Photo Contest: Your Favorite Ride in Utah This Year – Every Entry Gets A T-Shirt!

Well folks, “the other fall we name the fall”* is here and another cycling season is drawing to a close. Even you cyclocrossers have to admit your riding days are numbered. With the usual rogue’s gallery of friends, foes and large-calved freaks, you’ve racked up phenomenal memories from plenty of miles spent on the trails, gravel and black top. We want to see it!

We’re having a contest that provides a sweet Contender T-shirt in exchange from some great pics of all you two-wheeled faithful out there doing your thing and showing off your favorite Utah rides from this past season. Send us a shot from this past season of you on your bike riding your favorite route in Utah and we’ll give you one of these:

"Excuse me, are you a Contender Bicycles employee?" "No, but I do wear their sweet tees."

No! Not a Peter, Omar or Joel……we’re talking about their sweet shirts!

Every entry receives a Contender Bicycles tee! However only one photo receives the grand prize of a $50 Contender Bicycles Gift Card! So send your pics ASAP! You can email them to info@contenderbicycles.com or simply submit a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #ContenderRides.

We can’t wait to see all your pictures! Contest ends October 31st. We’ll announce the winner on Instagram and Facebook on Nov 1. Stay tuned!

*”The Oven Bird” by Robert Frost
**After submitting your photo, please swing by the shop to pick up your t-shirt. Limited to one t-shirt per person while supplies last.

The Contender Camp – Season Six

The Contender Camp

It’s that time of year again. Leaves are falling, daylight is dwindling, jackets are resurfacing and the threat of El Nino looms! …What we’re trying to say is that Contender Camp just around the corner! We are doing online registration again this year. If any participants are interested in paying for all three blocks in advance, we’d like to extend them a special offer by including a follow-up lactate test free of charge. Once you have registered online, your spot is reserved.

To sign up for Block I & your initial lactate test, please click HERE.

To take advantage of the camp special (3 blocks & 2 lactate tests), please click HERE.

Here is the information for this year’s camp. Already in our sixth season, we’re taking the classes to the next level! Plus we have some exciting changes that are going to make this year’s Camp the best yet. The Contender Camp has been known to…

  • turn you into lean, mean, pedaling machines just in time for spring riding
  • create a new and improved passion for cycling
  • forge friendships that last lifetimes (or until the next group-ride-grudge-match up Emigration)

It’s a little thing we like to call The Contender Consortium. The brain trust of Ryan and Alison’s boundless cycling and training, Dr. Eric Taylor and Blake’s knowledge and impressive backgrounds in sports physiology as well as this year’s addition of pro-cyclist Jeff Louder’s input and invaluable experience will be coming together to make sure this year’s classes are the best yet.

How Does Our Class Work?

We take the latest science-based training principles, combine them with our lactate testing and state-of-the-art CompuTrainer facility for catered training parameters and accurate measurements of your cadence and power output. This is essential to get maximum results from your training time in class. This scientific approach creates the ideal formula necessary to make the greatest improvements in our fitness. Our goal is to make sure you’re not just simply fit and ready for spring riding but to make sure that the fitness, knowledge and skills you’ve gained forge a more confident and better performing rider. Split into three 6-week training ‘blocks’ or phases, each block uses specific training principles which will challenge Camp participants and help us see improvements along the way ultimately motivating us to become a better cyclist. Plus our expert staff and their legendary choice of playlist keeps you motivated and (possibly) fist pumping for the entire 90 minute workout.

And What About These New Features?

  • FLAT SCREEN FANTASTIC – We’re adding some flat screens to our training center for an easier way to keep track of the progression of the workout. Plus a little extra motivation is added while you pedal with some choice race clips curated by our staff
  • TRAINING CENTER – We’ve put together a small training center focused on fundamental exercises and recovery modalities designed to strengthen and speed recovery of functional muscles that cyclist tend to overlook. More details to come soon!
  • EXPANDED SATURDAY OPTIONS – We are a bike shop for the people. And what did the people ask? They asked for more weekend options for a Saturday “bonus” class. If you miss one of your workouts during the week or want to squeeze in one more ride, we’ll offer more chances on Saturday. As always the trainer room is open during the shop’s business hours for use by all Camp participants.

