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VeloNews.comVeloNews.comContador confirms two more years but focused on TourGoPro Beyond the Race: Ep. 1 “The race starts here”Facing arbitration fight, USAC may revive Olympic trialsPhotos: Mechanics prep for Tour’s Grand DépartThe 2016 Tour de France will not be one to missTour tech: Chris Froome’s Rhino bikeBreaking: Sagan expected to join Bora – HansgroheFasCat’s Tour de France training planAsk a Mechanic: How to remove and install a cassetteWho is Nairo Quintana?Just in time for Tour, Cannondale team has new sponsorVideo review: Mavic’s Crossmax Pro MTB HelmetPink is the new yellow: Giro Rosa previewGoPro Beyond the Race: Series trailerVideo: GCN’s first look at new Dura-AceDomestique Partner: What it’s like to be a pro spouseNBC Sports offers Tour coverage for cord-cuttersNew Dura-Ace takes aim at power meter marketThree is magic number for Sky in Tour’s mountainsGreipel’s lead-out man reveals the secrets of the sprint Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Thu, 30 Jun 2016 18:54:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1×32.png 32 32 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 18:49:24 +0000 Alberto Contador confirms that he’ll race for two more years. But right now, the two-time Tour de France champion is scheming a way to beat

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]]> SAINT-LÔ, France (VN) — Feeling fresh and motivated as ever, Alberto Contador is cautiously optimistic ahead of the 2016 Tour de France.

The 32-year-old reconfirmed Thursday he will race for two more seasons (with a possible move to Trek—Segafredo to fill the hole left by soon-to-be retired Fabian Cancellara), but said his mind is on the here and now.

“My future is still open, but I will race for two more seasons,” Tinkoff’s GC man confirmed during a pre-Tour press conference. “Right now, I am focused on the Tour. I’ve worked very hard to try to win another title.”

Last year, Contador was out-gunned after coming into the Tour weary from winning the Giro d’Italia, riding to fifth in Paris. This July, the Spanish superstar has shrugged off a pre-race cold that kept him out of the Spanish national championships last weekend and said he’s ready to win.

“I feel fresher, stronger than last year,” Contador said. “I was able to prepare the way I wanted. I feel good and I am confident. In 25 days, we’ll see if it’s my Tour or not. I have the condition to win it.”

After a strong spring, Contador also shrugged off his loss to Sky’s Chris Froome at the Critérium du Dauphiné, saying he “lacked leg speed” during the June warm-up, and said he’s ready for the Tour.

Contador is on a quest to claim another yellow jersey. A winner in 2007 and 2009, his 2010 title was taken away as part of his clenbuterol case, meaning he has two yellow jerseys on his official palmares. He missed the 2012 Tour, and was out-classed by Sky’s Chris Froome in 2013. The following season, he crashed out in the Vosges, while in 2015, he attempted the Giro-Tour double.

Contador admitted that Froome is the man to beat, though he has edged the two-time Tour winner in other races, including the Vuelta a España. But so far, he’s been unable to seriously challenge Sky’s stranglehold on yellow in July.

“Froome is the top favorite, because he’s won before, and his team is incredible,” Contador said. “You cannot overlook Nairo [Quintana], due to his quality and his team, but Froome is surrounded by big champions at Sky.”

Contador said he would continue with his trademark attacking style, saying, “It’s complicated to change the way one races,” and said the Tour could come down to who can recover best throughout the endless string of climbing stages.

“Recovery will be key in this Tour,” Contador said. “You have to be attentive in the first week and not lose any time, but the decisive part will come in the final week, and perhaps it won’t be decided until stage 20.”

Like last year, Contador will share the team with world champion Peter Sagan, who will be chasing the green jersey as well as stage victories. And like last year, Contador doesn’t see that as a problem.

“It’s a pleasure to share this team with Peter,” Contador said. “He is the rider with more pure class than I’ve ever seen in my career. At any given moment, he can shake up the Tour, so to count on him is an advantage, not an inconvenience.”

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]]> 0 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 18:30:18 +0000 Episode 1 provides new insights and behind-the-scenes footage from the most famous spring classic Paris-Roubaix.

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Get a glimpse of what’s to come with behind the scenes access of your favorite riders. Episode 1 provides new insights and behind-the-scenes footage from the most famous spring classic Paris-Roubaix, or better known as The Hell of The North.

The ‘Hell of the North’ is known as the hardest one day race in the world. It was first run in 1896 and has stopped only for two world wars. The race was created by two Roubaix textile manufactures. The terrain of the race has led to the development of specialized frames, wheels, and tires.

Created in association with Velon™
Shot 100% on the HERO4® camera from

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]]> 0 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 18:02:01 +0000 Facing another arbitration process ahead of the Rio Olympics, USA Cycling plans to change selection process. Derek Bouchard-Hall supports

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]]> SAINT-LÔ, FRANCE (VN) — After a messy Olympic selection process that resulted in yet another arbitration procedure against USA Cycling, the governing body plans to re-write its selection criteria and is pondering the return of Olympic trial events.

“I don’t know exactly where the Olympic selection will go. But we are absolutely going to revisit,” said USA Cycling CEO Derek Bouchard-Hall. “We’ve had this conversation with the board they support it. We are going to revisit our approach to selecting Olympians.”

Carmen Small opened arbitration procedure against USA Cycling on Tuesday. The current national time trial champion had been seeking one of the two available women’s time trial slots, which went to Kristin Armstrong and Evelyn Stevens. Small’s arbitration comes on the heels of a last-minute roster swap at the Richmond world championships last fall, which saw Allie Dragoo replaced by Lauren Komanski just days before the road race.

Formal Olympic trials have been absent from road cycling selection since the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Bouchard-Hall believes trials would help eliminate some of the subjectivity inherent in the current process. They wouldn’t be used to fill every slot.

“We can’t give away the concerns about getting the right athletes. So we must select the right events and the right venues,” Bouchard-Hall said. “We certainly could have one road spot given to win-and-you’re-in, and one or TT spot. I’m not saying for sure you’re going to do it. But I, and the board, have an interest in pursuing that as a possibility. We think we can select the right athletes, add drama to the sport, and remove some of the subjectivity.”

The remaining slots would remain a combination of discretionary picks and, where applicable, automatic nominations based on previous race performance.

“Whatever we do, there will be coach’s selection. We’re going to look at those [discretionary picks] and see if we can tighten the language,” Bouchard-Hall said. “What we’ve learned is that these aren’t just used by coaches, selectors, and athletes, they’re used by lawyers in arbitration. The standard of language precision is not good enough for arbitrations. We are going to revisit the language and clean up some of it so we have better clarity.”

Olympic trials would also be a marketing opportunity, a way to add some hype to a process that has been defined as much by lawyers as athletes in recent years.

“It’s a great way to promote the sport. I think we’ve given away one of our most marketable assets in removing the trials,” Bouchard-Hall said.

Bouchard-Hall’s hopes to make changes this winter, in time to impact selection for the 2017 world championships.

“We’ll start after the Olympics. We’ll do it this winter. I’d like to have it in place for selection of the 2017 world champs,” he said.

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]]> 0 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 17:50:01 +0000 As fans, we tune into the Tour de France in the moments before Stage 1 takes off. For the riders, mechanics, and team staff, the Tour has

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]]> As fans, we tune into the Tour de France in the moments before Stage 1 takes off. For the riders, mechanics, and team staff, the Tour has already started. In fact, it’s been been in full swing for several days or even weeks now. The riders spend time on recon rides, training sessions, and media interviews. The mechanics keep countless tubular tires glued, wash dirty bikes, lube chains and replace cables deep into the night.

As the start gets closer and closer, the scrutiny on riders and mechanics increases exponentially. Here’s a glimpse into the moments before the fans tune in, when everyone readies for the big weeks ahead.

The Riders

Perhaps no other professional sport allows fans to get as close to the pros as cycling does. In the weeks before the Tour, riders are able to fly under the radar, going on training rides without the throngs of fans lining the roads. But as the Tour nears, riders find themselves constantly in the spotlight. The balance between playing the media game and getting a good day’s training becomes increasingly difficult to maintain.

The 2016 Tour de France starts in northern France near the historic Omaha Beach. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Chris Froome was the center of attention before Team Sky's training ride as he prepares to defend his GC title. Photo: Dan Cavallari | With cameras all around, Froome prepares to ride. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Froome's teammates will  help their GC contender navigate a nervous peloton and windy roads in the first week of the Tour. Photo: Dan Cavallari | How do you know you won the Tour last year? Swarms of photographers show up to take photos before your training ride. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Geraint Thomas heads out for a training ride. Photo: Dan Cavallari | John Degenkolb shows off Giant-Alpecin's new kit as the rain comes down in northern France. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Instead riding in the cold drizzle, Degenkolb holed up in a barn for a quick trainer session. Photo: Dan Cavallari | "There's no need to get too uncomfortable on a rest day," Degenkolb said. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Even the pros get bored on the trainer. Degenkolb checks his phone for messages or perhaps his next move on Words With Friends. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Evidence of a traumatic day many months ago still lingers on Degenkolb's index finger. As he spins on the trainer, he mentions how much more he enjoys being a pro rider now, understanding how quickly that privilege can disappear. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Joaquim Rodríguez's saddle is emblazoned with his nickname, "Purito," which is a nice touch. But the mud flap is perhaps more vital over the wet pavement near Omaha Beach. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Rodríguez and several of his Katusha teammates run SRAM's eTap shifting. Photo: Dan Cavallari | "Andiamo?" Alexander Kristoff shouts to his teammates to get them going on a chilly, rainy day in northern France. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Kristoff leads the way. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews correspondent Andrew Hood interviews Lawson Craddock at a Cannondale press conference. Craddock will be riding in support of Pierre Rolland. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Teams don't just cross paths in the peloton. Fabio Aru of Astana grabs a bite to eat in the background as Pierre Rolland (Cannondale) sits for an interview. Photo: Dan Cavallari |

The Mechanics

They’re up early in the morning and often work late through the night. In between, they drive from one location to another, breaking down the work stands on one end and setting them up on the other end. It’s a brutal schedule that only the most dedicated — and sometimes surly — breed can handle. They are married to their tools and they embrace humor as they stand all day, gluing tubulars and washing bikes, making fine adjustments before the riders whisk the bikes away to abuse them once more. Their worlds are hectic, yet they create a balance with unexpected organization.

