Saturday, January 11, 2014

Italian Cycling Journal: 7 Years and now a "Pausa"

It's hard to believe but it has been now seven years since I started the Italian Cycling Journal.

More than 3,000 blog entries later it's time for a "pausa", pause.

THANK YOU for reading, to the many contributors, and to all the new friends I made on this journey. 




In Velo Veritas, Vintage Riding in Austria


Across the border, on 15 June 2014, the second In Velo Veritas will start in Korneuburg. Austria. The registration portal, at www.inveloveritas.at, is already open so you can secure your place at the starting line. Reduced registration price through 31 January.

The new starting point in Korneuburg offers ideal riding as well as a fantastic program of supporting events. And the routes are also new and improved: for the first time, there will be three different cycling distances from 70km to 140km right up to a hardcore stage of 210km. So, there is a suitable route for everyone.

The first route highlight has been revealed: the Buschberg climb. Have you ever heard of the Buschberg? Without giving too much away it can be said that the 210km and the 140km routes will head over the Buschberg. The Buschberg (491m) is the highest elevation of the Weinviertel. The name is derived from "pusk" which is old high german for "bump". It's only a couple of turns up to the top but it will make some climber hearts beat a bit faster. On the top you'll also find the lowest located mountain hut of Austria, serving an amazing, homemade "Topfenstrudel". A decision has not been made if there will be a rest stop at the top of Buschberg but you are welcome to ride the climb and taste the Strudel up there.


Content for the Italian Cycling Journal is now based upon contributions from readers. Please contribute. Stories about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, racing, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

ROTOR for Team Lampre-Merida

2014 will see a second Pro Tour team riding Rotor products – Team Lampre-Merida.

The team has aligned with ROTOR specifically for their know-how and investment in biomechanical studies. This is evident in their flagship products like Q-Rings (eliptical chainrings) mounted on the 3D+ and Flow cranks and the new Power Meter cranksets. The riders and team are confident to benefit in their performance from this know-how in their training and in races.

The MERIDA bikes will be equipped with Rotor 3D+, Flow and Power Meter cranks. Each rider will have the choice between a wide selection of chainrings and Q rings for their best performance set up. ROTOR will support the transition with one on one testing and set up sessions during the training camps.

Brent Copeland, Team Manager of Lampre-Merida: "On behalf of Team Lampre-Merida I would like to say it gives us great pleasure to be working with Rotor starting for the 2014 season. They are a professional and passionate company who go out of their way to please every need of our riders and mechanics. It is the first time for our riders to experience Q-rings. There has been a lot of curiosity from the riders and after some transformation period and time for them to test, we will be confident to see a positive response. We are looking forward to building a strong relationship with Rotor in the future to bring about the best results for all involved."


Rui Costa, UCI Road World Champion (btw, wearing customized Sidi Wire shoes featuring rainbow graphics): “I adapted very quickly to the Q-Rings and It gave me a more aerodynamic feel. Most importantly it eliminated the dead spot in my pedal Stroke.”

Andreas Rottler, Director of Sport Marketing at Merida: "We decided to go for ROTOR because we believe in the products and the support they provide. The Q-Rings combined with the new power meter makes a perfect system for training and racing for our riders.”

Ignacio Estelles, CEO of ROTOR Bike Components : “I feel very privileged to be joining the Lampre-Merida Team with the current world champion Rui Costa . Their synergy of Pro-Tour expertise and innovative bicycle design will help ROTOR to develop and test our products at the highest level. Especially their dedication to wind tunnel testing and aerodynamics is very much in line with Rotor product design philosophy. "


In photo, from the left: Brent Copeland (team manager Lampre-Merida), Rui Costa (World Champion), Ignacio Estelles (CEO Rotor Bike Components) e Wolfgang Renner (general manager Merida Europa).T

Rotor answers the question, "Why use elipitical chainrings anyway?"

Rotor Bikes - Q Rings a Road Cycling video by Rotor


The Rotor website is  www.rotorbike.com

p.s. don't remind me about Shimano Biopace rings :-)

Rui Costa photo: by Bettini

Content for the Italian Cycling Journal is now based upon contributions from readers. Please contribute. Stories about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, racing, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com. 


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 Giro d'Italia Jerseys Presented



The new official 2014 Giro d’Italia jersey designs were today unveiled during the Pitti Immagine Uomo event. This year’s Giro d’Italia takes place from 9th May – 1st June, starting from Belfast in Ireland.

The unveiling of the 97th edition’s jerseys included testimonials from the event’s new charity partner for 2014, international charity Oxfam, with the charity’s Cristina Chiabotto, Chiara Francini and Nadia Toffa in attendance.

THE JERSEYS
Created by the Irish designer Fergus Niland on behalf of Santini SMS who will make them, the jerseys’ represent the perfect match between Giro d’Italia and the Grande Partenza on the island of Ireland. The jersey features typically Irish graphics, such as tweed pattern and a stylized shamrock as symbol.

