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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

No man ever got very high by pulling other people down. The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker does not knock those who work with him. Don't knock your friends. Don't knock your enemies. Don't knock yourself. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Victor Campenaerts aims for time trial medal in Yorkshire

Lotto-Soudal sent me this:

Since Sunday 15 September, Victor Campenaerts has been staying in Yorkshire, Great Britain, where he prepares for the time trial world championships. The battle for the world title against the clock for the men elite will take place this Wednesday. Between Northallerton and Harrogate, a 54 kilometres undulating parcours awaits. Last year, Victor Campenaerts conquered the bronze medal on a demanding course in Innsbruck. The double European time trial champion hopes to, at least match that performance this year.

Victor Campanaerts

Victor Campenaerts setting a new World Hour Record

Victor Campenaerts: “During the past weeks, I mainly trained at home and in Overijse, I simulated a time trial course, similar to the one in Yorkshire. For the longer training blocks, I rode along the canal. The fact that I will be lining up relatively fresh, could certainly be to my advantage. During this period of the year, a lot of riders are at their limit, like Geraint Thomas or Michal Kwiatkowski (who won’t be at the start of the TT world championships). Something like that is not so strange at the end of a demanding season.”

“Normally, the Yorkshire time trial course suits me better than the one of Innsbruck. It is undulating and similar to that of Glasgow (where Campenaerts conquered his second European time trial title). It’s constantly twisting and turning, but never really technical. So, I am very pleased with the course, which, in the meantime, I know by heart. The distance, 54 kilometres, is quite long but that characterizes a world championship. It should definitely suit me.”

“My ambition is to at least match the bronze medal of last year. I think my main rival will be Primož Roglič, who rode a fantastic Vuelta and who will for sure be superb now. Rohan Dennis has also been out of competition for a long time, but I estimate his chances high. I also expect Remco Evenepoel, I think he’s the absolute favourite, by the way. Remco is a compatriot but of course also a rival.”

Team Sunweb extend contracts with Asbjørn  Kragh Andersen and Nicholas Roch

Team Sunweb sent me this release:

Team Sunweb are happy to announce that Asbjørn Kragh Andersen and Nicholas Roche have extended their contracts with the team, with the duo riding in the team’s colours until the end of 2021.

Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (DEN):
After joining the team at the start of the year Kragh Andersen has proven himself to be a great team player. Providing good support in the classics and also adding firepower to the sprint train, he’s been part of the team successes at Nokere Koerse and the Tour of Norway where he has done important work in the race finales. Looking towards the next two seasons, Kragh Andersen is keen to continue his development with the team and chase more successes together.

“I’m really happy to sign for two more years with Team Sunweb,” explained Kragh Andersen. “As soon as I joined this year, I felt welcome in the team. I like working with both riders and staff, and I have a great cooperation with my personal coaches. Team Sunweb and I have the same vision and thoughts on how to improve to achieve our goals, and I really like the way the team races. For me the goal next year is to keep improving and to help the team to more victories. A dream for me will be to win one of the classics together with the team.”
Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “Asbjørn has had a good first year with the team and we’ve seen him progress with us during the season. He’s a really good team player which is important for us and he provides the team with support during the classics while also adding to our sprint lead out. We’re looking forward to working with Asbjørn in the next two years to help him develop further.”

Nicholas Roche (IRL):
A rider with years of experience in the peloton, Roche has had a great debut season with the team. After working strongly in support of teammates in the earlier part of the year, Roche finished in a tenth place overall at the Tour de Suisse before also picking up a top ten on stage nine at the Tour de France, after showing his determination in multiple breakaways throughout the three weeks. His favourite race, the Vuelta a España, marked one of the best moments in his career when after a second place on stage two, he moved into the race leader’s jersey for the next three stages. His Vuelta abruptly ended after a crash forced him to abandon but that has only made Roche hungrier for success with the team in the coming years.

Nicholas Roche

Nicholas Roche after stage three of this year's Vuelta. Sirotti photo

“I am extremely happy to be resigning for two years with the team,” explained Roche. “I have really found my place here and I enjoy the role that I played in the team this year. It’s been great to share my experience with the younger guys and support in the Grand Tours. The days in red at the Vuelta were really the highlight of my season and now with two more years confirmed with the team, I’m already really looking forward to the upcoming season.”

