Future of cycling racing is looking rosier …


British Cycling president Brian Cookson will lead the UCI for the next four years following a UCI Congress at Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio replete with plot and intrigue the likes of which the historic building has not witnessed since the power struggles of the republican faction and the Medici family at the turn of the 16th Century. He defeated incumbent president by 24 votes to 18, a resounding margin in the light of earlier expectations that the vote would be too close to call.

The events that formed the background to that historical period underpinned Machiavell’s Prince, written 500 years ago this year, and today Cookson acted on advice from the Flornetine statesman, who once had an office in this very building, in that work – “It is better to be impetuous than cautious” – as he cut short arguments between delegates regarding the validity or otherwise of McQuaid’s nomination and suggested they go straight to a vote on the presidency.

Speaking after his victory, Cookson said: “It is a huge honour to have been elected President of the UCI by my peers and I would like to thank them for the trust they have placed in me today.

“I have said throughout my campaign that we must embrace a new style of governance and a collegiate way of working so that a new era of growth and commercial success for the UCI and our sport can begin.

“My first priorities as President will be to make anti-doping procedures in cycling fully independent, sit together with key stakeholders in the sport and work with WADA to ensure a swift investigation into cycling’s doping culture.

“It is by doing these things that we will build a firm platform to restore the reputation of our International Federation with sponsors, broadcasters, funding partners, host cities and the International Olympic Committee.

“Ultimately this is how we grow our sport worldwide and get more riders and fans drawn into cycling.”

By acceding to the top spot at the UCI, Cookson will have to step down as president of British Cycling, the organisation he help rescue from the brink of bankruptcy in 1997.

“My election as President of the world cycling federation – the UCI – means that I can no longer continue as President of British Cycling,” he went on.

“I am sorry to leave an organisation which I have seen make extraordinary progress over the last 16 years, but I am absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to bring about the changes that cycling needs worldwide.

“I know that I am moving on from British Cycling with the organisation in fantastic shape, and I am already looking forward to the challenges ahead as President of the UCI.”

Earlier, delegates had voted 21-21 on whether or not to adopt the controversial proposed change to the UCI Constitution that would have allowed a presidential candidate to be nominated by any two national federations.

That amendment, proposed in July by the Malaysian national federation and intended to be backdated to apply to today’s election, would have meant that McQuaid would automatically have been eligible to stand for today’s vote; having had nominations from Cycling Ireland and Swiss Cycling withdrawn, he has since been nominated by the Thai and Moroccan federations.

McQuaid insisted that he is a member of both those federations and that his nominations by each were made before the 29 June deadline and comply with the UCI’s Constitution – or at least, his interpretation of it, backed up by a legal opinion obtained by the UCI from international law firm Baker & McKenzie.

After hearing a lawyer explain why McQuaid’s nomination was believed to be valid, delegates rose to speak for or against it and the issue was due to go to a vote on whether the incumbent president could stand until Cookson made his dramatic intervention and suggested they should go straight to the issue of determining who should be president for the next four years.

It was a gamble, one that paid opff handsomely, and one that Machiavelli, who had in his mind when writing the prince an ideal ruler who could unite an Italy torn apart by factional in-fighting and threats from outside, would have approved of.

World’s lightest 29’er


finger lifting good
finger lifting good

Open co-founder Gerard Vroomen has no problem one-finger lifting a bike he claims is the lightest 29er hardtail in the world.

There is no UCI minimum when it comes to mountain bikes, but if there was it’s safe to say two new concept bikes from Open would be flagged illegal. As it is the pair of hardtail 29ers on display at Eurobike (one fully rigid, one with a 60mm leaf spring fork) are both under the UCI’s 6.8kg minimum for road bikes.

This fully rigid steed weighs just 14.1 pounds.

The fully rigid Open weighs in at 6.4kg (14.1 pounds), while the suspended version tips the scale at 6.7kg (14.8 pounds). Both bikes are spec’d with a litany of lightweight parts and wheels from German-weight-weenie parts maker AX Lightness, plus SRAM XX1 drivetrains. The suspension fork is the yet-to-be-released 990-gram Lauf TR29, which uses glass fiber leaf springs instead of more traditional suspension mechanisms. Tires are Schwalbe Furious Fred. The cranks are THM Clavicula.

