VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Fri, 29 Jul 2016 18:41:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://velonews.competitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/cropped-Velonews_favicon-2-32x32.png VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com 32 32 Non-profit Israeli team aims for grand tour debut http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/non-profit-israeli-team-aims-for-grand-tour-debut_414530 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/non-profit-israeli-team-aims-for-grand-tour-debut_414530#respond Fri, 29 Jul 2016 18:06:51 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=414530 After only two years of racing, Israel's non-profit pro team, the Cycling Academy Team, is ready to move up to the Pro Continental level

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After only two years of racing, Israel’s non-profit pro team, the Cycling Academy Team, is ready to move up to the Pro Continental level following a successful spring campaign with stage wins in the Tour de Beauce, Tour of Hungary, and seven national championship titles.

Ron Baron, owner and founder of the Academy, notes the diversity that his team brings to the world of professional cycling. The team is comprised of riders from Namibia, Canada, USA, Estonia, Czech Republic, and Mexico and “…just like Israel, the team is a melting-pot. As far as I know, we are also the only non-profit organization in the world of professional cycling,” says Baron.

The Academy’s new board of directors member, Sylvan Adams, has decided that after the recent success of the team it is time to “step up to the higher league.” The team is planning to move to the Pro Continental ranks in 2017.

The team endeavors to compete in the Tour of California and the classics in 2017, as well as a grand tour debut in 2018. One of the Academy’s main goals is to support the development of Israeli riders, who represent the majority of team riders.

American rider, Chris Butler, answered a few questions about the dynamics and goals of the growing team.

What is the team dynamic like? (especially considering that next year the team will be Pro Continental)

“The team is probably one of the most diverse teams in the peloton, We have six Israelis then nine riders all from different countries and continents. But the diversity really unites us, we all are racing in European countries far from home. Everyone speaks English perfectly, and the team atmosphere is great. We all love being around together at the races, training camps or the team house in Italy, we are all such good friends that it makes racing for one another so rewarding.”

What are the team goals for next year and what are your individual goals for the future?

“The team goals are to be pro-conti in 2017 and ride a grand tour on 2018; they said this from day one in the training camp last October when it was just a small team. These are lofty goals, but everyone is doing the maximum to make this possible. The team gives opportunities to Israeli riders, and wants to see them towards the top of the sport and hopefully we will get a lot of firsts when some of these guys down the road.

“But we want to show that Israel is a big supporter of cultural, artistic, and athletic advancement of their own and others. I spent over a month there in December, and I can’t put into words the communal love the Israeli culture has for one another, they are such a supportive, tight-knit set of people that are always giving a helping hand. For me personally, I want to continue to have success in Europe, I definitely want to win a stage or GC in an 2.1 or HC stage race next year in Europe, which is quite rare for Americans, but I have my eye on a few good chances.”

How have the successful races for the team this past spring such as the Tour of Hungary and Tour de Beauce had an impact on the team while getting ready to move up the ranks?

“Those are great 2.2’s [UCI stage races], and to get a ton of results in Beauce and in Europe shows we are ready to bump it up to another level. Guillaume [Boivin], [Dan] Craven, and I are a little bit older and have done some of these bigger races with some results and then we have some really good looking young guys (Mihkel Raim, Daniel Turek, Luis Lemus) as well as some really hungry riders, so it’s pretty cool they are ‘taking’ this team to the top as a unit which is pretty special, because ‘group success’ tastes so much sweeter than individual glory.”

Butler won the Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Hill Climb this past Saturday, July 23. He finished with a 40-second lead over second-place finisher Fortunato Ferrara.

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GoPro Beyond the Race: Behind the scenes with Giant – Alpecin’s crew http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/partnerconnect/gopro-beyond-race-behind-scenes-giant-alpecins-crew_416474 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/partnerconnect/gopro-beyond-race-behind-scenes-giant-alpecins-crew_416474#respond Fri, 29 Jul 2016 17:44:23 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416474 Get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be part of one of the world's most elite cycling teams: Team Giant – Alpecin.

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To compete in the Tour de France, it takes a dedicated team that works around the clock. Get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be part of one of the world’s most elite cycling teams: Team Giant – Alpecin.

Shot 100% on the HERO4® camera from GoPro.com.

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Photos: The most dramatic moments from week 1 of the Tour http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/gallery/photos-the-most-dramatic-moments-from-week-1-of-the-tour_416361 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/gallery/photos-the-most-dramatic-moments-from-week-1-of-the-tour_416361#respond Fri, 29 Jul 2016 16:38:22 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416361 BrakeThrough Media revisits the drama of the Tour's first week, from the shores of Normandy to the high mountains of the Pyrenees.

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Le Grand Départ of the 2016 edition Tour de France commenced in Manches-Normandie. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The peloton rolled out on the neutral start against the famed backdrop of the Mont Saint-Michel. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Stage 1 traversed the Normandy coastline bringing the race to the storied beaches of WWII battles for liberation. Photo: Léon van Bon / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Mark Cavendish rejoiced in his stage 1 victory at Utah Beach. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com The Lotto – Soudal squad joined together to support their fallen teammate — still in a coma — with "Fight for Stig" wristbands. Photo: Léon van Bon / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Mark Cavdendish played the coy boy to the chorus of Moulin Rouge girls in Saint-Lô. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com World champion Peter Sagan and Julian Alaphilippe went head to head in the sprint to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The publicity caravan passsed through the start in Granville passing out trinkets and goodies to spectators. Photo: Léon van Bon / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com André Greipel sprinted for the line in the final meters at Angers. Photo: Léon van Bon / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Mark Cavendish awaited news from the jury about the hotly contested sprint with Greipel in stage 3. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com The peloton rolled through scenic villages and byways of the Massif Central. Photo: Léon van Bon / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Marcel Kittel and Bryan Coquard shoulder-checked each other in yet another intense sprint finish on stage 4. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com News reached Marcel Kittel after the jury had to deliberate on the photo finish in Limoges. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Mechanics got busy with the daily task of keeping riders' bikes and wheels in top condition during the Tour de France. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The race got underway on stage 5 in Limoges. Photo: Léon van Bon / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Fans awaited the arrival of the race along the course to Le Lioran — could be the best seats in the whole of the Tour de France. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Greg Van Avermaet claimed a heroic win and captured the yellow jersey on stage 5 into Le Lioran. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The podium flowers flew through a sea of blue into the crowd. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Newly-minted maillot à pois Thomas de Gendt was the first to arrive at the start line in Arpajon-Sur-Cére. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Back-to-back days of blaring sun forced some fans to seek shelter amid the foliage. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Mark Cavendish was congratulated by sprint rival Daniel McLay (Fortuneo - Vital Concept) after the line in Montauban. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The peloton passed through fields of sunflowers while a race photographer captured the moment among the bloom. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com The official Tour de France time keeper, or ardoisière, Claire Pedrono led the front of the peloton through the iconic hay fields of France en route to the Pyrénées. Photo: Léon van Bon / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The group of favorites crested the Col d'Aspin on the first big mountain stage of the 2016 Tour de France in the Hautes Pyrénées. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com The hors categorie climb, Col du Tourmalet, presented the perfect foreshadowing for the punishing climbs to come in the Pyrénées. Photo: Leon Van Bon / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Romain Bardet and Joaquim Rodriguez pushed through the fans and the effort on the Col de Peyresourde just 15 kilmometers before the finish in Bagnères-de-Luchon. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Chris Froome risked it all on the descent of the Col de Peyresourde into Bagnères-de-Luchon to steal the day and the yellow jersey on stage 8. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Pierre Rolland arrived at the finish in Bagnères-de-Luchon bloodied but not broken. Photo: Leon Van Bon / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Maillot jaune Chris Froome received the media at the start of stage 9 in Spain. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Just 19 kilometers into the stage, the leaders climbed up the category 1 Port de la Bonaigua in the Spanish Pyrénées. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Peter Sagan descended the day's first big climb en route to the finish of week one in Andorra. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Alberto Contador abandoned the race midway through stage 9 after suffering from multiple injuries and a lack of recovery that plagued his first week. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Tom Dumoulin stole the show on the hors categorie finish in Andorre Arcalis despite freezing temperatures, hail, and wind. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Andorra's local hero Rodriguez showed signs of the day's conditions, efforts, and tempo. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Under the watchful eye of a Cannondale – Drapac soigneur Rolland braced against the frigid rain after the finish line in Andorre Arcalis. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com The climb up to Andorre Arcalis brought the Tour's first week to a close with a dramatic finale. Photo: Leon Van Bon / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

