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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, March 6, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

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

If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there. - Lewis Carroll

TDF volume 1

Current racing:

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Latest completed racing:

Canyon Bikes warns consumers, teams to stop riding the new Aeroad following van der Poel handlebar incident

VeloNews posted this important warning:

German bike brand Canyon has asked owners of its new Aeroad CF SLX and CFR aero road bikes to stop riding them following Tuesday’s incident at Le Samyn when a portion of  Mathieu van der Poel’s handelbar broke and fell off during the race. Canyon-sponsored teams have discontinued riding and racing the Aeroad as well.

Mathieu van der Poel

Mathieu van der Poel finished Le Samyn with a broken bar. Sirotti photo

Van der Poel had not crashed during the race, so there was no obvious immediate cause to the failure.

The bar break was particularly notable because of the handlebar design of the bike: The new Aeroad CF SLX features a multi-part carbon bar that can adjust for width. There are two bolts on either side of the bar that, when removed, allow for the bar to be widened or narrowed.

Further, the ends of the bars can be pulled fully out for travel, allowing the hood and drop portion to hang down loosely.

When many race fans saw the portion of the broken bar dangling, they assumed that it was this width-adjustable portion that had failed.

In fact, the bar was broken near where the shifter clamps onto the bar.

Canyon did not comment in detailed manner on the failure, beyond issuing a statement that said the brand “immediately began analysis and testing to understand the cause of this  incident.”

You can read the entire story here.

Paris-Nice team updates

Team BikeExchange sent me this:

Team BikeExchange head to Paris-Nice this weekend on the hunt for stage wins as Michael Matthews returns to action making his 2021 season debut for the squad.

Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews finishes the eighth stage of the 2020 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

Tirreno-Adriatico stage winner Lucas Hamilton will be given the opportunity to test himself over the course of the eight days, backed by a strong group fresh from Opening Weekend in Luke Durbridge, Alex Edmondson and Amund Grøndahl Jansen.

Alexander Konychev will make his first start of the season while Luka Mezgec arrives off the back of the UAE Tour and will be key in positioning Matthews for the fast finishes.

The race kicks-off with a lumpy opening stage followed by a day for the sprinters and a short 14.4km time trial on stage three. The first summit finish takes place on day four, with a flat day to follow before the peloton go climbing again on stages six and seven. The racing concludes with a short 110km road stage that packs in five categorised climbs around Nice.

Team BikeExchange at 2021 Paris – Nice:
Luke Durbridge (AUS)
Alex Edmondson (AUS)
Lucas Hamilton (AUS)
Amund Grøndahl Jansen (NOR)
Alexander Konychev (ITA)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)

Michael Matthews:
“I’m glad to be back with GreenEDGE Cycling after four years and being at Paris-Nice for my first race brings back some great memories for me. I won three stages here in my last two years with the team and now we’ll aim to add to that tally next week.

"We have been working really hard during the winter, the team spirit is as good as when I left it and this motivates me a lot to work hard with the rest of the boys and do everything we can for the team. We have solid line up and I can’t wait to be back in the bunch as it seems like ages since we last raced our bikes.”

Mathew Hayman – Sport Director:
“As always Paris-Nice will be a challenging race as you always find some tough weather conditions during the stages. This year it should be quite cold and also rainy in some of the stages, so we will need to plan the week of racing in the best way possible.

“We are pleased to have Matthews back with us this year and this will be his first official race with Team BikeExchange for 2021. Michael has won three stages between 2015 and 2016, so the hope is for some more victories at this year’s race. We have a strong team to help him achieve this.

“Also, we will try to put Hamilton in the best position for the general classification. Lucas has been developing a lot in the past couple of years and we will try to support him during the race to help keep his development growing during the season.”

Here's the Paris-Nice update fron Qhubeka-Assos:

Team Qhubeka-Assos has named an exciting lineup for Paris-Nice which starts on Sunday, featuring a return for Giacomo Nizzolo, who took a stunning stage victory at the race in 2020, and a debut for Colombia’s Sergio Henao.