But let’s not forget one of the best reasons to sign up for the class – the chance to meet cyclists who are motivated to stay fit, to work hard and to have fun during those chilly winter months.

CLASS SCHEDULE
M/W Morning: 6:00 AM – 7:30 AM
M/W Evening: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (SOLD OUT)
T/TH Early Morning: 5:15 AM – 6:45 AM (SOLD OUT)
T/TH Late Morning: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
T/TH Late Afternoon: 4:15 PM – 5:45 PM
T/TH Evening: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM (SOLD OUT)

BLOCKS OF TRAINING
BLOCK I: MON, NOV 3 – THU, DEC 16 (THANKSGIVING BREAK – NOV 26 & 27)
BLOCK II: WED, DEC 17 – THU, FEB 7 (HOLIDAY BREAK – DEC 24 through JAN 4)
BLOCK III: MON, FEB 9 – THU, MAR 19

PRICES
INDIVIDUAL 6 WEEK BLOCKS: $280.00
INITIAL LACTATE TEST: $100.00
FOLLOW-UP LACTATE TESTS (if desired to reestablish training zones): $100.00
CAMP SPECIAL: $940 (all three blocks and two lactate tests included)

Blake Vatne will again be doing all of the lactate testing at Contender Bicycles. For your initial testing, please feel free to set up a time with him during the month of October before classes begin. Please note that although retesting lactate levels at some point halfway through the camp is optional, we recommend reestablishing your training values in order to maximize your gains and foster continual growth throughout the classes as you get stronger and stronger on the bike! For additional information, please feel free to contact our shop (801.364.0344) or email Blake at blake@contenderbicycles.com. If you are interested in a class that is full, please email Blake so he can put you on a cancellation list.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF TRAINING WITH A COMPUTRAINER?
First, you are using your own bike on a Computrainer allows you to train indoors in the same position you use out on the open road. So for each ride you don’t have to adapt to going back and forth between a stationary bike and your personal bike. Second, using a Computrainer allows you to ride at precise intensities prescribed in accordance with the values specific to your ability. Once you set a specific workload or wattage, the Computrainer instantly adjusts to keep your workload steady regardless of your cadence. In addition, there is only a little flywheel to help “carry you through” the effort. In other words, there is no coasting on a Computrainer. It all adds up to making the most of your training time and turns every RPM into an investment in your fitness!

WHY TRAIN BASED OFF OF LACTATE THRESHOLD VALUES?

WHAT IS LACTATE?
For half a century, lactic acid has been considered the cause of muscle fatigue and burning sensation during high intensity exercise. In the body, lactic acid is present in very small amounts even in resting condition. Most of it is dissociated as lactate. The most recent theory on lactate metabolism and exercise is that lactate is a great way for the body to “move” energy between cells. We also know that lactate doesn’t cause fatigue but correlates to it. Lactate can also be used as an energy source. Studies show that without lactate recycling we would need to carry a 150 lb backpack of ATP to complete a marathon. The rate of production and reutilization of lactate stays equal up to the individual reaching their lactate threshold. Lactate threshold is the point where the rate of production exceeds the rate of reutilization of lactate. After this point, excessive lactate begins to build lowering blood pH and resulting in muscular fatigue.

WHY LACTATE TESTING?
Lactate testing allows you to see exactly how the body is responding to the muscular stress you apply. Using a hand held blood lactate analyzer along with power output data from the Computrainer, your training zones can be established to maximize the effectiveness of the training. In other words, your lactate values and your power levels help map the zones that will stimulate the greatest fitness gains.