The weather is perhaps the mechanic's most formidable foe. After the bikes are power-washed, chains need to be lubed, cables need to be adjusted, and everything needs a once-over to ensure the bike is ready to ride. Photo: Dan Cavallari | It's a busy time made busier by the increasing presence of media and fans, some of whom wander into the pit areas. Most mechanics are patient and even welcoming, though patience can wear thin in the moments before a stage start. Photo: Dan Cavallari | There are a lot of riders on each team with a lot of specific measurements. Accurate notes help. Photo: Dan Cavallari | There's more than one way to use handlebar tape. A clever mechanic pads the handles of his scissors with some Fizik tape. Photo: Dan Cavallari | An Astana team mechanic scrubs the grit away after the team's training ride in the drizzling rain. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Power-washing the bikes is quick and efficient, but it also means more maintenance. Chains, bearings, and other moving parts need to be greased, lubed, and otherwise dried. Photo: Dan Cavallari | File this under "why didn't I think of that?" A Giant-Alpecin mechanic uses a condiment squirt bottle to apply tubular glue to a rim in preparation for gluing a tubular tire. Photo: Dan Cavallari | The mechanic then uses a brush to spread the glue out evenly for a quick and tidy glue job. Photo: Dan Cavallari | But no matter how careful you are, gluing tubulars is always a messy job. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Looks just like your garage, right? Photo: Dan Cavallari | The wet weather has kept mechanics busy in the days leading up to the Tour's first day. After training rides, everything from headsets to free hubs are disassembled, lubed, and reassembled to keep them running problem-free. Photo: Dan Cavallari | A mechanic's toolbox can say a lot about him. What does this box say? Photo: Dan Cavallari |

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]]> 0 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 17:13:54 +0000 Why is this year’s Tour de France worth watching? There’s history, compelling storylines, challenging stages, and plenty of drama.

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]]> Every year I spend this final week of June resolving to maintain a normal life during the Tour de France. I tell myself that I won’t neglect work and personal relationships to stream hours of live coverage each day. I promise not beef with random cycling dorks on Twitter. And I swear to myself that, no matter the outcome of the race, I won’t throw a childish tantrum when my favorite rider inevitably gets dropped like seventh grade geometry class.

Every year I fail miserably. And I suspect I’m not alone.

For this year’s Tour de France, I’ve ditched these resolutions entirely, and I think you should too. The 2016 Tour simply has too many badass stages, hungry contenders, and complicated storylines to ignore. Plus, I can’t wait to tally up all of the amazing Tour de France clichés.

So instead, I say we fire up the live stream, kiss our loved ones goodbye (for a while), and embrace our cycling fandom. Here’s why.

Chris Froome wants nothing more than to join the Tour de France's three-win club. /©Tim De Waele
Chris Froome wants nothing more than to join the Tour de France’s three-win club. Photo: Tim De Waele

Froome’s hunt for history

I realize that the Tour de France’s record book has become a checkerboard of asterisks and vacated victories, but Chris Froome and team Sky have the opportunity to write some history at this year’s race.

Froome currently sits alongside Alberto Contador, Fausto Coppi, and 10 others as a two-time winner of the Tour. There are only three members of the Tour’s three-win club: Philippe Thys, Louison Bobet, and Greg Lemond. The last rider to successfully defend his Tour victory (yes, because Contador and Lance no longer count) was Miguel Indurain in 1995.

What does this mean? Tour organizers have been searching for the next great dynasty since they jettisoned Lance’s image from the race’s annual sizzle reel. Contador’s clenbuterol bust torpedoed his chances of becoming the next don. Froome is already the man to beat, but three wins would put him into a whole other realm. That’s the level where bespectacled French historians will one day know his favorite breakfast cereal. That’s the level where the Tour organizers will one day hire him to bounce protesters off of the podium. Yep, that’s a pretty exclusive arena.

Yes, I realize Froome is a polarizing Tour champ due to his amazing resemblance to a bobblehead/preying mantis/daddy long legs. You know what else he is? He’s the overwhelming favorite to win. I’ve perused Europe’s largest online gambling websites, and Froome’s odds are anywhere from 23/20 to 5/4.

Team Sky's has amassed the peloton's strongest collection of domestqiues. ©Tim De Waele
Team Sky’s has amassed the peloton’s strongest collection of domestqiues. Photo: Tim De Waele

Onslaught on Team Sky

The storyline surrounding Team Sky this year may sound familiar to fans of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. Every NBA team they faced this season wanted nothing more than to stomp them into paste.

Now, imagine if the Warriors had to play all of those teams at once. Yeah, that’s what this year’s Tour is going to be like for Sky. To top it off, there are more teams with GC ambitions this year than in years past. Astana, Movistar, Tinkoff, Katusha, BMC, FDJ and Ag2r will all throw haymakers at Sky during the next three weeks. In order of dangerousness, Sky’s rivals look like this: Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador, Fabio Aru, Richie Porte.

Each man has his own motivation to win. Quintana needs a victory to cap off his truly amazing underdog story. Contador would love to get a third before riding off into history. Aru, Porte, Tejay van Garderen, and the others are all ambitious and hungry for their first.

It’s a good thing that Sky has a murder’s row lineup of domestiques to drag Chris Froome around France. For a full breakdown of “Fortress Froome,” check out Andy Hood’s analysis of Team Sky.

Sky’s big men for the flats, Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard, could double as dance club bouncers. Its cadre of climbers — Mikel Landa, Geraint Thomas, Mikel Nieve, Sergio Henao, and Wout Poels — could all be legit grand tour leaders on other teams. And then there’s Vasil Kiryienka. Kriyienka is like a Bond villain, only badder. He has the raw power to tow the entire peloton around for several hours on the flats and then drop all but the best on a cat 1 climb. Yes, he eats metal for lunch. 

BMC comes to this year's Tour de France with Porte (left) and van Garderen. (USA)/ Equipe Ploeg /(c)Tim De Waele
BMC comes to this year’s Tour de France with Porte (left) and van Garderen. (USA) Photo: Tim De Waele

Co-leader teams

Both Astana and BMC enter this year’s Tour de France with two legitimate GC threats. Yes, I know that Astana brass has repeated the line that Vincenzo Nibali will work for Fabio Aru, but are you really buying that? Nibali is a Tour de France winner and the reigning Giro champ, and he’s openly proclaiming his intent to bail on Astana at the end of the season. My guess is he’ll find some opportunity to attack, whether to help Aru or himself.

BMC’s situation appears to be more cordial with new hire Richie Porte and its veteran GC contender Tejay van Garderen. The latter has said that the co-leadership role gives BMC a huge advantage. He may not be wrong, of course. Porte’s punchy accelerations could match up well with van Garderen’s talents on long, crushing climbs.

I’m pulling for van Garderen, of course. We Americans only have five riders at this year’s race, and he’s the only one with real GC ambitions.

The one-two punch for both Astana and BMC could help both teams place a rider onto the final podium. After all, that’s what Movistar did last year with Quintana and Alejandro Valverde. But as we’ve seen before, co-leadership scenarios often open the door for inter-squad strife, or at the very least, some tense dinner conversations. 

Kittel vs. Greipel is a battle to watch on the flat stages. © Tim De Waele
Kittel vs. Greipel is a battle to watch on the flat stages. © Tim De Waele

Drago vs. Gorilla

Barring injury or illness, Peter Sagan should earn his fifth-straight green jersey this year. The real question there is whether or not he’ll again use the trophy to spray fake machine gun fire over the heads of his fans. 

There is a compelling story to follow during the Tour’s flat stages, and that’s the battle for German sprint supremacy between cycling’s Ivan Drago lookalike Marcel Kittel, and André Greipel, the gorilla. Greipel recently drew first blood, out kicking Kittel to win the German national championship, which was held on a pancake-flat course.

Etixx-Quickstep will split its ambitions at this year’s Tour between Kittel, Dan Martin, and Julian Alaphilippe, which could weaken the team’s usually dominant lead-out train. Of course they have Tony Marin, so what more do you want? Greipel, however, has a team of veteran hardmen at the helm: Greg Henderson, Lars Bak, Marcel Sieberg, and cycling’s grand tour Ironman Adam Hansen.

This year's route features plenty of punishment on stages 17, 19, and 20. /©Tim De Waele
This year’s route features plenty of punishment on stages 17, 19, and 20. Photo: Tim De Waele

Stages to watch

If you’ve carved out all of July to dedicate yourself to the Tour, check out Andrew Hood’s breakdown of the stages. If you’re on a tight schedule, here is your cheat sheet for stages to watch.

Stage 7 (July 8): Big climb to Col d’Aspin comes just before the descent to Lac de Payolle finish. Probably watch.

Stage 8 (July 9): Four categorized climbs before the descent to Bagneres-de-Luchon. Probably watch.

Stage 9 (July 10): Three cat 1 climbs before summit finish to Andorre Arcalis. Definitely watch. 

Stage 12 (July 14): Summit finish at Mont Ventoux. Definitely watch. 

