Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Strade Bianche: Sterrati Style

via teamlampremerida.com





This Saturday is one race I'm fond of... The Strade Bianche.

Cycling season means up early, here on the Canadian west coast, and configuring my alarm clock for 5:30 PST wake up call. I'll be up for this. Since it's start in 2007, it's a wonderful single-day race (dare I say it should be call a classic) from Chianti to Siena in beautiful Tuscany. The excitement really happens during the 70 kilometres of sterrati and how the riders will keep their bikes steady. Whilst Paris-Roubaix has the infamous cobblestone sections this Italian race has le strade bianche.

Two races have been cancelled due to snow: Kuurne Brussels Kuurne and GP Lugano and those who had a 'day off' will get their chance this Saturday.

My picks...

A strong contingent of riders await;  Greg Van Avermaet (5th Omloop) is one of the pre race favorites. He guided Allesandro Ballan (out due to injury from a training ride in Spain) to third in last years race. Can Juan Flecha pull off the arrow win for his new Vancansoleil team? Oscar Gatto, Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara are on the A-list to perform very well.


Startlist.





190 km, eight sectors (in black) of
le strade bianche.



Photo: Sirotti



A look back...

Spartacus wins his second.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Jeremy Storie: My Homage

Jeremy introducing the riders, 
January 2007, Burnaby Velodrome.
All photos©Cycling Art Blog




I am sadden by the unexpected passing of BC cycling coach Jeremy Storie.

Well known in the BC cycling community, Jeremy was involved with Symmetrics road team, Escape Velocity where he founded Vancouver's dEVo youth development team.



I have the best seat in the velodrome!



I had the pleasure of meeting him after my first cycling art show back in January 2007. After seeing my  cycling art exhibit, he contacted me requesting two art prints. I invited him to my studio to collect his framed prints. That was the first time I met Jeremy. He loved my artwork and I remember him offering me some advice saying, 'that my prints should be priced higher'. That was Jeremy, point blank and direct not to insult but to support.

He was involved with the Burnaby Velodrome as coach, program/race director. We chatted and he graciously invited me to exhibit my artwork during a six-day track event at the Burnaby Velodrome. He wanted to help me expose my artwork at the velodrome and I was very happy for the opportunity from Jeremy. I remember him as an organizing force to behold, and distinctly remember him fondly with a toque on and microphone doing the play by play of every race. He had so much energy.


My condolences to his family and friends... Jeremy will be missed.


A Celebration of Life in memory of Jeremy Storie March 2nd Noon-2pm, Surrey, BC.










Monday, February 25, 2013

Masi Gran Criterium: Custom Tailored by Faliero Masi




Beautiful, timeless bicycles are objects of desire.

There is no other book that pays homage to the beauty of the bike, Cyclepedia is the exquisite book -  showcasing the innovation and legacies of bicycle design. Thanks to Hans for lending me his book.


The 1978 Masi Gran Criterium is a rolling work of art tailored made by the famous Faliero Masi, aka. The Tailor. His frames are held in such high esteem that many famous professional riders requested it. Famous hero, Dave Stoller of Breaking Away rode a beloved 1978 Gran Criterium against the Cinzano Italian team. Dave said...


It floats over small bumps... as if the bike is barely touching the ground.


Almost God-like the Masi has it's cult followers. Many pros rode Masi's repainted in the colours of their team sponsors. Eddy Merckx and Tom Simpson  had Masi's disguised as repainted Peugeot's. The list goes on with these great supporters for the Tailor's expertise: Rik Van Looy, Fausto Coppi and Jacques Anquetil. More on the Tailor of Milan here.



From the collection of Michael Embacher...

1978 Masi Gran Criterium
21.4 LB
Varnished Steel
Campagnolo Super Record
27 in Tubulars




Merckx and his Peugeot PX 10... in actuality a Masi.





Dave and Masi ...Breaking Away!




Saturday, February 23, 2013

Luca Paolini: A Big Classic Victory

One for the old guys!
via 1.skysports



Luca Paolini won today's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad escaping with former teammate Stijn Vandenbergh in a cold classic breakaway.

