VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Wed, 31 Aug 2016 22:06:24 +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 New Shimano shoes (and socks) unveiled http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/new-shimano-s-phyre-performance-road-mountain-bike-shoes-socks_419465 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/new-shimano-s-phyre-performance-road-mountain-bike-shoes-socks_419465#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 22:06:24 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419465 Shimano announces two new top-of-the line shoes for road and mountain with improved fit and special integrated socks.

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Shimano announced its new S-Phyre line of premium footwear including two new performance cycling shoes as well as complementary socks for road, cross-country, and cyclocross racing. Shimano says this footwear line was designed specifically to maximize power transmission and minimize aerodynamic drag.

Both the S-Phyre RC9 road shoe and S-Phyre XC9 mountain bike shoe use a one-piece outer made from stretch-resistant and breathable microfiber synthetic leather. They have perforated dimple vents that are flexible for what Shimano calls “a glove-like fit.” The supple upper also accommodates a wider range of foot shapes, now up to an E+ width in standard sizes.

Both shoe options also use double Boa IP1 dials and wire lacing for micro-adjustments when tightening the shoes.

The S-Phyre outsole construction eliminates the shoe’s lasting board, which reduces weight and stack height. This improves the stability and Shimano says it also improves power transfer. Additionally, an external heel cup prevents the foot from twisting or rolling in the shoe, which also helps with power output through the carbon sole.

S-Phyre RC9

SH-RC900-SL_B_S3 copyShimano’s new S-Phyre RC9 weighs in at a respectable 232 grams per shoe. It’s not the lightest we’ve ever seen, but they’re getting close.

  • Weight: 232 grams (size 42)
  • Size: 36, 37-47 in half sizes: 48; wide sizes: 40-48
  • Colors: blue, white, yellow, and limited-edition black
  • MSRP: $400.00

S-Phyre XC9

SH-XC900-SB_S_S1 copy
At first glance, the S-Phyre XC9 looks like some kind of hybrid between a road and mountain bike shoe. It looks similar to the RC9 road shoe with a perforated microfiber synthetic leather upper. But the XC9 uses a lightweight cross-country and cyclocross outsole that is supposedly more durable than the road shoe and provides abrasion resistance.

Designed in conjunction with Michelin, the outsole has an anti-slip arch pattern that provides extra grip in the mid-arch section. It uses a dual-compound rubber for better traction off the bike, while Shimano says the triangle knob design helps reduce weight.

For grip in extra sloppy conditions, the shoes come with optional extra-long 18-millimeter toe spikes as well as a reinforced spike mount, which should please ‘cross racers.

XC9_F02_zz_F2  XC9_F02_zz_F3

  • Weight: 325 grams (size 42)
  • Size: 38, 39, 40-47 in half sizes; 48; wide sizes: 40-48
  • Colors: blue, yellow, black
  • MSRP: $400

S-Phyre Socks

To round out the footwear package, the S-Phyre RC9 and XC9 shoes are sold with color-matched socks. Shimano studied the shoe-sock interface (yes, it sounds a little crazy to us too!) to create a system that it says helps promote efficient pedaling through optimal ankle angles. An ankle guide is woven into the socks to ensure efficient pedaling rotation through the 360-degree pedal rotation and the socks have an anti-slip heel for better power transfer. We presume the socks are compatible with other types of shoes but not recommended for sandals.

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Vuelta Roundtable: Can Quintana hold on? http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/vuelta-roundtable-can-quintana-hold_419598 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/vuelta-roundtable-can-quintana-hold_419598#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 21:50:35 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419598 Can Quintana hold the lead? Is La Vuelta really that great? What can other grand tours learn from this crazy race? Let's roundtable!

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It’s official: the La Vuelta a España is already the most exciting and compelling grand tour of the year. After just 11 stages, the Vuelta has already served up plenty of dramatic uphill finishes, cat-and-mouse action between the GC favorites, and a crazy summit finish atop Lagos de Covadonga. The diminutive Colombian Nairo Quintana holds a tenuous lead in the GC, but Chris Froome and his evil power meter look strong heading into the race’s back half.

Can Quintana hold the lead? Is La Vuelta really that great? What can other grand tours learn from this crazy race? Let’s roundtable!

How does Nairo Quintana win (or lose) this Vuelta?

Andy Hood @Eurohoody: He needs to drop Chris Froome like he’s never been dropped before. The 37km time trial along a hilly, windy route on Spain’s southern coast is ideal for Froome. I personally do not think he will take three minutes on Quintana (that would be almost five seconds per kilometer), but I think Froome could take around two minutes, so Quintana needs at least another minute on Froome to have a realistic chance to win. Froome has been flogging away at the Vuelta since 2011, and desperately wants to win. And with Froome’s form on the rise, things could get complicated for Quintana unless he manages to make some serious gains in the Pyrenees.

Fred Dreier @freddreier: Quintana loses the Vuelta by failing to put a finishing bullet into Chris Froome on these uphill finishes. Quintana has the explosive acceleration, so he can get the gap, but he never pulls away enough time. And on Lagos de Covadonga, he shouldn’t have played around with Contador for so long. It looked like he assumed Froome was toast. On the stage 11 climb, he missed an opportunity to drop Froome at the finish, after Froome put in a serious dig. I think all of these missed opportunities will come back to bite Quintana when Froome puts minutes into him on the stage 19 time trial.

Spencer Powlison @spino_powerlegs: Quintana’s got about four big mountain days to put time into Froome, and I think he can do it, but he’ll need some help from teammate Alejandro Valverde, who’s nearly even with his Sky rival in the overall. If they can isolate Froome on the big uphill finishes, like stage 14 to Col d’Aubisque, and then take turns punching the accelerator (something that’s given Froome fits so far this Vuelta), Quintana might, maybe have a chance.

How does this year’s Vuelta rate against the Giro and Tour in terms of excitement and watchability?

Andy: So far, it’s been wildly more unpredictable than the Tour, against a much deeper field than the Giro. Sometimes there is some ingrained “race weariness” in the Vuelta because it comes so late in the season (and has progressively become more difficult over the past five editions), but the Spanish grand tour delivers a much more dynamic, unpredictable race. The GC field is as deep as the Tour, and we are seeing that great Froome-Quintana matchup that fell flat in July.

Fred: No comparison, the Vuelta is the best. Of course that final week of the Giro had some great fireworks, but day in, day out, this Vuelta is worth watching. I’d love to see Contador or Chaves make a real legitimate push to challenge Froome and Quintana in week three. That would dial up the excitement to another level.

Spencer: It’s definitely more exciting than the Tour, which really just came down to a few dramatic days midway through the race. But the Giro had a lot of action in the final half, with Kruijswijk crashing and Nibali attacking Chaves. Certainly the first half of this Vuelta has been more exciting than the first half of the 2016 Giro, however.

What aspects of this year’s Vuelta would you like to see applied to the other grand tours?

Andy: The Vuelta started the trend toward shorter stages more than a decade ago, and that continues to deliver fruit. Long, seven-hour stages are part of cycling, but they are not very much fun to watch (and likely to race). Shorter stages with explosive climbs serve up unpredictable fireworks and create a much more exciting product for the viewing public.

Fred: As much as I love the uphill finishes, my favorite part of this Vuelta is the absence of a team that is strong enough to control the race. Movistar can control the group until the base of the climbs, and then it’s game on. Sorry, Team Sky’s Tour squad. I respect the hell out of you, but wow, you’re dull as dishwater to watch.

Spencer: I agree with Andy that shorter stages with tough finishes deliver great races. Also, we should have more confusing overall classifications, like the combination jersey — math nerds love it!

Quintana was messing with his bike computer during the Lagos de Covadonga climb. What was he actually doing?

Andy: Hmmm I have no idea!

Fred: Replying to Contador super-fans on Twitter… “Sorry guys, I’m about to drop your boy Bertie like a sack full of hammers!”

Spencer: Pokemon Go. Gotta drop ’em all!

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FSA drivetrain: How does it stack up with eTap, Di2, and EPS? http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/fsa-drivetrain-stack-etap-di2-eps_419526 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/fsa-drivetrain-stack-etap-di2-eps_419526#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 21:29:16 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419526 FSA launched its long-awaited electronic drivetrain this week at Eurobike. The K-Force WE electronic system looks to offer many of the

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FSA launched its long-awaited electronic drivetrain this week at Eurobike. The K-Force WE electronic system looks to offer many of the same shifting features and capabilities as the three electronic drivetrains currently on the market: Shimano Di2, SRAM eTap, and Campagnolo EPS, with a few minor differences.

K-Force WE stands out most significantly with its partial wireless design. This system sends a wireless signal from the shift levers to the derailleurs to shift up or down, but unlike SRAM’s fully wireless eTap drivetrain, FSA’s front and rear derailleurs are connected by wires to a battery hidden in the bike’s seatpost.

Photo: FSA
Photo: FSA

The K-Force WE system also talks wirelessly to a desktop or smartphone app for easy set-up and customization of the shift patterns and buttons. Campagnolo uses a similar system, the MyCampy app for set-up and data tracking. Shimano has yet to release its promised E-Tube app, and SRAM hasn’t teased any companion app yet. Not only will FSA’s app help with set-up, but it will track and record your front and rear shifts allowing you to analyze your habits, and it will send alerts when the system’s battery needs charging.

Besides these small differences, the K-Force WE drivetrain looks fairly similar to the three other electronic systems. FSA hasn’t released prices yet, but it says K-Force WE will sit somewhere between Dura-Ace Di2 and eTap. Here’s a quick rundown of the different systems and how they compare.

FSA K Force

Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA Photo: FSA

 

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Five things (not power meters) that basically ruined cycling http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/commentary/five-things-not-power-meters-that-basically-ruined-cycling_419601 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/commentary/five-things-not-power-meters-that-basically-ruined-cycling_419601#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 20:43:41 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419601 Power meters: They are ruining pro cycling, and it’s time for Chris Froome to start taking this clear and present danger more seriously.

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Power meters: They are ruining pro cycling, and it’s time for Chris Froome to start taking this clear and present danger more seriously.

His Vuelta rivals, Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador have expressed genuine concern about the latest high-tech boogie-man that’s turning the big tours into farces. And on Wednesday, Sky’s skeletal leader scoffed, “Why not [ban power meters], and then we can also go back to single-speed bikes without gears. Why not, eh?”

Face it, pro cycling is best when it lives in a musty crypt — or perhaps a time capsule — to preserve the sepia-toned majesty of the sport. Let’s hop into the way-back machine and consider five things that definitely, probably ruined cycling.

Drafting will ruin cycling. Tour de France founder, overlord, and sorta-crazy French guy Henri Desgrange waited until 1925 to allow teammates to pace each other at the race, and the public was justly incensed by the innovation. Fans yearned for the thrilling blow-for-blow action afforded by what were essentially 400+ kilometer individual time trial stages. It was a different era, and anyway, before the advent of super-stinky European cologne, riders choked on super-stinky European B.O. once they started riding together.

Shimano will ruin cycling. You know how beautifully silent your dad’s old 10-speed was with those friction shifters? Thanks to one conniving bike company, bikes began clicking louder than a troupe of Spaniards with castanets once the Positron index shifters came online in 1977. Don’t you pine for the golden era of cycling, when a rider like Benoni Beheyt could sneak up on Rik van Looy to win world championships, like a Belgian Pink Panther?

“Eight-speed [or nine-speed, or 10-speed, or 11-speed] cassettes will ruin cycling”
–The guy on your group ride that just bought an outdated drivetrain.

Helmets will ruin cycling. I think we can all agree, this was one giant conspiracy to keep us from enjoying Mario Cipollini’s amazing head of hair. What a pity. And think of the intrepid barber in the Tour de France start village, plying his trade on the sport’s fastest heads. You can be sure his business tanked when everyone had to wear helmets.

Disc brakes will ruin cycling. And they almost did, but Movistar’s Fran Ventoso dove onto that circular machete-shaped grenade at Paris-Roubaix, convincing the UCI to put an immediate stop to those in the peloton who’d like to stop more immediately. Surely the peloton was relieved as it plunged down the rain-slicked descent to Morzine in stage 20 of the Tour.

So maybe Chris Froome has a point. It would be pretty ridiculous to race singlespeed bikes. Power meters don’t affect the race that much, and anyhow, Quintana was fiddling with his computer more than Froome on Lagos de Covadonga in stage 10 (millennials … typical). But don’t forget, there is one piece of technology, which the UCI eventually banished, one that nearly chopped off Paolo Bettini’s hand (Google it).

Spinergy Rev X wheels. Those totally ruined cycling (see below).

Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com
Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

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Froome’s ascendant form putting the fear in Movistar at Vuelta http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/road/froomes-ascendant-form-putting-the-fear-in-movistar-at-vuelta_419553 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/road/froomes-ascendant-form-putting-the-fear-in-movistar-at-vuelta_419553#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 18:14:05 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419553 Chris Froome is finding his legs, building momentum, and gradually reeling back time on Vuelta a Espana race leader Nairo Quintana.

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Chris Froome bit back a few seconds from Nairo Quintana and took a big gulp of momentum in stage 11.

Sky’s three-time Tour de France champion revived his chances for overall victory in the 2016 Vuelta a España by securing his first stage win on the very same climb where he took his first professional win in 2011 at that year’s Vuelta. Froome’s finish-line fist punch into the humid Cantabrian air revealed just how much he wanted the stage and confirmed his form is on the rise.

“It was definitely my objective coming into this race, trying to ride myself into this race,” Froome said. “I obviously had a busy season with the Tour de France, the Olympics before coming to the Vuelta, so I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the Vuelta. Because of that, I’ve been aiming to build into the race and hopefully be better in the second half. Hopefully, I’m on track for that now.”

The race jury awarded Movistar’s Quintana the same time at the line — though it appeared there was a gap as Froome powered away in the final 150m — but Froome skipped ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) into second overall, and trimmed Quintana’s lead from 58 to 54 seconds with the finish-line time bonus.

Those few seconds don’t mean much now, but Peña Cabarga confirmed that Froome is getting better as this Vuelta unfolds. It is a clear momentum shift as the Vuelta heads toward a decisive showdown in the Pyrénées this weekend.

Quintana is still in the lead, but he knows that Froome is breathing down his neck.

“We came in together, but he won the stage because he was just faster than me in the sprint,” Quintana said. “I keep thinking he is strong, and we cannot let down our guard. There are some hard stages coming up, with a lot of spectacle and a lot of battle. It’s difficult to guess sometimes what they are doing, because they seem to have different strategies. We also have our strategy, but we have to watch him, because he is our strongest rival.”

Even before Wednesday’s 11th stage started, Movistar demurred that Froome remains an uncomfortably dangerous rival. In fact, both Quintana and Movistar manager Eusebio Unzué said in order to “breathe easy” going into the late-race time trial in stage 19 along Spain’s windy coast Quintana would want close to three minutes.

Froome’s stage victory at Peña Cabarga revives the fiery version of the rider everyone saw in 2011, and again this summer at the Tour de France. Five years prior, he finished second overall in the Vuelta, a result that saw him emerge as the best grand tour rider of his generation.

“I have some special memories from 2011, from the Vuelta against [Juanjo] Cobo at that time. [The stage] was my first victory ever as a professional. I definitely have some special memories from that time,” Froome said. “I knew the finish well, I knew the climb well; I think that definitely helped. Coming into the last few hundred meters, knowing the left turn to the finish. You can’t see the finish line necessarily, but I knew the right moment to accelerate.”

The victory comes just as there is a new debate erupting about the influence that power meters are having on the racing dynamics. Both Contador and Quintana suggested power meters should not be used during races, in a clear shot at the highly controlled and programed racing style of Team Sky and Froome.

Froome shrugged off suggestions that he depends on power, but this Vuelta battle with Quintana is seeing Froome racing more on instinct and feel as he struggles to find top form after a long season.

When asked about power meters, Froome replied sarcastically, “What? We should go back to single-speed bikes as well?”

Power meters or no, Quintana cannot afford to let Froome nip away more seconds. The Colombian is under pressure to expand his lead by at least another minute and a half to have a realistic chance of fending off Froome in the final time trial. Froome is clearly finding his legs, and seems poised to become the first rider to complete the Tour-Vuelta double since the Vuelta moved to the autumn in 1995.

What is sure is that we are seeing the Froome vs. Quintana battle that didn’t unfold during this summer’s Tour de France. Quintana is stronger than he was in July, and Froome is weaker, so the math adds up to what should be a gripping battle all the way to Madrid.

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Creeping up on Vuelta top-10, Talansky remains confident http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/creeping-up-on-vuelta-top-10-talansky-remains-confident_419527 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/creeping-up-on-vuelta-top-10-talansky-remains-confident_419527#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 17:58:53 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419527 Andrew Talansky has crept up to 11th overall after stage 11, saying that the final week of the race should suit his strengths.

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Andrew Talansky keeps hanging in there, and is patiently waiting for the third week during this Vuelta a España.

The final week of any grand tour is Talansky’s preferred terrain, and he is steadily making progress toward the top-10 as the Vuelta pedaled past its equator in Wednesday’s dynamic stage up Peña Cabarga.

Talansky couldn’t follow the fireworks at the front of the bunch as Sky’s Chris Froome danced to victory, but moved up one spot on GC to 11th overall in his first grand tour of the 2016 season.

“Personally, I always said that the third week is usually my best in a grand tour,” Talansky told LaVuelta.com before the start Wednesday. “I’m where I should be and there are now some mountain stages that really suit me and also the time trial that suits me quite well. I’m still aiming at the best GC position as possible.”

How high the Cannondale – Drapac rider can move up remains to be seen. The top-10 is clogged up with some quality riders, with fifth through 10th divided by less than one minute. Gianluca Brambila (Etixx – Quick-Step) tumbled from 11th to 24th, and now Talansky is 1:07 behind his nearest rival, BMC’s Samuel Sanchez, but he is hoping to come close to equaling his breakout seventh place at the 2012 Vuelta.

Cannondale – Drapac has been active in the breakaways, posting three top-10s so far, and slotting riders into most of the major moves of this Vuelta. The team lost Simon Clarke (DNS, stage 11) and Patrick Bevin (DNF, stage 11) due to injuries from crashes, so the squad is down to seven going into the second half of the race.

In contrast, French teammate Pierre Rolland is not racing for GC, but hopes to win the stage that eluded him at the Tour de France. With Talansky sitting out this summer’s Tour, Rolland led the squad, but his GC ambitions unraveled following a painful crash in the Pyrénées.

Rolland was on the march in Monday’s breakaway going into Lagos de Covadonga, but knew his chances were slim when he heard the big guns were preparing for an assault.

“Two days ago I felt good, I tried my luck but when I heard that Quintana and Contador were 50 seconds behind, I knew it was over,” Rolland said. “There are stages I like, like the one in the Pyrénées to Gourette. But this Vuelta is hard to read; you never know whether the GC leaders are going to fight it out. To focus on a stage is not possible.”

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First Ride: Bell’s new Zephyr helmet http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/first-ride-bells-new-zephyr-helmet_419363 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/first-ride-bells-new-zephyr-helmet_419363#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 17:14:56 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419363 The Zephyr may not be the lightest helmet, but for an all-day ride, especially in hot weather, it is a great, well-ventilated choice.

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WILDHAUS, Switzerland (VN) — Sharp eyes saw LottoNL  – Jumbo riders sporting a new Bell helmet at the 2016 Tour de France, and now it’s coming to market: The Zephyr is Bell’s top of the line road helmet, and it’s packed with some pretty impressive features from a new MIPS system to a bifurcated construction that consists of an outer shell and an inner shell. Best of all, it’s comfortable, vents exceptionally well, and has more adjustability than any Bell helmet we’ve tried before.

Perhaps the most notable feature of Bell’s new road helmet is the Float Fit Race retention system, which is integrated directly with the MIPS system. That essentially means the retention system snugs up around your head more comfortably, and with less material coming in contact with your noggin. It’s a pretty wispy harness; the Float Fit Race retention system allows for plenty of venting. The occipital pads — the parts that comes in contact with the back of your head — are adjustable too so you can customize the fit even further.

The dial micro-adjusts snugness, and there are a full 22 millimeters of up and down adjustment, indicated by four stops. And the dial is separated from the occipital pads so it doesn’t press up against your head, a nice comfort detail that eliminates a possible pressure point.

