Cycling

How difficult is WorldTour racing?; Orbea revamps its XC bike: Daily News Digest


Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

What does it take to ride in the WorldTour peloton? What kind of effort goes into getting in the breakaway or attacking on a climb? We dove into our archives and pulled out a great piece from 2017 that examines just how strong male pro cyclists really are. The Tour de France is fast approaching, so get an in-depth look into how deep these riders dig to achieve the performances we know and love.


Just how good are male pro road cyclists?

Thanks to Velon, which was created to increase fan engagement in the sport of cycling, it is commonplace to see power and heart rate numbers of riders on the television screen during a race. But, how do those numbers relate to a normal amateur racing cyclist, or to someone who just rides for the experience and does not race?

Using power files from various professional races, we were able to measure just how good male professional cyclists are. We explained and looked over all of the different power numbers riders and coaches use to gauge their training and fitness. Then, we analyzed power files from actual races to see just what kind of efforts a top professional male cyclist produces. The results are remarkable and may leave you more impressed with just what these riders accomplish on a daily basis.

Click through to find out what it takes to be a male pro cyclist.

The one-day race Paris-Roubaix leaves riders physically and mentally exhausted. After the 2018 edition, John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) was a shadow of himself, the effort completely draining him. Photo: Kristof Ramon

Pendleton speaks of depression and anxiety after attempted ascent of Everest

Former world and Olympic track champion Victoria Pendleton has spoken of mental problems, which she believes was caused by her attempt to climb Mount Everest in May. The 37-year-old Briton ascended to 21,000 feet, but was then badly affected by oxygen deficiency and given medical advice to abandon her summit attempt.

Since her return, she has struggled. “It has been a difficult transition back to normality after Everest. The physical and psychological effects of hypoxia and the extreme environment have left me empty,” she said via Instagram.

“I was diagnosed with depression and have been suffering from anxiety. I have experienced low times in the past, but never to this degree. I have a whole new appreciation, and understanding of the debilitating symptoms, and a greater empathy to others. I feel hesitant to say out loud that I’m feeling much better, as I was really caught out by it all and don’t want to find myself in the next moment hijacked again.”

She added that she has been boosted by the ‘love and compassion’ she has received from both those close to her and strangers who have noticed she was struggling. Since her retirement from cycling in 2012, Pendleton has taken up horse racing and had said summiting Everest was a big target.


Race Radio

Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) abandoned the 2018 Giro d’Italia during the 19th stage. He had entered the race as a favorite for the overall title.

Aru identifies causes of Giro disappointment, lays out future plans

Fabio Aru has explained what he says are the reasons behind his disappointing Giro d’Italia, telling La Gazzetta dello Sport that the wrong type of training coupled with food allergies are the reason why he didn’t perform in the event.

Aru’s best stage placings were eighth, ninth and tenth. He was sitting a distant 27th overall the day before he withdrew from the event on stage 19. “In the last part of the pink race I felt completely empty, bloated, lacking strength,” the UAE Team Emirates rider told La Gazzetta. “I was never good.

“When I got home, I did a complete medical screening and found an intolerance to gluten and casein [milk protein]. It is not celiac disease, but when the body is under stress and there is a lot of tension, it does not absorb pasta and carbohydrates well. So I limited the quantities of pasta and carbohydrates, I eliminated dairy products, and I feel lighter, more fluid on the bike. But it was not only the cause of my [bad] performance. Throughout the spring I have never felt good, I have always chased fitness, and this has led me to overdo it.”

Aru said that he has realised that three stints of altitude training was too much for him, and that he will do less of that and more racing in the future. He confirmed that he will miss the Italian championships and the Tour de France, returning to competition at the Tour de Wallonie on July 28 and then doing the Tour of Poland prior to the Vuelta a Espana.

Brammeier retires from racing, accepts management role with British Cycling

Matt Brammeier (Aqua Blue Sport) has called it quits. The Irishman announced via Instagram that he is retiring from racing, and will move into a coaching role with British Cycling. Brammeier’s main duties will be serving as the U23 Academy Endurance Coach and also managing the elite road program.

“My time as a bike rider has given me so much; my amazing wife, many friends, the chance to visit some amazing parts of the world and experience different cultures,” Brammeier said. “I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Smashing into cars, fighting with cement trucks, winning bike races — some not too much fun at the time — but all of these moments, good and bad, I believe define us and make us who we are. Recently I started to realise I’d slowly ran out of competitiveness and lost that drive for bike racing that we all know is needed to even exist in the sport today.”