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Nibali and Italy prepare for the Olympics http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/nibali-italy-prepare-olympics_416353 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/nibali-italy-prepare-olympics_416353#respond Fri, 29 Jul 2016 14:55:47 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416353 Vincenzo Nibali is a top favorite at the Rio Olympics, which he says may be his last chance to win a gold medal on a course that favors him.

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MILAN (VN) — Vincenzo Nibali and Italy’s Squadra Azzurra are preparing for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics road race Friday in Fiuggi, south of Rome. Nibali says that it is his second goal of the season after the Giro d’Italia, which he won in May.

Nibali, twice winner of the Giro, the 2014 Tour de France, and the 2010 Vuelta a España, knows Fiuggi’s roads well. His wife comes from the area and in the city known for its magical water, they married.

“[The road race] won’t be easy, but given that course and the team we have, we can do very well,” 31-year-old Nibali said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. “And given my age, I think it’ll be my last chance.”

Nibali is training with Astana teammate Diego Rosa, BMC’s Damiano Caruso and Alessandro De Marchi. Friday night, team Astana’s Fabio Aru arrives in Fiuggi.

Here Pope Boniface VIII and Michelangelo tapped into Fiuggi’s water, which flows through volcanic deposits in the nearby mountains. Soon afterward, royalty around Europe were having bottles shipped to them. Today, drinking water of the same name is sold worldwide.

The water and perhaps blessings from his in-laws might help Nibali, although he is already a favorite, along with Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Portugal’s Rui Costa (Lampre – Merida) and Ireland’s Daniel Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step). Besides success in grand tours, Nibali won Il Lombardia in 2015, and placed second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and third in Milano-Sanremo.

The Tour de France left some question marks for critics, but Nibali said that he had always intended to help teammate Aru and target certain stages. On the last mountain day to Morzine, he attacked free and played for the stage win until Ion Izagirre (Movistar) rode clear.

Thursday and Friday, Nibali rode through the countryside with his teammates and with his coach Paolo Slongo. Saturday, they fly to Rio de Janeiro from Rome.

“He wasn’t yet in top form at the start of the Tour,” Slongo told the Corriere dello Sport on Friday. “Vincenzo’s worked well and in the end, left the Tour as we had hoped. A one-day race like the Olympics is always hard to interpret, but we are going to arrive in the best form possible.”

De Marchi could attack early in the 241.5-kilometer course, perhaps along the coast east toward Rio, but Caruso, Rosa, and Aru should ride close by Nibali’s side until the final circuits.

The 8.5-kilometer climb on the Vista Chinesa circuit is repeated three times. Nibali earlier this year compared it to the famous Ghisallo climb in Il Lombardia, which he won last year.

“At the start very difficult, a part with a descent, then climbing for three kilometers,” he said. “With a course this hard, I think it’ll be decided on the Vista Chinesa, in particular, on that last switchback.”

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Costa, 18, gets opportunity with Etixx – Quick-Step http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/costa-18-gets-opportunity-etixx-quick-step_416347 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/costa-18-gets-opportunity-etixx-quick-step_416347#respond Fri, 29 Jul 2016 14:13:44 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416347 Adrien Costa, an 18-year-old American, emerges as a top cyclist and has a chance to prove himself with Belgian Etixx – Quick-Step team.

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American Adrien Costa is getting an opportunity to prove himself with a WorldTour team after three years of brilliant results in the junior ranks. The 18-year-old Californian will race as a stagiaire on the Etixx – Quick-Step team for the remainder of 2016.

This season, one of Costa’s biggest achievements was winning the overall at Tour de Bretagne — a first for any American. But the rider, who has raced with Axeon Hagens Berman up to this point in 2016, was proving himself on the international stage as early as 2014, when he was merely 16 years old. That season, He won the overall at the Swiss Tour du Pays de Vaud, winning stages 2 and 3.

Costa is a particularly capable time trial rider, having finished second twice in the world junior time trial championships, in 2014 in Ponferrada, Spain, and the following year in Richmond, Virginia. Along the way, he won the prestigious junior stage race, Tour de l’Abitibi, in Canada, and successfully defended his title at Pays de Vaud.

Riding as a stagiaire, or a trainee, is a way for a young rider to try out for a pro team, which could potentially lead to a full contract if all goes well. Etixx said that Costa would debut for the Belgian team sometime in September.

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Week in Tech: Cancellara’s custom Trek and more http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/bikes-and-tech/week-in-tech-cancellaras-custom-trek-and-more_416320 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/bikes-and-tech/week-in-tech-cancellaras-custom-trek-and-more_416320#respond Fri, 29 Jul 2016 13:24:22 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416320 Tech news this week includes list-worthy tools from Silca and the ability to get your hands on a bike that matches Fabian Cancellara's.

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Here’s the Week in Tech — all the gear news, tips, and announcements you need and none of the marketing gibberish you don’t.

Silca strikes again with lust-worthy new tools

Photo: Silca
Photo: Silca

Silca adds to its line of premium bike tools and pumps with a new five-position multi-ratchet tool called the T-Ratchet and a torque measuring extender called the Ti-Torque. The Indianapolis-based company rolled out a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development and manufacturing of these two new portable tools. With 19 days still to go in the campaign, Silca has raised more than $200,000, crushing the company’s original goal of $25,000.

The five-position T-Ratchet weighs 60 grams and magnetically converts between a T-handle tool, a thumb-stabilized ratchet tool, and a flag-handled screwdriver. It uses a Silca-designed, 72-tooth ratchet mechanism for a refined engagement. The Ti-Torque tool is a 100mm-long extender for the T-Ratchet and displays torque measurements on its side; it is capable of measuring 0-8Nm torque readings.

Read More >>

Cancellara commemorative Trek bikes now available

Photo: Trek
Photo: Trek

To celebrate the impressive career of cycling’s favorite Swiss rider, Trek is offering Madone or Domane bikes with the same colorful paint scheme of Fabian Cancellara’s custom farewell Tour de France frame that we checked out here. Conceptualized by Trek graphic designer Brian Linstrom, Cancellara’s bike was hand-painted in Waterloo, Wisconsin, and features Spartacus’s palmares and the jerseys he has worn throughout his 16-year professional career.

