Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A true champion!

Laurent Fignion passes away

It's a very sad day for cycling; former double Tour de France winner, and one of the greatest road riders of all time - Laurent Fignion of France, has lost his long battle against cancer, and passed away today aged just 50 years old.
The "Professor," as the trained vet from Paris was known, will probably be best remembered for his dramatic loss of the 1989 Tour on the final day of the race, the closest Tour ever.


Yannick GRANIERI on his mtb from Lines Up Prod. on Vimeo.

Thor melts to Garmin proposal

Norwiegen super viking Thor Hushvod, a member of the soon to be defunct Cervelo Test Team, has followed the Cervelo bikes to the soon to be re-vamped Garmin-Cervelo team.
The super sprinter, and TDF green jersey winner, is contracted to the American team for 2011.

Giro launch shoe range

Helmet supremos Giro delved into eyewear a few years back, and have a very nice range of eyewear already - now they have launched a range or road and MTB shoes, which we've seen from afar, but have no pics of yet. They look pretty well up to Giro standard, even if some of the road shoes do look a tad garish.
We'll bring some pics when we get hold of them...

New high-wire cycling world record

Ohh, makes me spin and tingle just watching. American high wire performer Nik Wallenda has just set (subject to verification) a new world record for the highest high wire bike ride - at 260 feet above the ground - note he also has no handle bars. Nik is a member of the Flying Walindas, an old high wire performing family, and also held the previous cycling record, as well as having just set a record for the worlds longest tight-rope walk - 200 feet.

Malaysian takes road win in Australia

Malaysian national development team rider Harif Salleh took a sprint victory in the second stage of the Tour of Murray River in Victoria, Australia. The national road and track teams are based close by in Melbourne, and his victory is a good sign that the plan is starting to work on the road as well as the track, thanks in no small part to team manager Will Walker.

The Malaysian national team seen in the Tour de Langkawi

Ever seen cycle speedway before?

The sport is pretty big in the North of England. here's a clip from a session in Sheffield, home of Steve peak and Stainless Steel - ohh, there's a bit of other stuff at the end too


CGCC Speedway. from Joe Bowman on Vimeo.

The XTR story 2

Vuelta A' Espana stage 3

Belgian classics specialist Philippe Gulbert of the Lotto team took a solo win from a fragmented peleton in today's stage 3 of the Vuelta, which now puts him into the race lead by 14 seconds, ahead of Spanish rider Joaquin Rodriguez of team Katusha.

Monday, 30 August 2010

3T rethink carbon bike bits

Tuesday sees the start of the Eurobike show in Germany, which is the first chance for major brands to expose their new bikes and great. LOng established Italian company #T (famous for their bars and stems) have now changed their name to 3T Cycling , and are set to release a new range of radical carbon components - including this space age looking crankset, which weights in at 550g (about a third less than standard cranks), it's not reached production yet - but looks great.

World Cup MTB finals, Windham USA

THis weekend saw the finals of the UCI MTB World Cup take place in Windham, and all was to play for - with the overall points running close. Gee Atherton took the mens DH race from Greg Minnaar (Steve Peat was on a great ride until a mishap close to the line), while his sister Rachel took the women's race.
Gee also took the overall title.

In the XC it was Czech rider Jaraslov Huhavey who stole the day, taking his first World Cup win ahead of Nino Schurter - and 4 other Swiss riders. This ride also earned him the overall World Cup title.

Now the riders hit the road, driving north to Mont Saint Anne in Canada, for the 20th MTB World Champs (UCI)

Cav upstaged in Vuelta's first road stage

Despite the extra power (or weight) of wearing the race leaders jersey on the opening road stage of this year's Vuelta a' Espana HTC rider Mark Cavendish, Garmin's Tyler Farrar, Friere, Petacchi etc all were all upstaged by young  FDJ rider Yauheni Hutarovich from Belarus.
The new sprinting sensation took a stage in the Tour of Poland a short while back, but this was by far the biggest win of his career - lets see if he can upset the apple cart. He goes into todays stage wearing the race leaders jersey.

Yep, it's for real...

The Swiss Army don't actually make knifes! But they do have one of, if not the, last fully functioning bike corps in the world. They are based north of Lausanne, and are made up of mainly Swiss German speaking soldiers. The swiss Army Bike is available for sale, and it's a real beast of a machine - although you can't buy the rocket launchers and guns.
A few years back we were lucky enough to go on tour with the Army - they ride fully laden bikes, in battle dress, with weaponry for up to 200km a time, mostly at night for stealth, sleeping wild in the snowy Swiss mountains. It's a tough game, although they have never seen battle action. Military service is compulsory in Switzerland.

Oh dear

How GT prep their DH bikes at a race

Sunday, 29 August 2010

HTC take Vuelta opener, Cav in gold

Team HTC-Columbia won the opening floodlit TTT stage of this years Vuelta a' Espana, covering the 13-km Seville circuit in  14.06, with team sprinter Mark Cavendish crossing the line first to take the opening golden jersey of the race.
Just ten seconds behind were the surprisingly strong Liquigas team, with Team Saxo Bank another 2 seconds adrift in third spot. With a flat road stage from Seville to Malaga today Cav should, barring accidents, keep the jersey.

Barichello's Formula 1 Electric Storck

Sounds like a good title for a movie? Well, close, maybe one day. Formula one ace Rubens Barichello of the AT&T Williams Cosworth team will be competing in his 300th GP this Sunday, and to celebrate Cosworth (you'd never guess it from the branding covering the bike) asked German bike builder Storck to build him a special bike, with a little something extra - a 250W electric motor.
Bikes and F1 racers of past and present are nothing new; Alain Prost, the former French driver has his own bike company, and is a regular Etap du Tour rider. Nigel Mansel, former British World Champ has just finished a long multi-day charity ride with former Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt, while current supremo Mark Webber has his own gran fondo events in both the UK and Australia, and trains regularly on the road, and Fernando Alonso even want to buy his own team..
And lets not forget that Louis Hamilton, ex Brit World Champ, was all set to go head to head in a huge stadium - against none other than Chris Hoy. The race was called off at the 11th hour due to ice - although Hamilton had selected a car as his weapon of choice against the highly decorated track champion...
But electric; we can just see it now, a late night apres race challenge, Webber, electric Rubens, Shumi in a go-cart, Hamilton on a mini moto, Jenson Button dressed as batman on a scooter... ahh, what a race that would be..
Sorry no pics, but sometimes we wonder what the fascination is with over paid rich boys in fast cars, when compared to cycling ;)


Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling

Well, if you have;'t seen bog snorkeling before then here you go! Being a Welshman and a biker, you have to do this at least once in your life! But once, and once only. The event first took place in April, when it was near to freezing. I can tell you it's fowl, you can't see a thing, and can't avoid sampling the sheep tick infested bog water - which left me sick for weeks.
But the Bog Snorkeling without a bike continues - and this weekend Llanwrtyd Wells. the smallest ton in Britain will again play host to one of the worlds oddest sporting events
Ps - Llanwrtyd Wells is the cradle of British mountain biking, and was home to the famous Man vs Horse race, until they banned racing on bridleway's (a grade of track).


Saturday, 28 August 2010

A visit to BMC bikes

Footnote - this was written 4 years ago, but makes for an interesting read - we hope. There is a "secret" room at the factory where all prototype, broken, and yellow Landis bikes are stacked high... BMC do now of course sponsor the BMC Racing team of Cadel Evans, which also got off to a bad start following doping positives, a real shame for the brand.


Without a doubt it’s been something of a rollercoaster of a year, or even longer, for Swiss cycling and the Swiss bike business in General, and perhaps the biggest winner and loser in all of this has been bike manufacturer BMC, and the team behind it.
The BMC brand has been around for 20 (now 24) years now, although it’s only been at the top end of road bike production and pro team sponsorship for 4 years. The company started out as a bike assembly and distribution business, started by an American in 1986. In 1995 they started their own production, with a focus on high-end mountain bikes; but it wasn’t until 2001 that they made their first serious foray into the high-end road market, a market that now accounts for 55% of the companies sales.
The big turn around and change in direction that has taken BMC to the forefront in bike design and manufacturing largely came down to the enthusiasm of one man – Andy Reis. This is a name that you’ve probably heard a few times recently, in relation to the Landis affair. Reis is a bike crazy and wealthy Swiss businessman, and owner of Phonak Hearing Systems. Reis’s passion for bike racing and bikes firstly lead him to the acquisition of BMC, and then to forming the ill fated Phonak cycling team, where he was able to mix business with pleasure and propel the small bike building company to the technological forefront.
The whole Phonak cycling story has been something of a fairytale turned nightmare, which has had a serious dent on Reis’s enthusiasm for the sport. The Phonak and BMC venture started in 2002 and matured rapidly. It’s hard to forget the gutsy rides of Tyler Hamilton in the Tour, and his Olympic crowning moment in Athens 2004, when he took the BMC TT01 Time Machine to perhaps it’s greatest victory. But then it all started to go bad, when Hamilton and Santos Gonzales became entangled in doping affairs, as did Phonak rider and ex World Champ Oscar Camazind. Seemingly the writing was on the wall for the team. But Reis was having none of it, and invested hugely in cleaning things up and pushing the team forward into 2005, and then signed Floyd Landis to lead their offensive on the 2006 Tour de France.
It had been a long time since Swiss bikes had reached any level in the Tour, you have to delve way hack to the old Cilo team of the early 80’s, when Beat Breau took the KOM title to measure any real success – until this year that was. It was a tense week in late July at the Grenchen HQ of BMC; the race was beamed in live and the staff was on a super high as Landis took the lead. The atmosphere dropped some after he made the big time loss. But at least they could consolidate themselves with the knowledge that the Team and Time Machines had been pushed to their limits and performed well. Then of course the amazing comeback day turned everything around, and BMC staff drove 10 hours through the night to Paris to hand over a brand new Time Machine and special yellow bike for Landis to ride on the final stage, and the rest as they say is history. The TT01 has only been ridden once, and stands on display at the factory, while the fated yellow Team bike still sits in a bike bag in an upstairs stock room.
The company had also just prepared to launch a series of yellow Landis bikes, which needless to say never hit the stands of the dealers. The whole situation was a great blow to everyone involved, and on the sidelines – but luckily has not dented BMC’s reputation as one of the most innovative bike manufacturers around, and Reis has remained committed to BMC, despite pulling the plug on the Phonak team
The Swiss HQ of BMC is a surprisingly small and efficient set up, which is mainly due to the fact that just about all of their manufacturing takes place in Taiwan, as it does with most manufacturers. The Grenchen base is primarily a design, assembly, and distribution centre.
This design and attention to development detail is at the core of BMC’s philosophy, and show’s through heavily in their product, which is some of the most distinctive and innovative in the business. The company has won endless industry awards for innovation, as well as the prestigious German rd award for design, which awarded for innovative design concepts – not just in the bike industry.
The cutting edge design and development work that takes place here leads to some of the most innovative carbon fibre product in the market place. Although these products are ultimately produced in the far east (apart from the TT01), they are initially designed and prototypes are built just 20 kilometres away by specialist carbon fibre company Futec, who work heavily in the F1 and aircraft industry, and you can be sure that with the managements ongoing commitment and enthusiasm for the sport that this fast moving development process will be set to continue.

The Time Machine

The BMC TT01 Time Machine is without doubt one of the most innovative and impressive bikes on the face of the planet, and probably the fastest time trial bike currently available.
It was in 2002 that BMC set out to design and build the fastest time trial bike in the world. By the end of the year they submitted deign proposals to the UCI, these designs focussed around a one-piece integral fork and steering set up and integral seat post, and disc brakes.

Needless to say it took some negotiating with the UCI, and the disc brakes were dropped, and by December 2003 the final drawings were in place, and BMC started work for the 2004 Tour de France.
By March 04 the first prototype emerged, and following more tests the company set about producing 6 custom bikes for the Tour, bikes which got their first outing just days before the race, and made their first appearance in the prologue.
Since then the bike has progressed even more, to the level of the Landis machine that appeared in the Tour this year. It has become one of the most desirable bikes out there, and following numerous requests to buy these custom bikes BMC set up a custom production option.


