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Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won stage 6 of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday.
Cavendish was delivered to the sprint victory by his teammates, who pushed the pace at the front of the peloton for most of the day and then led him out at the finish.
The British rider, who triumphed in the race’s opening stage in Naples, catapulted off the wheel of teammate Gert Steegmans close to the finish line to win ahead of Elia Viviani (Cannondale) and Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge).
“I am happy, content,” Cavendish in a TV interview afterward. “The team was incredible today. Everything was perfect today, 100 percent perfect. There are only a few stages for the sprinters this year, so I will try to win a few more in the next few days.”
Cavendish dedicated his victory to Wouter Weylandt, the Belgian rider who was killed in a horrific crash during the 2011 Giro two years ago today.
There were no changes in the GC, so Luca Paolini (Katusha) maintained his 17-second lead over Rigoberto Urán (Sky) and 26-second advantage over Benat Intxausti (Movistar) after the 169-kilometer stage from Mola di Bari to Margherita di Savoia.
“It was very important to be at the front of the race today,” Paolini said. “It was a technical finale. There was a big crash and the team did a good job protecting me today.”
Near disaster for Wiggins
Bradley Wiggins (Sky), who is 34 seconds behind Paolini in the race for the maglia rosa, almost lost a bunch of time after a crash with 32.5km left. As the peloton made its way through the finishing straight for the first of two circuits around Margherita di Savoia that would close out the stage, the road narrowed and dozens of riders got tangled up. The result was a roadblock that acted as a dam – nobody could get through.
Wiggins, who had dropped back with most of his teammates shortly before the crash for a bike change, was caught behind the mayhem and was forced to wait it out until holes opened.
Wiggins was around two minutes behind the peloton by the time he got back on his bike. The peloton slowed and allowed the large Wiggins group to rejoin the pack with about 22km left.
Australians Jack Bobridge (Blanco) and Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) escaped 15km into the stage and rode by themselves for hours. They had a sizeable advantage at one point, but the flat parcours and the expected sprint finish meant their effort was destined to fail.
Still, the Aussies were able to stay out front until the peloton swallowed them up with a little more than 36km remaining.
The race resumes with Friday’s stage 7, a 177km course from San Salvo to Pescara that features rolling hills throughout.
How many bikes are in your garage? Some folks are minimalists, with little impetus to dabble in other disciplines, let alone sub-disciplines, while others have a townie, rain bike, race bike, and a time trial bike — and that’s just for riding on the road.
What about you? The Bell Super helmet is designed with a very specific rider in mind, and for some, this is exciting, but for others, it might be a little confusing.
What is an enduro helmet?
It didn’t take long for established bike companies to dive into the enduro mountain bike bonanza. Count Bell among those offering a helmet geared towards this type of rider. Compared with the ubiquitous POC Trabec, it’s $25 cheaper at $125, yet it is 50 grams heavier, coming in at 390g. Bell differentiates the Super from conventional mountain bike offerings with a few key features, most of them geared towards goggles. Yes, the sort of thing you’d wear skiing. Goggles on a bike ride will seem foreign to many riders, but more on that later.
Bell has gone all in with the Super. The helmet’s temple design specifically interfaces with a pair of goggles, combined with the GoggleGuide visor, which helps keep the strap in place. Heading up a long climb? Pivot the visor up and there’s room above your brow for the goggles. Speaking of which, the helmet has Overbrow ventilation to keep sweaty foreheads cool, which also plays nice with goggles, improving ventilation.
Beyond goggle-centric features, the Super has extended back of the head protection like many helmets of this ilk, anti-microbial X-Static helmet padding, and a Go-Pro mount. This last feature is especially slick — it fits into the middle helmet vent and attaches with an internal Velcro strap. If Kodak Courage gets the best of you, the mount breaks free when you hit the dirt to avoid damaging the camera or, more importantly, your neck.
Out of the box
The Super is unapologetically designed to work best with goggles. As soon as we put on this green lid, it was a tight squeeze to fit our Smith PivLocks inside the temples. We’ve also been told that the Super doesn’t play nice with Oakley Radars. However, we found casual sunglasses with flat temples to fit well. Whether or not you’re bold enough to rock Wayfarers on a ride, try before you buy to ensure your glasses fit this helmet’s shape.
