Thursday, May 16, 2013
If you have a dodgy bike that weighs a ton and threatens to fall to bits at any second - there's your priority. But if you have a decent bike - say 9kgs or so, made of any popular material and completely safe and serviceable then for 99% of us upgrading won't make much, if any, difference. If it does make a measurable difference - and it's hard to really measure these things - it'll most likely be a head gain, not an equipment-specific improvement.
Not convinced? Well then, in terms of bike improvements aim to reduce rotating mass - starting with the wheels. That is something you'll feel immediately in improved acceleration. You want stiffness? Again, look to the wheels. You'll feel that, too. But weight and frame stiffness overall is of little consequence - except at the sharp end of the elite ranks. Unless you race at that sharp end, why would you pay an extra few thousand dollars simply to reduce your bike by just a kilo or 2? Or stiffen up what is already a remarkably stiff triangle of steel, aluminium or carbon? It simply won't make a difference, except you'll maybe feel and perhaps look cooler in the bunch. Perhaps that matters. Or maybe not!
Maybe lose some weight yourself. After all it's you that weighs the most in this equation. Bike, 9kg or so. Rider? Perhaps you weigh 80kg with say 20-25% fat onboard (not that unusual, even with fit, fast guys). Imagine how much less effort you'll need to ride fast(er) if you dropped just a few kilos off yourself? It's all about power to weight, and improving your power without dropping some weight is just addressing half the problem. Look to achieve 12% body fat or slightly less (a lot less at elite levels) but don't go silly with diets or do dodgy things. Talk with a doctor or nutritionist if in any doubt. Eat a bit less, ride a bit more.
But if power is lacking, try intervals. Repeated hill intervals or hill sprints (150-200m hillclimbs in a biggish gear but still turning easily - don't grind!) will pick your power up nicely. Balance and consistency are the keys here. Don't just do one thing over and over - you'll get tired, probably over-tired, and become a one-trick pony. Mix it up both on a single training ride and from ride to ride.
Mix in some endurance, some power work and some speed work. And get in a bunch once in a while to get speed and endurance up quickly in tandem with your bunch riding skills. And be consistent. Don't do a single big ride and then not do another for a month or more. You'll lose what you gained.
Make a plan and stick as closely as you can to it, injuries aside. You need to do long rides, perhaps for an endurance event? Then build up with lots of shorter endurance rides for a month or 2, get used to doing lots of miles in a week but not in one go. Then add those much longer rides in later. But repeat them weekly so your body "remembers". So you'll end up with regular, shorter rides dotted through the week and a bigger ride or race once or maybe twice a week. And build the whole thing up gradually and incrementally to avoid injury and form loss.
Remember to be consistent, as in a pattern of repeated behaviour, because that tells your body to adjust to that expected effort. Inconsistency sends a confused message to your body and you'll get a confused response. Throw in speed work and power efforts as well but don't over-train. And plan your rests, too. A good training plan builds gradually, reaches a new level and then eases off before climbing to new heights in the next phase. You need to recover - not stop, just ease off - before aiming higher in power or endurance, or both.
More to come, I'm sure ;-)
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
But we can get carried away with the details and forget to just ride. To have fun.
I think we all have friends who are a bit unbalanced in their training. They obsess about some aspects - usually the hardware but sometimes also about diet or technique - and forget to just get out and ride. They may even rush out and engage a coach before even attempting the basics - like just riding regularly. They tie themselves in knots trying to meet goals that are way above where their bodies are at and get consumed by the details rather than look at the big picture. Phew. You know the type, right?
So I thought I'd write something about training with a non-technical slant. Mostly for the beginner, but for anyone really: it's Rob's "Just ride" training plan.
Remember - start healthy, stay healthy. If you are really new to exercise or have any doubts at all, see a doctor first.
