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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, August 8, 2019

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

None knows the weight of another's burden. - George Herbert

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Tour of Poland stage five reports

We posted the report from stage winner Luka Mezgec's Mitchelton-Scott team with the results.

GC leader Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this:

Today’s 154 km long route from the famous salt mine “Wieliczka”, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, to Bielsko – Biala, consisted of three climbs and two intermediate sprints, all happening in the second part of the race.

After some kilometres of constant attacking from the peloton, a leading group of four riders formed ahead of the first climb of the day. BORA – hansgrohe remained in the main bunch to protect the yellow leader’s jersey of Ackermann. With the gap dropping steadily, it was nearly all back together with 30km to go.

The breakaway was caught as the peloton came into the final laps in the city of Bielsko – Biala. Rudi Selig was pulling especially hard at the front to keep the pace high, when another three men break escaped form the peloton. But on the final lap a bunch sprint was set up. BORA – hansgrohe rider Rafał Majka was in a good position, while Pascal Ackermann struggled a little on the final uphill stretch. In a hard sprint, Majka was a little boxed in but still finished in sixth place and was honored as the best Polish rider. Teammate Pascal Ackermann was once again able to defend his leader’s and sprint jersey.

Luka Mexgec

Luka Mezgec wins stage five.

From the Finish line:
“As hard at it is, today we had to go back to racing. But we will never forget what has happened. I came here to prepare also for La Vuelta and I am in good shape. I have recovered well after the Giro and my legs get better day by day. Today, our main goal was to go for Pascal, to defend the yellow jersey, but also keep an eye on the GC contenders. I was a little bit boxed in, in the finale, but still I managed to finished in 6th place, and there is nothing to complain about. Tomorrow, the mountains are coming up and I am looking forward to it becauseit is fun to ride on home soil.” – Rafał Majka

“Our plan for today was to try to deliver Pascal perfectly and go for another stage win. We knew it would be difficult as the finish was slightly uphill, but we took over control of the race. Once again Maciej did an amazing job, also Davide and Rafał were at the front as we headed into the finale. They all worked together, therefore huge compliment to the guys. The 6th place of Rafał is a solid result, Pascal missed that final punch a little bit at the end, but was able to defend the jersey.” – Steffen Radochla, Sports Director

Second-place Eduard Prades' Movistar team had this to say about the stage:

One of the most astonishing comebacks in a long time. Edu Prades (Movistar Team) had firmly set his sights on taking advantage of the explosive finish -with slopes around 5%- of Wednesday’s stage five in the 2019 Tour de Pologne, yet was left with the sour taste of 2nd place, behind Slovenia’s Luka Mezgec (MTS).

Covered by the Blues in the approach to the final circuit, the Catalan had to go solo and seek for a good position inside the last 2km uphill. Well behind 15th place with 700m remaining, Prades started to overtake riders and had to manage his way through the group’s swerving -including one direction change with just 100m remanining-. His excellent final rush allowed him finishing ahead of sprinters like Ben Swift (INS, 3rd) or punchy rouleurs like Petr Vakoc (DQT, 4th).

Today’s effort helps Prades climb onto 4th overall -18″ behind Ackermann (BOH)-, as the rest of the Blues remain 24” down. Around seventy riders remain with the same time before the decisive duo of Tatr mountain stages, coming up on Thursday and Friday.

REACTION / Edu Prades:
“It’s a pity. You see yourself coming back so strong – and you end up missing out on the win by few meters, a sign that you somewhat missed the mark. In such a finish, when you’ve got to save energy for so late into the sprint, you never know when to push on full steam. I had seen the video from last year’s finish and I knew I had to be patient. Also, on the laps before the finish we felt those headwinds, and with those ramps, you know the sprinters will end up paying the effort, missing some energy and spark at the end. The final swerwing was more about myself than the peloton: I didn’t find a line to keep progressing, I was finishing strong while the others were way slower than me, and I needed to get off through somewhere. It was sad I wasn’t able to find that spot earlier. The upcoming stages? Well, I know they have more mountains, but they should still suit me well. Let’s see how far we can reach. If I have any small chance, I won’t give it away. Let’s try to at least be there and reach as far as possible.”

Lotto-Soudal's doctor provides more information about the passing of Bjorg Lambrecht

The team sent me this:

Two days after the crash and the passing of Bjorg Lambrecht, team doctor Maarten Meirhaeghe can provide more information.

“Bjorg died from a big liver laceration which caused a massive internal hemorrhage. As a consequence, Bjorg suffered a cardiac arrest. Bjorg had the biggest stroke of bad luck that was possible by the way he crashed. With such internal hemorrhages, a miracle is needed, a miracle which he wasn’t given… The place and the time did not influence the consequences. Even if such trauma would have happened inside a hospital, chances of a bad outcome are real.”

Out of respect for the family and friends of Bjorg, we would like to ask - also in the future - to carefully deal with non-official information and details. We will refrain from answering speculations and misstatements that were published.

We will communicate about the funeral as soon as the date is known.

Accell Group sells Diamondback, Redline and IZIP to Regent LP, Mavic's new owner

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this important industry news:

HEERENVEEN, the Netherlands (BRAIN) — Accell Group N.V. has agreed to sell its U.S. business, including the worldwide registrations for Diamondback, Redline and IZIP, to Regent LP, the California investment firm that bought Mavic earlier this year.

Regent and Accell will partner for two years to distribute Raleigh, Haibike and Ghost, which Accell continues to own.

The sale was completed Tuesday. Regent paid $1 for the U.S. brands with a maximum potential earn out of $15 million.

Accell announced last month that it had sold the Canadian rights to Redline, Diamondback and Raleigh to Canadian Tire.

The company said the sale completes the strategic review of its troubled North American business, which it announced last year. Accell's North American operations lost 11 million euros ($12.2 million) in the first half this year. "With the agreement reached, the profit dilution of the North American business is eliminated from August 6th onwards," the company said.

Ton Anbeek, the CEO of Accell Group, said, "With this announcement, we have completed the strategic review of our North American business. This allows us to eliminate the profit dilution, while we can continue to distribute our global brands to the U.S. and benefit from the growing demand for e-bikes. We look forward to working with Regent as our U.S. distributor and as global supplier of its sports brand Mavic.

You can read the entire story here.

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