10 reasons why mtb is better than road cycling

These are not my words but even though I ride my road bike and do group rides my biggest joy is solo on a mtb


First off, a disclaimer: I’m a mountain biker. Always have been, always will. And as the founder of Sacred Rides, I’ve made it my career. So I’m more than a bit biased.

Secondly, I don’t have anything against road riding. I’ve tried it many times. I tried to love it. I tried to like it. But ultimately it’s just not for me. I know that millions of people love road riding (and that it’s more popular than mountain biking), but… I also think millions of road riders haven’t tried mountain biking yet. 🙂

So without further ado, here are my 10 Reasons Why Mountain Biking is Better than Road Biking:

  1. The obvious one: No Cars. Nothing harshes your mellow more than 4,000 pounds of noisy steel whizzing by you at 70 miles an hour, 18 inches away.
  2. Mountain Biking is Better for your Health: see above. Not sharing your ride with CO2-emitting vehicles is a lot better for your lungs, particularly when you’re surrounded by…
  3. …Trees: There’s nothing quite like the feeling of flying down a trail through the woods with trees whooshing by (and hitting a tree hurts a lot less than getting hit by a car).
  4. Quiet and Solitude: Mountain bike trails often take you to remote, peaceful places, where you can commune with nature, meditate, and enjoy the great outdoors. You rarely get such opportunities on a road bike, unless you happen to live in an area with rarely-used paved roads (which are pretty rare these days).
  5. Fewer Type ‘A’s: Mountain biking seems to attract more laid-back people. Whenever I’ve gone out for a road ride, everyone quickly gets really competitive. When I go out mountain biking with my buddies, it’s all about enjoying good times and good laughs with good friends.
  6. Lots of Riding Styles to Choose From: Cross-Country. All-Mountain. Freeride. Enduro. DH. Lift-assisted. No matter who you are, there’s a type of mountain biking to suit your personality. Road riding? Umm… let’s see… Riding on the road.
  7. Wipeouts on dirt hurt a lot less than wipeouts on pavement. (Cedric Gracia notwithstanding – we’re talking about the average MTB wipeout, not the kind of wipeout you get when you backflip off a 40-foot cliff.)
  8. Mountain Biking Gives you a Better Workout: Riding on the road improves your cardiovascular fitness for spinning at high cadence for a long time. Mountain biking requires much more dynamic fitness – from quick bursts to sustained cardio output – and incorporates many more muscle groups.
  9. Mountain Bikers are More Fun. See #5.
  10. Bib Shorts. Enough said.

I’m sure the roadies will get plenty upset at this post. The comments below are your opportunity to do so (and an opportunity for MTBers to back me up!)

2013 To Do List – Report Card

mmm better get planning for the things i want to do in 2014 ….


I posted this list last New Year’s and so I figured it was about time to see how I did. The Blue items are ones I successfully realized and the Red items are ones I did not.

My 2013 To Do List:

  1. Ride Sedona AZ [Did it twice for 4.5 weeks total!]
  2. SUP and kitesurf in the waves on the Pacific coast of Baja
  3. Ride Cumberland BC
  4. Attend 2 Moontribe full moon gatherings
  5. Ride Squamish BC
  6. Bikepack from Nanimo back to Victoria on dirt
  7. Finish my Santa Cruz Nomad upgrades
  8. Ride Harbourview @ Sooke BC
  9. Get Sharon out for her first overnight bike tour
  10. Get a new consulting contract or job for 2013
  11. Clean out my office
  12. Get a solar power camping setup
  13. Try 4 new restaurants in Victoria
  14. Drink fresh beer from Phillips brewery more and bottled beer less
  15. Catch a salmon by rod and reel
  16. Fillet a salmon I caught…

View original post 285 more words

Sometimes even a bad ride is good

MTB today – as i left the flat the heavens opened and the rain and sleet hail came down. I could have, if i had a modicum of sense, gone back in and then either gone on the turbo or headed out to the gym. but in for a penny, in for a pound i headed off but changed the route from what would be a very wet and unpassable wood to canal paths which would be muddy but quick.

Hardly saw anyone all day and that is rare for a weekend when walkers and dog owners and other crazy cyclists and runners are out.

