Based in Nice, an area blessed with some of my favorite riding (The Corniche on an early morning to St Raphael is one of the nicest rides you could do) Cafe Du Cycliste have brought out some really classy looking kit. With a nice balance between classic retro styling, and a smart use of modern fabrics, the collection focuses on a few essential riding elements. After only 7 months in existence they have managed to get a nice collection of jerseys, gillets and shells together, that form their Sur le Bitume road series. Loving the nice color touches and details they are adding to the kit. They seem like an interesting group, running a coffee shop on the Riviera, rides from the shop and a clothing line up and running, life is good! Check out their site http://www.cafeducycliste.com/en
CATEGORIES: Design,Kit,Things Pro's Say
As some0ne who a few years back face planted the back window of a Volvo and ended up between the driver and passenger seat, I can safely say that the 202 stitches I got on my face and head were both earned, and bought. EMS and surgery are expensive in the US. Love this t-shirt from Howies. It almost makes all that road rash worth while. It comes in black and grey. It also made me think does “Pippo” Pozzato, the so much potential but what happened one, actually have any scars? or is he just all ink and hair (see below). I will let you decide.
Brad showed up for today’s jaunt around the Berkshire hills with a lot of new bling. The theme for the day seemed to be “Accents Of Red“. Between the, look at the red blurring action of my feet, to the pollen pushing bushes all over the hills. His Ritte Bosberg looks pretty slick built up. We both spent the day on Williams wheels, Brad on a set of 58s and me on a set of super fly 22s. We both head over to France on June 15th to ride in the Alps, so we spent a lot of time on strategy (see bullshitting). If the the hills are steeper here (steeper ones at 14-16%, and the lovely Burnett Road at a lung busting 22-24%) if that will make up for the fact the climbs over there are 5 times longer. Conclusion: No.
CATEGORIES: Rides,Things Pro's Say
The Giro d’Italia starts tomorrow, after most of the Grand Tour contenders attended a 3-day Criterium series in Holland as preparation. Unfortunately turning the Giro into a brand that can be marketed and sold anywhere in the world backfired when “the traffic furniture spoiled it”. It is called the Tour of Italy for a reason, it should be held in Italy on roads wider than a bike lane.
Traffic furniture was not a term I was familiar with when I was growing up in Europe. It only became something I understood when riders started trying to ride through it, rather than around it. Watching the first two days of the Giro made me think, had anyone actually looked at the routes in Holland? Even on Google Maps satellite view? How can anyone have thought that they were suitable for this kind of race? A few questions may have to been raised about the ability to squeeze a Gran Tour peleton into the equivalent of the West Side Highway bike path. I know as a Pro you are just supposed to “Get on with it” when the rest of us would shout “This is insane“, but riding a 5-hour slalom coarse, with skittish riders all with good legs, coupled with random pieces of plastic “furniture” dropped in places you can’t see, doesn’t seem like a winning formula. Watching the last two days of the Giro made me understand what happened in Milan last year, when the riders neutralized the stage because the coarse was “unsafe“. Sometimes you just have to say….eh…no. Look at the outcome of those two stages. VDV out with a broken collar bone, and now his preparation for the Tour scuppered. Wiggins out of contention after stage 3! And my own personal disappointment, Dan Martin at over 9 minutes after three stages. I think Cadel Evans’ quote points out the irony nicely: “Obviously the traffic islands are very cycling friendly for commuters”, the key word being commuters, not a Grand Tour.
Photo: Roberto Bettini
CATEGORIES: Races,Things Pro's Say
As “Vino” rolled over the line as the winner of Liége-Bastone-Liége, he looked nervously over his shoulder. At the time I thought that maybe it was to see if one of the most aggressive riders so far this year was coming back to him. Like Vino, I couldn’t believe he had dropped Kolobnev either. Or was he looking over his shoulder because he couldn’t quite believe what he just heard, the crowd booing him? This is something I have never heard reported before (although I am told it happened to Rasmussen before he got the boot from the Tour). But why did Vino get booed over any of the other returned dopers?
