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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night. - Steve Martin


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Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Giro d'Italia, Vol 1: 1909 - 1970 is available as an audiobook here.


Team BikeExchange Jayco men confirm roster & goals for 2022

The team sent me this update:

Team BikeExchange, to be named Team BikeExchange Jayco in 2022, has confirmed its 28-rider men’s roster for the coming season, as the squad looks to rebuild, with a focus on widespread wins.

“We can be very satisfied with the work that has been done this year by the performance staff, who have done an exceptional job together with the sport directors and technical staff,” General Manager Brent Copeland explained. “Along with our team owner Gerry Ryan, who is deeply involved in these important team decisions, I truly believe we have done a detailed analysis of the past season and we are confident that the decisions have been made in the best interest of the team, both with regards to rider selections as well as team goals and ambitions.”

Michael Mathews (shown racing stage 3 of the 2021 Paris-Nice) will be sporting Team BikeExchange-Jayco colors in 2022.

Rebuilding
After various structural changes to the Australian outfit during the 2020 season, 2021 was a year of adjusting and developing, with the team now optimistic in its approach to its second decade of racing, as it looks to maximise opportunities and deliver consistent victories by utilising its diverse roster.

“Over the last two seasons our roster has changed, so we also need to do things differently and adapt,” Head Sport Director Matt White identified.

We have traditionally been a team that has won races across our roster from January to October and never relied on one star to deliver the majority of our wins. We did not achieve this in 2021 and it’s an area we will again focus on in 2022.

The Grand Tours are of course very important objectives, especially with leaders like Simon Yates and Michael Matthews, but in this rebuilding phase, winning races anywhere and everywhere is also crucial. With these changes in mind, we will alter some of our goals for the coming season, and that also involves adapting our style of racing when required.”

Injection of youth and power
For 2022, the team size will increase by one (28), and with seven new riders from seven different countries joining the Australian outfit, a balance of experience and youthful motivation will be key, as the squad embarks on its 11th season in the WorldTour peloton with high ambitions.

“We have a mix of young talent and experienced hands coming into the team next year,” White continued. “With two young world class track riders in Kelland O’Brien and Campbell Stewart, we will be transitioning them across to the WorldTour road ranks and they were specifically brought in to work with Kaden Groves, our developing sprint star. To have a young, developing sprint train around Kaden consistently, with riders of a similar age that can learn and win together, it is an area which we see as a great opportunity for us to gain wins in 2022.

Alex Balmer and Jesus David Peña are obviously great young talents, Balmer will continue at the highest level in the MTB world whilst continuing to develop as a world class road rider.  Peña comes to us with little European exposure, largely due to COVID restrictions in his first two years out of the junior ranks, but we will help assimilate him into the European scene and we really believe in his raw talent.

Then in terms of experience, we are losing some of our older experienced guys, so replacing them with the right people was crucial. One is Lawson Craddock, who is renowned for being a reliable teammate across a variety of terrains. He has numerous years of experience at World Tour level but will also get the opportunity to challenge himself for personal objectives.

Matteo Sobrero, who pulled off one of the biggest time trial upsets of the year by beating World Champion Filippo Ganna to win the Italian Championships, also joins us with WorldTour pedigree as a support rider for big GC leaders. We also believe that Matteo can continue to reach new personal highs with us moving forward.

Then our final signing is Jan Maas, another rider who we are excited to have on board and continue his development. He has some great experience at continental level, and I am sure he will be of great value in the mountains in key races next year.”

Team BikeExchange Jayco for 2022:
Alex Balmer (SWI, 21) New rider for 2022
Jack Bauer (NZL, 36)
Sam Bewley (NZL, 34)
Lawson Craddock (USA, 29) New rider for 2022
Kevin Colleoni (ITA, 22)
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 30)
Alex Edmondson (AUS, 27)
Tsgabu Grmay (ETH, 30)
Lucas Hamilton (AUS, 25)
Michael Hepburn (AUS, 30)
Damien Howson (AUS, 29)
Amund Grøndahl Jansen (NOR, 27)
Kaden Groves (AUS, 22)
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN, 32)
Tanel Kangert (EST, 34)
Alex Konychev (ITA, 23)
Jan Maas (NED, 25) New rider for 2022
Michael Matthews (AUS, 31)
Cameron Meyer (AUS, 33)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 33)
Kelland O’Brien (AUS, 23) New rider for 2022
Jesús David Peña (COL, 21) New rider for 2022
Callum Scotson (AUS, 25)
Nick Schultz (AUS, 27)
Dion Smith (NZL, 28)
Matteo Sobrero (ITA, 24) New rider for 2022
Campbell Steward (NZL, 23) New rider for 2022
Simon Yates (GBR, 29)

2022 Team BikeExchange Jayco Men’s squad stats:
No. of riders: 28
No. of Australians: 11
No. of internationals: 17 (4x NZL, 3x ITA, 1x SWI, 1x COL, 1x DEN, 1x SLO, 1x EST, 1x NOR, 1x ETH, 1x USA, 1x NED, 1x GBR)
Youngest rider: Alex Balmer (21)
Oldest rider: Jack Bauer (36)
Average age: 27.6

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Andreas Kron looks back on the 2021 season

This is from Kron’s Lotto-Soudal team:

For 23-year-old Dane Andreas Kron, his first year with Lotto Soudal was an immediate success. With a stage victory at the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour de Suisse, Andreas’ career in the WorldTour got off to a great start. As most riders are beginning their build-up towards the 2022 season, Andreas took a look back on his first year at Lotto Soudal, one that exceeded his wildest dreams.

