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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion:
Thursday, August 27, 2015

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

One race today, the Vuelta a España's sixth stage.

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Pierre Rolland signs with Cannondale-Garmin

The team sent this announcement:

Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today announced that French rider, Pierre Rolland, will join the team in 2016.

“I am very honored by the trust placed in me by Cannondale-Garmin and am determined to ride well for them,” said Rolland. “This is truly a great opportunity for me, and I am very excited for 2016.”

Rolland, a talented climber, has achieved an impressive list of palmares including top-ten finishes  (2011, 2012, 2015), stage wins (2011 Alp d’Huez and 2012 La Toussuire) and Best Young Rider (2011) at the Tour de France, and 4th Overall at the 2015 Giro d’Italia.

Pierre Rolland

Pierre Rolland getting the red number (combativity prize) after stage 19 of the 2015 Tour de France.

Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports and Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling, said that Rolland's riding style reminds him of Thierry Claveyrolat, one of his favorite riders of all time due to that riding style, and is capable of winning the Tour de France Polka Dot Jersey: “Pierre is a rider that shows determination, style and panache year after year. He rides in the style of big gear, head up and always attacking. That style is something I respect and admire about Pierre. I believe that for all of his talent, he still has untapped potential. We hope to bring some work in aerodynamics and a bit of fresh air to help him maximize that potential, while retaining that panache and style that make him the great rider he is. He is a rider who I believe can one day win the Polka Dot jersey and is an exciting addition to our 2016 line-up.” Looking ahead to the 2016 roster as a whole, Vaughters added: "We have an exceptionally talented roster of young riders; what we need to continue to build is leadership for the young guys by giving them experienced riders that they can learn from to better harness their own talents - and Rolland brings that in spades."

Vuelta a España team reports

Orica-GreenEdge sent this release:

21-year-old Caleb Ewan has won stage five of the 2015 Vuelta a Espana in his debut season and Grand Tour. Ewan capitalised on a perfect lead out by his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates Mitch Docker, Mathew Hayman and Jens Keukeleire on what was tough uphill drag to the finish line.

In the process, the neo-pro got the better of ten-time Grand Tour stage winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and four-time Tour de France stage winner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo).

“This is by far the happiest day in my career,” Ewan said. “To beat some of the best sprinters in the world, especially guys like Sagan and Degenkolb on an uphill finish, it really means a lot to me. It’s an honour to race with those guys and to beat them is just unreal for me. It was a super tough finish, but my teammates did an awesome job of getting me to the bottom in front position. I even had time to stop back a few spots and that always makes it easier than trying to move up. If it wasn’t for them, there is no way I could have won today.”

Asked if he thought he could win in his first Grand Tour, the Australian credited the confidence the team have entrusted in him. “To be honest I didn’t know what to expect,” Ewan said. “I hadn’t won a WorldTour race to start with so I always knew it was going to be pretty tough. But my team believed in me and at the end there when they commit 100% for you, you start to believe in yourself as well.

“This was probably the last stage I could go for because I’m not planning on going through the whole Tour. There was a fair bit of pressure because I knew it was my last opportunity but that made me even more determined to do it.”

aleb Ewen wins Vuelta stage 5

Caleb Ewen wins Vuelta stage 5

Sport director Neil Stephens was thrilled by the efforts of his young charge. “The performance was unbelievable stuff,” Stephens said. “But what is also a factor is what’s gone on the past five days. We have had a great leader of the race and 90% of the thought had gone into Esteban Chaves so Caleb had to take a step back as plan B. He is 21 years of age. He dealt with that like a champion and then when he had is one chance, he delivered.”

Unfortunately, the pace in the final saw Colombian Chaves relinquish the red leader’s jersey by just one second to Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin). With a long way still to go before Madrid and some favourable stages to come, Stephens said Chaves is still in a very strong position. “We talked this morning about the possibility in the next couple of days to lose the jersey,” Stephens said.

“We probably didn’t think it would happen today, but we knew we didn’t want to obsess over the jersey just to keep it for an extra day when we have more goals to achieve across the three weeks. It’s been great to have the jersey, we might get it back we might not, but we aren’t done yet.”

How it happened: Stage five looked set for a strong sprinter, the relatively flat stage finishing with a technical finale containing a number of roundabouts in the final five kilometres and an uphill drag to the line. As such, few were willing to put themselves at the front of the race and as a result the breakaway began with one solo rider, Tsgabu Grmay of Lampre-Merida.

