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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, December 9, 2017

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package. - John Ruskin

Latest completed racing:

Fernando Gaviria to open 2018 season in South America

Here's the Team Quick-Step Floors posting:

23-year-old Gaviria will race the Vuelta a San Juan in January, before traveling to his home country for the inaugural edition of Colombia Oro y Paz.

In 2015, Fernando Gaviria was a fresh face on the cycling landscape, but that changed once he took the Tour de San Luis by storm, winning two stages in spectacular fashion. Three years on, the Colombian is one of the peloton's stars, earning acclaim for his powerful sprint and unmatchable speed, traits who've landed him no less than 23 victories – including four Giro d'Italia stages and the cyclamen jersey – since joining Quick-Step Floors.

One of the most successful riders of 2017, a year which he started in South America and ended in Asia, with 14 wins in the bag, Fernando Gaviria resumed training after a well-deserved rest at home, as he is preparing for the upcoming season, which will see him debut at the Vuelta a San Juan (21-28 January).

"Racing in Argentina is something very special for me, because it was here that the door to a pro contract opened, back in 2015. I won five times in my previous outings here, I like everything – from the race to the fantastic support and warm welcome we are always getting from the fans – and I can't wait to return there in January and hopefully kick off the year on the right foot again", said Fernando when questioned about his presence at the start of the 36th Vuelta a San Juan.

From there, the Quick-Step Floors rider will fly to Colombia, where he'll line out for the Colombia Oro y Paz, a new entry on the UCI calendar. The 2.1 race will take place between 6 and 11 February and the sprinters will have several chances to shine during the week, but for Fernando it will be about more than fighting for victories there.

Ferando Gaviria

Fernando Gaviria shows how it's done at the Tour of Guangxi

"I can't tell you how proud I am to race in front of my family, my friends and countrymen as a pro in a stage race, especially one which is at its debut. I rode here once in the past, at last season's National Championships, but this time it will be a completely different story and just thinking about it gives me huge joy; it's something I've dreamt about when I was younger and just picked up cycling. There's still some weeks to go until the start of the season, but I'm already counting the days left until I'll race in my country", concluded Fernando, who on January 9th will attend the team's presentation in Calpe, before flying to South America to commence his third season in the Quick-Step Floors kit.

Lotto-Soudal & Sanas extend partnership for another year

Here's the team's news release:

Lotto Soudal and Sanas have extended their partnership by one year. Since 2015, the Belgian company has been supplying the team with food supplements. This year, the range has been extended with among others gels, bars and isotonic drinks.

Arne Heyse, sales and marketing Sanas: “The collaboration with Lotto Soudal is very positive and it was thus a logic decision to extend the agreement. When we became a partner of Lotto Soudal, we wanted to explore the market of the endurance athletes, in which we certainly succeeded. Since this year, our products can be bought at pharmacies, which is going well. Thanks to the collaboration with Lotto Soudal, we were able to gain brand awareness and the fact that pro’s such as the Lotto Soudal riders use our products, gives confidence to the consumer. This partnership has opened many doors for us.”

“Our passion for cycling has only increased during the past years and we really appreciate the feedback of the cyclists and the medical staff. Together we are constantly developing and optimizing new products. One and a half months ago we had a meeting with the riders. We really value the input of the team.”

“We want to offer the cyclists and endurance athletes in general a wide range, in terms of flavour as well as shape. We already have a pancake mix in our range. For the moment we are working on a recovery soup as an alternative to the traditional recovery shake. Next year, we will also launch an isotonic drink with ice tea peach flavour, very refreshing on hot days. In addition to the traditional sweet energy bars, we also want to add salt tastes to our range. At Sanas, we keep innovating.”

Team lotto-Soudal

Team lotto-Soudal is presented before the start of the 2017 Tour de France

Servaas Bingé, team doctor Lotto Soudal: “Sports nutrition and supplements are an important pillar for the performance of a cyclist and it is very important to have a good partner in that field. With Sanas, we have an excellent partnership. The relationship between Sanas and the team is very good. Our riders are very satisfied with their products. Thanks to the close contact between Sanas and the team, the range has been extended, taking into account the wishes of our medical staff and cyclists. There is a dynamic interaction between both parties. People at Sanas are always searching for the most ideal composition of their products.”

Intense Cycles launches consumer-direct sales, reduces retail prices to vie with D2C brands

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this business update:

TEMECULA, Calif. (BRAIN) — Intense Cycles on Monday launched a consumer-direct online sales program and new lower pricing aimed at helping the brand and its dealers better compete with mountain bike brands sold exclusively D2C on the internet. Intense calls it a "hybrid, IBD-centric" approach.

Rather than fulfilling consumer-direct orders through its U.S. dealers and sharing the margin — commonly known as a "click and collect" model — Intense will ship 95 percent-assembled bikes direct to customers from its Southern California headquarters and will instead include a service contract with the consumer's qualified local Intense dealer. The service contract is free to the consumer, with Intense compensating the dealer for the contract. Intense declined to detail the dealer payment beyond characterizing it as "substantial."

"The important thing is getting that customer into the store and getting them accustomed to working with that store and getting service. That's what we're trying to do: get them new customers," Intense CEO Andrew Herrick told BRAIN last week.

At the same time, Intense is lowering its retail prices by 20 to 25 percent to bring pricing in line with brands selling exclusively consumer direct, such as Canyon, YT Industries and Commencal. Intense will sell to consumers at the same prices as its dealers.

" 'Click and collect' doesn't solve the pricing problem with Canyon and everybody else. It only addresses one or two reasons people don't want to go to bike shops. It hasn't addressed price," Herrick said. "What we're trying to do is get the dealer in the game, instead of them having to match prices online."

Herrick said the moves are designed to help Intense and its retailers combat rampant consumer price shopping and a race to the bottom at retail that has badly eroded shops' margins, especially on high-end bikes.

"The consumer is calling every bike shop in his area and seeing who will give him the best price. He runs an auction, because he's been running auctions for the last 10 years on eBay, he's been running auctions on Amazon or he's been searching to see who has five stars.

The consumer is completely hardwired in a digital way, and we're running an analog business," he said. "The consumer does their research and they say, 'I've got a budget of this and I'm going to find a dealer that will sell for that.' "

You can read the entire story here.

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