Tuesday, January 29, 2013

USA Cycling Catches Up with Logan Owen Before Cross Worlds

By Andrea W. Doray

Logan placed third at the World Cup in Plzen.
Logan placed third at the World Cup in Plzen.

If you’re not familiar with the name Logan Owen, you probably will be after the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships coming to Louisville, KY, at the beginning of February.
 
Owen is the most dominant junior cyclo-cross racer in the U.S., and a real contender to win the junior men’s race at worlds. At the close of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup season on Jan. 20, Owen was ranked third among juniors men, behind Mathieu Van Der Poel and Martijn Budding of the Netherlands. His world cup race results were:
 
5th place in Tabor, Czech Republic
3rd place in Plzen, Czech Republic
5th place in Koksijde, Belgium
2nd place in Huesden-Zolder, Belgium
4th place in Rome, Italy
 
Add to these results another impressive first-place finish at the 2013 USA Cycling Cyclo-Cross National Championships earlier this month in Madison, Wis., and you begin to understand why eyes around the world are watching this racer.
 
Owen, who is 17 years old (racing age 18), lives in Bremerton, Wash., and rides for Team Redline. As a senior in high school, Owen takes his schoolwork with him as he travels to ’cross competitions across the U.S. and Europe. “I’m still taking AP (Advanced Placement) classes and I get good grades,” says Owen. “My teachers are really helpful and accommodating of my schedule.”
 
No struggle to juggle…


Owen is probably used to juggling his life around his riding—he started racing BMX with his dad when was just 4-1/2 years old! He raced BMX until he was 12 and, in the process, earned three world championship titles in the amateur classes.
 
At nine years old, already on Team Redline, he was asked to be their “prototype kid,” testing their Conquest mini 24-inch ’cross bike. (See the 2013 Conquest 24 here.) Riding in his first ’cross race (racing age 10-12), Owen placed second…and loved it. “I continued to ride some road, and do speed skating in the summer until I was 13,” says Owen. But he knew then that cyclo-cross was for him.
 
Now, looking ahead to the ’Cross Worlds in Louisville, Owen says he’s been working on his strategy all year, especially for his competition with van der Poel of The Netherlands and Quinten Hermans of Belgium, who finished the World Cup season in first place and fifth place, respectively, in the UCI World Cup junior men’s standings. “We’re all battling together,” says Owen. “No one wants to blow themselves out early in the race.”
 
A different kind of holiday…


Owen excelled at EuroCrossCamp in Belgium over the holiday season, and says he got to “try different things.” One of the benefits of the camp—where America’s best ’cross racers “live, eat, breathe the toughest, most effective period of cyclo-cross racing on the planet”—was the opportunity to learn how to take advantage of his rivals’ flaws…“but there aren’t many!” says Owen.
 
“I think I’m a better runner,” says Owen, “and a muddy course would be good for me. I’ll go in knowing I can challenge the best in the world.”
 
Owen is also anticipating the value of that storied home-field advantage. “For some of these riders, the Worlds will be their first visits to the U.S.,” says Owen. “I won’t have to deal with the travel and the adjustment to such a different time zone.”
 
Plus, Owen is counting on the crowd in Louisville. “It’s really motivating to hear the crowd cheering, and I’m confident I can do well for them.”
 
To the podium, and beyond…
 
Owen credits his success to a few basic factors: great coaches and mentors, a dedicated work ethic, and the support of his family. “My mom sent Christmas presents with me to EuroCrossCamp,” says Owen with a laugh. “I had a lot of extra weight to carry!”
 
The sacrifices—for both him and his family—are worth it, Owen says. “The experiences I get over there (at EuroCrossCamp) are not just about cycling, but also life skills such as traveling and keeping track of everything. It’s a hard racing block that really gets you into shape.”
 
His goals for Louisville? “I want to be on the podium at least, and I’d really like to win for this first time that the Worlds are held here in our home country,” says Owen.
 
“That would be the coolest thing ever…I’m ready to go fast.”
 
The World will be watching.


