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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, December 24, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

An optimist is someone who gets treed by a lion but enjoys the scenery. - Walter Winchell

Upcoming racing:

Latest completed racing:

Team DSM (Team Sunweb in 2020) sign Esmée Peperkamp to their Women's program for 2021

The team sent me this news release:

Esmée Peperkamp will join Team DSM from next season, with the Dutch rider wearing the team’s two distinctive Keep Challenging stripes for the 2021 season.

Picking up a number of solid results in her opening year riding in the peloton, Peperkamp's second season on the road in 2020 was stunted. Whilst only riding two races in 2020, she still claimed a strong seventh place over some tough terrain and against talented opposition at the Trophée des Grimpeuses. A rider with plenty of room left to develop, Peperkamp can cope well on both the short and long climbs, while also producing good efforts against the clock.

Peperkamp said: “I have always wanted to race at the highest level of cycling, and to do so with Team DSM for 2021 feels like a dream come true. I have always been a fan of the approach Team DSM has to cycling, I really like their Keep Challenging philosophy and desire to improve, and I can’t wait to contribute to this. I want to develop myself to become a better rider in all areas and I think Team DSM is the perfect place for me to do so because of their focus on development combined with a lot of experience and knowledge within the team. I am really looking forward to learning as much as possible from all of the experienced girls in the team and riding with them next year. I am really thankful to be given this opportunity and am dedicated to get the best out of myself and to support the team during the races.”

Team DSM head of coaching Rudi Kemna continued: “Esmée just started cycling a few years ago and every year has progressively made solid steps. We conducted some tests at our Keep Challenging Center which confirmed her strong ability on the bike, with Esmée producing some high numbers and showing that she is a physically gifted athlete, and one that suits the climbs. Esmée has only been racing in the peloton for a short time so still needs to adapt to the rigours and tactics required to race at the top level, but she has shown that she has the attitude to develop that. There is no pressure on her as she joins, and she will need to make these steps gradually but we’re confident that with our group of experts, trainers and coaches – she is in just the right place to do that."

Bike supplies are getting tight, prices are going up

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News posted this cautionary story about bike shortages in Australia:

If you own or work in a bike shop I would urge you to read this article. It might not make for happy reading, but I hope it will help you get through 2021 ... at least a little better than those dealers who don't read it.

As the sole specialist bicycle trade media person in Australia, I find myself in a unique and privileged position. Firstly, because I'm neutral like Switzerland, I have the opportunity to speak with every wholesaler and retailer, not just the importers or dealers of certain brands.

Secondly, I'm grateful that bicycle trade members are consistently generous with their time and candid with their comments, on the understanding that any information shared off the record remains that way.

Thanks to COVID-19 travel restrictions finally lifting, I've been able to take a few road trips lately and meet most of the major bike and P&A wholesalers face to face.

To summarize their hours of comments into a single paragraph: "If you thought supply was tight in the second half of 2020 then you ain't seen nothin' yet! 2021 will be tighter still, possibly for the entire year."

I'll start by going into more details as to how key industry members have reached this conclusion. Then I'll finish by suggesting some things you can do about it to help steer your store through another challenging year.

As we all know, our collective bike industry COVID-19 story to date has been that after some initial uncertainty, demand for our products took off in March and stayed at full throttle, at least until about June or July for most dealers. Then a combination of winter and supply constraints started to bite, and things leveled off, but still at a much higher altitude than where we normally fly for each respective month.

This leads to the first problem for 2021. Virtually all of the reserve stock that wholesalers usually hold so that retailers can order on demand, has been sold. During my road trips I've walked down empty aisles of warehouses that might normally hold 10,000 bikes with barely a few hundred. One company reported 107 bikes in stock compared to a usual holding of 18,000 bikes. Other smaller warehouses were completely empty with the next two or three shipments already fully pre-sold.

They're using different allocation systems, but one way or another, every wholesaler is rationing bikes and those bikes that land are coming in and going straight out again without even leaving the loading dock.

Most bikes come into Australia in 40-foot "high cube" shipping containers. The shipping cost per container has gone ballistic. Depending upon which wholesaler I spoke to and their particular contract situation, typical increases were in the 300% to 400% range, from say $1,200 normally to say $4,800 now.

This should drop off a little after the peak summer season, but there are also major disruptions being caused by waterfront disputes, COVID-19-related fumigation issues, the escalating trade war with China aggravating a backlog of empty containers waiting to be returned to China and other issues.

So next time you hear one of your suppliers talking about freight issues and delays, they're not making it up!

You can (should) read the entire story here.

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