Giacomo Nizzolo

Giacomo Nizzolo wins the second stage of 2020 Paris-Nice

The eight-stage race is expected to feature a number of sprint opportunities which will see the European and Italian champion ably supported by the now familiar faces of compatriot Matteo Pelucchi and Germany's Max Walscheid.

Nizzolo sprinted to a hugely impressive victory on stage two of the 2020 edition of this race and it will once again serve as an important event looking ahead to the rest of the season.

Time trialist Victor Campenaerts, who has been in excellent form, will have his eye on what the 14.4km effort in stage three will provide in his favoured discipline.

The later stages around Nice will see the general classification decided and it's here that the climbing skills of Fabio Aru, supported by Sander Armee and a debut ride from Henao, will come for the fore.

The impressive Colombian is the first rider ever from that country to ride for our team and we're excited to see what he is able to not just in this race but for the season to come.

Our team has been doing this initiative since the start of the season and look forward to continuing to look at ways to bring our incredible fans closer to the team they support.

Paris-Nice line-up:
Giacomo Nizzolo
Fabio Aru
Sergio Henao
Sander Armée
Victor Campenaerts
Matteo Pelucchi
Max Walscheid

Giacomo Nizzolo:
"Paris-Nice is obviously one of the toughest races of the year - always stressful and always raced with a high rhythm. I think it will be very important as the next step towards the goals that follow, starting with Milan-Sanremo so it's a race that's definitely very important for the Classics as well.

"We're looking forward to being there, to put some work, kilometres and quality into the legs and trying to be sharp and score some results in the sprint stages."

Sergio Henao:
"I'm am so happy to finally be back in Europe and to be starting the season with Team Qhubeka ASSOS at Paris-Nice.

"I can't wait to get racing with my new team and look forward to playing my part in contributing to our team's goals, and working towards the success of the team."

Gabriele Missaglia - Sports Director:
"As we've seen the team race so far, we want to ensure overall that we try and play the best possible part we can in the race and race as a team. This has been a key feature starting with what we spoke about during our training camp and something that we will continue at Paris-Nice.

"How will we do that? Well, in Giacomo we have a rider who has already won a race this season, and who won a stage here in 2020. We will fully support him in the stages we feel he can contest while Victor and Max will be looking to putting in really strong time trial performances on stage three. They've both been riding really well, so I'm excited about what they can offer us.

"For the general classification we have a strong group in Fabio, Sander and Sergio. It's great to finally have the latter link up with us and we know that he can be an important rider for the season to come so it will be interesting to see what his level is at the moment."

Primoz-Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team posted this Paris-Nice update:

Team Jumbo-Visma will start Paris-Nice next week with leader Primoz Roglic in Paris-Nice. He is supported by Steven Kruijswijk, George Bennett, Sam Oomen, Lennard Hofstede, Tony Martin and Jos van Emden.

The race consists of eight stages this year: one individual time trial of fourteen kilometres, three sprint stages and four stages for the climbers, two of which will have an uphill finish. The seventh stage is the only mountain stage with a final climb of over sixteen kilometres at six percent. The finish is at the top of the Valdeblore la Colmiane.

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin leads Primoz Roglic on a descent in the 14th stage of the 2020 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

For Roglic, Paris-Nice marks the start of his season. After a training camp in Tenerife, the Slovenian is ready for the multi-day race. “At the beginning of the season it is always a matter of seeing how everything goes. I like the new bike and the disc brakes are a step forward. I also have confidence in the team. When I saw how well the guys rode in the UAE, I couldn't wait for the start of the season. The altitude training camp in Tenerife went as planned and I want to be the best version of myself in the upcoming races.”

The multi-day World Tour race is the first big goal of 2021. “We are going for the win with Roglic in the general classification. After the third and fourth stages we can see whether we should defend a lead or attack in the final stages”, sports director Grischa Niermann said.

Sam Oomen makes his debut for Team Jumbo-Visma. The Dutchman is looking forward to it. After two lesser years he now looks at the bigger picture. "If I can assist our leader and on top of that trust my body again, then that’s a successful start for 2021."

Team Paris - Nice

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