Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Cervelo Test Team

Ok, you can be cynical about these videos, but I think they are being honest with their thoughts, It's in the eyes for me. They make great bikes, and if other companies were smart they'd encourage the same involvement with all the Teams they worked with. So take these as you will, and don't forget to watch out for the MIB on Sunday, Haussler, Thor & Klier will be up there for sure. (just as a note I wrote this post a few days ago and had it scheduled to go up today. Unfortunately Haussler and Klier will not be there, such a shame for the riders and the fans)

and lets not forget those special tyres

and the jacket I wish I had for Sunday, or in fact any Sunday.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Gent-Wevelgem - Video and Roundup

Gent-Wevelgem used to be branded a 'Sprinters Cobbled Classic' and although Eisel is a Sprinter he is more in the older mode pre lead out trains and uses his brain as well as brawn to get the result. The racing over the weekend has been exciting, and frankly I live for this time of year. Every since Feb 28th we have been treated to a fine spectacle of racing at the highest level. Next weekend will be a ding dong at Flanders and anything less would be a great disappointment after the last few weeks.

So enjoy the vid's catch up with the detail and get yourself ready for Sunday.

E3 Prijs Harelbeke

I think in many ways that the E3 gave a better indication who is in form for the Ronde rather than Gent-Wevelgem. Looking at the riders in the top ten, I reckon five or six of them could be there on Sunday.

1. Fabian Cancellara (Zwi/Saxo Bank)  203 km in 4hr 44:34

(ave. 42,80 km./h.)
2. Tom Boonen op 0:03
3. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa)
4. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) 0:50; 
5. Lars Boom (Ned); 
6. Sebastian Langeveld (Ned); 
7. Björn Leukemans; 8. Paul Martens (Dui); 
9. Marco Marcato (Ita) 0:58; 
10. Fabio Felline

For me the top three are going to be there in the final for sure

The three in form Classic's riders of the moment made the final together. Watching the power and brute strength of these athletes was exciting to watch. Fabian seemed to have a little more left in the tank, and in a drag race between Boonen and Cancellara it would always be a close call. Flecha can't afford to make the same mistake on Sunday (Ronde) as he doesn't have the pure sprinting speed of the other two. So if he's using the E3 as a dry run for Flanders I think he needs to take a Devolder approach and will need to use the tactic of trying to ride away with 20-30km to go.

Boonen is riding well, better than I have seen him ride for a long time. Fabian is also riding well, but where the two differ is that SAXO as a Team are riding well. Quick Step have at times left Tom isolated, and although it is difficult to match him pedal rev for pedal rev, if you've not touched the wind for half of the race the tank is half full is crucial come the final.

and the final

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Julian Dean - Gent-Wevelgem

Ouch! This seems not an uncommon site for the veteran roadie. I always think that the power that he has would transfer well to the Classic's but he's there as a 'Super Domestique'.

Hope it's nothing too serious and that we will see him at the big one next weekend. Hope it's only a few bumps and bruises and nothing more serious.

One of the few riders to buck the Garmin trend of using Shimano SPD-SL pedals. Julian has been on Speedplay for a few years and began using them while at Credit Agricole, which must have made Look smart. 

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Sean's Bike

This is Sean's new Bike. I like it, it's a pretty retro thing in a world of carbon this and that. Take a look at it, I really like the simplicity of it all.


Sean has been a big Shimano fan for years and in recent times he switched to SRAM. He became a champion of it and selling all of it's benefits to his friends. So when he sent me his photo I was shocked to see Campagnolo on it. He's pretty chuffed that all of it is Italian. I like the whole look of it, very PRO. I think everyone should have a bike like this, one that exudes class, style and timelessness. Oh and his other bike, A TIME with Sram Red, two oposites but really nice also.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Cozza's back

Get in, I'm so pleased to see Steve back in the saddle. Most importantly the MO is back also. This bodes well and I hope that he gets a place on the Flanders Team. Maybe it's a little too early but his passion for the tough cobbled races runs through his viens like Primus at the Gent Six Days.

If you've never checked out his website do so it's a great read and his passion for the sport and the future of the sport is inspiring.

Steve Cozza, the man and the MO

Boys Toys, Cervelo at Milan San Remo

Although Cervelo Test Team had an incredibly successful 1st season, they are always looking to improve the equipment that they use.

