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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, January 31, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it. - James Baldwin

Plato's Apology

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Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team reports on the first race of the Challenge Illes Balears

We posted the report from stage winner Matteo Moschetti's Trek-Segafredo team with the results.

Here's the Bora-hansgrohe report:

Traditionally BORA – hansgrohe opens its European season with the races of the Mallorca Challenge. Like in previous years, the first race around Felanitx was one for the sprinters in the bunch and after a small leading group was gone for most of the day, finally it all came down to the expected bunch sprint. Former German Champion Pascal Ackermann was led out from his BORA – hansgrohe teammates and finished off a strong team effort with a second place.

Matteo Moschetti

Matteo Moschetti is first across the line.

From the Finish Line:
" It was really difficult today to get the positioning right in the finale. It was quite nervous and in the end it was not enough to take the win. My legs were ok, but it is always hard in the first race to get back to this racing rhythm. For sure my sprint was not optimal today, but there is another chance for me here in Mallorca on Sunday." – Pascal Ackermann

"The race went as expected and basically, we had everything under control. To have a small breakaway was ideal, but in the end, they were stronger than we thought, and we had to ride with three guys in the bunch to catch them. For that reason, our lead-out was not that strong anymore in the finale. The last kilometers have been quite frantic with all those corners and in the end our timing was a little off today. Still, to start the season with a second is not bad at all.” – André Schulze Sports Director

Race Torquay team reports

We posted the report from winner Sam Bennett's Deceuninck-Quick Step team with the results.

Second-place Giacomo Nizzolo's NTT team posted this update:

Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quickstep) sprinted to victory at the inaugural edition of the UCI 1.1 Race Torquay, this evening. Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) produced another solid sprint to take 2nd place, with Alberto Dainese (Team Sunweb) rounding out the podium in 3rd.

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett wins in Torquay.

The 133km Race Torquay took place in fading evening light, around a 10 lap circuit in Torquay. The criterium style race was run at a high pace throughout, with a number of attacks coming from the main group.

However, with a keen interest from a number of sprint teams to work on the front of the peloton, including our own NTT Pro Cycling, all escape attempts were neutralized. NTT Pro Cycling was riding in service of our Italian, Giacomo Nizzolo, who was also celebrating his 31st birthday today.

Another strong team effort allowed Nizzolo to take the wheel of Bennett in the frantic final kilometers, but the Irishman was just able to hold off the late surge from Nizzolo for the line.

Giacomo Nizzolo – Rider:
“The beginning of today’s race was quite challenging as it was very hot but the guys were really good. We rode very well today as a team and the feeling only got better near the end of the race. Overall it was a good performance by us, the win would have been better but for today, 2nd place is okay.“

And here's the race report from third-place Alberto Dainese's Team Sunweb:

The peloton was back in action at Race Torquay today, with ten laps of a 13 kilometre circuit to be taken on. Although the race started later in the afternoon, the temperatures were still high with an average of around 35 degrees, which made the rolling parcours in the middle of the route more challenging than expected.

After an aggressive and attacking first lap, Robert Power made it into the initial break of the day alongside four other riders. They worked well together to increase their lead but with four laps to go the gap came tumbling down and everything was back together. A new breakaway duo formed out front and the race settled into a steadier pace once again.

With around 16 kilometres to go the duo were caught and focus turned towards the expected sprint finish in Torquay. A flurry of attacks ensured that the pace was high on the last lap as the sprint trains battled for position at the front of the bunch, with the team working well to move Alberto Dainese through the group ahead of the finish.

Coming out of the last corner with 200 metres to go, Dainese was in fifth wheel and delivered a strong turn of speed to cross the line in third place; his first podium finish for the team.

“The guys did a good job to keep me safe all day and bring me into the front on the final lap,” explained Dainese after the race. “Asbjørn did the last five kilometres before Max then brought me into the final kilometre. After Max dropped me off I tried to find the best wheel to follow for the finish. I hesitated a little bit when starting my sprint and it was too late to go for the win as it was a really fast finish.”

Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts continued: “It was an interesting circuit here in Torquay with a 13 kilometre lap that included a bit of climbing and a nice finish along the coast. It was a very hot day but luckily during the race the temperature cooled off, although it was still around 30 degrees at the finish. It was a hard race for the guys due to the temperatures which made the circuit that bit tougher. Some of the sprinters were getting a hard time on the circuit and it was an interesting race with lots of attacks but it came down to a bunch sprint in the end. We had Alberto tucked in safe all day and the guys showed great commitment to set him up for the finish. He was able to start his sprint in a good position and took a good third place in the sprint. It’s Alberto’s first podium with us so we’re happy with the result.”

Vasil Kiryienka to retire

Kiryienka's Team INEOS sent me this:

Vasil Kiryienka has today announced his retirement from professional cycling, following medical advice regarding a cardiac issue.

