Friday, September 30, 2011

Inside my jersey pockets


My essentials in my Road Holland Hilversum jersey.


I recently received a comment about our versatile Galstudio recycled rubber inner tube Piccolo Pouch

Thanks to Kath from the UK who bought one and wrote, "This is a great idea, with cool options. Have you thought of mentioning that rubber keeps the pouch in your pocket?"

It's true. I use one on every ride and because of the rubber it sits securely in the pocket. My pouch safely keeps my keys, ID, some change, cell and tire wrench.

And, along with the Piccolo Pouch I couldn't leave home without my; trusty pump, spare tube and a Galstudio cycling cap... what I call my essentials!



I wouldn't leave home without these.
All images © 2011 Cyclingart

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

E-d-d-y!


Sit back & enjoy... this is Legendary!



The list of great riders that challenge Eddy Merckx during his Tour de France rule is impressive. In this equally impressive video called, Legends of the Tour de France, four famous men talk about their unique time against the Cannibal. Lucien Van Impe, Joop Zoetemelk, Bernard Thevenet, and Raymond Poulidor battled him but interestingly only one rider became his bête noir... Luis Ocana.

Ocana, equally aggressive had the panache to give Merckx a fright fight in 1971.

When Merckx was active, he ruled with total domination, and behind his peaceful exterior hid a worried and tormented soul. That's what I found in this excellent compendium of his five Tour victories, each one with stunning archival footage that's a joy to watch.

The Tour de France story of Eddy Merckx reads like a great novel. His beginnings full of great promise, dramatically clashing with rivals, always seeming invincible. He rode his last Tour like his first ... as cycling's fiercest competitor! 





Tour de France 1969...
Beginning of Merckxissimo!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Canadian Hopeful

More success to come for David Veilleux!


There was a silver lining for the Canadian elite men's team at the world road race.

Twenty-three year old David Veilleux (Europcar) rode his first elite world road race as he finished top Canadian in a solid 19th place. Missing out lead out men;  Svein Tuft as an unfortunate victim along with Michael Barry involved in the crash that also gave many favored riders fits to make it back to the fast charging pack. Michael Barry was forced to abandoned due to injury that only left the Canadian team with Veilleux and Tuft to battle on.

Despite the odds Veilleux stayed with the main pack and guided himself to a respectful top twenty. Tuft finished in 139th place.

Here's three videos post-race; Veilleux, Tuft and Barry along with interesting comments of their next season plans.




Monday, September 26, 2011

Brit Pack




That was one strong British lead out train instigated by Bradley Wiggins, David Millar, and Ian Stannard.

With a few laps left, I was amazed to see the tireless Wiggins  up there pulling the British team. I wonder what he would've accomplished hadn't he not crashed out of the Tour.


Sooo close for third!


My praise goes to the British team for their superiority in controlling the later part of the race and effectively shutting out the rest of the teams from contention. Especially, as Cavendish saw his opening and snaked his way up the inside passing Goss for the right to be called World Champion. Greipel out sprinted Cancellara for a very close bronze. That was an even duel and I thought two bronze medals would be awarded (last years U23 road race here).

But, the British train was running fast (very fast!) and after 3 years of careful planning... the Manx Missile delivered big time!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Comeback

Back in the saddle...
A happy Clara Hughes,
 post race.


Thirty-eight year old, Clara Hughes is making a comeback.

She is one of Canada's most decorated Olympians who so far has six medals at the Summer and Winter Games. In fact, at the 1996 Atlanta Games she won bronze in the Time Trial and Road Race.

She left a successful cycling career winning Olympic and world championship medals before leaving cycling in 2003. Now, she's back! With the goal to make the Canadian cycling team for the 2012 London Games. She wants to ride the road race, team pursuit, and the time trial.

Her 2011 season is already on fire. At the Pan American Championships, she won the TT and road race. In May, she won the overall plus two stages at the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico.

She's having a fine world championships finishing fifth in a rainy and windy time trial. Team mate, Tara Whitten finished in fourth... so close to the podium.

Today's road race was quiet with two laps remaining, Hughes animated the less than animated peloton by a gutsy breakaway. At one point I was singing the praises of Hughes getting on that podium because of her daring dash. She had a maximum lead of 44 secs, then the pack reeled to her in for the expected final sprint won for the consecutive year by Giorgia Bronzini of Italy. The top Canadian was Joelle Numainville in 12th.

