Reblog Data crunch the TDF by numbers 2016


July 26, 2016 – The 2016 Tour de France wrapped up on Sunday with Chris Froome (SKY) celebrating his third overall win of this prestigious race.

Graphics/Words by Dimension Data || Image by Yuzuru Sunada

Additionally, Dimension Data produced a final infographic based on the information obtained through its data analytics technology that tracked each riders’ journey across the 21 stages. Here’s a quick snapshot of race analytics:

1. The riders conquered 80 km/h winds, 3 rainy finishes, 1 hail storm and 1 day of 35C/95F heat.
2. Stage 11 was the fastest with an average speed of 46.65 km/h while Stage 18 was the slowest speed at 29.58 km/h.
3. Riders climbed a total of 8,500 m in elevation of categorized climbs in the Alps which is equal to 26 Eiffel Towers.
4. Dimension Data Big Data truck traveled 4,892.5 km and processed 127.8 million data records in its cloud.

The 22-person data team used 12 collaboration tools to work with colleagues around the world and coordinate a 24-hour testing and development cycle to keep up with the race. You can view Dimension Data’s graphic list of facts from the 2016 Tour de France above.

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key moments of the TdF


CYCLINGNEWS …. reblog

The run up Ventoux

The defining image of this Tour de France. Few would argue that this was a Tour for the ages, but the sight of the maillot jaune running up Mont Ventoux without his bike is an image that immediately etched itself into the rich tapestry of the race.

It was the most dramatic moment by some distance – the leader of a team synonymous with control being plunged into utter chaos. According to the rules a rider must finish with his bike but there was no time for logical thought here – this was just a desperate bid to reach the sanctity of the finish line. It was absurd, comical even – one of those moments of madness the Tour does so well.

The chaos ensued on the mountain for a good hour as the commissaires bashed their heads together, and it looked for a while like Froome might lose the yellow jersey. Once the decision had gone his way, he refused to speak to the press and got straight in a team car – telling, perhaps, of the psychological impact of the pandemonium.

Bardet’s instinct lights up the race

The four stages in the Alps were set up to provide a thrilling conclusion to the fight for the yellow jersey, but they were beginning to feel like a sleepwalk to Paris until Romain Bardet brought the race back to life in the shadow of Mont Blanc on Friday.

In fact, we should probably credit Mickaël Chérel with the actual ‘moment’ here, as he was the one who had the idea of attacking on the descent ahead of the final climb, telling his teammate ‘follow me’. Despite a moment’s hesitation – “Don’t take too many risks” – Bardet jumped on board wholeheartedly as chaos ensued behind, with Froome among those to crash.

The Frenchman, now solo, made his way up the climb with no knowledge of the time gaps, just riding on instinct, and was rewarded with the stage win and a leap from fifth to second.

Bardet quickly became the story of the Tour here in France. It was his face – not Froome’s – on the front page of L’Equipe three days in a row as a nation malnourished in terms of home success in recent years basked in the 26-year-old’s coming of age.

The Cavendish of old

Mark Cavendish‘s Tour de France was already a roaring success before he even began to wind up his sprint in Villars-les-Dombes. The Dimension Data rider, who faced doubts about his form and focus with the Olympics on the horizon, had already won three stages, but the fourth made this his most fruitful return since wearing a HTC jersey.

The clock had been wound back and this was the Cavendish of old. There was a difference in the manner of the victories – the dominant sprint train making way for a more inventive approach – but the outcome was the same as the 31-year-old stamped his authority on the majority of the bunch sprints.

Between 2008 and 2011 he averaged five stages annually, while in the subsequent four-year period from 2012 to 2015 he managed just six in total. This was a return to the hauls of old. It was also of massive psychological import to beat Kittel on each and every occasion, having never got the better of the German head-to-head before. When Kittel burst onto the scene a few years ago he announced himself as Cavendish’s successor, and earlier this year he seemed to confirm himself as the fastest in the world. Now that doesn’t seem so certain.

Froome’s ambushes

Amid the memories of the collective might of Team Sky, it might be easy to lose sight of the fact that flashes of individual flare played no small part in Chris Froome‘s victory.

Sky’s ability to practically rest and rotate luxury mountain domestiques did often subdue the spectacle, with offensive riding largely neutralised, but it would be harsh to label Froome ‘boring’ when he had the gumption to attack and gain time on a descent and on a flat stage.

