[16/24] This Week In Cycling

Being away last week meant I didn’t post a ‘This Week In Cycling’ post. That didn’t mean I didn’t read all the cycling news – and I managed to watch a good chunk of both the women’s and men’s Paris-Roubaix races live.

This week then is a bumper edition, catching up on all the stories that caught my eye over the last fortnight. I’ve tried my best to group them up appropriately.

Anyway, there’s plenty to cover so let’s dive right in!

Van der Poel Dominates Paris-Roubaix with Historic Solo Win

World Champion Mathieu Van der Poel clinched yet another remarkable solo victory at Paris-Roubaix for the second consecutive year, with his teammate Jasper Philipsen securing second place.

Launching a decisive attack 60 kilometres from the finish on the Orchies sector, Van der Poel’s win marked the longest solo victory in the event in 30 years.

The Dutch rider’s exceptional performance was set up by teammate Gianni Vermeersch, allowing him to break away from the elite chasing pack that included Mads Pedersen and Stefan Küng.

Despite the challenging conditions and the elite competition, Van der Poel maintained his lead over the cobbled sectors, entering the Roubaix velodrome with an almost three-minute lead.

Philipsen out-sprinted Pedersen and Nils Politt to make it a one-two finish for Alpecin-Deceuninck, with Pedersen rounding off the podium.

Following his win at the Tour of Flanders, Van der Poel becomes the 11th man in history to complete the Flanders/Roubaix double, further cementing his status in cycling history.

The 2024 edition of Paris-Roubaix was the fastest ever, despite the addition of more cobbled sectors, showcasing the riders’ remarkable endurance and skill over the 259.7-kilometre course.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Bonus link: 21 things you didn’t know about Mathieu van der Poel also via Cycling Weekly.

Lotte Kopecky’s Mud, Sweat, and Cheers at Paris-Roubaix

SD Worx-Protime’s Lotte Kopecky, secured the win at Paris-Roubaix, a victory that stands out even in her illustrious career.

Despite her usual stoic expressions and brief victory celebrations, Kopecky’s Paris-Roubaix win revealed a side of hard work, sacrifice, and pressure behind her sparkling performances.

Lars Boom, Team SD Worx sports director and Kopecky’s close friend, praised her down-to-earth nature and easygoing personality, contrasting her with other riders who might be more demanding.

Kopecky’s humble attitude and grounded approach earn her the full support of her team, especially in chaotic one-day cobbled Classics like Paris-Roubaix, which are her season’s key targets.

Her confidence was boosted by her team’s faith in her abilities, allowing her to stay relaxed and focused in the crucial final moments of the race.

Kopecky’s track experience and strength played a significant role in her winning sprint in the iconic Roubaix velodrome.

After her Paris-Roubaix victory, Kopecky expressed a desire to simply enjoy the moment, setting aside her usual focus on future goals and victories.

Read in full at Rouleur.cc.

Early Celebration Costs Wiebes at Amstel Gold Race

Lorena Wiebes experienced a mix of cheers and tears at the Amstel Gold Race when a premature celebration saw her lose to Marianne Vos.

Despite a strong setup by her team, SD Worx-Protime, and leading the sprint, Wiebes acknowledged her mistake of not noticing Vos’s approach on the left, focusing too much on another competitor.

Vos, known for her tactical finishes, seized the moment with a perfectly timed bike throw, snatching victory at the line.

Wiebes, though disappointed, laughed off the blunder and is looking forward to next year, while also reflecting on the importance of safety following a mid-race incident.

The loss at the Dutch classic on home soil was a tough pill to swallow for Wiebes, who admitted it might affect her sleep for a few nights but has said she will learn from the experience. I’d imagine a ticking off awaited on the SD Worx-Protime bus.

Read in full at Velo.

Pidcock Powers to Victory at Amstel Gold

Tom Pidcock of INEOS Grenadiers claimed his long-awaited victory at this year’s Amstel Gold Race, asserting it as a redemption for the controversial photo finish in 2021 against Wout van Aert.

After a third-place finish in 2023 and 11th in 2022, Pidcock’s win was a significant moment, marking his first road win since Strade Bianche last March.

