Madison Genesis to cease racing at end of 2019


Joe Robinson

21 Jun 2019

Another British Continental team bites the dust

Leading British racing team Madison Genesis have announced they will cease racing at the end of the season. Announced in an open letter to the fans, the British Continental team’s primary sponsor confirmed it would not continue next season. After seven years on the racing scene, Madison will look to invest its money in other areas of the business.

Founder of the team and CEO of primary sponsor Madison, Dominic Langen, spoke of his frustration with the domestic racing scene and why he considered now the best time to close the team. 

‘We created a UK road cycle team brand loved by so many people, with a highly desirable image,’ said Langan.

‘We have worked incredibly hard to create a team ethos of good sportsmanship with a high level of fan base engagement which delivered some fantastic results and over the last seven years, we helped some talented riders achieve their full potential.

‘However, the market is constantly evolving and whilst I would be lying if I said we didn’t have frustrations with certain aspects of the UK race scene, I feel, more importantly, that now is the right time to bring the team to an end so we can invest in other market segments which are now showing much more significant growth potential.’

The Madison Genesis outfit has been one of the most dominant domestic teams since its creation in 2012. The team offered a home to some of the country’s most talented domestic professionals including the likes of Ian Bibby, Tom Stewart and Erik Rowsell.

The consistently strong roster helped secure victory in the 2015 Tour Series while the crowning moment came at last year’s British National Championships when Connor Swift took the title.

The team’s creation in 2012 was helped by former pro rider and WorldTour sports director Roger Hammond, who came on board from the beginning.

Currently working for the team, he will guide them through to their end and spoke of his gratitude for working with the domestic side.

‘When the team was built, we set out to achieve certain goals and it is with great pride that I can say we achieved those goals and continued to do so each year,’ Hammond said.

‘It has given me great pleasure to see riders developing with our team, with some of them going to ride the biggest races in the world. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved with or supported the team. It has been a pleasure to have you along for the ride.’

The shutting of Madison Genesis is not good news for the domestic racing scene. This is the third Continental team registered in the UK to end in 12 months after the closing of JLT-Condor and One Pro Cycling in 2018.

Confirmed: Tom Dumoulin will miss Tour de France


Joe Robinson

20 Jun 2019

Dutchman latest Grand Tour giant to be absent in race for yellow jersey

Tom Dumoulin will miss the Tour de France as a knee injury sustained at the Giro d’Italia continues to hamper the rider. Team Sunweb confirmed in a press release, stating that the Dutchman would have to miss next month’s Grand Tour ‘after a physically challenging run up to the race means that he is unable to be in the best possible shape to tackle three hard weeks of racing in France.’

The 28-year-old crashed on Stage 4 of last month’s Giro sustaining an injury to his right knee. He abandoned the next day citing an inability to ride at full capacity.

It was expected that Dumoulin would then reassess his season to focus on the Tour de France.

This looked to be going to plan when the former Giro champion was on the start list at the Criterium du Dauphine. However, he only managed to complete six stages before pulling out to rest his injuries and attempt to prepare for the Tour.

He then attempted to head to the Alps to complete an altitude camp as preparation but pulled out questioning whether he was ready to make a return to Grand Tour racing.

 

Team Sunweb physician Anko Boelens explained that Dumoulin has simply ran out of time to recover in time for the race.

‘Tom was really eager to be ready in time for the Tour and he tried all he could, but now the conclusion is that it’s simply not possible. We trusted in the process of rest, recuperation and a gradual return to racing but like in any recovery, there have been setbacks,’ said Boelens.

‘Time isn’t on our side anymore to cater for setbacks so to give Tom the time he needs to get back to complete fitness can only be the right decision. It is now clear that he will not recover in time.’

Dumoulin also commented on the situation, citing his disappointment to miss a race that he managed to finish on the podium at just 12 months ago.

‘The last month has been extremely difficult overall, and with the setbacks in the knee recovery. After what happened at the Giro I really wanted to go for it in the Tour, but this week I realised it’s just not realistic for my level to be there in time,’ said Dumoulin.

‘I’ve tried so hard to get there but I really have to listen to my body and release myself from chasing an unrealistic goal.’

The absence of Dumoulin means that only one rider from last year’s podium, eventual winner Geraint Thomas, will be on the Tour start line in Brussels in two weeks’ time.

This comes after third-place finisher Chris Froome crashed on a recon of the Stage 4 time-trial at the Dauphine, sustaining multiple bone fractures.

eBay treasure: A Supermercati Brianzoli–Chateau d’Ax vintage jacket


Joe Robinson

20 Jun 2019

It's now cool to wear you retro cycling gear down to the shops

I spent some time in Brighton recently. It’s really nice down there. Something to with the sea breeze and how everyone’s really liberal. Walking around North Laine – a particularly chic area lined with vintage shops selling reclaimed Levi jeans and cafes selling vegan, gluten-free, superfood brownies – my eyes were drawn to it like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind.

Outside one of those quirky cafes, sipping down a warm soya milk, caffeine-free coconut latte were a man and a woman. The man was sitting, legs crossed, nonchalantly taking drags from his menthol cigarette probably talking Neitzche.