Read More >>

Today’s Plan offers new fitness tracking metric

Photo: Today's Plan
Photo: Today’s Plan

Today’s Plan has developed a new “Performance Index” algorithm for its training analytic platform that allows cyclists who train with a power meter to gauge fitness and strength as a single number. The performance index turns the rider’s recent peak power performances into a number between zero and one thousand, so cyclists can quickly interpret fitness gains and losses. The algorithm was developed in conjunction with Dr. Daniel Green, the Head of Sports Science for the Trek – Segafredo team.

Read More >>

Shimano launches Explorer urban cycling collection

Photo: Shimano
Photo: Shimano

Shimano’s new Explorer collection integrates a line of technology-driven products with more relaxed fits and stylish touches for cyclists who commute, tour, or ride for fun and fitness. Designed for performance on and off the bike, the collection includes apparel, jackets, gloves, accessories, bags, and Shimano’s SPD and Click’r footwear. The Explorer products include discrete reflective technology for added safety during dawn, dusk, and nighttime riding. The apparel is constructed with moisture-wicking and quick-dry fabrics that offer UV protection and anti-bacterial treatments.

Read More >>

New extra large and colorful Polar Bottle options

Photo: Polar Bottles
Photo: Polar Bottles

Polar Bottles launched two new lines of insulated water bottles, the Big 42 and the Color Series, which will hit stores in early 2017. The 42-ounce Big 42 line features the same design and details as Polar’s bestselling insulated bottles but with added fluid capacity for your biggest adventure rides. The Color Series transforms the look of Polar’s 24-ounce bottles with bold, opaque coloring and an upgraded high-flow cap.

Read More >>

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Talansky: It’s been two years since I rode my best http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/talansky-its-been-two-years-since-i-rode-my-best_416215 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/talansky-its-been-two-years-since-i-rode-my-best_416215#respond Fri, 29 Jul 2016 12:39:15 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416215 American Andrew Talansky has been on a two-year form-finding mission, and hopes it pays off at the upcoming Vuelta a España.

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Andrew Talansky watched this year’s Tour de France broadcast, in case you were wondering.

Talansky spent July in Truckee, California, training for the upcoming Vuelta a España, the grand tour he has chosen to race this year instead of the Tour. Each morning, Talansky prepared his breakfast and then flipped on the Tour, something he hadn’t done since his days a young up-and-comer.

As he watched the broadcast, Talansky cheered on his Cannondale – Drapac teammates and gaped at the dominance of Chris Froome and Team Sky. He watched the peloton slog up into the Alps and Pyrénées, and marveled at how a sport as painful as cycling can appear so easy on television.

Not once did he regret staying home.

“There was no part of watching it that was bittersweet, or made me wish I was racing it,” Talansky says. “I enjoyed being a spectator. From day one there was no part of me that was second guessing my decision not to go.”

Enjoying his spot on the sidelines during the sport’s biggest race may seem odd for a rider whose nickname “Pit Bull” stems from his aggressive, attacking style. To be fair, the last time Talansky had the opportunity to view the Tour — in 2014 he abandoned after a string of painful crashes — he kept the TV off.

This year is different. Talansky says he is at peace with his decision to skip the Tour. He believes that giving himself three months of solid training will help him regain his top form — something he has not achieved since 2014.

“It just feels like a long time since I’ve ridden at the level that I know I’m capable of,” Talansky says.

Since the beginning of 2015, Talansky has struggled with lingering illnesses, a family crisis, and crashes. He has entered races looking to grab quick bursts of fitness, rather than to win. It’s not the route Talansky prefers, but for two seasons, he played along, hoping that a miracle burst of form would come his way. It never did.

This spring, Talansky was fed up. He made a deliberate, calculated decision to bypass the world’s biggest bike race in favor of the Vuelta. Now, Talansky is betting that Spain’s tour — which runs August 20 through September 11 — will serve as his springboard back into the small circle of grand tour contenders.

“I never want to race unless I’m at my absolute best,” Talansky says. “And the last time I was really at my best was the 2014 Tour de France, and I didn’t even get anything to show for it.”

Talansky says the last time he raced at his best was the 2014 Tour de France. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Talansky says the last time he raced at his best was the 2014 Tour de France. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Talansky’s crash on stage 7 of the 2014 Tour marked a painful bookend to the development phase of his career, which saw him make otherworldly strides in a handful of years. In a story now often repeated in American cycling, Talansky approached Cannondale general manager Jonathan Vaughters at the summit of the Gila Monster stage of the 2010 Tour of the Gila and asked for a job. Within the year, he was racing in Europe on Vaughters’s squad.

Talansky’s career took off almost as soon as he entered the WorldTour. His palmares from 2011-2014 reads like the bragging list of Tour de France greats. Best young rider, 2011 Tour de Romandie. Winner, 2012 Tour de l’Ain. Second place, 2012 Tour de Romandie. Seventh place, 2012 Vuelta a España. Second place, 2013 Paris-Nice. Tenth place, 2013 Tour de France.

The last result on Talansky’s development scorecard is the big one: Winner, 2014 Criterium du Dauphine.

“That was this huge honor — a huge honor for my career and my life,” Talansky says. “When an opportunity presents itself, you’re going to try and win a race like that.”

When viewed through the lens of grand tour progression, Talansky’s early career points toward eventual podium finishes at the Tour, the Giro, or the Vuelta. He scored impressive results at challenging one-week stage races, where his time trialing and climbing could shine.

The results from his early career nearly mirror this year’s Tour runner-up Romain Bardet, who also turned heads from ages 22-25. Winner, 2013 Tour de l’Ain. Fourth place, 2014 Volta a Catalunya. Sixth place, 2015 Criterium du Dauphine. Ninth place, 2015 Tour de France. Second place, 2016 Criterium du Dauphine.

And then there’s the big one for Bardet: Second place, 2016 Tour de France.

Unlike Bardet, Talansky’s upward line of progression plateaued after his 2014 Tour DNF.

Talansky says he’s moved on from the 2014 race, which saw him hit the deck multiple times before he abandoned. The most infamous crash occurred in the waning meters of stage 7, when he touched wheels with Australian Simon Gerrans in the sprint. The crash, he says, gave him some valuable perspective on his relationship with the peloton.

“There’s not a rider in the peloton who cares that you’re on the form of your life, and it’s the race you need to win, and you crash,” Talansky says. “That ends up being your own personal deal.”

Talansky rode to a 5th place finish at the 2016 Tour de Suisse, despite his lacking form. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Talansky rode to a 5th place finish at the 2016 Tour de Suisse, despite his lacking form. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Form is a tricky concept to understand in the cycling world. Yes, the word refers to a cyclist’s overall condition or “sensations” during a race, but in practice, form is a blend of a rider’s physical strength and self confidence. And only a rider knows his or her form.

As outsiders, we often view a rider’s results as an expression of his form. That’s not always the case.

For example, Talansky won the 2015 U.S. National Time Trial Championship and finished 11th at the Tour de France. Those performances, from a results standpoint, speak of world-class form. For Talansky, not so much. They are an expression of his bad form, which resulted from a lingering infection that he caught during that year’s Amgen Tour of California.

“I was nowhere near 100 percent of what I’m capable of that year,” Talanksy says. “I pulled it together for TT nationals and was strong during the third week [of the Tour de France].”

The next gap between Talansky’s form and results came this past June, when he finished fifth at the Tour de Suisse. Great result, right? For Talansky, it’s another case of bad form.