Source: USA Cycling 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Zip the Lips: After Hours of TV, Too Many Armstrong Questions Remain


  • By Matthew Beaudin

After a week of mainstream media attention and almost three hours with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong emerges known more for his silence than his openness. Photo: Martin Bureau | AFP
BOULDER, Colorado (VN) — For as much as he said, he didn’t say much at all.
Lance Armstrong this week fessed up to doping during his seven Tour de France wins, but it’s the things he didn’t say, the things he may have lied about still, that may haunt him yet. It will be remembered as the moment a dirty cyclist finally came clean, but that wasn’t anything new, anyway — the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency had vanquished Armstrong the cycling hero months ago.
It was reported in the run-up to the interview that Armstrong considered outing friends and giving up the Union Cycliste Internationale. He did no such thing, and offered little meaningful assistance to a sport that’s suffering from an image problem, in large part due to the culture over which he presided, and helped further with aggressive pursuit of anyone even hinting at talking.
Over nearly three hours and two evenings, the fallen Tour de France star said more in a few words (all yeses, admitting to doping, and doping in every Tour win) than he had in a decade, but he left many scratching their heads, particularly at the notion that his comeback in 2009, during which he finished third at the Tour de France, was ridden on bread and water when blood data said otherwise.
“The last time I crossed that line was 2005,” Armstrong told Winfrey. On night two of a two-part interview, Armstrong said that in conversations with his former wife, Kristin, she made him promise not to use performance enhancing drugs if he were to return to the peloton.
“She said to me, ‘you can do it, under one condition: That you never cross that line again.’ And I said, ‘you got a deal.’ And I never would have betrayed that with her,” he said. “It’s a serious — it was a serious ask, it was a serious commitment.”
That commitment, however, has been refuted by math. In the 2009 Tour, Armstrong’s samples showed fewer red blood cells over a three-week stage race than would normally occur, indicating he was injecting supplemental blood.
Scientists noted that Armstrong’s blood has a less than one a million chance of naturally appearing in such a fashion. Nearly 40 samples were taken over the course of Armstrong’s comeback, providing a baseline for a biological passport.
“The sport was very clean,” Armstrong told Winfrey, citing the very biological passport that ensnared him. “I didn’t expect to get third. I expected to win, like I always expected. And at the end, I said to myself, ‘I just got beat by two guys who were better.’”
If he’s lying, the question is why. There’s little at stake for Armstrong in this arena, as his Tour titles are already gone, and it appears the statute of limitations has run, even from his comeback years. But he may not be protected from whatever he’s worried about, if he isn’t telling the truth.
“I think it’s fair game. Just because he doesn’t admit to something happening doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. If anyone sues him, or whatever, I think that’s a subject for exploration,” said Mark Stichel, a Baltimore-based attorney who has litigated civil cases in state and federal courts throughout the U.S.
Armstrong also didn’t touch the now-infamous incident in a hospital room in 1996.
According to Betsy and Frankie Andreu, who were present in the hospital with Armstrong, a doctor entered the room and asked Armstrong whether he was taking any drugs. The Andreus claimed — when asked under oath — that Armstrong told the doctor that he was in fact using several performance enhancing drugs, including the banned blood booster EPO.
Armstrong has always vehemently denied that the conversation had ever taken place.
When asked by Winfrey during Thursday’s broadcast whether he still denied it, Armstrong only said that he would not talk about it. Winfrey then moved on to her next question.
“As far as, I guess first the non-admission of the 1996 hospital incident … My initial thought was that he and the Andreus had come to a deal, and part of the deal is not talking about it,” Stichel said. But after hearing Betsy explode on CNN over the issue?
“I’d be pretty surprised if there were any deals out there,” Stichel said. “Clearly he is reluctant to say something. My gut just tells me that he was coached by his lawyers on that point, because clearly he was not going to talk.”
There were plenty of issues that were never addressed — at least in the edited version of the interview. For example, Armstrong never explained how he bested the testing systems, aside from a general discussion of the lack of out-of-competition testing during his early career. Nor did he address a cozy relationship (as indicated by Tyler Hamilton in his book, “The Secret Race”) with UCI top brass. According to the USADA dossier, the sport’s governing body was aware of Armstrong’s doping and helped him stay in the game, and Armstrong made a sizeable donation to the UCI to fund drug-testing equipment.
On the UCI, all Armstrong said was that he was “no friend” at all, a phrases he repeated at least three times during Thurday’s broadcast.
Greg LeMond’s name didn’t come up, nor did that of many other associates and teammates. Armstrong never said how he got the drugs, who supplied them, or how blood was cycled though the U.S. Postal Team at races. It’s true that Armstrong is on the hook for a False Claims suit, at the hands of Floyd Landis, a former teammate. That may have had a bearing on what he could — or could not — say. But if that’s the case, why talk at all?
“I’ve been thinking for the last 18 hours, why did he even do this interview? I’m not sure it satisfies anyone. There was an admission, but it was a pretty limited admission,” Stichel said. “He seems to be playing some of the same sort of semantic games that he’s played in the past. I’m just scratching my head as to why he even did this.”
Here was an opportunity to leave the sport better, and in a place to move forward. One would be hard pressed to say he’s done anything beyond serve himself.
After nearly three hours of TV and a week laid out across mainstream media, the sport is left with a series of yeses. But Armstrong won’t be remembered within cycling for what he did say, but more for what he didn’t. The omérta remains intact, and its king, for now, still has zipped lips.
We can only hope that isn’t the case if and when Armstrong sits down with USADA officials again.
Source: Velo News