On his feet were a pair of battered Dr Marten’s boots, on his legs some acid wash light blue Levis – cropped at the bottom to show his ankles, and on his top what had caught my eye in the first place.

In pristine condition, a Skil-Reydel/Sem-Mavic cycling jacket. Just like what King Kelly would have worn back in the mid-1980s.

The red stripes dissecting the body were still as vivid as blood while the white was glimmering like a 1980s questionable Daz advert. The four logos on the chest were still as vivid as the day it was stitched.

I’d bet a pound note on that menthol-smoking hipster not having a clue at the history he wore on his shoulders. Of Kelly winning that muddy Roubaix, Paris-Nice, Basque County and Liege-Bastogne-Liege in those colours.

He just wore it because it looked cool and it was at that moment, I realised, wearing weird cycling kit from yesteryear is also cool.

So why wouldn’t you buy this vintage Chateau d’Ax-Supermercardo Brianzoli cycling jacket from eBay for £140?

That’s practically a steal considering the Francesco Moser-induced memories it will bring you as you jaunt around the local town centre. The skinsuits, the bikes, the questionably-placed helicopters sitting in front of Laurent Fignon.

After all, any piece of clothing that combines a now-defunct Italian supermarket, a French soft furnishing chain and a triple Paris-Roubaix winner deserves to be proudly worn as you do your weekly big shop down the local Tesco.

The item description states a 44-inch chest – just right for that oversized look – and even promises 1st class postage. Find it here at eBay.

BMC launches new Roadmachine, an endurance bike for all occasions


Sam Challis

Thursday, June 20, 2019 – 11:03

BMC’s ‘one-bike collection’ gets an overhaul but remains one of the raciest endurance bikes you can buy

TBC

Until around three years ago, endurance bikes were considered the ‘soft’ option and bore no resemblance to most brands’ race bike designs.

Then along came BMC’s Roadmachine. It was as slick looking as the brand’s Teammachine race platform, its geometry wasn’t too far removed and it was nearly as aero.

It triggered a rethink in the industry and brands repositioned the key attributes of endurance bikes – as a result, today most brands’ endurance offerings mirror their race bike designs far more closely and endurance bikes are increasing.

While the original Roachmachine set the standard back then, bike development never fails to move forward apace so more recent releases from BMC’s competitors have trumped the features of the first design.

According to Mart Otten, senior product manager at BMC, this coupled with a change in how cyclists ride was the stimulus to refresh the Roadmachine.

‘Road cyclists are riding further, longer, and to higher elevations than ever before. And, many endurance riders are travelling great distances to different regions and countries to participate in epic-size events which entail all-day adventures.

At the same time, those events get more extreme by navigating varying road styles and conditions, longer distances and often more climbing. We wanted to meet those demands with a new design.’

The new Roadmachine has all the hallmarks of an updated design: according to BMC it is lighter, stiffer, comfier and has wider tyre clearances.

The frame is put together using BMC’s ‘Tuned Compliance Concept’, whereby the carbon is laid up to promote compliance but not sacrifice pedalling efficiency. It is the new way of saying ‘laterally stiff, vertically compliant.’

BMC says thanks to the use of some ‘advanced computer modelling’ it has achieved a more effective scheduling of the carbon in the frame’s construction.

Tube shapes have considerably changed in several places, the D-shaped seat post has been slimmed down and the seatstays have been dropped a further 10mm.

This all means bottom bracket stiffness has gone up by 5% and the torsional stiffness of the front end has been improved by 20%.

A new, asymmetric fork is 10% stiffer, yet total front end compliance is up by 25% over the previous generation bike. BMC says these improvements have all occurred in the context of a 25g drop in frame weight.

BMC’s ‘Integrated Cockpit System’ has been a successful inclusion on both its Teammachine and Timemachine Road designs so it has been carried forward on to the new Roadmachine as well.

‘ICS’ offers a variety of stem dimensions while maintaining integrated aero cable routing via cover underneath the stem.

BMC says the feature ‘allows stack and reach adjustability via a dedicated split spacer system for easy fit adjustment without stem removal and hydraulic hose disconnection.’

While the versatility of the new Roadmachine stops short of the requirements necessary for proper gravel riding, BMC suggests the new bike is an ‘all-road’ machine, thanks to its capability to take tyres up to 33c.

‘We wanted to create an endurance bike that is not only good for riding all types of road surfaces, from smooth tarmac to rougher roads or cobbles, but also one that also shines when roads point uphill,’ says Otten.

Time will tell if these claims hold true as Cyclist is due to test the new design in the near future. Check back for our take on BMC’s Roadmachine soon.

Rapha Pro Team Aero Jersey and Pro Team Bib Shorts II review


James Spender

Thursday, June 20, 2019 – 10:53

Well-made race fit jersey that promises free speed, twinned with superbly comfortable bibshorts. All at a price, mind


4.0
/ 5

Jersey -£145, Bibshorts -£195 or £270 when bought together

The direct spin-off from Rapha’s wind-tunnel tested Aerosuit that debuted with Team Sky (remember them?) a few years back, the Pro Team Aero Jersey is a fine addition to the Rapha range, which as per its name, promises to make you faster.

