[27/24] This Week In Cycling

There’s a bunch of things happening this week, but most of the big headlines went – quite rightly – to Sir Mark Cavendish and his record breaking 35th Tour Stage win.

Beyond that, we have the Women’s Giro d’Italia kicking off this weekend, and the Eurobike show happening in the background.

Which ultimately means a lot of news.

Personally? I’m still mourning the loss of the GCN website. That was my primary cycling news site, and without it I’ve been struggling to fill the void.

Anyway, as ever you can click here to read last week’s post, or crack on with what’s happened this week.

Cav Takes Record Breaking 35th Tour Win

Sir Mark Cavendish has claimed his 35th stage win at the Tour de France, surpassing Eddy Merckx’s long-standing record.

Initially planning to retire, Cavendish made a comeback to chase this dream.

Known as the Manx Missile, his sprinting prowess has now immortalised him in the Tour’s history.

I’m certain the commentary team were hoping they could stretch this one out for practically the full Tour, but he wasn’t for hanging around. My gut says he has at least one more in him yet. Stage win, that is, not Tour 🙂

Read this one over at the Beeb.

Cavendish’s Colourful Comeback 🚴‍♂️

On his chase for 35, Cavendish has been riding a rather stunning Wilier Filante SLR . It features a vibrant custom paint job representing his career achievements, including his time in the yellow jersey and World Championship win.

The custom frameset, adorned with his ‘CVNDSH’ brand name, will be available for purchase until the end of the year.

The bike is equipped with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, Vision Metron 60SL disc wheels, and 28mm Vittoria Corsa Pro tyres.

Cavendish emphasised the personal touch he adds to his bikes, which have been a crucial part of his professional life for 20 years.

The price, I think, was already eye watering at around £9,600. With the F21 CVNDSH changes, it’s an extra £2,000. That should cover his fine (see below).

This one via Cyclist.co.uk.

Cavendish’s Career on Two Wheels 🚴‍♂️

Cycling Weekly took us on a trip down the memory lane of Mark Cavendish’s illustrious career which has been shaped by six iconic bikes.

From his first Grand Tour stage win on the 2008 Giant TCR Advanced to his record-breaking 35th Tour de France stage win on the 2024 Wilier Filante SLR, each bike represents a milestone.

Cavendish has consistently proven his doubters wrong with his remarkable longevity and dedication.

His victories, including the 2009 Milan-San Remo on the Scott Addict SL and the 2011 World Championships on the Specialized McLaren Venge, highlight his blend of speed, skill, and determination.

Reuniting with Quick Step in 2021, Cavendish equalled Eddy Merckx’s record with a win on the Specialized Tarmac SL7.

And of course as we now know, in 2024, he surpassed Merckx with his 35th stage win on the Wilier Filante SLR, solidifying his status as the greatest sprinter of his generation.

This one from Cycling Weekly.

Enter The Slipstream (At A Cost)

Man of the moment Mark Cavendish was fined 200CHF for slipstreaming behind a car during stage six of the Tour de France.

I put the video above to the spot in the highlights where this is shown. Balls of steel.

Cavendish cited a mechanical issue and disruptive TV camera as factors in the incident.

A bit of a bummer, but you’d take it given everything else that happened the previous day. And doubtless it doesn’t come from his own pocket.

His teammate Alexey Lutsenko and sports director Dmitriy Fofonov also faced fines.

Another from Cycling Weekly.

Girmay Takes the Stage! 🚴‍♂️

Biniam Girmay made history as the first black African to win a Tour de France stage.

The Eritrean cyclist triumphed at the end of Stage 3 in a reduced sprint finish in Turin.

Girmay expressed gratitude to his family, Eritrea, and Africa for their support.

Read in full at BBC.co.uk.

Tour de France’s Green Jersey Showdown

The race for the green jersey at the Tour de France has already become a thrilling contest just six stages in (at the time of writing).

Biniam Girmay currently leads with 139 points, as already covered above having made history as the first black African to win a stage.

