Friday, December 30, 2016

Van der Poel escapes serious injury in Azencross crash

Dutch champion leaves DVV Trophy race on a stretcher

Mathieu van der Poel on the attack (Tim de Waele/
Mathieu van der Poel escaped serious injury despite a nasty crash in the DVV Trophy race in Loenhout on Thursday. The Beobank-Corendon rider accelerated into a fast downhill section on the second to last lap, but hit the crest of the descent with too much speed and lost control, crashing hard down the slope and not moving for several minutes.

The 21-year-old was treated by medics at the scene and transported by stretcher from the course to hospital. He later announced that he was OK on Twitter.

There had been a regrouping after an early attack by Van der Poel was neutralised, and on the penulimate lap, Toon Aerts surged and his teammate Tom Meeusen allowed a gap to open to try and give Aerts and advantage. Van der Poel sensed the tactic and accelerated to pass Meeusen, but had too much speed going over the crest and crashed.
He was quickly attended to by the medics, father Adrie van der Poel and manager Christophe Roodhooft, and his competitors expressed their concern after the race.
"I want to apologize to Mathieu," Meeusen said. "I wanted to offer a gap to Toon. Mathieu passed me at such a high speed that I was surprised. Of course Mathieu wanted to get between Toon and myself, that's why he flew over the climb."
"It was obvious Tom was trying to offer Toon a gap," eventual winner Wout Van Aert said. "Mathieu was too enthusiastic to try and block the attempt. When he crashed I saw straight away that it was painful. If you stay on the ground it's never a good sign." 

Article Source: Cyling News

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Three Cycling Records Broken in 2016

At its core, competitive cycling is about three key metrics: distance, time, and speed. It just so happens that in 2016, three cyclists broke world records in three very different disciplines. Here are the stories behind cycling’s new record-holders.

Searvogel breaks 75,065-mile record for annual cycling mileage

Few, if any, sports records last 76 years, but the Highest Annual Mileage Record (known as HAMR in endurance cycling circles) lasted that long — until January 2016. Riding a short loop around a park near Tampa Florida, Kurt Searvogel, 53, broke Tommy Godwin’s 1939 record of 75,065 miles ridden in one year on a bicycle.


How and why Evelyn Stevens took on the hour

Photo: Caley Fretz |

Everything echoes inside this pressurized dome. The click of Evelyn Stevens’s pedals, dialed to their tightest setting; the whir of her tires and hum of her disc wheels against imperfect concrete banking; the encouragements of her coach, Neal Henderson, as she passes him with each revolution. The laps echo off each other, too. Ovals lay upon ovals. But where echoes fade, Stevens cannot. She set off across the 7-Eleven Velodrome’s imperfect concrete on Saturday and the amplitude of cheers and pain rose, louder and louder, higher and higher, until a crescendo at 60 minutes, when the world received its new hour record holder.


American woman rides bike 147 mph, a new world record

Photo: Project Speed

Sitting just inches behind a modified Land Rover SVR, Denise Mueller of San Diego, California, set a new women’s bicycle land speed record at 147 miles per hour on a Saturday in September.


Article Source:

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays!

May the magic and the wonder of the holiday season stay with you throughout the coming year...

Happy Holidays from Velo Wrench Bike Shop!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Gaviria to Ride Giro d'Italia in 2017

Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-Quickstep) (Tim de Waele/

Fernando Gaviria will make his Grand Tour debut at the 2017 Giro d’Italia as part of the Quick-Step Floors team. The Italian race will be an opportunity for Gaviria to continue his rapid rise through the sport’s ranks and there will be plenty of expectation on him as he lines up next May.

There will be a limited number of opportunities for the sprinters at the Giro with just six flat stages and two more classified as hilly, but Gaviria says he’s ready to take on his first Grand Tour.
“I am already looking forward to it. I’m aware I still have plenty of things to learn, but I’m motivated for the Giro d’Italia,” Gaviria said in a team press release. “I want to thank the team for putting their faith in me and for giving me this chance. At the moment, I don’t want to think too much about it, as my focus is on the first races of the season, but when the time will come, I’ll do all that I can to be prepared for this challenge.”
Gaviria turned professional this season with Etixx-QuickStep after some impressive performances last year, and he has lived up to expectations with two WorldTour wins at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Pologne, while also targeting the track at the Olympic Games. He also won Paris-Tours. He looked like he might well take a Monument victory until a crash in the final sprint of Milan-San Remo. Gaviria’s performances have earned him a spot on the team, but the team says the Giro d’Italia will be a learning experience for the Colombian.
“He deserves to ride a Grand Tour after the solid season he’s had, during which he proved how strong he is. But, at the same time, I want to be clear that we won’t put any pressure on Fernando, who’ll rely on some experienced riders to guide him through”, said sports director Davide Bramati. “Of course, if a chance will come, he will try to grab it, as he’s shown on several occasions last year that he can go head-to-head with some of the best sprinters in the world and defeat them. But, as I’ve said, we will take each step at a time and first see how he copes with the difficulties of the race before laying out any goals.”
The 2017 Giro d’Italia will start in Sardinia on May 5 and finish with a time trial in Milan on May 28.
Article Source: Cycling News

Sunday, December 18, 2016

How To Avoid Cycling Burnout & Keep Things Fresh | GCN's Road Cycling Tips

Sometimes you need to take a step back and think about what you can do to keep cycling fresh... Spice up your relationship with your bike, if you will. If this is you it might be that you're in need of a break. But, here at GCN we're also believers that a change can be as good as a rest, so this video has just a few ways that you can avoid cycling burnout and fall back in love with the bike.

