Paul Andrews

Archive for the ‘Bicycle Racing’ Category

Been Waiting for This One: Women of Dirt! With Seattle Premiere…

In Mountain Biking, Bicycle Racing, Videos on November 24, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Hometown legend Jill Kintner, who missed being World Champion this year by a mascaraed eyelash, will be featured in the worldwide premiere of “Women of Dirt,” a long-awaited film focusing on the world of women mountain bikers. It’ll happen Feb. 5th at the Northwest Film Forum theater on Capitol Hill, 12th Avenue between Pike and Pine.

Here’s hoping Jill herself will be on hand for the rollout.

We’ve been huge Kintner fans since the beginning, our respect only growing when we saw her grit out a medal at the 2008 Olympics despite a blown-out knee, and then rehab over winter for a dynamite 2009 season. Jill is hands-down the best slalom racer in the world and we’re confident she’ll get the rainbow jersey next year. For all her accomplishments she remains a very real, earnest, down-to-earth person, still carrying that unassuming Northwest humility with her wherever she goes.

Jill’s just one of the stars featured in a lineup including Tammy Donahugh, Stephanie Nychka, Cierra Smith, Emily Johnston, Lisa Myklak, Leana Gerrard, Dawn Cashen, Katrina Strand, Kathy Pruitt, and Darcy Turenne. Bike Magazine has posted a few of the trailers, including Jill’s.

It should be a great evening at the NWFF!

Daily Roundup: Fat Cyclist & Fit Cyclist, Semenuk, Bike sales s-l-o-w

In Bicycle Racing, Daily Roundup, Mountain Biking on November 2, 2009 at 2:53 am

Fat Cyclist hangs with Fit Cyclist.

Early Christmas presents are on sale at Ric Hjertberg’s Wheel Fanatyk, especially Ghisallo wood rims!

We repeat: Brandon Semenuk is redefining the expression, “Go Big!”

Shimano sales down 21 percent in 3rd quarter. Mavic sales down 14 percent. Dismal as both sound, read the links. The issue appears to be margins. The mid-range and high-end stuff isn’t moving. That’s where the fat profits are. Otherwise, the bike business is doing better than most in this Redepression or whatever you want to call it.

This Day in Doping: So many syringes, so little time

In Bicycle Racing, This Day In Doping on November 2, 2009 at 1:26 am

Doping scandals aplenty, Velo News reports. They’re taking another look at 2008 Giro d’Italia samples for CERA, undetectable previously but now testable. The same may happen for the 2009 Giro and Tour as testing catches up with ever newer, previously undetectable substances.

“The report also outlined a new blood doping practice which evaded current testing protocol which monitor blood parameters. About 200ml of blood is extracted, mixed with an anti-coagulant, and re-injected. The practice does not alter blood values and is all but undetectable, the report said.”

And the UCI, whose efficacy anti-doping authorities continue to question, emerges with another black eye:

“Earlier efforts to back-test Giro samples for CERA were squashed by the UCI, but now Italian officials in Padua have taken up the case.”

The Chicken is back! Michael Rasmussen, who was on track to win the 2007 Tour de France before his team suspended him for deceiving it re his whereabouts before the race began, has picked up a new team following his two-year ban.

Rasmussen’s case bears some investigation, because he essentially beat the doping system. He never actually tested positive. He was put on ice simply out of suspicion of cheating.

Which means the system must be pretty easily beatable, because they suspected Rasmussen well before the Tour began and one would assume must have tested him rigorously during the race. So what went wrong? How could this happen? They’re so convinced he doped that they barred him, but nothing in their vast array of testing procedures could prove it?

Euskaltel-Euskadi on the comeback trail from doping scandals? Can they stay clean? And with this kind of money involved, will they get reported if they aren’t clean?

“As part of continued 1 million euro commitment to the team’s total 6.5 million euro budget, the government has included a clause in the sponsorship contract that would end the deal if more doping cases pop up. Reports in Basque Country media also point to an early exodus of title sponsor Euskaltel – the regional telephone operator – if there’s another doping case.”

Floyd Landis got caught and paid the price. Now he’s saying “politics” will keep him from ever competing in the Tour again.

Here’s an idea: Floyd and the Chicken and Tyler Hamilton and Bernhard Kohl and Vinokourov and a bunch of other banned cyclists get together and form a Tour team sponsored by BigPharma companies that make methadone. They could call it Team LiveClean.

World Champion Cadel Evans now wants to finally win the Tour, a prime motivator for his move from Silence to BMC Racing. We wish him luck. Cadel is one of the few pros who proactively says he does not dope. We trust he’s telling the truth and admire him for taking a stand. We also like him because he’s a former mountain biking champion. (So is Rasmussen, but we don’t admire him because, as with a lot of big names in cycling, there’s too much evidence he’s a cheat, even though he never actually got caught.)

This Day in Doping: Team Astana says move along, nothing to see here

In Bicycle Racing, This Day In Doping on October 16, 2009 at 7:45 am

Contador and Team Astana say they have nothing to hide. Quote: “This year’s Tour de France was remarkable for the fact that no riders tested positive during the race.”

