As I write this blog, the hills to the North East of Adelaide have been fighting a bushfire that has now been burning for 3 days. Weather conditions have eased over the last couple of days, but there are still areas of concern where the fire is burning in inaccessible areas. Towns and hamlets that have been under threat include some that are well known to the cycling fraternity:
Upper Hermitage, Chain of Ponds, Inglewood, Houghton, Cudlee Creek, Lower Hermitage, Forreston, Lobethal, Mount Torrens, Charleston, Williamstown, Woodside, Lenswood, Mt Pleasant.
The Country Fire Service along with other agencies such as SA Police, and volunteers coming over from NSW and Vic have done a marvellous effort in protecting life and assets, and the response from the greater Adelaide community in supporting the efforts with food, water and financial donations has been superb. Fingers crossed for a speedy mop up.
There is a charity ride being organised to raise money to help these communities recover from the bushfire.
The facebook site has only recently been set up, so it is in a constant state of evolution, but the last update had:
We want to give something back to the hills communities that have been affected by these fires, and are continuing to be. So many of us have been horrified by the sights of the damage and loss, but we get to come back home again where it is all safe, and all normal.
We would like participants to make a $50 donation to one of the charities that have been established to help these communities, and the animals that have been injured. Many of us have already given, whether you have taken advantage of the many drop off points for goods, or made a cash donation, just think of this as your chance to help that little bit more.
We do not want to be heading up into the hills any sooner, as we would like to provide them space and time to commence the huge task of cleaning up, without impeding their progress.
This event has been created based on a suggestion by Peter Jenkin, and will proceed with support from Mark Reidy, Sam Farrell, Sarah Bricher and myself.
Port Adelaide Cycling Club have jumped on board and will be handling the registrations for us through the Cycling Australia site (links to follow)
This will be a poker run!
To be in the chance to win some awesome prizes you simply present your receipt from your $50 donation to the fire relief charity of your choice at the start to collect your first two cards. You collect your third card from the coffee stop and the final two cards for your poker hand at the finish line. The wining hands will get some truly awesome stuff (we just don’t know what yet).
Link here for further information <<<A Hills Ride to Remember – Poker Run>>>
Rightio, on with the first blog of 2015. It has been quite some time since my last post. The delay wasn’t intentional, a few things came up such as work and christmas that had me totally uninspired to sit down and pull together these blogs.
During that time I have considered just letting the whole thing drop, but with support from a number of people I have decided to carry it on, but I won’t necessarily be trying to get a blog out each week. If it flows, it flows, if not, there may be some weeks between postings. For those that have been in contact with me over the past years, I appreciate your support. For those who receive these postings but haven’t had cause to contact me, please do, even if just to say thanks, it all helps.
Rightio, now that I have had a chance to draw breath after rewarding Christmas and New Years , I decided to jump back on the bike with a look back over 2014.
A for Adelaide
What can I say? As an unabashed proud South Australian, I believe that Adelaide can provide some of the best and most accessible cycling in Australia. We don’t have the long mountain climbs that you see in the eastern seaboard or over in Tasmania, which are spectacular and I certainly wish we had some similar areas over here in Adelaide, however having the hills and the beach a short 20 minute ride from the Adelaide CBD, the accessibility is second to none in Australia. When you talk of the hills, the crisscrossing network of roads provides for numerous routes to be ridden without fear of boredom.
As some of you would have seen, I produced a simple map of 100+ climbs in and around Adelaide – refer this link here <<<adelaide climbs>>>. I have ridden almost all of them, a few still outstanding on my to do list.
A for Amys Gran Fondo
If there is one trip you make this year, make it Amys Gran Fondo. I rode the 2014 AGF with the Velo Porte team and had an absolute ball. Overall AGF organisation was very professional, the scenery along the closed Great Ocean Road was almost as spectacular as that on the Mount Hotham climb, and the overall weekend was a highlight of the year.
The 2015 AGF will take place on Sunday September 13th. Further information here <<< AGF>>>
A for Miss April
A for Miss August
B for Back Stage Pass
Orica Green Edge Backstage pass videos provided some terrific insight into the inner workings of a pro outfit. The interviews touched base with all aspects of the team, including the owner Gerry Ryan. The BSP’s also allowed the Aussies unique laid back style and larrikin sense of humour to shine through. Well done lads, I enjoyed the coverage.
