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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2020 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

The audiobook version of The Story of the Tour de France, Volume 1 is available.

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. - Seneca


Current racing:

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Caleb Ewan extends with Lotto Soudal till the end of 2024

The team send me this announcement:

Sprinter Caleb Ewan has extended his contract at the team with an additional two years. That way, the 27-year-old Australian, who still has a contract until the end of 2022, will stay at the team till at least the end of 2024. The past seasons saw Ewan deliver Lotto Soudal 22 victories with five Tour de France stage wins including a memorable Champs Elysees triumph, four at the Giro d’ Italia, the Scheldeprijs, Brussels Cycling Classic and stage victories in Australia's Tour Down Under.

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan wins the second stage of this year's Tour of Belgium.

“I feel very much at home at Lotto Soudal, it is a team I am proud to represent and together we have achieved some wonderful results but I am committed to ensuring this is only the beginning, we have some exciting times ahead”, Caleb Ewan said. “I believe we have much improvement within us and I am really looking forward to working with our sprint train of Jasper De Buyst, Roger Kluge, Harry Sweeny and Frederik Frison, as well as those that are soon to join our squad. I think we can achieve great things.”

Frederik Frison has indeed extended his contract with two seasons until the end of 2023 and with the transfer of Rüdiger Selig, who signed a two-year agreement, a lot of experience will be added to the team. The 32-year-old fast German acted as the lead-out man of top riders like Alexander Kristoff, Peter Sagan, Sam Bennett and Pascal Ackermann.

“In my opinion, Caleb Ewan is the fastest sprinter in the world”, says Rüdiger Selig. “So, I am really happy that both the team and Caleb believe in me. It is with great pleasure that I will give it my all for Caleb the coming seasons. I already can’t wait!”

“Top-level sport is about winning and losing, with peaks and throughs, but in my opinion, our future really does look bright”, Lotto Soudal’s General Manager John Lelangue explains. “We continue to build the future. Brent Van Moer’s contract has already been extended and our latest 19-year-old reinforcement Arnaud De Lie has already shown his talent with two UCI victories - even as U23 rider - the past month. We will continue on this path and we keep investing in youth. More will become clear in the coming weeks.”

“With Philippe Gilbert, our young guns have a real mentor in the team. Thanks to his broad experience and antennae in the peloton, he is even indirectly my best advisor”, Lelangue continues. “Besides, I will remain at the head of the team and with Maxime Monfort as performance manager, we continue along our chosen path. As of 2022, Nikolas Maes will become a full time sports director and Mario Aerts, Kurt Van de Wouwer and Marc Wauters have already proven their worth countless times. In this respect, we're good for the coming years. In line with our team evolution, we will say goodbye, at the end of 2021, to Herman Frison and Marc Sergeant, both end of contract, but two real Lotto monuments. Their importance for the team cannot be stressed enough. Both were and still are the faces of the team, first as riders, later as sports director and team manager. We have experienced countless successes and unforgettable moments together. A big thank you for all of this, Herman and Marc.”

Peter Sagan signs with TotalEnergies

Here is a machine translation of the team’s announcement:

It is with immense pride that Team TotalEnergies announces the signing for two seasons (2022-2023) of Slovak rider Peter Sagan, triple World Champion and 7 times green jersey of the Tour de France, 117 professional victories.
He will join the Vendée squad in the next offseason, accompanied by two very talented riders, the Polish Maciej Bodnar and the Italian Daniel Oss. This exceptional recruitment is accompanied by a change of bicycle supplier, since the legendary Californian brand Specialized will now supply Team TotalEnergies, this also including the equipment of helmets, shoes and tires, as well as Roval wheels and components. Team TotalEnergies will be dressed by high-tech supplier Sportful.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan wins 2021 Giro stage 10. Sirotti photo

Jean-René Bernaudeau:
“Recruiting Peter is obviously an incredible source of pride. He is arguably the most popular racer in the world, he is an exceptional talent, he changes our dimension. This recruitment is above all the marker of a sporting ambition. Peter is a huge competitor, everyone knows that, and above all he will bring us victories: we are counting on him for that. The arrival of such a champion, a bicycle and accessories supplier like Specialized and a clothing partner like Sportful, these are accelerators for our sporting project, it is a new attraction for the talents of tomorrow. Peter will be a key part of our plans for the Classics and the Tour. He will also bring us a lot through his experience, and will help us to move the group forward.