HOW IS A LACTATE TEST PERFORMED?
A lactate test is performed using a hand held lactate analyzer, heart rate monitor, and a Computrainer displaying power output. When a test is performed there is a standard warm up of 10-15 minutes. This warm up increases your muscles temperature allowing the reactions for energy production to be faster and more efficient. After starting the test at a predetermined workload, intensity is increased every three minutes until you go just beyond OBLA (on set of blood lactate utilization). During each phase of the test, heart rate, perceived exertion and blood lactate level are taken along with current power output. Normally this takes around 15 -20 minutes.

HOW ARE BLOOD LACTATE LEVELS MEASURED?
Using a hand held analyzer, blood lactate levels are determined using a pen-point sized blood sample on a disposable chip. The small drop of blood is taken from the earlobe using a sterile, disposable lance. Once testing is complete, the lactate analyzer readings and power output levels are imported into a graph. This graph helps to understand how you body responds to different levels of work and aids in determining your “intensity zones”. These zones are much more effective to use over heart rate zones based on formulas related to age or maximum heart rates.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF POWER BASED ZONES OVER HEART RATE TRAINING?
1. Heart rate changes dramatically with temperature.
2. Heart rate is affected by diet and hydration levels.
3. Heart rate lags increases or decreases in the actual workload.
4. Heart rate does not accurately allow you to see when you are riding in an anaerobic state. In short, the combination of power and heart rate provide a clearer picture of how your body responds to your effort.

CYCLING CAMP STAFF
Our cycling camp staff brings a unique approach to indoor cycling training. With Ryan and Dr. Eric Taylor having worked closely together to develop our program, our staff shares the same theories and practical approach to training. We believe in using a science-based approach to make you a better athlete.

ERIC TAYLOR
Eric has extensive experience as a physiologist, coach, and athlete. Eric has a PhD in physiology, completed a postdoctoral fellowship in muscle metabolism and exercise physiology at Harvard Medical School, and is a currently a professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Iowa. His research on mitochondrial metabolism was recently published in the prestigious journal Science. Eric has broad coaching experience with all levels of runners and cyclists. Eric competed as a track athlete for Brigham Young University, running the 800 and 1500 meters. He currently competes as a Category 3 road cyclist and also races cyclocross. Although Eric now calls Iowa home, expect to see him from time to time out on the Utah roads.

RYAN LITTLEFIELD
Ryan brings to the camp over twenty years of experience in the bicycle industry. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Ryan started bike racing and working in the industry at the age of sixteen. As a cyclist, he competed as a top regional rider with success on a national level both as a rider and a manager. Ryan helped develop and manage the most successful team to have ever come out of Utah. What started as a team of up-and-coming local riders turned into a launching pad for several of today’s top American professionals including Dave Zabriskie. With an honors business marketing degree from the University of Utah and over twenty years of bicycle industry experience, Ryan has built Contender Bicycles into what it is today.

JEFF LOUDER
Jeff’s decision to retire from professional cycling at the end of the 2014 season is a loss to his team, UnitedHealthcare, but we couldn’t be happier because it means that he has time start working with us! Originally from Salt Lake City, Louder was the 2008 winner of the Tour of Utah. He’s raced for over 15 years as a pro and has taken part in the 2010 Giro d’Italia, and has won stages at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah (2010), The Tour of Qinghai Lake (2004), Redlands Bicycle Classic, Tour of Connecticut (2004), and has taken third place in US Nationals. Louder has also been a podium finisher at several international stage races, including the Tour de Beauce where he finished third in 2005 and the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China where he finished third in 2004.

BLAKE VATNE
Drawn away from his native Minnesota by Utah’s big mountains and deep winter powder, Blake chose the University of Utah to earn a BS in Exercise Physiology. Blake has worked at Contender Bicycles throughout college. Since graduating in the spring 2010, Blake has taken on an integral role in organizing and managing the Contender Camp throughout the fall, winter and early spring months. Besides being a great skier, Blake is an equally enthusiastic cyclist who enjoys riding on both the road and mountain bike. Blake is also very interested and knowledgeable about nutrition, so we at the shop often seek out Blake’s advice when choosing nutritional products.