Jasper Philipsen, last year’s winner, faced a setback after Stage 6, being relegated for dangerous sprinting, dropping him to fourth place.

Mads Pedersen, despite a recent crash, holds second place and remains a strong contender.

With three top riders vying for the points classification, the competition is set to intensify in the coming stages.

Something to keep us viewers entertained, as there’s a early feeling Pog’s not letting go of yellow.

Read in full at Rouleur.cc.

Vingegaard’s Dropped On Galibier

Jonas Vingegaard lost nearly 40 seconds to Tadej Pogačar on the first mountain stage of the 2024 Tour de France.

Vingegaard struggled to keep up with Pogačar’s rapid attack on the Col du Galibier.

The clip above is time coded to Pog’s attack.

As many will know, and a real downer going into this years Tour, the Danish rider has been recovering from a crash, impacting his performance.

Visma-Lease a Bike team showed a lack of collective strength, leaving Vingegaard isolated.

Sepp Kuss’s absence due to Covid-19 recovery was a significant blow for the team.

Despite the disappointing day, Vingegaard remains optimistic, considering the time loss as manageable.

As a Jonas fanboy, this one pains me.

Read in full at Rouleur.cc.

How Much For A Kiss, Love?

Julien Bernard was fined 200CHF for stopping to kiss his wife during stage seven of the Tour de France.

The French rider was penalised for ‘unseemly or inappropriate behaviour’ and ‘damage to the image of the sport’.

The heartfelt moment occurred during the time trial near Bernard’s home.

Despite finishing 61st, Bernard loved the encounter and expressed his willingness to pay the fine again.

He described the stage as ‘crazy’ and relished the rare chance to see his family mid-race.

The fine was not the harshest of the day, with Kévin Vauquelin receiving a 500CHF sanction for a separate offence. This one went largely under the radar, and all I could find about it was on the Stage 7 notes here. (attacks, intimidation, insults, threats and improper behavior…)

The time trial also saw Remco Evenepoel gain time on Tadej Pogačar in the General Classification.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Visma-Lease a Bike’s ‘Control Room’ Van Gets the Boot

Visma-Lease a Bike’s ‘Control Room’ van was not authorised to be within the Tour de France premises.

The van was designed to collect real-time data for tactical decisions.

Organisers stated that the vehicle would not gain accreditation for the event.

Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, initiated an investigation into the van’s compliance with regulations.

Rules permit data capture devices but restrict data sharing to individual riders.

The UCI emphasised maintaining sport integrity and fairness.

No further statement from the UCI had been released at the time of writing.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Van der Poel’s TdF Canyon Aeroad

Mathieu van der Poel was spotted riding an unreleased Canyon Aeroad at the Tour de France.

The new model looks similar to the existing Aeroad but with some key updates.

Van der Poel's TdF Canyon Aeroad

Notable changes include a slimmer seat post and seat tube, non-tapering fork blades, and a differently integrated cockpit.

The bike features a special rainbow paint job for the world champion.

It weighs in at 7.7kg and includes the usual Alpecin-Deceuninck team kit.

For a full gallery and more details, check out the article.

Read in full at Velo.

Tadej Pogačar’s Colnago V4Rs

Tadej Pogačar’s Colnago V4Rs isn’t your typical Tour de France bike; it’s a meticulously detailed masterpiece.

Unlike other production bikes, Pogačar’s ride features custom parts like an Enve SES One-Piece Handlebar and a variety of high-end components.

The bike includes Shimano Dura-Ace groupset enhanced with Carbon TI X-Rotor SteelCarbon 3 rotors and Absoluteblack GRAPHENpads.

Pogačar’s Colnago V4Rs also sports unique elements like a gold CNC alloy rear derailleur hanger and a Prologo Nago R4 saddle.

Stolen Visma Lease-a-bike’s colour scheme, now they swapped to their bespoke Tour colours.

Read in full at Velo.

Geraint Thomas’s New Pinarello Dogma F

Geraint Thomas has been riding Pinarello bikes for 14 years.

For the 2024 Tour de France, he introduced the new Pinarello Dogma F.

