Feb 28, 2012

David Veilleux: Nothing is Impossible.

Veilleux at the 2011 Tour de Langkawi.
(Yuzuru Sunada)

Canada's David Veilleux is a rider to watch this classic season. Since signing for Jean-René Bernaudeau's Pro Continental team, Europcar in 2011 he won his first race in April, La Roue Tourangelle. He then rode his first big classic Paris-Roubaix finishing an impressive 25th. Then a fine 19th (top Canadian) in the World Road Championships in Denmark.

This is an important part of the season for the classic specialist, he'll be in tomorrow's Belgian classic, Le Samyn. Last year he finished this race in 28th and he certainly will be ready to better that placing.

The young talented rider is steadily improving. He said, "Nothing is impossible. I come from a place where you can't ride a bike for five months at a time and cycling is not a very popular sport. Even so, I had a dream of racing in Europe, and I was willing to put in the effort to achieve it. So I think that whatever your dream is, you just have to put in the effort and persevere and you will achieve it."

A winning attitude!

Riding hard over the pave...
Veilleux in second, 2011 Paris-Roubaix.

Feb 27, 2012

Rambo Riding

Brains & Brawn,
Rambo style...
Niko Eeckhout

I like Rambo... Niko Eeckhout that is.

One of cycling's hardest roadmen is passionately competing at the age of 41. Not for mere cycling mortals. They don't call him Rambo for nothing. Well known for his mental and physical prowess over the pave in the Classics especially when the weather runs foul. Riding for the An Post Sean Kelly team, as a mentor to the young riders he sets his goals high for the Flemish races.

He was at the head of the field for the majority of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne getting notable air time and riding damn hard toward the end finishing a respectful 120th behind winner Mark Cavendish.

His toughness is famous. In 2010, he rode two races with a broken vertebrae having to stop due to the pain. And in 2011 was destined to be his last cycling season, only to change his mind extending his contract to ride one more season.

Now, he's the elder statesman of his team and getting set for yet another Flemish race, Le Samyn this Wednesday. In 2005, this race was canceled due to snow, although I'm not sure what the weather calls for this Wednesday... not that Rambo would mind!

Feb 25, 2012

Lots of Guts, Lots of Glory

Time for a new Flandrian!

I woke up early this morning to watch the Belgian opening classic race the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. With 58 kms to go I saw former World Cyclocross Champion, Lars Boom fall at the foot of the Taaienberg hill coming up on the inside making contact with Tom Boonen. What a tumble for Boom seeing both bidons eject unceremoniously setting the race for further crashes, punctures, attacks, general mayhem and classic racing excitement.

Many top names were classically marred with bad luck and spit out from the amazing ride from Sep Vanmarcke, Tom Boonen and Juan Antonio Flecha.

Remarkable how the young Vanmarcke put in a confident acceleration around the 20km to go mark with only Boonen and Flecha left. At the last 200 meters I was sure Flecha had a good chance but then Boonen started his sprint only to have Vanmarcke beat his hero for his first Classic win.

The top Canadian was Dominique Rollin arriving with the peloton for a solid 28th place.

Today, an exciting race where we witnessed the young guard beating two of the old guard...dramatically!

Boom goes down.

Feb 23, 2012

Respect For The Campionissimo

Charismatic GRINTA!

Laurent Fignon rode for most of his illustrious career for French teams. In 1992-1993, he joined the Italian team Gatorade-Bianchi as capitaine de route for Gianni Bugno...

"In Italy I became aware of how much they admire the best cyclists, the campionissimi. It was a massive eye-opener for me. For the Italians a champion remains a champion and there is always colossal respect for anyone who has won the greatest races in the past. A sportsman who has once been considered great is always seen as great. He draws admiring looks for ever. He matters as much when he is an older statesman of the sport as he did in his best days."  

Feb 22, 2012

Water Break, 1965 Giro

Free for all!

Favorite found photo of the week...
Did some research and I believe this excellent image of thirsty riders is from the 1965 Giro d'Italia.

Feb 21, 2012

El Lancero & The KOMs Cycling Cap

Soler making progress!
via revistamundociclistico

I'm very glad to hear that El Lancero, Mauricio Soler is progressing well and riding his bike.

For the former 2007 KOMs, he's moved on since his life threatening accident in the 2011 Tour de Suisse. In fact, there was doubt that he could ever ride again.

According to Mundo Ciclistico, he's riding his bike with his black dog around his home looking relax.

And Red Dots Cycling is proud to present the new KOMs Cycling Cap! Our re-design of the classic polka dots dedicated to the grimpeurs of the Tour de France!

Allez El Lancero! Allez KOMs!

