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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Monday, August 10, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

Today's Racing

Yesterday, the 2.1-rated Volta a Portugal and the Tour of Utah finished. I've got complete final results posted for both races.

Starting yesterday continuing through the 16th is women's 2.1-ranked La Route de France.

And starting today is the big-deal Eneco Tour. I posted the race map and startlist with back numbers Sunday.

KTM recalls Panasonic batteries for e-bikes

This news was reported on several European sites, this is from www.bikes-eu:

MATTIGHOFEN, Austria – In a joined declaration battery manufacturer Panasonic and KTM announced a voluntary recall of model year 2013 e-bikes with hub motors due to problems with the batteries.

Panasonic assumes that per 150,000 batteries more than one battery might be faulty. The battery could heat up or catch fire in extreme cases which might lead to smoke and flames. In total, around 600 of these hub motor models of which the battery could have a production error were sold in Europe.

Until now, no incident has been reported. KTM bike, however, opted immediately together with Panasonic for safety and precautionary reasons and initiated a recall. The battery check and the replacement of the affected batteries are handled by the KTM dealer.

Only a limited number of Panasonic NKY442B2 batteries are affected these can be identified very clearly. Only batteries with a serial number starting with RA16 and RA17 are affected by the recall. The serial number is affixed to the underside of the battery (see photo).

Panasonic ebike battery

Panasonic battery showing location of serial number

Once a battery (RA16 or RA17) is mounted on an e-bike consumers are instructed to remove it from the bike immediately. This battery must not be used or recharged until it is exchanged for free by the dealer. KTM has also opened at dedicated hotline for any question: +49 30 920 360 110

Here's is the internet posting from KTM:

We have been informed by our supplier PANASONIC that there may have been manufacturing errors in the battery listed above. Panasonic believes that there is 1 defective battery in 150,000 units. An affected battery may overheat or spark, which can generate smoke and flames.

In agreement with Panasonic, KTM Fahrrad GmbH is recalling all batteries that could potentially exhibit the manufacturing errors described.

Please note that only a limited number of Panasonic NKY442B2 batteries are affected these can be identified very clearly. Only batteries with a serial number starting with RA16 and RA17 are affected by the recall.

Once again: These batteries beginning with serial number RA16 and RA17 must be exchanged immediately in order to ensure safe operation.

Velocio-Sram women's team calls it quits

I got this email this from Velociosports:

New York - 9 August, 2015 - Velocio Sports announces today that it will cease operation of the Velocio-SRAM cycling team at the end of the 2015 season.

After nine years running women's teams, owner Kristy Scrymgeour says it's time to take on a new challenge.

"It's been a rewarding time," she said. "I've really enjoyed the challenge and the people I've had the chance to work with and I'm really proud of what we've achieved over the years.

"It's especially been a pleasure to work with industry partners and media who are supportive of the women's side of the sport. The support of SRAM, Cervelo, Global Merino and all of our other sponsors has been phenomenal. It's exciting to see increased interest in women's cycling and I look forward to seeing that interest turn into growth and more opportunities for women in cycling in the future."

Scrymgeour continued, "As for the riders and the staff, I've been lucky to work with people who bring passion and energy to the sport. I've enjoyed watching them dedicate themselves to the goals of the team first and foremost and their individual goals after that. Together they've had tremendous success this year winning the Aviva Women's Tour, Tour of California, stage wins at the Giro, Thueringen, multi national titles and more. I'll continue to cheer them all on in the future years.

Lisa Brennauer

Velocio-Sram rider Lisa Brennauer

"To the fans of the sport and the personal supporters of this team, of which there are many, I want to extend a huge thanks. We've been extremely lucky to have you behind us at every step of the way especially when we needed it most. Special thanks go to Jose Fernandez, Helge Reipenhof, Steve Van der Zwan, Doug Ellis, Bob and Tess Stapleton, Alex Wassmann, David Wassmann, Diane Thibert, Mark Gibbon and of course to all of our Project-X crowdfunding supporters who provided constant enthusiasm at every race or event."

Scrymgeour will stay involved in the sport through Velocio Apparel and Ally's Bar brands, both of which she co-founded in 2014.

"I'm excited about the future and I'm looking forward to new challenges. For now we still have two months left of exciting racing and the team is focussed on trying to defend their World TTT Championship title.

"This was a hard decision for me, but I'm announcing early to give the riders a clear opportunity to find other teams for next year. I believe in these riders and I believe in women's cycling and I will continue to advocate for growth in the sport."   

BMC's Tour of Utah report

Park City, Utah - BMC Racing Team's Brent Bookwalter was runner-up in a photo finish Sunday on the final stage of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah to place third overall and win the sprint classification.

Bookwalter slipped a small breakaway group over the top of the final climb of the 125.5-kilometer race that started and finished in Park City. But Lachlan Norris (Drapac Professional Cycling) caught up to him in the final turn and pipped Bookwalter in the sprint.

"I think I got a good jump out of the last corner and was full gas all the way to the line, but he came around me," Bookwalter said. "I am really bummed to miss the win on the stage, but the points jersey and the podium overall is a really good consolation. It is a testament to how we rode through the week - never giving up and just fighting on every stage."