“We did it because we could,” explained Open co-founder (and former Cervélo) boss Gerard Vroomen. “They are exceptionally lightweight but they are still bikes that are fully functional and can be raced. These are not spec’d with crazy drilled out stuff that breaks when you look at it.”

Frame weight of the O-1.0 is under 900 grams for a size large, added Vroomen, who figures these are the “lightest 29er hardtails in the world.”

Vroomen also gave a thumbs up to the yet unprovenLauf fork. “I think one really big advantage is that it solves the problem of stiction,” he said. “Normally there’s a slight delay in the initial action of a fork, but not here. So over small bumps this fork reacts much quicker. But we still need to do some fatigue testing before we commit to spec’ing it on our bikes.”

However, Vroomen said that sort of testing has already been done with these two super light bikes. “We brought them to the testing agency here in Germany,” he explained. “And they said there were the lightest mountain bikes that have ever passed even though when we first brought them in they were sure that they wouldn’t pass.”

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 09.15.23

This proof-of-concept steed weighs less than the UCI minimum for road bikes.

The rigid Open is available as a fuselage only, meaning drivetrain and wheels are not included, and retails for $6,700. The suspended bike is simply a proof of concept and is not yet available for sale.

What is needed to save the name of cycling: no 1 get rid of the current UCI nincompoop Mc*Quaid


Pat McQuaid Simon MacMichael_0

 

British Cycling president Brian Cookson has attacked incumbent UCI president Pat McQuaid over an attempt to change the rules governing the nomination of candidates for the top job at the UCI, world cycling’s governing body.

Cookson, who is standing against McQuaid in the UCI presidential election scheduled for September 27, said: “The efforts to change the nomination and electoral process announced last night on behalf of the UCI director general are a clear sign of desperation from the incumbent President, Pat McQuaid.

“This latest twist appears to be nothing more than a fraught attempt to undemocratically and unconstitutionally impact on the process while it is underway.

McQuaid seeks nomination

McQuaid secured a nomination from the Swiss cycling federation after his own home federation, Ireland, voted not to nominate him. That nomination is being challenged in the Swiss courts. The UCI insists this is permitted, but three Swiss Cycling members, Swiss national coach Kurt Buergi, former Swiss Cycling board member Mattia Galli and ex-pro Patrick Calcagni have filed a complaint which will be heard on August 22.

If their complaint is upheld, then McQuaid’s only hope of nomination is the proposed rule change, which will allow any two federations to nominate a presidential candidate and which will be applied retrospectively if it is accepted at the UCI Congress on September 27.

The rule change

The change was explained to UCI Congress members in a letter yesterday from Christophe Hubschmid, director general of the UCI management committee. In that letter, Hubschmid said: “The Malaysian Federation and Asian Continental Confederation state that their aim is to reinforce the independence of future UCI presidents by ensuring they are able to carry out the role based on serving the global interests of cycling, independently from those of any single nominating national federation.”

A press release from the UCI explained:

“As national federations are being informed about this proposal after the original deadline to nominate presidential candidates has passed, as a transitional provision, for the 2013 Presidential elections only, the new amendment also proposes to allow any two national federations to put forward candidates from now until a deadline of Friday 30 August 2013 at 12:00 CEST. These nominations will then become valid if the motion is subsequently approved at Congress.”

Cookson astonished

Brian Cookson expressed astonishment at this development, saying: “It is surely completely out of order to allow a proposal to change an electoral procedure once that procedure is underway. These proposals should never have been permitted onto the agenda.

“In addition to this, which I can only describe as an attempt to change the rules during the game, I note with astonishment that Pat McQuaid is now shown on the election papers as being nominated by three federations.

“The Constitution is quite clear that candidates should be nominated by their own federation. Pat is shown with the designation (IRL) next to his name but, as is well known, Cycling Ireland withdrew his nomination.”

“I have asked the Director General how and why has Pat been given this opportunity?

“It now also appears that any two national federations are to be allowed to make further nominations for the presidency before a new deadline of 30th August, even though under the provisions of the UCI constitution nominations actually closed on 30th June. What sort of organisation attempts to rewrite the rules once an election has actually begun – it smacks of attempted dictatorship.”

