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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, June 25, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. - Douglas Adams

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Lotto-Soudal annonces Tour de France line-up

Here's the update the team sent me:

On Saturday 1st of July the 104th Tour de France kicks off in Düsseldorf, Germany. Lotto Soudal has lined up the following nine riders.

André Greipel, who turns 35 mid-July, conquered eleven stage wins at the Tour the past six years. Since 2008, the German has won at least one stage in every Grand Tour that he rode, amounting to a total of 22 victories. No doubt he will want to continue this winning streak in the upcoming Tour. Just like during his six previous participations Greipel can rely on the support of his friend Marcel Sieberg (35) for whom this is the eighth Tour de France. That’s as many as Adam Hansen (36) who will start the 25th Grand Tour in his career and the eighteenth in a row that he could complete.

Another very experienced rider is Lars Bak (37). The Dane has already put many breakaways to an end so Greipel could sprint for victory. Bak is about to start his seventh Tour de France. Also Thomas De Gendt (30) is a familiar face at the head of the peloton, but of course he has a reputation as a breakaway rider too. Just think of his victory on Mont Ventoux last year, on the twelfth stage of the Tour. It’s his fifth participation in La Grande Boucle.

Lars Ytting Bak

Lars Bak racing earler this year in Australia

Tony Gallopin (29) also has beautiful memories of the Tour. In 2014 he wore the yellow jersey one day and he won a stage. It is the seventh time he will start the Tour and that’s also the case for Jürgen Roelandts who turns 32 during the second stage, on July 2.

Tim Wellens (26) and Tiesj Benoot (23) are the youngsters in the team. After a first participation in 2015 Wellens is back for his second Tour. Benoot will make his Grand Tour début next week.

Alejandro Valverde reflects on upcoming Tour de France

Team Movistar posted this:

24 JUNE 2017 The Spanish National Road Race Championships in Soria on Sunday - a race he already won in 2008 (Talavera) and 2015 (Cáceres) - will be Alejandro Valverde's final stop before taking on the 2017 Tour de France. The Movistar Team rider will be lining up in the 'Grande Boucle' for the tenth time, twelve years after his maiden appearance in 2005, completely free of any pressure after his 2015 podium finish - one he had sought for his entire career.

Valverde has four Tour stages to his account  –Peyragudes ('12), Plumelec, Super-Besse ('08) and Courchevel ('05)–, with two days in yellow and four consecutive top-8 GC finishes since 2013 - despite being mainly focused on supporting Nairo Quintana. The marvel from Murcia, still the rider with most UCI wins in 2017 (11), reflects on his condition and approach to the Tour exactly one week before the start of the race.

Alejandro Valverde

Alejandro Valverde about to start stage five of this year's Dauphiné

"After the classics I spent a week out of the bike, enjoyed some holiday for my family and then went on altitude training in Sierra Nevada. I stayed there for 23 days before heading to the Dauphiné. I felt good in France - obviously, not in a condition to target the GC specifically, but I was close to the top guys. Afterwards, I went to Andorra to refresh my mind on some of the Pyrenees climbs and, above all, stay away from the heat we were suffering in southern Spain."

Spanish Nationals: "I'm going to Soria with an aim of riding strong and help the team retain the championship. Of course I'd love to win, but it's not an obsession for me. More than anything, it should be good training for me before the Tour. I've been checking the route and the final circuit doesn't feel like flat, but it's not really hard either. In the end, it will be the distance rather than the hills which will make it hard. We're obviously the top favourites as fourteen of us will be racing there, but you can't get any confident about that because our rivals will still be strong and skilled."

The Tour: "I feel like I'm tackling it in great form, hopefully strong enough to be by Nairo's side and help my team-mates as much as possible. My goal is clear and certain, and I've stated it many times: supporting him, and nothing else. We'll be backing Nairo 100%. Anything that happens after that on the road is something we can't really plan on. Obviously, I can't lose much time on the GC because it serves our team's strategical interest. If things go right and we both remain up there in the overall standings, our rivals will have to take precautions against both of us - which might turn out to be good for the team.

"I really respect the Tour, but I don't have any fear to it anymore. I've really got hold of how it works during the last few years. I'm not only excited about riding it, but also certain about what I can do for the team - just as much as my team-mates are.

"I see Nairo very focused on the task. He's training well, he's keeping his mind fresh, and even though it's true he's tackling the Giro-Tour double for the first time, he's always done better at the second Grand Tour in the past when he took on the Tour-Vuelta one. I don't feel like it should be a problem for him."

Contenders: "I see all main rivals doing really well - I don't feel like there's one quite stronger to the others, either. At this very moment, it seems like Richie Porte is a bit stronger than the rest, but in a 21-day event, everything can change a thousand times. Froome has shown his quality during the past few years, and with his previous wins in the race we must consider him the strongest favourite, even if it's true that he hasn't shown to be as superior to the rest as he did in the past. Also Alberto, who knows how to approach the race in full condition; Bardet, who finished 2nd last season - I think all favourites are pretty much close, and that should make for an open race, exciting for the fans."

