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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, May 19, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Good humor is one of the best articles of dress one can wear in society. - William Makepeace Thackeray

Upcoming racing, according to UCI revised calendar:

Latest completed racing:

Vincenzo Nibali, Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema keep original targets for 2020

Trek-Segafredo posted this:

Trek-Segafredo’s General Classification contenders will maintain their respective key goals set out at the start of 2020 once the racing season resumes this summer. Vincenzo Nibali will target the Giro d’Italia GC while Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema will share leadership roles at the Tour de France.

Multiple Grand Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali will aim to win the Maglia Rosa at Giro d’Italia for the third time in his career as he’ll focus on a predominantly Italian race schedule, lining up for several marquee events on home soil. At the Italian Grand Tour Nibali will enjoy the support of compatriot and 2019 Giro KOM jersey winner Giulio Ciccone. 

Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali at the 2019 Giro d'Italia, where he finished second. Sirotti photo

“This new calendar in perspective brings a wave of positivity and optimism in a very complicated season. What awaits us, with a schedule full of events compacted in just three months, is extraordinary and we must do our utmost to be ready. Personally, I’ll focus on an exclusively Italian calendar, with the Giro still at the center of my goals, which makes me happy and proud. I’m also waiting for updates on the Worlds. With the team we have defined a measured preparation to be competitive already in the first events in August,” said Nibali.

The re-shuffle of the racing calendar will have the professional peloton line up for key events in unprecedented dates. This could affect both the usual preparation timelines as well as the racing itself but Nibali is ready for the challenge ahead.

“There are many unknown variables, both in terms of preparation and in the races. Climbing the high mountains of the Giro in Autumn or riding the 300 km of Milano-Sanremo in August, for example, it’s something unprecedented. But I like new challenges and the desire to pin on a number is great. From the first altitude training camp in July I have four months of full immersion ahead of me. I am motivated and, above all, I’m optimistic that I can go back to doing what we, riders and fans, like: racing,” concluded the two-times Giro d’Italia winner who is scheduled to resume racing at the Strade Bianche on August 1st.

Like Nibali, Australian Richie Porte is committed to his original target of the season, in his case the Tour de France.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte winning stage six of the 2019 Tour Down Under. Sirotti photo

“The Tour de France remains my main goal for the season, and it starts with the added bonus of riding on my local roads in Nice. However, it’s definitely going to be uncharted territory racing the Tour in September. I’m not sure how different it will be, though I don’t expect it to be as hot as normal and the weather might be a bit more fickle in the mountains,” said Porte

The 35-year-old Tasmanian started the season on a high note winning a stage and the General Classification at the 2020 Santos Tour Down Under, the first UCI World Tour race of the year and then carried his good form to Europe taking a GC podium at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var.

“It was a great start to the season for me personally, but since then it’s been such a strange period with no racing and not even being able to get out on the bike. The fact that we’re going to have some races at the end of the year is good for the sport. The team has been very good at this time, very transparent in keeping us informed about what’s happening behind the scenes. It’s finally going to be nice to put some kilometers in on the road and get the season restarted.”

Porte, who resides in Monaco during the season, endured a two-month-long lockdown before being allowed to train outdoors.

“When the revised calendar was released it definitely made it easier to get back on the trainer during the lockdown period. Now, it’s been a week since I’ve been allowed out on the road and of course the fire is burning for the Tour de France, but when you miss nine weeks of riding on the road it’s a shock to the system. With cycling being such a goal-driven sport, it’s really good to have a calendar that we can now work towards,” concluded Porte.

Bauke Mollema will share Trek-Segafredo’s leadership at the 2020 Tour de France with Porte. The experienced Dutchman was originally slated to contest the general classification at the Grand Boucle and will couple that goal with a participation in the Vuelta a España a month later, where he’ll target stage wins.

Bauke Mollema

Bauke Mollema at the 2019 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

“My goals for the rest of the season are still more or less the same. After this break, I am really looking forward to racing again. Until now it was more about staying fit but with the new calendar, we can really start working towards our goals. It will be a busy few months, but I really hope we can give the fans a lot to cheer for again,” said Mollema.