S3 - Lightweight Aero Road frame, with a fabled comfort which has it's DNA in the R series bike. I'm loving the all black look, very stealth.

Zipp 404 Wheels - What can be said that hasn't been said before, well very little. They are great wheels and are often rebadged by other Teams when their sponsored wheels don't cut the mustard. Other change, PowerTap have come on board this year provided power measurement so a new rear hub for the Team this year.

SRAM - Red. Is it a performance advantage over Shimano, well in the weight front yes. The ergonomics of the shifters and how they work, well that's totally up to you, but I'm a big fan.

Rotor Cranks - after the first version of the cranks proved to be too flexy and seeing more than half the Team abandon them for the Spring Classics Rotor set about to make a crank light enough for Carlos and stiff enough for Thor. Reading reviews and listening to the Pros it seems like mission accomplished.

Speedplay Pedals, HIMO

I have become a little evangelical on the subject of Speedplay pedals. I'll try to explain why.

1. When I worked in a 'bricks 'n mortar' store I had the joy of learning about bike fitting. Frankly it was one of the most enjoyable things I ever did/learnt. What you could give to a customer at the end if a session was more than worth the £ notes they'd spend. So for me the first important thing about the Zero series pedal is fit & the options you have to tune the riders position. Front, back adjustment are catered for much in the same way as any other pedal. But having independant float adjustment from internal & external rotation is where the set up goes into another level. Spring tension & release angle are not effected by the float adjustment.

2. Commuting in London I always longed for the user friendliness of a double sided pedal when coming away from the lights. But if you have used any road pedal switching to an MTB you can feel the reduced contact patch. This is not welcome. What is great with Speedplay is that you get both a wide platform (don't let the small pedal body fool you, the cleat engulfes the pedal & unlike some comes in contact with the whole pedal body) and it is double sided. This can only be done by turning conventional thinking on it's head. Putting the adjustement into cleat means that the pedal itself only has one real moving part, the axle. This allowed Richard of Speedplay to swap conventional thinking around and make it double sided.

3. I love the way the pedal feels because of all the attributes I have mentioned above. I used to suffer badly with a tight IT Band. No matter how much stretching the problem didn't go away. With my stretching regime combined with the pedals I have not suffered since. Also those riders with dodgy knees have benefitted greatly by switching, myself included.

Okay to the negatives. There are a couple, but for me not deal breakers.

4. Cost for many is a real hurdle to overcome on trying them. Due to the fact that they are made in the States & not in the Far East means that the costs will always be higher. In principal the pedal is the same across the whole Zero range, it's just the axle that changes. I've always had Stainless Steel, but I've been sent a Cromo pair to see if there is a noteable difference. Once I've logged some kilometres on them I'll write a review.

5. The main issue is with cleat wear. The brass plate can scratch & look worn quickly if you happen to do any walking on them. This does not effect how the cleat engages the pedal. The other thing that annoys me is that because of the open nature of the Phillips cross head screw it can become worn & difficult to remove. Cleat covers make a lot of sense especially since cleats cost £40+. Speedplay reckons you'll get 2000 miles out of them. In practice depending on how you look after them it can be more or less. In my experience it has been more. I wish there was some clever cleat cover that covered the exposed heads but at the same time aloud you to engage the pedal.

So to all those people who've asked the question I hope it's answered some of your questions.

Matti Breschel, rising star

Great video from today's race. It has been a long time in coming as he's shown over the last two seasons what he is capeable of. Many dismiss semi-classics as being none events, but the only reason they are called semi-classics is due to the length of the race, not it's toughness. Congrats to him and the Team, so far the Belgian big Teams are yet to score, maybe we'll see a change when Gent-Welvelgem comes round.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Paris Roubaix, Film Treats

Busy Day today, so zero time for a proper post. Sit back and enjoy.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Boys Toys 3 - Ag2R

Paris Nice
Originally uploaded by The Road Diaries
This is Nicholas Roche bike. It's easy to identify by the Irish National Champ colours on the Bike.

Featured today

Kuota Frameset. Super light and stiff and very un-Italian sounding for an Italian brand.

Sram. Enough has been said about Red and it's benefits. The one accidental techy thing I like is the ability to shift while the lever is pulled close to the bar. This is a pretty useful thing for sprinters.

