Thursday, July 30, 2015

How and Where Team Sky and Froome Won the Tour de France

They had the best game-plan and they executed it perfectly
Chris Froome celebrates his Tour de France victory
It seems Chris Froome's second Tour de France victory has sparked a lot more feelings and opinions than his previous visit to the top of the podium and it seems that it's all very simple to figure out. You are either applauding or you are appalled. Anglophiles love it and the rest of the world are troubled. If only other things in life were so easily categorised.

Team Sky's control over most of the racing hasn't gone down well with those people who were expecting a contest everyday. The gist of the upset for the angry squad is that a proper guts and glory drama has been denied to them by a dastardly plan. One that, after last year's disappointments, was put together by Dave Brailsford & Co. and was then perfectly executed by a carefully selected team.

Nevermind that the other members of the pre-race Fab Four; Contador, Quintana and Nibali all failed in some way to properly challenge Chris Froome and nevermind that the French hopes of Pinot and Bardet fell apart when they had the chance to step up a level. It's always easier to blame the other guys when you make mistakes.

I sat through the critical moments of this Tour de France and was all too often reminded of Peter Post's instructions to me when I was riding for Panasonic at the Tour de Suisse one year.

We were being dragged up a long Alpine pass when he leaned out the car window and said, “take it easy, sit in and go flat out in the time trial.” That was his tactics for the win. Wait until it was our moment. It was if he hadn't noticed that the man doing the pace making was Bernard Hinault and none of us in the lead group were talking. When Hinault swung over there were three riders left. Two guys from for his team La Vie Claire, Andy Hampsten and Greg Lemond, and me. Presumably happy with this, Post re-appeared and said in voice loud enough so everyone heard that I was to sit on them and wait for the time trial. Of course Andy and Greg set about jumping me until Greg got away and Andy sat behind me to the stage finish. To rub salt in Post's wounds Hampsten won the time trial a few days later.

His plan had messed up because of forces beyond his control and that's what happened to Contador, Quintana and Nibali. They came across superior firepower in the shape of a Sky team that managed its resources almost perfectly and a Chris Froome who was in better shape than his challengers throughout the three weeks.

That he won his second Tour by apparently only attacking on stages two, three and ten isn't any kind of fault. His win on la Pierre- St Martin might have been part of the original plan but the other days where he took time on his rivals were unexpected opportunities that the Sky leader exploited. Tactically Movistar never took the few chances they had to properly isolate the race leader so when Qunitana had the terrain to make an attack count it turned out to be too little, too late.

The irony is the Spaniards probably had the riders to control the racing in the same way as Sky are being criticised for but the British based squad never gave them the chance. That's how racing is; sometimes the others are collectively or individually stronger.

Contador and Nibali never really troubled the lead because individually they weren't good enough. They can be, of that there is no question, but this time around they got it wrong.

The challenge now for the teams with GC pretensions isn't just to have their respective leaders in the best shape possible by racing less and training better but by also having every member at their maximum and then using them intelligently. We saw from the way Chris Froome rode that he had done his homework, so he could handle the side-winds, the cobbles and his bike handling was way better than expected. I doubt Sky had missed anything in their preparations for this Tour. They knew what was coming and planned for it.

The question, and this is very Brailsford, isn't why were Sky so good it's why were the others not good enough?

King of the mountains

I have to agree with Lucien Van Impe when he says the mountain competition in its present format isn't working. Introduced in 2011, the double points for mountain top finishes is, in my opinion, over-emphasising that particular type of hill. Whereas Lucien is quite happy with the Polka-dot jersey being decided amongst the GC contenders I think the jersey ought to be available to anyone who wants to try for it.

The green jersey is a constant battle with significant points awarded throughout the stages and isn't just decided by who has the most wins. The climbers prize ought to be the same and not just won by someone who takes points as a consequence of being near the front on one type of climb. It ought to be a possibility for a rider who is willing to sprint on every hill as well. I don't have a problem with guys going out on long breaks in the Alps or Pyrenees and collecting masses of points and then not being in the front with the GC guys when the crunch comes. They've made a conscious effort to ride their race for their objectives but if you look at how Chris Froome was awarded this year's climbers competition you'll notice he only passed one Col in first place. This is in no way a criticism of the Sky leader but when Chris Froome did sprint on any of the other hills it wasn't to mark points rather it was to position himself for the descent that followed.

The GC was his aim but he ended up with the climber’s prize too. Contrast that with the likes of Daniel Teklehaimanot and Romain Bardet who gave their all just to wear the jersey and you see that the system needs tweaking. More points to more places on all categorised climbs would open up the competition and mean that riders who aren't involved in the GC battles have a chance too.
Author: Robert Millar
Article Source: Cycling News

Monday, July 27, 2015

JetCycling U25 Cycling Team Fundraiser

We are still having a fundraiser for the JetCycling U25 cycling team, come and get your jersey and support women's cycling in the USA. The jet cycling team is currently racing in Europe and will be home next month just in time for the tour of Utah. Jerseys cost $79.00 and all the proceeds go directly to the team 100%, no admin fees.

Follow them on Facebook too!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Serfas ST-17i Multitool and CO2 Inflator Coupon

Serfas Multifunction Tool

Serfas knows the importance of sturdy, reliable tools. That's why we offer a variety of high-quality bike tools to help with everything from minor adjustments to emergency repairs. Our tools will bail you out when you need it most.

Serfas ST-17i Multitool and CO2 inflator
Bring in this coupon to get your discount
$25.00 each
retail $44.00
limit 2 per person, while supplies last. No rain checks.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

How To Ride In Hot Weather

Follow these tips to keep your beautiful summer ride safe and enjoyable.

Your body sweats to keep cool during any physical exercise, and the rate at which you lose fluid increases in hot weather. Drink more to compensate, and do it often. You might want to consider an electrolyte drink to replace the salts lost through sweat - it will also help you retain fluid better.

It's important to know the signs of heat stroke - if you feel at all dizzy, nauseous or weak, try and find shade and rest. These symptoms are ignored at your peril.

Finally, we can't stress the importance of sunscreen, and if you can find somewhere to ride that isn't constantly exposed to the sun, we'd recommend it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Top 10 Tour De France Facts

Dazzle your friends or even random strangers with these incredible facts from Tours de France, past and present!

Ever wondered about who's won the most stages? How about the youngest winner of the yellow jersey? We've got all the important answers in this video, along with a few bizarre stories too - why were 12 riders disqualified from the 1904 Tour? Find out here!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Tour de France: Vuillermoz rises to stardom after stage win on the Mûr-de-Bretagne

 Frenchman dedicates victory to late father
Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R La Mondiale)

 AG2R La Mondiale’s Alexis Vuillermoz rose to stardom in his home country of France after a perfectly-timed acceleration on the Mûr-de-Bretagne landed him the stage 8 victory at the Tour de France.

Vuillermoz, 27, was the first Frenchman to win a stage in the 2015 Tour de France and he captured it with class, accelerating away from yellow jersey Chris Froome (Team Sky) and the rest of the favourites in the group at 800 metres from the finish line.

He had already shown promise in this year’s Grande Boucle when he captured third place in stage 3 on top of the Mur de Huy.

“I can’t believe it, it’s not possible,” said Vuillermoz, who sank to the ground to recover after crossing the finish line. “I still can’t believe it. It was a violent effort. It took me some time to realize what I have done. Now that I’ve recovered, I realize that I did it. It’s difficult to realize that I won a stage in the Tour de France.”

The Frenchman accelerated a couple of times on the straight climb in Brittany. The first half of the Mûr-de-Bretagne climb was the steepest and suited him the most.

“I tried about two, three times. In the steep part Adam Yates was still on my wheel so it was smart to wait a bit. Then I recovered a bit on the wheel of Froome. The third effort was the good one. In the final metres I closed my eyes because I was so tired and worried. After the line I sank to the ground because I couldn’t believe that I won a stage in the Tour. It’s enormous.”

Vuillermoz, who is a former mountain bike racer from the Jura region of France, captured 11th place in the general classification of the Giro d’Italia last year, in what was his first season on the WorldTour.

Although he was capable of dropping all of the GC contenders on the short finish climb in Brittany on Saturday, he was careful not to assume that he could do the same in the high mountain stages still to come.

“It was a stage that suited me,” Vuillermoz said. “The team rides each day for the rider who can win the stage. I’m not like Romain Bardet or Jean-Christophe Péraud. I’m more a puncheur climber. It’s great that I can win on a finish that suited my abilities to perfection. It’ll be different in the high mountains. Then I’ll support the riders who can perform well on those terrains. I’m perfectly aware that they’re better than me.”