Stage 13 (July 15): Hilly time trial. Important, but you can skip it. 

Stage 15 (July 17): Six categorized climbs before the descent to Culoz. Probably watch.

Stage 17 (July 20): Three categorized climbs before HC finish at Finhaut-Emosson. Definitely watch. 

Stage 18 (July 21): Uphill time trial. Important, but you can skip it. 

Stage 19 (July 22): Three categorized climbs before finish at Mont Blanc. Definitely watch. 

Stage 20 (July 23): Four categorized climbs before descent into Morzine. Probably watch.

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]]> 0 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 16:13:25 +0000 The defending Tour de France champion will ride this Pinarello Dogma F8 as he aims for his third yellow jersey. Chris Froome’s bike is

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]]> Chris Froome is once again riding a Pinarello Dogma F8 as he defends his Tour de France title. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.comCustom graphics adorn the head tube, top tube, and seat tube, with Froome's nickname emblazoned there as well. Photo: Dan Cavallari | If the early days of the 2016 Tour are windy like they were last year, Froome will need to channel his spirit animal to stay atop the GC standings. Photo: Dan Cavallari | He's not looking at his stem. He's channeling his inner Rhino. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Climbing buttons are tucked close to the stem so Froome can shift without moving his hands from the inboard position. He's also running either some thick bar tape, or double bar tape for added comfort. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Not surprisingly, the gangly Froome runs a long stem at 121 millimeters. The K-Edge Garmin mount sits close to the stem to make room for the remote shift buttons. Photo: Dan Cavallari | A custom top cap snugs things up. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Shimano Dura-Ace C50 wheels glue up nicely to Continental Competition Pro LTD 25mm tires. While Shimano released the new Dura-Ace groupset this week, we haven't seen it on any pro bikes yet.  Photo: Dan Cavallari | They aren't pretty, but Froome's non-round chainrings are designed to accommodate the strengths and weaknesses in Froome's pedal stroke. Photo: Dan Cavallari | K-Edge keeps Froome's chain from dropping during hard shifts. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Flat stages may allow for the use of an 11-25 cassette, but Froome is running an 11-28 on his Dogma F8 in preparation for the climbs. Photo: Dan Cavallari | A Team Sky mechanic checks the calibration of Froome's Stages power meter before his training ride near Omaha Beach. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews A light drizzle turned into a steady rain shortly before Team Sky went out for its training ride. Froome uses a Fizik Antares saddle.  Photo: Dan Cavallari | Sidi provides the custom Team Sky-blue shoes for Froome and his teammates. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Be careful with your carbon! Photo: Dan Cavallari | Team Sky rolls with custom Kask Protone helmets. Photo: Dan Cavallari | Keep track of your stuff on the team bus. Grabbing the wrong helmet would be all-too-easy. Photo: Dan Cavallari |

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]]> 0 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 16:08:35 +0000 In what would be the blockbuster trade of 2016, Peter Sagan looks set to switch to Bora – Hansgrohe for 2017. Two separate sources

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]]> SAINT-LÔ, France (VN) — World champion Peter Sagan is expected to join German team Bora – Hansgrohe in 2017 for a likely two- to three-year deal, sources confirmed to VeloNews on Thursday.

Sagan has been linked to Astana and Etixx – Quick-Step, but the confirmation that Bora has a new sponsor opened the door for Sagan’s multi-year contract.

The the 26-year-old Slovak currently races on a three-year deal with Russian WorldTour team Tinkoff, which is due to close at the end of this year. The 2015 world champion is one of the hottest commodities on the market this year after winning the Tour of Flanders, and so much more, in his rainbow jersey.

VeloNews confirmed the deal Thursday through multiple sources, even though Bora’s general manager Ralph Denk would not do so in the press conference in Saint-Lô before the start of the Tour de France, where he presented the team’s new co-sponsor Hansgrohe.

“At this point Sagan is too big a name for our team,” Denk said at the press event. “From what I’ve heard it’s huge money. For sure it would be a dream to have rider like him in the team but we’ll see.”

Denk remained quiet on any deal with Sagan, but he has been pushing steadily for one of the two 2017 WorldTour spots left open by Tinkoff and IAM Cycling.

Sagan’s deal with Tinkoff paid him an estimated $ 4.5 million a year. The money for Sagan will come from increased investment by Bora, a kitchen furnishing company, and likely Specialized. The American bicycle company wants to follow Sagan to his new team and is expected to provide funds for him.

UCI rules prohibit teams dealing with riders, and of course announcing new contracts deals, until August 1.

Sagan earns a reported 4 million euros ($ 4.44m) a year with Tinkoff, owned by wealthy Russian businessman Oleg Tinkov. He struck the deal in 2014 after riding with Liquigas/Cannondale. When called, his agent was unavailable to comment on the new move. According to some in March, Sagan’s 2017 asking price was €6 million or $ 6.6 million, which would make him the highest-paid cyclist ever.

“We are going to present a strong roster to the UCI in August, we can also show our budget, then the final decision for the WorldTour license is up to them,” Denk added. “I hope we get the green light.” The German manager had just announced a three-year project with his sponsors, including kitchen and bathroom company Hansgrohe, for 2017.

Sagan once was linked with Astana, but instead, the team will build its support for Fabio Aru.

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]]> 0 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 15:11:28 +0000 If you want to get a taste of what it’s like to ride the Tour de France, follow FasCat’s Tour training plan. For three weeks in July, you

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]]> It’s that time of the year again — the 2016 Tour De France is getting ready to roll out. Virtually all of us won’t be taking the start in Mont Saint-Michel, France, but that does not mean that we can’t have our own challenge. Take part in this year’s FasCat Tour de France training plan that mimics the 21-day race.

This Tour de France training calendar matches the physiological demands and terrain of the 2016 Tour through intervals of varying intensities and durations.

TDF training plan

This year’s Tour starts off with a 188km road race, so it’s one of the few years a sprinter can pull on the yellow jersey at the end of the day. But before you get to that final sprint, you will have many looking to get into a break or take the early KOMs to get the polka-dot jersey before the big mountains. The first few days are filled with sprinter stages and short, punchy climbs. You will test your endurance, sprinting, and anaerobic capacity.

The Pyrenees come early, and you will get your first big effort on stage 7. This day, riders go up the Col d’Aspin. The race does not finish at the top, however, but 5km downhill after the summit. So you will get a nice 12-minute threshold effort before some high-cadence work to mimic descending. From here, you will have two more big climbing days with varying efforts of tempo, sweet spot, and threshold, followed up by your first rest day.

The Tour organizers don’t let you ease back into things after the rest, so neither does our plan! The Tour starts stage 10 with a Cat. 1 climb before a predominantly downhill/flat run to the finish, except for a little surprise Cat. 3 KOM, 7km before the finish. So you have some tempo and then finish off the day with an anaerobic effort. Following a more familiar transition day, the Tour greets the iconic Mont Ventoux on Bastille Day — a long sweet spot climbing effort. The following day, things don’t get easier as it is the Tour’s first individual time trial.

After the TT, you will have a punchy mountain stage sandwiched in between two flat stages prior to the second and final rest day.

After the second rest day, the Tour will begin four days in the Alps. These four days include two mountaintop finishes, and the Tour’s first mountain TT since 2004. Just as in the Pyrenees, you will get a mix of tempo, sweet spot, and threshold efforts. Of course, rides will be shorter for us non-pro cyclists.

Even though every stage in the Tour is important, and you have prepared for everything, there are few key stages on the calendar you should circle.

– Stage 2: With the chaotic early stages and a chance to take the second yellow jersey, you will want to be well-positioned and ready for the climb the Cote de la Glacerie, which is only 4km from the finish and offers pitches between 8-14 percent. You may not win the Tour on this stage, but you could put yourself into a hole.
– Stage 5: Though there is no big mountain, there are two Cat. 3 and two Cat. 2 climbs in the final 50km.
– Stages 7, 8, and 9: These stages are the Pyrenees mountains, GC days. Each day gets harder than the last. If you think things couldn’t get more difficult than four climbs on Stage 8, Stage 9 offers five!
– Stage 12: The “Giant of Provence,” Mont Ventoux, is one of the most difficult climbs of the Tour due to its duration, steepness, and weather.
– Stages 13 and 18: Stage 13 is the Tour’s first individual time trial. Not an easy one with the varying terrain. Stage 18 is the Tour’s first mountain time trial since 2004.
– Stages 17, 18,19, and 20: These are the days in the Alps — two mountaintop finishes and one mountain time trial. This is the third week of the Tour where some will rise and some will fall.

Calendar codes of stages:
HM: High mountain stage
M: Medium mountain stage
H: Hilly stage
F: Flat stage
ITT: Individual time trial

The calendar shows the finishing city of each stage next to the date. On your training rides, try to mimic the stage as much as possible. Obviously, if you live in Florida or Texas, finding Alpine climbs is impossible. You can still obtain the physiological benefit of zone 4 training by power output, heart rate, or good old-fashioned feel and rate of perceived exertion. Watch the Tour live in the morning for inspiration, then head out after work for your own Tour stage workout. Don’t worry if you are short on time; follow the intervals’ structure for a condensed, real-world simulation. If you can ride long on the weekends, go for it!

Video: How to ride in the sweet spot >>

Following this year’s Tour take a rest week and complete a field test. See your gains from over the past 3 weeks of hard work! More about conducting a field test.

With nearly 23 days in a row of intense riding, recovery will become really important. Make sure you have a recovery drink and food ready at the completion of each workout. Also, be sure to stay hydrated and fueled during your workouts. Not only will it help you that day, but it also keeps you from falling in a deficit, especially as the workload increases. Be sure that you are staying hydrated throughout the day, especially in the summer heat.