The charity partnership is proudly reinforced with the claim that “Giro Fights for Oxfam” on the left sleeve, to underline the charity causes that the Corsa Rosa and the Oxfam will support together.

JERSEYS SPONSORS

MAGLIA ROSA – BALOCCO: For the second consecutive year Balocco will be the Maglia Rosa sponsor, symbol of the General Classification leader and a cycling icon around the world.

MAGLIA AZZURRA – BANCA MEDIOLANUM: The leader of this special classification, dedicated to the King of the Mountain, will wear the Maglia Azzurra Banca Mediolanum, a jersey which has the same sky colour as where the great Giro mountains stand supreme.

MAGLIA ROSSA – ALGIDA: In 2014 Algida is a proud partner of the Giro d’Italia, and brings the vortex of their cream heart on the Maglia Rossa as symbol of the Points Classification.

MAGLIA BIANCA – F.LLI ORSERO: This jersey represents the Youg Rider General Classification, symbolising freshness and novelty and embodying the F.lli Orsero fruit qualities.

CHARITY PARTNER
Oxfam will be the Charity Partner 2014 of the Giro d’Italia.

This international charity organization is part of a great coalition, formed by 17 organizations that work in over 90 countries around the world, aiming to find permanent solutions to the injustice of poverty in the world.

The Corsa Rosa stands alongside Oxfam to promote and support projects linked to rural and women’s entrepreneurship development.

The pink, the colour of women, embodied in the symbol of excellence of the Giro d’Italia, the Maglia Rosa, brings a strong and clear social message that Giro Fights for Oxfam.

Giro and Oxfam will together build and sustain a supporting communication campaign.

btw, our friends (we have lots of them) at cycleitalia have been working on a special program for this year's Giro, see here.

Content for the Italian Cycling Journal is now based upon contributions from readers. Please contribute. Stories about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, racing, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com. 

Why cycle? Why not? It’s Good for You

Thanks for the contribution from David Wold, as follows:

Why cycle? Why not? It’s good for you.
By David Wold

Cycling is one of my passions. Whistling down a road through engaging countryside. Listening to the sweet hum of the tires on the asphalt. Observing the seasons. Smelling their various fragrances. Breathing fresh out-of-doors air. Clearing my mind. Thinking thoughts, sometimes relevant, sometimes not. Companionship. To boot, experts claim cycling is an excellent way to stay healthy.

These are some of the reasons why I cycle. If there are more or better reasons for doing it, let me know. I’m a willing listener.

Companionship is another reason I cycle. My cycling pals are just as eager as I am “to get out there”. The numbers of world threatening problems we’ve solved during our rest stops are innumerable.

The countryside and the seasons

Cycling, like the year can be divided into seasons. Clearly, the most desirable seasons for doing it are spring and summer. At least they are when I do most of my cycling.

I live in Säffle, Sweden a rather insignificant dot on the planet which lies at 59° 6.613', 12° 52.662 to be exact. That’s about the same as Anchorage, Alaska if that’s your point of reference. In any case, Säffle is pretty far north.

The cycling season here begins in April, with a little luck. The roads then can have the odd patch of ice, and the ditches are still snow filled while the snow in the fields has melted enough to reveal a little plowed earth.

Studded tires are a good choice when riding under these circumstances. With studs, it’s possible to ride in January, February and March if you dress for the cold weather. I do. Swedes say, “There is no bad weather only poor clothing.”

After April comes May! My God, what a difference a month makes. Winter with its last chance to reveal its chilly head gives way to sunshine. Young crops shimmer a soft light green in the fields. Wind-still water reflects the tree-lined shoreline and the blue enhanced-by-clouds sky. Spring flowers pop up in rapid succession.

First out is the butterbur, then the blue and white anemones. Soon yellow dominates the countryside with fields filled with blooming dandelions and buttercups and the ditches with marsh marigolds.

When riding at this time of year, I’m happy I have a nose. Lilacs and blossoming fruit trees are cause to slow down for a pleasant whiff. Passing by a farmyard or a field fertilized with manure can be cause to hurry on. Everything from the fragrance of lilacs and blooming fruit trees to the stink of manure is part of riding. I wouldn’t miss any of it.

From midsummer to the Winter solstice

At mid-summer everything is in bloom. So are Swedes. Midsummer is a big deal and the wild flowers available then play a big part in ceremonial celebrations.

Midsummer poles decorated with birch branches and wild flowers are erected for Swedes of all ages to dance around. Young ladies fashion midsummer crowns from wild flowers. They also place seven different wild flowers under their pillow to give rise to a dream about the man they will marry. It’s a magical time of year here.
The flipside are the complainers lamenting that from midsummer forward darkness is on its way. But that’s part of living this far north, I guess. And why not enjoy the beauty of this season while it lasts. There’s no reason to complain about things that you can’t change.

