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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, March 23, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

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Above anything else, I hate to lose. - Jackie Robinson

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Volta a Catalunya stage one reports

We posted the report from winner Andreas Kron's Lotto Soudal team with the results.

Here's the report from Bora-hansgrohe:

In a region of Spain known for its beautiful terrain, it was fitting that the first day of the Volta a Catalunya took in some mountains. Three categorised climbs dominated the 178.4km parcours, with a first category climb ready to test the riders. Starting and finishing in the coastal town of Calella, the riders wasted no time in trying to make their mark on this 100th edition of the race, with several attempts to break away failing before a quartet managed to distance themselves from the peloton.

While they managed to build an advantage of 4:20, the average speed of 44km/h in the bunch made it hard to stay out, with Movistar’s tactics being to up the pace to reel them in, a move that caused the sprinters to fall off the back, before making the catch with 50km to go. Here, the race’s attention turned to the finale, with Ide Schelling, Wilco Kelderman, Lennard Kämna and Ben Zwiehoff instrumental in keeping the pace fast and hard.

A group of fifteen split off the front, before Lennard jumped into a smaller group of four who clearly had their sights set on the stage win. With 20km to go, Lennard’s group had 35 seconds over the peloton and his quartet was making the most of the fast downhill stretches and by the time the stage reached its final 10km, the young German’s group was holding its lead and, rather than reducing it, the peloton seemed content to let this quartet go for the victory.

Making it to the finish, Lennard pushed hard, but was unable to take the stage after his efforts, taking fourth on the line, while Ide finished with the bunch in seventh spot shortly after Lennard.

Andreas kron

Andreas Kron takes the first stage.

From the Finish Line:
"We rode a strong race and controlled it well. In the final part of the stage I had a good eye and I was part of the decisive attack. Unfortunately, the finale wasn't a perfect one. On the one hand, I am happy because my legs are good and I am in a promising shape after the winter break, but to finish fourth in a group of four, well, is disappointing though." – Lennard Kämna

"Our initial plan was to work for Peter and create the conditions for a bunch sprint. We kept the race under control but about halfway through the stage, on the first categorised climb, Movistar took over at the front and set a very strong pace. That big move resulted in half of the peloton getting dropped, including Peter. At the top of the climb they had reduced the gap to about 50 seconds but they weren't able to come back. So, we changed our strategy and jumped with our GC guys. That worked out well because they were working well and were focused. Lennard then made a very good move with about 25km to go and got away in the successful four-man break. In the finale, he tried a few times to attack and go solo but it was difficult. All in all, I think we can be satisfied with the effort and team spirit in this hard stage." – André Schulze, Sports Director

Here's the report from second-place Luis Leon Sanchez's Astana-Premier Tech team:

Spanish champion Luis Leon Sanchez finished second today in Calella on the first stage of the 100th edition of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. The Astana – Premier Tech rider raced aggressively in the second half of the stage and joined a small group of four riders after a late attack on Port de Collsacreu, the last climb of the day.

Sanchez’s group worked well in the last 22 kilometres to gain a 40-second advantage and was able to hold the peloton off until the finish line. In the sprint, Luis Leon did his best but missed just a little to win the stage, finishing second behind the young Dane Andreas Kron.

After chasing Sanchez’s group and halving the gap in the final kilometres of the day, the peloton crossed the line 16 seconds down.

Race sprint

Lead quartet heads for the line. Getty photo

“The first stage looked good for us with a few climbs and a small ascent up there at the end. With not many sprinters in the peloton we knew it would be difficult for the group to control the situation. So, we tried to stay focused in the group throughout the whole day, especially in the final part. We were up there in front of the pack at the bottom of the last climb and I followed all moves, and, at the end, I was able to break away together with three more riders. Well, I missed the win today and of course, I am a little bit disappointed. In the sprint I was a bit boxed in behind two riders, while Kron went out on the left side. I lost just a moment and then I tried to give my best in sprint but still could not win. It was a good opportunity for me to get a victory, but I hope that more chances will come in the next days,” – said Luis Leon Sanchez.

“We had a plan to attack with Luis Leon on the last climb. We knew this stage quite well and we knew if a group of riders would open a gap on the top of the climb it would be really hard for the peloton to close it. At the end of the day it went really well for us and Luis Leon did a great race. We missed just a little to win today, but the other rider was just stronger. However, I am happy with the way the team rode today all together, helping each other and it is nice to get a small reward at the end of the day with the best team of the stage. Now we are looking forward to the following days here in Catalunya”, – added Bruno Cenghialta, Sports Director of Astana – Premier Tech.

Team DSM's upcoming racing

The team sent me this preview:

Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne, MAR 24

Marc Reef - Team DSM coach:
"The one-day races continue for us at De Panne. Without any cobbles on the pacrours, it is a race where sprinters can have their chance to go for the win. However, as with a lot of races in the region it depends on the weather as the wind direction, combined with the small twisting roads and exposed sections, can have a big influence on the day. We have to be alert and prepared for several scenarios throughout the race to make sure we're always in front, but in the end if it is decided in a sprint then we will work to position Cees for the finale, with the rest of the team riding strongly in support."

Cees Bol

Cees Bol wins 2021 Paris-Nice stage 2.

