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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, January 6, 2016

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

Kindness, I've discovered, is everything in life. - Isaac Bashevis Singer

Ewan, Mackay win Australian Criterium Championships

Orica-GreenEdge sent me this:

2015 Vuelta a Espana stage winner Caleb Ewan has continued his impressive start to 2016 by taking out the Mars Cycling Australia National Criterium Championship this evening in Ballarat. The 21-year-old, who claimed his third Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic title on Monday, lined up in the first national championship of the week alongside ORICA-GreenEDGE’s strongest ever contingent of riders in the criterium.

The outfit controlled the majority of racing courtesy of Luke Durbridge and Jack Haig, leaving Mitch Docker and Alexander Edmondson to take the reigns in the final laps before Ewan finished it off with a convincing win in the sprint.

"I can't fault them, perfect from start to finish," Ewan said of his teammates. "First, when all of the attacks were going, they controlled things and only let the breaks go that they wanted to. Then they pretty much rode the front for the rest of the race making everyone else struggle behind."

"Alex went down the back straight on the last lap and when he hit the front no one could come around us. And he still had enough energy to go around the corner and take me up most of the straight until a had to start my sprint with 200metres to go. To have a guy as fast as Alex leading you out, anyone who is out of position can't really move up. 200 metres to go was the first time I had to touch the wind for the whole race, so that makes it a whole lot easier."

With the road race still to come, Ewan is confident the team is looking strong.

"I think everyone is going really well, so Sunday should be pretty exciting."

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan keeps his winning streak going

How it happened:

It was a fast and furious start to racing in the elite men’s Mars Cycling Australia Criterium Championship, but the peloton remained largely together thanks to the efforts of ORICA-GreenEDGE controlling at the fore.

A move of three riders - Adam Phelan (ACT), Pat Lane (VIC) and Nathan Earle (TAS) - rode momentarily off the front, but were shut down by the power of the chase led by Durbridge and Haig. Those who followed with similar attempts suffered the same fate as the race was destined for a bunch sprint.

The Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships continue with the time trial championships in Buningyong tomorrow.

Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships Criterium - Race Results:

1. Caleb Ewan (NSW) 59:54
2. Brenton Jones (VIC) ST
3. Anthony Giacoppo (WA) ST

Women's Championship: 2015 SwissEver GP Cham-Hagendorn winner Lizzie Williams has backed up her final day victory at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic on Monday by sprinting to a silver medal at the Mars Cycling Australia National Criterium Championship this evening.

Sophie Mackay wins Austrailian crit championships

Sophie Mackay (left) just beats Lizzie Williams

In an exciting finish, Williams was pipped across the line by New South Wales’ Sophie Mackay after a small group escaped from the bunch in the latter part of racing.

Williams’ podium finish wrapped up an active race by ORICA-AIS, with each of our five representatives featuring in a move at some point during the 33km criterium.

“We rode superbly,” Wiiliams said. “But we are still learning to do a lead out at the moment and whilst we are doing a lot of things right we made some small mistakes and that’s the difference."

Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships Criterium - Race Results:

1. Sophie Mackay (NSW) 51:49
2. Lizzie Williams (VIC) ST
3. Lauren Kitchen (NSW) ST

Tour de Langkawi route announced

Here's the press release from the organizers:

Tour de Langkawi podium history | 2016 Tour de Langkawi

UTRAJAYA : The 21st edition of Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from February 24 to March 2 will be marked by a first ever grand finish in the historic city of Melaka, while an eight-stage race format will see teams preparing for another grueling challenge, this time on the West Coast of Peninsula Malaysia.

Minister of Youth and Sports YB Khairy Jamaluddin announced today that the 2016 race route will redefine LTdL as ‘Asia’s Ultimate Challenge’, a battleground where top 11 world class teams from Europe will compete against 11 of Asia’s best.

"Not only that, we are expecting exciting competition from all the riders. The composition of the route will test all aspects of their capabilities, it will be an open race until the very end, which will definitely keep the fans excited," said Khairy.

2016 Tpir de Langkawi

From the 165.5 kilometer first stage that starts in Kangar, Perlis and ends in Baling, Kedah where riders will be faced with a challenging Cat. 3 climb at Weng just 30km to the finish on February 24, followed by the 159.2km second stage that starts in Kulim and ends with the race's first visit to the Penang Island since 2004.

The peloton will enter the island through the Penang Second Bridge, Jambatan Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah and will be greeted with two grueling climbs on the island at Balik Pulau (Cat.4) and 0 to 200m gradient uphill at Teluk Bahang (Cat.3), the race will be marked by significant differences, offering significant opportunities particularly for a thrilling battle among sprinters.

For a second year running, renovation works at the summit of Genting Highlands will mean the race will not feature its famous queen stage again and this time the similarly grueling climb up Cameron Highlands will play its part as the decisive stage that can determine the overall winner.

After a short 107km Stage Three from Kuala Kangsar to Tapah on February 26, the following day will be where the protagonists for the overall title will surface in the 129.4km Stage Four from Dataran MBI in Ipoh to Tanah Rata in Cameron Highlands.