As for Clara Hughes she placed 103rd. Nowhere close to the podium, but an heroic ride moving her closer to her Olympic goal.


Another win!
Bronzini about to break the heart of Vos.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Vive la France!

Un Deux!


A French 1-2 occurred today in Copenhagen.

Arnaud Demare and team mate Adrien Petit outsprinted a huge group of hungry U23 riders to score a thrilling victory for French cycling. On the uphill finish the French bided their time for the ultimate win. The French two man train had the extra gas to ride past favored team's Australia and Italy to victory. Britian's Andrew Fenn hung in for an excellent third place bronze finish.

Demare, only 20 years old, will ride for FDJ next season. And could this victory be the start for a new French cycling renaissance?


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hammering Home

Rocket Man



Tony Martin beat a stellar field to win the gold in the TT world championship.

Fastest at each split, he even motored past David Millar. The Scotsman could only turn his head from his concentrated tuck ... in disbelief. Martin was 1:30 faster. He was deemed the favorite by many of the media and he hammered home a fantastic time of 53:43.85. I was stunned by the aggressive riding by Cancellara almost running into the barricades only to finish third 1:20.59 behind. I like Bradley Wiggins smooth riding style as he grabbed the silver.

Svein Tuft also put in an awesome effort, riding the flat 46.4 km course to13th-place in 57:19.74

He's confident for the 2012 London Olympics, "For the most part, I am quite content with how I went about. I look at the times and I am happy to be within the fighting times. That keeps me positive and focussed."

Today, no one could beat a more focussed Martin... simply put he was unbeatable!


A Tuft day...
Sunday's road race awaits!
(Oliver Meyn)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Straight like Spartacus



Fabian going straight to another world TT title? He said Tony Martin is a favorite to win...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Barry in Rollin out

My favorite...
Canada's iconic team road jersey from the 80s
canadiandesignresource.ca

Steve Bauer wore one for silver,
1984 Olympic road race





Injuries sustained during the GP Cycliste de Montréal forced the end to Dominique Rollin's chance of riding the elite men's world road race in Copenhagen.



Barry ...IN for Copenhagen
teamsky.com


In his place, Michael Barry gets the nod to ride the coveted world's road race. Rollin injured his right hand and bruised his upper lip. He had very good form this season; top 20 in Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Dwars door Vlaanderen and GP de Québec. Unfortunately for Rollin, will miss his chance to shine what would be his first world's road race. Barry is no stranger to the world championships. He finished 18th in the road race at the 2009 world road race in Mendrisio Switzerland.

Michael Barry joins Svein Tuft and David Veilleux as Canada's big three going for it in Denmark!





Rollin ...on ice.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Copenhagen: Around the Corner!



The UCI World Road Championships start this Monday. And we're getting closer to the end of this season.  I'll certainly try to watch as much of the exciting racing as I can.  Here's the schedule of events...


Monday Sept 19:  U23 Men TT  27.8 km
Tuesday Sept 20:  Elite Women TT  27.8 km
Wednesday Sept 21:  Elite Men TT  46.4 km
Friday Sept 23:  U23 Men Road Race  168 km
Saturday Sept 24:  Elite Women Road Race  140 km
Sunday Sept 25:  Elite Men Road Race   266 km

Thursday, September 15, 2011

King Carlos

Carlos...
Classy & modest.
(Rafael Gomez Alonso)

A few days ago, 36-year old Carlos Sastre said he had an announcement for today.

The 2008 Tour winner retires today from a 15-year cycling career. This season was successful for his Geox TMC team winning the overall and team classification in the Vuelta. He started the Vuelta as co-leader with Denis Menchov, finished in 20th helping Juan Jose Cobo win the overall.


The move that almost worked...
Stage 20 Vuelta; attacking alone, Sastre's swan song ended
when he was caught with 3 kms left.

Known for his consistency in the Grand Tours, he developed as one of the top stage race riders in his time. Sastre only signed for a year with Geox TMC. Perhaps he already knew that the writing was on the wall. His last season was quiet yet with his hard work ethic along with his team, supported Cobo to overall victory.