Sam Bennett returns to BORA – hansgrohe

Bora-hansgrohe sent me this release:

After two years apart, Bennett, who had previously spent six years in Ralph Denk’s team, will be returning to his roots. With Danny van Poppel, Shane Archbold and Ryan Mullen, the Irishman will be joined by a powerful sprint squad. All four riders have received two-year contracts.

Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett wins the third stage of this year's Tour of the Algarve.

"I'm very pleased that Sam is returning to us. We've been together for several years, he turned pro with us and we developed him into one of the best sprinters in the peloton. It's no secret that his departure hurt us a lot at the time. However, I can understand that he felt that step was important for his career. I’d say that only worked out partially. We are a team that places a lot of value on cohesion, respect and sustainable cooperation, as we believe that these are the foundations for long-term success. You can have disagreements sometimes. However, as long as you treat each other with respect, you will always find each other again. That was also the case here. We have clear goals with Sam and I am confident that with our support he will be able to achieve several victories over the coming years. He is undisputedly one of the very best sprinters in the world and has proven this by winning the green jersey at the 2020 Tour. We have also put together a strong sprint train for him. Danny in particular will play a pivotal role. As a sprinter, he has both the experience and the speed to place and impose himself accordingly in fast finishes. Even though the role is new to him, I have every confidence in him. Shane has also been with us for many years, so we know his strengths. And Ryan has the fast pace necessary to keep the other guys in position ahead of the final kilometre. I think we are very well positioned with these new signings." - Ralph Denk, Team Manager

“I am very excited about returning to BORA – hansgrohe. I had six incredible years with this team and I really feel like I grew up as a pro rider during this period. It was a really difficult decision to leave, but I decided I needed to continue my professional and personal development in a new environment. While some may have questioned my decision at the time, I believe it is the right move for me to return to BORA - hansgrohe.

"I have enjoyed two great years at Deceuninck - Quick-Step, my boyhood dream team, and have continued my development both on and off the bike whilst making lifelong friendships. However, I feel ready to go back home to be the team leader that I want to be, and know BORA - hansgrohe also wants me to be. I know the team will have a slightly different roster than when I left, but the core group of people who are responsible for the team’s successful environment remains. I am ready to embrace the role of a team leader, to help drive the team forward so we can win together. With the invaluable insight of BORA – hansgrohe’s high performance department, we've selected three incredibly talented riders to work by my side. Ryan Mullen, my compatriot, is a superb time triallist and has always impressed me with his strength when we raced together for Ireland. Shane Archbold is one of the world's best and most experienced lead out men and a rider whose knowledge of bunch sprinting is only surpassed by his own sprint speed. He is the rider I have raced alongside the most even before my pro-career. It goes without saying that Danny van Poppel is an immensely successful sprinter himself and it is rare in cycling for a rider to be so capable of reading a race that he never finds himself out of position even in the most competitive bunch sprints. The four of us have different strengths and we believe the amalgamation of our skills will make for a very competitive sprint train.

"These riders are not only cyclists of impressive calibre in their own right, but will also add to the camaraderie within the team. I look forward to reconnecting with teammates that I shared victories with before, Lukas, Max, Patrick, Emu, CeCe and Felix, it's great to step back into a team with such familiarity. Friendship aids morale and we will have morale in spades at BORA - hansgrohe. Currently I am still dealing with the knee injury which forced me to miss the Tour de France, but I am confident I will overcome this small setback and get back to where I want to be soon - winning races. Injuries are part of life, I’ve had them before and have overcome them, this is just another hurdle to conquer on life's journey. I want to thank the staff of Deceuninck – Quick-Step for a great couple of years. There are a lot of people that I will miss and I wish them all the very best for the future. Finally, I’d like to say a particular thank you to Ralph Denk for giving me the opportunity to re-join such a supportive team environment. I look forward to racing alongside old friends again and hopefully contributing to many victories back in the BORA - hansgrohe jersey over the coming seasons.” – Sam Bennett