Link here to the OGE Backstage Pass page <<<OGE BSP>>>
B for Bono
Love them or hate them, you cant elp but feel for U2 front man Bono who underwent 5 hours of surgery after a bicycle accident on a Sunday bloody Sunday in November in New York’s Central Park as the band prepared for a week of appearances on NBC’s The Tonight Show.
He sustained three separate fractures of his left shoulder blade, and fractures of his left humerus bone in his upper arm in six different places and tore through the skin of his arm. He also fractured an eye orbit.
The hospital referred to the incident as a “high energy bicycle accident”.The doctor said “He will require intensive and progressive therapy, however a full recovery is expected”.
B for Beijing.
The pollution in Beijing saw stage 2 of the last ever Tour of Beijing shortened. Philippe Gilbert won stage 2, which had been slashed from 147 km to 102km following complaints from riders.
The race was scheduled to run from Chongli to Yanqing on the outskirts of Beijing, but after days of thick smog in the Chinese capital, organizers ended the stage early “due to weather in Yanqing.”
“Air quality in Beijing has been very poor in the past few days and this has spread to surrounding areas including Yanqing,” read the race’s official Twitter feed.
C for Coffee
As in every state, there are many great cafes around town that attract cyclists. Popular ones that I frequent include:
- Red Berry Espresso (L’Estrange Street), great coffee and a popular cycling café
- Bicci (Hutt Street Adelaide). Good coffee, bake their own pastries. Donuts are popular.
- Ivy (Norwood Parade, Norwood). Coffee is ok, but almost guaranteed an outdoor table which is useful for Sunday rides
- Taylors (Hallet Road, Stoneyfell). Hard for cyclists to get an outside table. Great coffee served quickly. Much loved by everyone who has been through the door.
- The Grind (Norwood Parade, Norwood). Small café but good quick coffee.
- Argos (The Parade, Norwood). If you listen closely you can hear the money press in the rear room. Good coffee, opens early (6am I think) and popular early morning post ride stop for cyclists, but very hard to get a seat after 8am on any day.
C for Contador
Alberto Contador crashed during Stage 10 of the 2014 Tour de France and suffered a broken Tibia. Contador crashed on the descent of Petit Ballon and injured his knee. After receiving medical care and a new bike, Alberto was continued in an attempt to close the gap to the peloton. Tinkoff-Saxo’s attempt to bring Alberto back in the peloton was made difficult by the mountainous terrain and the high speed up front. After 20 kilometers of chasing Alberto was not able to pedal and abandoned the race due to his knee injury. The crash was actually Contador’s second of the day. He received a new bike from Nicholas Roche after an initial crash earlier in the stage.
C for Cameras
For the first time ever in the history of the UCI Road World Championships, selected bikes and riders were equipped with real time location technology and cameras as part of ongoing camera technology tests throughout the 2014 season.
The Shimano’s new CM-1000 camera was used in the Tour of California earlier in the year with promising results. One was attached to the front of Degenkolb’s handlebars via a K-Edge mount, and another on his leadout rider Ken Hanson, mounted to his seatpost.
The camera technology is quite good at the moment, and whilst broadcasting technology for “fixed” events like the F1 Grand Prix is quite sophisticated enabling not only high quality image transmission but also live telemetry race data, mobile transmission is still problematic as continually witnessed by motorcycle camera transmissions in the mountains, but I’m sure this will improve in the coming years. I suspect 2017 will see the first of live on-bike camera transmissions in some of the lesser races before a full introduction in 2018.
Last I heard, Go Pro were in talks with professional road teams to place its sports cameras on team bikes during major races in 2015.
C for Collarbone
Thomas Voeckler broke his collar bone when he crashed into a car during training in Adelaide fro the 2014 edition of the Tour Down Under. The accident happened on a ride near the Adelaide beach suburb of Glenelg just hours after his arrival with his Europcar team. He fractured the same collar bone for the first time in 2009 in the Paris-Nice event and again in a crash during the Amstel Gold Race last April. He had only had an operation 12 days earlier to remove the metal plate that was put in after that crash. Unfortunately for Thomas, he was struck by a car and broke his left collarbone just before the start of the Tour du Limousin in Limoges later in the year in August.
“This is my fourth clavicle fracture,” Voeckler said, “but this is the first time for my left [clavicle].
