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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, May 29, 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

We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know. - W. H. Auden

Story of the Giro d'Italia volume 2

Upcoming racing, according to UCI revised calendar:

Latest completed racing:

Bora-hansgrohe prepares for the season recommencement in Ötztal, Austria

Here's the team's press release:

From mid-June, Bora - hansgrohe will be preparing for the return of the season with its first training camp. In order to ensure that the camp remains as safe as possible, a team-specific Corona Protocol has been specially devised, with the riders also being divided into groups. Ötztal offers perfect conditions for this, as accommodation is offered both in the valley as well as above 2000m altitude. [Ötztal is in Tyrol, Austria]

Bora Hansgrohe

The Bora-hansgrohe team is headed to the Austrian Alps. Sirotti photo

"First and foremost, we are all very happy that things are finally commencing again. This camp serves as a type of prelude to the return to everyday life for all of us. We have two months to prepare for our first races, so the training camp is ideal and everyone is very motivated. Our partnership with Ötztal is really paying dividends, because they did everything they could to make this camp possible. We have perfect conditions, both at altitude and in the valley. Therefore we can offer tailored programs for our athletes, so that they’ll all be able to return to top form in August." - Ralph Denk, Team Manager

"For the team, it is, and has always been, our aim, even before the Corona crisis, to offer a responsible and sustainable approach to healthcare for our riders and staff. The Corona pandemic has presented us with new challenges, but it does not lead us to question these values. Instead, we are expanding upon them with new concepts that we have introduced to adapt to our new circumstances. The basis of these concepts lies in infection prevention through hygiene and behavioural regulations, well thought-out control over work processes and contacts, and clearly regulated medical measures such as targeted Covid-19 testing." - Jan- Niklas Droste, Team Doctor

"We are very pleased that Team BORA - hansgrohe will soon commence training in Ötztal and prepare in this location for the race-intensive late summer. The team will be surrounded by the cycling attractions which sit right on our doorstep: the Timmelsjoch, which at 2,509 meters, is Austria's highest road border crossing, the Rettenbachferner with its average gradient of 10.5% and a length of 13.5 kilometers, and the Ötztal Glacier Road, which climbs to 2,830 meters, and even surpasses the famous Cime de la Bonette in France. We are looking forward to gaining insights into the daily training routine of professional riders and are glad that, despite the intense preparations which they will be undertaking, there will still be time to pay a visit to Bike Republic Solden, the James Bond World 007 Elements, and other attractions. We look forward to welcoming the entire team with our spectacular mountain scenery, hospitality and hopefully good weather." - Oliver Schwarz, CEO Ötztal Tourism

Bike sponsorships are in doubt for for Lotto-Soudal and Ag2r-La Mondiale

VeloNews posted this news:  

Belgian bike brands Ridley and Merckx may vanish from the pro peloton in 2021.

Ridley and Merckx sponsor four pro road teams between them, with Lotto-Soudal and Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles riding on Ridley, and Ag2r-La Mondiale and Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise riding Eddy Merckx bikes.

Eddy Merkx bikes

Sport Vlaanderen's Eddy Merckx bikes are ready to race a stage at the Tour of Norway. Will the team be riding Merckx bikes in 2021? Sirotti photo

All four contracts are due to expire in December, and according to Het Laatste Nieuws, Belgian Cycling Factory, the parent company of both brands, may not be renewing their deals having already put payments to Lotto-Soudal and Ag2r-La Mondiale on hold.

While the coronavirus crisis has had a positive impact on the cycling industry in much of Europe as more and more people use bikes for travel in a bid to reduce the use of public transport, Belgian Cycling Factory has not fared so well. With purchases of E-Bikes and entry-level bikes driving the wider European boom, Ridley and Merckx’s focus on top-end race machines has seen them at the wrong end of the market.

“We are still negotiating with each of those teams,” said Thibaut Norga, marketing manager of Belgian Cycling Factory. “As with any negotiation, the modalities and amounts are reviewed, but it is not true that by definition we are going to cut heavily. This is not to say that we will continue with the four teams or that the contracts will all remain the same. It is about new negotiations, no one knows in advance how they will end. ”

You can read the entire story here.

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