Thursday, 26 August 2010

Cervelo bikes for Garmin?

That's what we've heard - Cervelo will  be supplying team Garmin with bikes next year, and that several of their riders could be going along with the bikes...

Cervelo Test Team - the test is over!

One less major team will be out of the peleton next year - the Cervelo Test Team. For some time Cervelo, the Canadian manufacturer supported the CSC team and rose from a small specialist bike brand to one of the most desirable in the world. The test team was launched around a core of the leading CSC riders of the time - names like Carlos Sastre and Thor Hushvod, and by heck they got some good results in the past 2 years.
We're not sure of the details as yet, but they were very unusual in this day, age, and financial climate - being a bike manufacturer and title sponsor of a major team. Hopefully things have worked out well for them, and maybe we'll see the bikes with another team in the pro peleton next year - there are a couple of big teams about to launch (Geox and the Luxumberg team,...)
Some of the riders (including Sastre) had already signed with new teams for next year, but a good number of the riders will be scrapping around at the last minute for a ride next year.

Carlos Sastre

Who's gonna win the Vuelta?

Well, who's gonna win - always a tough one, and something of a lottery. Both the Vuelta and Giro d'Italia  are traditionally far more open races that the Tour de France, meaning that picking a winner is always something of a tough task; at the Vuelta there's usually far more potentials, and a few dark horses lurking in the field.
The race is the third and final of the three grand tours of the year, and is not only a passionate affair for the Spanish, it's a real chance to save the season for many riders and teams - a last gap race that could secure them a contract or a team a sponsor for the following year.
The race has also become a favoured training event for those in search of world championship form; this year most of these riders are considered to be the sprinters, those who can go the distance. Often they ride half of the race, then head home to fine tune for the 2-3 weeks before the championships. But for the GC guy's it's raw combat, but who will win this year?
There are a number of guys in the ring - but without a doubt the man carrying the virtual golden fleece in the burly Russian Denis Menchov; with 2 Vuelta titles to his name already, plus a Giro and numerous close calls Menchov is a solid rider who must be considered one of the best grand tour riders of the moment, and going into this race he is on good form, and  surely out for a subtle victory. The clouding factor here could be that he's splitting from the Rabobank team at the end of the year, which could lead to some crossed wires with teammates and future teammates, although we don't figure that will dent his armour too much. As for who's going to challenge him? On paper Liquigas have the best cards in the pack, with Roman Kreuzger and Vincenzo Nibali both potential contenders - one of which will also be leaving the team next year, so again potential minor conflicts, but a very strong line up. Also very much in the running will be Luis leon Sanchez, who will have David Arroyo as his second throughout the race.
On the outsider list - Frank Schleck and Carlos Sastre both figure highly, but all of these guys will be looking to Menchov as the main opposition.

