Giro Air Attack

Giro have produced a new helmet, that looks totally comedy on the first glance, but iv got to say.. the more pictures of pros I see using it, the more I want to try one! I think it was seeing Marianne Vos at the Olympics flossing one that was the decisive factor in changing my opinion on them. They look super retro, almost as if they gave a bunch of 80's helmets a respray and popped them back on the market. Giro have hit the 'aero' tech hard on the helmet, with a reported 12% less drag when compared with their current top of the range Aeon (a casque im currently in love with wearing), and the helmet will be offered with a space age looking magnetic visor to shield riders eyes. The Air Attack should be available spring '13.

The ToB Commeth...

This sunday, 9th September sees the return of the annual jewel-in-the-crown of Britisah cycling, the Tour of Britain. The exciting eight stage race sees several world tour and pro-conti level teas mixing it up with the finest of our UK based continental teams racing a total of 1350km in the week. This years edition comes riding a public interest wave of epic proportions thanks in no small part to what may in future years be referred to as the halcyon days of British cycling.  With Wiggo's recent exploits en Paris and those of the heroes of the Olympic velodrome, the cycling scene continues to thrive and grow on or fare streets. 
The Tour of Britain allows UK based fans to get out on their streets and see some amazing racing, with riders duking it out on brutal climbs, cobbled streets and contesting sprints in some amazing English scenery.

The infamous Rapha H-van will be putting in an appearance and serving up some fine brews for race fans, and will be prominently positioned at key climbs on the following stages:

·       10 September - Stage 2 
Category 1 climb at Morridge, near Leek

·       14 September - Stage 6
Category 1 climb at Brecon, Brecon Beacons

·       15 September - Stage 7
Category 1 climb at Coffin Stone, Dartmoor

For regular updates from the H-Van follow @rapharacing on Twitter. Supporters are urged to wear pink and amass to cheer on the Rapha Condor team, with a teamof talented youth riders including U23 british champ Mike Cuming, headed up by the imperious Kristian House. And speaking of Mr House… loving this vid spied over at the condor cycles blog
Personally il be heading to the Surrey stage and cheering on the various climbs come 16th September, im pretty stoked to see some world class riders smash it over our backyard training routes... and given the glorious weather we are experiencing here currently, should make for a fantastic week!
Dont forget all the action will be screened daily on ITV4 (god bless you! we've been well and truly spoilt for coverage in 2012) and you can follow updates over at the Tour of Britain homepage. Enjoy!

Cinelli Caleido EVA Tape

Check out this beaut Cinelli bar tape over at UrbanHunter ... loving the perforated detail! thinking this for the winter rather than the current Fizik patent number on my Acciaio (damn that gets slippy in the rain!)

Vuelta a Espana

So! Bertie seems back to his incroyable former self... although todays climb of Fuente De suited him down to a T, with smaller steady average gradients, not the ball busting 20%+ summit finishes of stages past. He stamped his authority over the pack and asserted his climbing prowess, collecting not only the stage win but also claiming 2:38 seconds on little Purito, catapulting him into the 'camiseta roja'. Purito drops down to third place underneath Valverde. Its kind of game over with a mere two flattish stages remaining, so it looks like Contador is back with fire in his tail. Riis did state at the beginning that AC simply had to win, I can see this as paying some form of thanks to Saxo-Tinkoff for indeed standing by their man during his 'pequeñas vacaciones' of recent months (WHICH i still think is bullsh*t but il explain that when you next see me on the road). Seems whatever Bjarne said on the rest day helped Bertie....

Rise Above: Robert Gesink's Climb to Victory

Giro 'Empire'

P-R 1988

Not only an excellent video of the '88 edition of the 'Queens of the Classics', but also check out Liggett in his flasher-mac. Epic opener!


The Finish Line

I wait aside the finish line in Paris. The 2012 tour is a mere twenty minutes away from completion, its 99th incarnation capturing the hearts of many a hardened fan, and also enticing those with merely a scrap of interest. Bradley Wiggins sealed a historic first in British cycling folklore, sealing the tour in exemplary fashion. Never looking in trouble throughout the three weeks, Sky's air of control never wavered.
A thunderous roar erupts around the finish line of the Champs-Elysees stage as Mark Cavendish holds aloft four fingers as he seals yet another dynamite win on the famed central parisienne cobbles. And with that ultimate display of power, the tour over for another year, and thus our lives bereft of daily antics on 'les routes françaises'. Riders roll across the final white line to close the curtains on our french adventures. 
How odd a feeling it must be for these riders, for the race to be over. I think about the spectrum of emotions they must be experiencing today, and I can read each and every one on the various faces of the peloton as they meander around the technical zone.
It must be strange that after living so closely with eight other riders, and a nucleated support staff for the three weeks, the riders will leave this environment and return to some semblance of reality, whatever that may actually entail for a professional rider. I see happy faces, a Cofidis rider beams at me proudly on a backstreet as he rides to his hotel. I spy Mick Rogers, as he congratulates several riders ahead of the processional laps. He looks across and I offer him my broadest smile, as if telepathically thanking him and the peloton for their feats that fed my passion as a cycling fan this summer. I don't doubt I just looked like a grinning loon, but my respect for these gents is fortified every time I see their suffering in real and tangible sphere. They are but humans, with emotions, pain, a willingness to push their own boundaries of suffering. 
A day before in Chartres, I find myself mingling with fans as Alexandr Vinokourov rolls through. A loud cheer erupts in recognition for what will certainly be his last tour. A chequered past foreshadows him, sure, but the respect shown from the fans is palpable and deafening. Every story needs hero's and villains, and the tour is a theatre not exempt from this. 
I see faces that display the realisation dawning on them of their endeavours. I see pride, relief and I sense determination. I think I see faces that are already thinking to the next goal. The next hit of this circus.
The finish line is always such a melancholy place for me, tinged with sadness that its over for the next year. Sure enough, there's the Vuelta, and a slurry of late season races (Lombardia in particular is a fave) but it just seems like nothing can quite capture the magic of pro cycling like the Tour can. I remember 5 years ago being laughed out of the office for asking to watch the tour at my workplace, this year I walked in to pretty much every flatscreen dialled onto the live coverage daily. Oh how times change! Here's to the 100th Tour de France in 2013... I know I will be ensconced in your bubble yet again