into 2018.

By his own admission the Welshman enjoyed an ‘up and down’ campaign after turning pro with Team Sky. Doull was all set to start the Tour Down Under in 2017 but ended up having his appendix removed after an emergency late night visit to Royal Adelaide Hospital.

12 months on he’s relishing the opportunity to tackle the race, with the benefit of a full season under his belt.

The 24 year old explained: “My first year with Team Sky was pretty up and down to be honest. I’d say overall there were more positives than negatives and I learnt a lot. In that regard I feel positive about coming into 2018. All those experiences have brought me on a lot as an athlete and as a person. I’m really looking forward to trying to step up again in 2018.”

Central to the learning process last year was watching how the team’s more experienced riders went about their job. Doull highlights two riders as having a particular impact.

“There’s been a couple of guys who have helped me out this year,” he added. “Luke Rowe is a rider I aspire to be like in the future – someone who does the Classics in the beginning of the year and then makes that transition into the bigger tours for the second half of the year. Seeing how he goes about it, how he operates, how he trains, his professionalism as well, has been really good this year.

“Then in the races, a guy like Kwiato. The way he approaches the races, regardless of what scenario you’re in, or the situation, or how he’s feeling, he always wants to try to win, either himself or with the team, and always comes up with a plan to go about that. That’s a really cool thing to see. Those two guys I would pinpoint as being the most influential.”

Owain Doull

Owain Doull after winning the 2015 Tour of Britain Points Classification

Influential riders are key to a team that has a strong and increasing youthful core. On being part of this new wave of talent Doull said: “It’s really interesting now if you look at the team, you can almost cut it in half with two different groups. You’ve got the older guys who are really in their prime and at the top of their game, and on the flip side you’ve got a lot of guys who are under 25, just starting out, and there’s not that many guys in the middle in that range.

“So to be part of that future generation with what Sky are trying to do, build for the future, and really invest in the future of cycling, it’s exciting to be a part of that group and it’s motivating and inspiring when you see all these other young, talented people from all over the world in one team with a common goal. It’s really exciting.”

EU import figures indicate hard drop in trekking, road and MTB sales

Bike Europe sent me this news:

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Booming e-bike sales in many EU markets is proving to have a major downside. Heavy pressure on sales of conventional bicycles. This is clearly reflected in the EU import. Eurostat figures for the first three quarters of 2017 show that big shifts per country are taking place. They indicate a hard drop in higher-priced trekking, road and mountain bikes sales.

At first sight the EU import of conventional bicycles (of all categories) shows a not remarkably hard drop. It’s limited to close to 5%. However, when taking a closer look, a more disturbing fact comes to light. In particular when looking at the EU import of conventional bicycles from Taiwan.

Such conventional bicycles imported from Taiwan are of higher quality and with that higher-priced, as they come from Giant, Merida, Ideal, Axman, as well as various other quality makers. What they export to Europe are conventional bicycles of all categories except kids’ bikes, as it is commercially more sensible to produce these in countries like the Philippines. It means that the drop in the EU import from Taiwan of conventional bicycles reflects a drop in the EU market for such higher-priced trekking, road, and mountain bikes. This is confirmed by the Market Reports from lots of EU member states published by this trade journal in 2017. Almost all reports point to a major drop in sales of conventional bicycles.

The EU imports from Taiwan dropped a big 23% during the first three quarters of 2017. It follows a trend from 2016 that showed the Taiwan export of conventional bicycles dropping by over 20% in that year. It raises the question whether bicycle production in Taiwan is shifting to other Asian countries; especially those countries that benefit from the European Union’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)?

This GSP system grants import duty benefits to countries with underdeveloped economies and in particular to these countries that do not have a weapons (exporting) industry. Cambodia, Philippines and Bangladesh, all major bicycle exporters to Europe – see table, benefit from EU’s GSP. These countries are even granted the highest ‘preferential import’ level as the three have the GSP+ status. It means that when importing conventional bicycles from Cambodia, Philippines, and Bangladesh there’s no import duty levied. Instead of EU’s regular 14% import duty the imported bicycles from the three countries can enter the markets from the 28 member states without any import duty. The GSP+ grants them import duty free status.

You can read the entire article here.

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