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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, May 6, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know. - W. H. Auden

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Giro d'Italia stage two team reports

We posted stage winner Elia Viviani's Team Quick-Step report on the Giro results page.

This came from new Maglia Rosa Rohan Dennis' BMC squad:

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5 May, 2018, Tel Aviv (ISR): After a strong time trial on stage 1 of the Giro d'Italia, Rohan Dennis started stage 2 in second place on the General Classification and in an impressive display of teamwork and strength, was able to claim the Maglia Rosa after securing the maximum three bonus seconds at the second intermediate sprint, to overtake Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).

BMC Racing Team made their intentions clear early by chasing down any dangerous moves before allowing three riders to form the day's breakaway.

The peloton allowed the trio to gain a maximum advantage of three minutes after 60km, of the 167km stage, before BMC Racing Team assumed control of the chase and quickly brought the gap down to below one minute with 80km remaining. The BMC Racing Team train continued to pull at the front of the bunch, led by Loïc Vliegen, Alessandro De Marchi, and Kilian Frankiny, and remained in front when the catch was made with 75km.

The blistering pace set by De Marchi and Vliegen saw the peloton completely strung out along the road, which set the stage for Dennis' effort to claim the second intermediate sprint.

De Marchi, Nicolas Roche, Francisco Ventoso, Jempy Drucker, and Jurgen Roelandts led Dennis out perfectly which allowed him to hold off Elia Viviani (Quickstep-Floors), while Roelandts claimed the last bonus seconds on offer. Dennis became virtual Maglia Rosa leader and from there, it was all about staying safe in the peloton and getting through the expected bunch sprint.

The battle for the sprint in Tel Aviv saw Viviani claim the win and Drucker test his legs in the finale to round out the top ten on stage 2. With Dennis crossing the line in the middle of the peloton, the Maglia Rosa was confirmed, and Dennis cemented his place in history as one of only 21 riders to have worn all three Grand Tour leaders' jerseys.

Dennis now leads Dumoulin by one second and Campenaerts by three seconds going into the final stage in Israel.

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis is the new Maglia Rosa

Quotes from the Finish Line

Rohan Dennis:
"The plan was to just play it by ear initially. We knew that the second sprint was the one with bonus time and we thought that if it was within grasp, and the breakaway wasn't too far away, we would try. About 40km or 50km from the sprint, they asked me if I wanted to do and I said not really but we did it anyway and I thought that I can't not put 100% into it. The team delivered me exactly where I needed to be for the sprint and all I had to do was go as hard as I could and there was no way I couldn't win it. Then after that, it was about making sure I didn't lose time in the splits in the final. It was massive teamwork."

"It's a special feeling to have the Maglia Rosa. Yesterday was a bit disappointing but the team backed me today and the team did everything possible to put me into pink. It's a great jersey and it's a real honor to be the leader of a Grand Tour and for our team, we wanted to do it for Andy Rihs. He put a lot into our team and we wanted to give back to him and to do this for him and his family is a real pleasure for us. We will keep it as long as possible but I think for me it is more about learning still. I'm sure at some stage it will be taken away from me but I will keep fighting all the way to Rome."

"When I first started cycling, I never thought that I would wear all Grand Tour leaders' jerseys. I saw guys do things like this and I always thought that was really amazing so to be a part of that little group is a real honor."

Maximilian Sciandri, Sports Director:
"This morning, I needed to get people to bite onto it and I needed Rohan to believe. I think he was a little bit afraid of the word sprint. I think he didn't want to disappoint anyone by trying and then failing so it was a slow process to get him there. My plan coming into the stage was to try and get the jersey and slowly but surely everyone came around to that idea. The guys were all together and we were able to close the gap to the breakaway. Earlier in the day, Campenaerts was trying something but we showed we could close the gap. Then, Rohan said on the radio that he wanted Jurgen to lead him out and from there it fell into place."

"This was something we had to work on. It wasn't given to us but the teamwork was really closing the breakaway and winning the sprint. When I came to the Giro, I always had in my mind the first day with Rohan but it didn't happen, however I still dreamt about it last night and I still wanted something for Andy Rihs. Something for everything he has given to us and we gave him something special today."

"We are going to defend the jersey with every bit of energy because the value it gives to every other result will be high. We are not going to give it away and we will hold onto it for as long as we can."

Third-place Sam Bennett's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

The second stage of the Giro d'Italia ended in an expected bunch sprint, after the breakaway of the day was caught, the sprinter teams started to form their lead-outs. BORA – hansgrohe worked the whole day together at the front and brought Sam Bennett into a good position for the finale in Tel Aviv, where the Irish sprinter took third place, while E. Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) took the win ahead of Mareczko (Willier Triestina).

Giro sprint

Viviani was the fastest man of the day.

The Stage
The second stage of the Giro d´Italia took the riders from Haifa to Tel Aviv over 167 flat kilometres. The course went along the coast on the motorway and included two intermediate sprints and KOM (fourth category climb, with gradients exceeding 10%) therefore, the second day in Israel should favoured the sprinters in the peloton as the entered the city of Tel Aviv along broad avenues, heading for the flat finish.