Reynold's Wheels. They always get good write ups from those who have had a chance to ride them. Techy note, the top end wheels are built using a DT hub.

Deda. Their Sponsorship spend must have gone through the roof recently as there are lots of Teams using their kit this year. It's nice kit and unfortunately not widely available.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Paris Roubaix - 1986 - Film Fest

It's St Patricks Day and what better way to celebrate than spending some time with Sean Kelly. A legend of Cycling, and all round good guy.

Kelly is showing his true class as a rider. Amazingly, no special modifications where made to his bike for Roubaix and rode it as stock, even down to the skinny 21mm tubs

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Fabian Cancellara

Fabian Cancellara is unusal in that he is a rider who is probably one of the best Time trailists in history, but his skills don't stop there. His combination of power and bike handling skills are second to none. Not only is he truly awesome against the clock he also loves the Classics and is one of the pelotons finest descenders. For more proof, watch this stunning clip below. It's a Master Class on how to descend quickly.

Cancellara Showing here in '06 how to use that awesome power to great effect and riding away from the competition. I hope we see displays of this again this year as it is so exciting to witness live. He has made noise about the Ronde, and like many he wants to add this to his palmares. This year, just as any other, the names vieing for the top spot includes some well known names but no doubt places 2 and 3 on podium might just produce some unexpected results.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Top 30 Cyclists - Part 3 The Top Ten

Top 30 Cyclists - Part 2

Top 30 Cyclists of All time - Part 1

A friend of mine sent me this, and it's a great insight into what some of these guys won. Sit back and enjoy

Boys Toys 2 - Milram

I'm pleased Linus won the other day. He's not had many breaks since he bagged the Yellow jersey back in '07. So to this Boys Toys post.

Focus Bike
Lightweight Wheels
Sram Red
Mavic Shoes

Vermarc kit

Item of clothing of note:
Customized Rain Jacket. Recently we have seen the best execution of this by Castelli with the Cervelo Test Team. A short sleeve Rain Jacket may seem crazy, but I'll explain why I think not.

Overheating is a major issue for a Pro Rider as they are typically putting out 200+ watts over a complete stage. Turn a 100 watt light bulb on and feel the heat, yes it's warm. So removing the sleeves on a jacket meakes sense from cooling as the long veins in the arms allow the body to regulate the body temp. Keeping the core warm allows you to remain warm, but not overheat, this is why a Gilet is an essential piece of cycling kit. The short sleeve allows the jersey to remain dry, so not making the rider cold.

Both Sportful and Castelli have 'nearly' waterproof arm/leg/knee warmers for this year. This makes so much sense as there is no negative effect when it's not raining. I can't think it'll be long before we see brushed bib shorts made out of this material as it'll give an advantage to any rider using it.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Monte Paschi Eroica, from Sportive to Pro Race

The Monte Paschi Eroica, or for many the Eroica is the only Pro Race that I know of that has come from being a Sportive to a Pro Race. Mind you it wasn't an ordinary Sportive or Fondo as it has it's heart and soul steeped in retroism. For the Pro Road Racing circuit to take on these tough and demanding roads was an initial shock to me. The first edition was run at the same time as the Fondo which is always around the late September early October time. It had a great timing in the season, starving off the long gap between the stat and finish of the Northern Classics.

The first Pro event was held in 2007 and when the 2008 season was announced I could see that it had moved to it's pre Northern Classics slot. I can see as a race organizer or indeed a Pro Team itself how they would benefit from the move as it serves as a good tester of form. But in doing so has it resided itself to being a semi-classic and only ever hoping to be a warm up event to the main objectives in April. I would have preferred that Italy had taken hold of the end of season races in the same way that Belgium dominates the beginning. For a whole bunch of riders the Worlds holds little appeal as the course can be varied and one year it may suit and the next not. Whereas the Monuments are there set in stone for generations to tackle again and again and the riders can compare themselves against the great names of the past.

Does it bode well as a form tester. The answer has to be YES, as in the first year it made the switch Cancellara had a fantastic season, from start to finish. Bizarrely no Italian or Belgian has won it, but if it had been run in the days of Andrea Tafi I am sure he would have wanted to dominate the podium steps as much as he did in the Northern Classics, being a native of the area.