It was cold with temps hovering around -1C, all the riders wore thermal clothing. One guy I spotted not wearing gloves was ironman Heinrich Haussler. The 36 year old cagey veteran didn't have any troubles with the weather shaking off the Omega rider to take a long sprint to win. Paolini's talent as a domestique overshadows his wins, it has been a long time winning a major classic since the 2004 Brabantse Prjl.

A great win for the Italian and for Katusha too, I can hear Paolini/Katusha saying, 'I told you sold UCI!'





RankNameNationalityTeamResult
1Luca PAOLINIITAKAT4:52:15
2Stijn VANDENBERGHBELOPQ+0
3Sven VANDOUSSELAEREBELTSV+1:13
4Geraint THOMASGBRSKY+1:13
5Greg VAN AVERMAETBELBMC+1:13
6Marco BANDIERAITAIAM+1:13
7Sylvain CHAVANELFRAOPQ+1:13
8Jurgen ROELANDTSBELLTB+1:13
9Maarten WYNANTSBELBLA+1:13
10Egoitz GARCIA ECHEGUIBELESPCOF+1:13
11Gerald CIOLEKGERMTN+6:27
12Manuel BELLETTIITAALM+6:27
13Jean-Pierre DRUCKERLUXAJW+6:27
14Alexey TSATEVITCHRUSKAT+6:27
15Baptiste PLACKAERTBELCRE+6:27
16Adrien PETITFRACOF+6:27
17Edvald BOASSON HAGENNORSKY+6:27
18Sébastien TURGOTFRAEUC+6:27
19Heinrich HAUSSLERAUSIAM+6:27
20Jack BAUERNZLGRS+6:27
21Aliaksandr KUCHYNSKIBLRKAT+6:27
22Martin ELMIGERSUIIAM+6:27
23Bert DE BACKERBELARG+6:27
24Maxime VANTOMMEBELCRE+6:27
25Bertjan LINDEMANNEDVCD+6:27
26Viacheslav KUZNETSOVRUSKAT+6:27
27Gaetan BILLEBELLTB+6:27
28Mickael DELAGEFRAFDJ+6:27
29Jean-Lou PAIANIFRASOJ+6:27
30Kurt HOVELYNCKBELCRE+6:27
31Iljo KEISSEBELOPQ+6:27
32Matthieu LADAGNOUSFRAFDJ+6:27
33Jens KEUKELEIREBELOGE+6:27
34Ian STANNARDGBRSKY+6:27
35Pieter JACOBSBELTSV+6:27
36Pieter VANSPEYBROUCKBELTSV+6:27
37James VANLANDSCHOOTBELAJW+6:27
38Yoann OFFREDOFRAFDJ+6:27
39Michael SCHÄRSUIBMC+6:27
40Egidijus JUODVALKISLTUCRE+6:27
41Markus EICHLERGERTNE+6:27
42Arnaud LABBEFRACOF+6:27
43Manuele MORIITALAM+6:27
44Sebastian LANGEVELDNEDOGE+6:27
45Danilo WYSSSUIBMC+6:27
46Stijn NEIRYNCKBELTSV+6:27
47Daniel OSSITABMC+6:27
48Tom VAN ASBROECKBELTSV+6:27
49Guillaume VAN KEIRSBULCKBELOPQ+6:27
50Benjamin VERRAESBELAJW+6:27
51Vincent JEROMEFRAEUC+6:27
52Koen BARBEBELCRE+6:27
53Luke ROWEGBRSKY+6:27
54Romain ZINGLEBELCOF+6:27
55Ramon SINKELDAMNEDARG+6:27
56Bram TANKINKNEDBLA+6:27
57Mirko SELVAGGIITAVCD+6:27
58Oscar GATTOITAVIN+6:27
59Ignatas KONOVALOVASLTUMTN+6:27
60Frederik WILLEMSBELLTB+6:27
61Gabriel RASCHNORSKY+6:27
62Tim DE TROYERBELAJW+6:27
63Sébastien CHAVANELFRAEUC+6:27
64Bernhard EISELAUTSKY+6:27
65Nick NUYENSBELGRS+6:27
66Nico SIJMENSBELCOF+6:27
67Sébastien ROSSELERBELGRS+6:27
68Jonathan BREYNEBELCRE+6:27
69Klaas LODEWYCKBELBMC+6:27
70Dominic KLEMMEGERIAM+6:27
71Julien FOUCHARDFRACOF+6:27
72John DEGENKOLBGERARG+6:27
73Anthony GESLINFRAFDJ+6:27
74Sep VANMARCKEBELBLA+6:27
75Kevin HULSMANSBELVIN+6:27
76Mauro FINETTOITAVIN+6:27
77Thor HUSHOVDNORBMC+6:27
78Taylor PHINNEYUSABMC+6:27
79Grega BOLESLOVCD+6:27
80Lars BOOMNEDBLA+6:27
81Björn LEUKEMANSBELVCD+6:27
82Tim DECLERCQBELTSV+6:27
83Alexandre PICHOTFRAEUC+6:27
84Tom BOONENBELOPQ+6:27
85Jelle WALLAYSBELTSV+6:27
86Filippo POZZATOITALAM+6:27
87Manuel QUINZIATOITABMC+6:27
