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She finished up the world championships, went to Cape Cod, got engaged, and took three weeks off the bike.
And now, Evelyn Stevens is at it again. She’s in Boulder, Colorado this week getting back up to speed, staying with Connie Carpenter and Davis Phinney. “It’s always a nice time of year,” she said. “I’ve been training for a few weeks already. I go to my first training camp in December.”
That entrance back into the fray, though, comes after a chunk of time off the bike. Which, it turns out, doesn’t make her crazy. “That’s funny,” she said when asked if she gets a bit itchy without riding. “I don’t miss it. I’m also traveling a lot. … It’s really nice not putting on your kit. It’s not having to put your spandex on is what I find [nice]. Being able to do other things. I enjoy it. But you’re ready to ride again.”
While she enjoyed a good season, winning the Boels Rental Ladies Tour, the Parx Philly Classic, and the world team time trial, she had a rough go, too. Stevens separated her shoulder in a crash while training for the TTT at worlds, but that didn’t stop her from winning the team event with Specialized-lululemon, placing third in the individual time trial, and taking 12th in the road race.
“It was definitely a factor,” Stevens said to TeamUSA.org after worlds. “Anytime you hurt something, your body is trying to heal it. But it happened, and there was nothing I could do about it.”
Next year, Stevens will move to the Boels-Dolmans team along with sponsors Specialized and lululemon, but the structure will be different.
“It’s a new team, new management, but so far I’ve been lucky,” Stevens said. “That was really positive. I basically learned all my biking from that team and that program.”
As far as the goals for next year, those are undefined until team camp. At least until she starts talking about the upcoming season, then it much comes down to this: Do well in the big races.
The team time trial remains important, as does the individual effort. The UCI world road championships will be held in Richmond, Virginia, which heightens the pressure for American riders. She mentioned major stage races, and … “I would love to do well in some of the one-day classics, but I’m also content to be a good teammate,” she said. “I have teammates who are awesome.”
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Cyclocross weather is unpredictable. It could be warm and sunny one weekend and freezing the next. Castelli’s ’Cross Sanremo Speedsuit, which uses three-quarter sleeves and applies thermal material only to its upper half, attempts to cover as much of this range as possible. It comes close to hitting the mark, but misses in a few key areas.
The original Sanremo Speedsuit was designed for the blazing-fast finishers of the UCI WorldTour. The Speedsuit is essentially a play off of a skinsuit, but the top half can be unzipped similar to a traditional jersey — think of a tight jersey and bibs sewn together at the back, but not the front. The cyclocross version uses the same design concept, but changes the cut and adds key thermal elements up top.
The original Speedsuit was amazingly tight, and is still available in several models, most of which sport traditional three-pocket uppers. The ’cross suit, however, is looser and longer through the upper body to make it more comfortable when off the bike. The longer front also prevents the dreaded bellybutton gap, something best avoided in sub-freezing temperatures.
The ’Cross Sanremo suit uses a thermal material on the uppers, while the bottom half is made from the same thinner material you’d find on Castelli’s Race Bibshort line.
The two rear pockets are great for training, but not ideal for racing. Your pedal could snag a jersey pocket when you shoulder the bike. Castelli says it added pockets to the ’Cross Sanremo suit so that riders could wear it outside of races. But it makes more sense to wear a long sleeve jersey or jacket over a thermal skinsuit in training.
I rode in the ’Cross suit a handful of times and found it to be too warm for anything above 50 degrees, despite the lack of thermal bottoms and a highly breathable material in the underarm. On a cloudy and windy day, with temperatures around 45 degrees, the ’Cross Sanremo suit was perfect. Had the sun been out, it may have been too hot.
I’m quite a fan of the three-quarter sleeves. Most long-sleeve skinsuits tend to be too short for my long arms anyway.
The ’Cross Speedsuit’s aesthetics are subdued, but of the three colors offered — black, blue, and grey (pictured) — the best is the Johnny Cash look of the all-black Speedsuit.
The ’Cross Sanremo suit’s chamois, Castelli’s Kiss 3, is not the Italian brand’s top-of-the-line pad, but it is more comfortable than any other ’cross skinsuit I’ve worn.
