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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, March 6, 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

Old people love to give good advice; it compensates them for their inability to set a bad example. - Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Adam Yates to ride Tour de France

Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this:

2016 best young rider Adam Yates will line up at the Tour de France in July, motivated to impact the top-end of the general classification battle.

Having finished fourth that same year, things didn’t go to plan for the 26-year-old when he returned in 2018, settling for 29th place, a result he’s determined to turn in his favour this year.

The 2019 Tour de France route, released last year, features limited time trialling in the form of one team time trial and one individual individual time trial, a surprising number of climbs at high altitude and some extreme stage lengths, both long and short.

Adam Yates

Adam Yates wins the seventh stage of the 2018 Dauphine. Sirotti photo

Adam Yates:
“I’m super excited to go back to the Tour this year. Last year we made some mistakes that cost us and it was a big disappointment, so it’ll be good to go back and rectify that. Even though I’ve got earlier races/targets coming up, in the back of my mind everything I’m doing is build up for the Tour.

“Already this year the team has been really committed in all aspects and it just goes to show because the results are flowing. Even though the Tour is a long way away at this moment in time and there’s a lot of races before we get there, it’s a good feeling to see the team working so well so early in the season.

“Obviously 2016 was a highlight for me personally, riding almost two weeks in the white jersey and eventually finishing fourth on general classification was an amazing experience and confirmed to myself that I can ride at the highest level for three weeks.”

Matt White:
“The challenge for any athlete is repeating a breakthrough performance. Adam showed in 2016 that he can mix it with the big boys at the Tour de France, he had a very solid Giro in 2017 and even though last year didn’t go as we had planned, we are heading back this year with ambitions of Adam challenging for a spot on the podium come July.”

“Adam will have a great team supporting him and I really believe he is going to show what he is capable of. He is one of the best climbers in the world and helping him to put it all together for three weeks on the biggest stage is an exciting challenge. We are also continuing to learn as a team and we are going through that process with different groups of riders at different races and that will only continue.

“It is an interesting course with limited time trial kilometres and some very high passes, which have not been seen before in the Tour de France. I like the route and avoiding Western France makes that first week a little less tense. We are in the mountains quite early and with a team time trial day two we will certainly see the lay of the land quite early in proceedings.”

NOTE: All riders subject to final selection process.

Team Sunweb's upcoming racing

The squad sent me this preview:

Umag Trophy: MAR 6

Sebastian Deckert - Team Sunweb coach
"Umag Trophy is the first race of the season and we're really looking forward to it after a good winter training period. Our line-up contains a combination of our more experienced riders, with younger riders who have just came up from the juniors so this will be a valuable learning experience for them. Edo, Xandres and Ludvig all make their debut for the team and are looking forward to getting into racing with us. Our main goal for this race is to work on our communication and team work, transferring our tactics from theory into practice to hopefully get a good result on the day."

Leon Heinschke (GER)
Edo Maas (NED)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Florian Stork (GER)
Xandres Vervloesem (BEL)
Ludvig Anton Wacker (DEN)

Women's Strade Bianche: MAR 9

Nicolas Marche - Team Sunweb coach
"Strade Bianche is certainly one of the most exciting one-day races of the season and as the opening of the Women's WorldTour, it's set to be an exciting race. The unique gravel roads always provide a lot of good action which is exactly what we like as a team. We go to Toscana really motivated having various good cards to play with Liane, Lucinda and Janneke all riders that we expect to play a part in the final."

Lucinda Brand (NED)
Janneke Ensing (NED)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Coryn Rivera (USA)

Lucinda Brand

Lucinda Brand will riding Tuscany's white roads (Strade Bianche) this year.