Now, just ride (obviously). Don't race at first. Don't do intervals or baseline efforts. It's a mistake to do intervals, hill training or big rides without building a regular, consistent base first. Just ride regularly several times a week and well within your ability. If you want to race it's all built on experience and miles in the saddle. Your body adjusts over time to what you do in life, so if you are riding lots then your body adjusts to that effort. You get used to it. Just be consistent and do it because you love it. Join a club, ride with others. Learn by doing.
But you plan to race, yes? Sure, but you certainly don't have to do mega-miles or special efforts at this stage. Unscientific Rule of Thumb Number 1 works for me: if you plan to race then ride at least 3 times that distance in training per week, on average. No intervals, nothing fancy, just ride. So if you plan to race 50km just plan to train 150km a week, minimum. Yes you can do it with a lot less - but in the back of your mind you'll be thinking 'have I done enough?' And the answer will be 'no'. Don't race until you hit - or at least approach - that goal!
Unscientific Rule of Thumb Number 2 is that you need to build up gradually - don't just leap on a bike and ride 150km in one go and say "job done!". That's cheating and it doesn't work, at least for most of us! And it can (perhaps will) lead to injury. Instead make a plan to reach 150km a week (or whatever) in a series of incremental steps. 2 to 3 months is a good period over which to build up. Your body and mind will adjust to the effort and is less likely to break. But if you do get sore, slow down a bit or rest. Take some time to build a base. And don't race unless you have met your training goals first.
Unscientific Rule of Thumb Number 3 is similar to 2, it's "be consistent". Take breaks or ease off if your body says "rest" or "oww" but always come back to a repeatable pattern of effort that works for you. So ditch the "big ride" syndrome (at least for now, we can come back to that later) and go for regular, shorter efforts. One big ride per week works for some of us but mostly it's inefficient and ineffective. A better way to train is to do shorter daily or every-2nd-day efforts. So your 150km training week may be 3x50km rides or one 50km race and 5x20km efforts during the week. This allows your body (and mind) time to recover whilst ensuring that gains are made. If you are inconsistent, however, and do irregular big rides to "catch-up" you simply don't make the same incremental gains and risk injury.
Unscientific Rule of Thumb Number 4 is "when you have done the miles, build on it". If you have followed what I have written so far you will have set out an achievable plan, adjusted it as needed, achieved it and done your consistent base miles. You may now race with some confidence. Of course a newbie will still struggle as we haven't covered intervals, power training and basic race skills and tactics. But that's the beauty of it all - you get to incorporate what you learn into your dynamic training plan! This is the build phase. You build in efforts that address weaknesses and enhance strengths. Now if you are a newbie to racing then be open to learn as it does involve a lot of skills, rules and etiquette that are not immediately obvious. Again, join a club, ride with others to get that experience.
So the build phase is literally built on a solid, consistent, regular and repeated base of steady miles. Not an on-and-off, patchy, lots-of-days-off melange of commutes peppered with massive catch-up rides. Unscientific Rule of Thumb Number 5 tells us that you lose "some" form and fitness - it varies from person to person and by age so let's just say "some" - after only 2 days off the bike. You keep most, sure, but you lose 'something'. It may be small but after 2 days a bit of what you just gained is lost again. But if you leave 4 days or more between rides then you lose a much bigger slice of whatever you last gained. Again it's not all lost but it's certainly not all there, either. (Cautionary note - sometimes you just have to rest and recover, treat an injury or whatever and simply must take days off. It happens, it's OK.)
In summary, your body simply doesn't waste resources. If it looks like you won't be using those muscles and endurance power systems again, rather than keep it "just in case" it redistributes those resources elsewhere. Hence regularity and consistency are king, they remind your body of what you need to do.
Now with the base in place you can add the fancy stuff to build speed, power and endurance. If you really enjoy it and want to take it further you can read up or get a coach. And remember: have fun.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I have to say I've tried it a few times and it hasn't really worked. I've mostly done it in (short, amateur!) stage races or before a big road race. My performance didn't improve - seemingly, because how could I really tell? I didn't endure any better and I spent more time on the loo both pre and post race. But I did it in the '80s and the science has moved on, presumably.
