Fuji Pro Bikes at the 2013 Amgen Tour of California

While we were out on the west coast watching the action at the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, we dropped by the 2 Fuji-sponsored pro teams in the peloton, Team Champion System and Team NetApp-Endura. Both teams put up a strong showing in the race, including a victory on top of Mount Diablo, the Queen stage of the race, by Leopold Koenig of Team NetApp. Don’t miss our photo galleries of Stage 6Stage 7, and Stage 8 over on our Facebook page to see more of the race.

Of course since we were so close to these pro bikes, we couldn’t miss the chance to do a quick bike check to see how they set up their Fuji Altamira and SST road bikes. Read on below to find out what Ryan Roth of Team Champion System and Leopold Koenig of Team NetApp-Endura  rode in America’s biggest race.

Ryan Roth – Team Champion System – Fuji SST Team

DSC_0026Ryan is a 30 year old “all-rounder” for Team Champion System, and has been a pro cyclist for 7 years. Ryan is the current Canadian national road champion and at 5’9″ tall, he rides a 54cm Fuji SST Team C10 High Modulus frame in Team Champion System colors.

DSC_0027His bike is outfitted with 2012 SRAM Red components (10 speed), including a 53-39 SRAM crank with an SRM power meter and Speedplay Zero pedals with stainless steel spindles.

DSC_0028The stem is an Oval Concepts R700 aluminum model, 130mm in length – note the stage’s important info taped to the top.

DSC_0038Red Velo bar tape (for Canadian pride) wraps around an Oval Concepts 700 aluminum handlebar, with a fairly round drop (and a 5mm spacer below the stem).

DSC_0032Custom number plate mount is definitely a pro touch.

DSC_0033Vittoria Corsa Evo CX 23mm tubular tires are mounted to Oseous T-FCC 38 carbon wheels (38mm deep).

DSC_0034Out back, Ryan either ran an 11-25 or 11-26 cassette (a SRAM PG-1070 model to add weight), with a PC-1091 chain.

DSC_saddle Selle Italia Flite Gel Flow team edition saddle (with anatomic cutout & ti rails).

DSC_0044In talking to the team mechanic, he noted that it doesn’t take much to keep the bikes spotless, since they are washed every night. Just a light spray down with very gentle cleaners (like diluted Dawn detergent) and water, then a light lube for the chain. At most they are only cleaning off one day’s worth of road grime. And nothing is changed on the bike unless the rider asks for it – wheels, tires and cassettes are left with the bike at all times unless the rider specifically requests a change. Most of the team riders rode the same wheels and cassettes on every stage, even the climbing stages. At most they would use an 11-26 – that’s all you can use if you want to keep up with the group on the climbs! An 11-28 cassette sounds nice, but if you shifted into those gears you would immediately get dropped and lose too much time.

Leopold Koenig – Team NetApp-Endura - Fuji Altamira SL

DSC_0749This is Leopold Koenig’s second year riding for Team NetApp – a 25 year old from the Czech Republic, Leo has been a pro since 2007. A climber and GC contender by nature, 5’9″ Leo piloted his Fuji Altamira SL C15 Ultra Light High Modulus carbon frame, a 54cm model in custom NetApp colors, to victory in the mountainous stage 7 of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California (after placing 8th in the stage 6 individual time trial).

DSC_0750Drivetrain duties were handled by new Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 series components (mechanical 11 speed), with a 53-39 crankset (although Leo runs an SRM power meter on his race bike) and Speedplay Zero Pedals.

DSC_0752In back there was an 11-25 cassette, with a Dura-Ace 11-speed chain.

DSC_0754Lightweight Oval Concepts 924 carbon tubular wheels were shod in Vittoria Corsa Evo CX 23mm tubular tires.

DSC_0758The Oval Concepts 713 aluminum stem measured 130mm, and there was no spacer below the stem.

DSC_0761Oval Concepts 700s aluminum handlebars, with a short drop, were wrapped in Prologo bar tape.

DSC_0756Leo uses a Prologo Zero TR saddle with sturdy titanium rails.

DSC_0760While this was Leo’s backup bike, it was outfitted exactly the same as his primary race bike (with the exception of an SRM power meter) –  the same bike that conquered Stage 7 of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, the Queen Stage of the race that finished on top of the mighty Mount Diablo. But the Altamira isn’t just a lightweight bike for climbers – on the final stage in Santa Rosa, Daniel Schorn of Team NetApp came up just short in a pure drag race to the finish, taking second place behind Peter Sagan.