ALISON LITTLEFIELD
Alison gradually fell into her role at Contender Bicycles. Shortly after starting to race on the road, she met Ryan on the way out to the local criterium series. After they married, Alison continued to race bicycles and establish her career as an engineer. Experiencing some success racing, Alison decided to put her career on hold and race bicycles full-time. However, a severe spinal injury resulted in multiple surgeries which derailed her plans in cycling. In between surgeries and during recovery, Alison started to work at the shop. Over the years, her role has steadily grown to where she is now an integral part of Contender Bicycles. With her recovery behind her, she still loves to ride and feels lucky to still be on the bike.

Contender Bicycles Cyclocross Skills Clinic

 

Thursdays, beginning September 18, 5:30-7:30 pm, thru October 16 (5 weeks total).

Location: Sugarhouse Park, Salt Lake City. 2100 S. 1500 E.
Schedule: Meet at the NW Corner of the Park. See map on Page 2. Barrier Practice for 30-60 minutes, followed by anti-clockwise laps around the park
perimeter.

All-inclusive Fees for the entire 5 weeks:
• USA Cycling License Holders: $20 unlimited pass
• Non-licensed Riders $15 one time + $10 each additional day
• Registration online ONLY. You must register for your first clinic!
https://www.bikereg.com/contender-cyclocross-skills-clinic

Fees partially cover the cost of the permits (USA Cycling and Sugarhouse Park), insurance for all riders ($1/rider/day), and the $10/day/rider one-day license fee for non-licensed riders. Do the math. No extra charges, no refunds, no profit. Licensed Riders must sign in each week, one-day license required each time for non-licensed riders.

Goals: Learn something about cyclocross technique; how to go over barriers, run up hills, and ride a skinny-tired bike off the pavement. Local ‘cross gurus will lead the clinics and distribute nuggets of wisdom. Cyclocross or Mountain Bikes are welcome.

Rules: Bikes are absolutely prohibited off-pavement anytime except during the clinic! Violation will result in us losing use of the Park. This is a promise. Do not ride on the grass except for Thursdays, during the clinic. Clinic participants are expected to police themselves.

Need more information? Email crossdoctor@gmail.com.

Minimizing conflict with other park users. The time of the clinic is one of the
heaviest used times by runners, and runners use the same perimeter trail as for the
cyclocross clinic. We must minimize conflicts with runners . First, the cyclists have to
be aware of the requirement to be good citizens, second, the cyclists will give the right away to runners on the trail.

What does this mean to you, the bike rider? Don’t annoy the runners! If there is some encounter, apologize. Give them a wide berth and politely announce your presence. Don’t ride your bike around Sugarhouse Park outside the clinic times. If you see someone else doing this, explain to them the ramifications of their actions. Conflicts between cyclists and runners could cause us to permanently lose the Park.

2014-08-13 19.09.33

BMC Team Night? More Like BMC Dream Night

Last night we were lucky enough to host the Men’s BMC Pro Cycling Team who had just wrapped up a successful campaign in our very own Tour of Utah. The team was gracious enough to come by, hang out, talk about racing a little bit and answer some questions from their adoring public.

Standing room only last night as Team BMC stopped by Contender HQ.

Standing room only last night as Team BMC stopped by Contender HQ.

Among the BMC attendees was Michael Schär, who not only pulled off an impressive TOU win on Stage 2, a 130 mile suffer-fest that included 10,162 feet of climbing over four KOMs, but who also caught the eye of our favorite new staff member, Katie Houser:

“When he walked in, my jaw pretty much dropped. I was like, who’s that tall drink of water? Then we started talking about our favorite chamois and I knew that was it -he likes chamois, I like chamois, he’s the one.”