At six-foot and 165 pounds with a 32-inch waist and broad shoulders, the medium was tight on me. The large would have probably been a better choice, but I prefer a snug fit, and the overbuilt zipper was up to the task.
To order a custom sublimated version of the ’Cross Sanremo Speedsuit, Castelli requires a minimum order of five pieces. Each item is priced at $270. Castelli’s custom line also has a more traditional skinsuit for ’cross, its Thermal CX Speedsuit. That is priced at $175, again with a five-piece minimum.
A couple other manufacturers allow riders to order custom skinsuits without the headache of minimums. Pactimo offers an order period in the early fall during which cyclocross riders can place full custom orders with no minimums. That brand’s Cross-Skinsuit is $225, though it has a pesky rear pocket. Vie13 Kustom Apparel allows riders to purchase any item with no minimums. The Vie13 Fleece Long Sleeve Skinsuit starts at $222 and prices decrease with bulk orders. Additionally, Vie13 has a 50 percent off crash replacement program that covers the garment for the first six months.
The ’Cross Sanremo Speedsuit will not cover the full swing of the mercury. Cold days will demand a full thermal, and warmer days require no thermal. In my race bag, I would rather have a traditional long-sleeve skinsuit and a thermal skinsuit. If you seldom see very cold days, the all-black ’Cross Sanremo Suit is a versatile option that will last you years, no matter what team you’re racing for.
Suggested retail price: $279
We like: Warm upper; comfortable chamois; high-end leg opening.
We don’t like: No need for pockets, let alone two; some sort of warmer fabric on the shorts would be nice.
The scoop: A well-made thermal skinsuit that covers some colder conditions, but not all, and is a good option for a privateer.
More info: Castelli-cycling.com
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The Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies men’s team will take on 2015 with five new riders to supplement a core of talent that won stages at the Tour of the Gila, Tour of California, and Tour of Utah in 2014.
Cannondale Pro Cycling’s Guillaume Boivin, and Garmin-Sharp’s Phil Gaimon highlight the new signings, returning to race primarily in North America after spending last season in the WorldTour. American Curtis White, along with Canadians Pierrick Naud and Michael Woods will round out the final selection for the team’s 14-man roster.
Nine riders return from last season’s team, including Ryan Anderson, Jesse Anthony, Brad Huff, 2014 Tour of California stage winner Will Routley, Bjorn Selander, Tom Soladay, 2014 Tour of Utah stage winner Eric Young, 2013 U.S. time trial champion Tom Zirbel, and Scott Zwizanski.
One notable loss for the team is climber Carter Jones, who heads to the WorldTour to race with Giant-Alpecin in 2015, but the team remains optimistic about next season.
“On paper this should be our strongest and most well-balanced team yet. We will have more depth on the climbing side thanks to some of our new signings, and we’ll maintain a great core of time trialists, sprinters, and leadout guys,” said performance director Jonas Carney. “That being said, there are very high expectations for this group based on our results in 2014. Our goal is to exceed those expectations.
Boivin, Naud, Woods, and Gaimon arrive with a long list of individual results, while White’s professional career is just beginning to take shape.
“White is a ‘cross specialist and just a few weeks ago claimed the biggest victory of his young career at the U23 Pan Am Continental cyclocross championships” said Carney. “He also excels on the road, and we believe he will bring a lot to the table with our already competitive team.”
Looking ahead to early season
The team will begin its 2015 season with a block of international racing, undertaking a multi-race campaign in Portugal following its Southern California training camp in late January. The campaign will feature the Volta ao Alentejo/Liberty Seguros stage race, as well as the Volta a Costa Vicentina, Cycling Portugal-Classica de Loulé, and the Grande Premio do Guadiana.
“Racing in Europe during the early portion of the season is critical to our yearlong success,” said Carney. “The racing is hard and intense, it helps us quickly build chemistry as a team, and it prepares us well for difficult blocks of racing later in the year.”