The theory's good, though. In my day (the '80s, like I said) a few days to a week beforehand I'd ride to exhaustion a few days in a row - and I do mean exhaustion - whilst cutting back the carbs. And then I'd 'over-recover' for a few more days by backing off the miles, resting, and ingesting more than enough carbs than strictly necessary to simply refuel. Anecdotally this is still a popular idea - you 'fly' a few days after riding yourself into the ground. Somehow - this is the dodgy bit in my opinion - the body not only takes on what it needs it adds a bit more as a gluttony bonus, as though it senses you are about to do something extreme, or maybe even stoopid. But how does it know (insert something plausible about stimulating glycogen synthase here)?
And why would we evolve such a curious turbo-boost function? It doesn't seem likely, really, does it? If you over-eat you should simply egest or store (as fat) what you don't have room to conserve. Why would there be a secret hidey-hole for extra carbs?
Of course it's possible that waves of feast and famine coupled with our ancient mania for endurance walking have set this up for us. It's possible.
So much for the good old days. These days sports scientists generally believe it does work, even if it's just via the placebo effect (and who cares, as long as it works?). And they have generally ditched the ride-to-exhaustion bit. Rather you just do the diet and rest bit. (Which sounds a bit too convenient for me, but anyway...). The theory remains that training less ('tapering') but eating more carbs (ie eating more low-fat sugar and starch but slightly less protein and even less fibre) over 1-4 days will measurably boost your available muscle glycogen levels before an event. So it does work, indeed it just sounds like resting and recovery to me - and it's even easier than ever. But remember it's still not a licence to pig out!
"Back when I raced the Giro, on the flat stages a break would go early on, then we'd all ease back and ride very, very gently until about 50 kilometres to go," he said.
"A lot of days, the main bunch would even have cappuccino and cake or ice cream stops mid-race in some of the villages.
Now that's a bike race.
Unpredictable Giro tests riders, staff : SBS Cycling Central | Cycling News and Results | Video Highlights
Monday, May 13, 2013
If he has a plan it's to stay close, match Nibali and the less-impressive-so-far Wiggins and keep on keeping on. Perhaps he will attack on a climb when or if Nibali shows weakness? Or wait until the uphill chrono in week 3? Or just wait, period. It's only the end of the first week after all.
Wurf meanwhile is hanging on in the sprint category (a bit of a misnomer really) through consistency and grit and right-place-right-time methodology. Hansen of course has won a stage so he's happy!
Giro D'Italia 2013: Stage 9 Results | Cyclingnews.com
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
There's something about summer and bike tyres and Central Coast roads I guess. Last year (or maybe it was 2011, I don't care anymore) saw a huge bubble form on a Vittoria road clincher, so bad that eventually it was hitting the brake with every revolution. Whilst it was sensible to stop anyway, it was annoying, just 3 km short of home.
It was another hot day and another brand of tyre - Maxxis Detonator, would you believe! - that saw this bubble-and-split occur. Same road, though, and neither tyre was over-inflated, BTW. And I have ridden hot roads before without such incident.
At least this time I made it all the way home, cautiously. Are tyres just getting worse in this bubble-and-split respect?
Friday, November 09, 2012
British Cycling coach Shane Sutton hospitalized after collision with auto
Commenting on the bizarre timing of the two accidents, British Cycling wrote, “”It is extremely rare that our riders and coaches are hurt while out cycling on the road, even rarer that two incidents should occur in a short space of time, and we wish Shane and Bradley a speedy recovery.”
The federation also called on the government to put cycling “at the heart of transport policy to ensure that cycle safety is built into the design of all new roads, junctions and transport projects, rather than being an afterthought.”
