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Roland Cattin, founder of Time Sport, dies at 65

October 21, 2014 - 4:45pm

Roland Cattin with Paolo Bettini's bike, Interbike 2004. Photo: Ted Constantino

Roland Cattin, the founder of Time Sport International, died on Sunday morning near his home in Paris, following a bicycle ride he had taken with his wife. The cause was a heart attack, said Gilles Lalonde, sales manager for Time Sport USA. Cattin was 65 years old.

A strikingly handsome athlete with a forceful personality, Cattin led the company as its president from its founding in 1987. He was a passionate defender of his brand and a great champion of French ingenuity, and was never shy about expressing his unhappiness with an unfavorable product review or what he saw as a marginalization of the European cycling industry as its output was eclipsed by rivals in China and Taiwan.

“I am not only saying you are wrong, I am saying you are completely misguided,” he once remonstrated to this reporter after the appearance of a story purportedly charting the growth of composite materials in the bicycle industry. The report focused heavily on its use in Asian manufacturing, but subsequent research proved him entirely correct.

From the beginning, Cattin’s company motto was “Le Défi”—The Challenge, in English—and the immediate object of his challenge was the Look pedal system, which was the first clipless system to gain widespread usage. Time’s new pedal was intended to take on Look commercially, but behind the challenge lay a personal grudge.

Look had been founded as a ski binding company in 1948 by a French sporting goods manufacturer named Jean Beyl, and after numerous successes in the ski field, Beyl turned his attention to the bicycle cleat system. Look introduced Beyl’s clipless pedal system successfully with the PP65 pedal in 1984, and it rapidly became an industry standard, with Mavic adopting it in 1987 and Shimano in 1988. Beyl’s next plan was to add a number of new features to the Look system, but resistance to the changes and some internal acrimony at the company led Beyl to leave shortly thereafter. Looking elsewhere for a home for his next invention, Beyl founded Time with his son-in-law Cattin in 1987, and together they introduced the Time TBT pedal in 1988.

Revealed with great fanfare in January and subsequently supported by a lavish advertising campaign, the Time TBT pedal relied on two key concepts to battle the Look system for clipless supremacy. Most notably, the TBT pedal introduced the concept of rotational float, which allowed the cyclist’s heel to swing up to 10 degrees left and right without releasing. Time’s second concept was lateral float, which allowed the foot to slide sideways up to 9 degrees while remaining engaged with the pedal. Together, the concepts were promoted by the company as a way to reduce the knee and tendon injuries that could be caused by locking the foot into one position.

To raise the new pedal’s public profile, Time engaged a roster of professional riders that included Greg LeMond, Pedro Delgado, and Stephen Roche. The company was quickly rewarded when Delgado won the Tour de France in 1988, with Jeannie Longo taking the women’s Tour title that same year. Delgado’s Tour victory was followed by LeMond in 1989 and 1990, and then by Miguel Indurain, who captured five successive Tours from 1991 to 1995. Over the years, Time garnered racing titles with Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Filippo Pozzato, Thomas Voeckler, Marco Pantani, Jan Ullrich, and many others.

In a 2004 interview with VeloNews, Cattin discussed the benefits of sponsorship, noting that “Somebody like Boonen, for example, is a very strong guy, and you can have some information from a guy like this that you cannot get from Bettini, for example, who is a much lighter guy. So a pro team is a source of inspiration, because they are always pushing us to be better, to be lighter, but also to be stronger.”

Time followed the success of its road pedal with the ATAC mountain bike pedal. ATAC, an acronym for Auto Tension Adjustment Concept, separated the release angle from the spring tension on the cleat. The feature was intended to allow mountain bikers to set the release tension as low or as high as desired with no change to the basic engagement and release functions. As with the road pedals, Time sponsored a series of professional ambassadors in mountain biking who rang up a succession of victories, including two-time Olympic and five-time World Champion Julien Absalon, 2010 World Champion José Hermida, and 2012 Olympic Champion Julie Bresset.

The next move for the company was into the field of bicycles, starting with a carbon fork in 1993 and followed by complete frames in subsequent years. The Time composite products incorporate a wide blend of fibers, including carbon, Vectran, and Kevlar, and an expensive construction method called Resin Transfer Molding, or RTM. While most composite products employ a carbon cloth weave preimpregnated with resin (“prepreg” for short) which hardens when cured, the RTM approach lays up dry cloth in a predetermined arrangement and then injects resin into a surrounding mold, which is then pressurized and heated to create the final product.

The RTM system was expensive and slow, but, said Cattin, it was the one he favored for its consistency. “RTM technology is the only way to be very accurate in manufacturing to give the characteristics you are looking for in a frame,” he noted. “For example, to create a smooth ride, you need to use some specific fiber in a very accurate location and only RTM can allow you to be that accurate, compared to prepreg.”

Cattin was such a believer in the technology that rather than buying carbon cloth from outside companies, he equipped his factories with weaving machines. The machines spun cloth from spools of raw yarn, which he sourced from factories in Japan, Germany, and the United States.

The object of all this, said Cattin, was not a pursuit of profits, but instead the elusive goal of an ideal. “The bottom line is the feel of the ride,” he said. “We put in Vectran fiber in order to add comfort to the ride without affecting the lateral rigidity, but Vectran is not only for comfort, it also brings better road-holding, a better connection between the wheel and the road. You can corner better. If you don’t have a smooth ride, you don’t have a good connection between the bike and the road. So it’s not only comfort, it’s also efficiency.”

A celebration in the memory of Roland Cattin will be held Monday, October 27 at 2 p.m. at the Paroisse St. Thomas d’Aquin in Paris.

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Early retirement for six-time Belgian champion Liesbet De Vocht

October 21, 2014 - 3:01pm

Liesbet de Vocht (Lotto-Belisol) won her retirement race in Arendonk this year. She beat Marianne Vos in a sprint. Photo: Glenn Coessens

While Liesbet De Vocht’s (Lotto-Belisol) fellow Belgians prepared for the women’s world road championships in Ponferrada, Spain, she sat on the sidelines, literally. She was unable to ride due to a debilitating knee injury sustained in September’s Boels Ladies Tour. “I knew immediately when I crashed, my chances for worlds were over,” she said. “I was crushed, to say the least. I landed directly on my knee, cutting it straight through to the bone. They stitched it up but I wasn’t allowed to bend the knee for the first few days. After 10 days, the wound was still open and still wasn’t 100 percent.”

As world championships was to have been the last race of De Vocht’s career, she officially entered early retirement. “The decision to retire didn’t come overnight. It’s taken me two years, in fact, to get here. Last year, I was all ready to stop but then I won the Belgian road championships. It was difficult pass up a whole year of riding in the peloton with that prestigious jersey. Now that I’m without the jersey I can easily say goodbye. At my age [35], I just want a house and a family, including kids. Luckily I already have a boyfriend so I am halfway there,” said De Vocht.

Although her career was unexpectedly shortened by a month, her list of career accomplishments is anything but short. This year alone, she’s landed on the podium of UCI international events four times including a fourth in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and second in the Belgian time trial championships. She’s also placed seventh in both Gent-Wevelgem and Tour of Flanders.

Over the 11-year span of her career from 2004 to 2014, she’s accumulated 54 victories. These victories include four Belgian time trial championships (2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013) and two Belgian road championships in 2010 and 2013. The two Belgian road victories are especially sweet for her as they have sentimental significance. “[Belgian championships] in Geel was in front of my home crowd, while La Roche was a very personal victory. I did all preparation myself from food, gear, climb training where I basically went to the mountains to learn how to climb. … So that victory was for me.”

Another accomplishment that ranks high for De Vocht was her debut in the 2012 Olympics. “In 2011, I quit my full-time job as a programmer to focus solely on cycling in hopes to qualify for the Olympics. Well, the gamble paid off as my dream came true. And a ninth place made it that much more special.” As there was only one automatic Olympic spot allocated to the Belgian women, De Vocht sacrificed her position on Marianne Vos’ Nederland-Bloeit team to ride for the Belgian Topsport Vlaanderen Team, where she could more easily earn valuable UCI points as team leader, as opposed to riding in support of Vos. With the additional points accumulated, Belgium was able to take two additional women, including De Vocht.

While most racers would name a certain victory as their top favorite experience on the bike, De Vocht recalls an event where she missed the finish altogether. “In the 2010 Tour de Laude, I was off the front with teammate Annemiek van Vleuten when the course marshals sent us off in the wrong direction. Even though one of us surely would have won the stage, but didn’t, it was still an amazing experience to ride off the front together like that. We also worked really well as a team, where we lost time on the climbs, but could make it back in the descents — always a fun thing to do!”

