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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started. - Henry Ward Beecher

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Wilco Kelderman leaves Tour de France after stage 15

Kelderman's Team Sunweb sent me this:

Suffering from lower back problems, Wilco Kelderman is forced to abandon the Tour de France after the race’s 15th stage.

“Over the last few days Wilco has been experiencing back pain and some stiffness,” explained Team Sunweb physician Anko Boelens. “The pain has begun to intensify as the race progresses and consequently he can’t push the watts on the pedals. Coming back from injury (neck fracture, Catalunya) has proved demanding on Wilco’s body and the intensity of it shouldnt be underestimated. Rather than push it and search for the limit, it’s best for Wilco to head home to recover and have further treatment so he can look to the next part of the season.”

Wilco Kelderman

Wilco Kelderman racing in the 2018 Vuelta. Sirotti photo

Wilco said: “It’s super disappointing to leave the race like this, especially with some good stages in the mountains coming up. Sometimes the body doesn’t react completely as you want it to after a difficult period with injury. I’ll head home now to take time to recover and set new goals.”

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek said: “We’re sad to see Wilco head home, but his health of course comes first. He’s had a good two weeks of racing after a heavy crash which needed a long recovery period. Now he can focus on rest, treatment and his next races. Our focus remains the same; keep fighting for that top stage result.”

Team INEOS looks to the Tour's final week

Here's the team's update:

Geraint Thomas is relishing the challenge of the final week of the Tour de France, with the battle for the yellow jersey looking set to go down to the wire.

The Welshman retained second place overall following a tough pair of Pyrenean mountain tests and was buoyed by a strong finish to the Prat d’Albis climb. Thomas regrouped on the first-category slopes, eventually overhauling and putting time into race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).

Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas just after finishing stage 15. Sirotti photo

With the general classification closing up ahead of a trio of mountain stages in the Alps, including team-mate Egan Bernal in fifth place overall, Thomas is keen to get back on the bike and put a self-confessed bad day behind him.

Speaking on the race’s second rest day he explained: “Obviously yesterday I said on the radio I didn’t feel great into the last climb. As it turns out I did feel great at the top. The main thing going into the Alps is that I feel motivated to get there and to try and finish this Tour off well. It’s been a slightly up and down year, and race, compared to last year. The main thing is that I finished strongly yesterday and I’m itching to go now. I much prefer the Alps and I’ve got a lot better memories there for obvious reasons. I’m just looking forward to it.”
“On the Tourmalet I wasn’t feeling 100 percent. Yesterday I finished really strongly. If that is my bad day, to lose 30 seconds on the Tourlamet is quite a good day really. As (Team Principal) Dave (Brailsford) says, you win a Grand Tour by being good all the way through and managing your effort, rather than going into that deep, deep red zone often – save that for the final day or two. I feel like I’ve managed that effort really well so far and I’m feeling good for it.

“Altitude-wise, in training in Tenerife the drop-off in watts is never really as much as most people. The heat is the same for everyone. I’ve ridden in that heat Down Under numerous times and over the years got used to it.”
With a tight battle at the top of the general classification and a number of teams looking to impose themselves on the climbs, Thomas is comfortable with the race situation and the differing way the team has approached the mountains thus far.

He added: “We’re second and fifth on GC. Okay we’re not in the yellow and we’re not riding on the front all day every day. There’s more than one way to win the Tour. This situation is completely different. We don’t have to pull when there’s other teams who want to do it as well. We’re in a super strong position. Everyone has ups and downs. It’s how you deal with that and I’m confident we’re all in great shape and in a great position – looking forward to some big Alpine climbs.”

Lotto Soudal: G&V Energy Group extends its collaboration until 2022

Lotto-Soudal sent me this announcement:

Following the earlier announcement that main sponsors Lotto and Soudal will continue together till the end of 2022, co-sponsor G&V Energy Group also prolonged its agreement for the same duration.

The Belgian company has been connected to the team since 2012, first as a fuel partner but since 2013 also as partner of a first, and later a second team bus. As of 2016, the CAPS logo - the multi-brand petrol card of G&V Energy Group - featured on the right shoulder of the team’s outfit.

With the extension and the enlargement of the partnership, the ‘Caps Fuel Card’ logo will be displayed on the back of the bib short, as of next season.

Lotto Soudal

Lotto-Soudal at the 2019 TDF teams presentation ceremony. Sirotti photo

Xavier Dewulf, CEO of G&V Energy Group: “As an avid fan of cycling, we are delighted to prolong our collaboration with the Lotto Soudal team, which is very dear to us, till the end of 2022. We can identify with the team, as is reflected through our own values: Belgian, dynamic and innovative! Supporting a cycling team is for us a positive way to strengthen the brand awareness of our CAPS Fuel Card. In the meantime, our petrol card has become an international service card which strongly responds to the sustainability aspect, among them natural gas (L-CNG) and electric fueling. Furthermore, with our rechargeable CAPS Mobility Card, we respond to mobility solutions within the HR of companies. The position switch of our logo from the shoulder to the back of the bib is, from a marketing point of view, a dream come true.”

John Lelangue, general manager Lotto Soudal: “The story of our partnership is one of continuity. G&V Energy Group has grown to a structural partner of Lotto Soudal, with the magnificent team busses as the signboard; we travelled a beautiful path so far and I am happy that CEO Xavier Dewulf and his team at G&V Energy Group support our ambitions for the coming years. Within the partnership, they will further focus on their multi-brand petrol card ‘CAPS’, through which they have a big potential reach.”

Decathlon plans its second full-sized US store, in San Francisco

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

SAN FRANCISCO (BRAIN) — Decathlon will open its second full-sized U.S. store in November, in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood.

The France-based chain, claimed to be the largest sporting goods retailer in the world, and likely the largest retailer of bicycles, as well, opened its first full scale U.S. store earlier this year in Emeryville. It opened a smaller test store in San Francisco last year.

The new store will have 38,370 square feet of space and include a large community space for events and workshops.

You can read the entire story here.

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