The third week of 2024 sees the kick off of the first WorldTour race, and as such lots of new shiny bikes for us to gawp over.
I only managed to pick up on a tiny hint of retailer doom and gloom this week, which made a nice change.
Beyond that, who fancies a Big Mac? You might think twice after reading this week’s round up.
Otherwise, on we go!
Bike Watch: WorldTour Edition
Perhaps unsurprisingly this week saw a number of posts dotted about the Cycling press covering a variety of entirely unaffordable, heck probably even unobtainable, yet eye wateringly lovely pro rides.
First up was Sam Welsford’s S-Works Tarmac SL8 from GCN.
They also gave us a glimpse of Filippo Ganna’s Pinarello Dogma F:
However it was Cycling News who gave us a really interesting and detailed breakdown of that S-Works Tarmac SL8, specifically in the form of Primoz Roglic’s variant.
Come on trickle down technology, I need those Roval wheels on the entry level Allez!
Well, It’s Cheaper Than The Rest
Oliver Naesen, a pro cyclist with Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale, has been raving about the new Van Rysel bike, the Van Rysel RCR, calling it “the best I have ever ridden.”
This groundbreaking bike, retailing at a comparatively affordable £8,500 (for a pro tier ride), is poised to disrupt the market with its top-tier features at a fraction of the usual cost.
I’m pretty sure the bike above, also a Van Rysel RCR is not the one being talked about. But finding a photo is proving tricky.
Chain Reaction Cycles Bids Farewell to Belfast
Chain Reaction Cycles is closing its flagship store in Belfast, marking an end to its main in-person presence in the UK and Ireland. This decision comes three months after its parent company WiggleCRC filed for insolvency.
The Balmoral Plaza store, opened in 2012, will cease operations next month, with a final sale announced.
Despite the closure, Chain Reaction assures continued customer service through its online platform.
This closure is a significant shift for a company that began as a small village bike shop in 1984 and expanded to multiple locations post-merger with Wiggle.
The Belfast store’s closure, coupled with the recent financial struggles of WiggleCRC, including a disastrous website redesign and severe financial issues, reflects the turbulent times for the cycling retail giant. The future of the company remains uncertain, with potential buyouts being discussed, including interest from Halfords.
Youngone Loans $176 Million into Scott
Youngone Corp, a South Korean apparel giant and majority shareholder of Scott Sports, has injected a substantial financial boost of 150 million Swiss francs ($176 million) into the biz.
This chunky loan, disclosed in a recent filing, aims to bolster Scott Sports’ working capital and overall financial health.
The funding arrives at an interesting time in the cycling industry, following Scott Sports’ profitable year in 2022, and will be managed under strict supervision.
The spiel behind this one is that the move underlines Youngone’s commitment to Scott Sports, further strengthening their partnership and paving the way for continued success in the cycling industry.
Video Of The Week: How Long To Pedal Off A Big Mac’s Worth Of Calories? 🚴🍔
Straight to the top of my YouTube feed this week was GCN’s video attempting to answer the age old question: How long it takes to burn off the calories from a McDonald’s Big Mac meal by cycling?
Taking the energy content of a Big Mac, including fries and a drink, and using a power meter for accurate calorie burn measurement, everyone’s favourite GCN presenter Si Richardson puts his(*) body on the line… for science!
Different cycling intensities are considered, from an untrained person to a pro cyclist, to determine the varying durations required to offset the meal’s caloric intake.
The conclusion? Well… it’s actually caused a bit of a stir on the forums because the suggestion maybe isn’t what you’d expect?
You can watch the video above, but there’s also an article on GCN to go with it.
“Giant” Ambitions: Gladiator Eyes The Track
Jamie Christian, known as ‘Giant’ from the new BBC reboot of Gladiators, is making waves in the cycling world with his impressive power numbers and track sprinting ambitions.
At 38, and standing at 6 foot 5, weighing 130kg, Christian’s transition from bodybuilding to cycling showcases his versatility and dedication.
With a recent track accreditation under his belt and a potential to exceed 2,000 watts on the unfortunate Wattbike that took his beating, he’s challenging the norms of the sport.
Christian, who once leg pressed 600kg and consumes 10,000 calories a day, is now contemplating investing in a custom track bike, overcoming challenges like finding cycling gear that fits his unique physique.
No joke when I saw him on TV last weekend, I said to my wife… I need thighs like that, and I had no idea he was interested in cycling back then. Funny old world.
Evenepoel and Van Aert Joining Bora-Hansgrohe in 2025?
The German WorldTeam Bora-Hansgrohe, soon to be majority-owned by Red Bull, is reportedly eyeing a groundbreaking acquisition of star riders Remco Evenepoel and Wout van Aert for the 2025 season.
