Wednesday, May 22, 2024
HomeNuggetsThe VV View: Opening Weekend, Vik's Discs, and the Astana Rap?

The VV View: Opening Weekend, Vik’s Discs, and the Astana Rap?


Another rant, another exclusive: images of VeloVeritas mentor and soothsayer’s new Planet X machine.

Check out that ‘slammed’ extension, Pippo Pozzato would be proud.

Vik’s initial impressions of disc brakes are that they are effective but the noise off them when braking in the wet is hard to bear and a tad embarrassing if there are bystanders.

I’ve found the same thing but the noise dies once the discs dry. 

Sticking with Vik, he said to me last year that eventually the Tour de France will be conducted from a sports hall with all of the riders on a Zwift-type ‘virtual’ set up.


I was listening to Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe on their Cycling Podcast this morning and Friebe said the exact same thing.

A scary thought.

* * *

Continuing in the indoor vein, Cycling Weekly has a new feature, ‘Readers’ pain caves.’

The gentleman featured this week has a setup which includes, ‘Pedivella wobble boards’ or ‘rocker plates’ to, ‘make it feel more like riding in a real environment, less like being on a static bike.’ 

As I’ve said in the past; ‘it’s Cycling Jim, but not as we know it.

And did I mention the ‘Wahoo’ advert which looks like something from that lab where Rocky’s Russian rival, Ivan Drago trained?

The rider in the ad. is bearded, naturally – and wears horrific socks, naturally and must have huge disposable income to afford that lot.

It’s comforting that I’ll be extinct soon and won’t have to witness these abominations. 

The first Cycling Weekly Ed bought, opening a life-long readership.

I don’t actually know why I continue to subscribe to Cycling Weekly, perhaps it’s because after 51 years of buying it I fear something bad might happen if I stop?

In every issue there’s something that upsets my equilibrium, a couple of issues prior to the ‘wobble board’ issue I read about the new Cannondale which features ‘app connectivity,’ ‘smart’ lights and rear facing ‘integrated radar.’ 

Until the designers come up with sensors which identify baseball capped hot hatch drivers who are on their sixth spliff of the day I’m not sure how much of an aid to safety this is – but I am sure it makes bikes even more hideously complex.

Long live ‘fixies’ I say.

* * *

I don’t ride my ‘fixie’ much these days, even though it’s geared low, the topography of Dysart doesn’t lend itself to a single speed.

Photo©Ed Hood

Getting up out of the village on the ‘e’ bike is a cinch and recently I’ve even ventured out on the old Giant road bike.

Photo©Ed Hood

But my ancient Dura Ace chainset has a 39 inner ring which is a tad ‘heavy’ for me trying to get up to the ‘White Gates,’ on the main coast road, so my amigo Dave has kindly gifted me a compact complete with 36 ring, and besides, the old Dura Ace is showing it’s age.

Photo©Ed Hood

And in the interests of my street cred. Vik is selling me his Merida Scultura frame – which is ridiculously light.

However, the days of British/French/Italian cups and bottom brackets are long gone, the Merida has a ‘press in’ bracket which get a bad press for ‘creaking’ – I’ll have to make sure that we get that right – ‘creaks’ do my head in. 

Martin, our editor has reminded me that the man who pulls no punches with his equipment reviews, Hambini markets top notch bottom bracket assemblies. One of those is definitely on the shopping list.

Hambini explains the intricacies of bottom bracket tolerances. Photo©supplied

I’m going to transfer the other equipment including brakes, shifters, front changer, bars, saddle and pedals off the Giant on to the Merida but upgrade my 105 rear mech. to an Ultegra.

But my wheels and shifters are 10 speed whilst the world has moved on in the time I’ve not been riding and 11 speed is now pretty much the standard – if not 12 speed.

However, my wheels are another item Vik insists I upgrade; ‘come on, Ed – who rides silver rims now?

So I’m currently on the lookout for carbon-rimmed 10-speed wheels.

The other thing I’m going to change is the stem; somehow I’ve ended up with one of my pet hates on a bike – an upward sloping extension.

It has to go.

* * *

Getting back on the road in the winter is an expensive business if you want to be cosy – Assos gear don’t come cheap.

And what about the ‘chivalry of the road,’ where has it gone?

Nods and waves go largely unanswered these days – it’s hard to be a dinosaur of the road in 2022. 

But on a positive note, it’s great to see so much racing on the TV – the GCN network covers just about every race that’s currently on the go.

‘Back in the day,’ we used to get five minutes on ‘World of Sport’ – if we were lucky.

I remember waiting excitedly for the Tour of Lombardy one Saturday and Dickie Davis eventually telling us that Eddy Merckx had won by some yawning margin and the producers had decided to go to the bowling at Worthing instead.

I was close to tears.

* * *

The races thus far have been fast and furious but in the overall way of things aren’t the real deal.

The REAL races began with the ‘Opening Weekend’ – Het Nieuwsblad and then on Sunday, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

Het Nieuwsblad, or ‘The Omloop’ as locals would have it was a demonstration from WVA and his Jumbo team, with Tiesj Benoot looking to be back to his best.

WVA having ‘passed’ on the Worlds cyclo-cross to focus 100% on The Classics looks to be well on track BUT no one has ever won de Ronde in the same year as they won The Omloop.

On paper it was a strong QuickStep line up with Yves Lampaert and Kasper Asgreen both capable of winning – however it didn’t pan out that way and the team spent an uncomfortable 30 minutes with team boss Lefevere that evening.

Fabio Jakobsen saves the opening weekend for Quick-Step. Photo©Bettini

The next day at Kuurne despite having big sprinting Caleb Ewan, Giacomo Nizzolo, Tim Merlier, Bryan Coquard and third placed in 2021, mighty atom, Tom Pidcock to contend with, QuickStep – not for the first time in this race – pulled the fat from the fire with Fabio Jakobsen imperious in the closing metres.

Strade Bianche, ‘the unofficial sixth monument?

As we say in Flanders, ‘nee, nee, nee!

A great race for sure but the youngest of the five Monuments is Flanders – and that was 2013 so we have a ways to go yet.