Monday, October 08, 2012
LeMond: Armstrong Has Been Trying To Destroy Me For 10 Years | Cyclingnews.com
Former three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond says that Lance Armstrong has been trying to destroy him for over ten years. The now outspoken anti-doping advocate made the claims during an interview with Irish radio Newstalk in which he spoke candidly about a number of topics including his abuse as a child, living with attention deficit disorder, Lance Armstrong and doping in the sport.LeMond: Armstrong Has Been Trying To Destroy Me For 10 Years | Cyclingnews.com
LeMond stepped away from the sport not long after retiring at the end of the 1994 season, but when Armstrong first returned from cancer he was like many, a believer. That was until he began to hear the rumours surrounding his countryman.I don't know the truth here - like most of us I can only guess - but what LeMond says resonates with what I have seen and heard. I'm sure there's more to come.
"I couldn’t be honest with myself. I knew too much from 2000 on," he said. "From 2001 and on I didn’t have anything good to say. I made up the logic in my mind that Festina Affair happened in '98 and it cleaned up. Somebody came back, they lost weight, that whole story I bought into. Then I started hearing rumours and the rumours were good observations from people within the sport. Then in 2000 I heard some disturbing stuff from someone in the team and it became impossible. I backed away from cycling at that point."
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Contador Fights Back Tears After Turning Vuelta On Its Head | Cyclingnews.com
“We didn’t say anything on the radios because a lot of them are pirated by the other teams, but I told them to go for it on the front. “I have to thank [Astana rider and former teammate] Paolo Tiralongo, because he worked hard for me in the break.”
Contador tackled most of the 17km-long final climb to Fuente Dé alone after Tiralongo was unable to follow his tempo. “I had thought of attacking three kilometres from the line, but from never so far out,” Contador said. “I kept on eating and drinking because I was worried I would blow. I knew if I blew I would lose the second place overall.”
“It was pure instinct, nothing calculated. I’m not in top form, but I really wanted to do it.”
He may have doped, intentionally or otherwise - and I do hope he's clean today - but Contador has certainly stamped his name all over the Grand Tour record books. (Presuming he doesn't get knocked off his perch in the few days left, of course.) Stay clean, Alberto, Le Tour needs you!
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Apparently Froome and Co couldn't wait for Valverde. That's racing. Will we see same the sort of wailing and gnashing we saw when Contador 'attacked' a stricken Schleck? I doubt it.
Vuelta A España 2012: Stage 4 Results | Cyclingnews.com
Valverde was one of a number of fallers in a crash inside the final 30 kilometres, just as Chris Froome’s Sky team was looking to split the peloton in the stiff crosswinds that buffeted the race on the run-in to the day’s final climb. Although Sky had already begun to set the pace just before Valverde came a cropper, the British team paid no heed to his plight and persisted in their efforts all the way to the foot of the Valdezcaray, in spite of the exhortations of Valverde’s teammate Beñat Inxausti.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Belgian Road Championships 2012: Elite Men Results | Cyclingnews.com
The race was decided by a move from Boonen at 40km from the finish line, exploiting a mechanical from co-favorite Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol).
We don't really know what was in Tom's mind, but he clearly gained advantage from the move. So what is the morality here? Does one wait? Or attack? It is, after all, a bike race, and anyone can have a mechanical, even Tom Boonen. But I'd hate to be his mechanic, post-race. Now if it was clear cut and perhaps enshrined in a universal rule then everything would be cut-and-dried and sweet. We'd probably do the "decent" or "sporting" thing and simply wait. But life - and racing - is not like that.
Sometimes mechanicals are purely random and unavoidable, and at other times it's caused by "rider or mechanic's error". If you contributed to your own demise, so be it. We can't expect everyone to wait whilst you get your act together. I think Andy Schleck's famous chain trouble was probably rider error, myself, and Contador was clearly not 100% sure what had happened. You could say he should have waited anyway, just to be sure; but it's not so cut-and-dried. Racing is complicated. You may wait, others may not. And here with Boonen, how's he to know what has caused his competitors to be delayed? Even if he did know, how is he to judge fault? Why should he assume it wasn't rider error? And if the tables were turned, would they wait for him?
There is no one supreme morality, is there? We all have our set of personal, individual rules, including a sense of what is "fair". And then we apply those rules. If we make our decisions based on our personal moral foundation and it's done "authentically" or in a way true to ourselves, then we have acted "ethically". Which will never stop others questioning our actions, of course.
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
AC Schnitzer tunes the latest BMW ... bicycle?
At just 16.3 pounds (7.4 kg), the carbon-framed M Bike Carbon Racer is already a light, lithe two-wheeler. AC Schnitzer saw the opportunity to cut even more weight by adding more carbon. It stripped components off with abandon, replacing them with carbon and lightweight counterparts. Specifically, Schnitzer added a set of carbon wheels developed in conjunction with Xentis, plus a carbon saddle, a carbon saddle support and a new crank.
According to its numbers, AC successfully cut the bike's weight by a full kilogram, down to 15.2 pounds (6.9 kg). In contrast to BMW's 16.3-pound figure, AC Schnitzer lists the original weight at 17.4 pounds (7.9 kg), a fact that could have to do with the frame size (the bike is offered in five different frame sizes).
Sunday, July 29, 2012
So what went wrong? Well David Millar reckons it was Cav's fault, basically, although he didn't say that exactly:
Millar Left With No Complaints Despite Cavendish Missing Olympic Gold | Cyclingnews.com
With 50 kilometres to race and just one ascent of Box Hill remaining, the British seemed in control. A break had gone clear but after over five hours of racing, the gap was less than one minute as legs began to tire. However new impetus was added when a second contingent of riders attacked on the climb to create a 33-man group.My emphasis there, but I would deduce from that quote that Cav's pace wasn't ideal, then?
"We were always working at Mark's pace, so we couldn't react to those things and that was never our plan," said Cavendish's teammate David Millar.
The British team had been clear over its race strategy, telegraphing its tactics in a press conference last week. It was all for Cavendish, with David Brailsford saying, the sprinter was "plan A and all the rest of the letters of the alphabet," too.
So what did Cav think went wrong?
Cavendish Misses Olympic Glory In Men's Road Race | Cyclingnews.com
"We did everything we could. The crowd was tremendous the whole way around, but the Aussies just raced negatively. The team were incredible. They left everything out on the road. I am so proud of them. We didn't expect any help. We rode the race we wanted to ride. We couldn't pull the group back on Box Hill. Other teams were content that if they didn't win, we wouldn't win. We expected it. If you want to win, you've to take it to them."My emphasis, again. It wasn't Cav's fault, nor his one-idea Team of champions. It was the Aussies. Having O'Grady orchestrating the first break and coming, umm, 6th, plus Rogers trying his own attack was clearly not a positive in Mark's eyes, who came, umm, 29th.
And the truth? Well there is more than a little truth in the other teams wanting to negate the Manxman's sprint and thus being prepared to leave their own sprinters stranded, waiting for the Brits to close the gap. But they all wanted a medal, too. Trouble was, no-one wanted to tow Cav (and Greipel) up to the front so they can fight it out for 1st and 2nd, either. It was a stalemate.
And good on Vino for attacking and closing his checkered yet always interesting career with Olympic gold.
Monday, July 16, 2012
It's a bit like dropping rocks from bridges over freeways, just a little more obvious. And just as stupid. Yet people do that, too. Well, some people. A very small number of people, indeed.
The motivation? An urge to see pain, distress, carnage? A grudge against particular riders, or just any bike rider? The sheer thrill of getting away with it? All of the above?
