[24/24] This Week In Cycling

Opinion pieces abound this week, mostly around the Tour de France.

Here’s my opinion: I’m seeing no one who can challenge Tadej Pogačar on an individual basis based on both the Dauphiné and the Tour de Suisse. Either Jonas comes back from injury souped up, or there is going to have to be the most almighty of team efforts – perhaps even coordinated across two teams (not going to happen) – to stop Pog from utter domination.

What I can tell you is right now, the bookies have Pog at 4/9, and Jonas at 2/1. Or to put it in English, as best I understand it, they have Pog at 70% chance of winning versus 30% for Jonas, when directly compared. Also interestingly, this time last week Jonas didn’t even have odds listed on any bookmaker, so maybe this week they know something we don’t?

Anyyyyyyway, beyond the Tour there have been some other interesting stories this week, particular around virtual (or indoor) cycling. So let’s dive right on in, shall we?

As ever, you can view last week’s This Week in Cycling by clicking here.

5 Things We Learned From The Dauphiné

The 2024 Critérium du Dauphiné served as a key form check for Tour de France hopefuls.

Primož Roglič emerged victorious, showcasing his readiness for the Tour with two stage wins.

Remco Evenepoel had a mixed bag, winning a time-trial but struggling overall due to a crash.

Derek Gee impressed with a breakout performance, finishing third overall and hinting at potential GC ambitions.

Carlos Rodríguez showed strong climbing form for Ineos, while Matteo Jorgenson proved to be a valuable asset for Visma-Lease a Bike.

Read in full at Cyclist.co.uk.

Tour de France 2024 Tech Check

As is to be expected, the 2024 Tour de France is set to showcase an array of new bikes, wheels, components, and kits from various teams.

Specialized dominated 2023 with the most stage wins, but Canyon also had a strong year.

Notable changes include Groupama-FDJ splitting with Lapierre and Decathlon-AG2R introducing Decathlon’s Van Rysel brand.

Teams like Alpecin-Deceuninck, Arkéa-B&B Hotels, and Astana Qazaqstan have updated their equipment and sponsors.

Expect new bike launches and tech updates as the race approaches.

Read in full at Cyclist.co.uk.

Tour de France 2024: Betting on the Big Four

The big four—Jonas Vingegaard, Tadej Pogačar, Primož Roglič, and Remco Evenepoel—are the favourites, but each has their doubts, from fitness to form.

Vingegaard’s participation is uncertain due to a crash earlier in the season.

Pogačar is in top form but faces the challenge of winning both the Giro and the Tour.

Roglič, despite his age, showed promising form with a victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Evenepoel, although unproven at this level, has raw talent and improving form.

Other notable mentions include Carlos Rodríguez, Adam Yates, Juan Ayuso, and Egan Bernal, who could also make significant impacts.

Read in full at Rouleur.cc.

Visma-Lease a Bike’s Spring Sting

Visma-Lease a Bike’s men’s team faced a tumultuous spring, marked by a series of debilitating crashes and internal upheavals.

Despite last year’s grand tour ‘grand slam,’ the team struggled with leadership changes and key riders’ injuries.

Jonas Vingegaard and Wout van Aert’s hospitalisations, coupled with sports director Merijn Zeeman’s departure, added to their woes.

With the Tour de France approaching, the team’s reliance on Matteo Jorgensen highlighted their precarious position.

In contrast, Pog and his team displayed dominance, raising questions about Visma-Lease a Bike’s future strategies and resilience.

Read in full at Velo.

Tour de France Femmes 2025 set for 9 Stages

The Tour de France Femmes will expand to nine stages in 2025, marking the longest edition in its history.

The race will start in Brittany, a region deeply rooted in cycling culture.

Race organiser ASO aims to show the growth and evolution of women’s cycling with this expansion.

The first two stages will traverse the challenging terrains of north-western France.

The full route will be revealed in the autumn.

This year’s race kicks off on August 12, with Demi Vollering defending her title.

Read in full at Velo.

Egan Bernal’s Tour de France Dilemma

Egan Bernal is battling to secure a spot on the Ineos Grenadiers’ Tour de France roster amidst stiff competition from teammates Tom Pidcock and Carlos Rodríguez.

Despite a strong performance at the Tour de Suisse, Bernal remains uncertain about his participation in the Tour, which starts in less than three weeks.

His recovery from a serious crash in 2022 has shown promise, but his place on the team is not guaranteed.

Bernal’s future with the team could hinge on his results at the Tour de Suisse, where he hopes to impress team officials.

If he doesn’t make the Tour de France squad, the Vuelta a España could be his next target.

Read in full at Velo.

Balancing Pidcock’s Aspirations

Tom Pidcock’s uncompromising ambitions could spell trouble for Ineos Grenadiers at the 2024 Tour de France.

The new Netflix series ‘Tour de France: Unchained’ reveals tensions as Pidcock prioritises his goals over team strategies.

Pidcock’s determination to race his own way may conflict with co-captain Carlos Rodríguez’s objectives.

Despite his bullish approach, Pidcock’s talent and versatility make him a key asset for Ineos Grenadiers.

Balancing Pidcock’s individual aspirations with team success will be crucial for Ineos this summer.

Read in full at Velo.

Date Change for Etape du Tour Creates ‘Logistical Nightmare’

The Etape du Tour de France date change to accommodate French elections has caused a ‘logistical nightmare’ for the 15,000 participants.

Riders were informed by email that the event has been moved forward by a day to Saturday, July 6.

Simon Warren described the situation as chaotic, with plans disrupted and added costs.

With participants coming from all over the world, the sudden change has left many struggling to rearrange travel and accommodation.

The email from organisers did not include an apology, and there has been little communication since.

Some believe the event may ultimately be cancelled due to the backlash.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Yellow Cards To Be Trialed

The UCI has announced a series of new rule changes to enhance safety in professional cycling.

A ‘yellow card’ system will be trialled, penalising dangerous behaviour with suspensions.

The 3km rule will be extended to 5km, ensuring riders affected by crashes or mechanicals near the finish aren’t penalised.

Time gap calculations in sprint stages will be adjusted to reduce pressure on non-sprinters.

Race radios might be restricted, with trials allowing only two riders per team to use earpieces.

These changes, driven by the SafeR project, will be tested during the Tour de France and later this year.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Tapentadol Nights

The UCI and the Movement for Credible Cycling have raised concerns over Tapentadol, an opiate-based painkiller ten times stronger than Tramadol.

This drug, yet to be banned, was discussed at a recent Professional Cycling Council meeting.

The UCI requested WADA to add Tapentadol to its monitoring programme, hoping for a future ban.

Tapentadol was previously monitored by WADA from 2013 to 2016.

Similar to Tramadol, which was banned in 2019, Tapentadol is feared to enhance performance by reducing pain.

The MPCC has also called for its prohibition, stressing that healthy athletes don’t need such therapeutic products.

Currently, only a few WorldTour teams are members of the MPCC, which had banned Tramadol use before it was officially prohibited by the UCI.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Who’s Behind the Peloton?

Ever wondered who’s behind those flashy team names in the Tour de France?

This article dives deep into the businesses and countries funding the biggest teams in both the men’s and women’s Tours.

From Belgian insurance giants to German shampoo brands, the sponsors are as diverse as the riders themselves.

Discover the history and ownership of these companies, and learn how they came to dominate the world of professional cycling.

Read in full at Cyclist.co.uk.

Red Bull’s Junior Brothers

Red Bull and Bora-Hansgrohe announced the winners of the Junior Brothers Programme 2024.

Georgs Tjumins from Latvia and Karl Herzog from Germany earned U19 pro contracts and Red Bull sponsorship deals.

The duo stood out during an intense week of testing and training at the Red Bull Athlete Performance Centre in Austria.

They will join GRENKE-Auto Eder, Bora-Hansgrohe’s feeder team, following in the footsteps of last year’s winners.

Herzog, inspired by his older pro cyclist brother, aims to replicate his success.

Tjumins, coming from the Latvian national team, looks forward to learning from the best in the sport.

Read in full at GCN.

GCN Sold Back To Founders

Warner Bros. Discovery sold Play Sports Network, the parent company of GCN, back to its founders, Simon Wear and Mia Walter.

WBD retained a minority share in the company and kept the television rights for cycling events previously streamed on GCN+.

These events moved to WBD-owned platforms like Eurosport, Discovery+, and Max.

GCN continued producing articles and feature videos on its website and social media channels.

Wear and Walter founded Play Sports Network in 2013, with Discovery acquiring a majority share in 2019.

Wear also founded Shift Active Media, and Walter serves as CEO of Play Sports Network.

WBD aims to collaborate with the founders for the long-term development of the business.

Read in full at BicycleRetailer.com.

Don’t Chuck It, Recycle It

Got a pile of old cycling gear gathering dust?

From rusty chains to ancient lycra, there are plenty of ways to give them a new lease of life.

You could donate them to charities like The Bike Project or Bikes for Refugees Scotland, helping others while decluttering your space.

Feeling crafty?

Turn inner tubes into wallets, or old chains into photo frames.

If your gear is beyond saving, recycling is a great option—many councils and companies like Schwalbe offer recycling programmes.

Even carbon fibre is seeing innovative recycling efforts, though it’s a tougher nut to crack.

Read in full at Cyclist.co.uk.

Random Tat?

Pro cycling teams are diving into the merchandise game with some quirky and adorable offerings.

visma leaseabike baby romper

From Lotte Kopecky approved high-vis jackets to Tadej Pogačar calendars, the range is expanding.

The licenced sports merchandise market is expected to grow by 26% in the next five years.

Cycling has traditionally lagged behind other sports like football and basketball in this area.

However, teams are now capitalising on fan interest with unique items like coffee pods, lunchboxes, and even baby clothes.

This fun article explores the virtual cycling mall to find the most intriguing products available.

Read in full at Cyclist.co.uk.

Zwift Ride Coming Soon

Zwift has launched the Zwift Ride, a smart bike frame designed for indoor training, primarily on the Wahoo KICKR Core platform.

It’s marketed as being a cost-effective option at £1,199, but only compatible with Zwift, limiting its broader appeal.

The bike is easy to set up, offers improved virtual shifting, and includes the Zwift Play handlebar for seamless app control.

However, it lacks crank length adjustment and is not as refined as some high-end competitors.

An interesting release but not one that got me excited.

Read in full at Cyclist.co.uk.

MyWhoosh’s Huge New Update

If you’re looking for a Zwift alternative, you don’t need to look much further than Team UAE sponsoring MyWhoosh, who had what has to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest patch updates in virtual cycling this week.

I did a preview of this, but there is so much more to this release.


Colnago’s Limited Edition Tour de France Bike

Colnago has launched the C68 Fleur-de-Lys bike to celebrate the 111th edition of the Tour de France.

Only 111 models have been made, with 110 available for purchase at €23,000 each.

The final bike will be ridden by Tadej Pogačar and auctioned by Sotheby’s.

The bike features a unique design inspired by the Fleur-de-Lys coat of arms and Florence.

Each gold lily and blue leaf design is applied by hand, making every bike unique.

The bike includes top-tier components like Shimano’s Dura-Ace groupset and ENVE SES 4.5 wheels.

Read in full at GCN.

Wilier Supersonica SLR: Breaking the Bank

Wilier has unveiled its new Supersonica SLR time trial bike at the Tour de Suisse.

The bike boasts a 16% aerodynamic efficiency improvement and a custom design tailored for TT specialist Stefan Küng.

The project kicked off in August 2023 and involved extensive testing, including wind tunnel and road tests.

Key features include a fully integrated design, electronic-only groupset compatibility, and custom aero extensions available in carbon or titanium.

Prices start at €20,500 for a complete build, with top-tier versions costing up to €27,400.

However, it’s currently only available in one size, suited for riders of similar height to Küng.

Read in full at Velo.

Van Rysel’s New Fleet

Decathlon’s in-house brand, Van Rysel, unveiled a new range of endurance, gravel, and time trial bikes.

The XCR TT bike, ridden by Ben O’Connor to fourth place at the Giro d’Italia, is priced under £6,000.

Van Rysel is known for its high-end, data-driven designs and aims to offer versatile bikes for various types of riders.

A new ultra-endurance carbon EDR bike is in the works, featuring integrated dynamo lights and improved shock absorption.

Van Rysel is also set to launch a more affordable EDR for commuting and weekend rides, priced below £2,000.

Future plans include a performance gravel bike and updated versions of the popular Triban RC500 and RC520 aluminium bikes.

Read in full at GCN.

Bike Of The Week

factor ostro vam

I’m pretty sure I’ve had a Factor Ostro VAM on here as the Bike of the Week before once already this year. But I can’t help myself. Such a beautiful bike.

This one comes via Redditor twohubs, and there are several other hi-res shots to enjoy.

Really nice. Super clean.

And with a suitably high price tag – about $9,000 for the one above.

OK, enough drooling, see you next week!

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