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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, August 23, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

He who has never failed somewhere, that man cannot be great. - Herman Melville


Tour de France: 2021

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2021: The Little Cannibal Dominates is available in both Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Andrey Amador joins EF Education-EasyPost in 2023

The team sent me this announcement:

EF Education-EasyPost are delighted to have signed Andrey Amador to the team. The Costa Rican, who has worn the Giro d’Italia’s coveted maglia rosa, adds experience to the roster.

Next year will mark Andrey’s 14th season racing at the WorldTour level and in that time, he has experienced the peaks and valleys of our sport, giving him a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on.

Andrey Amador winning the 2018 Klasika Primavera.

“I define myself as a rider who can give support in the best and worst moments,” Andrey says. ”If I have something, then I give it all and I give my best for the team. I sacrifice myself. Not only that, but I will aim for everything that I can reach.”

Over his career, Andrey has reached for plenty and his results show it, ranging from his 2008 win at the Tour de l’Avenir to wearing the leader’s jersey at his favorite race, the Giro d’Italia.

“The Giro is a big thing for me and I love it. I fought for a podium spot in 2015 and one year later I finally could wear the maglia rosa. That same day my parents came to Europe to watch the race. They took a rental car, and we were all together, my parents and girlfriend, so this was a wonderful moment. It deeply touched me and seeing myself battling for a podium spot and getting the jersey was a thing of beauty.”

Having known several EF Education-EasyPost riders over the years, he knew this was the right team for him.

“​​I’ve always been in touch with the riders, and I’m always hearing such good things about the team. Also, I loved watching Lachlan Morton and Alex Howes riding La Ruta de los Conquistadores. I just see this as a big team with so many countries represented,” Andrey says.

Team CEO, Jonathan Vaughters, says Andrey fills a valuable role within the roster. "Amador is an anchor rider, meaning he anchors the team in terms of getting the hard work done. He is incredibly experienced. He has been top-ten in multiple grand tours. He is a very capable rider with a big engine in this part of his career. So what he is bringing to us is experience. He has still got this big engine, but he is an experienced helper that for such a young and constantly evolving team that is really repositioning itself in a big way for 2023, he brings stability and experience and the ability to teach a group of younger riders, when we have a very large group of Spanish-speaking young riders for next year that are going to need mentorship. He is a mentor."

Given that Andrey credits two Costa Rican former cyclists with giving him the inspiration and support to pursue his goal of turning professional himself, he views the opportunity to mentor his new teammates a grand responsibility and an honor.

At 35-years-old, Andrey is as motivated as ever to continue racing.

“I want to come back to my real level, and I’m very confident I will do that. I am ready to help the team, to give my best for my teammate or our leader and give the team what they need in the best possible way. I want to be a rider who they can rely on.”

When Andrey needs to unwind, he grabs his fishing pole and heads to the coast.

“The sea, fishing. I love it. Going to the sea and feeling the sand on my feet, this just makes me feel good. And when the season finishes, I like to go there and the time just flies away. I can easily be there for six or seven hours. But if I’m honest with you, my bike is my everything. I’m not the type of rider who says, ‘I’m going to disconnect for a month’ and then doesn’t touch his bike. Never! It’s my life. Not only my occupation, but also my life.”

Today, Andrey still finds the same joy in riding that he first discovered as a kid in Costa Rica when he and his brother joined their local bike shop for mountain bike rides.

“Riding my bike. It’s my life, my passion.”

And we love to see it. Welcome to the team, Andrey!

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Team Bike Exchange-Jayco headed to Belgian races

The team sent me this:

A busy period of racing continues for Team BikeExchange-Jayco this week, as the team heads to Belgium for the Egmont Cycling Race and Druivenkoers-Overijse on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. [Ed: These are not races we cover]

The 86th edition of Egmont will see the team field a strong line-up with plenty of firepower for the explosive and attacking race, with Dylan Groenewegen and Luka Mezgec leading the way, and with support from Amund Grøndahl Jansen, Alex Konychev, Jack Bauer and Campbell Stewart.