Simon Gerrans broke his left collarbone in training near his home town of Mansfield in country Victoria. The accident means Gerrans will not defend the Australian road championships and Tour Down Under titles in 2015. His team Orica-GreenEDGE said in a statement that Gerrans’ focus would now shift to the European spring classics.
About half way through my mountain bike ride I became a little unstuck, came down and landed pretty heavily on my left side,” Gerrans said.
C for Clenbuterol
Following positive Clenbuterol results on Michael Rogers at the 2013 Japan Cup, which he won, and Jonathan Breyne, in January the UCI issued letters to the national federations and recommended to its cyclists to not eat meat when in Mexico and China.
Rogers and Breyne’s suspension was subsequently quashed due to “a significant probability” that both riders produced positive tests through eating contaminated meat while racing in China.
C for Calendar
UCI president Brian Cookson announced a review of the cycling calendar, although any planned reconstructions will probably not occur till 2017.
D for Doping
As each year rolls over the optimism for a new clean cycling calendar has a tendency to drift through the frontal lobe, but there is that distant nagging voice in the rear lobe that reminds me that that is what I though last year. What can you say about team Astana. They took a few hits last year with positive results on five Kazakh cyclists tied to the Astana organisation, including brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy, and Ilya Davidenok, who tested positive for banned drugs.
Astana were granted a license to race in 2015, but they are on strict probation pending the result of the Padua investigation. They will be audited by the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne, to “determine whether and to what extent the team and or/its management is responsible of the recent events”. And there are clear guidelines for the withdrawal of their licence should the tsunami sweep Astana away.
The Padua inquiry is looking into alleged doping, illegal payments and tax evasion in cycling. It’s a vast inquiry centred on Ferrari and draws in many Italian and East European cyclists
D for Disc Brakes
Its good to see the slow trickle of disc brakes appearing on road bikes, however the UCI has been a little slower than expected with approval for use in road races. It appears that UCI will run Paris-Roubaix as a road disc test event in 2016, according to sources within the UCI and the cycling industry. The governing body was originally shooting for 2015, but Campagnolo’s slow movement toward discs and SRAM’s recent recall moved that optimistic timeline back. Even 2016 may be overly optimistic.”
D for #DJ Troll
SBS continued their superb cycling coverage throughout 2014. A standout for me during theTdF was the music pulled together for the vision montage at the end of the ad breaks. The boring parts of the tour had me awaiting the ads in anticipation of what the Troll would throw up next.
E for English Channel
Chris Froome tried to evade the expensive cross channel fares by slipping in through a side door and riding through the chunnel to France. Riding his Pinarello time trial bike, Froome completed the 50km crossing in about 55 minutes
F for France
In what was an anticipated showdown between Froome and Contador, and perhaps an expectation that once again Team Sky will grind down the opposition, unfortunately ended up to be a bit of a fizzle for Vincenzo Nibali after Fromes exit on Stage and Contadors exit on stage 10.
Surprisingly, Yorkshire put on a fabulous show over the first three stages that surprised everyone. Masses of crowds estimated to be in the millions crammed the Yorkshire Dales and Moorlands to put on a great show on the world stage. Even mother nature put on a fine showing with some great weather over the first few days, something almost unheard of in that part of the world.
Unfortunately for Britain, Mark Cavendish crashed in the sprint in stage 1, denying Cavendish and Britain a dream start to the start of the Tour de France. That same crash brought down Simon Gerrans and ultimately drew a heavy toll on the Australians hopes and ambitions for some stage wins in the tour.
F for Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso – Despite maintaining throughout the year that he was going to back a team in the 2015 season, the UCI confirmed in October that an Alonso backed team has not received a license to race in 2015. The UCI and Fernando are hopeful that he can back a team in the 2016 season.
F for Ferrari
Refer D above.
F for Miss February
G for Greipel
Greipel – Honorary South Australian Andre the Giant Greipel announced he will skip the 2015 Tour Down Under and instead look to the spring classics and Giro for early season racing. With 16 victories over a long season that stretched from January to October, Greipel notches the most wins of any international pro.
H for Hour Record
2014 saw the retirement from road racing of Jens Voigt, who then a month later broke the world hour record. Jens became the first rider crack 50 km ridden in the world hour record since the UCI modified the rules earlier 2014. Voigt bested the previous mark – set by Ondrej Sosenka on a standard bike without aerodynamic equipment in Moscow on July 19, 2005 – by more than a kilometer.