Performance Bicycle at the 2013 UCI Cyclo-Cross Elite World Championships

cx_worldsIn case you’ve missed it, the UCI Cyclo-Cross Elite World Championships is leaving Europe for the very first time in 2013 (the weekend of February 2-3 to be precise). The cyclocross elite are going to descend on Louisville, Kentucky to celebrate the crazy world that is ‘cross racing – full of cold weather, mud, Belgians, cowbells, barriers and some of the most intense bike racing that you will ever find. If you’re not familiar with the basics of cyclocross, head over to our Learning Center to find out what this specialized winter cycling discipline is all about. If you haven’t seen it in person, the US cyclocross scene is passionate and growing fast – the guys here in our office don’t use ‘cross to stay in shape for next season, they use the rest of the year to get ready for ‘cross season!

ben_and_ross

Ben and Ross, from our home office, at our local ‘Nascross’ race

Needless to say, we couldn’t miss this amazing opportunity to see the world’s best cyclocross racers battle it out for a coveted rainbow jersey here in the US. As an official sponsor of Louisville 2013, we’ll be sending a crew to the event to cover the action and also to meet fans at the expo who come by our Performance Bicycle tent. We’re excited to meet cyclocross fans from around the globe (although we need to work on our Flemish), show off some of the great cyclocross bikes that we carry, and even give away some pretty amazing prizes and freebies (yes, we will have cowbells)!

performance_tent

Performance Bicycle tent at Stage 6 of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge

So what do you need to know if you can’t make it to Louisville for the big event this year? We’ll be posting updates to the Performance Bike Facebook and Twitter pages live every day, plus of course there will be great coverage of the racing on cycling news sites like VeloNews and Cyclocross Magazine. If you want to watch the races live here in the US, you’ll either need to find an international channel that is broadcasting the races or tune in to USA Cycling’s YouTube channel, which will stream every race live for free. But whatever you do, don’t miss out on this opportunity to watch the world’s best here in the US. Whether you are rooting for the American team of Jonathan Page, Jeremy Powers, Ryan Trebon, Zach McDonald, Logan Owen, and Katie Compton (to name just a few), or if you want to see international stars like Sven Nys, Niels Albert, Lars Van der Haar, or the incomparable Marianne Vos – it is definitely going to be a weekend to remember in Kentucky.

ProTour Team Kits

With the ProTour Cycling season already starting up this week at the Tour Down Under in Australia (in the middle of their summer, of course), we thought it would be fun to take a look at all of the ProTour team kits. After all of the changes and mergers for the new year, at least you’ll now have some idea what you’re looking at in the colorful professional peloton. Plus we threw in links to all of the official team websites, if you want more info about the teams and their riders.

AG2R La Mondiale Pro Cycling Team

Pro Team Astana

BMC Racing Team

Euskaltel-Euskadi

Francaise des Jeux-Big Mat

Team Garmin-Barracuda

Photo: © Mark Gunter

GreenEDGE Cycling Team

Katusha Team

Team Lampre ISD

Pro Cycling Team Liquigas-Cannondale

Lotto Belisol Team

Photo: © Mark Gunter

Movistar Team

Omega Pharma-QuickStep Pro Cycling Team

©Copyright Tim De Waele

Rabobank Cycling Team

Photo: © Mark Gunter

RadioShack-Nissan-Trek

Team Sky Pro Cycling

Team Saxo Bank

Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

BettiniPhoto © 2012

Cycling Magazine Roundup

Can’t get enough of cycling when you’re off the bike? We know the feeling, so every month we can’t wait to check out what’s going on in the world of cycling journalism. This month we thought we’d share a few of the great stories that you might have missed in the latest cycling magazines – including ones that you can only find in print, but are worth the price of admission.

First up is a fascinating story about the Bordeaux-Paris race from 1963, won by Tom Simpson. Culled from the archives of their sister publication Cycling Weekly, the story is full of amazing race day photos  that tell the tale of this 500km long former Classic race. Riders started the race at 2am, and stopped partway through to change into their race kits on the side of the road! The strangest part of the race was that for the last 250km, the riders were paced by motorized “dernys” (gas powered scooters) – a bit like a track race out on the open road!

Next up, from the latest Bicycling magazine, is a story of a quest to get an interview with the legendary Eddy Merkcx. Apparently Merckx is still tough to catch up to, just like he was in his racing days, but this profile about the present-day Merckx reveals a man that is supremely comfortable in his role as cycling legend, yet who rarely looks back at his racing career or seeks out acclaim for his accomplishments.