Light, particularly sunlight, is a must among Swedes. In the absence of it, they light candles. I‘m not kidding. At Advent, in the beginning of December, when it’s night more than day, the country is alive with light, artificial though it is. At the winter solstice, the days get longer and the squabblers turn into optimists.

During September, the fields and ditches slowly turn to brown. Leaves and the temperatures fall. As autumn approaches, the smells along the roads change from blooming flowers to the stinking manure farmers spread on their fields to nourish next year’s crops. Oh well. That’s part of the game.

Around mid-October, it’s time to change from short-sleeved jerseys and shorts to long-sleeved and long-legged attire.It’s colder out there but there’s still a lot to experience while on two wheels.

Performance enhancers

Cycling moves slowly. Riders in the Tour de France at their best average about 40 km per hour over a total distance of some 3500 km. My average speed is about half that during my tours around Säffle and the occasional week or two in Italy.

But I’m also about twice or three times the racers’ age and I’m not of their ilk. For me, cycling is much more than peddling as fast as I can to reach a finish line before everybody else.

Racers we now know used performance enhancers, and hopefully this is a thing of the past. The only performance enhancer I’m involved in is wine. And that’s only in Italy, where my cycling is almost exclusively where lovely wines are carefully nurtured.

Obviously, wine is readily available there. Is it a performance enhancer? Debatable. On the other hand, I find long downhill rides with a little buzz on are very, very enjoyable. Then there are the uphills. What goes down also goes up.

That’s the reality you experience when riding in Italy. At the cima, as it’s called in Italy, or summit, as it’s called in English, enough of the last enhancer is worn off to allow enjoying another one just down the road.

In Sardinia, where I cycle under the auspices of SardiniaCycling, the enhancer can be a Cannonau, a lovely red wine. Or it can be a beer. My favorite there is Ichnusa.

In the north of Italy, I select a Chianti Classico or other red wines produced from Sangiovese, the typical grape of Toscana. In the beer department, it’s Birra Moretti.

Once I asked a bartender while in Bosa, Sardinia for “Una Birra Moretti grande, per favore.” After his eyes rolled back into place after a brief visit in the back of his head, he tossed his hands in the air in typical Italian fashion, and in a voice not unlike the Godfather’s, he rasped, “Eh! Questa non è Milano.” So when in Sardinia, do as the Sardinians do. Drink Ichnusa. On the other hand, there isn’t much else to choose from.

Cycling is good for you

Recent studies suggest that exercise can be as effective as many frequently prescribed drugs in treating some of the leading causes of death, including heart disease and diabetes.

If you ask me, physical activity is invigorating and makes me feel raring to go. I believe that cycling in the fresh air, with friends or alone, has a positive effect on mental health and stress levels.

These are all of the reasons why I cycle. What are your reasons for doing it? If you don’t do it, the benefits of it are so plentiful that it’s worth giving it a whirl. Just do it. At whatever level that suits you best. Why not? I’m quite sure you won’t regret it.

Sidebar

Regular physical activity is regarded as essential to a healthy lifestyle and is linked to a wide variety of physical and mental benefits including:

•    Reduced risk of or protection against Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), high blood pressure, cancer (in particular colon cancer) and diabetes


•    Stronger bones and increased muscle strength


•    Better balance, suppleness and mobility


•    Improved sleep


•    Better maintenance of a healthy weight and reduced risk of obesity.

Companionship is another reason I cycle. My cycling pals are just as eager as I am “to get out there”. Here I am drafting my pal Erik in Toscana with www.gustocycling.com

Content for the Italian Cycling Journal is now based upon contributions from readers. Please contribute. Stories about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, racing, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Team Belkin Bianchi XR.2

Team Belkin has begun its training on their new 2014 Bianchi Oltre XR.2 bikes which are the next evolution of the Oltre (click on images to enlarge).  Later in the month the team will also receive Infinito CV bikes with the Countervail Vibration Cancelling Technology.

The team will make their season debut at the Tour Down Under, 19 to 26 January.





How countervail tchnology works:

Bianchi Infinito CV, no more vibrations: look the difference! from Bianchi on Vimeo.

Content for the Italian Cycling Journal is now based upon contributions from readers. Please contribute. Stories about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, racing, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Giro d'Italia to Unveil 2014 Jerseys

The Giro d'Italia will unveil the 2014 jerseys in Firenze (Florence) on Tuesday, January 7th, at 1600.

Content for the Italian Cycling Journal is now based upon contributions from readers. Please contribute. Stories about rides, granfondos, touring, having a good time cycling in Italy, Italian cycling history, racing, etc. are always welcome. Contact me at veronaman@gmail.com.