Latest News in Cycling
Editor’s note: Team Sky recently asked Geraint Thomas to talk a little bit about what he’s like off the bike. Here are 20 not-so-serious questions posed to the 28-year-old who recently won the BBC’s Wales Sports Personality of the Year award.
Team Sky: Do you believe in aliens?
Geraint Thomas: I like to think there is something else out there alive. There’s got to be something.
TS: What is your favorite fruit?
GT: I love a good mango.
TS: What football [soccer] team do you support?
GT: I’ve got two teams; I support both Arsenal and Cardiff.
TS: Would you rather be really really big or really, really small?
GT: I’d like to be really small and fly up hills for a change, and not have to diet for six months!
TS: What historical period would you like to live in if you could go back in time?
GT: If I could go back to the time of “Downton Abbey” and be lord of the manor; I’d do that. But I wouldn’t want to be a servant.
TS: What was your least-favorite subject at school?
GT: Drama or art. I’m just not that type of person.
TS: What’s been your greatest ever day?
GT: Getting engaged! That will win me a few brownie points (laughs).
TS: What is your favorite board game?
TS: Where would your dream holiday be?
GT: I’m lucky that I’ve been to places like Australia through racing. I went to Florida recently which was really good — so somewhere in America like that would always be a dream holiday.
TS: What was your favorite subject at school?
GT: Definitely science. I really liked biology.
TS: What would you take with you to a desert island?
GT: A boat!
TS: If you had to be tied to a teammate for 24 hours who would you pick?
GT: I guess someone like Luke [Rowe] as he lives in Cardiff. He likes a drink and a good laugh.
TS: Do you speak any other languages?
GT: A bit of Italian from my time over there — but only really about bike racing. I couldn’t speak to anyone in the street.
TS: What is the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?
GT: I’ve had crocodile and ostrich before. Also kudu which is like an antelope from South Africa.
TS: If you were a superhero what powers would you have?
GT: Flying I think. That would be pretty cool.
TS: If you could play another sport professionally what would it be?
GT: Well you’ve got football [soccer] obviously. There’s a lot of money there, but I think being from Wales rugby is pretty massive.
TS: If you could learn another language fluently what would it be?
GT: Spanish would be good so we could speak to the Spanish riders easier.
TS: What is the biggest fashion crime in cycling?
GT: No socks! Like when the GB pursuit boys didn’t wear socks. I was disappointed in Ed [Clancy] then.
TS: Do you have any pets?
GT: A little dog — a ‘Cavapoo’ called Blanche.
TS: If you could change anything about yourself what would it be?
GT: Just be naturally skinny …. Constantly 68 kilos [150 pounds]!
MILAN (VN) — Cycling’s governing body is being careful to avoid a wasteful legal fight with team Astana. UCI President Brian Cookson explained that he would only want the UCI to refuse the team’s 2015 racing license if it felt that its reasoning would stand up in court.
“I know that whatever happens,” Cookson told VeloNews, “that those with resources will challenge whatever decision we make.”
Last Wednesday, after a drawn-out review, the UCI awarded Astana a WorldTour racing license for 2015. With the license, Astana is automatically able to participate in all of the big races next season, including the Tour de France.
Cookson and the UCI raised their eyebrows with concern in the months following Astana’s Tour win with Vincenzo Nibali in July.
The Kazakh team in turquoise produced five doping cases. Nibali’s Tour helper Maxim Iglinskiy failed an anti-doping control for EPO in August. His brother Valentin failed a control for the same drug. Three riders from Astana’s Continental team, which also races in turquoise and with the name Astana, were caught using steroids.
The team reasoned that it only had two doping cases on its hands because it has nothing to do with the third-division team. It further added that since the Iglinskiy brothers probably shared their secrets, it was really only looking at one problem.
Others pointed to the past problems related to the team and general manager Alexandre Vinokourov. “Vino” began the team in 2006 and saw it travel down a rocky road. Along the way, Vinokourov blood doped, Johan Bruyneel managed the team with Lance Armstrong on the roster, and Alberto Contador lost his Tour title after a failed drug test.