Voigt rode 51.115km, or more than 204 laps, over the hour on the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland.
A month later, Matthias Brändle beat Voigt’s record, riding 51.852km.
Since then, a number of other riders have come out announcing a 2015 attempt a the hour record, including
Jack Bobridge (Australian) January 31, 2015 DISC velodrome, Melbourne,
Rohan Dennis (Australian) February 8, 2015 Velodrome Suisse, Grenchen,
Alex Dowsett (Briton) February 27, 2015 London’s Lee Valley VeloPark velodrome
Alex Rasmussen (Danish) August 2015
Thomas Dekker (Dutch) – no date set
Bradley Wiggins (Briton) – no date set but thought to be late 2015, early 2016
I for Ireland
Ireland hosted the first 3 days of the Giro, with OGE taking out the TTT to give them the Pink Jersey, and Maarcel Kittel winning stages 2 and 3 sprints.
J for Miss January
J for Miss June
J for Miss July
K for Kwiatkowske.
A superb win at the 2014 World Championships Road Race in Ponferrada Spain, riding for Poland. Aware that the big nations such as Italy and Spain would be watching each other (how many times do they do that and how often do they leave it too late?), Kwiatkowski had his men sit on the front riding tempo from way out, allowing him to stay controlled and relaxed near the front. At the 7km mark they chased down the leading pack. With 5km to go, a “fresh” Kwiatkowski had done little until he broke free but sit behind his teammates’ all day, attacked the leaders and never looked back.
M for Mavic
2014 saw Mavic celebrate their 125th Birthday.
M for Million Dollar Euro Challenge.
Russian businessman and owner of team Tinkoff-Saxo, Oleg Tinkov’s challenged his rider Alberto Contador, Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Chris Froome to race all three grand tours in 2015. He offered one million Euros ($1,264,750) to split between all riders if they raced all three grand tours in 2015.
Tinkov explained that he would offer one million Euros to the riders if they took the challenge and raced the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España, all in 2015. If the four accept, they could let the winner take the total prize or split it four ways, 250,000 Euros each.
M for Miss March
M for Miss May
N for National Road Series
New Zealand’s Joseph Cooper (Avanti Racing) overcame a mid-season fractured pelvis to be crowned the 2014 Subaru National Road Series champion after a close season finishing off in Inverell
N for Need to buy a new bike.
My current bike is an EMC Team Equipe, purchased from Trek Cycles in Norwood from Darren O’Grady, way back in 2009, making it just over 5 years old. Given that 1 human year is equivalent to 10 bike years, my “55” year old bike needs to be upgraded. It creaks and groans like a 50 year old should and does, and short of major surgery, it doesn’t have much longer to go.
My local mechanic down at Corsa Cycle Centre gave me a heads up about 10 months ago that the rims were wearing thin and I needed to start to think about my next bike. The wheels have a slight buckle that is the result of dings in the rim and that can’t be easily trued out. The wife has picked up on my not so subtle hints about the bike. What even helped was having a mate of mine over from WA for a few days, he hired a bike from Velo Porte, and for a short time one afternoon before the spanking new bike was sitting on the back porch in clear site of the lounge and kitchen. My lovely wife took the cue and started asking questions about new bikes, cost, styling etc. So I think I have approval, but that being said, I still have a daughter with 2 years of Private school so it will need to be a very considered and price targeted purchase. I will accept sponsorship if anyone was thinking
O for Orica Green Edge
Team officials confirmed that Orica will remain a sponsor of Orica-GreenEdge and Orica-AIS through the 2016 season.
Orica Green Edge had another strong season, but unfortunately were unable to build in the success of the 2013 tdf results due to a number of incidents including a pre race crash for Mchael Matthews, the stage 1 crash of Simon Gerrans and the pre race withdrawal of Daryl Impey who tested positive in both A and B samples for probenecid in the South African Nationals earlier in the year also did not help. Probenecid is a diuretic and possible masking agent. Daryl was subsequently cleared.
The squad won the Giros opening team time trial and two other stages, and held the pink jersey through stage 8. Michael Matthews wore the Pink for 6 days.
