Latest News in Cycling
KIGALI, Rwanda (AFP) — Three years ago, Janvier Hadi pedaled a singlespeed bicycle taxi. This week, he won the prologue of the Tour of Rwanda, a success mirroring the growth of cycling in his country.
Born into a family of modest farmers, the 23-year-old took up the sport seriously after taking part in a race in the south Rwandan town of Butare.
“I heard there was a race for a singlespeed bike. … It was like a test, and I won; I got first place,” he told AFP.
“At first I thought that because I was young I didn’t have the strength like some of the others … but when I beat them, I thought finally, I can do this cycling,” he said smiling, and proudly wearing his winner’s yellow jersey after his win in the capital Kigali.
Cycling in Rwanda, as in the rest of Africa, is growing as a sport.
“We started with five riders and five-speed cycles from the 1980s, but most of the gears were not working, they were wrecks,” said Jonathan Boyer, the first American to have raced the Tour de France in 1981, and who in 2006 became the first coach of Team Rwanda.
Cycling in Rwanda “grows gradually,” said Boyer, explaining that like Hadi, many racers are former bicycle taxi drivers, who build strong muscles pedaling up Rwanda’s rolling hills, transporting people and goods. The Rwanda Cycling Federation has around 100 members.
One of Africa’s toughest races
“Cycling in Rwanda is still very young,” said federation president Aimable Bayingana. “We have not really a long history of cycling, we are building the sport, evolving at the same time as the Tour of Rwanda.”
In June, the country opened a training center in the northern town of Musanze with modern equipment, which is hoped to become a regional training center for African cycling. The Tour of Rwanda is gradually gaining a place as a key race on the continent.
Experts say the tour of Rwanda — dubbed the land of “a thousand hills” — is one of the toughest races in Africa.
Riders on the eight-day tour, which finishes Sunday, battle over 934 kilometers (580 miles) and climb some 19,500 meters (64,000 feet) with peaks rising to 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) high. Cyclists race up and down through coffee, tea, and banana plantations.
“This is a country where the hills are really tough,” said Cameroonian racer Damien Tekou. “But we came to win.”
Organizers estimate over two million spectators will see the race, nearly a fifth of Rwanda’s 11 million people.
The race’s reputation is growing, with 14 teams taking part this year, with cyclists from across the continent — including Algeria, Burundi, Morocco, Eritrea, Ethiopia — as well as from Europe too, from France, Germany, and Switzerland.
“When we compete with Europeans here it means that we Africans are developing,” added Tekou, adding his dream was the continent would soon rise up the ranks on a wider international stage.
Changing image of Rwanda
Yves Beau from the team Bike Aid — which includes Eritrean cyclist Mekseb Debesay, who is in the running to win the UCI’s Africa tour ranking — says the sport is becoming more organized.
There are increasing number of competitions held each year across the continent, he notes.
But while, for now, African cyclists are sometimes hampered by a lack of often expensive kit and the best bicycles, he believes things will improve in the future.
“I think they really have the qualities to make good cyclists,” Beau said.
Boyer points not only to Rwanda, but to Ethiopia and Eritrea, which he said have a large pool of talent, although tapping that will require serious training and investment.
For Rwanda, it offers more than the sporting race alone.
Hadi says it provides a different image of Rwanda abroad than just the memories of the 1994 genocide when an estimated 800,000 people were killed in just 100 days.
“We must move forward, to change the image of the country, so that people think not just of genocide but say, ‘Rwanda has good cyclists,’” he said.
“Like in Kenya, people talk about their marathon runners, so in Rwanda we in Rwanda we have strong riders.”
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on the Raleigh bicycles website.
Dan Dombroski held a stacked resume in his hands. It listed collegiate gold medals in mountain biking and cyclocross, solid results in road races, and a history of international-caliber racing. The name on this resume might not be familiar to all cycling fans, but Erica Zaveta has steadily been working her way to the top of the sport.
The Erwinna, Pennsylvania native had applied for the Amy D. Foundation’s first racing scholarship, a program intended to help promising young female riders progress to the top of the sport. Dombroski established the foundation days after his 26-year-old sister, Amy, was killed on a training ride in Belgium in October 2013.
