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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, March 29, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

in Just-spring when the world is mud-luscious the little
lame balloonman whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come running from marbles and
piracies and it's spring - e e cummings


James Witherell's book Bicycle History: A Chronological History of People, Races and Technology is available in both print and Kindle eBook formats. To get your copy just click on the Amazon link on the right.

Upcoming racing:

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Biniam Girmay makes history

Gent-Wevelgem winner Biniam Girmay’s Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team posted this race report too late for me use on Sunday.

On Sunday March 27th, Eritrean rider Biniam Girmay offered a historical success to Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux by winning Ghent-Wevelgem (2.UWT). At the age of 21, the rider from Asmara became the first African rider to win a World Tour classic, and the first rider of the team to win a Flemish World Tour classic. The success was even more resounding for the Belgian World Team as it happened exactly six years after the loss of Antoine Demoité in the same race.

Biniam Girmay climbing the Kemmelberg on his way to winning Gent-Wevelgem. Sirotti photo

After his incredible performance in the E3 Classic three days before, Biniam Girmay won in a sprint with four riders after launching his effort 250 meter before the line of the race of 248 kilometer. In his first participation in the race, Girmay concluded an exemplary collective performance of the team of Jean-François Bourlart, which could also rely on the presence of Alexander Kristoff (11th), Andrea Pasqualon (14th) and Adrien Petit (38th) in the first chasing group 8 seconds behind the winner.

Biniam Girmay reached the top of the third passage on the Kemmelberg in a second group and managed to join the race lead with 27 kilometer to go thanks to the support of his three teammates, before attacking with three other riders 2 kilometer later. After 25 exciting kilometers, the quartet sprinted for the victory in the streets of Wevelgem and it was the rider from Asmara who triumphed after five and a half hours of racing.

The race is Girmay's. Sirotti photo

“This historical victory is so important for myself, for my team, for African cycling! Since the E3 Classic, my very first Flemish classic, I fell in love with the cobbles. I didn’t hesitate one moment when the team offered me the chance to conclude my spring with Ghent-Wevelgem this Sunday. Just like on Friday, I heard the many encouragements of the fans. I never imagined ending this day with a victory, because it is so difficult to race the Flemish classics without experience. I want to thank my team for their belief in me. In each race, I can rely on the unconditional support of my teammates. The instructions from the team car were very precious. It was only in the final hectometers that I started to believe in the victory. I launched my sprint with 250 meter to go, I closed my eyes and I gave all I had left. I don’t realize what happened yet, I just became the first African rider to win a classic!” - Biniam Girmay

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Peter Sagan will not ride the Tour of Flanders

Here is a machine-translation of the story from L'Equipe:

Here's the original post.

Peter Sagan will not start the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. Short of form since his resumption in mid-February in the Tour of the Alpes Maritimes and Haut-Var, the triple world champion, winner of the Belgian classic in 2016, will not be on the line at the start of Antwerp.

Peter Sagan winning the 2016 Tour of Flanders. Sirotti photo

He seems to suffer from a physical problem and, according to his team's staff, "toxin from 200 kilometers". The Slovak will get tested. It was by mutual agreement with the team that it was decided to withdraw him from Flanders because he could not stay with Anthony Turgis - 2nd in Milan-San Remo - in the final.

Peter Sagan will be lined up for a more modest format race, at the Circuit de la Sarthe (April 5-8), and will be replaced in Belgium by Geoffrey Soupe, a loyal teammate of Turgis on the Ronde in recent years.

The Slovak is having a mixed start to the season: sick with Covid in January, he missed the start of the TotalEnergies camp in Calpe (Spain). On Sunday, he retired on Sunday at Ghent-Wevelgem. His best performances since his recovery remain 4th place at Tirreno-Adriatico (2nd stage) - and non-starter the next day - and 5th place at Milan-Turin. During Milan-San Remo, derailleur problems which occurred just before the Cipressa had ejected him from the leading group.


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Team DSM's upcoming racing

The team sent me this update:

Dwars door Vlaanderen: MAR 30

Phil West - Team DSM coach
''With 12 climbs and five pave sectors in the parcours we can expect a busy race at Dwars door Vlaanderen. As in Gent-Wevelgem, it will be super important that we are tight together and positioned well coming into the key climbs. In the second half of the race we'll look to race aggressively and put John and Soren in position for the final."

Line-up:
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Cees Bol (NED)
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)

Soren Kragh Andersen (shown winning stage 19 of the 2020 Tour de France) is scheduled to ride Dwars Door Vlaanderen. ASO photo

Dwars door Vlaanderen: MAR 30

Albert Timmer - Team DSM coach
"Dwars door Vlaanderen is a very nice race in Flanders with lots of hills and cobbled sections. Our goal is to race aggressively and create situations that we can make to our benefit in the final. We bring a very strong team to the start, with strength in numbers and good motivation after a successful recent period. We look confidently ahead to the race and are prepared for multiple scenarios.”