Gerrans became the first Australian to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the race’s 100th edition, although like many other races, the hard luck story here was Dan Martins crash on a left-hander with 250 meters to the line when it looked like he had the race won.
O for O’Grady
After his retirement from racing following his admission of using EPO in preparation for the 1998 Tour de France, it is good to see Stuart moving on with a number of ventures including moving into the public speaking realm, setting up a new cycling venture called, funnily enough, Stuart O’Grady Cycling, and setting up a venture with retired local football star Nathan Eagleton for a new Victoria Park grandstand cycling ‘hub’.
His next offering of significance,is an all-inclusive deluxe long weekend at the Santos Tour Down Under.
Witness Cadel Evans’ final tour in style 3 nights luxury accommodation, dinner & drinks with Stuart, Jens Voigt & Mick Rogers and others from the pro peloton.
Watch the race go by from the Victory Hotel , the finest hotel restaurant along the Adelaide beaches. Stay, wine & dine at Chapel Hill friday night (exclusive wine tasting with chief wine-makers on arrival), Friday meet riders/mechanics/soigneurs in the race village before the start. Saturday watch the race atop Willunga Hill in VIP hospitality and viewing. Saturday night LEGENDS dinner. Sunday VIP hospitality trackside at the final stage.
Further details here <<<Stuart O’Grady Cycling>>>
M for Miss October
P for Paris Roubaix
Niki Terpstra leaped away from an elite group of contenders in the final kilometres to win a dry, dusty Paris-Roubaix. Terpstra hit the Roubaix velodrome alone, 19 seconds ahead of the pursuit
P for Pantini
It seems that Marco just won’t leave us alone. The bald Italian climber was kicked out the 1999 Giro after failing an anti-doping test that indicated EPO use. Following a brief comeback that included two Tour stage wins in 2000, he died at Rimini’s Le Rose on February 14.
Marco Pantani’s death remains hotly disputed in Italy where a new inquiry was exploring the possible murder of the 1998 Giro d’Italia and Tour de France winner. Five investigating police officers have taken offence at the media lynching and have asked their lawyers to sue those discrediting their work.
Q for Quintana
With two stage wins and six days in the maglia rosa, Nairo Quintana became the first Columbian to win the Giro d’Italia. Unsurprisingly the number of Colombian cycling fans at the race grew every day, turning his victory into a daily celebration of Colombian cycling. By the time the Giro d’Italia ended in Trieste on Sunday, the yellow, blue and red Colombian flags were everywhere, creating a special atmosphere as the national colours of Colombia mixed with Giro d’Italia pink.
The crowd sang the Colombian national along with Quintana on the final podium as he tenderly held his baby daughter Marian in his arms.
R – Retirement
Those announcing retirement and or finishing their cycling career in 2014 included:
Cadel Evans will bring an end to his stellar career on home roads with the Tour Down Under and then the Great Ocean Road Race on February 1.
Thor Hushold, the ‘God of Thunder” won the worlds road title in 2010, was the first Norwegian to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, won the green jersey and has 10 individual stage wins to his credit at the Tour.
Jens Voigt, will remain with Trek Factory Racing in a new role as advisor, coach, and sport director at select races.