Zaveta was selected from about 34 applicants based on her racing potential and ability to represent Amy Dombroski’s spirit and the Foundation. Wearing a blue and orange Amy D. Racing skinsuit in her first race of the season at CrossVegas, the biggest U.S. ‘cross race, she finished an impressive ninth against the strongest women in the country.
Now 25, Zaveta began her competitive career 10 years ago on the road. She tried cyclocross for fun before she turned 18 and won a junior state championship. At Lees-McRae College in North Carolina, and later at Brevard College, she blossomed in collegiate cycling.
“Collegiate for me was really, really huge,” said Zaveta. “It was an opportunity to race everything … mountain bike, even track for one season. I jumped in as many ‘cross races as I could.”
While at Lees-McRae in 2011, Zaveta’s teammates and friends Carla Swart and Megan Baab were hit and killed by vehicles in separate training accidents. “I guess one of the biggest connections I feel with the Dombroski family is that feeling and how long [grieving] takes,” Zaveta said.
Zaveta met Amy Dombroski in Europe during a mountain bike World Cup in 2012. New to international racing and living in a foreign country, Zaveta was struggling. Dombroski provided the medicine she needed: a friendly face, and an offer to help with questions and team opportunities.
Many aspects of cyclocross appeal to Zaveta — the 40-minute race intensity, opportunities to improve in every lap, and an individual pace combined with head-to-head racing. The friendly, fun atmosphere hooked her right away.
“When you get too serious about it, you realize you’re running around in a field with a bicycle — it gives you a good perspective,” Zaveta said.
Racing alongside the Raleigh-Clement team, Zaveta has hit personal best after personal best. First came a top-five result in mid-October. Two weeks later, she won her first UCI race at Gateway Cross Cup in St. Louis, Missouri.
When this season’s more intense racing schedule required different training, Mani and Jamey Driscoll, supplied advice.
“That for me is really a confidence booster, knowing what they’re doing and how I can incorporate it,” said Zaveta of the Raleigh-Clement riders. “Ben [Berden] has been helpful in a lot of different ways, encouraging me … They’ve really been awesome.”
Mani, who took part in the scholarship selection process, shares her expertise in technical skills and the tactical elements of racing, like when to wait, or when to attack.
“She’s a great girl, really nice and humble and willing to learn, so it is really cool to be around her,” Mani said, speaking about Zaveta earlier in the fall. “I think she is going to have a great season. It’s going to be good mojo for everyone [on the team]. I’m really happy about what they did in memory of Amy. I think it’s a great program that will help Erica get a step higher.”
As the season has progressed, Zaveta has noticed her improvement throughout the year, yet remains willing to grow into her career.
“When I won collegiate mountain bike nationals for division one, that was really cool,” Zaveta said. “It meant a lot to me, but right now I just feel like a totally different athlete. And it doesn’t feel temporary. … I definitely would say it’s my best season racing bikes so far.”
The post Erica Zaveta hits her stride with the Amy D. Foundation appeared first on VeloNews.com.
Here’s your Week in Tech — all the gear news, tips, and announcements you need and none of the marketing gibberish you don’t.
SRAM steps in as Velocio title sponsor
Component company SRAM has stepped in as the second title sponsor of the Velocio women’s cycling team, formerly called Specialized-lululemon. The squad will be known as Velocio-SRAM in 2015.
The team, which raised about $100,000 in crowdfunding earlier this year, will also be supported by sales of Velocio team clothing, which is now available for pre-order. Team owner Kristy Scrymgeour continues to seek another major sponsor.
Bontrager’s new Chupacabra 29+ tire
You can never have enough wheel and tire sizes, apparently. 29+ is the latest; it’s not quite a fat-bike tire, and and it might even be compatible with your existing bike. Bontrager’s Chupacabra 29+ tire can be your bike’s big upgrade this winter. It had never crossed our mind that we could cram a 29+ tire into one of our existing 29ers, but thanks to local pro, Brady Kappius, we learned that a 3.0 tire fits just fine in a RockShox RS-1.
Bontrager’s Chupacabra weighs in at a hefty 878 grams, but this tire isn’t about counting grams. At $120 the Chupacabra is pricey. Surly also offers a 29+ tire. Its 29×3” Knard retails for $65 and is available now.
The Chupacabra is expected to hit retailers near the end of this year. We will be logging some time on it soon.
SRM offers spider-only power meters
SRM is taking its renowned power meter and stripping it down to bare bones. It is offering four spiders compatible with Specialized, Cannondale, Rotor, and SRAM crank arms for $1,490 through the SRM website — we have heard that select dealers and coaching companies may offer them for less.
The new products still sound expensive, especially when compared to Stages meters, but when compared to Quarq’s Specialized- and Cannondale-compatible spiders, the SRM spiders are more than $300 cheaper. If you already own a Quarq, and are looking to upgrade to a new power meter, keep scrolling down.
Quarq is inviting current owners to trade in their old Quarqs for new models. The trade-in program is good through the end of the year, and customers can upgrade to a brand new power meter for $900.
The new power meters are available with Quarq’s new magnet-free cadence measurement, thanks to an accelerometer in the spider. Buyers will have to remove their chainrings and crank arms and send back only the spider. Upon receiving your old spider, Quarq will send out a new spider of your choice.
Trailcraft Cycles children’s mountain bikes
Mountain bikes for kids are inherently inexpensive and therefore usually very heavy. Trailcraft, based out of Fort Collins, Colorado, hopes to change that with its high-end titanium and aluminum 24” hardtails.
The Trailcraft Pineridge hardtails are designed around Stan’s 24” wheels. Chainstays are quite short, to help children pop the front wheel off the ground, and corner with confidence. Trailcraft created its own cranks with 152mm arms, 32×22-tooth chainrings, and a bashguard to protect it all, as small wheels mean lower bottom brackets.
The Trailcraft bikes will be produced in small batches, but can deliver by Christmas if you order soon. The complete Aluminum Pineridge 24 retails for $1,700 and can be purchased through Kickstarter, but you won’t need to wait for Trailcraft to reach their goal, they’ll ship in a week or two, and it will make a great gift this holiday season — just hope that your kid doesn’t grow out of it too fast.
The post Week in Tech: Velocio-SRAM, Bontrager 29+, power meter updates, and children’s bikes appeared first on VeloNews.com.
Olympic time trial champion and former world time trial champion Zulfia Zabirova will join forces with Maurizio Fabretto to launch Astana’s new women’s cycling team in 2015. The team will field a roster of about 15 riders, mostly young athletes that it hopes to develop into seasoned pros.
The team will be officially named Astana-Acca Due O, and it will be registered in Kazakhstan. Many of the riders will come from Eastern Europe, but the team will also have strong Italian flavor. It will have a headquarters in Cornuda, Veneto, and sponsor Acca Due O is an Italian water treatment company.
“The project is very exciting,” said Zabirova, supervisor of the entire sport management, “And so is the challenge: [Our] long-term goal is to bring Astana to be the first team in the world within four years. During last edition of Asia championships and world championships we saw encouraging things by young Kazakhs. “We have very professional coaches and sport directors, and I’m sure that they’ll know how to let them show their full potential.”
The Astana BePink women’s team placed 10th at 2014 world team time trial championships in Ponferrada, Spain.
The team had a few notable victories in 2014, including Alena Amialiusik’s wins in the Belarus national road and time trial championships, Doris Schweizer’s stage 1 win at Tour de Bretagne Féminin, and Amialiusik’s stage 5 win at the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche.
- For sale: Fizik Arione Versus K:ium saddle, used for three weeks this summer, new in 2014. $75.00 Fizik medium bag, $7.00. Selle Italia Thoork saddle with gel flow cut out channel, $20.00. Shimano Ultegra standard 53/39 crank set, taken off 2008 Scott Addict R4, great condition, $45.00. Ritchey WCS aluminum handlebars, Triple Butted TRX50, $20.00. Hudz brakehoods, white, never used, fits Ultegra 6600/105, $10.00. All for $160.00.