88Andreas KLIERGERGRS+6:27
89Juan Antonio FLECHA GIANNONIESPVCD+6:27
90Baden COOKEAUSOGE+6:27
91Salvatore PUCCIOITASKY+6:27
92Zdenek STYBARCZEOPQ+6:27
93Mitchell DOCKERAUSOGE+6:27
94Marco MARCATOITAVCD+6:27
95David VEILLEUXCANEUC+6:27
96William BONNETFRAFDJ+6:27
97Damien GAUDINFRAEUC+6:27
98Christopher SUTTONAUSSKY+6:27
99Niki TERPSTRANEDOPQ+6:27
100Jens DEBUSSCHEREBELLTB+6:27
101Jacob RATHEUSAGRS+8:49
102Sébastien HINAULTFRAIAM+12:04
103Zakkari DEMPSTERAUSTNE+12:04
104Angelo TULIKFRAEUC+12:04
105Preben VAN HECKEBELTSV+12:04
106Blaz JARCSLOTNE+12:04
107Jerome COUSINFRAEUC+12:04
108Gatis SMUKULISLATKAT+12:04
109David BOUCHERFRAFDJ+13:39
110Matt BRAMMEIERIRLCSS+13:39
111Andreas STAUFFGERMTN+13:39
112Clinton Robert AVERYNZLCSS+13:39
113Roberto DE PATREITAVIN+13:39
114Erick ROWSELLGBRTNE+13:39
115Andreas SCHILLINGERGERTNE+13:39
116Johann VAN ZYLRSAMTN+13:39
117Bobbie TRAKSELNEDCSS+13:39
118Frederik VEUCHELENBELVCD+13:39
119Russell DOWNINGGBRTNE+13:39
120Jonathan MCEVOYGBRTNE+13:39
121Gael MALACARNEFRABSE+13:39
122Pirmin LANGSUIIAM+13:39
123Paul MARTENSGERBLA+13:39
124Mattia CATTANEOITALAM+13:39
125Christophe LABORIEFRASOJ+13:39
126Rony MARTIASFRASOJ+13:39
127Evaldas SISKEVICIUSLTUSOJ+13:39
128Andrea PALINIITALAM+13:39
129Fumiyuki BEPPUJPNOGE+13:39
130Jean-Luc DELPECHFRABSE+13:39
131Steve CHAINELFRAALM+13:39
132Gediminas BAGDONASLTUALM+13:39
133Sébastien MINARDFRAALM+13:39
134Svein TUFTCANOGE+13:39
135Dominique ROLLINCANFDJ+13:39
136Martin REIMERGERMTN+13:39
137Jan GHYSELINCKBELCOF+13:39
138Alexander KRISTOFFNORKAT+13:39
139Rudiger SELIGGERKAT+13:39
140Kristian SBARAGLIITAMTN+13:39
141Davide APPOLLONIOITAALM+13:39
142Elia FAVILLIITALAM+13:39
143Davide CIMOLAIITALAM+13:39
144Kris BOECKMANSBELVCD+13:39
145Alessandro PRONIITAVIN+13:39
DNFRick FLENSNEDBLA
DNFMoreno HOFLANDNEDBLA
DNFRobert WAGNERGERBLA
DNFMatteo TRENTINITAOPQ
DNFKenny DE HAESBELLTB
DNFGert DOCKXBELLTB
DNFVicente REYNES MIMOESPLTB
DNFMarcel SIEBERGGERLTB
DNFHugo HOULECANALM
DNFAxel DOMONTFRAALM
DNFAnthony RAVARDFRAALM
DNFJohan LE BONFRAFDJ
DNFMassimo GRAZIATOITALAM
DNFLuca WACKERMANNITALAM
DNFSam BEWLEYNZLOGE
DNFMichael MATTHEWSAUSOGE
DNFAlbert TIMMERNEDARG
DNFWilliam CLARKEAUSARG
DNFRoy CURVERSNEDARG
DNFLuka MEZGECSLOARG
DNFTom STAMSNIJDERNEDARG
DNFMartijn MAASKANTNEDGRS
DNFRamunas NAVARDAUSKASLTUGRS
DNFJohan VAN SUMMERENBELGRS
DNFJérôme GILBERTBELAJW
DNFAndy CAPPELLEBELAJW
DNFWill ROUTLEYCANAJW
DNFStefan VAN DIJKNEDAJW
DNFSébastien DELFOSSEBELCRE
DNFFrédéric AMORISONBELCRE
DNFArnaud GERARDFRABSE
DNFClément KORETZKYFRABSE
DNFBenjamin LE MONTAGNERFRABSE
DNFGeoffroy LEQUATREFRABSE
DNFBenoit JARRIERFRABSE
DNFFlorian VACHONFRABSE
DNFMatthias FRIEDEMANNGERCSS
DNFWang Yip TANGHKGCSS
DNFMart OJAVEEESTCSS
DNFRyan ROTHCANCSS
DNFKin San WUHKGCSS
DNFFlorent BARLEFRACOF
DNFKristof GODDAERTBELIAM
DNFAleksejs SARAMOTINSLATIAM
DNFAlexander PORSEVRUSKAT
DNFMaxime DANIELFRASOJ
DNFJimmy ENGOULVENTFRASOJ
DNFCyril LEMOINEFRASOJ
DNFPaul VOSSGERTNE
DNFFerekalsi DEBESAY ABRHAERIMTN
DNFYoucef REGUIGUIALGMTN
DNFRafael ANDRIATOBRAVIN
DNFLuigi MILETTAITAVIN







Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday File: Pink Goes Green, DYI Tool Carrier, Chasing Fausto & Bring on the Cobbles!

Photo: Cyclingart



Friday file and I decided to change up my worn out saddle bag for a dyi tool carrier. Whilst, it won't give me a second water bottle it will give me a larger container to carry my tools, tubes and things. A good trade off. It's one of those bikey cosmetic changes I always wanted to make. Made from my oldest bidons, fitting for my next ride. Plus it holds more stuff than my old saddle bag!




Photo: Cyclingart



Thanks to Guy for Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi by William Fotheringham. My current February book and after reading the first chapter, it may very well be the definitive story of the Campionissimo! 



The 2014 Giro d'ltalia will start in Ireland! Italy's grand tour goes to the Emerald Isle...  Good to see Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche with opening remarks...





Lastly...

Snow?


My attention turns towards this weekend of classic cobbles with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne Brussels Kuurne. Weather forecast for Sunday's battle calls for snow. If that happens, either it makes for more dangerous riding or they completely scrap it. It's rare for a race to be cancel due to the snow, but it happened twice in KBK history; 1986 and 1993.

Race organizers said...


 “If there is snow expected on Sunday, we will have an alternative route. The 'hellingen' will be taken out and we will just go over major roads. It deals with La Houppe (Vloesberg), Kanarieberg (Ronse), Kwaremont and the Côte du Trieu.”
“If there is really a lot of snow then we would be forced to consider cancelling the race. We will meet Sunday at eleven for that. But that is really an extreme case.”



Bring on the Classics!
I'll be watching!
via cxmagazine





Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Yauheni Hutarovich... Call of Classics Duty.

Huta, wearing the 2012 Belarusian national jersey, training 
at last week's Tour of Haut Var
via Ag2r Facebook





Looking ahead to this Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne will literally be a battle to the line for the sprinters.

