Rocacorba Daily: Wednesday February 27

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In today’s edition of the Rocacorba Daily we take a look at the Tour of Langkawi and other headline news from the world of cycling. We also couldn’t resist adding in a few interesting pieces of tech for you to geek out to, and a time lapse video of a velodrome being built in Zurich. Enjoy.

Tom Leezer wins stage 6 of Tour of Langkawi

After a wet and hard day of racing Tom Leezer (Blanco) won stage 6 of the Tour de Langkawi with an impressive solo effort. Leezer left Ji Min Jung (KSPO) and Michal Golas (Omega Pharma – Quickstep) behind to take his first professional victory and 10th win for the Blanco Pro Cycling Team this season.

Blanco sprinter and the winner of stages 1 and 2, Theo Bos, did not start the stage because of suspected food poisoning but the team wasted no time in making up for the loss.

“Unbelievable; what a indescribable feeling,” said Leezer. “It’s my first victory as a professional. I only started training from the end of November, since my crash 19th September last year. I wasn’t expecting to race in Langkawi already. The stage wins with Theo where great, but to finish it off solo is really special. I guess Theo feels less guilty now for keeping me up all night,” laughed Leezer.

Tom Leezer on his way to a solo win on stage 6 of the Tour of Lankawi. Photo Cor Vos

Blanco Sport director Jeroen Blijlevens explained yesterday’s stage, saying “We started with the news of Theo’s illness, and decided to change our plans and react to all movements in the peloton. The stage was aggressive from the start with several breakaways. In all the breaks we had one or two guys of the team represented. At 40km to go Tom jumped to the right group. With Europcar, Omega Pharma – Quickstep and Orica-GreenEDGE having two or three guys in the break, it would not be easy for Tom. He tried at 4km from the finish line and succeeded. Great performance by the team again.”

Click here for full results from stage 6 of the Tour of Langkawi and details of the general classification.

Evans aims at Tour again with Tejay in tow

Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) is aiming at the Tour de France again this year after much of his 2012 season was wiped out due to a virus. During a long break this winter, Evans said he had time to think and reflect, and his hunger came back.

“I’ve had time to prepare well,” the Aussie said.

Cadel Evans with Tejay van Garderen in tow during stage 5 of the 2012 Criterium du Dauphine Libere

BMC Racing’s management will have to decide what role 24-year-old Tejay van Garderen will play. Last year, the American stuck by Evans through his suffering and managed to still win the white jersey and place fifth overall.

Evans indicated it may be too early for van Garderen to lead the team, but said that if he (Evans) was not at his best then he would contribute to van Garderen’s success.

Read more on VeloNews.

Ethiopian cycling project in the works

After Project Rwanda, Jonathan Boyer is helping Ethiopians discover and learn about racing. In January, he visited the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to make plans for a cycling centre.

In 2007, Boyer, the first American to race the Tour de France, settled in Rwanda and established its cycling programme. The country now has a proper federation in place and Boyer’s early students, Obed Ruvogera and Rafiki Uwimana, have taken on management roles.

A documentary has been filmed about the experience, and it’s called Rising from the Ashes.

“We will apply the same methods as in Rwanda,” Boyer said. “We will regularly test cyclists, and gather the best in a centre where we will monitor their progress.”

More details on the Ethiopia Cycling Project can be found here.

Hoogerland returns to training

Remember Johnny Hoogerland, the Vacansoleil-DCM rider who was flung into a barbed-wire by a car in the Tour de France two years ago? He is back on the rebound again after a car hit him while training on February 3.

“Here we go, 3 weeks later.” Hoogerland wrote on Twitter along with a picture of his home turbo trainer set-up.

The Dutchman fractured five ribs and part of his spine, and bruised his liver in the recent crash. He said that he expects to return racing in May.

Hesjedal plans Giro defence

The planning for Ryder Hesjedal’s (Garmin-Sharp) Giro d’Italia defence is well and truly underway with the Canadian set to start his season next month. Instead of starting his year with the Tour Down Under and Strade Bianche, Hesjedal will start his season on March 18 in the Volta a Catalunya.

Ryder Hesjedal riding his way to the 2012 Giro d'Italia win. Photo courtesy of Kristof Ramon.

He said that the Tour Down Under last year just allowed him to stretch his legs and that he did not want to start Strade Bianche unless he was there to win.

After Catalunya, he will race País Vasco, the Ardennes Classics and polish off his form for the Giro in the Tour of Romandie. He explained, “I want to do my best with the No. 1 bib on in the Giro.”

Read more on VeloNews.

Au revoir L’Ardoisière?

(Via Inner Ring): Claire Pedrono has been L’Ardoisière (blackboard women) for the ASO’s flagship races such as the Tour de France for nearly three years now. Even when Claire isn’t working the timegaps, there is someone on the back of the timing motorbike communicating the gaps to the peloton. At Paris-Nice this weekend the blackboard is going away and will be replaced by an electronic display on the back of a motorbike. A sign of things to come? I’m a fan of tradition and I certainly hope not.

