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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Fiction was invented the day Jonas arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale. - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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Groupama-FDJ director Marc Madiot looks back at 2020 Tour de France

Here's the team's post:

The 2020 edition of the Tour de France came to an end on Sunday, on the Champs Elysées. While Tadej Pogacar conquered the final victory at only 21 years of age, the Groupama-FDJ cycling team completed the race in a very different way than they would have imagined a month before. In the wake of the Tour’s ending, Marc Madiot put the team’s disappointment into words but also looks towards the future with optimism.

Marc, what is your assessment of Tour de France 2020 as a General Manager?

For us, it was obviously an extremely difficult Tour de France. We never were in a position to do what we hoped to do. It got complicated straight from the start in Nice. We may not have well understood the crashes’ seriousness, as we did not see them… We always hoped for it to get better, but it never happened. Doing three weeks like that, it feels like an eternity. In terms of results, we are very far from our expectations; we are not where we wanted to be. Sébastien and Valentin’s placements are good, but we were set to do a whole different Tour.

What was your speech to the riders like on Sunday evening?

In these situations, you have to take stock of the current situation, build on what was done before – which was pretty good -, and re-mobilize for the future in order to do better as quickly as possible. We can’t stick to that forever. This Tour is not necessarily a reflection of who the riders really are and what they are worth. We can’t just dismiss what we did last year on the Tour because it didn’t go the way we wanted this year. Now we need to come to terms with it.

Do you find any positive side from these three weeks of racing?

I will remember the commitment, the professionalism and the expertise of the staff, at all levels. There was a real quality work that kept the team running. This is something important, necessary even, when you’re looking for results. The circumstances made it happen differently. We couldn’t get back on the right track because it just wasn’t physically possible for most of our riders. We were certainly offensive in the second part of the Tour, and there was certainly the will to do something good, but there was not necessarily the means to achieve it. That is why this Tour was so tough on us. The Grand Tours and the Tour in particular show no mercy. There were obviously some small satisfactions, in particular with Valentin who had a nice and good first Tour de France. That being said, the team was built for the overall around Thibaut, and we quickly found ourselves unable to meet our own expectations. [Ed: Pinot's stage 1 crash ruined his chances for a high placing]

Thibaut Pinot

Thibaut Pinot after 2020 Tour stage eight. Sirotti photo

Still, the riders proved to be combative…

Yes, but it’s hard to bounce back when the physical means aren’t what they should be. We always move on hoping that everything will get better along the way. That’s what drove us for three weeks, and it’s also what drives you as a rider. When you are struggling, when you’re in pain, you always think that it will be better the next day. And if things don’t get better the next day, your hopes get postponed until the next day. It’s a sporty survival instinct… If you tell yourself from the start “it won’t get better”, it really isn’t likely to get better. This survival instinct is even more intense on the Tour, and on the Grand Tours in general. In other races, the riders would not have made it until the end. It must also be said that today, the healing treatments are not the same as they were at a certain time, with regard to ethical rules, particularly in cycling. In other sports, some would surely have used different medical means to treat their athletes. But our sport has lived through difficult days and we cannot afford to use certain practices to get back on track just because we are looking for results. Therefore, it takes longer to heal, and so it is more complicated.

Looking at the Tour’s results, does the team now have to “save” its 2020 season in a way?

The Tour is a very distorting mirror. When you fail on the Tour, the rest barely exists. It is the Tour de France’s perversity, but we knew that already, there is nothing new. That being said, life doesn’t end at the Tour. The Tour is over, we can’t change the past, and the results are not what we expected, it is true. Now there have also been other races in the meantime where we have been performing well, and there will be other races soon where we can get results. This is how I see the period ahead. We must not forget that we are the French team that has won the most races this season and that we have the rider who has won the most races in the world this year. Not everything is negative.

What are your expectations for the next few weeks?

