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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, October 6, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Diamonds are a girl's best friend, and dogs are a man's best friend. Now you know which sex has more sense. - Zsa Zsa Gabor

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Lotto-Soudal previews Paris-Tours

The team sent me this:

Sunday 7 October, Lotto Soudal will line up at the autumn classic Paris – Tours, which this year also includes some gravel roads. The final 60 kilometres feature seven ascents and 12.5 kilometres of French vineyard tracks. This way, the organisation wants to intensify the battle between the sprinters and attackers even more. The renewed edition starts in Chartres and finishes after 214.5 kilometres in Tours, where the successor of Matteo Trentin will be rewarded. Jelle Wallays, recent stage winner in the Vuelta, was able to win this 1.HC race in 2014, when he beat Thomas Voeckler in a two-man sprint. For Lotto Soudal, the race's 112th edition will be a special one: not only because of the new route, but also because Paris – Tours will be the last race of Jens Debusschere and André Greipel at Lotto Soudal.

Andre Greipel

André Greipel wins stage four of the 2018 Tour of Britain. Paris-Tours will be his last race in a Lotto-Soudal kit.

Frederik Willems, sports director Lotto Soudal: “The course isn’t that much harder than it was the previous years, but the gravel roads will definitely play a role. The race will be tackled differently and the riders will approach it in another way. The route is less long than other years and the climbs are situated quite closely one after another. The part through the vineyards is a completely new part, but the riders will come back to the old roads in the finale, which remained the same. We'll have to be alert the whole time, because at Paris – Tours there’s always a chance of echelons. The weather of the past editions was quite well and no echelon lasted, but there are always some teams that try to make a difference by creating one. Paris – Tours is a race in which you’ll always have to pay close attention and be at the front the whole time.”

“We’ll have to wait until the final list of participants is known in order to plan our strategy. This final list enables us to see which teams will play their sprinters and which will focus on their attackers. Either way, Lotto Soudal has multiple options: riders like Tiesj Benoot, Jens Keukeleire and Jelle Wallays can race offensively and might stay ahead of the peloton. When the race concludes in a bunch sprint, we’ll definitely focus on André Greipel, who’ll get the support of Jens Debusschere and Lars Bak/Frederik Frison to do the lead-out. Benoot is part of this line-up as he’s capable of animating this kind of races. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how he’ll be recovered from last weekend’s World Championships.”

“Today, we’ll do a recon of the course with the team to be well prepared at the start line. I’m convinced we’re heading to the race with seven motivated and focused riders, even if it’s half October and the season is coming to an end. Especially André will be really motivated, knowing it will be his last race at the team. Furthermore, he has a great shot at winning. Last year he finished in the top five, so when he’s in good shape, those climbs in the finale won’t be a problem for him. Either way, it will be a day filled with emotions as it will be André’s and Jens’ last race with the team. The final eight years we worked closely together, rode beautiful races and were able to win many of those. The team is very grateful to André and Jens for all the work they have done throughout the years. Coming Sunday, we’ll conclude this wonderful time, regardless the result of the race.”

André Greipel: “My last race at Lotto Soudal will definitely be a special moment. I don’t know how I will feel and how it will unfold, but I have always appreciated the atmosphere in the team, which felt like family. And throughout the years, that bond became even stronger. For sure, it will be an emotional day as well. The best scenario would be that I can leave the team with a victory. With riders like Benoot, Keukeleire, Debusschere and Wallays we have a versatile team for this type of course and if I cannot win, I hope a teammate does. We will certainly give it our all and we deliberately leave a day earlier to do the recon of the route. We are very motivated to make it a beautiful race although it will not be easy since a lot of motivated riders will want to end their season in a positive way. Whether we win or lose, we will try to look back on a great time during a nice evening.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal: Tiesj Benoot, Jens Debusschere, Frederik Frison, André Greipel, Jens Keukeleire, Nikolas Maes and Jelle Wallays. 

Sports director: Frederik Willems

Benedetti, Schwarzmann and Schillinger extend with Bora-hansgrohe

The team sent me this short update:

All three riders are part of Ralph Denk’s team since its very beginning back in 2010. While Benedetti extends his contract until the end of 2020, Schwarzmann and Schillinger renew their agreement for another year.


Cesare Benedetti will be in Bora-hansgrohe colors for a while.

“Benedetti, Schwarzmann and Schillinger have been with my team since 2010. All three of them are important support riders. Cesare is strong at almost all terrains and has become a true pillar of BORA – hansgrohe. Schwarzi is an important rider in our lead-out, while Schilli has big experience at the Classics. I am very happy all three of them stay with us. They bring lots of expertise to our roster, which is very valuable for our young guns.” – Ralph Denk, Team Manager

Egan Bernal signs 5-year deal with Sky

Here's the team's news release:

Egan Bernal has signed a new five year deal with Team Sky, extending his current contract until the end of the 2023 season.