What is the definition of a cycling sprinter? Here's what wikipedia states...


cycling sprinter is a road bicycle racer or track racer who can finish a race very explosively by accelerating  quickly to a high speed, often using the slipstream of another cyclist or group of cyclists tactically to conserve energy.


What is missing is... Rouleur;  French for roller and it's a cyclist who performs well on flat and undulating roads.


Not as kasseien/hellingen crowded like Saturday's Omloop, KBK is still loaded with the classic Belgian terrain and is carved out to be the domain of the fast men. In fact, the last climb comes 53 km before the flat finish. It's not a sure thing that the Belgians will win on home soil. It's true the Flandrians have the most victories at 50 and counting. But, my prediction goes to tried and true tough man the Belarusian, Yauheni Hutarovich. The 29 year old is cunning and brave enough to beat the best of them, he took out Cavendish, Farrar and Petacchi to win stage 2 of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana. His biggest win to date.

New horizons await for the newly signed 'Huta' on Ag2r-La Mondiale. Leaving FDJ after five good seasons, the sprint powerhouse will turn his direction, starting this weekend, in the northern classics. His pave credentials are very good; first in the semi-classic Nationale Sluitingsprijs (2012), third in Scheldeprijs (2011), second in Paris-Brussels (2012) and second in KBK (2011, 2012).

Ag2r has a solid team going into KBK: Y. Hutarovich, A. Rivard, D. Appollonio, G. Bagdonas, M. Belletti, S. Minard, S. Chainel and Canadian Hugo Houle. And motivation is high; a new season and a new team. Hutarovich has come so close to winning KBK and whilst he has the heart and cunning ... this time he'll have the luck to win!


KBK: the course and startlist.


My top five prediction:

1. Y. Hutarovich, 2. T. Farrar, 3. G. Van Avermaet, 4. A. Greipel, 5. D. Rollin.







Monday, February 18, 2013

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Here Comes the Cobbles!

2012 OHN...
Vanmarcke, Boonen and Flecha will return.
Courtesy: Graziano Nardini
via cyclingarchives.com




Cobble anticipation is growing...

There is just five days, and counting down, before the real season begins. The Belgium cobble madness, for only the strong riders, called the Flanders Classics.

A series of six classics held in Flanders; Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Grote Scheldeprijs and Brabantse Pijl. The classics six are nestled nicely amongst Paris-Roubaix, E3 Prijs, The Ardennes Classics and L-B-L. A unique enthusiasm begins this Saturday in Gent-Gent with O-H-N follow by Sunday's little brother Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. A double-header of the Kasseien kind.

OHN is huge. It's just the opening appetizer of the Belgian cycling calendar so that means crazed fans, unpredictable weather, mean kasseien (cobbles) and hellingen (hills). While the Ronde patiently awaits, fans will get an early February tease.

Last year's winner, young Sep Vanmarcke will attempt to give Belgium another classic thrilling victory. My attention is towards two veteran classic guys that can't be counted out; Juan Antonio Flecha and Thor Hushovd. I'll add in my dark horse the sprinter, Gerald Ciolek.


Three guys hungry for success...


A fresh change for Flecha newly signed with Vancansoleil-DCM and giving the green light to bring his experience to the Dutch team in the classics, a certain freedom he never completely had with SKY. He's won OHN in 2010 becoming the first Spanish rider to do so and aggressively podium in 2011 (2nd) and 2012 (3rd). He may have reached the twilight of his career, but with a new team and  freedom means success.



Flecha; hungry for success.
photo: Kramon




Coming back from that energy sapping virus, Thor Hushovd is back for a stab at the classics. His 2012 season was certainly a write-off and now with his return to form (1st stage 1 Tour of Haut Var) can only mean good things for the God of Thunder. A winner of the 2009 OHN, he's sharing leadership duties with Greg Van Avermaet and with that certain luck... it's time for some classic lightning bolts!



Can Ciolek make history this weekend?
via teammtnqhubeka.com



One guy on my radar is sprinter, Gerald Ciolek of the new MTN-Qubeka South African team. A strong fifth place at the Trofeo Laigueglia means he's on course and ready to put the new team in the win column... watch for him this weekend!



