Sunday, February 18, 2018

4 Bad Cycling Habits | How To Look More Pro On A Bike

There are a number of bad habits that are super easy to pick up, that will stop you from looking as pro as you'd like. Si and Dan are here to help you break these habits and look more pro on a bike.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Tour of Alberta Cancelled

Podium celebrations for the top three overall (Jonathan Devich/

Organisers of the Tour of Alberta announced today that the five-year-old UCI 2.1 race will not return for a sixth run this year. The Alberta Peloton Association, the group that ran the race, is also dissolving. The race was scheduled for August 31-September 3.

"The ATB Tour of Alberta was one of North America's top cycling events and brought some of the world's best cyclists to the Province of Alberta," Board Chairman Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson said in a statement released by organisers.

"We are very proud of the positive impact this event has had in showcasing Alberta's people, communities, and landscapes to the world."

The race started in 2013 as a six-day event won by Rohan Dennis, who rode for Garmin-Sharp at the time. Peter Sagan won three stages that year and still holds the record for total stage wins. Daryl Impey won the race's second year in 2014, taking the lead from Tom Dumoulin on the final day by securing a time bonus in the final sprint.

Bauke Mollema won the race in 2015 ahead of Simon Yates, followed by Robin Carpenter's surprise win ahead of Mollema in 2016, when the race dropped to five days. Evan Huffman won the 2017 race after seizing the lead on the opening stage to Marmot Basin, but the race had dropped another day and slipped to just four stages.

"This decision did not come easily, however with the current economic conditions and decreases in traditional funding sources, we had no other option," Hansen-Carlson said. "We wish to express our sincere thanks to the partners, communities, vendors, volunteers, staff, cyclists, teams and fans that made the ATB Tour of Alberta a success over the last five years."

The Tour of Alberta grew from the hard work of a dedicated group that imagined how a professional cycling event would benefit the province and its people, according to today's announcement. Over five years, 29 Alberta communities have hosted over 525 professional cyclists representing 33 countries.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Froome Facing Unknown Ahead of Ruta Start

Chris Froome will be subjected to serious scrutiny at his first race of the season, Ruta del Sol. Photo: Tim De Waele | Getty Images

MALAGA, Spain (VN) — In an ordinary season, Chris Froome’s season debut would attract attention worthy of any four-time Tour de France winner. That would imply questions about training, schedule, rivals, and ambitions.

Things are far from ordinary, however, as the Sky captain lines up this week for the five-day Ruta del Sol. It will be his first appearance since his Salbutamol case blew up in December.

The stakes couldn’t be higher as Froome takes his first tentative steps back into the public eye since last fall.

Off the bike, Froome could face a possible ban and disqualification of his 2017 Vuelta a España victory after testing for high levels of Salbutamol. Some view it as a make-or-break moment in his career.

Now poised to be back on the bike, Froome is intent on leaving a good impression.

The 32-year-old will certainly be concentrating on the serious business of racing, but it remains to be seen what kind of reception the Sky captain will receive from the media, the fans, and his peers.

Froome’s presence draws a strong media contingent that will surely crowd in around the Team Sky bus on Wednesday morning on Spain’s Costa del Sol. This race typically goes without much fanfare from the international press corps — not this year.

There is no official press conference scheduled ahead of Froome’s highly anticipated season debut. Froome likely will be attending media inquiries before and after each stage, but it remains to see what he will want to say.

It’s unlikely Froome will talk in detail about the looming Salbutamol case. He has already said he would withhold comment until the case plays out, and it appears it’s not there yet.

“Obviously I understand that this situation has created a lot of uncertainty. I completely get why there has been so much interest and speculation,” Froome said last week in a release Monday. “I hope that people will appreciate there are limits to what I can say whilst the process is still ongoing but no one is keener than me to move things forward as quickly as possible.”

It’s hard to say exactly where he is at in the confidential review process. Some media have already reported that the case is before a review panel that could decide Froome’s fate, but that is unconfirmed.

Not everyone has welcomed Froome’s decision to race, although it is in full accordance with UCI and WADA rules. Critics have called for Froome to stand down until the final ruling is delivered. That could still be weeks or even months away.