© Red Dots Cycling

Feb 20, 2012

The Passenger

One of the coolest tunes to ride to...

'... Oh, let's ride and ride and ride and ride...'

-Iggy Pop

Feb 19, 2012

Grinta in Flanders

The Golden Trio,
Bartali, Magni & Coppi.

'People say that I was unlucky to ride with Coppi and Bartali...
it isn't true. I was very lucky. Those two devils taught me how to lose properly.'

-Fiorenzo Magni

I'm reading the engrossing and comprehensive book on the history of Italian cycling, 'Pedalare Pedalare' by John Foot. It is this book in mind that I write on one of my favorite Italian cyclists of all time... Fiorenzo Magni.

The 'other' Italian of cycling in the 1940s and 1950s was Fiorenzo Magni. He would have been a superstar in any other country and at any other time. In the era of Coppi and Bartali, there was no way for this great rider to be first. He fought like a lion over the pave, winning the Tour of Flanders three times. And, he also won three Giri d'Italia (1948, 1951 & 1955) and many other races.

He rode in the shadow of Coppi and Bartali, but whenever they lost, he would step in to win. He was the third man of Italian cycling, unfair to say; turning bald prematurely, unglamorous (not like his two rivals) and avoided publicity keeping a low profile outside of racing. 

But his Third Man persona changed outside of Italy. Magni had huge reserves of strength and determination especially enduring the cold Belgium classic, the Tour of Flanders. He won three in succession (1949-1951) the only rider to do this amazing feat. 

He loved cold weather and in the 1949 edition was urged on by the fans with tea and beer. How Belgian is that? In the 1950 race, Flandrian star Briek Schotte was second to Magni, afterwards saying that 'Fiorenzo was like a non-stopping express train. Once he had set off he only stopped at the finish line.' He loved the rain and cold temperatures saying 'as money in the bank'. In all, he rode four and won three. Belgians honored him as the Lion of Flanders.

Magni was born in the Tuscan town of Vaiano in 1920, outliving Bartali and Coppi becoming a living memory of the golden age of cycling... a living legend now at 91. 

Feb 17, 2012

Hinault & Campagnolo

Intensely Iconic!

Loosely translated: Hinault choose Campagnolo. Is it coincidence?

Hinault riding to win, wearing the 1978 Championnat de France jersey.

Feb 16, 2012

The Golden Time of Le Tour

Golden Time...
Charly Gaul squeezing the famous French singer,Charles Trenet, 1958 Tdf.

A wonderful look of the Tour of the 1930s-40s-50s with amazing footage of a time long gone.

So many great riders too numerous to list. But will never be forgotten. Romain Maes interviewed years after he won in 1935, said, "Riding the tour was always tiring." But he did win, a tough rider from Flanders in Belgium lead the race from start to finish, convincingly.

War interrupted the Tour between 1939 and 1947. Jean Robic, showed France was back by winning the 1947 Tour. Race director Jacques Goddet introduced two Alpine monsters, the Col du Glandon and the Col de la Croix de Fer.

The Italian rivalry between Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi in the 1949 Tour would result in an unfriendly alliance that Coppi would wrestle to overall victory. His first Tour win for the man called, il Campionissimo.

The fifties was the Golden Age of Cycling, dare I say, I like to encompass the 30s and 40s as the golden time. The Golden Age introduced the stylish matinee idols on two wheels: Bobet, Koblet, Kubler, Gaul, Geminiani and Bahamontes. New mountain passes were introduced furthering the sheer beauty of the Tour: Alpe d'Huez, Mount Ventoux, Puy-de-Dome and Sestrieres.

A golden time of Le Tour!

See video here.

On top of the Col du Glandon, 1947 Tdf.

Feb 14, 2012

Steve Bauer: 1984 Los Angeles Olympics

Bauer Power.

Steve Bauer speaking at the news conference after winning the silver medal in 1984 Los Angeles Olympic road race. All Canadian cycling fans cheered and jumped (I did) for joy after seeing him medal. Afterwards, he turned professional and riding in his second professional race won the bronze at the Barcelona world championship road race. With the doors wide open, he was signed by La Vie Claire, and began his professional career riding with Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond.

Feb 13, 2012

Dominique is Rollin'

A follower of the Church of the Pavé...
Gettin' down n' dirty the Rollin' way!
via Cor Vos

Canadian Dominique Rollin rides for the super charged FDJ-BigMat team. His ambition; to do well in the upcoming classics. The classic specialist is ready to provide further success for his French team.

He's one of my favorite riders that is destined for a big win, like a classic. I admire the classic type of rider; strong over the pave, able to ride hard over short climbs (if need be), able to ride swiftly through inclement weather and importantly to be able to fight through the suffering.

