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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, April 21, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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BORA-hansgrohe set to race the Digital Swiss 5

Here's the team's update:

The premiere of the Digital Swiss 5, a virtual race taking place on parts of the route of the Tour de Suisse, will commence this Wednesday. BORA- hansgrohe will head to the virtual start line with 14 other WorldTour teams to compete on the online platform, Rouvy, for approximately one hour on five consecutive days, fielding three riders on each stage. The virtual peloton will tackle different sections of the 2020 Tour de Suisse route on this platform and the teams will be given the opportunity to change their riders and thereby adapt to the given course. Real video recordings of the route sections will set the backdrop for the riders' avatars while racing, with Velon also providing real-time performance data for viewers.

The stages will be broadcast live by Swiss television and accompanied by expert commentary. Live video will also be available on BORA - hansgrohe’s Facebook page.

The first stage from Moudin to Leukerbad will feature a hilly course of 27 km in length and 1129 metres in altitude, while on the following day, there will be a flat course of around 50 km around Frauenfeld. The third day, which starts in Fiesch, will feature a summit arrival in Disentis-Sedrun, which the riders will reach after riding 33 km and taking on 1521m of elevation. The penultimate stage will take the virtual peloton over 37 km from Oberlangenegg to Langnau before the teams will have to complete 36 km with a 6 km final climb on the last day of racing.

"It will be good to get back to competing in the peloton, albeit in the virtual world. I really like racing in Switzerland, and although this isn't possible at the moment, the Digital Swiss 5 is a unique initiative to help us to stay motivated and test our condition against other riders. I’m really curious to see how the battle will unfold on the virtual roads of Switzerland against our competitors. It’ll also be great to be part of allowing cycling fans to see some racing in these times.“ - Max Schachmann

Max Schachmann

Max Schachmann won 2020 Paris-Nice, the season's last big race before the coronavirus lockdown. Sirotti photo

“In times when no cycling races are able to take place, the Digital Swiss 5 allows us to give our athletes an incentive to push themselves to the limit in a training session, and also provides a chance to give a little something back to our partners, sponsors and fans for the support they provide us, even in these hard times. From a sporting point of view, our riders will approach the races with a mixture of ambition and fun, and they are definitely all curious about what they can expect. We don't prepare specific performance targets as such, but the races are built into our training concepts as meaningful building blocks.“ - Dan Lorang, Head Coach

Pandemic check-in: Keeping up with closed bike shops

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News posted this:

Our web survey of over 600 shops shows that 21% are closed. We've told many stories of shops that remain open, here are four stories of shops that have closed, whether due to government mandate or personal choices.

Tim Brick, Owner, Brick Wheels, Traverse City, Michigan:
"The state of Michigan forced our closure, it's just awful. Before that happened, we had a shop meeting on March 16th. I got the crew together, 'OK we need a plan.' I asked them to take an additional day off every week if it gets to that point so we could share the burden and the loss of income. If that doesn't work, we'll go on rotating unemployment.

"The next day we met again. One of our staff, with an 85-year old mom and a compromised husband, said she'd rather go on unemployment. All but a couple staff agreed. They said, 'Tim you're not the guy who goes to the counter and gets exposed.'

"So we decided to close, we can't run a 10,000 square foot store with 90% of our staff gone. We changed the signs and the phone message, and the next day our governor closed down the state.

"People wanted kids bikes for Easter and we did some illegal sales; we let people pick up their repair bikes, the two other shops next door and across the street did the same. Now I'm just trying to reorganize our inventory and clean up a bit.

"This is all really scary with no end in sight. I've applied for all the loans. I pre-season everything and my store is packed with $500,000 in inventory that I owe to my suppliers. Even if we're allowed to open back up, I don't think my employees would come in.

"Two things I've done this week, I just signed up for SmartEtailing so I can get into the online business. And I bought a scanning thermometer so we can test every customer coming in when we do re-open."

William Pratt, general manager, Cranked Bike Studio, Neenah, Wisconsin:
"Because I tested positive for COVID-19 and because four other employees came down with similar flu-like symptoms, we decided to close for 10 days - March 29th to April 8th. We opened for our normal business hours on Thursday April 9th. In the next three days with weather in the 50s, we did enough business to make up for the days we were closed.

"Everyone's healed now and back at work. We are now fully open with normal hours and no restrictions on the number of customers in the store. Our staff is wearing masks and we're recommending but not requiring customers to wear one.

"I feel safer because I already got sick. The county health department told us that once you've gotten it, you're immune to getting it again. Just to be safe, I got retested (Wednesday) to make sure I'm not still a carrier.

Editor's note: On Thursday, Pratt told BRAIN he got the test result.

"Unfortunately the test came back positive again. I haven't got a straight answer yet, from all my doctors I see, whether that just means I had the virus and now have the antibodies to fight it off, or I have active COVID-19 again.

I have to get retested again on Tuesday April 21st."

You can read the entire story here, with the two additional stories.

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