Luka Mezgec (shown at the 2019 Tour of Poland) is headed to Belgium, Sirotti photo

The following day, the team will tackle Druivenkoers, where a more demanding parcours in terms of climbing awaits them.

Dion Smith and Matteo Sobrero will join up with the team, replacing Groenewegen and Grøndahl Jansen as Mezgec steps into the leader’s role, but with options for others to take any opportunities that arise.

New signing Elmar Reinders will make his debut in Team BikeExchange-Jayco colours, as the Dutchman takes to the start line for both races having recently signed for the Australian team.

Team BikeExchange-Jayco Line-Up:
Jack Bauer (NZL)
Dylan Groenewegen (NED) – Egmont only
Amund Grøndahl Jansen (NOR) – Egmont only
Alexander Konychev (ITA)
Luka Mezgec (SLO)
Elmar Reinders (NED)
Dion Smith (NZL) – Druivenkoers only
Matteo Sobrero (ITA) – Druivenkoers only
Campbell Stewart (NZL)

Luka Mezgec:
“I recovered well after the Tour de France and in the last few races – the European Championships, and Hamburg last Sunday – I showed good condition, finishing with the best group.

"I’ve never done these two races but, in my experience, racing in Belgium is always hard. Based on what I’ve been looking at, Tuesday (Egmont) can be a potential sprint for Dylan, and for Wednesday (Druivenkoers) I'm expecting a more selective race, where I also hope to be in the front.”

David McPartland - Sport Director:
“These are two classic Flemish races: narrow roads, short but steep climbs and cobbles. I don’t expect a big, bunch sprint finish, and of the two races I think Druivenkoers is more selective with more Muur than Egmont. We have a strong and suitable team for these types of routes.

"It will be important to approach the race in an aggressive way, always trying to stay in the front positions within the peloton. Dylan Groenewegen and Luka Mezgec will be our two leaders, but others will also be able to take advantage of any opportunities.

"Our new rider Elmar Reinders will be at the start on both Tuesday and Wednesday. He is an experienced rider and it will be interesting to see him compete on the typical Flemish roads.”


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Rick Vosper: Velocity, acceleration and jerk: welcome to the inflection point

Bicycle Retailer and Industry News sent me this important piece:

“Right now we're either closing in on, or are right on top of, one of the greatest potential inflection points our industry will ever face.” That’s Mike Jacoubowsky talking. In addition to a half-century in this business, he’s an NBDA board member and partner in the Chain Reaction Bicycle Shop in Redwood City, California. Jacoubowsky is talking about the current state of the bicycle industry.

And I think he’s right.

In business terms, an inflection point is when significant change occurs. And that’s certainly happening. But here’s another way to look at our increasingly chaotic industry.

An engineer will tell you that a change in the position of an object can be defined as velocity. A change in velocity, either positive or negative, is known as acceleration. And changes in acceleration, well, those are called jerks. You can figure out your own punchline here.

To expand on what Jacoubowsky says, what we have coming up after the inflection points is going to be a series of jerks. The industry is changing, fast. And not only that, so is the rate of change itself. And even that rate is changing, too.

This is not business as usual, although in some of the lulls it may seem like it. This is business as it is right now and business as it probably won’t be tomorrow, or again anytime soon.


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Last month, I wrote about three vectors that I thought were driving the inflection: flat to declining ridership, product oversupply, and the possible coming recession. This month, I want to identify two of the likely results.

#1 Retailer churn: getting out (hopefully) while the getting is good
Historically, we’ve seen the number of U.S. retailers remain fairly constant at about 7,000 storefronts, according to both Georger Data Services count of bike brands’ dealer lists and QBP’s own dealer list as of a few years ago. We lose about 400 storefronts per year and pick up about the same number of new businesses, giving the retail side of the industry a net churn rate of not quite six percent. We’ve also seen retailers selling their businesses to Trek, Specialized or Pon, or simply shutting down entirely, for a couple of years now. But the trend seems to be accelerating, partly because there’s a whole generation of dealers reaching retirement age and partly because there’s never been a better time to get out.

You can read the entire essay here.

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