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.

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.

NAHBS (North America Hand Built Bike Show) WINNERS


from road bike review ….

Each year, the North American Handmade Bicycle Show brings together a unique and talented assortment of frame builders and bike enthusiasts. Each handcrafted piece is a reflection of the builder’s skills and imagination. Some builders went above and beyond the rest and were recognized at the awards ceremony for their creativity, vision, and craftsmanship. Here is a run-down of some of this year’s winners.

Groovy Cycleworks Best in Show

Groovy Cycleworks – Best In Show

The NAHBS Best In Show Award went to Groovy Cycleworks for an imaginative and superbly executed mountain bike and surfboard carrier. The level of detail on this bike is astounding with hand built wooden rims, a custom carved Brooks saddle, and integrated racks and fenders.

Groovy Cycleworks Best in Show

Built for an avid surfer, Groovy’s Kauai custom rig was designed with racks to carry a surfboard, making a commute to the beach a breeze. The integrated racks and fenders are also removable if a day on the trails instead of the waves is in order.

Groovy Cycleworks Best in Show

The Kauai’s 1960’s “Woody” inspired wooden features were superbly executed. Builder Rody Walter partnered up with an Amish carpenter to build the unique and beautiful wooden rims. The wooden fenders were one of the few pieces that Walter did not build himself, but he did fabricate the front and rear light boxes covers.

Groovy Cycleworks Best in Show

Ken Paulson carved the bike’s saddle with a picture of the bike owner surfing.

More info: www.groovycycleworks.com

LoveBaum Best New Builder

LoveBaum Bicycles – Best New Builder

LoveBaum Bicycles’ Chad Lovings won the prestigious Best New Builder Award with impressive details and ingenuity found throughout this gravel road bike.

LoveBaum Best New Builder

Having built just four bikes in his career, Lovings is certainly an up and comer to watch.

More info: www.lovebaumbicycles.com
Price: $1850 frame
Availability: 4-5 months

DiNucci Best Lugged Frame

DiNucci – Best Lugged Frame

DiNucci Cycles won the Best Lugged Frame Award with a frame that captivated fans and attendees thanks to its bare-metal state.

DiNucci Best Lugged Frame

While paint and finish work can hide imperfections, Mark DiNucci shared his flawless craftsmanship at NAHBS with several lugged varieties.

More info: www.dinuccicycles.com
Price: $5300 frame and fork
Availability: 8 months

Cykelmageren Artisan Award

Cykelmageren – Artisan Award

Cykelmageren’s artistic details and ingenious designs were the hit of the show with every tiny detail meticulously planned out and executed for aesthetics. Cykelmageren developed this bike specifically for the NAHBS Artisan Award category and then got the win.

Cykelmageren Artisan Award

Each component on the Cykelmageren road frame was hand crafted by builder Rasmus Gjesing. The brakes were built using a bandsaw rather than the more typical CNC machine process.

Cykelmageren Artisan Award

The shifting and brake systems were the most interesting aspect of the Cykelmageren design. A small click of the shift knob sets in motion a visible mechanism of chains and gears working together on the underside of the handlebars.

Cykelmageren Artisan Award

The Cykelmageren brakes work simply by squeezing and pulling back the cables for a simple yet elegant stopping system. The brake cables are strung with small nuts for added industrial character.

More info: www.cykelmageren.dk
Price: Estimated $200,000 – yes, seriously
Availability: N/A

REPETE Cycles Best Road Bike

REPETE – Best Road Bike

REPETE Cycles won the Best Road Bike competition this year with the beautifully crafted “REborn” road frame. REPETE’s Czech frame builders Mikolas Voverka and Robin Fišer established the company just one year ago. However the frame building duo’s craftsmanship is a testament to their individual years of experience designing and building handmade bikes.

More info: www.repetecycles.com
Price: $1890
Availability: 2-3 months

Brodie Bicycles Best City Bike

Brodie Bicycles – Best City Bike

Vancouver based Brodie Bicycles won Best City Bike.

More info: www.brodiebikes.com

No.22 Bicycles Best Cyclocross

No. 22 Bicycles – Best Cyclocross Bike

Choosing the Best Cyclocross Bike Award was one of the tougher decisions for NAHBS judges this year. Ultimately, No.22 Bicycles earned the prize with its beautifully crafted titanium Broken Arrow ‘cross bike.

No.22 Bicycles Best Cyclocross

When Serotta announced its unfortunate ending, No. 22 Bicycles snatched up production workers and builders from the timeless bike company. Along with these skilled workers came years of experience that was evident throughout each No. 22 bike.

More info: www.22bicycles.com
Price: $2700 frame

Mars Cycles People’s Choice

Mars Cycles – People’s Choice

Mars Cycles’ fillet brazed cyclocross bike wowed the crowds and took home this year’s People’s Choice Award.

More info: www.defthousebicycles.com/mars

SyCip Best Experimental Bike

SyCip – Best Experimental Bike

SyCip’s electric assist “go anywhere bike” won Best Experimental Bike. The e-bike’s fat tires are perfect for hopping curbs or taking back roads while running errands around town.

SyCip Best Experimental Bike

SyCip’s front rack is specifically designed to fit a six-pack.

SyCip Best Experimental Bike

The custom crankcase is built around Shimano’s mid-drive motor.

More info: www.sycip.com
Price: $2500 frame
Availability: 3 weeks

Alchemy Best Carbon Lay-Up

Alchemy – Best Carbon Lay-Up

Alchemy’s handmade carbon frames certainly stuck out in the sea of titanium and steel bikes at NAHBS. Alchemy won the Best Carbon Lay-Up Award for the company’s brilliant hand crafted carbon work.

More info: www.alchemybicycles.com
Price: $3950 frame, fork, headset
Availability: Four stock sizes available starting in May

Retrotec Best Mountain Bike

Retrotec – Best Mountain Bike

Retrotec’s brilliant orange fat bike won Best Mountain Bike at NAHBS this year, beating out all other fat bikes as well as all types of mountain bikes.

Retrotec Best Mountain Bike

Retrotec’s vibrant orange fat bike stole the show with its sweeping top tube and chainstay curves and a Pass and Stow rack painted to match.

More info: www.ingliscycles.com
Price: $1700 – $2400 frames
Availability: 5-7 months

Eriksen Best TIG-Welded Frame

Eriksen – Best TIG-Welded Frame

Known for immaculate TIG welds, it was no surprise that Kent Eriksen Cycles won the award for Best TIG-Welded Frame.

Eriksen Best TIG-Welded Frame

Eriksen’s precision with each TIG-weld was evident from top to bottom of every bike the company displayed at NAHBS.

More info: www.kenteriksen.com

Shamrock Cycles Best Finish

Shamrock Cycles – Best Finish

Shamrock Cycles took home the award for Best Finish with this eye catching paint job by Corby Concepts.

More info: www.lugoftheirish.com

Reblog: Maybe BMX riders are always kids


“I am a semi-pro rider but a professional track builder. I rebuild and service tracks all around the UK. I was servicing a track yesterday. In this country, the people my age, we are still the ones who were doing it when we were kids. You get a lot of racers who are in their […]

http://thisismybike.me/2016/02/20/maybe-bmx-riders-are-always-kids/

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