His furious top-tube pedalling on the way down the Col de Peyresourde could be seen as a microcosm of his contest with the other main favourite, Nairo Quintana – one rider sitting up and taking a bottle, watching and waiting, while the other was striking out and winning the race.

Seeing the maillot jaune away in a four-man group in the crosswinds with the world champion at the end of a flat stage was more absurd still. Many questioned the risk/reward of the attacks but there’s little doubt that for a rider like Froome, who likes to get ahead early, they had significant psychological impact and won him increased appreciation in the public eye.

Contador abandons

We mentioned earlier that this wasn’t one of the most excitement-filled Tours of recent years, yet that may all have been so different if it hadn’t have been for the early exit of Alberto Contador.

The two-time – three if you ask him – Tour champion crashed heavily on the opening two stages and eventually abandoned with illness on first day in the Pyrenees, and you sense the race thereafter was poorer for it.

Froome was in a different league to most of his rivals here – only Nairo Quintana was considered a true threat, and his race petered out in disappointing fashion. With Contador, it surely would have been different, even if he wasn’t as strong as Froome or his team as strong as Sky.

The Spaniard is more attacking and adventurous than Quintana, more willing to take risks and take the race to his foe, and you sense that he’d be more likely to get inside Froome’s head and possibly throw him off.

Quintana’s challenge fades away

It’s difficult to really pinpoint one major ‘moment’ in what was really one large damp squib of a Tour for Nairo Quintana.

The Colombian wanted to avoid losing time early on like he had done last year, and be able to hit Froome in the Alps in the last week. As it was, Froome still managed to carve out an advantage and Quintana once again arrived at the second rest-day with a deficit of around three minutes, his powder very much still dry.

At Movistar’s press conference on that rest day he claimed he had a plan for the four-part Alpine climax, and there was talk of a possible coalition with Astana. Any excitement about Quintana applying the pressure he had done late last year, however, dissipated when he was dropped on the final climb to the Emosson dam.

He played the waiting game for a further hour and a half as he struggled to do the necessary to provide an anti-doping sample and when he did emerge he revealed he was struggling physically – which he later claimed was allergy-related. He told us there was many years left for him to win the Tour and with that, the race for yellow ceased to be a contest.

Respects paid to Nice

The pandemonium on Ventoux was still fresh in the mind but it would soon seem almost trivial as news filtered through overnight of the terrorist massacre in Nice.

Suddenly, the cut and thrust of elite-level competition seemed to fade into insignificance. It was only right that the Tour continued in a statement of defiance against those who try to disturb our peace and make us live in fear. Froome pretty much sewed race up on the stage 13 time trial but the atmosphere was strangely subdued and he again refused to speak to the press besides offering a brief statement on the attacks in the city where he lives.

Nevertheless, bringing the yellow, green, white, and polka-dot jersey wearers out onto the podium for a minute’s silence was a powerful moment.

Wednesday night Riding


As I am working full time on this TV show it means daytime weekday rides aren’t happening so I have gotten into the habit of Wednesday Night Rides, Thursday and Friday a.m. swims and thursday pm 5-a-side footie. Then as much as i can cram into the other days of the weekend or nights.

So tonight out on the canal to Dumbarton and took a detour up the Kilpatrick hills

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there are some seriously steep hills – this one makes me use the bottom of my 1×11 SRAM gears – that 50chainring to 36tooth large cassette ….

i am not sure the mapping on Strava is accurate – it feels like a steady 18-20% hill – that false flat before the very steep isn’t there – it is just all steep.

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Went over the back to the reservoir – its over flint forestry road then suddenly the rear tyre felt softer. Sidewall had a slight tear and sealant was oozing out. Luckily with a shake it sealed again and I put some more air into the tyre.

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And then retraced my route. Pretty impressed with this bike and abilities so far. Sonder Camino ti gravel bike ….

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Running Dynamo hub driving USE Exposure Revo light – trying to link up battery recharge with the port out but not sure it works – more experimentation required.

