Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Musette - Paris-Tours, T-Shirts, and Classic Wheels

1. If you didn’t see it yesterday, you missed quite an exciting finale to Paris-Tours. Here’s a video that pretty much gets it all—from just after Philippe Gilbert’s attack through the final sprint.

Give Gilbert credit for riding aggressively, even with two sprinters on his wheel. Other men would have stopped working, not content to pull two sprinters to a seemingly easy win. Not Gilbert though, he rode the front consistently, nervous that any diminished effort would lead to his group being caught. It was a textbook case of a rider racing to win, not racing not to lose. Also interesting was Van Avermaet closing the gap to Gilbert’s initial move only to get dropped moments later. Could he have been ordered back to the field? (Ed Note: A reader pointed-out that it was Van Avermaet who attacked first--makes much more sense.)

In the finale, when Gilbert launched his sprint (from 3rd wheel—the best option), Boonen hesitated for a split-second, wavering as to whether to stay on Borzic’s wheel or go after Gilbert himself. It cost him dearly, for Gilbert chose the perfect gear for his final effort—big enough that he couldn’t spin it out, yet small enough to keep the others at bay. A truly fantastic win!

As for Boonen, credit him with countering Gilbert’s attack 8km from the line, then holding-on to the finish. It was a reminder that when he wants to be, the big Belgian is one of the finest classics riders in the world. If these men race like this come April, it’s going to be an exciting spring!

Expect to see Borzic make the move to a Pro Tour team soon—perhaps Silence-Lotto? He would go a long way toward filling the sprinter's hole left by McEwen’s departure last year. (Ed Note: Borzic has renewed through 2011 with Vacansoleil--smart move by the management.)

Next on Gilbert’s program: the Tour of Lombardy. Silence-Lotto will have a tough choice, as Lombardy is likely on Cadel Evans’ list as well. Regardless, with two aces up its sleeve, the team’s great October looks set to continue. Can Cunego spoil the Belgian party?

2. And speaking of Saturday's Lombardy look for a preview following Thursday’s final tune-up, the Giro del Piemonte. In Belgium, the road season officially ends with tomorrow’s Nationale Sluitingprijs - Putte-Kapellen, which roughly means: normally the season’s over--go and watch cyclocross directly.

3. Last week I mentioned a care package I received from Mike and Kaiko at Gage & Desoto and cassette.. Take a look at the photos below, then head to their sites and order some for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

The stylish graphics are printed on American Apparel tees—some of the best-fitting, most comfortable shirts on the market. Graphics are classic, simple, and evoke some of the sport’s most iconic images. (Note the cleverly disguised Flemish lion.)

And yes, while mine were indeed a gift, if they hadn't been, I would have gladly ponied-up my allowance for them anyway.

4. Have you visited our friends at Handspun recently? They’ve unveiled their new Belgian Series of wheels—did you notice the spoke nipples? More on these to come.

5. And while we’re on the subject of wheels for the classics, what are your thoughts on the good folks at Competitive Cyclist offering a handbuilt set of Ambrosio Nemesis tubular wheels—practically right out of Quick Step’s truck—for $1275? In my opinion, you can't really put a price on true quality--espcially when it involves handbuilding wheels with imported rims and gluing tubulars. (Heck, the description alone has to be worth something.) If you've been lucky enough to buy a set, I'll gladly make it worth your while to share your experience with us.

6. And finally, pick-up the latest copy of Readymade for an article on the Portland handbuilt bicycle scene by Embrocation's Jeremy Dunn. As always, Jeremy has a terrific way of telling a story through photos and words.

That's it for today--what's on your mind? Share your comments below.


  1. Also interesting was Van Avermaet closing the gap to Gilbert’s initial move
    Incorrect, it was Van Avermaet who attacked first.

  2. Expect to see Borzic make the move to a Pro Tour team soon
    Hardly. Bozic recently extended his contract with Vacansoleil till end of 2011.

  3. Wow! I'm zero for two today--thanks for the corrections! Always appreciate the fact-checking.

    That makes more sense that it was Van Avermaet attacked first--it looked like Gilbert on my small screen--but GVA makes much more sense.

  4. Hey! As SKY released the news that their riding Pinarello last year I got into a discussion over what bike sponsorship actually means. I remember Vroomen of Cervelo saying that Specialized outbid him for Saxo Bank. Do you have any idea how Pro Tour sponsorship works? How many bikes are needed to supply a 25 man squad over a year? What about wheels?

  5. Crap. Last week/ next year mishap, you get the point....

  6. That's a good question: at Mercury, we ordered about 3-4 bikes per rider not including TT bikes and bikes for the TDF. It was assumed that each rider would have 1 training bike for home, and then at least 2 race bikes for the season. Better riders, or riders needing different bikes for different races (climbers and cobblers, mainly), had extra bikes for their specialties. So for the average Pro Tour team, I'd say they go through about 100-150 bikes depending on roster size. Wheels, figure about 1.5 to 2 times that amount depending on the sponsor and the inventory that the team is able to save from the year before. For example, spoked wheels for the classics are generally maintained for several seasons as they aren't used as frequently.

    Was interested to see SKY on Pinarello too. Wonder what other changes we'll be seeing for 2010. I also wonder how much Mavic paid to get Garmin away from Zipp. Maybe they'll bring back the Classics Pro?

    Thanks for the questions!

  7. Thanks for an informative reply! You say Mavic might have paid Garmin to swap from Zipp, I also noted that Saxo went from Shimano to SRAM earlier this year, any idea why? Does this mean that suppliers provide bikes and tech, some components as well as some cash?

    I heard that the Joker Bianchi boys (EBH's former team, this year they won a stage in Ireland and offloaded Kristoff to BMC) had to dig deep into the team budget to buy Zipps.

    And I'm left with the memory of David Millar throwing away his bike in disgust when the chain broke a few years ago...not the publicity the supplier had hoped for I presume.

    Have a splendid weekend!

  8. According to Competitive Cyclist's Blog, Mavic paid Garmin $500k for the switch.


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