“Of course, I am really happy and proud about my 2021 season and how I performed in my first year at WorldTour level. With two stage wins under my belt, one at the Volta a Catalunya and one at the Tour de Suisse, it has truly been an incredible season”, begins Andreas Kron.

However, Andreas’ season didn’t all go according to plan, as the young Dane was forced to abandon the Volta a Catalunya soon after winning a stage due to illness. That way, he saw a participation at the Ardennes Classics – a first big goal of the year – go up in smoke.

Andreas Kron wins the first stage of the 2021 Tour of Catalonia. Sirotti photo

“Missing the Ardennes Classics was of course a major disappointment. It really was a pity as this changed the course of my season. I was supposed to have a break after the Classics but instead I trained hard for the Tour de Romandie and I used this stage race to build my shape. Eventually, it led to a Tour de Suisse stage win. It was hard to miss the Ardennes Classics – the races I like most – but also mentally, switching race programs was quite challenging. But on the positive side, it gave me the chance to focus on other races.”

Despite missing out on his first goals of the season, Andreas turned it into something positive and won stage six of the Tour de Suisse, his second stage win at WorldTour level.

Andreas Kron: “Immediately winning at WorldTour level is something I could only dream of. At the start of the season, I hoped to take a win in for example the Tour de Luxembourg, as I did last year. To take two wins on WorldTour level was something I didn’t expect at all as racing at the highest level is quite different to the one I raced on last year with Riwal Cycling Team. There are more race (and travel) days and above all, the speed is so much higher. Sometimes, people think that finishing inside the gruppetto is easy, but I can assure you on some days that’s really not the case! If you have bad legs on the WorldTour, it’s one big sufferfest…”

“Racing for Lotto Soudal is really nice, I love the atmosphere in the team and it’s a nice bunch of riders from whom I can learn a lot. Primarily from guys like Tim Wellens and Philippe Gilbert, who are the same type of riders as I am. When we race, we always do our best to go for the win and that mentality suits me well. We are always thinking about the best opportunity to win.”

“Next year, I hope to be at the start of the Ardennes Classics in top shape. Those races will be my main goal for the first part of the season. The ambition is to do some nice results there and the ultimate dream would be to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the future. But for now I would already be really happy if I could be at the start and gain as much experience as I can”, concludes Andreas.


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Bicycle industry still struggles to grasp impact of e-bikes

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

TUCSON, Arizona (BRAIN) — As PeopleForBikes' Electric Bicycle Summit—a one-day affair—got underway late last week, a key takeaway was this: The industry is struggling to understand the impact of a fast-growing e-bike boom.

Whether it's unit sales, average selling price, inventory, supply chain snafus, rider usage, safety training, reporting e-bike injuries and deaths, supplier and seller liability, battery recycling, new trends in advocacy or the impact of internet sales, the industry lacks accurate baselines to measure the future potential of the e-bike industry.

There is no disagreement among attendees at the all-day conference held at a hotel near the University of Arizona campus that e-bikes are in the midst of shifting the industry away from its traditional focus on so-called "acoustic" bikes to a booming—at least for now—market for e-bikes. Still, traditional bike sales far outstrip e-bike sales, at least for the moment.

Larry Pizzi, chief commercial officer for Alta Cycling Group and a PeopleForBikes board member, opened the session noting that "it's amazing what's been accomplished with e-bikes in the last ten years."

The pandemic, he noted, added a tailwind to growth in e-bike sales and, as a result, the industry has come to understand there are significant concerns over safety, rider etiquette and other issues. "We hadn't anticipated that, but with growth we need to expand our definition of what an e-bike is and what it can become," he said.

A session on safety issues highlighted problems the industry could face in the future. The discussion zeroed in on kids who appear to be adopting e-bikes at a rate not seen in decades. Yet they are often ill-prepared to handle a bike with power and lack the basic knowledge of how to ride a bike safely, whether e-bikes or acoustic bikes.

Don DiCostanzo, Pedego's chief executive officer, offered an impassioned plea for the industry to get behind rider training for kids and adults. And, he added, perhaps there should be an age limit on e-bike sales. It appears many parents are buying e-bikes online for their children without thinking through the consequences.

Pedego, for example, is seeing a surge of adult purchasers who come into a store who haven't ridden a bike since they were kids. "They need some training and guidance," DiCostanzo said, adding that Pedego will soon implement e-bike rider training as part of the sale.

Another wrinkle that emerged at the conference was how e-bike accidents are reported. Researchers at the University of Tennessee and the other from Portland State University, are in the midst of a variety of projects attempting to learn more about rider usage, revamping accident codes to better delineate e-bike accidents, and how e-bikes impact other transportation systems.

Ironically, Dr. Christopher Cherry, a professor at the University of Tennessee's College of Engineering, told attendees that e-bike accidents — whether injuries or fatalities — are currently classified in emergency rooms as motorcycle accidents. That bit of news took attendees by surprise.

But it's kids riding e-bikes with little or no training on what is essentially a battery-driven product that should concern the industry most.

Some participants expressed concern that if the industry fails to step up, cities, regions and states will take legislative action that could have adverse effects on the industry. (PFB is about to roll-out a video as part of an industry led safety campaign for municipalities, dealers and advocates.)

At the moment, though, the lack of statistics on overall sales and where they occur leaves the industry unable to accurately forecast future growth and trends. But to be fair, the specialty bicycle industry has long had difficulties agreeing on the accuracy of data reporting agencies have compiled.

For example, there seems to be a general consensus that e-bike sales through all channels in 2021 will be in the one million unit range — plus or minus a few hundred thousand.

You can read the entire story here.

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