I'm sadden he's decided to hang up the bike, his family encouraged him to ride one more season. I thought he would. But, he decided to take the big step down. Long live King Carlos!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Uber Riders: Hushovd & Gilbert



Now that Thor Hushovd and Philippe Gilbert will be teammates on the super charged BMC team in 2012. They'll have to finish this season with one more big race. Before this merger happens there's a certain score to settle. The two uber riders will go for the huge marbles in Copenhagen on September 25th... and they both look set to challenge for the title of World Champion.

Today, Gilbert added to his lengthy 2011 palmares the GP de Wallonie. He masterly showed he has the undeniable class and energy to win on top of the uphill finish. This is his last race before the World Championships and it's difficult to believe he can falter in Denmark.


Should be fun next year!
(Bryn Lennon)


Thor Hushovd, powerfully won today's hilly stage 4 in the Tour of Britain. A stage win was his goal, now achieved he is eleven days from defending his World Championship road title. Like his friend, Gilbert, he too has won today and shown keen pre-world form. Is this more than a coincidence?

For their new BMC team, Gilbert has stated his goal is to go for the Classic races and Hushovd's biggest goal is to win the Hell of the North. What better way to leave these two uber riders, with two videos, as they prepare for the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.



Monday, September 12, 2011

Top Canadian


Ryder Hesjedal finished 11th at Sunday's Grand Prix Cycliste de Montéal.

The battle to the finish line wasn't the type of scenario for the Garmin-Cervelo rider. He tried on the last lap leading a chase group trying to reel back in the Costa breakaway. It didn't work and a huge chase group thundered into the final sprint.

Hesjedal ends the race as top Canadian, here's a video ...post race.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gilbert, Costa & Québec... Bravo!


Philippe Gilbert's master stroke was Friday when he took on a very talented field of riders and  powerfully won the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec.

Robert Gesink dared to fight back to challenge Gilbert with meters remaining. Towards the finish line the classic strongman had a last over the shoulders glance to see if he was alone. The climber Gesink had taken the final hill and looked close to catching the Belgium champion. It was Gilbert, winning from a late surging Gesink in second and Rigoberto Uran excellently in third.

Michael Barry rode aggressively to help drive the Sky team to stay in contention. And at the end Uran was in the right position for that podium placing. Barry finished in 14th, awarded the top Canadian rider. Gilbert's moment in the sun catapulted him as world's number one in the UCI rankings.

A great day, simply, for the best rider of the season.


A Costa star for Movistar!
(Casey Gibson)


Unfortunately, I missed the live race of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal but after work I raced back to watch the highlights.

Rui Faria Da Costa produced an awesome display of coolness to beat Pierrick Fedrigo and a desperate sprint by ... you guessed it Philippe Gilbert in an valiant third.

Earlier in the race, I followed twitter for the live action and read Gilbert and Dominique Rollin fell. Rollin had to abandon but the strongman Gilbert continued on and I thought it wouldn't be his day. He also had a mechanical and I read he was so upset he threw his bike to the side of the road. I wished I've  seen that.

Inside the last meters, Costa was today's power guy and blew past an excellent Fedrigo and a locomotive called Gilbert. Costa won into Super-Besse in this year's Tour and said, "My manager Yvon Ledanois told me I was the team's leader with Jose Joaquin Rojas and he said we had gone a long way to go home empty-handed. My stage victory in the Tour de France in Super-Besse remains the highlight of my career but this rates quite close. I never doubted."

Top Canadian went to Ryder Hesjedal, who was marking Gilbert, defending champion Robert Gesink at the front of the peloton and came in 11th. A good ride in a very difficult race to win when it came down to a sprint. He was 27th in Friday's GP de Québec.

I'm proud of the huge Canadian talent and extremely happy how this weekend's racing was so exciting. The honor list today is: David Veilleux (22nd), Michael Barry (54th), Svein Tuft (66th) and Ryan Roth (108th).

Philippe Gilbert gets my last words as he has taken over as world number one ranking from Tour winner Cadel Evans. With his win in Québec City an additional 50 points by finishing third his total is 698, 124 points better than Evans. Two races remain in the 27 event WorldTour season; Tour of Beijing and Giro di Lombardia. When he was on the podium the classy number one ranked rider said, "I had no idea I had so many fans in Canada. It's good for our sport that our fans are not only in Europe."