First up, and this is something that has a big caveat and that we never would have recommended until recently, try riding wit headphones. Not the headphones that came with your iPhone but a set of bone conducting headphones that will let you listen to your tunes while still hearing everything that's happening around you on the road.

Next up, think a lot about your route choice. Gravel bikes are increasingly popular but you don't need a gravel bike to take a slightly different route – in fact, you'd be amazed at just how far a slightly heavier set of tyres can take you if you want to take your road bike down some gravel roads. While you're planning your route, why not set a goal and actually GO somewhere instead of just riding your usual roads?

With that covered, Si and Dan just have a couple of recommendations left in this video – role play and a dirty weekend... We'll let you either pre-judge them or watch the video to find out what they're on about.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Stetina Nearly Retired in Wake of Devastating Crash with Metal Pole

Peter Stetina is almost back to 100 percent after a devastating crash threatened to end his career. Photo: Tim De Waele |

ALFAS DEL PI, Spain (VN) — What a difference one great climb can make.

Peter Stetina, racked by setbacks from his devastating impact with a metal pole in early 2015, came within a few pedal strokes of giving up on professional cycling last spring.

A strong performance in the queen stage at the Amgen Tour of California changed everything. A surging attack almost delivered victory, and after four surgeries and a painful rehab, he suddenly felt like a bike racer again. That led to a berth on the 2016 Tour de France squad, and eventually to a two-year contract extension.

“Last spring, I was pretty close to calling it quits,” Stetina said. “I was doing everything I could. Here I am, doing training on top of rehab, and I was a shell of what I used to be, and I wasn’t getting any better. I was getting dropped on climbs before the sprinters were getting dropped.”

Last spring was crunch time for the 29-year-old Stetina, who turned pro in 2010 as one of America’s most promising pure climbers in a generation. After showing glimpses of greatness, including helping Ryder Hesjedal clinch the 2012 Giro d’Italia with huge pulls on the Stelvio in the decisive battle of the pink jersey, Stetina’s world came crashing down in stage 2 of the 2015 Tour of the Basque Country.

It’s a gruesome story no matter how many times it’s told. Stetina slammed into a meter-high metal pole that was left in the closing kilometer of the stage. (He’s since had an artist friend make a sculpture with all the metal they eventually pulled out of his leg). No one knows exactly why a metal pole was left in the roadway of a WorldTour race — and legal challenges are still pending — but all that didn’t matter then.

Stetina was left with a broken tibia, four broken ribs, a shattered kneecap, and tattered dreams. After a lonely, four-day odyssey to return to the United States with his leg in a cast, Stetina began a slow, painful recovery. Despite overcoming four surgeries — including one to trim a piece of metal that was protruding out of his kneecap when he would bend his knee — and a remarkable return to racing in the summer of 2015, by spring this year, he was beginning to have his doubts.

“I was pretty close to stopping,” he explained. “You can only take so much, and not see any progress, and see that you are not anywhere near what your natural ability is. You eventually ask yourself, why I am I doing this? It was deep [lows] and emotional highs, it was a roller coaster for sure.”

Those doubts evaporated on the flanks of a California mountain. The Tour of California is among Stetina’s favorite races, one that he targets each year in the state he now calls home. So if he was going to retire, he wanted to go out swinging for the fences. So he attacked, and almost magically his legs were back. Only the counter-attacking Julian Alaphilippe — who eventually won the overall — denied him the victory.

But for Stetina, in the context of what he had been through, that performance was bigger than any ride he’s ever had.

“That stage to Gibraltar showed I was back, and it really gave me a new lease on my career,” Stetina said. “After that, I was hungry again. I don’t know if it was the power of positive thought, of having that goal all year, but it really saved me.”

Stetina eventually finished 20th overall and then rolled strong through the Tour de Suisse, performances that earned him a berth in the Tour de France. He’s since grown close to team captain Bauke Mollema, and Stetina buried himself for the team as Mollema came tantalizingly close to the Tour podium.

“I made it through the Tour pretty good,” Stetina said. “And I’ve had a good off-season. My leg is nearly 100 percent again, and it’s only getting better. I feel like a bike racer again.”

Going into 2017, being a “normal” bike racer again is music to his ears. Those retirement plans are on hold, at least for two more seasons.

Article Source:

Monday, December 12, 2016

Team Sky's Weakness is Tactics, says De Jongh

Trek-Segafredo DS on Contador's desire to prove himself at the Tour

Chris Froome (Team Sky) lost more than two minutes to Nairo Quintana in Stage 15 at the Vuelta a Espana (Getty Images Sport)

Whether reality or a matter of perception remains to be seen but, according to 
Trek-Segafredo’s directeur sportif Steven de Jongh, Team Sky’s weakness remains a tactical one.

The British team, which employed de Jongh until he admitted to his doping past in 2012, won a fourth Tour de France this summer in convincing fashion but at the Vuelta a España they were caught on the hop when Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana ambushed them in the third week. The episode effectively ended Chris Froome’s bid to win a second consecutive Grand Tour.

“There are lots of ways of beating Froome and Team Sky,” De Jongh told Cyclingnews.

“Surprise is one - like how you saw in the Vuelta. That was good action. It didn’t lead to winning the Vuelta for Alberto because we didn’t get enough space but Alberto is good in those kind of moves. That’s where he’s perhaps mentally stronger.”

De Jongh has followed Contador from Tinkoff to Trek-Segafredo for 2017, along with Ivan Basso and two riders. The Spaniard, who has not won the Tour de France since 2009, will go all-out to reclaim a crown that has sat firmly atop Froome’s head for three out of the last four seasons.
Froome and Sky’s mistakes on stage 15 of the Vuelta have been well documented but at the Tour they have been near faultless in recent years.
“If something happens that is out of their control, or that they don’t expect, I think that’s the weakness of Team Sky.”
Complacency has been a factor at Team Sky in the past and, after a disappointing 2014 Tour, it was admitted that they needed to reassess several aspects within their set-up.

“If you’re as good as Team Sky and so dominant then you can slip into a relaxed mode and we saw that at the Vuelta," said De Jongh. "If you see that then you can try and take advantage of that.

“Tactically there’s a weakness there. Chris is of course a super strong rider but if it comes down to it I think they made some errors at the Vuelta.”

'Contador wants to prove he can still do it'

After a difficult final season at the Tinkoff squad, Alberto Contador appears settled at his new team. Word within the team is that the 34 year-old is enjoying the relaxed environment and professional structure.
According to De Jongh, the Spaniard is even stronger than in recent years and, were it not for the crashes that littered his latest campaign, he would have been a far more competitive force in 2016.

“On paper we have a really strong team and I’m looking forward to the year ahead," said the Dutchman. "Two years ago we also had a strong team but here, if we can use everyone on paper then we have a really strong line-up.”

Part of Contador’s battle this season revolved around a lack of support on the road. He was often isolated, and even at the Tour de France questions were raised over whether one of his own climbers was committing to Contador's cause, or instead riding for himself and a new contract.
With Bauke Mollema, Jarlinson Pantano, Peter Stetina, and a more stable environment at Trek-Segafredo, the two-time Tour winner will be hoping to recapture his form of old. When team boss Luca Guercilena first approached Contador mid-way through 2016 one of the Italian’s main selling points was a stable home.

“The Tour is the motivation and he wants to prove to himself that he can still win the Tour," said De Jongh.
"He also wants to show the audience he can do it. That’s what has helped him continue. He loves training, he loves the bike so if you can still do results and see that you’re still improving then you come to the conclusion that it’s not the right time to stop. He’s not been lucky and that’s been the main cause of doubt but if you look at races like Paris-Nice and Catalunya he was close to winning. He won Pais Vasco and I think that’s where he started to doubt whether he should still stop.

“The competition has definitely become stronger but he’s moved up as well when he’s been in good condition but this year unfortunately he had some crashes. In 2014 I think he would have won that Tour if he’d not crashed out. In 2015 he was tired after the Giro and this year the crashes were so early it was hard to get a real view of how the competition was."
Article Source: Cycling News

Friday, December 9, 2016

Illuminate to Add Women’s Team in 2017

Team Illuminate riders gathered at the start line at the Tour of Taiwan. Photo: Chris Johnson
Just a little over a week since signing former IAM Cycling rider Simon Pellaud (SUI), Team Illuminate has revealed it will field a women’s UCI team for 2017. While no official roster details were released, the American Continental program formerly known as Airgas-Safeway did reveal that the team would predominantly sign domestic riders.

“The majority of our roster is from the US, although we do have some international riders on the team,” said team director Chris Johnson. “Honestly, we have put together an incredibly strong roster and I feel lucky to have such a great group of women to work with in our first year.”

According to Johnson, the addition of a women’s team is a natural progression for the team, which adopts a community-first approach and made the switch to an all-black kit, devoid of sponsor logos.

“When you look at our overall model, we’re really building a club that is led by the professional riders,” he said. “We want people to join us, to follow the riders and to interact with the team. Our team is about bringing people together, and in order to do that we need to have a men’s and a women’s program.”
The San Francisco-based squad has targeted the Tour of California to open its racing calendar in May before heading east for the summer.

In addition to the signing of the 24-year-old Pellaud prior to the announcement of its new women’s program, the men’s team recently announced it has re-signed Colombian national champion Edwin Avila, as well as Americans Connor McCutcheon, Griffin Easter and Cullen Easter. According to news reports, the team will unveil its final men’s roster via social media.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Laura Kenny Unhappy with New Omnium Format

'They're ruining the history of it' says Olympic and world champion as she gets her first taste of the changes
World Champion Laura Kenny riding the Omnium (Revolution Champions League)

Laura Kenny
 is far from pleased with the overhaul of the Omnium format, arguing that the UCI are "ruining the history" of the event and that the changes will lead to negative racing. 

In October, as part of sweeping changes to the track programme, it was announced that the number of races in the event would be reduced from six to four. The individual timed events - pursuit, flying lap, and 500m time trial - were axed, leaving the scratch race, elimination race, points race, and an all-new 'tempo race'.
"I'm all up for change because it keeps training fresh. But when the UCI made the changes I was gutted," Kenny told the Reuters press agency. 
The 24-year-old, née Trott, is the reigning world champion in the Omnium and won the gold medal at the last two Olympic Games. At the Revolution Champions League finale in London this weekend, she got her first taste of racing the new format, finishing second behind Neah Evans. 
That result is mostly a reflection of her form, as she comes back from her post-Olympic switch-off and gears up for the World Championships next year, but she does feel the changes means the event is now less well suited to her. 
"For me personally they've got rid of two strong events for me the 500m and the flying lap. That brings other riders into play.
"They are ruining the history of it," she added. "You won't be able to look back over the results and compare results."
Kenny had to 'learn a new race', as she put it, at the Revolution meet, but her first impressions of the tempo race weren't positive. 
"It's a weird race," she said of the 7.5km mass-start event in which two points are awarded for the leading rider each lap, and 20 for a lap gain. 
Speaking before she tried it for the first time, she said: "Every time you come across the line first you get a point. Is it? Or is it two? I've got to do this tomorrow and I don't even know! I haven't got a clue! I'll just be riding around, like 'what's happening?', help me!"
Kenny ended up finishing third and there was no disappointment in finishing runner-up overall. 
"I'm not 100 per cent fit yet," she said. "I did a team pursuit recently and didn't even finish.
"I missed it, I've been looking forward to racing. I expected to go badly though. My full throttle here won't be like my full throttle in Rio. But it's great to be racing in front of a home crowd again."
Article Source: Cycling News

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Tour of Flanders 2017 Route Unveiled

Muur returns as start moves to Antwerp but finale stays the same

100th Tour of Flanders podium: Cancellara, Sagan and Vanmarcke (Bettitni Photo)

After the announcements that the 2017 Tour of Flanders would move its start location from Bruges to Antwerp and bring back the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen, the full route for the 101st edition of De Ronde was unveiled on Wednesday.

Despite the changes, the organisers are happy with how the race has unfolded since the finish was moved to Oudenaarde in 2012, and the finale has been retained, with the Oude Kwaremont-Paterberg combination featuring twice – the second time as the final shake-up before the run to the line.

The length of the course has been increased by a mere couple of kilometres to give a total distance of 259.5 kilometres, which will once again feature 18 hellingen – the short, sharp, and often cobbled climbs that are emblematic of the second Monument of the season. 
As was the case last year, the first climb of the day will be the Oude Kwaremont, where fans will gather on one side of the road and VIP tents will be erected on the other. The race, however, will take an unusual route to get there, given the new start in Antwerp, some 90 kilometres east of Bruges.
After the roll-out, the race heads to former start town Sint-Niklaas and then to Greg Van Avermaet’s hometown of Zogge, followed by Berlare and the city of Aalst. After passing through Erpe-Mere, the riders will get their first taste of cobbles with the Lippenhovenstraat and Paddestraat, before the hellingen start to come thick and fast on the first loop in and among the so-called "Flemish Ardennes'.
The number of climbs remains 18, but there are three changes, with the Molenberg, Valkenberg, and Kaperij all disappearing to be replaced by the Ten Bosse, the Muur, and the Pottelberg.
The Muur has legendary status in De Ronde, its 20 per cent gradients leading up to the iconic chapel having played host to some of the race's most memorable moments. It’s return after a five-year absence will be welcomed by cycling fans, though it’s unlikely to have the same impact it once did, given its positioning as the eighth climb of the day at some 95km from the finish.
"The passage of the Muur is a pilgrimage, where an intense ritual awaits the riders", said Guido De Padt, Mayor of Geraardsbergen, according to Net Nieuwsblad. The town will have to prepare for a huge influx of fans, with De Padt adding: "The Vesten [approach road] and the Muur are for the people. No VIP tents, so fries and beer instead of caviar and champagne."
Retaining the rhythm of the race
The heart of the race remains unchanged from last year, with the final 75km or so almost identical.
After the new climb of the Pottelberg, the final nine climbs are the same as on last year’s course. First comes the Kanarieberg, then the Kwaremont-Paterberg double, followed by the Koppenberg. The flat cobbled sector of the Mariaborrestraat gives way to the Steenbeekdries and the Taainberg – also known as ‘Boonen-berg’ – with 10km then preceding the Kruisberg. A further 10km of flat will lead into the second round of the Oude-Kwaremont-Paterberg combo – likely to be decisive in the outcome.
This year Peter Sagan broke free thanks to a searing acceleration on the Paterberg and, such was his strength, had little trouble holding his lead all the way to the line on Minderbroedersstraat. The lengthy 12km run-in, however, means that a regrouping is perfectly possible.
“We wanted to keep the rhythm of the final 75km," said race director Wim Van Herreweghe. “The now recognisable and intense rhythm thereby has given us in recent years haunting finals. It should become a real tradition.”

Article Source: Cycilng News

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Explainer: The Team Size Debacle

A unilateral decision could see teams forced to reduce team sizes for all races, including grand tours like the Giro d'Italia. Photo: Tim De Waele | (file)

The decision to decrease team sizes in pro men’s cycling, announced by a group of race organizers on Friday and then rebuffed by a UCI statement a day later, is a case study in strange bedfellows, circumnavigated rules, and bold politics. Here’s what you need to know.

What happened?

On Friday, major race organizers ASO (Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Nice, Tour of California), RCS (Giro d’Italia), and Flanders Classics (Ronde van Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem) sent out a joint press release announcing that teams would be trimmed by one rider for the 2017 season. Grand tours would now have eight-man squads and smaller stage races and one-day races would have seven-man teams.

The organizers cited the twin goals of increased rider safety, thanks to a smaller peloton, and increased race dynamism. The logic is that a smaller team will find it more difficult to control a race, thus making the racing more interesting.

The statement was released unilaterally by the race organizers, apparently without prior notice to the UCI or teams.
Less than 24 hours after the initial announcement, the UCI issued a short statement rejecting the change. The governing body noted that its own rules require such changes be approved by a group called the Professional Cycling Council (PCC), which is a sort of bridge between the sport’s major stakeholders. Though they were previously discussed, the team size changes were not approved by the PCC.

The UCI stated that team sizes would remain the same for the 2017 season, in direct opposition to the race organizers’ statement.

As of press time, the disparity between these two statements has not been resolved.

Why can’t everyone just get along?

Negotiations that are likely to affect the future of pro cycling generally take place between stakeholders behind closed doors. Occasionally we see public threats, as when ASO threatened to pull the Tour out of the WorldTour, but that is somewhat rare.

In this case, we appear to be watching the negotiations take place in the open, via the press.

The PCC, which contains representatives from the race organizers, teams, riders, and the UCI, is supposed to be the venue for this sort of decision making. The group met earlier this month and team size was a topic of discussion. But at the end of the meeting, the group dissolved with only a mandate to continue considering the change and reconvene to discuss at a later date. No final decision was made.

Technically, the PCC has to approve any change in team size. This is written in the UCI’s rulebook. I would say, “written clearly,” but that would be a gross exaggeration. As with many things in the UCI rulebook, the language is a bit muddy.

Nonetheless, it is clear that the PCC should be involved in these sort of decisions in some capacity or another. Race organizers circumnavigated this UCI rule and went directly to the public with their new plan. Why? Because they could.

Power structures and alliances in this sport are constantly shifting. Only the spot at the top, held by ASO, remains steady. Generally, race organizers tend to be at odds with each other, particularly Tour organizer ASO and Giro organizer RCS. But in this case, ASO has teamed up with RCS and Flanders Classics against teams, riders, and the UCI. This is a powerful alliance.

The combined leverage and power of ASO, RCS, and Flanders leaves the UCI and teams vastly outmatched in cycling’s political arena. The UCI can shout about rules all it wants but it has little recourse if the major race organizers decide to simply apply their own rules.

The UCI’s modus operandi under President Brian Cookson has been to seek consensus rather than dictate its own terms. This is something of a departure from the style of previous administrations. The result is that the UCI has been frequently pulled to and fro by opposing interests, usually teams and race organizers. Its ability to move forward in such circumstances is limited.

Race organizers’ decision to go straight to the public with a plan that seems to have quite a lot of public support (Who doesn’t want to see Sky’s grip on the Tour loosen a bit? Who doesn’t want even more chaotic classics races?) further increases the likelihood of this change going into effect.

If anyone has the right to be mad, it’s team owners. While the race organizers’ unilateral decision was a slap in the face of the UCI, it was a slap in the wallet of team owners, who have built rosters based on nine-rider grand tours and eight-rider classics races. Lots of planning just flew out the window, and more than a few rider signings are now going to be less useful to the team’s goals.

Going forward, expect a few more press releases to be tossed back and forth while discussions are ongoing behind the scenes. Someone will fold. Or, as was the case with the hotly debated change to the number of WorldTour teams, all parties will simply agree to kick the can down the road bit further.