It will also be interesting to see what kind of welcome he receives from his peers. Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), who has been one of the most outspoken critics of Froome’s decision to race, will miss a possible clash with Froome after a domestic accident that has sidelined him for two weeks.

Former teammate Mikel Landa will be making his debut in Movistar colors, and the Basque will likely be his most challenging rival for the GC.

With so much on the line, Froome will be want to be at his best in the one thing he can control right now. Froome has been posting some exceptional efforts on his Strava account and will be the favorite to win the tour he last raced and won in 2015.

And though Ruta del Sol certainly doesn’t attract the type of fans that the Vuelta a España or Tour de France draws, there will be fans. And there are sure to be a few curious onlookers among the robust population of English retirees living along the Costa del Sol.

The stakes couldn’t be higher this week as Froome tries to get on with the business of racing his bike.

To some, it appears the Sky is falling (no pun intended), but inside the team bus, it’s obvious the consensus is that the the best thing Froome can do is keep pushing forward.


Friday, February 9, 2018

Cavendish Starts 2018 with Dubai, Oman and Abu Dhabi Racing Block

Mark Cavendish experiences the "Frame" (Tim de Waele/

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) took his place amongst the big-name sprinters at the Dubai Tour presentation, unsure about his form for his 2018 season debut but still hungry to race and win.

He recently joked he may switch his lycra for leathers and try his hand at motorbike racing after his professional cycling career but, for now, he is focused on returning to the level of success that has given him 145 career wins, 30 Tour de France stage victories, the 2009 Milan-San Remo and a world title in 2011.

Cavendish fought back from illness and injury in the final months of the 2017 season and continued to race on the road and track until late October. He enjoyed a short winter break but was soon back training for 2018. He has kept a low profile in recent weeks but is confident of soon being back to his best.

"I didn't have so much time off this winter because I had so much off last year due to injury and illness. I've been working hard to get back to racing. I'm not in any condition that I'll be in July, but I'm happy where I am for February," he said after attending the pre-race press conference and photo opportunity with his sprint rivals.

"The first race of the season is always an unknown. It doesn't matter how hard you've trained, it's always an unknown until you race. There's no expectation from myself or from the team. I've got about a month here in the Middle East: I've got Dubai, Oman and then the Abu Dhabi Tour. It's going to be a nice month. Hopefully, that will build my form. By the end of the month in Abu Dhabi, I'd like to be confident that I'm going to be winning stuff."

Cavendish opted to ride the Tour of Oman rather than risk a spell at home in the European winter as he builds toward his goals for the 2018 season. He will again ride Milan-San Remo in March, perhaps Gent-Wevelgem, Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix in the spring. However, the Tour de France remains the big objective for him and Dimension Data, with only a very slight chance he will ride the Giro d'Italia. "That's what I'm paid to do: go well at the Tour de France. Everything is built around that every single year," he pointed out. "I'll perhaps ride Paris-Roubaix, not to win it, but it's the only race where I can support my teammates. Edvald [Boasson Hagen] wants to go for it and there aren't many races where I can repay him for what he does for me during the rest of the year."

Cavendish turns 33 on May 21, and 2018 is the last year of his contract with Dimension Data but he has no serious plans to end his racing days just yet.

"I'll look at my short and long-term options and see what I do," he said, happy to tease when asked about his comments about switching to motor racing.

"I'm at (motor racing clothing brand) Alpine Stars next month getting fitted for my leathers but I'm still going to be a cyclist. I've still got this year anyway," he said.

Cavendish preferred not to comment about Chris Froome's return to racing at the Ruta del Sol, opting to focus on the four sprint opportunities here at the Dubai Tour. He can count on long-term lead-out men Bernard Eisel and Mark Renshaw plus new signing Julian Vermote, who joins from Quick-Step Floors.

The blonde Belgian is known for chasing down the breakaways for his team sprinter but Cavendish wanted him for much more.

"He's much more than a guy who rides on the front. He's good at it, he's the best in the world, but you see more of him because he does it at the Tour de France. He can actually fit in a lot of places in the team," Cavendish said.