Well said!



Sit back and enjoy the action!


Friday, September 9, 2011

On a Roll

Alex Stieda & Bob Roll

Bobke ...on a Roll!
(Both pics courtesy from Hans at Velospoke)


The Whistler Gran Fondo is tomorrow, and today was the last day for Velospoke a consumer cycling show here in Vancouver.

Hans emailed me these pictures and I want to thank him for use of them. I couldn't make it to the inaugural cycling show held in conjunction with the Gran Fondo. You may know the two personalities; that's Bob 'Bobke' Roll and Alex Stieda who both rode for the famous 7-Eleven team during the eighties.

Unfortunately, Hans won't be riding the Gran Fondo as he is recovering from a cycling accident. He took the pictures of the two ex-pros of 7-Eleven and listened to Bobke's funny and entertaining account of the famous 1988 Gavia pass with Andy Hampsten. He was a domestique in delivering warm clothes to Hampsten, surviving (story here) that blizzard stage and finished 61st.

In 1986, Alex Stieda was the first Canadian to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. He finished in 120th his only Tour appearance.

Hans had them sign the new Team 7-Eleven book by Geoff Drake from VeloPress. In fact, our friends at VeloPress are sending Guy and I a copy where we will introduce it for an upcoming 3B's podcast.

French Fun



Here's a fun jab between Europcar teammates, Québecer David Veilleux and Pierre Rolland about... French and Québecois.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Biking in Paradise

Roberts Creek Park



Carolle and I returned from a wonderful six day work/holiday trip on the BC Sunshine Coast where we stayed in the beautiful town of Gibsons.

Of course, I brought my Marinoni looking for a new riding adventure. This is our third time over here and I can say it won't be the last. It's very picturesque, a beautiful small coastal postcard that I can quickly get used to looking at.


One with Chaster Park...


My friend Helene warn me that the roads are extremely narrow to ride on and the cars, at times, too close to cyclists. I told her I'll be visible and will ride with presence of mind. I don't want to boast but I used to be a bike messenger... I can elbow the cars away if they get too close.

With that in mind, and elbows up, I rode along the hilly, narrow Gower Point Road and Ocean Beach Esplanade admiring the Salish Sea. I had no problems sharing the roads with the automobiles, in fact, around tight bends they had to follow me. There was a third element on the roads that was new to me... deer leisurely crossing the road. I saw one pop off from the side of the road. It caught me by surprise because it came from the shadows and darted across to the other side of the road, only a few feet from me. The sound of the clack from it's cloven hoofs on the road is not from a dog. When I rode pass, it ran into a driveway I saw what I thought was a Great Dane, it was the figure of a deer.



It wasn't only about cycling, we also finished a big order and even shipped off cycling caps from the town's little post office. Gibson is also well know for it's clean drinking water and was judged to be the best in the world. It has no after taste and I can say it's very refreshing. There's an outdoor water dispenser where anyone can fill their containers with the liquid gold ...free.

Now I know why it's called the Sunshine Coast, it was sunny and hot and I got in some quality riding time. Many thanks to Helene and Graham for sharing their paradise with us. And, it's only a 40 minute ferry ride ... we'll be back!


Cool artwork in Roberts Creek...


Gibsons picked blackberries...
Carolle baked!


... liquid dessert by
Cannery Brewing!
All images © 2011 Cyclingart

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Froome vs Cobo: Down to the Wire

Hand(s) it to Sky!




What an epic stage!

This exciting Vuelta was fought tooth and nail on stage 17 on the 19 % gradient on top of the Pena Cabarga. Chris Froome dug deep into his depths of his being to pull out a fantastic attack then to lose and regain it to win a stunner of a finish that I haven't seen before.

Inside the last 2 kms the gloves were off and it was an epic battle between leader Juan Jose Cobo vs the up and comer Chris Froome.

Give credit where credit is due, Cobo looked cooked yet came back to dangle close to Froome approaching the line. He still had reserves, like a champion. Froome, like a gladiator, struck his last blow to overtake Cobo on the last bend to score a brilliant victory.