Bernal , 21, has enjoyed a meteoric rise up the cycling ladder in his first year with Team Sky, emerging as one of the brightest young talents in the sport. After winning the Colombia Oro y Paz and the Tour of California earlier in the year, he made his Tour de France debut in July, playing a key role in Geraint Thomas’ maillot jaune success.

Egan bErnal

Egan Bernal winning stage six of the 2018 Tour of California

Now, having signed a long-term deal with Team Sky, the talented climber is looking towards an even brighter future with the team.

“I’m very happy to sign a new contract with Team Sky,” he said. “It feels like a new stage in my life. I know five years is a long time and that it’s not too common in cycling, but the team has been great for me. They offer me everything I could want and I’m excited about the future.

“I imagined my first year with the team would be different and I was nervous before I joined. But I found great people, a team that was ready to help me, and I enjoyed a good season. It was made easy for me. My ambition is to keep developing as a rider – to learn from and help the best and become a key member of the team for many years to come. For me there is no better place to do that than Team Sky.

“I’m really happy here because I have everything I could ask for. It’s a dream team and I don’t see myself anywhere else.”

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford welcomed the news of Bernal’s new deal, commenting: “This is an important moment in the development of the team. A five-year deal in cycling is exceptional, but Egan is an exceptional talent. I believe today’s announcement demonstrates three things. “Firstly, it is the clearest signal of our belief in Egan as a rider, with the potential to win the biggest races in the world in the coming years. Age is no barrier to ability. Egan is part of the next generation at Team Sky, our next big leader for Grand Tours in the years to come, as we continue to build for a bigger and better future. He is a top talent who has already shown his mental and physical strength in recent months. He will only keep on improving.

“Second, it is testament to the staff and other riders at Team Sky who have helped him develop over the last year. This is his first year as a professional and we have always taken great pride at Team Sky on being a team who can nurture and develop young riders. We all know there is much more to come from Egan. He is a big part of the next generation of Team Sky, an incredible crop of young riders, alongside the likes of Tao Geoghegan Hart, Pavel Sivakov and Gianni Moscon. We are all excited about their unique opportunity to continue to learn from the current generation of great champions – Froome, Thomas and Kwiatkowski - as they support them on the road over the coming years, with the goal of helping them to become champions themselves.

“Finally, it is a strong signal of intent from the team about the future. We are proud of what we have achieved together at Team Sky since our formation, but we have even greater ambitions to keep on improving and Egan will be at the very heart of that.”

BMC to race Presidential Tour of Turkey

BMC sent me this:

5 October, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): BMC Racing Team will be on the start line of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey next week with a strong and well-rounded rider roster heading to the UCI WorldTour stage race. 

BMC Racing Team is taking a versatile line-up to the six-day race, Sports Director Klaas Lodewyck said. "I think we are heading to the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey with a strong and well-balanced team. For those stages that come down to a bunch sprint, Jempy Drucker, who we know can be up there, will be our leader. Then, I think Patrick Bevin is going to come into the race with some strong late-season form and we can look to do something with him on the uphill finish alongside Nicolas Roche. We will have to see how the race situation develops day by day but firstly, we would like to go for a stage win and then see what we can do to make the best result possible on the General Classification," Lodewyck explained.

Jempy Drucker

Jempy Drucker (shown winning stage one of the 2017 Tour of Luxembourg) is headed to Turkey.

Drucker and Bevin are both looking forward to ending their 2018 season at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. "I have raced in Turkey a few times in the past and I always enjoyed it so, I am happy to be going back. There are some big chances for me as a few stages should finish in a sprint and I hope to be able to have some nice results. It will also be the last time that I will race for this team so it will definitely be a special race for me," Drucker said.

"I am excited to be lining up at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey for my final race of the 2018 season. After a good UCI World Championships campaign, I am looking forward to racing in Turkey for the first time with some great form and a strong team," Bevin added.

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (9 - 14 October)

Rider Roster: Patrick Bevin (NZL), Tom Bohli (SUI), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Nicolas Roche (IRL), Danilo Wyss (SUI)

Sports Directors: Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Maximilian Sciandri (ITA)

10 states enact online sales tax collection laws Monday, Oct 1

Bicycle Retailer and Industry News sent me this:

(BRAIN) — Ten states will start collecting sales tax from out-of-state online retailers starting Monday, Oct. 1. The laws are in response to the South Dakota v. Wayfair case the U.S. Supreme Court decided in June, and they vary state by state. The new laws are in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin. Connecticut and Iowa have passed laws that go into effect soon.

Thirty-two states have now passed statutes or regulations to require sales tax collection by remote sellers, according to Internet Retailer magazine. Congress also is considering several bills that would establish a framework for state collection schemes.

You can read the entire story here. I think you'll find the readers' comments interesting and useful.

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