What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Thursday!

A little bit quieter on the race front, but don’t forget the Classics start this week-end with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. Valverde has taken control of Andalucнa and we catch up with the last cyclo-cross of the season. ”Top Story” is about paying to watch cycling, not a nice thought, but it’s possible. And we finish with the Colnago Sweater Guy at the Tour of Flanders…were will he be this year? Coffee time for EuroTrash Thursday.

”Top Story”

Fans to Pay to Watch Olympic Road Race?
The organisers of the Olympic Games in London originally said that it would be free to watch the road race on the Box Hill section of the route; they are now saying that fans will need to buy tickets for that part of the road. The reason given is that; that part of the circuit is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty and needs to be protected against too many people damaging the side of the road and tickets need to be sold to control the area and have restricted access.

This reminds me of a comment Johan Bruyneel made during a recent interview, he said: “We have certain limitations: we don’t own stadiums, we run cycling on the road, cycling is for free, which is also the beauty of the sport. But if I look at the evolution of other sports, and how popular they are, and I look at cycling and see how we are struggling, that we are advancing by baby steps and struggling.” Adding “I don’t want to compare cycling with football, because it’s different. You have entrance fees and it’s organised completely differently, but there are things we can learn. We just have to get away from the model that professional cycling is dependent on sponsorship exclusively and we can get the business of our sport bigger.”

Maybe this is the way forward for cycling? Should you have to pay to stand at the side of the road in Northern France to see muddy riders cross the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix? Or to camp out for nearly two days to see the riders climb L’Alpe d’Huez? Well they do in cyclo-cross, at the Worlds people were paying 25Ђ to 40Ђ to see the Championships in Koksijde and anything up to 70,000 fans were there, you work out the profit.

Yes, it’s hypocritical of the Olympic organisers to change their mind about free sport, but maybe they are on to something?

Vuelta a Andalucнa-Ruta del Sol 2012
Mondays Stage 1 saw local rider Javier Ramirez (Andalucнa) who outsprinted Luis Бngel Matй (Cofidis) and William Routley (Spidertech by C10) after a long break together which went just after the start in Zahara de los Atunes. Daniel Domнnguez (Team NSP-Ghost) had been with them, but couldn’t take the finishing pace and was dropped by the group and then caught by the peloton in the last 5 kilometres. The lead at its maximum was touching 12 minutes, but the Project 1t4i pulled it back for the prologue winner; Patrick Gretsch to keep the overall lead. New man at Katusha; Oscar Freire won the bunch sprint for fourth in the finish town of Benalmбdena after 188 kilometres.

Vuelta a Andalucia Stage 1 Result:
1. Javier Ramнrez (Spa) Andalucia in 5:02:10
2. Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis
3. Will Routley (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10 at 0:03
4. Уscar Freire (Spa) Katusha
5. Juan J Lobato (Spa) Andalucia
6. Manuel Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural
7. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank
8. Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
9. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
10. Simon Geschke (Ger) Project 1t4i.

Vuelta a Andalucia Overall After Stage 1:
1. Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Project 1t4i in 5:09:02
2. Markel Irizar (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:02
3. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 0:03
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank at 0:06
5. Goikan Bille (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 0:08
6. Matthias Brandle (Aut) Team Netapp at 0:10
7. Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank at 0:11
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Project 1t4i
10. Josй Ivбn Gutiйrrez (Spa) Movistar at 0:12.

Stage 1 highlights

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) showed in Stage 2 that he is making a serious return to racing by winning on his own at the finish at the top of the Alto Santuario. He won the stage ahead of a start studded list of riders; Denis Menchov (Katusha) was 10 seconds behind him along with Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) and Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan). Earlier in the stage Mickaлl Buffaz (Cofidis) rode away from the bunch after only 15 kilometres and built up a lead of six minutes, but with the strong work of the Movistar team he was in sight at the bottom of the Summit finish to Santuario. Valverde kept his powder dry until they were inside the last kilometre, where he attacked on the steep slopes to take the stage and the overall with two stages to go.