And, one more...

JAFlecha and his thoughts on his new ride ...the Bianchi Oltre XR.



Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Return of the God of Thunder

The lightning bolt fired on stage 1
via Velonews




As far as comebacks are concern, Thor Hushovd has rediscovered his mojo at the Tour du Haut Var.

It's hard to believe that Hushovd hasn't won, until now, in seventeen months. His last year's woes are gone and to his credit, and BMC, he's bounced back in a huge way. Today, he won stage one just ahead of Tom-Jelte Slagter in a dash to the line. Tomorrow is the last mountain type stage, one he isn't favored to win.


Back with a  Big Win!
via Velonews


It's a major confidence boost to get back into the winning game and for the God of Thunder, I don't believe it's just a flash in the pan. I'm looking forward toward my favorite part of the season...

The Classic season will get under way for him starting with next week's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad... his lightning bolts are ready to fly!






Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday File: 25% Off Red Dots Cycling, Froome in Oman & Katusha Fires Again!

25% Off until Sunday!
photo: Red Dots Cycling




Do you love fine handmade cycling caps and cool recycled inner tube products? Then Red Dots Cycling is celebrating Valentines with a special promotion until this Sunday...

That means get 25% off, on your purchase, of our handmade cycling caps and recycled rubber products. All you have to do is use coupon code: LOVEU at the checkout!



Chris Froome is taking the Tour of Oman by it's neck and duly won stage 5 and retains a semi-lock on the red jersey. If he wins, and it's sure looking like it, this should boost his confidence for this season.







Happy news for Katusha...

They are back, with the CAS ruling granting the Russian team a return to the UCI WorldTour. A very happy J-Rod said...

"I'm happy to stay with the Katusha team because I've been in the team for several years now. The team has given me a lot and I've given a lot to the team. This is the best possible solution for everyone,"

"I'm sick of everyone talking about all the problems in our sport. There are still a lot of good things going on. I'd much prefer if we could talk about the Tour of Oman and the Volta ao Algarve, or the Vuelta a Andalucía. At least now I can look ahead to the rest of the season, knowing that goal for the year are safe and that the future of the team is safe."




Welcome back!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tour of Oman: Kenny Elissonde & Early (Good) Form



Is it too early in the season to give a righteous acknowledgement to some cyclists at the Tour of Oman?

Peter Sagan is riding well to win two stages only to have the climb of Green Mountain stop him from a third successive stage win. At least for now. He lost the red leaders jersey to Chris Froome, who is looking very good in what will be an exciting ending with only two stages remaining. Cadel Evans is second and showing good early form especially being away from racing for five months. His past problems seem to be behind him and a good thing too as he celebrates his birthday.

Alberto Contador (3rd) and Vincenzo Nibali (4th) and stage winner J Rod (5th) shows potential stage race threats are going well. I know it's only February, but kudos go to them. One rider that deserves mention is young rider, Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) in fifth overall. Last season he was a stagiaire for FDJ, the little climber (reportedly 5 ft 6 1/2 in, 110 lb) can ride with the creme of cycling. We will soon find out whether Joaquim Rodriguez solidly wins today's queen stage with a smile... let's hope he has one this Friday after the ruling from CAS whether Katusha goes to the WorldTour.



Looking like a boy on a bike.
Only 21 years old and a rider to watch...
Kenny Elissonde.
courtesy Jack Claassen
cyclingarchives.com


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love for BiC and Jacques' Class.


Maitre Jacques.
courtesy Jack Claassen




The Bic jersey was one design, in a plethora of jerseys, that was iconically cool.

Think Moteni, Peugeot,  Flandria, Brooklyn, KAS, Salvarani, Bianchi, Faema ...some of the giants of the swinging 60s-70s. Not like today's proliferation of sponsors, early team jerseys were adorned with only one or two sponsors. I say it was a period of design simplicity. These days, Team SKY is the exception and seems to be taking a cue from that time and gone for a classic minimal approach.

