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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
You’ll notice today’s edition is a bit light in terms of racing news, but don’t worry we’ve got a host of tech and industry news for you. Also, Bradley Wiggins has sounded off regarding Sky, the company, pulling its sponsorship.
Story of the Day: Wiggins fears cycling “will be worse off” if Sky folds
Team Sky seems to love offseason bombshells. Two years ago it was the jiffy bag affair. Last year it was Chris Froome’s Salbutamol positive. And in 2018 it’s the team’s main sponsor and owner, Sky, ending its involvement in cycling after 2019.
While the news sent shockwaves through the cycling community, Team Sky played the press game well. From Dave Brailsford to riders to other staff, everyone thanked Sky and put on a positive front. However, one former rider who has been critical of Brailsford and Co. of late was oddly silent.
Bradley Wiggins has come out of hiding and given his opinion on Sky’s situation.
“If Sky does go, I think the sport will be worse off for it.”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) December 20, 2018
The consensus among cycling media is Brailsford will likely find a sponsor, but not the big money unicorn he found in Sky. The result will be a less dominant team and the transfer market will be flooded with talent. This could ultimately make the sport more competitive. Although, Team Sky completely folding would ultimately shine the light of a sport on the brink with the best and most dominant team unable to survive cycling’s floundering financial sponsorship model.
Sky’s pullout and defining a good bike. Telecommunications giant Sky is pulling out of cycling. Caley, Neal and James discuss the implications this will have on the sport.
Caley also catches up with EF-Drapac boss Jonathan Vaughters to talk about cycling’s future.
In Nerd Alert, James chats about a bike he recently tested and why it’s really good.
In this section, we highlight the latest products our team have gotten in to test and try out.
Shimano Ultegra RD-RX805 Di2 rear derailleur
Shimano announced its new road-focused clutched rear derailleurs earlier this year, but efficiency-minded riders have questioned whether the chain control mechanisms built into the pulley cage pivot generate any additional friction over a conventional road drivetrain. We used this sample as part of a study we commissioned from Jason Smith at CeramicSpeed to answer the question once and for all, and those results will be shared with CyclingTips readers shortly after the holidays.
Gravel and ’cross riders who are looking in increasing chain security and minimizing chain slap will find the 278g Ultegra RX Di2 rear derailleur interesting nonetheless, though, and years of experience with clutched rear derailleurs on the mountain bike side has demonstrated that the technology is extremely effective. Retail price is US$285/AU$350/£260/€270. Find out more at www.shimano.com.
The Thesis OB1 isn’t just sold direct-to-consumer; you have to assemble from scratch, too (aside from the wheels, which come pre-built). While some may see that as a distinct downside, the big upside is that the approach allows the company to offer a good carbon road/gravel/cyclocross frameset with carbon clincher wheels and a quality component kit for just US$3,000.
We got a brief firsthand test of the OB1 several months ago, and are eager to see how our full-production tester fares over the long term. Actual weight for a bare medium frame is 1,257g, plus 487g for the matching carbon fork (uncut). Find out more at www.thesis.bike.
Mavic Allroad Pro shoes
Mavic’s new Allroad Pro shoes use a new woven upper technology called Matryx, which uses strategically placed Kevlar fibres that supposedly provide directional support without resorting to bulkier nylon materials or additional laminated layers.
Additional features include a traditional lace-up layout with a neat Autolocker system for dual-zone tightening, a carbon reinforced nylon sole, and a fairly minimal tread design aimed specifically at the all-road and gravel crowd. Actual weight is 566g per pair (size 42 2/3), and retail price is US$250/AU$TBC/£225/€250. Find out more at www.mavic.com.
Searching for 30
Flagstaff. Seven and a half kilometres, 605 metres up into the clouds. It’s not the most difficult climb in Boulder, Colorado, but it is the most dynamic.
The record? Tom Danielson, in 22’47”, followed by Lachlan Morton at 23’08. But for us mortals, 30 minutes is the mark to beat. A sub-30 Flag is a badge you can wear with pride.
Geelong, the Great Ocean Road and Coastal Riding Bliss
Dave Everett headed out to Geelong to find out why it’s one of the best places in the world for cycling fanatics.
Katusha Alpecin commits to disc brakes for 2019 season
Another sign of the coming times: the Katusha Alpecin team has formally announced its commitment to using disc brakes exclusively throughout the 2019 season, together with equipment partners SRAM and Canyon.
“In 2019, we will see the vast majority of riders on disc brakes across all races,” said Canyon team liaison Andreas Walzer in a press release. “The team have proven here that they are one of the most forward-thinking outfits in the peloton, which alongside partners like SRAM, make them a great fit for our technology-first approach here at Canyon.”
Zwift raise a further US$120m in funding
Zwift, the leading online training platform, have announced a further US$120 million in funding from its Series B round (Series A raised US$27.2m in November 2016). With more than one million people having created Zwift accounts to date, the platform expects to use the new funding to expand its running offerings and grow esports. The news comes days after Zwift announced its new esports professional racing league.
Chain Reaction Cycles to cease selling Shimano into USA and Canada
North American shoppers will currently find a notice on ChainReactionCycles.com (CRC) stating that “Unfortunately from January 1, we will no longer be able to sell Shimano into your country. We’re working with Shimano to be able to sell to you again in the future.”
Globally, retailers have long complained about CRC selling Shimano products at well below local wholesale prices. In 2016, SRAM closed international sales from large European-based online retailers, including CRC and Wiggle. CRC merged with Wiggle in 2016, with Germany’s Bike24 acquired by the group in 2017, it’s yet to be seen whether these two sites will be required to limit Shimano sales too.
Happy Birthday too …
Rik Van Looy (85), the Belgian was the first rider to win all five Monuments in cycling. His was a one-day force during the late 1950s and 1960s. He not only claimed the Monuments but also captured back-to-back world championships in 1960 and 1961.
Feature Image: Many of the Belgian (and also foreign) pro cyclocross riders usually have a mid-week technical training session in the ‘Zwarte Water’ forest situated in the Belgian ‘Kempen’ area. The forest has a dedicated cyclocross spot and, according to photographer Kristof Ramon, is without a doubt the biggest cyclocross training hotspot in the world.