Go with goggles – Oakley Airbrake
Ever wondered what it felt like in the 1980s to be the first guy to rock an aero helmet in the local time trial series? Throw on a pair of goggles for the average mountain bike ride and you’ll get a taste.
It’s clear why dedicated enduro racers prefer goggles. The level of protection and wind shielding on fast descents is unmatched, even by an enormous pair of wraparound sunglasses that major leaguers sport in spring training. For anyone cursed with a pair of contact lenses, you’ll find that goggles provide your eyes with a safe, happy cocoon free of dust, wind, bugs, and other trail detritus.
While goggles have many advantages, we found a few drawbacks. When combined with Oakley Airbrakes, the Super rode a bit high on the head, and it applied slight pressure on the nose bridge. Also, when the goggles were propped up on the helmet beneath the visor, some peripheral vision was lost while grinding up steep climbs with our head down. Nevertheless, these minor fit quibbles were outweighed by Oakley’s excellent coverage and optics that we enjoyed when the trail pointed down.
Are you a specialist?
Every group of riders has a guy or gal who loves to specialize. They have a quiver of bikes, particular hydration packs for longer rides, road- and mountain-specific eyewear, and on and on. Maybe you’re this person, or maybe you want to be this person. In any case, the Super is made for a specific purpose, and it does that well. Few open-face mountain bike helmets are made for goggles.
This helmet makes a lot of sense when your rides have clearly defined climbing and descending portions. The average mountain biker in Florida (yes, there are great trails in the Sunshine State) will not do well with goggles. However, if you’re grinding up a long climb in Colorado, Oregon, or Vermont and then blazing down miles of descent, you might want to give the Super — and goggles — a shot.
Pros: Purpose-built for goggles. Comfortable fit and adequate ventilation. Slick Go-Pro mount
Cons: Not as light or cool as a traditional helmet, incompatible with certain sunglasses, designed for a specific style of riding
The Lowdown: If you have a pair of goggles and a Go-Pro to pair with the Super, you’re probably getting stoked. If you like to keep it simple, adding a specialized helmet to your wardrobe won’t do much for you.
- Hello everyone, looking for a 120mm stem. Carbon, Easton, FSA, or comparable would be great. Less than retail would be great. Thanks!
Luis León Sánchez is slated to return to racing with Blanco at the Tour of Belgium later this month despite ongoing doubts about alleged links to the Operación Puerto doping scandal.
Following reports in Spanish and Dutch media, the UCI WorldTour team confirmed that Sánchez would race, posting the news on its Twitter account Wednesday evening.
“News update: Luis León Sánchez will race the Baloise Belgium Tour,” the team wrote.
Sánchez, 29, hasn’t raced since all season after allegations about links to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes resurfaced during the Puerto trial earlier this year.
Sánchez, who has been linked to the code name “Huerto” in the Puerto documents, has denied those allegations.
The Spanish rider challenged Blanco’s decision to keep him out of races to the UCI. A press note from Sánchez said the UCI sided with his legal team, but the information could not be verified by the UCI on Thursday.
“This burden is finally ending,” Sánchez told the local Spanish newspaper La Verdad. “I’ve been sidelined since January and it’s time for me to race this season. No one knows how motivated I am or how long these past four months have been for me.”
Sánchez has repeatedly denied he worked with Fuentes, who was recently found guilty of endangering public health as part of the Puerto scandal dating back to 2006.
- Providence Cyclo-cross Festival Announces Divine Youth Initiative Festival, Keough Cyclocross and Little Bellas to Bring Cycling to Rhode Island Youth PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – The Providence Cyclo-cross Festival is proud to announce the Divine Youth initiative, a partnership between the Festival, Keough Cyclocross and the Little Bellas mentoring program. Divine Youth aims to introduce kids [...]
Faced with the possibility of a legal case against him and the lack of a defense fund, cycling journalist Paul Kimmage is getting help from cycling clothing manufacturer SKINS.
SKINS chairman Jaime Fuller pledged the company’s support for Kimmage, who could have a defamation lawsuit against him re-launched by current and former UCI Presidents Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen. The pair dropped its lawsuit against the Irish journalist in October but can re-launch it at any time.
Kimmage, a former professional bike racer, spent much of his journalism career writing about doping in cycling. He accused Lance Armstrong and George Hincapie of taking illegal drugs and implied that McQuaid, Verbruggen, and the UCI knew about the sport’s doping problems.
A legal defense made of public donations was set up for Kimmage after the original lawsuit, but his business partner — with whom he had a falling out — has seized control of the account that contains about $75,000. As Kimmage tries to regain control of the funds, he has no money to defend himself if another lawsuit is levied upon him.
“The sudden lack of transparency surrounding the defense account has left Paul exposed,” Fuller said in a press release. “He is very concerned the UCI could take advantage of his lack of access to the fund and re-launch an action against him that outraged the cycling fraternity. As a huge fan of Paul and what he stands for, we couldn’t let that happen. So if he incurs legal expenses in relation to defending future UCI action while continuing to be denied access to the fund, we’ll support him to ensure he is able to defend himself.”
Kimmage said he is grateful for the support he’s been given.
“When all this started, I was humbled by the generosity of people who made donations into the fund on my behalf and it’s vital that the money is fully accounted for and that the account is run in accordance with the original intention,” he said. “At the moment, further legal costs incurred by defending the UCI case would be an impossible situation and I’m grateful to SKINS for stepping in to provide support.”
I ride dirt. I ride a lot of it, as much as I can find. I think it’s truly beautiful to be somewhere on a deserted road, farms and wildlife rolling by, side-by-side with my friends. The dirt roads on Colorado’s Front Range are perfect for a 28mm road tire; the roads aren’t too rough and the sandy clay usually is firm and fast.
I have been making my own 28mm tubeless solutions for years (this is a great happy hour story, replete with deafening explosions and showers of sealant) but now that Hutchinson is making a tubeless 28mm, hopefully those days are behind me.
What amazes me is that it almost didn’t happen. The Secteur 28 tires were originally produced as an alternative to tubulars for the FDJ racing team for use in the cobbled classics in Europe and were not intended for retail. Only after seeing significant growth in the U.S. tubeless market was the decision made to offer these tires to the public.
After hearing about the Secteur 28, I was eager to get my hands on them. Hutchinson has been making tubeless options as long or longer than anyone else and the company has it down. The Sectors I have averaged out at 289 grams each, which would be respectable even for a tubed tire, and the casing seems to be reasonably supple, critical for traction and comfort.
In the past, Hutchinson tires have been very tight and difficult to mount. This seems to have been rectified, however, as the Sectors slide onto the rim with just the right tension and inflate easily. Mounted on my trusty Shimano C24 clinchers, the inflated tires initially were on the narrow side at 26.7mm. But after a week of riding they topped out right around 27.5mm. That’s not quite right, but recently I had it explained to me just how difficult it is to correctly size a tire and how many variables are involved. As far as I’m concerned, they’re right on the money.
On paper, this is an outstandingly good tire and in the field it stands up pretty well, too. I had to experiment with the pressure a little bit because my tendency is to get the pressure way down, so I started in the low 60 psi range. This was way too low and although the tires were incredibly comfortable and soaked up the terrain, they were sluggish and slow. That, however, would be the case with almost any tire at that pressure until you pinch-flat, which did not happen with the Secteur. In the last couple weeks, I have dialed up the pressure and found a great feel right in the mid 70 psi range.
Once I got the pressure right, it became obvious that Hutchinson had done its homework. Improvements in casing design and rubber compound add up to a tire that rides surprisingly well. The center compound is harder for rolling on pavement but when you lay it into a turn, the softer cornering compound and subtle tread take over to keep you glued to the road. The casing is considerably more supple and lighter than that of previous tubeless editions but after throttling my pair of Secteurs up and down the Front Range for six weeks, I can report they are every bit as durable and tough. Used in conjunction with Hutchinson’s Protect’Air sealant (you need to use sealant), it would be reasonable to think you could ride these tires down to the casing without a single flat.
Retail on the Secteurs is $109.95. That’s pretty steep, approaching what you might pay for pavé tubulars, but considering the extended lifespan of the tire and what you might save on tubes, it might be worth it. And think of all the places you’ll go.
Australian native Michael Robson grew up racing dirt bikes and flat-track and in his teens progressed to BMX. He first came to race in the U.S. in the early 1990s and ended up in Europe as a workaday roadie. Now a professional photographer and rabid cyclocrosser, Robson is reliving his youth ripping it up in ‘cross, making great photos for a living and testing gear for VeloNews.