Andy Schlek, 2010 Tour de France champion announced his retirement from cycling at 29 years old
R for 2014 UCI World Tour Results
21 Jan-26 Jan 2014 Santos Tour Down Under Australia – Simon Gerrans
09 Mar-16 Mar 2014 Paris – Nice France Alberto Betancur
12 Mar-18 Mar 2014 Tirreno – Adriatico Italy Alberto Contador
23 Mar 2014 Milano – Sanremo Italy Alexander Kristoff
24 Mar-30 Mar 2014 Volta Ciclista A Catalunya Spain Joaquin Rodriguez
28 Mar 2014 E3 Harelbeke Belgium Peter Sagan
30 Mar 2014 Gent – Wevelgem In Flanders Fields Belgium John Degenkolb
06 Apr 2014 Ronde Van Vlaanderen / Tour Des Flandres Belgium Fabian Cancellara
07 Apr-12 Apr 2014 Vuelta Ciclista Al Pais Vasco Spain Alberto Contador
13 Apr 2014 Paris – Roubaix France Niki Terpstra
20 Apr 2014 Amstel Gold Race Netherlands Philippe Gilbert
23 Apr 2014 La Flèche Wallonne Belgium Alejandro Valverde
27 Apr 2014 Liège – Bastogne – Liège Belgium Simon Gerrans
29 Apr-04 May 2014 Tour De Romandie Switzerland Christopher Froome
09 May-01 Jun 2014 Giro D’italia Italy Alexander Quintana
08 Jun-15 Jun 2014 Critérium Du Dauphiné France Andrew Talansky
14 Jun-22 Jun 2014 Tour De Suisse Switzerland Rui Da Costa
05 Jul-27 Jul 2014 Tour De France France Vincenzo Nibali
02 Aug 2014 Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian Spain Alejandro Valverde
03 Aug-09 Aug 2014 Tour De Pologne Poland Tim Rafal Majka
11 Aug-17 Aug 2014 Eneco Tour Netherlands Wellens
23 Aug-14 Sep 2014 Vuelta A España Spain Alberto Contador
12 Sep 2014 Grand Prix Cycliste De Québec Canada Simon Gerrans
14 Sep 2014 Grand Prix Cycliste De Montréal Canada Simon Gerrans
21 Sep 2014 Championnats Du Monde Uci / Uci World Championships Spain Michel Kwiatowski
05 Oct 2014 Il Lombardia Italy Daniel Martin
10 Oct-14 Oct 2014 Tour Of Beijing China Philippe Gilbert
S for Suicide
2014 brought the sad news of Robin Williams suicide. Robin wasn’t just someone who went to hang out at big races such as the Tour de France, ; he was a huge fan of all things cycling, and passionate about riding. RIP Robin.
S for Selfies
With the growing importance of posting selfies on Social Media, the internet was almost broken with the selfies from the millions of Britains who attended the YorkshireGrand Depart. Anumber of these drew the of the peloton, with Tejay van Garderen calling the whole craze “a dangerous mix of vanity and stupidity,”
S for Stelvio
Stage 16 of the Giro saw a farcical descent of the Stelvio in horrendous conditions. With the weather closing in and freezing conditions hitting the riders, Giro officials made an announcement near the snowbound Stelvio summit that motorcycles with red flags would guide the peloton through the upper switchbacks, and that no rider should attack under the red flag. The descent was to be neutralized, meaning that no rider was to ride aggressively, or for an advantage, on the way down
As the majority of riders, many under the assumption that the descent was neutralized, stopped at the Stelvio summit to put on extra layers of clothes and take hot drinks, others pushed on. Six riders at the head of affairs slipped away on the long, twisting Stelvio descent to open a decisive gap on the pink jersey group.
Hesjedal linked up with Pierre Rolland, eventual stage winner Nairo Quintana, Quintana’s teammate Gorka Iguirre, and two others. Midway down the twisting descent, the gap was up to 50 seconds. At the base of the valley, it was hovering near two minutes.
In the ensuing confusion, there were varying interpretations of what exactly that meant. Was the entire descent neutralized? Were riders not allowed to race?
In the aftermath, no times were altered, no penalties given, and Quintana went on to win the race, whch he would have anyway.
S for See through.
Team Sky’s’ attempt for marginal gains took a slightly farcical direction with their Rapha see through Jerseys that had the riders reaching for the balm.
S for Slick
Confusion reigned on the road to Bari in Stage 4 of the Giro. With the usually dusty roads slickened due to heavy rain as the peloton approached Bari, the race organisers eventually nuetralised the finish of the race, but allowed the sprinters to fight it out for points.
S for Miss September
T for Taylor Phinney
Taylor Phinney broke his leg in a nasty high speed downhill crash into Armco barriers at the American Nationals, leaving him with an extraordinary set of tram tracks down his leg after surgery.
U for 2015 UCI Pro Team licenses
AG2R La Mondiale
Astana Pro Team
Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team (merger of Cannondale with Garmin to form the one team)
Etixx – Quick-Step (formerly Omega Pharma Quickstep)
IAM Cycling (New Pro Cycling team, formerly UCI Continental team)
Lotto Soudal (formerly Lotto Belisol)
Team Giant-Alpecin (formerly Giant Shimano)
Team LottoNL-Jumbo (formerly Belkin)
Trek Factory Racing
And what now for Europcar who could not get the necessary backing guarantees and were denied a WorldTour license for 2015. The news also that Europcar announced that 2015 will be its last season supporting Bernadeau’s French outfit does not auger well for the French riders.