Bell representatives said they weren't trying to make the lightest or most aero helmet; Instead, they wanted to create the "most comfortable, balanced, and sophisticated" helmet. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com The Zephyr features a bifurcated construction, which essentially means there are two main components to the helmet: a harder, denser EPS foam outer shell, and a less-dense inner shell. The two are then mated together to form the complete shell. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com The vents are big and make for a cool ride. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com The rear of the helmet is the most dramatic example of Bell's departure from previous styling. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com The Float Fit Race retention system uses a click dial for adjustment. The MIPS system is integrated into the retention system, instead of the typical MIPS mounting to the helmet's shell. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com The occipital pads (on either side of the dial) are independently adjustable. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com The unique pad construction helps keep sweat from dripping onto your sunglasses by essentially redirecting your sweat forward. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com The two main pieces of the helmet connect to each other via a tab at the front, and they're secured in place with a 3M epoxy. Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com

The other big design change is the bifurcated construction. There are essentially two helmets in the Zephyr: The outer piece is a high-density EPS foam with a polycarbonate outer shell, and the inner piece is a lower-density, softer EPS foam, also fitted to a polycarbonate shell. The two pieces are then mated using both a cutout and tab, and 3M epoxy. Sean Coffey, category manager for Bell, said, “In terms of energy management, this is the best helmet we can make.”

If you’ve ridden Bell helmets in the past, you’ll find the Zephyr’s fit to be mostly familiar, but the aesthetics are a departure. Bell is using a new head form to create the Zephyr to make the helmet lower-profile and rounder. It weighs in at 280 grams for a size medium, and at $230, it’s priced similarly to its high-end brethren. Lazer’s Z1 helmet is one of the lightest MIPS helmets we’ve worn at around 200 grams, but it is about $310.

First Ride

Bell wasn’t shy about putting the screws to us on our test ride — 75 miles in the mountains of Switzerland were more than enough to give me a feel for this helmet, and as a sworn Giro guy (Giro’s helmets tend to fit my head better), I was impressed with the Zephyr’s head-hugging fit. The best helmets are the ones that disappear from your consciousness while you’re riding, and the Zephyr comes close to that.

I adjusted the dial several times during the ride because it felt like it was loosening, but keep in mind I have a lot of hair. It’s possible my hair was just getting flatter as the ride went on, so a quick click of the dial took care of things. I ended up adjusting the occipital pads outward before the ride, then clicking each one inward about halfway through the ride. I didn’t think about them again for the rest of the day.

Aesthetically, the Zephyr reminds me a lot of Giro’s Synthe, which is a good thing. It’s super-sleek without looking aero-dorky. The vents are plenty large, and airflow through the helmet was noticeable.

Bell added a nice touch to the forehead pad, which extends forward as a tab toward the nose of the helmet. That tab collects sweat and helps it drip away from your face so it doesn’t hit your sunglasses. I didn’t notice this until about mile 70 while I was grinding up the final 20-minute climb of the day; lo and behold, the sweat was dripping off the helmet in front of my glasses instead of on them. Cool.

The Zephyr may not be the lightest lid, but for an all-day ride, especially in hot weather, it is a great choice.

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VN Show: What’s wrong with Quintana’s bike computer? http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/vn-show-whats-wrong-with-quintanas-bike-computer_419515 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/vn-show-whats-wrong-with-quintanas-bike-computer_419515#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 16:39:52 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419515 On this week's The VeloNews Show, we examine the Vuelta a España's exciting stage 10.

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We’ve entered the exciting second week of La Vuelta a España, and Nairo Quintana, Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, and Alejandro Valverde are all hurling haymakers at each other. Between the battle, we noticed a few odd tidbits.

Why is Quintana goofing around with his bike computer? Is Chris Froome a horror film bad guy? Why is the Vuelta’s Jersey Blanco so confusing? And what is up with Contador’s neon leg tape?

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De Jongh: ‘Alberto doesn’t race for second place’ http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/de-jongh-alberto-doesnt-race-for-second-place_419492 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/de-jongh-alberto-doesnt-race-for-second-place_419492#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 13:29:26 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419492 Tinkoff's race director tells VeloNews Alberto Contador is still racing to win the Vuelta despite being 2:54 back.

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GIJON, Spain (VN) — Steven De Jongh says Alberto Contador is still racing to win the 2016 Vuelta a España.

The Dutch sport director said the veteran Spaniard is not the kind of rider who will give up on victory and race for a position. Despite starting Wednesday’s 11th stage fifth overall at 2:54 behind race leader Nairo Quintana of Movistar, Tinkoff and Contador are still hoping for a miracle. VeloNews caught up with De Jongh during Tuesday’s rest day to gauge the team’s expectations for the second half of the Vuelta:

VN: How much did Contador’s crash in stage 7 affect him?
SDJ: It hurt him — that is a fact. We expected La Camperona to be a bad day for him a day after the crash, but he made it OK, and it turned out that it was Lagos de Covadonga that was the day that he cracked. It will not make it easier, and like Alberto said, the chances to win this Vuelta are very limited, but you can see he still has ‘la grinta,’ so we will take it day by day.

VN: Do you change the mentality and race for the podium?
SDJ: We are looking for opportunities, and if the opportunity is there, we will try to win the race. With the career like Alberto has, he is not a racer who aims for the podium. He should aim for the victory. That is the way he has always raced, and that will not change. Alberto does not race for second place.

VN: How much did the crash take out of Contador in terms of percentages of strength?
SDJ: It is hard to say, but it was a very bad crash. Other riders would have lost even more time. Because he is so exceptionally hard on himself in his head, he could keep the losses to the minimum. He asked too much from himself when he tried to follow Quintana at Lagos, and he paid for that. It was the third day after the crash. The head wanted to attack, his instinct said to attack, but at that moment, he realized his legs could not follow.

VN: Alberto expressed some strong opinions. What is your view on the 3km rule?
SDJ: The 3km rule is not always implemented in the same way. We had an incident in the Dauphiné. There was a crash in the final 3km, and the bunch came back together, but then the bunch split up again, and then time gaps [were] given. Also, the two riders who crashed, they got the same time, but the others lost time. That is the wrong signal.

VN: During this year’s Tour, officials said they would be more lenient in imposing time gaps in sprint finales. Does that help?
SDJ: If they always implement it in the same way, there will not be a problem. I think they have to look closely at the finishes. Sometimes they impose a time gap not when someone got dropped, but because he has finished pulling in the sprint and drops back in the bunch, and in the corners he cuts out other riders. Sometimes you have gaps like this. There is a one-second rule between the front wheel and the back wheel, so maybe they can change that. So if there is a real gap, of maybe five seconds, it would be a lot less stressful. Or maybe even 10 seconds. If there is a real gap, take the time, of course. If it is a question of riders sitting up after doing their work, well, that is something else. It is certainly a difficult one, but I think they should rethink the rule.

VN: Some have suggested taking the time at 3km to go. What do you think of that idea?
SDJ: If you see that the finish is very technical with a lot of dangers, why not take the time from 3km to go? Even the other day, we took this very hard corner after coming off a very nice road, with 2.4km to go, so why not take the time there? Then we went down, left, left, and right up again. It would give a lot less stress in the bunch. The riders will not sit up and pedal easy to the finish, but they will be able to safely make it to the line.

VN: Contador even suggested that organizers want to see crashes. Do you agree with that?
SDJ: If you see the race videos, showing all the crashes from the previous year, you can think that. I do not think they do want to see crashes, but they do want to see some spectacular things. Back in my days, we always talked about the Italian-style finishes that we would see in the Giro d’Italia. Now we see that all the organizers are putting those in. It creates too much stress.

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Contador, Quintana want power meters banned from racing http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/contador-quintana-want-power-meters-banned-racing_419500 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/contador-quintana-want-power-meters-banned-racing_419500#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 13:01:31 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419500 Power meters create a controlled race and should not be allowed, the pair said at the Vuelta.

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OVIEDO, Spain (VN) — The Vuelta a España is heating up, but not just on the roads through northern Spain this week. Movistar’s Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador of Tinkoff believe power meters create a controlled race and would like them banned.

While most riders were enjoying Monday’s rest day, the stars sat down with the press to speak about the Spanish grand tour so far. The Lagos de Covadonga stage was fresh on everyone’s mind. Colombian Quintana and Spaniard Contador rode away from the group and seemingly put Tour de France champion Chris Froome of Sky in danger. Froome, however rode a steady pace over the final 9 kilometers and caught and passed everyone but Quintana.

It made for a thrilling pursuit: Quintana vs. Froome, the showdown that never materialized in the Tour de France. But some did not appreciate Froome’s measured response.

“I believe the power meters block the show in the races,” said Contador, who lost 44 seconds to Froome. “Now, it’s very much controlled. If you have a powerful team and a rider attacks, you can control him. You can do that over 20 minutes. That’s how it is today.”

Contador, a three-time Vuelta champion, trails overall leader Quintana in the overall by 2:54. Quintana’s Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde sits second overall at 57 seconds, while Froome is 1 second further back in third.

“They take away a lot of show and make you race more cautiously,” Quintana said of power meters. “I’d be the first in line to say they should be banned.”

Racing to the numbers has been a hot topic over the last 10 years as power meters swept through the peloton. In the 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico, Vincenzo Nibali slammed Sky for what he called racing by the numbers.

“SRM meters help to train and prepare for races but in the races, those numbers don’t mean anything,” Nibali said. “SRMs give you a lot of data for the future. In races, though, you don’t need those numbers. You must have the capacity to read the race.”

After Froome warmed down from Monday’s stage 10, he said at the team bus he was “riding on feeling.”

“[I was] not necessarily riding by numbers but riding on feeling, just riding with what I felt I could do on the climb in the most efficient way to get up there, not to lose every more time,” Froome said. “Who knows, maybe if I’d gone, really pushed myself at the beginning, I would’ve lost even more time. I felt like that was the quickest way for me to get up there today.”

When asked about the notion of banning power meters in racing after Wednesday’s stage 11, Froome scoffed, saying, “Why not, and then we can also go back to single-speed bikes without gears. Why not, eh?”

Quintana too rode a steady rhythm, one that was faster than Froome’s. Contador, however, paid for his hard early effort and his attacks later to try to drop Quintana.

Now, at nearly three minutes back, Contador is downplaying his chances to win a fourth title.

“Maybe now I should analyze the tactics, maybe I should have been more cautious. Sometimes I am too impulsive. But that’s me and it’s hard for me to change my style of racing,” Contador said. “It is complicated to beat [Froome] no matter what I could do now.”

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Kiel Reijnen Vuelta Journal: Turning the pages http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/rider-journal/kiel-reijnen-vuelta-journal-turning-pages_419444 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/rider-journal/kiel-reijnen-vuelta-journal-turning-pages_419444#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 12:28:13 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419444 As grand tour rookie Kiel Reijnen flips through the 279-page Vuelta race bible, he reflects on the ups, downs and his dwindling mind power.

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How does it feel to do a grand tour? Almost every journalist I have spoken to this month has asked, and the truth is it depends on the day. Some days I feel like I have won the lottery, cruising around on my bike through the picturesque hills of Galicia soaking up the Spanish summer sun in my first Vuelta. I power over climbs and surge down twisty descents. Other days I feel more like I just received a college rejection letter:

Dear Mr. Reijnen,
Thank you for your interest in grand tours. However, we regret to inform you that your application has been denied. It appears that you simply don’t posses the physical gifts necessary to compete at the upper echelons of human performance. We hope that you understand that we receive many applications each year … etc.

I estimate my progress in the race by how far through the comically thick race bible we are. (The book outlines, the rules, regulations, stage routes and profiles.) It’s 279 pages long; we have reached page 154. That means 125 more pages of suffering to go!

Inside the race we bounce from hotel to hotel. Often rushed pre- and post-stage because of long transfers. This is Spain’s big race, and true to form everything is very late. The stages generally start around 1:30 p.m. and finish by 6:30 p.m. By the time we get cleaned up, to the hotel, and massaged, it’s 10 p.m. or later. But each night we gather together as a team and sit down to a wonderful meal prepared by our chefs Dan and Kim. This is my favorite moment of each day. We swap stories from the battlefield and commiserate about the sadistic nature of the course designers. Bellies stuffed to the brim, we waddle back to our hotel beds for a few hours of sweet rest, often sleeping until nine or 10, before it all starts again the next day.

The routine is as monotonous as it is comforting. As the body becomes more fatigued and critical thinking goes out the window, you start to rely on your autopilot. I started La Vuelta reading a book about the function of microbes in complex organisms. I will likely finish it by reading “Goodnight Moon.” The battle to stay fresh is as much mental as it is physical. Luckily we have a great crew here and it keeps the morale up. Having nine Americans here in the race is a boon as well. There are plenty of familiar faces around the peloton to chat with, in English too.

I have enjoyed much of the experience already. We have raced through some absolutely stunning areas of northern Spain and so far my body has held up. I have also spent time at the back of the peloton suffering, just trying to cling on until the grupetto forms. Whatever happens in the next 11 days of racing I am sure I will know a lot more about myself than I did before. I doubt, however, that I’ll commit every page of that massive race bible to memory.

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Liveblog: Eurobike 2016, day 1 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/liveblog-eurobike-2016-day-1_419243 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/liveblog-eurobike-2016-day-1_419243#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 05:00:38 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419243 VeloNews editor in chief John Bradley and tech editor Dan Cavallari are on the ground in Germany, reporting live from Eurobike, cycling's

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Want to find out about the amazing bikes and gear you won’t be able to get until next year? VeloNews editor in chief John Bradley and tech editor Dan Cavallari are on the ground in Germany, reporting live from Eurobike, the global cycling industry’s biggest trade show. The page will be updated throughout the day with product news, industry gossip, and scenes from the show floor, so check back often.

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VeloNews magazine — September 2016 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/magazine/velonews-magazine-september-2016_419448 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/magazine/velonews-magazine-september-2016_419448#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 22:51:48 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419448 VeloNews reporters and editors consider what products, companies, pro riders, and cycling events are redefining the sport of cycling.

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VeloNews magazine — September 2016 VeloNews magazine — September 2016 VeloNews magazine — September 2016 VeloNews magazine — September 2016

Cool, it’s a new issue of VeloNews! In fact, “cool” is exactly the focus of this September issue. Our reporters and editors consider what products, companies, pro riders, and cycling events are redefining the sport of cycling. From classy bike bells to wacky gravel road races to Rupert Guinness’s Hawaiian shirts, our latest magazine covers the cool stuff.

But there’s a lot more as well: September has our usual columnists, such as Phil Gaimon, Trevor Connor, and Dan Wuori. And in this issue, we consider how Team Sky has become such a dominant outfit at the Tour de France — does it hold an unfair advantage?

As the seasons begin to change, a lot of cyclists are looking ahead to cyclocross. Chris Case tells the story of Elle Anderson, a rider many pegged as the next dominant American in the international ‘cross scene. Two years ago, she staggered through a miserable European racing campaign filled with trauma and personal struggles. She’s back, and she’s returning to Belgium for another shot.

If you found the recent excerpt from “Spitting in the Soup,” about Michele Ferrari (and how he was kind of right) interesting, you’ll also enjoy the excerpt in the September issue which details the specific day when the modern anti-doping movement began.

Plus, in the Service Course department, we test two trail-worthy 29er mountain bikes and five fanny… er… hip packs that might let you ditch the Camelbak.

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Shimano drops in with new Pro Koryak dropper post http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/shimano-dropping-new-pro-dropper-post_419345 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/shimano-dropping-new-pro-dropper-post_419345#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 22:05:01 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419345 Shimano enters the mountain bike dropper post market with the new 120-millimeter travel, cable-actuated Koryak post with internal routing.

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Shimano enters the mountain bike dropper post market with the new 120-millimeter travel, cable-actuated Koryak post with internal routing. Sold under the company’s Pro Bike Component range, the new post weighs 520 grams (including remote and cables) and is available in either 30.9- or 31.6-millimeter diameter options. The adjustable alloy post uses a non-indexed travel system for unlimited height adjustments while riding.

Photo: Shimano
Photo: Shimano

A replaceable air cartridge provides the post’s downward movement and upward rebound, and the mechanism is operated by an internally routed cable. The cable runs down the seatpost and through the frame and then connects to a bar-mounted lever, like a Crankbrothers Highline or a KS LEV with internal routing.

Two lever options are available: a regular vertical up/down lever that can be mounted to the left or right of the bars and a horizontal shifter-style lever, for cyclists running a 1×11 setup or a Shimano Syncro Shift drivetrain. The lever is mounted on the left side of the bars looks like a Shimano shift paddle, keeping a symmetrical look from the right to the left side of the bars.

No MSRP has been set yet, but Shimano says posts will be available this fall.

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Vuelta photos: Winning breakaways, brutal climbs http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/gallery/photo-essay/vuelta-photos-winning-breakaways-brutal-climbs_419391 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/gallery/photo-essay/vuelta-photos-winning-breakaways-brutal-climbs_419391#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 21:54:36 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419391 The first 10 stages of the Vuelta saw plenty of tough climbs to challenge the overall contenders. But the breakaways enjoyed Spanish

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The Movistar team, led by Nairo Quintana, arrived for the Vuelta a España in top form, seeking the top step on the podium in Madrid. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Team Sky blazed across the opening kilometers of the team time trial to take victory by less than one second. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Team Sky took the inaugural podium of the 2016 Vuelta a España on a floating dock along the Rio Miño outside of Ourense. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The finish in Baiona brought the riders to the popular seaside resort town in Galicia. Photo: ASO / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Gianni Meersman took the victory on stage 2, despite the mad dash to the line that involved a crash inside the last 200 meters. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The opening road stage in Galicia was filled with lots of small villages along the course. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com The Etixx - Quick-Step squad was all cheers and smiles as Meersman proved the fastest to the line in Baiona. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Race favorite Alberto Contador showed his form was questionable as he was dropped by his main rivals on the steep finish of Ezaro. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The peloton raced by this small fishing village on the waterfront while local fishermen dug for clams in the low tides. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Alexandre Geniez survived the day's ecape and the brutal Mirador del Ezaro to take the stage win away from the pure climbers. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com The effort of the all-day escape was written on the face of Pieter Serry who fell to the ground immediately after the line. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The languid approach to the finale at Mirador del Ezaro is dead flat and essentially gives the riders the feeling of riding straight into a wall as the Ezaro tops out at 30 percent. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com At 30 percent in the last few hundred meters, the riders were pushing the watts and their gearing to the limit. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com The climb to the summit at Mirador Vixia de Herbeira gave the feeling the riders were on the edge of the world with dramatic views all around. Lilian Calmejane of Direct Energie was the second rider in as many days to take the win after being in the major break of the day. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Ruben Fernandez was the race leader for only a day as the climb to Mirador Vixia de Herbeira got the better of the young Spaniard. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Nairo Quintana has been composed and relaxed throughout the Vuelta so far. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Young fans at the Vuelta were hanging on the edge of the barriers to get a glimpse of or an autograph from their favorite riders. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com It can rain even in Spain, and stage 5 along the coast of Galicia got a lashing before the race turned back inland. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Meersman sprinted to his second stage victory, clearly pulling ahead of his rivals at 150 meters to go. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com With Quintana, Chavez, and Atapuma all factoring in the race, the Colombian fans were unrelenting in their enthusiasm. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Simon Yates was resplendent in glory as he took the solo victory  in front of a fast chasing peloton. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Bart De Clercq was the victim of late-race crash that caused severe trauma to the right side of his body — but the tough Belgian managed to remount and finish the stage only 30 seconds in arrears of the favorites. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Stage 6 was one of the more technical, twisty, and undulating courses of the race so far and kept the riders constantly on their toes throughout the atypical stage. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The 2016 curse of crashes continued for Alberto Contador on stage 7 as the Spaniard was taken out inside the final kilometer of racing, leaving his left side full of road rash. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The rolling terrain of stage 7 kept the pace high and the peloton strung out. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Luis Leon Sanchez was within reach of victory for the second time in as many days but came up short in Puebla de Sanabria. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com The Team Sky Pinarello Dogma sat at sign-in, awaiting its owner Ian Boswell to collect it. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Luis Angel Maté of Team Cofidis made friends on the podium as he was awarded most combative on stage 7. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Contador bounced back from his crash on the prior stage to take time out of some of his key rivals such as Chris Froome and Alejandro Valverde. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The approach to the finish line on La Camperona was festooned with the regional flags of this historic coal mining area. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Quintana made his attack on the steep ascent of La Camperona to claim the race lead from fellow Colombian Darwin Atapuma. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Samuel Sanchez hails from the region of Asturias and is no stranger to the difficult climbs of the area, but it still took its toll on the BMC rider. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Sergey Lagutin rode clear from his breakaway companions in the final few hundred meters to take a solo victory atop La Camperona. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Quintana lined up alongside his teammate and white jersey holder Alejandro Valverde and arch rival Contador. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Quintana climbed to the summit of Alto de Naranco knowing they let the escape of de la Cruz gain enough time to take the leaders jersey off his shoulders on stage 9. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com David de la Cruz attacked out of the breakaway to take his first ever Vuelta stage win and the red jersey of overall leader. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com De la Cruz cherished the moment as he was awarded the red jersey as race leader, by far his biggest palmares to date. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com The opening "week" of the 2016 Vuelta culminated on the majestic slopes and grand vistas of Lagos de Covadonga. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Robert Gesink attacked inside 5km to go hoping he could slip clear of the battle for the overall on the final slopes of the Lagos de Covadonga. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Nairo Quintana put his climbing talents to work with only a few kilometers remaining on the climb to the finish in Covadonga. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Quintana fans were standing tall and proud for their countryman and hero at the lakeside in Lagos de Covadonga. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com Chris Froome was dropped on the early slopes of the Covadonga but regained his composure and climbed himself back to a third place finish, limiting his losses to Quintana. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com Lagos de Covadonga was another tough stage for Contador as he was unable to match the pace of Quintana or Froome. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com At the end of the first block of the 2016 Vuelta a España, Nairo Quintana claimed the overall lead and heads into the second half of the race in control. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

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Chad Haga Vuelta Journal: Secret coffee and a birthday flat http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/chad-haga-vuelta-journal-secret-coffee-and-a-birthday-flat_419376 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/chad-haga-vuelta-journal-secret-coffee-and-a-birthday-flat_419376#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 20:36:17 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419376 After 10 days of racing in Spain, Chad Haga gets a break. But this race is made better by his secret coffee routine, special team

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A 10-stage block of racing before the first rest day in the Vuelta a España is a tough way to kick things off, but having survived it, the feeling of being nearly halfway done and still have two rest days is very nice, indeed. My legs were getting a bit tired there for awhile!

But grand tours are a test of mental as well as physical stamina, and I thought the Vuelta had broken my mind a few days ago when the sense of deja-vu came over me. “We were just here,” I assured myself, worried that I was losing it. I pulled out my race book and looked at the map. Relief came when I saw that after a week of touring Spain, we were indeed right back where we started.

So there’s your rest-day update: I’m not physically or mentally cracked. Don’t get me wrong, I’m slowly losing my mind to the grand tour vortex, but that’s more to do with the race’s theme song than anything else. The Vuelta organizers have forced us to choose between a good start position or our sanity: The song is about two minutes in length and plays on an endless loop at the start line. I’m going to hear that synthesizer flute in my dreams for weeks!

It’s not my first grand tour, though, and I’ve finally gotten smart. In anticipation of the mental fatigue, I brought along my secret weapons: Enough dark chocolate for a few nibbles per day and my mobile coffee kit. As an early riser and a lover of fine coffee, nothing cracks me faster than long mornings (our races usually start at 1 p.m.) with terrible coffee, so I made an investment in my mental health.

HagaCoffee kit
My shoebox of happiness

Some riders take the highly sought-after single room in grand tours (nine riders instead of the usual eight) by brute force in the form of snoring, or through the unfortunate case of sickness. I played the long game, showing my directors in three grand tours that not even a month of late starts can alter my up-with-the-sun schedule. It finally paid off when I landed the single room here, so that my odd schedule wouldn’t disturb my teammates. Then Warren [Barguil] got sick and abandoned, we downsized, and I’m back to my morning ninja routine as I escape from the room in semi-darkness. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

The racing, I can assure you, has been hard. WorldTour racing is always hard. Combine it with unrelenting terrain and oppressive heat, and you’ve got a recipe for a very tired peloton. I enjoyed a day in the breakaway on stage 4, managing eighth place with a strong ride, somehow fighting off cramps in the final kilometers. It was refreshing and motivating to finally be fighting for the win again, just making me that much hungrier. I’ll keep trying, but first I needed a few days to recover from the effort.

I celebrated my 28th birthday on stage 7, but a poorly timed flat ended my chances of contributing to the team’s sprint goals on one of the few stages that even slightly resembled a normal sprint opportunity. To cap off a disappointing day, that night’s hotel was a 2-star truck stop — the kind of place that made me very glad for our new mattress and pillow sponsor and mobile AC units, and the soigneur who hauled it all up two flights of twisting stairs. We were all on the bus early the next morning, hastily exiting through the lobby-slash-convenience store. It’s not always a glamorous life, but thankfully that was our only 2-star hotel for the Vuelta and we get three nights at a 4-star resort over the rest day to help us forget.

My belated birthday present came the next day, when the Vuelta served up a gentle all-day tailwind on flat, wide roads. Even including the 20-minute “spin” up the 20-percent grade of La Camperona with my 32-tooth cassette, I averaged 160 watts for the day. The easiest grand tour stage I’ve ever had, by a long shot!

Then there are stages like yesterday’s, where it looked for awhile like we would keep attacking until the feed zone. It seems that with a rest day within reach, we’re all willing to light every match in the book. The rampant success of breakaways only makes the fight harder!

The best rest days are the ones that come before you need them, and I’ve made the most of mine. Now the race really gets down to business as we start working our way around the country, and I’ll fend off the grand tour stupor with great coffee, some chocolate, and, if things get really desperate, a map. If only I could persuade the sound tech to change the track …

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First Ride: Giro Cinder helmet http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/first-ride-giro-cinder-helmet_419201 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/first-ride-giro-cinder-helmet_419201#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 20:14:22 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419201 Giro's Cinder is a good helmet at a good price. It looks good and fits great, but riders who live in consistently hot climates might want a

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FLIMS, Switzerland (VN) — At first glance, it’s easy to mistake the new Giro Cinder helmet for Giro’s popular Synthe, but the Cinder is a different beast entirely. For starters, this MIPS-equipped lid comes in at a much lower price point — $150, compared to $270 for the MIPS-equipped Synthe  — and there are a few subtle stylistic changes. The Cinder is a great choice for riders who love the Giro fit and aesthetics, but don’t mistake this helmet for a Synthe replacement, especially if you prefer lots of venting.

The Synthe MIPS is my go-to helmet, so I was excited to try out the Cinder and see how it compared. In terms of fit, the two feel very similar, likely due to the Roc Loc 5 retention system. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it here: Giro’s retention system is the best on the market, and the Cinder reaffirms that notion. The Synthe, however, uses the Roc Loc Air system, which, unlike the Roc Loc 5, keeps the helmet slightly off your head for improved airflow. This turned out to be a bigger difference than I had anticipated.

Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com

It wasn’t until I started grinding up a sustained, 40-minute climb in the unusually grueling Swiss heat that I found a real issue with the Cinder: It doesn’t vent nearly as well as the Synthe does. To be fair, there wasn’t a breeze to be found, and I was battling midday sun. But even on the long descents that preceded that leg-busting climb, the lack of airflow through the helmet and over my head was noticeable. Smaller vents and the difference in Roc Loc systems seem to really set apart the top of the line Synthe from this more affordable Cinder. I can see the Cinder being an easy helmet to reach for on chilly mornings, but during the heat of summer, it might be best left on the shelf.

Aesthetically, the Cinder looks very cool. It’s got that same svelte style as the Synthe, but the rear of the helmet differs slightly, with swooping lines instead of the Synthe’s pinched look. The Cinder also has a slightly larger head form than the Synthe, so it will look a bit bigger on your head. I actually didn’t notice the bigger head shape until someone pointed it out, though.

Despite those concessions, the Cinder is a good helmet at a good price for a MIPS-equipped brain bucket. It looks nice and fits great, but riders who live in consistently hot climates might want to drop the extra cash for the more airy Synthe.

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From wheelchair to start line: Malori returns to WorldTour http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/from-wheelchair-to-start-line-malori-returns-to-worldtour_419326 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/from-wheelchair-to-start-line-malori-returns-to-worldtour_419326#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 18:03:12 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419326 In the course of one year, Movistar's Adriano Malori has gone from nearly paralyzed to racing again in the Canadian WorldTour races this

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Is Adriano Malori afraid? Seven months after a crash at Tour de San Luis, which almost paralyzed him, the Italian returns to the WorldTour peloton at GP de Quebec and GP de Montreal, September 9 and 11. Perhaps he is, but not for the reasons you might imagine: “I’m afraid I’ll start crying as I roll to the start and see all the riders there, the finish banner — all the atmosphere around a race, where I wanted so badly to be.”

During a season plagued by tragic crashes, such as the death of Antoine Demoitie in Gent-Wevelgem, and Stig Broeckx, who remains in a vegetative state after another motorcycle-caused crash, the Italian’s story stands out as one of hope and recovery.

Stage 5 of that Argentinian race in January might have held opportunity for Movistar’s Malori, silver medalist at world time trial championships the season prior. Instead, at 65kph, the 28-year-old hit a rough patch of road and crashed into seven months of recovery and rehabilitation, which he says changed his life for the better.

After taking almost one month to regain consciousness at a hospital in Argentina, with a face full of titanium plates, Malori returned to Europe with his girlfriend, who’d immediately flown to his side days after the crash. But the gravity of his injury was still opaque to the three-time Italian TT champion.

“I took for granted that I would have that shoulder operated and would be back for racing in Tirreno-Adriatico,” he says. “After all, my leg was slowly getting back to move … I wasn’t thinking that anything was going wrong. Then, that doctor opened my eyes about the reality: ‘Adriano, we’re not operating you. We don’t have to. The problem with your shoulder is that your brain has been disconnected from the right-hand side of your body.’ Disconnected. I just couldn’t bear those words. I spent a whole hour crying, to exhaustion, completely hopeless.”

Malori’s rehabilitation began at Centro Neurológico de Atención Integral (CNAI), near Pamplona, Spain. For two months he spent about five hours a day doing therapy. He soon added rides on a stationary trainer to the regimen.

Photo: Movistar Team
Photo: Movistar Team

“I came into the center half-paralyzed, on a wheelchair, and I left on 28 April on my own, having even gone on bike rides few days before being released,” he says. Thinking the progress would continue, Malori returned to his hometown, near Parma, Italy. But he continued to struggle with mobility in his right side and realized about a month later that he’d have to return to CNAI to complete the rehabilitation. “The only thing I wanted was to be a professional athlete again,” he adds.

Throughout June and July he ignored the Tour de France, married his girlfriend, and working diligently at the CNAI for periods of two weeks with trips home to Italy in between. And on August 5, he left the facility for good, confident, but also with a fresh perspective.

“When you’re admitted to the CNAI and soon improve a lot, till the point that you get up from the wheelchair in just 10 days, regaining strength in all parts of your body — then, you look in the eyes of people around you, who are taking the same efforts but don’t improve, and you, who were feeling worse than them, you’re ‘overtaking’ them at full speed — they look at you with eyes that you never forget,” he recalls. “They don’t admire you because of being a Movistar Team rider, wearing that expensive watch, or having an amazing sports car. They just admire you because you’re able to move. That really changes your views on everything. That brings a tear to our eye. And you start giving things their real value.”

With a number pinned on in Quebec in early September, Malori may shed another tear. But after his 2016 ordeal, he says there are no fears or doubts: “I’m more than ready.”

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FSA unveils its new group: Wireless (mostly) and electronic http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/bikes-and-tech/fsa-unveils-its-new-group-wireless-mostly-and-electronic_419336 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/bikes-and-tech/fsa-unveils-its-new-group-wireless-mostly-and-electronic_419336#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 17:52:27 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419336 Global Cycling Network takes a close look at the new FSA K-Force WE. This drivetrain is partially wireless.

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Read more about the evolution of the bicycle drivetrain >>

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Stetina stays with Trek – Segafredo for two more years http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/road/stetina-stays-trek-segafredo-two-years_419319 http://velonews.competitor.com/2016/08/news/road/stetina-stays-trek-segafredo-two-years_419319#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 16:20:47 +0000 http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=419319 American climber Pete Stetina extends his contract with Trek – Segafredo for two more years, looking to be fully recovered from traumatic

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One year and four months — that’s how long it has been since Pete Stetina, 29, crashed into an unmarked metal traffic post in Spain, breaking his right tibia, patella, and four ribs. If his consistent 2016 season — including second place in the Amgen Tour of California’s queen stage — wasn’t proof enough that the climber has recovered, Tuesday’s announcement that he’ll race with Trek – Segafredo for two more years is clear confirmation.

“I’m beyond excited to continue with Trek – Segafredo. They believed in me when I was sidelined last year, and loyalty means a lot to me,” Stetina said in a team statement. “I will finish this year content, but not satisfied. If you had told me last year, while I struggled to walk, that I would recover my leg strength, show my potential in the California mountains, and race the Tour de France as a high mountain domestique, I would have taken that deal in a heartbeat!”

Stetina is likely to be more valuable as a top support rider in the mountains with the arrival of Alberto Contador in 2017 to the ascendant Trek team. The American squad, which brought on co-sponsor Segafredo coffee company in 2016, has also bolstered its classics line-up with John Degenkolb, who will aim to fill Fabian Cancellara’s shoes, as the Swiss strongman retires this autumn.

For his part, Stetina wants to ride for his own results in the coming seasons, in addition to his work as a domestique.

“But I am still hungry: I missed that big result. I’ve already got an eye toward 2017, when I can have a normal winter training, and not play catch-up all spring but actually race in the front. As usual, I’ll take my chances in one-week races especially in the USA, and support my Trek – Segafredo teammates in the high mountains of the WorldTour and grand tours.”

Trek – Segafredo also announced that Japanese rider Fumiyuki Beppu would continue with the team through 2018.

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