Joining VeloClub not only supports the work we do, there are some fantastic benefits:
by Shane Stokes
February 24, 2015
In today’s edition of the Daily News Digest: Rider protest at Tour of Oman could lead to some non-invites in 2016; Bookwalter says extreme weather protocol is a key objective for new American rider group; The Secret Pro: Let the season begin!; Sutton on Britain’s disappointing track worlds: “Certain riders need to look at their hunger”; Five additional wildcards announced for Amstel Gold Race; Strong sprinter clash anticipated in Tour de Langkawi; Chilean round the world rider chasing new world record killed in Thailand; Millionaire entrepreneur explains why cycling has replaced golf as sport of prestige; Taylor Phinney – Tri-Palooza 2015; Off The Back – GCN’s Pro Team Bus Tours
Speaking in the wake of the rider protests which eventually led to the neutralisation of the penultimate stage of the Tour of Oman, Eddy Merckx said that some teams involved could see their invitations revoked in next year’s edition.
On Saturday sandstorms caused the start of the 151 stage from Al Sawadi Beach to the Ministry of Housing to be cancelled, with the riders being transported to a new point prior to the flag being dropped.
However strong winds continued to make things nervous and when extreme heat caused some teams’ tyres to explode, the riders wheeled to a halt under the shade of a large bridge and said they would not race.
Trek Factory Racing directeur sportif Dirk Demol summed up the mood. “[It] was simply incredible, and when the peloton stopped in the shade under the big bridge tires were exploding from the heat.
“[It] was the right decision to cancel the race – all the riders were united in the decision and agreed to not race. I feel sorry for the organization, it was a pity, but there was no way to race in that kind of heat.”
The remainder of the stage was neutralised.
Click here to read the full story on CyclingTips.
Brought into attention by the exploding tyres caused by extreme heat at the Tour of Oman on Saturday and also by the debate about cancelling races in freezing weather conditions, the topic of when exactly conditions are considered too dangerous to race in is one which is becoming increasingly prevalent.
In the past riders had a weaker voice, partly due to the lack of social media platforms, but in recent years this has changed. BMC Racing Team rider Brent Bookwalter is on the board of the new Association of North American Professional Road Cyclists (ANAPRC), a regional wing of the international rider’s union, the CPA.
Speaking to VeloNews, Bookwalter said that the topic of racing conditions is one the ANAPRC is prioritizing.
“One of the next key objectives we’ve set out for ourselves [is] to establish an extreme weather protocol. We’ve made some really good headway,” he said. “We have a handful of doctors on the panel, we have current racers, ex-racers, we have race directors, ex-race directors, so a good resource of people that are trying to establish tangible and concise parameters for what would trigger extreme weather and also how that decision is then communicated and what it means.
“I think at the end of the day it’s not fair to the race, or the riders, or the sport in itself to have a decision like that to come down on an official and what kind of day they’re having. Like ‘I feel good today, they should go out and race, or I’m tired maybe they won’t race today.’ So I think having some clear and concise rules would really help.”
Click here to read the full story on VeloNews.
It’s been a couple months since we’ve heard from The Secret Pro as an intense early-season race program have kept him rather busy. In this instalment, he speaks about how the riders feel about racing in the Middle East, the Hour Record, disc brakes, Lance Armstrong, Oleg Tinkov and tells some of the young cowboys in today’s peloton where they stand.
“I thought I’d revisit what I said in my last article about guys with no respect. Like I said back in the days when Cipollini was in the peloton there’d be respect from the new guys in the peloton or domestiques towards the elder statesman and guys that actually performed well regularly and had some sort of palmares to shout about. Now there is absolutely none of that in the peloton.
“One of the worst guys who thinks he’s the dogs nuts in the peloton is Cofidis rider Nacer Bouhanni. He has a real chip on his shoulder. Sure he’s a good sprinter but he has absolutely no respect for anyone.
“Maybe it’s that boxing background he has, where he thinks he needs to talk it up and be the big man that gives him a sense of entitlement. I remember a few years ago he was in the wrong for screwing up a sprint or something and he blamed Greipel. He called Greipel out and said he wanted to have a punch up after the race; he rattles a load of guys in the peloton. I don’t blame Marc Madiot for giving him the boot last year.”
Previously a team that dominated track cycling, Great Britain was one of the biggest disappointments of the track worlds held in France last week. Prior to the competition the country’s technical director Shane Sutton said it was vital that the team stepped up from the 2014 performance, where the men’s squad failed to land a single medal.
However the anticipated turnaround didn’t happen, with the country returning home with just three silver medals to its credit.
“I think there are certain riders who probably just need to look at their hunger a little bit,” said the Australian to the Guardian. “If anything’s going to make them hungry it’s the way they performed here. Just one or two riders in the group … There are one or two people in there who need to [ask]: has the journey come to an end for them or are they still hungry for it?
“If we can go to Rio and bring back five medals in the track programme, we’d be over the moon. We are going to come out of this with three medals, three Olympic medals. If Mark Cavendish wants to line up in the omnium, or Ben Swift, or Ed Clancy, then that is a fourth medal in which we are very competitive.”
Sutton previously said that he didn’t think Cavendish would compete on the track in Rio, but the disappointment of Paris may have prompted him to try to entice the Manxman back into the squad.
In contrast to Great Britain, their Australian rivals took four gold medals, four silver and three bronze.
Click here to read the full story at the Guardian.
The organisers of the Amstel Gold Race have announced the identities of the teams that will line out alongside the 17 WorldTour teams in this year’s edition, confirming that five wildcard entries will join the three that have already been allocated.
Magnus Cort Nielsen wins stage 1 of the 2013 Tour of Denmark.