Let’s assume the change is implemented. What will it do to racing?

The effect will likely be smaller than some hope or expect, but there is no question that dropping team size will affect racing, tactics, and safety concerns.

Trimming teams will decrease total peloton size, a goal that has seen widespread support from both teams and organizers. The Tour de France will drop from 198 to 176 riders. That’s still a large peloton, but one that is, theoretically anyway, slightly more manageable.

However, changing the size of the peloton does very little to negate the battles for position that occur near the front. These battles are the most frequent cause of crashes. It is therefore erroneous to believe that cutting 1/9 of the field will decrease total crashes in kind.

The second goal of the change is to “make it more difficult to dominate a race, as well as enhance conditions for events to offer better racing for cycling fans,” according to the race organizers’ statement. This is quite clearly a direct shot at Team Sky, which has admitted to its paralyzing effect on the Tour de France peloton.

Will dropping from nine to eight riders remove Sky’s (or any other strong GC team’s) ability to control a race? No. It will dilute it somewhat, but the small change won’t put an end to the tactic.

Eight-man teams will magnify the effect of losing a rider to injury or illness. Dropping to seven or even six severely hinders a team’s ability to control a race. Recall that of Froome’s three Tour wins, only one saw Sky finish with all nine riders. The team finished with seven and eight in the other two. Lop one rider off for this new rule and you have a GC team defending yellow with only six riders — a tricky proposition.

The change is likely to decrease the practice of teams arriving at the grand tours with both sprint and GC leaders. Teams will be wary of attempting to protect and support two different leaders with only six domestiques.

There is precedent for smaller teams increasing racing drama. The Tour of Britain is an excellent example. With six-man squads, that race is notoriously difficult to control, and is often won by a rider few picked at the start. That’s the sort of unpredictable racing this rule change seeks to bolster.

Article Source: Velo News

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Five Greatest Cycling Rivalries

Lance Armstrong vs Jan Ullrich, Alberto Contador vs Andy Schleck, Fabian Cancellara vs Tom Boonen. Cycling's rich history is full of incredible rivalries. Here are the five greatest.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

"What if, today, we were grateful for everything?
-Charlie Brown 

Happy Thanksgiving 
from Velo Wrench Bike Shop

Monday, November 21, 2016

Peter Sagan Eyes Record-Equalling Tour de France Green Jersey in 2017

World champ reflects on career and team dynamics at his namesake Gran Fondo

Peter Sagan at his gran fondo in California (Christopher Keiser/@KaffeineKeiser)
On Saturday in Westlake Village, California, world champion Peter Sagan patiently posed with hundreds of people who wanted pictures with him. Whether on the bike during his Peter Sagan VIP Charity Ride or at the gala dinner afterwards, the affable Sagan indulged everyone who asked.

In between the two events — which were part of a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of America — Sagan sat down with a few journalists for a quick interview.
Cyclingnews: Why go to [a smaller team like] Bora?
Peter Sagan: We were speaking with a lot of teams. The team where I go, it is not just for the money. I wanted to bring my group. The big teams, they plan everything, and it is difficult to bring in your group.
In cycling, it is very important in what group you are staying.
It was very important to take my director sportif, coach, the riders, mechanics, masseuse. That is the most important thing I have learned in seven years as a professional is to be, not relaxed, but calm [with your team].
CN: What is the future for you? What race do you most want to win?
PS: Nobody knows. One day you are winning the Tour de France another day you are home. We will see. Whatever life brings me, I want to get it.
For me, there are three parts of the season. For the Classics, I would like to win Paris-Roubaix. Milan-San Remo is a little bit of a lottery. I try every year to win San Remo, and then I won two times the world championship. I am trying, but it is racing. You can do one bad movement, and you are out of it. Cycling is like that. You are riding for six hours, then it is over in three seconds.
I would like to win the Green Jersey at the Tour. After that I can be parallel with Erik Zabel [who holds the record for most Tour de France points classification wins at six].
After that, we will see.
CN: Do you have a favorite win?
PS: My favorite win for sure is world championships. That and Flanders.
CN: Will we see you on the mountain bike in 2017?
PS: We'll see. It was part of the deal with Bora. We will see how the schedule goes during the year. It's not easy to change from road to mountain bike. This year I did a lot of preparation for the Olympics, but it was very difficult.
For mountain bike, it might be better if I go just for fun. We'll see.
CN: What does it mean to be the UCI number 1 ranked rider versus the world champion?
PS: It is much harder to win the UCI ranking, because it is an effort for the whole year. You have to beat the climbers, GC riders, and then also ride for the Classics.
Worlds is all about one day. You can have good luck or bad luck. I am very happy for the world championship win, it is unbelievable. I had a lot of luck.
CN: Some riders are sprinters, others are climbers or classics riders. What type of rider do you consider yourself?
PS: I still have not found myself.
CN: How do you feel about the pressure of being famous?
PS: It's part of the job. If I'm not winning, I'm not popular. Then nobody don't care about me. If I'm not winning, I'm not doing wheelies. Or if I do, nobody cares.
With the world championship, maybe it looks like easy, but it's not easy.
If somebody disturbs me about a selfie, it's no problem. If I can make somebody happy, it's good. The most important thing is making other people happy. Because it's a bad world, no?
CN: So are the videos you do and the wheelies for yourself, or for fans?
PS: It is for the people. Why would I have to do a video for myself? If someone can watch something and have fun for a week, great.
CN: What do you do to keep riding fun?
PS: For myself, to have fun, to relax, is to be with my family. I'll be doing my job, another 3, 4, 5, 6 years. Then I have to keep going.
CN: Do you have any must-have equipment?
PS: During my career I [have come to] understand a lot of things about cycling. You have to explore what kind of training [works best for you], what kind of product. You are meeting every day a lot of people, especially the sponsors. Everybody comes, and says, "this is the best, this is the best, this is the best, this is the best."
I met [Osmo Nutrition co-founder] Ben [Capron] in 2013. He said his new product, Osmo, is the best in the world. [Laughs.] We did all the tests. I was training, and peeing on a paper to see how hydrated I was. Osmo was our sponsor in Cannondale. I didn't have any more problem with my stomach, I didn't have any more problems with cramps. Then the team sponsorship ended, and I was trying to find a way back. They just sent it to me. They were buying it from the shops and sending it to me.
For pro cyclists, it is not about the money, it is about what is the best for you.
Article Source: Cycling News

Friday, November 18, 2016

Dowsett Aims to Break Wiggins Hour Record in 2017

Alex Dowsett en route to setting the hour record in Manchester. Photo: Crankphoto
The BBC reports that Alex Dowsett will take another run at the world hour record in 2017, in an effort to beat the 54.526km mark set by Bradley Wiggins.

Dowsett, who races professionally for the Spanish Movistar team, rode the hour for his first time on May 2, 2015, going a distance of 52.937km in Manchester, England’s velodrome. At the time, it was a new world record, beating Rohan Dennis’s result from February.

However about one month later, Wiggins shattered his fellow Brit’s record, but this time at the Lee Valley VeloPark outside of London.

Since then, only one other man has attempted the hour, Tom Zirbel, who rode in Mexico at the Aguascalientes track. The American managed to better Dowsett’s ride with a distance of 53.037 at the high-altitude track but was still well short of Wiggins. He did set a new U.S. hour record.

According to BBC, Dowsett, 26, will make the attempt in early 2017, again in Manchester.

Article Source: Velo News

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Canyon-Shimano will be Continental Team in 2017

Utah-based squad bolsters roster with Squire, Beyer, Greenburg and Winn

Cortlan Brown in action for Canyon-Shimano (Alex Chiu)
The US domestic peloton got a boost Tuesday with the announcement that Canyon-Shimano will move from amateur elite to the UCI Continental level for 2017.

The Utah-based team joins CCB Velotooler and theAevolo development team among the US programs that have declared they will seek Continental licenses for the first time next season.
The team has been competing domestically since 1994, first regionally and then stepping up to the national level in 2009. During the 2010 Tour of Utah, Francisco Mancebo competed with the team as a guest rider, finishing second behind Levi Leipheimer and ahead of third-placed Ian Boswell.
Following several successful seasons on the national calendar, team owner Mike Pratt decided it was time to go to the Continental level.
"With the team's current momentum, it seemed like the right time to do this," Pratt said. "I want to do my part to grow this sport in the US. I could not be happier with our squad this year, both our returning riders and our impressive new guys."
For its inaugural year on the Continental level, the team brought on board Chad Beyer from the now-defunct Lupus Racing team, Rob Squire from Holowesko-Citadel, Cory Greenberg from Cylance-Incycle and Australian Chris Winn from Satalyst Verve Racing Team.
Returning riders include Cortlan Brown, Michael Burleigh, Steve Fisher, Kaler Marshall and Eric Slack. Alan Schmitz will return as director.
Beyer had a resurgent year in 2016, racing on Lupus alongside Chris Horner. He scored top 10 finishes at Tour of the Gila, the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, the Winston-Salem Classic and the US pro road race.
Squire raced with Holowesko the past two years following stints at Jamis, Amore & Vita, Ceramica Flaminia and Chipotle. He finished ninth at the Tour of Utah this year, was fifth in Philly and took the mountains jersey at the Tour de Beauce.
Greenberg spent 2016 with Cylance-Incycle contesting criteriums across the country. He won the River Parks Criterium and its infamous multiple ascents of Cry Baby Hill at Tulsa Tough.
Winn spent part of the year with Australian Continental team Satalyst Verve but also competed in the US as a guest rider with several teams.
"Chris joined us periodically last year and was a great addition," the team said in its announcement. "This year we decided to make it official. Chris brings his tireless work ethic, great knowledge of the sport and constant upbeat personality to cap off a very exciting roster for 2017."
The team is sponsored by Canyon Bicycles, a chain of shops in the Salt Lake City area, and component manufacturer Shimano. The team will ride Scott Bicycles in 2017 while contesting USA Cycling's Pro Road Tour as well as a handful of international events.
Canyon Bicycles-Shimano 2017 roster:Chad Beyer, Cortlan Brown, Michael Burleigh, Steve Fisher, Cory Greenberg, Kaler Marshall, Erik Slack, Rob Squire, Chris Winn
Article Source: Cycling News

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Five Ways the 100th Giro Could Be the Best Ever

Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media |
FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — The Giro d’Italia celebrates its centenary edition in 2017, and as race director Mauro Vegni says, “It will be one for the history books.”

The 2017 edition, the 100th since the race first rolled out of Piazzale Loretto in 1909, will visit most of the “Bel Paese” and pay homage to its cycling elite. And that is not all …

1. Happy 100th!

One hundred years means something in a country deprived of historical institutions. Italy only became a republic on June 2, 1946. The Catholic church is the longest-running thread through Italian society. The few remaining industrial giants like Fiat and Pirelli popped up in the late 1800s. It leaves the Giro as Italy’s key annual reference point, a three-week pink party celebrated every May — minus the war years — since 1909.

The Tour de France reached the 100th edition in 2013. Only a handful of races, such as the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix, the Giro di Lombardia, have reached such an important milestone.

“I’m happy to arrive here for the 100th edition,” Vegni told VeloNews. “I was there for the 100th edition of Lombardia, the 100th of Milano-Sanremo. It’s a pleasure to be here and to design the route.”

2. Embracing Italy

The Giro has begun in Northern Ireland and Greece, but this 2017 edition embraces Italy.

“These are particular years, editions that remain in the history,” Vegni said. “We are putting in all the aspects, and being able to have a Giro that touches much of Italy. There are only four or five regions that are missing: Campania, Lazio, Liguria, Val d’Aosta.”

The 2017 Giro starts in Sardinia and transfers to Sicily before traveling north from the boot’s toe to the Alps in the north. Only once, in 1961, did the Giro visit both big islands. The massive undertaking, with Sardinia covering the transportation costs for ferries and airplanes, highlights the edition’s importance.

The 100th Tour departed from France’s big island, Corsica, for the first time. With the logistical difficulties faced, some contended that that the French grand tour would not visit again for another 100 years.

3. Milan — where it all began

La Gazzetta dello Sport began the race to rival the Tour de France. The route started and finished in Milan, the newspaper’s headquarters, and traveled to seven other cities: Naples, Chieti, Rome, Florence, Bologna, Genoa, and Turin. The newspaper later used pink paper and introduced a jersey to match in 1931.

RCS Sport, the sporting subsidiary of the publishing house RCS Mediagroup, still calls the fashion capital home. It will host the final stage, not at the Arena Civica where Luigi Ganna took the first title in 1909, but in front of the city’s iconic cathedral.

“It was important for us to remember Milan, that’s our headquarters and the first edition started and ended there. In Milan, you have to visit the Duomo. Milan’s known for that. We can’t arrive with a road stage due to road complications, and so we needed a time trial.”

Of the original host cities, only Florence and Milan will see stage starts or finishes, Chieti and Bologna are passed during stages. The others were left out to keep the Giro modern.

4. Non solo una pizza Margherita

A simple pizza Margherita with tomato, mozzarella, and basil will do, but not for 21 days. Vegni’s menu shows plenty of variety.

To keep the Giro modern, he limited the historical symbolism in favor of racing. Not so long ago, the Giro featured multiple flat sprint stages. Sprinter Alessandro Petacchi won nine times alone in the 2004 edition. It also suffered from enormous transfers for years.

The new formula works. Top sprinters attend for the early stages and a chance to wear the pink jersey, and the stars stay for a chance to win one of cycling’s most prestigious titles. Because the route avoids some regions, it is able to spend more time weaving through the famous Alps.

Time trials balance the weight of the mountain stages. In fact, this year, the Giro has more time trial kilometers than the Tour. The time trial through the Sagrantino wine zone covers 39.2 kilometers and the final one to Milan’s Duomo, 28 kilometers.

5. The stars align

The Giro should attract cycling’s top grand tour stars. Vincenzo Nibali (with Bahrain next year) and Fabio Aru (Astana) will race. And reportedly, Esteban Chaves (Orica – BikeExchange), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Chris Froome (Sky) are considering it too.

“I don’t want that the Giro’s important because there’s this rider or that. The Giro and Tour make the champions, it’s not the champions that make the races, ” Vegni added.

“A fundamental motivation was to celebrate 100 years of the Giro’s history, our country. To remember some of the famous Italians who’ve participated in this race, with the start in Ponte a Ema for Gino Bartali, Castellania for Fausto Coppi, Mortirolo for Marco Pantani, Bergamo for Felice Gimondi, Forlì for Ercole Baldini … It’s the 100th edition, you have to remember these cyclists.”

Article Source: Velo News