After the stage Valverde told the Movistar web-site: “I’m tremendously happy and I want to thank all the team, because they were phenomenal from start to finish of the stage. They got full support on me from the beginning and I could reward them back with the victory. To tell the truth we didn’t have planned to race with the leadership in mind, we were just going for the stage victory, because the GC was much complicated due to the short climb and the gap by some of our rivals on the overall. But I felt super strong, and with 400m to go I didn’t hesitate and went on full steam into a steep slope. I didn’t look back until the finish, and through I wasn’t thinking of it, we found another prize with the leader jersey. Now there are two hard stages, it’s going to be difficult but we already took home a win and everything coming after that will be a plus. I went a bit disappointed not to have a win in Mallorca and I could get off that flavor here. This is a very important win for me and the team, because we were up-front in all races but couldn’t get a win. I want to dedicate this to all the fans always supporting me, and most especially, to Paco Sбnchez Sabater, my agent’s father, whom I wish to get well soon.”

Vuelta a Andalucнa Stage 2 Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar in 4:02:37
2. Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha at 0:10
3. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis
4. Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan
5. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:13
6. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:15
7. Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:21
8. Adrian Palomares Villaplana (Spa) Andalucia
9. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:23
10. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 0:24.

Vuelta a Andalucнa Overall After Stage 2:
1. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar in 9:11:58
2. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis at 0:03
3. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 0:08
4. Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha at 0:14
5. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:15
6. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Project 1t4i at 0:18
7. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:21
8. Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:22
9. Matthias Brandle (Aut) Team NetApp at 0:23
10. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:26.

Stage 2 highlights:

Stage 3 was won by Oscar Freire (Katusha), he out sprinted Daniel Schorn (Team NetApp) in second place and Michael Matthews (Rabobank) in third. The race split on the first climb of the day; the Puerto del Mojon after 50 kilometres, which put David Lelay (Saur-Sojasun), Tristan Valentin (Cofidis), Javier Ramнrez (Andalucia) and Gregory Habeaux (Accent Jobs-Willems Verandas) up the road, they were later joined by Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural). The five riders worked well together and built up a lead of over 3 minutes, but were caught on the last climb 5 kilometres out. The Katusha team kept the pace high for Freire who didn’t disappoint them at the finish. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) held the overall lead going to the last day today (Thursday) from Jaиn to La Guardia de Jaиn over 135.7 kilometres.

Vuelta a Andalucнa Stage 3 Result:
1. Уscar Freire (Spa) Katusha in 3:41:55
2. Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank
4. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Simon Geschke (Ger) Project 1t4i
6. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Stephane Poulhies (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
8. Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
9. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis
10. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM.

Vuelta a Andalucнa Overall After Stage 3:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 12:53:53
2. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis at 0:03
3. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 0:08
4. Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha at 0:14
5. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro at 0:15
6. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Project 1t4i at 0:18
7. Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:22
8. Matthias Brandle (Aut) Team NetApp at 0:23
9. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:26
10. Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:27.

Sorry no video of stage 3 yet, this is nice though:

GvA Cyclo-cross Trofee Sluitingsprijs, Oostmalle 2012
The last cyclo-cross of the year was last Sunday in Oostmalle in Belgium, it was also the last event of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy. Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) attacked his two companions; Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) and Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) with two laps to go and coasted to victory. Pauwels has won the GvA Trofee with Stybar second and Nys in third, Albert was fourth, but had missed on round.

GvA Cyclo-cross Trofee Sluitingsprijs Result:
1. Niels Albert (Bel) in 58:37
2. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) at 0:15
3. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) at 0:24
4. Sven Nys (Bel) at 0:46
5. Tom Meeusen (Bel) at 0:50
6. Bart Aernouts (Bel)
7. Radomir Simunek (Cze)
8. Rob Peeters (Bel)
9. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) at 0:59
10. Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) at 1:14.

The link to the action here on Sporza.

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team to the Next Races
Press Release: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team announces the team roster for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the two races that traditionally open the cycling season in Belgium.

“It will be an important weekend for our team, as always,” said Wilfried Peeters who will guide the riders from the team car. “The good state of form of many athletes in our team allowed us to make some technical choices based on the different routes we will be riding on. On Saturday, we will have cyclists that are more comfortable with cobblestone slopes, while on Sunday we will have more sprinters, seen as there may well be a sprint to end the race. Boonen, Ciolek, Steegmans and Velits will compete in both races. There may also be changes in Sunday’s team, based on Saturday’s results. Terpstra won’t take part to the Omloop. Niki came back sick from Algarve, with fever. He’s doing better now but we don’t want to risk, considering the low amount of training he has been able to go through in the past few days. Normally he will be able to take the start in Kuurne – Brussels – Kuurne.”

