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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, November 28, 2019

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Plato's Phaedo

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Team Astana and Argon 18 end partnership

Here's Astana's press release:

The only Kazakh WorldTour squad Astana Pro Team would like to confirm the end of partnership with the Canadian road bike manufacturer Argon 18, which started in January 2017. The partnership has been ended by the mutual agreement as both, the team and the bike manufacturer have decided to continue their adventure in the world of professional cycling separately.

- It was a great pleasure and honor for us to work with Argon 18. We have spent three fantastic years, full of success and high sports achievements. I would like to thank Argon 18 for the sponsorship, support and contribution to the development of Astana Pro Team. After these three years of close collaboration we part as good friends. I wish Argon 18 all the best in the future and I am sure that the company with see more beautiful successes in their current new projects, - said Alexandr Vinokurov, general manager of Astana Pro Team.

Liege Bastogne Liege

2019 Liège-Bastogne-Liège was among the victories Astana won on Argon 18 bikes. Sirotti photo

Together with Argon 18, Astana Pro Team had three very successful seasons, scoring 85 victories (including Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2019, Critérium du Dauphiné 2017 & 2019, Amstel Gold Race 2018, Itzulia Basque Country 2019, Volta a Catalunya 2019 and 11 Grand-tour stages) and 141 podium places in the most prestigious races around the world (including the podiums of the Giro d’Italia 2018 and the Vuelta a Espana 2018).

- These last three seasons have been marked by multiple race wins and the launch of new products developed in collaboration with the team and tested by Astana Pro Team riders on the most demanding WorldTour circuits. We take great pride in the work accomplished throughout this sponsorship. A pride validated by the many positive comments from riders, mechanics and other Astana Pro Team staff regarding the quality of the products and support Argon 18 has provided them. In this sense, we can say: mission accomplished, - says Martin Le Sauteur, president and CEO of Argon 18.

Movistar Team makes huge gamble on youth in 2020

Here's the team's update:

Last Tuesday’s announcement of Mathias Norsgaard’s signing for the Movistar Team marks the culmination of a true revolution for the Telefónica-backed squad, which has set its goals on creating a youngster-friendly atmosphere to build its next era – the fifth decade of the team – starting in 2020.

Alongside Norsgaard, the men’s team managed by Eusebio Unzué will feature up to seven other riders aged 23 or younger. Former Spanish champion Iñigo Elosegui -21; the Dane is just few months older-; American Matteo Jorgenson (20); Colombians Einer Rubio (21) and Juan Diego Alba (22); Briton Gabriel Cullaigh (23); Switzerland’s Johan Jacobs (22) and Germany’s Juri Hollmann (20) will all be part of the Spanish outfit starting January 1st.

Added to that list, four Spaniards aged 26 or under take the list of youngsters within Eusebio Unzué’s ranks up to twelve. Other than Héctor Carretero and newcomer Sergio Samitier, the Blues will see two of its up-and-coming members taking leading roles at the Abarca Sports structure: Enric Mas and Marc Soler. Also Carlos Verona and Jorge Arcas, both born in 1992, will be adding value to this youthful team.

A look inside Cambodia’s bike industry that’s on the verge of losing EU trade benefits

Bike Europe sent me this report:

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – They are somewhat secretive about the way they operate. At least that’s the experience of this trade journal. That is why a film clip made during a recent visit by ZEG dealers to the largest bicycle manufacturer in Cambodia – Strongman – presents a unique picture of the scale of Cambodia’s bicycle industry. It’s also visualizing what this and other bike makers in the country are about to lose when the EU cancels Cambodia’s current trade benefits which is becoming more and more likely.

Currently Cambodia is by far the biggest exporter of bikes to the European Union 28 member states. The fact that Cambodia made (regular) bicycles managed to grow to that position, is because the country holds a duty-free export status of what it exports to the EU. That status is allowing companies operating in the country a 14 percent import duty edge on countries that do not hold such status.

This competitive edge provided Cambodia’s most prominent bike makers Strongman, A&J and Asama ample opportunities for growth. It pushed their EU export to some 1.5 million regular bikes in 2018 while in the first half of this year 835,000 bicycles were exported from Cambodia to the EU. It makes the country the by far biggest exporter of such products as the runner-up in the ranking of EU’s biggest suppliers of regular bicycles is Taiwan with 546,000 bikes.

Cambodia’s e-bike export still lagges behind as only some 3,000 were exported to the EU in the first half of 2019. Neighboring Vietnam is more successful in this category as it exported 115,000 e-bikes to the EU om the first six months of this year. Taiwan was the biggest e-bike exporter with some 200,000 units. Interesting is that almost all the Cambodian bike makers are of Taiwan origin and ownership.

It’s said that Europe’s biggest dealer cooperative – ZEG – is Cambodia’s biggest customer. The ‘Zweirad Einkauf Genossenschaft -has  some 1,000 affiliated retailers in Germany, Austria, the Benelux countries, France and Italy. ZEG’s Cambodian supplier is Strongman which is also said to be Cambodia’s biggest bike maker. How big exactly remains a mystery, as the company prefers to operate in secrecy. But the film clip in this report presents a clear picture on the huge scale of the Strongman operation in Cambodia. It was made during a recent visit by ZEG dealers.

You can read the entire story here.

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