The victory was a result of aggressive and smart riding, with Pidcock praising his team’s effort, especially Michał Kwiatkowski’s role in positioning him for the win.

Despite Mathieu van der Poel starting as a favourite, he missed the key moves and finished 22nd, with Pidcock focusing on his own race rather than the Dutchman’s performance.

Read in full at GCN.

Van der Poel’s Gold Glitch

Mathieu van der Poel faced an underwhelming performance at the Amstel Gold Race 2024, finishing 22nd despite being the overwhelming favourite.

Throughout the race, van der Poel remained in the main group, lacking his usual explosive acceleration, a contrast to his decisive attacks in previous races like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

“I was definitely fine, but I didn’t have super legs,” he admitted post-race, reflecting on his strategy and the day’s outcome.

This season has already seen him win three out of six road races, and he remains focused on his final target in the classics block, aiming to complete a rare sequence by winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Read in full at Velo.

Froome Aiming for a Tour de France Comeback

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has his sights set on returning to the prestigious race, aiming for a stage win to cap off his illustrious career.

Despite acknowledging his peak days are behind him, Froome remains contracted with Israel Premier Tech until 2025, hoping to compete until he’s 40.

After a career-threatening crash in 2019, Froome has faced challenges in regaining his top form, missing out on the 2023 Tour de France roster.

In 2022, he secured a third-place finish on a mountain stage of the Tour, marking one of his recent high points.

Froome’s aspirations include potentially clinching a fifth Tour de France title, though he admits battling for the overall victory might be beyond reach now.

Currently recovering from a fractured wrist, Froome’s next race remains unconfirmed, as he looks to make a strong comeback.

Read in full at GCN.

Wout van Aert’s Giro d’Italia Dreams Derailed

Visma-Lease a Bike’s Wout van Aert has been forced to withdraw from the Giro d’Italia following injuries from his crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen.

After sustaining fractures to his ribs, sternum, and collarbone, Van Aert’s recovery has not progressed enough to resume training, making his participation in the upcoming Grand Tour impossible.

Christophe Laporte is set to replace Van Aert in the Giro, with the team reshuffling its lineup in light of Van Aert’s absence.

The crash not only disrupted Van Aert’s Classics campaign but also threw his Grand Tour ambitions off course, with the Giro being a major target for his season.

Despite a positive recovery outlook, the Belgian rider prioritised health over competition, expressing disappointment but focusing on his long-term well-being.

The team remains hopeful for Van Aert’s return to racing, though his revised schedule, including potential participation in the Tour de France, remains uncertain.

Read in full at GCN.

Alaphilippe’s Pushing Through the Pain

Julian Alaphilippe, the former world champion and rider for Soudal Quick-Step, raced through the Spring Classics with a fractured fibular head after a crash at Strade Bianche, fearing criticism if he disclosed his injury.

Despite the injury, Alaphilippe participated in several high-profile races, including Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, where he impressively finished ninth.

His decision to continue racing was driven by a desire to avoid being perceived as making excuses, but he later admitted it was a mistake not to allow his body time to recover.

Alaphilippe’s ordeal sheds light on the pressures and culture within professional cycling, particularly within his team, Soudal Quick-Step, amid public criticism from team boss Patrick Lefevere. More on him below.

The French cyclist plans to participate in the Giro d’Italia, marking his debut in the Italian Grand Tour, though his performance may be impacted by his recent injury and ongoing recovery.

Alaphilippe’s future with Soudal Quick-Step and in professional cycling remains uncertain, with speculation about possible retirement or a change of teams.

Read in full at GCN.

Soudal Quick-Step’s Crisis Talks

Soudal Quick-Step team boss Patrick Lefevere has initiated a ‘crisis meeting’ following the team’s disappointing performance in the cobbled Classics, including a notably poor showing at Paris-Roubaix.

Despite winning Scheldeprijs with Tim Merlier, the team failed to place a single rider in the top 35 at Paris-Roubaix, and their overall performance in the Classics has been lacklustre.

Lefevere discussed various potential reasons for the under-performance, dismissing equipment issues while pondering the team’s preparation and strategy.

