Archive for June, 2008

Simeoni, victim of Armstrong’s bullying, takes tricolour jersey

I well remember the feeling of disgust when, on the 18th stage of the 2004 Tour de France, Armstrong chased down a six man break that included Filippo Simeoni.  This move would, of course, ensure that the break would be neutralised by  Ullrich’s T Mobile team. Showing himself to be a far better man than the Texan Simeoni agreed to go back to the peloton so that the break could succeed. When back in the bunch Armstrong, showing his support for the code of Omerta that has brought the sport to its knees, made a zip the lips gesture. On the final stage a defiant and brave Simeoni attacked continually but was, of course, chased down by Armstrong’s lackeys.

And what was the cause of Armstrong’s ire?  Simeoni used to be treated by doctor Michele Ferrari, who was also Armstrong’s doctor, and had testified in court that he had doped since 1993 and that Dr. Ferrari had prescribed him doping products such as EPO and Human Growth Hormone in 1996 and 1997. Simeoni was later suspended for several months for doping use. Armstrong was, of course, under pressure because of his association with Ferrari and reportedly called Simeoni a liar in an interview with Le Monde in July  2003.  Unsurprisingly Simeoni lodged a charge of defamation   asking for damages that he would give to charity.

On Sunday Simeoni showed his true worth when, with a late attack after 255km, he beat the cream of Italian cycling to take the the road championship. The thirty six year old from Milan repaid the faith of his small team with the best win of his career.

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Does size matter?

This letter to caught my eye as I am planning to build another bike and my favourite bar is only available in 26mm which seems so yesterday. OK it is only one man’s opinion but it is good enough for me, I am sticking with standard bars.

Re: Oval bars

No, your eyes are not deceiving you; all Oval Concepts sponsored teams ARE riding 26.0mm “standard” sized bars and stems. My personal (and therefore our company) philosophy is that “Oversized = Fatter, Heavier, Slower”. There is no reason to add more weight or frontal area to your road bike and the Pros know it.

The Oversized 31.8mm “standard” is a bad Italian fashion developed when the Italians did not have the efficient butting and swedging technology to offer a safe, reasonably priced, 220 gram road bar. Now that everyone has high quality, reasonably price, triple butted alloy bars made in Asia, and good companies make good carbon fibre road bars in 26.0, O/S 31.8 should die – at least for road bikes.

The strange thing is that all our sponsored teams since the company was founded, including Silence-Lotto, Slipstream and even the old Liberty Seguros squad asked for 26.0. We make both sizes as the market right now demands both sizes but I did not ask nor demand that our teams use either size.

Big Magnus Backstedt is not afraid of breaking his Oval 26.0 bars and stems on his TT bike for the Tour or his road bike for Paris-Roubaix. Robbie McEwen demands bars that are super stiff for his incredible power sprints and he loves our R701 classic bend bars in 26.0. I repeat, there is no reason to add more weight or frontal area to your road bike and the Pros know it.

Thanks for the eagle eye.

Morgan Nicol

Oval Concepts, Switzerland Friday, June 13, 2008

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Frank Schleck thanks St. Christopher

Frank Schleck was heading for the yellow jersey and a possible stage win at today’s stage of the Tour de Suisse when fate intervened. Just four km from the finish Schleck was leading co-escapee Marcus Fothen down a tricky descent when he failed to get round a bend and dragging a foot along the ground he hit the Armco barrier and disappeared over the edge! Fothen managed to avoid Schleck and continued for the win 45 sec ahead of the chasers including race leader Anton.

Franck Schleck trailed in about three minutes later and as he finished he kissed a gold medallion he was wearing, presumably dedicated to St Christopher. He was interviewed in English saying he expected to be stiff in the morning but he appeared to be unscathed save for a few minor scratches on his arm.

A remarkable feature of the incident was that although brother Andy was with the chasers he didn’t bother to stop yet an Astana rider stopped to check that Frank was OK. You can see his lucky escape on YouTube.

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