Although personally I have little interest in riding the Fondo in the Fall (due to the retro theme) I would love to ride this the day after of before the Pro's, and I am surprised that the organizers of the race have not capitalized on this and taken a few pointers from the Ronde van Vlaanderen. I doubt whether we'd see 18,000+ people of on the White Roads but the sense of occasion to an event hosting a amateur version at the same time is not to be under estimated as a draw to the tifosi.

Race Winners

2007  Alexandr Kolobnev (RUS)             Team CSC
2008  Fabian Cancellara (SUI)                Team CSC
2009  Thomas Lovkvist (SWE)                Team Columbia-High Road
2010  Maxim Iglinsky (KAZ)                   Team Astana

Monte Paschi Eroica - Part 1

Monte Paschi Eroica - Part 2

Monte Paschi Eroica - Part 3

Monte Paschi Eroica - Part 4

Monte Paschi Eroica - Part 5

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Boys Toys

S975 SRM at Camp
Originally uploaded by The Road Diaries
S975 SRM chainset

Lake CX401 shoes, custom moulded

Trek Madonne Project One crazy Team paintjob


Today all of these riders became


, the true hardmen of the sport. I salute your bravery, stubborness and determination to finish. You have earnt your place in history.


1 Bobbie Traksel (Ned) Vacansoleil 4:43:16  
2 Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank
3 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:02  
4 Hayden Roulston (NZl) Team HTC -Columbia 0:01:00
5 Dominique Rollin (Can) Cervelo TestTeam 0:02:59
6 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo TestTeam
7 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) BBOX Bouygues Telecom 0:05:40
8 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet – Colnago 0:05:43
 9 Grégory Rast (Swi) Radioshack 0:05:54  
10 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank 0:05:55
11 Martin Mortensen (Den) Vacansoleil 0:06:01
12 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step 0:06:41
13 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R – La Mondiale
14 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Radioshack 0:06:44  
 15 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma - Lotto 0:06:46
16 Leif Hoste (Bel) Omega Pharma - Lotto 0:06:50
17 Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Skil – Shimano
18 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Cervelo TestTeam
19 Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Crédit En Ligne
20 Hans Dekkers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet – Colnago 0:06:55
21 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) An Post – Sean Kelly Team 0:06:56
22 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 0:07:09
23 Yoann Offredo (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:07:29
24 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Crédit En Ligne 0:09:05
25 Markus Eichler (Ger) Team Milram 0:09:46
26 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Team Sky 0:13:58  

Tyler Farrar - Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

Firstly apologies. This week has been very busy so no detailed post on K-B-K. Man this race redefined the word 'Epic' and I have no surprise that so few riders finished. It takes me back to the photos of the day at L-B-L when Hinault won and so many suffered.

Tyler didn't finiah today but he has nothing to be ashamed of. Although Farrar is regarded as a 'Sprinter' he seems to have as much passion for the Classics as Haussler, Klier, Boonen and Devolder.

I think times have changed and no longer Sprinters are pigeon holed into only being able to race certain types of events on the calendar. I think it makes the current scene so much more exciting than say five years ago.

So it's a couple of more weeks before he head back to Flanders for some more racing, But I'll be keeping my eye on Mr Farrar as I have said before I think he's going to bag a big one, the question will be which one.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Tuesday lamentations - chewing the fat

A part of my job is that I get to speak to people from all over the world and from all parts of the bike industry. Those who I find refreshing are those who speak the truth and cut through all the bullshit that can surround the process. Today was a good day in that I had one of my favourite reps in. He has a passion for cycling which is unbound as it is filled with joy. He's also super professional which makes my job easier and a lot more pleasureable to deal with. I wish all where like him, the Bike Industry would be a much richer (not finachially) place if that was the case.

We also had a couple of journalists in today. We talked and chewed the fat over the new things we had looming. But the real gem of a thought was in 'Quality over Quantity' in the writing department. I'd like to say that was my process between writing infrequently, but in reality it is mainly due to being busy with work, family and life. Whether what I write is qaulity, well that is really not for me to decide, but its your call not mine.

Tuesday has been traditionally my pain day. Normally Sundays ride doesn't surface in my legs till then, and that dull nagging pain stays with me all day. Wednesday comes around and I'm flying again, the legs recharged from the weekends effort. Rest, after all, is just as important as the ride itself.