Abuse of power

The Swiss case against McQuaid’s nomination is being sponsored by the compression clothing company Skins, whose chairman Jaimie Fuller founded reform group Change Cycling Now and has been one of the most vocal critics of McQuaid and the previous actions of the UCI.

Fuller is not impressed by the attempt to change the UCI rules.

“The latest actions from UCI president Pat McQuaid are those of a desperate man trying to hold onto his dwindling power base,” he said. “This abuse of process and power are unheard of in sports administration circles and his tactics most resemble those of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe.”

UCI management committee member Mike Plant said he believes that with the intense scrutiny the UCI is currently under, this rule change would further undermine the organisation’s standing.

UCI credibility further destroyed

In a letter to Christophe Hubschmid, Plant wrote: “The timing of this significant change to the Presidential nomination process, less than 60 days from a very contested, globally visible and important election is unconscionable, unethical, dishonest, unprofessional, manipulative and destructive.”

Plant pointed out the level of interest in this election and went on: “Now we are going to change the rules at the 11th hour before this historic election? Does anyone really think the vast majority of our stakeholders, constituencies, fans, media, etc. are going to accept this as a small administrative governance change?

“One month ago, we received the results of the stakeholder study.  Over 7,000 respondents overwhelmingly told us that we must restore the credibility in the UCI and its leadership. For the life of me, I cannot see how making this significant change to the nomination process, on the morning of the election will do anything less than further destroy the current reputation and credibility of how this organisation is currently being governed and managed.”

 

how light is your bike?


from road.cc

 

Ridley_Helium_SL_LTD_Diet-17

 

Most top-end bikes easily make a mockery of the UCI’s imposed minimum weight limit of 6.8kg and this week Ridley revealed their lightest ever Helium SL at an incredible 5.52kg (12.16lbs). Don’t all go rushing to your nearest Ridley dealer with a charged credit card though; this is strictly a one-off.

Last year, the company launched a limited edition Helium SL 58 that you can buy weighing just 5.8kg. That’s a size medium with pedals, a SRAM Red groupset, Zipp 202 wheels and 4ZA Cirrus Pro finishing kit. The claimed weight for the frame is just 750g, putting it in the company of some extremely light frames like Cannondale’s SuperSix Evo and Cervelo’s R5. It’s right up there.

Ridley though reckoned they could skim a bit more weight from the build and so set themselves a challenge. All good challenges need a few rules, so they decided it had to rely on WorldTour approved components, the wheels had to be the same 202s and they didn’t want to compromise stiffness and strength.

With these goalposts in place, they set about putting commercial director Anthony Kumpen’s bike on a very strict diet. His bike is a size small, so they’re cheating a little bit there. They did, however, manage to strip the weight down from 5.74kg to 5.52kg, a 220g saving. Yes it’s only a couple of hundred grams, but on a bike that was already so light, that’s impressive.

And they managed it without resorting to any crazy one-off machined parts that you or I can’t buy. Okay so the parts they used are eye-wateringly expensive, but light bikes come with heavy price tags, as we all know.

So where did they save the weight? They replaced the bog standard bottom bracket and hub bearings with full ceramic bearings, they fitted lighter jockey wheels and they swapped the saddle for a San Marco Aspide Carbon FX. Ridley readily admit they could have saved more weight with the saddle, but they didn’t want to sacrifice comfort. A good call, we’d say.

A full carbon seatpost is used. Titanium bolts are used in the stem and they fitted a 10.5g seatpost clamp.

On went a set of Look Keo Blade Carbon Titanium pedals (94.7g each).

And the final touch was a set of Nokon cables.

There you go, a bunch of marginal changes that contribute to a reasonable weight saving, all while using off-the-shelf parts.

Who hasn’t looked at their bike and eyed up a few changes here and there that could shed some weight. Are you planning any weight saving upgrades? Let’s hear about them. I’m eyeing up some lighter wheels for race season myself, and perhaps a lighter seatpost while I’m at it.

technology vs drugs forcycling


great article at humans invent site – from the voice of a man that has embraced both worlds …

We all know the story: an ageing cop in an inner city Police department who is long past his best; his wife has left him, he drinks too much, he has a problem with authority, he can’t quite accept that the Police force is changing and that his old methods don’t cut it anymore. The big case comes and he does it his way; he intimidates a few witnesses, uses his informants, and breaks whatever law necessary to get the job done. Sure enough, he gets the job done and in doing so proves that his old fashioned ways are best.

 

He’s the anti-hero and we all love him, because we as a collective audience seem to admire a bad-boy hero. It’s a story and one that works almost every time on TV shows, in books and in movies. But, it is only a story. In reality it is much more likely that blindly sticking to old methods in anything will do little more than stifle progress.

Professional cycling is one such sport that has long since been full of self-appointed anti-heroes, breaking rules to get things done by the only way they know how. But, in light of an exhaustive list of doping revelations, the sport is starting to recognise finally that it has to make progress in the right ways.

Despite occasional disapproval from cycling’s ‘purist’ audience (that includes many of the people in charge of the sport) who believe that cycling should be a purely human and not technological battle, a new generation of riders and teams are getting the job done and finding the advantages they need, not through doping but through scientific and technological advances in every aspect of the sport.

One such rider who has become a strong exponent for anti-doping and of the development of the technological side of the sport is David Millar.

Cycling is a bonkers sport, it got a bit too mad the last twenty years, but we’re back to it being the right sort of mad

Millar has seen cycling come almost full circle, from the willful ignorance of the final ‘Pre-Festina’ season of 1997 (Millar’s first), when the scale of the doping problem was yet unknown, to the slightly surreal conclusion to the era that was Lance Armstrong’s confession on Oprah Winfrey.

In that time cycling played a game of hide and seek with the realities and responsibilities of becoming a major global sport. Despite the fact the world was changing cycling stubbornly refused to.

As part of a generation that at the time couldn’t have believed that things would ever change, Millar himself was involved in his own scandal. In 2007 having served a two-year suspension, he came back with a new mission: to put himself and the sport back together again. The big question then was; how were the riders involved going to find a new way forward and adapt, without themselves going backward and without alienating its audience.

Millar believes that cycling was once a technological leader, but lost its way.

I spoke to Millar about the changes that are occurring in the sport and how cycling is evolving through them, as well as why technology has not only just become the key to success, but has, in fact, always been the key to success.



Do you think that the influx of technology and innovation in the sport, that we’ve seen over the past four or five years, marks a different attitude towards performance; that doping is no longer the answer and there are other (legal) ways to gain an advantage?

It’s all unified. The Anglos have brought in the biggest leap forward, we have a different culture when it comes to cycling, we see it as a technological sport; Europeans have seen it as a purely physical sport. Where there are machines, and bicycles are machines, there are opportunities to increase performance through research and development. The sport as whole has realised this now, what was just an Anglo attitude has become a necessary attitude for everybody if they want to stand a chance of winning.

Do you feel that cycling neglected, or at least put the importance of technology and innovation, on the back shelf over the past twenty years because the sport had become so focused on doping, that all training and improvements were related to those practices?

Cycling is an old technological sport: unfortunately doping became the technology for a while there. I’ve had lunches with André Darrigade when I lived in Biarritz and he’d tell me about things they were doing with their bikes and tyres in the 50s that blew us out the water in the 90s.

The sport just lost its way, it was cutting edge back in the day, it became complacent and confused, now once again it’s becoming cutting edge (the right cutting edge!), although anyone would think the UCI is totally against this considering the many ridiculous limitations they put on manufacturers and riders.

From your point of view how has the importance and influence of technology in racing and training changed throughout your career?

The importance has always been the same for me (personally). It was having this view that helped me gain so many early successes in time trials against guys who had the physical advantage from doping. The majority of other pros (and even my team management) didn’t care about their position/wheels/gearing/skinsuits/helmets/shoe-covers: I did. At times I would buy my own equipment and risk the wrath of the team management and sponsors.

Millar says that cycling has returned to being the “right sort of mad.”

A lot of fans of the sport, and even the governing body can seem to be anti-technology, because the human aspect is what makes the sport interesting.

