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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

God not only plays dice, He also sometimes throws the dice where they cannot be seen. - Stephen Hawking

Upcoming racing, according to UCI revised calendar:

Latest completed racing:

André Greipel re-ups with Team Israel Start-Up Nation for two more years

Here's the team's press release:

André Greipel will continue his illustrious career with Team Israel Start-Up Nation, signing a two-year extension that will keep him with the Israeli team until the end of the 2022 season, well beyond his 40th birthday.

“To tell you the truth, I was expecting that the team would offer me a one-year extension,” revealed the German, the most successful active rider in pro cycling, with 156 victories to date. “Of course, I was very flattered and pleased that the team management shows so much trust in me. It was an easy decision to accept the offer, and I am fully ready to prolong my career and help the team keep growing.”

Andre Greipel

André Greipel at the 2020 Tour Down Under. Sirotti photo

An easy decision for André? It seems that it goes both ways. “André proved straight away that he is a rider with great character and exceptional leadership skills,” explained team manager Kjell Carlstrom. “We highly value his experience and what he brings to the team both in terms of his performance as well as guiding others. We look forward to having him on board for the rest of his career and ensuring that we can achieve a lot of success.”

This 2020-season started in a promising way for Greipel: He was shining in the Tour Down Under, with two top five finishes and a 6th place in his first race with the team, showing that he still possesses the power that made him one of the greatest sprinters of all time. “Frankly, I felt great in the team from day one, both on and off the bike,” he said. But soon after returning from Australia, things took a turn for the worse. Andre fractured his shoulder during a mid-February training ride and had to undergo a surgery. Soon thereafter, the whole season came to a halt due to the Corona crisis.

But the impression that Andre left on the team was unmistakable and left little doubt on the team hierarchy that he is a great asset: “Andre has been such a positive force on our team since he joined, beginning in our December training camp in Israel. Both riding in the Holy Land and participating in our touristic off-the-bike activities in our amazing and historically fascinating country made an impression on André”, recalled ISN’s team owner Sylvan Adams. “André carries himself with grace and humility, despite his impressive palmares. Prior to the Corona shutdown, Andre had been a great mentor to our younger riders, in particular to our Israeli neo-pro sprinter Itamar Einhorn, who scored the first podium ever by an Israeli, at the Tour Colombia.”

When he joined Israel Start-Up Nation, Greipel was not sure if he would continue beyond this season. Still, the Corona-derailed season and his smooth transition into the Israeli team made it almost natural to prolong his career with ISN. “I did not get the opportunity to race the full season, so when the team offered me the chance to stay, I consulted my family, and that was it. I still love racing. The atmosphere in the team is great. We all share the responsibility to make this team successful and bring in the results. It may be young and new in the WorldTour, but it’s very professional from A to Z. And as for me personally, I am ready to go.”

He smiles when he is asked about his age. “Actually, when I train with my young colleagues, they are complaining that we are going fast, and actually, I had to hold myself not to go too fast as I want to be fresh and ready for the season restart.” Is he still confident that he can add wins to his victory tally? “Of course! I am still capable of producing results, but we all share that responsibility in this team”.

His love affair with the team was so evident that when we asked him if he would consider staying with the team in a pro job after retiring in blue and white, he never hesitated: “Sure, I would like that.”

“We are all eager to see his performance once the season restarts,” said Adams. “Welcome back, André. We are proud to have you on our team.”

Bauke Mollema extends contract with Trek-Segafredo through 2022

Here's the team's announcement:

Bauke Mollema has penned a two-year contract extension with Trek-Segafredo. The 33-year-old Dutch rider, who has represented the US-registered WorldTeam since 2015, has renewed until the end of the 2022 season.

With 14 professional wins to his name, 10 of those in the Trek-Segafredo jersey, Mollema has been one of the cornerstones of Trek-Segafredo throughout the years. In the 2017 Tour de France, while working for Alberto Contador, he claimed his biggest victory.

At the end of the last season, the experienced Dutchman achieved another massive win when he soloed to his first Monument victory, Il Lombardia.

Bauke Mollema

Bauke Mollema wins 2019 Il Lombardia. Sirotti photo

“For me, the number one priority was to extend with Trek-Segafredo, and thankfully, the team felt the same way. I feel a lot of confidence from the team and our sponsors. We have enjoyed great moments together over the past years, but I still have great ambitions, and so does the team. The team’s current performance structure gives me the confidence that I can continue to develop and challenge myself as a rider. I’m happy to renew with Trek-Segafredo for another two years, and I’m certain that once we’re racing again, we’ll continue to be successful,” said Mollema.

General Manager Luca Guercilena underlined the importance of keeping Mollema, one of Trek-Segafredo leaders, within the team’s structure, where his experience, consistency, and fighting spirit make him a valuable asset.

“Bauke is a pillar for Trek-Segafredo. He has consistently delivered solid results, and the win in Lombardia was the cherry on the cake. We believe Bauke’s style of racing perfectly matches the team spirit, which is to always, ‘fight, fight, fight!’. This is one of the key reasons we want him with us for the next years, to keep this momentum, to perform, to win, and to be a role model for our younger riders. Bauke is one of Trek-Segafredo’s flagship riders, and we are proud to have him representing our team for the foreseeable future,” said Guercilena.

Bauke Mollema has been a permanent fixture for the team in the Grand Tours, having finished multiple times in the top 10 of the overall classification.

In the re-shaped 2020 season, Mollema will be targeting the GC at the Tour de France as a joint leader with teammate Richie Porte, seeking glory in the Ardennes Classics and looking for stage wins at the Vuelta a España.

Rick Vosper: The e-bike brand map is shifting

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News posted this interesting analysis by Mr. Vosper

As a follow-up to last year’s three-part series on the e-bike landscape, I reached out to e-bike guru Ed Benjamin of eCycleElectric for an update. Among other services, Benjamin's company tracks e-bike imports to the USA for clients in the bicycle, e-bike, automobile, motorcycle, and e-bike equipment industries. These imports enter the country under more than a dozen HS numbers (Department of Commerce import codes), which calls for a lot of data-crunching and interpretation.

It's amazing how much has changed in just one year.

For one thing, while imports of pedal-only bikes essentially tanked in 2019 over market pressures and fear of restrictive tariffs, e-bikes were booming. But because e-bikes are not counted in the bicycle import data, that boom went largely unnoticed by industry observers.

Last year, Benjamin estimated 2019 e-bike imports would grow to 300,000 pieces. This year, his adjusted numbers for 2019 come to 287,000. "The benefits of e-bikes simply outweighed the tariff concerns," he concludes. For 2020, factory closures and reopening issues over the coronavirus make it impossible to say with accuracy, but he forecasts shipments could reach 400,000 pieces.

The single biggest piece of news, Benjamin says, is that "By 2019, the largest share of imports had shifted away from a handful of companies who sold primarily through Amazon under various brands. Instead, the bulk is now going to consumer-direct e-bike specialists, brick and mortar e-bike specialists (EBDs), and conventional bicycle brands in the IBD channel."

You can read the entire piece here.

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