30 April 2013

The Giro d'Italia- Dave Campbell's Race Trivia

Ryder Hesjedal during the 2012 Giro d'Italia- Photo via Castelli

May 2013
In a few short days, The Giro d’Italia will commence for the 100th time.
This months Dave Campbell's Trivia Column celebrates the historic accomplishments
Of North American Riders in the Race for the Maglia Rosa (Pink Jersey)

Q1. Canadian Ryder Hesjedal re-wrote the history books with his historic Giro d’Italia victory last year. Prior to the Garmin-Sharp rider’s triumph, what was the highest ever finish for a Canadian in Italy’s grand tour?

Q2. The only American to win the Giro was Andrew Hampsten (7-Eleven/Hoonved) in 1988. Much has been written, including pieces by Bob Roll and Bicyclinghub.com’s own Doug Duguay, about his exploits on the Gavia. Despite putting over 5 minutes into all the main contenders except Erik Breukink (Panasonic), he did not win the stage, losing by 7 seconds to Breukink. Did Hampsten win any stages enroute to this historic achievement?

Q3. Other than Andy’s Pink jersey, have any other Giro leaders' jerseys been won by American riders?

29 April 2013

The Day the Big Men Cried: Andy Hampsten and the Passo del Gavia

When Andy Hampsten won the Giro d' Italia just under 25 years ago, he became the first American and non-European to snag the title. It was an especially incredible feat when you consider when he gained the Maglia Rosa (the leader's jersey): the 14th stage from Chiesa in Valmaleneco to Bormio on June 5, 1988.

The race passed over the Passo del Gavia climb in horrid blizzard conditions—so bad, in fact, La Gazetta dello Sport dubbed it "The Day the Big Men Cried." 

While Erik Breukink won the stage, Hampsten finished just a few seconds down and took the lead. He never gave it up.

In his account of the stage, Hampsten wrote:

"Things started to look grim on the descent of the Aprica. I was wearing tons of clothes, but the rain had been coming down in buckets from the start of the stage and I was shaking badly from the wet and cold. In the valley going up to the base of the Gavia I was upset because this was going to be my big day and it appeared that it was not going to happen. Slowly, I began to accept that it was going to be bad and that it was going to be bad for everyone else...

"I realized that I had to go 100% on the attack and hold nothing back. I had about 10 kilos of wet clothing from the weather, but I had to get rid of everything. I dumped my leg warmers and 2 extra jerseys. I was down to shoes and socks, shorts, 1 undershirt, a thin long-sleeve polypro top and clear Oakleys. I was wearing the "performance" jersey which is the rider with the best combined point totals in sprints, climbing and overall classification made of pretty thick wool, which was nice! My biggest asset was that I kept my neoprene gloves. I realized that I had to keep my hands warm or I couldn't function... I remember telling Bob Roll that this would probably be the hardest day on the bike in our lives.

Photo via US Bicycling Hall of Fame
"As I climbed higher and higher, my mind started wandering and the psychological aspects of what was happening started to creep into my mind. I felt that I had achieved my results, to date, without taking any shortcuts, but when it started getting bad, I thought about what I could do to make things better. I gave up on asking God for any help, I was blessed already having the privilege of racing, instead I speculated on what I would bargain for if the devil showed up. Demoralized by this chain of thought, I realized that at the beginning of the day, I had relied only on myself to get me through the stage. On the Gavia, as always, there where no shortcuts and I had never looked for help from pills or other aids, although I was in such a mental state that I doubt I would have resisted any temptation that delivered me to Bormio. I must rely on myself to see me through...

"Within 10 minutes of the finish, I was up on the podium. The pink jersey felt good. I slipped it on and all my doubts went away. The TV interviews began and I remember saying, 'Incredible, I have never seen conditions like this, even in Colorado. Today it was not sport, it was something beyond sport.'"

TV commentator and Hampsten's teammate Bob Roll also described the day in his book Bobke II:

"I grabbed a plastic hat, long-finger gloves, and Oakley Pilots and took off down the pass for Bormio, a mere 15 kilometers away. I thought I could ride 15 kilometers in any condition, at any time, anywhere on Earth. I have never been more wrong in my life.

"Meanwhile, I kept my head down and hammered, following the tire grooves through the snow. After only 1 kilometer, I was bloody cold. After 2 kilometers, I was frozen to the core. After only 3 kilometers, I was laughing like a lunatic and passed Rolf Sorensen, screaming at the top of my lungs in an attempt to generate some warmth. After 5 kilometers, I was crying and about to slip into a frozen coma. About halfway down, I was not thinking straight and was making poor choices. At one point, I got off my bike and began to run back up the hill in a lame attempt to warm up."

Andy Hampsten in the Maglia Rosa.  Photo via CyclingNews.
Over the next few days, Hampsten managed to win another stage and built up a 2-minute lead over Bruekink. The American, known more as a climber than a time trialist, limited his losses in the final time trial and ultimately won the race.

But what if this incredible stage had never happened?
After seeing how awful the weather would be, the technical director, Francesco Moser, urged Director Vincenzo Torriani to cancel the race. But for some unknown reason Torriani thought the show should go on and the cyclists should suffer through. While we'll never know if Hampsten would've still clinched the lead without the Passo del Gavia stage, one things is for sure: without the epic snowstorm, we likely wouldn't still be talking about with such wonder and amazement as we are now.

23 April 2013

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22 April 2013

Mountain Biker Speeds Down Ski Slope at 135 MPH

Barone and his bike via http://www.vitalmtb.com/
Last week, Eric "The Red Baron" Barone, a 52-year-old high-speed mountain bike specialist (apparently that's a thing) from France, sped down a crazy steep slope at 135 mph at the Les Arc ski resort and set the world record  for speed on a serial production mountain bike on snow (which is, apparently, also a thing). 

Don't know what 135mph down a snowy slope looks like? Well, the brief video clip below will give you an idea. Be sure to listen with your sound on and up for the full experience. Oh, and don't blink or you might miss it.

18 April 2013

Bicycling Facts and Figures

2013 Fleche Wallonne Video and Results

meet one of the hardest hills in cycling- The Mur de Huy
in it's 77th running, the 2013 Fleche Wallonne is a race in the French speaking part of Belgium.  In French, fleche means steeple shaped in a sharp point.  The main feature of the race is the Mur de Huy (wall of Huy) which features 7 churches and a 9.3% gradient.  In some sections the Mur is as steep as 26%.  (see the results below)

1. Daniel Moreno (Spain / Katusha) 4:52:33"
2. Sergio Henao (Colombia / Team Sky) +3"
3. Carlos Betancur (Colombia / AG2R)
4. Daniel Martin (Ireland / Garmin)
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
6. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain / Katusha) +8"
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar)
8. Igor Anton (Spain / Euskaltel)
9. Bauke Mollema (Netherlands / Blanco)
10. Rinaldo Nocentini (Italy / AG2R)
11. Giampaolo Caruso (Italy / Katusha)
12. Peter Sagan (Slovakia / Cannondale)
13. Diego Ulissi (Italy / Lampre) +13"
14. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Netherlands / Blanco)
15. Philippe Gilbert (Belgium / BMC Racing) +15"
16. Tony Gallopin (France / RadioShack) +17"
17. Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic / Saxo - Tinkoff)
18. Arthur Vichot (France / FDJ) +21"
19. Ryder Hesjedal (Canada / Garmin) +23"
20. Paul Martens (Germany / Blanco)
21. Michael Albasini (Switzerland / Orica)
22. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia / Team Sky)
23. Ben Hermans (Belgium / RadioShack)
24. Marcel Wyss (Switzerland / IAM Cycling)
25. Pieter Serry (Belgium / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) +30"
26. Haimar Zubeldia (Spain / RadioShack)
27. Georg Preidler (Austria / Argos) +32"
28. Damiano Cunego (Italy / Lampre)
29. Stefan Denifl (Austria / IAM Cycling) +35"
30. Enrico Gasparotto (Italy / Astana)

17 April 2013

Top 5 Tips for Staying Injury Free on the Bike

Riding a bike is all about joy!
The last thing any cyclist wants—racer or commuter—is an injury that could keep you off your bike for who knows how long. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can prevent serious cycling injuries. We dig the tips from ORICA-GreenEDGE's resident physiotherapist Robert Brown. Check out the video below, but here's the gist of what he suggests:

  1. "Train smart. It's all about quality, not quantity." While you, naturally, want to be the fastest and fittest out there, training and building speed takes time; rushing into any new program can cause a lot of pain and very little gain. Brown suggests you find a good coach or physiotherapist to help you manage your training load specifically for your needs.
  2. "A good bike fit." When everything on your bike is adjusted right for your body, it's going to be a lot more comfortable and will also keep injuries at bay. Make sure your cleat position is set in such a way that the line of force is underneath the ball of your foot. This'll help keep your Achilles and your knees happy. Also, be sure your seat is neither too high or too low—both are bound to cause pain. If you're not sure what the best alignment is for your body, head to your local bike shop and get some help or, if you know a physiotherapist who have bike fit experience, give 'em a call.
  3. "Stretching to maintain good range of motion and muscle length." Check out the video at 2:18 for some stretching recommendations.
  4. "You must have good movement patterns and muscle activation." Click to 4:05 to see Brown's recommendation for a squat exercise to be sure your posture is right and you're activating all of the proper muscles. Not only will this help prevent pain and injury, but it will also result in increased performance.

  5. "And the number one tip for staying injury free on the bike is road safety." Pay attention, pay attention, pay attention. You can do all the stretches in the world and have the best fitting bike you can find, but a road accident, be it with a vehicle, another bicyclist or a pedestrian, can cause serious injury. One of the most important pieces of this is wearing a helmet that fits right.

15 April 2013

Are These the Ugliest Cycling Jerseys You've Ever Seen?

As you know, BicyclingHub.com makes a point of only selling beautiful, high-performance cycling jerseys, but that doesn't mean really ugly jerseys aren't out there. We've all seen photos of cyclists rocking kits we would never be caught in. Last Thursday we asked which jerseys make you cringe when you see them—and you certainly delivered.

And so, without further ado, here are some of the ugliest of the ugly when it comes to cycling jerseys:
The kit that inspired this story.  Long before women from Bogota were wearing gold.

A paler version of the kit above—but just as ugly.
Scottish legend Graeme Obree rode for this team in the 1990s
We are not sure this jersey would make the list were it not for this picture floating around of Laurent Brochard and his mullet
What is the red thing in the center of the jersey?  A chicken or some other kind of bird?  We aren't quite sure.
The team signed 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre who was never heard from again
Many said this was this jersey was their least favorite

The jury is still out on the Mapei jersey.  Do you know of an uglier cycling jersey we missed, let us know in the comments.

Or maybe you've seen too much ugly already and you're ready for something beautiful? Check out our collection of cycling jerseys for men and women.

12 April 2013

Peter's Podium Pinch: a Quick Recap

By Sarah Esterman

It was the pinch heard (seen? felt?) around the world. Shortly after Cannondale racer Peter Sagan pinched podium girl Maja Leye's bottom at the Tour of Flanders, the photo—surely you've seen it, if not, it's included in Michael Hutchinson's tweet below—circulated the web and stirred up some controversy, even creating a healthy discussion on our own Facebook page.

11 April 2013

Davis Phinney Foundation to Auction Off Signed 7-Eleven Jersey

By Sarah Esterman

Last week, while doing a little bit of spring cleaning here at BicyclingHub.com HQ, we found an old gem: a 7-Eleven cycling jersey. While we weren't sure what to do with it at first, our founder and boss, Doug, worked up a good idea and we just got word it's a go.

And so without further ado, we're very excited to announce that legendary 7-Eleven racer Davis Phinney will be signing the jersey and then auctioning it off for the Davis Phinney Foundation. We don't have all the details yet—like when this will be happening—but we just had to share. We'll let you know when we know more.

Congrats to Our Own Adrian on His Race Win Last Weekend

By Sarah Esterman

Adrian is third from the left
We are very proud of our very own Adrian Richardson—you may recognize him as one of our rock star customer service reps—for his win at the 2013 North Bend Criterium last weekend!

He cycled through awful weather to pull out the win, and he's even rocking the Castelli Free Aero Race Bibs.

Congratulations Adrian! You rock!

08 April 2013

Sleek New Styles by Twin Six

By Sarah Esterman

The Ace by Twin Six

This season's new line of cycling jerseys by Twin Six is downright awesome. Keeping the high-quality performance value we can expect from a brand like Twin Six, the new looks feature bold vintage vibes that will definitely help you stand out from the rest.

"We're all about doing our own thing," Mark Fischer, from the sales and marketing division of Twin Six, told us in 2011, "The name Twin Six originally came from a 6 cylinder car engine invented by the Packard Brothers in the 1920's. When the concept was first introduced to larger, more established car manufacturers still using four-cylinder engines, they were dismissed. So the Packard brothers manufactured it themselves. The same attitude translated to this company."