The Aero Jersey isn’t just the top half cut off from the Aerosuit, mind, but it does borrow far more than just a name and an idea.

Like for like – there is a new Aerosuit too (£230) – the Aero Jersey shares in the same golf-ball dimpled fabrics across the shoulders, smooth fabrics about the arms and textured fabric on the back panel as the all-in-one suit, and has a directional nap across the back that might best be explained as like stroking a cat.

In one direction (head to back) the fabric is smooth, the other direction it is noticeably rougher.

It’s all designed to help air flow more smoothly over the rider, and while I believe the theory and the industry-wide research that says aero clothing has far more potential than any other piece of equipment to save watts, I can’t say empirically that wearing the Aero Jersey made any difference. Neither, it turns out, can Rapha.

I asked its head of design, Maria Olsson, if there was any data to back up the ‘aero’ moniker, and she replied that while the Aerosuit has been wind-tunnel tested, where it ‘proved to be faster than all the other suits we tested’, the Aero Jersey has not, ‘as the use cases are very different and there are too many variables’.

Which I take to mean a road race situation – for which the Aero Jersey is designed – sees less consistent speeds, varying conditions and crucially, lots of rider body positions. This compared to a time-trial where such variables are more limited.

You could read this as Rapha saying the kit just aero, but I’d disagree, mainly because irrespective of anything else the Aero Jersey is very well fitted – figure hugging but without being restrictive – and there’s no way that tight clothing isn’t faster than looser clothing.

It probably goes without saying – and this is not a criticism – the Aero Jersey is very much a summer garment, it’s pretty lightweight, it’s tight so getting thick baselayers under it won’t feel great, and the sleeves are long which in my experience won’t gel well with armwarmers.

On the other hand, the Bib Shorts II would be serviceable most of the year round with a set of leg/kneewarmers. But the point remains the Aero Jersey is quite specific, and this won’t appeal to riders seeking more versatility from a single jersey.

Fit and detail

The sleeves are another aero dimension, much longer than you’d expect from a regular jersey, coming right down to the edge of the elbow. Or that’s the idea.

It’s no great shakes, but whereas the models in Rapha’s marketing material show lovely wrinkle-free material, I couldn’t get the Aero Jersey sleeves to sit around my elbows without bunching slightly in the crook.

They’re just too long, or at least my arms are just too short.

An interesting quirk is the detailing, primarily the raised, rubberised ‘Rapha’ lettering writ large on the left sleeve. It looks sharp, and being thick rubber it shouldn’t crack as the garment ages in the way thinly printed silicone does.

But it does sit well proud of the sleeve material and thus begs the question, ‘Isn’t it un-aero?’ Especially since it is on the leading edge of the shoulder/arm, eg, the first thing the wind hits.

‘We got a lot of questions about this as far as the [wind-tunnel tested] Aerosuit goes [which has the same feature], and the easy answer is that it does not impact the drag,’ says Olsson. So there you go. Case closed.

Overall

There’s little to report about Rapha’s Pro Team Bib Shorts II, other than the fact they are now in a variety of different colours, including a very fetching, on-trend dark blue. I like them very much, and have had several pairs of these and the Classic Bib Shorts over the years and can vouch for their longevity.

They’re available in two leg lengths, regular and long, which another nice touch, and the seat pad is sized per size, ie bigger bibs have bigger seat pads. It sounds obvious, but not all brands do this to such an extent, or at all.

One thing I’ll never understand, though, is the race radio pockets on the bibs at the small of the back either side the spine.

Yes, I get Rapha sponsors pro teams, but for the rest of us these pockets are unnecessary (and to be fair, appear on an unnecessary number of consumer garments across the board). But top tip – you can put secret reserve gels in them, so perhaps they’re not that bad after all.

With the introduction of a new colour palette – colourful enough to feel different yet muted enough to match bikes and not look dated in two seasons – Rapha has also added to its sock range with complementary colours of the Pro Team Socks, which similar to the Bib Shorts are available in three cuff lengths.

The regular length socks I tested cost £15. Yep, £7.50 a foot. They are very nice socks though, and that is pretty much the bottom line with this jersey and bibs too.

This is really lovely kit to ride in, it tailored just so to augment the feeling of being on the bike.

Also, I’d stick my neck out and say this is the best looking kit I have seen in a long time. I like the zany patterned jerseys and sock-doping trends of the last few years, but I can’t help feeling they will age badly as fluoro kit has – though again, I loved it at the time.

This kit will still look good in three years, or five or ten if the materials hold up, which I’d wager they will for a good long time, and Rapha still operates its mend kit for free after a crash policy.

Thus far I’ve avoided discussing price, but jersey, bibs and socks are a substantial outlay, even with Rapha’s 20% saving if you buy top and bottoms together.

But hey, a lot of kit is very expensive these days – rightly or wrongly – and so if you can afford this gear and want to (probably) go faster, you’ll not be disappointed with the Pro Team Aero Jersey and Bib Shorts II.

And the socks. Don’t forget the socks.