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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, February 28, 2016

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child. - Dr. Seuss

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Evelyn Stevens sets new Hour Record

Here's the UCI release:

Evelyn Stevens (USA) broke the Women’s UCI Hour Record on Saturday by covering 47.980 km at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center Velodrome in the United States.

The 32-year-old rider added 1098 metres to the record set just over a month ago by Bridie O’Donnell (AUS) at the Adelaide Super-Drome, Australia.

Evelyn Stevens

Evelyn Stevens is the new World Hour Record holder. Nice job!

Stevens accomplished her feat on Colorado Springs’ 333-metre banked cement track, which sits at just over 6,000 feet above sea level and is covered by a newly-constructed winter dome.

The rider from the Boels Dolmans Cycling Team – a road specialist – is the second American to beat the record after her compatriot Molly Shaffer Van Houweling’s successful attempt on September 12th 2015 in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

A five-time UCI Road World Championships medallist and 2012 Olympian in London, Stevens is now targeting an Olympic medal in Rio this summer.

The American’s achievement is borne from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) modernising the rules regarding the UCI Hour Record in May 2014; the record can now be tackled using any bicycle that conforms to the rules defining the characteristics of the bicycles used in endurance track events.

Following the rule change, eight men have challenged the record, with Bradley Wiggins setting the current bar of 54.526 km. In addition to Bridie O’Donnell and Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, Sarah Storey also had a go at the women’s record.

After her attempt, the new Women’s UCI Hour Record holder said: “It’s not common that you get the chance to set a new World Record. Could not have been a more perfect day. I just want to celebrate with everyone now! ”

“I would like to congratulate ‘Evie’ on her achievement. Bridie O’Donnell’s record stood for five weeks and we have already seen two attempts this year despite only being in February” announced UCI President Brian Cookson.

“Two years after the rule change, riders’ interest in the UCI Hour Record has not waned. From Europe to North America via Oceania, one after another the athletes are pitting their strength against our sport’s legendary event, in front of fans who can follow live their exploits on our YouTube channel.”

Here's the Team Boels-Dolmens posting:

Evie Stevens rode an incredible hour under the dome in Colorado Springs to capture the UCI hour record by over a kilometre on Saturday. Covering 47.980 kilometres, Stevens missed the all-time mark set by Jeannie Longo 20 years ago with the “superman” position by a mere 200 metres but holds the official UCI hour record in modern times and under modern regulations.

“Today was the opportunity to be great,” said Stevens. “It’s not common that you get a chance to set a world record.”

UCI rules require a standing start, so Stevens used the first lap to get up to speed. Following a 30-second opening lap, Stevens quickly settled into a rhythm and consistently hit laps around 24.8 seconds on the 333-metre track.

“It couldn’t have been a more perfect day with the temperature, pressure, a lot of other things that I don’t totally understand,” she said with a laugh. “I had the best equipment out there, skinsuit, everything, so you know, I was able to hit my split times.”

That equipment included a Specialized Shiv modified specifically for Saturday’s ride with Zipp wheels – a 909 front disc and a super 9 rear disc – and a UFO-coated SRAM 22 model chain. Stevens raced in her Boels-Dolmans Bioracer speedsuit with the previous record (46.882km set by Australian Bridie O’Donnell) printed on the sleeve.

“I worked a lot on the mental aspect,” said Stevens. “In the beginning, I just wanted to stay calm. In the end, I think anyone who saw me saw that I was going in S-shaped turns.”

When she was deep in the pain cave, Stevens relied on the support of those inside the velodrome and those cheering virtually to urge her forward faster.

“I can’t believe this many people came to watch me,” she said of the packed track. “Knowing that made me go even harder. […] I think the coolest thing about today is the support. I just want to celebrate with everyone who came out.”

The new record-holder is Europe bound next week.