Screen Shot 2013-12-28 at 19.36.21


2 degrees C – by the time I got in my winter mtg boots had leaked the water through to my now icy toes and the Sealskin gloves were wet and my fingers a bit numb. But quick bucket to clean the bike (all the mud sprayed off with rain puddles and then me …

post ridefor once the iPhone stayed in my bag as I didn’t want it ruined in the deluge …. then quick snap and 200m down the road to my victorian gym and their lovely turkish rooms …. aaaah bliss



Christmas jeer – great article from mtbr

Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt atsinglespeeder. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.

I love the Holidays. Really, I do. I love standing in long lines with sick people coughing all over me, driving endless laps in a parking lot on the verge of road rage, falling headfirst on black ice with a gripload of shopping bags, feeling obliged to go to some lame-ass white elephant holiday party and hear the same five stupid Christmas song on infinite repeat. Oh, and don’t even get me started about airplane travel during the Holidays; a dreadful ordeal I have to endure all day tomorrow.

I don’t want to be a Scrooge. Really, I don’t. But to me, the “Holidays” have simply become just another excuse to waste hard-earned money on a bunch of useless crap that nobody really cares about, but if they don’t receive this useless crap, they somehow feel shorted or unloved.

In it’s pure, boiled-down, non-consumer driven essence, I truly do love this time of year. It’s a time to spend with friends and family who you might not get to see very often. It’s a time for reflection on the past 12 months. It’s a time to look ahead to the coming year and plan some awesome mountain bike adventures. It’s also a time to reset a year that perhaps wasn’t great or was just downright lousy. Whatever it is, this time of year is like life, it is the death of one year and the birth of a new one.

My favorite memory of Christmas when I was a kid wasn’t the toys I received – it was the tradition of waiting until my parents would go out for the evening and surprise them upon their return with the entire outside of the house decorated in lights. I’d have only a few hours, so I would run out in the bone-chilling cold darkness and string thousands of lights on all the snow-covered shrubs and trees. Then I’d run back into the house, make a fire and peek out the window, waiting to see the smiles on their faces when they pulled into the driveway. Giving the simple gift of joy to someone else feels amazing.

But when I see people standing in line outside a department store desperately pushing and yelling at each other like famished souls in a Russian bread line, I can’t help but lose interest in anything Holiday oriented. It seems that for many people, the Holidays are just another opportunity to sink deeper into debt and accumulate more stuff that does nothing to improve quality of life but does everything to clutter up your house with useless junk. So this year, make more memories and buy less stuff.

However, if you do decide to spend money on someone else this Holiday season, spend it on bikes and bike gear. Why? Because the bicycle is one of mankind’s all-time greatest inventions, and its money that’s always well spent. In 120 years since its birth, the bicycle has essentially not changed at all. It’s still a pneumatic tire, cog and chain driven machine with a dual triangle structure. It just happens to be lighter, faster and more durable.

The bicycle has so many functions including recreation, transportation, relieving stress, promoting healthy lifestyles, reducing urban traffic congestion, cutting down on fuel consumption and pollution and better preserving natural resources. And mountain bikes specifically help take humans further into the backcountry than any other non-motorized means in an extremely low-impact manner. The mountain bike helps us discover new horizons, both literally and figuratively. What other human invention that essentially hasn’t changed in more than a century can solve this many problems?

Some people I know – myself included – refer to riding their mountain bike as “going to church.” As soon as that leg swings over the top tube and the pedals begin to turn, so does the soul. My body and mind enter a meditative state. Whatever bad is going on in my life instantly melts away. At least for the duration of that ride, I am at peace – unless of course I get three flat tires and break a chain. Then all that Zen is out the window and I become a stark raving lunatic. I am as unreligious as they come, but on the topic of bikes, I’m more pious than a Tibetan monk.

Giving the gift of cycling to another person is almost as great as receiving the gift. I’ll never forget the look on my 18-month-old nephew’s face when he laid eyes on the Early Rider pushbike I got for him one Christmas. With pure instinct, he swung his leg over that wooden contraption and scooted off down the hallway in a flash. The smile on his face was priceless. It’s the same smile I have on my face every time I ride my mountain bike. Five years after he got that Early Rider, my nephew rides his bike everywhere. It’s his favorite thing to do.

So whether you choose to visit your local bike shop or decide to avoid the mass of humanity and shop online from the comfort of your home, give the gift of cycling to someone this Holiday season. Because what you’re giving is far more than just a consumable good. By giving the gift of cycling, you’re fostering a lifestyle and open people up to a way of living that benefits the body, mind and soul and expands their connection with the outside world. I can’t think of a greater gift than that.

Salsa Mukluk Fatbike – a review

Not my review but his ….