Vuelta Espana Start-list, so far




1. Andalucia Cajasur (ACA
CALVENTE CORBAS Manuel ESP
CARRASACO GARCIA Sergio
ESTRADA RUIZ Juan Javier E
GOMEZ MARCHANTE José Angel ESP
MORENO BAZAN Javier ESP
ORTEGA OCANA Manuel ESP
PIEDRA PEREZ Antonio ESP
RAMIREZ ABEJA Javier ESP
TORIBIO ALCOLEA Jose Vicente ESP
2. Ag2r – La Mondiale (ALM)
ARRIETA LUJAMBIO Jose Luis ESP
BONNAFOND Guillaume FRA
DUPONT Hubert FRA
HINAULT Sébastien FRA
KADRI Blel FRA
NOCENTINI Rinaldo ITA
RIBLON Christophe FRA
ROCHE Nicolas IRL
TURPIN Ludovic FRA
3. Bbox – Bouygues Telecom (BBO)
BICHOT Freddy FRA
BONNET William FRA
GÈNE Yohann FRA
JEROME Vincent FRA
PICHOT Alexandre FRA
QUEMENEUR Perrig FRA
ROLLAND Pierre FRA
SPRICK Mathieu FRA
VOGONDY Nicolas FRA
4. Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne (COF)
DUMOULIN Samuel FRA
GALLOPIN Tony FRA
KERN Christophe FRA
LABBE Arnaud FRA
MONCOUTIE David FRA
PAURIOL Rémi FRA
SIJMENS Nico BEL
TAARAMAE Rein EST
ZINGLE Romain BEL
5. Cervélo Test Team (CTT)
BOS Theo NED
CUESTA LOPEZ DE CASTRO Iñigo ESP
DEIGNAN Philip IRL
DENIFL Stefan AUT
FLORENCIO CABRE Xavier ESP
HAMMOND Roger GBR
HUSHOVD Thor NOR
SASTRE CANDIL Carlos ESP
TONDO VOLPINI Xavier ESP
6. Euskaltel – Euskadi (EUS)
ANTON HERNANDEZ Igor ESP
FERNANDEZ DE LARREA Koldo ESP
INTXAUSTI ELORRIAGA Beñat ESP
MARTINEZ DE ESTEBAN Egoi ESP
NIEVE ITURRALDE Mikel ESP
OROZ UGALDE Juan Jose ESP
TXURRUKA ANSOLA Amets ESP
URTASUN PEREZ Pablo ESP
VERDUGO MARCOTEGUI Gorka ESP
7. Française des Jeux (FDJ)
BONNAIRE Olivier FRA
CAZAUX Pierre FRA
CHAVANEL Sébastien FRA
CHEREL Mikael FRA
HUTAROVICH Yauheni BLR
LE MEVEL Christophe FRA
MEERSMAN Gianni BEL
OFFREDO Yoann FRA
VICHOT Arthur FRA
8. Footon – Servetto (FOT)
BENITEZ ROMAN Jose Alberto ESP
CARDOSO manuel Antonio Leal POR
CHEULA Giampaolo ITA
DURAN AROCA Arkaitz ESP
GUTIERREZ GUTIERREZ David ESP
MATA Enrique ESP
PEREZ ARRIETA Aitor ESP
VALLS FERRI Rafael ESP
VITORIA David SUI
9. Caisse d’Epargne (GCE)
ARROYO DURAN David ESP
BRUSEGHIN Marzio ITA
ERVITI OLLO Imanol ESP
GARCIA ACOSTA Jose Vicente ESP
LOPEZ GARCIA David ESP
PASAMONTES RODRIGUEZ Luis ESP
PLAZA MOLINA Ruben ESP
SANCHEZ GIL Luis Leon ESP
URAN URAN Rigoberto COL
10. Garmin – Transitions (GRM)
DANIELSON Tom USA
DEAN Julian NZL
FARRAR Tyler USA
KREDER Michel NED
MEIER Christian CAN
MILLAR David GBR
VANDE VELDE Christian USA
WILSON Matthew AUS
ZABRISKIE David USA
11. Katusha (KAT)
CARUSO Giampaolo ITA
GALIMZYANOV Denis RUS
GUSEV Vladimir RUS
HORRACH RIPOLL Joan ESP
KARPETS Vladimir RUS
KOLOBNEV Alexandr RUS
PETROV Evgeni RUS
POZZATO Filippo ITA
RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin ESP
12. Lampre – Farnese Vini (LAM)
BOLE Grega SLO
HONDO Danilo GER
KASHECHKIN Andrey KAZ
LORENZETTO Mirco ITA
MARZANO Marco ITA
MORI Manuele ITA
PETACCHI Alessandro ITA
PIETROPOLLI Daniele ITA
RIGHI Daniele ITA
13. Liquigas – Doimo (LIQ)
BENNATI Daniele ITA
FINETTO Mauro ITA
GUARNIERI Jacopo ITA
KISERLOVSKI Robert CRO
KREUZIGER Roman CZE
NIBALI Vincenzo ITA
SABATINI Fabio ITA
SANTAROMITA Ivan ITA
WILLEMS Frederik BEL
14. Milram (MRM)
FÖRSTER Robert GER
FOTHEN Markus GER
NERZ Dominik GER
ROELS Dominik GER
RUSS Matthias GER
SCHRÖDER Björn GER
SENTJENS Roy BEL
TERPSTRA Niki NED
VOSS Paul GER
15. OmegaPharma – Lotto (OLO)
BAKELANTS Jan BEL
BRANDT Christophe BEL
DELAGE Mickael FRA
GILBERT Philippe BEL
HOSTE Leif BEL
KAISEN Olivier BEL
PERAUD Jean-Christophe FRA
VAN AVERMAET Greg BEL
VANENDERT Jelle BEL
16. Quick Step (QST)
BARREDO LLAMAZALES Carlos ESP
CATALDO Dario ITA
DE WEERT Kevin BEL
DEVOLDER Stijn BEL
MALACARNE Davide ITA
SAMOILAU Branislau BLR
STAUFF Andreas GER
TOSATTO Matteo ITA
WEYLANDT Wouter BEL
17. Rabobank (RAB)
ARDILA CANO Mauricio Alberto COL
FREIRE GOMEZ Oscar ESP
GARATE CEPA Juan Manuel ESP
KOZONTCHUK Dmitriy RUS
LANGEVELD Sebastian NED
MARTENS Paul GER
MENCHOV Denis RUS
TEN DAM Laurens NED
WEENING Pieter NED
18. Saxo Bank (SAX)
CANCELLARA Fabian SUI
COOKE Baden AUS
HAEDO Juan Jose ARG
KLEMME Dominic GER
LARSSON Gustav Erik SWE
LUND Anders DEN
O’GRADY Stuart AUS
SCHLECK Andy LUX
SCHLECK Fränk LUX
19. Sky (SKY)
AUGUSTYN John-Lee RSA
CARLSTRÖM Kjell FIN
FLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio ESP
GERRANS Simon AUS
KENNAUGH Peter GBR
LÖFKVIST Thomas SWE
NORDHAUG Lars Petter NOR
STANNARD Ian GBR
SWIFT Ben GBR
20. HTC – Columbia (THR)
BAK Lars Ytting DEN
CAVENDISH Mark GBR
EISEL Bernhard AUT
GOSS Matthew AUS
ROULSTON Hayden NZL
SIUTSOU Kanstantsin BLR
VAN GARDEREN Tejay USA
VELITS Martin SVK
VELITS Peter SVK
21. Xacobeo – Galicia (XAC)
CESAR VELOSO Gustavo ESP
FERNANDEZ CRUZ Delio ESP
GARCIA DA PENA David ESP
GARCIA Marcos ESP
ISAICHEV Vladimir RUS
MARTINEZ Serafin ESP
MOSQUERA MIGUEZ Ezequiel ESP
RABUNAL RIOS Gonzalo ESP
RODRIGUEZ IGLESIAS Gustavo ESP

La Vuelta 2010 preview

This weekend, on the 28th, sees the start of this year's Vuelta a' Espana, the third of the annual Grand Tours. The Vuelta is traditionally hot and hilly, and this years 75th anniversary race looks set to follow suit.
The race starts in Seville with a short team time trial, and then covers 3400 km over the next 3 weeks. There are 10 flat stages, 8 mountain stages (6 summit finishes), a 46km ITT and 2 rest days.
the race is traditionally dominated by the Spanish riders, and they certainly have some aces to play again this time around. Missing will be the banned Alejandro Valverde, but Louis Leon Sanchez is expected to take up the challenge of race favourite, and considering his Tour de France performance it's no surprise. We'll follow up with a start list at the weekend - which will include Carlos Sastre, who is riding his third Grand Tour of the year...



Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Looks like Lance Armstrong will be riding next year...

Team Radioshack have announced 19 confirmed riders with contracts for 2011 - with more expected to sign, and new riders anticipated to join the team too - including Kiwi Clinton Avery and wonder-kid Taylor Phinney (both TBC).
Interesting things is that the line up includes Lance Armstrong, who did say pre-Tour de France that he would ride part time, and mix races, but then announced the end of the road - lets see what the next few weeks bring..


Confirmed team so far -  Lance Armstrong, San Bewley, Janez Brajkovic, Matthew Busche, Ben Hermans, Chris Horner, Markel Irizar, Andreas Klöden, Levi Leipheimer, Geoffroy Lequatre, Tiago Machado, Dmitry Muravyev, Sergio Paulinho, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast, Sebastien Rosseler, Bjorn Selander, Gert Steegmans and Haimar Zubeldia.

