Here in the UK we've been hammered recently by the weather; for the last few weeks Scotland in particular has resembled an Arctic landscape, with blizzards, white-outs, and motorways frozen closed for days - any bike riding that's been done has been in the garage on the rollers, or spinning down the at the gym. The last few days however, have seen a significant rise in temperature and the resultant thaw has us getting the overshoes looked out again, and the lights back on the bike, ready for recommencing the daily commute, training, and some off-road night riding too.
Given that Shimano's Di2 system has been commercially available for quite a while now, it could be argued that Campagnolo have taken their time to get to market with electronic gearing, but they're obviously focused on getting it all perfect before launching, as it's nearly four years ago that we spoke to Predictor-Lotto's Bert Roesems, who had been singled out by the Italian company to use their electronic components in the toughest test arena of them all - the Spring Classics.
When you talk about Orbea bicycles and the Euskaltel team, it’s about more than light alloy and carbon; it’s about people, national identity, unity and pride. We look at Samuel Sanchez's Orbea Orca now. On the Tour, many of the teams will have the team vehicles parked ‘wagon train’ style or have ‘crime scene’ tapes to keep the civilians at bay. Not at Euskaltel.
Ed and I spent a week recently working on the Giro d'Italia, and after doing quite a few trips like this we have our routine down to a tee; we always travel light, just carry-on baggage, it makes getting through airport security checks and moving around in a hire car for a week or two far easier. Fortunately, just before leaving, we got our hands on some of the new T-shirts by Peloton Racer, which we were happy to put to the test on our travels.
Bikes of the Tour de France, 2008: Bicycles, we love them! With the Tour well underway, we thought it would be interesting to take a first look at some of the bikes being used by the teams making the news. When we join the race next week we will of course be bringing you more bike-geek articles!
The big manufacturers always wheel out their new weaponry at the Grand Tours to catch all those eager lenses - and here's the latest TT machine from Scott, the "Plasma2"... Riccardo Riccò, the young team leader for Saunier Duval - Scott and winner of Stage 1 on Sunday, used the new bike in the opening Team Time Trial last Saturday.
SRAM brought out the new Force and Rival groupsets a while back [read our Review of the Force groupset here], and the Saunier Duval ProTour team used it on their Scott bikes to great effect last season. Now SRAM have released the SRAM Red group set and as well as Saunier Duval, the new Astana team will be using the Red group on their Trek Madone frames for the 2008 season as well. We managed to get a sneak preview and a short ride on an Astana team bike recently when they were in Spain for their first training camp.
Which are the fastest tyres in the world?-Dugast, no question. Check out the exotic machines ridden by the world's top track squads, Australia, France and GB, the common denominator? Dugast.
Grand Tour Time Trial Bikes 2007... With the prologue of the Tour taking London by storm, we thought it would be good to take a look at some of the hardware used. These shots came from the Giro.
Cannondale Synapse was the frame of choice for many of the riders of Team Liquigas at last weekend's Tour of Flanders, including Filippo Pozzato and eventual podium-finisher, Luca Paolini. The frame offers a number of features which make it well suited for the cobbled classics, the most physically demanding races of the calendar, both for the riders and their equipment.
SRAM Force Groupset; it’s been tried before - trying to grab a slice of that top-end equipment pie from those greedy Campagnolo and Shimano dudes who want to keep gobbling it all up between them. In the 70’s a French union of Stronglight, Simplex and Mafac failed, despite Bernard Thevenet winning two Tours on the kit. Shimano’s Japanese rivals Sugino and Sun Tour tried to get in on the act and despite the neat Sun Tour groupset being ridden by Jan Raas-managed Dutch pro teams in the 80’s, it never made the breakthrough.
Perhaps it was the ‘Scottish’ weather at Harrogate which made the Scots perform so well at the recent World Road Championships? Stuart Balfour spent much of his u23 Championship ‘up the road’ to help set up GB team leader, Tom Pidcock for his eventual bronze medal; Balfour finished in 39th spot.
On a dry morning with little wind and a temperature which varied from mild to chilly depending on how the clouds whirled into the Lomond Hills, 23 year-old Kyle Beattie (Cairngorm CC) took the Scottish Hill Climb Championship 2019 north with a 7 minutes 43 seconds ride; a margin of 12 seconds over Fife rider Robin Downie (Team Andrew Allan Architecture) who put a single second into bronze medalist, Tom Merry (Edinburgh University).
Alfie George took a fine seventh spot in the Junior Men’s World Championship Road Race just 12 seconds away from the bronze medal. We let the 18 year-old from Dundee thaw and dry out after his Harrogate epic then had a word with him about a season which has also seen him place highly in the Junior Paris-Roubaix and win a European title and three British Championships.
This Sunday is another edition of the famous Tour de Trossachs time trial based in Aberfoyle, with a scenic and testing course using national parkland and quiet lochside roads. We've covered many of the recent editions and we'll be attending this year too, but for this week's "VV Selects" we thought you'd like to read Al Hamilton's piece from 12 years ago, in which he reminisces about the first time he saw the race on the Duke's Pass, a mere 41 years ago...
"In Spring a young man’s fancy..." Well, this Spring, being no longer young, my fancy turned to applying for volunteering at the World Road Championships on the "Yorkshire Team", the events being held 22st to 29th September in Yorkshire, where I have been living for the past eleven years.