On Sunday, part of the team will also be taking part to the Boucles du Sud-Ardиche in France.

“After the Trofeo Laigueglia, we stopped in the south of France with the team and organized a brief stage while waiting to compete on Sunday,” Bramati said. “The team is motivated and training sessions are progressing according to our program that alternates road bicycle sessions to time-trial bicycle sessions. Our objective is to be amongst the protagonists of the race.”

Boucles du Sud-Ardиche will be Iljo Keisse’s first race for 2012.

25.02 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (BEL) 1.HC
Riders:
Tom Boonen (BEL)
Sylvain Chavanel (FRA)
Gerald Ciolek (GER)
Dries Devenyns (BEL)
Gert Steegmans (BEL)
Matteo Trentin (ITA)
Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL)
Martin Velits (SVK)
Sports Director Wilfried Peeters (BEL)

Length 200.3 km
Start 11:30
Finish 16:53
Website www.omloophetnieuwsblad.be

26.02 Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne (BEL) 1.1
Riders:
Tom Boonen (BEL)
Gerald Ciolek (GER)
Andrew Fenn (GBR)
Nikolas Maes (BEL)
Gert Steegmans (BEL)
Niki Terpstra (NED)
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL)
Martin Velits (SVK)
Sports Director Tom Steels (BEL) & Rik van Slycke (BEL)

Length 195.0 km
Start 11:55
Finish 16:40
Website

26.02 Les Boucles du Sud-Ardиche (FRA) 1.1
Riders:
Marco Bandiera (ITA)
Matthew Brammeier (IRL)
Kevin De Weert (BEL)
Michal Golas (POL)
Iljo Keisse (BEL)
Jerome Pineau (FRA)
Kristof Vandewalle (BEL)
Julien Vermote (BEL)
Sports Director Davide Bramati (ITA)

Length 199.5 km
Start 10:45
Finish 16:00
Website www.ardeche-cyclisme.fr.

These are the hills from the 2010 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad:

BMC Racing Team Ready For Belgian Races
Press Release: The BMC Racing Team’s opening weekend of racing in Belgium also marks the cobbled classics debut for Taylor Phinney, who missed the spring classics last year due to injury.

Testing Is Primary Objective
Saturday’s BMC Racing Team roster for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad includes past race winners Philippe Gilbert (2006, 2008) and Thor Hushovd (2009). “It’s the first big classic for the guys and the first time to check everything: the weather, the team, the materials,” Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said. “So our first objective will be to test everything because we’ll be doing the same climbs and cobblestones of Flanders, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem.” Phinney, a two-time Under 23 Paris-Roubaix winner, missed all the classics last year after suffering a mild concussion in a training ride crash. “I’ve always felt at home racing in Belgium,” Phinney said. “The flats, the wind and the cobbles really suit my racing style. I am beyond excited and honored to be lining up with our big classics team. Qatar and Oman were a great experience, as well as great training. The legs are responding well and I am looking forward to testing them this weekend.”

Roster Change For Sunday
The BMC Racing Team switch up its roster for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday, bringing in Adam Blythe, Danilo Wyss and Tour of Oman most aggressive classification winner Klaas Lodewyck to replace Gilbert, Hushovd and Marcus Burghardt. Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said much of the team’s approach to the 195-kilometer race will depend on how Omloop Het Nieuwsblad plays out. “We will have three fresh riders who are free to make the race or an attack or be part of the action right from the start,” Baldato said. “The day after Het Nieuwsblad, we will have have a better feel for precisely what we can do.”

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Roster (Feb. 25):
Alessandro Ballan (ITA),
Marcus Burghardt (GER),
Philippe Gilbert (BEL),
Thor Hushovd (NOR),
Taylor Phinney (USA),
Manuel Quinziato (ITA),
Michael Schдr (SUI),
Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).

Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne Roster (Feb. 26):
Alessandro Ballan (ITA),
Adam Blythe (GBR),
Klaas Lodewyck (BEL),
Taylor Phinney (USA),
Manuel Quinziato (ITA),
Michael Schдr (SUI),
Greg Van Avermaet (BEL),
Danilo Wyss (SUI).