Starting this week, we have Stefan and Benjamin on the World Championships time trial, and two riders, Rudy and Valentin, for the road race. I hope they will have a good race. I hope Stefan and Benjamin will be in the game for the title, and I would be surprised if one of them doesn’t step on the podium. Then, we will have the Ardennes Classics and the Giro. We have the means to be competitive everywhere and we will bounce back very quickly. We have strong and solid basics for the future. The Tour’s balance has been made, so I am now expecting results on the Giro, on the Vuelta, and the riders also have this state of mind. The goal is to end the year with victories. At the end of the day, we’re here to win races, and with this in mind, we will basically rely on everyone.

Lotte Kopecky is Belgian road champion

Kopecky's Lotto-Soudal team sent me this news:

Lotte Kopecky has won the Belgian national championships on the road for the first time in her career. In Anzegem she was faster than Jolien D'Hoore and Shari Bossuyt after 131 kilometers in a sprint. Kopecky succeeds teammate Jesse Vandenbulcke. In addition to Belgian road champion the 24-year-old Kopecky is also the reigning national champion time trial.

Lotte Kopecky

Lotte Kopecky wins the Belgian road championships.

Lotte Kopecky:
"I have been chasing this Belgian title for so long. This victory is very satisfying. Today was an awesome team effort. My teammates took control of the race right from the start. They made the race tough and reacted to many attacks. After all their work I had to finish it off today."

"I was not afraid to attack early. In the end that did not turn out badly. I was able to make it hard for Jolien and that also had an impact on her final sprint. At a certain point the peloton came very close and I tried to surprise Jolien with an attack on Tiegemberg. She didn't really like that. But we kept the pace."

"When Shari joined us in the final kilometers, I quickly felt that she was satisfied with third place. In the final sprint I started at just over 200 meters from the finish. There was a moment of panic when my bike changed gear. Fortunately that didn't cause much trouble. Jolien came next to me and I knew I had to go full until the line."

"I put my hands in the air because I felt that I had won. When Jolien did the same, I started to have doubts. Then we had to wait a long time for the official confirmation. Those minutes really seemed to last forever. When they announced me as winner there was a big relief. After my stage win in the Giro Rosa, this is a wonderful second victory in a week. I am in a great flow."

Greg LeMond enters e-bike market with daily use models

Bike Europe sent me this:

KNOXVILLE, USA – The name LeMond keeps on roaming around in the industry. His attempts to build a road race brand were not sustainable, even after he sold it to Trek. Earlier he already tried to restart the brand unsuccessfully. Today the LeMond brand is attempting to make a revival in an all new category.

With the launch of the Dutch and the Daily e-bikes, LeMond is not only introducing bikes as light weight in this category, the company is also bringing remarkable features including an internally integrated carbon fiber bar stem and carbon fiber fenders. The bike designs are minimalist, with the battery, motor, and lighting system integrated into the bike for clean, uncluttered lines of the traditional bike.

As a road racer Greg LeMond was already known for his interest in new technologies in cycling, from the first aero helmet to aero bars, and in 1986 he was the first ever to win the Tour de France on a carbon fiber bicycle frame.
“To say we are excited is an understatement, as we have been working behind the scenes for many years to meld our knowledge of bikes and the bike market with our carbon fiber technology,” said Greg LeMond, founder and chairman of the board of LeMond Companies.

“A novelty just a few years back, today e-bikes are a rapidly growing market segment, changing how we live, commute, recreate, and enjoy our surroundings. The Daily and The Dutch are cutting edge in every way, from the integrated technology and modern design to being incredibly lightweight. Cycling has always been my passion and I’m excited to see more people out riding, and e-bikes are making that happen.”

“The Daily has everything what I have in mind when designing a e-bike for everyday use,” said Greg LeMond. “From frame and fork to fenders, we have taken carbon fiber to a new level.” On top of the full carbon fiber frame, bar stem, and seat post, the Daily features seamless battery integration with the sleek German Mahle ebikemotion X35 motor and a multiple mode light system that’s fully integrated into the bar stem and seatstays. It is charged by a single port. The Daily features Shimano GRX Hydraulic 1×11 drivetrain, tubeless compatible aluminum wheelset, and Spurcycle bell.

You can read the entire story here.

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