The team is again aiming for stage wins and the overall in the UCI America’s Tour as primary goals. UCI stage races like the Tour of California, Tour of Utah, USA Pro Challenge, and the Tour of Alberta will feature prominently in the team’s program, as will defending its National Racing Calendar team title.
The 2015 men’s team consists of entirely American and Canadian athletes — for the eighth consecutive season — a direct result of Carney’s focus on the development and support of North America’s significant talent pool. The uniquely domestic roster will again make the U.S. and Canadian national championships a primary goal, with former national champions in the time trial, road race, and criterium disciplines hailing from both countries.
The historic 2015 UCI road world championships in Richmond, Virginia could feature prominently in the team’s late season. A high placing in the UCI America’s Tour would give the team an automatic bid to start the world team time trial championships.
“Having the world championships here in America is a rare opportunity for a North American team like ours,” said Carney. “We have competed in two world championship TTT events with the men’s team, and having another shot at it with some “home advantage” could be very exciting for the program.”
Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies 2015 men’s road roster
Ryan Anderson (CAN)
Jesse Anthony (USA)
Guillaume Boivin (CAN)
Phil Gaimon (USA)
Brad Huff (USA)
Pierrick Naud (CAN)
Will Routley (CAN)
Bjorn Selander (USA)
Tom Soladay (USA)
Curtis White (USA)
Michael Woods (CAN)
Eric Young (USA)
Tom Zirbel (USA)
Scott Zwizanski (USA)
The post Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies announces full 2015 men’s roster appeared first on VeloNews.com.
MILAN (VN) — Giro d’Italia race director Mauro Vegni said the idea of shorter grand tours would be “stupid” and that it is not part of the UCI’s proposed reforms.
“We did not talk about it, we talked about reform in general,” Vegni told VeloNews of the Paris meeting among cycling’s stakeholders last week.
“I’ve never seen a real proposal on the table to reduce them. It would seem stupid to me. We have a good thing, why cut it back?”
The UCI, cycling’s governing body, has been organizing meetings with the sport’s stakeholders with the plan to introduce reforms for 2017. It is considering fewer and smaller teams, a new points system, and a streamlined calendar. An official UCI report on the changes is due to be released at a WorldTour seminar in Montreux, Switzerland, in early December.
UCI President Brian Cookson, however, responded to rumors that the body could shorten the three grand tours — the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, and the Vuelta a España — to ease the strain on cycling’s calendar.
“Nothing is untouchable,” Cookson told Spain’s AS newspaper Wednesday. “We want to plan for a better sport in which the top cyclists are able to participate in the top races. With the current calendar of three grand tours, each three weeks, it’s impossible.”
Earlier this year, the grand tour bosses said they would oppose anyone touching their historic events. The Tour began in 1903 to become cycling’s biggest race, with the yellow jersey, the Alpe d’Huez, and the finish on the Champs-Élysées capturing the public’s imagination. The Giro, which began in 1909, is nearly as popular as the Tour with its pink jersey and climbs through the country’s north.
Spain’s grand tour is the youngest of the three (1935) and suffers at times, but maintains an important end-of-season spot that allows stage racers to bounce back. In 2014, both Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Chris Froome (Sky) used it to rebound after crashing out of the Tour. They went head-to-head and finished first and second overall, respectively.
“Cycling needs events that promote the sport. The events have a good and important return from TV and with journalists,” Vegni explained.
“To reduce the grand tours, those races that give the most visibility to our sport, would be an error. Why would you go and castrate your best product?”
Vegni explained that Cookson wants to create a better package to sell cycling globally. Instead of looking at grand tours, Vegni said the UCI should trim some of the calendar’s fat, smaller and unpopular races that have popped up over the last 10 years.
“Now, all you need is someone to come along and propose a race, and they will put it in [the calendar]. We should not cut the grand tours for those races,” Vegni added.
“You have to be able to promote cycling in the new countries, and that happens with the big events, not with the small races. You take the big races to those countries and leave behind a mark for the locals to continue the work. You do it via the big events, the grand tours, Milano-Sanremo, Paris-Roubaix. It’d be absurd to touch cycling’s heritage.”
The post Giro d’Italia director blasts idea of shortening grand tours appeared first on VeloNews.com.