Tour de Langkawi route details

Pic by Pulse media







 
    1308.90

Tour de Langkawi 2011

Next year's 16th Tour de Langkawi was launched today, and will take place between the 23rd January and 1st February, returning to a 10-day format compared to the 7-day's the race has followed in recent years. In past years the race has been somewhat troubled, which has lead to a decline in it's status, which has not been helped by date clashes with other emerging Asian races.
This years race is closer to the "original" scheduling and format, but does see it clashing with the end of the Pro Tour Tour Down Under, and the Herald Sun Tour - both in Australia. This may not help the appeal of the race as far as major teams are concerned, although 23 teams are expected to line up for the round island opening stage, with Pro Tour and Continental teams anticipated to ride.
The race will have 2 mountain finishes; Cameron Highlands, and the usual decider to Genting Highlands - although this year both come mid race, which should keep things a little more open on the way to the traditional KL circuit finish.

The shirt on yrt back - and how it gets there

If ever he misses...

Shiny nipples, a visit to DT Swiss

Swiss week continues with a visit to DT Swiss's wheel HQ..





The morning mist was slowly clearing over the lake at Bielle in northern Switzerland, a town well known as the centre of the renowned precision Swiss watch making industry, and there was not a single cuckoo in sight. It had been years since I’d last by-passed the region, and as the mist cleared I was beginning to wonder why I’d never stopped off before. There was something special about this place; the Jura Mountains, smaller northern cousins of the Alps, rise up from the sparkling waters of the numerous lakes of the region, making for am amazing backdrop, while the hillsides are all neatly and precisely terraced with vines. All well in order – like everything in this chocolate box country. Weaving between these clustered vineyards are miles of narrow and twisty service roads, and numerous meandering mountain climbs These are roads that have for a long time not only serviced the fine vines of the region, but that have also been the home grown testing ground for the finest Swiss bikes and components, as this is the base of both BMC and DT Swiss, two of the most respected names in the bike business, and today I was about to find out a whole lot more about DT Swiss; a company who’s name meant the finest spokes in the world to me, and to be honest nothing much else, but company “spokesman” Daniel Berger was about to open my eyes, and much to my surprise - surprise  and enthral me in the whole DT phenomenon.
The company has two premises in the town; one being the original company building which dates right back to the days when the company was part of a general metal company, and a newer factory on the edge of town, where many of the newer products in the DT catalogue are produced, and following future expansion will become the sole base in Bielle The company also now have a spoke production facility and warehouse in Colorado USA and an office in Taiwan, the centre of the world as far as bike manufacturing goes, but not in the case of DT; just about everything here is totally Swiss made, Taiwan is currently more of a base for dealing with the supply of their Swiss products to the endless list of manufacturers who now use DT products on their bikes.
Over a double espresso Daniel ran me through the basics of DT, but neither of us could take our eyes away from the clearing mist; ”What a great day, and the end of the summer is coming – maybe we should give you a CD and we could go on our bikes?” He grinned hopefully, and for a moment I almost faltered. The guys at DT are real enthusiasts, and regularly have lunch time rides into the local hills. This enthusiasm for the product is always good in a specialist market.
Although DT have been around for decades, the “new and evolved” DT has only been in existence since 1994, when some of the then employees forged a management buy out and set about expanding the business. For sure they had always had a great name for making top notch spokes – and still do, but they wanted more, which has lead to DT currently being one of the highest calibre wheel supplying companies in the world, and almost unique in manufacturing just about everything themselves.
I guess I’d never really given too much thought as to how spokes were made, but when I started to think about it things boggled. DT produces most of their spokes here on the premises. They import expensive high quality material on huge great reels from Sweden; these reels then feed the coiled metal through machines, which forge and cut the spokes, and create the heads. The unique and highly secret DT system for forge butting is the envy of other manufacturers, meaning that the spokes turn out incredibly strong and precisely butted, it is really quite amazing to see. From here the spokes are threaded and cleaned before being packed.
By now I was thinking about nipples, or DT nipples I should say. These are also produced here to keep standards high. Coiled metal is fed through great red vibrating machines; inside rapid firing cams shoot away, and at the other end millions of nipples appear ready to go into the next machine, from which they emerge fully holed and threaded. It’s hard to imagine exactly what goes on inside the machine. Next up certain nipples go into another machine where Loctite is injected into them, to form the DT Pro Lock nipples.
Just a year after the management but out (in 95) DT brought out small Swill hub manufacturer Hugi, and set about producing Hugi, and then DT branded hubs. From their early beginnings as MTB hubs things have moved on some, and the all-Swiss hubs are now recognised as some of the best in the world. Using their own manufacturing facilities in conjunction with some of the local watch making precision engineers for bearings, as well as specialist local carbon fibre development facilities (as used by BMC), the hubs have now transformed into the road market, and indeed as part of the DT road wheel-sets that are used by many top pro riders and teams.
Although the wheel-sets themselves are manufactured on the premises, the actually final wheel build happens at a specialist facility close by. Here the hubs and rims are made (except for the carbon products). Long strips of forged aluminium are run through bending machines and the rim is formed and cut. These are then hand fed through a series of machines to join the rim, finish off the joint and then into a rolling machine to make the spoke and valve holes before being cleaned in a giant “dish washer”. The last process here is applying the labels, which is still done by hand.
All product batches are highly tested on site too, by an array of machines that stress, measure, and push tolerances to the limit, ensuring the precision and quality you would expect of DT. The next stop is the open road. DT now, of course, also own what was Pace forks, a brand which originated in the UK, and manufacturer some of the best suspenders in the world.
It had been an interesting visit to DT, but what really impressed me was not so much the process that transforms bundles of wire into spokes and nipples, but the end products. The DT Swiss name is not only supplied in its own right to many of the leading bike manufacturers – despite it’s relatively high price tag, it has also for many years been behind many other leading brands such as Bontrager and Rolf. So it would be very fair to assume that not only did Floyd Landis “win” the Tour on DT branded wheels, but that at least some of the previous Lance Armstrong victories were also achieved on products rolled out of this same DT factory.
Pictures DT Swiss www.dtswiss.com

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

More Lance monkey business and dirty racing

Bring back real pumps!

