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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month. - Fyodor Dostoevsky

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:

Binckbank Tour stage one reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results

Stage winner Sam Bennett's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this:

The flat first stage of the BinckBank Tour was tailor-made for the fast men of the peloton. The riders traversed 167.2 flat kilometres from Beveren in the Belgian province of East Flanders, to Hulst in the southwest of the Netherlands.

Like all of this year’s stages, with the exception of the ITT, today’s stage featured a Golden Kilometre containing three intermediate sprints within a distance of only 1000m as well as time bonuses of 3, 2, and 1 seconds. The second half the stage was made more challenging by six cobbled sections, however, the race came down to the expected mass sprint in Hulst.

Not long after the start, a group of four was able to escape, yet their lead grew to no more than 2:30. Rainy conditions during the second half of the race made for a difficult race, and the peloton ultimately split into several groups. Irish champion Sam Bennett remained attentive and managed to make the cut into the first group with some teammates.

The sprinters’ teams were sure to not gift the break any chances to take the win, and as a result of the pace setting that was meted out by BORA - hansgrohe, the distance to the leading quartet began to be whittled down. The race came largely together again, and BORA - hansgrohe was to be seen once again at the head of the field.

With less than 30km remaining, several sprinters’ teams came to the front to share the pace setting duties and close the gap to the leaders. The catch was eventually made with a few kilometres remaining in the race.

Two kilometres ahead of the finish line, Sam positioned himself on the wheel of D. Groenewegen and waited until the ideal moment to launch his sprint. In the last metres, he was able to overtake E. Theuns and M. Theunissen, to net his ninth victory this season, and his first in the Irish national champion’s jersey. With his win, he also leads the points classification as well as the overall standings by a margin of 2 seconds. 

Sam Bennett

Stage one winner Sam Bennett. Sirotti photo

From the finish line:
“I'm really happy to get my first win in the Irish Champion's jersey here. It was a bit dangerous today with the rain, and I skidded a couple of times, but everything ended up ok. The guys put me in a good position in the finale, and I tried to keep this position over the last two kilometers. Then I got behind one of the sprint trains and then I launched my sprint at the right moment. I have a special connection with Belgium and I am particularly happy about this win because it is always difficult to win at this race.” - Sam Bennett

“It was a fast stage right from the get-go. There was some wind and bad weather conditions, as well as small streets, which made for a hectic race. The team rode in the service of Sam, and it was our goal to bring him into a good position for the sprint in the finale. Over the final 2 km, he may have been let go by the team slightly too early, however, up until that point, is teammates worked seamlessly, particularly Marcus Burghardt, who had worked to keep the break under control. In the sprint, Sam had a very good position behind Groenewegen and made his move at precisely the right time. He was certainly the fastest on the day, and took the win as a well-deserved result. We’re extremely happy with this, and still want to go for another stage win here.” – André Schulze, Sports Director

Third-place Mike Teunissen's Jumbo-Visma squad posted this report:

Dylan Groenewegen has been unable to sprint in the opening stage of the BinckBank Tour. The Dutchman was well-positioned for the bunch sprint in Hulst, but got boxed in. He eventually finished in seventh place. Lead out Mike Teunissen was the best ranked Team Jumbo-Visma ride. He became third.

The stage was hit by a strong wind and heavy rainfall. That didn’t stop Team Jumbo-Visma from controlling the race. The early breakaway got reeled in in the last three kilometres, after which the team brought Mike Teunissen and Dylan Groenewegen in an ideal position for the sprint.

“I didn’t know exactly where Dylan was”, Mike Teunissen said. “That is why I waited too long to start the sprint. We were in an ideal position. This is very disappointing and we need to do better in the next days. We did really well as a team all day and we were in control. Due to the weather conditions, it was also a hectic and nervous day.”

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett wins the sprint. Sirotti pnoto

Sports director Jan Boven had seen a good team, despite the failed sprint. “In the end, we didn’t manage to sprint because Dylan got boxed in. Nevertheless I have seen a good team that took the initiative. Last year, it didn’t end in a sprint two or three times. We want to prevent that to happen this year. Maarten and Jos did a tremendous amount of work in the last kilometres to chase down the breakaway. Mike and Dylan were where they had to be for the sprint. Let’s see what will happen tomorrow.”

Groenewegen himself was disappointed by the missed opportunity. “I got boxed in by the rider who came off the front of the peloton. That’s a pity, because I felt good.”