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “We’re really happy that Nicholas stays with the team for another two years. He’s one of the most experienced riders in the peloton, having ridden 22 Grand Tours throughout his career; experience that is invaluable in helping the young riders in the team. He rode two very good Grand Tours, including three days in the red leader’s jersey at the Vuelta, and he was a reliable team player in stage races throughout the year. His desire and motivation will also be incredibly helpful in helping to coach and guide the younger riders within the team over the coming years.”

INEOS contract extension for Michal Golas

Golas’ Team INEOS sent me this:

Michal Golas will continue his career with Team INEOS after signing a new one-year contract extension. The former Polish national champion is one of the sport's most dependable support riders and brings great experience and leadership to the team.

On continuing his journey with the team, Golas said: "This contract extension is a big boost of motivation and I'm really thankful that the team showed confidence in me. I've found a team where I know my place and my role. I still have a couple of years to ride and I can still show my good form. I'm thinking about finishing my career on this team."

Michal Golas

Michal Golas racing at the 2016 Amstel Gold race. Sirotti photo

With 13 years at the pro level under his belt, Golas is keen to pass on his knowledge to the young riders of Team INEOS wherever he can. He added: "I have some experience and we now have a really strong group of young guys. Most of them are more than 10 years younger than me. I try to help them out as much as I can on the road, but also from the other side. Sometimes I try to give them some advice and if they want to listen, I'm happy."

2019 has been a strong season for Golas, with the 35 year old contributing to some impressive overall victories, at both the Tour de Yorkshire and on his home roads at the Tour de Pologne.

Reflecting on Tour de Yorkshire, the team's first race – and victory – in Team INEOS colours, he said: "I think Yorkshire was one of the best races this year. It's a great atmosphere and we had a nice group there. It was something special. The team changed colours and it opened a new chapter in our history – we wanted to start it with a big bang. The young guys maybe didn't really believe we could do it but on the last stage we played it really smart. We showed our strength as a team and everything played out perfectly."

Consistency is key for Golas, with the Pole eyeing a number of targets in the next few seasons. He added: "Going forward I would like remain very consistent. I'd like to target the Giro and help the guys to win there. I know I could play an important goal in this race. Of course, there's the Tokyo Olympics and this could be my third Olympics. Really, I just hope to continue on a good level. That was always my goal – to finish my career with a great team at the top."

Coach Dario Cioni is full of praise for the way Golas supports the team, on and off the bike. He explained: "Michal has been part of the team for a long time. He's an important team player and he has a lot of experience. He knows the big races, but he is also an asset in other races where he can help our younger riders to develop. He can also support the work of the coaches and Sport Directors when it comes to helping out these emerging talents.

"Every time he lines up for a race you know what you are going to get from him. He's always ready to deliver and help the team."

'A shot in the dark': State Bicycle was one of the few brands to ask for a tariff exclusion. They got it.

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this:

TEMPE, Ariz. (BRAIN) — While requests are being accepted until Sept. 30, so far just five bike companies have requested that their products be excluded from new tariffs imposed by the Trump adminstration. One of them, State Bicycle Co., received the exclusion.

The small brand — which sells primarily consumer direct but also through several hundred bike shops — will get refunded for the new tariffs it has paid since last year, and will not have to pay those tariffs on future imports until at least next summer. The exclusion for the singlespeed bikes applies to all importers, not just State.

"We got some good news today!" State co-founder Mehdi Farsi told BRAIN Friday. "I'm feeling good about it, I'm still trying to digest it."

By coincidence, BRAIN had spoken with Farsi just a day earlier for an article about the company's shift of some bike production from Taiwan to China to avoid the tariffs. Farsi didn't know about the exclusion grant until Friday morning.

He said the company already has orders in the pipeline with a Taiwanese factory, and it already planned to continue some bike production in China. So the exclusion won't cause the company to reverse course. "At the very least it gives us a lot more flexibility in what we are doing ... we have a lot more options."

The exclusion expires Aug. 7 next year; the idea is to give importers time to shift their production out of China. The administration continues to negotiate with China, meaning some change is likely before then.

You can read the entire story here.

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