President/General Manager:
Jim Ochowicz (USA)

Sport Directors:
Fabio Baldato (ITA) & John Lelangue (BEL).

Hightlights of 2011 Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne:

New Name, New Races For ‘Nature Valley Pro Chase’
Press Release: The only race series in the United States offering amateur cyclists trips to the Nature Valley Grand Prix, where they will compete against the country’s top men and women professionals, has a new name and several new cities for 2012.

Formerly known as the Nature Valley Pro Ride, the new “Nature Valley Pro Chase” will select the top amateur man and woman at six races to become part of a pair of composite Nature Valley Cycling Teams for the 14th annual edition of the premier stage race on the 2012 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar.

”This name better reflects the goal of the program, which is to emotionally engage the entire cycling community by telling the stories of the participants,” Nature Valley Grand Prix Executive Director David LaPorte said. ”What hasn’t changed is the opportunity it gives top amateurs to be noticed by pro team managers and potentially receive a pro contract.”

Rider invitations will be issued following each of the six stops on the Nature Valley Pro Chase national tour: Tour de Murrieta (March 10-11) near San Diego; Jefferson Cup (April 1) near Charlottesville, Va.; Tour de Moore (April 28) near Raleigh, N.C.; Superior Morgul Classic (May 18-20) near Boulder, Colo.; Memorial Day Weekend Omnium (May 26-28) in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois; San Jose Omnium (May 30-31) near San Jose, Calif.

The Tour de Murrieta, the Tour de Moore and the Superior Morgul Classic are new to the calendar while the Memorial Day Weekend Omnium and Jefferson Cup return from last year. The San Jose Omnium was a stop on the series in 2010.

Tour de Murrieta promoter Ernie Sanchez said he looks to add a new element to his race each year and the Nature Valley Pro Chase is a perfect fit.

“This is huge for us it’s going to add that extra element of excitement to our race,” Sanchez said. “We’ve had some great competitors over the years, from Chris Horner to Sarah Hammer and Chad Beyer and we always have a very strong, competitive men’s category 1 field. I know they’ll be looking forward to what some refer to as the “American Idol” of cycling. So we’re proud to be a part of it.”

Nature Valley Pro Chase qualifiers will earn free entries to the Nature Valley Grand Prix, generous travel stipends, team clothing, housing, ground transportation, and staff support for their composite teams. They will also receive pro-level recognition before, during and after the events, including pre-race call-ups and participation in promotional and media appearances. Their entire journey can be followed through blogs and on-line videos on the Nature Valley Pro Chase website (www.naturevalleyprochase.com), the Nature Valley Grand Prix Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NatureValleyGrandPrix) and on Twitter (@NVBikeFest).

Snapshot glances at the six Nature Valley Pro Chase events:

Tour de Murrieta (March 10-11), San Diego: Three unique courses comprise a weekend of racing – Friday’s time trial features a 1.2-mile portion of unpaved/dirt road. Saturday’s criterium is run on a lightning-fast, one-mile course in historic Downtown Murrieta, while Sunday’s circuit race is run on a 3.5-mile course (56 miles for men, 46 miles for women).

Jefferson Cup (April 1), Charlottesville, Va.: Nearly two dozen editions make this is the oldest continually run road race in the Mid-Atlantic region. The course for the one-day race winds through rolling countryside south of Charlottesville. The race is 70 miles for men and 40 miles for women.

Tour de Moore (April 28), Raleigh, N.C.: The oldest road race in the South (this is the 37th edition) has previously been used as both a Pan American games qualifier. Men will tackle four laps of a 27-mile rolling loop of the Fort Bragg Military Reservation (112 miles) while women do two laps for a 58-mile race.

Superior Morgul Classic (May 18-20), Boulder, Colo.: The Morgul Classic has three days of racing and roots in the famed Red Zinger and Coors Classic races. Friday’s time trial starts on top of “The Hump” and is a 6.5-mile course up “The Wall.” Satruday is a criterium through the town of Superior, followed by Sunday’s road race on the fabled Morgul Bismark course.

