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.

reblog – what could happen in the final week of the tdf – if only


Following the rest day in Switzerland, the riders of the Tour de France will tackle a selection of the hardest Alpine climbs not named Alpe d’Huez. The four days stretching from Wednesday to Saturday can be thought of as; hard summit finish, mountain time trial, even harder summit finish, trio of big climbs.

via Tour de France 2016 – What could happen in the final week? — Just Pro Cycling

Ten of the best… Stages in Tour de France history (Part 2)


pt2 of this great post

Just Pro Cycling

Selecting the ‘best’ Tour de France stages requires consideration of a variety of factors. Firstly there’s race impact with a GC-shaping stage far more likely to leave a mark in the history books. Any stage with enough time gaps to leave viewers doing mental gymnastics to figure out the state of the classification will always have extra importance. These stages will often be at the business end of the race; how good can an opening stage actually be? The length of the stage will also be taken into account, or rather, what proportion of the stage will be ridden in earnest. The high mountains are generally accepted as the best playgrounds but sometimes the most unassuming of stages quickly turn into classics. Consider too the excitement created by late twists, comebacks, close finishes and back-stories and you’ll soon have a long list of characteristics to juggle. That’s when personal opinion…

View original post 2,165 more words

Ten of the best… Stages in Tour de France history (Part 1)


love posts like this

Just Pro Cycling

Selecting the ‘best’ Tour de France stages requires consideration of a variety of factors. Firstly there’s race impact with a GC-shaping stage far more likely to leave a mark in the history books. Any stage with enough time gaps to leave viewers doing mental gymnastics to figure out the state of the classification will always have extra importance. These stages will often be at the business end of the race; how good can an opening stage actually be? The length of the stage will also be taken into account, or rather, what proportion of the stage will be ridden in earnest. The high mountains are generally accepted as the best playgrounds but sometimes the most unassuming of stages quickly turn into classics. Consider too the excitement created by late twists, comebacks, close finishes and back-stories and you’ll soon have a long list of characteristics to juggle. That’s when personal opinion…

View original post 1,677 more words

The reason scotland is underpopulated


Filming the west highland way race today and I started at 5am – boat across to my first point at the top of Loch Lomond and the world was peachy beauty and sunrise


15 min later the wind dies and the biggest midge swarm descends ….. 

I hope the finished Adventure Show on BBC scotland is fab as the pain my hands are in with around 400bites is pretty difficult to describe ….

What makes a great bike ride?


Loved this so reblogging and trying not to feel guilty about being the odd Strava zone out man

road|THEORY

What is the measure of a great bike ride?

For some, it’s hills. It’s metres of height gain, steepness of gradient, and likelihood of heart beating itself loose from your chest in mid-struggle.

I have friends who have no concept of a bike ride which involves even the shortest section of flat tarmac. They don’t understand the pleasure to be had from spinning the legs for the simple joy of it, or rattling along for mile after mile at twenty miles an hour. To these mountain goats a flat road is avoiding the issue. It’s taking the easy option.

It’s cheating.

Admittedly, these people tend to be Cumbrians. In Cumbria, geography and topography demand that tarmac slopes up, or down, and usually steeply. To them, a flat road is eyed with suspicion.

Quality Roads Quality Roads (Image: pixabay.com)

Others measure a bike ride in average speed, and are only truly…

View original post 309 more words

Gravel bike time 


So N+1 time ….. The latest itch is to get something between the titanium 29er and my titanium road bike ….. So titanium gravel grinder surely.

Pickenflick currently hitting the value for money button and a moots routt 45 hitting the silly sausage spend part of the brain.

As for bits I have been looking at tyres and this road.cc tyre review looks spot on.

 

Schwalbe G-One tyre.jpg

The lack of a tube means no pinch punctures, which means you can drop the pressure for more grip and comfort. Schwalbe states a range of 45-70psi but for the most part I ran them at the bottom of that range, or below. On the road, 50psi was good for back lane riding and 60psi was the most I ever put in them. For off-road and mixed surface rides I ran them at 30psi with no problems at all.
And they’re fast. I mean, really fast. Not just fast for a big tyre, fast full stop. If you’re battering around on well-surfaced A and B roads then you’d expect them to be a fair bit slower. In reality, they’re not: my best time on this 50km/h smashfest of a segment (link is external) on a proper road bike on 25mm tyres is just under four and half minutes. My best time on the G-Ones was only 15 seconds off that. And that’s on a gravel bike with a more upright position – you could argue that the extra drag from the rider is easily worth the difference.
Once you’re off the good roads and onto the average ones – and we have plenty of them – any conceivable difference in rolling speed is easily outweighed by the comfort of the big air chamber, and the fact that you don’t have to ease off and pick your line: just batter on through. I’ve not managed to put a hole in them that the sealant hasn’t immediately coped with. And that’s with some deliberately risky line choices through all kinds of back-road detritus.
I’ve taken them off road too, and they’re great for unsurfaced fire roads and farm tracks, blasting along with aplomb. The more technical things get, the more you’re thinking that a bigger air chamber might give you a bit more margin for error, but even crashing into rocks with enough force to ding a rim didn’t manage to flat them, and on most off-road surfaces they still offer fantastic levels of grip. Once things start to get really claggy the tread fills up and you’d be better off with a proper off-road tyre, but you can get away with most conditions.