"I am really looking forward to the new challenge, because BORA - hansgrohe is a very professional team. For me, a new chapter of my career will be starting, because until now I have always been a sprinter, and now I will fully concentrate on the lead-out. So I will support Sam to the best of my ability. It's going to be exciting. Sam is not only one of the fastest men in the field, he's also a really nice guy. In my new role I will probably have to learn a lot. On the other hand, I am very experienced in sprinting, so that makes me confident that we will be very successful for BORA - hansgrohe." - Danny van Poppel

“It’s nice to have the opportunity to return to BORA – hansgrohe and I am really motivated to build on the success we enjoyed together for their team in the past. I have a great relationship with the staff and I’m excited to be re-joining them in 2022. I’d like to thank everyone at Deceuninck – Quick-Step for an enjoyable couple of seasons riding in the Wolfpack and wish the team the best for the future.” – Shane Archbold

"I've had a great four seasons with Trek - Segafredo but I'm really looking forward to a new challenge with BORA - hansgrohe, a new chapter of my pro-cycling career. I'm pulling on the BORA - hansgrohe jersey with even more motivation and hunger for racing success in the upcoming years. There's some amazing talent within the team already and I'm really looking forward to joining them and getting stuck in." - Ryan Mullen

Neilsen Powless extends with EF Education–NIPPO

Here’s the announcement the team sent me:

Neilson Powless won the hearts of cycling fans around the world with his attacking style at last year’s Tour de France. When he rode onto the Champs Élysées at the finish of his debut Tour, he had shown everyone that he is one of the most exciting riders in the sport. Now, off the back of his spectacular first pro win at the Clásica de San Sebastián, we are proud to announce that Neilson will keep racing for EF Education-NIPPO and we can’t wait to see what he does next.

Neilsen Powless

Neilsen Powless wins this year's Clásica de San Sebastián.

“I really feel like I am a part of EF,” Neilson says. “I’m part of the company and part of the team. The way that we operate is just unparalleled in cycling. It really feels like a family, with the way that the staff and everyone takes into account the riders’ lives and the riders’ well-being. It is always a really nice experience to go to a race or travel, because they always take good care of us.

“Neilson is a big part of this team’s heart, and a big part of its future,” says team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “Most importantly, he’s a truly upstanding person. We absolutely love having him on the team. I look forward to what we’ll accomplish together over the coming seasons.”

Travel is one of Neilson’s favorite parts about his job. He hopes that he and his teammates can inspire people to see places in a new way.

“I feel like almost every other week I am in a different country,” he says. “We are racing on their backroads and climbing their mountains and eating their local foods. I think that the experience that we have is definitely a different one than most people would think about when they think about traveling the world, but I think that is what makes this job, this career so special. We are really connecting with countries on a deeper level. We are out in the forests and in the fields and on the roads, on farm roads and main roads, visiting little nooks and crannies of every corner of every country that we visit.”

Someday, Neilson does hope to return to Paris to visit the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre without being exhausted at the end of a three-week bike race, or spend a day in Rome, just looking at the Colosseum, but for now he is happy to always be moving onto the next race, pursuing his cycling ambitions.

That positive attitude is a great boon to the team. When the going gets tough, the guys can always count on Neilson to show up with a smile and seize the day.

“I feel that having that motivation, no matter what situation you are in, can sort of bleed over into the other riders and influence the rest of the team as well and can really just bring the team up to another level,” Neilson says. “Just staying positive and staying motivated at all times is something that I am pretty good at, maybe sometimes to a fault, but I am always eager and motivated to do something every day, no matter what is happening in the race.”

Last year Neilson made history as the first tribally recognized Native North American to race the Tour de France. He made the most of his first Grand Boucle - racing in breakaways more than nearly any other rider at that year's Tour and even contended in a few finals. This year, the Tour was once again Neilson’s big goal for the season. He tried for breakaways, and played a valuable role in supporting team leader - Rigoberto Urán - in the high mountains too.

“It was just a nice experience. Rigo’s such a relaxed leader and we had a pretty young team here so everybody was really excited to race and to always be doing something everyday. It was nice just to be a part of the race from start to finish.” Neilson said at the finish in Paris.

Rigo is one of Neilson’s role models on the team. Neilson is aiming to develop into a general-classification racer himself, one who will stand on podiums at the end of World Tour stage races. Watching Rigo work, day in and day out, has provided him with a lot of inspiration.