From Stage Five, which covers 149.9km from Tapah to the previous traditional grand finish Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, it will be a matter of how well the yellow jersey holder from the finish in Cameron Highlands controls the race as it is set for an epic battle for the points classification with the sprinters having four more stages clear of massive climbs to do battle.

The 147.6km Stage Six will pay homage to the main sponsors of the race - the Youth and Sports Ministry of Malaysia - with a start at Wisma KBS in Putrajaya and a finish in Rembau, Negri Sembilan, the hometown and constituency of Youth and Sports Minister YB Khairy Jamaluddin. This stage will feature a run through popular cycling routes and four short but tricky climbs in Broga, Lenggeng, Bukit Putus and Bukit Miku.

Then, the penultimate stage will feature the longest route of this year's LTdL, covering 203.2km from Seremban to Parit Sulong, offering an unpredictable situation with tiring legs mixed among those still hungry to make a difference in the standings.

The final day of the race sees a start in Batu Pahat, Johor, covering 119.9km with three 8.3km loops along major attractions and through the narrow roads of the world famous Jonker Street before the finish in Dataran Pahlawan, Melaka.

LTdL 2016 chief executive officer Emir Abdul Jalal said with the profile of the race set this way, teams will likely line up with some climbers set for the battle for the overall title in Cameron Highlands, while many are expected to come prepared for battles in the flat finishes, which will offer spectators the unbeatable spectacle of bunch sprints.

"We can expect it to be a race for the spectators at the finish lines to enjoy. We can already visualize the peloton hitting top speed on a number of occasions," said Emir.

“Besides the route, we aim to re-position LTdL back to the top level of organization, the "excellent level of organisation" certificate was attained from 2010 to 2014 acknowledged by the International Cycling Union (UCI). “

“In terms of promotion, we will continue our collaboration with sports channel Eurosports. 8 hour Highlights of the race will be broadcasted in Eurosports Asia Pacific and 80 minutes in Eurosport 1, Eurosports 2 to over 100 countries at an estimation of 500 million viewers. Also with Internet TV site Cycling TV that has over a million subscribers worldwide.

Cavendish targets Yellow Jersey, Olympic medal and Rainbow Jersey

This piece was from the BBC:

The British cyclist, 30, has been training on both road and track this winter before a busy year. "If I don't win any of them it is not a failure because they are the biggest things you can do in cycling," Cavendish told BBC Sport. "If I won one I'd be happy but I'll try to win all three."

Cavendish, who will ride for Team Dimension Data-Qhubeka, was speaking in Manchester, where he has been training at the Velodrome. "I've been mixing road and track," he added. "I've been doing more specific track stuff.

"I don't know how that is going to affect my road racing, I could be flying, could be catastrophic, I could be indifferent. I don't really don't know, we will have to see when I get racing."

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish rolling to the start of the 2015 Tour de France's second stage

Cavendish, who is hoping to earn a place in the omnium for Great Britain at the Rio Olympics, will compete at the next round of the Track World Cup in Hong Kong on 16 and 17 January. "If I don't do anything in Hong Kong you won't be talking to me about the Olympics," added Cavendish

He has not won an Olympic medal and faces competition from Ed Clancy and Jon Dibben for the omnium place. British track coach Heiko Salzwedel told The Times newspaper: "Cavendish has to deliver in Hong Kong, full stop. I can't think of sentiment. We have a luxury problem. Three world-class omnium riders fighting for one spot. It's probably easier to win the Olympics than win selection."

The Tour de France starts on 2 July with a flat stage that will suit the sprinters and Cavendish is hoping to win that stage and claim yellow. The Olympics start in Rio on 5 August and the World Road Championships take place in Doha, Qatar in October.

Click here for the rest of the BBC's story

French government removes bike mechanic requirements

This piece was sent to me from Bike-EU:

PARIS, France – “An unnecessary and dangerous initiative by our Government”, said Pierre Gogin, Deputy Chairman of the industry organization FPS in response to the simplification of the requirements for bicycle mechanics by the French authorities.

Since 1996 the professional maintenance and repair of bicycles could only be performed by qualified and certified personnel. Only in the past 10 years some 10,000 professionals qualified to service bicycles professionally ensuring a minimum level of safety and quality to users and consumers. “With the latest announcement of the government this minimal qualification has been removed and now imposes to motor vehicles only. An incomprehensible decision, which imposes a real risk to consumer safety,” said Pierre Gogin in the magazine Filière Sport.

Gogin also points out that, “since 1996 thousands of young people have passed the exams allowing them to get a job in a workshop. The new regulation completely neglects the importance of their training which is often the only official education they have. Moreover the 1996 regulation has never been a hindrance to start a bicycle shop.”

“It will inevitably have an effect on cycling safety. With 159 deaths per year, an increase of 8% since 2010, cyclists are already paying a heavy toll in terms of road safety. This measure will generate a surplus of accidents as a result of incorrect or defective assembled or maintained bicycles. The growing complexity of bicycles, partly because of the growing e-bike sales makes this even more important.”

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