The route: "The first week will be pretty nervous, as it always happens in the Tour. However, I like that there's a mountain-top finish already on day five, so we don't get too much into a sprinters' course-dynamic and start seeing things calm down in the bunch. It will be a demanding week, with the opening TT surely creating some gaps.

"The Pyrenees stages will be really demanding. The 100-kilometer stage to Foix doesn't seem that dangerous, but can become decisive, even more difficult than a long mountain stage. We'll surely be starting flat-out, and with those difficult climbs, things could become really tough for everybody. The one finishing at Peyragudes brings me many good memories, but it's not going to be quite the same this year. It was a 140km route when I won, now it's 215km! It will be really, really tough.

"When it comes to the Alps, we know all climbs and we're sure they'll be demanding stages, but on week three of a Tour de France, it's not that much about the route rather than having a team with energy left into the tank to support his leader. I haven't really looked at the Marseille ITT, but considering how close the top guns usually are in terms of stamina, some positions within the top five overall could still be decided there."

Medical update on Heinrich Haussler & Ramunas Navardauskas

Here's the report from Team Bahrain-Merida:

Bergamo, 24th June – Heinrich Haussler and Ramunas Navardauskas, riders from BAHRAIN MERIDA are recovering after the medical problems. Ramunas who suffers from cardiac arrhythmia we expect that he will join the training again after approximately one month and Heinrich Haussler started to train today after the recent Arthroscopy of the left knee.

Ramunas Navardauskas

Ramunas Navardauskas racing in Argentina earlier this year

Dr Carlo Guardascione, Medical Staff of team Bahrain Merida said about Haussler medical situation: “Ten days ago, in Orthopedic Klinik of Basel, a second arthroscopic treatment was necessary for reduce an important hypertrophic Hoffa’s fat body that created impingement inside the left knee. Surgery treatment was excellent and the first check done yesterday shows a dry knee and a good performance about movements and stability.”

Heinrich Haussler after the recent surgery feels good and he reports: ”All is going very good after the Arthroscopy, no pain, not much swelling and I feel good. I went for my first ride today and it went very well. Now I will just follow the normal rehab protocol, build up my left leg up again and as soon as I can get back to normal training again I will be back with my teammates out on the road and the races.”

Dr Carlo Guardascione, Medical Staff of team Bahrain Merida announced after receiving medical results for Ramunas Navardauskas: ”As a result of extensive cardiac examinations of level 2 carried out at the National Olympic Center in Lithuania, the presence of a cardiac arrhythmia requires a period of rest and de-training of at least one month, after that a further cardiological check-up will definitively clarify the evolution of the cardiac anomaly found.”

“I feel OK. And I miss racing very much. So far I am resting at home in Lithuania and waiting for what doctors will tell me to do. I hope it is just overtired after last two seasons and that I will be back on the bike soon,” said Ramunas while he is waiting for his return.

State officials say Trump election caused Outdoor Retailer show
to pull out of Utah

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

By Stephen Frothingham

PARK CITY, Utah (BRAIN) — The election of Donald Trump contributed to the outdoor industry's decision to move its major trade show out of Utah after 21 years in the state, two state officials told journalists Wednesday.

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said state and Salt Lake City officials had been negotiating for years about hosting the Outdoor Retailer trade show. But those negotiations broke down early this year. Many major outdoor brands, including Patagonia and REI, were critical of Utah after Gov. Gary Herbert petitioned Trump to reverse President Obama's decision to create Bears Ears National Monument late in his term. The Trump administration is still considering the request.

But Cox said the outdoor industry became alarmed over Trump's election, and that climate forced a decision on pulling out.

"We'd been having these (negotiations) for years. ... Every year, we sit down and get close to the same page and then we move forward," Cox told journalists at the Outdoor PressCamp here. "The only thing that changed this year was Donald Trump got elected. ... Nothing changed on our end, but suddenly you had Bears Ears and Bears Ears (National Monument status) could go away and it was a bridge too far for a lot of people."

Outdoor Retailer announced in February that it would not hold shows in Utah after next month's Summer show. Last month OR's parent company, Emerald Expositions, announced it had bought the SIA Snow Show and would combine the Snow Show and the OR Winter Show in Denver in 2018. Emerald has not announced the venue for its 2018 summer show. Emerald also owns Interbike, which also has announced it will not hold its show in Utah.

Cox said the move will ultimately be a setback for the outdoor industry.

"The thing that makes me sad is not that we lost the revenue from the Outdoor Retailer show. We'll replace that — we have a lot of people that want to come out here and have conventions. What makes me sad is that there are a lot of people on the other side that were really happy that Outdoor Retailer is leaving because now we don't have to listen to them anymore. I think it set things back a decade because the outdoor rec industry had worked so hard to get a seat at the table and were a force, and now the people who were fighting them all the time, the extreme voices on my team, feel like they don't have to listen to them anymore and that it was a win. I wish OR hadn't given up its seat at the table."

Tom Adams, the director of the state Office of Outdoor Recreation, also blamed "the Trump Effect" for the OR pullout.

"Heels were dug in and they said, 'we don't hear you saying what we want to hear and we are going to part our ways,'" Adams said.

You can read the entire article here.

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