The only downside, really, is the wear rate, but that’s a double-edged sword: it’s the soft tread compound that gives the excellent grip and it’s not as hardy as some. Personally I’ll take the longevity hit for the feel and grip while they last. And it’s not like they’ll be done in a couple of weeks, I’m six months into this test pair and they’re still going strong.
I know plenty of people who’ve tried these tyres now, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love them. Try them. You’ll love them.
Verdict

Fantastically capable all-rounder tyre for roads, ruts and rocks

Make and model: Schwalbe G-One

Size tested: 700x38C

Tell us what the product is for, and who it’s aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Schwalbe says: “The Schwalbe One family provides the perfect tire for the latest gravel bike trend. The smooth rolling G-One profile and Tubeless Easy technology make it a pleasure to ride over forest paths and rolling fields.”
If your frame has enough space, select the 40mm version. Larger volume is always an advantage when riding off-road.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Tubeless Technology
We at SCHWALBE believe that tubeless is the tire technology of the future!
Tubeless Easy MicroSkin
Tubeless is the tire technology of the future. Tubeless tires bring clear advantages in speed, comfort, grip and puncture protection.
Triple Compound
Our best and most sophisticated compound.
Triple compound. Perfectly adapted to the specific purpose. MTB (PaceStar, TrailStar, VertStar), Roadrace (OneStar), Tour (RoadStar, TravelStar)
EVO Line
The very best possible.
Highest grade materials.
Latest technology.

Rate the product for quality of construction:9/10

Rate the product for performance:9/10

Rate the product for durability:7/10

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)7/10

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)10/10

Rate the product for value: 8/10

 

 

Soma Fabrications Grand Randonneur v. 2 Build Review


Beautiful, isn’t it?  But what a pain in the ass. The reason constructeurs built all of their own components was out of necessity, not vanity. I think I have enough spares to build a whole other bike.  To spare you my agony, here’s what worked: Wheels: Velocity Synergy, laced to a Campagnolo Veloce rear […]

http://fortunecookiezen.com/2016/04/25/soma-fabrications-grand-randonneur-v-2-build-review/

Reblog cycling weekly – gearing up for the tours


From cycling weekly

The general classification at the Tour de Romandie is set to be hard fought with several Grand Tour contenders lining up

Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) step up their Tour de France preparations at the Tour de Romandie this week as a number of Grand Tour favourites line up for the Swiss race.

Quintana returns for his third European stage race of the year, having won the Volta a Catalunya and finished third at both the Tour de San Luis and Tour of the Basque Country.

Froome, a two-time winner of this race, leads a strong Sky team, featuring Geraint Thomas, Michal Kwiatkowski and Ian Stannard.
The Brit finished third here last year after a lacklustre final time trial, which saw Katusha duo Ilnur Zakarin and Simon Spilak take the top steps on the podium.
Zakarin returns to defend his title with an eye on honing his form for next month’s Giro d’Italia, while Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) will also have the same target.

Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/racing/chris-froome-and-nairo-quintana-headline-strong-tour-de-romandie-line-up-222296#aOom1eCgX9Z1VXba.99

Reblog – Picking holes in the new cycling landscape


Last week I read an article in the Guardian which generated both empathy and disappointment at the same time (though far more of the latter, than the former). The article – written by Tom Marriage – laments an apparent loss: …peculiar achievement, of anoraks and curly cheese sandwiches eaten on forgotten B-road laybys. It was a […]

https://cyclestuff.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/picking-holes-in-the-new-cycling-landscape/

I need more power …


following his latest blog at pedal works I dug into the archive and read this – maybe its time to get a smart turbo trainer.

PedalWORKS

If I am to complete the Whistler Gran Fondo this year in reasonable time, then I need more power.

Last winter I trained with a heart rate monitor. My Suunto watch has a built in “personal coach” that told me when, and how hard to train. By the time I got outside on my bikes again, I was noticeably stronger, faster, and better prepared for the cycling season.

I will continue to use the heart rate monitor but this winter I’m focusing on becoming more powerful, and to do that, I need to objectively measure my progress, or lack there of.

Enter the power meter.

I workout using a Keiser spinning bike which has a built in power meter. It measures the power delivered to the pedals during the workout, and calculates the average wattage for the session.

What are good numbers for these tests? I’ll try to remember they are relative, and…

View original post 347 more words

Very loosely Bike related


Yiannis Ghikas Design came up with an idea for a simple lamp that began with a bulb, the symbol of a genius thought. Along with the bulb, they added a base that resembled a bicycle grip, and the result is a minimalist lamp for Creaid’s Designer Lights, a project that’s raising money to create a playground for the Athens General Children’s Hospital.

Creaid-Grip-Lamp-Giorgos-Vitsaropoulos-2

The Grip lamp has a brass base that features a diagonal, crosshatch pattern, like a textured bicycle grip and a textile cord. The lamp will be up for auction in April.

Creaid-Grip-Lamp-Giorgos-Vitsaropoulos-3

Manufacturer & technical advisor: Giorgos Sofos – Gsa Metaltech
Photos: Giorgos Vitsaropoulos.

Road cycling enthusiasts …


reblog from pedal works and in the know cycling ….

PedalWORKS

IMG_1381

Re-printed from In The Know Cycling

I like this, and couldn’t have said it any better!

Road cycling enthusiasts are serious, committed and regular riders who rack up between 2,000 to 5,000 miles (3,000-7,000 kilometers) a year.  We ride on flat, rolling and mountainous terrain and do interval, strength and endurance training.  We will generally be on our bikes 4-6 days a week outdoors in decent weather.  In lousy weather, about half of us will ride on a trainer.  Some will still ride outside and the rest will sleep in.  We ride on our own, with regular partners, and in group rides.

During the year, we’ll normally ride for the pure love of it and for the way it energizes us (and reduces stress).  Some of us will also add in a few races, club rides, centuries, gran fondos, sportives or charity events to motivate our riding and measure ourselves. …

View original post 243 more words

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