British clothing company rolls out special designs
This article was originally published on BikeRadar
On Monday in London after stage 3 of the Tour de France, Rapha celebrated its 10th anniversary with a party on The Mall, just steps from the finish where Marcel Kittel took his second stage win. Rapha is also celebrating with some special-edition gear, including a Kings of Pain line and other, more Tour-specific T-shirts and Team Sky gear.
Kings of Pain
In 2004 Rapha kicked off its presence as a company with an exhibition called Kings of Pain that celebrated what has come to be known as Rapha's style – gritty photos of riders suffering. 10 years later, the British clothing company is capitalising on that with four Kings of Pain products: a button-down jersey, a cycling cap, a case and a bottle opener.
Some of the design elements in the collection, such as the 'blood, sweat, tears and mud' droplets, where designed by Ultan Coyle, the 2012 24-hour UK national time trial champion who took second at the recent 2014 championships, doing 506 miles at an average of 21.1mph and 8,000m of climbing.
The Kings of Pain jersey (£150 / US$220) is a Sportwool piece with a folding collar and snap fasteners. The Essentials Case (£45 / US$65) is leather and satin bag that is large enough to hold a phone, inner tube, multi-tools and some money or a credit card.
Team Sky gear
As an estimated 2.5 million fans lined the roadside for each of the Tour's three stages in the Tour de France, more than a few of them were wearing Team Sky gear.
In addition to its usual selection of cycling gear, Rapha has some special edition T-Shirts, such as the yellow No.1 number plate, "Union Jack'd",...
For the team's sports director Matt White, despite the rain and mud, it was a good day of racing as he explained.
"Bottom line, it was a very pleasing day on two fronts," White said. "Firstly, not one crash between our nine guys today so we are all healthy and safe. And the second reason is that we really featured in the race today. We were on the front foot with Clarkey (Simon Clarke) and Maty Hayman.
"It was always going to be a bit of a gamble to go in the breakaway, it certainly wasn't planned, but they saw an opportunity with some big strong boys launching off the front early and took that."
The breakaway contained seven men at its peak but it slowly dwindled as riders succumbed to crashes and the inclement weather. With 26km left of the 155km stage, Keukeleire bridged across to the leaders with the maillot jaune Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and maillot vert Peter Sagan (Cannondale).
Although there was the 'race-within-a-race' happening, Keukeleire explained it "didn't feel like the Tour de France." "It felt like cyclo-cross today with the mud and the wet cobblestone sections," he said. "I always said I wanted to do...
The route for the second edition of the Tour of Alberta has been announced which will take place over 700 kilometres featuring a prologue and five stages. The race will run in the opposite direction in 2014, Cyclingnews suggested in April, with Edmonton to host the final stage of the race having been the venue of the prologue in 2013.
"We've reversed the overall route to start with a bang in Calgary at Canada Olympic Park, a nod to the international and world-class nature of the event," said Duane Vienneau, the event's Executive Director. "We've got a few new twists in the route. Overall, it will be a race made for speed."
There will be five WorldTour teams in attendance at the UCI2.1 race including Garmin Sharp who are set to be led by last year’s overall winner Rohan Dennis. There will also be six Continental teams at the race and a Canadian National Team at the race.
Ryan Anderson (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), Canada's highest-placing rider in last year's race, said he was looking forward the new parcours and is expecting to be just as tough as last year.
"The overall race is built for speed because it's relatively flat," Anderson said. "But, as someone who has raced the roads of central Alberta, the wind and sometimes non-stop undulating terrain in certain parts can make it very difficult.
"Last year was a tough race and we had some of the world's best professionals from Europe here. Expect some of the same type of racing. As a native of the Province, I'm excited to return for the second edition."
The 2014 Tour of Aberta (2-7 September) Prologue: Calgary - Calgary, 4km Stage 1: Lethbridge - Lethbridge, 142km Stage 2: Innisfail - Red Deer, 145 km ...
Peter Sagan extended his lead in the points classification with another fourth place finish on stage 5 of the Tour de France and sits third overall, but he, his fans and the bookies expected far more from the Cannondale rider on a stage that played perfectly into his superior bike handling skills.
Heavy rain, greasy roads, mud-covered cobbles and a fierce tailwind conspired to make a brutal, albeit relatively short day for the peloton. Sagan made the front group with eventual stage winner Lars Boom (Belkin) but found himself on the wrong end of a gap created when Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) suffered a puncture on the Hornaing sector of cobbles with 15km to go. Sagan was unable to close the gap, and finished 1:01 down.
"I'm happy because I didn't crash. This is very good. I took some points from the other sprinters, this is also good. But I'm also a little disappointed," Sagan said. "I was at the front, but two cobble sectors before the finish, an Omega rider dropped and we weren't able to close the gap.
"It was my mistake. I'm happy I didn't crash and this is good going forward for my Tour de France."
Sagan was not the only pre-stage favourite to lose out - Fabian Cancellara (Trek) was in the group with Sagan, and was similarly unable to close down the gap, thanks in part to a raging tailwind, and a rampaging Vincenzo Nibali, whose Astana teammate Jakob Fuglsang helped to drive the pace across the final kilometers in the group ahead.
