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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, April 29, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception. - James Thurber

Current racing:

Latest completed racing:


Team Sky rider Gianni Moscon used racial slur in argument with Kevin Reza

After Friday's Tour de Romandie stage three finished, Sky rider Gianni Moscon and FDJ racer Kevin Reza argued. During the confrontation Moscon used a racial slur again Reza.

Moscon has since apologized to Reza, who accepted the apology. Team Sky confirmed the incident and says Moscon will be dealt with by the team.

Kevin

Kevin Reza (shown racing in 2016) has accepted Moscon's apology. Reza finished third in this year's Paris-Camembert

Tour of Yorkshire stage one race report

Here's the organizer's stage one news:

Groenewegen wins opening stage at the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire

History repeated itself at the Tour de Yorkshire with Dylan Groenewegen winning the opening stage for a second year in succession in sunny Scarborough.

Huge crowds turned out in Bridlington to see the start of the third edition and bright conditions meant the county was at its brilliant best as the peloton wound its way through the Yorkshire Wolds and into the North York Moors before a frantic finish along North Bay in Scarborough. In total more than 400,000 people lined the roadside.

Banners, bunting and a whole host of ingenious land art provided a brilliant backdrop as the riders toiled across the tough and testing parcours.

An eight-man breakaway formed after 15km and Etienne Van Empel (Roompot), was the first of those riders to top the Côtes de Garrowby Hill and Goathland to earn himself a spell in the best climber's jersey sponsored by Virgin Trains.

The last escapees were finally caught with 8.3km to go, but before then the peloton had been split to shreds on the fearsome Côte de Robin Hood's Bay.

Groenewegen was one of several star sprinters to drop off the pace on that steep ascent but his LottoNL-Jumbo team-mates worked hard to bring him back into contention and the Dutch champion repaid that faith, just as he did in Settle last year.

The 23 year old powered to the line and held off a late challenge from Orica-Scott's Caleb Ewan once again for his first win of the season. The bonus seconds awarded for that victory meant Groenewegen opened up a four-second advantage over Ewan in the General Classification and ensured he will wear the blue leader's jersey sponsored by Welcome to Yorkshire for the second stage. Groenewegen also tops the points classification sponsored by Yorkshire Bank.

Dylan Groenewegen

Dylan Groenewegen (left) just beats Caleb Ewen

Aqua Blue Sport rider Conor Dunne meanwhile, will don the grey jersey sponsored by Dimension Data after fans voted him the day's most active rider on social media.

Aside from the bonus seconds awarded, all the riders that were still in the peloton with 3km to go were awarded the same time after a large crash saw many riders caught up. Magnus Cort Nielson (Orica-Scott) and Marco Haller (Katusha) came off worst and were transferred to Scarborough Hospital with suspected broken collarbones.

And here's stage winner Dylan Groenewegen's Team LottoNL-Jumbo's Yorkshire race report:

Dylan Groenewegen won the first stage in the Tour de Yorkshire today. At the port of Scarborough, the team LottoNL-Jumbo sprinter was faster than Caleb Ewan and Chris Opie. However, the victory had a nasty taste. Team leader Steven Kruijswijk hit the deck hard, but seems to be OK.

"I am pleased that I could sprint for the stage win," said Groenewegen. "It was a hard stage and on the climb I was in the second group. The team made a big effort to bring me back in front. It's beautiful that I won. All the praise goes to my team-mates."

According to Groenewegen, it was clear that Robin Hood's Bay would be difficult. "We knew the climb was heavy. I was pretty tired, but the team brought me back well. It was important to win here. This is what you do it for."

After the top of the climb, 28 kilometres remained to the finish. In the streets of Scarborough, the road went up. "I felt my legs and dropped back. Fortunately, Tom Leezer was there and dropped back from the front. In the last straight line, Bouhanni started sprinting. He shifted a bit, leaving space for me. Finally, Ewan came close, but I had the win."

Addy Engels: "It's cliché to say, but this was really a victory for the team," added Sports Director Addy Engels. "We knew Dylan would get tough on the climb. We therefore said in advance that the team had to wait for him. They did, and on top of the climb they could already start the pursuit. Soon Groenewegen returned to participate for the victory."

In the last hundred metres there was a massive crash. Steven Kruijswijk was involved. "It's bad that Steven crashes, but at first glance he seems alright," added Engels.

Kruijswijk is in Yorkshire to finish his preparations before starting the 100th Giro d'Italia.

Team Sky annouces Giro d'Italia squad

The team sent me this update:

Mikel Landa and Geraint Thomas will lead Team Sky in the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia, which starts next week in Sardinia (5th May) and ends in Milan on Sunday 28th May.

Thomas and Landa will be joined by Philip Deignan, Kenny Elissonde, Michal Golas, Sebastian Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Salvatore Puccio and Diego Rosa.

Ahead of the team’s departure to the Giro, Mikel Landa said: "The Giro is going to be a big challenge but I feel that I am in good form and it's a challenge I am ready for. As always, it is a race for the climbers and I think that will suit me. We have a strong team and I'm really looking forward to returning to the Giro with Team Sky.”

Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas winning stage two of this year's Tirreno-Adriatico. He's headed back to Italy to race the Giro.

Geraint Thomas said: “My preparation has gone really well and I’m ready. I can’t wait to get there now. The Tour of the Alps was my last race before the Giro and so to win there was obviously a boost to my morale. I know it’s going to be a really strong field at the Giro and it will be a tough, unpredictable race but I’m looking forward to it.”

Confirming the line-up, Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: "The 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia is going to be a special race. We want to make sure we are a key player in it and that we go there and make our mark. We’ve placed a lot of importance on performing well at this race. We have prepared properly for it to give the riders the best chance of making an impact.