In the November issue of Velo magazine, there’s a great interview with everyone’s favorite hardman cyclist, Jens Voigt, but the article that caught our eye was the ranking of the top 10 hardmen of the post-wart era (I guess you have to rule out those early cyclists who rode unpaved roads with no derailleurs – by default they would probably win any hardman contest). Our favorite tale of adversity overcome is about Fiorenzo Magni, who broke his collarbone in the middle of the 1956 Giro d’Italia (the final race of his career), yet who refused to give up even though he had to have a strip of innertube attached to his stem to stabilize his bike – the other end of which he held with his teeth!

Finally, for our fellow mountain bike riders out there, we dug the short story, “The Picashaw Pedaler”, in issue #159 of Dirt Rag magazine. The winner of their Literature Contest, this spooky tale of a sleep-deprived 24-hour racer who starts seeing a figure in the woods strikes home for anyone who’s ridden all out through the night.  Was it just a hallucination.. or was it something else?

2011 Races – Milan-San Remo

This Saturday, all eyes in the cycling world will be focused on Milan-San Remo, or La Classica di Primavera, the first cycling monument of the season and also the longest one-day professional race all year at 298km.  Although known as the sprinters’ classic, Milan-San Remo has been won by an impressive array of cycling champions, from Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi to Eddy Merckx, Laurent Fignon, Erik Zabel, Mario Cipollini, and, in the last few years, Fabian Cancellara, Mark Cavendish and Oscar Freire.

While not known for extreme altitude, Milan-San Remo is  famous for 2 short but steep pitches near the end of the race (which loom even larger after 6 or 7 hours of intense racing), the Cipressa and Poggio climbs.  The March issue of Cycle Sport magazine has a great article on the Poggio climb in Milan-San Remo, where they described it as “the crux of the opening Classic of the year, Milan-San Remo. The Poggio is not as steep, long, hard or beautiful as any of the other climbs we’ve ever featured, and for 364 days a year it is a quiet suburban drag. But on Classicissima day, it is one of the most intense spectator experiences in cycling. Its slopes have been consecrated by the greatest champions, from Eddy Merckx  to Mark Cavendish.”

Last year, 3-time World Champion Oscar Freire won Milan-San Remo for the third time, out-foxing the best riders in the world with a vintage sprint finish:

So who’s going to win this year?  Will Cavendish find his form again; will Freire dig deep for another win; will Cancellara motor away; will the 3-headed Garmin-Cervelo monster of Tyler Farrar, Heinrich Haussler and current World Champion Thor Hushovd muscle their way to a win?  Who knows, but we’ll be watching!

We’ll leave you with one of our favorite photos from La Classicisima, this perfect shot of Eddy Merckx, 7-time champion of Milan-San Remo, winning on the Via Roma in 1966 (which is featured in “The Spring Classics“, an in-depth history and visual tour of some of cycling’s classic races).

If that photo doesn’t get you inspired to get out there and ride this weekend, we don’t know what will!

Happy Presidents Day

It is once again time to celebrate Presidents Day (even though the Federal holiday is actually still called Washington’s Birthday, and not Presidents Day after all).  But it got us thinking, there must be some way that we can tie in cycling to a celebration of our first president (and to Abraham Lincoln as well, if we are using the popular definition of this holiday).  Since the earliest successful commercial bicycles date to the 1860s, we can probably assume that George and Abe never got to try out our favorite 2-wheeled pasttime, notwithstanding this photographic evidence from the Performance HQ Halloween costume contest:

But that doesn’t mean that we can’t find some some connection to cycling.  Take the world of pro cycling, where we find multiple-time US national champion George Hincapie on target to start the Tour de France for a record-tying 16th time (and who last year sported the most patriotic bike/kit imaginable):

Photo copyright Tim de Waele

And of course we can’t forget world road and time trial champion Abraham Olano of Spain (as long as we are making rather tenuous connections to Presidents Day, that is):

Here at Performance, we’ve got our own presidential connections, as we have 5 retail stores in Washington state, plus 2 (soon to be 3) stores in Georgia (a bit of strectch, but go with it).  Plus you can’t forget our store in Lincoln Park, Illinois!  And if you want to show off your Presidents Day pride on the bike, we’ve got 2 Washington, D.C. short sleeve jerseys to choose from, including this sharp-looking number:

Item #10-2788

And if none of our roundabout reasoning really makes sense to you this Presidents Day, you can always just head over to our site to take advantage of our online-only Presidents Day sale!  We’re sure that George and Abe would have wanted you to.

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