This is the type of rider Rollin is, he's a classics specialist. He's carved out experience riding for Cervelo Test Team in 2009-2010. And now sets his classic sites on Ghent -Wevelgem, Paris-Roubaix, Milan-Sanremo and Tour of Flanders.

Together with his equally aggressive FDJ BigMat team, the horse from the North, can surprise many and will be the horse of the classics!

Feb 11, 2012

Kreder Stings

Man in black...
Kreder bares his teeth.

Michel Kreder showed his sprinting teeth again by winning his second stage of the Tour Mediterraneen. The cold weather lingers on in but Kreder turns up the heat with his second sprint win. It was another stage shorten by the weather and tomorrow's final stage up to the top of Mt Faron will also be shorten from 130km to 90km. 

Kreder leads the overall, ten seconds separating Yauheni Hutarovich (2nd) and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (3rd). It's not over yet. SpiderTech's Guillaume Boivin (4th overall) is in good form,  and I think he has a good chance to do well on Mt. Faron!

Feb 10, 2012

VW DoubleBack Van

Ok, bear with me, this may have nothing or everything to do with cycling. Let's briefly talk four wheels to carry two wheels.

As a proud former owner of a 1972 VW campervan, I was gasping for air after seeing the new DoubleBack VW Campervan. A simple push of a button the rear extends sensibly. I always thought Volkswagen was way ahead with the simple and utilitarian camper van. You can drive almost anywhere, sleep in it, eat/cook in it and simply live in it. That's what I did for a summer. And, it helps if you have that Volksy hippie laid back mindset that everything will be all right and just enjoy the ride. It was called, "Fukengruven."

I can imagine this DoubleBack loaded with bikes and going off aimlessly to the nether-reaches to ride.

It's only available in the UK... but you can't stop a guy from dreaming!

Feb 9, 2012

Desert Sky: Blowin' In The Wind

The Aero Camel!
via TeamSky

Now that the Tour of Qatar, complete with plenty of desert crosswinds (that's what the riders are sayin'), is one stage away from the finish here's my thoughts on the desert race...

I'm liking the new aero camel bike that TeamSky is using. I understand it doesn't take too much to give it a start, all a rider has to do is pull on the reins plus it doesn't take much water.

TeamSky is having a good race with Cavendish winning two stages and Juan Antonio Flecha sitting third overall. Unfortunately, Team Captain Michael Barry is out, after stage 4's fall, breaking his elbow. I hope he recovers quickly and returns back to the early cycling season.

Double stage winner, Tom Boonen holds the overall lead with Tyler Farrar in second 31seconds back. It might be too late to topple Tornado Tom from his desert perch but I wouldn't mind seeing either Farrar or Flecha make a strong effort tomorrow.

Desert Canucks...
Svein Tuft (GreenEdge) leading Michael Barry 
and the TeamSky train on stage 1
via Graham Watson

Feb 7, 2012

Go M: 25!

My Marinoni restored with the M: 25.

As you all know, my dear readers, my restored Marinoni is 25 years old and I wanted to celebrate throughout this year in a special way.

With design expertise from Carolle aka Mrs. Ideas, I'm pleased to present the newest cycling cap from Red Dots Cycling... the M: 25!

Sounds a little like code for a secret intelligence service, but no it stands for; M for Marinoni and 25 years. We kept the idea deceptively simple and it works well.

I'm extremely happy how the new blue cycling cap turned out. Our fabric supplier had four shades of blue and this one was the closest I could match to the medium blue. I wanted a stripe (how can you not?). Mrs. Ideas came up with the cool idea with two stripes to symbolize the black old school Marinoni script in the white banding. And the finishing touch, her idea, of the distinctive 3 red dots on the back of the cap. I'm as happy as hell the three distinctive red dots will become a permanent design on the back of ALL new caps.

The M: 25 is available for purchase through our Etsy site. As always proudly handmade in our studio workshop. I have the prototype M: 25, smart looking complimenting my 25 year old Marinoni. I'm definitely looking forward to wearing it on my next ride!

The three new distinctive red dots.

Feb 6, 2012

Garmin-Barracuda Bites, AC is Pulled

Garmin-Barracuda Bites...

The Tour of Qatar is on and the ride of the day goes to Garmin-Barracuda winning stage two, TTT.

Garmin-Barracuda (like the name) took over winning the TTT over Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Team Sky. The Barracuda's are creeping up on leader Tom Boonen in the GC; Tyler Farrar is second then Van Summeren, Navarduskas, Dekker and Hunter.