Should racing resume according to the revised 2020 UCI calendar both Bauke Mollema and Richie Porte are aiming to re-start their season at the three-stage French race Tour de L’Ain (August 7-9).

Luis Villalobos suspended for Adverse Analytical Finding while racing for Aevolo in 2019

EF Pro Cycling sent me this press release:

The team was notified Monday, May 18, 2020 of a potential anti-doping rule violation committed by Luis Villalobos in 2019 while riding for the Aevolo team. Villalobos is suspended from the team indefinitely.

According to a letter sent from the UCI, the sample was taken out of competition on April 25, 2019 in Lago de Moreno, Mexico, and indicated the presence of GHRP-6 in the rider’s A sample. GHRP-6 is a growth-hormone releasing peptide. Villalobos joined the team on Aug. 1, 2019.

“This team was set up to protect the health and the rights of riders across the sport, particularly the younger riders as they entered the professional level. It’s hugely upsetting for us when these young riders fall under the guidance of amateur doctors and trainers who ultimately ruin their careers,” EF Education First CEO Jonathan Vaughters said Monday, upon learning of the situation.

The team is profoundly disappointed to learn of the potential violation more than a year after the sample was taken and is exploring its legal rights with regard to the extremely delayed notification. Only World Anti-Doping Agency accredited labs are able to test for GHRP-6, and teams are not allowed to use those labs in the internal screening processes of athletes due to potential conflicts of interest.

“If we’d have known, we would not have signed Luis,” Vaughters said. “The burden of this is on the UCI because there is no internal testing program that has access to the level of equipment needed to screen for GHRP-6.”

As noted by the UCI, Villalobos, 21, now has the right to request the opening and analysis of the B sample, which was collected at the same time as his A sample.

“Everyone deserves better. Luis deserved better guidance and mentoring from his past trainers and doctors. And the team deserved better from the UCI than to learn of this situation more than a year after the fact,” Vaughters said. “While it’s encouraging that the system is catching riders, it has to be more transparent and accountable than this. We are going to encourage Luis to not fight this and to tell the truth, whatever that may be.”

Receivership will 'alleviate unsustainable costs' for Mavic, Regent partner says

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News posted this update

PARK CITY, Utah (BRAIN) — Mavic's U.S. operations are continuing as usual despite the brand's French wing being put into receivership, the CEO of MAVIC USA told BRAIN.

"For all intents and purposes, it's business as usual in the U.S. and Canada," said David Steinhafel, the CEO. Steinhafel is a principal in Regent LP, the California-based investment group that acquired Mavic from Amer Sports last year.

While Regent bought the entire company, Steinhafel said the North American operations are separate legal entities from the French business that is undergoing restructuring. The French company, Mavic SAS, has been under management by a turn-around firm since February.

Steinhafel said the U.S. operations have resumed operations following a shut down due to COVID-19 and that customer service and sales functions are underway at the brand's U.S. center in Utah. He said he expects no product shortfalls here. The company's operations in France remain closed due to the virus response, however.

In a letter to customers and other partners Monday, Steinhafel said the receivership process in France will allow the company "to alleviate unsustainable costs and hopefully access additional capital to secure the future of the business, and emerge a stronger company with the ability to better serve our customers worldwide."

Steinhafel said that despite publicized remarks by a member of the company's labor committee in France, there is no question that Regent acquired Mavic and is its owner. He said Regent set up a separate company, M Sports International LLC, to acquire Mavic. It was a commonplace business practice, he said.

"M Sports is entity we control," he said.

Steinhafel declined to elaborate on the receivership situation in France.

However, sources close to the company tell BRAIN that the separation of Mavic's French operations from its former owner is complicated. Complying with French and EU regulations and negotiating a transition services agreement is one reason why it took almost five months between the time Regent announced it had agreed to purchase Mavic and the completion of the deal in July.

You can read the entire story here.

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