"It was already a situation where I was pulling and when they went everyone was looking at me and Peter (Sagan) to do the work," Cancellara complained.
Sagan heads into the sixth stage with a 44-second deficit to the race leader Nibali, and a 50-point lead in the green jersey...
Stage 5 of the Tour de France was Romain Bardet's (Ag2r-La Mondiale) first experience of racing on the pavé but it hardly showed as the 23-year-old arrived in Arenberg Porte du Hainaut with several of his GC rivals including Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ).
"It was a crazy stage," he said. "I have never done something like this on a bike, it was really epic. I knew it would be a big fight from the start and Froome has paid the price. There were three inches of mud in the first sector, I even asked if I could get a mountain bike from a recreational cycling to have a bit more stability.
Despite asking for a change in bikes, Bardet remained upright on the slippery and muddy cobbles and also avoided falling on the flat wet roads which claimed numerous victims.
Riding for most of the stage with the Andrew Talansky (Garmin Sharp) group but behind Nibali, Bardet explained the treacherous conditions on the stage made a tough day in the saddle.
"I left the first sector with the first group, but I had to brake slowdown before the second sector," he said. "I returned to 40th position and from there everyone was trying to stay...
After the finish of a Dantesque fifth stage of the Tour de France, which tackled seven rain-soaked cobbled sectors used in Paris-Roubaix, Tour de France Race Director Christian Prudhomme defended his organization's decision to include the stage in this year's race.
"The cobbles are part of the heritage of the north (of France) and are part of the heritage of the Tour de France. A Tour de France winner has to be able to ride on every kind of road," Prudhomme told Cyclingnews before the unveiling of a new monument in memory of the former world champion Jean Stablinski, who discovered the Trouée Arenberg sector of cobbles that is used in Paris-Roubaix. The sector is considered too dangerous for the Tour de France.
"The cobbles are an integral part of the Tour de France. If we were crazy, we would've gone through the Arenberg forest," Prudhomme said, preferring to speak in French to avoid being misunderstood in English.
"This morning (technical race directors) Thierry Gouvenou and Jean-François Pesscheux - even though he has retired - decided to take away two sectors. The Mons-en-Pévèle sector because it was the hardest and due to the conditions, it wasn't appropriate to pass there. Also the sector Marc Madiot d'Orchies because there was undergrowth. There were leaves on the ground which made it slippery."
"There were many crashes on the asphalt, but not so many on the cobbles. The métier of a cyclist is exceptional but difficult. What they have done today contributes to their legend, being admired by people around the world."
"We didn't ask for rain. We'd love to have rain in Paris-Roubaix because we didn't have it there since 1994 and 2001. We always have the sun there while we preferred to have the...
Time waits for no man and it certainly does not wait for a rider and his team in the Tour de France and on stage 5 of the Tour, Team Sky were forced to quickly change focus after Chris Froome’s retirement.
On the cobbles that lined the road towards the Arenberg the British squad initiated ‘Plan B’ with Richie Porte becoming the team’s protected GC rider. Ably assisted by Geraint Thomas, the Australian avoided several crashes and remained in contention. The pair even attacked in the closing stages of the race from a group containing a number of overall contenders.
Although Vincenzo Nibali and stage winner Lars Boom were already free, Porte and Thomas gained the upper hand, putting time into Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo), Andrew Talansky (Garmin Sharp) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). Porte now sits in the top ten and Thomas will be a key rider for the Australian for the remainder of the race.
“I saw Contador was struggling a bit on the cobbles so I said, Richie get on my wheel and we will just smash it and see what happens,” Thomas said at the finish of the stage.
“It was just mega-stressful. Everyone knew that the cobbles were going to be slippery. Everyone was stressing and those types of roads with the groove in the middle it might have been a shock to a lot of the peloton.”
“I actually enjoyed it then. Once it all broke up and you could take your own line it was awesome. It was good fun but losing Froomey is not good but Richie is in some good form.”
Despite Team Sky rescuing a result Thomas couldn’t hide his feelings over Froome’s departure from the race.
“It a mega loss losing Froome. But at the end of the day...
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) has pinpointed the Pyrenees as the ground for the major battle fields of this year’s Tour de France. The two-time Tour winner, who currently sits in 19th place, 2:37 down on race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), lost time to a number of GC rivals on stage 5 but speaking ahead of the Tour de France Contador remained confident that the mountains would be the deciding factor.
And despite stage five’s losses, Contador’s pre-race predictions still carry water. Ahead of the race he spoke to inCycle about his year so far, his rivals for the yellow jersey and his form after a disappointing 2013.
This season Contador has looked backed to near his best. In a pre-race press conference he likened his current for to his insatiable 2009 season and despite a defeat in the Dauphine last month the Spaniad has certainly climbed with aplomb.
Several wins have seen him find a consistency that was lacking last season and although Chris Froome has left the race Contador still has plenty to do if he is to win his third Tour, with Nibali and Astana looking highly motivated and in form during the opening week of the race.
In this video from inCycle Contador talks about his form, his rivals and where he sees the 2014 Tour de France being won.
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