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A solid contingent of North American riders is heading to the Vuelta a España this weekend, including WorldTour rookies Chad Haga and Lawson Craddock, who both were tipped Tuesday by Giant-Shimano to make their respective grand tour debuts.
Haga, 25, rode well in the final time trial at the Vuelta a Burgos on Sunday, stopping the clock for a season-best fourth place, while Craddock, 22, was third overall at the Amgen Tour of California in May. Both have been consistent all season, and have earned a spot on the Giant-Shimano lineup for the Vuelta.
“If I were to be selected, I will try to finish the thing,” Craddock told VeloNews in a telephone interview earlier this month. “We’ll be going with a strong team, with [Warren] Barguil for the GC, and [John] Degenkolb for the sprints. So if I am selected, I will be going there to help Warren out in the GC, and help John in the sprints.”
As Craddock mentioned, leading Giant-Shimano will be Warren Barguil, the promising young French rider who won two Vuelta stages last year, and who will be making a push for the GC. John Degenkolb returns to the Vuelta, in part to prepare for the world championships in Ponferrada in northwest Spain. Degenkolb returns to the Vuelta for the first time since 2012, when he won five stages.
Though the start list has yet to be finalized, the inclusion of Haga and Craddock brings the American tally for the Vuelta to six.
Defending champion Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) is headlining the U.S. contingent. At 42, he will be the oldest rider in the Spanish tour. Horner has battled injury and illness all season long, but after riding to second at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, looks to be pedaling into his best fitness of the season, just in time to take on all challengers as he defends his Vuelta crown.
“The form is better this year than it was last year,” Horner told reporters last week at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. “I just need the health to clear up a little bit. Hopefully, this next week I’ll take it easy, let the lungs clear up and after that I’ll be 100 percent and ready to go on to win something at the Tour of Spain.”
Two more grand tour rookies also got the call ups by their respective teams. Larry Warbasse, 24, will be starting for BMC Racing, which brings Cadel Evans, Philippe Gilbert, and 2008 Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez. The other is Nathan Brown, 23, who will be part of an equally deep Garmin-Sharp team.
Andrew Talansky headlines Garmin-Sharp, with an eye on avenging his bitter exit from the 2014 Tour following a pair of devastating crashes. Talansky, who took a huge victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, will be looking to maximize opportunities, and will ride for the GC if he discovers his form in his return to competition after the Tour.
Two Canadians will also start, including 2012 Giro d’Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal adding additional firepower to a deep Garmin-Sharp squad. Hesjedal skipped the Tour de France for the first time since his Tour debut in 2008, in part to focus on the Giro d’Italia, and later to reload for the Vuelta and late-season goals. Along with Daniel Martin, Hesjedal and Talansky will give Garmin three cards to play in the GC.
Fellow Canadian Guillaume Boivin, 25, will be making his second Vuelta start. He started last year’s Vuelta, but abandoned in stage 14. With Cannondale lining up with Peter Sagan, Boivin will be working to close down breakaways and set up Sagan for stage victories.
The post Craddock, Haga to Vuelta for total of six Americans, two Canadians appeared first on VeloNews.com.
Pearl Izumi’s Team Speed Mesh jersey is designed for the pros — until now, it’s only been available to them — and its hyper-slim cut, all-black look, and aerodynamic features make it an excellent option for the unattached racing privateer, or anyone looking for a little edge on the weeknight group ride.
Pearl has returned to the USA Pro Challenge as the official clothing sponsor. It is making the very same jerseys that will be worn by the race leaders, and the Pearl-sponsored BMC Racing Team, available to the public. The Team Speed Mesh jersey will set you back $200, and is only on sale in Pearl Izumi’s booth at the USA Pro Challenge, though the company plans to roll it out as part of its custom program next year. The design is the product of Pearl Izumi’s Speed Shop, where much of the development takes place on new high-end items with plenty of input from Pearl’s pro riders, especially team BMC.
The Team Speed Mesh is unquestionably a race jersey, clinging tightly to the torso as a consistent reminder of those last few New Belgium beers from the night before. Sizing up at least one size is required to even get the zipper closed.
I am just shy of six feet tall, with a longer torso than average and broad shoulders — in the world of cycling, anyway. I typically wear a medium jersey from every brand. In the case of the Team Speed Mesh jersey, I up-size to a large, and it’s still one of the tightest fitting jerseys in my wardrobe.
The Team Speed Mesh jersey’s name is an excellent descriptor of the piece. The mesh panels on the front and back are extremely airy, which is greatly appreciated for keeping cool. That mesh also lessens our desire to unzip the jersey, which makes the Team Speed Mesh a faster option — a zipped-up jersey is a faster jersey.
All that mesh also means that your back is exposed to the sun, so you need to spray on a decent helping of sunscreen underneath the fabric. On a particularly hot and sunny day on the PeopleForBikes Ride on Chicago, I even reapplied sunscreen halfway through the ride, just in case.
The sleeves have strategically placed seams tucked into the front of the armpit and then wrapping over the shoulder blades. Pearl intends to keep air moving smoothly over the rider’s back with this design. The sleeves are cut fairly long, almost to the elbow. The cuffs are cut cleanly and don’t lift up off the skin; they are not the traditional rolled-and-stitched seam found on most jerseys. The sleeve design is one of the key elements that separates from the Team Speed Mesh jersey from other high end jerseys in the Pearl line.
For now, the Team Speed Mesh jersey is only available in all black, which is a nice approach for a jersey with such an unforgiving cut. For those not attending the USAPC, Pearl’s $150 Speed jersey is available online. Though this non-Team model uses different fabrics and tailoring, with shorter sleeves and more traditional cuff designs, it’s Pearl’s most race-ready, easily-accessible jersey.
Retail price: $200
Availability: 50 available for now at the USA Pro Challenge
What we like: A no-nonsense race-cut jersey for the privateer racer and lunch ride world champ
What we don’t: Limited availability and we need a buddy to apply sunscreen to our backs on sunny days
The post Reviewed: Pearl Izumi’s USA Pro Challenge leader’s jersey appeared first on VeloNews.com.