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and the view looking down from the top of the wee hill is very pretty too

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Radavist top 10 bikes of 2015


i love this site their picks are mostly esoteric and custom but definately  of the bike porn variety

 

2015 was an amazing year for the Radavist. Not only in terms of traffic, or stats, but in terms of content. We take pride in the site, the rides we record, products we feature and yes, the bicycles we document. This year was huge in terms of the places we traveled to and the people we met along the way. With people and places come Beautiful Bicycles and a lot of work!

Without rambling on too much, here’s a list of the Top 10 of 2015 ranked by traffic and social media chatter, from highest down…

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01 – the Speedvagen Urban Racer

This bike was the most controversial post on the Radavist this year… who thought people took riding bikes so seriously?

The Speedvagen Urban Racer. How can I even begin here? These bikes are… uh. Well, they’re kinda completely ridiculous. They’re not a traditional commuter bike, a cruiser, or a touring bike. They’re not meant to be loaded down with gear, or to be casually ridden around a park. Like a cafe racer of the bicycle world, these rigs are stripped down machines, meant to be ridden like a rocket… on 27.5 wheels and 43mm tires. Skids anyone?”

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02 – Benedict’s Romantical Clockwork Bikes Dirt Droop 29’r

2015 was the year of the UltraRomance and ya know what? The cycling industry needs more souls like Benedict.

“Benedict, aka Poppi, aka @UltraRomance is a wild one. One that cannot be tamed by modern ideologies, or technologies for that matter. His Clockwork Bikes frame is a time capsule of the old days of yore when men would gather or hunt for their food in the woods. Even when something appears to be modern, it’s executed in a way that harkens back to the early days of klunking. Disc brakes? He slices fresh mushrooms on them and truthfully, he only uses them to stop for a tanning session. The throwback version of the narrow wide chaingrings is just a “narrow narrow” ring. An outer “bash guard” ring pressed up against an inner ring with a spare “rabbit” personal massager holding it in place. Even his “marsh mud” tubeless setup is pulled from nature. Literally…”

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03 – the Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer with Gevenalle Shifting

Clearly we’re seeing a trend here with dirt-drop tourers. I wish I hadn’t sent this bad boy back to Washington!

“The Elephant Bikes NFE is alive. A beautifully-elegant specimen of the bicycle that dances with you on the climbs and lets you really lean into it while descending. While clearly its intent is to be a back country tourer, inspiring you to explore National Forests, we here in Austin, Texas have no such place nearby, so I took to exploring our local trails, State Parks and swimming holes.”

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04 – Paul’s Black Cat Monster Cross

Even I was amazed at how much traction this monster cross got in the muddy world of the cycling community. It’s easy to see why!

“When Paul Component owner Paul Price started to “make it big” he told himself that he wanted to order a bike each year from a NorCal frame builder. Retrotec, Rock Lobster, Sycip, etc, etc. At the time there were a handful of builders and for a few years he kept to his yearly deposit.

Then he got busy, the framebuilding industry grew and technology changed. For a few years he focused on the company and put his frame builder promise on hold. He then came back around to his promise and at the Sacramento NAHBS, picked up this Black Cat monster cross from Todd. Soon it became his staple bike. Like many custom frames, Paul had an idea for this bike that surrounded a specific component or part.”

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05 – Rusty n Dusty Rat Rod Titanium Firefly Disc All Road

This one broke my savings account, luckily I had disc brakes and my hands weren’t sore after the fact.

“Cycling is an experience that should continue to mature overtime. I’m weary of people who stand firm in their ideologies, rest on laurels and refuse to embrace the “new,” especially when it comes to riding bikes. Look, it’s not that hard to have fun. Opinions can change with experience, its normal. Embrace it.

You see, I knew I wanted a Firefly. I kind of felt like that brand and my own brand have grown together over the years. When Jamie, Tyler and Kevin started the company, it had a breath of energy, creativity and their final products all expressed experimentation. Those guys can make anyone a dream bike but deciding what kind of bike is a challenge. Part of my apprehension was not only where I felt like cycling’s technology was heading, but where my own riding would be taking me over the next few years.”

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06 – The Black Cat Bicycles Operation Thunder Monkey 29r MTB

Black Cat was the only builder to get two hits on the top 10 list. I wonder why? Oh yeah, his bikes are amazing!

“Todd from Black Cat Bicycles knows a thing or two about mountain bikes. Living in Santa Cruz provides a more than ideal testing ground for everything related to dirt. Over the years, he’s dialed in the geometry on his hardtails and recently, this process culminated in what he’s dubbed the Thunder Monkey.