No doubt it has. And it seems that this year's line was specially-designed for devoted cycling fans. Whether you rock the Ace, the Speedy Flanders or the Grand Prix for men or the Climber or Super Star for women, you will definitely be cycling in style.

Check out the rest of the 2013 jerseys by Twin Six below and click here for more info.

The Climber by Twin Six

The Grand Prix by Twin Six

The Speedy Flanders by Twin Six

The Super Star by Twin Six

BicyclingHub.com stocks a wide variety of high-performance cycling jerseys for men and women. Check 'em out here.

04 April 2013

Dave Campbell's Paris Rouxbaix Trivia

April 2013
Of All the European Cycling Events that we cycling enthusiasts try to explain to the uninitiated, perhaps Paris-Roubaix presents the biggest conundrum. How can you make sense of bouncing expensive bicycles across ancient, cobbled, brutal roads for hours on end? Muddy if it is wet, dusty if it is dry…the riders say Roubaix presents a “special brand of torture” but then in the next breath they say how they would love to win it and how much passion they have for the history of the event. Somehow the suffering, the chaos, the potential for disaster all mesh perfectly with the rhythmic cycles of smooth roads and selective pave, the rugged beauty, and the immense challenge to make this April Classic one of Cycling
most unique and very special events. This month
what else could we focus on, but…
"Paris-Roubaix…The Hell of the North”
Q1. Especially if you followed cycling on the meager CBS Sports TV coverage in the 1980s you will remember this quote from a rider who had been in a racelong breakaway only to be dropped and cruelly drop out of the event:

“It’s a pile of s@#t, it’s just a whole pile of s@#t. You are riding in mud up to here and you are wet and miserable. It is just a pile of s@#t!” So, the commentator asks “will you ever race here again?” “But of course” the rider responds “It is the most beautiful race in the world!” Right there this man captured the very essence of this beloved, loathed, and feared event. The year was 1985, but can you remember the rider?

Q2. In modern cycling, riders fall into two very separate camps: Stage Racers and Classics Rider with minimal or no overlap during the Spring Classics such as Paris-Roubaix. In the history of the sport this is a relatively new phenomenon. Who was the last rider to win both Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de France in the same year? And in what year?

Q3. Who is the ONLY RIDER to win Paris-Roubaix on his first attempt (in his second year as a Professional)? HINT: It was NOT Eddy Merckx!!!

A1. Dutchman Theo de Rooy of the Panasonic-Raliegh team, who went on to work for many years as a sports director for the Dutch Rabobank squad.

A2. Frenchman Bernard Hinault in 1981.

A3. Italian Felice Gimondi in 1966.

01 April 2013

2014 Castelli Body Paint Skinsuit to Feature Actual Body Paint?

By Sarah Esterman

Via Castelli 2013 Summer Catalog
We've heard some rumors that Castelli's 2014 line will include an interesting update to the already high-performance Body Paint Skinsuit: it might be composed of actual body paint.

According to an unnamed source who claims to have found top-secret documents, Castelli has discovered a space-age polymer that temporarily adheres to the skin. If what these documents say is true, this new technology could be groundbreaking: "A cyclist becomes much more aerodynamic and the cyclist's speed can increase by approximately 5% when the pigment of the suit is applied directly on top of the skin."

We gave Castelli a call to see if there's any truth to the rumors, but they would neither confirm nor deny.

The source has alleged that Garmin-Sharp will be testing this new technology first at the Giro d' Italia in May and later at the Tour de France. If this is the case, riders on the team should expect to shave 30 seconds off every 40k of time trials. "That's the difference between first and second in a race like the Giro," said a representative from Garmin-Sharp.

But whether or not we'll actually see Garmin team cyclists decked out in the new bibs depends heavily on the UCI.

"We are concerned that one team could get such an advantage," said an official release from the UCI. "We are not saying we will ban the new technology, but we are not saying we will not until we learn more. But we will probably ban it."

Domenic Andrea from the Viento Italiano Nebbia Corridore Instituzioni weighed in on the controversy. "If the reports are true," Andrea said, "then much like the Gabba short sleeve jersey in the Milan San Remo, we expect that a lot of other pro teams are going to be scrambling to get their hands on this exciting new technology."

 Stay tuned to the BicyclingHub.com blog for more details. We'll update as we hear more.

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