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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, May 3, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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Simon Yates to lead Team BikeExchange-Jayco at Giro d’Italia

The team sent me this update:

Briton Simon Yates will lead a balanced Team BikeExchange-Jayco squad at the first Grand Tour of the 2022 season, the prestigious Giro d’Italia, a major goal for the 29-year-old and the Australian outfit.

After a whirlwind of experiences tackling the iconic Italian stage race, last year’s podium finisher Yates, lines-up ready to challenge for the overall victory on his fifth attempt.

Simon Yates just won two stages at the Vuelta a Asturias

A course & team that suits
With high mountains ranging from Etna to Blockhaus and the Marmolada, fast and flat stages, and a limited number of time trial kilometres, the 2022 route looks well suited to the tenacious Briton. With this, the Australian outfit has recruited versatile riders that can support Yates through an abundance of scenarios.

Protecting their leader throughout the three-week race will be Australian road captain Michael Hepburn, along with experienced powerhouses, in fellow Australian Callum Scotson and Dane Chris Juul-Jensen.

American and Italian time trial champions Lawson Craddock and Matteo Sobrero add to the capability of the team’s engine room, whilst Australian duo Damien Howson and Lucas Hamilton will provide crucial support for Yates on the climbs.

Experience & preparation
Learning from years of trial and error with many highs and lows from the race, including four Giro d’Italia stage wins and 13 days in the Maglia Rosa in 2018, Yates has followed a similar preparation template, beginning his season at altitude before building through target races.

With three stage victories under his belt so far this season and one of his best individual time trial performances to date at Paris-Nice, the Team BikeExchange-Jayco leader begins his 2022 Giro assault, having left no stone unturned, with all eyes on the top step of the podium in Verona in one month’s time.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-Up:
Lawson Craddock (USA) - 2nd appearance
Lucas Hamilton (AUS) - 3rd appearance
Michael Hepburn (AUS) - 7th appearance
Damien Howson (AUS) - 3rd appearance
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN) - 7th appearance
Callum Scotson (AUS) - 2nd appearance
Matteo Sobrero (ITA) - 3rd appearance
Simon Yates (GBR) - 5th appearance

Brent Copeland - General Manager
“The Giro d'Italia, it is always an exciting time of the year for us, even more so this year with the arrival of our team owner Gerry Ryan who has not been able to visit his team for the past few years due to the pandemic. So, it has been a long time coming, and we are all extremely delighted to be able to see him at the races once again.

"This year’s Giro d'Italia is definitely going to be an exciting edition, not only because we are coming to the end of a few challenging years for cycling and finally we will get to see the fans in full force at this year’s race, but also there is a great depth of top riders this year who will all be racing for the general classification.

"Our performance group and technical staff have selected a team which will ensure for some solid racing, and we look forward to contributing to the spectacle over the next three weeks.”

Matthew White - Head Sport Director
“The Giro d’Italia has been a big, big goal for the team over last few years and this year is no different. We have a really good squad with a lot of experience in Grand Tours and we will go into the Giro as one of the favourites for the race. It is a challenge we are looking forward to. Simon is coming off Vuelta Asturias and it was good preparation for him and for the rest of the team after an altitude block.

"Thinking about the Giro, what we can always expect is a very tough back end to the race. The 2022 edition starts with three interesting stages in Hungary and after we will have a few challenges routes in the South of Italy with the Etna finish and with stage nine, climbing the hard Blockhaus.

"Traditionally the Giro has always been the hardest of the three Grand Tours in the last week and this year is no different with many climbs in the Alps. Of course, the weather conditions can play a very important role, going from snow to very hot temperatures. One thing for sure is there’s always a surprise around every corner in the Giro and I think this is one of the attractions of the race and a reason we love it so much.”

Simon Yates – 3rd place in 2021:
“I have just finished the Vuelta Asturias and the two stage victories there have confirmed to me the good job done during the recent altitude training camp. I’ll be leaving for Budapest ready for my fifth Giro d'Italia. I still have memories of the great celebrations on the podium in Milan last year, and it wouldn't be bad to re-live the same emotions again.

"From the start in Hungary to the last stage in Verona on the 29th of May, the road will be long and tough, but I'm ready and I will have some great teammates with me.

"A success in a way is not the end result. I want to go there in my best condition and do the best result possible. If I don’t win then, then that’s ok because somebody is better than me. If I go there and I am not at the level required, then that is a failure for me.

"From an actual racing point of view, you always aim for the podium. We aim for the podium and once we get closer to the last week, we assess if we are in a position to win it or not, then we go at it from there".

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Here's the Team Ag2r-Citroën Giro team announcement:

Laurent Biondi, sports manager for the AG2R CITROËN TEAM, presents the eight riders from the team who will be at the start of the Giro d’Italia 2022.

29 years old / 12 professional victories
1st participation
"Lilian is an experienced rider who will be able to bring his race craft to the group and in particular help out Félix. He will be an important element in our team plan, and especially in our quest for a stage victory. He will aim for the hilly stages that suit his qualities."

Lilian Calmejane winning a stage at the 2019 Tour du Limousin

36 years old
4th participation
Best result: 10th on a stage (2011)
"Mikaël is taking part in his sixteenth Grand Tour. His experience and qualities in the mountains will be essential alongside Félix. He will be able to help and advise the team, but also play his card on certain stages to snag his first professional victory."

