Archive for July, 2010

More about Shimano wheels

First a big cheer for Rayment Cycles of Brighton who had a spoke and nipple for my Shimano RS10 back wheel in stock. Naturally things weren’t simple as despite the wheel being brand new my spokes had been superseded by a later design. The new spoke is 2mm longer and the nipple is 2mm shorter. So what, you may say, well it means you have to buy a new nipple to which you may say BIG DEAL! Well to me TWO QUID for a spoke nipple is a big deal on top of THREE QUID for the spoke.

I have fitted the spoke and the wheel is more or less straight. We will see how long this happy state of affairs lasts. I plan to notify Ribble Cycles that if another spoke breaks I will want my money back. I suspect that I will not have to wait too long.

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Why did I buy Shimano wheels with just 36 spokes the pair?

You may recall that when the hub of my back wheel fell apart I bought a pair of Shimano “ready made” wheels from Ribble Cycles. I was concerned that twenty spokes didn’t seem enough for a back wheel but I reassured myself that as spokes always break at the bend by the head the straight pull spokes in the new wheels would be up to the job. Two weeks and five hundred miles later I know different!

Last Thursday I rode to Bournemouth which at 100 miles is as far as I have ridden for some years. On Tuesday I set out on the return leg and just as I reached Southampton there was an almighty bang  which was the sound of a spoke breaking. By the time I stopped the spoke had fallen out of the wheel and couldn’t be found. Amazingly for the first time in my cycling life the spoke had broken at the nipple end. The wheel was badly buckled but I managed the remaining seventy miles without it getting any worse.

But what now? I went to Evans Cycles but as I expected they don’t have straight pull spokes in stock. They can get them but needed to know the exact length. Why? Don’t Shimano know how long the spokes are? They have probably sold a million pairs world wide, after all I first saw this type of wheel on a bike on sale at Lidl! Surely somebody in Japan has measured the spokes.  I suppose I could try phoning Ribble Cycles but I don’t think I have the mental strength for that.

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Lemond to tell what he knows to Feds.

Lemond and Armstrong in happier times

Three-time TDF winner Greg Lemond has been served with a grand jury subpoena as the US federal government continues its probe into alleged doping conspiracies on Armstrong’s teams the New York Daily News reports.

The subpoena, demanding documents and testimony from LeMond, was issued by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court of Central California where prosecutors have been building a criminal case based on evidence collected by F.D.A. criminal investigator Jeff Novitzky, who in 2003 uncovered the BALCO doping ring.

Among the materials the subpoena orders LeMond to produce are any that are related to U.S. Postal, Discovery, Astana and Radio Shack.  LeMond is also ordered to produce materials related to the Trek Bicycle company, a sponsor of Armstrong’s teams that has come under federal scrutiny.

The letter orders LeMond to appear at a federal courthouse in Los Angeles on July 30 to answer questions from a grand jury which meets in secrecy. Witnesses must testify under oath and may not be accompanied inside the room by an lawyer.

Armstrong’s people did not immediately respond to requests by the NY newspaper for comment about the LeMond subpoena. Armstrong  continues to deny allegations of doping most recently following accusations by his former teammate Floyd Landis.  Trek spokesman Bill Mashek told the N.Y. Daily News that the company is “fully cooperating with the government’s request.”

Like others in cycling who have voiced suspicions about Armstrong and his entourage, LeMond and his wife, Kathy  have long felt marginalized and mistreated by Armstrong’s supporters. They applauded the subpoena. “We are overjoyed,” said Kathy LeMond. “I hope the truth will come out.” All this is good stuff but it is difficult to see what Lemond can know about Armstrong’s “preparation” other than hearsay. He may have some knowledge about Trek as they made Greg Lemond bikes and after a big falling out with Trek over Greg’s concerns about Armstrong’s alleged doping he will, no doubt, be happy to put the boot in.

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greenjersey sits on fence in Renshaw affair

Apparently it is thirteen years since a rider was disqualified from The Tour and I guess that must have been the Tom Steels “bottle throwing” affair. So clearly it takes a serious infringement to earn a red card. Certainly putting Farrar in to the barrier was naughty, but hardly exceptional if sprinting for the win but it could start a very nasty trend if lead out men started pushing and shoving while going backwards through the sprinting field.

The problem is that if Renshaw is not DQed he has, in effect, got away with his indiscretion. The usual penalty of relegating him to last in the bunch would be a joke. After all he would still be placed in front of Armstrong on the day! Presumably a fine would be paid by the team and I have no idea what sum would constitute a deterrent but I guess 10,000 euros might hurt, but not much.

I suppose if Renshaw deserves a serious sanction, and I can’t decide if he does, the only possible punishment is to send him home.

Is it an Aussie thing?

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Cancellara great rider, still a Clown

It would be, of course, churlish to offer any negative comment about today’s fantastic stage so I won’t. Who to single out for praise? well Armstrong for a start. The way he came back to the group, even if he did get more than a little help from the convoy, was fantasic. Thomas of course was super as was Evans and Andy Schleck.

Cancellara was, like yesterday, great on the bike and a burk on the mike. In a short ITV4 interview he tried to distinguish yesterday’s stage, when it was wrong to race after a crash, from today’s stage when it was OK to race after a crash. Needless to say he just tied himself in knots.

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Cancellara is a Clown

Without doubt it was a smart move by Cancellara to use the authority of the yellow jersey to engineer a slowing of the front group to allow the Schlecks to rejoin. Then he lost the plot completely. There was abolutely no reason not to race once the Schlecks were safely back in the peloton. ITV4 showed an hurried post race interview where the big Swiss “explained” his reasons for the Go Slow. It would be overly kind to describe what he said as rambling nonsense, it didn’t make any kind of sense and because I was at a loss to understand what point he was trying to make I cannot offer an explanation.

One thing is for sure, if I was Thor Hushovd I would be really pissed off. Cav was dropped fair and square before the crash and if there had been a race and a sprint Hushovd would have got a bunch of points over Cav. I guess Oscar was still there although I didn’t spot him.

One more thing, how many times can Sherwen say “the front end of the main field” in a two hour broadcast? I reckon he used the phrase more than fifty times today.

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