Line-up:
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Megan Jastrab (USA)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Juliette Labous (FRA)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)

Le Tryptique des Monts et Châteaux: APR 1-3

Boris Zimine - Team DSM coach
"This race brings a lot of variety, which makes it a super interesting parcours. There are cobbles, hills, sprints and an ITT all inside four days racing. This means that the winner will be a really strong rider with all-around skills. After some good recent races, we will remain focused on solid teamwork. With our young team, our main goal is to work together as a  team and continue to improve the process. The first goal will be stages, and we will see where that brings us in the GC. So many things can happen in this kind of race so it will be important to be sharp and in control. We are excited to go and create something as team.''

Line-up:
Joost Brinkman (NED)
Moritz Kärsten (GER)
Lorenzo Milesi (ITA)
Max Poole (GBR)
Joris Reinderink (NED)
Lorenzo Ursela (ITA)

Volta Limburg Classic: APR 2

Bennie Lambregts - Team DSM coach
"A very nice race in the hills of Limburg; the parcours make Volta Limburg Classic similar to Amstel Gold Race. We start with a young and talented team that combines our Men’s and Development program. The goal is to race offensively with this young squad, continuing the good work and foundations we have built in the first part of the season. We will aim to ride aggressively, working together as a team to get to the final; that is how the young guys learn the most. We are going to race confidently and hope it pays off.”

Line-up:
Marco Brenner (GER)
Marius Mayerhofer (GER)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Oscar Onley (GBR)
Casper van Uden (NED)
Henri Vandenabeele (BEL)
Hannes Wilksch (GER)

Ronde van Vlaanderen: APR 3

Phil West - Team DSM coach
"With all the elements we have seen in the Classics so far, De Ronde is certainly going to be the ultimate fight. The longest cobbled classic and with the most climbs and cobbled sectors will mean for sure only the best riders will come together for the finish in Oudenaarde. Again we will look to how we sit as a team and come into those key sectors and climbs in a front position, bringing John into contention for battle in the final 100 kilometres of the race where the climbs and sections then come thick and fast."

Line-up:
John Degenkolb (GER)
Nico Denz (GER)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Jonas Iversby Hvideberg (NOR)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)

Ronde van Vlaanderen: APR 3

Huub Duijn - Team DSM coach
"Flanders always is a special race with a special feeling. This year with the crowds back at the side of the roads, we are really looking forward to the typical Belgian atmosphere. The race is well known for its many famous climbs and cobbled sections and we will look for opportunities in the race, needing to be well-positioned at the right moments, going in any attacks or moves as they go. Flanders is an honest race so in the end, the strongest will always end up at the front. We want to show the team colours and be there when it matters."

Line-up:
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Charlotte Kool (NED)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Lorena Wiebes (NED)

Itzulia Basque Country: APR 4-9

Luke Roberts - Team DSM coach
"Itzulia Basque Country will kick off with a 7.5 kilometre prologue followed by five road stages with many vertical meters on the short, steep climbs the area is renowned for. We will bring a young team to the start who are all motivated to give it a go over the week. The goal is to take steps in their development through aggressive and attacking racing, taking our chances where we can and hoping for a successful week.”

Line-up:
Romain Combaud (FRA)
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Andreas Leknessund (DEN)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Florian Stork (GER)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)


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Some bikes get relief from American 25% tariff

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

DANA POINT, Calif. BRAIN) — With consumer demand waning, inflation rising and stimulus money drying up, Wednesday's announcement that many Chinese bikes will become exempt from a 25% tariff was well-timed.

So said Mike O'Gara, a senior vice president at Huffy Corp., speaking here at PeopleForBikes' Bicycle Leadership Conference.

"The tariff gift couldn't have come at a better time for us," O'Gara said.

The U.S. Trade Representative's office reinstated 352 expired product exclusions Wednesday, affecting bike products from China that have been subjected to a 25% U.S. Section 301 tariff since Jan 1, 2021, when the previous exclusion expired.

Some of the exemptions include kids bikes — 20-inch and smaller wheel bikes and 24-inch bikes — e-bikes, carbon fiber frames (valued at $600 or less), certain helmets, bicycle trailers, messenger bags, and some other products.

Most bicycle products from China have been subject to a 25% Section 301 tariff.

"That is amazing news," said Specialized Bicycles' executive vice president, Bob Margevicius, announcing the news to cheers before hosting a panel about supply chain management at the BLC. O'Gara was among the panel members.

The reinstated product exclusions are effective retroactively from Oct. 12, 2021, and extend through Dec. 31, 2022, the office said. They cover a lot of the initially estimated $370 billion worth of Chinese imports that then-President Donald Trump hit with tariffs of 7.5% to 25%.

Other products affected are pumps, electric motors, certain car parts and chemicals, backpacks, vacuum cleaners, and other consumer goods.

You can read the entire story here.

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