- Katie on her run in with BMC greatness and future hubby.

Turns out Katie has a soft spot for tall, slender Swiss men. The fact that he rides a bike is, "just icing on that beefy cake", she said.

Turns out Katie has a soft spot for tall, slender Swiss men. The fact that he rides a bike is, “just icing on that beefy-quaded, handsome cake”, she said.

The team not only spent time answering questions but they also were awesome enough to shake some hands and autograph hats, bottles, jerseys and posters.

 

Peter Stetina chatting with some fans and signing memorabilia last night during our BMC Team Night

Peter Stetina chatting with some fans and signing memorabilia last night during our BMC Team Night

Our Thanks to the BMC riders, Peter Stetina, Michael Schär, Brent Bookwalter, Rick Zabel, Ben Hermans, Yannick Eijssen and Martin Kohler for coming out and saying hi!

Next stop for the team is Colorado for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Plenty of BMC schwag kept the kiddos happy

Plenty of BMC schwag kept the kiddos happy

You can check out BMC’s Flickr album from the night HERE

nate hero

Staff Infection: Nate Borgenicht (VIDEO)

Nate may be one of the newer employees here at the shop, but that doesn’t mean that the man is suffering from a lack of experience. As an avid cyclist for over a decade now, Nate has quite the colorful history when it comes to the road and mountain bikes he’s owned. From Q Factors to rare road frames from the 60s, never has a Contender employee been so steeped in myth and questions about who and what he is -He’s the Kaiser Söze of the shop:

So where are you from originally?

I’m a Utah native, born and raised right here in Salt Lake City. Never lived anywhere else.

So you never were a nefarious crime boss? 

No.

Are you Hungarian? 

What?

I said when did you start riding bikes? 

I started riding road in high school, my junior year. My dad gave me a 1961 Paragon he’d bought in Berkeley from the want ads. It was parked in the basement when I grabbed it. It had old Campy stuff on it. I put on new brakes, relaced the hubs to some new wheels and put in a new bottom bracket. I rode that bike for three years.

Talk about the Paragon. Go:

I looked through bike forums on the internet and found the guy that built the frame, Lars Zebroski. He’s passed, but I actually contacted his friend and racing companion, Victor Vincente of America, who rode a custom made Paragon from Lars as well -he told me about the bike and all the history behind it. It’s a cool story. The bike is really one of a kind. And Victor is a pretty important figure in cycling history.

I feel a future post coming up. Why do you like the Paragon so much?

I love the old Campy stuff -the coolest thing about the bike is that it has 52-44 chain rings. It’s called “man gearing”

Speaking of, ever killed a man?

That’s a ridiculous question.

Ridiculous because you’ve killed so many? 

You’re nuts.

So what‘s your fascination with old bikes? 

It’s all about the Q Factor

What is Q Factor? 

Q Factor measures the width of a pedal, crankarm and bottom bracket relative to the riders foot. There’s been research that says a narrower Q Factor is beneficial to a rider because it’s similar to how a foot tracks when we’re walking.

You’re a nerd. A possibly deadly nerd.

Yeah…It’s a design that Campy uses currently and it’s more prevalent on older bikes. It’s a way to line up the hips of the rider with the crank arms and pedals. Basically you’re bringing the pedals and crank closer to the foot of the rider to increase efficiency.

 

 

It’s a cool idea because everybody has a different anatomy

Are you calling me fat? 

I’m not calling you fat.

You can call me fat, just don’t kill me and my family. Do you mountain bike at all? 

Last time, I’m not Kaiser Soze. But I do mountain bike. A friend of mine sold me his ’98 Jamis Dakar -that was my first one. I have some of my best memories from mountain bike trips to Southern Utah. We’d take the VW van down and just rally with friends.

Sure. Just down there to ride bikes, not run drugs or bury bodies. I get it. So what do you like better, road or mountain? 

