Archive | November, 2010

Team Europcar – Preparation for 2011

29 Nov

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The 22 riders and 20 support staff on the new Europcar team have met for the first time in Nantes to begin their preparations for the 2011 season. According to team boss Jean-René Bernaudeau, the gathering was more about administration than anything, but there was some discussion about the new team’s jersey and its program for the early part of the coming season. The team were also set to meet Europcar CEO Philippe Guillemot.

 

Bernaudeau revealed that the team’s first competitive appearance will be at the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in January. In what will soon become their former guise of Bbox Bouygues Telecom, the squad were regular visitors to the stage race in the West African country of Gabon. The team will also return to Malaysia’s Tour de Langkawi.

 

“I’ve had to turn down an extremely attractive invitation [to the Tour of Qatar] because it didn’t seem to me to be practical with a roster of just 22 riders,” Bernaudeau told Ouest France. “We need to keep the group as fresh as possible so that we can get through the whole season OK.”

Bernaudeau also revealed that Japanese rider Yukiya Arashiro, whose form in 2010 established him as one of the new team’s leaders, won’t race for the first two months of the season. “He’s going to be held back for later. He finished the season extremely well at the World Championships,” said Bernaudeau.

 

The French team boss admitted it had been strange to discuss what are sure to be the mainly green colours of the new Europcar jersey after six seasons riding in Bbox’s blue. “There might be one or two changes yet to it. The new sponsor has set out its concept and I’ve had one or two things to say with regard to the spaces that I’ve sold,” explained Bernaudeau. He added that the new jersey will not be revealed until the team’s official launch in Paris on January 14.

 

Colnago are among the sponsors already confirmed for the team. The Italian bike company went into partnership with Bernaudeau’s team at the start of 2010, which turned out to be the most successful season the French outfit has ever enjoyed.

 

As well as doing some preliminary testing of the riders for the blood passport system and seeing each of them individually to discuss the season ahead, the team are also using the Nantes meeting as a bonding session. Their preparation for the 2011 season will intensify when they gather for their first training camp in Valencia, Spain, between December 10-17.

 

“Eight days is not as long as last year but it will be more intensive,” said Bernaudeau. “If all goes well we will go back there in January.”

Bernaudeau also proudly pointed out that all but five of the riders on the new roster had emerged from the ranks of the squad’s Vendée U feeder team. “I want to put more investment into the set-up at Les Essarts. We’ve already done a lot with regard to ergonomics, dietetics. I want to have a system that benefits every aspect of cycling in the Vendée region.”

 

So in 2011, its Au revoir to the turquoise jersey and Bonjour to the new Europcar green jersey 🙂

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Colnago & Campagnolo – Great Partnerships!

27 Nov
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Great partnerships! As olive oil is to Pesto Genovese and a fine Barolo wine is to a mature Italian cheese, Colnago and Campagnolo are a marriage made in heaven! This exceptional frame maker has worked hand in hand with this Italian maker of fine components. Looking back over the decades, its a real treat to look at Colnago’s dating back to the 1950’s adorned with Campagnolo groupsets and accessories.
 

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This rich historic partnership takes us right up to the present day with Thomas Voeckler using the Campagnolo Super Record 11 groupset on his Colnago C59 which gave him that impressive stage win in the Tour de France.

 So, why do people feel so passionate about Colnago and Campagnolo? Some owners/riders feel a need to get a tatoo of the Campagnolo logo or Colnago Ace of Clubs on various parts of their bodies. What actually drives people to this ultimate statement of love? You don’t see people getting tattoo’s of  Mitsubishi or Ford on their body parts? No, because Colnago and Campagnolo go a further. They actually touch the inner depths of the rider/owner. Its as if they are in the person’s DNA.

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Its just incredible how these names evoke so much Passion and emotion from cyclist around the word. These are indeed the individual strengths of Colnago and Campagnolo, a time line throughout life which is passed onto the next generation of cyclists. Unique!

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The Vicenza component maker is often known as Campy by American fans. French riders call it “Campa” and the British say “Campag”, with a hard G at the end.

But how do you actually pronounce Campagnolo? There’s no point asking for that espresso macchiato and wearing Sidis if you can’t even talk about the gear on your bike. Thankfully you are only a click away from perfect pronunciation. Just click here.

In all seriousness, it doesn’t matter how you say things or how you ride. But since there’s a variety of pronunciation, I thought you might like to hear some audio from a native.