The team’s focus on Grand Tour ambitions, particularly with Remco Evenepoel, is noted alongside a shift in the competitive landscape, with rivals like Visma-Lease a Bike, Lidl-Trek, and Alpecin Deceuninck stepping up.

Despite the challenges, Lefevere remains hopeful but acknowledges the frustration within the team, emphasising a need for better preparation and possibly rethinking their approach to the spring races.

Read in full at GCN.

Lefevere Pedals Back on Women Remarks

Patrick Lefevere then went on to issue an apology for derogatory remarks about women, following a warning from the UCI threatening a hefty fine.

The UCI demanded the apology for comments deemed disparaging towards women, with a potential fine of 20,000 Swiss francs hanging over Lefevere’s head.

Lefevere’s apology came through a statement on the team’s website, referencing two specific instances where his comments were judged to be contrary to the UCI Code of Ethics.

One comment was made during a TV interview on International Women’s Day, where Lefevere discussed alcohol consumption among women, and the other was in a written article focusing on Mark Cavendish’s Tour de France stage wins.

In his apology, Lefevere insists it was never his intention to offend and highlights the diverse and inclusive work environment of his team, employing both men and women.

This is not Lefevere’s first brush with controversy, having previously made headlines for criticising a rider’s lifestyle and for his reluctance to start a women’s team, though Quick Step now sponsors a women’s WorldTour team.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Lotte Kopecky’s Road to the Giro d’Italia Women

Paris-Roubaix Femmes winner Lotte Kopecky is confirmed to ride the Giro d’Italia Women in July, marking her fourth participation in the Italian Grand Tour after a two-year hiatus.

SD Worx-Protime’s sporting manager, Danny Stam, revealed Kopecky’s participation as part of their racing strategy, highlighting the Giro as an ideal platform for her to excel and improve stage wins.

The Giro d’Italia Women is set to be a crucial part of Kopecky’s preparation for the Olympic Games, aiming for medals in both road and track events in Paris, with the final stage of the Giro occurring just 13 days before the Olympic time trial.

Despite her success and status as a world champion, Kopecky’s participation in the upcoming Tour de France Femmes remains undecided, with team discussions to follow after the Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Demi Vollering is named the leader for the Ardennes by SD Worx-Protime, with expectations high following her triple victory in last year’s Ardennes Classics, though Kopecky’s role in the upcoming Liège-Bastogne-Liège is still to be determined amid concerns over her physical and mental freshness.

Read in full at GCN.

Crash Chaos at Itzulia

Jonas Vingegaard sustained a broken collarbone, several broken ribs, and a collapsed lung after a severe crash at the Itzulia Basque Country.

Remco Evenepoel also suffered injuries in the same incident, breaking his collarbone and shoulder blade.

The crash occurred on a corner with less than 40km remaining in Thursday’s stage, resulting in Vingegaard being stretchered off to hospital where he remains in a stable condition.

Further examinations revealed Vingegaard also suffered a pulmonary contusion and pneumothorax, commonly known as a collapsed lung.

Primož Roglič and other riders were involved in the crash but did not suffer significant injuries.

The stage was neutralised following the incident, with Louis Meintjes crossing the line first but acknowledging the victory felt hollow.

Several other riders were also injured in the crash, with varying degrees of severity.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Ardennes Await Without Roglič

Primož Roglič will miss the Ardennes classics following a severe crash at Itzulia Basque Country, which also saw Jay Vine and Steff Cras among the heavily injured.

Vine and Cras shared their harrowing experiences, with Cras fearing for his life and Vine grateful his injuries weren’t worse, both remaining hospitalised.

The crash involved more than half a dozen riders, including Tour de France favourites, leading to surgeries and extensive recovery times.

Officials confirmed Roglič is focusing on recovery, with Ardennes classics deemed too early for his return, as his team eyes the Tour de France.

Cras recounted the moment of the crash, describing it as a brush with death due to a high-speed fall into a concrete ditch, and expressed gratitude for the support received.

Vine is hopeful for a full recovery, taking emotional steps towards rehabilitation, while both riders express gratitude for the care and support post-crash.

Read in full at Velo.

Vingegaard Hospital Check-Out but Road to Recovery Uncertain

Despite his release, the future race schedule for Vingegaard remains in limbo as his team, Visma-Lease a Bike, and he himself focus on his recovery.

Vingegaard expressed gratitude towards the medical staff and fans for their support during his hospital stay.

His intended preparation for the Tour de France defense, including an altitude camp in May and participation in the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, is now uncertain, with his team cancelling his altitude trip and stating he will only participate in the Tour if fully fit.

The crash not only affected Vingegaard but also other cyclists, leading to changes in the racing calendar for several teams.

Visma-Lease a Bike is cautiously planning Vingegaard’s comeback, with sport director Merijn Zeeman indicating a wait-and-see approach over the next few weeks.

Read in full at Velo.

Wout van Aert’s Zwift Recovery

Wout van Aert has started clocking up kilometres on Zwift as he continues his recovery from multiple fractures sustained in a crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen at the end of March.

Van Aert was forced to withdraw from the Giro d’Italia due to his injuries, which included fractured ribs, sternum, and collarbone.

Despite the setback, the Belgian has made his first return to cycling by logging 111km over three and a half hours on the indoor cycling platform, indicating a positive turn in his recovery.

His recent activity on Zwift marks his first since a high-speed crash, showcasing his determination to get back in the saddle, with his public Zwift stats revealing he tackled 1,225m of elevation and burnt off the equivalent of eight slices of pizza.

Van Aert’s focus is now on his recovery, with an eye on the Olympic Games and potentially participating in the Tour de France, depending on his progress.

Supporters are hopeful that Van Aert’s virtual kilometres are a sign of a swift return to road cycling as he aims to regain his form after the accident. I’m more curious as to how Zwift puts him as a Cat C rider! Madness.

Read in full at GCN.

Pogačar’s Giro-Tour Double Dream

Sean Kelly believes Tadej Pogačar’s chances for the Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double have significantly increased after rivals Vingegaard, Evenepoel, and Roglič were involved in that horror crash.

The crash at the Itzulia Basque Country race has potentially compromised the preparation of Pogačar’s main competitors for the Tour de France.

Vingegaard, Evenepoel, and Roglič suffered injuries in a high-speed crash, with recovery times uncertain, especially impacting their Tour de France preparations.

Kelly comments on the varying recovery processes and the potential impact on each rider’s performance, indicating a more challenging road ahead for Pogačar’s rivals.

Despite previous setbacks, including a crash in 2021, Pogačar has shown resilience and talent, having a successful start to the season with significant wins.

Pogačar’s selective racing approach this year, learning from past experiences, puts him in a strong position for the Giro-Tour double, according to Kelly.

Read in full at Velo.

Billionaire Pens Letter for Change

Following all the recent high-profile crashes, Ineos Grenadiers’ owner Jim Ratcliffe has penned an open letter to the UCI, cycling’s governing body, calling for significant improvements in rider safety.

Ratcliffe’s appeal draws parallels between Formula 1’s safety overhaul after Ayrton Senna’s death in 1994 and the current state of professional cycling, arguing that the sport has seen little progress in protecting its athletes.

The letter highlights the dangers faced by riders, including Ineos’ own Chris Froome and Egan Bernal, who have both suffered serious injuries in training accidents.

Ratcliffe, whose Ineos group is a major player in global sports, including Formula 1 and football, applauds the UCI’s establishment of SafeR, a new body dedicated to enhancing cycling safety, but stresses the need for ‘real action’ to make the sport safer.

The call for improved safety measures comes as the cycling world reels from recent accidents and as the UCI faces increasing pressure to protect its riders.

Read in full at GCN.

Eddy Merckx on the Road to Recovery After Emergency Surgery

Cycling’s greatest ever rider, Eddy Merckx, is recuperating at home following an emergency operation due to a bowel obstruction.

The 78-year-old Belgian was rushed to the emergency department in the early hours of March 26, where surgery saw a large part of his intestine removed.

Despite the severity, the procedure was successful with no complications, though Merckx has lost a significant amount of weight.

Merckx, celebrated as cycling’s most illustrious rider with 525 victories, including five Tours de France and three world road championships, continues to recover well.

His career was marked by unparalleled success, but also by a severe crash that left him with lasting injuries, hinting at an even greater potential cut short.

Merckx’s resilience and enduring legacy in the sport are highlighted as he recuperates from this recent health scare.

Read in full at Velo.

Anna Shackley’s Heartfelt Farewell to Pro Cycling

Anna Shackley, a promising British cyclist, has been forced to retire at the tender age of 22 due to a diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmia, bringing her burgeoning career with Team SD Worx-Protime to a premature close.

Despite a short professional stint starting in 2021, Shackley showcased her potential with notable performances, including high placements at the UAE Tour and the Tour de l’Avenir, before her diagnosis earlier this year halted her progress.

Extensive medical assessments conducted in Barcelona concluded that Shackley’s condition is incompatible with the demands of elite-level sport, leading to her immediate retirement.

Shackley’s situation highlights a growing concern within professional cycling, joining a list of athletes like Sonny Colbrelli and Peter Sagan, who have also faced serious heart conditions.

Before turning pro, Shackley made a mark as an amateur and a track cyclist, achieving national champion status and representing Great Britain and Scotland at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, respectively.

Team SD Worx-Protime expressed regret over Shackley’s forced retirement but emphasized the importance of her health, promising support as she transitions back to normal life.

The cycling community is encouraged to respect Shackley’s privacy as she navigates this challenging period, while her achievements in the sport are celebrated despite her career’s untimely end.

Read in full at GCN.

Transfer Tango: Demi Vollering’s Future

Demi Vollering will not be joining UAE Team ADQ or Lidl-Trek, despite being out of contract next season and previous links to both teams.

Vollering, who had an offer of €1 million per year from UAE Team ADQ, is still in the market, with FDJ-SUEZ now emerging as a potential suitor amidst speculation.

Both Elisa Longo Borghini and Lizzie Deignan are expected to renew their contracts with Lidl-Trek, while Movistar and Visma-Lease a Bike have hinted at focusing on younger talents.

FDJ-SUEZ, known for developing young riders and supporting major stars, is on the brink of signing new sponsorship deals, ensuring stability and growth through 2028.

Team boss Stephen Delcourt expressed interest in retaining Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and is considering Giro podium finisher Juliette Labous as a key transfer target.

The cycling transfer market is abuzz with speculation, but Vollering’s next move remains a tantalising mystery, highlighting the competitive nature of women’s WorldTour team dynamics.

Read in full at GCN.

This was also followed up by ProCyclingUK.com.

Philipsen Ponders Parting Paths

Belgian sprinter Jasper Philipsen faces a career crossroads as he contemplates leaving Alpecin-Deceuninck.

Despite his success, Philipsen often finds himself overshadowed by teammate Mathieu van der Poel, raising questions about his opportunities to shine as the team’s lead rider.

Comparisons with Mads Pedersen of Lidl-Trek, who enjoys undisputed leadership and support from his team, highlight Philipsen’s potential for greater individual success elsewhere.

Philipsen’s prowess and versatility are undeniable, yet his role as Van der Poel’s support casts doubt on his ability to fully exploit his prime years with Alpecin-Deceuninck.

As contract negotiations continue, Philipsen’s decision will hinge on whether he seeks more personal victories or remains content supporting Van der Poel, the undeniable star of Alpecin-Deceuninck.

The cycling community eagerly awaits Philipsen’s decision, which could redefine his career path and potential for future victories.

Read in full at Rouleur.cc.

Joe Blackmore: From Mountain Biker to Road Racing

Joe Blackmore, has been making waves in the lower-level races this season, clinching every stage race he entered, including the prestigious U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Riding for Israel-Premier Tech Academy, Blackmore’s exceptional performance has reportedly secured him a two-year contract with the senior ProTeam for 2025 and 2026, according to DirectVelo.

Despite being relatively new to road racing, having transitioned from mountain biking with the British Cycling setup in 2023, Blackmore’s talent was quickly recognised, leading to his successful stint with Israel’s development team.

His recent victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, marked by a late solo attack, adds to his impressive season, which also saw him finish fourth at Brabantse Pijl while assisting teammate Dylan Teuns.

Looking ahead, Blackmore is set to balance his road racing ambitions with participation in Mountain Bike World Cups, leveraging his neo-pro contract and boosted confidence from his road successes.

Read in full at GCN.

Grand Tour Too Tall an Order?

Despite his recent success in the eight-stage Paris-Nice, American cyclist Matteo Jorgenson has dismissed the idea of competing in Grand Tours, citing his large physique as a significant hindrance.

At 6ft 3in, Jorgenson feels the energy demands over three weeks would be too challenging, especially during consecutive high-altitude stages.

The departure of key riders from his team, Visma-Lease a Bike, has raised doubts about their Grand Tour capabilities this season, although Jorgenson does not see himself stepping into a leadership role for these events.

He highlighted the differences in energy needs between himself and smaller riders, suggesting that while one-week races are manageable, extending that effort over three weeks is daunting and untested by him.

Jorgenson also shared insights into his professional growth and the structured support at Visma-Lease a Bike, contrasting it with his previous experiences where he invested heavily in his own training and logistics.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Alaphilippe’s Wheels in Motion

Julian Alaphilippe has reportedly started negotiations with TotalEnergies.

TotalEnergies team boss Jean-René Bernaudeau confirmed the discussions, aiming to bolster their team lineup as Alaphilippe may fill the void left by Peter Sagan.

Alaphilippe is admired by Bernaudeau for his work ethic and mentality, despite a challenging season marred by a fibula injury.

The French rider’s move to TotalEnergies would mark his first professional stint with a French team, potentially aligning with his final career phase.

Read in full at GCN.

Protests Gear Up Against Israel-Premier Tech

Pro-Palestine activists are rallying for unprecedented protests against the Israel-Premier Tech cycling team at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, spurred by Israel’s actions in Gaza.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has labelled the team as ‘Israeli government-sponsored’, accusing it of using sport to distract from Israel’s military occupation and apartheid.

Despite the team’s strong ties to Israel, highlighted by its co-owners, Israel-Premier Tech insists it is not directly linked to the state and has taken ‘precautionary measures’ amidst the conflict, including removing ‘Israel’ from team vehicles.

These measures include the adoption of a new monogram for the team, combining the Star of David and Premier Tech’s ‘PT’, which has been used since early 2023.

The ongoing conflict has seen thousands killed and injured on both sides, with recent protests outside the team’s bus highlighting the escalating tensions.

The team continues to wear its full name and branding on its racing kit, despite safety concerns and the adoption of blank training kits for riders.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Tour of Britain Women Makes a Grand Comeback

The Tour of Britain Women, previously known as the Women’s Tour, is set to return in 2024 as a four-stage race, starting from Wales on June 6, after overcoming sponsorship hurdles.

Organised by British Cycling and spearheaded by former Team Sky/Ineos strategist Rod Ellingworth, the event aims to reinvigorate British grassroots racing and expand to a six-day race in the future.

Tour of Britain Women Makes a Grand Comeback

The race, which boasts a challenging route with climbs in Wales, has received wide support, with Lidl-Trek’s Lizzie Deignan expressing excitement for the event’s potential.

The revival of the race, alongside its men’s counterpart facing similar challenges, marks a significant effort by British Cycling to preserve and develop the country’s road racing scene.

Officials are in the process of revealing full stage details, with the women’s race taking place from June 6-9 and the men’s from September 3-8.

Read in full at Velo.

Tour of Britain Women’s Inaugural Race Set to Start in Welshpool

This one dropped very much later in the second week.

The inaugural Tour of Britain Women will kick off in Welshpool, Wales, and conclude in Greater Manchester, as announced by British Cycling.

The race will span four days, starting with a challenging stage from Welshpool to Llandudno and wrapping up outside the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.

British Cycling CEO Jon Dutton highlighted the event as a celebration, acknowledging the hard work of his team to overcome numerous challenges to make the event possible.

Dutton praised the race’s compact and unpredictable nature, designed to ensure exciting and challenging racing over four days.

Despite the excitement, the race is still seeking commercial partners and may run at a deficit in its first year.

British Cycling remains optimistic about securing sponsorship, buoyed by a new narrative and a five-year vision for the event.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Team GB’s Olympic Kit Teases

Adidas unveiled the new Team GB kit for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics, sparking mixed reactions for its ‘basic and unimaginative’ design.

The kit, predominantly navy blue with white and red accents, adheres to the classic British colour scheme and includes competition kits for various sports, alongside ‘Village’ and ‘Podium’ casual wear.

A newly added cycling jersey on the Team GB website hints at possible designs for the cycling events, although it appears more fan-oriented with a loose fit and no matching shorts or skinsuit.

Design Director Jacqueline King emphasised the simplicity and historical inspiration behind the kit, which draws from the 1924 Olympics design to celebrate a century of British sporting heritage.

The release follows a controversial period for national sports kits, including debates over the England football kit and the Team GB supporters’ flag.

Comparisons with recently released kits from Canada and the USA suggest a trend towards simpler, retro-inspired designs.

Read in full at GCN.

From Funeral Fiascos to £27K Entry Fees

Inspired by a friend’s poorly organised time trial, Cycling Weekly’s Michael Hutchinson humorously explores the challenges of stabilising major cycling events like the Tour of Britain, suggesting exorbitant entry fees as a tongue-in-cheek solution.

He recounts a comically tragic time trial that clashed with a funeral.

Then he discusses the financial woes of organising races, from inflated policing costs to the struggle of securing sponsors, painting a grim picture of the logistical and financial nightmares faced by weary race organisers.

It’s the kind of funny piece you find in the magazine, but… well, on the web.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Van Rysel’s RCR All Sold Out

Van Rysel's RCR All Sold Out

Decathlon–AG2R La Mondiale’s replica of the Van Rysel RCR Pro team bike, priced at £9,000, sold out within minutes of becoming available for pre-order.

The bike was announced as part of Van Rysel becoming the title sponsor for AG2R, promising the availability of team bikes and kit for purchase.

Developed in collaboration with the French aerospace laboratory ONERA, the RCR Pro is touted for its aerodynamic prowess and lightweight ‘Super High Mod Carbon’ construction.

It features a Shimano Dura-Ace R9270 electronic groupset, carbon integrated cockpit and seatpost, and is equipped with Fizik Vento Argo 00 saddle and Swiss Side Hadron Ultimate 500 wheels.

Despite its high price tag, the bike’s quick sell-out demonstrates the cycling community’s enthusiasm for high-quality, professional-grade equipment.

For those who missed out, the RCR Pro remains available in standard colourways and lower-spec configurations at a more accessible price point.

Read in full at Road.cc.

Gocycle Goes Mini

Gocycle Goes Mini

Gocycle, primarily known for its high-quality electric bikes inspired by Formula 1, has introduced its first balance bike, the Gocycle Mini, weighing in at just 2.6kg.

The Gocycle Mini boasts a lightweight carbon frame, taking cues from the company’s premium e-bikes, aiming to be one of the lightest balance bikes on the market.

Designed with convenience in mind, it features a one-sided fork and single-side-mounted wheels to simplify puncture repairs, a significant nod to its e-bike counterparts.

Adjustability is key, with a ‘Vgonomic’ design allowing for a wide range of saddle height adjustments, making the bike suitable for children between 85cm to 100cm in height.

Gocycle’s founder, Richard Thorpe, highlights the no-compromise approach in the Mini’s design, focusing on lightweight construction and ease of living with the bike, while also aiming to inspire young riders.

The inspiration from Thorpe’s Formula 1 engineering background with McLaren is evident in the bike’s carbon monocoque chassis, a feature across Gocycle’s range.

Though the official release date for the Mini is yet to be announced, interested parties can register on Gocycle’s website, with the bike priced at £399/€399/$399.

Read in full at GCN.

Size Matters

Stack and reach are pivotal measurements in bike geometry, crucial for ensuring a proper bike fit, akin to finding the right shoe size but for bicycles.

These metrics, which measure vertical and horizontal distances on a bike frame, offer a more precise method for comparing bikes than traditional sizing methods.