Eventually, two others joined him and the group began to ride out to an advantage.  As they reached seven minutes, the sprint teams came to the fore – particularly Giant-Alpecin and Cofidis. The break splinted in the final 20km and Iljo Keisse (Etixx-Quickstep) was the final survivor to be swept up with nine kilometres to go.

As the technical final section began, ORICA-GreenEDGE came to the fore led by Hayman. After a long turn, Keukeleire took over before Docker delivered Ewan with absolute perfection in order to contest and win the uphill sprint.

This piece came from Giant-Alpecin:

John Degenkolb and Tom Dumoulin took 2nd and 15th on stage five of La Vuelta a España, a stage of 167.3km from Rota to Alcalá de Guadaíra that ended in a bunch sprint. Because of his strong finish and the splits in the bunch, Dumoulin takes over the lead in the GC by only 1".

Tom Dumoulin (NED): "It is a strange feeling to have the red jersey now, I wasn’t expecting it today. Our plan was to help John and my part was to lead the team in the final 2km. In the hecticness of the finale I lost my team mates and just sprinted to make sure I didn’t lose any time. On my way to the bus I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get the stage victory until I suddenly heard that I had the red jersey via my radio.

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin gets the leader's red jersey

"Personally I was disappointed after my crash at the Tour as at the time I had the chance to take the yellow jersey. It took me two weeks to recover and from that moment I was really determined to come back even stronger. We have worked really hard and been very dedicated in training, and the feelings are good. Now I am here in the leader’s jersey and I’m really enjoying it.

"Before starting the Vuelta the time trial in third week was my main goal, but now I will try to keep the jersey as long as possible and will not give it up without a fight. There are some hard days coming up so we will see." 

Addy Engels (NED): "To take the leader’s jersey at a Grand Tour is great. Upfront we did not expect Tom [Dumoulin] to be this strong already, but we knew he had done the hard work to get here, so this feels as a present surprise and a nice reward. Our primary goal for today was to win the stage with John [Degenkolb] and the sprint preparation well well. Too bad he was beaten only just.

"We will try to keep the jersey in the team as long as possible. There are some hard climbing days ahead, but we will take it day by day.” 

Tinkoff-Saxo had this to say about Vuelta stage 5:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan was once again at the front of the Vuelta field battling for the win on stage 5 to Alcalá de Guadaíra. After team effort to bring Tinkoff-Saxo’s sprinting ace into position, Sagan finished 3rd admitting that he could feel the effects of yesterday’s grueling stage finale.

“I want to thank my teammates – they did a fantastic job for me again to bring me into a good position for the final sprint. It was a technically difficult finish and today I didn’t have the legs to win. I was in a great position but I think that yesterday’s very hard stage, that, looking back, really didn’t suit me, took a lot of energy and I paid the price today”, says Peter Sagan after he crossing the finish line behind stage winner Caleb Ewan.

“Probably, I tried too hard yesterday but we want to try to take the win everyday even if it looks difficult. Tomorrow, I will try to save myself a bit more. It’s a day for Rafal, who is our leader here, and we will have to work for him. It’s a hard stage, but I will not have to fight for the stage win in the finale”, adds Sagan, who now leads the points classification by 25 points.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan finishes stage 5

Going into details with the team effort on the 167.3km stage 5 of La Vuelta, Tristan Hoffman, Tinkoff-Saxo sports director, tells that the squad could share the workload with other teams looking to fight for the stage win on the uphill finale in Alcalá de Guadaíra.

“Today, the other teams took more responsibility, which meant that we didn’t have to work the entire day at the front. I must say that our guys did a fantastic job in the final 15km pulling for Peter and bringing him into the sprint in a very good position. It was a very hard stage for Peter yesterday, while both Ewan and Degenkolb, who won and finished second today, had taken it easier. Peter was more tired but he still managed to take third and we just have to say that the two other guys were faster on the final 100 meters today”, comments Tristan Hoffman before adding about tomorrow’s highly undulating stage 6 with an uphill finish to Alto de Cazorla.

“Tomorrow is pretty tough, not extreme, but the whole day is up and down. The finale is not super crazy but it will be the first real test for the GC riders and we will naturally support Rafal with the entire team. We will have to protect him and bring him to the bottom of the final climb in a good position from where he will take matters into his own hands”.