A few months back, Todd emailed me asking if I wanted to review a production bike he was making. His description was right up my alley “slack and low 29r with a tight rear end.” Some time passed and this incredible frame showed up at Mellow Johnny’s to be built up with various SRAM and RockShox products. “

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07 – Tyler’s Icarus All-Road Disc

All-road, endurance road, whatever it is, just don’t call it a ‘cross bike.

“It’s not a cross bike, it’s a road bike with clearances for bigger tires. Sure it uses an ENVE disc cross fork, but the bottom bracket drop, chainstay length and angles are more in line with what many would categorize as a road bike. A road bike that likes to gobble up rugged and rutted roads.

The Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires were the starting point for Ian at Icarus Frames to build Tyler his new all-road machine. He wanted hydro disc brakes and road gearing, which he may or may not swap out in the forthcoming months for a clutch and a wider range cassette. With a burnt orange paint and subtle Icarus branding on the downtube, Tyler’s bike has a confident stance without being overly gaudy. Keep it clean with the paint and get it nice and dirty… “

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08 – the Hunter Cycles Bushmaster

This bike was hands down my favorite to document of the year. Just look at it! But don’t get too close to the Hunter Cycles Bushmaster…

“Holy shit. Where do I even begin here? First off, we just saw where Rick Hunter builds his frames in Bonny Doon, just outside of Santa Cruz so we have context. Second off, the name of this bike is one of the deadliest vipers on Earth, the Bushmaster. These snakes are capable of multiple strikes in milliseconds and will deliver a fatal amount of venom without blinking an eye *snakes don’t have eyelids.*

Multiple strikes, multiple gears. No, wait. This is a singlespeed, right? Look again.”

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09 – Whitney’s 20/20 Cycle’s Kalakala

This bike, like its owner, has quite the story!

“Whitney’s 20/20 Cycle Kalakala is purpose built and can be configured to handle just about any bicycle tour you could imagine. Complete with DFL Stitchworks bags. This bike has never had a place to call home, Whitney has been riding it around the world for the last couple years and with that in mind I had no question about its ability to make it over the mountains I call home and to the Southern California High Desert that I love. Since photographing this bike it’s changed only ever so slightly with the addition of one more National Park badge to the fender, Joshua Tree.”

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Photo by Eric Baumann

10 – Imshi Cycles with a Di2 Road

New builders talking about their bikes and documenting them in an unprecedented manner. No wonder this Imshi Cycles shook the internet!

“Just over a year ago I began a multi-month frame building “class” with Bryan Hollingsworth (Royal H). He taught me the basics of brazing and then we set to work building myself a frame, one night a week kinda deal over at his shop. I had a jig already so I was able to do all the filing/fit up/lug carving at home, then bring stuff in to braze with Bryan. At the same time, I also had the privilege of having a friend in Mr. Nao Tomii, who showed me my way around a fillet. Between the two of these guys, I had some of the best guidance you can imagine for both lug/fillet frame construction. They taught me everything I know…”

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Honorable Non-Framebuilder Born Beasts

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01 – the Salsa Cycles Cutthroat Tour Divide Bike

“Salsa perfected what is arguably their best “all-road”, dirt-tourer: the Cutthroat.
This bike was an exercise in both engineering of materials and design features for the ever-increasing, high demand sport of “adventure touring and racing.” For starters, it’s a completely new carbon fiber frame design, with each tube having a unique profile. The rear triangle utilizes a Class 5 Vibration Reduction System like the Warbird. What does that mean? All you need to know is that supposedly the stays, in combination with the thru-axle creates a “spring like” feel on rough surfaces. The seat stays are long and narrow, while the chain stays are wide and flat. This gives compliance when needed.”

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02 – the Cannondale Slate Force CX1 All-Road Bike

“Since relocating to Los Angeles, a land with endless dirt in both the fireroad and track variety, my preferences have shifted a lot in terms of what I want a bike to take on. Capabilities are often grown in the industry piecemeal, then once and a while, a bike comes along that asks a question: what if?

The Cannondale Slate is a what if bike. What if 650b or 27.5″ wheels with a 42mm tire makes more sense for “all-road” riding? What if a damn Lefty shock with just the right amount of travel can instill confidence in new riders while offering an added fun bonus to experienced athletes?”

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03 – Ted King’s Cannondale SuperSix Six Six SRAM Mountain Magic Shifting Road Bike

Ted King is technically still a pro, until January 1st but yesterday the two of us took off on a ride into the ANF. The last time Ted got to experience Highway 2 was in a peloton during the Amgen Tour of California, which as Ted so gracefully put it, was very, very painful. Luckily pain wasn’t on our agenda yesterday. Instead, we took a super casual pedal up to Mount Wilson and back down to Mount Disappointment. ”

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04 – Erik’s Sparkle Abyss: the Custom Skid Sled

“If a beast were to crawl its way out of the Abyss, only to find itself mutated into a two-wheeled, human-powered machine, it might look like this thing. When I first saw it in person, with the Supernova light dangling from the stem, I was reminded of a Deep Sea Anglerfish. A fish that spends its life in complete darkness, only illuminating its path with a luminescent organ called the esca at the tip of a modified dorsal ray. Could that be this bike’s spirit animal?

Erik works at the big, bad S. He’s a designer for the AWOL and other excursion-oriented bicycles. He made this bike as a special project for his plans on taking on the SF-area’s Super Brevet Series. Initially, he wanted a bike that would fit a 45mm slick 700c tire, with a tighter geometry than the AWOL and a tapered headtube, mated to a carbon fork. He spec’d the main tubes from a stock AWOL with the geometry more like a cross bike, milled a head tube to spec and used a Secteur fork for its rack attachments. While the AWOL is a dedicated touring bike, this is closer to a light-tourer or randonneur. So, in short, this is a one-off custom, made in the USA bike that gave Erik the ability to test out a few concepts.”

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Thanks to all of the frame builders out there, putting out exceptional work and the customers who keep those men and women in business. Keep rockin, y’all!

Camino ti


Taken the plunge on a new bike finally after a bit of toing and froing with various companies trying to get the build I wanted. Well alpkit Sonder bikes have finally risen above the rest and got my pennies. i am getting the front wheel build up with a dyno hub and will use my USE Revo light for adventures.

The Camino Ti, a mix of a cyclocross, gravel, and road bike. The Camino seems to be designed for an adventure, when you don’t know what to expect of the road ahead. Designed for even longer tours, the drop bar bike can take on rough roads and rugged paths with its all-day, long wheelbase stability and a more comfortable upright position.

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Sonder specs the Camino with flared bars for flexible riding positions and less stress on the back, no matter the terrain. They see the bike as a mountain biker’s road bike. As we can attest, it’s nice to have a bike that can handle the rough stuff when its rider has the uncontrollable urge to venture down every dirt track that a smooth asphalt road crosses.

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The 3/2.5 titanium Camino again builds up with wide, flattened tubing to balance stiffness and comfort, and gets a disc brake only build. It does however stick with standard quick release axles, and an external headset (although still a 44mm headtube for a tapered steerer.) In a bit more of wheel flexibility, the frame gets clearance for both 650b x 48mm or 700c x 44mm tires.

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The Camino is also offered in 4 sizes as a couple of SRAM builds with hydro brakes, as well as a standalone frameset. The frame and full carbon monocoque fork sell for £1000. A Rival1 build adds just £500, while the Force1 completes the build options

Behind Nibbles Win – good read from peleton


May 29, 2016 – Some will call Vincenzo Nibali’s dramatic Giro d’Italia victory on Sunday lucky, but it served as a reminder that ‘The Shark’ is dangerous when in deep water. 

Three years after the Italian sealed a maiden pink jersey with an epic ride through the snowy Dolomites mountains, a second Giro triumph looked out of reach when Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk opened up a huge lead in the final week of a thrilling 99th edition.

Over two intense days in the mountains, pre-race favourite Nibali went from trailing the ginger-haired Dutchman by 41secs to seemingly out of contention at 4min 43sec. But ‘Lo Squalo’ (The Shark) has a habit of biting back at his rivals. And when Kruijswijk crashed into a snow bank early on the descent of the Colle d’Agnello climb bordering France and Italy on Friday, the race for pink was suddenly back on two days before the finish.

On stage 19, Nibali forged ahead to victory on the summit finish at Risoul in France, where he also won on his road to Tour de France triumph in 2014. Like a great white patiently circling his prey, Nibali was unforgiving when he went in for the kill.

“Steven Kruijswijk had a good advantage after the Dolomites but I knew the highest mountains were yet to come,” said Nibali. “Riding above 2000 meters isn’t easy for anyone but I felt comfortable. Kruijswijk crashed… but towards the summit of the Colle d’Agnello I noticed he was breathing heavily so I put pressure on him climbing and then descending. Had I not, probably nothing would have happened and (Esteban) Chaves would have had an easy ride as well.”

Little Orica team climber Chaves took the race lead with a 44sec lead over Nibali on Friday, but trailed in behind the Italian the next day on the climb to Sant’Anna di Vinadio when Nibali pulled on the pink jersey. On Sunday, Nibali revealed he had been suffering from a stomach bug, news of which he kept to himself.

“I had a stomach bug during the Giro but it’s better not to tell everything sometimes,” he said.

It is not the first time the Sicilian has fought back from adversity to triumph in one of the world’s biggest bike races. He upset pre-race predictions to win the Tour de France in 2014, becoming the first Italian to do so since deceased climbing ace Marco Pantani in 1998.

And when he was excluded from the 2015 Tour of Spain for illicitly hanging on to the back of a team car following a crash, he blew away his shame with a stunning performance to win the Tour of Lombardy one-day classic weeks later.

Shy off the bike, the Sicilian becomes a fierce competitor on it — although he is known for his sensible side, too. After fighting his way back into victory contention in Risoul, Nibali wept tears of relief and joy as he hung his arms over the handlebars.

28 May 2016 99th Giro d'Italia Stage 20 : Guillestre - Sant'Anna di Vinadio NIBALI Vincenzo (ITA) Astana Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA

Nibali, 31, left his native Sicily for Tuscany as an ambitious 16-year-old to follow his dream, and has become one of the most formidable, and feared stage racers in the world. A strong climber with descending skills that have left more than one rival fearing for his safety, Nibali copes well in tough weather conditions.

He secured his maiden pink jersey on the penultimate stage in 2013 when he emerged through a snow blizzard to triumph atop Trois Cimes de Lavaredo in the Dolomites.

After Kruijswijk flew over the handlebars head-first into the snow on Friday, Nibali remarked: “Descents are just as much a part of racing as climbing.”

Next up is the Tour de France, where he is sure to meet tougher opposition in Spaniard Alberto Contador and Britain’s Chris Froome, both former yellow jersey champions. Nibali will then focus on Olympic gold in Rio this August.

cycling weekly rates the Brutal climbs now in the Giro


After two weeks of tired legs ….

Colle Dell’Agnello – stage 19

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The Colle Dell’Agnello marks the Giro’s passage into France for a couple of days and they’ll have to work hard to get up to the border.

While the Strava segment shows it as a nine kilometre climb, the riders go uphill for around 70km from Saluzzo to the border at the top of the climb.

The toughest gradients come near the top of the Agnello, maxing out at 15 per cent and holding at over nine per cent for much of the nine kilometres, with riders reaching the highest point of the whole race.

And that’s just the first climb of the day…

Risoul – stage 19

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When the riders get into France it’s downhill all the way to the foot of the climb to Risoul, where stage 19 finishes.

It’s not the hardest climb in the world but the legs and bodies of the climbers will be cold from the very long descent from the Agnelle.

It maxes out at 10 per cent in the first third of the climb and from then is a steady 8.5 per cent to the top. With the GC still up for grabs it’ll likely to be a battle ground all the way up, with attacks likely to come on the preceding descent.

Col de Vars – stage 20

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At just six per cent in average gradient, the Col de Vars shouldn’t cause any problems, but it’s the fact that it comes immediately at the start of stage 20 which makes it hard.

The riders will have to get their warm-ups done before the stage if they’re to be in any state to be up at the front of the peloton in the first 20km.

There’s not a metre of flat on the entire stage, making it one of the toughest in the whole race, so if there’s still anything to play for in the general classification, expect to see some action in these opening exchanges.


Col de la Bonette – stage 20

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Once they’ve descended from the Col de Vars the peloton hits the even longer and even tougher Col de la Bonette, taking the riders up to over 2,700m.