In the 1960s and 70s, BiC sponsored a professional cycling team centered around Tour champions; Jacques Anquetil and Luis Ocana. Besides these two great riders, BiC had many others in the 'near great' category; Jean Graczyk, Julio Jiménez, Rolf Wolfshohl, Joaquim Agostinho, Roland Berland, Leif Mortensen. Who's Leif Mortensen you asked?

He was Danish, a tt specialist and rode for BiC (1970-74). His talent was full on speed against the clock and he was so good he teamed up with Luis Ocana to win the famous two person team time trial, The Trofeo Baracchi (1971).



Time's a ticking...
Mortenssen flying in orange.
photo: courtesy Guy Dedieu



One of the top domestiques of that time was Vin Denson. He was one of those tough riders employed to do the slaves work in riding for the star, Jacques Anquetil. And that era was tough. If you were not a leader or star then you are a worker. Underpaid and overworked it was a hard way of life. From the outstanding book, The Eagle Of The Canavese by Herbie Sykes, about the great silent champion of two Giri, I discovered this memorable quote...



Vin Denson spent three outstanding years in Anquetil's service, between 1965 and 1967. Vin is unequivocal:

I loved Jacques. I would have died on the road for him. We all would. He could suffer on a bike more than anyone else I ever saw, but above all he was an absolute gentleman. I'd spent the previous year working for Rik Van Looy, flogging my guts out, never being paid what I was due, always feeling cheated. The years I spent with Jacques were the happiest of my life, without question. The whole peloton respected him. Poulidor liked to be centre of attention, but within the peloton we knew him for what he was - a fabulous rider, but by comparison a bit selfish, nowhere near Jacques' class.


During this time, Denson opened a bar in Ghent and had what he called the happiest years of his racing life. Looking at the image of Denson ...no wonder he's smiling!



Vic Denson was happily all Guts and 
Glory working for Maitre Jacques.
courtesy Jack Claassen


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rollin: Classically Geared, Tour of Oman & Coffee of the Day

Dom Rollin... rolling at the Tour of Qatar and 
riding in Monday's Tour of Oman.
photo A/P




Solid weekend of riding, for me, as I have put in two rides on Friday (with FRFuggitivi) and today.

Slowly the miles are ticking off, and a new year resolution for me is to ride more and often. My update on my new Athena 11 speed left crankarm: it is nicely settling in with the Veloce crankset. I'll go ahead and call it Veloce/Athena crankset. I don't feel any difference (should I?) as it is working seamlessly together with Veloce. But, psychologically it does feel good to have Campy's 11 speed Athena on board. I never could afford the jump to the 11 speed gruppo and I'm happy with the 10 speed Veloce. Do we really need 11 speeds? But, somewhere inside me is wanting and kinda wishing for a taste of Campy's 11 speed family. No matter, perhaps for my next bike?

Speaking of solid racing, Dominique Rollin finished a solid 36th overall at the Tour of Sand er Qatar. For the rider that's targeting the upcoming classics his day in the sand continues in the Tour of Oman. A good warm up for all riders and I can't help but think there will be opportunities for the sprinters, like Rollin, in the Cavendish absent Tour of Oman. From his Facebook page, The Horse from the North optimistically said...


First race of 2013 over, I'm right where I should be with great form and desire to do well in the classics. No massage tonight but the sauna was quite lush!
On to Oman!




Rollin at the Tour of Qatar



Coffee of the day goes to BC based, Salt Spring Coffee: Organic Fair Trade West Coast. Surprisingly good taste of dark chocolate and dried fruit keeps me coming back for more.





Kudos to Thomas Lofkvist for winning the Tour of Méditerranéen of the new Swiss based Pro Conti team, IAM Cycling. Big win for them knocking the established ProTeams in France. I love it when an underdog wins. 


Onward to the Tour of Oman!



Tour of Oman starting list.


IAM a winner...
Thomas Lovkvist.
via IAM Cycling






Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday File: Boom in White Dots, Escarabajos & FRFuggitivi: First Ride



The Tour Méditerranéen has some exciting racing this early season for most...

Today's stage 3 to Saint Rémy de Provence is cancelled due to 'logistical problems beyond our control,' said the organisation. How about more disappointment? For Andy Schleck it's like a bad highlight reel as he quits during stage one. He does not look comfortable and it looks like a long road to the Tour for him. Five-time Italian tt champ, Marco Pinotti braved the 24km tt finishing from a fall, breaking ribs and injuring his shoulder. 

