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. Before the Ice-Age took hold, we managed to get our hands on a son a Chinese made Magicshine MJ-816 Front Light Set, and I've have been using them during my night-time rides to and from work, and in the local forest trails with pals - here's how it's gone...
The launch of next year's Giro d'Italia route a few weeks ago saw Campagnolo offer a sneak peak of it's new-for-2011 electronic 11-speed groupset, fitted to a sleek black and pink Pinarello. It was said at the presentation that only the new Movistar team will be using the equipment next season, and even then only in the Giro, but we'll see. 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. We thought it would be interesting to revisit what Bert thought of the kit all that time ago...
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. 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. Riders, mechanics, kids, old folks, journos, camera crews and anyone else who's in the neighbourhood mill around in happy confusion-but the job still gets done.
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. Since we've got cameras, laptops, BlackBerrys, all the related paraphenalia to go with such as cables and chargers, and we know we'll collect a lot of extra stuff when we're on the race, such as roadbooks, race manuals and so on, there's not much room left for anything else in our wee trolley bags. As we often find when it's time to fly home and our bags are weighed!
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's 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.
VeloVeritas first got to know Neah Evans (Storey Racing Team & Scotland) at the Berlin Six Day, a year or two ago, since then she’s built an impressive track palmarès with success at national, UCI and Commonwealth levels. And now she’s added Britain’s toughest road event to her roll of honour; the CiCLE Classic at Melton Mowbray, also known as ‘The Rutland’.
If you ask Italian riders which one race they'd want to win above all others, nine times out of 10; Milan-Sanremo; for Belgian guys it's De Ronde, 19 times out of 20, but that man Kyle Gordon is making his own dreams come true; a ride in the Commonwealth Games and now, the 'Blue Riband,' joining Billy Bilsland, Sandy Gilchrist, Graeme Obree and Jason Macintyre's names on the roll of honour as winners of the '25' Champs and breaking through the magical 50 minute barrier in the process.
We spoke to Scotland’s Stuart Balfour at the start of the season but word has been trickling back that 21 years-old from Heriot who is a Rayner Fund rider with Cotes d'Armor-Marie Morin Veranda Rideau, ‘en France’ has been ‘doing the biz.’ Best have another word, we thought to ourselves...
That man John Archibald is back in action again – and with a 48 minutes and 13 seconds ‘BANG !’ down on the Westferry course in the CTT ‘25’ Champs on Sunday past. It gave us a good excuse to catch up with the Commonwealth Games individual pursuit silver medallist and see what he’s been up to since The Gold Coast and what’s next on the agenda for him?
‘I’m a Believer,’ a great song, the Monkees had the hit back in 1968. I used to be a ‘Believer’ and can remember the sense of relief when we discovered that Lance’s Tour ‘positive’ back in 1999 was all a big mistake; those tricky corticosteroids had been in a cream he used to treat a saddle sore and he had a TUE to cover it. What a relief.