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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see. - Ayn Rand

Current Racing

Upcoming racing

Latest completed racing:

Team Sunweb's upcoming races

The team sent me this schedule:


Tour Alsace is contested over five stages, opening with a team time trial followed by a summit finish on day two. The third day features three climbs and will likely see a sprint finish. After the race's Queen stage on day four riders will take to the start line in Neuf-Brisach for the final day which will likely be another day for the sprinters or opportunists.

Team Sunweb coach Sebastian Deckert (GER) said: "We start back racing at Tour Alsace after a really good training period. It's a really high quality race with a team time trial, two climbing stages and two sprint stages. We aim to continue our development in the sprinting stages as well as building on our strength in the mountains. This race provides a perfect platform to continue the team's development and we are looking forward to a really good race."

RACE: Tour Alsace (UCI 2.2)

DATE: 26-30/07/2017

COACH: Sebastian Deckert (GER)

LINE-UP: Nils Eekhoff (NED), Felix Gall (AUT), Marc Goos (NED), Max Kanter (GER), Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED), Leon Rohde (GER) 


The women's WorldTour heads back to the the UK this week for Prudential Ride London. Racing through central London, the peloton will endure a 5.5 kilometre circuit passing some of the cities most famous landmarks. Starting and finishing on The Mall, we can expect a fast and furious race with the sprinters fighting it out for the victory.

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans (NED) said: "We head to London with ambitions of a top result. We can expect an extremely fast race with a sprint finish and we have Coryn as our sprinter. After a solid training and racing period the team are in good shape so we will work to deliver Coryn to the finish in the best possible position and lead her out for the sprint."

RACE: Prudential Ride London (WWT)

DATE: 29/07/2017

COACH: Hans Timmermans (NED)

LINE-UP: Lucinda Brand (NED), Ellen van Dijk (NED), Leah Kirchmann (CAN), Coryn Rivera (USA), Julia Soek (NED), Molly Weaver (GBR) 


A day for the climbers, the 2017 edition of Clasica San Sebastian features eight ascents over its 231 kilometre route. The final climb comes just seven kilometres before the finish and with gradients reaching a huge 22 percent, we can expect only a select group to go through to contest the victory.

Team Sunweb coach Tom Veelers (NED) said: "The competiton will be really tough at Clasica San Sebastian with a lot of the peloton coming out of the Tour looking to continue their rhythm during the one-day races. We aim to go for a stage result with Warren and have a strong team around to support him. Zico and Chris will be the guys to control the bunch, then we have Lennard and Georg for the pre-final and we expect Tom, Laurens and Simon to be there deep into the final with Warren."

Warren Barguil

TDF mountains winner Warren Barguil will be at the Clasica San Sebastian

RACE: Clasica San Sebastian (WT)

DATE: 29/07/2017

COACH: Tom Veelers (NED)

LINE-UP: Warren Barguil (FRA), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Chris Hamilton (AUS), Lennard Hofstede (NED), Georg Preidler (AUT), Zico Waeytens (BEL)


This year the Tour de Pologne features a total of 23 categorised climbs and three uphill finishes. The opening two stages will provide opportunities for the sprinters followed by a hilly route on day three and four. The fifth stage will be the last opportunity for the sprinters before the race heads back uphill and into the mountains for its final stages.

Team Sunweb coach Dirk Reuling (NED) said: "We are aiming to explore GC possibilities with Wilco. The most decisive days come on stage three and during the final two stages in the Tatra mountains around Zakopane. We have a diverse and talented team here that will support Wilco in best possible way so he can save as much as possible energy for the key moments. Next to these goals there are some good sprint opportunities where we will explore the possibilities with Max. There is no time trial on the last stage this year, but now an uphill finish. This means we can expect something completely different and for sure an exciting final."

RACE: Tour de Pologne (WT)

DATE: 29/07-4/08/2017

COACH: Dirk Reuling (NED)

LINE-UP: Bert De Backer (BEL), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Lennard Kämna (GER), Wilco Kelderman (NED), Sam Oomen (NED), Max Walscheid (GER) 


One day after the women, the men's WorldTour will battle it out on the streets of London. The one-day race sees riders tackle a 200 kilometre through London and Surrey, following a variation of the London 2012 Olympic Road Race route. It is likely to come down to the sprinters fighting for the victory, providing they can survive the demanding gradients of the climbs in the Surrey countryside. This year, Velon is in an exciting new partnership with Ride London and team's will be fully equipped with Velon's live data devices and GoPros during the race.

Team Sunweb coach Rudi Kemna (NED) said: "After a successful Tour de France campaign, we head to London with hopes of continuing our winning momentum. We have Michael who is in great shape and a strong lead-out train around to support him. With Tom, Mike and Søren we have guys who can support in the hills and Nikias, Phil and Ramon are fast men of their own right who will play a key part of the team's lead-out in the finale."

RACE: Prudential Ride London (WT)

DATE: 30/07/2017

COACH:Rudi Kemna (NED)

BMC announces contract extensions

The team sent me this news:

25 July, 2017, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Brent Bookwalter, Alessandro De Marchi, Michael Schär and Danilo Wyss will continue with BMC Racing Team beyond the 2017 season, General Manager Jim Ochowicz today announced.

Ochowicz said the four riders bring a wealth of experience and diversity to the team. "In Brent Bookwalter and Danilo Wyss, we have 20 years of combined experience at BMC Racing Team. Both riders have signed on for their eleventh year with the team and I think that speaks for itself. Brent consistently proves himself in both a leader and support capacity and Danilo is a rider that is always there to support our leaders but will make the most of an opportunity when it comes his way. To have riders with this level of racing experience in the team is invaluable and I look forward to seeing Brent and Danilo continue to develop with us," Ochowicz explained.