Strade Bianche: MAR 9

Luke Roberts - Team Sunweb coach
"On Saturday our Classics season continues in Italy with Strade Bianche. The race has 60 kilometres of dirt roads over 11 sectors and last year we saw a real race of attrition with the weather. We have a debutant to the race with Sam, who's in good shape at the moment and will be there with Robert in the final, who finished 5th here last year. This is also the first race for Kragh Andersen brothers together on the team, so it will be a special day for them. Alongside them we have Nikias as our captain and Nicholas to bring his experience to support this captainship, with Marc also making his debut on the WorldTour. This is always an incredible race and we're eager to get to the start line and make the most out of it."

Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Marc Hirschi (SWI)
Sam Oomen (NED)
Robert Power (AUS)
Nicholas Roche (IRE)

Porec Trophy: MAR 9

Sebastian Deckert - Team Sunweb coach
"We bring a relatively young team to Porec Trophy, with the younger guys able to benefit from the experience of riders like Florian, who will soon make the step to our WorldTour program. This will be Ben's first race with us and after a good winter training block, he is super motivated for that. In comparison to earlier in the week, this course is a bit more hilly and an uphill finish for the last 1.5 kilometres will make it more challenging. Our goal here is to bring points from our first race at Umag Trophy and directly make learning steps in working together as a team."

Leon Heinschke (GER)
Ben Katerberg (CAN)
Edo Maas (NED)
Florian Stork (GER)
Xandres Vervloesem (BEL)
Ludvig Anton Wacker (DEN)

Paris-Nice: MAR 10-17

Marc Reef - Team Sunweb coach
"We head to Paris-Nice with both GC and sprint ambitions, with Wilco our guy for the overall and Michael our leader on the flat and hilly stages. We bring a well rounded team here to support our goals with Roy bringing a lot of experience as our captain. We expect to see three possibly hectic and windy stages early on in the race where we directly have to be sharp and look day by day to the best possible plan to reach our goals."

Roy Curvers

Roy Curvers will be the Sunweb team captain at Paris-Nice. Sirotti photo

Jan Bakelants (BEL)
Roy Curvers (NED)
Wilco Kelderman (NED)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)
Louis Vervaeke (BEL)

Ag2r to ride Paris-Nice

The team sent me this:

“The first three stages of Paris-Nice will be fairly traditional, and we will certainly expect to invest a lot of effort in keeping our two leaders, Tony Gallopin and Romain Bardet, well placed. Starting on Wednesday, the crossing of the Massif Central with the arrival in Pélussin, can create the first surprises. The time trial around Barbentane will be interesting as a test with a view to the next Tour de France. Of course, the attraction of the week will be the climb of Turini on Saturday. It will be the first long pass of the beginning of the season, climbing more than fifteen kilometers. The guy’s bodies are not yet accustomed to this kind of effort. For several years, we have also seen that the short stage on Sunday can tilt the race. Throughout this past weekend, whether in Belgium or on the roads of the Drôme Ardèche, we were playing a big part in all of the races. We hope to continue in that direction.” - Julien Jurdie, Director Sportif

Benoit Cosnefroy

Benoit Cosnefroy will ride Paris-Nice. Here he wins the 1017 U23 World Championships. Sirotti photo.

Benoit Cosnefroy will race Paris-Nice for the first time. The 2017 U23 World Champion has completed 15 days of racing since taking the start at the Santos Tour Down Under.

Decathlon’s sales up in 2018 but not like in previous years

Bike Europe sent me this industry update:

LILLE, France – Decathlon posted a global sales increase of 5 percent to 11.3 billion euros excluding VAT for 2018. Despite this positive result, the market was not as good as in the past four years for the sports retail giant. Between 2014 and 2017 Decathlon still generated a double-digit sales increase annually.

For the financial year 2018, Decathlon generated a net profit of 497 million euros. In 2017 Decathlon still posted a net profit of 610 million euro, a decline of 18.5%. Perhaps the decreased sales growth was the reason of the much-discussed appointment of Fabien Derville as the new CEO of Decathlon last December. Why Matthieu Leclercq – son of the founder of the world’s biggest sporting goods retailer (including bicycles), stepped down as CEO remains a mystery. French media described it as ‘an ongoing crisis’.

You can read the entire story here.

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