“Our focus for the race will be to compete on GC. In Mikel Landa and Geraint Thomas we’re coming into the race with two key riders who will be trying to achieve that.

“We’ve looked at the challenges this edition of the Giro presents and picked a team which we believe can fully support both of our leaders. The last week of this Giro will be particularly demanding and the severity of those stages will be determining factors, so making sure we have climbing support in the high mountains has been a key consideration.

“Both Mikel and Geraint are coming into the race in excellent form and it’s exciting that they will be leading Team Sky into the 100th Giro d’Italia. They are two different types of rider and we see this as creating a real opportunity for us.

“In Grand Tour terms the first serious tests come early on and so we will arrive in Sardinia focused and ready to race from Kilometre One.”

The Team Sky squad for the 2017 Giro d’Italia is:

Philip Deignan – age 33 – Ireland

Lining up for his 10th Grand Tour appearance, Philip Deignan brings plenty of experience and climbing ability to the table. A former Grand Tour stage winner and top-10 finisher in his own right (Vuelta 2009), the Irishman knows what it takes to compete at the sharp end of a general classification. After a busy start to the year Deignan has already been part of a winning performance at Paris-Nice, and most recently supported Geraint Thomas to victory at the Tour of the Alps.

Kenny Elissonde – age 25 – France

Team Sky’s new recruit for 2017, Kenny Elissonde is a pure climber and very much at home when the road ramps upwards. The Frenchman has ridden the last four editions of the Vuelta a Espana, and also completed the Giro back in 2015. A Grand Tour stage winner, Elissonde was another rider who helped Geraint Thomas to victory at the Tour of the Alps, in addition to his own third place at the early season Herald Sun Tour.

Michal Golas – age 32 – Poland

An experienced presence in the peloton, Michal Golas is comfortable in the role of road captain, with a key role to play across the three weeks. With starts at all three of cycling’s Grand Tours, the former Polish national road champion knows just how to position his team leader in the peloton. Golas is also able to set a tempo in the medium mountains, making him just the type of versatile rider every good Giro team requires.

Sebastian Henao – age 23 – Colombia

2017 has seen Sebastian Henao take another step in his development, with the Colombian riding harder and contributing deeper into some of the toughest races on the calendar. He played a pivotal role in his cousin Sergio Henao’s victory at Paris-Nice in March, and is also no stranger to the Giro d’Italia. Sebastian has completed the race on the last three occasions, finishing 17th in his own right last season, claiming second in the young rider standings.

Vasil Kiryienka – age 35 – Belarus

With no less than three Giro d’Italia stage wins to his name, Vasil Kiryienka is a force to be reckoned with and a veteran of 16 career Grand Tours. Never more comfortable than when he is on the front dishing out punishment to the peloton, ‘Kiry’ has become a fan favourite for his tireless work ethic. World time trial champion in 2015, the Belarusian also played his part in two of Chris Froome’s Tour de France victories.

Mikel Landa – age 27 – Spain

Co-leader for Team Sky in this year’s Giro, Mikel Landa is hoping to return to the same Grand Tour podium he stood on in 2015. Third place at the Giro d’Italia was a breakthrough result for the Spaniard, who also picked up a stage win in that race. Landa has tasted victory at the Giro del Trentino since joining Team Sky, but saw a promising run at the Giro curtailed by illness last season. He will be looking to bounce back in 2017 after showing impressive form at the Tour of the Alps.

Salvatore Puccio – age 27 – Italy

One of two Italians in the line-up this season, Salvatore Puccio is one of the most dependable riders on the Team Sky roster. Gradually building his strength and experience since joining the team back in 2012, Puccio had the honour of a day in the pink jersey at the 2013 Giro – the first of his three participations to date. An all-round talent with a fast kick and love for the Classics, he can also be relied upon to set a tempo on the race’s early climbs.

Diego Rosa – age 28 – Italy

The second Italian in the Giro squad, Diego Rosa has been a highly impressive addition to Team Sky’s roster in 2017. Having already ridden all three Grand Tours in his career, Rosa is a climbing force and has quickly slotted himself into the team’s mountain train. With a victory at Milano-Torino and a second place at Il Lombardia already to his name, Diego has quickly established himself as a rising star since stepping up to the WorldTour ranks in 2015.

Geraint Thomas – age 30 – Great Britain

Lining up in his first co-leadership role at a Grand Tour, the 2017 Giro is a chance for Geraint Thomas to show what he can do over three weeks. The Welshman carries superb form into the race, fresh from victory at the Tour of the Alps. ‘G’ has proven himself as one of the best wingmen in the sport, and an ever-present in all three of Chris Froome’s Tour de France wins. An Olympic gold medallist and Classics star in his own right, the Giro provides Thomas with a huge opportunity.

Trek restructures, citing evolving business needs for layoffs

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this report:

WATERLOO, Wis. (BRAIN) — Trek Bicycle is restructuring and laying off staff. The company said less than 3 percent of its workforce is affected, but declined to provide any more details on the number of people or positions reduced.

Eric Bjorling, a spokesperson for the company, said the changes were not a reaction to a downturn in sales and that Trek has 50 open positions on its website based on evolving needs at the company. Bjorling also said Trek's retrained certain staff and offered them positions in other parts of the business to keep them on board.

"The nature of the business is changing rapidly. We have had to make some tough decisions, but at the same time the jobs we're hiring for today are vastly different than those we were hiring for 5 to 10 years ago. We have many needs now we're trying to accommodate," said Bjorling.

Some of the areas where Trek is investing in staff are content development including copywriters, photographers and videographers; IT technology and retail. Bjorling said that as Trek takes over more stores or opens new locations, it's investing in its in-house retail department. "That's probably the fastest-growing from a headcount perspective," he said.

You can read the entire story here.

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