Michael Schar

Michael Schär will be back at BMC for another season of racing.

"Michael Schär is a clear road captain within BMC Racing Team. No matter what the race situation is, we trust in Michael's ability to support the team leaders, whether it is at the Classics or a stage race, so we are very happy to see Michael extend his contract. In his three years with BMC Racing Team, Alessandro De Marchi has delivered some excellent results, including Grand Tour stage wins, as well as being a key support rider for our Grand Tour leaders, so Alessandro is a great asset to our team."

Brent Bookwalter - with BMC Racing Team since 2008

"When I reflect back on the past 10 years and ahead to 2018, the people who make up the BMC Racing Team are what made it an easy decision to return for my 11th season. I've relished the chances to grow out of a pure worker roll and have the opportunity to also race for personal results, leading the team when the opportunity arises.  I know I have greater potential when it comes to this role within the team and am confident I have more to give.  I've put myself in the position to win on several occasions this season, so I am motivated to translate these opportunities into victories for myself and the team."

Alessandro De Marchi - with BMC Racing Team since 2015

"I'm happy to continue with BMC Racing Team next year. I think it will be another year to find and understand my role in the team and I am happy to have the support from the team to do this. Firstly, I am focused on ending this season well as I think I am missing a good result and the kind of presence I want to have in the races. Of course, I then want to continue like this next year and deliver good results for myself and the team."

Michael Schär - with BMC Racing Team since 2010

"After eight years with BMC Racing Team and coming into my ninth year, it really feels like a family. We have a great team and a good spirit. I have some good friends here and performance wise, we have the absolute best equipment. I feel very good in this team after so many years and I think I have proved myself through my performances since I started with the team. I'm looking forward to a good future with the team and a lot of nice moments in the Classics and the Grand Tours."

Danilo Wyss - with BMC Racing Team since 2008

"After spending ten years with BMC Racing Team, I feel really at home here. The team is improving every year and I see a lot of big differences in BMC Racing Team now compared to when I started in 2008. I'm really happy to sign my contract after finishing my second Tour de France and I look forward to starting my eleventh year in 2018. I think we have a great team and I hope we will continue our good results for the rest of the season and into next year."

Accell (Raleigh, Diamondback, Tunturi, Winora & others) faced ‘Challenging Conditions’ in first half-year

Bike-Europe sent me this troubling news:

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands – The 2017 first half-year results Accell Group NV announced last Friday reflect the changes in consumer behavior resulting in more online sales which is having a big impact on the company’s business specifically in The Netherlands and North America. These ‘dynamic circumstances’ caused double digit turnover drops in the named countries. Overall Accell still managed a 3% increase in net turnover, but net profit was down by 23%.

It was once again Accell’s Winora business in Germany that came to the rescue and made up for turnover drops in other countries. – Photo Haibike
It was once again Accell’s Winora business in Germany that came to the rescue and made up for the turnover drops in other countries. In Germany the sale of Haibike and Ghost branded e-MTB’s proved again their popularity with a 19% increase in sales. Also in the ‘Rest of Europe’ higher sales of electric mountainbikes accounted for a turnover growth of 4%. But in the Netherlands sales were down by 10% and in North America by a big 22%. Also in Turkey turnover declined as a result of the country’s economic situation.

This year Accell didn’t hold a press conference for its financial result announcement. Instead it organized a webinar. Here the “challenging conditions” were explained by the interim-Chairman of the Board of Directors, Hielke Sybesma. He said that the traditional retailers in Holland are under pressure by the disrupting business models of online competitors. A similar situation is taking place in North America. “Here we see a downturn in sales at brick and mortar retailers as well as to multi-sports chains in. Our sales via other channels in North America are increasing as a result of the changes in distribution strategy for our brands Raleigh and Diamondback but this change to an omni-channel approach cannot make up yet for the loss in retail channels.”

In the first half year of 2017 all the Accell companies and brands sold a total of 753,000 bicycles, e-bikes and e-MTB’s. This number is a big 17% down of the sales total of 908,000 Accell Group sold in the first half of 2016. Despite this big drop “Net turnover in the bicycle segment remained virtually unchanged compared with the first half of 2016. In Germany and other neighbouring countries higher sales in e-bikes were recorded. Sales of sports e-MTB’s from the Haibike, Ghost and Lapierre brands recorded particularly strong growth.”

Net turnover in bike sales stood at € 491.4 million; up 0.2% on the 490.3 mn of 2016. The profit result of bicycle sales was down by 2.6% to € 48.3 million.

Accell’s sales of parts & accessories showed a better performance compared to bikes. The holding company’s statement says on this “Net turnover in parts & accessories came in higher in 2017. The share of turnover accounted for by Accell Group’s own brand XLC increased once again in Europe. On the back of good results in all the European countries in which we are active, the segment result from this trading activity came in higher. The greater  share of turnover accounted for by our own brand XLC (in Europe) made a positive contribution to the higher segment result, due to improved utilization of purchasing benefits.” Accell’s P&A sales was up 2.2% to € 142.6 million while the results improved by a big 33% to € 11.0 million.

Next to the 17% drop in bike sales as well as the challenging conditions in the Netherlands and North America Accell also faced a one-off non-cash write down of € 3.8 million on a tax asset related to its North American operations. What also impacted the net result is the five million euro Accell is spending on the implementation of its “refined strategy”. All this impacted the company’s net profit that came in at € 26.3 million down 22.7% on the € 34.0 of last year.

You can read the entire story here.

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