“It’s back to Boulder, to the Phinney’s house, for a few days and then back to San Francisco,” said Stevens. “Then I head to Europe for the season. I can’t wait to join my teammates who are kicking butt over there. “

Lotto-Soudal's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad report:

Today, the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad took place, the first race of the Belgian cycling season. Twelve riders were part of the early break. Their advantage was controlled by the men of Lotto Soudal, Etixx – Quick-Step, BMC and Katusha. As usual the ascent of the Taaienberg was the moment to start attacking. Luke Rowe and Greg Van Avermaet escaped the bunch. Tiesj Benoot didn’t hesitate and followed, also Peter Sagan was awake and bridged the gap to the three escapees.

Afterwards, the four riders rode from group to group, the front group had fallen apart. In the meantime, Etixx – Quick-Step tried to close the gap but the advantage remained about 50 seconds. There were a few attempts in the peloton, among others Edward Theuns, Dries Devenyns and Jasper Stuyven tried to attack, but the Lotto Soudal riders did a great job by responding to every attempt. Five riders eventually fought for the victory: Tiesj Benoot, Peter Sagan, Luke Rowe, Greg Van Avermaet and Alexis Gougeard. This last rider was the only escapee that managed to follow the four riders that had bridged from the peloton. At the new finish line at the Emile Clauslaan, Van Avermaet sprinted to the victory. Sagan was second, Benoot nicely third. In the background Jens Debusschere won the sprint of the peloton, he finished sixth. A very strong team performance of the Lotto Soudal riders.

Tiesj Benoot: “I can hardly be disappointed with a third place in my first Omloop Het Nieuwsblad where I started as a protected rider. The race exploded at the expected moment, at the Taaienberg. If men like Van Avermaet and Sagan attack, you simply have to follow them. It was still far from the finish, but all top teams were represented in the front of the race, except for Etixx – Quick-Step.”

“I could rely on a fantastic team that reacted to every attempt in the peloton. That says a lot about the atmosphere and the shape of the whole team. Also the riders that were in the front group did a great job. Everyone did his very best to defend our lead. Even Alexis Gougeard, who was at the front of the race all day long. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to sprint against these riders. I thought for a while that I could try to ride away, but at the end of the Lange Munte it was still about twenty kilometres towards the finish with a strong headwind. So it would be very difficult. Eventually I rode a decent sprint, but Greg was the best and he’s the deserved winner.”

“My third place of today proves that I had a good winter. In Mallorca and Algarve I received the confirmation of that great form, but the Omloop is the first real test. It’s a very good feeling to stand on the podium. It was really nice to be at the start here in my hometown, the atmosphere was simply fantastic.”

Camelback owner buys Bell, Giro & Blackburn

Bicycle Retailer & Industry News reported this giant transaction:

CLEARFIELD, Utah (BRAIN) — Vista Outdoor Inc. has agreed to buy BRG Sports, Inc.'s Action Sports division, which includes Bell, Giro, C-Preme and Blackburn. Vista, still little known in the bike world, bought CamelBak last year and also owns the Bollé brand, in addition to a variety of hunting and fishing brands. Vista did not buy BRG's Riddell helmet brand.

Vista said its new brands will be integrated into the company's Outdoor Products segment, and will better balance its brand list between Shooting Sports and Outdoor Products.

"This acquisition is consistent with our strategic growth objective of becoming a world-leading outdoor sports and recreation products company," said Vista Outdoor chairman and CEO Mark DeYoung.

"This is our third acquisition since becoming an independent public company one year ago, and demonstrates our commitment to creating a solid leadership position in the individual outdoor recreation market with top-tier brands and market-leading capabilities. The Action Sports acquisition, combined with our strong CamelBak and Bollé brands, positions Vista Outdoor as a leading company in cycling and snow sports equipment in both North America and Europe. Adding these innovative and well-known consumer brands to our portfolio creates a channel leadership position, enabling us to sell a broad suite of Vista Outdoor products to specialty outdoor shops, wholesalers and leading outdoor product retailers."

Vista is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the VSTO symbol. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. Vista Outdoor said it expects to close on the deal in the next 30 to 60 days.

You can read the entire story here.

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