Theatre Thursday: Decent Descent


From road.cc

Even if you haven’t ridden a long, snaking descent, you’ll know from watching the Tour de France and other races on TV that nothing is quicker going down one than a decent rider on a bicycle – remember Vincenzo Nibali’s winning attack in Il Lombardia last year when he zoomed past a couple of motos?

This video from Colombia shows the awkward moment when a pair of motorcyclists out on their bikes on a road near the capital Bogota were overtaken by a cyclist who’s clearly nailed his descending skills.

The biker in front is having none of it, though and gets back in front of the cyclist – not with the intention of giving him a tow, by the look of it – with the rider sensibly dropping back and expresses frustration to the other motorcyclist about his friend’s actions.

Of course, we couldn’t mention a descent in South America without flagging up one of our all-time favourite videos – the Brazilian rider who drafted a lorry … at 124kph.

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.

Things you remember – cyclist weekly


This made me chuckle – even though I am on the young end

Cyclists of a certain age may remember the good old days, when cycling was a real sport and bikes were bikes, etc

1. Checking your post-ride stats meant looking at the mechanical odometer down by your front fork drop-out. Or by how much your legs hurt.

2. It was totally okay to wear a shiny cycle jersey that included every colour and pattern known to the human race, and some that weren’t.

3. Carbon was the stuff Han Solo was frozen in, not what your frame was made of.

4. You knew exactly what people meant when they said “I were right about that saddle though5. Your posh mate had a Merckx bike, but most people couldn’t pronounce it.

6. Clip-on aero bars were the height of aerodynamic technology.

7. You spent a while deciding whether to make the switch from clips and straps to new-fangled clipless pedals.

Adrian Timmis's ANC Halfords Peugeot 1987 TDF Bike_Campag pedal Christophe toestraps_edit8. Your sports nutrition consisted of jelly babies and jam sandwiches (white bread, naturally).

9. Your helmet – if you owned one – had a cloth cover.

10. Brake levers were for brakes, not changing gear.

11. Cycling/Cycling Weekly magazine was the only way you could find out who won what and where.

1980s-cycling-magazine12. £20 was an insane amount to spend on any item of cycle clothing.

13. You never heard of any positive drug tests. No one took drugs, obviously.

14. A mobile phone consisted of a 10p piece and a wildly optimistic hope that there was a phone box within five miles.

DAVIS PHINNEY IN A STAGE-FINISH OF THE 1986 TOUR DE FRANCE

15. Aluminium bikes were for show offs.

16. Specialized, Trek and Cannondale were ‘mountain bike manufacturers’.

 

Friday bike poster: pantani


  
Read yesterday that the mafia have been implicated in pantani being thrown out of giro. Doctored a medical as they needed hi. Out as they had put large bets on him not completing the race …. So this Friday I celebrate him as the magical, lonely, manic and magical man he was.

Fork that was close


So I have been running Conti GP4000s tyres in 25mm size on my road bike and i am completely sold on the idea of this size tyre over my old 23mm. BUT and like my ex-wife it’s a big but …. the tyre picked up grit and stones and i could hear it grinding away at the fork. So finally pulled the plug on a larger fork (clearance) which had good reviews.

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and took to the bike shop to cut to size. I picked up and was going to donate my old fork to another rider in need but the bike shop mechanic showed me the old fork – really worn in the crown and the carbon on the stereo starting to delaminate ….eeek not a thought to have doing 75kmh down hills with.

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but fork in place and weight still the same 8kg ….

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Dream Bike: Ti Carbon Bastion Beastie


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The technology is there and a few builders are utilizing it for sure, but you don’t often see a 3D printed frame with elegance like Bastion Cycles‘ titanium and carbon road bike.

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This thing is a beauty and for me, was a pleasure to photograph. I love the contrast of materials, the 3d-printed NAHBS insignia on the driveside dropout and the mean fuckin’ stance of this road bike.

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