Memorial Day Weekend Omnium (May 26-28), Iowa and Illinois: Returning for the second straight year, the three days of racing consist of a trio of unique criteriums: Snake Alley, Melon City and the Quad City Criterium – which, at 47 years old, is the fourth oldest criterium in the nation and the oldest in Illiois. All three have been a fixture on the Midwest racing circuit on Memorial Day weekend for more than a quarter century.

San Jose Omnium (May 27-28), San Jose, Calif.: One of the longest running bike races in San Jose, Calif., the road race (63.5 miles for men, 63.5 miles for women) climbs 4,500 feet in 20 miles over Mt. Hamilton, the highest peak in the Bay area, on a course that was part of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. The criterium is run over a one-mile course in Morgan Hill, Calif.

About the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival
Now in its 14th year, the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is a ten-day celebration of bicycling that includes amateur and professional racing and community events. The Nature Valley Grand Prix has become the premier professional bike race in the U.S., attracting top American racing teams and nearly 300 top riders from around the world. Races are free and open to the public. It is the only professional sporting event in Minnesota for which no admission ticket is required. Proceeds from the Nature Valley Grand Prix are donated to Children’s Lighthouse of Minnesota, a pediatric hospice project. For a detailed schedule of events visit: www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com.

New SCOTT GB Sportives Launched for 2012
PressRelease: The all-new SCOTT Great British Sportive series comprises of two fantastic events, The LongLeg Sportive and The Arrow Sportive.

The LongLeg sportive on 6th May will be the first of the two sportives. The event, now in its second year, will start from The Albury Cricket Pitch in Surrey and take in the beautiful rolling roads of Surrey and Sussex. The following routes will be on offer: the short (72km) and the long (113km) – both will follow almost the same stunning route as 2011 with a few new additions thrown in.

The LongLeg Sportive prides itself on using a route that takes in some of the lesser-known climbs and roads of the Surrey hills, avoiding the temptation to take the ride up Box Hill, the location for the Olympic Road Race.

Taking place on 17th June, The Arrow Sportive will head out from Berrington Hall and explore the country roads and hills of the Welsh Border. Again, participants will have two route options; details of these routes will be published soon.

The entry fee for participants is Ј20 for the short course or Ј25 for the long course. Riders entering both events will receive a discount of 10%. Both events will feature feed stations stocked with GU Energy, free on-site parking, rider timing, mechanical support and, of course, homemade cake at the finish line.

The GB Sportive will be organised by allabouttriathlons, a company whose team is vastly experience in delivering a range of mass-participation cycling, cross-country running, triathlon, and swimming events.

The events are supported by SCOTT, who will be providing sport prizes and on the day village support.

“We’re delighted to be supporting the GB Sportive series,” said Cat Sutherland, from SCOTT Sports UK. “These two fantastic events will give riders the chance to take in some superb scenery while having the opportunity to try out our range of road bikes on the course.”

The SCOTT GB Sportive promises a great day out and some of the most breathtaking scenery the areas have to offer.

For more information and to enter, visit: www.gbsportive.co.uk.

Gruppo Sportivo Gran Fondo New York
Press Release: Gran Fondo New York, New York’s premier competitive cycling event, announces the creation of its eight-person ambassador team, Gruppo Sportivo Gran Fondo New York. The team members are fully equipped with products from Gran Fondo New York sponsors. The main role of Gruppo Sportivo Gran Fondo New York is to lead the weekly group rides for registered participants of the event.

The team is the first of its kind. CEO of Gran Fondo New York, Uli Fluhme, explains: “Our team members are regular cycling enthusiasts from all walks of life who live, ride and race in and around the world’s greatest city. However, the degree of sponsor support equates to a professional cycling team. Brands recognize the value of direct interaction with their consumers. A professional cyclist will ride whatever he’s paid to ride. But we are picky New Yorkers. We don’t just ride anything. And if we like something, we love talking about it to our cycling friends during the weekly Gran Fondo New York group rides as well as in our daily lives. This kind of sponsorship extends beyond the event day, it’s six months of on-the-ground daily direct consumer interaction.”