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bina Emerges Victorious at Hoogerheide


By: Brecht Decaluwé
Albert wins cyclo-cross World Cup
Martin Bina (Czech Republic) won the final round of the World Cup in the snow of Hoogerheide, Netherlands. Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) was fifth on the slippery course, enough to secure the overall victory in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup.
Snow and ice were the main ingredients for the World Cup finale in Hoogerheide. The usual suspects were too uncomfortable with the snow and finished off the podium. Outsiders stepped into the spotlight and 29 year-old iceman Martin Bina proved to be the best of them, taking his first-ever World Cup victory. Home rider Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) and Simon Zahner (Switzerland) joined the junior world champion of 2001 on the podium.
“This race for me this race was very technical, very speed and that’s good for me. It’s a very important victory for me,” Bina said.
Niels Albert profited from a late chain problem for Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) to claim the overall win in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. Pauwels finishes runner-up while Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) is third overall.
The splendid win from Bina comes as a major surprise. The Czech never finished in the top 10 of a World Cup round this season but clearly the cold circumstances were in his favour. Together with Pauwels, the Czech showed off great technical skills to stay upright and ride fast on the challenging course in Hoogerheide. Halfway through the race, Bina and Lars van der Haar increased the pace in the six-man lead group which also contained Radomir Simunek (Kwadro-Stannah), Zahner, Pauwels and Albert. The two Belgians, Pauwels and Albert, were eying each other for the overall win in the World Cup and lost touch with the leaders. By the end of the sixth of nine laps, Bina managed to get a gap. Behind him the chasers hesitated.
“The initiative only came from Kevin [Pauwels] or me. When he dropped his chain it was up to me. I came back on him but then I bobbled. In the final lap I came close again but not close enough,” Van der Haar said.
Bina completed a nearly perfect ride in the snow. Only in the final lap did he slip and fall on the ground but the Czech recovered well. At the finish line, Bina had a gap of 7 seconds on Van der Haar. In the battle for third place, Sven Nys came close to the wheel of Simon Zahner but the latter stood firm and held on to take his first podium finish in a World Cup race.
Nys was riding near the front in the first laps until he crashed on his backside while running off an extremely slippery drop. From there he lost a lot of ground whereas Zahner moved up to the lead group in the second lap. Zahner left the initiative to the others and although he made some mistakes, they weren’t enough to keep him from finishing on the podium.
Nys explained he never felt comfortable on the slippery course. “I was afraid to crash and lose everything,” Nys said, referring to potential injuries which might harm his participation in the Louisville world championships. “Many times I lost several seconds because I was afraid to make a mistake. Form-wise I’m good but not super.”
Newly crowned Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) crashed hard during Saturday’s race in Zonnebeke. Due to a torn muscle in his thigh he didn’t take the start in Hoogerheide. Vantornout dropped from fourth to seventh place in the World Cup classification. Vantornout is also uncertain for the world championships which take place in two weeks’ time in Louisville.
Source and for Full Results: www.cyclingnews.com

Thursday, January 17, 2013

British Start to 2014 Tour de France Presented


Tour begins in Yorkshire with road stage from Leeds to Harrogate
Details of the opening three British stages of the 2014 Tour de France have been announced at a presentation in Paris on Thursday.
The race begins on July 5 with a road stage from Leeds to Harrogate, while the peloton remains in Yorkshire the following day with a stage from York to Sheffield. The third and final British leg of the 2014 Tour will be between Cambridge and London on July 7, before the riders proceeds to France via Eurostar.
The opening road stage will doubtless please Mark Cavendish, given that it has just one categorised climb and a long finishing straight on a light false flat in Harrogate. Stage two from York to Sheffield will be somewhat more exacting, however, with Tour director Christian Prudhomme describing the course as “worthy of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.” The stage will include no fewer than eight climbs, with six of them coming in rapid succession in the final 60 kilometres before Sheffield.
The 2014 Yorkshire Grand Départ marks the Tour’s second start in Britain after London in 2007. The Tour previously made incursions into Britain in 1974 and 1994.
A second presentation of the 2014 Tour's British stages will take place in Leeds on Thursday evening.
British stages of the 2014 Tour de France:
Stage 1, July 5: Leeds - Harrogate
Stage 2, July 6: York - Sheffield
Stage 3, July 7: Cambridge - London

Monday, January 14, 2013

Life From The Seat Of a Bike


It was a particularly nice day out and I was out to set a new milestone ride for myself. I would do the 8 mile loop and add the 15 mile loop into the mix making for about a 25 mile ride. I was well prepared and had cleared my schedule to allow for a 3 hour plus day in the saddle.  I had two bottles of water and some snacks to eat along the way. I was not sure how to eat and ride but I guessed I would figure it out.  