De Vocht got her first taste of the bike racing scene as a supporter for her brother, former professional Wim De Vocht, as well as ex-boyfriend Tom Boonen whom she dated from 1997-2003. She spent so much time on her bike at the races to get back and forth between start, finish, and feed zones that she began to see improvement in her own cycling. Once she and Boonen split, she became inspired to see how far she could get if she gave it a shot herself, starting off with the mountain bike before switching to the pavement.

She’d gotten so far in her career, in fact, that when it came time to retire, her hometown of Arendonk held an official retirement race in July where 85 women, including Marianne Vos and this year’s Belgian road champion Jolien D’Hoore, lined up alongside her to give her a proper sendoff. After she crossed the line — with an average speed of 41.32kph, hands raised in the air, the festivities began. She kicked it off by thanking all her supporters, fans, and friends she’s made over the years, adding, “I will definitely look back to this time in my life with a lot of joy and a smile across my face.”

And now looking back specifically to that special day, she muses, “For sure I appreciate my early retirement party in Arendonk even more.”

De Vocht may be retiring from professional cycling, but she promises to firmly remain in the cycling community. “Next year, the plan is to work for Lotto-Soudal womens’ under-23 riders, coaching them as well as handling some of the administrative work. I’ll also be coaching the novices and juniors on the Balen BC cycling club from the area. As long as I don’t have to go back to a nine-to-five job, I’ll be happy.”

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Maghalie Rochette looks to Canadian cyclocross nationals

October 21, 2014 - 2:12pm

Maghalie Rochette (Luna Pro Team) raced to second place at Full Moon Vista cyclocross in Ellison Park, in Rochester, New York. Photo: Dave McElwaine

Canadian cyclocross rider Maghalie Rochette captured attention across the American racing scene with a third place finish at Rapha Super Cross Gloucester and second at Rochester’s Ellison Park Full Moon Vista race. This weekend, she heads to Winnipeg to vie for a maple leaf jersey in Canadian cyclocross nationals.

Now in her third and most consistently successful year of UCI ‘cross competition, the 21-year-old Luna Pro Team rider also won The Night Weasels Cometh, a big non-UCI event in New England.

After completing her second elite mountain bike season in September and feeling more content with the experience than her overall results, Rochette opted for a relaxed approach to the 2014 cyclocross season.

“I just wanted to have some fun, to go all-out in ‘cross races and try to have some good results,” she said. “But I didn’t really have results in mind. I was just going out there to have a blast … but [results] arrived so I am super happy.”

Now she hopes that her relaxed success will carry over the border to Canada this coming weekend when she tackles the Canadian cyclocross championships in Winnipeg and looks for a better outcome in her third run at the elite women’s contest.

In 2012 she finished 13th. Last year, she came into the race two weeks after a bad crash and placed ninth. Her goal for Winnipeg is to pass the finish line happy with her performance.

“I’m not thinking about a position so much because it’s hard to decide if a race is good based only on that — you can’t control what the other racers are doing,” Rochette said. “So even if I have the best day of my life, and six other girls also have the best day of their lives and they beat me, I can’t be disappointed with that.”

Canadian cyclocross nationals will be held in downtown Winnipeg on Saturday, October 25. Check back on VeloNews for event coverage.

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Armstrong, former USPS riders to reunite this weekend at Gran Fondo Hincapie

October 21, 2014 - 2:00pm

Four members of the controversial 1999 U.S. Postal Service team will ride together at Gran Fondo Hincapie. Photo: TDW Sport.

This weekend, at a gran fondo in Greenville, South Carolina, several members of the former U.S. Postal Service team will ride together again.

Four members of the USPS team that won the 1999 Tour de France — Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, and Kevin Livingston — will reunite at the October 25 Gran Fondo Hincapie.

Former Postal/Discovery Channel team members Michael Barry and Tom Danielson will also be attending. Though initially listed as a participant, former USPS rider David Zabriskie has said he will not be able to make the trip.

Mixed with this group are several notable names from the younger generation of American racers, including Tejay van Garderen, Brent Bookwalter, and Larry Warbasse, all of BMC Racing, Hincapie’s last team as a professional.

American WorldTour riders Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp) and Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing) are also participating.

Two years and two weeks after USADA’s Reasoned Decision rocked the foundation of American cycling, it’s a notable list of riders, past and present, who are attending — particularly four who testified about Armstrong’s drug use, and their own, in the USADA report.

Since the USADA report was released, those involved have gone in disparate directions. Hincapie retired, and now runs an apparel company, which sponsors a successful development team. Vande Velde served a six-month off-season suspension, raced in 2013, and then retired; he’s now a race announcer for NBC Sports. Danielson served a six-month off-season suspension, and continues to race, and win, for Garmin-Sharp. Livingston, who was a member of the USPS team but did not testify in the USADA report, serves in the role of competition director for Georgia-based race organizer Medalist Sports; he also runs the Pedal Hard Training Center in Austin, Texas, in the basement of the Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop owned by Armstrong. Barry and Zabriskie have maintained relatively low profiles, with Zabriskie competing this year in Race Across America and the Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race.

Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of his Tour victories; within a week of the USADA report’s release, he lost millions in sponsorship revenue, as well as his seat at the Livestrong Foundation, which he founded.

The event, however, is more about Hincapie than Armstrong. The gran fondo bears Hincapie’s name, and this list of riders attending, which spans generations, speaks to the friendships he has cultivated over the years.

American riders from the USPS team who testified in the USADA case, but are not attending, include Levi Leipheimer, Frankie Andreu, Jonathan Vaughters, and Tyler Hamilton.

In today’s post-confessional environment, there are critics who will argue that a team of young riders should not be sponsored by an apparel company owned by George Hincapie, or that he should not be organizing a gran fondo.

Whether or not that is a valid argument is ultimately a matter of opinion; Hincapie “served” his six-month USADA suspension in retirement, and is in no way prohibited from being involved in professional cycling, as a sponsor or team director, as Armstrong is, due to his lifetime ban. (Hincapie’s gran fondo is unsanctioned, and therefore Armstrong is free to participate.)

And while some might assume that riders from the younger generation would choose to disassociate themselves from riders who admitted to drug use, in this instance, that is not the case.

VeloNews reached out to several of those pros, past and present, who are participating, for comment.

Most, including Armstrong and Hincapie, addressed their involvement with event, either via email, phone, or in person, while a few — Vande Velde and Livingston — did not.

Some addressed the inherent awkwardness of the reunion, others did not.

Their replies follow below.

George Hincapie (via email): The Fondo is not supposed to have an intended or implied message; at least that’s not what we are shooting for. It’s just a celebration of cycling with friends and fans that also supports what we feel are important causes. Last year we hosted 20 or so veterans from Operation Shift Gears, and financial proceeds purchased more than 6,000 meals for our Meals on Wheels chapter. We hope for even more this year. The Fondo also helps promote what a great region this is for cycling, and brings people here to ride. It even gets people who may have never thought about getting on a bike to challenge themselves and try it out. I have a few personal friends that are now totally into cycling as a result of the event, and it has changed their life. To me that’s what it’s all about. I know I’ve made mistakes along with some of the other riders in attendance, but I believe in, and hope for, second chances for everyone. I’m very fortunate to count many former and current professionals as friends, and will leave it to my peers to decide how they regard me, and the event.

Lance Armstrong (via email): I’m going because George is a good friend and he asked me to come. He’s been awfully supportive of Anna and mine’s work with Wapiyapi [a small private fundraising dinner and ride], so I wanted to return the favor. Regarding the others, I’m ambivalent.

Michael Barry (via email): l am not sure there is much to say. Like in any walk of life, I’ve remained friends with a few of the guys, notably Christian and George. Our lives have all moved on in different ways. Some guys I was close with, others I never speak with.

Dave Zabriskie (by phone): George is a friendly guy, he’s nice to everyone, people like him. That’s why so many people are going. If I could be there, I would be. I don’t think the younger guys see George as someone to be scared of, or scared of associating with, I think they see him as someone they can learn from.

These [former USPS teammates] spent a lot of years together. You can’t just wipe that away. There’s a lot of baggage in the past, but I think some friendships can transcend that. Some people out there, maybe they can’t move on past what happened, but for some of these guys, they are able to move forward. It’s interesting that Lance, if anyone, can put it all in the past and move on.