With contracts of their current teams set to expire in 2026 and Red Bull’s financial might, this move could dramatically reshape the team’s prospects.
Red Bull’s imminent takeover is expected to be confirmed by the Austrian Federal Competition Authority, potentially increasing the team’s budget substantially from its current €25 million. This financial boost could pave the way for Bora-Hansgrohe to compete with top teams like Visma-Lease a Bike and UAE Team Emirates.
Uno-X Mobility Aims For WorldTour
The Norwegian Uno-X Mobility team, a blend of Norwegian and Danish talent, have their eyes firmly set on achieving a WorldTour license.
All teams accumulate points based on their performances in UCI sanctioned road races.
As best I can understand it, the team need enough points to jump Astana Qazaqstan and Team Arkea Samsic:
Their aim is to achieve promotion to the WorldTour by 2026.
This is covered in a lot more detail on Bobby & Jens podcast.
Cycling’s Richest Rider 💸
Tadej Pogacar, the Slovenian cycling sensation, has been crowned the highest-paid rider in the men’s WorldTour, according to a report by La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Earning a chunky €6 million annually from UAE Team Emirates, Pogacar outpaces rivals Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard.
While Roglič earns €4.5 million at Bora-Hansgrohe, Vingegaard trails with a €4 million paycheck from Visma-Lease A Bike.
The earnings league also includes stars like Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert, with Remco Evenepoel, Tom Pidcock, Adam Yates, Egan Bernal, and Carlos Rodriguez rounding out the top earners.
Beyond his team salary, Pogacar boasts endorsements from various brands and plans to expand his presence to Chinese social media in 2024.
I wouldn’t say no to €6 million a year. But compare that to other sports, and bare in mind that is the top earner in the sport, and you’re looking at £3m on average for a Premier League footballer, or £20m a year for their top earner (Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City). Or £173m a year for Ronaldo…
MyWhoosh Sunday Race Club
Admittedly this one feels like it might have been a paid / promotional piece by MyWhoosh. However I have been reading up on MyWhoosh’s Sunday Race Club (SRC) this week, so it felt timely.
The most interesting aspect of the SRC is that it has prize money for all categories. You can race for real rewards, with some serious cash on the line. Even down in 5th place you’re looking at a few hundred dollaridos. However, you do need a team of three to get involved.
Perhaps even more unexpected is that the prize money is equal for both men and women. Finally!
Team GB’s Track Triumph 🇬🇧
Great Britain’s cycling squad achieved a historic feat at the 2024 European Track Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, securing their best ever medal tally.
The team, under the guidance of Performance Director Stephen Park, clinched 14 medals, including six golds.
The haul placed GB at the top of the medal table, surpassing Germany.
Key highlights included Josie Knight’s nail-biting victory in the individual pursuit and a stellar comeback by Charlie Tanfield after a severe crash.
The squad’s performance signals strong momentum as they head towards the summer’s Paris Olympics, with morale soaring and a series of Nations Cup rounds next on their journey.
Bendy Brake Levers
Covered a couple of times over the past few weeks, the latest drama in the world of the UCI is the excessive brake lever angles.
UCI commissaires are meticulously inspecting bikes using a novel 3D-printed tool, setting the maximum inward rotation at 10 degrees.
This move comes amidst safety concerns and debates over the aerodynamic benefits of extremely tilted hoods.
Some teams are facing inconsistencies in the testing process, with mechanics adjusting bikes to pass the checks.
But wait, because…
Handle Bar Manufacturers Flare Up
In response to UCI’s new regulations on brake lever angles, Toot Engineering and Lambda Tuning have innovatively designed ultra-narrow, flared handlebars.
These designs, notably the Toot Ashaa and Lambda Cross-Wing bars, conform to UCI’s guidelines while offering aero benefits akin to the now-restricted bent-in hoods.
These handlebars, intriguingly 3D printed in steel and boasting unique dimensions, not only adhere to the rules but also promise improved aerodynamic efficiency.
The downside? 219 euros for the bars, so quite pricey. But not, of course, for the pro teams.
Bike Of The Week: The Colnago C68 Motoki Yoshio Prototype
The unique Colnago C68 road bike, crafted in a one-of-a-kind matte finish by Japanese designer Motoki Yoshio, is set for a pricey auction at Sotheby’s.
The auction, running from 19-26 January 2024, offers a rare chance to own this singular 51s size marvel, with the final bid remaining a tantalising mystery.
Estimated at $25,000 to $30,000, it’s a steal compared to Colnago’s previous golden wonder, the Gioiello Numero 1 which sold for $133,000.
With no reserve price, could a cheeky bid land you this cycling gem?
Road.cc dropped this one. But if you Google about, you can find a few more sites with pictures.
OK, that’s me out for the week. Enjoy your Sunday ride!