Overall, it’s a lot of riding. Work, family, and other commitments can make completing every workout a challenge. Even if you can only ride for one hour, perform the intervals and try to balance your time so that you can consistently ride each stage. It’s better to ride for one hour each day rather than three hours, one day a week. Set a personal goal for your own Tour because improving as a cyclist is all about setting goals and working toward them. Following this Tour de France training plan will give you a goal to accomplish for July and some insight into what it’s like to ride the Tour de France. After the Tour, take a rest week and enjoy the fruits of your labor as your body builds up stronger than it was when you started. Complete a field test after your regeneration week and see how much you have improved from the one you completed four weeks earlier. Then, get ready for the late-season races and rides!

FasCat’s Tour de France training plan >>

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]]> 0 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 14:13:03 +0000 Need to swap out your gears? Art’s Cyclery explains how to remove and install a cassette on a standard bicycle freehub.

The post Ask a Mechanic: How to remove and install a cassette appeared first on


The post Ask a Mechanic: How to remove and install a cassette appeared first on

]]> 0 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 12:44:57 +0000 Nairo Quintana’s story is woven with a mix of myth and incredible truth. The man who hopes to become South America’s first Tour winner is a

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]]> At the end of the 2015 Tour de France, after three weeks and 3,000 kilometers of intense racing, it all came down to the 21 switchbacks of cycling’s most famous climb. A new rivalry was reaching its apogee: Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana were locked in an intense duel for the yellow jersey on l’Alpe d’Huez.

The two riders from two different worlds were separated by just 2:38. Africa’s first Tour winner, Froome only had to hang on to win his second maillot jaune. Quintana, the fearless Colombian climber, wanted South America’s first.

Their styles, backgrounds, and personalities couldn’t be more contrasting. The prototypical modern racer, Froome was educated at private school and then molded to physical perfection by Sky’s computer-generated training program. Quintana, by contrast, was born in the shadow of the Andes into poverty. He had clawed his way to the top of the peloton on pure talent and raw ambition.

Sharing the same mental fortitude and physical blessings, the two men converged on cycling’s greatest climb in front of 400,000 screaming witnesses.

Quintana’s opening salvo came before the first switchback. A second surge came moments later, distancing Alberto Contador. After each effort, Sky teammates Richie Porte and Wout Poels reeled in Quintana, but Froome was put on the ropes.

“It’s not a pleasant feeling, believe me,” Froome says about the pain Quintana can inflict. “You know he’s going to attack, and you know it’s going to hurt.”

Tim De Waele |
Tim De Waele |

With Movistar’s Winner Anacona waiting higher on the mountain, the team sent Alejandro Valverde on the attack, and the trap was set. Quintana eased next to Froome as if to say, “Here it comes. Can you follow me?” He catapulted a third time, and the elastic snapped. Ten seconds grew to 20, then to 45, and finally more than a minute. Froome was weathering a barrage unlike any he had seen before.

Quintana kept pouring it on, squeezing tremendous power from his 5-feet-6, 130-pound frame. Froome was reduced to a mess of wobbling shoulders, elbows, and knees.

“I was dying a thousand deaths. I wouldn’t lie. There was a moment there when it could have gone the other way.”

– Chris Froome

It took 39 minutes and 22 seconds for the tiny Colombian to cross the line (the 14th fastest time in Tour history and the only rider in the post-biological passport era to make the top 20), but in the end he simply ran out of road. Froome held on to the lead by just 1:12. There was no stage win (that went to Frenchman Thibaut Pinot), no yellow jersey, but no regrets, either.

Ever the disruptor, Quintana is re-writing the rulebook of modern racing. With his unorthodox background in cycling, his immense talent, and his ambition to be the best, he’s primed to once again challenge Froome at the 2016 race. Only a handful of pure climbers have won the Tour and this audacious Colombian seems to have destiny on his side.

“Nairo is the best pure talent I’ve seen in 25 years,” says three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond. “He could be the Eddy Merckx of South America.”

A CYCLIST’S HOME DEFINES him, both physically and spiritually, and Quintana’s journey to last summer’s battle on the Alpe is unlike any in the peloton. Much of his background is cloaked in mystery and misconception, and separating myth from reality requires some scrutiny. This much we know: Quintana was raised in a two-story adobe home his father built in a village called Vereda La Concepción, perched above Cómbita, the region’s main city, along the sub-tropical edge of the Colombian Andes. At nearly 10,000 feet, it’s so far off the grid you can’t even find it on Google Maps. Some journalists have painted a picture of Third World misery, but Quintana says that’s far from the truth.

“I don’t come from some lost little village in the mountains. We don’t live in the jungle,” he said after winning the 2014 Giro. “We were never rich, but we never were for want of something. That’s the ignorance of people who do not know what exists on the other side of the world.”

Quintana’s parents raised their five children with dignity on a small land holding. His father sold vegetables in local markets, and his mother ran a strict, Catholic household, making sure her five children all graduated high school. In the stratified Colombian society, the rich live in the valleys, and the poor on the upper slopes. In today’s peloton where pros seek out altitude camps at Tenerife and Mount Etna, Quintana’s birthplace is his first marginal gain.

“Where Nairo can cause the most damage is on the long, steep climbs,” Movistar trainer Mikel Zabala said in a Canal+ documentary. “That’s where his power-to-weight ratio gives him a huge difference to the others. Living at altitude his whole life gives him a huge advantage.”

“Nairo is the best pure talent I’ve seen in 25 years.”

– Greg LeMond

Without giving away his secrets, Movistar suggests Quintana’s sustained power output to be around 6.4 to 6.5 watts per kilogram. And in Europe, where the highest climbs top out at about 8,750 feet, that’s still well below where Quintana was born and raised.

Those close to Quintana say he learned at an early age to stand his ground, an important lesson for a small cyclist in a peloton overflowing with testosterone. During one race early in his debut season, a big classic specialist was grappling with Quintana for position. Quintana responded by punching him in the gut. Team Movistar director Eusebio Unzué laughs at such stories, and says it’s the kind of mental and physical fortitude that Quintana needed to overcome the hurdles of his childhood.

“He has the mindset of a big champion,” Unzué says. “I have never seen a rider so confident in himself as Nairo.”

Another popular myth of the Quintana origin story is that he rode a clunky, second-hand mountain bike up and down a 15-kilometer pass to school every day because his family was too poor to afford bus tickets. The part about the mountain bike, the pass, and the school is true. But he chose to ride his bike so the bus fare could be used for other things.

As a scrawny 12-year-old, hefting a backpack full of books and wearing cut-off jeans and sneakers, he made the daily 20-mile round-trip over the equivalent of a second category climb and would occasionally link up with groups of trim cyclists donning Lycra and riding carbon fiber frames. Quintana quickly discovered that the bicycle served as a great equalizer in life.

“I would never get dropped,” Quintana recalls with a smile. “One day, when I beat them to the top of the climb, I went home and told my father I wanted to become a cyclist.”

In a family where every peso counted, Quintana’s quest to race his bike became a family affair: His father saved $ 40 to buy a second-hand, steel-frame road bike with drop handlebars. His mother stitched together a patchwork of clothing to resemble a racing jersey. His sister gave earnings from her work as a nanny to help him buy better tires. Years later, the first thing he did with his first major prize money from a European race was to buy his mother a washing machine.

Nairo Quintana and his mother after winning the 2014 Giro d'Italia. Tim De Waele |
Nairo Quintana and his mother after winning the 2014 Giro d’Italia. Tim De Waele |

With the pragmatism of his rural upbringing, the bicycle was a tool to create a better life, but it soon became an extension of his identity. On the bike, he was no longer little “Nairito” but big, bad Quintana. He could smash everyone.

“For me, cycling is a passion that has given me a good life, and because of that I enjoy it even more,” Quintana explains. “At first, it was almost an obligation, and I didn’t have fun. Only later did I really enjoy it, and slowly it went from being an obligation to my passion.”

At 18, Quintana caught his first big break when he joined the local semi-pro team called Boyacá Es Para Vivirla (Boyacá is for enjoying it). The team gave him his first carbon fiber frame, an Orbea with racing wheels. That opened the door to Europe, and he earned a spot on the Colombian national team to race the 2010 Tour de l’Avenir, a seminal step in Quintana’s trajectory.

That year’s Avenir start list was riddled with names that came out of the legendary “Class of 1990.” Taylor Phinney and John Degenkolb won stages, with Michael Matthews and Romain Bardet also racing. Andrew Talansky was second, but Quintana smashed the final two mountain stages to secure the overall. Everyone was blown away by the unheralded Colombian.

Esteban Chaves, Orica’s Colombian climber, was roommates with Quintana at the race. “He was very determined to win,” says Chaves, who won the race in 2011. “We were all very proud to show that we could race against the Europeans.”

“For me, cycling is a passion that has given me a good life, and because of that I enjoy it even more.”

– Nairo Quintana

It was during that stage race that another tale of the Quintana legend would be written. The European riders were pushing and elbowing the Colombians in the peloton, brake-checking them in corners, and pulling on their jerseys to get them out of the way. Some riders even spat on them and cursed them as “fucking Indians.” Quintana took matters into his own hands and drove one of the most vocal bullies into a ditch. After that, everyone gave the Colombians more space.

QUINTANA’S OTHERWORLDLY RESULTS — he now has two Tour podiums and a win at the 2014 Giro d’Italia — have transformed him into Colombia’s top sports celebrity. He’s made three trips to Colombia’s presidential palace, and has surpassed Real Madrid striker James Rodríguez in terms of national popularity.