Top of the line products provided by Gran Fondo New York sponsors includes: Pinarello Dogma 2 bikes, apparel from Giordana, Campagnolo’s Super Record components, SRM power meters, Diadora Jetracer cycling shoes, the world’s lightest helmet from Limar, Concor Carbon saddles from Selle San Marco, Elite bottle cages and water bottles, Vittoria Diamante Pro tires, bike maintenance products from Finish Line, subscription to Bicycling Magazine and Strava’s online training tracking tool.

Members of the team include the founders and organizers of Gran Fondo New York, Lidia Fluhme and Ulrich Fluhme, and six riders of the New York area cycling community: Heidi Broecking from Nyack, NY, Grant Johnson from Brooklyn, NY, Hayden Judd from New York, NY, Paul Lebonitte from New York, NY, Vito Valentini from Ridgefield, NJ and Wade Wegner from Westwood, NJ.

The mission of Gruppo Sportivo Gran Fondo New York is to spread the word about true Gran Fondo riding, show good sportsmanship, help others to achieve their goals and grow the cycling community. The free weekly group rides for registered participants of Gran Fondo New York encourage cyclists to preview the course and get ready for the challenging event. The social aspect of preparing for the event and positive atmosphere of the rides make the weekly Gran Fondo New York Group Rides a success.

The concept of cycling competitively over a long route is a groundbreaking in the New York metropolitan area, where previously only non-competitive tours or short-distance criteriums existed. The mass-participation cycling event concept was imported from Italy, where several Gran Fondos take place every weekend throughout the country from February until October. In keeping with the Italian motif, the team is called Gruppo Sportivo, or “sports team” in Italian.

Gran Fondo New York is preparing for the second edition of the event, which will take place on May 20, 2012. Over 5,000 participants will ride from New York City to Bear Mountain and back on May 20, 2012. Participants from six continents and 44 US states are registered and will take on the 100-mile course. Like in running or triathlon, participants are timed to compare their results with others or simply take on the challenge of the event and accomplish the goal of finishing. The event boasts among the largest and most international cycling fields in the world.

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About Gran Fondo New York: The inaugural Gran Fondo New York brings Italian cycling culture to the world’s greatest city on Sunday, May 20, 2012. Five thousand cyclists will ride along a challenging 100 mile course from New York City to Bear Mountain and back in an experience fit for a pro and open to anyone who loves to ride. The professionally managed event will feature the excitement of New York City, four timed climbs, one of which is Bear Mountain, beautiful scenery, charming towns and the camaraderie of group cycling.

More Gruppo Sportivo Gran Fondo New York info here at: https://www.granfondony.com/grupposportivo.php.

The Festa Della Donna & Show Me Yours event From Rapha
WOMEN’S 50% OFF SALE : Festa Della Donna – February 24th – 26th.

Press Release: Starting this Friday we will be bringing back the Festa Della Donna. This is our now annual Women’s 50% off sale. This is a great time to try out those other pieces that you have been yearning for all year. Along with the Festa we have put together a bit of content surrounding Women riding their bikes this week. The first part of this is titled Our Favorites in which we reached out to a group of Women that have been friends of ours for a while to pull together a paragraph about their favorite Rapha Women’s Product. Take a look below at some of the fantastic responses. I have also attached the graphic about the Festa Della Donna if you so wish to promote this and paste it around it would be helpful and fantastic!

Feature : Our Favorites.

EVENT: Show Me Yours
One other thing that is happening this weekend is a small gathering of Portland’s finest bicycle frame builders. The North American Handmade Bicycle Show is just over the horizon (March 3-4 in Sacramento, CA) and in an effort to promote this and get themselves organized for next weekend the Show Me Yours event that will come to life inside the Ace Hotel’s gallery – The Cleaners.

In an effort to promote what these craftsmen are doing we have attempted to pull together photos of people’s handmade bicycles for a feature that will be launching this Friday. It has been working really well on both Instagram and and twitter with the hashtag #ShowMeYourBike so if you have a bicycle that you would like to share (be it handmade or not) please tweet it to @Rapha_N_America or simply add the #ShowMeYourBike tag to a photo of your bike.

Blog Post with even Details : Show Me Yours.

Where is Colnago Jumper Guy?
Brian Roth has pointed out a worrying development due to the change in the route of the Tour of Flanders. For years now there has been this bloke wearing a Colnago sweater at the same position on the Ronde, where will he go now?

Here he is in 2010:

And again in 2011:

It’s a worry!


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