LottoNL-Jumbo's Vuelta news:

Tom Van Asbroeck finished just outside the top ten in Wednesday’s fifth stage of the Vuelta a España. The Belgian Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider ended up 11th in Alcalá de Guadaíra after a tough sprint. The 167-kilometre stage was won by Orica-GreenEdge’s Caleb Ewan. However, the Australian team did lose the red jersey after its cyclist Estaban Chaves lost a few seconds on the slightly uphill final. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) is the new overall leader.

“Erik Dekker checked the arrival early this morning,” Sports Director Merijn Zeeman said afterwards. “He saw that the final hundred metres were pretty tough and in our opinion, it was a bit too difficult for Tom. We were right. Tom [Van Asbroeck] rode a strong sprint, but on an arrival like this, he’s not yet able to interfere with the world’s best riders. The boys worked hard for Tom, though. We are improving.”

Tom Van Asbroeck: “They kept me perfectly out of the wind all day,” Van Asbroeck said. “Maarten Wynants could drop me off with five kilometres to go, but he went on until the final two. That was great effort.

“A final straight like today’s used to suit me, but of course, that was when I was still riding at EuropeTour level. I started my sprint in the wheel of Degenkolb, but to get there, I’d already had to accelerate. In the final part, I exploded and shut down completely.”

The sixth stage runs from Córdoba to the Sierra de Cazorla, 200 kilometres. “We have to wait and see what the favourites do and want,” Zeeman said. “The profile offers opportunities for attackers as we’ll be arriving on a climb of the third category. People can expect us to attack again.”

Rehau unveils injection-molded e-Bike frame

I'm a guy whose years in the trade involved brass-brazed steel frames. Aluminum and carbon fiber were part of my later years, but this? It was inevitable, but this? It is part of an extraordinary change from steel-framed 10-speed with friction shifters on the downtube and with 36-spoke wheels. This report from the Eurobike show is on

Rehau’s First Injection Molded E-Bike Bodies To Hit Market in 2016

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany – Today Rehau CEO Rainier Schulz presented its "nam:e" e-bike that features an advanced "body". It is made with a new frame building technology in which the company invested some 3 million euro. Rehau CEO Rainier Schulz made no secret of the fact that his e-bike body project needs partners from the bike industry to reach the necessary economy of scale.

The first "nam:e" e-bike will already be marketed under the Storck brand name next year. Storck Bicycle and the Institute of lightweight and Polymer Technology (ILK) of the TU Dresden are partners in the development process of the Rehau e-bike body.

The German automotive component maker is a 3 billion euro company that employs a staff of 19,000. The concept for developing the e-bike body derived from Rehau’s core business which is making bumpers for cars. The phrase "bumper" is nowadays, according to Rehau, hardly applicable to the current impact defense systems on cars. Such impact resistant parts are now an integral part of a car and holds lots of other components; from lights to sensors. However, some 50 years ago a car bumper was like a bike frame; a unit on which lots of other parts were bolted on. According to Rehau’s concept the bike frame can be turned into a "body" that holds the e-bike drivetrain, battery, motor-controller as well as cables.

The Rehau e-bike body comes in a one size fits all adjustable unit. Weight of the frame stands at 3,200 grams. An electric bike that is made with this body is expected to be retail priced below 4,000 euro. That is when an economy of scale is reached with a production level of several hundred thousand units annually.

Nam:e bike

"Nam:e" e-bike

The Rehau e-bike body is manufactured through an injection molding process. The automotive supplier claims to have a production system in place which allows for customization without the need for large series production. The master designs is adaptable to different e-bike models and to different e-bike drive systems.

Rehau started the development process already back in 2012. The company invested some 3 million euro while the German government put up about 2.5 million euro as a subsidy. Rehau CEO Rainier Schulz made no secret of the fact that his e-bike body project is in need of big partners from the bike industry to reach the necessary economy of scale with big production numbers. Development partner Markus Stock said that Rehau’s e-bike bodies will revolutionize the bike industry. Not only because of the new concept and technology but also because it’s made in Germany which bring lead times down maybe to what Rehau is used to in the automotive sector which is four to six hours instead of the usual 120 to 180 days for bike composite frames.

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