Cycling fans might see an extraordinary climber, but for Colombians, Quintana is a transcendent figure. In a culturally diverse nation, Colombia boasts 48 million inhabitants that range from indigenous peoples in the Andes and the Amazon, to descendants of ex-slaves and caribeños along the coasts, and urban European descendants in the cities. Quintana’s rise is akin to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball.

“Nairo is a hero of the people,” explains Matt Rendell, a cycling journalist and Quintana confidante. “Nairo represents the rural memory of a modern nation. He is self-reliant, a self-starter, confident, but also vulnerable. In many ways, he embodies the diversity of a modern Colombia.”

Quintana’s rise also parallels Colombia’s political and economic revival, following decades of political turmoil and cocaine-fueled violence. Quintana personifies modern Colombia and has emerged as an icon of a peaceful, robust nation.

“Nairo is the idol of Colombia,” Chaves says. “For me, he is the best of what Colombia is today.”

By his own admission, Quintana has struggled to come to terms with his unexpected and sudden fame, but he is finding a way to put his high-profile status to use. He is collaborating with NGOs — one to promote infant health and another to combat violence against women — and he’s backing a cycling development team. He’s also a budding entrepreneur and is working with associates to build his name and image into a brand across Colombia and the rest of Latin America.

“Nairo is the idol of Colombia. For me, he is the best of what Colombia is today.”

– Esteban Chaves

As remarkable as Quintana’s life has been, he almost didn’t survive infancy. He was born sickly, malnourished, and underweight. In the rural, agricultural mountain communities of Colombia, locals believe in a condition called “tiento de difunto.” Translated as “touched by a corpse,” it’s a belief that if a pregnant mother touches a dying person, the death spirit can be passed on to the unborn infant.

Knowing of this condition is essential to understanding the Quintana narrative. Fearing for their son’s life, his parents brought him to a local curandero, a type of shaman or healer, who used local herbs and natural medicines to revive their baby.

In an interview with the Spanish daily El País in 2013, Quintana elaborated: “These are diseases that do not occur everywhere in the world, but that doesn’t mean they are not real. My parents had to really fight to save me, to resuscitate me, or even revive me, because there were days when they said I was a cadaver.”

Tim De Waele |
Tim De Waele |

LAST FALL, IN THE shadow of the Spanish Pyrenees, Quintana gathered with his Movistar squad at team headquarters to map out the 2016 season. It’s all about one goal: the yellow jersey. Enzué says Quintana thinks of nothing else.

“You can see details in his vision, his ambition, how he carries himself,” Unzué says. “You see that he is not a normal rider.”

Now 61, with his floppy bangs still hanging low over his forehead, Unzué is the Phil Jackson of Spanish cycling. He won one Tour with Pedro Delgado and five with Miguel Indurain. He’s been in and around the elite peloton for more than 30 years, but admits he’s never seen anything like Quintana.

“On equal conditions, Nairo is the world’s best climber,” Unzue said.

To win the Tour takes more than a good motor. It also requires bike-handling skills, determination, ambition, and a strong character. Quintana has it all.

When team captain Valverde lost 10 minutes in the first week of the 2013 Tour, Quintana was thrust into the leadership role. Movistar sport director and ex-pro José Luís Arrieta, who’s emerged as Quintana’s righthand man, was taken aback by how well his pupil handled the situation. Within days, Quintana attacked up Mont Ventoux, with Froome eventually taking the win. Pushed beyond his limits, Quintana finished second and collapsed into the arms of a soigneur on top of cycling’s most famous mountain.

“He was a Tour rookie riding like he’d done 10 Tours,” Arrieta says. “Most riders would have cracked under the pressure, but he handled it as if it was just any other bike race.”

In 2014, Unzué convinced Quintana it was better to race the Giro d’Italia to win than to face off against a superior Froome at the Tour and likely lose. Quintana accepted the challenge. He overcame a blizzard on the Stelvio and a bout of bronchitis in the first week to become the first Colombian to win the Italian grand tour.

Quintana’s rise is akin to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball.

Quintana looks back at the 2015 season with mixed feelings. In his mind, he “lost” the Tour in the opening road stage, when a tempest blew off the North Atlantic in the transition stage across the dykes of Holland. A late crash split the bunch, and Quintana was caught out. He lost 1:28 to Froome. Nearly three weeks later, that would be 16 seconds more than his losing margin in Paris.

“The most important thing is to avoid a setback like last year,” Quintana says. “The Tour would have ended differently [last year] if we hadn’t had that bad luck.”

More importantly, Quintana discovered how to successfully attack Froome. To get to the Brit, Quintana knows that he needs to get past Sky’s support team of Poels, Thomas, and likely Mikel Landa. Quintana tweaked his training to emphasize short, intense efforts. The strategy is to put Sky’s lieutenants in the red, thus isolating Froome. It worked on l’Alpe d’Huez last year, and Movistar believes Quintana can do it again.

But Movistar’s all-in bet for the mountains could expose Quintana’s soft underbelly. Movistar has multiple climbers, but it lacks Sky’s brawny trio of Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe, and the versatile Geraint Thomas, who can control the flats. Quintana’s top rouleur, Adriano Malori, may never race again after suffering head injuries during a crash at the 2016 Tour de San Luís.

Movistar signed Portuguese time trialist Nelson Oliveira to help. But even with Jonathan Castroviejo and classics strongman Imanol Erviti by his side, Quintana’s flank is open in the crosswinds. Movistar knows that Sky will attack this weakness.

The Tour’s time trials will also test Quintana, who traditionally loses time to Froome in the race against the clock. The first 37-kilometer time trial comes after the Pyrenees and Mont Ventoux, which could fatigue Froome. The second time trial, a 17-kilometer climbing course to Megève, will simply suit the strongest rider in the race.

The Tour’s final week is laden with three consecutive summit finales, as well as the climb up the Joux-Plane into Morzine. Quintana won a stage of the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné on this route.

“We know that Froome will have the advantage in the time trials,” Unzué says. “Nairo is a climber, so our tactic is pretty simple: We protect him and then let him attack.”

“I think after the way I suffered so much as a baby, maybe God gave me another chance to do something good, to excel in something.”

– Nairo Quintana

BY LATE MAY, QUINTANA sounded confident with his Tour ambitions. He will line up with 32 days of racing in his legs, about the same as his principal rivals. He also won the Tour of Romandie, which has been a bellwether for Tour de France success. Cadel Evans, Bradley Wiggins, and Froome all won the Swiss race en route to winning the Tour. Quintana saw that as a good sign.

“Let’s hope the myth remains true, and that my dream of winning the Tour can come true,” Quintana says. “I know what’s working for me, and I don’t pay too much attention to the others. The goal is to arrive in top condition for the Tour.”

The rider that shows up at Mont-Saint-Michel for the 2016 Tour de France is dramatically different than the shy rookie who took the peloton by storm in 2013. Last winter, he started using a new personal hashtag on social media, #sueñoamarillo (yellow-jersey dream), and it perfectly sums up his mindset and aspirations. An entire nation shares his dream, and he doesn’t want to let them down.

When the infant Nairo was fighting for his life, the healer told his parents that if he survived he would go on to achieve great things.

“I think after the way I suffered so much as a baby, maybe God gave me another chance to do something good, to excel in something,” Quintana told El País. “Here I am.”

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]]> 0 Thu, 30 Jun 2016 12:24:50 +0000 Cannondale becomes Cannondale – Drapac for the Tour de France, with both squads set to merge at the end of 2016

The post Just in time for Tour, Cannondale team has new sponsor appeared first on

]]> One of America’s top teams is linking up with a new partner in a five-year deal to form Cannondale – Drapac, team officials confirmed Tuesday.

Drapac Capital Partners, Australian backers of the Drapac Professional Continental team, will become a major shareholder in Slipstream Sports LLC, and join as co-title sponsor to the WorldTour team.

Just two days ahead of the start of the 2016 Tour de France, the team will debut a new jersey as Cannondale – Drapac Pro Cycling Team.

The deal will see the Drapac team merge into the Cannondale structure at the end of the 2016 racing season, with some Drapac staffers and riders moving across to Cannondale – Drapac next year. The agreement also sees renewed resources for Drapac – Pat’s Veg, a Continental-level development squad for emerging athletes.

This is the third merger in organization history since it debuted at the top level of the peloton in 2008 as Team Slipstream. In 2011, Garmin – Cervélo was born, and in 2015, the team raced under the Cannondale – Garmin banner.

Here is the complete press release:

Drapac Capital Partners named as co-title sponsor of Cannondale Pro Cycling Team and major shareholder of Slipstream Sports LLC

Today, June 30, Drapac Capital Partners becomes the co-title sponsor of the Cannondale Pro Cycling team, managed by Slipstream Sports. The Drapac name and signature red hue will adorn the team’s jerseys immediately. The new team name is the Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team.

The sponsorship is a five-year deal that brings shared vision to the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team and marks an agreement between Drapac Capital Partners and Slipstream that goes well beyond pen and paper, as Drapac’s philosophy of preparing riders for lives after cycling is one Slipstream wholly supports and will enact at the WorldTour level.

“Michael Drapac and I have been friends for some time. I have always been impressed with his entrepreneurial vision and understanding of markets. However, what piqued my interest in partnering with Michael is his passion for helping athletes find their way through life in a healthier way,” Slipstream CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “Although it’s seldom acknowledged, most professional cyclists have given up everything in order to pursue excellence in their sport. While commendable, this leaves them very vulnerable to an ever more complex world.”

Drapac is the chairman and founder of Drapac Capital Partners and now part owner of Slipstream Sports, in addition to serving as a board member. What began as a small investment in residential real estate while in university is now Drapac Capital Partners, a property funds management business. Drapac’s business efforts have garnered various sustainability awards — his company was the first property group to be a member of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment — and that mindset has transcended business.