Still haven’t heard from Lance on this, but then, he’s no longer with Astana…

2010 Tour de France trash-talking already under way!

In Bicycle Racing, Lance's Chances on October 16, 2009 at 2:22 am

Lance says his main rival in the 2010 Tour de France will be Alberto Contador. Bert says his main rival will be Andy Schleck. The Tour is what, 9 months away? And the gamesmanship is already in full play.

And speaking of being coy, Lance still hasn’t made up his mind whether to race the Giro or Tour of California. So, hey, we’ll do it for him. Lance, you and I both know the Giro would be better training for the Tour. In fact, you might even want to win the Giro, given the fact you never have, it would be a nice feather in your comeback hat, and you and you won’t win the Tour. But you and I also know that Team Radio Shack is an American team, with American sponsors, and skipping out on the “Tour de France” of America — the Tour of California — which deliberately moved back its dates (despite the conflict with the Giro) to accommodate growing crowds and media interest, as well as the weather gods, would be a ginormous snub.

So, decision made: It’s Cali all the way. But for now, keep us all guessing. It’s more fun that way.

This Day in Doping: Did Lance, Alberto & Astana get preferential treatment?

In Bicycle Racing, This Day In Doping on October 8, 2009 at 12:38 am

Team Astana, including stars Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador, got preferential treatment when it came to drug testing, two leading French newspapers have reported (linked by Bicycle.net).

This is part of an ongoing snit between the UCI, the international cycling governing body, and French anti-doping authorities over the rigorousness of dope testing during the Tour de France. The UCI undoubtedly considers the irregularities, including the infamous 45-minute delay at one point during the Tour, as trivial. If the AFLD is correct in its allegations, however, it raises serious questions as to the diligence of UCI procedures.

It’s hard to know — particularly based on a reading of press reports rather than original documentation — whose side to take, other than the truth’s, which will always remain in question. As we’ve said before, doping at this point is not an athletic issue or even a political issue. It’s a financial issue. Say they found doping on Team Astana and Lance and Bert got kicked off the Tour. Where would that leave the Big Money — TV and commercial sponsors — that makes the Tour possible? This is the main reason why the worst penalty a steroid-soaked baseball star can expect is an asterisk next to his records.

So cycling governance just muddles along, engaging in petty feuding and self-righteous posturing, while the doping continues.

Bert’s and Lance’s main transgression here may be that they’re not French. I mean, where was the AFLD (or equivalent) when Hinault and Fignon were ripping up the Tour?

BikeSnobNYC takes a swing at the doping scene as well, with his usual amusing speculation (every time Lance is tested he tweets? really? or does he tweet only when he knows full well that supposed irregularities will get reported?) thrown in for comic relief. Worth a read as always.

Meanwhile, doping is migrating its way down into the amateur ranks as well, and even the excuses are the same.

And back in Italy, yet another suspension.

Daily Roundup: Lance’s coyness, Tyler rools! Fixie Love and more

In Bicycle Racing, Daily Roundup, Interbike 2009, Lance's Chances, Mountain Biking on October 2, 2009 at 2:19 am

Well now Lance has himself in a pretty pickle. With the Tour of California moving to May to avoid the freezing wet of last April’s racing, Lance now has to decide between the Giro d’Italia and the Tour d’Cali. I’m sure his heart is in California but he has Team Radio Shack to think about, and all the big bucks that go with Euro racing. So he’s being coy. First he’s not gonna do Cali, only the Giro. Then — UPDATE! — he says he’s mulling things over. OK by us if he keeps us guessing, long as he comes down on the side of the Golden State.

I know it’s possible to love a bike, and in fact it’s possible to love several bikes at once. I love all my mountain bikes, for instance. I will never love a fixed gear bike, but am not opposed to fixed-gear relationships and in fact support affording fixed-gear lovers the same rights and benefits as all bike owners. So when I read a syrupy encomium to the fixie, I do not disrespect. I link.

Turner was showing a prototype of its DW-Link RFX long-travel trail bike at Interbike 2009, but to me it looks like the thing still needs work. Strange that it’s taking so long, too. We know Dave wants to get it right, but there’s gotta be some subtext here. Licensing? Flat market for hi-end 6-inch bikes? Design tweaks? Whisper in our ear, we won’t say where we got it from…

This Day In Doping: Thomas Dekker is tossed off Team Silence after his B test shows positive. Dekker says it was a one-off mistake he apologizes for and WILL NEVER DO AGAIN! Why are we so uncharitably skeptical? Well, for one, there’s the issue of who sponsored Dekker. To cleanse itself of the embarrassing association with an admitted doper, Silence is changing its name to … Omega Pharma! That’s right, a drug company is financing a pro cycling team. And you wonder why it’s so dang hard to clean up this sport:

“Silence, which is part subsidized by Belgium’s national lottery, has changed the name of its main sponsor on several occasions in recent years. It was called Davitamon from 2005 to 2006, Predictor in 2007 and Silence in 2008 and 2009. All three names are from products among those made by the pharmaceutical company Omega Pharma.”