Introduced by Cervélo, stack and reach help simplify the complex data of bike frames into two essential figures, aiding cyclists in choosing a bike that suits their riding style.

Despite their usefulness, stack and reach have limitations, especially when not considering factors like seat tube angles, stem length, and handlebar dimensions, which can significantly alter bike fit.

Some brands, like Canyon, have developed variations like Stack+ and Reach+ to account for these variables, although these are not widely adopted across the industry.

Ultimately, understanding stack and reach can greatly assist in selecting a suitable bike and ensuring it fits well once it arrives.

Read in full at Cyclist.co.uk.

Related: A similar article on adjusting your saddle.

The Procen Air Helmet Launches

POC has officially released the Procen Air, a road racing adaptation of their time-trial helmet, originally spotted on EF Pro Cycling team members.

Designed for enhanced group riding dynamics, it offers improved peripheral vision and hearing capabilities, crucial for peloton positioning.

Weighing in at 350g for a medium size, the helmet boasts front slot vents engineered to reduce air resistance and optimize cooling via the Venturi effect.

A newly designed visor with greater visibility and a magnetic clasp enhances both safety and convenience, complemented by optional smoke mirror and clear lenses.

Aerodynamically tested, the Procen Air offers watt savings between five and 18 watts depending on speed, contributing significantly to race performances like Alberto Bettiol’s in Milan-Torino.

Retailing at £360, this helmet integrates advanced EPS liner technology for protection without the bulk, available in three sizes and two colour options.

Read in full at Cyclist.co.uk.

Zwift Games “Biggest eSports Event In History”

Zwift, a leading fitness technology company, alongside Wahoo, celebrated the monumental success of the inaugural Zwift Games, touted as the ‘biggest eSports event in history’.

Zwift Games "Biggest eSports Event In History"

The event saw Freddy Ovett and Kathrin Fuhrer crowned as champions, highlighting the event’s open nature by attracting 80,000 participants across 215,000 races.

With races every hour throughout March, the event boasted record-breaking participation, including 50 races with over 1,000 starters.

Zwift and Wahoo’s collaboration showcased a seamless blend of elite competition and mass participation, with the event set to become an annual highlight.

Ovett and Fuhrer not only emerged victorious in their respective categories but were also awarded a gold-painted Wahoo KICKR Bike and a $10,000 prize.

Read in full at GCN.

Managerial Spat Sparks Police Visit at Scott Sports HQ

Managerial Spat Sparks Police Visit at Scott Sports HQ

Police were called to Scott Sports headquarters in Switzerland due to a ‘dispute between managers’.

Several Fribourg police vehicles were seen outside the Givisiez office, sparking curiosity.

Fribourg police clarified the incident was a civil matter, aiming to facilitate dialogue between the parties involved, with no injuries or arrests reported.

The police intervention comes amidst speculation of internal disputes following the announcement of CEO Beat Zaugg’s replacement by Scott’s majority owner, Youngone.

Despite the CEO shuffle, Zaugg claimed he was still in charge earlier in the week and had planned to meet with the board.

Connections between the police presence and the managerial dispute are suggested but not confirmed by sources.

Scott Sports and Youngone have been contacted for comments, with updates pending.

Read in full at BicycleRetailer.com.

Bike Video Of The Week

This week’s (err, fortnight’s) video is something I haven’t watched before, but I gather from what Cameron Jeffer’s says at the start of this one is not a new format to him specifically.

It’s a talk through of his recent crit race. I’ve never done an “in real life” bike race, nor ridden in a chain gang. It’s interesting stuff from my point of view, particularly if, like me, this is all new to you:

Bike Of The Week

This week’s Bike of the Week comes via Reddit user wheresscott_.

All the words on the frame give it away, it’s a Factor Ostro VAM, which from what I can see retails for about $10,000 USD.

So, out of my price range then by about $9,000 USD.

My only minor niggle? For the photo I’d have put it in the easiest gear on the cassette … as tbh that’s where I like to spend most of my time 😀

Gorgeous bike though.

Factor Ostro VAM

OK people, see you next week for normal service.

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