Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Wed, 01 Jul 2015 23:11:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Gallery: 10 years of the Tour de France’s Grand Depart Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:15:54 +0000

A look back at the last decade of the Tour de France's big send-off with photos of TT action, festivities, fans, and more

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Video: GCN interviews Chris Froome Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:23:32 +0000

Global Cycling Network talks to Chris Froome ahead of the 2015 Tour de France.

How's GC favorite Chris Froome doing ahead of the Tour de France? Global Cycling Network talks to the 2013 champ

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Global Cycling Network talks to Chris Froome ahead of the 2015 Tour de France.

Editor’s Note: This video is courtesy of Global Cycling Network. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.

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A conversation with Cannondale manager Jonathan Vaughters, part one Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:16:36 +0000

Cannondale-Garmin team manager Jonathan Vaughters, at the 2015 team launch in Manhattan. Photo: Tim De Waele/

Part one of a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with Cannondale-Garmin team founder Vaughters ahead of the Tour de France

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Cannondale-Garmin team manager Jonathan Vaughters, at the 2015 team launch in Manhattan. Photo: Tim De Waele/

The American team Cannondale-Garmin announced its 2015 Tour de France roster Monday, a squad built around GC contender Andrew Talansky, with Irishman Dan Martin and Canadian Ryder Hesjedal riding in wildcard roles. Dutch rider Sebastian Langeveld will serve as road captain, with Finnish-born Brit Charly Wegelius in the position of team director.

One week before the Tour team announcement, team founder Jonathan Vaughters met with VeloNews for a wide-ranging, hour-long interview on a variety of topics.

In the first half of the interview, published below, Vaughters discusses his team’s slow start to the 2015 season, the team’s objectives at the upcoming Tour de France, his predictions on how the general classification will play out on the road, his relationship with top American GC contender Tejay van Garderen, and what a rivalry between van Garderen and Talansky would mean for American cycling.

In the second half of this interview, to be published Thursday, Vaughters discusses his relationship with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Roman Kreuziger’s bio-passport case, the strained relationship between the UCI and Tour organizer ASO, Team Sky’s thwarted attempt to house its riders in RVs at grand tours, and the different directions his life has taken outside of the pro cycling caravan.

VeloNews: Team selection for the Tour de France must be very difficult for any team manager or director. What can you tell us about Cannondale-Garmin’s Tour squad this year?

Jonathan Vaughters: We’ve been pretty organized in our team selection this year, and we’ve got a lot of younger riders this year, so the team selection for the Tour de France, which is typically a race for more experienced riders, has been a little easier on us this year than in years past. It’s all based around what our objectives are in the race. It’s not necessarily the top nine guys in the team, it’s the top nine guys in the team that can work together as a unit to accomplish the goals that we’re looking for.

VN: What are those goals? Andrew Talansky is obviously your GC rider, but beyond that, what are the objectives?

JV: Andrew has had a bit of a rough year this year, but he’s starting to show some signs of life. He did well at the Dauphiné. He’s good for a Tour de France like this one, where you have a lot of crosswind stages, cobblestones, a lot of hard fighting early on … He’s a pretty robust rider when it comes to that sort of thing. So he’ll be the GC focus, without a doubt. And of course we’ll have Dan Martin along with him. And Dan prefers to focus on stage wins. If we can get a good GC out of that, then that’s a bonus. If we can have two guys that are up in that front group, or even three — maybe Ryder Hesjedal recovers in time from the Giro d’Italia — it’s always better. Dan will be more focused on stage wins, the Mur du Huy [stage 3] being the first one.

VN: When you look at this year’s Tour, we have three former Tour champions in the field — Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Chris Froome (Sky), and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) — as well as Nairo Quintana (Movistar), a Giro winner and Tour runner-up. How do you see the GC playing out?

JV: I think the GC has a number of different components, with time trialing not being a very big one this year. The early stages, crosswind splits, crashes … With a race the level of the Tour de France going to Holland, where there are 1,000 roundabouts, if there’s even a puff of wind, it won’t come out of it in one piece. That’s your first component.

The second component is obviously the cobblestone stage. The Mur du Huy is an interesting stage, and I don’t think the time gaps will be enormous on that, but it will be interesting to see who wins, and who are the guys in the top 10. Who are the guys that have the teams to position them at the bottom of the Mur du Huy? And then who can do a good climb? That will be interesting, but I’m not expecting big time gaps. And the cobblestones [stage 4] will have big time gaps. If it rains, even bigger time gaps.

And then, up in the north of France, more opportunities — crashes, splits … This is the way the Tour de France goes. It’s evolved a lot, even in my time, even since 2008 through now. If we go back to pre-2008, you’d have one team, maybe two teams, that were having five, six, seven guys pulling on the front to keep their team leader out of trouble. Now the Tour de France has six, seven, eight teams that are trying to do the same thing. And it’s changed the dynamic of the race, because you’re getting this constant drag race on the flat stages that, from a viewer’s standpoint, you might not even be aware of, but it’s gotten progressively more tense.

Then we get to the team time trial [stage 9]. Again, there will be some differences there, and that’s an indicator of whose team is strong and whose isn’t. I don’t think the differences will be enormous, but they are going to be there. And then the race becomes more straightforward; it’s just a horsepower race in the mountains.

VN: The team time trial could be pivotal. Whichever GC rider comes out of that with an advantage can ride defensively in the mountains. You can imagine a scenario where a team like Movistar excels in the TTT, and Quintana heads into the mountains without ever needing to go on the offensive.

JV: I’ve already stated that Quintana is my race favorite. I think he’s good in the crosswinds, he’s an excellent bike handler, he’s good in any conditions. If it’s hot, he’s good, if it’s freezing cold and snowing, he’s good. He only takes risks when he needs to, and he’s really good when he needs to be. I think he’ll be good on the cobblestones — not great, but good enough. If you’re looking at his major rivals, Froome, Contador, and Nibali, to me, of cobblestone riders, he’s the second best, with Nibali being the best. Movistar is going to go fast in the team time trial. And while I think there will be days where Froome and Contador will be better than he is in the mountains, I think that, over the full 10 days in the mountains … He doesn’t seem to have bad days. I put that together, and he’s my personal favorite.

VN: What do you think of Contador’s attempt at the Giro-Tour double, and what you saw from him at the Giro d’Italia?

JV: Yeah, well, if anyone can pull it off, it’s Contador, for sure. He was obviously pretty tired in the last week of the Giro, but then bounced back to win Route du Sud. That means he’s back on form, he’s not too fatigued. Contador has a good team for the crosswind stages, he’ll be reasonable on the cobblestones — not great, not bad. He’ll be good in the team time trial, not great. So then it comes down to Contador needing to be more explosive in the mountains than Froome and Quintana and Nibali on the mountaintop finishes. While I think early, in the Pyrenees, we may see some of that, I think the third week is going to be hard for him. Doing the double is one thing. He’s also a 33-year-old athlete doing the double, and not a guy who started racing later in life; he’s been racing since he was 13 years old, so there are some miles on the engine. If he’s going to have a problem, it’s going to be very late in the race.

VN: One of the riders that’s shown well in the lead up to the Tour is Tejay van Garderen, finishing second overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné, behind Chris Froome. He was once a member of the Slipstream Sports organization. He’s now with BMC, which is a bit of a rival American squad … any regrets about losing him from the organization?

JV: I mean, it’s always a regret. We did everything we could to hold onto Tejay. Initially he went off to the Rabobank development team, and from there, on to HTC, but I’ve always had a keen interest in him, I think he’s a great talent. I remember meeting him when he was about 14, at the top of Mount Evans for the hill climb, which was one of the last bike races I ever did. He’d just won the Category 3 race, or maybe the junior race, and he was super enthusiastic, and super competitive, always very talented rider, knows how to deal with pressure. He’s just a solid competitor.

VN: What did you think about what you saw from him at the Dauphiné, as the only rider able to go up against Froome in the mountains?

JV: He definitely burned some matches, trying to pull off the victory there. He had to go deep, that last day, trying to hold Froome’s wheel. Of course, with the long history I have with Tejay, I was cheering for him that day. Listen, I think he’s going to do a good Tour de France. For him to be on the podium — and I would say the same for Talansky — for either of them to sneak into that second, third, fourth area, they’re going to need luck. They’re going to need to make sure that they are always in the front in the crosswind splits. They’re going to need to nail the cobblestone stage just right, and make sure they don’t have any untimely punctures. They can’t get sick. For both of those guys, to be hunting for the podium, they’re going to need luck, as any rider does, but for them, they’re going to need it to go perfectly for that to happen. And I hope for it, just for a reinvigoration of enthusiasm in American cycling. A rivalry between Talansky and Tejay would be good to see at the Tour de France.

VN: Let’s talk about the national road championship. This may be a sore subject, but it’s not the first time your squad has had several riders in the lead group late in the race without taking the stars-and-stripes jersey. This year there were three Cannondale riders in the front group, with Joe Dombrowski finishing second to Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing). It seemed as though Alex Howes was the fastest finisher in that group, but then we saw Dombrowski attack, and Busche follow. Those two worked together until Busche attacked late, and won, with Dombrowski second, and Howes fourth. What happened there?