V for Velon
2015 saw Eleven WorldTour teams form a new commercial venture called Velon, whos primary objective is to create a more sustainable business model that is not entirely dependent on sponsorship revenue.
The two foremost initiatives that Velon is focused on include adding race action to the sport’s television production, via on-bike cameras and telemetry, and working with the UCI to streamline the race calendar, to create a “season-long narrative” which fans can easily understand.
W for World Road Rankings
1 – 686 points – Alejandro Valverde Esp: Movistar
2 – 620 points – Alberto Contador Esp: Tinkoff-Saxo
3 – 478 POINTS Simon Gerrans Aus: Orica Greenedge
4 – 461 POINTS Rui Da Costa Portugal: Lampre-Merida
5 – 392 Points Vincenzo Nibali Italy: Astana
6 – 346 Points Nairo Quintana Columbia: Movistar
7 – 326 points Chris Froome Great Britain: Team Sky
8 – 321 Points Alexander Kristoff Norway: Team Katusha
9 – 316 points Daniel Martin Ireland Garmin Sharp
10 – 300 points Jean-Christophe Peraud France: Ag2r La Mondiale
Valverde claims the individual title, Movistar wins the team classification, and Spain is best country in final WorldTour standings
W for Wiggins
Leaving Wiggins out from the Team Sky TdF team due to reported personality clashes turned out to be a calamitous decision for Team Sky First Froome withdrew from the race after an accumulation of multiple crashes over multiple days, and then Plan B Richie Porte, who would clocked up a few gap payments from the number of times he reported to the medical room over 2014, clocked up onje his worst rides in the tour and consequently Team Sky slid into tour oblivion.
Meanwhile, over at Team Wiggo, whilst it was a patchy year, he won the Tour of California in May, he had to settle for silver in the velodrome in the team pursuit at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games (won by Australia) and was able to grab a road world title with a thrilling time trial victory at the World Championships in Ponferrada. Wiggo beat three-time champion Tony Martin by 26.23 seconds on a hilly 47.1km course in Spain.
X for Shimano XTR Di2
Shimano took the electronics a step further, creating a shifting platform that riders can customize more than they’ve ever been able to on the Di2 E-tube road drivetrains.
The XTR Di2 is the first predictive shift system to hit the market. It auto-shifts the front derailleur based on the position of the rear derailleur. A double-chainring configuration can be ridden without a front shifter thanks to the Synchro software.
The price tag at over $3,000 for a double-ring setup is astronomical, but no doubt it will come down over the next few years as the technology is improved, used more extensively and “copied” by others.
Y for Yellow
Winner of the 2014 Tour de France in what turned out to be a bit of a fizzer after Frrome and Contador withdrew after crashes. There is no doubt however that he was a worthy winner and not only marshalled his team superbly to keep him out of danger, but also took the reins on some of the climbs to simply outclass the remainder. His effort on the cobbles where all were falling around him on the wet slippery stage 5 was quite possibly the day he announced his intention for this race,.
Some of Nibali’s numbers for 2014 from La Gazzetta include: 32,584km, 996 hours in the saddle, average speed 32kmh, 153,274 kCals consumed, max descent speed of 102km p h stage 7 tdf. Mighty impressive figures. Lets hope that despite the scandal at Astana who are managed by ex-doper Alexander Vinokourov, Vincenzo’s year was a clean one.
Whilst taking a long time to get his first win, Nibali won the Italian national road race in the lead up to the TdF.
Z for Zoncalan.
After a horrid start to the year, what with his temporary suspension following his win at the Japan Cup in 2013 with a positive test for Clenbuterol, and then the withdrawal of the suspension in 2014, Michael Rogers came storming back with 2 stage wins at the Vuelta. His second stage win up the mighty Zoncolan was quite probably his best career win. The mighty Zoncolan features incredible steep sections of more than 22 percent, and has a long, sustained 14-percent average in the middle of the climb. It must be said, and not taking anything away from Rogers, he benefited in part from the misfortune of Francesco Bongiorno, who had to stop after a fan, seemingly intending to push him uphill, only pushed him into Rogers’ back wheel. Rogers rode alone from that moment, grinding his way up the Zoncolan, one of Europe’s most difficult and infamous climbs
till next time