Colnago at the Museo de Ciclismo & Madonna del Ghisallo church

24 Nov

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If you ever get the chance to visit the Museo de Ciclismo, then it is well worth it. You will be in cycle heaven! The Museum is situated in Madonna del Ghisallo
Via Gino Bartali, 4
22030 Magreglio (CO) 
 

If you do decide to visit, then you will be in for a real Colnago treat! There you will find Vincenzo Torriani’s Colnago which was personally given to him by Ernesto Colnago.  Vincenzo Torriani was best known as one of the original “Giro Bosses” or organisers of the Grand Tour. He held the role for 46 years, from 1946 to 1992. This bike was a special edition given to him by Ernesto Colnago in the 1980s as a gift, recognising his contribution to the great race and Italian cycling in general. Also in his honor they named the “Trofeo Vincenzo Torriani” after him, awarded to the rider who took the Cima Coppi ascent. He was also the man responsible for introducing the Cipressa to the Milan – San Remo, under the direction that the race needed to be made harder in the final stages. Something riders like Cav will curse him for today. This bike is in the museum at the top of the Ghisallo, and of all the bikes on display this one really stands out. The pictures do not do the finish justice, the bike literally glows in the light, even indoors. But as with Colnagos of that era, it was the attention to detail that makes it special: the painted inlay branding and the Italian national colours painted into the seat post inlays.

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For many decades there is between the champions of cycling (mostly Italian, but not limited to) the custom to donate their memorabilia to the Shrine of the Ghisallo: these include for example, bicycles used by Bartali, Coppi and Merckx in their victories in the Tour de France, the special bike used by Moser for the hour record and various mesh pink, yellow and rainbow.

In the nineties these relics were now so numerous that no place in the small church: it was therefore conceived the project of a museum of cycling, to be erected beside the shrine. Chaired the committee for the construction of the museum was named Fiorenzo Magni After several delays, the museum was finally inaugurated on 14th October 2006, at the Giro di Lombardia in 2006, with a ceremony attended by several past and present champions.

The museum is spread over three floors and includes a multimedia collection of material on cycling. The most important relics in any case continue to be exposed in the church sanctuary

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The Museo dil Ciclismo was created “to embrace the heritage of cycling, promoting the collection of objects, their preservation and information relating to a sport that has played a significant social and historical role in Italy…” – Museo Ciclismo 
For further information http://www.museodelghisallo.it/home.html

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Madonna del Ghisallo is the patroness of cyclists’, so proclaimed by Pope Pius XII during the 1949 Giro d’Italia. This tiny church located on a hilltop in the northern Italian hamlet of Magreglio near Lago di Lecco, has become a functional religious attraction and cycling museum, filled with artifacts, photos and other totems from cycling history. The greatest riders in the world like Coppi and Bartali have given their bicycles and jerseys to the church by way of thanks for winning races. You can also find the bike of Fabio Casartelli on which he crashed and died from his injuries.

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Giro di Lombardia (Lombardia ‘s Tour) is the last race of World Cup and even if they change the route, it always includes Ghisallo.

Many, many people make a visit to this tiny church on the top, but in fact, many cyclotiurists feel that the only proper way to make the journey to the chapel is by bicycle, as a sort of pilgrimage. While the chapel has a parking place for cars, the bicycle racks outside the church are often more crowded.

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To cyclists, the most interesting souvenir is the small metal pendant with the Madonna’s image on it. Many pros wind the pendant around the stem of their racing bicycles Tradition and legend hold that the Madonna will keep you safe from harm. While a Madonna pendant may or may not help you keep rubber side down, the powerful feelings associated with a visit to the chapel are undeniable. It sort of validates you as a cyclist.

 

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Colnago – 50th Anniversary bike

21 Nov

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To celebrate his 50th anniversary of building great bicycles, Ernesto Colnago created a limited edition model in carbon fibre, the ‘Anniversary’. A frame that mates a front monocoque carbon triangle to Colnago’s carbon fibre rear triangle with B-Stay, and a more rounded version of Colnago’s High Power chainstays.

 

Colnago’s exclusive design was built in Italian carbon manufacturer ATR’s high-tech factory and was available in eight sizes, including four with sloping top tubes. Ernesto Colnago’s Anniversary was produced in a limited numbers.

 

The anniversary was created in two versions – Shimano Dura Ace 10 speed group personalised exclusively for Colnago, with the Colnago 50th anniversary logo on each component. The other was a Campagnolo 10 speed group-set with Colnago’s carbon fibre crank-set, also personalised with the Colnago 50th anniversary logo.