“I have learned quite a bit from Rigo and seeing the way he lives and the way he goes about his days,” Neilson says. “He is very professional all year, but he really enjoys his life at the same time.”

Whether he is fighting for wins in cycling’s hardest races or sharing relaxed meals after and talking about the world with his friends and teammates, Neilson does, too.

Team DSM’s upcoming racing

The team sent me this schedule:

Tour de Pologne: AUG 9-15

Marc Reef - Team DSM coach
"Tour de Pologne is a tough seven day stage race with a route that has something for everyone, including some days for the sprinters, punchy days over the climbs and an 18 kilometre long time trial. We arrive at the race with a strong group of riders, where we’ll focus on hunting for day results by working well together as a unit; aiming to set up Max for the fast finales, while Jai will operate as the team’s finisher on those days in the hills."

Nikias Arndt

Nikia Arndt wins stage 8 of the 2019 Vuelta a España

Line-up:
Nikias Arndt (GER)
Romain Combaud (FRA)
Jai Hindley (AUS)
Max Kanter (GER)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Nicholas Roche (IRL)
Florian Stork (GER)

PostNord Danmark Rundt - Tour of Denmark: AUG 10-14

Luke Roberts - Team DSM coach
"The Tour of Denmark this year will be held over five stages, four of which are road stages with challenging finishing circuits, followed by a 10 kilometre time trial on the final day which will ultimately decide the GC. The team is well balanced to target our goals in sprint finals, more difficult finals and also keep an eye on the overall GC. Our two Danish riders Søren and Casper are also very much looking forward to showing off the Team DSM jersey in front of home crowds."

Line-up
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Cees Bol (NED)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Martin Salmon (GER)
Ilan Van Wilder (BEL)

Specialized recalls about 2,500 e-bike battery packs

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this notice:

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — Specialized Bicycle Components is recalling about 2,500 first-generation Turbo Levo and Kenevo electric mountain bike battery packs. Water can penetrate the seal around the LED control pad on the bicycle's lithium-ion battery pack and cause the battery to short circuit, posing fire and burn hazards.

Consumers can contact Specialized at 800-772-4423 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MT Monday through Friday, email ridercare@specialized.com, or go online at www.specialized.com and click on "Safety Notices" or contact an authorized Specialized retailer for more information.

The recall involves Specialized first-generation 2016-2018 model year Turbo Levo FSR, 2018-2021 model year Turbo Levo HT, and 2018-2019 model year Turbo Kenevo FSR electric mountain bikes with Specialized M1 battery packs that came as original equipment on the bikes, or Specialized M1 battery packs that were sold as aftermarket equipment for use with the bikes.

Turbo Levo, Turbo Levo HT, or Turbo Kenevo FSR are printed on the bicycle's top tube. The following Manufacturer Part Numbers (P/N) and Made Dates are printed on a label on the recalled batteries. The battery pack must be removed from the bicycle using a 6mm hex key in order to read the label. Visit www.specialized.com/safety-notices for more information on how to remove the battery pack and determine if it is included in this recall.

Manufacture P/N Made Date
B9JE2045F   K7 L7 A8 B8 C8 D8 E8 F8 G8 H8 I8 J8 K8 L8 A9 B9 C9
B9JE2056F   K7 L7 A8 B8 C8 D8 E8 F8 G8 H8 I8 J8 K8 L8 A9 B9 C9
B9JE2065F   K7 L7 A8 B8 C8 D8 E8 F8 G8 H8 I8 J8 K8 L8 A9 B9 C9
B9JE2076F   K7 L7 A8 B8 C8 D8 E8 F8 G8 H8 I8 J8 K8 L8 A9 B9 C9
B9JE2098F   K7 L7 A8 B8 C8 D8 E8 F8 G8 H8 I8 J8 K8 L8 A9 B9 C9

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled electric mountain bikes and contact Specialized Bicycle for a free repair. Specialized is contacting purchasers directly about the recall. Consumers should not charge the recalled battery pack or expose it to wet conditions until it has been repaired by an authorized Specialized retailer. Dealers are re-gluing the control pad on the battery to seal it better.

You can read the entire story here.

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