However, the UCI’s license commission last week had to consider the 2014 Astana professional team and not the past or the feeder team that is registered separately. Also, the last time the body went to battle over a license, it lost.
The commission withheld Katusha’s license for similar ethical problems in 2012. The Russian team in red had doping cases and several management changes that saw Viatcheslav Ekimov put in charge. Ekimov, who raced with Lance Armstrong, is allegedly Rider-11 in the USADA’s investigation in Armstrong.
Katusha appealed the decision to sport’s high court, the CAS in Lausanne, Switzerland. The court ruled in the team’s favor and forced the UCI to accept Katusha into the 2013 WorldTour.
Vinokourov said before Wednesday’s decision that if the UCI refused Astana a license, he would follow in Katusha’s footsteps and appeal to the CAS. Keeping the Katusha case in mind and Vinokourov’s promise to challenge, the UCI wanted to make sure it had a legally tight case if it were to take such a step.
“To be honest, taking the fight to the CAS is not really the issue,” Cookson said.
“I’m not prepared to put our organization and sport at risk by taking a decision that would be challenged legally.
“We have to make sure that when we take decisions that they are ones that can stand up to those challenges.”
The challenge may still come.
In recent days, Italian media leaked information from the Padua criminal investigation that allegedly shows banned doctor Michele Ferrari worked with the team in 2010 and 2011, and visited it at a November 2013 training camp.
La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that investigators photographed Ferrari, who was barred for life after the USADA investigation into Lance Armstrong, talking to members of the Astana team at its camp in Montecatini Terme, Italy.
Cookson added that the UCI is waiting to see the files from the Padua inquiry. If the allegations are true, the UCI could revoke Astana’s license and take on any possible legal challenges.
The post UCI taking cautious approach with Astana’s license appeared first on VeloNews.com.
- Saturday’s results at the North Carolina Grand Prix can hardly be called flash-in-the-pan wins as Kerry Werner and Beth Ann Orton were able to make ... The post When It Rains It Pours: Orton and Werner Double Down on Weekend at NCGP appeared first on Cyclocross Magazine - Cyclocross News,...
...view the full story & post your comments at our site: http://cxmagazine.com
Lawson Craddock and Chad Haga will make their sophomore season debuts alongside sprint ace Marcel Kittel at the Santos Tour Down Under next month.
The two Americans will be part of a solid formation for the 2015 UCI WorldTour season opener January 17-25 in Australia for the new-look Giant-Alpecin squad.
Both made solid debuts with Giant in 2014, with Craddock riding to third overall at the Amgen Tour of California, and Haga gaining confidence throughout the season to complete his first grand tour at the Vuelta a España.
Kittel, meanwhile, will return to Adelaide for the third consecutive season. The German ace said he enjoys the excellent weather and training that Australia provides in January when most of Europe remains wrapped up in winter cloaks.
“It’s a nice way for me to start the season, and find my legs again after the winter training,” Kittel said in a release. “Even if there aren’t too many opportunities for sprinters, the race is still part of my build-up to the season, and in combination with the ideal race conditions, it’s an ideal start to my season.”
Others lining up include world time trial bronze medalist Tom Dumoulin and Koen de Kort, a Dutch rider with strong Aussie ties.
The Tour Down Under has become increasingly more challenging over the past few editions, and sprinters such as Kittel will see fewer opportunities for victory.
André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), another German sprinter who typically kick starts his season at the Tour Down Under, recently confirmed he will not be racing in Australia in January.
The post Haga, Craddock to make 2015 debuts alongside Kittel Down Under appeared first on VeloNews.com.
Are disc brakes ready for pro racing?
It seems a simple question, on its face. Discs are simply better brakes; they stop better, under a wider range of conditions, than any rim brake. But racing isn’t all about stopping. Racing is about speed, the pursuit of even the most marginal gains to give a leg up over the competition. In this dog-eat-dog world, do discs stand a chance?
Ask pro riders, pro mechanics, team directors and staff whether they believe disc brakes should be allowed in professional road racing and the opinions will be as diverse as those asked. Both sides believe bikes will be safer, easier to use, and faster with their chosen stoppers. Both are right, and wrong.
We set out with a focus on speed. Safety and ease of use are somewhat subjective, with a heap of arguments on both sides, but speed is quantifiable. Speed, in most instances in road racing, is synonymous with aerodynamics.
The question, then, truly is simple. Can disc brakes keep up with rim brakes in the wind tunnel?
Repeatability and accuracy are the twin goals of any wind tunnel testing. To that end, we compared two mostly identical frames, a pair of Specialized S-Works Tarmacs, one built for disc brakes and one for rim brakes. Other than the brake mechanisms, the shape of both frames is identical.
Two sets of Rail52 wheels from November were built, using the same rims; one set was built with disc hubs while the other used standard hubs.
Both bikes were built identically, with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrains and Specialized cranksets. The brake levers were different, of course, as the disc bike used R785 hydraulic levers and the other was mounted with standard Dura-Ace Di2 levers.
A full yaw sweep, or wind angle sweep, from -20 degrees to 20 degrees, was key as disc brakes are only mounted on the left side of the frame.
Testing was performed at the A2 Wind Tunnel in North Carolina, our preferred test facility. In all, 70 runs were performed.
The rim brake version of the Specialized S-Works Tarmac is faster than the disc version across all wind angles, with the disparity increasing as the wind moves from left to right.
Discs are the most detrimental in strong crosswinds, specifically right-side crosswinds. At -20˚ yaw, which is an uncommon but still feasible wind angle, the difference between the two Tarmacs is an astonishing 8 watts.
Across more common wind angles, the gap between disc and rim-brake bikes is generally between 1 and 3 watts — not much, but not an insignificant amount either.
Though Shimano’s R785 brakes are excellent, they still use a caliper that was originally designed for mountain bike use. We’re testing a holdover product, designed to allow Shimano to put a toe in the disc game while the UCI deliberates over the brakes’ legality in road racing.
Therefore, we are confident that the small gap present at low wind angles could be closed over time through improved integration and engineering. The larger aerodynamic losses at high wind angles are likely caused by the disc rotor and therefor are unlikely to be decreased significantly.
It is worth noting, too, that Specialized itself recently performed a similar test and saw a smaller difference between the disc and non-disc Tarmac. That test was performed with a rider, and ours was not; adding a rider adds another variable, but it also changes the way the wind hits the back end of the bike. Neither protocol is a perfect one.
Rims that do not require a brake track could be shaped differently, improving aerodynamics. The brake calipers will likely shrink over time as well. Shimano’s new Flatmount caliper mounting standard brings all the hydraulic lines inside the frame and mounts the caliper flush with the frame and fork. Frames are already being released using this new standard and we expect to see a compatible high-end disc offering from Shimano, perhaps at the Dura-Ace level, within the next 18 months.
We tested brakes with standard Dura-Ace shift levers and hydraulic-ready R785 levers, the latter of which has a pronounced, bulbous head that holds the hydraulic reservoir. These larger levers certainly had some negative impact on the disc bike’s results. If Shimano and other brands succeed in decreasing the size of their levers to match normal mechanical levers, this disparity would disappear.
It is also important to note that the Tarmac Disc is part of a very small group of race-ready disc frames. The vast majority of disc road bikes available today fall outside the race mindset — they take bigger tires, are built with slacker geometry, and are generally more adventure-oriented. For these types of bikes, a few watts lost is largely irrelevant. The fat tires and upright positions require far more power to overcome.
The UCI is considering the use of disc brakes in pro racing within the next few years. For professionals, even single-digit wattage losses are a big deal; teams spend thousands gaining far less. That means that the results shown here make it unlikely that any pro rider would willingly ride a bike with disc brakes unless, of course, everyone moved to discs at the same time. This would level the playing field once again.
Editor’s note: Due to a miscommunication with the A2 wind tunnel, this story published in Velo Magazine with a misleading graphic. The negative wind angles represent the drive side, while the positive wind angles represent the non-drive side. We regret the error.
The post Are discs a drag? Wind tunnel testing disc brake road bikes appeared first on VeloNews.com.