The Brooks 1886 Jersey By De Marchi 06/27/2014
I managed to get my hands on a very nice and very professional new Ass Saver, the Team Rapha Condor edition. They just released an extended version for the road and did this nice brand partnership with the team. I have wanted to try one of these out since seeing some of the Pro’s using them at the GIRO in Belfast. Thanks to the lovely Claire Beaumont @Condor for letting me get my hands on one. Hopefully I won’t need it for a while.
Every year when the Grand Tour wildcard teams get announced there is the customary rumbles of national “favoritism“. How some of those wildcards don’t deserve their spot – “its just because they are Italian“. How they don’t have the riders that warrant them getting a ride ahead of the bigger names. Bardiani-CSF is one of those teams. Italian through and through, a team built of up and coming young talent. A team that in Belfast were preparing in camper vans dwarfed by the bigger buses and trucks of the big budgets. Yet here we are more than half way through this years GIRO and they have two stage wins, and have been in the action practically every day since Belfast. Not just interested in getting “TV time” for their sponsors they have been chasing stage wins from the start. That is two stage wins more than a lot of the super teams like Sky, with what seems like an endless budget and an abundance of GC contenders. So who actually benefited from the money shot? As their stage winners crossed the line, arms aloft in victory, who were the sponsors that have gotten behind this young team and brought us two exciting victories, and maybe some of the next generation of Italian racing talent. A kit that can’t afford to be cool and minimal, every inch is covered with fractions of what it takes to scrape together the budget to compete at this level. Names we have barely heard of, sponsors making products that mostly sell things that we will never buy. So why are they sponsoring this team – probably because they love the sport and get more for their media money off these two wins that buying straight up advertising.
It takes a lot to make a bike stand out these days, and when you stare at them as much as I do even more to make you stop in your tracks. On a recent trip to London I walked by the Cyclefit shop every morning on the way to our office. And every morning that is exactly what this Saffron frame did, stop me in my tracks. The color and the finish in the “flesh” are absolutely stunning. Then you look a little closer and you notice the details in the frame construction as well. Like the really neat seat clamp nicely embedded into the rear stays. The beautiful polished head tube that matches the fork, giving the impression of a continuous single piece of tubing. The color inspired by a classic 1936 Buick with the brand decal showing through with a beautiful polish. A stunning frame and finish. More shots after the break.
More about Saffron here
Cycling has always been a sport that pushes forward a dominant leader, often on the back of sacrifices made by their team mates, and to the frustration to the new and up and coming. It is also a sport that has a history littered with internal team rivalries gone wrong. Roche and Visentini, Hinault and Lemond, Armstrong and Contador – as old as the mountains they climb dual leadership has just caused problems (but also a lot of podium spots). Riders inevitably reach the top of their game sometimes in the same window and on the same team, and look for “Their Time”. So knowing all of this, why do I feel like the Team Sky decision to not have Wiggins at the Tour alongside Froome is just wrong? When did Sky ever look at this sport and not try to change how things are done? Is this just Sky abdicating some good old people management? Or does Brailsford just have a gun to his head?
Cards on the table, I am a Wiggins fan. I love the sports personalities I follow to have personality. It is why I also love Cadel Evans so much. They say what they think, not what they are told to think, and don’t belch out clichés and scripts. They have another dimension that makes their given sports better for their presence. I loved watching McEnroe play even though he sounded like an ass and I didn’t really follow tennis. I loved Roy Keane even though he walked out on Ireland during a World Cup. The sports they graced were definitely better for them. I think Wiggins is one of those stars, a weird and wonderful personality that strives on support and confidence, and is a supreme athlete. The ultimate product of the British cycling system that the people behind Sky invented. When he is focused I can forgive the rest and want him on the biggest stage our sport has to offer. Sometimes managing that personality is part of the job and is just as important as managing his numbers. But Brailsford knows all this he helped make him who he is.
In case you weren’t getting enough pink with your daily dose of the GIRO, Colnago have issued this limited ”Yukiya Arashiro” edition pink C60, presented to the Japanese national champion at this years GIRO. Overall Yukiya appears to be a pretty lucky guy as he seem to constantly get beautiful paint jobs from Ernesto on a regular basis. His other “Japanese” stead below isn’t half bad either.
The second stage of this years GIRO rolls over the training grounds of a lot of Northern Ireland’s cyclists. The northern part of the country has some of the finest coastline in the world. The terrain itself will not prove too challenging for a pro peleton tuned and ready for the high mountains of Europe, but the one thing that could make a difference is weather. I don’t suspect we will get the snow of last years GIRO, but there is a good chance of high wind and rain, it is Northern Ireland after all. When I say wind, I mean coastal wind that can swirl around headlands and stop you in your tracks. The riders will sweep down off the Glens Of Antrim at Portrush where they turn right along the coast towards Belfast and the fast end of the stage. At one point they will hit the village of Cushendall, and a 24 mile stretch down to Larne that was the first Corniche road in the British Isles. If they are unlucky they will also turn right into a head-on “bluster“, pretty common along that stretch.