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From the promoter:
Interested in learning more about high school mountain bike racing? Or becoming a coach or volunteering at upcoming races? QBP and NICA are excited to announce the upcoming Pennsylvania High School Mountain Bike League Informational Meeting on Wednesday, April 30. QBP’s Gary Sjoquist, who launched a NICA-based high school league in Minnesota in 2012, will talk about costs, insurance, licensing, and how NICA works to co-create a league.
Why would cyclocross folks be interested in a Mountain Bike based program? Many of the Mid Atlantic ’cross racers have been introduced to cycling through the sport of mountain biking—think Weston Schempf and Jake Sitler. Schempf became passionate about the sport while attending Penn State with his roommate Ryan Leech (a former Collegiate National Champion) and Sitler raced MTB as a JR for his local shop team (Gung Ho Bikes). Both riders are examples of how mountain biking was a “gateway” to cyclocross.
If all of this sounds like it is up your alley and you are interested in attending our meeting, here is the information:
The meeting will be held at Donegal Intermediate School, 1177 River Road in Marietta. Doors open at 6:30; Meeting from 7 to 9, and refreshments will be served. There is no charge for parking. Hope to see you there!
We’ve been riding rough roads for ages — dirt, cobbles, you name it. So why did it take so long for capable, wide tires like Clement’s Strada LGG to become available to the average rider?
Much like Bob’s Country Bunker in “Blues Brothers,” a bar that plays both kinds of music — country and Western — cyclists in the recent era had to chose between 21c and 23c tires.
Remember, we’re talking about tires that the average person can buy from a shop and install themselves. Yes, there have always been special, cave-aged, pro-only tires that get lovingly glued to Ambrosio rims for one day in Northern France each spring.
But for the rest of us, is the 28c, 120 tpi Clement Strada LGG a better choice than its narrower brethren?
A tight squeeze
For starters, your frame and fork might not accommodate a 28c tire. It was a tight fit on our Focus Izalco with a 3T fork, but it worked. Fortunately, many “endurance” road bikes have more clearance than the standard race chassis.
Mounted to fairly conventional Shimano RS80 wheels, the LGG measured an honest 28mm at its widest point. Each tire weighs approximately 250g.
If your frame and fork won’t accommodate a 28c, Clement offers the same tire in a 25c size.
Road riding around our Boulder, Colorado home base is always best with a healthy dose of dirt roads. So much so that we rarely regretted riding the 28c LGG full-time.
No, a wide tire like this doesn’t have the raw speed of a narrower race tire on pavement. But it gives you a wider range of options. We experimented with pressures as low as 60psi (rider weight: 145 pounds) and found the wide tires to be sublime on the chop.
For everyday riding, we preferred about 75-80psi, which provided a balance of compliance and rolling speed, even on our area’s tougher paved climbs.
The LGG’s extra traction was a noticeable improvement over standard 23, even 25c, tires. This translated into confidence in corners seasoned with spring grit.
Corners weren’t the only place we loved the LGG. Its steady grip made for better braking on dirt descents, especially the kind with rough, sharp corners and steep drops — the places you need it most. We can only imagine how sublime these tires would be with a disc brake-equipped road bike.
Also of note when considering the LGG’s grip is the dual-compound rubber and chevron tread on the sides. Beneath it all is a puncture protection belt, which worked flawlessly for us.
Though we didn’t fall victim to any sharp rocks, it’s easy to imagine how regular dirt riding would take its toll. Happily, the LGG’s MSRP is $50, which is about $15 less than Challenge’s Paris Roubaix. Clement’s tire is also 35g lighter than it’s the Paris Roubaix.
Are there any good reasons not to go with a wider tire? Whether you choose the LGG or something else, there are few drawbacks. Unless you’re a slave to paved speed, you’ll enjoy the way a pair of LGGs expands your bike’s capabilities.
Pros: Versatility to help you ride nearly any road comfortably, excellent traction, affordable.
Cons: Won’t help you win the town line sprint on your Wednesday night ride … But do you care?
The post Reviewed: Clement Strada LGG 28c tires add traction, confidence on the dirt appeared first on VeloNews.com.
LIEGE, Belgium (AFP) — Specialist puncher Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) is feeling positive for the remainder of the Ardennes classics despite crashing out of the Amstel Gold Race.
But it wasn’t such good news for former Tour de France winner Andy Schleck (Trek Factory Racing), who hurt his knee in the same incident.
Spaniard Rodriguez, known as “Purito,” crashed out of Sunday’s race after going down about 80 kilometers into the first of the three Ardennes classics. The 34-year-old complained of feeling dizzy and was taken to hospital to have his chest X-rayed.
But Rodriguez took to Twitter to say he expects to race both the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège races this week and, more importantly, that he will be fully fit for next month’s Giro d’Italia.
“It seems that there is nothing broken,” he tweeted Sunday night. “Thank goodness, it will possibly be difficult these next few days in the Classics but I’ll definitely start the Giro!”
Rodriguez would be one of the favorites if he starts Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne, which he won in 2012. The final climb of the Mur du Huy is tailor-made for his explosive capabilities.
Schleck, who won the Tour de France in 2010 after Alberto Contador was stripped of his win for doping, was less positive about his chances of competing at the Flèche Wallonne or Sunday’s Liège race.
“I did the work I had to do to start the classics on good form,” he told Luxemburger newspaper Wort.lu. “I hope to show it in Flèche Wallonne and in Liege but I have doubts.
“Our Trek Factory Racing Team has competent people so I hope that we manage to resolve this problem.”
The 28-year-old was brought down in the same incident that took down Rodriguez when Tinkoff-Saxo’s Niki Sorensen crashed.