It’ll be a long, cold descent down to Isola at the foot of the third big climb of the day, with almost 40km of downhill, interupted only by a little flat bit after 25km.

With the stage only 134km in length we could see attacks on the pink jersey wearer on the early climbs, just like we did on stage 16 on Tuesday.

Colle della Lombardia – stage 20

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As if two 20km ascents weren’t enough, the organisers have chucked in a third one near the end to really test the climbers’ resolve.

The Col de la Lombarde brings the riders back into Italy for the final assault up to Sant’Anna di Vinado, where the finish line is located.

Like the first two climbs on the stage, the Lombarde isn’t particularly steep, it’s just relentlessly long, especially after the climbs that have come before.

It’s last chance saloon for GC contenders to launch their attacks, with the climb to the finish not really long enough to make up minutes of time.

the climbs to watch in the second week of the Giro


Cycling weekly look at the climbs this week – exciting

We’ve had a few tough ascents so far in the Giro d’Italia, but we’ve not experienced the true mountain stages that the race is famous for just yet.

As the race heads north the number of climbs on the route increases and the less the sprinters look forward to the stages. Three of the six stages before the next rest day are over 200km in length and there are 16 categorised climbs to take in between now and Sunday.

The sprinters will have their fun on stage 12, but week two belongs to the climbers and here are five of the toughest tests they will face this week, including a mountain time trial on stage 15.

Forcella Mostaccin (stage 11)

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It’s by no means the longest climb in the race at just shy of three kilometres in length, but coming at the end of a pan flat stage the Forcella Mostaccin climb could split the peloton.

With a maximum gradient of 16 per cent and an average of over 10 per cent for the last kilometre of the climb we could see a few attacks go off the front on this climb.

The race still has around 25km to go from the top, but the rolling nature of those final kilometres means it almost certainly won’t be a bunch gallop.

Montemaggiore (stage 13)

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Montemaggiore probably won’t be a decisive climb in the Giro because it comes so close to the start of the stage – the climb starts at kilometre 48 – but it heralds the start of a tough stage for the climbers.

Just over eight kilometres in length, the climb averages nine per cent, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The first 2.5km kilometres are pretty straightforward, but then the hill ramps up to over 10 per cent for the rest of the climb, maxing out at 15 per cent in the final 500m.

There’s a sting in the tail of this one, and after a short descent the riders are heading uphill again on this very up-and-down stage.

Cima Porzus (stage 13)

The Montemaggiore climb earlier in the day may be more relentless, but after 130km of racing up and down mountains this climb of Cima Porzus could see a few riders crack.

Again, the climb averages nine per cent, but rarely does it go below that gradient. The riders will have to plug away for 8.5km at a steady gradient while they plan their finishing strategies.

This climb is followed by a shorter ascent to Valle, so attacks may come there rather than on the Cima Porzus, but this climb will certainly sort the men from the boys and the sprinters autobus will be stamping a lot of tickets.

Passo Giau (stage 14)

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Anyone who has completed the Maratona dles Dolomites sportive will know the Passo Giau very well.

The scenery is stunning, but the ascent is pretty relentless. From Selva di Cadore the climb starts off hard (a kilometre at over 10 per cent) and continues in a similar fashion for the next seven kilometres.

Again, this climb might not be in a location to be the place of crucial attacks, with another climb following immediately afterwards, but it promises to be a great part of this year’s race. One for the breakaway, maybe.

Alpe di Siusi (stage 15 ITT)

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As if riding up mountains wasn’t hard enough, imagine smashing it up as hard as you can with no teammates to help you out.

That’s what the riders face on the Alpe di Siusi on stage 15 as a mountain time trial could well separate some of the favourites for the maglia rosa.

Movistar‘s Andrey Amador holds the Strava KOM on the climb, set on a recce back in March, smashing up in 31 minutes at a modest 166 beats per minute on the heart rate monitor.

Piece of cake.

5 Ferries Spring


This weekend seem to go past quite quickly. Saturday morning I was up early to get the first train from Glasgow down to the ferry at Ardrossan.

 Getting tickets i was advised that I MAY NOT get on the ferry it was that full.  I hurried to join the queue going onto the ferry and I was greeted by possibly 60 to 70 other cyclists also enjoying the good weather we’ve been having and planning either a circuit of Arran or a loop of some sort.