I like road better because I don’t like to force my off-road confidence, I like it to come to me. But I’m ok forcing that confidence on the road.

What are some of your favorite things at the shop? 

I like the Giordana Laser Bib ShortsThey were the first pair of bibs I owned and their seams are better than anyone else’s.

The Giordana Laser Bibs. Nate only poses like this when he's really satisfied with the bibs he's wearing.

The Giordana Laser Bibs. Nate only poses like this when he’s really satisfied with the bibs he’s wearing.

I’m also a big fan of the Pearl Izumi Elite Arrow Jacket. It feels like your basic polyester shell but it’s totally water proof! It surprises me every time.

"What? Oh this old thing? It's just the sweetest piece of waterproof cycling clothing EVER" -Nate letting us know how he feels about Pearl's Elite Arrow Jacket

What? Oh this old thing? It’s just the sweetest piece of waterproof cycling clothing EVER -Nate letting us know how he feels about Pearl’s Elite Arrow Jacket

 

I just bought a Scott Spark 740 because that thing rips. I love the 27.5 wheel size. I definitely feel like there are more benefits than compromises with that size.

So what do you do when you’re not riding? 

I still have a solid group of friends since highschool. We rock climb or play basketball.

So you guys still do some extortion together?

What?

I asked if you’d ever been to Portland together? 

No, why would we… weird question. Anyway, I also like to read biographies of interesting people. 

What’s the best biography you’ve read? 

I don’t know. I haven’t read that many. I should probably read more.

So, as a biography, how accurate is The Usual Suspects? I mean, with regards to you and your crimes and such.

I’m just going to stop responding.

Have any nicknames? 

Yeah, ‘Stir Fry Nate’

Not the one I was expecting. 

Stir frys man, c’mon! Anyway, If I’m doing well, I’m chopping a lot of vegetables. I love a good stir fry. How long has it been since your last stir fry? I can’t get enough of them.

What I’d like to do now, Nate, is run through a list of common statements made about you and have you tell me if they’re true or not. Sound good? 

Yeah man, let’s do that -but then I gotta roll. Kinda jonesing for a stir fry now.

Great. Here we go, first one: Nate only sleeps on his left side

That’s partially true.

Nate has an irrational fear of different time zones

I think it’s pretty rational

I mean, really any fear of time zones is irrational. 

That’s true. But what is time? It’s so subjective. That freaks me out.

What about this one: Nate believes handsome people are somehow more genetically similar to orangutans than other less attractive people because orangutans are “one handsome ape.” 

Is that a quote? Did I say that?

My sources say you did, yeah. 

Who are your sources?

I can’t reveal my sources, sir. Torture me if you want. But it’s not going to happen.

Fine. I don’t want to piss off any gorilla fans out there but seriously, I can’t be the only one who thinks that.

Cycling Crazies and Tour Toes- It’s Tour of Utah Time! (VIDEO)

Cycling fans, let’s get real.  Utah’s roots in bikes and bike racing run deep. So it’s no wonder the Tour of Utah is a big deal a really big deal to all of us crazy cyclists that call Utah home.

I’m here to rally the troops. I’m here to insight a movement of pure cycling super-fan madness. Let’s paint our faces. Let’s lose our voices. Let’s wear weird costumes. Let’s have questionable amounts of our bodies visible in said costumes. Why? because we all know the second best thing to actually riding in a tour is standing on the side of the road with no shirt and a red clown wig ringing a cow bell like the cow has a gun to your head.

I think we’re off to a good start with this: Our good friend Martin Cole decided to show his TOU fever by painting his frickin’ toes!

This is what I'm talking about! Pretty sure where these toes go, the party follows

This is what I’m talking about! Pretty sure where these toes go, the party follows. Well played, Martin.

But I want to see some of this too:

El Diablo would be a solid addition to our TOU

El Diablo would be a solid addition to our TOU

And definitely a bit of all this:

Obviously this needs to happen in the TOU.