You are a rider who seems to have managed both very well. When you race do you still feel that the influence of technology ends somewhere and instinct takes over?

I’m a racer, always have been and always will be. I don’t have a very good, to use the Steve Peters ergo Sky terminology, ‘Chimp Management System’. This means that most of the things I do in a race are instinctive, very little is planned…  I’ll be first to admit this isn’t ideal, and there’s a part of me that is quite happy not changing it. I’m the same I was when I first raced as a teenager…only a little more windswept and interesting.

Doping vs. Technology: How do you compete?

When team Garmin Sharp first entered cycling with the clear mission of being a clean team, they knew they couldn’t compete with anyone doping either on General Classification or in stages with significant climbing, as EPO gives up to a 20% advantage on mountain stages.

Instead, they they targeted Time Trials, and specifically Team Time Trials, where the benefits of doping were best combatted, and the benefits of technology, aerodynamics, team coordination and careful planning were greatest.

Jonathan Vaughters, Manager of team Garmin Sharp says, “Any high speed event allows aerodynamics to benefit the rider more than doping. In low speed disciplines, like climbing, that’s more difficult. But in the team time trial, overcoming doping, by use of faster materials and better positioning, is possible. You just have to put in the time in the wind tunnel.”

Significantly, the team’s first major victory came in the Team Time Trial at the 2008 Giro d’Italia.

Do you think that cycling will always retain its essence no matter the technology that is introduced, or do you think that it could be significantly changed over the next generation of innovations?

If we have twenty Team Sky’s then yes, it will have lost its essence. But there is only one Team Sky and we need them in the sport to push everybody forward. Similarly there is only one Team Garmin-Sharp, and if there were twenty of us then the peloton would be trying to find a way to race on the moon, just for a bit of fun. Cycling is a bonkers sport, it got a bit too mad the last twenty years, but we’re back to it being the right sort of mad.

Team Garmin Sharp are widely viewed as innovators, bringing new technologies and ideas in to the sport. How hard has it been to make progress happen in a very traditional world?

It’s not been easy that’s for sure! We were renegades when we arrived in 2008, we also didn’t mind being different and being laughed at. We said we were going to be 100% clean, we were vocal against doping; no team had ever done this. It was our mission statement to change cycling and give people hope again. We knew other riders were still doping, and we knew if we wanted to beat them we couldn’t rely on our bodies alone. We experimented with training and equipment and pre and post-race protocols.

We wore ice-vests before the Giro d’Italia TTT that we won (in 2008). We may have been laughed at when we rolled up to the start line in our vests, but nobody laughed when we won. We earned respect, and we have led the way, to this day we have no fear to try new things, it’s part of the culture of our team. We are respected for it now, and more importantly, we’re copied.

With teams like Garmin Sharp, and Team Sky proving that by actually taking your head out of the sand and trying something else you can make a difference, do you think that the attitude will change and all teams will start looking to innovate, or do you think that it will be a case of a small number of teams innovating and others following?

A small number of teams are innovating, many are following, and a few are unchanging. The bottom line is that if you don’t have the right people and sponsors onboard then your development is limited. We’ve always been very careful to have sponsors who understand our philosophy, it doesn’t matter how much will there is, if the sponsor does not help in finding the way then nothing happens.

We’re very lucky with Garmin, Sharp, Castelli and Cervelo; they’re all sponsors who give us the will and the way to move forward. This isn’t by chance either; Jonathan Vaughters has never deviated from his original vision. And we have probably the smartest guy in cycling in charge of our science, Robby Ketchell. It’s a bit of dream team when it comes to pushing the envelope.

What do you think about the direction the sport is going in now, compared to say ten years ago?

I think it’s fucking awesome.

Team Garmin Sharp has led the way in innovation.


Clearly Millar is relieved that a change has come, and is excited for the future of the sport. It is exactly this kind of change in attitude amongst riders, sponsors, and fans alike, that suggests the sport is finally ready to accept that it is time to change its ways and, more importantly perhaps, that the methods required to do so are already here.

South Park has a dig at Pharmstrong


from BikeRadar

The popular TV cartoon series South Park will feature the Lance Armstrong doping affair in episode 1613 to be screened this Wednesday, 31 October on Comedy Central.