Never one to worry about his sprint rivals, Cavendish seemed uninterested in the many transfers that have seen: Marcel Kittel quit Quick-Step Floors for Katusha-Alpecin, Elia Viviani take the German's place, while Alexander Kristoff has moved to UAE Team Emirates.

"It's all the same teams, its just different guys on the end of them," he said laconically.

"I haven't really bothered with it too much. I'm just been trying to concentrate on my own team. We haven't come with a full lead-out train here but we've got a great team. The plan is to build-up the whole team throughout the year."

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Froome to Start Season at Ruta del Sol

Chris Froome last raced the Ruta del Sol in 2015, when he took the overall victory and picked up a stage win along the way. Photo: ©Tim De Waele | Getty Images (File).

LONDON (AFP) — Chris Froome said Monday he is “confident” of progress in a probe into his adverse doping test as the British rider prepares for his first race of the season at this month’s Ruta del Sol.

Froome will be part of Team Sky’s line-up for the five-day stage race in Andalusia, southern Spain, which runs from February 14 to 18.

Froome and his Team Sky revealed in December that the 32-year-old had tested for elevated levels of the asthma medication salbutamol during the Vuelta a Espana, which he won for the first time in September. Although salbutamol is permitted in certain doses, the four-time Tour de France winner gave a urine reading of twice the allowed limit.

However, as the medication can be taken legally, Froome was not suspended by cycling’s governing body the UCI but merely asked to explain the elevated reading.

Team Sky said in December they were providing information to the UCI over the matter and confirmed in a statement on Monday that the process was ongoing.

“I’m confident that we will be able to get to the bottom of what has happened and I’m working hard with the team to do that,” Froome said in the statement on the team’s website.

“Obviously I understand that this situation has created a lot of uncertainty. I completely get why there has been so much interest and speculation. I hope that people will appreciate there are limits to what I can say whilst the process is still ongoing but no one is keener than me to move things forward as quickly as possible.”

Team principal Dave Brailsford said: “We all recognize that these are difficult circumstances but it’s important for all sides that this process is conducted fairly before a final conclusion is reached. “It is a complex situation but we’re working as hard as we can with Chris to resolve things as soon as possible.”

Froome, who will line up in Spain after spending the early part of the year training in South Africa, last raced the Ruta del Sol in 2015, when he took the overall victory and picked up a stage win along the way.

“I have put in a hard training block in January,” said Froome. “It’s been good to be out on my bike and to get the miles under my belt. It’s been a couple of years now since I was last at Ruta del Sol. It’s a race I’ve enjoyed in the past and so I’m looking forward to going back there.”

Last week the British rider strongly denied a newspaper report that he is seeking to negotiate a reduced ban rather than fight to prove his innocence over the adverse test.

UCI chief David Lappartient said earlier this month that Froome should be suspended over the adverse test and some of the Froome’s main rivals have hit out at cycling authorities for failing to ban him.


Saturday, February 3, 2018

5 Cycling Training Myths Tackled With Professor Louis Passfield

Could I be getting more out of my training? Does this training session actually help me? What's the best way to improve my riding? These are questions most cyclists will ask at some point. We were lucky enough to be joined by Professor Louis Passfield to answer these questions, and debunk some training myths.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Boels Manager Says Team’s Dominance is Good for Women’s Cycling

The Boels-Dolmans team is rich with talent in 2018, as it has been for several years. Photo: ©Tim De Waele | Getty Images (File).

It’s no secret that Dutch squad Boels-Dolmans has dominated women’s racing for two seasons.

While this control may be frustrating for the other women in the UCI Women’s WorldTour, team manager Danny Stam believes his squad has a positive impact on women’s cycling overall.

“I don’t think it’s negative in cycling overall because we win with a lot of girls,” Stam told VeloNews. “It’s not another moment where just Marianne Vos wins all the races or another good rider. In our team, almost all the girls win a race, so that is actually good.”

From 2016-2017 Boels-Dolmans won nearly half of the top-division events, 16 total races (not including stages) on the UCI Women’s WorldTour. Its win total on the series was more than that of Sunweb, Mitchelton-Scott, and Canyon-SRAM combined. Megan Guarnier claimed the overall title in 2016. Anna van der Breggen followed that up in 2017.