Bookwalter's attack and high-speed plunge off of Empire Pass paid dividends in the overall standings. Sitting in sixth place overnight, 1:32 off the lead, Bookwalter leapfrogged three of the riders in front of him - including 2013 Vuelta a España winner Chris Horner (Airgas-Safeway Cycling Team) and the third-place finisher at the 2011 Tour de France, Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing).

Lachlan Morris and Brent Bookwalter

Lachlan Morris beats Brent Bookwalter to the line at the Tour of Utah's final stage.

Joe Dombrowski (Team Cannondale-Garmin) won the overall title, 50 seconds ahead of Michael Woods (Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies). Bookwalter was a further 15 seconds back and earned the sprint leader's jersey by finishing third, second, fifth, seventh, eighth and second in the last six stages.

Sport Director Jackson Stewart said Bookwalter's performance - his best at this race since finishing fifth in 2008 - helped the BMC Racing Team finish on a positive note.

"At first, you are gutted for him because he has been so close to a stage win," Stewart said. "Our priority for this race was to win a stage and he was the guy who was going to do it for us. When you have a sprint like this and you lose it, it hurts. But in the end, we had a great week, we just didn't get that win. We can go away happy. We still raced the same as if we were winning or getting second."

Two BMC Racing Team riders who made their return to competition after long layoffs from injuries both finished the seven-day race. Taylor Phinney had not competed in 16 months after crashing and breaking his left leg in two places at the USA Cycling national road championships. Peter Stetina was coming back from a nearly 17-week layoff after breaking broke his right tibia and patella and five ribs in a crash at Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

Phinney was third on Monday's opening stage and placed 63rd overall.

"I am really satisfied," Phinney said. "I really didn't have any expectations and I wasn't sure how long I would even be in the race."

Stetina finished 81st and said his performance also exceeded his expectations.

"We thought it was going to be tough for me to even finish Stage 1," he said. "We thought the best scenario would be finishing three or four stages. So to actually finish the Tour of Utah was beyond my wildest dreams. I personally didn't see that coming. So I was really pleased I could do that off of three weeks of training."

Notes: Phinney also appeared on the final podium as winner of the "overall fan favorite" of the race. On Friday, he won the vote for "most inspiring comeback from adversity" to advance to Sunday's round of other fan favorite winners. In voting for the overall fan favorite, Phinney received 45.5 percent of the vote, ahead of "best ambassador" winner Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Racing Team), who had 21.8 percent.

Amy Pieters won La Route de France prologue

Pieters' Liv-Plantur team sent this:

Amy Pieters (NED) stormed to prologue victory on the opening day of La Route de France, assuming the overall race lead.

This is the second year in a row that Team Liv-Plantur has taken the opening stage of the French race with Claudia Lichtenberg (GER), also racing this year, taking victory in 2014 and holding onto the lead until end.

Amy Pieters (NED): "It's a nice way to start the race with a win! The course was fast and not too technical so I think this suited me well today, a short hard effort.

"The next few days should be alright for me but after that the stages start to get really hard and from there we will be looking after Claudia. It's great to have the jersey and having it in the team puts us in a good situation now to defend it within the team for the coming days." 

Amy Pieters

Amy Pieters racing to her stage win

Team manager Hans Timmermans (NED): "Amy rode a really strong race today, looking really fast and paced it well over the three kilometres. After last year's success here it's nice to be back in the lead. The next few days should be for the sprinters so that suits us in keeping the jersey with Amy, although there are not a lot of sprinters here so the job of chasing will come down more to us.

"Either way it's good to have the jersey and as the stages get harder later in the week we have Claudia who is better suited to the climbs. She also did a good race today as it's not her strength so she stayed with the other GC contenders. It will also be a good experience for the younger riders now in defending the lead." 

LottoNL-Jumbo's plans for Tour de l'Ain

The team sent this:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo aims for a stage victory in the Tour de l’Ain. Sports director Erik Dekker sees several chances to accomplish this. Mike Teunissen and Steven Kruijswijk are the team’s main guns.

“The Tour de l’Ain is a versatile race”, Erik Dekker says. “It starts with a short prologue, there are two flat stages and two mountain stages. There are only six riders in each team, so this gives attentive riders a good opportunity to win a stage. Steven Kruijswijk really wants to win a stage and I think that Mike Teunissen and we have a good sprinter with Barry Markus. Nick van der Lijke are able to deliver in the bunch sprints as well. Mike is in top form, so I expect a lot from him in the prologue too.”

Steven Kruijswijk

Steven Kruijswijk

“It’s a nice race to strengthen my form even more”, Teunnissen agrees. “We have a good team and I see chances for myself. The prologue suits me. It’s a lot of twisting and turning, so my riding skills can be important. I can do the bunch sprints as well. I proved to be a fast rider, the last weeks.”

“Our first goal is to win a stage in the Tour de l’Ain”, Dekker continues. “Besides that, it’s a good race for some riders to take the next step in their aim for good results later this year.” The Tour de l’Ain is the second race for trainee Twan Castelijns. He can show off in a small stage race after his debut in the Prudential Ride London.

Team Line-up: Steven Kruijswijk, Mike Teunissen, Nick van der Lijke, Timo Roosen, Twan Castelijns and Barry Markus.

Sports director: Erik Dekker

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary