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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AFP) — French rider Matthieu Sprick (Argos-Shimano) is undergoing rehabilitation after suffering from a stroke last month.
Argos said he is having “mobility problems of the left arm” as a result of the incident.
“What happened to Matthew is a shock to the whole team,” Argos manager Iwan Spekenbrink said. “It is currently difficult to establish a prognosis concerning his health.”
Argos announced on May 23 that Sprick had been hospitalized in the south of France because of a “small stroke.”
The 31-year-old “is conscious, talking, but has some symptoms of paralysis,” said the team.
Sprick had resumed training prior to the stroke after recovering from a broken foot.
STILLWATER, Minn. (VN) — As the sun set on the Nature Valley Grand Prix Sunday and the professional peloton got ready for races like Cascade, the USA Pro Challenge, and the Giro Rosa, some of the participants woke up early Monday morning and headed to work.
One such working stiff is Eric Marcotte (Elbowz Racing-Boneshaker Project). Marcotte won the Best Amateur jersey and placed third in the general classification at Nature Valley. During the week, the 33-year-old is a full-time chiropractor in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“I’ve got patients in the afternoon starting at noon or 1,” said Marcotte as he enthusiastically described his job and clientele. “I fly out a little later [Sunday night]. I’ll sleep in, recover, and see them tomorrow. You know what? They probably had an awesome week or two since I’ve seen them. I’ll get to hear really cool stories, like this, and try to keep them on track so they can keep doing it.”
At 42, Scott Giles (Nature Valley Pro Chase) was one of the oldest riders to compete in this year’s race. Giles is a 20-year Navy veteran and spent most of his career as an S-3 Viking jet pilot landing planes on aircraft carriers. The skills he learned in the military have helped him excel as a cyclist at a relatively late stage of his athletic career.
“The dynamic and fast-paced environment of flying around aircraft carriers translates very well to the relative motion, and sometimes the combative nature, that goes on in the peloton out there,” Giles said. “It’s very dynamic, very intense, you need to be very focused, you need to have your wits about you, and have good situational awareness. That’s a skill.”
Last Tuesday, math teacher Lauren Stephens (Tibco-To The Top) flew into Minneapolis from Dallas immediately after her last day of teaching for the year. Stephens only recently joined Tibco after big results at the Redlands Bicycle Classic and Joe Martin Stage Race. She won the Nature Valley Grand Prix Menomonie Road Race on Saturday, and will be going to the Giro Rosa with Team Tibco at the end of June.
Stephens benefits from the coaching and support that her husband, Mat Stephens of Speedy Ace Training, provides throughout the year. Her ability to multitask, combined with strong family support, has helped her break into one of the best cycling programs for women in the U.S.
“I manage my time very well. I ride my bike to work in the mornings, so I get some workouts done on the way to work, and then the rest of my training is done in the evenings,” Stephens said. “It’s a family affair.”
Even for the most talented working athletes, there are a multitude of sacrifices required to climb the ranks of the peloton. Giles wasn’t able to focus on riding until he took a desk job, and Mat and Lauren Stephens, who use up their vacation time for training camps, and have put off having a family to pursue their passion.
Even Marcotte, who makes racing against the pro peloton look effortless, needs to drag himself out of bed at 4 a.m. each morning to avoid training in the 110-degree Arizona heat.
“This is not something I think is completely sustainable socially,” Marcotte said. “You are training 20 plus hours a week, you are trying to run a business 30-40 hours, so there is not much downtime. You have to be really on point.”
In the current sponsorship environment, the working cyclist might be the new paradigm for the professional peloton.
There was only one jewel missing in the crown of last year’s phenomenal debut season at Orica-GreenEdge, and that was a stage victory at the Tour de France.
The first-year, Aussie-backed team won plenty of races (32 to be exact), including a monument with Simon Gerrans at Milano-San Remo, and stage victories in both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, with Matt Goss and Simon Clarke, respectively.
Throw in a few national titles, wins at UCI WorldTour events such as the Volta a Catalunya, the Tour de Suisse, the Vuelta al País Vasco, and the GP de Québec, and Orica couldn’t have hoped for a better debut season.
The Tour, however, proved a harder nut to crack. The squad came loaded with sprinters and stage-hunters, yet fell short of taking home a victory. Goss was the main man, knocking on the door with two second places and three third places in bunch sprints.
This year, the Aussies hope to break through to a Tour stage win.
Orica captain Simon Gerrans said the team will enter his year’s Tour intent on challenging in breakaways and sprint finishes.
“That’s the big goal,” Gerrans told VeloNews via telephone. “That’s the one thing missing out on our season last year.”
Although Orica’s official Tour lineup has yet to be announced, the team’s hope will be pinned Goss in the bunch sprints, with riders such as Gerrans, Daryl Impey, and Michael Albasini having freedom to attack for stage victories.
Goss is hoping to hit the Tour firing on all cylinders. He snagged his lone win on the 2013 season at Tirreno-Adriatico, and since then, he struggled with illness through the spring classics, and notched a handful of promising results, but no more victories
A second place in stage 4 at the Tour de Suisse last week seems to indicate things are moving in the right direction.
“He was right up there at Tour de Suisse,” Gerrans said of Goss. “The team is pretty happy with that result. To be right there shows he’s on good nick right before the Tour.”
Gerrans said while Orica will bring a strong train to support Goss, it’s likely the team will not try to dominate the sprint finishes unless it’s a finale ideal for Goss’s qualities.
“There are a lot of big sprint trains out there right now,” he said. “The most important thing is protecting Gossie and putting him on a good wheel for the sprint. He can get around most people on a good day.”
The sprints should be especially competitive this year, so Goss could find choppy waters in the mass gallops. Not only will Goss and Orica be searching for its first Tour win, so will Marcel Kittel, the big German engine on Argos-Shimano who pulled out sick of last year’s Tour.
Ahead of them are André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and Peter Sagan (Cannondale), all of whom won three stages each in last year’s Tour.
This year’s lumpy course should see more opportunities for stage hunters, which is just fine for Gerrans.
The punchy, two-time national Australian champion can win sprints out of small groups and can make it up and over heavy climbs yet still pack a punch up short, steep finales.
Gerrans will be looking for his chances in the transition stages that fit neither the sprinters, the time trial specialists nor the climbers.
“You know there are a limited number of possibilities for a guy of my characteristics, but that sort of takes the pressure off on other stages,” he said. “The Tour breakaways are harder and harder to get into. There are more guys trying to do that. You have to pick and chose your day, and give those days 100 percent.”
Gerrans knows what it feels like to win a Tour stage. His win came in 2008 out of a four-man breakaway across the Alps into Italy at Prato Nevoso while riding on Crédit Agricole.
Spaniards José Luis Arrieta and Egoi Martínez were dropping Gerrans, but he hung on, countered, and won ahead of Martínez, with American Danny Pate crossing the line third.
“It was the biggest win at that time of my career. It still ranks right up there of the biggest wins that I hold close to my heart,” Gerrans said. “To win a stage at the Tour, especially the way that I did it, it’s a real achievement to get that win.”
Gerrans, of course, went on to win the 2012 Milano-San Remo and came close to winning the Clásica San Sebastián last year, riding to second in the popular post-Tour Spanish classic.
So far in 2013, he’s been quietly picking up victories throughout the season, including a win at the Santos Tour Down Under, the Volta a Catalunya, and the Basque tour.
“My season’s been solid so far. I’ve been pretty consistently right up there around the mark,” he said. “I am missing that big win. I’ve been up there, I’ve been competitive, but I didn’t get that classic I was gunning for this year.”
At this point of Gerrans’ career, it’s hard to top what he’s already accomplished. After winning stages in all three grand tours as well as a monument, there’s not much he hasn’t done. The only thing bigger would be another spring classic, ideally in the Ardennes, or the world title.
Another Tour stage win would come nicely as well.
“I’d love to win another Tour stage. It’s a question of just keep plugging away at it,” he said. “That’s what we’re all working toward.”
- If you’re familiar with Joe Hill (think early 20th century unionism), you may have heard the quote, “Don’t mourn, organize!” Well, for those who’ve been unhappy with the way USA Cycling handles cyclocross in the US, here’s your chance to change it. And if you do agree with their policies and think they’re doing a [...]
Katusha rider on Froome, time trialling and the Alps
We’ve had a number of questions recently over road tubeless wheelsets. We’ll address a few of those here today, and look at why wheel manufacturers aren’t using ceramic coating to solve the heat problem on carbon hoops.
Tubeless for touring
I have been riding road tubeless tires for a couple of years now and am completely sold on them. The ride is great and flats are practically nonexistent.
My question is, now that Hutchinson has introduced the Sector 28 tire, do you think they would be safe and reliable on a touring bike? I ride several self-contained tours a year and currently run 28mm tires mounted on Campy Record 8-speed, 36-spoke hubs laced to Mavic rims and have never had any problems with this setup. Secondly, would it be safe to convert these wheels to tubeless, using one of the conversion kits currently available, or would the Campy 2-Way Fit Eurus or Shamal rim be a better solution?
Yes, I think it would be a safe and reliable touring tire. It seems to be quite tough, and it of course eliminates most flats, which is certainly a safety issue, especially in loaded touring.
I am a believer in tubeless-specific rims for road tubeless tires, so my recommendation would be something like the Campagnolo 2-Way Fit wheels you mention. A tubeless-specific rim has the “hump” on the inboard edge of the bead ledge that Hutchinson designed the tires for. It is designed to seal against the extra rubber flap extending inboard from the bead as well as to lock the bead on. I’ve ridden a couple of kilometers of downhill switchbacks on a flat tubeless Hutchinson Fusion 2 in order to see if it held it on the rim (a Dura-Ace Scandium tubeless rim), which it did for almost two kilometers. That’s plenty of time to bring your bike to a standstill, in the case of a sidewall cut and sudden deflation, even if it’s loaded up with packs. And it is of course much safer than having the tire come off of the rim.
Tubeless conversions definitely work, and I’ve used Stan’s NoTubes a lot for cyclocross with no problems, but for the higher pressures and speeds on the road, I like that bead-lock hump.
High thread count in wide tubeless road tires
Watching Caley Fretz comment from the Giro about tire width choices the pro field has started to make in the last year, switching from 23mm to 25mm or wider tires for normal road stages, prompts me to ask these questions: does anyone at present make a high thread-count 25mm tubeless clincher tire? Does riding a lower thread count and heavier tire that is 25mm wide produce a better ride quality than a narrower higher thread count tire?
After riding Stan’s modified wheels and dedicated tubeless off-road wheels for 10 years, I decided to try tubeless for the road. Last year I built a set of Hed Bastogne-rimmed wheels primarily because of their wide rim bed (25mm I believe). Tire selection came down to Hutchinson 700×23 for the first set, and now I am riding Maxxis Padrone tires 700×23.
I am not a racer, but a commuter and a weekend Fred who is looking to match the kind of resiliency and feel of the Vittorias whose tubes he up until recently patched and whose casings he all too frequently would sew together.
I have been riding 25mm tubeless Hutchinson Intensives on my bike for some time now, and I’m quite happy with them. 127tpi is definitely not the 300tpi you’re used to in a handmade tubular, but that’s a fairly high tread count for a vulcanized tire in the first place, and, being tubeless, it is more supple than a tire and tube of similar thread count. I know of no tubeless tires in 25mm with higher thread counts than 127tpi.
New tubeless ready designation
Can you explain this new “new tubeless ready” mountain bike tire designation that’s popped up recently? My buddy Bob has a UST wheelset. In the interest of saving weight, he tried some standard tires, but they would not seat. However, he got the same Maxxis Ikon tire in their tubeless ready (TR) version and it seated just fine. I kind of thought tubeless ready was just a standard tire with a coating inside, but it seems it’s something more.
I’m curious because I’m finally thinking of converting my DT wheelset to tubeless. UST never interested me because of the weight, but another riding buddy has been running a Stan’s conversion on his DT wheelset, with standard tires, and it’s been working great. Would a TR tire work better for this, or does the latex make this unnecessary?
To get the UST designation, according to the licensing agreement, the tire must not leak — without sealant. I have been in tire factories in Asia in which workers tested 100 percent of the production of UST tires by inflating them on rims and submerging them in a huge water tank to check them for leaks. Consequently, UST tires have a thick layer of rubber coating the entire inside, as well as the rubber flap on the inboard edge of the tire bead to seal on the “hump” on the inboard edge of the bead shelf of a UST rim. This makes them heavier (generally as heavy as a standard tire and tube), and it also stiffens and toughens the sidewalls, which for many riders is an advantage over running a standard tire or a Tubeless Ready (TR) tire with sealant and no tube.
A TR tire is meant to be run tubeless, but it doesn’t have the no-leak requirement. Generally, it will leak without sealant. However, it does have extra rubber at the bead to seal along the rim shelf, as well as more rubber coating the inside than a standard tire, and, consequently, it will seal better than a standard tire set up tubeless with sealant. I believe that TR tires may also be held to a tighter tolerance on bead diameter than most tires, so the tire will tend to fit tighter as well.
Sealant obviously will not tend to seal the edges of the bead, since it is thrown to the outside of the tire as it spins, or to the bottom when it is standing still. There is no force during normal usage that would move sealant to the bead. And if there are too many leaks through the casing, it is hard for sealant on initial inflation to get everywhere. If you cannot get it to inflate, then you cannot slowly work the sealant around to wherever it is bleeding out of the tire.
The Stan’s system does allow you to build up the height of the rim bed with layers of tape, and even a rubber strip with integrated valve stem if the bead doesn’t fit tightly enough. So this makes it possible to seat a standard tire that otherwise might not seal on the rim due to a loose bead fit.
Ceramics for carbon wheels
I’m only curious because you’ve mentioned in a few articles that achieving good braking on carbon rims (especially clinchers) has been something of an engineering problem; whatever happened to ceramic-coated rims? I remember while racing cyclocross in the early 2000s in the Pacific Northwest, lots of riders rode Mavic CD rims, and at some point I built up a pair of Mavic T517 CD touring rims (quite burly), and they worked quite well in the rain.
So my question is: is it possible to coat carbon rims with ceramic (or similar) coatings? Would this help with both heat and braking?
Here’s your answer, from wheel designer Paul Lew of Reynolds:
Yes, I’ve tried this. There are two problems:
1. The adhesion between the carbon-epoxy and the ceramic is poor, and the ceramic tends to crack and “chunk out,” so this would be a warranty nightmare for the manufacturer.
2. The ceramic (an insulator) tends to make the heat problem worse. The concept that ceramic is an insulator is not lost on the solution. A thick coating of ceramic sufficient to insulate the carbon from the heat-effect of braking adds an unacceptable amount of mass, as the specific gravity of ceramic is high.
Director of Technology and Innovation Reynolds Cycling, LLC
Technology Founder Reynolds Cycling, LLC
Tubes with removable valve cores
Having just read your article dated 6th June 2013, I noticed you mention that QBP’s tubes have removable valve cores but not many others.
Both Continental and Schwalbe inner tubes have removable valve cores, two massive brands that are readily available at normal price.
Feedback on Zinn and the Art
I have your road bike book, and it’s my constant companion when I’m working on my bikes. This spring, I bought a ’cross bike with disc brakes. I don’t need your mountain bike book for but a few parts of it. Has it ever occurred to you and VeloPress to release a ’cross supplement to the road book with just bits of the mountain bike book to cover disc brakes, U brakes, and other things roadies only see for ’cross and gravel bikes? It’d be super helpful, and you’d sell a lot of copies.
We have not done a standalone supplement like that. However, I recently completed the 4th edition of Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, and that has extensive cyclocross sections that include cantilevers and disc brakes, both hydraulic and cable-actuated. These of course would be applicable to gravel-road racing as well as cyclocross.
- Sorry everyone, I let myself get rained out. These are all the races I saw before I wimped out.
My web albums from the O'Fallon Grand Prix Criterium, Sunday, June 16, 3013:
Women Cat 3/4;
Masters 30+ Cat 3/4;
Masters 35+, 45+; Cat 1/2/3;