Tejay Van Garderen (by phone): I can see the curiosity of people, wondering why we would choose to associate ourselves. It was frustrating for me to learn about all the stuff that happened in the past, and I think I was right there, with a lot of people, being angry about the news that had come out. But after a while, after I had had some time to digest … Thor Hushovd said to me once, in regards to Lance, ‘If I had a family member, or friend, who committed a crime and went to prison, I wouldn’t support what they did — but I would still go visit them in prison.’ And I agree with that.

With a lot of these guys … nothing they can do will make up for what they did, but I don’t think that necessarily makes them bad people. I also look at the good that they have done. Levi has raised money with his gran fondo, which he gives back to his community. Christian has been helping out with setting up an American seat on the CPA, the pro riders union. He’s not getting a dime from that, and he’s not racing, he’s retired, he just wants to see the sport improve.

As for George, I roomed with him at the 2012 Tour de France. I shared a lot of special moments with George, and you can’t just turn your back on all of that, because of something that happened 10 years ago.

I think the healthy, and positive thing, for the younger generation of riders to do is to accept, and forgive, and maybe not forget, but to move forward. These people are human beings, and we’re moving on. I think the worst thing for people to do is to hold a pep rally at the USA Pro Challenge to go and flip off Tom Danielson.

Lance lives down the block from me, in Aspen. We’ve gone on some rides together, he’s even motorpaced me behind his Vespa. I don’t feel like there’s any hidden agenda there. He still loves the sport, and wants to see it get better. I don’t think he is the evil guy he’s been depicted to be, in all these books and movies, but I suppose that is ultimately going to be left up for people to decide for themselves.

Lance took the brunt [of the USADA investigation], much harder than anyone else, and in my opinion, he might deserve a bit of a break. To say whether he deserves equal punishment to everyone else, that’s not up to me to decide.

Alex Howes (in person): I don’t know. I feel like I’m playing kind of the ignorance card when I say I don’t really think about it. But I really don’t. Like those guys, guys like Vande Velde and Hincapie and Zabriskie and that Lance guy. With as involved in the sport as they were for so many years, unless the world was flat and they could just fall off the edge, they’re really not going to be going anywhere too fast. And for us younger guys, this newer generation, it’s been kind of a balancing act. Learning how to be friends with them, help them kind of reintegrate into clean cycling. And also kind of create our own identity I suppose, as a generation. And it’s not easy, and I feel like we’re doing a relatively good job. I’m pretty proud of where we are from a results standpoint. From an ethical standpoint … Where we stay in our little bubble, how we relate to the rest of population, I don’t know. It’s complicated. It’s absolutely not black and white.

Larry Warbasse (via email): It’s a pretty cool event. I went there the first year they had it (two years ago) and it was a great time. The ride is a great way to show off the town of Greenville and its surrounding areas (a place I spent two of my winters training and think of very fondly) and it also supports a great local charity, Meals on Wheels, which is awesome. It is a pretty impressive list of riders attending the Fondo, I think it speaks volumes to how respected of a guy George is.

In regards to the relationships we (the younger generation of American riders) have with George and some of the other riders attending, I can only speak for myself.

During the two winters I spent in Greenville, I trained with George nearly every day. I got to know him very well as a person and consider him a close friend. I also rode with his development team in 2012, the year before I turned pro. Many tend to look for the worst in people. I, however, tend to look at the best. Many people have a hard time realizing that good people can make bad decisions. George is a great person. He made some bad decisions in his past. But he also has done worlds for the sport to try to right his wrongs, by giving back to the sport and helping young riders. His development team is a great example of that. I did not know him at the time when he made those decisions, I met him after he decided to race clean. People look to crucify George and others for the past, but I think our energy can be better utilized by working towards the future.

Brent Bookwalter (via email): At the end of the day, my support of George’s ride is about being there for him as a friend, just as he was for me during the time when we were teammates, and after. It is equally about supporting the ride itself, which makes a significant charitable contribution and is a staple event in the Southeast part of the country where I reside for much of the year. George has been gracious enough to support our ride, the Bookwalter Binge, and our charitable fundraising goals as well. It is nice that we can exchange support with each other in these areas after being supportive teammates in years past.

Matthew Busche (via email): I recently moved [to Brevard, N.C.] and have quickly come to realize how great the riding is around here in terms of quality and beauty. I did a small, local group ride in September (Tour d’Apple) and met some great people and rode some amazing roads that I didn’t know existed in basically my own backyard. I am doing George’s fondo this coming weekend, and the Bookwalter Binge the following weekend, as a way to promote cycling as a whole, promote cycling in this area, and as a friend to George and Brent. I’m excited to see some of the roads in the area I haven’t been on and I look forward to good weather, fall colors, and great company.

Tom Danielson (via email): This is my second year doing George’s fondo and I’m really looking forward to it. Greenville is a beautiful part of the country to ride in, and George’s fondo does a great job showcasing it, and does a lot for charity as part of it. It’s a great event, it gets people from all over the place involved in and excited about cycling, and that’s what it’s all about.

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Racing halted at Six Days of Amsterdam after serious injury to derny driver

October 21, 2014 - 1:53pm

The Six Days of Amsterdam track event was postponed Tuesday after derny driver Cees Stam, 68, suffered a serious accident and was rushed to a nearby hospital.

The Twitter account for, the official live stream for the Amsterdam Six Day, reported that Tuesday’s racing had been cancelled after a major crash.

In a statement on the event website, organizers said, “A number of other pacemakers and riders were involved in the accident [and suffered] minor injuries.”

Stam is an experienced derny driver and formerly a professional cyclist and four-time world champion on the track in motorpaced events.

Eurosport race commentator Carlton Kirby tweeted from the event, “Sadly tonight’s racing from Amsterdam has been abandoned due to the serious injury to one of the [derny] drivers.”

Among those participating at the event is Paris-Roubaix champion Niki Terpstra, (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), the winner of the Amsterdam Six-Day event in 2011. Terpstra’s teammate is Yoeri Havik.

Also participating are Lotto-Belisol riders Pim Ligthart and Jasper Buyst. Buyst won last year’s Six Days of Ghent and was the revelation of the six-day season.

Check back for more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Julich part of behind-the-wheel changes at Tinkoff-Saxo

October 21, 2014 - 1:11pm

After retiring from racing, Bobby Julich worked with Saxo Bank as a technical director. In 2015, he'll return to the squad, now Tinkoff-Saxo, as a sport director. Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).

American ex-pro Bobby Julich and Sean Yates look to be heading to Tinkoff-Saxo in a major, behind-the-scenes shakeup at the team for next season.

According to reports in the French daily L’Equipe, the pair will join Tinkoff-Saxo’s sport director staff for the 2015 season. At the same time, Philippe Mauduit and Fabrizio Guidi, two long-time sport directors who’ve been with the team since 2011, are out.

Team officials could not be reached to confirm the news, but it marks a shift in management at one of the sport’s highest-profile teams. And it’s another signal that team owner Oleg Tinkov and team CEO Stefano Feltrin are firmly in charge. The Russian tycoon has steadily been raising his profile since buying out Bjarne Riis last year. Riis remains as team manager, and calls the shots during the races, but these moves reveal that Tinkov is not content to remain an idle, hands-off owner.

Speaking to French newspaper La Nouvelle Republique, Mauduit said he saw the writing on the wall earlier this season that he was not bonding with the outspoken Russian owner.

“Tinkov bought the team in 2013, and I saw very quickly we didn’t share the same ways of working, or the same values, and it was true that our collaboration was difficult,” Mauduit said. “But he is the boss, and he has the money, and he does what he wants with the team, the strategy, and his communication. He’s the one who decides, and I respect that.”

Mauduit worked with French teams before joining Cérvelo in 2009-2010, and then Riis’ Saxo Bank-SunGard outfit in 2011. Guidi finished out his pro racing career with Riis before becoming a sport director, also in 2011.

Julich and Yates, meanwhile, will return to Riis’s side. Yates worked as a sport director at the former CSC team in 2003-04, while Julich finished out his racing career with Riis from 2004 to 2008, when he enjoyed a revival, winning such races as Paris-Nice, Critérium International, and the Eneco Tour, all in 2005. The American then took on a role with the team as rider development manager, which lasted until late 2010.

Yates and Julich both joined Team Sky in 2010, with Yates working as lead director, and Julich as a coach. Both left the team in 2012, however, as part of the team’s controversial zero-tolerance policy, with Yates citing personal problems and Julich admitting he took performance-enhancing drugs early in his pro career.

Yates, 54, has not worked with a top pro team since then, while Julich, 42, worked as a coach for BMC Racing this season.

In their arrival to Tinkoff-Saxo, they will link up with Steven de Jongh, who also left Sky in 2012 after also admitting former doping practices. Since his arrival to Tinkoff-Saxo in 2013, de Jongh eclipsed Mauduit as the team’s lead director, and helped steer Alberto Contador to victory during the 2014 Vuelta a España.

Tinkoff-Saxo has also closed out its roster for 2015, with a total of 30 riders for next season. Six new faces join the team, including Peter and Juraj Sagan, Macej Bodnar, and Ivan Basso (all from Cannondale), as well as Pavel Brutt (Katusha) and Robert Kiserlovski (Trek).

The core of the team remains intact, with five departures. Niki Sorensen and Karsten Kroon are both retiring, with Nicolas Roche to Sky, Rory Sutherland to Movistar, and Marko Kump to Slovenian team Adria Mobil.

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Vuelta a Espana to hold one-day women’s race

October 21, 2014 - 12:19pm

La Course brought the women's peloton to the Champs-Elysées in 2014, and now a similar race is planned for the Vuelta. Photo: BrakeThrough Media |

Spanish newspaper Marca reported Tuesday that Vuelta a España organizers have confirmed plans for a one-day women’s race in conjunction with the final stage of Spain’s grand tour.

The 2015 Vuelta will finish in Madrid on September 13. It is anticipated that the women’s race will take on a similar format to that seen at La Course by the Tour de France, which was held for the first time this year, and will return in 2015, again racing the Champs-Élysées circuit.

Vuelta organizer Unipublic is said to be in talks with the UCI to seek a top-category classification for the event on the international elite women’s calendar.

Details still remain unconfirmed, but as of now, organizers plan to hold the race on Madrid’s Paseo de la Castellana boulevard. As of yet, the event does not have an official name, but it is expected to resemble La Course in many ways.

This race will be a welcome addition to the women’s calendar, which sees precious few elite races in Spain, with the exception of the Bira stage race.

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Gallery: HPCX, day 1

October 21, 2014 - 11:54am

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  • View Larger Image.HPCX: Day 1

    In the women's race, the early selection included Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom), Cassandra Maximenko (Rare Vos/Van Dessel/Power Bar), and Nikki Thiemann (Rare Disease). Photo by Scott Kingsley |

  • View Larger Image.HPCX: Day 1

    Jessica Cutler finished in sixth place on day one of HPCX. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

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    Cassandra Maximenko (Rare Vos/Van Dessel/Power Bar) was able to use her long strides to make quick work of the barriers. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

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    Brittlee Bowman (House Industries/Simple Human/Richard Sachs) was a constant presence just behind the leaders. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

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    Cheryl Sornson (Rare Disease Racing) led a group up the hill after the barriers. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

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    Rebecca Gross looked through a tricky corner on her way to a seventh-place finish. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

  • View Larger Image.HPCX: Day 1

    Cassandra Maximenko (Rare Vos Racing/Van Dessel/Power Bar) rode the front most of the race with Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) right on her wheel. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

  • View Larger Image.HPCX: Day 1

    Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) used her criterium sprinting experience to take the uphill sprint to the line ahead of Cassandra Maximenko (Rare Vos Racing/Van Dessel/Power Bar). Photo by Scott Kingsley |

  • View Larger Image.HPCX: Day 1

    In the men's race, Cameron Dodge made his way through the barriers on the Thompson Park course. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

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    Jake Sittler had a solid race, finishing in the top ten. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

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    Anthony Clark (JAM Fund/NCC) leads Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo Cycling Team). What seemed like minor contact with Clark ended Durrin's day with a broken right shift lever. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

  • View Larger Image.HPCX: Day 1

    Bill Elliston carried his bike through one of the technical sections of the course. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

  • View Larger Image.HPCX: Day 1

    Cameron Dodge (Pure Energy Cycling/Scott) was able to capitalize on a bobble by Anthony Clark and opened up a commanding lead. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

  • View Larger Image.HPCX: Day 1

    Todd Wells (Specialized) leads Anthony Clark (JAM Fund/NCC). The two would go on to finish third and fourth, respectively. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

  • View Larger Image.HPCX: Day 1

    Robert Marion and Lewis Gaffney (American Classic) rode together as they started a new lap. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

  • View Larger Image.HPCX: Day 1

    Anthony Clark (JAM Fund/NCC) eyed his line through an off-camber section. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

  • View Larger Image.HPCX: Day 1

    Lewis Gaffney got tangled in the tape, after a get-off. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

  • View Larger Image.HPCX: Day 1

    The Men's Podium from HPCX Day 1. Cameron Dodge took the victory over Travis Livermon, and Todd Wells. Photo by Scott Kingsley |

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Alpe d’Huez finale looks to highlight 2015 Tour route

October 21, 2014 - 11:15am

The 2015 Tour de France is rumored to offer a penultimate-stage finish atop l'Alpe d'Huez. Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).

The lights will dim, the music score will ramp up, and the invited cyclists will nod their heads in universal agreement as if to say, “Yep, the Tour de France looks hard again.”

On Wednesday morning, inside the packed auditorium at the Palais de Congrés in Paris, the cycling world will see the official route for the 2015 Tour. Just how hard it will be remains to be seen. [Tune in live at 5:30 a.m. EDT on October 22 -Ed.]

The Tour is always hard, no matter what race organizers throw at the peloton. Speeds, pressure, crashes, and weather add up to make the Tour unlike any race of the season.

The big question will be centered on how many time trial kilometers will be included in the route. The 2012 course, with more than 100km of time trialing, played perfectly into the hands of Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins. After a more balanced 2013 edition, the 2014 Tour featured only one individual time trial, tipping the scale toward the climbers. There are reports that a team time trial could also be included in this year’s route.

Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), no slouch against the clock, will hope for a repeat of this year’s climber-friendly course, though a return of the cobblestones, which Nibali deftly handled this year to pave the way to his first yellow jersey, is not back on the menu for 2015.

From what’s been revealed via leaks, guesswork, speculation, and even Twitter messages from enthusiastic local politicians, the 2015 Tour looks to be one that gradually becomes harder the more it winds up. Check for an extensive recap of various tips and hints.

What’s confirmed is that the Tour will begin in Utrecht, Netherlands, on July 4, and conclude on the Champs-Élysées on July 26 in Paris. In fact, the opening three days are already established, with the return of an individual time trial to open the Tour, followed by two road stages across the Netherlands and Belgium to start the 102nd edition of the French tour.

An opening-day time trial returns for the first time since 2012, when Fabian Cancellara won in Liège, and wore the yellow jersey for seven days. If the distance is more than 10km, and it’s expected to be nearly 14km in length, it will be considered a time trial and the first stage, rather than a prologue. Semantics aside, any first-day race against the clock in a grand tour can create significant time differences right from the gun.

It’s unlikely the Tour will reintroduce finish line and mid-stage time bonuses, however, meaning that whoever wins the yellow jersey in Utrecht could carry it for several days. Tour director Christian Prudhomme has hinted in interviews that shakeups could be in store for the points system used to determine the green jersey, but time bonuses are not looked upon in favor within the hallways of ASO offices.

After what will be the sixth Tour Grand Départ inside the Netherlands, two more road stages are confirmed, with stage 2 from Utrecht to Neeltje Jans along Holland’s windy coast, and stage 3 starting in Antwerp, Belgium.

Once back in France, there seems to be general agreement among Tour watchers that the route will wind counter-clockwise around France. Hence its French name, la grande boucle, or the big circle. the Tour will loop around France, and is expected to trace across northern France, with stops in Normandy and Brittany, before transferring south to tackle the Pyrénées. The first rest day typically comes near Pau or Lourdes.

There are usually two to four Pyrénéan stages, with at least one major summit finale. A return to Plateau de Beille could be in the cards.

The route is then expected to move across southern France toward a climatic final battleground in the Alps, with possible summits to include Pra-Loup, Galibier, and La Toussuire. It’s been widely reported that l’Alpe d’Huez will be featured as a race-making centerpiece set on the penultimate stage. The Tour will be in an absolute frenzy if it does indeed feature the last significant battle up the 21 switchbacks of cycling’s most famous climb.

That will mean what is expected to be the Tour’s lone, longer individual time trial will likely come between the Pyrénées and the Alps. Perhaps it could come before the Pyrénées, but either way, the closing stages across the Alps will favor aggressive racing on the steeps.

There’s another interesting possibility — perhaps no longer time trials at all. With a team time trial and the opening day time trial in Utrecht, perhaps ASO will offer up a surprise, and not include any other TTs. That would create a tightly packed GC scenario favoring the pure climbers. Can anyone say, Nairo Quintana?

No matter what the Tour organization comes up with, the Tour is always hard. It’s not always the best or most exciting race of the season, simply because one rider tends to outshine everyone else, but it’s always the hardest, and inevitably, the strongest rider usually wins.

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Video: Road rage between two bikers in London commute

October 21, 2014 - 10:46am

Road rage causes a crash after one cyclist attacks another in London commute.

Although Raphael Carrondo uploaded this POV video to YouTube two months ago, and it is now making the rounds after the The Independent reported on the altercation that took place in London.

“I couldn’t believe what had happened — I feel so lucky to be alive,” Carrondo told ITV News. “This guy just came out of nowhere and leathered my front wheel. I went flying over the handlebars and my head almost went under the bus — it was terrifying.”

Read the full article on The Independent >>

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Pulmonary embolism, a silent killer: What cyclists should know

October 21, 2014 - 9:28am

In 2006, Mike Friedman suffered a pulmonary embolism. He made a full recovery and returned to professional racing thanks to prompt medical treatment. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | (File).

Editor’s note: This article is a general overview of pulmonary emboli and does not constitute medical advice. Always consult your physician if you think you are suffering from this or any other medical condition. 

On November 17, 2006, Mike Friedman (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), 24, felt an excruciating pain rip through his torso. “I’ve never been so short of breath,” he said. “It was like a dull knife ripping apart my chest.” In the middle of watching the movie “Cars,” he turned to his date and said, “We need to get to a hospital. I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Forty minutes later, Friedman was under evaluation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, not for a heart attack, but for a pulmonary embolism, a potentially lethal blood clot in his lung.

Pulmonary emboli (PE) are silent killers. Often with little prior warning, nearly 300,000 people are killed every year by blood clots which lodge in their lungs (Kahanov and Daly, 2009). There is no greater cause of sudden death in the healthy population than a pulmonary embolism (Goldhaber, 2004).

First, a clot called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) forms, often in the calf. The DVT travels from the veins to the right side of the heart which pumps the clot to the lungs. Untreated, this blocks blood flow to the lungs and can ultimately cause cardiac arrest. In total, over 900,000 people are stricken with pulmonary emboli every year. Many of those hit are otherwise healthy athletic people. (Andersen et al, 1991).

PEs are not unheard of in the peloton. Rwandan cycling pro Adrien Nyonshuti (MTN-Qhubeka), the focal point of Tim Lewis’s book, “Land of Second Chances,” lost his 2013 season because of his PE. Vuelta a España champion Chris Horner suffered one in 2011. Top professional Frank Vandenbroucke wasn’t so lucky. His embolism was fatal.

It was the coalescence of four crucial factors that caused Friedman to totter down the UPMC emergency department hall that night.

In late October of 2006, the rider affectionately known as “Meatball” had surgery to remove a recurrent saddle sore. What he didn’t know at the time was that he carries a genetic mutation called Factor V Leiden — one of the approximately 16 known genetic variants that can cause clotting disorders. The surgery, coupled with Friedman’s genome, kicked his clotting mechanism into high gear.

On November 6, he drove 1,600 miles non-stop from his home at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to his family in Pittsburgh. Fueled by little more than truck stop coffee, dehydration became Friedman’s buddy during the drive. Worse, periods of immobility, such as lengthy drives and airplane rides, often trigger DVT formation. Friedman’s calf cramped badly during the drive. Once the clot took root in his leg, the cramping was constant, an early warning sign that a DVT had formed in his leg.

When Friedman arrived in Pittsburgh, he began to train again. Unable to sit comfortably, he went out for runs. He also did 75-mile rides — without a saddle, but with a DVT in his calf.

Surgery, genetic predisposition, a lengthy drive, plus dehydration — fortunately for Friedman on his date night, he avoided the urge to tough it out, and got to the ER.

What are the warning signs that should alert you to seek immediate evaluation?

1) Shortness of breath — typically appears suddenly and always gets worse with exertion.
2) Chest pain — Not only “heart attack pain,” but pain when you draw deep breaths, cough, or bend at the waist. It does not go away.
3) Cough — especially bloody sputum.
4) Leg pain and/or swelling — usually in the calf. This is a tough one for cyclists. Our calves always ache. One-sided swelling is a tipoff. Friedman’s was only in his right calf below the knee.
5) Clammy and/or discolored skin — Friedman’s leg took on a reddish hue.
6) Irregular heartbeat.
7) Anxiety, lightheadedness, and/or dizziness.

If you’ve got two or more of these symptoms, it’s time to get evaluated immediately. Untreated, 30 percent of acute PEs result in death (Horlander K.T., et al). Once at the hospital, several tests are commonly used to diagnose a DVT/PE episode.

Typically, a chest x-ray is taken to rule out other disorders which mimic a PE. An ultrasound exam of your legs can confirm the presence of a DVT. Standard blood work often includes a D-dimer test, which can tell if your body’s clotting mechanism has been engaged.

A CT pulmonary angiogram is considered the gold standard for PE diagnosis. A small amount of contrast medium which contains iodine is injected into a vein in the hand or arm. The exam is quick — images are taken shortly after injection and take just moments to gather. Any emboli are seen as dark against the white background of the dye within your pulmonary circulation.

Now that your doctors have diagnosed you with a PE, you are likely to be treated with a variety of anticoagulant therapies. How long you’ll remain on anti-coagulant therapy, and when you can get back on your bike are critical questions for any cyclist.

Straightaway, you’ll need patience as the damage caused by the blood clots in your lungs and legs takes time to heal. Swelling of the legs is often worse after a DVT, so your physician may order you to wear compression stockings to keep it at bay. You might find that the mere act of walking up stairs leaves you breathless for several weeks post-PE. Base miles will be the order of the day for awhile.

PEs are complex medical management issues for physicians. It may take several weeks of tweaks until your personal physiology and the medications begin to act in harmony. While the outlook for a fit athlete’s return to active riding is far brighter than for the population at large, you might find yourself on anticoagulants for some time.

Most likely, you’ll be back on the bike, but perhaps not as strongly as Friedman. In May of 2007, six months after suffering a PE, Friedman raced the Four Days of Dunkerque. In December of 2007, Friedman won the pre-Olympics scratch race on the Beijing velodrome which cemented his spot on the US Olympic long team. And in April of 2008, he raced the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix, as he rode in support of fourth-place finisher and Garmin teammate Martijn Maaskant. Nice comeback.

Special thanks to Dr. Chris Roseberry, MD, FACS — the finest cyclocrossing surgeon in Exeter, NH.

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Gallery: Power unit roundup from Interbike

October 21, 2014 - 9:26am

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  • View Larger Image.4iiii

    4iiii’s $399 Precision ANT and Bluetooth power meter built into this little unit comes with a glue kit for the user to attach it to the left crankarm. The installation kit includes a jig that plugs into the pedal hole to ensure it’s placed in the correct location. After gluing it on with epoxy and leaving it for six hours, the user hangs a 10+ pound weight from three different points on an included load cell spindle. This is done just once for an aluminum crank, but it should be done annually with a carbon crank, since 4iiii says its flex characteristics can change over time.