But before we yell up and down of their exciting desert ride, the news of the day goes to the CAS two-year sanction to Alberto Contador. Three days after Lance Armstrong's federal case was unexpectedly dropped, I'm relieved there is finally a decision but I'm frustrated, and there's a few out there, that it took 566 long and drawn out days to reach a decision. Obviously late. He tested positive for clenbuterol during a Tour rest day in July 21, 2010. The positive results were not confirmed publicly until September 2010 by the UCI.

Contador's ban is backdated from January 25, 2011, that's the date the Spanish Cycling Federation proposed a one year ban. He already served five months and 19 days suspension in 2010-11. The ban will run until August 5th of this year.

So, in reflection, Contador forfeits his 2010 Tour victory and all his 2011 results. He will be back in six months and will most likely ride the Vuelta. And Bjarne Riis is looking at more trouble as the UCI announced that Contador's Saxo Bank-Sungard team could lose its WorldTour license and demoted to Pro Continental status. Contador currently holds 68% of its points and because of his disqualification, "His team would no longer be considered to fulfil the sporting criterion required for the UCI WorldTour," as stated by the UCI.

Could this mean that Contador's August return will be on a Spanish WorldTour team? One that would be extremely happy to open their arms to a hungry and fallen champion with a great chance to win the Vuelta?

The drama keeps building and let's hope it doesn't take too long to arrive at this decision!

Feb 5, 2012

Men In Black

The Men in Black.

The Men in Black, no not Agents J & K, finished their first European race in the snow and cold of the GP Costa degil Etruschi in Donoratico, Italy.

Known as a sprinters' classic race, the GP Costa degli Etruschi was shortened, to 168.5 km, due to the bad weather affecting Italy. Elli Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) did not disappoint the Tifosi and duly won his second successive race.

Sprinter, Juan Pablo Foerero was the top Colombia-Coldesportes rider finishing in 48th place.

DS Valerio Tebaldi said after the finish, "The guys did well, it was good to see-they managed to race as a close-knit group. We lack some rhythm, but we knew that, it is pretty normal at this stage. Foerero wasn't feeling at his best today, he still needs to find his best shots when speed gets over 50 km/h. But they will come, with time and kilometres."

Not the perfect race conditions for the Colombian riders, or for most of the riders in fact, as the Escarabajos can notched up their first race ...as done.

The Men in Black... will be back!

Snow & cold,
Not the ideal conditions for the Men in Black.

Feb 3, 2012

Inspired By Climbing

Training in Italy.
via Roberto Bettini

The new Pro-Contiental team, Colombia-Coldeportes begins their much anticipated season Saturday in the GP Costa degli Entruschi.

Led by veteran, Victor Hugo Pena and buoyed by 2008 U23 World Road Champion Fabio Duarte it's a team that has very good chances to succeed.

They're an eager bunch and already invited to ride the exciting Italian classics Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and Giro di Lombardia. Unfortunately, they won't ride the Giro and we'll miss out on seeing their rise in the mountains.

After all, on the side of the team bus has the words, 'Inspired By Climbing'... that's a positive message for this season, which I'm sure they aim to prove!

Feb 2, 2012

Life On Four Wheels

Les Grimpeurs...
Patro Jiménez (center), Lucien Van Impe (left) & Beat Breu (right).
via Tour 83

After reading the excellent post by Cycling Inquistion, it left me a little surprised that some Colombian ex-Pros are driving taxis in Bogotá.

Two Colombian riders that I always admired for their panache in the Tour are Patrocinio Jimenez and Pablo Wilches. Both are driving cabs and reportedly happy making an honest living but wouldn't it be something to find out after stepping into their cabs! 

Pablo Wilches making his
Pro debut, 1984 Tour.
via Tour 84

They were certainly two former Colombian cycling giants of the mountains. Patrocinio 'Patro' Jimenez had very solid palmares winning; 1976 Coors Classic, 1976-77 Vuelta a Guatemala, 1976 Vuelta a Colombia and 1976 Clasico RCN. But I first noticed the 31 year old in the 1983 Tour, of course, flying in the mountains. He wore the polka dots jersey for five days, finished second in the KOMs Classification and 17th overall. Like his compatriots, he or they were a climbing force taking a solid hold on the European cycling landscape.

Pablo Wilches' professional debut was the 1984 Tour riding for the Belgium Splendor team. In 1985, he was part of the successful Cafe de Colombia team then winning the 1987 Vuelta a Colombia. I discovered, at the age of 50, he competed as a Senior Master in the Vuelta a Colombia.

The images are from my archives of two great Colombian riders of the eighties making their Tour debuts but if you find yourself taking a cab in Bogotá, look again it could be either... the great Patro Jimenez or Pablo Wilches behind the wheel!

Pablo Wilches...

Patro Jimenez, today!

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