Talansky’s 2016 winter and spring campaigns could not have gone worse. He lost three weeks of training in February to deal with his unspecified family crisis. A crash and sickness during Paris-Nice kept him out of the Volta a Catalunya, an important form-building race for Tour hopefuls. He then bombed at the Tour de Romandie, where he previously held all-star status.

By May, alarm bells were ringing in Talansky’s head. It’s like knowing you’re a few weeks out from the final exam, and realizing you didn’t do the homework, attend class, or even buy the books.

That’s when Talansky and Vaughters decided to pull the plug on the Tour de France. They left the door open, if Talansky’s form somehow materialized during the Tour de Suisse.

Again, an outsider may look at Talansky’s results in Switzerland and marvel. Fifth place overall. Fifth place in the time trial. Top-10 finishes on all the climbing stages.

But again, there is a chasm between the results and Talansky’s perception of his form.

“Suisse was built off of Romandie, [the Tour of] California, and some training — I showed that I can still time trial but there wasn’t any kind of foundation for repeated hard efforts,” Talansky says. “After the race I was completely exhausted. There was nothing in the tank. I knew that it was the right decision to skip [the Tour de France].”

Talansky hopes to regain the strength and confidence that propelled him to win the 2014 Criterium du Dauphine. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Talansky hopes to regain the strength and confidence that propelled him to win the 2014 Criterium du Dauphine. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Talansky is hardly a shoo-in for the Vuelta win, or even the podium. Already, the race will feature stars Chris Froome (Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), talented up-and-comer Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL – Jumbo), and Esteban Chaves (Orica – BikeExchange). The race features 10 summit finishes, and with the cast of explosive climbers, Talansky will endure a challenge.

To prepare for the race, Talansky will compete in the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. The weeklong race, which features thin air and plenty of climbs, will serve as the final spear-sharpening effort before Spain.

Talansky says he’s just happy to be racing the Vuelta on good legs. He participated in the race in both 2014 and 2015, but the lacking form led to a 51st place and a DNF.

“The third week of a grand tour is my best, and thankfully that’s where the races are usually decided,” Talansky says.

Talansky will turn 28 in November, which is middle age for a grand tour contender. He recently signed another deal with Cannondale – Drapac, which will make him the team’s grand tour rider for at least two more seasons.

He is adamant that he has plenty of good years left in his legs. He says he still believes he has the strength to win a grand tour, perhaps even the Tour de France.

If skipping the 2016 Tour gets Talansky back on his path, anything is possible.

“If you don’t have the belief that you’re capable of winning the Tour de France, then you don’t get to a very high level in this sport,” Talansky says. “Whether or not it actually happens is something else. There are just so many things you can’t control.”

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First Ride: Specialized Venge ViAS Disc http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/bikes-and-tech/first-ride-specialized-venge-vias-disc_414624 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/bikes-and-tech/first-ride-specialized-venge-vias-disc_414624#respond Thu, 28 Jul 2016 22:14:34 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=414624 The Venge ViAS disc is a blast. Racers who demand powerful brakes, precise handling, and unrelenting stiffness will be happy.

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Don’t act so surprised. Yes, Specialized invested a great deal of R&D time and money into its integrated rim brakes that graced the first run of Venge ViASes, but the bike was crying out for discs. It got what it wanted, thank goodness.

We were befuddled by the original Venge ViAS brakes, which were hard to adjust and offered inconsistent modulation. That said, our reporters overheard racers at this year’s Tour de France praising updated calipers on their bikes. Better calipers or no, flat-mount Shimano disc brakes are a huge improvement to a bike that performed impressively in the wind tunnel and on the stiffness jig.

On the road, the Venge is vicious — demanding full power on the flats, holding hard lines through the corners, and also feeling a bit abusive on rougher roads. The 410mm chain stays and thru axles likely help it drive like an F1 car. This bike would be sensational in a technical crit.

Photo: Spencer Powlison | VeloNews.com
Photo: Spencer Powlison | VeloNews.com

According to Specialized, there is minimal weight or aerodynamics penalty, comparing the disc model to the rim-brake ride. Specialized reps even went so far as to claim that the Venge ViAS disc can be built up to weigh 7kg (15.4 pounds). Similar to the results of our own wind tunnel test, Specialized did note that the disc Venge is slightly slower in left crosswinds.

So why then did Specialized lead with its rim-brake ViAS? According to the company, it was originally planning the bike for discs, then scrambled plans and delivered a Venge with rim brakes first, due to uncertainty about the UCI’s plans to allow discs in pro races. At this point, with the pro peloton’s disc brake trial on hold, it’s hard to know whether we’ll see Marcel Kittel astride this bike anytime soon.

Whether or not you believe Specialized’s story, or even care what Kittel rides (you shouldn’t), the bottom line is that the Venge ViAS with discs is a blast. Racers who demand powerful brakes, scalpel-precise handling, and unrelenting stiffness will not be disappointed.

Pricing

S-Works Venge Disc ViAS, SRAM eTAP: $11,500
S-Works Venge Disc ViAS frameset: $4,200
Venge Pro Disc ViAS, Shimano Ultegra Di2: $7,250
Venge Expert Disc ViAS: $4,500

Photo: Spencer Powlison | VeloNews.com
Photo: Spencer Powlison | VeloNews.com

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Contador to springboard into Vuelta with San Sebastián http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/contador-to-springboard-into-vuelta-with-san-sebastian_416298 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/contador-to-springboard-into-vuelta-with-san-sebastian_416298#respond Thu, 28 Jul 2016 18:02:14 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416298 Alberto Contador returns to competition at Clásica San Sebastián, three weeks after crashing out of the Tour de France.

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MADRID (AFP) — Spanish rider Alberto Contador will return to competition in the Clásica San Sebastián in the Basque country on Saturday, three weeks after a fall ended his Tour de France ambitions.

The 33-year-old Tinkoff rider, a two-time Tour de France champion, quit cycling’s most famous race during stage 9 after crashing on both of the opening two stages, suffering injuries including on his right side.

Contador has never won the Spanish classic, which covers 220km of hilly roads around the town of San Sebastián.

He will also compete in the Tour of Burgos from August 2-6, as he builds up to the Vuelta a España from August 20 to September 11, his main objective for the end of the season after pulling out of the Rio Olympics.

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Kiel Reijnen Journal: “Don’t kill your father” http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/rider-journal/kiel-reijnen-journal-dont-kill-father_416286 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/rider-journal/kiel-reijnen-journal-dont-kill-father_416286#respond Thu, 28 Jul 2016 17:44:20 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416286 Trek – Segafredo pro Kiel Reijnen takes his 62-year-old father and cousin on a 200-mile ride from Seattle to Portland, Oregon.

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Editor’s Note: American Kiel Reijnen has been a professional since 2008, but 2016 is his first season racing for a WorldTour team, Trek-Segafredo. He is a two-time winner of the Philadelphia Cycling Classic, and a stage winner in both the USA Pro Challenge and the Tour of Utah.

At 4:30 a.m., my phone alarm (Modest Mouse’s “The Cold Part”) jolted us awake. Could it really be time already? I felt like I had barely fallen asleep. I pried dad out of bed and set about kitting up and stuffing my pockets with energy bars, spare tubes, and miscellaneous survival gear.

Five minutes later, we were out the door, down the stairs and through the hotel lobby. Outside, Seattle’s 4th street was nearly pitch black, except for the dim street light by the corner. I opened the door, bracing myself for the bitter Northwest morning air. Instead, a warm, salty breeze filled our nostrils and greeted us with all the familiar scents of the Pike Place market.