More kudos to Wenatchee’s Tyler Farrar, who on Thursday won the opening stage of the Circuit Franco-Belge, then followed it with another win Friday. With “fastest human on wheels” Mark Cavendish out for the season, Farrar stands a great chance of racking up some impressive wins.

Daily Roundup: Ex-mtber wins road worlds, Cali parks stay open, Interbike leftovers and more

In Bicycle advocacy, Bicycle Racing, Daily Roundup, Interbike 2009, Mountain Biking, Obama Bikes on September 28, 2009 at 2:35 am

California’s decision not to close state parks is great news for mountain bikers. Common sense in this case was aided by the stat that for every dollar the state spends on its parks, it takes in about $3. That and the fact concessionaires were contacting their lawyers over breach of contract if the parks were to close…

A former mountain biker, Australia’s Cadel Evans, has won the world road racing championship. A former road racer has never won much of anything in mountain biking, so this proves which is the tougher sport. Moreover, Evans is a “clean” rider, so it’s an even bigger deal.

GoPro’s early stuff was junk, but credit where due, they’re keeping at it and getting it right. The Hero HD was at Interbike 2009 and I think I’ll give their line another go-around.

IMBA’s industry breakfast at Interbike 2009 packed ‘em in. We’re looking forward to the mentioned bike-umentary, “Pedal Driven.”

Alberto Contador may not have to ride for Astana next year, because Astana may not exist next year.

The Tour of California, shaping up as America’s premier contribution to the world cycling calendar, is moving to mid-May next year. Hopefully no more April showers, and it’ll be a lot warmer. We fans thank the organizers! (And thanks to Lance Armstrong for bringing out the crowds this past season, guaranteeing the event’s future.)

OK OK, what I said about Cadel Evans was just a joke, OK? Besides, Lance is NOT a former road racer who left road racing for mountain biking. And the Leadville 100 is hardly the world championships. OK???

Interbike 2009: 29er anyone?

In Bicycle Racing, Equipment reviews, Interbike 2009, Mountain Biking on September 25, 2009 at 12:17 pm

It’s hard to know what to make of the 29er explosion on display at Interbike this week. Most boutique manufacturers are coming out with 29-inch models, and Lenz even was showing a 29er downhill bike — 7 inches of long travel (really long when you consider the bigger wheels) with a 26-inch mod kit for the rear if the big wheel is just too much. Why you’d get a 29er for downhilling and then switch out to a 26-inch rear is one of those great Unsolved Mysteries that will never make the TV show, but it is what it is.

First, a reality check. When manufacturers and PR types talk about the 29er revolution, they’re mixing marginal data with speculation and hope. I have yet to see an industry figure for 29er adoption. There’s another revolution in mountain biking going on, too, having to do with tubeless tires. For loose yardstick purposes, keep the tubeless “revolution” in mind in evaluating the 29er revolution.

I can’t see most downhillers, who are compact guys and gals between 5-9 and 6-0, getting much advantage from a 29er. But someone who did come to mind is the all-time greatest, Steve Peat, a big guy with shoulders broad as Texas who tosses a conventional 26-inch downhill bike around like it was a BMX.

It’d be interesting to have a guy of Peaty’s dimensions (6-2, 200 lbs) try out the 29er DH. Or even the new Santa Cruz Tallboy 4-inch 29er for that matter (Peat rides for SC). If Peat smokes the field riding a 29er then I’d say yeah, we have a winnah!

There’s no question that a 29er is going to roll faster and cover more ground than a 26-inch bike. If downhilling were just a matter of point and rip, then yes, by all means, a 29er would belong in your quiver. But downhill courses are among the most technically demanding racing a rider can do. There’s lots of twisting and turning and braking and railing. It’s a big question-mark whether the gyroscopic advantages of going 29 translate into an arena modeled for 26-inch competition.

Here at Bike Intelligencer, we’re keeping an open mind. We’ve ridden 29ers and like them. We don’t own any. But we have friends who love the things (for awhile; after the honeymoon, most relegate their 29ers to specific trails and types of riding), and who are all over six feet tall. We may yet see the light. After all, we are just a tad over 6-0. And out of the seven bikes we own, one does actually really truly sport tubeless wheels.

This Day in Doping is baacck! Shimano, Valverde

In Bicycle Racing, This Day In Doping on September 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Shimano says 1 strike yer out! Anyone caught doping is automatically expelled.

That’s all well and good, but again, the problem here is with the UCI governing body. If its tests selectively, and if it looks the other way when it finds irregularities, cyclists have nothing to fear from Shimano.

The Shimano policy is a step forward, but it’s mostly symbolic.

Case in point: Alejandro Valverde, who won the Tour of Spain despite being banned by Italy for doping (Valverde is disputing the allegations). Technically, Valverde is entitled. But you also have to wonder how aggressively cycling governance is going to pursue one of the sport’s top stars — especially a Spaniard in his home country’s premier event. It’s a real dilemma, because huge volumes of money are at stake.

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