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BOULDER CITY, Nevada (VN) — Shimano, a brand known for its no-nonsense and straightforward products, has launched a specific line of trail shoes — “Enduro” if you prefer — that cater to the specific needs of the trail rider.
The SH-M200 shoes are the shining flagship model in the SH-M line and retail for $180. Two lower-tier models in the SH-M line, the SH-M163 and SH-M089, both lose the carbon-infused midplate and some of the protection of the M200. The M163 and M089 retail for $150 and $120, respectively.
The focus of the line is keeping the rider balanced and efficient, particularly when pinning the bike through corners on descents. Shoes with stiffer soles, particularly carbon cross-country shoes, don’t allow the rider’s feet to flex and be close to parallel to the ground, while the opposite is true for shoes with a bit more flex. Shimano’s Torbal sole (a combination of torrisional and balance) gives the shoe flex near the back of the arch and the heel, while keeping the pedaling platform stiff.
On the M200’s midplate, where the cleat mounts, is a nylon infused with a carbon fiber dust that’s mixed in with the nylon blend while it’s still in liquid form. The lower-level M163 and M089’s soles are purely nylon.
The M200 has quite a bit more protection than the M163 and M089, and somewhat resembles Shimano’s AM gravity shoes. The M200 uses Shimano’s Speed Lacing that pulls the bottom of the shoe tight, and then a padded flap covers the laces. The buckle used by all three models is borrowed from the high-end road line, and it is less bulky than most mountain bike shoe offerings.
The SH-M line uses thick insoles that offer more comfort than traditional mountain bike shoes, especially when walking around. The M200’s insoles are made of two compounds to boost support, while the M163 and M089 use the same single-density foam.
As the sun falls on the road season and we begin to look for mud, Velo magazine editor-in-chief Neal Rogers and managing editor Chris Case sat down with national champions Jeremy Powers and Katie Compton for articles featured in the October issue of the magazine. Since the season begins Wednesday night in earnest in the Las Vegas desert, at CrossVegas, here’s a sneak peak of what’s to come in the latest Velo magazine, out soon.
Powers looks to later in season
Jeremy Powers (Aspire Racing) is fast. Real fast. He won his second national title last year en route to the overall title of the USA Cycling Pro Cyclocross Series.
Maybe in years past he’s been too fast in September. But this season, he’s looking further down the line than before. He didn’t race on the road for Jelly Belly coming into this season, and feels a bit out of sorts being farther from the razor’s edge. He’s looking ahead to showcase his talents at more European races than in years past.
Focusing on the World Cup races has meant a full restructuring of his season: his schedule, his training, his mindset. World Cup courses are traditionally more technical, and demand a more diverse set of skills. Not to mention the fact that every elite racer in Europe is also focused on taking maximum points at the biggest races of the season.
The World Cup season kicks off October 19 in Valkenburg, Netherlands, and wraps up January 25 in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. Powers isn’t so much focused on going fast for CrossVegas; he is looking toward January to be at his best.
“It’s kind of crazy to not be going really good right now,” he told Velo. “It’s nuts, I’m not flying right now. I don’t have to come off of [Tour of] Alberta or Colorado… In years past, I’ve always had road races that I’d use to get ready for ’cross season, and so I’ve always had so much speed, and it would start me flying even before August, like, the end of July I would just be motoring, and skinny, and all that. And, now, I’ve really, almost uncomfortably, stepped back, so I can really try to put it together for January. It’s a completely different program.”
What’s more, Powers is racing on his own team now, after the departure of Rapha-Focus from the scene. The Massachusetts resident now runs his own team management program, Aspire Racing, comprised of familiar sponsors (including Rapha and Focus).
“I had always dreamed I would have a team at some point,” Powers said. “Rapha-Focus, being such a major team, they couldn’t do it at the same level that they had, so I thought, ‘This might be the moment when I need to do this. Not because I want to, because I need to.’”
What’s left for Katie Compton?
Katie Compton is undefeated in the last 10 years at the U.S. national cyclocross championship. Undefeated. Undisputed. So what’s left?
The obvious. Beating her undisputed rival, one of the greatest cyclists the world has ever seen, in Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv).
Compton has finished on the podium of the world championships four times, including three silver medals, without taking home the big prize. Like it or not, that’s the thing that comes up now for Compton. She is irrefutably great and consistent. The stripes, though, still elude her. This season, she’s coming in a little slower, much like Powers. Will it pay off at worlds in the Czech Republic in February?
“This year I’m coming in a little slower than in years past,” Compton said. “Last year I was sick or injured most of the summer. I think that helped me come January. Had I not had bad allergies, I would have been good at worlds. I’m approaching this season similar to last year, and I think that will help me come January. To put myself in that pain cave for 40 to 50 minutes, it takes mental strength to put yourself there, to turn yourself inside out, every weekend, for four months. I think coming in slower will help me, and especially in that heavy period of racing in late December, which is intense and hard. It’s an important time to be riding well.”
It’s not that Compton can’t beat Vos. She can, and has, including last year at the Rome World Cup. But she never seems to have the golden day when she needs it. Still, she maintains a healthy perspective. If she never won a rainbow jersey, it would still be an immense career.
“Of course I want to win a world championship. Everyone wants to,” she said. “Especially having been so close. But if it never happens, it doesn’t happen. I have had tons of success, I have overcome a lot of physical issues, and I have been able to win, and do well, and I am pretty proud of that.”
The post National cyclocross champs Powers, Compton talk with Velo appeared first on VeloNews.com.
LA CORUNA, Spain (VN) — The grueling Vuelta a España is starting to take its collective toll on the peloton. Searing heat in the south compounded by incessant climbs in the north has sent more than a few big names home early.
Podium threat Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Spanish veteran Haimar Zubeldia (Trek Factory Racing) both succumbed to illness, and will not start Wednesday. Grand tour rookie Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano) packed it in over the weekend.
Urán catapulted into podium range following another superb time trial performance, but fell ill with bronchitis and asthma, dropping to 16th overall after La Farrapona climb Monday. The Giro d’Italia runner-up was unable to keep pace in the climbs of Asturias, and decided to pull the plug in order to recover in time for the world championships at the end of September.
“We were hoping my condition would improve on the rest day, but it got even worse,” Urán said. “I cannot race in these conditions. I am disappointed, but it’s the best decision to make.”
Urán will travel to Belgium to meet with team doctors for treatment, with the idea of being able to compete at full strength for the team time trial race September 19, and then in the road race the following weekend in Ponferrada. Urán cautioned that if he is not fully healthy, he might not race in Ponferrada.
Another rider exiting early who had high hopes for the Vuelta is Spanish veteran Zubeldia. Like Urán, Zubeldia was suffering with chest problems, and will leave the Vuelta without being able to punch into the top-10 as he was hoping.
Craddock, meanwhile, pulled out during Saturday’s stage to Sabero. The Texan was suffering from the heat and an early Vuelta crash, and was unable to continue. He is penciled in to race the world championships.
Fellow American and Giant teammate Chad Haga remains in the Vuelta, saying, “I have tired legs, but not dead legs, so that’s a good sign going into the third week.”
More riders will likely exit in the coming days, with one eye on the Ponferrada world championships.
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and three-time defending world time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma) have already left the Vuelta, with Martin saying he wanted to be “fresh” for a run at what would be a record fourth straight TT title. Oscar Gatto (Cannondale), who is expected to race for the Italian team in Ponferrada, also did not finish Monday.
A few more worlds-bound riders, such as Fabian Cancellara (Trek), Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma), or Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), might exit early as well, but it’s typically a choice made based on how good or bad the legs are feeling.
One rider who is hanging in there is last-place Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale). The Colombian returned to Europe in mid-August for the Vuelta a Burgos clearly overweight, but he’s been suffering at the back, and trimming up. His goal is to be ready for a run at the rainbow jersey in Ponferrada.
The post Uran, Zubeldia, Craddock latest riders to exit Vuelta appeared first on VeloNews.com.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Momentum Sports Group, owners and operators of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, announced that title sponsor UnitedHealthcare has extended its support of the program for an additional three years, through the 2017 racing season.
UnitedHealthcare has supported the team since 2009, becoming the title sponsor in 2010.
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team makes frequent appearances at local hospitals, schools, and community events throughout the year, while helping to raise funds for the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit public charity that provides medical grants to children in need.
“The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s success in races around the world and engagement in our communities help to raise awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the benefits of cycling, a lifelong sport that helps everyone from young children to seniors stay fit and active,” said Steve Nelson of UnitedHealthcare. “We’re honored to continue our support of the team and look forward to celebrating its success in the years ahead.”
This extension grants further consistency to a racing program that has seen results and steady progress since its inception in 2003. It also guarantees that Momentum Sports Group will continue to provide infrastructure for its growing roster of athletes.
The male riders of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team expanded their European racing schedule in 2014 to participate in multiple WorldTour events, including Milano-San Remo, E3 Harelbeke, Paris-Roubaix, and La Fléche Wallonne, while maintaining a strong presence in the American racing schedule, with over 15 victories to date as well as stage wins at the tours of Taiwan and Langkawi.
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team also expanded its program for 2014 with the addition of a top-tier women’s roster. In their debut season, the women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team took overall victories at stage races such as the Tour Femenino de San Luis, Vuelta El Salvador, and Tour of the Gila, as well as single-day victories at the Amgen Tour of California, Tour of Utah, and U.S. national road race and time trial championships.
Momentum Sports Group owner Thierry Attias said, “UnitedHealthcare has been an ideal partner for this team, as the company is a true supporter of our great sport of cycling. The continued support grants us the stability needed to continue on our trajectory of growth. We’re proud and honored to continue to represent UnitedHealthcare in races and community-engagement events all over the nation and world.”
The post UnitedHealthcare commits to three more years with pro cycling team appeared first on VeloNews.com.