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NICE, France (VN) — Chris Froome, one year on from helping Bradley Wiggins take Great Britain’s first Tour de France victory, heads the Sky squad in France. Over the next month, he will have a clear and out-right leadership role without the defending champion at his side.
“Unfortunately, we lose out on another big engine for the team time trial and also someone who can be there in the mountains, and also, he would’ve been a great support for me,” Froome said in a press conference on Tuesday.
“But the one thing that I don’t think either of us would miss is, from the media perspective, all the questions that are being asked about the leadership of the team. Obviously that’s a lot more clear-cut now.”
Wiggins dominated last year’s race. The Brit took massive gains in the two time trials and added to it in the mountains. Standing on the podium on the Champs-Élysées, he had just over three minutes on Froome and some six minutes on Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).
After a dominant year, including the gold medal in the Olympic time trial, Wiggins changed tracks and headed for the 2013 Giro d’Italia. Instead of winning, he has struggled. A chest infection saw him abandon the Italian race midway in and a knee problem is keeping him from starting the Tour de France.
With Wiggins set to roll into Italy, Sky management had already given Froome the green light to lead the team.
Froome has won all but one stage race, Tirreno-Adriatico, that he participated in this year. He starts the Tour with victories in the Tour of Oman, Critérium International, Tour de Romandie, and Critérium du Dauphiné.
He also has Sky’s faith. During the Giro, the British super team silenced questions over leadership by naming Froome as captain. Wiggins would continue to try for the Giro win and go on to help Froome in the Tour, according to the plan at the time.
Wiggins preferred not to even discuss the matter. He said, “My mind’s just here at the Giro.”
The British duo appeared at odds at times during last year’s Tour. Froome briefly rode away from his captain on the La Toussuire climb and appeared to be waiting for him again on the Peyragudes stage in the Pyrénées. With Wiggins at home, Froome’s leadership is clear.
Porte Plan B
Australian Richie Porte will likely be Froome’s main mountain helper as he was in races like the Critérium du Dauphiné. The two get along well and train together anytime they are both at their base in Monaco.
“He’s my best friend in the peloton,” Froome said. “We both have similar backgrounds, in the way that we enjoy outdoor lifestyles, him in Tasmania and me back in Kenya and South Africa.”
He explained that he might even help Porte win the Tour in the coming years, or this year.
“Definitely, I think we can bounce off each other a lot. He knows that he’s definitely has my support if he’s there to target a race and the other way around also, as is the case this year,” Froome said. “Richie’s definitely capable of winning the Tour [this year]; he’s our likely plan B.”
Even with the team yet announced, the 28-year-old should have Porte and other top domestiques backing him for an eventual overall win. With their support and Wiggins at home, Froome has his golden opportunity to claim a Tour title.
PARK CITY, Utah (VN) — Utah-based Enve Composites announced on Tuesday that it will be adding a time trial bar system to its component range. Similar to its SES wheel line, the new bar is the product of a collaboration with aerodynamicist Simon Smart.
The SES TT Bar will be available late this summer, coming in at an estimated $1,300 for the full kit.
Part of what sets the SES TT Bar apart from other offerings is that the included carbon extensions can be left at the J-bend, or trimmed to an S-bend, or a straight extension. Buyers don’t have to purchase additional extensions to achieve the proper fit. Each bend’s cut point is marked on the extension and length markings are etched at the rear of the extension for those wishing to shorten up the reach to the shifter.
The SES TT Bar’s pricing is in line with the Zipp Vuka Stealth system, though Vuka Stealth buyers have to purchase aero extensions on top of the $1,070 stem and base bar combo.
“The aim of our TT bar was to fulfill a laundry list of rider needs, aerodynamics and adjustability being the two of most importance,” said Enve design engineer Kevin Nelson. “The market has a lot of aerodynamic or adjustable bars, but few that are both.”
To that point, the SES TT Bar has its airfoil shape shifted a bit further forward, which results in a more robust look in line with the brake hoods, which are coated in an anti-slip material. The airfoil shape is reminiscent of the blunt nose on Enve’s SES wheels.