“I’ve always been interested in sustainability, particularly cultural sustainability,” Drapac said. “Sustainability is being aware, responsible, and accountable for the full costs of what we do, and trying to minimize the impact of those costs. So a sustainable initiative, in business, cycling, anything, really, is about making an intention to be aware, accountable, and responsible. And making an intention to minimize the impact of what we do.

“We want to win bike races, but not at the expense of broader values. Sustainability in this sense is about ‘what are the broader values in the cycling team?’ We need to look at that. We want to win the Tour de France. We want to win Paris-Roubaix. But we also have other metrics by which we measure our success.”

One of those metrics will now be how riders fare after their racing careers are finished.

The partnership is a natural extension of both organizations’ ideals. The first team Vaughters managed and financially backed was 5280-Subaru, a junior development team. The founding of the Drapac program came from the idea that developing complete athletes as opposed to one-dimensional racers was a better way to run a cycling operation.

As part of its steadfast commitment to athlete well-being, the Cannondale – Drapac Professional Cycling Team will offer a service to its riders next season that encourages growth beyond the sport of cycling. Together with Crossing the Line Sport, an organization designed to assist athlete transitions out of professional competition, the pro team will offer workshops, individual counseling services, mentoring, and robust educational support to its riders.

It is the first program of its kind at WorldTour level. Crossing the Line Founder Geroid Towey and Gayelene Clews, a psychologist who works with the firm, are former Olympic athletes themselves. Michael Drapac will oversee the wellness program internally as its executive vice president.

“It is our shared goal to be pioneers in the welfare of athletes in cycling. Having dealt with this personally, I know how hard it is and how close to the edge many riders feel,” Vaughters said. “Our joint venture will seek to help these highly talented individuals find their footing in all phases of their careers. This philosophy will not only help them later in life, but will enhance their performance here and now.”

The professional team will also offer a bridge to younger athletes on Drapac’s development team, Drapac-Pat’s Veg.

While little will change for the existing Drapac team in 2016, the partnering of the two teams in 2017 will see the bulk of the resources from the current Drapac Professional Cycling Team transitioned to Drapac – Pat’s Veg, the Continental-level development team announced earlier this year, while also providing the opportunity for a number of riders and staff to move to the World Tour at Cannondale-Drapac.

Drapac – Pat’s Veg requires riders to either attend university courses or pursue professional-level certifications or apprenticeships. The team is structured to provide favorable racing schedules that allow racers to attend classes or pursue professions. Riders on the development team will be given every opportunity to make the WorldTour team. The development team will be a UCI Continental registered squad based in Australia that competes in Europe for part of the season. The program also stresses that riders take time to be involved in their communities.

“We need to teach our athletes to be whole. When the door of being an athlete closes, you would hope that they have the resources — financial and emotional — to transition to another phase of their lives. We need to understand that the human cost of professional sport is just horrific,” Drapac said. “That’s why I created the holistic development team.”

For Vaughters, the measures are a way to illustrate that success on the bike and off shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

“Racing is a risky proposition, but knowing you have the knowledge and skills to find your way, no matter what, lets you embrace the bold decisions needed to win,” Vaughters said. “Taking the pressure off athletes all too accustomed to living contract to contract also encourages ethical decision making. And that has been the goal of Slipstream Sports, from its very inception. Welcome aboard, Drapac!”

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]]> 0 Wed, 29 Jun 2016 23:10:33 +0000 VeloNews tech editor Dan Cavallari reviews Mavic’s enduro-specific Crossmax helmet.

The post Video review: Mavic’s Crossmax Pro MTB Helmet appeared first on

]]> VeloNews Tech editor Dan Cavallari reviews Mavic’s Crossmax Pro MTB helmet.

Read the full review >>

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]]> 0 Wed, 29 Jun 2016 22:54:08 +0000 This year’s Giro Rosa course has a bit of everything from flat and fast sprinter stages to high mountain climbs and even a 21.9-kilometer

The post Pink is the new yellow: Giro Rosa preview appeared first on

]]> The Giro Rosa kicks off Friday, the most important stage race of the year for the Women’s WorldTour. This year’s course has a bit of everything from flat and fast sprinter stages to high mountain climbs and even a 21.9-kilometer time trial to keep things interesting.

Who to watch:

Anna van der Breggen returns to defend her title as last year’s Giro Rosa winner. She has a strong Rabo-Liv team behind her and will benefit from a flatter course this year. Stage 7’s individual time trial will also favor this strong rider who sealed the deal last year in the TT. But with Rabo-Liv’s Katarzyna Niewiadoma showing serious climbing form, she could be a good back-up if van der Breggen falters.

Climbing phenom Mara Abbott is hungry for a third Giro Rosa victory. She was just named to the U.S. Olympic team and will be throwing punches on the two big mountain stages of the tour this year. While not known for her time trialing, this featherweight racer has proven herself against the clock when it comes after a couple hard days of racing, as she did at this year’s Tour of the Gila.

Megan Guarnier is currently leading the Women’s WorldTour and is eager keep her winning streak alive in Italy this week. She spent most of last year’s race in pink but was ousted in the time trial by van der Breggen. Guarnier will have the strongest team to support her and with world champ Lizzie Armitstead and Evie Stevens in the mix, Boels – Dolmans will be hard to beat.

Don’t count out Emma Pooley either. She’s taken second at the Giro Rosa twice before and just signed onto the Lotto – Soudal Ladies team as she makes her comeback for the Rio Olympics. Pooley is world-class in the time trial as well as when it comes to climbing, so this could be the perfect course for the pint-sized racer.

Stage preview:

Prologue: 2km – July 1
The tour starts with short and pancake-flat prologue in Gaiarine, Italy. A few precious seconds could be won and lost with the top contenders but this is really just to sort out who will wear what jerseys as we head into the first stage of the Giro Rosa.

Stage 1: 104km – July 2
Gaiarine – San Fior
With the first real day of racing, the peloton will navigate 104 kilometers of mostly flat and rolling terrain. It’s a day for the sprinters with a flat, fast run-in to the finish line.

Stage 2: 111.1km – July 3
Tarcento – Montenars
Another flat and rolling stage, this longer, 111-kilometer stage ends with a short uphill ramp into the finish. The sprinters should still take the day, and those who thrive on difficult finishes will have the advantage here.

Stage 3: 120km – July 4
Montagnana – Lendinara
In the longest stage of the race this year, the women face yet another flat course. But with the high mountains quickly approaching, nerves will be high and the peloton could get sketchy. Staying out of trouble will be the priority for anyone hoping to stand on the podium at the end of the race.

Stage 4: 98.6km – July 5
Costa Volpino – Lovere
Riders will get a scenic view of Lake Iseo as they navigate the entire shoreline during stage 4. Lush green mountains surround this pristine lake and those high peaks will be calling the GC riders’ names.

Stage 5: 77.5km – July 6
Grosio – Tirano
Finally, the climbers will have their day with this 77.5-kilmoter stage. There is only one real climb for the day, up the Mortirolo but it’s about 10 kilometers long and tops out at 1,800 meters. After a rolling 15 kilometers at this altitude, the course drops riders down a long descent into the finish. It probably won’t be the make-or-break day for the climbers but it should whittle things down to a select few.

Stage 6: 118.6km – July 7
Andora – Alassio/Madonna della Guardia
The queen stage of this year’s Giro Rosa starts in Androa and travels up four classified climbs, finishing on the steeps of the Madonna della Guardia. This is the last chance for the climbers to make their mark before heading into the remaining flat and time trial stages.

Stage 7: 21.9km – July 8
Albisola Superiore – Varazze
The short and sweet individual time trial should solidify the race’s GC podium before heading into two more flat stages. The 21.9-kilometer race against the clock looks mostly flat but with some tricky twists and turns.

Stage 8: 99.4km – July 9
Rescaldina – Legnano
It’s back to the sprinters for stage 8 with a flat and fast course. There will be some tired legs in the peloton but the finish will be exciting with one last big group sprint.

Stage 9: 104.8km – July 10
Verbania – Verbania
The final day of the Giro Rosa throws one last climb into the mix in case the GC race is close and needs one final kick to the finish. The champion will be crowned and the final maglia rosa will be awarded.

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]]> 0 Wed, 29 Jun 2016 21:17:17 +0000 “Beyond the Race” will provide new insights and behind-the-scenes footage around the preparations for Tour de France.

The post GoPro Beyond the Race: Series trailer appeared first on

]]> Introducing GoPro’s new road cycling series called “Beyond the Race – An Inside Look at Competitive Cycling.”

“Beyond the Race” will provide new insights and behind-the-scenes footage around the preparations for Tour de France and will uncover the most intriguing stories from the world of cycling. In addition, take a closer look into the team behind the athletes; from expert mechanics to director sportifs, cooks to soigneurs.

Follow these professional athletes and support teams to experience their often untold stories to find out what it takes to go from practice to the peloton. Stay tuned to watch these these cyclists battle it out during races from Paris-Roubaix to Dauphine to Tour de France and truly get to know the legends of the cycling world.

Created in association with Velon™
Shot 100% on the HERO4® camera from

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]]> 0 Wed, 29 Jun 2016 18:56:27 +0000 Global Cycling Network takes a look at the new Shimano Dura-Ace. The parts offer a hidden power meter, new disc brakes, and synchro-shift.

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]]> 0 Wed, 29 Jun 2016 18:22:28 +0000 Our anonymous columnist writes about playing the role of a GC rider’s other half while preparing for a grand tour.

The post Domestique Partner: What it’s like to be a pro spouse appeared first on

]]> The Domestique Partner is an anonymous columnist who will be writing about the experience of being a pro cyclist’s better half. Follow along this season to learn about what it’s like to live on the other side of the barriers

You probably already know me, or think you do. You see me in the corner of the TV screen at bike races, just off to the side as my partner gets interviewed. I’m a pro partner.