Cees Bol (NED)
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
Nico Denz (GER)
Andreas Leknessund (NOR)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Martin Salmon (GER)

Women's Oxyclean Classic Brugge-De Panne: MAR 25

Albert Timmer - Team DSM coach:
"We have good memories of this race from last year where Lorena won the reduced bunch sprint. Normally De Panne is a race that can go one or two ways; we either get a really windy edition and the race splits, or we get a calmer day and a bunch sprint finish. If the race ends in the latter with a fast finale, we will work to set up Lorena who has proven to be in good form and has history at the race. However, we showed last year that we can be there as well when the race splits and we have a strong team here that can ride well in both scenarios."

Susanne Andersen (NOR)
Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Franziska Koch (GER)
Julia Soek (NED)
Lorena Wiebes (NED)

E3 Saxo Bank Classic: MAR 26

Marc Reef - Team DSM coach
"This year the organisers have made some small changes to the parcours before the combination of the cobbled Paterberg and Oude Kwaremont climbs, which should make the final selection for the race. As we have shown in recent races, we want to race aggressively in the early stages to try and anticipate any dangerous moves. We'll work to ride well together as a group so that we can get riders up the road in the pre-final, and so that we can position our two main cards for the race, Tiesj and Søren, before the finale. Both Tiesj and Søren have shown good form at Paris-Nice and Milan-Sanremo, so with some good teamwork we're aiming for a strong result."

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN)
Tiesj Benoot (BEL)
Nico Denz (GER)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Jasha Sütterlin (GER)

Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields: MAR 28

Marc Reef - Team DSM coach
"Gent Wevelgem is a tough one-day race where as a team we need to be alert throughout the day for any decisive moments. The potential strong winds in the exposed Moeren and the climb of the Kemmelerg are the two main well-known crucial parts and factors in deciding the race. Since the addition of the Plugstreets in recent years, they have also proved to be important points of the parcours. Our approach for the race will be to ride aggressively in the opening part of the race so that we can get into the finale with as many riders as possible. That will allow us to use our numbers in the finale, while if it comes down to a reduced sprint as we have seen in past editions, then Nils will be our protected rider.”

Nikias Arndt (GER)
Cees Bol (NED)
Nico Denz (GER)
Nils Eekhoff (NED)
Niklas Märkl (GER)
Casper Pedersen (DEN)
Jasha Sütterlin (GER)

Women's Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields: MAR 28

Albert Timmer - Team DSM coach
"Gent Wevelgem is in an interesting race with a testing parcours. Last year we saw the race split up over the cobbled climbs in the middle. We expect that something like that could happen again this year but we can't also discount a sprint, as the two editions before that have ended in fast finishes. We have Lorena in the team as our sprinter if it comes back together for the finale and we'll work to position her for that. Likewise, in the shape of Liane and Floortje we have two riders who can go on the attack and cover the moves on the Kemmelberg, allowing us to race on the front foot, giving us another option and letting us save energy in the group behind."

Susanne Andersen (NOR)
Leah Kirchmann (CAN)
Franziska Koch (GER)
Liane Lippert (GER)
Floortje Mackaij (NED)
Lorena Wiebes (NED)

Cholet - Pays de la Loire: MAR 28

Bennie Lambregts - Team DSM coach
"GP Cholet is a tricky one-day race in France and offers a good chance for our Development program riders to learn about the processes in the team. We have four first-year U23 riders in the squad for the race with Tobias, Pavel, Pepijn and Oscar, and we want to try and be aggressive to to get into the early breakaway with them, or Enzo. We will look for Tim, Leon and Casper to save energy and focus on the final, where we will work for Casper as the team's sprinter. We also want to focus throughout the race on racing as a block and on good communication and hopefully this will see us get a nice result."

Tobias Lund Andresen (DEN)
Pavel Bittner (CZE)
Leon Heinschke (GER)
Enzo Leijnse (NED)
Tim Naberman (NED)
Oscar Onley (GBR)
Pepijn Reinderink (NED)
Casper van Uden (NED)

SRAM sues Princeton Carbon Works for patent infringement on aero wheels

Biycle Retailer & Industry News sent me this industry update:

CHICAGO (BRAIN) — SRAM Inc. is suing Princeton Carbon Works, Inc. for patent infringement. SRAM says that the wavy rim shape on Princeton's carbon road wheels infringes on its patent for a rim shape inspired in part by a humpback whale flipper. SRAM uses that design on its Zipp 454 Carbon NSW wheels, which retail for up to $4,000 per pair.

SRAM's wheels rely on two patents from inventor Dimitrios Katsanis. The first patent was issued in 2017 and a related patent was issued in 2020. Katsanis assigned both to Metron IP Limited, a Nottingham, UK, company, who in turn assigned them to SRAM. It's not clear when the patent was assigned to SRAM.

The patents describe a rim or spokes with an "undulating configuration" that is said to reduce aerodynamic drag, especially in crosswinds. Among the publications cited in the patents is "Hydrodynamic Design of the Humpback Whale Flipper," published in the Journal of Morphology in 1995.

Princeton, which entered the market in about 2018, offers wheels with a rim shape that resembles the Zipp design, at least superficially. Princeton says its rim shape is sinusoidal. The Princeton undulations appear symmetric, while the Zipp shape is more like a sawtooth.

Many consumer media reviews of the Princeton wheels have remarked on the resemblance.

"Princeton CarbonWorks has had a bit of an uphill battle to ensure riders understand there’s a major difference between its sinusoidal rim shape and the biomimicry shape that Zipp touts on its 454 NSW wheels. Aesthetically, the two designs look similar, but according to Princeton, they work vastly differently," a Sept. 2020 review on began.

You can read the entire story here.

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