Geraint Thomas's New Pinarello Dogma F

The bike features a 0.2 percent performance improvement, including a 1.2 percent aerodynamic gain in the bottom bracket.

A key update is the shielded drive side thru axle.

The new Talon Ultra Fast integrated cockpit offers a lighter and more aerodynamic design.

Thomas’s groupset remains unchanged, using Shimano Dura-Ace components.

A standout feature is the custom 3D printed Garmin mount for his Edge 840.

Although minor, these updates aim to provide marginal gains.

This picture and plenty more at Velo.

Tour de France Tech Parade

The Tour de France 2024 has already showcased an array of new and unreleased tech just a few stages in.

Cycling Weekly explored the team paddocks and discovered a prototype Decathlon superbike, new aero wheels and bottles, and freshly developed tyres.

The Van Rysel FCR bike from Decathlon, the updated Canyon Aeroad CFR, and Trek’s new Madone Gen 8 have all made their debut.

Lidl-Trek’s asymmetrical aero bottles and Black Inc’s deeper aero wheels also caught attention.

Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale introduced mismatched tyres with an aero tread on the front and standard tyres on the back.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Jake Stewart’s Tour de France Debut

Jake Stewart, a 24-year-old cyclist from Coventry, is set to ride in his first Tour de France.

Inspired by Alberto Contador’s 2009 victory, Stewart’s cycling journey began at Solihull Cycling Club.

Stewart, who has overcome health issues and represented England at the Commonwealth Games, aims to shine in the latter stages of the race.

Read in full at BBC.co.uk.

BBC’s Tour de France Chef Chronicles

A few weeks before the Tour de France, EF Education-EasyPost’s head chef Owen Blandy faced a kitchen ban at a hotel.

BBC's Tour de France Chef Chronicles

Despite the setback, Blandy remained unfazed and adapted quickly.

Modern cycling nutrition has evolved from basic options to advanced personalised meal plans.

Teams like Visma-Lease a Bike use AI and custom apps to tailor diets for each rider.

Chefs face logistical challenges, including early starts and shopping for high-quality ingredients.

Chefs often collaborate and share resources, ensuring riders are properly fuelled.

Blandy once had to pack his bags within 30 minutes to cover for a sick colleague at Paris-Roubaix.

Read in full at BBC.co.uk.

🦇 Groenewegen’s Batman Glasses 🦇

Dylan Groenewegen won Thursday’s sixth stage of the Tour de France in a photo-finish, wearing controversial ‘Batman’ glasses designed for aerodynamic advantage.

The UCI momentarily banned these glasses as they weren’t publicly available, but Groenewegen quickly listed them for sale in his bike shop, allowing him to use them again.

The Dutch sprinter, under pressure to win a stage, believed every marginal gain helped, even if it looked strange.

Groenewegen’s win marked his first Tour stage victory in two years, and he credited the glasses for possibly making the difference.

Read in full at Velo.

Giro d’Italia Women 2024 Gets Underway

The Giro d’Italia Women 2024 will take place in Italy from the 7th to 14th July.

This 35th edition of the race has seen multiple rebrandings and is now back under the management of RCS Sports.

Annemiek van Vleuten, the winner of the last two editions, will not be defending her title as she has retired.

The 2024 race will consist of eight stages, including an opening time trial, two sprint stages, two intermediate stages, and three mountain stages.

The final stage will feature climbs to Forca di Penne and Castel del Monte.

The event promises increased prize money and improved television coverage, making it the longest women’s WorldTour race on the calendar.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Elite Square Smart Bike

Italian company Elite unveiled the Elite Square, an innovative if not at all visually attractive smart bike, at Eurobike 2024.

The bike features virtual shifting and adjustable crank lengths, making it a versatile option for riders.

It also includes a belt drive system for quieter operation and longer-lasting performance.

The handlebars are equipped with numerous controls for easy access during training sessions.

Priced at $1299 USD, the Elite Square offers advanced features at a competitive price point.

Elite plans to start shipping the bike in November 2024.

Read in full at Velo.

Peloton Making Friends With Cyclists

Fitness giant Peloton Interactive successfully sued the Belgian women’s cycling community, ‘The Women’s Peloton,’ over trademark rights.

The group, founded by Elke Bleyaert, wife of pro cyclist Jasper Stuyven, must change its name or face daily fines.

Despite not operating in the Benelux region, Peloton holds European market rights to the term ‘Peloton.’

Bleyaert had defended the group through years of court battles but lost on appeal.

She expressed her disappointment on Instagram, questioning why one company should have exclusive rights to the term.

A few weeks ago, we received the bad news that we lost the court case in the higher appeal. Everything I’ve worked so hard for over the past few years has been in vain. And you might think, “It’s just a name,” correct… My beautiful community and hard work will not change because of a name change. The Women Peloton has become much more than just a “name.” It has become a concept for women who support and encourage each other on the bike. A group of cycling women who dare to push each other and make each other stronger. Ladies who are there for each other even when the (s)miles don’t come naturally.

My translation of Elke’s Insta message, so don’t expect it to be 100% – but pretty close.

The community, focused on female-centric cycling tech, training, and health, will continue while Bleyaert seeks a new name and funds for legal fees.

Read in full at Velo.

Halfords Sales Take a Tumble

Halfords reported a ‘significantly worse than expected’ decline in cycle sales for 2024.

The cycling market remains 30% down on pre-Covid levels.

Halfords forecasts further declines for 2025.

Poor spring weather and low customer spending were cited as contributing factors.

The failure of Wiggle, which was bought by Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, highlighted industry challenges.

More customers are purchasing on credit, adding pressure to gross margins.

Despite these issues, Halfords’ Cycle to Work scheme and Tredz subsidiary saw growth.

Overall profit before tax fell by 18% to £36.1 million.

Halfords remains optimistic about emerging stronger once the market recovers.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Survive Till 25

The CONEBI report outlined a difficult 2023 for the cycle industry but expressed optimism for improvement next year.

Despite the challenges, the industry has grown over the past decade.

Overstock issues might be resolved by 2025, paving the way for increased production.

The sentiment ‘survive till 25’ has been echoed throughout the industry.

The report highlights resilience and growth potential despite economic challenges.

Infrastructure and ebikes have significantly contributed to industry growth.

Sales of ebikes were up more than 50% on pre-pandemic numbers, with 5.1 million units sold last year.

Sales of traditional bikes fell by 20% between 2022 and 2023.

Production fell in 2023, but investments in production capacity remained strong.

Employment figures dipped by 5.5% compared to 2022, varying from country to country.

The UK industry saw numerous closures, including Moore Large, 2Pure, ProBikeKit, and Fli Distribution.

Who doesn’t love a good news story?

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Bike Video(s) Of The Week

I actually watched a bunch of good cycling videos this week. So here are all the ones I enjoyed the most.

The Tour obviously took pride of place on all the news sites, but behind the scenes the huge Eurobike show was in full swing.

GCN had a good nosey around…

But then I found Youtuber Hambini had a far more unfiltered take on the shows offerings.

Away from Eurobike, I found a video discussing “the biggest rip-off in cycling” – kinda a clickbaity title, but an interesting observation and price saving outcome (until big Farm-a catches on):

And then lastly, any week with a new video from Luke at Trace Velo is always a good one. And this week’s video did not disappoint.

The lad has gone full man-baby in this one:

Bike Of The Week

There could be only one.

And it had to be the (replica) bike Sir Mark of Cavendish was riding when breaking the Tour stage victory record.

As covered above, you can actually buy this bike – if you have the pennies. It’s about £12,000 if my research is correct. It’s a stunning paint job on a gorgeous bike. Pretty standard for Wilier, by far my favourite sexy, yet expensive bike manufacturer.

Because it’s a ‘standard’ bike on a regular website, I will simply link you to the specs rather than dig them out and repeat them here.

OK people, enjoy the bike racing available today (Giro Stage 1, Tour Stage 9), and I shall see you again this time next week, if not sooner.

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