I probably pop up on Twitter feeds once in a while when he shares snippets of personal details. My life might look like a mini version of Victoria Beckham’s or Gisele’s.

It is not. A three-week grand tour is a lot longer than a football game. And I haven’t seen the inside of too many private jets.

Let me welcome you into my world and show you what it’s really like. I’ll check in every few weeks throughout the season, so keep an eye out.

We’re now well into grand tour season. That means that the early-season race schedule — the one they give our guy at training camp, the one that we plan our life around — that’s out the window. First up is the Giro. If that’s locked in, all good. But if not, it’s the “reserve” game. Don’t make plans for all of May! Because who knows where you’ll be.

The hardest, though, is the time between the Giro and the Tour. The long lists for the Tour are finished, but that’s up to 15 riders. After weeks and months of competing together against other squads, the teammates on that long list are now rivals, each man looking out for himself.

There are a few ways that plays out behind the scenes.

1. A new friendship “alliance” with the team leader forms. I get this. It’s strategically smart. Get the guy who wants you there with him to vouch for you. Be his best asset in the race but also be his friend off the bike. I’ve got to say, all good, except for the increasing frequency of awkward double dinner dates that happen around this time of year, when everyone is jostling for position. Nothing against anyone individually, but there’s only so much small talk we can all make. And of course, there’s always that uncomfortable moment of who’s footing the bill. A few years back we spent a good two weeks with another couple before the Tour de France, training at altitude on a freaking island (see my next bullet point). Two weeks. No escape. Every meal. Well, one of the two got the spot on the squad; the other didn’t. They aren’t teammates anymore anyway, but we haven’t even had a coffee together since.

After 10 days, even nature and tax-free booze get old.

2. Time at altitude. OK, OK: Beautiful vistas. But shit, it’s cold up there. When you’ve got your partner back for some precious days before he embarks on a grand tour, home time would be nice. But, no. Off to Tenerife, Sierra Nevada, Andorra. It must be nice for those Americans who have the time to get back to Boulder: burritos and altitude all in one. These European mountain towns don’t have a lot going on, and even less so in the summer months. The nature walks are great, as are the occasional ski lifts up and walks down. But after 10 days, even nature and tax-free booze get old.

3. Everyone, everyone, asks you endlessly if your partner is riding the Tour. This is because many friends and most of our extended families don’t realize there are bike races aside from the Tour de France. And during the Tour de France, the concern is not with how we’re doing in our lonely month, just about how our partners are. But the lead up, that’s even worse. We don’t want to let people down when they ask if he’s racing, so we say, “We don’t know, we will know four or five days in advance.” “Oh, but I want to book tickets to see him race. Should I?” Disappointing people is never fun. So we patiently avoid the questions for as long as possible.

Cyclists are the hangriest MFers I’ve ever come across.

4. It’s super diet time. Nothing wrong with some healthy eating, but a month of not being allowed to have chocolate in the house? C’mon, guys, have you ever had PMS? The thing that no one’s talking about, though: Cyclists are the hangriest MFers I’ve ever come across. (“Hangry is hungry-angry.) So when it’s time to get down to race weight, they might not know what PMS is, but they sure act like they’ve got it the entire month of June. The day they leave for the race, I go straight to the super-marche for some king-size bars of Lindt.

And on that note, I best be going. You would never believe it, but I’ve got a double date dinner to attend …

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]]> 0 Wed, 29 Jun 2016 17:00:01 +0000 U.S. cycling fans will have a new option to watch major races on NBC Sports. The NBC Sports Gold package is a way to stream races like the

The post NBC Sports offers Tour coverage for cord-cutters appeared first on

]]> NBC Sports, which broadcasts major cycling races, including those owned by the ASO — Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix, and Vuelta a España — will now offer a new online streaming package for U.S. fans without cable subscriptions. Viewers who currently subscribe to NBC Sports can also purchase this option for expanded coverage of 15 major races through June 2017.

The renamed NBC Sports Gold package costs $ 29.99 and affords access to races starting with the 2016 Tour and running through the 2017 Tour de Suisse.

Tour de France features include:
– Live streaming video
– Full stage video replays including highlights, stage recaps, and rider interviews
– Route and stage previews, course and stage maps, elevation profiles, and stage descriptions
– GPS race tracking displayed on interactive maps and rider profiles
– Live stage results and detailed standings
– Rider profiles by country and team
– Real-time commentary feeds from media covering the Tour
– Display of every rider group and time gap on the road
– Live time trial results for every split and finish line
– A Tour de France Twitter stream that will feature tweets from top race officials, riders, analysts, and fans

NBC Sports Gold will also offer live coverage of the Vuelta a España, Paris-Roubaix, and Liége-Bastogne-Liége.

NBC Sports Gold cycling schedule

103rd Tour de France, July 2 – 24
Vuelta a España, August 20 – September 11
Tour of Britain, September 4 – 11
UCI Mountain Bike World Championship, September 9 – 11
Paris-Tours, October 9
Tour Down Under, January 14 – 22, 2017
Paris-Nice, March 5 – 12, 2017
Criterium International, March 25 – 26, 2017
Paris-Roubaix, April 9, 2017
La Fleche Wallonne, April 19, 2017
Liége-Bastogne-Liége, April 22, 2017
Tour de Yorkshire, April 28 – 30, 2017
Amgen Tour of California, May 14 – 21, 2017
Critérium du Dauphiné, June 4 – 11, 2017
Tour de Suisse, June 10 – 18, 2017

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]]> 0 Wed, 29 Jun 2016 16:23:04 +0000 Shimano announces new Dura-Ace group. The parts feature a power meter, synchronized shifting, Dura-Ace disc brakes, and a wider cassette

The post New Dura-Ace takes aim at power meter market appeared first on

]]> Just days before the Tour de France kicks off in Mont Saint-Michel, France, Shimano released a new Dura-Ace, which we’ll likely see the pros riding at the Grande Boucle. Confirming much of what VeloNews reported on in March, the Dura-Ace updates include an integrated power meter, synchronized shifting, and Dura-Ace hydraulic disc brakes, along with some less whiz-bang but still important updates like lighter components and improved shift functions.

Power meter

Photo: Shimano
Photo: Shimano

Shimano’s new power meter certainly has a clunky name — the FC-R9100-P — but the meter itself looks quite svelte, almost hidden behind the crankarm. The device is built into the new Hollowtech II crankset that maintains its four-arm design. What we didn’t know or expect when we wrote our article in March was that the power meter will use dual-sided strain gauges that are internally hardwired together for accurate measurements regardless of pedaling position.

The power meter is nearly hidden. You can only see a small control unit in the crank spider that has an LED light for indicating if the integrated rechargeable battery is charged and if the system is on. The magnetic charging port is also located in this control unit.

The meter uses a single rechargeable battery that powers the entire unit, and firmware for the meter can be updated wirelessly. It uses Bluetooth and Ant+ communication and will come in a range of crank-length options: 170, 172.5, 175mm (with chainrings) or 165, 167.5, 170, 172.5, 175, 177.5, 180mm (without chainrings).

Di2 synchronized shifting

First introduced with Shimano’s XTR Di2 mountain bike group, Synchro Shift is now available with both Dura-Ace Di2 R9150 rim and R9170 disc brake options. This confirms our reporting from March and we’re excited to see the Synchro Shift for the road. The “Full Synchro Shift” platform acts just as it does on the mountain bike system, which is essentially automatic front shifting, requiring the use of only two shift buttons to shift the entire drivetrain. When the derailleur reaches a certain point (which is customizable) on the rear cassette, the front derailleur shifts while the rear derailleur shifts in the opposite direction. The rider gets similar gear jumps with each button push. It’s a system that is made possible by Di2’s incredible front shifting.

Photo: Shimano
Photo: Shimano

In addition to traditional “full” Synchro Shift, riders can optionally select “semi” Synchro Shift. This new mode reacts when the rider shifts from one chainring to another, automatically shifting the rear derailleur to minimize the gear step, thus preserving the rider’s rhythm.

Synchro Shift will be made available for all previous 11-speed Di2 road component groups with a new Di2 firmware and accessories in November 2016.

Rim and disc brakes

Photo: Shimano
Photo: Shimano

The new R9100 group sees updated rim brakes with redesigned dual-pivot and direct mount calipers. They promise improved stopping power and increase tire clearance up to 28mm tires.

But the big news is the Dura-Ace groups now have their own Dura-Ace-level hydraulic-disc braking systems. The brakes have been redesigned to shed weight, have better heat management, and better braking performance and reliability. The new Dura-Ace rotors have an alloy core, which now extends to the spider of the rotors, allowing more heat to dissipate into the air and not into the brake system. The BR-R9170 flat-mount caliper has a lower profile and weighs a claimed 256 grams. Centerlock disc rotors will be available in 140mm and 160mm sizes.

The new Dura-Ace hydraulic dual control levers are nearly identical to the mechanical version, keeping that slim, racer-friendly shape and feel that we love.

More updates

Beyond the big updates, Di2 gets a full makeover, shedding weight and seeing redesigned components for improved shifting, more gearing options, and better ergonomics.

The Dura-Ace FC-R9100 Hollowtech II crankset has been reshaped to add claimed strength and rigidity while also dropping weight. It builds upon the four-arm design of previous Dura-Ace cranks and offers new chainring configurations that work better with bikes with shorter chainstays. The R9100 crankset has also been adapted for the latest disc brake frame design without needing to increase the q-factor.