“Lucky it’s a southerly,” my Dad pointed out. “Could have been a cold morning otherwise.”

We flicked on our bike lights, took one last deep breath and clipped in. We raced like kids through the city streets — no cars, bikes, buses, or pedestrians to slow us down. At that time of the morning, we had the city to ourselves. If my dad was nervous for the 200-mile Seattle to Portland (STP) ride he didn’t show it, speeding ahead on the Lake Union bridge.

At 5:30 a.m., now with my cousin Mike in tow, we arrived at the University of Washington. As we neared the start line, cyclists began appearing from every side street and alley; 10,000 of us descended on the university. I use the term cyclist loosely. Not all were spandex-clad weekend warriors. The eclectic bunch of STP-ers included couples on tandems, middle-aged folks on hybrid bikes, seniors on laidback recumbents, 20-somethings in jeans aboard oversized, hand-me-down, steel road bikes, and even two skateboarders!

We nervously pinned our numbers and adorned our bars with number plates as instructed. Last, but not least, came the number sticker supposedly designed for a helmet. I took one look at the sticker and then at my ultra-light and well-ventilated race helmet. If this sticker was meant to go on a helmet it definitely wasn’t designed to go on one made in this decade, so I stuck it in my pocket instead.

The P.A. system crackled to life and a heavily caffeinated announcer called the second wave of one-day starters to the line.

“That’s us,” I said. “Last chance to bail, boys.” There were no takers, and just like that we headed off on our 205.7-mile journey.

I had pored over the route, weather, and course profile, carefully crafting a time table that, if followed precisely, would land us in Portland at 8 p.m., just in time for a well-deserved victory beer and food truck dinner. Of course, how often do adventures really go to plan?

After a smooth start, things began to unravel, 57 miles in. Mike became less conversational as we began a slow, steady climb. My dad was in real trouble. Our pace was plummeting, and although he didn’t look exhausted, he seemed stuck in an excruciatingly small gear. I kept sitting up and waiting, trying to coax him along.

“Don’t kill your father,” my mom had warned me the day before. “It’s your job to bring him back in one piece.”

He is a trooper and always has been. But that also means my dad often bites off more than he can chew. This time though, I had gotten him into this mess. Maybe I had been overly ambitious. My dad doesn’t look a day over 50, and it’s easy for me to forget that he is 62. I knew he would keep gutting it out as long as he had a pulse, but I also knew that he wouldn’t know when enough was enough. We were already four hours from home, and I had no back-up plan. Before I could think of a bail-out, my dad passed me with a smile, and there was Mike chatting his ear off about ridiculous city-imposed building codes.

Riding that second wind, we reached the halfway point before we knew it. Fifteen years ago, when my Father dragged me along for my first STP, we finished our day right here. I can still remember the giant enchilada I had for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant that night. Only two months before that STP I had climbed onto my first road bike, a used, steel Specialized, complete with an 8-speed down-tube shifter and SPD pedals, my 15th birthday present.

It was ambitious to think I could take on the STP in one day, so we did it in two, but I was hooked. Racing as fast as I could those final 10 miles to cross the line in downtown Portland, 200 miles from home, I knew cycling would be more than just a hobby.

Mike and Kiel's father Kiel Reijnen's father The STP roadbook Mike, Kiel, and familly The three intrepid STP riders

Perhaps it was also too ambitious to try this edition of STP in a single day. Mike could sense that he had the stamina and reserves to make it the full distance (his longest ride to date had been 100 miles a month prior), but Dad was flagging. Our 15.8mph average wouldn’t make the 9 p.m. cut-off time in Portland. Plus, the the course ended with short, sharp, rolling hills that deadened our legs.

On each roller, I would place a hand on the small of my Dad’s back and lifted the pace until my breathing was labored and my legs burned. I knew that if we could survive this section we would be home free with a strong tailwind in the final 40 miles.

I told my Dad to grit his teeth and hang on. Mike and I swapped pulls along the Columbia River, aided by the tailwind. The sun was getting lower, and a sense of urgency mounted. My Dad, at this point, was in obvious pain but unwilling to relent. It was unspoken: We wanted to make that nine o’clock cut off for an official result, even if it killed us. As we crossed the Columbia for a final time with 10 miles remaining, we spotted family who had come out to cheer us in our final dig to the line. Hans, Sarah, and Finn hollered loudly and we dug deeper.

In the final mile, we hit what felt like every red light in town — no time to relish our impending arrival. Sprinting alongside Dad and Mike through the finish gate, I frantically checked the clock, 8:53 p.m. We made it by seven minutes and just in time to gulp down a beer as the sun set behind the west hills of Portland. It had taken 12 and a half hours of riding and another three hours of breaks, but we made it, exhausted and triumphant.

My Dad was passed out snoring, jeans and glasses still on, before I even finished brushing my teeth. I flicked off his bedroom light and headed to bed myself, a giant smile plastered to my face. I didn’t kill him, but just barely.

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Teams organization at odds with UCI over WorldTour reforms http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/teams-organization-at-odds-with-uci-over-worldtour-reforms_416277 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/teams-organization-at-odds-with-uci-over-worldtour-reforms_416277#respond Thu, 28 Jul 2016 16:57:43 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416277 UCI reforms hit roadblock as the AIGCP teams group announces its disagreement with expanded WorldTour schedule, required participation.

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MILAN (VN) — The AIGCP, an association representing pro cycling teams, will not go along with the UCI’s planned WorldTour reforms in 2017 if every team must race in its top-level events.

The group said in a press release Thursday that if the UCI plans on introducing more races to its WorldTour calendar, which already counts 27 events, then it would not agree to required participation for every one of the 18 top teams.

WorldTour teams from Sky to BMC Racing participate in the series, which includes races from the Tour Down Under in January to the Giro di Lombardia in October.

The UCI is expected to add new events to its WorldTour calendar in 2017 as part of its controversial reforms. The RideLondon-Surrey Classic in August has been rumored to be among the new events. Also, the UCI may add events in the U.S., as well as the Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman in February, and the Abu Dhabi Tour in October.

Teams may not go along with the UCI if participation rules are not sorted soon.

In a June 23 press release, following a Pro Cycling Council (PCC) meeting, the UCI said that all of these WorldTour events would be required races for the WorldTour-level teams. This is currently the situation with the UCI’s 27 events and 18 teams, causing a burden for some teams with overlapping events at times.

“On the contrary, it was confirmed that newly-promoted WorldTour events bear the full responsibility for securing participation of at least 10 WorldTeams with no coercive mechanisms,” said the team’s group today.

“The above has profound practical consequences as the 2017 WorldTour calendar, which was approved by the PCC on June 22nd was done so under the premise of no mandatory participation in newly-promoted WorldTour events. AIGCP consequently maintains that any subsequent alteration to these participation rules necessarily calls into question the related decision on the 2017 WorldTour calendar.”

The teams group is one of three associations with representation in the 12-member PCC council created for reforming the WorldTour. The group said that it wrote the UCI to say that its June 23 press release was wrong.

The reforms would also reduce the number of teams in the WorldTour from 18 to 17 by 2017 and to 16 by 2018. They would allow the top-ranked Professional Continental team to enter the WorldTour and likewise, for the lowest ranked WorldTour team to be demoted.