Schleck gamely got back on his bike and caught up with the peloton but 40km later he abandoned due to the pain.
His is due to be Trek’s team leader for the Liege race, which he won in 2009.
Schleck is desperately searching for some confidence ahead of July’s Tour de France when he should lead Trek alongside brother Frank. However, his last top 10 finish in a grand tour was in 2011, when he finished second in the Tour.
Schleck missed the 2012 Tour due to a broken pelvis and has never since recaptured his earlier form.
The post Rodriguez expects to race Fleche Wallonne, Liege despite Amstel crash appeared first on VeloNews.com.
VALKENBURG, Netherlands (VN) — Orica-GreenEdge rode strongly in the final moments of the Amstel Gold Race Sunday and used its cards. It kept Michael Matthews for a small bunch kick and attacked with Simon Gerrans, who took third for the third time in four years.
“But no one could stop Philippe Gilbert,” general manager Shayne Bannan told VeloNews. “It’s hard to look at it another way, he just rode away from us and had a super day.”
A TV helicopter circled overhead to film the finishing straight where Gilbert (BMC Racing) just rode away from his rivals. He climbed the second half of the Cauberg solo and arrived five seconds ahead of Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol). Gerrans, this year’s Aussie road champion, placed a further second back ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
Further down the hill, Orica rode impressively. Along with BMC and Omega Pharma, it put on one of the most united performances. The Australian team in white and blue strung out the group after the remnants of an escape were caught with 7 kilometers remaining.
Tall Dutchman Pieter Weening motored on the front with teammates Simon Clarke, Gerrans, and Matthews in tow. Omega took over at the foot of the Cauberg. And, as the helicopter TV shots showed, BMC won with Samuel Sánchez’s attack and Gilbert’s counter-attack.
“We couldn’t have done much more,” Bannan said. “The guys — Pieter Weening and Clarke — were exactly where they needed to be. They did what they needed to do earlier in the race. So the race panned out as we thought it was going to, but when Gilbert went on the climb, Gerrans could not react, not because he’s not a good rider but because Gilbert was having a super day.”
Gerrans looked like he might have had more in him than a third place. He and Kwiatkowski jumped to follow Sánchez’s wheel with 3km to race. They held an advantage but Gilbert quickly closed it and fired away solo. Bannan explained that Gerrans did not hesitate but chased and evaluated his situation.
“When you are on a climb you know your capabilities,” Bannan added. “I don’t think it was hesitation, just a matter of sussing the situation out and looking at who was behind. Was there a possibility to get a group together to minimize the distance? Which Gerro did.”
Belgium’s Vanendert gained some ground and took second. Gerrans placed third to match his 2011 and 2013 results. His 23-year-old teammate Matthews placed 12th. Matthews’ result, after earning two wins this season to go along with a runner-up to Gilbert in Brabantse Pijl (Brabant Arrow) on Wednesday, gave Bannan further reason to smile.
“Mike Matthews was behind Gerro coming into the climb. He backed off trying to get his own group going up the climb in anticipation of the group coming together for a sprint,” Bannan said. “He’s been progressing well and we are happy with the way he’s gone. He had a possibility to get a good result but if anything, it adds to his progression.”
Bannan walked the 500 meters to the finish line where the organizer rewarded Gerrans for his third place.
“I turn my back on this Amstel Gold Race pleased,” Bannan said. “We came with the goal to win, we didn’t do that, but we took third and rode well. I walk away pretty satisfied.”
The post Orica satisfied with Gerrans’ Amstel Gold Race podium result appeared first on VeloNews.com.
John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) is cooling his jets after a breakout northern classics campaign that saw the 25-year-old German confirm his status as a contender for monuments season.
Victory at Gent-Wevelgem and a second at Paris-Roubaix proved to everyone that Degenkolb has the chops to battle for victory in the most grueling conditions.
“We are very content with John’s performances during the classics,” Giant sport director Marc Reef told VeloNews. “The whole team rode great throughout all the races. Even with some bad luck in a few races, we got the big results we were looking for. John is already at a high level, and will only improve in the coming years.
Coupled with Marcel Kittel’s emphatic victory at Scheldeprijs for a third consecutive time, Giant was one of the top performers across the northern classics.
The team hopes to continue its success across the Ardennes, but the success on the cobblestones of Belgium and France only fuel motivation for the future.
Reef said Degenkolb should only improve in the coming years.
“His strength and maturity will continue to evolve. Experience counts a lot for these races. And he took a big step forward this year,” he said. “These are the races that he is excited about. These performances will motivate him even more.”
After Roubaix, Degenkolb is taking a recovery break before resuming racing in May.
Giant officials confirmed he’s scheduled to race on home roads at the Rund um den Finanzplatz-Frankfurt on May 1, which he won in 2011, before heading to the United States for the Amgen Tour of California, where he will square off against the likes of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
Of course, the California start means he won’t be riding to help teammate Marcel Kittel in his debut at the Giro d’Italia.
Degenkolb will likely race the Tour de Suisse in June before linking up again with Kittel for the Tour de France in July.
Degenkolb and Kittel form a formidable pairing for the Tour, when Degenkolb works to set up his big compatriot for the pure sprints. Degenkolb also has freedom to race for results in hillier, more challenging finales.
For Degenkolb, these cobblestone results only fuel his ambitions for the future.
“These monuments are the races I really love, and the ones that I want to focus on in the future,” Degenkolb said. “We can be really proud in second place. It’s the next step in growing to be on the podium of a monument. I hope someday to win these races.”
The post Degenkolb emerges from classics as a monuments contender appeared first on VeloNews.com.