The Team Tactics
BORA – hansgrohe was after yesterday´s good start into the 101stGiro d´Italia motivated for today´s first sprint stage, and with Sam Bennett the German squad had a sprinter with them, who was in good shape. The plan was to stay in the peloton to save energy for the finale and build with Andreas Schillinger, Christoph Pfingsten and Rudi Selig a strong lead-out for Sam Bennett.

The Race
After some kilometres of racing a trio launched an attack and built today´s breakaway of the day to enjoyed a maximum gap of three minutes. BORA – hansgrohe stayed together in the peloton, where Quick-Step Floors took control over the pace. With 40km to go the breakaway fell apart, only one rider was able to stay at the front, however it was all back together with 16km remaining. BORA – hansgrohe, together with Quick-Step Floors and UAE, did set the pace up front, as the race headed into the final 10km. Cesare Benedetti and Andreas Schillinger worked hard and led the race, afterwards Christoph Pfingsten and Rudi Selig brought Sam in a perfect position for the final sprint. In the last metres the pace was high and Sam was next to E. Viviani, who took the win ahead of J. Mareczko. BORA – hansgrohe sprinter Sam took third place after a great teamwork of all BORA – hansgrohe riders.

From the Finish Line
“Like always the first sprint stage in a Grand Tour gets pretty frantic in the end because everybody is fresh and motivated. Our team worked very well and we were in a good position going into Tel Aviv. On the final kilometre I was in front too early and decided to wait a moment before launching my sprint. Viviani took advantage of the situation and I had to settle for third, but sensations were pretty good during the day and also in the sprint. Therefore, I am optimistic for tomorrow´s third stage at the Giro d´Italia.” - Sam Bennett

“We were super motivated after the first stage and wanted to repeat our strike from last year, which ended with a third place for Sam. The team worked during the day to control the breakaway and helped to close the gap, so that the race ended in a bunch sprint. In the finale the BORA – hansgrohe boys brought Sam into a perfect position but Viviani was more confident for the long sprint and took the stage win surrounded by so many spectators. Not often I saw so many fans like today in Tel Aviv.” - Jens Zemke, sport director 

Max Walscheid wins Tour de Yorkshire stage three

We posted the organizer's stage report with the results.

Here's Walscheid's Team Sunweb race report:

After solid team work brought back late-breakaway attempts inside the final 20 kilometres, Team Sunweb's Max Walscheid (GER) sprinted to the victory at the Tour de Yorkshire's third stage today.

After the win, Walscheid said: "Today was a really hard day; I was suffering throughout the stage but I had a great team behind me who chased for me throughout the day. I managed to enter the descent in a good spot which was key because it wasn't possible to move up afterwards. Usually I am best in the flat sprints, so to win a difficult stage is nice for me and shows that I'm developing towards being able to win harder races. After being able to really show my top speed here I'm looking forward to more nice races through the rest of the season."

Tour of Yorkshire stage three sprint

A close sprint in Yorkshire.

Team Sunweb coach Tom Veelers (NED) added: "We had a tough race today and had to close gaps late on when groups went clear. The team were really strong and worked well together to get the job done, and they delivered Max into a good position heading into the final. Max has shown that he has a really good sprint capacity with this well deserved win."

Toys "R" Us bankruptcy pummels Dorel Sports' (Cannondale, Schwinn, GT) first quarter

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News posted this report:

MONTRÉAL (BRAIN) — Dorel Industries, which operates three divisions including home, juvenile and sports businesses, reported that Toys "R" Us' liquidation impacted all three, resulting in a first-quarter impairment loss of $12.5 million total, about $2.1 million in home, $3.8 million in juvenile and $6.6 million in its sports segment, which includes its bike brands.

This is in addition to the $3.8 million the company said it lost in the fourth quarter of last year.

"As we reported in March, all of our business units are being affected by the Toys "R" Us situation. We estimate that company-wide sales were reduced by approximately $7 million in the quarter. The Toys "R" Us liquidation in the U.S. may cause a market disruption in the short-term, but we believe this situation will stabilize, and both the Juvenile and Sports business will shift to other retailers or other channels during the second half," said Martin Schwartz, Dorel president and CEO.

"While we were anticipating a slower start to the year, the first quarter was more difficult than originally expected at Dorel Juvenile and Dorel Sports," he added.

The company told analysts during a call Friday morning that the bad weather this spring meant a poor start in April for bike sales. "But in May, the weather so far is good and we're seeing strong POS sales," Schwartz said during the call. "Right now, it's difficult to bet on the weather."

Its sports business, which includes its bike brands sold both at mass and IBD channels, posted $206 million in revenue, down from $214 million in last year's first quarter, or $7.3 million (3.4 percent). Organic revenue dropped 6.2 percent, and Dorel said the decline was mostly in the mass-market channel due to weak consumer demand at major retailers, and the impact of halted shipments to Toys "R" Us in March.

"A less favorable sales mix accounted for most of the decline in gross profit of 80 basis points. However, excluding restructuring and other costs, the decrease in adjusted gross profit was only 30 basis points from 22.4 percent to 22.1 percent," the company said.

Operating profit decreased $10.9 million to an operating loss of $0.8 million compared to an operating profit of $10.1 million in 2017. Adjusted operating profit decreased $10.2 million. Dorel pointed to the $6.6 million loss from Toys "R" Us as a major factor in this result.

You can read the entire story here.

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