It's really strange how sometimes people take good ideas and products and just change them for changes sake or for trend reasons - eneter the dreaded mini pump; that short arsed hunk of metal and plastic that you now have to stash in your back pocket when out for a ride, the breathless mini beast that takes more energy to blow up a tyre than the ride it's self, aghh, who's idea was it?
What ever happened to full length frame fit pumps? Ok; so very occasionally you see one lurking in the back room of an old bike shop, and every time i do my eyes light up and my arms breath a sigh of relief, yet nearly always they're not for sale, too small, or just plane broken. Oh how I yearn for a real pump when stranded at the side of a freezing, or a burning roadside, just like today. I mean, what is the point - some are a little lighter, yet you almost always end up carrying them in your pocket, then humbling around swapping arms or taking turns just to get plane old air into a tyre. In the good old days, when men were men and pumps were big the whole thing was so much easier. Sure they'd pop off, or fold up every now and then, but for efficiency and ease of use - who, maybe somebody will go out and reintroduce a retro styled pump, paint it up all fancy and add a very fancy price tag... umm, that could be an idea...
This grunt was brought to you following a short ride with a flat tyre, which thanks to deep section rims, a thick plastic rim tape, and "bendy super over priced" tyre levers, turned into a scraped knuckled back bending pleasure, with final assistance from poxy mini pimp pump...
And if you think a mini pump is gonna scare away a rabbied dog, he's more likely to choke himself laughing

Shaggy dog story

Man1 - "I've got real problems with my dog, he chases everybody on bikes..."
Man2 - "Umm, that is a problem - what are you going to do?"
Man1 - "Maybe I'll have to take his bike off him.."

What's in Lances' garage?

Monday, 23 August 2010

New Megavalanch video


Chris Akrigg.TEOCALI MEGA.0 from chris akrigg on Vimeo.

Tour de Langkawi 2011 to start in Langkawi

The official launch of the 2011 Tour de Langkawi will take place on the 25th, when dates and details will be released in full - but we've heard on the news vine that next year's race will start on the island of it's name - which it tends to do every few years. Lets hope that the dates don't clash with the OCBC Singapore event and the Tour of Luzon - as well as other new and established events in South Africa and USA...

Apple to introduce a bike computer ipod/iphone?

Computer giants Apple have applied for a patent on a bike computer. The computer will be based around an ipod/iphone that will have a bike mount, and some pretty cool features. These should include all the usual bike computer function, plus they hope to be able to add in gradients, gears used, and to make a route sharing platform too.
But for now they have only applied for the patent - it doesn't meant it will come around just yet, or ever - although their Nike running version did pretty well..

Don't try this at home!

Swiss Room Box

As we're on a bit of a Swiss Roll right now we thought we'd show you a brand new product which is just about to go on offer in Europe, and will be available worldwide soon. The product is the Swiss Room Box - it's a boxed mobile home that fits into the back of most cars or vans, and is just perfect for weekend bike trips, place to place tours, and events - simply pack up your car and hit the road, or trail :)
The creator is former top downhiller, road racer and cross country ace Philippe Perakis - the many who first introduced body armour to mountain biking.
We can't wait to try one, a great solution to road trips...
For details check out www.swissroombox.com

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Saiz set to return to cycling - in Asia?

It will send shudders down many a back-bone, but Manolo Saiz, once considered the greatest of team managers, and then banned from the sport after his involvement in the huge Spanish drug controversy Operation Puerto, intends to return and form a new pro team in 2012. The former ONCE team manager, and manager of Alberto Contador has strongly hinted at an Asian involvement;  “Professional cycling has not incorporated any team from Asia, except for Astana, but let’s not forget that Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrei Kashechkin both developed in Europe,”

Just like Hitler... GWB wants a 29"er

Yep, it's true - our fun video of Hitler and his 29"er rang a little truer today when we heard the former US President GW Bush, who is a regular cyclist has been test riding a 29"er from US company Niner bikes. Bush regularly rides with his "Peleton One" mates, who mostly have 29"ers. Now, we're not sure if he saw our Hitler video and took things too seriously, or of he figured it was a faster way to cover more rough terrain in his on-going search for Bin Laden, which we here he could well be taking up on 2 wheels in the near future - what a race that would be, it'd make the Red Bull Rampage look like a barbie party...

New from DT Swiss wheel and fork maestro's for 2011

The annual season of international bike shows kicks off soon with Eurobike in Germany, this is the first mass glimpse the public and industry get at next year's products - although many manufactures do preview things to the industry and media in advance. Here's a sneak preview of the latest wheel and fork offerings from Swiss manufacturers DT Swiss...

Add caption




Hitler had a 29"er

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Bont Vaypor launched today

By now I guess we've all seen those snazzy shoes work by Brad Wiggins - the Union Jack slippers? Well, many of the leading pro's have been wearing shoes made by that self same company for many years not - Bont. We've heard many good things about Bont shoes, shoes which are produced in Australia by a company who started out making speed ski skates, and then moved into cycling shoes.
The Vaypor is the latest ultralight racing shoe to emerge from the Bont stable, and has been tested on real racing feet throughout the year. The shoe was due to be launched at the Interbike show, but appeared today at the Ausbike trade show in Australia. This superlight carbon shoe comes in black, white, and even with pink trimmings. We heard about these shoes some time ago - and secretly measured up for a custom pair to be made - as I often suffer with cramped toes and foot cramps with carbon shoes - it's a fascinating process, which many knowledgeable pro's take serious note of.
The shoes are expected to retail at AUS$480, our shoes are currently being crafted, and we'll report back on the whole process and review them once we've checked that they really are the bees knees of racing shoes....
But - will they make that cleated hobble across a tiled floor any more elegant, we'll see..

**** CHECK OUT OUR REVIEW OT THE VAYPOR HERE
http://bikenewsasia.blogspot.com/2010/10/reviewed-bont-vaypor-custom-shoes.html


**** CHECK OUT OUR COMMUTER 2 REVIEW HERE
http://bikenewsasia.blogspot.com/2010/10/reviewd-bont-commuter-two.html







Especially for Lance, Floyd, Tyler and their Clash with the Feds, a little inspiration?

The XTR story

Great new mini movie

Sadly we can't add this to the site - but follow the link to Rapha, it's a great mini movie - especially if you can relate to things
www.rapha.cc

Friday, 20 August 2010

Fox Promo video, great moves - look no hands..

Get skinny



The extremes that grand tour riders go to in getting to that minimum acceptable racing weight can be extreme. We delve in to their calorie counting world to see what it’s all about;

Things have changed a whole heap in professional cycling terms over the years, and especially in the past decade. These changes don’t only relate to bikes and riders salaries, but the whole format and face of racing has had a complete make over, and every last minor detail which was a small issue in years gone by is now magnified out of all recognition in today’s super tight racing world, and that’s reflected greatly in riders diets in a world where every ounce counts. The days of monster breakfast steaks, chocolate bars and all that’s good to taste, but bad on the hill, have long gone for most modern riders.
In years gone by racing schedules and seasons were a lot shorter and kinder on the riders, meaning that there were real off seasons – where riders would spend some considerable time out of real training, and mostly come in to the early season in parallel shape. Back then the stakes were different, riders raced year round and in everything and anything that was required, and until very recently few riders were ever afforded the chance to focus purely on the grand tours. That trend started with Greg Lemond, a man who would ride just a few weeks worth of racing days in a year, and then turn out and contend for the tour. Greg would ritually show up in the early summer looking more like a burbs banker than a bike rider, carrying a spare tyre under his ribs as well as under his saddle, yet come the 1st of July there he’d be, a lean mean racing machine. You could say that he changed the shape of bike racing in more than one way
With longer seasons and heavier workloads it’s not as easy for the majority of modern day pro’s to put on the traditional winter wrap and then work it off together. The whole game is too tight and competitive, there simply is not the room or time any more. This of course is the case for the vast majority of riders, but then there are those great leaders and tour contenders who have earned the right to race much less and focus specifically on the big jobs, some of who still turn out, even weeks before the Tour de France for their first real races, often carrying spare chins – with Heir Ullrich being the leader on this forefront.
Bike riders are traditionally skinny, and grand tour winners were generally mountain gods in the mould of Pantani and Heras, but in the past decade and a half the growing importance of time trials and the team focus changes towards complete and overall control of a race have changed the demands and qualifications to become a contender. Arguably modern day grand tour winners have to be more rounded and complete bike riders. Even so in the past few years for three weeks in July, June or September some of these guys are super skinny, verging on the unhealthy. Many riders undergo winter weight loss sessions, and then the elite will shave closer over every excessive ounce in the build up to a grand tour. In doing this the riders put themselves in to a zone know as “the razor” where not only is everything is shaven to a minimum, they are effectively balancing their careers, health, and mental state on a razors edge; one fall and that’s the end of the game, or at least the season,
Not all riders are built the same; guys like Heras and Hamilton for instance are naturally scrawny, but guys like Indurain and Ullrich are not, these are big men on anyone’s scales, and therefore are more prone to putting on weight, and consequently have to partake of an awful lot more in the way of super slimming and risk taking, this is the razor at it’s most extreme. Convexly some smaller riders even struggle to keep their weight up in pre tour preparation time.
A lot more is know about diets, and there are a heck of a lot more products on the market these days to help with weight loss and nutritional supplementation, but at the end of the day getting your weight to that razor level all still comes down to discipline and self determination. The great Sean Yates lost a whole bucket of lard by spending a winter riding down the Gold Coast in a wet suit, sweating it off. He then shaved himself out of all recognition by spending his early season by riding to a patisserie in the morning for his daily croissant, and then riding to the pizzeria after all day long fat burning sessions.
Super diets are generally the realm of the big guys, but you also occasionally see the pint-sized pots too, like Rujiano before the start of the Giro. The first step in this process for a lot of riders is to lose muscle mass during the winter months, after all it weighs more than fat, but then there things have to be calculated precisely. It’s all very well losing muscle mass and weight to ride up mountains fast, but if you lose your endurance and time trailing strength in the process then you’ll have to start all over. Lance Armstrong was the master of this balancing act. We’ve all seen images of a young Lance winning the World Championships, built more like a trackie, but I doubt very much he would of wanted to lose the muscle mass the way he did. Lance’s schedules for getting on “the razor” were harsh and calculated, like everything else in his racing life. Ritually he would weigh every ounce of food that passed his lips, calculating just how much he could afford to put in, mind bending to say the least. Many other riders tried this method, but few could stick it for any length of time.
A common way method of getting this extra weight off is to start the day with 20 minutes of exercise before breakfast, generally on a trainer or intense gym style exercises. The idea is to get the metabolism going before you eat, cutting a whole in those early calories, Then after training they will replace their après ride meals with diet shakes. Some riders have been known to take this method further still by starting the day on nothing but a couple of espressos, as caffeine is believed to mobilise fat cells, and then riding for 20 minutes before starting on energy drinks. Using this method many riders have found themselves blowing and unable to train properly. When you do get to this razor line level there are simply no reserves, when the finger hits red it means red, another huge consideration in the balancing act.
Three bowls of breakfast cereal and nothing else on alternate days is another popular method used by top riders in search of that minimal weight, while certain riders have been known to turn up for races with their own cooking gear, and live on nothing but oatmeal porridge and water, while team mates gorge on pasta, which takes a lot of handling in the upstairs room.
All bike riders pay a certain amount of attention to their weight, but it’s only the promised few that have to go to these extremes, and the odd few that chose to do so. This borderline weight can be very risky for health and mental reasons, let alone strength loss considerations. Stay like that for too long and you can lower system and body resistance and make yourself prone to illness and injury. For someone like Ullrich for example that weight is only really reasonable for periods of 6 weeks or so at a time, as it’s just not his natural physique, and so would not work for him long term.
So far cases of Balemea and Anorexia have not occurred with male riders, although it has been rumoured amongst some top females.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

How do pro riders stay chilled before the start of a race?