I’ve been an avid cyclist for 27 years. In that time I have witnessed my share of bike related gimmicks, trends, and genuine innovations. I’m also that guy who used to mock every new advancement in the bike industry as if I earned points for being the grouchiest of the retro grouches. So, it was almost a conditioned response when someone rolled a fat bike under my nose and I blurted out, “oh, boy. That thing looks ridiculous.” I wanted to hate fat bikes out of force of habit. Then I hopped on one and it was a done deal. I was hooked.

A fat bike is a time machine. It delivers you to your childhood years when bikes made you giggle. Looking down at that massively fat front tire rolling over everything like something out of a Dr. Seuss book brings back the whimsy of riding a bicycle. After my first four hour ride in fresh snow on a fat bike, my legs didn’t hurt and my lungs were unfazed. My cheeks however, hurt like hell. Four hours is a long time to smile like a fool, laughing aloud as I crushed snowflakes and trundled down the vague outline of trails that I had ridden hundreds of times before. If Peter Pan had a bike, it would have 3.8 tires; of that I’m sure.

The 2013 Salsa Mukluk 2 is my fat bike, my time machine. It is a fantastic example of where the fat bike segment is headed and a declaration that this niche will not be niche for long. Fat bikes are here to stay, and stay they should. The Mukluk 2 is built around a beautifully sculpted aluminum frame with all the swoop and elegance of a refined race whip. The rear stays open up to accept not just a big tire but an insanely massive 170mm rear hub mated to Salsa’s Alternator adjustable dropouts. The Surly Holy Rolling Daryl rims provide an 82mm perch for the plump 3.8, 120 tpi Surly Nate Tires. E-Thirteen cranks specifically designed to accommodate the extra width of the bottom bracket are protected by an MRP bash guard. In short, no detail in the build of the Mukluk 2 was overlooked. This is a beautiful bike, both in its mechanical sophistication and bold aesthetic statement.

In motion, the Mukluk 2 is a contrast of attributes. It lumbers along undaunted in 6” of snow, but when it hits open trail, it rails with authority reminding you that this is no saucer sled, this is a bike with proper mountain bike DNA. At times I’ve found myself mid turn, driving hard, tires growling, not yielding an inch. The traction is astounding on dry trails, reminding me that this bike is not just for snowy days, although that is were it is most fun to ride.

Given this is Expedition Portal, we have to discuss this bike as a platform for adventure. Would it be my pick for an extended bike trip? You bet. I would however qualify that by saying, I would ideally want to use it on a route that would maximize its qualities. Something with lots of sand, snow, or both. I have loaded it with full bikepacking kit and it shruged off that load as if to say, “bring it, let’s go.”

It’s a wonderful machine. Not that my love for bikes was fading, the Mukluk 2 reminded me why I ride bikes in the first place. It’s damn good fun. Thank you Salsa.


What you need in winter is some lights for your bike ….. right?


It’s like Tron in real life. Thanks to WOOProductions and Endless Gap, we get this enlightening video where LEDs were mounted to both bike and rider.

Froome Wiggins spat is over …..

iol spt dec11 Froome-Wiggins


Tour de France champion Chris Froome, left, says he and team-mate at Sky Bradley Wiggins have patched up their differences and are on good terms.

Chris Froome was stopped by the police the other day. It was a random check in Monaco and the officer simply wanted to see his driving licence.

But the moment Froome climbed off his motor scooter and lifted the visor of his crash helmet, the tone of their encounter changed. ‘He suddenly pulled out his phone and asked for a picture of us together,’ says Froome with a smile.

It is one example of how life has changed for the 28-year-old winner of this year’s Tour de France. Another would be the fact that he is among the contenders for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award this weekend.

But Froome has reached a point in his life where he wants to see more change. He wants to play a key role in leading his sport away from its drug-ridden past and into a brighter, cleaner future. And he wants to stop talking about the very public spat he has had with Sir Bradley Wiggins, his team-mate at Sky, since the 2012 Tour.

He rather hopes this interview will mark the last time he has to deal with such questions, even if he intends to revisit certain events in more detail in his autobiography.

‘The fact is Brad and I have just been on a training camp together in Mallorca and we’ve had a talk about things,’ says Froome. ‘It was very constructive and we are in a good place now. It was important we did that and it was important for the team, too.

‘To be honest we should have done it a very long time ago, just to clear the air, but we are on good terms now.’

