What's Cool In Road Cycling

PEZ Roadside Tour of Britain’22 Stage 1: Glorious Glenshee!

Roadside PEZ: We don’t get the chance to go ‘Roadside’ as much as we used to, thanks first to covid-19 and now the soaring fuel costs. Ed Hood had the 2022 Tour of Britain on his door-step, if he had a 100 mile long door-step, but you can’t miss a ‘Race Chase’…

# You can read the Stage 1 race report form the Tour of Britain in Monday’s EUROTRASH HERE. #

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Ed had to go to the first stage of the Tour of Britain

It’s not every day you get the chance to see some of the sport’s greatest names just up the road from your home. However, as we crawled through a monsoon north of Laurencekirk the question was; ‘will it be worthwhile getting out of the car?’ Fortunately, by the time we got to Union Street it was just drizzle, not cold but grey and understandably not conducive to riders wanting to stand and chat. . .

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First stop was the Trinity team, we had wanted a chat with US Criterium Champion and Lincoln GP winner, Luke Lamperti but like most, he was keeping cosy in the camper until the last moment. Now, those Trinity Specializeds with the pink seat posts and green lettering – a tad, ‘too Rapha’ for old hands like us.

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None of that trendy stuff for those Bingoal-Pauwels-Sauces WB ProTeam boys; nice machines though from cult Italian company, De Rosa – Ugo De Rosa was the man who taught Eddy Merckx about frame building after the Baron had retired as a rider and was staring his bike business.

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‘Punching above their weight’ ProTeam, Uno X ride Taiwanese ‘DARE’ frames, they’re your typical Far Eastern proposition but claim to offer excellent value by cutting out the middle men and selling direct from the factory.

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We liked the understated paint job on BORA-hansgrohe’s Specialized, no pink there. . .

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Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ man, Sam Watson steps up to the World Tour next year; this year he’s the won the u23 Gent-Wevelgem, stages in the Course de Paix and Tour Alsace as well as a raft of podiums – he’s riding here for the GB team. His Lapierre displays their ‘triple triangle’ design frame, it’s not new, Lotto rode GT frames to this design some 20 years ago – and even before that English builder, Hetchins produced a frame to the same configuration, the idea being that it gives a much stiffer frame than the traditional twin triangle design.

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Long term Campagnolo adherents, Movistar have jumped ship to SRAM, probably because SRAM supply components to the big teams on a free of charge basis whilst Campagnolo and Shimano require the groupsets to be bought at ‘cost’ price – unless you’re INEOS, that is. . .

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US team Human Powered Health, formerly Rally Cycling, ride Felts; Jim Felt started the company back in 1994 and they’re one of the original ‘aero’ bike pioneers – and we do like a bit of orange on a machine. The front thru axle doesn’t require an Allen key, you just twist the lever – like those 60’s ‘butterfly’ wing nuts.

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Calum Johnston’s Caja Rural team ride Spanish [naturally] MMR frames, we love the paint jobs.

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ProTeam Bardiani-CSF-Faizane caused a huge upset back in June when their 23 years-old Filippo Zana took the Italian Elite Road Race Championship ahead of the World Tour favourites – Team BikeExchange have snapped him up for the next three years. We liked his Cipollini, not ‘overly blinged.’

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Ribble supplied any of their riders who were competing in the Commonwealth Games with ‘trick’ silver paint job specials, this one belongs to Grenada road race and time trial champion, Red Walters.

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Ribble are far from out of their depth in terms of bike design, even in the presence of the World Tour teams – their ‘direct mount’ brake levers are cutting edge aero.

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Perennial Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise are backed by the Flanders Government so that young riders can learn their trade then move up to a higher level; breakaway king Thomas De Gendt just one of the top riders who came up through their ranks. An as you might expect, ‘no bling’ – those black Merckx machines are just tools to do a job.

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As I said, it wasn’t a day for chatting but we managed a brief word with Ribble Weldtite’s Commonwealth Games Road race medallist, Fin Crockett – looking focused on what wasn’t going to be a day for his characteristics.

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I’ve shed a bit of timber recently, you feel quite pleased with yourself and then you look at Filippo Zana’s waistline. . .

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It’s been a great year for Oscar Onley; today he rides with their World Tour team alongside the likes of their big finisher, Cees Bol. Oscar took a stage win in the ‘shop window’ Valle d’Aosta stage race in Italy, also winning the points jersey and was second on a stage and top 10 on GC in the Sazka Tour against top opposition. He finished eighth up on Glenshee, today – CHAPEAU!

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We weren’t ‘ear wigging’ but couldn’t help but hear Calum Johnston chatting away in fluent Spanish with his team personnel – nice job, young man.

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The rollout was WET.

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We headed up out along Deeside to see the race on the road; those with long memories will remember that back in 1974, TI Raleigh pro, Dave Lloyd broke the British ‘straight out’ 50 mile time trial record heading along towards Aberdeen on this road after starting up where the race finished today. Modern aerodynamic improvements mean that his time is now minutes slower than Marcin Bialoblocki’s 1:30:31 ‘out and home’ competition record.

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There were five away in the break, two Human Powered Health, two SunGods and an Uno X.
The lead was around a minute on a peloton lead by Israel – we’d see why that was at the finish but displaying no particular sense of urgency.

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Uno X were keeping well out of the way, having a man in the break and Norwegian Champion, Rasmus Tiller was way back. The team will be stronger next year with the addition of ‘old warhorse’ but still winning, Alex Kristoff.

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Richie Porte was coming back up through the cars in his last ever race after a good career which perhaps promised more than it delivered.

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Zana too was coming back through the cars looking COOL.

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It was time for us to head over the Cairn o’ Mount and home, the Glenshee road being closed until 6:00 pm; checking the result on the phone we saw the reason for the Israel chase – we’d hear later that Alex Dowsett did a particularly good job – their Kiwi, Corbin Strong took the honours, you’d have got good odds that one. . .

The Borders tomorrow. . .

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