At the end of my 6th mile,  just where I had to turn to continue on the 15 mile ride, it finally happened; that guy, was stopped waiting on a train to pass by. I rolled up and looked over at him. He was very tall and fit and his bike was beautiful,  full carbon all top of the line stuff. He was wearing a club jersey so I asked him about the club and told him I was thinking about joining what did he think of the club? With barely a pause he looked down at me and said lose a hundred pounds and get a better bike before you join a club, and with that he pedaled off. I stood there for a minute a bit stunned at the curt response to an honest question. 

I brewed the rest of the ride 
by myself.  By the time I finished the ride I was exhausted, pissed and determined (more fuel ) It was there on my front lawn as I stewed that the first thoughts of  "there has got to be a better way" came to my mind. My wife interrupted my thought process when she came out and asked me why I was home so soon did I not complete the ride? Huh, she said you have only been gone an hour and a half! Huh, what, really? No I did the whole ride looking at the computer on my bike 25.8 miles in an hour and a half. I did the math real quick in my head, that was close to like 16-17 MPH average WHAT! there is no way I rode that fast. From that day forward I realized I could do a lot more than I ever expected I could. The next few months would prove it!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Team Velo Wrench Fundraiser #1


Team Velo Wrench is having its first fundraiser, here it is...

Show your colors and support Team Velo Wrench. Team Velo Wrench is a grass roots racing team here in Vacaville our mission is to support cycling in our local community, fostering good will to all. These bracelets will help to support the race team's efforts. Cost is $10.00 and all the proceeds will go directly to the team. As an added bonus you will look cool too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Beginners FREE Mechanic Clinic



Next Beginners FREE mechanic Clinic will be Friday night the 11th of January, class starts at 7:15 PM.

This popular intro into mechanics covers tire changing, bicycle nomenclature, derailleur adjustment in between tune ups, proper chain cleaning and maintenance, on road emergency repairs, and proper bike lubrication. We end the class with a Q&A session with our master mechanic. Snacks are provided. Class is limited to the 10 students and is a prerequisite to the intermediate mechanics course. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Featured Bike: BIANCHI CAMALEONTE DUE


BIANCHI CAMALEONTE DUE


Only $699.99 

MODEL~Camaleonte Due 8sp Mechanical Disc
COLOR ~Red
SIZES~43-47-51-55-59
FRAME~Camaleonte Hydroformed Aluminum
FORK~Bianchi Alloy 1 1/8"
HEADSET~FSA ZS4 Custom
SHIFTERS~Shimano Alivio
REAR DERAILLEUR~Shimano Tourney
FRONT DERAILLEUR~Shimano Alivio
CRANKSET~Shimano Alivio 48/38/28
CHAIN~KMC Z72
CASSETTE~Shimano Acera 8sp 11-32T
BRAKES~Shimano Acera Mechanical Disc
WHEELS~Alloy double-wall, 32H
TIRE~Spectra Amber 700 x 32
STEM~Bianchi alloy
HANDLEBAR~Tec Obvius alloy, 15mm rise
BAR TAPE / GRIPS~Velo VLG 1115AD
SEATPOST~Tec Obvius alloy
SADDLE~Selle Royal VIPER
PEDALS VP-516A

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Motivation Wall



Hey all: Velo Wrench Bike shop wants to help you with that New Year's resolution. How, you say, can a bike shop help with a resolution? Glad you asked! 

ACOUNTABILITY, yes, ACOUNTABILITY, we will have the Motivation Wall up and ready for you to put YOUR resolution and goals on. 

It's simple really, come in to the shop any time over the next few weeks and simply write your 2013 Goals on the Motivation Wall, get your picture taken and you're in.  The wall will be posted for all to see throughout the event. If you're brave enough to post it on the wall you will also be asked to be kind enough to help/hold others accountable.  I have seen what the cycling community can do when it comes together, and it's pretty awesome.

Now for the fun part. Over the next few months we will pick winners in no particular order to win fabulous prizes (prizes will range from nutritionals, helmets ect... all the way up to a new bike: depending on how many people join up; the more that join the bigger the prizes so get all your friends and family to join in the fun). We will also have monthly motivators (PRIZES)

Finally On July 4th 2013 we will award a prize to all people who reach their goal. There will also be awards for the most supportive, ect..... This is meant to be FUN, Motivating, and community building. So let's get started!