 

Colnago’s anniversary has a the 1.125-inch headtube, which is coupled with the lighter version of Colnago’s carbon ‘Star’ fork. Additionally, the personalised components on the Colnago 50th are Cinelli’s RAM monocoque carbon handelbars, Vittoria tyres, Ambrosio rims, Selle San Marco saddle and Elite carbon fibre water bottle cage.   

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Colnago in residence at Sigma Sport

20 Nov
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On Friday 12th November 2010 , the Mayor of Richmond and Former Tour de France winner Stephen Roche officially opened the long awaited Sigma Sport Flagship Store at 37-43 High Street Hampton Wick.

 

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Over 200 people packed the pavement outside as the ribbon was cut and the automated glass doors opened to welcome our very first customers inside. They were greeted by a Specialized Allez and a Colnago C59 bicycle, the latter adorned with the latest Campagnolo Super Record groupset and Bora wheels underlining the message that Sigma Sport really does cater for a wide range of cyclists with bikes and accessories for beginner and expert alike…

 

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As you enter the foyer area an informative, illuminated store guide gives you a taste of ‘what is where’. The Ground floor is home to our accessory department and has a workshop reception and customer bike park not to mention a lift that makes for easy access to the first and second floors! The bike-hungry customer will find plenty to excite here including a range of machinery from Specialized, Wilier and Trek with an interactive touch screen display that allows you to configure the ProjectOne bike of your dreams!

 

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The first floor plays host to a wide range of bikes from Felt, Cervleo and Seven and offers a taste of Italy with Colnago and Pinarello well represented. A vast display of Clothing and shoes also live on this floor and the triathlete will find clothing, swim aids and much more here too…

 

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This new store will totally change the way you think about bike shops forever. With facilities that include customer showers, a treatment room, not one, but two bike-fit studios, a soft-zone where you can relax and take everything in! 

 

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If you love cycling you will love the new Store. Open 7 days a week with extended opening hours on Monday and Thursday.

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Great video of the new Colnago clothing range!

18 Nov
Folks, great video of the brand new Colnago clothing range. It really is top quality kit! Enjoy!! 

COLNAGO C59 – TEST RIDE

17 Nov

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(Taken from the recent review in Road CC)

We’ll get to all the technical details later but first you’ll want to know what it rides like…? Superbly, is the short answer, the frame is absolutely sublime, getting the right mixture of comfort and stiffness is nearly always a compromise when designing a frame but I’d say it’s pretty spot on here. Obviously the C59 is a pro level bike so dealing with the relative amounts of power your average club rider can put out compared to the sprinters at the tour probably doesn’t cause it too much of a headache.

 

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Even with the harsh deep section carbon wheels our test bike came with there was no hint of road buzz getting through to your contact points but yet none of your power input is lost. Long days in the saddle are easily achieved thanks to the relaxed nature of the C59, the ride is certainly engaging but only when you want it to be. On a relaxed club run or an early evening steady ride the C59 is right at home cruising along requiring very little rider input (apart from turning the pedals obviously) but when you want to get a move on it really shifts.

The bulk of the testing was carried out on my old training roads taking in the hills of Dorset, many years of club runs on various bikes giving me a good benchmark to compare the C59 to and it certainly impressed. The Colnago is a joy to climb on, long steady climbs are dealt with in comfort being able to sit in the saddle and keep the pedals spinning while the short sharp ones take just a rise out of the saddle and a couple of stamps on the pedals to reach the brow and accelerate over the top. Whether in or out of the saddle, that overall stiffness plays its advantage again wasting none of the power. Faced with technical descents or other obstacles the C59 responds to every command whether through the controls or a shift in body weight

 

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Steering is very quick but not in a skittish way and the front end weights up nicely through tight bends on descents. No flex at all is felt from the 100% carbon fork allowing you to carry plenty of speed while banking the bike over. You’re never going to lose the sprint for the village sign either due to the rapid acceleration that the light weight and stiffness brings; it really does pick up speed like nothing I’ve ever riddenSteering is very quick but not in a skittish way and the front end weights up nicely through tight bends on descents. No flex at all is felt from the 100% carbon fork allowing you to carry plenty of speed while banking the bike over. You’re never going to lose the sprint for the village sign either due to the rapid acceleration that the light weight and stiffness brings; it really does pick up speed like nothing I’ve ever ridden