The AIGCP teams group went along with the decisions, but found “a significant misrepresentation of one key decision.”

The group’s release read, “The AIGCP maintains that it is not the case that the PCC approved the principle of setting up for newly-promoted WorldTour events ‘[…] participation rules which will ensure that a minimum of 10 UCI WorldTeams take part […]’ nor is it the case that the PCC agreed to examine such a proposal ‘[…] at the next meeting of the PCC.’”

It is not the first roadblock for the UCI. The ASO, organizer of the Tour de France and several other top events like Paris-Roubaix, announced that it would pull out of the 2017 WorldTour over disagreements. Only in June, did the UCI and ASO reach an agreement.

All appeared to be going smoothly for the governing body and its 2017 reforms until today.

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UCI bars three Russians from Rio due to prior doping offenses http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/uci-bars-three-russians-from-rio-due-to-prior-doping-offenses_416279 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/uci-bars-three-russians-from-rio-due-to-prior-doping-offenses_416279#respond Thu, 28 Jul 2016 16:34:41 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416279 The UCI confirmed that three Russian cyclists will be barred from racing the Rio Olympics due to prior doping offenses.

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PARIS (AFP) — Russia’s Olympic committee (ROC) has removed three cyclists from the team heading to the Rio Games while three more, who were potentially implicated in the McLaren report, are under investigation, the UCI announced on Thursday.

The trio withdrawn by the ROC had previously been sanctioned for anti-doping violations, which meant they failed to meet the eligibility criteria put in place for Russian athletes by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“The UCI is in the process of identifying relevant rider samples and is in close dialogue with WADA to move forward with these cases immediately,” a UCI statement read.

“It has also passed the names of these three athletes to the IOC in the context of its Executive Board decision.”

Although the UCI’s statement did not confirm the identities of the three riders, under these criteria, Katusha’s Ilnur Zakarin and BePink’s Olga Zabelinskaya would be excluded.

The UCI statement added: “In addition, the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) has carried out a careful assessment on the other 11 riders named by the ROC to participate in Rio 2016 cycling events.”

The latest doping scandal to rock Olympic and Russian sport was triggered this month by Canadian law professor Richard McLaren whose report for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) detailed an elaborate doping system directed by the Moscow sports ministry and used in more than 30 sports over four years.

The IOC sparked fierce criticism on Sunday when it resisted a blanket ban on the country in favor of allowing individual sports federations to make the call on which Russians can go to Rio.

The UCI decision takes the number of Russian athletes suspended from Rio to 111 of the 387 initially announced by the ROC.

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Ask a Mechanic: Shimano 1x MTB budget build http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/bikes-and-tech/ask-a-mechanic-shimano-1x-mtb-budget-build_416264 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/bikes-and-tech/ask-a-mechanic-shimano-1x-mtb-budget-build_416264#respond Thu, 28 Jul 2016 13:01:45 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416264 Art's Cyclery shows us where to save money when building out a Shimano 1x drivetrain.

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Aldag: Tour’s points system tilts toward Sagan http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/road/aldag-tours-points-system-tilts-toward-sagan_416258 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/road/aldag-tours-points-system-tilts-toward-sagan_416258#respond Thu, 28 Jul 2016 12:45:40 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416258 Peter Sagan has won the last five green jerseys at the Tour, and one sport director thinks that will continue under the current rules.

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The champagne is gone and most hangovers have worn off, but the Tour de France continues to resonate.

Sky’s Chris Froome won his third yellow jersey in four years, but in an equally dominating fashion, Peter Sagan of Tinkoff claimed his fifth consecutive green points jersey. After another Tour in which he was largely unrivaled in his bid for green, Sagan is on track to tie Erik Zabel’s record of six jerseys in 2017, and very likely will break it the following year.

Rolf Aldag, a former Zabel teammate and current sport director at Dimension Data, said he sees no one stopping Sagan from racking up green jerseys.

“The way it is now, it’s impossible for anyone else to win the green jersey,” Aldag said. “If they want Peter Sagan to win the green jersey for the next 10 years, then they leave the points system the way it is.”

What is Aldag talking about? Sagan’s been all but unstoppable in the hunt for the green jersey since his Tour debut in 2012. This year he racked up 470 points, compared to Marcel Kittel’s second-place total of 228. The reason? A points system introduced in 2011 that Aldag says tilts the balance in favor of Sagan’s all-round skills against the pure sprinters.

“Does he deserve it? Under this points system, absolutely,” Aldag said. “Do you want to have the fastest man winning the green jersey? Then you have to think about changing the points system.”

Since its introduction in 1953, the points competition was designed to award the most consistent all-round rider, but over the past few decades, the green jersey has largely been synonymous with the peloton’s sprinters.

In 2011, Tour officials revamped the points allocation (and have tweaked it again since then), giving more points to stage winners (20 points between first and second). But more importantly, at least for Sagan, they eliminated mid-race intermediate sprints, usually between one and three per stage, which awarded points of 6, 4, and 2 for the top 3, and replaced it with a single intermediate sprint with placings down to 15th, but with 20, 17, and 15 points for the top 3.

Aldag says that heavy intermediate sprint gives Sagan a huge advantage over his pure-sprinter rivals. Why? Because Sagan can often get over early and mid-stage climbs to pick up intermediate sprint points almost unchallenged by the sprinters. And then he has the engine to kick into the top 5 in nearly every other stage with a mass gallop.

Consistent? Yes. Fastest? Hmmm, pretty close. Fair? Depends on whom you ask.

“No one is as dominating as Sagan, there is no question about that. He is a great bike rider,” Aldag said. “The question becomes, is the points system unfair, or is Peter Sagan just that good? He is there every day. You cannot drop him. Because he can get over a first-category climb, and he takes the intermediate sprint, and you are on the back foot. He does it twice, and it’s lost.”

Look at this year’s green jersey race. Mark Cavendish of Dimension Data won four stages before Sagan won into Bern, slamming the door on Cavendish to build a gap of 405-291 when the Manxman decided to abandon the Tour to prepare for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. No one else was even close.

Under the previous system, with fewer points in play in the intermediate sprints, the green points competition was one of the most contested of the Tour. Sprinters would fight and scrap for every point they could, and the jersey sometimes was not decided until the final sprint on the Champs-Élysées.

With the new rules introduced in 2011, Sagan was set up perfectly for green in his Tour debut in 2012. In his five consecutive green jersey victories, no one’s seriously challenged Sagan. The closest was André Greipel in 2015, when the German won four stages and Sagan went blank.

Sagan is winning on a trot thanks to his consistency in the sprints, and his ability to ride into breakaways to pick up mid-stage intermediate sprints. So even when he’s not winning stages, like in 2015, Sagan still can win the green jersey. And when he won three stages like he did in this year’s Tour, he’s unstoppable.

“This year was a sprinter-friendly Tour de France, we’ve had eight sprints in this Tour, and no one can come close to Sagan,” Aldag said. “That shows his quality, but it also says that if you want to have it exciting, close, and have the fastest people competing for it, you have to think about making some changes.”

Sagan is so consistent and fast, he would probably still win if the Tour went back to the “6-4-2” system, but it would likely be a much tighter race for green.

Point differences in Peter Sagan’s five green jerseys

2012: 421 (3 stage wins) to 280, André Greipel (3)
2013: 409 (1) to 312, Mark Cavendish (2)
2014: 431 (0) to 282, Alexander Kristoff (2)
2015: 432 (0) to 366, André Greipel (4)
2016: 470 (3) to 228, Marcel Kittel (1)

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Video: Sprinting to hit your max power http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/training-center/video-sprinting-hit-max-power_416252 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/training-center/video-sprinting-hit-max-power_416252#respond Wed, 27 Jul 2016 21:19:26 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416252 Global Cycling Network considers the best ways to test your max power output with three different sprinting techniques.

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The Shot: The beautiful unpredictability of cycling fans http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/tour-de-france/the-shot-the-beautiful-unpredictability-of-cycling-fans_416194 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/tour-de-france/the-shot-the-beautiful-unpredictability-of-cycling-fans_416194#respond Wed, 27 Jul 2016 19:10:41 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416194 BrakeThrough Media look for the perfect opportunity to juxtapose crazy fans with racers in the Tour de France's stage 18 time trial.

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The Shot: 2016 Tour de France, stage 18 uphill TT, Sallanches – Megève, 17km

Controlling the frame with several uncontrollable elements: That’s what it comes down to when you aim to capture the fans in tandem with the riders. The athletes and the spectators are each intrinsic to bike racing but mainly at odds with each other as photo objectives. For stage 18, the uphill individual time trial in the Alps, we were initially hoping to get clean action shots of the riders against the mountains’ natural backdrop. But the reality of the course — one mostly lined with fans, guard rails, houses, power lines (so many power lines!), cars, and general clutter — meant a change of plans. We decided to work with the atmosphere on the ground rather than struggle against it and make the fans integral to the story.

Of course, there are all the usual factors that come into play when composing any image, even at a bike race. Lighting, framing, background, emotion, negative space, general art direction are all pivotal in capturing the moment and telling a story. As a general rule, we LOVE what the fans bring to the sport of cycling and how we document a bike race. Fans can easily make a shot with their energy and expression and passion, but just the same, they can kill a shot by running through your frame and destroying what would otherwise be a perfect shot.

Iri and I found a section of the course that was littered with groups of fans, musical troupes, BBQs, and a general melange of costumed performers disguised as cycling fanatics. We decided to leverage these characters to create our action shots. The complicated part was controlling how they appeared in our frames. Iri gravitated to a gang of Vikings from Denmark who were enthusiastically cheering for only the Danish riders — Lars Bak, Michael Valgren, Jakob Fuglsang. She convinced them to cheer for other top riders like Tony Martin. It was a very hot and humid day and in between their favorite riders, they would de-robe and remove their wigs and helmets. She had to go back to them periodically and remind them who was coming up the hill, giving them five-minute warnings to get back in costume. It was a ridiculous choreography but in the end, the images created a sense of the energy on the hill.

I found a young storm trooper lurking about the crowd as I was walking up the hill. I immediately wanted a shot with this kid side-by-side with a rider flying by. He was shy, but I thought I could coax some action out him. I approached him, discovered he only spoke French, and so in my best charades performance, I motioned exactly what I wanted him to do as the next rider would pass by in less than a minute. I set my frame, shutter speed, exposure, and was all set to capture this little storm trooper jumping up and gesticulating. As the rider climbed through the crowds, reaching my spot, my mouth dropped with a mix of disappointment, laughter, and appreciation. This tiny storm trooper stood there looking right at me, oblivious to the rider, and decided to just give me a thumbs-up. It was truly priceless and underscored the beauty of the fans alongside the riders: You never know what you will get from either one.

That’s bike racing.

Key image specs (storm trooper)
Canon 1DX
Canon 35mm f/1.4 II USM
Focal Length: 35mm
1/2000 sec @ f/1.4 ISO 160
File format: RAW

Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com
Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

Key image specs (Viking)
Canon 1DX
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II USM
Focal Length: 30mm
1/640 sec @ f/4.5 ISO 160
File format: RAW

Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

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Stetina completes big milestone after traumatic knee injury http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/stetina-completes-big-milestone-after-traumatic-knee-injury_416060 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/news/stetina-completes-big-milestone-after-traumatic-knee-injury_416060#respond Wed, 27 Jul 2016 18:32:06 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416060 Pete Stetina crashed in the 2015 Tour of the Basque Country, breaking multiple bones in his leg and ribs. a little over a year later, he's

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Pete Stetina suffered a devastating knee injury in a crash during stage 1 of the Tour of the Basque Country in 2015, but a little over a year later, he returned to the Tour de France. It hasn’t been an easy road to get back to the level needed to finish the world’s biggest race, and a lot of rehabilitation was required. “I was real heavy on it [PT],” but Stetina put in the work and made it back to the sport’s upper echelon.

As a climber, Stetina’s job in the Tour de France was to be the last man in line for Bauke Mollema, the Trek – Segafredo team’s GC hopeful. “I think Trek brought me into the fold to target the U.S. races and the smaller GC races and then to help Bauke in the grand tours and big races. I’ve shown I know how to be a mountain domestique, which is not just climbing until late, but being there at the right time and being selfless.”

Someday, Stetina hopes to even vie for a spot in the top-10 at a grand tour. “I have numbers in training to be top-20, maybe top-10, if everything was perfect. Racing has changed. It’s not just a horsepower race anymore. There’s so many crashes and it’s so nervous. Before my accident I was one of the more cautious riders so now I really don’t like risking my neck for everything. But I think I have the legs that if something does happen and things go sour, I can help fly the flag and hopefully still let the team leave with something to be proud of.”

Surprisingly, riding a bike is about the only thing Stetina can do without pain after he collided with a metal pole in Spain during that Pais Vasco stage. “Cycling is so linear; you pedal straight up and down. As long as your cleats are aligned, you’re all good.

“It’s the other things in life I’ll be missing out on. I’m never going to be playing soccer with kids or hiking fourteeners [14,000-foot mountains] or anything like that. It’s ironic that the thing that almost killed me is the only thing I can do now.” Sitting on long plane flights is also not ideal for Stetina’s knee, “After a flight it’s a lot puffier, and I have to do a solid stretch session just to get full range of motion again.”

For Stetina, physical therapy and stretching are critical for staying as pain-free as possible, even though he says they make him feel like an idiot sometimes. Physical therapy for knee injuries can be very difficult and painful. Some of the exercises seem really easy but take a lot of work. “Most often, I try to pull my heel to my butt, and I pray that one day it’ll happen, and it still hasn’t. It doesn’t fully get to my butt, but it’s enough to get over a pedal stroke. There’s also a lot of stepping on and off boxes and stuff like that.”

Getting back in shape to race the Tour required what Stetina calls “the hardest spring block you can do.” Before the Tour, he already had 49 race days. Stetina’s race season started early, at the Tour Down Under and he never stopped racing. “I did Catalunya, Pais Vasco [Tour of the Basque Country], the Classics [Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège] and Romandie all before California. If the knee can handle that, it can handle to Tour.” At the Amgen Tour of California, he finished second on the climb up Gibraltar Road to the finish of stage 3. He sat in second place for two days after the summit finish. The tour of California was a very good indication of Stetina’s good climbing form. With all the race days, Stetina took some time off of PT and focused on just riding his bike.

With the Tour is over, Stetina will focus on the Tour of Utah. After that, it’s back to physical therapy — more stepping on and off boxes in hopes of getting back full range of motion. Fortunately, that wasn’t a prerequisite for the Tour.

Caley Fretz contributed to this report. 