They will join the previously-announced squads Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Team Roompot and Wanty-Groupe Gobert.
The news is particularly welcome for the Cult Energy squad as it had its bicycles stolen from outside the team hotel at last week’s Tour du Haut Var.
“Of course, it’s a privilege and an honor to be elected to participate in this year’s Amstel Gold Race,” said team directeur sportif Michael Skelde.
“It’s an acknowledgement and recognition of us from the organizers and we are looking very much forward to being a part of one of the biggest one-day classics of the season. We are a small team compared to our opponents but I believe that Fabian (Wegmann) will be able to pull a top-10 result and that will be our goal, besides keeping racing aggressively like we usually do.
“In addition, we have a young and talented Rasmus Guldhammer in our team and Amstel Gold Race will be a race for him in the years to come. I truly believe he has the talent and the power to be a contender for the win in a few years’ time.”
It’s known as a race often shaped by the Genting Highlands climb, a ferociously steep ascent that opens large time gaps and settles the general classification, but sprinters also have a very big part to play in the Tour de Langkawi.
The organisers have confirmed the attendance of a solid lineup of fastmen for this year’s race, with recent Tour of Oman stage winner Andrea Guardini set to go up against Alessandro Petacchi and Jakub Mareczko (Southeast), Yauheni Hutarovitch (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Chris Sutton (Sky), Caleb Ewan and Adam Blythe (Orica-GreenEdge) and Leonardo Duque (Team Colombia), as well as Michal Kolar (Tinkoff-Saxo), Ken Hanson (Unitedhealthcare), Youcef Reguigui (MTN-Qhubeka), Ahmet Örken (Torku), Marco Benfatto (Androni-Venezuela), Paolo Simion (Bardiani CSF), Park Sung Baek (KSPO) and Harrif Salleh (Terengganu).
Guardini has taken a record fourteen stage victories and this year is vying to become the first rider to win the points classification three times, adding to his wins in 2011 and 2012.
“Guardini seems to be in a great shape in this early part of the season”, noted the CEO of the 2015 Le Tour de Langkawi, Datuk Malik Mydin
“But he’s going to face a hard task with the quality of the sprinters’ field, especially the younger ones: Caleb Ewan from Australia and Jakub Mareczko, also from Italy. They’re not only fast but their teams [Orica-GreenEdge and Southeast respectively] have clearly built excellent lead out trains.”
Guardini is a fast rider who has at times lacked confidence. His performances very much depend on his morale and after netting that stage win in Oman as well as six other top five finishes in Oman, Qatar and Dubai, he is enjoying a very strong start to his year.
A successful Malaysian campaign could set him up for his best season yet, but the other gallopers in the March 8 to 15 event will try to deny him where possible. Ewan, in particular, looks like he could be a very big threat.
Sad news from Thailand where Chilean rider Juan Francisco Guillermo’s attempt to break the world record for riding around the world ended in tragedy on Saturday.
The 47 year old has been on the road since November 2010 and was aiming to compete his journey within five years. His aim was to cycle 250,000 kilometres (155,350 miles) on five continents in five years, thus taking a new record.
However he was hit by a pickup truck on a highway in the Nakhon Ratchasima province in northeast Thailand and killed instantly.
Guillermo’s Hong Kong wife suffered minor injuries in the same accident. She was riding another bicycle with their two year old son and reportedly saw the crash happen.
The driver of the truck was arrested on a charge of causing death by dangerous driving. While he was released on bail, he faces a possible maximum penalty of ten years in prison.
“It was an accident caused by the driver’s recklessness,” said police Col. Torsak Thammingmongkol. “The road was straight and the cyclist was in his own lane.”
Two years ago a British couple who were attempting a similar around the world feat were killed in a road accident in eastern Thailand.
Click here to read the full story on ABC News.
Paypal cofounder Max Levchin has given his explanation for the reasons behind the oft-stated phrase Cycling is the New Golf, saying that the sport appeals on many levels to those who previously favoured driving balls over turning pedals.
Levchin, who also sold Slide to Google for $US228 million, sits on the boards of Yahoo and Yelp, and is now busy leading Affirm and Glow, told Business Insider the reasons why he believes the sport is growing rapidly amongst highly-paid professionals.
“In Silicon Valley — and the East Coast as well now — there are lots of successful companies with younger executives,” he said. “The sport of choice where deals are made and ideas are thrown around and relationships are forged is definitely traditionally golf. That’s where you don’t have to sweat — you just walk around with people you like, and occasionally pretend like you’re doing something physical […] but it’s not very quantified.
“It’s just kind of aim, hit the ball, and pray. I’m sure the skills involved eventually remove the prayer necessity, but it’s pretty open-ended.”
However he said the new demographic is one of the factors in driving change.
“So you have this current generation of young executives, and they’re not particularly interested in walking around slowly. They want to do something physical, especially outdoors. They are very quantified, because that’s definitely a thing now: It’s not so much fitness as they are interested in fitness that they can measure. So the blooming of the Fitbits and Misfits the Jawbones of the world is all about people saying, ‘I don’t have to go to the gym, feel crappy for an hour, and be thankful that it’s over.’ You can actually see what you’ve done. The quantified-self stuff has perforated the popular conscience.”
Click here to see Levchin’s full thoughts – and additional reasoning – on the subject.
Entertaining, humorous and also wise; check out this speech from Taylor Phinney when he received the US Cycling Performance of the Year award at Tri-Palooza on Saturday.
In the video he is referring to his staggering victory on stage five of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California where he soloed to the win, holding off a hard-chasing peloton, and then bowed to the crowd as he crossed the finish line.
A look inside some of the pro team buses in the peloton.
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days: