From The Saddle: Goshen 07/06/2014
Thanks to a nice ride recommendation from Café Du Cycliste I was able to escape the Cannes festival and head up the coast to steal a few miles. A new journal post from the ride is up. If you are in the region and looking for rides in and around the Alpes Maritimes check out their site here. They have a great selection close to Nice that will take you up on some great climbs like the Col d’Ezé and The Turini.
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.
If you are looking for an extreme weather riding shell The Orion jacket by Mission Workshop should hold up to anything the weather can throw at you. They have done a limited run in this brilliant Hi-Vis orange made with 96 g/m2 Polartec® NeoShell® , one of the best technical fabrics around. It is packed with features that make it a great on and off bike product. Underarm pit zips for ventilation when riding. An external front access pocket on the chest. An internal ported media pocket for your iPhone, and a rear stow pocket. And maybe my favorite feature the lined hand warmer pockets. Mission Workshop products are incredibly well made which is reflected in the price of $439, but my experience is that whatever you buy from them will last you a very long time.
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.