Monday, October 31, 2016

Top 5 Winter Riding Tips | Make Winter Cycling More Fun

Riding in the winter can be just as fun as riding in the summer, but you'll definitely benefit from these tips to make you more comfortable, and more motivated.

Between them, Dan and Matt have ridden through over 50 winters, and they can probably remember most of them too. That's a lot of experience right there so let them take you through 5 of the hottest tips. 

Clothing dominates, making sure you are always prepared with an emergency rain cape in your back pocket for when the weather inevitably takes a turn for the worst. 

Similarly, if you are tempted to stop on route in a cafe, and who isn't, take a spare under jersey with you to stop you getting cold. 

Then, always ride with lights through the winter to give you the best possible chance of being seen by other road users, particularly if you like wearing black! 

And then finally, take the opportunity to explore new roads and places. Keep things fresh! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Five Key Stages of the 2017 Tour de France

The Izoard might be the Tour de France's most decisive climb in 2017. Tim De Waele | (File).
PARIS (AFP) — AFP takes a look at five of the key stages that could ruin the best-laid plans of many a rider after organizers revealed the route of the 2017 Tour de France on Tuesday.

Stage 3, Longwy (202km): The stage runs through three countries and is one for the punchers, such as world champion Peter Sagan or Frenchman Julien Alaphilippe. Organizers suggest there will be a strong possibility of crosswinds over rolling hills and valleys and are expecting a big breakaway. Belgian Philippe Gilbert won here on the Tour’s last visit, and Tony Gallopin won here as a junior. “There’s danger every day, and we always lose someone in the first week,” Dan Martin pointed out.

Stage 9, Chambery (181km): Before a nail-biting descent to Chambery, three hors categorie climbs and a Cat. 1 mountain await any pretender to Chris Froome’s throne. The Tour may not be won here, but several riders might wave goodbye to their ambitions. Top of the menu is the ascent of the Grand Colombier, 8.5km at almost 10 percent average gradient featuring sections at 22 percent. This is the most up-and-down stage of the race.

Stage 13, Foix (100km): Tour director Christian Prudhomme says “who dares wins” this Tour, and on this super-compact 100km course with three brutal Pyrenean climbs after a grueling stage twice as long the day before, the organizer himself pointed the finger at this stage as one for initiative and guts.

Stage 15, Le Puy-en-Velay (165km): Prudhomme was again at pains to point out that some of the hilly stages, and particularly this one, would provide a show. It is so winding and narrow no team will be able to organize anything. “It could be chaos,” he said. It’s another stage where wind could isolate a rider and ruin his Tour.

Stage 18, Izoard (178km): There will be much gasping atop the 2,360-meter summit of Izoard where the lunar landscape itself would be enough to disorient most mortals. This is the top mountain stage of the Tour de France and a powerful performance here could clinch the title for someone. Even the Col de Vars before it is at 2,109 meters. But the Izoard is the backdrop that Prudhomme, who forever has the television images foremost in mind, has planned to “amplify the exploits” of his champion.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Peter Sagan’s Best Season Ever

By winning his second consecutive elite men’s world championship title in the road race, Peter Sagan capped off an amazing season — his best ever, really. Now that the 26-year-old has another rainbow jersey in his closet, we thought we’d look back on some of our favorite Sagan stories from 2016 — from epic race triumphs to mind-blowing bike handling to his off-beat sense of humor.

The “Grease” tribute video
OK, so this one came out right at the end of 2015, but it’s too good not to mention. Sagan is a fan of Americana, and his elaborate lip-synch video would surely make John Travolta proud.

Death-defying bike handling skills
Photo: Tim de Waele
This one’s a two-fer! Sagan avoided calamity at two spring monuments, first dodging a tumbling Fernando Gaviria in the Milano-Sanremo sprint and then monster-trucking over a fallen Fabian Cancellara on the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix (you can just barely see his leg on the right side of this photo).

Finally winning a monument — and more
Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media |
After coming correct at Gent-Wevelgem one week earlier, Peter Sagan finally notched the monument victory everyone had expected of him at the Tour of Flanders. BrakeThrough Media photographers Jim Fryer and Iri Greco captured the decisive attack on the Paterberg, and described the action from their first-hand perspectives.
Teaming up with Froomey
Chris Froome and Peter Sagan snuck away from the peloton in the final 10 kilometers of stage 11, benefiting from strong crosswinds. Photo: Tim De Waele |
Cycling’s favorite new odd couple just might be the Slovak green jersey winner and the British Tour champ. Sagan and Chris Froome launched a surprise attack late in stage 11 of the Tour de France, to the disbelief of fans and rivals alike. Naturally, the world champ sprinted to the stage win, but the tactical nous displayed by both living legends was must-watch TV.

Roads? Where Sagan’s going, he doesn’t need roads
Did Peter Sagan choose the right Olympic race? Photo: Tim De Waele |
Stunning cycling fans everywhere, Sagan decided to skip the Rio Olympics road race in favor of the mountain bike competition. Sure, he was a junior world champ on knobbies, but could he hang with the world’s best? Turns out, he probably could, but his tires weren’t up to the task. But oh, what a ride!
The double rainbow
Peter Sagan finished atop the podium in the world championship road race Sunday for the second straight year. Photo: Tim De Waele |
And of course, the season is capped off by his second consecutive rainbow jersey at worlds in Doha, Qatar.

Can he top this unbelievable showing in 2017? Heck, the Tour de France route doesn’t have all that much climbing — maybe he’s got a chance.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

Friday, October 7, 2016

UKAD Investigating Fresh Allegations Against Wiggins and Sky

Bradley Wiggins, who last rode for Sky in 2015, is facing fresh scrutiny. Photo: Tim De Waele | (file)
FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — UK Anti-doping is investigating Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky in the wake of the TUE scandal and reports of a medical package delivery in 2011, says the Daily Mail.
“UKAD is investigating an allegation of wrongdoing in cycling,” the body said in a statement to the Daily Mail. “In order to protect the integrity of the investigation we will not comment further.”
2012 Tour de France winner Wiggins has been under fire for nearly a month after Russian hacker group Fancy Bears released his and others’ TUE data. He asked for and received permission to injected corticosteroid triamcinolone three times ahead of his big appointments – the 2011 and 2012 Tour de France, and the 2013 Giro d’Italia – due to allergy problems.
The article today explains that a staff member flew with a medical package from Great Britain to Geneva and drove from Geneva to La Toussuire on June 12, 2011, the day Wiggins won the Critérium du Dauphiné.
“British Cycling confirmed on Thursday that a member of their coaching staff had, indeed, travelled to La Toussuire in France with medication requested by Team Sky,” read the article. “They have not identified the substance nor the rider, citing patient-doctor confidentiality. They have, however, suggested the package did not contain triamcinolone.”
Simon Cope was a women’s cycling coach at the time and now head of Wiggins’s team. The Daily Mail reported that at the request of Sky, Cope delivered the package from Great Britain to La Toussuire and returned immediately home afterwards. The UKAD, wrote the Daily Mail, is “investigating allegations centred around the package and whether it was requested by Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman for Wiggins.”
The article said that another reason was given for Cope’s trip, to see cyclist Emma Pooley, but she confirmed that she was in Spain at the time and not in France.
There is no proof of wrongdoing with medication in the package or the trip itself. In the wake of the TUE scandal, Sky’s actions are being viewed in a different light.
Wiggins and Sky team boss David Brailsford explained the TUE injections were for valid reasons.
“It was prescribed for allergies and respiratory problems,” Wiggins told BBC1. “I’ve been a lifelong sufferer of asthma. This was to cure a medical condition. This wasn’t about trying to find a way to gain an unfair advantage, this was about putting myself back on a level playing field in order to compete at the highest level.”
“If the medical community, and the TUE community, feel that it’s appropriate for something to be granted for use in a particular circumstance, then I wouldn’t argue for that to be denied to an athlete,” Brailsford added. “If we think there is anything we can do to help the health of our riders, within the rules, and it’s legitimate… ”
Sky’s current star Chris Froome said that the TUE system “is open to abuse,” and that the UCI and WADA “need to urgently address the issues.”
Article Source: Velo News

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Overview of the 2016 UCI Road World Championships

An overview of the 2016 UCI Road World Championships, including a look at all the courses and a few of the favourites.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Eneco Tour Just Made the 2017 WorldTour More Complicated

Oliver Naesen rode to third place overall at the Eneco Tour, which made the UCI's WorldTour selection process more difficult for 2017. Photo: Tim De Waele |
MILAN (VN) — The WorldTour series will end Saturday in Italy with Il Lombardia, but a fight will continue into the 2016/2017 off-season. After the Eneco Tour on Sunday, four teams — with stars Tom Dumoulin, Mark Cavendish, Vincenzo Nibali, and Peter Sagan — are battling for three free spots in the 2017 top division. One could be left out.
A WorldTour license guarantees teams the right to race in the UCI’s top 37 events for 2017, including the Tour de France and major classics like Paris-Roubaix and the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
This Sunday, the situation became more complicated. When Oliver Naesen placed third overall in the Eneco stage race, Swiss team IAM Cycling jumped from 18th to 16th in the rankings of the 18 WorldTour teams. Instead of a three-way battle for two spots, the UCI license commission now has a four-way fight if the governing body decides to stick to its plan of capping the number of teams at 17 for 2017. The four teams in question are Dimension Data, Giant – Alpecin, and two upstart squads hoping to debut in the WorldTour: Bora – Hansgrohe and Bahrain – Merida.
The plan is ultimately to reduce the top WorldTeams to 16 by 2018. The UCI introduced a new elimination and promotion system that allows the top Professional Continental team to step up and take the place of lowest ranked WorldTour team.
For 2016/17, the idea was just to trim the 18-team division down to 17, which should have been easy with two of the teams, Tinkoff and IAM Cycling, folding. However, after the Eneco Tour, they rank second and 16th, respectively, and continuing teams Giant – Alpecin and Dimension Data, 17th and 18th. According to the rules, Giant – Alpecin (with Dumoulin) and Dimension Data (Cavendish) become candidate teams for the 2017 WorldTour along with Bora – Hansgrohe (Sagan), which is asking for a promotion from the second division, and the newly formed Bahrain – Merida (Nibali).
“The two last placed WorldTeams on the WorldTour ranking at the end of the final 2016 season will be afforded ‘2017 UCI WorldTour candidate’ status,” says the UCI in its documentation. “All other teams existing in 2016 and newly-created teams may also be declared ‘2017 UCI WorldTour candidate” teams. The candidate teams described are evaluated on the basis of the WorldTour individual ranking [of their five best riders.]”
In theory, the UCI would have a battle between the lowest-ranked WorldTour team and a team like Bora, asking for promotion from the Professional Continental division. Instead, it has four quality teams asking for a place at the table. Both South Africa’s Dimension Data and the Bahraini team make the UCI’s top series more global, and Giant – Alpecin and Bora both come from the resurgent German market.
As a result, teams are fighting for points. Bahrain – Merida is negotiating with Movistar to allow Ion Izagirre out of his contract early. The Spaniard placed second in the Tour de Suisse, third in the Tour de Romandie and fifth in Paris-Nice this year. He counts a massive 270 WorldTour points, more than Esteban Chaves (Orica – BikeExchange) and Nibali (currently with Astana).
Teams are also courting Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha), who is due to retire with his 211 points.
“Our five [riders]? It depends on Izagirre,” Bahrain – Merida manager Brent Copeland toldVeloNews. “It would be Izagirre, Vincenzo Nibali, Heinrich Haussler, Enrico Gasparotto, and Sonny Colbrelli. Colbrelli doesn’t have many points but he has some from his third place at the Amstel Gold Race. Right now, to buy a rider with more points than 70 would cost a fortune. I think everyone that has those points are signed up.”
The consolation is that any team left out would be able to race in the Professional Continental division and ask for invitation to the top WorldTour races. Dimension Data did so through 2015 and was able to race in the Tour de France. Any of the four teams should have a sure ticket into the races considering their stars.
Top race organizer Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), which runs the Tour and Paris-Roubaix, is putting pressure on the UCI to reduce the teams from 18 to 17. However, there is a feeling that this may not be the off-season to do so and as so often happens in cycling, plans may change before the new season kicks off in January with the Tour Down Under in Australia.
Article Source: Velo News