“In 2016 we were more dominant than last year,” Stam said. “You could see that it wakes everybody up, and I think the level increased last year and it was much more difficult to win races.”

When Stam organizes his team’s lineups throughout the season, he has the luxury of calling on many of the biggest names in the women’s peloton. For any given race on the calendar, he can tap the last three road world champions and the two most recent WorldTour winners to headline his squad.

With all that talent on his roster, it is up to Stam to juggle the aspirations of multiple superstars. Considering the team’s success these past few years, he seems to have the formula for success.

“I think the most important thing is that the communication is pretty open in the team,” Stam said. “The girls know from each other what the goals are and where they want to go.”

The process of planning the Boels-Dolmans season is complicated. It starts in December at training camp. From there, it’s all about staying open and balancing ambition with realism.

Stam says his riders have a great deal of respect for each other, which makes the planning process easier. That’s not to say there aren’t occasional moments of tension or frustration as teammates vie for the same goals. Not every rider always ends up happy with the way things work out at each event.

Whatever goes on behind the scenes, however, the squad has continually delivered the results come race time.

That makes setting goals for the coming season a challenge. Stam acknowledges that it’s not easy to continually improve on such success.

“Last year, 2017, we were pretty afraid that we could never do a season like 2016. That’s what’s happening again because 2017 was also an extremely good year,” he said.

Stam hopes for more of the same this year, although it would be quite ambitious to expect a higher win count. He pointed to the Ardennes trio of the Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège as major goals considering their proximity to the team’s sponsors. Anna van der Breggen swept all three last year, but Stam knows that defending those titles won’t be a walk in the park.

“Of course it’s not always possible to keep the same number of wins, but I think the most important races, we have to be there in the front,” he said. “I won’t say ‘win,’ but those are some of the races we have to show our strength.”

Still, if any team can handle the challenge, it’s Boels-Dolmans. It all comes back to the depth of talent. Even taking van der Breggen out of the equation, Stam could tab any number of other potential contenders to lead his team at any of the year’s biggest races.

Lizzie Deignan is certainly one of those options. She had a quieter 2017 than she might have hoped due to nagging health issues, but Stam sees the former world champion bouncing back in a big way now that she’s recovered.

“She’s going to be good this year. Really good,” Stam said. “She had a really stable winter so I expect much from her.”

He also expects reigning world champ Chantal Blaak to step up and find more consistency and confidence now that she’s claimed the sport’s biggest one-day prize. Stam knows he can really on several other stars behind that, as well.

What’s more, that should remain true for multiple seasons to come. The Boels-Dolmans roster counts quite a few young talents mixed in with the decorated veterans. That abundance of youth is no accident.

“The team continues another two years, till 2020,” Stam said. “Looking a little bit further than that, you also know that other top stars are probably going to quit or going to leave, and we want to keep acting on the same level of what we’re doing. So it makes sense to sign stars that can be ready in the future.”

Stam hopes his squad’s commitment to staying on top motivates other teams to keep raising their game. In Stam’s eyes, women’s cycling has made big strides in recent years but still has plenty of room for growth. He sees increased competition in races as a major objective for the sport.

He also backs a minimum wage for female riders, though only for those racing at a very high level. He praises efforts to unionize the women’s peloton as well, calling a well-organized rider’s association “the next step” for women’s cycling.

Stam sees increased television coverage as the key to many of the improvements that both fans and riders would like to see.

“Television broadcasts should be a big help I think. Not only the last two minutes,” he said. “If you see the women’s racing, I think 80 percent are really interesting races to watch on television. I think that should make it easier. It’s better for your sponsors, your sponsors should be happier, you can get bigger budgets, you can start with a minimum salary, and then the ball goes rolling.”

It’s almost a certainty that Stam’s outfit will be in the thick of those “really interesting” events in the season to come. Delivering an encore after two huge seasons won’t be easy, but with that star-studded roster and Stam’s track record, it’s hard to bet against them.