[19/24] This Week In Cycling

Giro, Giro, here we ****’in go!

Yep, the Giro d’Italia is in full swing… and going about the way everyone and their dog expected.

That’s not to say it’s not exciting though, with plenty of highlights including OAP Julian Alaphilippe nearly winning a stage yesterday (at the time of writing).

Outside of the Giro, the big news (from my point of view) this week was Zwift hoiking up their subs. Honestly it triggered me (sufficiently to cancel, as it happens). I’m so sick of everyone raising their prices on everything, when wages for the regular Joe like me are simply stagnant. How the heck am I meant to keep pace?

Well, before I get too high on my horse, I figure we should dive into the week’s top stories, don’t you?

As always you can see last week’s post by clicking here.

Pogačar’s Giro Domination

Tadej Pogačar’s explosive performance on the opening weekend of the Giro d’Italia wasn’t entirely unexpected, but Jhonatan Narvaez’s ability to match him certainly was.

Narvaez not only clung to Pogačar’s wheel during the steep climbs but also managed to out-sprint him to win the first stage and don the coveted pink jersey.

However, his lead was short-lived as Pogačar took control on Stage 2, showcasing his strength even after a crash and a flat tire, distancing himself from all rivals, including Narvaez.

The article provides an in-depth look at the power data from both riders, with the witty sub title of “Can you hold 9w/kg for 3 minutes?”

Of course not, Velo. If I could, I’m sure the phone would be ringing off the hook to get us down and competing on the world stage.

Read in full at Velo.

Women’s Road Racing Hits High Gear in the US

Women’s road racing in the US is experiencing unprecedented growth, with increased media attention and substantial investments.

The 2023 Tour de France Femmes champion Demi Vollering secured a major sponsorship deal with Nike, highlighting the growing market value of women’s sports.

Revenue from women’s elite sports is expected to exceed $1 billion USD in 2024, with women’s road cycling contributing to this significant financial impact.

USA Cycling has seen a 2.5% increase in female race license holders since 2022, demonstrating a vibrant surge in participation.

Grassroots programs like the Level Up Your Ride clinics have been instrumental in introducing more women to the sport.

The Redlands Bicycle Classic showcased the largest women’s field in its 35-year history, indicating a rising interest and participation in women’s cycling.

Efforts to develop and maintain interest in the sport have led to competitive and exciting races, with women’s events often surpassing men’s in dynamics and strategy.

Read in full at Velo.

The Colourful History of the Maglia Rosa

On 21st May 1971, the Salvarani team made headlines by donning pink jerseys instead of their usual baby blue after winning the Giro d’Italia’s opening stage.

This marked a memorable moment for the maglia rosa, Italy’s prestigious pink jersey, which has been a symbol of the race leader since 1931.

The pink jersey was introduced by Giro organisers and had to be approved by the fascist regime, with Mussolini finally relenting to its use provided it carried the symbol of fascism.

The jersey’s history is fraught with drama, from suspicions of a ‘pink curse’ following numerous crashes and misfortunes for those who wore it, to heroic comebacks and legendary victories.

Each Giro d’Italia brings its own tales of ambition and heartbreak, all united by the singular desire to wear the iconic pink jersey.

Read in full at Cyclist.co.uk.

Movistar Eyes Marlen Reusser

Movistar Team has shown significant interest in signing Swiss cyclist Marlen Reusser, currently with SD Worx-Protime.

Despite the competitive attention from various teams, Movistar’s team boss Sebastián Unzué praised Reusser’s top-level skills and expressed a strong desire to add her to his team in the future.

Reusser, known for her all-round capabilities, has been a key player at SD Worx since 2022 and claimed victory at Gent-Wevelgem in 2023.

Movistar’s roster planning continues as they aim to recruit two new riders by 2025, while confirming the departure of Emma Norsgaard and working on an extension for Aude Biannic.

Read in full at GCN.

Lenny Martinez’s Market Moves

Lenny Martinez has garnered interest from top teams like Ineos Grenadiers, Bahrain-Victorious, and Visma-Lease a Bike.

Initial reports suggested Martinez was set to join Bahrain-Victorious with a lucrative deal, but recent developments have reopened possibilities with Ineos and a continued stint at Groupama-FDJ.

Despite strong interest, Martinez’s high asking price has deterred several teams, with Ineos already having a robust lineup including Egan Bernal and Carlos Rodriguez.

Visma-Lease a Bike, stacked with GC contenders, remains a potential suitor, having engaged in preliminary discussions about Martinez’s future role within their team.

Bahrain-Victorious appears as a favourable option for Martinez, offering a clear path to leadership and development amidst an ageing squad.

Team director Milan Eržen expressed high hopes for securing Martinez, despite financial limitations compared to richer teams.

Read in full at GCN.

Red Bull at the Tour de France

Red Bull will officially debut at the 2024 Tour de France through its merger with Bora-Hansgrohe, as confirmed by team boss Ralph Denk.

Despite the substantial deal, Denk emphasized that the team’s strategy will focus on nurturing home-grown talent rather than embarking on a spending spree for established stars.

The team, now known as Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe, will not be pursuing big names like Wout van Aert or Remco Evenepoel, despite existing sponsorships and connections.

Financial details were not disclosed, but the budget is expected to significantly boost the team’s capabilities within the WorldTour peloton.

Investments will predominantly support the junior and U23 development programs, aiming to build a robust pipeline of young talent for the future.

Primož Roglič, recovering from a crash, is on track to compete in the upcoming Tour de France, adding competitive edge to the team’s debut at the prestigious event.

Read in full at Velo.

Amy Pieters, the former Dutch cycling champion, is embroiled in a legal battle with her previous team, SD Worx-Protime, over what she claims should be an ‘indefinite contract’ entitlement.

After a severe training accident in December 2021, which left her with significant brain injuries and ended her career abruptly, Pieters argues that her series of three consecutive contracts should render her employment indefinite under Dutch law, potentially entitling her to a lifetime salary.

Her legal team contends that this situation mirrors other employment disputes in the Netherlands, noting that the law typically mandates a transition to a permanent contract after three successive terms, a rule from which only professional football is exempt.

SD Worx-Protime, however, believes the dispute falls under the jurisdiction of the UCI arbitration committee, although Dutch courts have ruled that the case should be settled locally.

The outcome of Pieters’ case remains uncertain, with significant implications for the treatment of athletes in similar situations across the Netherlands.

Read in full at Velo.

Joe Blackmore Joins ProTeam Early

Joseph Blackmore, a 21-year-old cycling prodigy from south London, has been promoted to the Israel-Premier Tech ProTeam eight months ahead of schedule.

His promotion follows a series of impressive wins, including the Tour du Rwanda, Tour de Taiwan, and Circuit des Ardennes, capped by a victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23.

The early move to the senior squad was facilitated by the retirement of Rick Zabel, creating an available spot.

Israel-Premier Tech’s general manager, Kjell Carlström, expressed enthusiasm for Joe’s early inclusion, highlighting his remarkable early-season success.

Blackmore, initially set to join the ProTeam next year, has signed a two-year contract and will start racing at the WorldTour level beginning with Tro-Bro Léon.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Liv Cycling Grassroots Programme for Aspiring Female Cyclists

Liv Cycling, in partnership with the Liv AlUla Jayco Women’s Continental Team, has launched the Grassroots Programme to support budding female cyclists.

The initiative kicked off with a training camp in the Netherlands from May 9-15, welcoming four promising international riders: Gabriela López, Lotte Borremans, Niamh Murphy, and Malou Eisen.

These selected participants are receiving professional coaching and support, akin to that experienced by professional cyclists.

The programme includes workshops on equipment and nutrition, endurance training, recovery rides, and power profile tests to comprehensively prepare the riders for professional challenges.

Eric van den Boom, General Manager of the Liv AlUla Jayco Continental Team, emphasized the programme’s global scope and its commitment to making women’s cycling universally accessible.

Participant Malou Eisen expressed her enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunity to develop her skills and pursue her passion in cycling.

Post-training camp, Liv Cycling and the Liv AlUla Jayco’s Continental Team will assess the riders’ experiences and potential progression opportunities in the sport.

Read in full at ProCyclingUK.com.

Zwift Subscribers Newest Climb

Zwift has announced a significant price increase, raising its monthly subscription from £12.99 to £17.99, marking a 38.5% hike.

The price adjustment is the first since 2017 and comes amid internal challenges, including recent redundancies and the resignation of co-CEO Kurt Biedler.

Zwift defended the increase as essential for the platform’s development, citing rising operational costs and the introduction of new features since 2017, such as additional worlds and innovative group rides.

Despite these enhancements, the timing and manner of the price rise have led to customer backlash, with users expressing frustration over what they perceive as being treated like ‘cash cows’.

Critics, including British comedian Stephen Grant, have humorously noted the price hike coincides with better weather, suggesting a temporary farewell to indoor riding.

Zwift remains optimistic about its future, highlighting ongoing investments into the platform and promising more user benefits and new features.

I gave my thoughts on this one over here.

Read in full at Road.cc.

Shimano’s Leap into Wireless 13-Speed

Shimano, the renowned bike component manufacturer from Osaka, Japan, has filed a patent suggesting a major leap forward with a 13-speed, fully wireless electronic groupset.

The patent, identified as US 11,975,800, reveals intricate plans that diverge significantly from Shimano’s current Di2 groupsets, including a shift to rechargeable batteries housed directly in the derailleurs.

This innovative design could mark Shimano’s entry into the fully wireless shifting arena, aligning them with competitors like SRAM and Campagnolo, who have already adopted similar technologies.

While the patent does not specify whether the new groupset is intended for road or off-road bikes, the inclusion of a front derailleur suggests it might be a new iteration of a road groupset, potentially the Dura-Ace.

Despite no fixed timeline for release, the development suggests significant advancements in Shimano’s offerings, possibly setting a new standard in electronic groupsets.

Read in full at GCN.

Peloton CEO Exits and Job Cuts Announced

Peloton has disclosed distressing financial results, including a consistent revenue decline over nine quarters and a 4% sales drop from the previous year.

In a significant shake-up, CEO Barry McCarthy is stepping down, and the company plans to cut 15% of its workforce, eliminating around 400 jobs globally.

These changes are part of a broader strategy to slash annual expenses by over $200 million by the end of the 2025 fiscal year, primarily affecting the workforce and retail operations.

Despite these cuts, Peloton aims to continue investing in innovation across software, hardware, and content, while prioritizing product development and member support.

The company’s leadership transition sees Karen Boone and Chris Bruzzo stepping in as interim co-CEOs, as Peloton seeks to stabilize its financials and sustain its business.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

GoPro Revenue Dips but Hopes Soar

GoPro Inc. reported an 11% decrease in revenue year-over-year, totalling $155 million, yet still surpassing its initial targets for the first quarter.

CEO Nicholas Woodman acknowledged the slower than expected progress in their market expansion strategy, but remains optimistic about future growth and profitability.

The company saw a 12% increase in subscription and service revenue, reaching $26 million, with total subscribers climbing to 2.5 million.

Retail channel revenue rose by 33% year-over-year, contributing 68% of the total revenue at $106 million.

However, revenue from GoPro.com, including subscriptions and services, fell sharply by 48% to $49 million.

The company also reported a significant first-quarter net income loss of $339 million, a stark contrast to the $30 million loss in the same period last year.

In a strategic move, GoPro acquired Forcite Helmet Systems, an Australian tech company, enhancing its product line in the tech-enabled motorcycle helmet market.

Read in full at BicycleRetailer.com.

Bike Of The Week

This week we have Redditor lurktastic_’s 2003 Specialized Allez Elite. Unfortunately the full spec isn’t posted, but it’s noted that the frame has been resprayed, and the groupset upgraded to Shimano 105 with an Ultegra cassette.

I may be wrong, but the front fork looks steel to me. The overall shape of the Allez doesn’t seem to have changed that much over the last 20 years. Barring a few things like the generally thinner tubing and the externally routed cables, it shows how much life you can get out of older kit, if treated properly.

My favourite part though? That “I love cookies” water bottle.

My one gripe? The quick release on the front wheel is at a jaunty angle! Fix it!

All good? Right, let’s see you next week.

Leave a Reply