It's an enduring, if childish and stupid practice. I personally witnessed the great Heffron Park crit circuit sabotage in about the late '80s. Someone was seeding the track with iron filings every week, resulting in punctures during Saturday bike races. In my case it was at least 6 consecutive weeks of punctures. It was more than frustrating, it was dangerous and costly at $90 per silk tubular tyre. The club took to sweeping the track with a magnet before each race, and eventualy the local police tracked the culprit down. The filings came from somewhere, and a local machine shop seemed likely. To my recollection one of the staff lived near Heffron Park and caved in when questioned. I may be wrong but I think he resented the bike racers taking over the crit track every Saturday arvo. Well they did have permission from council, and it's a public park, mate. And much of the 2.1km circuit was built by clubmembers at their own cost, too.
But people sometimes just do the darnedest things.
Tour De France Organisers Doubtful Of Locating Sabotage Suspects | Cyclingnews.com
Sunday's stage to Foix, however, was a bit more dramatic after the tacks stopped first Andreas Klöden on the approach to the summit of the Mur de Péguère, and then Cadel Evans at the top with flat tyres.
Astana's Robert Kiserlovski, an animator of several stages in the Tour, crashed after the summit of the Mur de Péguère as he swerved to help team leader Janez Brajkovic, who had flatted. Kiserlovski was forced to drop out of the Tour with a suspected collarbone fracture. The incident also sent American Levi Leipheimer to the ground.
Friday, July 13, 2012
The team had a plan, presumably, or simply went with what they had. Let's just assume they planned it all. One teammate already up the road in the break, they sent another away, within striking distance of an attack by Evans. With that arrangement in place, Evans duly attacked. And all went well until Evans reached his teammates. Firstly his "fallback" guy faltered and then he himself went off the boil. Yes, the pace was already high, so Cadel's attack had to be overwhelming and sudden. And he was still a worryingly long way from the finish. The effort must have pushed him into the red... and when his 3-man BMC train became just 2 he looked the weaker of the pair. Suddenly the plan didn't look so good. Having expended that energy he then faltered again on the final climb.
Is he unwell? Or did he just overstep the line with the first attack, and paid the price later?
Some other observations: Wiggins looked exposed, both when Evans attacked and even more so when his own teammate, Froome, attacked! And both Rogers and Porte were visibly more tired. Coupled with Froome initially faltering and falling back before suddenly coming good again (which was bizarre in itself) it looks like we still have a race on our hands. Perhaps even Evans will now deserve a "good" day and succeed in one of his moves?
Tour De France 2012: Stage 11 Results | Cyclingnews.com
Sky's Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins were both there, as were Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol). However, defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) failed to stay with their pace.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Voeckler won, but it was never a certainty. Sagan started a break that went all the way, just without Sagan. Instead he dropped back and picked up an attack from his team leader for GC, Nibali. Together they gapped the yellow and Evans, too. But they wilted and Sagan was dropped. With that Nibali fell back as well. Great tactic but just not enough firepower.
Meanwhile Sky held everyone in check that mattered.
Leaving Voeckler to do his gritty, never-say-die-act. To perfection. When all looked lost, back he came. And Voigt did a very similar thing, nearly pulling off an amazing win. Which left Scarponi guessing about what might have been, had he only picked the right wheel!
Scarponi Falls Short In Bellegarde-sur-Valserine | Cyclingnews.com
Scarponi admitted that he hoped that the deck of tactical manoeuvres would ultimately fall in his favour.Scarponi Falls Short In Bellegarde-sur-Valserine | Cyclingnews.com
"I was hoping that the rivalry between Voeckler and Sánchez would give me a chance in the sprint, but it didn't work out like that," he said. "But in any case, Voeckler was the cleverest and the strongest today."