JV: Well, listen, information is never perfect in races like that. We don’t have race radios. The guys even have trouble communicating amongst themselves. But Joe was working for Alex. Alex was not on a great day, he was on a mediocre day. The last time, after the big climb, Joe had to drop back and get Alex and drag him back to the front group. At that point and time, they had established the tactic that they wouldn’t just go straight for the lead-out, because Kiel Reijnen [UnitedHealthcare] was still there. So the tactic was to attack, and try to get a guy away, solo. The thing is, is that Joe, as incredibly talented and strong of a bike racer as he is, he has almost no experience being in a situation where you’re trying to tactically win a bike race. He sort of went from a basic level of racing to Team Sky in such a short period of time, and a lot of that was based on winning bike races by going up a mountaintop finish climb, fast.

VN: Dombrowski has been primarily — almost exclusively — a stage racer.

JV: Yeah, and so he did what he was supposed to do, he attacked, but he wasn’t by himself. And if you watch the footage, where the more experienced rider would immediately look under their shoulder and see they have a guy with them, and let up, Joe went a full 45 seconds, or a minute, and then he looked back and realized he had Busche with him. At that point in time he started sitting on him, but it was a little too late in the situation. So it was a bit of lack of experience. Again, Alex wasn’t feeling great. On a better day, he might’ve been able to respond to Busche, and then be in that group, but Alex wasn’t on a particularly great day. And then Kiel Riejnen had a puncture at that moment, and you could say that we could’ve just pulled hard to make sure he was gone, and then won it that way, but if you look, Kiel still beat Alex in the sprint [for third], so it wasn’t as cut-and-dried as it seemed. I think Joe learned from his mistake, and water under the bridge at this point.

VN: The team was off to a slow start this year, with a lot of young riders, and hadn’t really taken that big win until Davide Formolo won stage 4 at the Giro d’Italia. Not long after, Talansky won the national time trial championship. When you look at the first half of the season, how do you rank the team’s performances, through June?

JV: Yeah, it’s our slowest start ever, as an organization. Maybe 2008, we weren’t that great, other than the Amgen Tour of California, which started really early back then [in February]. We’ve had a very, very slow start to the season. We’ve had massive organizational turnover. As opposed to doing a hard, hard training camp in November or December, we went out on sailboats, because I felt like we had to get the social aspects of the merger sort of put to rest before we started concentrating on the task at hand. And that was very successful, but obviously I knew the early season might be a little rough for us, because we haven’t done a more typical build-up, into it. We have a lot of new riders who just don’t have experience, don’t have the foundation to be able to pop into form in the early part of the year. Races like the cobbled classics are 50 percent strength and 50 percent experience, and basically that 50 percent of experience was just eliminated on our team this year. We have a young team, and lot of enthusiasm. We had some bad luck, too, but as disappointed as I was with our slow start, it wasn’t entirely unanticipated. I think for the Tour de France, and the rest of the season, things are rolling in the right direction. We had two guys in the top 10 at the Dauphiné. The Tour de France squad looks strong. The power numbers that everyone is putting out are getting better. I’m confident that we’ll have a good Tour de France, and a good rest of the season, but it took six months to get the team to gel.

VN: Formolo’s stage win at the Giro must’ve come as a sigh of relief after such a slow start.

JV: That was a very major sigh of relief. He’s a great kid, and an unbelievable talent. He’s very determined. We selected him last-minute for the Giro, but it wasn’t really last-minute. We just didn’t want any pressure on him. We didn’t even want internal pressure from him. We just wanted him to do the Giro for fun. It was his first time, and he’s a 22-year-old kid. And we pulled that off by basically throwing him in at the last minute. He’s going to be an incredible rider in a few years.

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Preview: NBC Tour de France live app and TV schedule Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:27:43 +0000

The stage section on the desktop version gives the viewer everything they need to know on one screen.

A look inside the official Tour de France app, which uses TourTracker's familiar format and layout

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The stage section on the desktop version gives the viewer everything they need to know on one screen.

The Tour de France begins Saturday in Utrecht, and NBC has again released its online and mobile products to enhance viewers’ experiences. “We want this to super-serve the fan and be a one-stop shop,” Kevin Monaghan, senior vice president business development of NBC Sports and managing director of NBC Sports Digital, said of the application.

New for this year, NBC partnered with TourTracker, a leader in online race coverage, to create a product that will likely be familiar to cycling fans and has also been proven easy to navigate.

The desktop and mobile versions are exactly the same in terms of core features, and little has changed from last year. “We are always looking for ideas from customers, but there is just so much here,” Jack Jackson, vice president product development of NBC Sports said. “We are getting on that border of usability and not quite sure what the next phases of things would be, but we continue to look for angles.”

NBC gave VeloNews an early look into both the mobile and desktop versions of the application and from a live-viewing experience, the desktop version was a highlight for us. In the desktop version, the amount of content the viewer has access to on one screen is impressive. The viewer can see the live video of the stage as well as live GPS tracking of the peloton and breakaway on both a map and profile version of the stage and a list of riders.

Additionally, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), owners of the Tour, provides written play-by-play commentary during the stage. The mobile version only allows the viewer to see the live coverage, and not all of the other data at the same time. Even though the desktop version costs more, it is worth the price, considering the experience is better than watching on a normal TV, provided your internet connection streams video fast enough.

Screen size appears to be the limiting factor in the mobile version, but TourTracker founder, Allan Padgett doesn’t see it this way, “The web experience is meant to really be just a live experience, whereas we expect people to use the [mobile] app as a guide they are carrying around all day.”

NBC works closely with ASO to post results within minutes of the last rider finishing the stage, and new this year, the viewer will be able to get updates in real-time of riders abandoning the race and the reasons for abandonment. Also, included in NBC’s Tour de France live product are stage replays, photos (including the timing photo from the finish), commentary, and interviews after the stage has ended.

The short videos produced by NBC during the Tour are available without purchasing the application and can be found on the cycling page of


Online App: $29.99 (one-day stage pass available for $4.99)
Mobile App: $19.99

NBC Network Television Schedule

All times Eastern (EDT) and coverage shown on NBCSN unless indicated otherwise

* indicates primetime coverage on NBCSN 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Saturday, July 4, stage 1: Utrecht (LIVE) 7 a.m. – Noon
Sunday, July 5, stage 2: Utrecht to Neeltje Jans (LIVE) 7 a.m. – Noon*
Monday, July 6, stage 3: Antwerp to Huy (LIVE) 7 a.m. – Noon*
Tuesday, July 7, stage 4: Seraing to Cambrai (LIVE) 8 a.m. – Noon*
Wednesday, July 8, stage 5: Arras to Amiens (LIVE) 8 a.m. – Noon*
Thursday, July 9, stage 6: Abbeville to Le Havre (LIVE) 8 a.m. – Noon*
Friday, July 10, stage 7: Livarot to Fougeres (LIVE) 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Saturday, July 11, stage 8: Rennes to Mur-de-Bretagne (LIVE NBC) 8 a.m. – Noon
Sunday, July 12, stage 9: Vannes to Plumelec (LIVE) 8 a.m. – Noon*
Monday, July 13, rest day: 8 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. (Stages 1-9 Highlights)
Tuesday, July 14, stage 10: Tarbes to La Pierre Saint Martin (LIVE) 8 a.m. – Noon*
Wednesday, July 15, stage 11: Pau to Cauterets (LIVE) 8 a.m. – Noon*
Thursday, July 16, stage 12: Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille (LIVE) 6 a.m. – Noon*
Friday, July 17, stage 13: Muret to Rodez (LIVE) 8 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.*
Saturday, July 18, stage 14: Rodez to Mende (LIVE) 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Sunday, July 19, stage 15: Mende to Valence (LIVE) 8 a.m. – Noon*
Monday, July 20, stage 16: Bourg-de-Peage to Gap (LIVE) 8 a.m. – Noon*
Tuesday, July 21, rest day: 8 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. (Stages 10-16 Highlights)
Wednesday, July 22, stage 17: Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup (LIVE) 8 a.m. – Noon*
Thursday, July 23, stage 18: Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne (LIVE) 8 a.m. – Noon*
Friday, July 24, stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to La Toussuire (LIVE) 7 a.m. – Noon*
Saturday, July 25, stage 20: Modane to Alpe d’Huez (LIVE) 7 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Sunday, July 26, stage 21: Sevres to Paris (LIVE) 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.*

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Tour de France: News and announcements at full-speed Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:23:15 +0000

German shampoo maker Alpecin, which sponsors Giant-Alpecin, won't use its "Doping for your hair" slogan during the Tour. Photo: Tim De Waele |

A roundup of some of the top stories in the days before the start of the 2015 Tour de France

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German shampoo maker Alpecin, which sponsors Giant-Alpecin, won't use its "Doping for your hair" slogan during the Tour. Photo: Tim De Waele |

PARIS (VN) — The Tour de France kick starts and spins news like no other race in the world. With the 102nd edition starting Saturday in the Dutch city of Utrecht, it feels like the grand tour has already begun.

Of course, teams have announced their nine-man rosters — this year, 198 cyclists, including three Americans, will race — but they have also taken the opportunity to launch new bikes and slogans. Organizer ASO, and others like RCS Sport and cycling’s governing body the UCI, have also made changes.

Even before the cyclists click into their pedals for the race, the Tour’s machine is already revving at full speed.

Teams, sponsors, and bikes

Orica-GreenEdge was the last to name its nine-man team Tuesday. Other teams did so early and took the opportunity to promote their sponsors.

Cannondale-Garmin selected Andrew Talansky, Dan Martin, and Ryder Hesjedal to lead its front, at the same time making changes to its Castelli jersey — going green — and launching the new SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD. Trek Factory Racing did the same, rolling out the new Madone for its Tour nine.

Giant-Alpecin made waves by leaving sprinter Marcel Kittel at home, and nearly washed over the news that its German shampoo sponsor dropped its slogan. On Tuesday, Alpecin announced it would drop its “Doping for your hair” advertising phrase during the duration of the Tour.

Revitalized fall races

The organizer of the world’s second biggest stage race, RCS Sport took followers’ eyes off the Tour build-up briefly when it said Tuesday it would run the Trittico di Autunno. It is taking over the Milano-Torino one-day race and bringing back the Giro del Piedmonte ahead of its Giro di Lombardia — a one-two-three special on October 1, 2, and 4. From October 8-11, RCS Sport also has the Abu Dhabi Tour.

More data, more video

Tour organizer ASO has plenty to say in these days ahead of its famed race. On Tuesday, it revealed via a partnership with Dimension Data it would deliver real-time data from the Tour cyclists. Its website will allow fans to follow the riders in the peloton, seeing their speed and other data. On Wednesday, it also announced a partnership with GoPro — as did team organization Velon — that will provide expanded on-board video footage from the race, including a test of live-stream video from stage 2.

A new look for UCI

Not to be left behind, the UCI unveiled a newly designed logo last week with the five colors of the world championship rainbow jersey included. It is a small change, but like other announcements and news, it gains greater attention ahead of the biggest bike race in the world.

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Chris Horner to race Tour of Utah despite Colombia rumors Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:45:19 +0000

Chris Horner (Airgas-Safeway) has finished second the last two years at the Tour of Utah. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | (File)

The Tour of Utah announces its complete slate of men's and women's teams, including Horner's Airgas-Safeway squad

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Chris Horner (Airgas-Safeway) has finished second the last two years at the Tour of Utah. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | (File)

Former Vuelta a España champion Chris Horner will race the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, which runs August 3-9. Horner’s team, Airgas-Safeway, received one of the final three wildcard invitations to the race earlier this week.

Horner has finished runner-up to Tom Danielson (Cannondale-Garmin) at the Tour of Utah the last two years. Horner was initially expected to start the Vuelta a Colombia at the beginning of August, but due to Airgas-Safeway’s late entry into the Utah race, his plans have changed. “To earn an invitation to the Tour of Utah is a big deal, and we’re extremely honored to have the chance to compete,” team principal Chris Johnson said.

“Hearing that we were invited felt really good,” Horner said. “The team has been riding well all season, and it will be great to be back racing in Utah in August.”

In its fifth year as a UCI-ranked race, the Tour of Utah will cover 712 miles and over 51,000 feet of elevation gain over the seven days of racing. The race has moved up to the highest ranking below the WorldTour, UCI 2.HC, for the 2015 edition. The ranking jump has allowed the race to invite its most competitive field of teams to date. “Utah is a hard race,” Horner added, “Steep climbs, longer stages and obviously you have the altitude as well.”

Horner moved to the Airgas Continental squad after a long run in the WorldTour, which peaked with his victory in the Vuelta a España in 2013. Horner 43, is the elder statesman on the young Airgas-Safeway team, as some members of the team are more than 20 years his junior.

The race will unfold rather interestingly, as Airgas goes up against the much stronger and powerful squad of Team Cannondale-Garmin. Airgas is not shrinking away from the challenge, preparing diligently for Utah. “A lot of people might not realize what goes on behind the scenes; it is almost like we’re preparing ourselves for battle,” Johnson continued.

New this year, the Tour of Utah has included two days of women’s racing, dubbed the Criterium Classic. The omnium-style racing will be part of the National Criterium Calendar (NCC) sanctioned by USA Cycling. The races will be held August 3-4 in Logan and Ogden, Utah.

“We have so many great teams at this year’s Tour of Utah, and at the Criterium Classic,” executive director of the race, Jenn Andrs, said in a press release. “Spectators will be treated to compelling attacks and race action across Northern Utah at all seven stages.”

Men’s teams

UCI ProTeams
BMC Racing
Trek Factory Racing

UCI Professional Continental teams
Team Colombia

UCI Continental teams
Budget Forklifts*
Hincapie Racing Team
Jamis-Hagens Berman
Jelly Belly-Maxxis
Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
Team SmartStop

Women’s teams

Elite UCI teams
BMW-Happy Tooth Dental
Itaú Shimano Ladies*
Pepper Palace-The Happy Tooth

Domestic elite and composite teams
Canyon Bicycles-Shimano Composite*
DNA Cycling-K4
Fearless Femme-Haute Wheels Racing
ISCorp Cycling-Smart Choice MRI
LA Sweat*
Monster Media
Roosters Bikers Edge*
SKINourishment-Paceline Projects*
Sun & Ski*
Visit Dallas Cycling-Noise4Good

* Indicates recently announced team

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Giant-Alpecin downplays fears that Kittel will leave team Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:17:42 +0000

Giant-Alpecin says its deep, talented roster will afford plenty of opportunities to win Tour de France stages, despite Marcel Kittel's absence. Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).

Though Kittel is a proven stage winner, Giant-Alpecin feels it has more options than ever to collect victories at the Tour

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Giant-Alpecin says its deep, talented roster will afford plenty of opportunities to win Tour de France stages, despite Marcel Kittel's absence. Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).

UTRECHT, Netherlands (AFP) — German team Giant-Alpecin insists that star sprinter Marcel Kittel will still be wearing its black and blue kit next year despite his disappointment at missing the Tour de France.

Kittel, 27, has not hidden his feelings since being overlooked for the Giant Tour squad as his season has been affected by illness.

Having won four stages in each of the previous two editions of the Grand Boucle, Kittel expected to be part of Giant’s Tour selection this time around, but his team decided he wasn’t fit enough.

It led to suggestions there would be a rupture in the thus-far highly profitable relationship between team and star, but Giant-Alpecin coach Christian Guiberteau insisted they would continue together.

“For any rider, the ultimate aim is to be at the Tour. If he hadn’t been disappointed, I’d have been disappointed in him,” said the Frenchman.

“It was a very difficult choice for the sports direction team, very tough, especially for a rider that has brought us so much success and advanced the team through his results.

“It was a painful decision, but the reality is he was ill, he took a long time to come back, and he’s disappointed, but that’s normal.

“Of course Marcel [Kittel] will still be with us next year, everyone would like to have a great sprinter like him, but it’s true, it’s very difficult for him not to be at the Tour.

“But from the team’s perspective, there are no doubts for the future.”

Guiberteau also claimed that without Kittel, the team would actually have more opportunities to win stages, although those would be spread out across a number of riders.

“With Marcel, believe me, it would have been very difficult to win four stages with the profile of the course. You can see the profiles exactly.

“Along the Norman coast you can have breaks in the peloton; also from the second stage with the wind, there can be break, and you don’t have a sprint.

“So with John [Degenkolb] in Le Havre there’s a difficult finish with a tough climb. It would have been tough for Marcel to arrive at the sprint so already, there are just two chances for Marcel: the second stage and the [final stage on the] Champs-Élysées. Maybe another, it depends on the circumstances of the race.

“It’s not like last year and six sure chances [for a sprint finish].”

Degenkolb, who won both Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo — two of the most prestigious one-day classics — earlier this year, will have a lot of expectations on his shoulders, but Guiberteau believes several stages suit him.

“He gets over short climbs; he’s a sprinter with great classics qualities — he’s becoming a classics specialist.

“With him you have chances in a classics-style sprint. Also, when there are climbs and also on the cobbles obviously.

“Then we have other options. Two years ago, we were a young team with Marcel [Kittel] but now there’s Tom [Dumoulin] who is becoming a reference in the time trials and Warren Barguil has already shown he can win grand tour stages in the high mountains at the Vuelta [in 2013].

“Simon Geshke can get in breakaways. We have more chances but with different guys.”

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ASO to test live, on-bike GoPro footage at Tour Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:38:24 +0000

Mechanics working for Velon member teams will have one more piece of hardware to install on riders' bikes for this year's Tour de France. Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).

Velon and ASO strike a deal with GoPro to bring Tour de France footage from bike cameras, team cars, mechanics, and more to the public

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Mechanics working for Velon member teams will have one more piece of hardware to install on riders' bikes for this year's Tour de France. Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).

Team group Velon and Tour de France organizer Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) have struck deals with camera and video content goliath GoPro to bring Tour de France footage from bike cameras, team cars, mechanics, and more to the public.

ASO promised a test of live, on-bike camera footage during the neutral roll-out of stage 2. All 22 Tour de France teams will use GoPro cameras at some point during the race. At least eight teams will use the cameras each stage, according to ASO.

The announcements comes less than a day after ASO announced that it will deliver real-time live tracking data from all 22 teams participating in the Tour de France.

Velon will make the content available on its digital and social media platforms. GoPro will also have access to the content, and will put much of it on its popular YouTube channel, the world’s highest-ranked online sports channel. Beyond the Tour, Velon will provide race footage for the remainder of the season, in partnership with GoPro.

Velon previously struck a deal with Giro d’Italia organizer RCS to shoot and publish footage from bike cams at the Giro. That footage was shot on a range of cameras, including the Garmin Virb and Shimano Sportcamera. This is the first time Velon has partnered directly with a hardware company, though GoPro’s expertise certainly extends beyond simply making cameras.

Eleven of the 17 WorldTour teams are members of Velon, including Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo, BMC, and Cannondale-Garmin. The group’s stated mission is to improve the economic future of the sport, and one of its initial goals is to improve broadcasting. It is also seeking to use broadcasting as a source of revenue for teams.

Teams will benefit financially from the partnership with GoPro, though the amount they will be paid was not disclosed.

The use of GoPro cameras, the latest and greatest of which is the 4k-enabled Hero4Black, will allow Velon to offer “unprecedented angles, perspectives, and points of view,” the group said in a statement.

“The partnership will show fans a new side of cycling, with the fantastic moments that have never been captured before. I think this is a great deal for the sport,” said Graham Bartlett, CEO of Velon.

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Quiet Quintana focused entirely on Tour bid Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:31:16 +0000

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) will return to the Tour de France after a one-year hiatus, aiming to improve upon his second-place overall finish in 2013. Photo: AFP PHOTO / LUIS ACOSTA (File).

Quintana's unassuming, patient style of racing belies a fierce turn of speed on the Tour's hardest climbs and a stubborn mentality

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Nairo Quintana (Movistar) will return to the Tour de France after a one-year hiatus, aiming to improve upon his second-place overall finish in 2013. Photo: AFP PHOTO / LUIS ACOSTA (File).

PARIS (AFP) — Quiet and unassuming he may be, but for many people, the explosive Nairo Quintana will be the man to beat at the Tour de France this year.

The 25-year-old Colombian has been keeping himself out of the limelight during the Tour build-up, training back home in Tunja and avoiding the traditional Tour warm-up events.

Although he goes quietly about his business, the Movistar rider has been racking up the results nonetheless, winning the prestigious Tirreno-Adriatico race back in March, triumphing on the one true mountain stage and doing so by enough to ensure overall victory.

And in a Tour that is heavily weighted in favor of specialist climbers, Quintana has the perfect platform to launch his bid to go one better than he managed two years ago when finishing second to Chris Froome (Sky) and capturing the polka-dot king of the mountains and white young rider jerseys along the way.

All his best results have come in tours that include mountain stages, winning the tours of Murcia in 2012, Basque Country and Burgos in 2013, San Luis and Burgos in 2014, and now Tirreno-Adriatico this year.

He also won the Tour de l’Avenir in 2010 and the Giro d’Italia last year.

This year, it would seem, his entire focus has been on the Tour, and he will have plenty of opportunities to use his climbing strengths with six summit finishes.

Quintana is the lightest of the four overall contenders and widely seen as the best climber in the world.

He has also made a habit of starting slowly in grand tours and coming on strong in the final week, in which there are four mountain stages, so that should suit the Movistar leader.

Teammate Alejandro Valverde will also be a factor as a foil — while he is not a strong enough three-week contender to win, the newly crowned Spanish champion is good enough to ensure that the other main contenders cannot ignore him.

Valverde has won the Vuelta a España in the past and was fourth on the Tour last year, so the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Froome and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) would be obliged to chase him down if he attacked, leaving Quintana to sit and wait for his own opportunity.


Quintana is also blessed with a certain stubbornness that sees him seemingly prepared to throw away any hopes of victory rather than take responsibility for the chasing down of rivals.

Such apparent nonchalance often forces others to do the chasing while Quintana saves energy, allowing him to make his move later on, when others are tired.

But he also has weaknesses, not being a strong time triallist or particularly daring on descents.

This year’s Tour route gives plenty of encouragement for the opportunists ready to attack from anywhere in any situation.

Nibali and Contador may not be able to beat Quintana in the mountains, but they can probably put time into him in other areas.

Another issue for Quintana is the weight of history, as no Latin American has ever won the Tour. Yet the diminutive Colombian has never shown signs of nerves affecting his game.

At last year’s Giro, he trailed compatriot Rigoberto Urán (Etixx-Quick-Step) by three-and-a-half minutes at one stage following a 40km individual time trial, yet he eventually beat his countryman by more than three minutes overall.

Quintana didn’t panic when he was behind and simply used the attacking opportunities he had to ride away from his rivals and put time into them.

And it is that knowledge of his climbing skills that should give him an edge on such summit finishes as Plateau de Beille, La Toussuire, and Alpe d’Huez.

Quintana knows he will have several uphill finishes to try to make his rivals crack and the tiny Colombian has the ability to do exactly that.

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Top 10 Twitter accounts to follow during the 2015 Tour de France Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:22:23 +0000

Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) grabbed a quick selfie before the start of stage 10 in 2014. Twitter often lets fans hear the news straight from the riders themselves. Photo: Tim De Waele |

If you want an inside look at the Tour de France, here are 10 Twitter accounts that are sure to give you all the juicy details this July

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Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) grabbed a quick selfie before the start of stage 10 in 2014. Twitter often lets fans hear the news straight from the riders themselves. Photo: Tim De Waele |

As the Tour de France approaches, Twitter users will be carefully curating their feeds to be sure they are following all the right riders, teams, and analysts. As with so many things, events unfold in real time on Twitter, with unprecedented speed and access. For some, following along on Twitter as the race unfolds has become almost as commonplace as watching live TV footage. And while the official account for Le Tour focuses on live race updates, with accurate information in both French and English, it’s those from inside the caravan that are most interesting. Here are 10 you should be following, if you’re not already.

The GC contenders

Chris Froome (Sky)
Of the four major GC favorites, Sky’s Chris Froome is the most active on Twitter. He’s the most open as well, sharing opinions, personal photos, and above all — as shown here in a reply to Peter Sagan — that he has a sense of humor. When he’s not staring at his stem on the bike, Froome is often staring at his Twitter feed off the bike.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)
Though his tweets don’t often disclose a whole lot — Contador remains as diplomatic on Twitter as he is in post-race interviews — he is a frequent tweeter in Spanish and English, and will be the most-watched rider in July as he attempts a historic Giro-Tour double.


The animators

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)
The rider known as “Spartacus” has also spawned a German-Swiss-English dialect endearingly referred to as “Fabianese.” The former world time-trial champion and leader of Trek Factory Racing, Cancellara’s blend of experience and authority has made him, at times, a de facto spokesman for the pro peloton, particularly when it comes to issues such as weather protocol and rider safety.

Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing)
The young Australian and former Hour Record holder will be riding in support of American Tejay van Garderen at BMC Racing. And while van Garderen doesn’t update his Twitter feed often, Dennis is fairly regular with his, providing a glimpse inside the pro peloton.

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo)
One of the biggest characters in pro cycling, Sagan’s Twitter account is a mix of sponsor-correct posts and (mostly successful) attempts at humor in a second language. When he’s winning races, Sagan’s account serves as a window into the world of the three-time green jersey winner; when he’s not, it tends to go quiet. (A parody account, Tweeter Sagan, has its moments of comedic gold.)

Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal)
The Australian workhorse has one of the most amusing Twitter accounts in pro cycling, keeping it light and entertaining as he pokes fun at the absurdities involved in the life of a pro cyclist. In May, he finished the Giro d’Italia, his 11th consecutive grand tour; follow along as this fan favorite makes his way through an attempt at a 12th.

Alex Dowsett (Movistar)
The British national TT champion and former Hour Record holder will be starting his first Tour on July 4. He’s a regular Twitter presence, frequently joking about the inner workings of pro cycling. He’s also one of the few English speakers from the Movistar squad, offering insight into the team of GC contender Nairo Quintana.

The teams

Oleg Tinkov (Tinkoff-Saxo owner and manager)
There’s perhaps no Twitter account in pro cycling watched more closely than that of Tinkoff team owner and manager Oleg Tinkov. The wealthy Russian businessman not only runs one of the most powerful teams in the sport, but he’s also the most outrageous and outspoken personality in the sport. Whether it’s boasting about his team or personal accomplishments or taking a swipe at other riders and teams — or his own riders — Tinkov’s account is so unpredictable and unfiltered that, when he first joined Twitter, many suspected it was a parody account. Rest assured, it’s not.

Jonathan Vaughters (Cannondale-Garmin founder and manager)
A frequent Twitter user since its inception, Vaughters has been known to go off-script on social media from time to time, using the platform to criticize major power players in the sport such as Tour owners ASO and UCI management. He provides a singular insight into the Cannondale team, and also regularly engages with fans and journalists alike.

Every team in the Tour has a Twitter account, but the Belgian Etixx-Quick-Step squad of Mark Cavendish, Michal Kwiatkowski, Tony Martin, and Zdenek Stybar has, perhaps, the most thorough, and accurate, in terms of live race updates. And while no team account is perfectly objective, the Etixx account does the best job of providing impartial race information.

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Q&A: Geoff Thomas, the man bringing Armstrong back to the Tour Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:58:10 +0000

Lance Armstrong is slated to ride two stages of the Tour de France, one day ahead of the race. Photo: Tim De Waele |

Ex-soccer player Geoff Thomas, a cancer survivor, explains why he asked Lance Armstrong to ride part of the Tour route with him

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Lance Armstrong is slated to ride two stages of the Tour de France, one day ahead of the race. Photo: Tim De Waele |

When news first broke earlier this year that Lance Armstrong might join a cancer charity ride that coincides with the 2015 Tour de France, the general reaction was, how dare he?

Twitterati piled on. There was outrage, indignation, and a sense that Armstrong was trying to rub it in the nose of bike fans. Even UCI president Brian Cookson chimed in, saying, “I think that’s completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the Tour.”

The man behind the charity ride, former professional soccer player Geoff Thomas, obviously has a very different point of view. A survivor of leukemia more than 10 years ago, Armstrong served as a small but important source of inspiration in his own battle against cancer. When he decided to trace the Tour de France route one day ahead of the professional peloton, something he did in 2005, Thomas thought that having Armstrong along for the ride might be a good idea.

Now 50, Thomas could have never guessed the reaction to his decision to invite Armstrong along for the ride. The story has gone viral, pushing his “One Day Ahead” charity ride into headlines around the world. Thomas expected some blowback, but he said he doesn’t care. For him, it’s all about fighting cancer, and as a survivor, Armstrong still carries some weight.

Thomas and a group of 20 cyclists are planning to trace the entire Tour route, riding the day’s stage on open roads a full 24 hours before the peloton arrives. Armstrong will pre-ride two stages in transition days between the Pyrénées and Alps, a choice made in part to avoid the big crowds that would already be building on the mountain passes.

Thomas is hoping Armstrong’s presence helps get the word out about his charity, but he certainly doesn’t want it to turn into a media circus.

Just days before the start of the Tour de France, Thomas took a call from VeloNews to talk about his decision to invite Armstrong, how it happened, and what they’re trying to do.

VeloNews: You have your own story of cancer survivorship, tell us about that.
Geoff Thomas: In 2003, just after I retired from professional football, I was diagnosed with leukemia. At first, I was given three months to live. What cancer does is make you think totally different about life, and the path you were previously on. Lance Armstrong played a small, but important part in my fight against cancer. I read his book [“It’s Not About the Bike”] just two days after I was diagnosed. It became a critical part of my life. He became a spark for a positive mindset to take on this challenge of cancer. I can never forget that.

VN: Tell us about your plans to pre-ride the Tour stages this year, and what you hope to accomplish.
GT: I did it 10 years ago, just a year after my cancer was in remission, in 2005. A journalist friend of mine said, “why don’t you try to ride ahead of the Tour?” So me and four journalists did it. We survived, but some days we were 13 hours in the saddle. I was a pro footballer for 18 years, but riding the Tour route gave me a very good understanding of the torture these guys go through. From that, I became dedicated to raising money, and raising awareness about blood cancer. In December 2005, I won an award from BBC here in the UK. I raised a quarter of a million pounds for cancer research in 2005. So now it’s come full circle. It’s been 10 years on, I want to celebrate surviving cancer, to tell my story, to raise money for cancer. Our goal is to raise 1 million pounds.

VN: How did Armstrong become involved?
GT: This idea started about a year ago, to ride the Tour route again a decade later, and I started to think about a possible involvement with Lance. Through one of my journalist friends, I got in touch with Emma O’Reilly [former U.S. Postal Service soigneur]. I just needed to sit down with her, and ask her what she thought. Somewhat surprisingly, she thought it was a great idea to get Lance involved. Lance was a good friend of hers before things got nasty, just like it did with a lot of people, and Emma represented one of those people who were most damaged. For her to say that she had forgiven Lance, and that she considers him a friend again, so for me, if Emma was talking that way, maybe it could work.

VN: Armstrong obviously brings a lot of baggage, are you worried that it might be more disruptive than productive to have him involved?
GT: I felt like it was the right thing to do. If I could get Lance involved, it would help raise awareness. We have found tremendous doctors, and it would be a way to accelerate their work. And that’s my only aim here, to save lives. I know I’ve opened a can of worms here, and I realize it’s up to debate if it’s appropriate, but I try to think about the bigger picture. As a former sportsman myself, you cannot defend his actions. Anyone who crosses the line to achieve what they did is wrong. I am not that naïve about the world of cycling. I have spoken to many ex-pros, to journalists, I have read all the books, and I know how things were in those days. What I certainly don’t want to do is protect Lance, but rather to recognize him as a cancer survivor, and the work he’s done for the cancer community.

VN: So you never met Armstrong before approaching him with the idea of joining your charity ride?
GT: Never. There was a brief message written to me on a note in 2005 when I was pre-riding the Tour, but I never met him that year. During the BBC awards, he presented me with my award via satellite, but I never met him in person.

VN: So how did you approach him about possibly joining your effort?
GT: After talking to Emma, I got his number through a journalist friend, and I called him up to start a conversation, just to get a feel of where he was. At a certain point, I knew I needed to see him face-to-face, so I flew out to see him in Colorado. I had read so many things about him, but I just wanted to get a grasp of where he wanted to go. What struck me most, and he is quite an intense guy, that after awhile, when he started to open up a bit, was that how frustrated he was that he’s not allowed to do what he could do before in the fight against cancer. What he did during his sport career has also affected his ability to fight cancer, and that’s a source of major frustration. He accepts what he’s done is wrong, and he’s apologized for it the best way he can, but from what I could see, he’s desperate to get back to helping the cancer community. I just started to think, maybe the time is right.

VN: Why did you feel the need to reach out to Armstrong, someone who is quite toxic in the cycling community?
GT: I just started to think the time was right. Why now? For me, it’s been 10 years of being cancer-free and pre-riding the Tour course, and this guy [Armstrong] was a big part of what I was trying to set out to do. I knew there would be people who were dead set against it. But when you’ve been through a battle for own life, when you’ve fought cancer, it gives you a very different perspective on life. To me, fighting cancer and trying to save lives is much more important than what he might have done on his bike. In no way am I defending what he did, but that’s how I can justify what I am doing. By having him involved, we’ve already helped raise attention to our cause. Now we’re able to accelerate funding into the people who need it for the battle against blood cancer. I have to keep banging away at that. Everyone is asking about Lance, but for me, this is only about fighting cancer.

VN: How have people reacted within the cancer community?
GT: People have said a lot of things, that he used the cancer community as sort of a shield. But when you’re diagnosed with cancer, it doesn’t matter how rich you are, how famous you are. You’re stripped down to just you against cancer. At that moment, you’re alone, and it’s a very, very dark place. When I was diagnosed, Lance’s book was a spark, it helped give me hope. I know the cancer community is pretty tight, and I think they can understand that experience. Look, I know this Armstrong question is going to be asked forever, but I have to stick to my guns. It was never my aim to disrespect anyone, to upset people, but rather to spread the word to a wider audience and to gain more finances to fight cancer. And having Lance even agreeing to participate, we’ve already done that.

VN: Have you had any reaction from Tour de France organizers? Or from the cycling governing body?
GT: We were in touch with the Tour organization even before Lance was involved. Once the Lance news broke, Christian Prudhomme said publicly what he told us, that the road is a public roadway, on the day before the Tour, and that we could do anything we wanted, but that they could not get involved. From my experience in 2005, there are going to be parts of the roadway that are pretty empty, and other parts that will already be packed with people, especially in the mountains. We are working with a French group that helps with some support cars. It’s kind of like a rolling road closure, but on open roads. That’s why we were respectful when selecting the stages that we would do with Lance. We don’t want to antagonize too many people. You just don’t know what the reaction is going to be. If you go on Twitter, there are a small, but very loud minority who think this is a terrible idea, but I think a lot of people think enough is enough. And what we’re trying to do is good for the future of cancer research.

VN: What has Armstrong said about what the reaction he might see on the road?
GT: He’s aware there might be a negative reaction. To be fair to Lance, he’s damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. We’ve talked a lot about what he could do. The general idea is that we’re going to stay quiet. We’re not going to do any press conferences. He’s going to be there to ride a few days, to give the guys a lift, and to keep focused on the cause. He’s not there to antagonize anyone. It’s as simple as that.

VN: So what days will Armstrong join your group?
GT: We will be one day ahead of the Tour, so he will ride the routes with us on stage 13 and stage 14, which would be July 16 and July 17.

VN: You have a group of cyclists who are taking part in the fundraiser, what was their reaction when you suggested to them you wanted Armstrong to join the ride?
GT: A few of them were skeptical at first. Lance offered to have them come out to Colorado, and Lance was a great host. Each of them paid their own way, and we went up some of the steep climbs in Colorado. They came back with a new outlook about what was ahead of them, and they said they were surprised about how well they got along with this much-maligned character. Knowing that Lance is coming out to join us on the ride for a few days is making everyone excited in the group. I am hoping for a positive response all around, but I am not naïve enough to know there won’t be a bit of noise around it.

VN: What’s been the general reaction to Armstrong’s participation?
GT: I would say 80 percent to 90 percent has been positive, but from within the cycling community, with the pure cyclist, the reaction has been different. I am more worried about the cancer community, but I can understand why the cycling community is so upset. There seems to be a small minority which is very loud in making known their feelings, but for the most part, people have been supportive. I’ve been speaking to journalists in America, in Australia, in Italy, and I knew this was going to happen, but again, Lance’s participation has already helped us achieve what we want to achieve. This is about helping the cancer community, and the doctors who are doing great work that’s often just swept under the rug. If I have to take a little abuse, well, my shoulders are broad enough. I’ve been through a hell of a lot worse than some people criticizing me on Twitter.

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Strava and Garmin introduce live segment tracking on select devices Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:01:37 +0000

Garmin's new Edge 520 allows riders to see KOM/QOM results immediately while riding. Photo: Strava

Select Garmin devices will now be able to give you a countdown to the start of a segment, pacing information, and instant results

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Garmin's new Edge 520 allows riders to see KOM/QOM results immediately while riding. Photo: Strava

Strava and Garmin have announced the introduction of live segment tracking on select Garmin Edge devices.

The features of the live segment technology include a countdown to the start of segments and immediate results available on the screen of the device. Live segments also can act as a virtual coach, providing continuous updates on your performance during the segment, whether you are ahead or behind the pacing of the KOM/QOM. This allows the user to analyze their result on the segment, and Strava hopes, help improve pacing and performance. This technology allows users to immediately visualize performances against their own personal records and top times.

“This integration will be a game-changer for many athletes and marks the beginning of an exciting new way to experience Strava during a ride,” Strava’s chief product officer, Aaron Forth, said.

The new feature, Strava Live Segments will be included on the new Garmin Edge 520, which is making its debut at the Tour de France on the bikes of Team Cannondale-Garmin.

“Our job is to motivate athletes, and we’ve learned that making it easy to compare and compete is a powerful tool for motivation,” continued Forth.

The Garmin Edge 520 is available on Strava’s website for pre-order beginning today. A pending firmware update will allow Strava Live Segments to also function on the Garmin Edge 510, 810, and 1000. However, to access the new live segment tracking you have to be a Premium member with Strava.

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Seven ways the new Madone is better than the old one Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:50:22 +0000

The new Madone features drastically redesigned tube shapes including a Kamm tail design for improved aerodynamics. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews

VeloNews heads to the Netherlands to see what makes the new Madone stand apart from its predecessors and the competition

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The new Madone features drastically redesigned tube shapes including a Kamm tail design for improved aerodynamics. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews

ZEIST, Netherlands — The old Trek Madone, launched in 2013, was a frame born of compromise. It had rounder tube shapes than most of its competitors, designed to maintain ride quality while providing only modest aerodynamic benefit.

Its replacement is more purposeful. The all-new Madone is an aero bike, no apologies.

The new Madone features increased system integration — the handlebars, stem, and brakes are all proprietary now — as well as revised, more extreme tube shapes and the addition of an IsoSpeed decoupler, technology borrowed from the cobblestone-inspired Domane line.

Trek claims the new Madone is more aerodynamic and more comfortable than its predecessor, with a stiffer fork for improved handling.

According to Trek’s wind tunnel testing, the Madone is faster than the Giant Propel, Cervelo S5, and Felt AR. It was not tested against the brand-new Specialized Venge, or the old Venge, which Trek described as “not a leader in aerodynamics.”

If true, that’s a big step up from the old Madone, which, though aerodynamic, couldn’t touch bikes like the S5 or Propel in the wind tunnel. In fact, this new Madone seems to be a jump up from the old version in almost every way.

So how did Trek get there?

More shapely
Trek is a fan of the Kamm tail, a truncated version of traditional teardrop aero shapes. It allows engineers to control airflow while using wider, stiffer, and usually lighter tubes. The love of Kamm hasn’t changed, but the new Madone pushes the design further, with longer, more aerodynamic profiles, and mates it with traditional teardrop-shaped tubes in particular areas.

Hide everything
Hiding the cables and housing was clearly the design directive behind the new Madone. The engineering team at Trek managed to hide away every millimeter of cable from the brakes and front derailleur, with only a short length reaching out to the rear derailleur to remind riders that the levers are indeed connected to the derailleurs and brakes.

Integrated brakes
The brakes aren’t hidden, but they are proprietary and the front is tucked perfectly into the fork. Both front and rear brakes are center-pull (like an old Dia-Compe, but hopefully less terrible) with fully internal cables.

Each arm has an independent spring-tension adjustment to center the pads and adjust lever-pull force. The brakes also have two spacing screws to adjust for pad wear or different rim widths. These spacing screws allow riders to swap between rims with up to 6mm difference without adjusting the center wedge.

The brakes are not branded Bontrager — as Madone brakes have been in the past — but will be available in the Bontrager parts catalog. The mount is completely proprietary, so the availability of a third-party option is unlikely.

The front brake cables run down through the head tube. To allow the fork to turn, Trek engineered what it calls “Vector Wings” into the head tube. Essentially, there are two little doors on the front of the head tube that open up as the fork is turned, allowing the center-pull brake cable to rotate.

One-piece bar and stem
Complete cable integration required a bar/stem rethink. The two have been combined into a single unit, with cable routing through the bar and stem and into the headset.

In a nice touch for the home mechanic, Trek designed the proprietary headset spacers with a clamshell, so they can be added or removed without cutting cables and housing.

Simply hiding the cables and housing saved 40 grams of drag, according to Trek.

Control center
With all cables and housing hidden from view, Trek had to design a way to adjust them on the fly. The solution: the ‘control center,’ located on the top of the down tube, which houses a front derailleur trim dial on mechanical setups and a Di2 battery and junction box on electronic setups.

Careful bottle placement
Trek did most of its wind tunnel testing and subsequent real-world confirmation with two bottles on its frame, to better replicate real-world situations, it said.

The company put a lot of work into the placement of bottle cages inside the frame, studying 140 different iterations before settling on the final placement. The result, Trek says, is a 5.5 percent reduction in drag thanks only to the placement of the bottles. Sounds crazy, but in the marginal gains game of aerodynamics, it’s not beyond possibility.

Cannondale took a similarly careful approach to bottle boss placement on its new SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod.

Borrowing from endurance bikes
Comfort is an oft-ignored feature in the design of race bikes, but it shouldn’t be. Building a comfortable aero frame is made particularly difficult by the shape of aerodynamic tubes, which are usually much longer than they are wide. These narrow shapes act like an I-beam, resisting vertical flex that provides comfort.

Trek’s solution is to borrow technology from its endurance line, the Domane. The IsoSpeed decoupler is essentially a pivot (okay, ‘decoupler’) at the junction of the seat tube and top tube that allows the seat tube to flex independently of the rest of the frame. This provides noticeable vertical give and improves comfort dramatically. It’s now used on the Domane and Silque road bikes, as well as Trek’s new Procaliber hardtail mountain bike.

The Madone’s seat tube appears to be too wide to provide the forward/back flex that makes the decoupler effective. But there’s something hidden inside: tube inside the tube, designed to bend and flex vertically. The outer tube takes care of drivetrain stiffness and acts as a fairing for a rounder inner tube. The result is a significant increase in vertical compliance, visible simply by pressing on the back of the saddle.

Whether that translates into actual comfort, we can’t yet say. Check back Wednesday for a first-ride review, and commentary on the practicality of such wholesale integration.

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Velo Magazine — July 2015 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:13:51 +0000

The May issue of Velo magazine reviews the Giro d'Italia.

The July issue of Velo magazine includes full coverage of the Giro, a look at the Tour contenders, Eroica California, summer kits, and more

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The May issue of Velo magazine reviews the Giro d'Italia.

The Giro d’Italia was one for the ages, and the July issue of Velo magazine features a full recap of “the toughest race, in the world’s most beautiful place.”

In this month’s VeloNotes, we take a look at the different paths the big favorites for the Tour de France will take to make it to the start line in top shape. Also, we discuss the future of the Giro d’Italia with Mauro Vegni, the outspoken director of the Giro d’Italia.

Spaniard Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) makes winning the hardest races in the world look easy, and this year’s Giro was no different. “El Pistolero” fended off the attacks of Team Astana with a dislocated shoulder and proved to be in a league of his own.

The new kid on the block, Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick-Step), ventured stateside and continued his recent run of results at the Amgen Tour of California. Learn more about the young Frenchmen, as he discovers more of his budding talents every day.

The Velo tech crew spends time in lycra, testing a wide range of summer kits. These cycling kits are all about smart design, good looks, and a fabulous fit.

A grand tour separates the contenders from the pretenders. After Richie Porte’s (Team Sky) latest downfall, Velo examines if the Tasmanian will ever be able to conquer one of cycling’s three-week tests.

The rolling spectacle that is the Giro d’Italia, simply takes your breath away. Andrew Hood takes you through a day at the Giro, where passion fills the streets.

The July issue also recaps the U.S. road national championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as champions donned the star and stripes.

Also, travel back in time to the golden era of Italian cycling, as Chris Case rides Eroica California. Vintage racing bikes, wool jerseys, and old-school helmets bring you back to the era of Italian legends like Fausto Coppi, without ever leaving the Pacific coast.

Finally, compare yourself to the pros. Velo analyzes Chad Haga’s (Giant-Alpecin) Strava data from one of the hardest and fastest editions of the Giro d’Italia.

The July issue of Velo magazine shows the passion of cycling and much more, so don’t miss out — pick up your copy today.

Subscribe to Velo magazine >>

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Not all frames are created equal. A look deep inside the carbon in counterfeit bikes Tue, 30 Jun 2015 19:42:35 +0000

What's the harm in buying that knockoff carbon frame from the Internet? A lot more than you might think. Not all frames are created equal

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Davide Appollonio suspended for EPO Tue, 30 Jun 2015 19:11:32 +0000

Davide Appollonio (Androni-Sidermec) rode in the break during stage 12 of the 2015 Giro d'Italia and finished fifth in a later stage. Photo: Tim De Waele |

Italian Appollonio fails a doping test in June after finishing the Giro and before he won the points jersey at Tour of Slovenia

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Davide Appollonio (Androni-Sidermec) rode in the break during stage 12 of the 2015 Giro d'Italia and finished fifth in a later stage. Photo: Tim De Waele |

Italian Davide Appollonio has been provisionally suspended by the UCI for an adverse analytical finding that indicated the presence of EPO in a June anti-doping test.

Appollonio, 26, started his career with the Cervelo Test team in 2009 and 2010. He spent two years with Team Sky, 2011 and 2012, and raced with Ag2r La Mondiale following the Sky stint before moving to the Italian Pro Continental squad Androni-Sidermec for the current season.

The non-negative test result came from a sample taken on June 14, after Appollonio finished the Giro d’Italia and before he started the Tour of Slovenia. He finished fifth in stage 17 of the Giro and won the points classification at the Slovenia tour, which ran June 18-21.

Appollonio may request a B sample to confirm the test result.

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ASO to deliver real-time data from Tour riders Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:00:55 +0000

Photo: Tim De Waele |

Dimension Data and ASO will provide live-tracking of the Tour de France with real-time rider data based on GPS transmitters

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Photo: Tim De Waele |

Dimension Data announced that it will deliver real-time information on Tour de France riders for the first time in the history of professional cycling. In partnership with Tour organizer Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the company announced Tuesday that it has completed its big-data analytics and digital delivery platform.

“The technology will allow cycling fans to follow the race in ways they’ve never been able to before,” said Dimension Data executive chairman, Jeremy Ord. “Until now it was difficult to understand what was happening outside of what could be shown on the live television coverage. The ability to follow riders, get accurate information about which riders are in a group, and see real-time speed are just some of the innovations that will be realized through this solution. During the duration of the three-week race, we’ll be rolling out a range of new capabilities, including a beta live-tracking website.”

Working with ASO, in partnership with the 22 teams participating in the 2015 Tour de France, Dimension Data says it will offer highly accurate data through the use of live trackers, mounted under the saddle of each rider. Dimension Data will then process and analyze the data, and make it available to cycling fans, commentators, broadcasters, and the media.

When the Tour de France begins Saturday, the viewing public around the world will be able to follow all 198 riders in 22 teams real-time, and be able to track the speed at which each cyclist is riding, exactly where he’s positioned in the race in relation to other cyclists, and the distance between each rider — all via a beta live-tracking website.

The real-time analytics system will take the data provided by a third-party geo-localization transmission component, undertake data cleansing and analysis, and provide access to this data as both a real-time data stream, and a historical archive.

Ord said Dimension Data carried out testing during the Critérium du Dauphiné race in June. “We analyzed one cyclist cycling at an astounding 104 kilometers per hour. This type of data has not been available in the past.”

All data analyzed will be available through a beta live-tracking website. This allows fans to select their favorite rider to follow, monitor the race on their phone or tablet while they watch it live on the television, and gain access to additional data insights. The 198 riders in 22 teams will generate 42,000 geospatial points and 75 million GPS readings. In addition, the live-tracking website is built to support 17 million viewers and 2,000 page requests per second.

“This top-notch technological development will enable a better analysis of the race, highlight the race tactics, and also show how essential in this sport is each rider’s role within his team,” said Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France director. “It will now be possible to understand how to prepare for a sprint finish in the last few kilometers of a stage, feel the wind’s impact on the rider’s speed, and so much more. Our efforts combined with those of Dimension Data will permanently change the way we follow cycling and the Tour de France.”

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Carmen Small Journal: Three questions about racing with the men Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:32:33 +0000

Carmen Small raced with the Elbowz Racing team at the North Star Grand Prix, competing alongside the pro men. Photo: Matthew Moses/Moses Images

Since she raced with the pro men at the North Star Grand Prix, Small has fielded a lot of questions. Here, she answers three common queries

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Carmen Small raced with the Elbowz Racing team at the North Star Grand Prix, competing alongside the pro men. Photo: Matthew Moses/Moses Images

It has been a week since I finished racing the North Star Grand Prix (NSGP) with Elbowz Racing team, and I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on my experience. I have also started this journal entry about five times, and could never get very far, so I start again today, hopefully with some new perspective after my four-hour ride. After taking those hours to reflect on racing with the men, I decided I’d try to answer a few common questions I’ve gotten since the race.

“When are you going to do it again?” My reply is one simple word: “never.” My parents always taught me, never say never. So my response isn’t completely honest, but my knee-jerk reaction is “never.” It’s not that it was so hard that I felt like I was in over my head, but it was challenging most of the time. OK, all of the time. The biggest thing is that I love to win races, and I don’t see that as a likely possibility racing with men who are like a bunch of Dutch women on crack. My goal was to finish the stage race and have my name on the results at the end. Mission accomplished. Although I was conservative for most of the stages, it was still hard and great training, better than I could have achieved by myself.

“What is your most memorable experience?” Besides the criterium and always being under-geared rather then over-geared (I have never cornered that fast and carried my speed as far during my racing career), I would say it was the Elbowz, a.k.a. El-bro-wz team. They had such an impact on me that I can never forget the experience. What an incredible group of men who come together to race bikes. I was very impressed with their professionalism, light-hearted nature, and their passion for the sport. My face hurt from smiling and laughing with the team. They accepted me as one of their own, and they supported my goals as if it was their team goal. Never mind how they rose to the challenge and were on the podium every day but one! Their determination was contagious and I found myself feeling positive about my own outcome of the race. I will never forget that they gave me the opportunity to race with them and helped me accomplish my goal. But honestly, they probably won me over by cooking dinner for me.

“What was the strangest thing?” There is a reason why men and women have different chamois. Let me tell you, after 85 miles … ouch. I prefer women’s chamois. This wasn’t the strangest thing for me that week, however. Yes, I am going there: men peeing off their bikes. Of course, I have seen pictures or videos of this happening while watching a men’s race, and I’m not ignorant to the possibly of seeing this during NSGP. But to see it happen in real life, first hand, right next to me. That was weird. The first time I saw some guy drifting back on the side of the peloton with his hand kind of down his pants, I was like, ‘Oh, what’s happening there?’ Then I was like ohhh, of course … Then again and again and again. I got really good at detecting this and hastily making my way to the middle of the peloton away from any “spray” that could happen.

It was a tremendous week of racing with an enormous amount of support both at the race and with people sending me messages. I will never forget this experience. Thank you Elbowz for making this opportunity possible and David Laporte for letting it happen. Thanks to all the men who I raced with, who showed me respect and encouragement during the week. This was, for sure, one of the best experiences of my life.

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Team Novo Nordisk continues to build on support and success in 2015 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 15:28:41 +0000

Team Novo Nordisk has gotten off to a successful start in the 2015 season. After a midsummer break, it will return to racing in earnest at the Tour of Denmark. Photo: Kei Tsuji (Tim De Waele)

The sport’s only all-diabetes cycling team heads into mid-season break on a high and with more than 1.3 million followers on social media

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Team Novo Nordisk has gotten off to a successful start in the 2015 season. After a midsummer break, it will return to racing in earnest at the Tour of Denmark. Photo: Kei Tsuji (Tim De Waele)

SYDNEY — Seems like a long time since New Zealand’s Scott Ambrose (Team Novo Nordisk) soloed to victory on stage 2 at Tour de Filipinas in February to give the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team is first professional cycling victory in the team’s three-year history.