In the general classification, Vuillermoz is currently sitting in 26th place at 5:26 minutes down on race leader Froome.

Frenchman gives thanks for his success

Vuillermoz is one of several mountain bike racers to successfully switch to road racing over the years, with teammate Jean-Christophe Péraud as one of the best examples.

During his career on the mountain bike, Vuillermoz was twice French champion in the under-23 category and was part of the French team that captured the world champion title in the cross country team relay in Val di Sole in 2008. During his transition to the road, he said that he has taken his time to understand the sport with the help of his teammates.

“I want to remain humble. I’m cautious. I take my time. It’s only my third season as a road racer. It’s a big success to win a stage in the Tour. I’m glad to have teachers like Jean-Christophe Péraud, Romain Bardet and Christophe Riblon.

“I never knew much about the cycling culture. In mountain bike racing I always used to attack the established names. Now I’m doing the same on the road. All riders have two arms and two legs so I don’t mind to try an attack. Chris Froome is a great champion and he’s a much better rider than me. But in cycling one can also win when riding smart.”

He has experienced several setbacks over the years, with the worst in 2011, when he slammed into a female spectator at the finish of the Tour Alsace. Doctors held him in a medically induced coma because of the head trauma to avoid brain damage.

Two years ago, he was on the verge of quitting the sport after his Professional Continental team Sojasun came to an end.

After crossing the finish line on the Mûr-de-Bretagne with the stage win, Vuillermoz dedicated it to his late father, and thanked several individuals who have helped him through his ups and downs over the last few seasons.

“I dedicate my win to my father, who passed away three years ago. He was passionate about the Tour de France. I hope he saw me today and hope he’s proud of what I’ve done today. Together with my cousins, we watched the Tour de France from the roadside when I was younger.

“The other person I want to thank is Daniel Germond, who helped me to race for AG2R when I was out of contract two years ago,” Vuillermoz said. When the Sojason team came to a conclusion at the end of 2013, Germond stepped in and helped Vuillermoz find a spot with the AG2R though Vincent Lavenu, paying his salary.

“Also Jean-Baptiste Quiclet, my coach who convinced me to switch from mountain biking to road cycling. Yvan Clolus, my old coach who’s like family to me. My whole family has been supportive in my dream to become a professional cyclist.”
Article Source: Cycling News 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tour de France: Stybar Wins Stage 6 on Short, Punchy Hill in Le Havre

Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-Quickstep) wins his first Tour de France stage.
Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) used his speed and power to win stage 6 of the Tour de France to Le Havre with a late solo attack on the uphill finish above the Normandy port.

The former cyclo-cross rider took advantage of a crash on the climb. He jumped away and powered to the finish unaware of the chaos behind him. The sprinters who had also avoided the crash hesitated behind Stybar, allowing him to reach the finish and win with his arms in the air. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) finished second with Bryan Coquard (Europcar) third.

It was a bittersweet day for Etixx-QuickStep. Stybar gave them another stage victory but Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) was caught up in the crash, injuring his left shoulder. He was pushed and escorted to the finish by several teammates as he held his left arm. He seemed to have broken his collarbone after landing hard on his left shoulder.

Martin was given the same time as the leaders and so kept the yellow jersey, but it is unclear if he will be able to continue in the Tour de France.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) were also in the crash but were not seriously injured.

Stybar celebrated his first stage victory at the Tour de France before knowing about Martin’s crash and his injuries.

“It feels really great. I think everyone who is participating here in France they wish to win a stage. It was my big dream. I thought I would have good chance on the stage with the cobbles, but I did it today, so I’m really very happy,” he said after celebrating on the podium.

“Only now I just have seen the crash from our leader Tony Martin, so I hope it’s not too serious and we can fight for the yellow jersey.”

Martin was able to pull on the yellow jersey on the podium but kept his left arm down by his side. He headed to the mobile x-ray unit near the finish to find out the full extent of his injuries and if he will at least be able to try and continue in the Tour de France.

Zdenek Stybar check behind on his way to winning stage 6 of the 2015 Tour de France.
Before the crash, a steady day in the saddle

Before the start, the 191km stage was expected to be another nervous day of racing due to the final 120km following the Normandy coastline. Riders were worried about echelons and attacks. However, the wind was little more than a breeze and just like in the finale on Wednesday, the peloton opted to stay safe and ride steadily below 40km/h rather than throw caution to the wind with so much racing still to come.