"It's not just Wiggins and Froome, it's an entire team that gives an impression of strength and cohesion. They're almost unattackable," he said. "But there's still a long way to go. Right now they might seem invincible but the Grand Tours teach you that stage after stage you can invent something."Voigt Almost Pulls Off The Impossible In Stage 10 At The Tour De France | Cyclingnews.com
By the summit Voigt was still nowhere in sight and the stage looked set to be four-way battle. However when race radio crackled with 'race number 18 at 17 seconds' a once highly unlikely victory became a distinct possibility. On the slopes of the stage's final climb, the shorter and shallower Col de Richemond, Voigt was still closing, and inside the final 10 kilometres the German accelerated alongside and past his rivals.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Evans's Tour Defence Suffers First Setback | Cyclingnews.com
In spite of his losses in the overall classification, Evans looked to take solace from the fact that he had fared admirably against the pure time triallists, but it won't have escaped his attention that the Sky pair of Wiggins and Chris Froome – first and second on the stage – were on another sphere to the rest of the field.
I.B., The Extra Terrestrial? | Cyclingnews.com
Simoni: "I've never seen anyone dominate [like Basso], never seen any one that strong! He seems like an extra-terrestrial," Simoni said post-stage, his face and words minced with bitterness. Whether the Trentino scalatore was implying Basso was 'assisted' in some way is up for speculation, but Basso wasn't happy when he heard this: "I don't like to be called an extra-terrestrial or a phenomenon," he said.Yes, Basso later served a suspension for "attempting" to dope.
And whereto from here for Le Tour 2012? Well it's quite a change from last year, where Evans waited until the final TT to take control. You couldn't really wait any longer, in fact. And whilst it looks like a poor tactic for Wiggins and Sky to take yellow so early - week one, after all - it's not bad for team and individual morale, is it? Wiggins has only just won his first stage, after all, and leading Le Tour is something most riders would find hard to knock back. And whilst Team Sky now need to expend additional energy in controlling dangerous attacks and protecting both Wiggins and Froome, BMC themselves expended a lot of energy in acting as though they were "in yellow" last year. Basically it may be hard but it's doable.
OTOH last year other teams with shorter-term ambitions shared responsibility with BMC for keeping control of breakaways and the like. And whilst the Schlecks (and to some extent Contador) knew they had to take time off Evans in the mountains, Evans himself only had to limit losses and win it back in the last TT. So whilst it looks bad for Evans that already his losses have mounted up, coming about despite his strengths in the TT and prologue, this isn't last year. He must have expected something like this scenario, given recent peformance. So either it really is bad and he has little hope of recovering this amount of time, or he has a plan to address the gap. So which one?
As I said, this isn't 2011, so throw that thought out. But Sky has the box seat here, a big lead with Wiggins and a strong wild card to play in Froome. Most likely Wiggins will be able to match all attacks - and there will be many, as the likes of Nibali and Menchov are just as desperate to win as Evans, and both the RadioShack and Lotto teams have some GC gas in the tank, too. But it may expose weaknesses. It could be that Wiggins gets isolated - unlikely, I know - and loses time on a descent. But he has time up his sleeve, doesn't he. And if he or his team really falters then sending Froome up the road will cure the situation. If they are having trouble defending, why not attack?
It is a long way from from Paris and a tough job to defend from here. But Sky must have thought this through and they must see it as their "Plan A". Equally Evans and Nibali must have expected this scenario, too, so they will be executing their own tactics in the Alps to come. With the Pyrenees in week 3 to consolidate. I expect fireworks and I expect that whoever gets the advantage in week 2 will then have the same problem as Sky has now - how do you defend all the way from here to Paris?
So, fireworks in the Alps, yes, particularly Stage 11 - but with care. Whilst they don't want to leave it too late, they don't want to take control too early, either. But if they do, they'll want it to be a crushing blow that sinks Sky's ship all the way to Paris. Anything less will lead to a win for Sky. And it doesn't need to be a win for Wiggins.
Armstrong's Federal Lawsuit Against USADA Dismissed | Cyclingnews.com
"This Court is not inclined to indulge Armstrong's desire for publicity, self-aggrandizement or vilification of Defendants, by sifting through eighty mostly unnecessary pages in search of the few kernels of factual material relevant to his claims."Armstrong's Federal Lawsuit Against USADA Dismissed | Cyclingnews.com
"Contrary to Armstrong's apparent belief, pleadings filed in the United States District Courts are not press releases, internet blogs, or pieces of investigative journalism. All parties, and their lawyers, are expected to comply with the rules of this Court, and face potential sanctions if they do not."
Sunday, July 08, 2012
RadioShack-Nissan has been hanging on grimly, desperately hoping that Cancellara could stay close enough to Wiggo and co. that he could recover his lead in the ITT. That looks like a forlorn hope, but he'll probably get 30secs back, maybe. As for their GC riders, well falling at speed always hurts and Frank Schleck will take a few days to recover. By then his Tour hopes may be over. And Kloden? Well just plain old "bad legs" apparently. It happens. He wasn't the only one to have bad legs or bad luck on stage 7. It seemed that every one of the GC hopefuls bar Evans, Wiggo and Nibali can't take a trick this year. Cross fingers things improve.
Meanwhile the ever-interesting Sagan will apparently ring his new bell when he sees an imminent fall... or will he ring it in hope that the others will think "another lap to go!".
And what about Froome? Does the last pull up the mountain, barely recovers and gaps both Wiggens and Evans. Wish I could do that.
RadioShack-Nissan Fighting Without A Leader | Cyclingnews.com
Stage seven didn't go to plan for the RadioShack-Nissan team. As expected Cancellara lost contact with the Sky-lead group on the final climb but it was the performance of the team's key riders that was disappointing. Schleck waited for Andreas Klöden when the two were dropped on the final climb but Schleck could not coax the German into holding his pace. The Luxembourger then continued at his own tempo but couldn’t catch his two teammates Haimar Zubeldia and Maxime Monfort who were clearly riding much stronger than the trailing duo. Klöden ended the day 2:19 back on the winner and nearly a minute behind Schleck while Zubeldia and Monfort finished inside the top-ten.
"I had bad legs and have no real explanation for it, I had felt it in the early part of the stage," said Klöden on his team website.
Tour Shorts: Ice Cream, Sagan's City Bike Bell, Abandoning The Tour | Cyclingnews.com
The current wearer of the green jersey also relies on quite traditional bike components in order to prevent him from crashing. After having his chances annihilated by a fall in the finale of Thursday's stage five, the Slovakian asked his mechanic to mount a bell on his handlebar - indeed, an ordinary, black city bike bell.
Tour Shorts: Ice Cream, Sagan's City Bike Bell, Abandoning The Tour | Cyclingnews.com
Robert Gesink (Rabobank) came in behind his teammate Mollema and although Laurens Ten Dam was there to pace him, he conceded 2:53 at the finish.
"The GC is shattered. I can’t say much more about it. It was a difficult day and the speed was high. Luis León [Sánchez] kept up really well. I myself rode at the utmost speed and it wasn’t enough. We all know how I was before this, how good I was in California and Suisse. You don’t lose that just like that. But you know, yesterday I landed on the tarmac. You’re not supposed to do that, but it happened. Today didn’t turn out as I had expected." AM
Saturday, July 07, 2012
Most of the time you just manage. Sometimes it all happens too fast. Tired riders, nervousness and a big peleton can equal big changes in the GC.
At least it frees a few riders up to attack and be let free. As long as Hesjedal doesn't get 10 or so minutes ahead he may be allowed to escape and win a stage. Maybe. I doubt they'll let Schleck or Gesink come back, but they'll sure try. Maybe even tomorrow. Could we even see Cancellara sacrifice his yellow jersey for a Kloden attack? And let Schleck roam free in a break? Or will they hold off such tactics until week 3?
Video: BMC Remains Intact After Metz Mayhem | Cyclingnews.com
Ryder Hesjedal lost over 13 minutes, with Alejandro Valverde, Frank Schleck, Bauke Mollema and Robert Gesink all crossing the line with less skin than they started with and more time in their general classification tally than before.