The 38 year-old Belarusian, who joined the team in 2013, missed the start of last season owing to a cardiac anomaly, only to return to competitive racing at the Tour de Romandie in 2019 - the team’s first race as Team INEOS.

Vasil kiryienka

Vasil Kiryienka at the 2019 Vuelta. Sirotti photo

He went on to enjoy success at the European Games time trial in his home country of Belarus, before rounding off the year at the Vuelta a Espana, his 11th and final Grand Tour race with the team.

Kiryienka said: “It’s a really sad day for me, but it’s the right decision based on the advice I’ve been given by the medical team. I’ve had a wonderful career and enjoyed every minute racing with this team. It’s been an incredible journey and I am so grateful for all the support I’ve received throughout my whole career.”

A hugely experienced rider and well respected amongst his peers, Kiry’s record speaks for itself with five team successes in his 20 Grand Tour appearances, a 2013 Vuelta a Espana stage victory and three Giro d’Italia stage wins, including a famous solo win to Sestriere in 2011.

The Belarusian also won the individual Time Trial at the World Championships in 2015 and has recorded overall victories at Route du Sud (2011), Chrono des Nations (2015, 2016) and GP Citta di Camaiore (2008).

Team Principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, added: “It is disappointing for Kiry and for us as a team. He is a true one-off and one of the greatest team riders of his generation. When a rider in a breakaway looked back and saw the open shirted Kiry on the front of the peloton driving the chase they knew their days were numbered.

“He had a unique hallmark style of maintaining a rock solid upper body whilst generating enormous power, hour after hour. The only thing that changed during his metronomic efforts was his grimace would grow as he dug to the very depths of his energy giving his all to the team, day after day.

“We have been lucky to have him ride with us over the last seven years and are proud to have supported him to some incredible victories: the time trial rainbow bands, his breakaway win at the Vuelta and all of his TT victories in our colours.

“While this is a tough decision to take it is obviously the right one and we support him fully in it. We wish him every success and the team will continue to support him in the future.” 

Coronavirus: Taipei Cycle Show will take place as scheduled

Bike Europe sent me this news:

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The question that currently concerns many within the industry is whether the Taipei Cycle Show, which is being held at the beginning of March, will take place as scheduled. Of course, that question is related to the coronavirus, which is causing more and more infections, especially in China, and that, for example, means that manufacturer Bafang has to extend its Chinese New year holiday for a week longer on government instructions. However, earlier today, the organizer of the Taipei Cycle Show issued a clear statement saying that the trade fair will take place as normal, but that visitors from mainland China are not welcome.

In an initial statement released by the Taipei Cycle Show organizer TAITRA (Taiwan External Trade Development Council) earlier today, it says “The Taipei Cycle Show will be held as scheduled. Our government is taking this issue with extreme caution. The Custom authorities and the “Taiwan Centers for Disease Control” have imposed very strict restrictions on all travelers from (mainland) China, in which they are banned to travel and enter Taiwan. Check the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control which provides updates on the issue every day here.”
A statement, dated 29 January, published on this website says that there are currently “Eight confirmed cases” of individuals infected with the coronavirus in Taiwan. A further statement from the Taipei Cycle Show organizer TAITRA is expected for tomorrow.

In mainland China the death toll currently stands at 170 with 7,783 confirmed cases of with the coronavirus infected individuals. By the way, it’s also reported that 133 individuals recovered from the disease.

Because of the further spreading of the virus and in ultimate attempts to stop it, the Chinese government is taking drastic measures. This also affects the sector. As said measures have been imposed on e-bike drivetrain manufacturer Bafang, as well as other suppliers operating for the bicycle sector which are currently not named. The government actions include also that major events including trade shows are being canceled. Among them the Ispo Beijing 2020 show; the largest and most important sporting goods fair in China.

As said Bafang is ordered to extend its Chinese New Year holiday with one week. The company’s Suzhou facility must not open until February 8th on which it issued a statement yesterday that says “As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of e-bike drive systems, Bafang wants to inform their customers about the consequences of an officially ordered business shut-down.

Following a governmental statement from the city of Suzhou, all corporations have to keep their offices and production sites closed for another week after the traditional Chinese New Year festivities.”

On the consequences for lead-times Jack Brandsen, GM for Bafang Europe, states “Instead of the usual maximum of 60 days, the delivery of components to OE customers could be extended by a few days. We expect 65 to 70 days lead-time in the upcoming weeks. This is still much shorter than most of our competition.”

This Bafang statement only takes into account the current decision. The company emphasizes “Should the authorities in China take further measures and/or extend the current mandatory break for companies, even greater delays in the supply chain cannot be ruled out.”

You can read the entire story here.

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