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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, May 3, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Worry is like a rocking chair: It gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere. - Erma Bombeck

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BORA remains fully committed to its sponsorship agreement with BORA-hansgrohe

Here's the team's release:

News is surfacing that several UCI WorldTour cycling team sponsors are dialling back their sponsorship commitments. The BORA – hansgrohe cycling team’s title sponsor BORA is bucking this trend, however, by continuing to sponsor the team in full as contractually agreed. Willi Bruckbauer, CEO of BORA Lüftungstechnik based in Raubling, Germany, emphasises the company’s commitment, saying, “We want to set an example. Even at a time like this, we think that we should still honour our agreement. We will stay fully committed to the team.” The company partnered with the team back in 2012, and this is its sixth year being the title sponsor for one of the most successful UCI WorldTeams. As things stand, the Tour de France – which accounts for around three quarters of BORA’s media value in a year – is set to take place in autumn and so is likely to be the only large, international sporting event of 2020. It seems the company’s advertising value from taking part will be unaffected due to the event’s enormous TV coverage.


The Bora-hansgrohe team at the 2019 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

“We’ve had outstanding media value over the last few years from our sponsorship activities, boosting BORA’s commercial success,” explains Bruckbauer. “That is why we are staying the team’s reliable partner in these challenging circumstances and helping the riders to prepare as best as possible for the new, shorter race calendar. We are also continuing our commitment as we are hoping for exceptional ratings in this exceptional year, and by the same token, we are continuing to place accompanying TV adverts. Investing in the future like this should also help us to secure jobs,” says Bruckbauer, who is seeing a significant drop off in orders at the moment. Nevertheless, he thinks that the company is well equipped for the future after performing very well in Q1 thanks to its new products and strong brand identity, and because the supply chain remains fully functioning as upstream suppliers in Germany and Austria are showing great commitment too. “Right now we’re sticking to our company objectives,” says Bruckbauer today.

Even though some employees needed to have their hours reduced as part of the ‘Kurzarbeit’ scheme due to the nature of their work, the company intends to stop this scheme as soon it can so as to restore and maintain full employment and, as far as possible, hire new employees in line with the company’s goals. Willi Bruckbauer explains, “That’s how we’re approaching the situation. My personal goal is to fulfil our commitments to our employees too.”

“For me, the pandemic is in the past, and I’m looking to the future with positivity,” continues the Bavarian businessman. Bruckbauer is unequivocal about his disappointment in how the German government is handling the crisis: “I’m hoping politicians make a U-turn and safeguard the future. They have been putting fundamental freedoms and economic prosperity at stake, not just now but for future generations too, by overemphasising the data over the last few weeks and months. The State’s excessive regulations will bring us economic ruin. Even politicians make errors of judgement, they are human. Apologising would be the most honest way to respond.”

Joe Dombrowski staying optimistic about 2020 goals

Dombrowski's UAE-Team Emirates posted this:

Like everyone, I have had ups and downs in my career, but I think anyone who sets out on any fruitful venture, be it bike racing or otherwise, does so based on optimism. I think it’s incredibly important to stay positive and optimistic especially in trying times.

Joseph Dombrowski

Joe Dombrowksi winning stage six of the 2019 Tour of Utah.

As a team we got off to a tremendous start this year, winning 11 times in the first 2 months! We worked very hard during the off season in the winter and it seemed like all that hard work was paying off. We were going into every race with our tails up, the momentum on our side and winning. Of course, it was disappointing to have to stop racing, but if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, as sportsmen, we are not alone in this and the correct decision was made.

My first race in 2020 and my first race for the UAE Team Emirates team was the Tour of Valencia. Overall, it was a good start to the year for me but in Spain I had a couple crashes which put a dampener on things. However, this was the first chance I had of riding with Tadej Pogacar which was an absolute pleasure – especially when he won so convincingly! Tadej is a very special talent and looks to have a great future ahead of him.

I felt quite good in Portugal, my next race, and was riding strongly. I was there to support Rui Costa so it wasn’t a race that I’d be chasing my own results. UAE Team Emirates has a very talented roster, and so in coming to a team like this, everyone must do their part. I was there to help the team and back Rui where needed. In my own head this race confirmed my reasoning to join UAE Team Emirates, I thought ‘yeah, I’m where I need to be now’ which was great. When we get back to racing, I hope with hard work, focus and a bit of luck I can show the team that I deserve some freedom too. I think it would’ve been a good spring for me had the season not been stopped.

My primary focus originally for the season was the Giro (at least for the first half of the year). After that, we would have needed to reassess and make new objectives for the second half of the year. Of course, all that planning has now been thrown out the window and we will have to sit down again when the race organizers decide how the season will play out.

I am optimistic that we will still be racing later this year, and when we have a clearer picture of what that might look like, everyone can start thinking more seriously about their objectives. In the meantime, it’s about keeping fit, staying positive and looking at the scenario pragmatically – it’s not often pro cyclists get to spend so much time with their families during this time of the year, so for that, I am grateful.

Pre-isolation I was spending my time in Nice, France with my wife, but we returned to the US a few weeks ago. In Nice we live downtown in the port so it’s very difficult to go outside and cycle, in the States we live in a more rural area, and I felt at this time, it would be a better move for us. Generally speaking, Nice has become our home but we still get back to the US over the holidays.

We are lucky for the time being that in the US outdoor activity with strict social distancing measures is still permitted, which has been a huge relief as I am able to carry on cycling. It’s important to stay fit during this layoff and it’s given me a chance to focus on things that are easier to neglect during the race season, like strength and mobility work.

I wish everyone in the UAE all the best and hope that everyone is following the policies put in place by the UAE government. Stay home, stay safe.

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