Fourth-place Jasper Philipsen's UAE-Team Emirates sent me this report:

The first stage, 167.2 km from Beveren to Hulst, was a flat but rainy affair for the peloton. Sebastian Molano launched Philipsen in the last 400 meters in the lead out but the young Belgian found himself pinned to the barriers on the right side of the road in the final 50 meters.

Without being able to fully open his sprint, Philipsen was forced to settle for 4th, with the spoils going to Sam Bennett.

In the general classification, the Belgian of UAE Team Emirates is 7th, 10 seconds from Bennett.

Jasper philipsen

Jasper Philipsen at this year's Tour Down Under. Sirotti photo

“The day was made challenging by the rain and the cold, but I managed to arrive in the final feeling good and ready for the sprint – explained Jasper Philipsen – The team did a good job and Molano launched me well, unfortunately I found myself closed on the right side against the barriers and I couldn’t pass, so had to hold back which was a pity”.

The 2nd stage, 169.1 km from Blankenberge to Ardooie, should be another day for the sprinters.

Kaden Groves returns to GreenEDGE/Mitchelton-Scott

The team sent me this release:

Australian Kaden Groves will return to the GreenEDGE Cycling family as a stagiaire with WorldTour team Mitchelton-SCOTT later this year, before commencing a neo-pro contract with the team.

Groves rode for the GreenEDGE Cycling continental team in 2018, before a change of focus saw the team work to place the 20-year-old with coveted development team SEG Racing Academy for the 2019 season with an eye for a future return.

Having taken three wins in China in late 2018, Groves, who will line up at the Tour de l’Avenir later this week, has continued his impressive progression with another five wins this season, including two stages at Circuit des Ardennes International.

The talented sprinter will likely make his first appearance for Mitchelton-SCOTT, in his stagiaire role, at the Brussels Cycling Classic next month alongside current SEG Racing Academy teammate Barnabas Peak, who was earlier announced to also join the Australian outfit next season.

Kaden Groves:
“I really enjoyed my time in the development team and I can’t wait to be back in that environment.

“After experiencing new challenges and a European calendar with SEG Racing Academy I feel ready to develop further in the professional peloton and learn from the experience of the Mitchelton-SCOTT riders and staff.

“I see myself as a sprinter who can lead out and survive some climbs, but above all I want to develop as a better rider and again learn from the experience of the riders and supporting staff so I am excited to work with the guys to achieve the best results possible for the team.”

Matt White – Head Sports Director:
“Kaden spent a year in our development team a couple of years ago and we really saw some talent there. This year, with SEG Racing Academy, he has really hit his straps, won a number of races and has had some really consistent results in this first half of the season.

“He is only 20 years of age and a very exciting prospect. As with any really young guys we don’t know what his full potential is just yet, but he is very versatile, he is obviously very fast, can do a very good prologue and can win sprints uphill and on the flat.

“I am really excited to have Kaden start his journey as a professional with the team. Exciting times ahead.”

Kaden Groves
Date of birth: 23 December 1998 (20)
Nationality: Australian

2019 victories:
- 1st Ronde de l’Isard – Stage 1
- 1st Circuit des Ardennes International – Stage 1
- 1st Circuit des Ardennes International – Stage 4
- 1st Le Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux – Stage 1
- 1st Le Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux – Stage 3

Vista Outdoor sales down 13% in Q1; says Bell/Giro sales in specialty channel up

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

NEW YORK (BRAIN) — Vista Outdoor says its total sales were down $460 million, or 13%, in its fiscal first quarter, which ended June 30. The company recently sold off its Savage firearms brand and made layoffs in its Action Sports division, which includes Bell, Giro, and Blackburn.

Despite poor weather, the company said sales of Bell and Giro products in the specialty retail channel were on the upswing in the quarter. "Bell and Giro grew in speciality (retail). In fact they had one of better first quarters we've had in years," CEO Chris Metz said in an investor conference call Thursday morning. Metz said Giro snow helmet and goggle sales were especially strong and said Giro moved past Oakley for second place in market share in that segment.

However, he said, Bell and Giro sales in the mass merchant retail channel were down in the quarter because its largest customer in that channel stopped orders in June to adjust its inventory. "We see this as a timing issue and we are already seeing orders come back in July," Metz said.

Sales in the Action Sports division were $67.9 million in the quarter, down 5% compared to the same quarter last year.

Metz said CamelBak sales are strong and the brand had exceptional results on Amazon's Prime Day promotion, when the brand sold 47,000 units, a 57% increase from the year prior.

Overall adjusted earnings per share was a loss of 8 cents a share compared to break-even results in the quarter last year.

Metz said the company still plans to invest in Bell/Giro before selling the brands.

You can read the entire story here.

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