Where the previous version of Dura-Ace drivetrains was designed to only work with an 11-28T cassette or smaller, the new version expands its range, now accommodating up to an 11-30T cassette. We’ve seen 11-32T cassettes work on older versions of the group, so we’re guessing this will still work, only more smoothly.

A new, narrower chain comes along with the updated group. The HG901-11 chain features an asymmetric plate design that Shimano says will improves shift quality, increase chain retention, and reduce drivetrain noise. Dura-Ace has always been on the quieter side, so reducing noise should make it nearly silent.

Dura-Ace’s previous version had a long front derailleur arm that ran into problems as bike frames changed to accommodate wider tires and used shorter chain stays. To combat this, Shimano came up with an internal toggle mechanism. It works just as smoothly as the long-arm design but can be fitted on complex frames.

Photo: Shimano
Photo: Shimano

The rear derailleur attaches to the bike via a direct mount hanger. The Shadow rear derailleur borrows from the mountain bike group and is positioned in line with the bike rather than sticking out into the wind. Also, there is now only one specification that will cover the full range of all cassette options.

Along with the updated drivetrain, Dura-Ace wheels get a full overhaul as well. Shimano introduced two new wheel platforms, the 40mm deep C40 wheels and the 60mm deep C60 wheels. Both have the same rim width so swapping between wheel sets won’t be a problem. Both also have rim brake options with quick release compatibility as well as center-lock disc brake options with thru-axle compatibility.

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]]> 0 Wed, 29 Jun 2016 16:12:27 +0000 Sky says Chris Froome is fresh and ready to take on the Tour de France. He aims to win his third title with help from Wout Poels, Mikel

The post Three is magic number for Sky in Tour’s mountains appeared first on

]]> SAINT-LÔ, France (VN) — Chris Froome needs three climbers available for the Tour de France starting on Saturday in Normandy, says Team Sky.

The British WorldTour team selected its nine men last week. The British two-time winner leads the team with helpers Geraint Thomas, Mikel Nieve, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Sergio Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Mikel Landa, and Wout Poels. Froome will have plenty of climbing support with Nieve, Henao, Landa, Poels, and Thomas, who serves as a back-up for the overall classification.

“What I saw in the Critérium du Dauphiné was that there was so much climbing in such sorts of stages — up and down and intense days — that quickly all the teams were limited,” said sport director Nicolas Portal. “So a punchier climber can stay with his leader and help.

“Some of the Tour de France stages will be that way. So you need to have a leader and three climbers. We always see that you will lose one to a crash or illness, so it’s best to take three. In the Tour, too, it’s hard for them to be on the same level each day for three weeks, so if one is ready one day, maybe the other isn’t.”

Poels, Richie Porte (now with American Tejay van Garderen on BMC Racing), and others took turns last year helping Froome to his second title. When the race reaches the mountains after one week, Nieve should likely turn it over to Henao, Landa, and Poels to finish off the work for Froome.

Portal explained that Thomas will be free to ride his own race assuming that Froome is not in immediate danger. The Welshman switched focus from the classics to stage races this year with the aim at improving in the Tour.

Brits Stannard and Rowe, and time trial world champion Kiryienka will pull Froome through the flat days and in the valleys leading to the climbs. Sky tested such scenarios in recent races like the Critérium du Dauphiné, which Froome won for a third time two weeks ago.

“We wanted him to win the Dauphiné and try different strategies with the team, with Michal Kwiatkowski, Salvatore Puccio, Wout Poels, Sergio Henao, Mikel Landa … We found so many options. Then we will need to see who will the second best, the rider to stay with Froome to the final kilometers. Is that Henao or Landa or Poels? We worked on our strategy.”

Froome worked, too. After the Dauphiné, he continued training at his base in Monaco.

“Froome went hard each day and finished each stage deep. He will recover and start the Tour on another level. It’s the same with Tejay van Garderen and Nairo Quintana, everyone,” Portal added. “All the rivals are so close at a performance level so we want Froome to be fresh and ready for them.”

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]]> 0 Wed, 29 Jun 2016 14:54:12 +0000 Tour de France sprints are carefully choreographed high-speed battles. Lotto – Soudal’s Marcel Sieberg explains how he helps teammate

The post Greipel’s lead-out man reveals the secrets of the sprint appeared first on

]]> SAINT LO, France (VN) — Ever notice how sprinters celebrate after they win a stage? It’s a volcano of unbridled emotion and joy. The peloton’s fastest riders hug their teammates as if they’ve just been released from prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

Why are they so thankful? Perhaps more than anyone in the peloton, sprinters win or lose depending on their teammates. Without a solid lead-out, a steady wheel, or a strong train, the sprinters know that freelance victories are hard to come by in the law-of-the-jungle world of the mass sprints.

In the 2015 Tour de France, André Greipel (Lotto – Soudal) won four stages to confirm his status as one of the best and most consistent sprinters in the game. After winning three stages at the Giro d’Italia, Greipel has won at least one stage in nine straight grand tours he’s started since the 2008 Giro.

For 2016, Greipel returns to the Tour to pick up on his career-best of last season. Leading him out will be his well-oiled and finely tuned “Gorilla Express” at Lotto – Soudal.

When André wins, it’s a win for me, too. He is also one of my best friends. It’s something special when you can work for a really good friend, who is also a teammate.

– Marcel Sieberg

A few weeks before the Tour, VeloNews talked with Marcel Sieberg, one of Greipel’s longtime teammates and key lead-out men in the highly successful Lotto train. Without a GC option, Lotto – Soudal brings a team stacked with lead-out men who can also hunt for breakaway stage victories deeper in the race. On the sprint stages, however, it’s all hands on deck for Greipel.

At 34, Sieberg has been with Greipel since their days at the High Road organization. The six-foot-six German has sacrificed much of his career so that Greipel can win (134 victories).

Sieberg talked us through what it takes to win a sprint stage at the Tour de France:

Building a unit:

“We’ve had a nice group of guys together for quite a few years. A few of us came across from High Road [Greipel, Greg Henderson, Sieberg, Lars Bak, and Adam Hansen all raced together at HTC]. We know each other well, and we each know how to do our jobs. It’s a good unit, with a lot of experience, but we’re also all good friends. This year, we will have Jurgen Roelandts, and our train will be even better.”

Setting realistic goals:

“We always go to the Tour with the goal of winning one stage. It’s very hard to win at the Tour, because the sprinters’ level is very high. Once you have one, you go for a second, and a third. To win last year on the Champs-Élysées was something special. For a sprinter, that’s like winning on top of Alpe d’Huez if you’re a climber.”

Andre Greipel stormed to his fourth Tour stage win of 2015 on the most famous boulevard in the world, the Champs-Élysées. Photo: Jim Fryer | BrakeThrough Media |
Andre Greipel stormed to his fourth Tour stage win of 2015 on the most famous boulevard in the world, the Champs-Élysées. Photo: Jim Fryer | BrakeThrough Media |

Targeting stages:

“All the teams know when there is going to be a sprint, so it’s pretty obvious, especially in the first half of the race. It’s harder to control the breakaways, especially in the second half, because the legs are getting tired from the mountains. There are not many opportunities for sprints these days, so when the stage looks good for the sprinters, all the teams are working together for the same goal.”

Assigning roles:

“Everyone on the team has a role to play in the sprint. A lot of it depends on what’s happening in the breakaway. Like last year, we will have Thomas De Gendt controlling the group. He will go to the front and set a strong tempo. Sometimes the peloton is going so fast, you don’t even need to pull. When the GC guys are at the front, the speed is already very high.”

Final 10km:

“The break is usually caught, and we keep the speed is high to keep other riders from attacking late. We have Lars Bak to bring us into position as we get closer to the line. He makes sure everyone is together, usually on one side of the road. Most teams do that these days, so it’s not as complicated to keep everyone together as it used to be.”

3km to go:

“Lars rides as long as possible, and then we have Tony Gallopin take over with 3km to go. He sets a high pace, and then Adam Hansen takes us over and brings us close to the flame rouge.”

Red kite:

“I start just before 1km to go. The speed is very fast. At this point, the most important thing is to keep position. Everyone is really fighting hard at this point. There is a lot of bumping. Most of the riders know how far they can go, but some take too many risks that are a problem for everyone. André is very respectful, and sometimes I wish he would fight even more. He prefers to let his legs do the talking.”

André is very respectful, and sometimes I wish he would fight even more. He prefers to let his legs do the talking.

– Marcel Sieberg

500m to go:

“It then happens very fast. I usually peel off with 500m or 600m to go, and I try to drop them off on a good wheel. Last year, we had Jens Debusschere go behind me, and he is very good at positioning, especially on finishes with cornering. Roelandts will also be there for the final, and we will see where he fits in. Henderson is usually the last to pull for André, and they know each other very well. Hendy knows where to drop André, or lead him out to the line. Hendy usually can tell straight away if André is going to win. When I see Hendy’s arms going up, I know we’ve done our job.”

Final sprint:

“André is always searching for a fast wheel. It’s always chaotic in the final sprint, and you have to adapt. You have to improvise depending on the stage. The Tour is always a bit different than other races because there are so many trains fighting for position. When André has a clean shot to the finish line, we know he is very hard to beat.”

Power numbers:

“It’s a bit different every day, and it depends on the conditions, but I am usually at 900 watts to 1,000 watts for 20 to 30 seconds. The final sprint can be double that.”


“When André wins, it’s a win for me, too. He is also one of my best friends. It’s something special when you can work for a really good friend, who is also a teammate. It’s easy to ride for him. André knows that he needs a team to win, and we have a nice group that’s been together a few years now.”


“We get a small bonus when he wins, but it’s not about that. It’s more about doing your job, and doing it the correct way. There is a professional satisfaction, but we are also like a family on this team.”

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