Entitled A Scause for Applause, the episode blurb reads: “Rocked by the recent news of drug use by a beloved icon, the world is left feeling lost and betrayed. The boys, join with the rest of the nation, and remove their yellow wristbands. Everyone is on board, except for Stan, who just can’t seem to cut off his bracelet.”

Here’s a preview clip that focuses on the moment of crushing disappointment when everyone realises they’ve been duped. It features Mr Mackey, famous for his “drugs are bad, m’kay” parable.

Pharmstrong saga and fallout: An open letter from Greg LeMond to UCI president Pat McQuaid


 

Greg LeMond has called for the resignations of Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen. Gabriel Bouys | AFP

Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond posted a note to his Facebook account Wednesday evening, calling for UCI president Pat McQuaid, as well as honorary president Hein Verbruggen, to step down from their positions. LeMond’s note was first reposted by cycling blog NYVelocity, which, along with Cyclismas.com, launched a fund for journalist Paul Kimmage to aid in his defense against a defamation lawsuit by McQuaid and Verbruggen; that fund on Wednesday surpassed $70,000. VeloNews.com is posting LeMond’s open letter to McQuaid, lightly copyedited but in its entirety, here.

Can anyone help me out? I know this sounds kind of lame but I am not well-versed in social marketing. I would like to send a message to everyone that really loves cycling. I do not use Twitter and do not have an organized way of getting some of my own “rage” out. I want to tell the world of cycling to please join me in telling Pat McQuaid to f##k off and resign. I have never seen such an abuse of power in cycling’s history; resign Pat, if you love cycling. Resign even if you hate the sport.

Pat McQuaid, you know damn well what has been going on in cycling, and if you want to deny it, then even more reasons why those who love cycling need to demand that you resign.

I have a file with what I believe is well-documented proof that will exonerate Paul.

Pat, in my opinion you and Hein are the corrupt part of the sport. I do not want to include everyone at the UCI because I believe that there are many, maybe most, that work at the UCI that are dedicated to cycling; they do it out of the love of the sport, but you and your buddy Hein have destroyed the sport.

Pat, I thought you loved cycling? At one time you did, and if you did love cycling please dig deep inside and remember that part of your life — allow cycling to grow and flourish, please! It is time to walk away. Walk away if you love cycling.

As a reminder I just want to point out that recently you accused me of being the cause of USADA’s investigation against Lance Armstrong. Why would you be inclined to go straight to me as the “cause”? Why shoot the messenger every time?

Every time you do this I get more and more entrenched. I was in your country over the last two weeks and I asked someone that knows you if you were someone that could be rehabilitated. His answer was very quick and it was not good for you. No was the answer — no, no, no!

The problem for sport is not drugs but corruption. You are the epitome of the word corruption.

You can read all about Webster’s definition of corruption. If you want, I can re-post my attorney’s response to your letter where you threaten to sue me for calling the UCI corrupt. FYI I want to officially reiterate to you and Hein that in my opinion the two of you represent the essence of corruption.

I would encourage anyone that loves cycling to donate and support Paul in his fight against the Pat and Hein and the UCI. Skip lunch and donate the amount that you would have spent towards that Sunday buffet towards changing the sport of cycling.

I donated money for Paul’s defense, and I am willing to donate a lot more, but I would like to use it to lobby for dramatic change in cycling. The sport does not need Pat McQuaid or Hein Verbruggen; if this sport is going to change, it is now. Not next year, not down the road, now! Now or never!

People that really care about cycling have the power to change cycling — change it now by voicing your thought and donating money towards Paul Kimmage’s defense. (Paul, I want to encourage you to not spend the money that has been donated to your defense fund on defending yourself in Switzerland. In my case, a USA citizen, I could care less if I lost the UCI’s bogus lawsuit. Use the money to lobby for real change.)

If people really want to clean the sport of cycling up all you have to do is put your money where your mouth is.

Don’t buy a USA Cycling license. Give up racing for a year, just long enough to put the UCI and USA Cycling out of business. We can then start from scratch and let the real lovers in cycling direct where and how the sport of cycling will go.

Please make a difference.
 Greg