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Domestique Partner: Post-Tour revelry in Paris http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/tour-de-france/domestique-partner-post-tour-revelry-in-paris_416178 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/tour-de-france/domestique-partner-post-tour-revelry-in-paris_416178#respond Wed, 27 Jul 2016 16:34:24 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416178 Our anonymous columnist, the Domestique Partner, describes what goes on after the Tour de France at the infamous-post race after-parties.

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The Domestique Partner is an anonymous columnist who is 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

Paris: Monday morning, July 25.
WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED LAST NIGHT?

Oh Paris, the one day of the year filled with glitz and glamour.

I travel with a few friends. Different teams, so we when arrive, we part ways. Sometimes in Paris it’s as much of an adventure to collect the VIP pass as the rest of the day can be. The Tour is fantastic with security, and on the final day, getting anywhere NEAR a team is next to impossible without a pass. So I head off to meet the soigneur on hotel duty to pick up my pass there. Not exactly en route. But could be much worse. By 4 p.m. we arrive on the course, and slowly meander to our grandstand seats, ticketed by the team. We make polite small talk with each other — some of the girls I’ve never even met before. But on this day, we are one unit. Anyway, this part of the day is pretty boring. It’s not even like, real bike racing. No one cares except for the top sprinters, and everyone else is totally checked out. Give me a local crit race any day over this parade.

The real juice is what happens after the race. So here’s a quick run-down, or what I remember of it. It’s gotten a bit trickier in the last few years since they have made the finish later, but we still manage.

First up: finish the race. We meet at team busses in Place de Concorde. Jubilation, celebration. But, the cameras are still on, so it’s pretty tame. We ladies are finally allowed on the team bus; the staff finally acknowledges us as more than just an annoyance.

Next: back to the massive hotel to shower and change. I’ve got to give props to that hotel for maintaining water pressure and hot water for the amount of sweaty athletes simultaneously draining their system. And we are all in a rush, so virtual chaos for the next hour.

Without much time to spare, we are put on a shuttle bus and sent off to a dinner. Over the years this has varied and can include a party on a boat, a night at the Embassy, Caviar, champagne, the works. It’s organized by each team, not the race. So we put on our Sunday best and off we go. To be honest, this part is sort of the pre-game (like drinking at home before going to the bar). It’s pretty damn boring. And the last thing the riders want to do is spend another two hours with the staff and teammates they have been with every single moment for a month. There are speeches. There are congratulations. My thought: A speech is the perfect length if it lasts the same amount of time it takes me to neck the glass of fizz.

At the first chance we can, we slip out from the event. (The time it was on a boat that was pretty tough.) The real night begins. Sometime (probably around midnight from what I can remember) we pile into some taxis — if the taxi driver chooses to take us — to one of two infamous, unnamed Parisian discotheques. If you are one of the first ones there, fear not. The Dutch soigneurs will arrive soon and surpass your inebriation faster than you have ever seen them do a load of laundry.

So in this sub-cavernous nightclub we see the things we cannot unsee, and we drink to hopefully forget they ever happened. And, let’s just say 68kg cyclists cannot hold their alcohol. In this seedy slice of Parisian voyeurism, I’ve seen no less than three taxis vomited in, respected team managers do body shots, a few dozen instances of inappropriate nudity, and at least one person punched in the face.

Sunday night was a blur, as it always is — nothing too eventful that I remember. But even if I did, maybe that’s my secret. Although as we were heading out, I did see a WAG break her stiletto heel and try to use kinesiotape to put it back together … Resourceful at least. Thought cobbles were bad on the bike? Try them in four-inch spikes.

We wake up in a haze the next morning, vague memories of dancing, sweating, late night kebabs (maybe early morning ones), and immediately face everyone else who we are hiding from, as we are all in the same hotel. It’s like the worst walk of shame ever. “Oh hi, did I lick tequila out of your belly button last night? Apologies, just having my croissant now, carry on.” Quick, to the taxi, and off to the airport, at least we have some privacy there. Until of course, we get to the airport and see everyone is on the same flight back. It’s a veritable stench of champagne and shame.

I’m counting down the minutes until I can get off this plane, have a massive sleep and wake up refreshed tomorrow. But of course, I’m counting down the days until next year’s Nuit de Paris.

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GoPro Beyond the Race: TDF freestyle with Sam Pilgrim http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/partnerconnect/gopro-beyond-race-tdf-freestyle-sam-pilgrim_416170 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/partnerconnect/gopro-beyond-race-tdf-freestyle-sam-pilgrim_416170#respond Wed, 27 Jul 2016 14:36:56 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416170 Sam Pilgrim breaks away from the Peloton to discover a new kind of route to the finish line at this year's Tour de France.

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Sam Pilgrim breaks away from the Peloton to discover a new kind of route to the finish line at this year’s Tour de France.

Shot 100% on the HERO4® camera from GoPro.com.

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Photo Essay: Cancellara’s homecoming Tour in Berne http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/gallery/photo-essay-cancellaras-homecoming-tour-in-berne_416105 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/07/gallery/photo-essay-cancellaras-homecoming-tour-in-berne_416105#respond Wed, 27 Jul 2016 13:50:46 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=416105 BrakeThrough Media followed Fabian Cancellara around on the Tour de France's rest day in his hometown of Berne, Switzerland.

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Fabian Cancellara took time after a stage on the Tour de France to talk about his career and his experience over the years in the Tour. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com On stage 16 into Berne, Switzerland, the dynamic of the race showed like that of the spring classics, ideal for the Swiss legend Fabian Cancellara. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The stage 16 route was filled with endless small villages honoring the passage of the Tour de France. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Switzerland welcomed the Tour de France and its countryman Fabian Cancellara on stage 16. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com In Fabian Cancellara's hometown of Berne, fans went all out to celebrate his fabled career as "Spartacus" returned home. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Fabian Cancellara and his Trek – Segafredo teammates were invited into the U.S. Embassy in Berne for some coffee time. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Coffee was served at the U.S. Embassy — complements of Segafredo, of course. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Fabian Cancellara chatted with U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland Suzi Levine and pointed out how close his home in Berne was relative to the embassy. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The U.S. Embassy offered the Trek – Segafredo riders a quick reminder of what was still ahead in the 2016 Tour de France. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com U.S. Ambassador Suzi Levine greeted Fabian Cancellara and his Trek – Segafredo teammates at her residence in Berne. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Ambassador Levine, her family, and the entire Trek – Segafredo squad gathered together for a photo op. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Fabian Cancellara did some last-minute ride planning with his directors before taking the team out for a 2-hour spin on the roads around his hometown of Berne. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com As Fabian Cancellara and his Trek – Segafredo team left the U.S. Embassy for their ride, they were greeted at the gates by photographers. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com After the embassy visit, Fabian Cancellara took his boys out for a quick rest-day spin on the roads he knows best around his home in Berne. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Fabian Cancellara and Bauke Mollema kept their legs moving on the rest day in Berne. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com There was no mistaking the bike of Fabian Cancellara during the 2016 Tour de France. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The Trek – Segafredo boys were treated to classic Swiss landscapes thanks to their leader. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Fabian Cancellara made some small efforts over the climbs on the rest-day spin around Berne. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com As the Tour de France left Berne, Fabian Cancellara led the peloton through his hometown alongside the maillot jaune. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The Berne skyline. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Fans of Fabian Cancellara said thank you and goodbye as the Swiss hero left Berne, the Tour de France, and his cycling career behind at the end of the 2016 season. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

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