The Smart Bar system will include a range of armrest spacers so that riders can reach the proper saddle-to-pad drop. The extensions can be mounted on the top or bottom of the base bar, as well as inside or outside of the arm rests. Additionally, the base bar itself is completely symmetrical on the top and bottom so it can be mounted with the hoods sloping upward or downward from the stem clamp.
Besides its hefty price tag, the other downfall of the SES TT Bar is that is available in only one width, 38cm center-to-center. The amount of adjustability in pad width and extension options could still make the SES TT Bar attractive to those of us with broad shoulders. For riders willing to spend the money on a set of Enve Smart or other high-end wheels, the SES TT Bar will likely become a staple, even with a high price tag.
- 2013 Easton EC90 Aero 56mm Tubular wheelset up for sale. Shimano/Sram compatible.
Purchased new from the Hub a few months ago - currently have Veloflex Carbon tires mounted to them.
The wheels were only raced on 6 times - super clean and in great condition.
Pics are available upon request.
Located in Webster Groves.
Joaquim Rodríguez says he is not taking anything off the table when it comes to talking possibilities in this year’s Tour de France.
Speaking to the Spanish sports daily AS, Katusha’s “Purito” said he’s not discounting his own chances to win, but tipped Chris Froome (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) as the pre-race favorites.
“My intention is to do the best possible result in GC and win a stage. I want to leave having the peace of mind knowing it was the result I deserved, be it eighth or first,” he told AS. “Last year, I was second in the Giro, and third in the Vuelta, and I could have won both. I am more mature. I know it’s complicated, but if I am going to discount my chances to win, it will be on the road, not at the start.”
For a rider as prolific as Rodríguez, it’s somewhat surprising he’s only raced one Tour. That was in 2010, when he won a stage and finished seventh overall.
Since 2008, Rodríguez has finished in the top 7 of the past seven of eight grand tours he’s started, a run that included two Vuelta podiums and last year’s 16-second loss to Ryder Hesjedal in the Giro.
Bolstered by his results last year and this year’s hilly course, Rodríguez skipped the Giro to put everything into the Tour.
Rodríguez is especially hopeful by two shorter, technically challenging time trials that will bolster his chances. The Critérium du Dauphiné proved a disaster for Rodríguez, who lost three minutes to Froome on a flat, power course.
So much so, that he’s ditched a new, wind-tunnel tested time trial position to return to his older, at least more familiar position ahead of the Tour.
“I was terrible. There is no excuse. It was back to the terrible Purito in the time trials,” said Rodríguez, referring to the Dauphiné. “My only consolation is that it won’t be so flat in the Tour. … I couldn’t adapt to the new position. My body was too far forward. For the Tour, I will return to my old position with a few tweaks.”
Beyond the TTs, which have always been a hurdle for him, Rodríguez likes what he sees in this year’s Tour.
“Hard, very hard. Maybe the Pyrénées are not so much this year, but the last week in the Alps is spectacular. The opening days are dangerous. Something will happen before we get to the Alps, but it’s there the winner will be decided,” he said. “For me to win? Everything goes perfect for me, and that the others have some troubles.”
Editor’s Note: This video is courtesy of Global Cycling Network. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of VeloNews.com, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.
Teams are starting to release their rosters for the 100th Tour de France, which begins June 29 in Corsica. Stay tuned to VeloNews as we update this list with confirmed riders.
Ag2r La Mondiale
Lars Boom (NED)
Laurens ten Dam (NED)
Robert Gesink (NED)
Tom Leezer (NED)
Bauke Mollema (NED)
Lars Petter Nordhaug (NOR)
Bram Tankink (NED)
Sep Vanmarcke (BEL)
Maarten Wynants (BEL)
Omega Pharma-Quick Step
Mark Cavendish (GBR)
Sylvain Chavanel (FRA)
Michal Kwiatkowski (POL)
Tony Martin (GER)
Jerome Pineau (FRA)
Gert Steegmans (BEL)
Niki Terpstra (NED)
Matteo Trentin (ITA)
Peter Velits (SVK)
Roy Curvers (NED)
John Degenkolb (GER)
Tom Dumoulin (NED)
Johannes Fröhlinger (GER)
Simon Geschke (GER)
Marcel Kittel (GER)
Koen de Kort (NED)
Albert Timmer (NED)
Tom Veelers (NED)