Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.
Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Victor Campenaerts has a date with the hour record, Ice-T might love bike racing (or he might not), Alejandro Valverde is back on top, and cyclists are artists, too. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Hour record update
Belgian TT specialist Victor Campenaerts has officially set a date with the UCI’s Hour Record — April 16 and 17. Campenaerts made his intentions known in October, and the UCI announced the attempt Tuesday morning. It will take place at the high altitude Velodromo Bicentenario in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Campenaerts will need to beat Bradley Wiggins’ distance of 54.526km. He’ll race Tirreno-Adriatico then head to Mexico to begin acclimating to Mexico City’s thin air, 1800m (6,000 ft) above sea level. The higher altitude means less oxygen is available for Campenaert’s human engine, but it also decreases air density, and thus wind resistance. On balance, the Aguascalientes has often proven to be the fastest in the world.
“I respect Bradley a lot and I do not consider myself as a better athlete than the former Tour de France winner and five-time Olympic champion,” Campenaerts said. “However, by making progress and taking into account every possible detail, I hope to have a chance to take over the Hour Record. Personally, the World Hour Record, the world time trial title and the Olympic time trial title are the three dreams I want to pursue the coming years, starting with the World Hour Record.”
If Campenaerts it successful, it will likely inspire other male pros to make attempts at the Mexican track. Recently, Italy’s Vittoria Bussi used the track to set the existing women’s world best of 48.007 km.
Wiggins’ attempt took place at sea level in London, and on a day with particularly high air pressure.
The first time Campenaerts made headlines in English-speaking press, it was for a different kind of date. He pulled a stunt at the 2017 Giro d’Italia where he wrote “Carlien daten?” on his chest, a supposedly successful attempt to get a date with Carlien.
The UCI Hour Record has seen a resurgence of interest since the governing body removed the restrictive “Merckx-style” rules that surrounded the record for two decades. Those rules banned most aero equipment and modern time trial positions. The record now allows the same equipment and position as any UCI-sanctioned time trial.
Recent hour record attemps, with new records in bold:
22.08.2018: Dion Beukeboom (NED), Aguascalientes (MEX), 52.757 km
26.07.2018: Martin Toft Madsen (DEN), Aguascalientes (MEX), 53.630 km
07.06.2015: Bradley Wiggins (GBR), London (GBR), 54.526 km (current record)
02.05.2015: Alex Dowsett (GBR), Manchester (GBR), 52.937 km
14.03.2015: Gustav Larsson (SWE), Manchester (GBR), 50.016 km
25.02.2015: Thomas Dekker (NED), Aguascalientes (MEX), 52.221 km
08.02.2015: Rohan Dennis (AUS), Granges (SUI), 52.491 km
31.01.2015: Jack Bobridge (AUS), Melbourne (AUS), 51.300 km
30.10.2014: Matthias Brändle (AUT), Aigle (SUI), 51,852 km
18.09.2014: Jens Voigt (GER), Granges (SUI), 51.110 km
14.09.2018: Vittoria Bussi (ITA), Aguascalientes (MEX), 48.007 km (current record)
06.10.2017: Vittoria Bussi (ITA), Aguascalientes (MEX), 47.576 km
27.02.2016: Evelyn Stevens (USA), Colorado Springs (USA), 47.980 km
22.01.2016: Bridie O’Donnell (AUS), Adelaide (AUS), 46.882 km
12.09.2015: Molly Shaffer Van Houweling (USA), Aguascalientes (MEX), 46.273 km
28.02.2015: Sarah Storey (GBR), London (GBR), 45.502 km
Chronicles in odd advertising
Yesterday’s Daily News Digest included E3 Harelbeke’s strange new poster, which includes a graphic of a frog made out of two women. Yes, a frog made out of two women. That’s the only way I can think to describe it. It has something to do with kissing frogs and making princes, probably.
This year’s poster appears to be designed to confuse and generate anger, not unlike many of E3’s recent posters. It’s a big middle finger to those concerned with cycling’s long history of misogyny and sexism.
The race was forced to withdraw a sexist poster in 2015. It had a naked woman on a poster in 2011. It has a history of this sort of nonsense.
Here’s a video someone Tweeted at me, in which the two ladies un-frog.
— Jeroen Sap (@JeroenSap) February 25, 2019
As the guy in the video says, “voila.” There you go. The connection between this strange poster and a semi-classic bike race named after a Belgian highway remains clear as mud.
Our own Neal Rogers sent a request to the race organiser, asking for the intended message of the campaign. If we hear anything, we’ll let you know.
Valverde wins atop Jebel Hafeet at UAE Tour
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) took his first win in rainbow stripes atop Jebel Hafeet, winning the UAE Tour’s queen stage for the second year in a row.
Jebel Hafeet is a 10.8km climb, which came at the end of a long, flat stage with little action. Race leader Primoz Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team controlled the day, including most of the final climb. Valverde finished just ahead of Roglic and David Gaudu (Groupama- FDJ).
New rules and higher fines for chucking water bottles
The UCI has upped the fine for chucking water bottles and other items outside of designated zones in pro races. There appears to be a fair amount of commissaire discretion built into the rules, which expressly bar throwing a bottle into the public “in a dangerous manner.”
Fines will range from 200 to 1000 Swiss francs.
“We have to stop riders who leave their garbage everywhere,” said Philippe Marien, the head UCI commissaire for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne this weekend, speaking to Het Nieuwsblad. “We have to stop those who, after they ride next to the team car, immediately throw their bottle in the air.”
Riders can still hand empty bottles to fans or pass them to the team car. They can’t chuck bottles into a group of fans at high speed. “A rider who throws a half-full or empty bidon into the audience full of adrenaline, that is life-threatening,” Marien said.
Kudus leads Tour du Rwanda
Merhawi Kudus (Astana) won the second and third states of the Tour du Rwanda, and now leads the overall by 17 seconds over Direct Energie’s Rein Taaramae.
The Eritrean rider took the overall lead exactly seven years after he first raced the Tour du Rwanda, and won a stage. He was still a teenager at the time.
Cyclists are artists, too
(Note: This is a fake cycling news Instagram account. Unfortunately, Strava art has not yet made it to Tate Modern.)
Ice-T is a U.S. bike racing fan?
Is Ice-T a bike racing fan? Well, this video certainly suggests he’s a fan of the Aevolo team.
— Aevolo Cycling (@Aevolo_Cycling) February 26, 2019
And this photo, a promo shot from Sire Records in 1987, shows he kitted up at some point in his life:
But alas, Ice-T’s fandom appears to be for sale. It costs $150.
It was a beautiful dream, Ice-T sitting with his morning coffee in some Hollywood mansion, watching grainy European bike racing feeds just like the rest of us. But that’s all it was. A dream.
Ottolock adds more secure Hexband to range
The Ottolock Cinch has fast become a popular pocket-sized lock since hitting Kickstarter in 2016. With three thin steel bands sandwiched with layers of kevlar and then coated in non-marring thermoplastic, it’s a good choice for short stops or a secondary lock in high-crime areas.
Offering greater security against attack, the new [Hexband]( offers an almost exact external profile as the Cinch but hides six steel bands which are then protected by a kevlar wrap. The Hexband adds 75g over the Cinch (in a 30in length), and is available in the same 18, 30 and 60in lengths as the Cinch, retailing at US$65, US$75 and US$95 respectively.
Tech writer Dave Rome has been testing the Cinch and Hexband lately, along with a handful of other popular pocket locks. Expect a full comparative review soon.
In case you missed it …