    As a rider’s pressure on the pedal moves relative to the crankarm due to ankle twisting or variations in spindle length, the 4iiii corrects for it based on this calibration data, and the company claims that other crankarm-based power meters without this feature lose up to 9 percent accuracy due to this variation in pressure distance from the crank. The rider also calibrates the 4iiii for temperature at the head unit; 4iiii claims that its active learning temperature compensation system brings the accuracy of the power meter to within one percent. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.Stages

    The Stages power meter is not glued on by the consumer; Stages sells pre-calibrated left crankarms for various cranksets with its power unit attached. It has a temperature slope built into its software, since the deflection of the arm under a given force changes with temperature. As soon as Stages wakes up to the movement of the crank, it is constantly checking its temperature and correcting for it. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.Stages

    Stages created a sustainable stage for itself at Interbike with its booth made out of an old international shipping container. The container can go by truck, train, or boat to the next bike show, and it can be simply plunked down and opened. The wood text plaques are recycled from scrap generated by a guitar maker. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.Stages

    Those familiar with the vast swaths of dead lodgepole pine trees in the Rockies will recognize this blue-stained beetle-kill wood that Stages used for the flooring, tables, and counters of its reusable trade show booth. A fungus carried by the mountain pine beetle colors the wood blue. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.Watteam

    The $499 WatTeam PowerBeat power meter has a glue-on sensor and a computer unit attached to a metal flange that goes around the pedal spindle. A wire connects the sensor and comp unit, and it communicates with a bike computer via ANT+ or with a smartphone via Bluetooth. The kit includes this ruler that indexes off the pedal spindle to accurately determine the gluing location of the sensor. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.Watteam

    The user glues a sensor onto the edge of each crankarm. The kit comes with a 2kg mass for the user to calibrate the unit. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.Watteam

    WatTeam claims accuracy within 1.5 percent from its unit, which measures from both the left and right crankarms. As the rider pushes down on the pedal, the sensor is on the top edge of the crankarm, and the comp unit is on the bottom edge. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.Nikola

    The new Nikola pedal body moves inward and outward 25mm (one inch) along the pedal spindle as the crank goes around; this is when the spindle is at maximum extension. Its inventor, Nick Nikola, is a skater who felt that riders could go faster if they could incorporate their big skating muscles, so he built this pedal that at the top of the stroke is as close to the crank as a standard pedal, but at the bottom of the stroke becomes an inch wider. Trying it on a trainer, it looks weird when watching the feet go back and forth, but the feeling is actually very subtle. There is a spiral cut into the spindle running over a pin inside so that the pedal moves back and forth as the spindle turns within it. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.Nikola

    Nick Nikola, the founder of Nikola pedals, claims the “natural motion of the foot is to kick outward,” which is why he made his pedal do so; this photo shows when the spindle is at minimum extension. He claims a 2-percent efficiency increase, resulting in an average decrease in 40km time trial times of two minutes. The user can adjust the clocking of the pedal to be fully inboard at a spot other than at the standard 12 o’clock position and hence fully outboard somewhere other than at 6 o’clock as well. Nikola said the University of Pittsburgh is doing clinical trials with his pedal, adding that it appears to relieve the hip pain of riders with Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI). 4iiii claims that, due to its load-cell calibration and the learning capability of its 4iiii Precision power unit glued to the crankarm, it would measure power output accurately from a rider using a Nikola pedal as it moved inward and outward, and that other crankarm-based power meters would not have that accuracy. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.SRM

    The $5,500 multilingual PowerControl 8 is the more accurate, eighth generation computer from the originator of bicycle power measurement, SRM. The PC8 has a magnetic charger plug, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and wireless download. The anodized aluminum housing continues SRM’s asymmetrical mount, is only 8mm wider than the PC7, and fits its existing handlebar clip. The larger, sharp monochrome 2.7” LCD, customizable display has 400x240 pixels, a high-quality contrast, and an auto backlight. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.SRM trainer

    The SRM IndoorTrainer Electronic, held in the photo by SRM founder Ullrich Schoberer, has an improved, electronically-controllable flywheel, developed in cooperation with the Italian company Gobat. The magnetic brake, like in SRM’s previous IndoorTrainer flywheel, simulates road feel, but this one can also be controlled electronically via USB cable or Bluetooth LE 4.0 with a personal computer, or via an app installed on a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, the two-button handlebar remote Schoberer is pushing can manually increase or decrease resistance in 10-watt increments or change magnetic brake position, and a PC8 is included on the handlebar. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.SRM trainer

    The SRM IndoorTrainer Electronic’s magnetic brake ramps up with flywheel speed by means of eddy currents induced in the spinning steel flywheel by the stationary magnet and, together with the wide range of the NuVinci N360 continuously-variable-gear hub, it provides enormous brake power. Both professionals and newbies can benefit, since bigger chainrings and reducing spacing between the magnet and the flywheel increases brake power, and vice versa; minimum brake power is 80 watts at 80 RPM. With a cadence of 40 RPM and a 53T chainring, a maximum brake power of about 400 watts is possible, while with a cadence of 120 RPM and a 53T chainring, the maximum brake power is the 1,400 watts Andre Greipel uses for indoor sprint training. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.Zehus

    Based in Milan, Italy, Zehus makes this shiny chrome, 250-watt pedal-assist electric-motor rear hub. The Zehus Bike+ hub has no handlebar controller and mounts on any bike. It switches on and off automatically as the rider pedals and coasts, and it recharges from the bike’s motion when it isn’t driving. It has sensors monitoring pedaling torque and road slope, and the mode can be controlled via Bluetooth with a smartphone. If used regularly on the standard setting, it never needs to be recharged, but a charger plugs into the end of the axle if need be. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.Zehus

    The Zehus electric rear hub can run on “endless charge” without mileage limit on the “Bike+” setting, or it will go 30km on battery power, or it can be shut off so it’s a singlespeed with a 3kg rear hub running on human power. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

  • View Larger Image.Ryder's Eyewear

    Cyclists generally measure power output in watts, rather than in horsepower. These Canadian cowpokes are not actually beating this dead horse in the Ryders Eyewear booth at Interbike; they’re doing CPR and ventilating with a cowboy hat in hopes of getting it to put out more than the zero horsepower it’s currently doing. Its horsepower never went up, however. Photo: Lennard Zinn |

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The 2015 Tour de France: Nibali’s to win again?

October 21, 2014 - 8:16am

On the 2014 Tour de France's second stage into Sheffield, Vincenzo Nibali subjected his rivals to a brutal attack on the steep final climb. More fireworks are expected next year, as the Tour is rumored to include the Mur de Huy and other punchy climbs in northern Europe. Photo: Tim De Waele |

MILAN (VN) — The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) will present its 2015 Tour de France route Wednesday in Paris, but already, enough is known or rumored to suggest that Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) will have a chance to defend his 2014 title. [Watch a live broadcast of the presentation on VeloNews, starting at 5:30 a.m. Eastern on October 22 -Ed.]

The race will start in Utrecht, Netherlands on July 4 and finish in Paris on July 26. It is due to run counter-clockwise around the country, skirting the north coast before running through the high Pyrenean and Alpine mountains.

Lack of time trials

29-year-old Siclian improved, but is still not at the level of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Chris Froome (Sky) when it comes to time trials. The 2014 Tour had one 54-kilometer time trial stage, where Nibali placed fourth, but next year is due to only have one individual stage, the 13.7-kilometer opener in Utrecht.

Northern start

Any time lost in the short time trial on day one, “The Shark” could gain back when the Tour rolls through the nervous and technical North. The 2015 edition should have two stages in the Netherlands — one following North Sea’s coastline to Neeltje Jans — two in Belgium, and about three along the coasts of Normandy and Brittany.

In 2014′s cobbled stage five to Arenberg, Froome crashed early while the technically adept Nibali rode away from all of his rivals on the wet stones. He gained 2:35 on Contador and 3:27 on eventual Tour runner up, Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale).

Punchy climbs

Nibali, along with Contador, will have the upper hand over Froome and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in 2015′s short and sharp climbs that resemble those of the Ardennes classics. In fact, stage 3 should finish up the same 1.3-kilometer ‘wall’ in Huy, Belgium — the Mur de Huy — that hosts the Flèche Wallonne classic every April.

Along with the Mur de Huy (averaging 9.3 percent), ASO is rumored to be planning a finish on the 2.21-kilometer Mûr-de-Bretagne in stage 8 (6.5 percent) and the three-kilometer Côte de la Croix-Neuve (10.1 percent) in stage 14.

High mountains

Nibali rode away with the Tour title in 2014 after Froome and Contador abandoned early. He won four stages, three in the mountains, but may not be so lucky in 2015.

The Tour is due to include summit finishes at Pierre Saint-Martin and Plateau de Beille, Pra-Loup, Toussuire, and Alpe d’Huez — it is good news for Nibali, but better news for his rivals, especially lightweight Colombian climber and 2014 Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana. Quintana scheduled the 2015 Tour as his main event after skipping it this year and placing second to Froome in 2013. It remains to be seen how Nibali will respond when challenged by the GC heavies in the high mountains.

Team event

Astana should field eight strong riders to support Nibali, especially since he is now a proven Tour winner. With the defense in mind, it signed climbers Davide Malacarne (Europcar), Dario Cataldo (Sky), and Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis). It also added Dutch hard-man, and former world cyclocross champion Lars Boom (Belkin). Boom won the Arenberg stage of this year’s Tour, so he could become the perfect chauffeur for Nibali when the Tour departs from Utrecht.

Astana can also count on this year’s helpers: Lieuwe Westra, Alessandro Vanotti, and Jakob Fuglsang. With the right selection, the turquoise team could compete well in the rumored 25-kilometer team time trial planned for stage 9 in Plumelec.

One of the few question marks resides beyond Nibali’s control: Astana’s standing with the UCI. After three doping positives in 2014, the UCI is expected to review the Kazakh team’s WorldTour license ahead of 2014.

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Cookson: ‘Technology has moved on’ from 6.8kg weight limit on bikes

October 21, 2014 - 6:06am

Brian Cookson has opened the door to the UCI lowering the 6.8kg weight limit. Photo: AFP | Fabrice Coffrini

The 6.8-kilogram (14.99-pound) weight limit imposed by current UCI regulations is on thin ice, but hasn’t fallen through just yet.

“I understand why that rule was brought on in the first place, though I think that technology has moved on,” UCI President Brian Cookson said to VeloNews in a phone interview.

The current rule, which bars complete bikes from weighing less than 6.8kg when used in UCI-sanctioned competitions, was implemented as part of the Lugano Charter. That charter, written in early 1997, is still the basis of the UCI’s technical rulebook. The weight limit rule is widely viewed as outdated and unnecessary by the cycling industry, as composite technology has advanced to the point where a bicycle can be built well under the limit and still pass industry standard safety tests.

A complete rewrite of the rule is not imminent, but will likely be part of an ongoing restructuring of the current rulebook.

“Weight is a crude way of looking at it really. It’s quite easy to have bikes now that hit the 6.8kg limit,” Cookson said. “I wouldn’t like to throw it open completely. Strength is the most important thing and I wouldn’t like to see bikes breaking underneath riders, we see enough of that in crashes. So we can take a look at this from the other end of the telescope in terms of wheel and frame strength and what that means in terms of weight.”

Any changes will be slow and deliberate. Removing the weight limit rule would require that it be replaced with some sort of safety standard; lowering it would require a detailed analysis of the strength of modern composites to determine just how low the limit could go.

“Any modifications to the rules will be targeting smooth transition rather than sudden changes. This is my personal preference and I am sure that the cycling industry and the teams share that opinion,” Dmitris Katsanis, a member of UCI’s Equipment Commission, said to VeloNews earlier this year.

Enhanced strength and safety testing would likely result in the expansion of the UCI’s frame approval program to include safety testing for both frames and wheels. Currently, the program simply ensures that frames used in competition meet a collection of UCI regulations surrounding shape and geometry.

The UCI already has a wheel test in place, though, much like the 6.8kg rule, it is frequently derided by the cycling industry as a useless metric. The UCI’s test involves running a large weight into a wheel and examining how it fails — not whether it fails, or the level of force leads to failure, but what the wheel looks like once it has exploded. The test has been ridiculed for its focus on the aftermath of a crash than avoiding a crash in the first place.

The governing body announced the impending implementation of a wheel approval program in 2012, but that program has yet to materialize.

Implementing a safety protocol above and beyond the current European Commission standards would be complicated and likely quite expensive. But Cookson’s focus on strength leaves few other options available — short of leaving the 6.8kg limit as it stands, of course.

VeloNews’ Matthew Beaudin contributed to this report

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In the News: Trail booby trap found in Portland, Oregon

October 20, 2014 - 3:27pm

The Oregonian reports that hikers found a trip wire and an improvised gun device on a multi-use trail in Forest Park, in northwest Portland, Oregon.

They found a parachute cord rigged to a three-quarter-inch-diameter pipe — open at one end, closed at the other — attached to a tree. There appeared to be a firing pin at the closed end. The cord was attached to a beer bottle that was supposed to swing down and strike the firing pin at the back of the device when the cord was tripped.

One of the hikers called a friend who works as a bomb squad technician for the Portland-area interagency Metropolitan Explosives Disposal Unit. Bomb squad members found what they described as an improvised firearm loaded with a shotgun shell attached to a trip wire. A dog apparently tripped the device when it stepped on the parachute cord, but the gun apparently malfunctioned.

Read the full story on The Oregonian >>

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QBP announces 10 United Bicycle Institute scholarships for women

October 20, 2014 - 3:07pm

Quality Bicycle Products announces a new scholarship to help female mechanics.

A collection of cycling companies has collaborated to provide 10 scholarships for women to attend the United Bicycle Institute (UBI), with the goal of providing a pipeline into the industry for female talent.

UBI, SRAM, Liv, Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), Pedros, Park Tool, Nuu-Muu, and the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition will provide the scholarships to UBI’s Professional Shop Repair and Operations Workshop, covering lodging and the $1,800 in tuition costs associated with the two-week course.

“It can be challenging for women to join the bike industry, and it will take numerous efforts to create a talent pipeline,” said Alix Magner, QBP’s Distribution Sales Manager and QBP’s scholarship program manager in a press release. “This is one step, and we’re thrilled at the level of initiative from our partners to start leading change in how women are included in our industry.”

The scholarship is aimed at women who are aspiring or experienced bike mechanics. Applicants must be currently employed in a bike shop, at least 18 years old, and U.S. residents. The scholarships can be applied to UBI’s February, March, or April sessions.

The application process is open from October 20 to November 15, and winners will be notified by December 19. Interested parties can apply at

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Department of Justice strikes back in Armstrong case

October 20, 2014 - 2:52pm

The legal battle between Lance Armstrong and the U.S. Department of Justice continues as the government calls Armstrong's claims "baseless." Photo: AFP PHOTO | Gabriel BOUYS (File).

The United States Department of Justice responded to Lance Armstrong’s initial legal defenses on October 17, calling he and his attorneys’ approach “baseless.”

In a 27-page document filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, U.S. attorneys attempted to assail Armstrong’s central defenses, which essentially amount to this: The United States should have known about the doping program at the U.S. Postal Service team, and that in its sponsorship of the program, the government got much more than it paid for.

“With scant basis to oppose plaintiffs’ motion on its merits, defendants’ response appears primarily intended to advance their strategy of attacking the plaintiffs and laying out the theories of their case, with no less than twenty exhibits filed in support of their response,” the government’s filing reads.

The two parties are quarreling over what defenses should be allowed should Armstrong and the federal government not settle the False Claims Act suit pending against Armstrong, at one point a seven-time Tour de France winner. Thus far, Armstrong has withdrawn 12 of his initial defenses.

The laws may be stacked against Armstrong.

“The False Claims Act is much more ‘pro-Government’ than a traditional contract action would be vis-à-vis a private plaintiff.  In other words, the defenses that Armstrong has raised in his answer could be relevant in a breach of contract action, but may not be relevant in a False Claims Act case,” noted Mark Stichel, a Baltimore-based attorney who has litigated civil cases in state and federal courts throughout the U.S., in an an email to VeloNews. “The Government is trying to narrow the case not only because it wants to limit Armstrong’s ultimate ability to defend himself at trial, but to limit the discovery he is seeking.  Also, both sides are trying to win the PR war.”

On the subject of damages, the government’s attorneys say that “actual damage” to the U.S. is not a necessary element in a False Claims Act suit.

“Therefore, defendants’ claim that no damages were suffered by the United States cannot … form the basis for an affirmative defense to liability in this case,” the DOJ filing reads.

False Claims Act suits allow whistleblowers to sue those they say defrauded the government, and the government has the right to intervene, which it did in February 2013. Floyd Landis, who initially filed the suit and also admitted to using PEDs, could collect up to 25 percent of the money recovered. The USPS paid more than $30 million for the team from 2001 to 2004 and has sought three times its investment, though VeloNews understands the number discussed as a possible settlement is much lower.

The government lawyers also wrote that Armstrong’s contention that the USPS got more than it paid for in terms of sponsorship was null. “This defense is merely another attempt to negate the element of damages. As an ‘affirmative defense,’ it thus fails as a matter of law and should be stricken.”

The back and forth between the DOJ and Armstrong attorneys has been exhaustive, and perhaps indicates what’s still to come. “The legal papers that both sides have submitted on this motion and on other motions in the case are well-written and well-researched,” Stichel wrote. “The papers on their face show that both the government and Armstrong are committing substantial resources to the case.”

The power now rests with the judge in the case, United States District Court judge Christopher R.Cooper, who will decide what is admissible and what is not.

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Austin cyclist dies moments after finishing local cyclocross race

October 20, 2014 - 2:21pm

Guy Nethery (center) with his teammates at training camp in 2013. Photo: The Nethery Family

The Texas cycling community suffered a tragic loss over the weekend when Guy Nethery, 47, died suddenly, just moments after a cyclocross race in Webberville, Texas.

Following his race on Saturday, Nethery rode away from the course. He then collapsed on the ground without cause. A passerby quickly noticed Nethery and notified race officials. CPR was administered within 30 seconds of Nethery’s fall and emergency services were contacted immediately.

Fellow racers and spectators stood at Nethery’s side until an EMT crew arrived. Nethery was promptly evacuated to a nearby hospital, but was later pronounced dead.

Needless to say, cycling as a whole has suffered a loss with the passing of Guy Nethery — husband and father of three — but the local Austin cycling scene he leaves behind will miss his presence the most.

“Guy was that racer who everyone loved and talked with. He was friend to all, enemy to none and a constant figure at Andrew Willis’ weekly criterium, The Driveway Series,” said friend and TXCX coordinator, Joe Doyle. “He loved to race and ride and, most of all, be with his loving family.”

The Austin resident had been suffering from unknown illness prior to his death on Saturday, but details are forthcoming.

GoFundMe campaign has been created to raise funds for the three Nethery girls’ education.

For more information about Guy Nethery, read Joe Doyle’s blog post about the incident >>


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Gallery: Katie Compton celebrates 100th win

October 20, 2014 - 12:45pm

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  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    Compton celebrated her 100th UCI victory at the Valkenburg World Cup race on October 19. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    At the end of the 2014 cyclocross World Cup, Compton claimed the top step on the podium for a second consecutive year. She made history one year earlier, as the first American to win the series. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    Though 2014 was very successful for Compton, she had a disappointing race at world championships in Hoogerheide. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    Katie Compton would be denied her chance on the podium at the 2014 cyclocross world championships, leaving her full of emotion during interviews. Photo: BrakeThrough Media |

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    Expectations were high in the 2013 world championships in Louisville, Kentucky. Though Compton aimed for the rainbow jersey at the first-ever American-hosted worlds, she had to settle for second place. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    At Hoogerheide, Katie Compton won her fifth World Cup race of the 2010 season. Photo: Dan Seaton

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    Katie Compton powers away to another win, this time at the 2010 World Cup in Kalmthout, Belgium. Photo: Dan Seaton

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    Whether rain or snow, or even the sandy dunes of Koksijde, Compton has dominated. Here, she attacks the 2012 Koksijde World Cup wearing the leader's skinsuit. Photo: Dan Seaton

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    Even with a bloody knee suffered in a crash, Compton handily won the 2013 Boulder Cup in Boulder, Colorado. Photo: Caley Fretz |

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    Katie Compton earned a big come-from-behind victory over world champion Marianne Vos in the 2013 Namur World Cup. Photo: Dan Seaton

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant) finished with two-minute and one second margin of victory at the 2012 national championships. Photo: Wil Matthews

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    In 2010, Compton made her third career appearance on the world championship podium in Sant Wendel, Germany, finishing behind Marianne Vos and Katerina Nash. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    Compton's race in Rome was her fifth World Cup win of the 2013-14 season, clinching the series title. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    Katie Compton faced Georgia Gould on a muddy course at the 2010 national championships. Photo: Wil Matthews

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    Katie Compton collected her seventh national championship title in 2010. Photo: Wil Matthews

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    At the 2012 world championships in Koksijde, Belgium, Compton could only manage fifth place. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    In 2009, Compton found herself in a heated battle for the podium at world championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. Photo: Tim De Waele |

  • View Larger Image.Katie Compton celebrates 100th victory

    In the final sprint at 2009 worlds, Marianne Vos would not be denied victory. Compton finished third behind Hanka Kupfernagel. Photo: Tim De Waele |

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Amgen Tour of California names host cities for 2015

October 20, 2014 - 11:47am

The 2015 Amgen Tour of California promises much of the great scenery the race is known for. It will also offer a women's stage race. Photo: Casey B. Gibson |

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Amgen Tour of California, presented by AEG, announced it will return to Sacramento to kick off the 10th anniversary of America’s largest cycling race. The eight-day stage race will start in California’s capital city and travel North to South, spanning nearly 700 miles. The Tour of California also announced a three-day professional women’s race May 8-10, as well as an invitational time trial on May 15.

Throughout its first nine years, 52 California cities have hosted the race. For the 10th anniversary, 12 cities — in addition to Sacramento — will host the eight-day event, including Nevada City, Lodi (first-time host city), San Jose (10-time host city), Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, L.A. LIVE (Downtown Los Angeles), and Pasadena.

“Since we launched the Amgen Tour of California nine years ago, we have strived to host the world’s top cyclists in a race that will not only challenge them as professionals, but will also provide a stunning backdrop,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports. “As we look ahead to our 10th edition of the race, we’re certain the worldwide audience will be on the edge of their seats watching as the sport’s best men and women cyclists compete against each other in what is likely to be our most challenging and picturesque course ever.”

Stage 1 of the race commences on May 10, 2015 in Sacramento, which marks the seventh time the city has hosted the race and the third time as the overall start. After eight days of racing, cyclists will conclude the race in the city referred to as the “City of Roses,” Pasadena.

Stage 2 will take the peloton through Nevada City to first-time host city Lodi, known as the “Zinfandel Capital of the World.” The peloton will then start and finish in San Jose on stage 3.

As the peloton continues its journey south, Stage 4 will take the race from one oceanside community to another, from from Pismo Beach to Avila Beach. This year marks the second time each city has served as a host city.

Stage 5 will commence in Santa Barbara and finish in Santa Clarita, with both cities sharing the distinction of serving as host cities six times since the race began.

Third-time host city Big Bear Lake will be the site of this year’s individual time trial (Stage 6). Ontario, will host a start for the second time as stage 7 takes the peloton to the mountaintop finish at Mt. Baldy, a third-time host city.

The race will conclude with a stage from L.A. LIVE in the heart of downtown Los Angeles to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. This marks the third time Los Angeles has served as a host city after hosting the overall finish of the race in 2012, also at L.A. LIVE. Pasadena has hosted the race four times, including the overall finish in 2008.

For 10 consecutive years, biotechnology company Amgen has served as the title sponsor of the race and will continue to promote its Breakaway from Cancer® campaign. Founded in 2005 by Amgen, Breakaway from Cancer aims to increase awareness of important resources available to people affected by cancer, from prevention to survivorship.

2015 Amgen Tour of California to host four days of professional women’s cycling

The 2015 Amgen Tour of California will continue to expand its support of women’s cycling and host a three-day women’s stage race. The race will travel through South Lake Tahoe on May 8-9, 2015 and conclude in Sacramento on May 10, 2015, the same day of the overall start of the men’s race.

As with previous years, the world’s top-ranked time trialists will be invited to race against the clock in a time trial preceding the men’s individual time trial at stage 6 in Big Bear Lake. The women’s stage race is sponsored by SRAM, one of the founding sponsors of the Amgen Tour of California women’s time trial.

“We are beyond thrilled to see the Amgen Tour of California continue to expand its entire women’s racing platform. This will continue to expose the world to the passion and force women have on the bike,” said, SRAM president Stan Day.

“AEG has always been proud to support women’s cycling and is pleased to once again expand its women’s competition to four days,” said Bachochin. “Hosting four days of women’s cycling, fans will have the opportunity to watch the immense talents and achievements of the best women cyclists from around the world.”

Host city partners for the 2015 Amgen Tour of California include:
Women’s race:
Stage 1: Friday, May 8 – South Lake Tahoe
Stage 2: Saturday, May 9 – South Lake Tahoe
Stage 3: Sunday, May 10 – Sacramento
Invitational Time Trial: Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake

Men’s race
Stage 1: Sunday, May 10 – Sacramento
Stage 2: Monday, May 11 – Nevada City to Lodi
Stage 3: Tuesday, May 12 – San Jose
Stage 4: Wednesday, May 13 – Pismo Beach to Avila Beach
Stage 5: Thursday, May 14 – Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita
Stage 6: Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake (Individual Time Trial)
Stage 7: Saturday, May 16 – Ontario to Mt. Baldy
Stage 8: Sunday, May 17 – L.A. LIVE (downtown Los Angeles) to Pasadena

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