Claire Pedrono - No one chalks up a time gap quite like her

Read more on Inner Ring
Read more about how time gaps are calculated
Read more about the lovely L’Ardoisière, Claire Pedrono

Banesto and Indurain mixed with doping doctors

Miguel Indurain and his Banesto team visited known EPO doctor Francesco Conconi in the 1990s, according to a Dutch website, nos.nl. Former teammate Erwin Nijboer confirmed the report and anti-doping expert Sandro Donati explained that he has supporting evidence.

Nijboer said the team just visited Conconi’s offices in Ferrara, Italy, for testing (the Conconi Test). Without naming how much the team spent on the testing, Donati explained that it went much further: “I don’t think that Banesto paid that much to have the riders tested.”

Conconi helped develop EPO use and guided some of the first pros towards it. His students included Michele Ferrari and Luigi Cecchini, both associated with doping cases and banned cyclists.

Read more on Cycling News.

Francesco Conconi (left) is regarded as the father of modern blood doping. Dr Michelle Ferrari on the right.

Read more about the history of EPO.

Armstrong plans whistle-blower defence

Lance Armstrong is preparing his defence for a US government whistle-blower lawsuit which alleges that the Texan defrauded taxpayers via US Postal sponsorship. According to Monday’s edition of USA Today, Armstrong plans to argue that the case is too old to pursue.

An unnamed source also told the newspaper, “Armstrong’s legal team will argue that the government knew or should have known about doping on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team – but did nothing to stop it.”

Armstrong’s legal team, according to the source, could also argue the definition of a false claim. Its line would be that Armstrong never personally entered into a contract with the government so he could not have submitted the false claim.

Read more on USA Today.

Livestrong, life after Lance

Livestrong’s Austin-based non-profit, Livestrong, is moving ahead without its founder according to CEO Doug Ulman.

Ulman said yellow jerseys have been removed following Lance Armstrong’s admission to doping. However, he added, the foundation is simply trying to do what it was created to do: help cancer patients.

Read more on NBS and video.

Campagnolo releases 80th Anniversary Super Record

Campagnolo was founded in Vicenza, Italy in 1933 and this year the company celebrates its 80th anniversary by making a limited edition Super Record groupset and wheels which will only be for sale between March and June.

Officially titled the “80th Anniversary Collection,” it is based on the Super Record 11-speed mechanical groupset. Campagnolo also has two different sets of wheels to match: A full carbon 50mm deep-section wheelset and a aluminium/carbon 50mm wheelset.

Find out more at anniversary.campagnolo.com and click here for more photos.

The Blackbraid 5kg Bike

Despite its hipster appearance, the Blackbraid bicycle weighs less than 5kg (11lbs) which is hardly even mentioned in the bike’s marketing. The marketing material also don’t make a big deal about the bike’s $21,802 pricetag. Made by PG-Bikes in collaboration with Munich Composites, the bike’s frame is made from braided carbon fibre.

“The superlative Fixie produced with the unique carbon braid technology. An extraordinary design and unique processing warrant driving joy and easy manoeuvring in the city jungle.”

The bike is marketed in two different versions: as a Fixie, it is the perfect companion in town; in the Touring version, which is “just perfect for long distances”, according to the company.

Technical details - Fixed Frame: innovative full-carbon frame made of braided carbon fibre, Front wheel: fork THM Scapula F, Back wheel: fork integrated in fork, carbon brake hand gear, Headset: Bubu from Tune Stem: Geiles Teil 4,0 from Tune, Handlebars: Schmolke 50cm, MTB Flatbar Brooks leather grip, Saddle: SLR Tekno, Seatpost: Schmolke seatpost SL, Crank: THM Clavicula Road, Bottom bracket cup: THM Press-Fit30 Road, Chainwheel, sprocket and chain: Carbonbelt, Back wheel: lightweight Track, Front wheel: Lightweight Standard, Tires: Conti 4000s, Pedals: Speedplay Nanogram Zero.

Find out more at www.pg-bikes.com

New ANT wireless protocol competes with Bluetooth

At Interbike 2012 it was evident that Bluetooth 4.0 was the wireless standard that many device manufacturers were adopting. Garmin’s ANT+ protocol — which most of us are familiar with — was losing the battle, or it so appeared.

On Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Dynastream Innovations — the organisation behind the ANT+ wireless protocol used in many power meters and others sports monitoring products — announced a new generation of ANT+ called ANT Ultra-Low Power (ULP) in response to the newest generation Bluetooth 4.0.

Like Bluetooth 4.0 ANT, ULP promises longer battery life, faster performance and expanded features such as the ability for a device to communicate with multiple monitors at the same time, something the original ANT did not allow. ULP also allows “many-to-one” communication, which would allow a coach to review data from multiple riders at once.

The company behind ANT Wireless is Dynastream Innovations Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Garmin Ltd.

For more information visit www.thisisant.com.

Timelapse video of a velodrome being built

If you only check out one thing today, make it this timelapse video of a velodrome being built in Zurich.

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