This is quite a revelation and in his mind, at least, it brings closure to a bitter rivalry that has even seen their partners get involved.

It dates back to Stage 11 of the 2012 Tour, on the climb to the summit of La Toussuire. Froome’s job was to act as super-domestique to Wiggins; to protect his team leader’s position in the yellow jersey, often by guiding him up the Tour’s most brutal climbs.

But four kilometres from the top Froome attacked, springing out of his saddle and not only racing away from his rivals for a place on the podium — he would finish second in Paris — but from Wiggins.

It was astonishing, not least because Sean Yates, then Sky’s sports director, ordered Froome over the team radio to return to Wiggins’s side. Wiggins had cracked, after all, and was now losing precious time on the main threat to Sky’s dominance, the Italian Vincenzo Nibali.

In his recently published autobiography, Yates claimed Froome had reneged on an agreement that had been reached with the two riders the previous evening that he could attempt to win the stage, but only once Wiggins was safely delivered to nearer the top of the climb; with 500m to go.

According to Yates, Wiggins was so shaken by the episode that team principal Sir Dave Brailsford had to persuade him not to quit the race. Comments would then appear on Twitter from Wiggins’s wife, Cath, and Froome’s girlfriend, Michelle.

There would be further acrimony when Wiggins suggested a few months later that he would attempt to defend his title, knowing full well that Brailsford had already selected Froome as team leader for the 2013 race.

In another recently published book, it emerged that Wiggins was rather slow in paying Froome the bonus the winner of the Tour traditionally gives his team-mates.

Now, however, things appear to have improved. After receiving his knighthood at Buckingham Palace yesterday, Wiggins said he would be happy to play a ‘support role’ for Froome in next year’s Tour, while Froome, it has to be said, is every bit as respectful towards Wiggins as we reflect on the situation in the bar of a smart central London hotel. ‘The incident in 2012 was at the root of it all,’ says Froome. ‘I’m not sure it was that big a problem but it was all played out so much in the media, it was allowed to escalate.

‘Michelle got caught in the crossfire, too. At the end of the day she has her opinions and they’re not necessarily my opinions. But she’s very passionate about supporting me when she sees negative things. She’s just being loyal to me.’

Perhaps he should explain 2012 from his perspective. ‘It was a huge misunderstanding where I thought I was reading the race right,’ he says. ‘I thought the race had evolved in such a way that opened the door for me to go. Obviously it was the wrong moment.

‘And I thought if something happens to Brad, like it had the previous year when he crashed, I want to be in the strongest possible position if I’m then asked to take over. It didn’t even cross my mind to attack Brad.

‘People need to remember the Vuelta (the Tour of Spain) the year before, when Brad dropped off on the climbs and the team suddenly said, “Well, you go for GT (general classification)”. But I was too far behind by then and I lost the race, finishing second, by something like 11 seconds.

‘I accept that I read the situation wrong (in 2012). I thought Brad was fine. But it very quickly became apparent that it was a problem and that I needed to stop and come back, which is what I did.’

Froome won’t talk about the bonus story, confirming only that he has now received the money due to him from Wiggins. He is also reluctant to go into their conversation in Mallorca. ‘We’re very different people,’ he says. ‘Brad would say the same. But, like I say, we’re in a good place now.’

As fascinating a soap opera as it is, you can sympathise with his sense of frustration. This, after all, is a golden era for British road cycling and the qualities of two British Tour winners really need to be celebrated.

Off the bike, Froome is charming. He strides into the hotel lobby with a grin almost as wide as his slender frame and when he does complain in his soft South African accent that too many interviews are dominated by questions about his relationship with Wiggins, he could not be more polite about it.

I ask him if, like Wiggins, he rides a Vespa. ‘It’s a Yamaha,’ he says, laughing. ‘I’m just not that trendy.’ He also says the car he occasionally drives through Casino Square was chosen simply because it was ‘easy for throwing the bike in the back’. Not a Ferrari, then.

He shares a one-bedroom apartment with Michelle. ‘For training Monaco really is fantastic,’ he says. ‘The weather’s great and every day I slip out the back of Monaco and into the hills and mountains. I pretty much won’t see a car.’

As a rider, he really is a joy to watch. Wiggins’s Tour success was built on his time trial prowess and his ability to live with the world’s best climbers. Froome is no mean time trial rider either but he attacks his rivals on the climbs at a time when the race is being dominated by such specialists.

‘I like to think I’m quite an instinctive racer,’ he says. ‘We always go into a stage with a plan but a race is such a delicate thing. It’s always evolving. It can just be about the moment. It’s as much a psychological battle as a physical one, about who gives in first.

‘I’ve always recognised that the pain you suffer in that moment is temporary, and I always tell myself how much I will enjoy it afterwards if I can endure that pain.’

He will continue to endure it because he wants to win more Tour titles and prove that such a feat can be achieved without the assistance of performance-enhancing drugs.

‘Part of what’s driving me is a desire to show, post-Armstrong, that it’s possible to have successive Tour victories clean,’ he says.

Ideally with the assistance of Wiggins. – Daily Mail

See more:http://www.iol.co.za/sport/cycling/froome-wiggins-spat-is-over-1.1620511#.Uqhou_RdXW8


Christmas Weather – some say horrible – some say kitesurf

Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 10.53.39

The series of unrelenting storms will continue on Monday with another round of rain and gusty winds for most of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The unsettled weather pattern will continue for Christmas as yet another storm targets the region. This storm will bring spells of rain, high-elevation snowfall and widespread disruptive winds to anyone venturing out for the holiday.

i will be on Lewis from 30th to the 5th so my lovely lady has taken all my gear already and I hope to get 2/3 days in ….. just a shame my new board isn’t ready


thursday is film day – a few of my favs this hour …

Road Bike Party 2 is here! Martyn Ashton, Danny MacAskill and Chris Akrigg take you on a new journey with a new bike in RBP 2.
Follow GCN on YouTube: http://gcn.eu/gcnsubs

RBP2 has incredible stunts and amazing tricks all completed on a £15,000 Colnago C59 Disc. It can only be done in Road Bike Party 2! Lycra-clad trials legend Martyn Ashton’s first Road Bike Party was a YouTube sensation, so a sequel HAD to be made, bigger and better than before! Martyn was in the middle of filming when his life was transformed by an accident during a trials display which has left him paralysed from the waist down. Courage, determination and great friends have helped Martyn to complete his vision for Road Bike Party 2.

Kelly Slater wins 2013 Billabong Pipeline Masters and is now a 7-time Pipeline master.
Aerial shot of his winning wave during the contest, located in Hawaii, Oahu.
Shot with the Gopro Hero3+ and DJI Phantom Quadcopter.
Full video coming soon!



Ho ho ho – more xmas cheer for me

The realisation that my slingshot Lunacy 129 Lenten is not the best board for me has been confirmed.

just ordered this in 137cm 41cm sizing – bad news is that it only arrives in late January …..

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 14.44.40

+ Chop Killer
+ Smooth Ride in a Variety of Conditions + Great Carving
+ Incredible Edge Hold for Boosting
+ Compatible with H1, H2, and Boots

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 14.44.58

The Tronic is a performance freeride model with a shape and build that allows a rider the ability to crossover and experiment in any and all types of riding including hucking huge lofty airs. The Tronic twin tip delivers top performance and slash and run type of riding in small waves or choppy water. The Tronic curved tip outline and generous rocker is a chop killer. It cuts through rough water with ease and adds a whole new dimension of g-force inducing turns when banking off of waves or redirecting in the flats.

2014 Cabrinha Spectrum Tech and Specifications

Length (cm) Width (cm)
134 40
137 41
141 42
145 43






Technical features

  • Biax Glass Laminate
  • Moderate rocker
  • Hex concave centER botto m shape
  • the narrow tips deliver power control for carving
  • Ultrabo nd PU rails
  • M6 insert blocks
  • 45mm G10 wake fins

H1 Bindings



The 2014 Cabrinha H1 binding is a one strap asymmetrical body shape which provides a positive fit for the rider looking for board control with ease of use. Your foot sits on a super cushy footpad podium with bountiful arch support, toe grips, and generous heel coverage.

custom the regular

entered a road.cc comp  with trek to design a bike for £3200

basically you get to use lots of colours.


my madoneThe all-new Madone 4 Series boasts race-level performance, KVF aero technology on select models, all-day comfort, and amazing spec value, all in a super-light OCLV package.

Madone 4 Series will take you to new heights of performance as only the legendary Madone can.


Holy hurdles Batman!

I love this – fancy CX


Batman and the riddler

Master criminals look out; Batman and Robin even turn up at cyclo-cross events to hunt down their quarry. Although by the look of it, the Riddler seems to have Batman on the run.


Batman (Ryan o’Sullivan, Cardiff JIF), Robin (Craig Standage, Cardiff JIF) and the Riddler (Jeff Lewis, Cardiff Tri).Welsh cyclo-cross league finale, Cardiff Metropolitan University campus. Dec 15th 2013.

Many thanks to Ian Ramsbottom for taking the pictures and his continued support throughout the season. Ian’s commerical pages can be viewed here. Watch this space for more potential fancy dress action….

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why is everyone picking on Lance … aka more dirty tales emerge

Retired professional cyclist Roberto Gaggioli has claimed that Lance Armstrong paid him $100,000 for agreeing to throw a race in Philadelphia in 1993 – the money, in dollar bills, contained in the packaging of a cake traditionally eaten by Italians at Christmas.

In this photo provided by PhotoSport International shows Malcolm ELLIOTT, (L)  Lance ARMSTRONG (C) and Roberto GAGGIOLI (R) - 1 week after Armstrong won world title in Oslo.
In this photo provided by PhotoSport International shows Malcolm ELLIOTT, (L) Lance ARMSTRONG (C) and Roberto GAGGIOLI (R) – 1 week after Armstrong
won world title in Oslo.

Gaggioli, now aged 51, told Milan-based newspaper La Corriere della Sera that he was resting in a hotel room in Bergamo, northern Italy, in October 1993 when there was a knock at the door.

“It was a young American fellow rider,” he said. “He gave me a panettone in a gift box wishing me ‘Merry Christmas’ and went on his way. In the box there was $100,000 in small denomination bills. That fellow rider was Lance Armstrong.”

Shortly beforehand, Armstrong, then aged 22, had been crowned world champion in Oslo, but the money Gaggioli claims he paid him related to a race that had taken place across the Atlantic four months earlier.

Pharmacy chain Thrift Drug had put up a prize of $1 million, insured at Lloyd’s of London, for any rider managing to win a trio of races in the United States that year under the name of the Thrift Drug Triple Crown of Cycling.

All three races took place in the space of three weeks and Armstrong won the first two the the Thrift Drug Classic one-day race in Pittsburgh, and the K-Mart West Virginia Classic stage race.

He headed to the third and final event in Philadelphia, which also doubled as the US national championship, intent on winning that seven-figure purse.

But Gaggioli, an Italian who had emigrated to the United States, was the red-hot favourite for a race that he had previously won in 1988.

“So much time has passed, now I can talk about it,” Gaggioni told the Corriere della Sera. “Lance came up to me before the start. He told me that my team, Coors Light, had agreed and spoke to me about my compensation – $100,000. I understood that everything had already been decided.

“Two laps from the end, I got into the decisive break with Lance, Bobby Julich and some Italians from the Mercatone team. On a signal from Lance I turned and pretended not to see him attack. He won by a distance.

Asked why the other Italian riders hadn’t reacted, Gaggioli said: “They had very good reasons not to.”

The Corriere della Sera asked the four Mercatone Uno riders about their recollections of the race.

One, Simone Biasci, said that once the break had formed, Armstrong struck a deal with another Mercatone Uno rider, Angelo Canzonieri. “It went well,” he said. “We earned more in one day than our team mates did in three weeks at the Giro d’Italia.”

Another, Roberto Pelliconi, remembered: “Canzonieri and Lance agreed for ‘fifty’; Angelo was thinking in dollars, Lance in lire. At the Giro di Lombardia, he delivered 50 million lire to us, saving 40 per cent thanks to the favourable exchange rate.”

Canzonieri, however, has no recollection of the episode. He told the newspaper: “Leave Armstrong alone, he’s paid enough. I don’t remember anything.”

Gaggioli and the Mercatone Uno team weren’t the only ones allegedly paid off by Armstrong that year – New Zealand ex-pro Stephen Swart says his team was paid $50,000 to ease off in the stage race in West Virginia – but there would be a sting in the tail for the American.

The prize was only $1 million dollars if anyone winning it agreed to accept the money in 20 annual instalments of $50,000; choosing to take cash, it reduced to $600,000, which would also be subject to 20 per cent tax.

With the alleged backhanders to be paid and money also to be given to his Motorola team mates and staff, the Corriere della Sera says that Armstrong would have been left with just a “pugno di dollari” – the name in Italian of the Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western, A Fistful of Dollars.

Last year, Armstrong was banned from sport for life and stripped of all results dating back to his return from battling cancer in 1998 – so while that prize money may be long gone, he does get to keep his victories in that trio of races.