There was something about Vino’s doping offense that stung me more than the others. He was a universally liked rider, with a style that appealed to every nationality of fan. He was a fans rider. He was an outside bet, and we all love an underdog when they win, well at least when they do it clean. The press grilled him after the race, after all he is the only cyclist to have doped, and come back so quickly to such emphatic wins. So yes, when you drop a field of the quality that amounted to the best in the world at L-B-L it could be perceived as somewhat suspicious, especially given your history of being a little liberal with the truth.
In a series of post race comments that really didn’t amount to much, other than the expected clichés from press and rider, one in particular stuck in my throat “Of course I’m clean now. To win without doping you have to work, I’ve always done it this way.” Obviously all that altitude training in Tenerife has given him a dose of short-term memory loss. Sure, we could just take his word for it and believe him, but we have done that in the past. Just like the organizers of the Tour who allowed in the Astana team when they were linked to Puerto, but denied all involvement. When they were essentially the Liberty Seguros team and had five team members later accused of doping.
I have no problem with Vino coming back. In the same way I have no problem to see David Millar back, and Ivan Basso. The sport put a rule in place that says you get banned for two years (despite his local racing body trying to reduce it) and he served his ban just like everyone else. So if he has indeed trained like a demon, continues to race and win clean, then good for him. But it seems like it is going to take a little more than that to get the fans back on his side, and me. Just saying you are now clean obviously isn’t enough, especially when in the past that has been said, and not been the case. I am afraid this time around it is going to take a long time for this wound to heal. So I wonder if I had been standing there amongst all of the die-hard fans would I have booed him as well. Not because a doper is back and winning (that is what the sport has deemed is ok), but maybe because one of my favorite riders duped me, lied in the process, and still refuses to admit that he did it when the evidence is as plain as day. I probably would, because yes legally he is allowed back, but I don’t have to like it. Maybe some recognition of what he did would help us all “accept” him back, and a sign that he doesn’t take us all (the peleton, the press and the fans) for fools. We know it goes on, you just got desperate and got caught.
Maybe Vino doesn’t actually give a damn what any of us think. Maybe for him it is all just about the win, by any means necessary, but I doubt it. He seems like a proud man, probably the reason why he never owned up to the weakness of doping in the first place. I wonder how it will play out if he gets invited to the Tour, and there are no barriers between him and the booing fans. I have been on those mountains and watched booze fueled “fans” spit on Lance Armstrong 2ft from his face. He might want to swallow a little of that pride and show that he actually gives a damn before he gets there. It might actually keep him on the bike.
Perhaps Chris Horner’s comments sum up the situation best, on being informed of Vino’s victory he said “Oh, well there you go”.
Photo by Roberto Bettini
CATEGORIES: Riders,Things Pro's Say
Often heard when a rider has done something completely unexpected. Often uttered in that 10 minute press frenzy just after the podium adulation, when the adrenaline and heart rate are, well, super. Personally this is not something I have ever experienced in nearly 30 years of riding and racing. Well, maybe once, when descending the Galibier at over 40mph, pretty much everything had super sensations. I have tried really hard to put myself mentally in a position where I would feel Super Sensations. I am in the pack, sucking wheels and saving matches, when I think, “you know what, I am having Super Sensations down there today, I’m off”. This poses a couple of questions. How do I know that the Super Sensations are just that? Or do you only realize Super Sensations after the fact? – “oh yeah, that must have been super sensations!”. Also, what happens the rest of the time? You might only get Super Sensations once a season, so what if you miss them, and think that it was just your Powerbar kicking in, and we know that doesn’t last.
So whenever Pierrick Fédrigo takes a stage at Criterium International against some seriously good riders, he is definitely having “Super Sensations” as he commented on after winning. Because before that race he had not really been doing a lot, and in his own words ““I’ve had really bad sensations since Paris-Nice”. Alas, the search continues for the illusive Super Sensations and the hope that I find them whilst I am on the actual bike, and not sitting at the coffee shop thinking “There I am a waiting for Super Sensation, and three come along once”
CATEGORIES: Riders,Things Pro's Say