Obviously this needs to happen.

Questioning this man's taste? Don't. He's spot on. PHOTO: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

Questioning this man’s taste? Don’t. He’s spot on. PHOTO: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

 

These young men are a prime example of perfect TOU attire. Well done, little sirs.

These young men are a prime example of perfect TOU attire. Well done, little sirs.

we applaud these gentlemen for their commitment. A prime example that you don't necessarily need to show skin to prove your cycling fandom.  But isn't their a part of you that's thinking this wouldve been funnier if the dude's were shirtless? Yep. Us too.

We applaud these gentlemen for their commitment. A prime example that you don’t necessarily need to show skin to prove your cycling fandom. But isn’t there a part of you that’s thinking this would’ve been funnier if the dude’s were shirtless? Yep. Us too.

Now, we definitely don’t want to see any of this:

 

But hey, if the great Jens Voigt says he loves us, then we know we’re doing something right:

“I’ll never forget my first day in Utah. I was still jetlagged—yes, I am pretty good at that— and on Stage 1 I have to go to the front with Joost Posthuma and a couple of Garmin riders. I still hadn’t adapted to the altitude and finally on the last climb I just blow. I mean it was a spectacular detonation! So there I am dead last going up this climb. I couldn’t even hold the wheels of the sprinters. I just wanted to find a ditch to crash into until an ambulance came and picked me up. But the fans kept yelling, “shut up legs,” and they just cheered me up. So I kept the faith. That is real fan support.” -Jens Voigt in Bicycling Magazine on his experiences in the TOU.

We’ll see the racers up here in Salt Lake this Saturday, August 9th for stage 6, the ‘Queen Stage’ -where the racers will be suffering climbing up Emigration, Big Mountain, Guardsman and then finishing in Snowbird. It’s a little over 12,500 ft of elevation in 107 miles. Which also means it’s a little over ridiculous.

You can get a spectator guide or download the official Tour of Utah mobile app HERE.

And I better not be the only one out there in a speedo.

53_20140727_©BrakeThrough-Media_3S1A1360-659x440

2014 Tour Wrap Up: Nibali Didn’t Crash (But He Also Won)

 

Vincenzo Nibali, stepped down from the podium in front of the Champs-Elysees on Sunday a champion.

He had lead the 2014 Tour for every single stage less two, he’d won four of it’s 21 stages, and his lead of 7-minutes and 37-seconds was the biggest margin of victory held in the Tour since Armstrong’s win (now officially not a win) in 1999. Nibali is also now one of only a handful of riders that has won the Giro, the Vuelta and the Tour –all three of the Grand Tours.

Regardless of all this, some look at Nibali’s win as simply a result of better rider’s bad luck with crashes and injuries early in the Tour.

Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour in 2012 was passed over by Team Sky because they wanted to focus on Chris Froome, the 2013 Tour winner. When Froome crashed out along with Alberto Contador, it was suggested that Nibali was just the best of what was left in the peloton.

However, even before their unfortunate crashes, Nibali had a two-second lead on Contador and Froome after he won Stage 2. When Froome crashed out in Stage 5, Nibali put more than 2 minutes between himself and Contador. When Contador’s unfortunate crash occurred on a downhill in Stage 10, Nibali went on to win the stage as it climbed to a ridiculously steep mountain finish atop La Planche des Belles Filles. Nibali then went on to win two more mountain stages across the Alps and Pyrenees.

It’s pretty obvious that Nibali didn’t simply ‘slip’ into a spot made empty by the unlucky crashes of some talented riders. The Italian is a true talent himself. Maybe now he’ll get some respect.

AP Photo/Christophe Ena

AP Photo/Christophe Ena

Point is, we’re excited to see him next year. Complementi Vincenzo Nibali!

The Tour’s official website popped out this little video highlight reel of the 2014 Tour. Take a look:


EN – Best of 2014 – After the race by tourdefrance