24 years old
1st participation
"Félix has been the happy surprise for the start to the season for the AG2R CITROËN TEAM. He has shown that he had great potential in stage races thanks to his good recovery qualities. He will be our sole leader for the general classification. However, this is his first Grand Tour and therefore his first experience of managing a three-week race. He will aim for a top 15 in the general classification and depending on the opportunities, a stage victory."

25 years old
2nd participation
" Jaakko has had a rocky start to the season with health issues and crashes. We hope to see him regain confidence throughout this Giro and the physical qualities allowing him to be an animator at the front on certain stages. He will also be an important element in helping to protect Félix."

29 years old
2nd participation
Best result: 8th on a stage (2021)
"Lawrence replaces Clément Berthet, who crashed and broke his collarbone in the Tour of the Alps. Even if he did not have the ideal preparation for a Grand Tour, he will have a key role in protecting Félix on the flat and tricky stages, and he will be able to play his card on certain sprint stages."

28 years old / 2 professional victories
2nd participation
Best result: stage victory (2019)
"Nans has had a good preparation including an altitude training camp at Etna. The Giro d’Italia is his big goal for the start of the season. He will be a valuable rider around Félix but also to go for a stage victory as he did in 2019."

25 years old
1st participation
"Nicolas is a young rider. He will ride the Giro d’Italia for the first time after having done the Vuelta a Espana in 2021 where he took a nice top-10 on one of the stages. His climbing qualities will be useful in accompanying Félix but he will also be able to slip into the breakaway on difficult stages."

27 years old / 4 professional victories
5th participation
Best result: stage victory (2021)
"Andrea is the rider on the team who knows the Giro d’Italia best. His knowledge of the roads will be an asset for the whole team. He has qualities as a puncher that can allow him to take victories in sprints from small groups and the strength to win from a breakaway like his victory last year."


The number: 2
Two riders from the AG2R CITROËN TEAM at the start have already won a stage victory in the Giro d'Italia. Nans Peters won the seventeenth stage in 2019 and Andrea Vendrame won the twelfth stage in 2021.

Lilian Calmejane, who is taking part in the Giro d'Italia for the first time, can enter the exclusive group of riders who have won stages at all three Grand Tours. He won stage four of the Vuelta a Espana in 2016 and took the victory in stage eight of the Tour de France in 2017.

The news: Sixteenth Grand Tour for Mikaël Chérel
On Friday, May 6th, in Budapest (Hungary), Mikaël Chérel will start his sixteenth Grand Tour. He has participated six times in the Tour de France, six times in the Vuelta a Espana, and this will be his fourth participation in the Giro d'Italia.
Félix Gall is taking part in his first Grand Tour.

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Team Bahrain Victorious posted this Giro d'Italia announcement:

May 6th marks the start of the first Grand Tour this season, with the 105th edition of Giro d’Italia starting from Budapest, Hungary. The 21 stage race will cover a total of 3,445.6km and 50,580 vertical metres before finishing in Verona, Italy.

Bahrain Victorious will be looking to go one better than last year, where Damiano Caruso battled to second in GC after losing Mikel Landa in an early crash. This year, Mikel will be hoping for better fortunes after showing strong form at Tirreno and Tour of Alps: “I feel really good for this Giro again, and after the crash last year, I’ve got a new opportunity, and I’m feeling super good and confident. I’ve got a super team around me, and my last races have been really positive, and I think everything has gone to plan in the lead up to the race.”

Mikel Landa finsihing stage four of the 2021 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

Landa will have the support of fellow basque rider and UAE Tour podium finisher Pello Bilbao, Ruta del Sol winner Wout Poels and Saudi Tour stage winner Santiago Buitrago in the high mountains. Alongside them will be Slovenian TT Champion Jan Tratnik and Domen Novak looking to support the race’s tricky flat and hilly sections. Finally, Jasha Sütterlin will lead Phil Bauhaus in the sprints, with Bauhaus looking to add to his success in Hungary, where he won two stages at Tour de Hongrie last season.

Sports Director Gorazd Štangelj shares his thoughts on the upcoming Giro: “We come into this year’s Giro looking for victory in the GC as the primary goal. However, we want to be active throughout this Giro and look for opportunities for potential stage wins in the sprints and breakaways.

"We start in Hungary with a potential sprint stage with a limited bunch, then the individual time trial and finally a sprint stage before moving to Sicily. We are hoping to come out of Hungary without losing time in GC and a good result by Bauhaus on the sprint stages and Jan, our TT specialist.

"I would say this year’s route has more than a few difficult stages. From the first to the last week, there is no standout week that I could say is the hardest. Every week will have its challenges.

"Overall, we’ve got a really balanced team for flat, hilly and high mountain stages, which is a requirement for this edition of the race as there are a few tricky flat stages, while you can do a great job in the high mountains if you have the numbers.”

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Shimano stock slumps after report

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this report:

TOKYO (BRAIN) — Shimano Inc.’s stock price fell nearly 14% on Wednesday following the release of its first-quarter earnings report Tuesday.

Shimano reported that revenues were up 13.9% in the first quarter, while net income was up just 0.5%, below some analysts' expectations.

Shimano modified its guidance for its first half and full year. While it maintained its previous projection of first-half revenues at 293,200 million yen, it raised its forecast ordinary income by 1.2% due to currency exchange fluctuations. It did not revise its net income forecast, which remains 117,500 million yen, 1.3% over its full-year 2021 net income.

Sales in Shimano's bike-product division were up 14% in the first quarter, compared to the same period last year. However the company said the pandemic-driven bike boom "showed signs of cooling down."

You can read the entire story here.

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