The 20-year-old Auckland native would go on to win the points classification and captain his young squad from the Tour de Taiwan to the Tour of California — helping his 30-year-old Spanish teammate Javier Mejías finish in the top 10 on general classification at the Tour of Turkey along the way.

Most recently, Team Novo Nordisk achieved nine top-10 finishes collectively while competing at the Tour de Korea (UCI 2.1) and Tour de Beauce (2.2) simultaneously in June, bringing the team’s current season total to 25 top-10 finishes heading into a well-deserved mid-season break.

“So far this year, Team Novo Nordisk has earned more top-10 finishes than our entire 2014 season,” said Team Novo Nordisk co-founder and CEO, Phil Southerland. “The dedication and hard work of every single athlete is paying off and the entire organization is really proud of what they have accomplished on the road. We will aggressively go after more results later this summer when we start racing again at Tour of Denmark.”

Aside from Ambrose and Mejías, Italian sprinter Andrea Peron, 26, is another burgeoning team standout after showing significant progress with an eighth-place finish on stage 8 at the Tour of California in May and four top-10 finishes in Korea, including a fourth on stage 2 following a crash the day before, and a third on stage 5 en route to a sixth-place finish on points.

“Andrea did well earlier this season when he rode in the breakaway all day at Milan-San Remo, but otherwise luck has not been on his side recently,” team sport director and corporate vice president Vassili Davidenko told VeloNews. “Now, to see him get his form back at Tour de Korea gives all of us at Team Novo Nordisk a great sense of pride.”

For the retired Russian pro cyclist, Peron is an example of the team’s continuing progress for 2015.

“Andrea’s podium and three additional top-10 finishes, along with the team’s total of six top-10 finishes in Korea, are a reflection of the amazing performance and growth by the team overall,” said Davidenko, who himself finished sixth overall at Tirreno-Adriatico in 1997. “We’re just six months into the season and we already have more top-10 finishes than we had all of last year.

“These results show we are definitely on the right track,” he added. “Andrea and his teammates are consistently performing better, the team is getting stronger, and we are excited to see what the rest of the season will bring when we start racing again.”

Peron agrees with Davidenko.

“Korea was a good week,” said Peron, who was diagnosed as a diabetic at 15. “Expectations are good from the start and now the first part of season is done and it’s time to recover and prepare for second part of the year, and I am very excited about that — we all are.”

For riders rostered to Team Novo Nordisk, being contracted to the team is much more than a job — it’s literally a way of life. Each cyclist on the U.S.-registered UCI Pro Continental team suffers from the genetic disability known as type 1 diabetes.

“Our riders have a responsibility within the communities we race [to] educate and empower the 387 million people around the world affected by diabetes,” Davidenko told VeloNews during the Presidential Tour of Turkey in May. “Team Novo Nordisk proves that it’s not about diabetes. Yes it exists, but life doesn’t stop if you have diabetes.

“You can continue to achieve your dreams, you just need to manage your diabetes on a daily basis.”

The team was originally spawned off an idea from Southerland and Joe Eldridge in 2006 when they decided to create a team of eight riders diagnosed with type 1 diabetes to ride the gruelling 4,800-kilometer Race Across America (RAAM) — a race they later won the following three years (2007-2010).

Under the watchful eye of Southerland, the team has morphed into something much bigger and is now comprised of nearly 100 athletes from over 20 countries, and regularly competes in more than 500 international cycling, mountain biking, cyclocross, triathlon, and running events for both men and women annually.

The social media reach of the program alone has attracted more than 1.3 million friends, fans, and followers across the team’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube accounts.

It has not all been good news for the team this season, as Belgian Thomas Raeymaekers announced he is retiring in the middle of this third season to treat ongoing health issues related to Crohn’s disease, a condition he was diagnosed with earlier this year.

“As a professional team, we lose a fierce competitor who thrived in tough conditions and left every ounce he had on the road; but as an organization, we gain a tremendous ambassador who will play an equally important role,” said Southerland about the 22-year-old Raeymaekers, who will assume a new role with the team as an athlete ambassador. “Thomas is an athlete who doesn’t let diabetes stop him from pursuing his dreams on or off the bike and he is an inspiration to many.”

The team will return to action in late July for a training camp in Italy before heading to the Tour of Denmark, Arctic Race of Norway, and the USA Pro Challenge in August.

Aaron S. Lee is a cycling and triathlon columnist for Eurosport and a guest contributor to VeloNews.

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Cannondale wants us to join the cult of aluminum — but we’re not ready Tue, 30 Jun 2015 15:03:29 +0000

The new CAAD12 rides smoothly for aluminum and features a solid build. It didn't excel on the steeps, but it had a peppy feel. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews

The new CAAD12 promises a revolution in alloy construction: comfort, light weight, and a great price point, but promises aren't enough

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The new CAAD12 rides smoothly for aluminum and features a solid build. It didn't excel on the steeps, but it had a peppy feel. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews

KITZBÜHEL, Austria — The last time I rode an aluminum-frame road bike, I had hopped on it as a last-minute replacement for my own carbon bike. I didn’t realize it was aluminum, and I remember thinking, “Boy, this carbon frame sure is rough.” When I realized it was aluminum, I amended that to, “Boy, this aluminum sure rides smooth.” It certainly wasn’t the smoothest ride in the world, but I put away some miles on it and felt pretty good at the end. That’s a fairly strong endorsement for a frame material that has seen its heyday come and go.

Cannondale feels a little differently about aluminum, and its passion for alloy was on full display in Kitzbühel with the release of the CAAD12 frame. Cheekily dubbing itself the ‘Aluminati,’ Cannondale reaffirmed itself as a passionate defender of the much maligned alloy, citing its cult popularity among cyclists who have taken aluminum frames and put lavish build kits on them, particularly the CAAD10 frame. Granted, there are significant benefits to aluminum as a frame material, but when it’s pitted against carbon, it doesn’t stand a chance.

With the new CAAD12, Cannondale hopes to change that notion. In fact, it’s so confident in the new aluminum frame that it skipped CAAD11 altogether because it thought the new frame was just that good. Did it live up to expectations when we rode it?

Yes and no.

Let’s start with the yes. The ride quality of the CAAD12 was surprisingly good, and out on the road, chatter was muted, and the bike itself lively enough that I could envision riding it on a semi-regular basis. Cannondale achieved this finely tuned ride quality using a proprietary computer modeling system it calls Tube Flow Modeling, which essentially allows engineers to use computer software to figure out which tube shaping works best for compliance and stiffness.

SmartForm Alloy Construction combines several common aluminum construction types — hydroforming, taper butting, mechanical shaping, 3D forging, double-pass smooth welding, post-weld heat treat — to tailor the ride quality as much as possible. It’s labor-intensive, but Cannondale believes the payoff is worth it for an aluminum frame with what it believes is near-carbon-quality comfort.

Up front, a carbon fork takes on road chatter along with an hourglass-shaped head tube, optimized for stiffness. It’s a tried-and true combo that mates nicely with the ride-tuned aluminum frame, and as I climbed up what felt like a brick wall in the Alps, the bike did have a certain peppiness to it. That said, the CAAD12 felt heavy and geared too high for the terrain, though on paper, its weight is actually quite light. This sluggishness could be due to flex, weight distribution, or any number of factors. The bottom line is, it just didn’t feel as lively going up the steeps as carbon bikes generally do.

The CAAD12 I rode was equipped with Shimano disc brakes. Cannondale made a completely new direct-mount post for the rear brake that is mitered and then welded into the non-driveside chain stay, and it is touted as the strongest mount Cannondale has ever created. Did that translate into noticeable gains out on the road? Not really, but extra strength certainly doesn’t hurt, especially on steep, winding descents. There was no brake chatter to speak of.

Speaking of steep, winding descents, I was on the brakes pretty much constantly, and the disc brakes certainly have a learning curve to them. Light touch is key, but I did get a harmonic hum running through the frame that was distracting enough to be almost dangerous.

Like the SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod, the CAAD12 features a BB30A bottom bracket shell for extra stiffness. Also like the SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod, the chain stays are shaped to combine both stiffness and compliance, and the seat tube tapers for compliance. Let’s talk about that big C-word: Was the aluminum frame as compliant and therefore comfortable as carbon? Not quite, but it certainly was a comfy ride for an aluminum frame.

All told, I felt like I suffered a lot more on the CAAD12 than I did on the SuperSix Evo, but these bikes aren’t built for the same type of riding. If you’re looking for a light bike, spec’d with Dura-Ace, at an approachable price, the CAAD12 is quite good, though it has its foibles. It won’t climb like carbon, won’t descend like it either, but it’s no slouch and if you’re not racing, carbon might not matter much to you anyway, especially if the aluminum rides fairly comfortably.

Am I ready to convert to the Aluminati cult? Not quite, but for a serious rider in search of a good build at a lower price, drinking the Kool-Aid might not be a bad idea.

There are seven CAAD12 models ranging from the 14.8-pound Black INC model with Hi-Mod fork and Dura-Ace 9000, down to the 18.8-pound 105 model with stops in between. Pricing is not yet available, but you can expect to see these bikes hit the streets in mid-September.

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