The riders rolled out of Abbeville in the sun, with 188 left in the peloton. Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) was the only non-starter after he was diagnosed with a fracture in his upper arm after stage 5. The Australian team is down to just six riders after also losing Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey in the stage 3 crash, with Michael Matthews riding in pain with two fractured ribs.

Yet again the break of the stage formed early, with the peloton happy to let Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar), Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis) and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) go clear after just five kilometres. They were also given the freedom to open a big lead, reaching eight minutes after 21km.

Quémeneur has already been on the attack during stages 2 and 4, and according to l’Equipe has spent the most kilometres up the road in search of glory.

The Lotto Soudal team rode tempo at the head of the peloton to control the break and defend Andre Greipel’s green jersey. Giant-Alpecin also did some work, knowing that Degenkolb would be a contender on the uphill finish in Le Havre.

A historic day for Teklehaimanot and Africa
Teklehaimanot won the mountains jersey at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné, and he rode cleverly to take the single points on offer on the Côte de Dieppe and the Côte de Pourville-sur-Mer near Dieppe. That put him on equal points with stage 3 winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who won atop the Mur de Huy.

As the race hit the Normandy coast, the views were stunning and the riders seemed to take time to enjoy them, easing their speed to a steady tempo. The trio up front pushed on but their lead fell gradually, touching five minutes with 85km to go and then 2:50 with 60km to go. In Fécamp the gap was down to 1:50 as the teams again filled the road in lineout formations across the road to protect their team leaders.

Quémeneur won the intermediate sprint at Saint-Leonard, with 46km to go, but the real sprinting came behind as the green jersey contenders fought for the minor points. Europcar lead it out for Bryan Coquard but Degenkolb came past him to take fourth place and 13 points. Coquard was fifth, with Greipel sixth, Sagan seventh and Mark Cavendish eighth.

Damiano Caruso (BMC) crashed on a corner, hitting a straw bale at close to 50km/h but there were few crashes during the stage. Earlier Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) had also taken a spill after stopping for a natural break but both quickly got up and back into the peloton.

The peloton eased after the sprint, allowing the break to extend their lead to back over a minute. It also gave the trio a chance to fight for the final climber’s points of the day. Teklehaimanot rode it perfectly, even if there was suspicion of a tacit agreement with Quémeneur and Van Bilsen. The Eritrean rider jumped away in sight of the summit and so scored a third point, giving him a historic Tour de France polka-dot jersey.

Teklehaimanot celebrated with a thumbs up live on television and celebrated even more on the podium when he pulled on the iconic polka-dot jersey.

A fast finale

Teklehaimanot, Quémeneur and Van Bilsen tried to stay out front as the kilometres ticked down on the way to Le Havre but the peloton upped the pace in the final 25km, reducing the gap to below a minute. After such a steady day in the saddle, everyone was pretty fresh and every team wanted to play their cards on the uphill finish.

Van Bilsen jumped away alone, with Teklehaimanot and Quémeneur preferring to sit up, shake hands and be caught by the peloton. Van Bilsen was eventually caught with four kilometres to go as the fight for the stage victory suddenly became very serious.

Everything seemed set for a sprint finish but then everything changed as Nibali, Quintana, Martin and others crashed and blocked the road for the riders behind. Even if most of the stage had been a quiet affair, the crash confirmed the golden rule of the Grand Boucle: there is never a quiet day at the 2015 Tour de France.

Friday’s 190.5km seventh stage is from Livarot to Fougeres. The stage rolls through the French countryside of the Mayenne department and is perfect for a high-speed sprint finish. Hopefully without the late crash of today.

 A battered Tony Martin crosses the finish line surrounded by teammates.

Article Source: Cycling News

Monday, July 6, 2015

How Much Energy Can You Save From Drafting? GCN Does Science

Sheltering from the wind is a key skill in bike races like the Tour de France.

Ahead of Stage 2 of Le Tour, Dan and Matt travelled to the home of crosswinds - The Netherlands - to find out exactly how much energy can be saved from slipstreaming behind another rider. How much energy, in terms of power, can you save through drafting? Prepare to find out!