Brammeier won the Irish national road race championships on four occasions (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) during his career. He was also national time trial champion in 2011.

Chris Horner is back racing

At 41-years-old, Chris Horner became the oldest Grand Tour winner when he won the Vuelta a España in 2013.

American Chris Horner, who won the 2013 Vuelta a Espana over Vincenzo Nibali, is back racing and will compete at the Vuelta a Colombia later this year, according to a report in Ciclismo Internacional.

Horner made his racing return at the U.S. national road championships last weekend with Team Illuminate, his first professional road race since 2016. Horner’s previous team, Lupus Racing, folded at the end of 2016 season, and Horner failed to find a team for 2017 season.

Horner will race the Sibiu Cycling Tour in Romania in July and the Vuelta a Colombia in August with Team Illuminate.

Wanty-Groupe Gobert chasing stage wins at Tour

The Pro Continental outfit Wanty-Groupe Gobert revealed its Tour de France roster and the squad will be chasing stage wins and breakaways in July. Yoann Offredo jumped in a breakaway with American Taylor Phinney on the first road stage of the Tour last year, and the duo nearly survived to the finish. They were caught with a kilometre remaining in the stage. He returns to France looking for the breakaway. Timothy Dupont will lead Wanty-Groupe Gobert in the sprint stages and the team’s managers are optimistic he could nab a top-five finish before the race is over.


Tech news


Orbea revamps Oiz, a race-focused cross country mountain bike

The Oiz, Orbea’s full suspension cross country race platform is a name that’s been in the Spanish company’s lineup for 12 years, and, for 2019, receives a full overhaul. The update sees two versions of the Oiz sharing the same OMR carbon fibre frame, with the XC and TR offering 100 millimetres and 120 millimeters of suspension travel respectively. Using 29-inch wheels in all, but the smallest frame size, the Oiz matches a select crowd of marathon-focused bikes in its ability to hold two water bottles inside the main triangle (medium, large and X-large frame size only).

Compared to the previous Oiz, reach is now longer, and the seat angle steeper. The head angle slacker is also at 69 degrees with a 100-millimetre fork. The rear shock, driven by an effective single-pivot design which runs on low-sag, sits tucked up against the top tube with straight path internal cable routing catering to the remote lockout. The frame is 1x specific and is ready to accept a dropper seatpost. A medium frame is claimed to weigh under 1,600 grams without the rear shock.

The Oiz is also available through Orbea’s MyO custom program, something James Huang tried out in his recent review of the Orbea Orca AMR road bike. Visit Orbea.com for more information on the new Oiz, including the multiple build options.

New independent test ranks bicycle helmet safety

How safe is your bicycle helmet? A new independent test developed by Virginia Tech University and the US-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) aims to answer that question. IIHS already conducts its own testing for automobiles, and is considered to the best gold standard for crash safety in the United States.

Bicycle helmet manufacturers are currently restricted from being able to claim exactly how safe their helmets actually are; they’re only allowed to state that they “meet or exceed” government-mandated minimum safety requirements.

Virginia Tech says its test protocol is more rigorous than what is typically used for federal certifications, and is based on its background testing protective helmets for other contact sports, such as football, hockey, and soccer.

Click through to see the helmets Virginia Tech initially used for the new independent test.


Moving pictures

Quick-Step Floors Tour roster

The blue train of Quick-Step Floors will be in full force at the Tour de France with sprinting ace Fernando Gaviria making his debut at the race. Check out the squad’s full team for the Grande Boucle below.

Happy Birthday to …

Greg LeMond (57), the American is a two-time world champion and three-time winner of the Tour de France. He is officially the only American to have won the Tour after Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven titles in 2012. LeMond also isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He was not afraid to voice his opinions of Armstrong, and, thus, saw his bike brand dropped by Trek. LeMond earned redemption when Armstrong admitted to doping throughout his career.

LeMond recently spoke with CyclingTips, in the latest edition of our What I’ve Learned series. LeMond talked about his background, his experiences with former teammates Bernard Hinault and Laurent Fignon, the 1987 hunting accident which almost killed him, his anti-doping stance, the importance of compassion and the value of perseverance.

Greg LeMond 1989 Tour de France

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