 

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The ‘Omega’ carbon fibre frame was developed in collaboration with Ferrari engineers and is completely hand built in the Italian factory. Colnago sticks with its lugged construction which allows a huge range of sizes, 22 to be exact (14 traditional and 8 sloping) giving a virtually custom fit carbon frame. There are 150 different moulds in the factory and 30 different head tube lugs to accommodate all the variations. Each individual lug is made up of 12 layers of carbon cloth consisting of woven and uni-directional fibre sheets. The tubes are hand wound from pre-impregnated carbon fibre cloth as well; this allows the tubes to be laid up to control the composition and ride characteristics of each individual frame size.

Both the top tube and down tube are created using a mandrel to achieve the cloverleaf profile, the tubes include an internal I-beam rib which Colnago states is there to maximise stiffness. The top tube is tapered ranging from 40mm diameter at the head tube end where the larger stresses are placed down to 35mm at the seat tube end. At the front Colnago’s C-HS2 semi-integrated headset is used, being 1 1/8” top and bottom bucks the trend of most new frames as everyone seems to be going tapered. A Q2-Stay rear triangle has deep section chain and seat stays to keep thing stiff at the rear end. The flowing curves create a nice contrast to the almost harsh profile that the lugs create on the rest of the frame. All these parts are joined together using a high strength bonding agent which is then cured in a steel jig to enable perfect alignment. 

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While of course all the above is very important we all know that looking good is just as important and while some Colnagos have had some dodgy paint jobs in the past our test bike here certainly didn’t. Hand painted in the factory by the same guys that spray the pro BBox-Bouygues Telecom team bikes (Google Thomas Voeckler’s C59 French national champion paint job) among others the finish is a work of art. Each paint layer is cured in the oven before the next is applied, even the decals are painted using laser cut maskings. Full internal cable routing keep the frame looking clean and there is a flat section at the bottom bracket area ready for a Di2 battery if you go down that route.

 

Sold as a frame and fork package, equipment choice for your C59 is going to be up to you to decide what to hang from it. Ours came with a full 11 spd Campag Record groupset excluding the chainset. This is the first time I’ve ridden Campag’s newer style lever hood and I must admit that so far I prefer the older version – maybe they’ll grow on me, that aside the shifters and mechs worked faultlessly over the test period

 

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FSA supply the K-Force Light chainset along with matching handlebars and stem and even the brake callipers. The hollow cranks felt stiff and the chain shifted cleanly between the 50/34T rings even under load. The brakes worked just as well as anything from Shimano or Campag even on the carbon rims with plenty of modulation once the heat has built up which was no doubt helped by the yellow Swisstop pads. The bars and stem showed no flex whatsoever even during out of the saddle scooter chasing efforts, which is quite impressive considering the light weight.

In a nutshell everything our frame came built up with is all good quality kit and compliments the frame and fork in both performance and looks. SManie provide the saddle and bar tape. A company I’ve personally never come across, the saddle was very comfortable, to be fair I never paid much attention to it which I suppose is the sign of a good seat. The handlebar tape had a velvety style finish which looked good and was and should prove durable. FSA also provided the wheels with their 50mm deep Visionmax carbon rims, reasonably lightweight at around 1400g. There was a bit of flex under load but on the flat the aero advantage could be felt and they do make a lovely noise as they cut through the air.

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Verdict

By the time you’ve finished choosing parts that are going to reflect the quality of the frameset you’re going to be looking at a figure around the £6k mark and that is a serious amount of cash to be throwing at a bike. Is it worth it? In my opinion, yes, no matter how good you are it will flatter your riding style and just the feel good factor of riding it is a big boost. Comparing the ride to the Lapierre Xelius 900 tested by roadcc last year things are very similar, bearing in mind this was only £4600 for the complete bike using a similar spec build it goes to show that at this pro level point spending a lot more money doesn’t necessarily give a huge performance benefit.

The hand made in Italy moniker is always going to add a premium and as described above, the amount of work that goes into each frameset is time consuming. Top end Colnago’s never seem to date either, C40’s and C50’s still command high prices on the second hand market and this is what it’s all about, buying a bike for its style, its tradition, not just how it rides. With so many bikes coming now from the same factories with just different company logos to tell them apart the C59 is something a bit special. If you’ve got the cash and you’ve got to have one, whether for racing, sportives or just a potter round the lanes, go for it, you won’t regret it.