Monday, May 31, 2010

Steve's Italia!

Steve with Passoni's Danny & Alfonso. 
And, the box behind holds Danilo Di Luca's
custom frame. Killer!



My good friend Steve aka empidog, sent me some pics of his trip to Lake Como. He was there to visit the famous Madonna del Ghisallo. That's the famous chapel that appears on the climb of the Giro di Lombardia, nicknamed the race of the falling leaves. Then he was off to get fitted for his new Passoni bike.

Thank's again to Steve for the cool pics & showcasing our Galstudio Major Tom Winter Cycling Cap. And looking forward to seeing his new Passoni!

If you own a Galstudio Cycling Cap, I invite you to show it off on Galstudio's Facebook page!




Looking good Steve!

Looking good Fausto!
All images above: courtesy from Steve Reynolds Emipdog.


The chapel sits stoically as the riders speed by.
www.pezcycling.com

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stage 2: Bikes, Books & Beers-Podcast.

This is our third podcast and it was another fun time with Guy.

So, what's on stage 2?

... A book review on 'Blazing Saddles: A Cruel and Unusual History of the Tour de France' by Matt Rendell. The most exciting 2010 Giro ever? A tasty cold refreshing beer and we pose a question.

Enjoy!

Wild n' Crazy Daze on the Mountain

Garzelli stopped...



Wild day of riding as Ivan Basso & teammate Vincenzo Nabali took care of any doubt to take over the maglia rosa. It was epic this stage 19 to Aprica worthy of praise & awe.



the famous five chased...


Stefano Garzelli looked set, attacking like a madman up and down the Trivigno. He was a man possessed before he stopped on the Passeo del Mortirolo, not to pray but to gather more strength. He should've prayed. Garzelli took a very long breather, rested then got back on his bike never to be seen until the finish line. He hobbled in 40th 23 minutes behind.
 
Cadel Evans fought vainly and couldn’t hold onto the Basso train (Nabali & Scarponi). Hair raising was what I called his tussle with his bike. He descended down the Mortirolo and almost crashed into a vehicle. He said it was his brakes. I thought he was done for. Fortunately he corrected and avoided a near race catastrophe. Evans joined a surviving group trying to make up time over the Basso trio. Arroyo fought so hard with a brave descent and joined Vinokourov in defending his maglia rosa.

Evans, Sastre, Gradet joined Vino and Arroyo and no one seemed willing or had any strength to put on a sustain attack to the Basso trio. The Liquigas riders just turned on the gas and with the help from Scarponi flew into Aprica.

Scarponi took the exciting stage but Basso won the maglia rosa. I hope it's not  over as yet, stay tune for the next harrowing stage over the Gavia!


...the winning trio!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Merckx's first Giro

The rough diamond polished by Italian hands.



Nineteen sixty-eight was an important year for Eddy Merckx signing for the Italian Faema team. He entered into a new environment that taught him new methods about care, preparation and feeding. Racking up many road success such as World Champion (1967) at only 22 was a sign to everyone of his increasing importance especially to the Italian Faema team.


The polished diamond winning Tre Cime Lavaredo.


Merckx said, "I had remained a rough diamond who was now being polished by Italian hands. The new approach clearly reaped it's rewards. My racing weight went down to 72 kilograms (158 pounds). My climbing in particular was to benefit as result. I won the Tours of Sardinia, Catalonia, Romandie and Italy comfortably. That final victory in the Giro was especially important because I won it almost effortlessly. I seemed to be flying. The crowning glory was, of course, that memorable stage over the Lavaredo where I made mincemeat out of everyone for 30 kilometers. In 1967, I had fully blossomed as a one-day racer, while in 1968 it became clear that I had a great future as a major stage racer."


Merckx's Grinta!


1967 Giro...
The young diamond among the stars Gimondi & Anquetil.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Badger's first Giro





Bernard Hinault couldn't win the 1980 Giro (his first of three) without a little help from his teammate, the indispensable Jean-Rene Bernaudeau. The Badger may've lost his maglia rosa after stage 6 to Elba but no matter. As stage 20 included the feared Stelvio, Bernaudeau was sent over and won the stage just ahead of an appreciative Badger. With the maglia rosa back on Hinault's shoulders it was safe and under controlled to the finish in Milano!




ITT...



up with the Tifosi...



beside Wladimiro Panizza (2nd overall).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kings of Corones

John Gradet climbing to his lofty goal.



Watching winner Stefano Garzelli literally fly up the mountain TT from San Vigilio di Marebbe to the Plan de Corones was simply spellbinding. His first Giro stage win since 2007. For the 36 year old, this maybe his last Giro and deserves tons of respect. The 2000 Giro champ's stage win overshadowed his 18min loss on the climb to Asolo and over 9min at the Zoncolan.


 Garzelli: an amazing ride.



One climber worth watching in this Giro is cyclocross expert, the Frenchman John Gradet. Riding for the low key Ag2R La Mondiale team he was very high key almost obtaining that lofty goal. Third place behind Cadel Evans (second) & Garzelli. His teammate Hubert Dupont (12th place) is also enjoying sucess in this Giro and look to these two for higher placings in the next mountain stages.

Finishing 17th, is the 'I'm never going away' young talent Richie Porte. He continues to astound with his amazing Giro performance. While David Arroyo seems to fit the maglia rosa, either Ivan Basso or Cadel Evans look ready to take it off him very soon.

While we marvel at all the climbers' seemingly to have wings on we often overlook the big riders. Their bulkiness as often their achilles heel but one has to marvel at how they push themselves up these summit finishes. Svein Tuft is one of those riders.

Forza Giro!


Tufting it out!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Garmin Consistency.

Rydering to stage 8 victory!


Canada's Ryder Hesjedal scored a fine stage 8 win at the Tour of California. He finished the race fifth overall and help the Garmin's win the team overall. Impressive.

A good start to the season with a sixth at the Volta a Catalunya then a solid second at the Amstel Gold Classic. But not a surprise especially scoring an first ever Canadian stage win at the last years Vuelta. And he does so well in Italy's special classic, Monte Paschi Eroica. He hung on for fifth and looks to get on the podium next year.

Irish teammate, Daniel Martin deserves huge credit for his consistent ride up the Monte Zoncolan. For the 23 year old and his second Grand Tour marks a rite of passage. Just go up this beast of a climb right after climbing three high mountain passes is a huge confidence booster. He finished ninth 3'31" behind Ivan Basso. And the Irishman says he gets better with every climb. The upcoming week will be the focal point with plenty of climbs of this great Giro. And, I'm betting Daniel Martin will do even better!


Martin's climbing consistency showed on 
the Zoncolan!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sensing Sastre

Sastre flying up the Zoncolan.


Carlos Sastre climbed up to fourth overall after the exciting and leg breaking 15th stage up to the dreaded Monte Zoncolan. Sixth place 2'44" behind the winner Ivan Basso, Sastre rode up one of the steepest climbs in all of Europe, an average gradient of 12%. I marveled at the almost superhuman abilities of the riders as they fought the long & sheer climb (10.5kms). Without doubt, Ivan the terrible did the Tifosi proud sustaining a high tempo to shake off a pesky Cadel Evans to win the stage in lone splendor.

Sastre, who was third in last year's Giro, won two mountainous stages soloing up the Monte Petrano and Mount Vesuvius. That's where the little Spaniard shines where the slopes rise. And Tuesday will test the riders once again with the Plan de Corones TT, 12.9km long but all so steep. Starting with a 3.7% grade moving to a whooping 24% up to the 2,273 meter, 7,457 ft summit. Think that's brutal? I think Sastre will let his climbing legs do the talking during the last week of this hilly Giro. The names evoke fear; Aprica, Passo del Mortirolo, Passo di Gavia and Passo del Tonale. He's entering into his domain.


Fans love it...
riders fear it!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

When we were young and carefree...

Carefree and relaxed at the 1991 Tour.


On our last podcast, Guy and I talked about Laurent Fignon's upcoming book, "We Were Young and Carefree." I'm looking forward to reading this book about the charismatic star's rise ... and falls.

The newspaper caption loosely translates, 'Fignon working hard'. And he did just that. The Professor would finish the 1991 Tour in sixth overall!

Friday, May 21, 2010

1914 Tour: The Good - 'Nite Rider Cycling Cap.'




I'm enjoying the process of choosing fabric for our cycling caps. Next to helping Carolle create them it's fun searching for it. When we walk into a fabric shop and spot something interesting we both have a pretty good idea that it's right on. I'm excited to introduce Galstudio's newest creation, the Nite Rider Cycling Cap.

That's 'Nite' as in night and for good reason...


Close up detail of the Nite Rider.



At the start of the 1914 Tour de France, a group of 147 sleepy riders lined up in the Paris suburb of Saint-Cloud. Among those brave adventurer's was Belgium Philippe Thys,  the 1913 winner. The consummate  professional, trained as well as diet obsessively towards his goal in July. A work ethic that was bordering superhuman. Reportedly, he would often awake before dawn an ride for hours in the dark. And following that include a long hike. For the riders, a formidable distance to Le Harve awaited them, an enormous distance of 388 kms. Unheard of in our  day, the stage started at 3 am.

Thys won that Tour and again for the third time in 1920 becoming the first ever to win three in a row. A remarkable achievement if not for the intervening war years prevented him from winning even more victories.



It's 3 am...
No rest for the wicked
before the start of stage one, 1914 Tour.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Forza Italia

Remembering Il Pirata & his bald boys, Giro 1998.


Tomorrow's stage 13 will end in the town of Cesenatico, hometown of Marco Pantani. And my guess another Italian rider will be motivated to secure another stage win. Finally, Italian national champ Pippo Pozzato's won a Giro stage. His first. After the shenanigans of stage 11 where riders' Vino, Basso, Cunego, Garzelli, Scarponi, Nbali were caught with their collective shorts down found a way to be in the break to succeed.

Vino seemed destined to fail as he sprinted to the line. It seemed he was in slow motion while a clever Pozzato in the streaking tricolore jersey brought back an Italian stage win in style. Thomas Voeckler almost threw a non-Italian wrench into the works with a very close second placing. This sprinters stage was supposed to go to the.... sprinters. But this cunning group surprised the peloton and favorite Tyler Farrar. The Garmin freight train rallied to force the pace to bridge the gap but came up short ten seconds behind the Pozzato break.

Classy win waving the tricolore!


Pippo's stage 12 tricolore smile!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I like the cut of their jib!

Winners...
Many riders' show solidarity with jerseys 'Forza l'Aquila'
after last years earthquake.



Winds of change that included bucket's of rain and plain bad luck turned to good luck made stage 11 satisfying to behold. After some 20kms, 56 riders' bolted off never to see the peloton again. Unheard of as favorites,  pink jersey Alexander Vinokourov, Ivan Basso, Cadel Evans & Vincenzo Nibali strangely stayed put in the peloton to lose almost 13 minutes. Those were the chief losers.

The winners of this incredible stage was Captains; Carlos Sastre and Bradley Wiggins. Two favorites at the start of this Giro only to lose valuable time and plagued by accidents and punctures look back to contention. Italian neo pro Dario Cataldo made the tifosi's hearts sink in disappointment as he came in second behind Russian speedster Evgeni Petrov. So far, the Italian grand tour has nothing to speak for their riders except for another second placing. This Giro has the makings for surprise and unpredictability.

Tasmanian devil Richie Porte steps into that special limelight sharing the bianca and now wears the maglia rosa. Let's see how far this young man can carry it as his riding has been a revelation. I'm liking this neo pro's chances of a top ten finish and he's proven himself and riding very well indeed.

Carlos Sastre may have come back from the dead as his brilliant third place today, catapulted the grimpeur from 22nd to 8th overall. After Amsterdam he's lost time and out of contention for the overall. Like Wiggins and showing that special knack for coming back the two captains anchored themselves in fine position in the overall standings. Wiggins finished in fourth and now sits in 10th. Together with their strong teams look towards the mountains for the final battleground.

I'm loving this Giro!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Giants coming.

Farrar beats out Sabatini...
but tomorrow's coming.



Wednesday's stage 11 will be the longest of the Giro. At 262 kms in length, can it finally be an Italian winning a stage? Fabio Sabatini wanted to and came close behind Farrar's giant push towards the line into Bitonto. The Garmin locomotive wanted lead out man Julian Dean to take it but saw Sabatini and made a dash to close him off. He stole the win from Dean. But it's still a win in the Garmin bank.

Looking back to the last Italian stage winner was in 2009 on stage 18 to Bennevento. Michele Scarponi was the last time the tifosi screamed in delight. The Italians are here in full force. Basso, Garzelli & Cunego are all danger men in the mountains. In fact, tomorrow's long day will be hilly... the tifosi are waiting!



The Tifosi are waiting...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another pink day at the office.

Relaxed in pink.


Work has it rewards... 

First year pro, Laurent Fignon wore the maglia rosa for one day. Even teammate, Patrick Bonnet got the chance to wear it during stage two. But ultimately, Renault-Gitane patron Bernard Hinault would take it over, win 5 stages and the 1982 Giro. 

My steel lugged update.

Steel Love...
Hampsten won into Selvina, Giro 1988.
From: Tour 88.



One aspect of cycling that attracts my undying attention are the bicycles. These days it’s constantly on my mind and this year I want to do something special to celebrate my birthday. A new bike seems like the logical choice. Guy and myself talked, during our recent stage 1 podcast, on the 1988 Giro. Specifically on Andy Hampsten’s assault on the snow covered Passo di Gavia. Steel lug bikes were the norm and I smiled as I read a good article of Hampsten’s steel lug Huffy. Check it here.

I looked over at my steel lug 1987 Marinoni and my grin was even wider. Recently, on a business trip to Peninsula Cycles in Surrey I talked to Simon the sales manager and had a reawakening. He suggested that I send my Marinoni, in desperate need of a paint job, back to Quebec. The advantage here is that I get a new paint job and new decals for my old Marinoni. I'm happy to discover that Marinoni has a life time paint warranty. Good thing, they will take out any rust that's been building up over the past twenty years. It won't be black. I'm going for the medium blue to keep it retro. Then I'll  build it with a new gruppo. Retire my trusty Campy Nouvo Record gruppo. No more down tube shifters. Add lighter wheels and maybe I can bring it down under 20 lbs. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait until the Fall as this is my only ride. Patience, patience, patience!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Stage 1. Bikes, Books, & Beers-Podcast.

Here's our latest 'pink' podcast, named Stage 1...


Stage 1: Bikes, Books & Beers from Bikes, Books, & Beer on Vimeo.

Caked in Mud. Awashed in Glory!


Mud galore. That's what it was all about in today's epic stage 7. I got my wish of watching one of the most exciting and mud splattered racing in memory performed over Tuscany's Strade bianche. The white dust was brown with mud and provided the perfect arena for a good ole mud slinging match. Had it been dry the peloton most likely been intact. Winner, Cadel Evans rode in command and looked worthy of his World Champion jersey. A great race and looking at the riders' muddy blank expressions leave me no doubt that this stage is a cake walk before the impending mountain stages!









Thursday, May 13, 2010

Breakaway!

The break that will last...
(right to left): Pineau, Arashiro, Fouchard, and Voss.



A beautiful spectacle called the breakaway occurred today on stage 5 from Novara to Novi Ligure. With 25 km into the stage four riders' did just that. Lead by Yukiya Arashiro, Jerome Pineau, Julien Fouchard and Paul Voss. Domestiques working hard.

I'm reminded best of writer Samuel Abt and his definition of a breakaway, "A breakaway is when one rider or a group just bolt off the front of the pack and attack and get away out of site. They're riding for victory. It's inspirational. Sometimes a rider who shouldn't win a stage wins a stage or a race simply because they attack and took the initiative. They didn't sit back. They acted. It's wonderful. That's what we all hope we do in life.  On any given day we hope to have this resounding victory and be in the record books and be remembered. And go back to it and say maybe on a lot of other days it's humdrum, mundane, & earning your daily bread. But that day, I just got away from everybody and did it... and I won!"

That's what this group did. They tore off away from the peloton with a dream and kept it going with a late attack by the Japanese Arashiro with a kilometer left. Pineau won the sprint and was the breakaway hero earning his win from Fouchard with the brave Arashiro in third. With the pack a frustratingly 4 seconds behind. A breakaway that worked!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

50th Anniversary of the death of the Campionissimo.

Sept.15, 1919-Jan.2, 1960.



The Giro's Thursday stage 5 will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Fausto Coppi's death. As the riders' pass close to the birthplace and burial place, Castellania. There's still a certain emotional pull for all cycling fans, myself included, for our campionissimo!







Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Tuesday Nighters.




Just in from an enjoyable and equally impressive evening of racing down at  UBC. It's called the 2010 World Tuesday Night Championships sponsored by Team Escape Velocity Cycling Club of Vancouver. Frankly, it's my first time out to see the race and cheer on Guy as he looked very good on the short but hilly circuit (1.6 km, 20 laps). He came in 5th, and he looked very pleased with his results. Maybe it was the batch of chocolate/coconut cookies I presented to him afterwards!






Monday, May 10, 2010

Bella Maglia Bianca



First showcased in 1976, the Maglia Bianca (white jersey) is only 34 years old. Relatively young. But this great symbol of youthful hope was suspended from 1995 to 2006. I'm glad it was revived. Alfio Vandi won the first white jersey and in 1994 a 24 year old Russian wore two different jerseys. Eugeni Berzin did it better than anyone by wearing the maglia bianca and winning the maglia rosa.

The Giro has left the chaotic Dutch roads for hopefully safer Italian ones and Aussie Richie Porte is wearing the white jersey and in second overall into Italy. It's early in the three week race but he sure looks good in the maglia bianca & quite possibly ...the maglia rosa!


The young hopeful...
Richie Porte
www.cyclingnews.com

The Young Hopefuls...

1976  Alfio Vandi  Italia
1977  Mario Beccia  Italia
1978  Roberto Visentini  Italia
1979  Silvano Contini  Italia
1980  Tommy Prim  Sweden
1981  Giuseppe Faraca  Italia
1982  Marco Groppo  Italia
1983  Franco Chioccioli  Italia
1984  Charly Mottet  France
1985  Alberto Volpi  Italia
1986  Marco Giovannetti  Italia
1987  Roberto Conti  Italia
1988  Stefano Tomasini  Italia
1989  Vladimir Poulnikov  Russia
1990  Vladimir Poulnikov  Russia
1991  Massimiliano Lelli  Italia
1992  Pavel Tonkov  Russia
1993  Pavel Tonkov  Russia
1994  Eugeni Berzin  Russia
1995-2006  suspended
2007  Andy Schleck  Luxembourg
2008  Riccardo Riccò  Italia
2009  Kevin Seeldraeyers  Belgium

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Prologue. Bikes, Books, and Beers-Podcast.

Well we did it. Guy and myself with the technical brilliance from Carolle made our first cycling podcast. It seems like a natural extension from writing our cycling blogs. Suffice it to say, we both will still continue our blogs and thus keep the rich history of cycling alive in our unique manner.

The Podcast idea was just that. I watched a few podcasts and around last Christmas it began to percolate. I threw the idea to him of us talking about our passion of cycling history, books, & you guessed it BEER! Why not? As you all know the magic brew is the perfect way to replace lost calories ...after a ride!

Guy and I frequently ride together often chatting about recent cycling news over an expresso. And what better way to let some more steam off than a podcast. We'll try to make it informative & fun and the most difficult task is not drinking more than one beer.

Here's our first podcast, appropriately named the Prologue...


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Big Steps for Spidertech.

Steve Bauer has plenty to smile about!


Now that the Giro has started the Tour of California will start in a week. Among some of the riders lured away from the Giro there's a small Canadian team ready to step into the spotlight.

Spidertech powered by Planet Energy worked hard to get selected and with strong stage results look forward to impress. The director sportif is none other than Steve Bauer. And he'll be guiding this young squad to glory. A stage victory will be valuable to the team as a stepping stone towards the ultimate goal of the Tour de France. The plan is to become the first Canadian team in the Tour and eventually place a Canadian on the final podium. I believe with plenty of hardwork the team will attain that French goal. And the team's average age is only 24 years old with headline rider Martin Gilbert. Former Garmin rider and only American, Lucas Euser is on board and will provide that much needed experience & horsepower.

I'll be cheering for the guys and their first steps forward!

The Team for the 2010 Tour of California:

DS: Steve Bauer.
David Boily, Guillaume Boivin, Lucas Euser, Martin Gilbert, Kevin Lacombe, Bruno Langlois, Francois Parisien, Andrew Randell.

The Pink Quest.

Simoni's 'quest' was way off in today's TT but he made history in 2003!



The 'quest' is on after stage 1 TT won by Bradley Wiggins. Pink goes to the favorite Englishman with an equally impressive Brent Bookwalter in second. Cadel Evans slots in with a fine 3rd. But my honorable mention goes to Richie Porte with an excellent sixth place. The young Aussie will start stage 2 with the White Jersey of leading young rider!



Note: Wiggins fine aero positon!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pretty in Dutch Pink!

Stage 5 will commemorate the Campionissimo's 
50th anniversary of his death.


Tomorrow's the start of the famous pink parade on two wheels with the time trial in Amsterdam. I have good memories of that fun Dutch canal city walking through it's often narrow cobbled streets and over the many bridges. It's so bike friendly as I remember almost every citizen doing the right thing of commuting on the bike. I was there in the winter of 1984 and I saw so many folks of all ages biking. It's the convenient way to getting around. I saw an elderly gentleman riding a commuter bike with ease,  I was amazed at his fitness & speed. I definitely never saw folks his age riding in Edmonton. Let alone in the winter. So it's fitting that this great bike friendly city plays host to the two wheel spectacular called the Giro d'Italia.


Can Simoni duplicate his 2007 Zoncolon win and maybe go for the overall? 


There will be many riders in the mix for the overall. Certainly one of the harder Giro's in years with searing climbs; Monte Terminillo (stage 8), Monte Grappa (stage 14), Monte Zoncolan (stage 15), Plan de Corones TT (stage 16), Passo del Mortirolo (stage 19), and Passo di Gavia (stage 20). These historic 'hills' will be alive with epic racing.

And the Giro will honor two great Italian winner's; ll Campionissimo & ll Pirata. Stage 5 will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Fausto Coppi's death as the race comes close to Castellania where he was born and buried. And stage 13 finishes in Casenatico, hometown of the late Marco Pantani. I still find it hard to believe he died just six years ago.

This race marks the first Grand Tour of the season, and a certain pink party will prevail rather nicely tomorrow in one of my all time favorite biking cities ...Amsterdam!


Italian hitman...
Stefano Garzelli will be a threat!



Three famous son's from the 2007 Giro...
Nicolas Roche, Axel Merckx, & Hervé Duclos-Lassalle.
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