Sometimes it can reach 40 degrees on a hot Tour de France day in July - but to many of us here in Asia these are pretty normal temperatures, and bike races often take place right in the middle of the mid day sun - so how do riders stay cool as they swelter in the heat waiting for flag off?
Firstly they stay in the shade - obviously, but most well organised teams will have small nets, in which the pack ice cubes, then then keep them stashed behind their necks until the race starts. Sometimes, maybe in a short TT for example they will even keep an ice pack behind their neck right through the race.
This is the ultimate cooling point of the body, and makes a huge difference to your overall body temperature
Riders also often douse themselves with water before the start, which is ok as long as it's sure to stay hot until you dry off!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Surf's up? Neilpryde aim to make waves in the road bike market

Windsurf giants Neilpryde have made a rather strange and diverse step into road bike production. The company has dipped it's toes in the water with the launch of 2 new road bikes - the Diablo and Alize, both of which will be available from September this year.
The bikes are both high-end carbon, and look a little like the older Orbea Orca bikes, although one is a little more aerodynamically tapered - they are no super-lightweights, but look pretty mean machines. They are offered mail order - delivery free in both Ultegra (Alize EUR3112) and Dura-ace, or as stand alone framesets (EUR2055 for the Diablo).
Interestingly the bikes were developed by Designworks USA - in Singapore, a company owned by BMW.
You can check them out at www.neilprydebikes.com (photos by Neilpryde)



Once there was mountain bike race in Pakistan - and for a good reason

Following on from our epic Pakistan adventure we thought we'd delve into the more recent past and bring you the tale of Pakistan's first ever MTB race - and tell you a little bit about a cause which due to other worldly happenings has somehow been forgotten.
One day, when things become more peaceful maybe this great race will take place once more - meantime please follow the link at the bottom to see how you could help...

Tour of the Karakurrams

It had been over a decade since I last set my wheels on the wild and mountainous trails of northern Pakistan, home to the highest of the Himalayan Mountains, and some of the world’s most remote and untamed trails - not to mention some of the most spectacular scenery on the face of the planet. So when an invite arrived to take part in the first ever Tour of the Karakurrams I was already planning my kit list before the mail had downloaded, all be it with a sense of trepidation and anticipation– after all this place has something of a wild and forbidding reputation in many ways. But armed with a sense of worldliness and the fact that I’d been there before, and come across some of the friendliest people around left me with little hesitation, the race was on, and I was going to be there.
I wasn’t alone in my rush to get to the highest trails in the world, some 40 other top endurance mountain bikers and road racers from ten different countries, and the cream of Pakistan’s home grown bike racers, had also come along to take part in what was to be one of the most amazing and eye opening mountain bike races ever held.
The event took place in the Kaghan Valley, in the Karakurram range. The valley was once one of the most visited regions in the country, until it featured as the epicentre of last years devastating earthquake. Entire villages and communities were destroyed, and many residents still live in make shift tented villages without even basic facilities, including a school. That’s partly why the race came to be, to raise awareness and help generate funds to build a new school in the valley, for the children from the surrounding villages. A year on from the quake and things have almost drawn to a halt, as seasonal extreme weather hampers relief efforts, and with so many other disasters around the world things tend to get overshadowed some.
Based at 2500 meters in the mountain village of Naran the race started with an unofficial “prologue” stage, which covered around 75 kilometres to the stunning Dana Meadows. It was the first time a mountain bike race had been held in the country, and all of the local dignitaries were keen to show off their plots, and well seasoned ex pro Nathan Dahlberg had been enlisted to make the race a reality, although the 13km push to the Meadows was a cruel start to the race, even if the vistas were mind blowing.
Torrential rains greeted riders for the next day’s first true stage; an evil ten kilometre rock strewn climb to the stunning Saif-ul-Muluk Lake, from where three glacier crossed circuits of the lake. This was one high rise and spectacular arena for a bike race, and duly it lead newly crowned 24 hour World Champion Tim Vincent from New Zealand to victory in the men’s section, and Irelands Liz McClusky in the women’s category.
The next day was the one we’d all been dreading; the “queen” stage of the race, an 80 kilometre high riding epic across the desolate Babusar Pass, over 4100 meters above sea level at it’s highest point. Luckily conditions stayed dry as the riders raced away into the wilds, passing huge trains of Afghan nomad herders along the way. Vincent and Robin Reid of New Zealand rode clear before the arduous climb of the pass, but were so far ahead that they beat the marshals to the turn point, and Vincent went off course on the descent while leading, and lost the stage by 13 minutes to the previous days runner up James Ouchterlony of Scotland who had remembered the turning from the pre race briefing.
It had been something of an epic day, and a battle with Lady Luck. The atmosphere was tense that night, and with the prospect of a final days off road “critirium” it looked as though the results would remain as they stood, but by late night an agreement had been made for Vincent and Ouchterlony to race it out head to head on a 10km climb before the critirium, things were getting serious.
By the time the early morning of the last stage arrived a gentlemanly sense of accord had risen with the sun; and it was agreed to leave it all down to the last stage it’s self, which had now become an 80km dirt and hardcore place to place stage. Thirteen minutes in 80km is one tough task, but Vincent was determined to do everything he could to win the race, his final race before retiring. From the gun the road pro’s, lead by Canadian Matt Usborne and Reid, attacked into the hill-strewn headwind, shredding the field to bits. Meanwhile behind Ouchterlony was suffering with severe sickness, and was falling back with every kilometre covered. At the foot of the final pass Dahlberg, Vincent and Remko Kramer of the Marco Polo team broke clear, with Kramer taking the downhill sprint to win the final stage.
All eyes were on the clock, and the minutes were ticking by. Finally the frailing Scotsman came home, holding on by almost five minutes to win the race outright.
The race had done a whole heap to raise funds for the school project, but perhaps more importantly it had made huge waves into bridging east west relations, and into drawing back awareness to the region, which until recently relied so heavily on tourism; mission accomplished.
This was officially Pakistan’s first ever mountain bike race, and it is planned to make it an annual event, and to expand and raise the profile of the tour. Keep an eye on the Kaghan Memorial Trust’s home page for details www.kmt.org.pk