Where's the good news? Lars Boom won the TT and is the new yellow/white polka-dot jersey race leader. Honestly, this has got to be the wildest race leaders jersey of all time...



Boom and white polka-dots... it's slowly growing on me.
via courrier-picard.fr


Saturday's Mt. Faron climb should be a doozy with the climbers itching to do their thing. Look out for the Escarabajos of Team Colombia as they will want to make their early season climbing stamp of approval. Here's a peak of them at training camp.



Adieu Andy Schleck... Welcome Lars Boom!




Our weather has finally broke with no rain and very pleasant temperatures hovering around 7C. So that means our FRFuggitivi squad; Guy, John, Mario and yours truly embarked for our first ride of the season to Iona Park in Richmond. Plenty of folks out bird and plane watching along the outer edge of the airport and of course, some cyclists. I finally put in a nice long ride tallying 46 kms. And it feels good to finally break the two hour barrier this early season. Also it's good to get back into contact with the squad. We already decided to tackle more mountains this season and that means I had better get into shape sooner than later. Guy has the advantage of winter training in New Zealand... he's ready.

Welcoming in the new season...
Guy, John & Mario at Iona Park.
photo: Cycling Art Blog






Thursday, February 7, 2013

1965 Tour... The Phoenix Rises in the Pyrenees

Soaring in the Pyrenees.




Felice Gimondi, turned Pro in 1965 and it was a memorable start for The Phoenix.

He had the winning credentials after victory in the mini Tour de France... the 1964 Tour de l'Avenir. Before the 1965 Tour, Gimondi was added to the Tour due to a withdrawal from another cyclist. He went on to score a spectacular victory including three stages ahead of Raymond Poulidor.

The top three riders of the race (l to r); Gianni Motta (3rd overall), Raymond Poulidor (2nd overall), winner Felice Gimondi and Roger Pingeon (12th overall) soared in the Pyrenees.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Veloce Out, Athena crank arm ...IN

Hard to tell by looking at it, but there was a problem.
photo Cycling Art Blog




Well, it looks like my problem Veloce left crank arm has 'turned' in a positive way.

A few weeks ago, I started to notice a strange click on the downstroke. I should say... feel. After my ride I would check my left crank arm and notice some play. I thought, boy there's something wrong here there should not be any play whatsoever. I contacted Kevin, owner of La Bicicletta Pro Shop and he directed me to see Rob the head mechanic.

I know Kevin, he is also owner of Raiment Cycling Clothing and selling Red Dots cycling winter caps. I made an appointment and brought in my Marinoni to friendly Rob to have a look. He was puzzled, like me, as to why the crankarm was so loose. He said that he never seen this before. I haven't either. My old Campy Nuovo Record crankset never had any problems or, for that matter, any of my other cranksets I've ever owned.




My closest to Campy's 11 Speed Family...
My new Athena 11 crank arm.
photo Cycling Art Blog



I do not call myself a mechanic, far from it. But when it comes to removing a Campagnolo crankset now that requires special tools. So off for my first visit. Rob re-tightened the crank arm and suggested that I monitor it. I go for a ride and the same thing. On my second visit, it's so loose Rob was amazed it didn't fall off. So, he took the crankset apart, cleaned it and put a bead of lock-tite. Off for another ride and I return with the, you guessed it, the same problem. This time there is slight play. Again, back to see Rob and he removes the offending crank arm and offers me it as a 'doorstop'. I have seen one online used as a brilliant door handle. Perhaps there's life for it after all.

Not much I can do but go for a new crank arm. Rob said that when I pedal, I'm putting undo stress on it. I smartly stop. I leave my bike overnight and return the next day to see a brand new Athena 11 speed crank arm. That's what is available and who was I to argue, this is my closest to the Campy 11 speed family.

It's one of those freaky things that I'll probably never find the reason why the Veloce crank arm faltered. I have already put in a ride, and the Veloce agrees with the new addition. And, I must thank Rob and Kevin because it is solid ...damn solid.



What's next?
doorstop, door handle or paper weight?
photo Cycling Art Blog







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