Wiggins lost 39 seconds and is fighting for a podium spot. But, the team leadership goes to domestique Froome who proves to be the stronger Sky rider. Utterly amazing effort by both men as a scant 13 seconds separates Cobo (roja jersey) and second place Froome. You know...there's plenty of action upcoming until Madrid!



Exciting, right down to the wire!

David Boily: Yellow Jersey

Allez David!



David Boily of SpiderTech moved into the yellow leader's jersey at the Tour de l'Avenir (The Tour of the Future).

The young 21 year old Canadian grimpeur has won the KOM classification at the 2011 Giro di Sardegna. Today's stage 3 from Gérardmer to Porrentruy, Boily finished in 6th with the same time as winner Michael Hepburn from Australia.

Keep up the great work, I hope you keep it all the way to Sunday!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Grand Prix Cycliste De Montréal & Québec 2010 Redux




The second annual Grand Prix Cycliste De Québec and Montréal starts this Friday in beautiful Quebec City and Saturday in beautiful Montreal.

Here is a visit back to the final kilometers of both exciting races!



Monday, September 5, 2011

The Cobo-Might Maneuver

34 X 32 does it!



It was extraordinary to watch the stage to the top of the extremely steep Angliru.

At one point motorcycles stopped and riders looked eerily close to going backwards.


The hurt locker going up with the 1 km to go flag.


The Queen stage for the Queen size mountain left plenty of riders experiencing their own hurt lockers. On the ugly 22% gradient, Juan Jose Cobo (Geox-TMC), reportedly the only rider with 34 X 32 gearing called it his race and rhythmically rode away ...from everyone else. He seemed to have picked the right gearing or was it his mechanic? His mechanic should receive an extra Estrella!

No matter, with a strong performance from his front leading Geox team (Sastre, Menchov & company), Cobo is the new leader only 20 seconds in front of a superb Chris Froome and 46 seconds from Bradley Wiggins.

The Geox-TMC is impressive and there's still a week of racing left, my question ...can the Cobo lead Geox team keep up the hurt locker clinic?



The Pain in Spain!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vive Catharine!

Beautiful!


Canadian Catharine Pendrel proved she was the strongest to win the Women's Mountain Bike World Championships in Chambery, Switzerland.



Charge!
(Valentin Flauraud)


The Canadian ladies did very well with Emily Batty (8th), Marie-Helene Premont (9th) in the top ten. Also; Jean Ann Berkenpass (30th), Catherine Vipond (31st) & Amanda Sin (35th).

This is Canada's second World XC title since Alison Sydor won in 1996.

Job well done!



Golden!
(Valentin Flauraud)


O Canada!


1. Catharine Pendrel (Can)
2. Maja Wloszczowska (Pol)
3. Eva Lechner (Ita)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bicycle Gifts




Looking for that unique cycling gift for your cyclist friend? How about something for yourself?

BicycleGifts.com is the online store with merchandise for the cycling enthusiasts in mind. One that caught my attention is Liege-Bastogne-Liege by Mike Valenti. A fun depiction of La Doyenne the oldest classic and one of the five Monuments of Cycling.

One of the toughest races on the calendar, this old lady of cycling sometimes presents interesting challenges.

In 1980, a blizzard gave riders fits and commentators called it, 'Niege-Bastogne-Niege'. The tenacious Badger, Bernard Hinault attacked with 80 km to go winning alone. Hennie Kuiper would finish a just over nine minutes in second. The Badger's claws or hands were so badly frozen that he would permanently lose feeling in his fingertips. Of the 174 starters only 21 finish this ice battle.

There's a huge selection of fantastic poster art available, of course too numerous to list here, so I invite you to visit this site and pick up a few special gifts. And, I want to thank BicycleGifts for continued sponsorship!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

World Cross Country Championships

Air time!
Catharine Pendrel winning the Olympic test event, Essex UK
(Bryn Lennon)



Catharine Pendrel, ranked No. 1 in UCI women's cross-country, will be a huge favorite in Champery, Switzerland this weekend. On Saturday, she hopes to better her fourth at last year's world championship in Mont Sainte-Anne, Quebec.

She'll be lining up with teammate, Marie-Helene Premont (ranked 10th) in the women's elite XC race. I'll be watching and cheering!

Follow all the action live here.
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