As I strap my bike to the side of the hold I have a tap on the shoulder to turn round to see my friend stuart who is dragging some friends around on the charity ride –  he was also doing the five ferry challenge.


I did this ride last September at that time I was on my steel Mercian touring bike this time I had my Ti bride with me Lynskey Cooper – today was going to be quicker

First off I wasn’t sure if it would make the 2nd ferry which leaves from the Lochranza and goes across to the Argyll peninsula 11:50am so I bomb off head down I arrived with time to kill as ferry is only 12:05. Had a chance to see a campervan a large Winnebago type trying to exit the ferry and scraping half of the tail off on the ramp.

Stuart and the rest of his colleagues had caught up at this time so we all joined the 2nd ferry together. On the other side I noticed that one of his colleagues had his saddle about 3 inches too low – hideous leg angle and I was worried about the knee pain that he was sure to have a week later so I just had to adjust his saddle for him. We then proceeded to catch up the rest who were a stint up the road.

The weather was pretty incredible (for Scotland at least) 9-15C –  it seemed to be a type S europe enjoy for most of the year but for us it was rare I stayed with the group for all of the ferries and all the chat. Fore some uphills and sections I would occasionally shoot off ahead just to burn off some steam or to stay warm.

Sad it is over 

 By the time I got back to Glasgow it was evening but what a great day out on the bike.

my 3rd etape Caledonia


I feel like i have done this event now – my first year was 2014 and the weather was fine and last year was in the pouring rain and howling wind and yet I was finished in nearly the same time.

This year I trained more and went on more rides and with good weather forecast I was hoping to smash my time.

But it my girlfriends mums 60th and a big house was rented and fine food booze and food was consumed. To top this off I left late in the morning to drive up and was stuck in traffic going to event parking when i should have been at the start line getting ready to head off.

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the course is a good one with 130km of riding around a pretty loch and then a wee ascent (about 1200m in all over the course)

6:30am and the elite and VIP’s head off. I should have started in Wave A with the faster boys but by the time I made the start wave C was heading off so for the first 20mile I was completely solo hoping to find a small group that was going faster and I could work with.

NO SUCH LUCK

Until a man caught up – he had punctured at mile 2 and had lost everyone so we worked together for a good hour. At one stage 4/5 people were tagged on behind but only we two were taking turns at the front so he drifted back and I heard him yell ‘I don’t mind you guys taking the wheel but take a f***** turn a the front’ 

That caused all but one to drop off and that person definitely took his turn from then on in.

Just before the climb I recognised my friend Carla who had started on time (8min in front of me) and we said hello and then the climb up Schiehallion started. I took this easy as I had been working pretty hard up to this point (in fact my slowest ascent of the 3 times)

The downhill was as lovely as ever …. and then into the back of a big group around Fortingall on the narrow singletrack road. The wind was unseasonal and Easterly so the last leg was into the wind but i was quite sheltered in a large group of 30 – never really making it up through the bunch to make a turn at the front.

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The thing about groups like this is that my speed is so much higher than normal with the massive slipstream benefit and after all my solo rides this year the time (miles) passed quickly.

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Average speed 33.6kmh (imperial says nearly 21mph) average.

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so my best time but not the sub 3h50/3h45 i was hoping for.

At the end a medal and a text with my finish time according to the tag on the bike ….FcertA4.tmpl-347-YRNJ

Etape Royale next – 100miles ….

 

Veloviewer gets better and better (if you use Strava)


VeloViewer has always been able to show you comprehensive views of your past rides and runs but plenty of people had asked to see similar views of routes they are planning to do. Fortunately Strava have just opened up their Routing API so now Veloviewer can display all the routes you have created and allow you to see their full details including the interactive 3D profiles.

Head there NOW …

Here is one example ….

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really helps visualize routes and see potential problems (gradients)

The Giro is about to start so get your fantasy squad sorted …


The challenge is on … go here 

register a team – it’s free

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then enter my new league – lets see how good/bad we can be ….

MY LEAGUE:

League Name: The bike Blog league
League Code: 02090731

My thoughts this year run as Nibali as outright winner … but Vivaldi might give it all this year.  So spare 5 min and get your team sorted. Past experience has shown me that the longer I spend choosing the worse my results.

 

 

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