2013: A year in review – February

Pro teams unveil new gear and kit in Mallorca; sportive riders tackle the freezing cold in Belgium

While the 2013 season officially rolled into action in January, it was February which marked the official start of many riders’ campaigns – including that of Tour de France champion, Sir Bradley Wiggins.

The Team Sky man put his Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think 2 to the test at Challenge Majorca, the first time Sky had been able to equip all their riders with the new machine, and Wiggins led team-mate Ben Swift to third in the opening day’s bunch sprint.

The strikingly coloured gear of Merida was on show at WorldTour level for the first time, with many teams showcasing their new kit at February’s Challenge Majorca

Swift’s time in Majorca was to end with an injury which disrupted his season, however.

Nevertheless, the Challenge Majorca presented many teams with the opportunity to showcase new kit and new gear with some early-season sun to enjoy too.

Another team taking advantage of the sun on the Spanish island was London-based IG-Sigma Sport. Our placement with the team offered an insight into the functioning of a UCI Continental team.

New directeur sportif Simon Howes and coach Ian Goodhew put the riders through their paces as the British squad geared up for the coming year’s challenges.

It was to be a year fraught with misfortune for the team in red and black – Pete Hawkins crashing out of An Post Ras while in the leader’s jersey and Pete Williams was narrowly pipped to the points jersey at the Tour of Britain.

Sadly for the men’s team, and for domestic cycling overall, they were forced to withdraw from UCI racing at the end of the year after being unable to find a new co-sponsor to replace IG.

They have vowed to bounce back in 2015 however, and proof their winter training was not in vain arrived with Joe Perrett winning the Ryedale Grand Prix and Ryan Mullen being crowned Chrono des Nations espoir winner.

Back in February, all that was a long way off however, and after enjoying the sun in Mallorca, there was a shock in store as riders geared their preparations for the spring classics.

The cobbled surface of the legendary climb of the Kemmelberg, which RCUK rode in February

Brave sportive riders tackling the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne Cyclo had to battle freezing temperatures, cold enough to cause snowfall that night, and the subsequent cancellation of the pro race.

While the freezing temperatures did nothing to dissuade the fans from turning out on Kuurne’s Kattestraat, the riders remained cocooned in their team buses after race officials decided the snow bound conditions made it unsafe to race.

With attention turning towards the cobbles, Ridley unveiled the Classics-specific Ridley Fenix, which Lotto-Belisol’s riders would be using in 2013.

Closer to home, the Fisher Expo also allowed us to check out a host of new machinery available from the likes of LOOK, SRAM and Santini whom Fisher act as UK agents for.

The legacy of the Olympic Games was also on show, with the route for the inaugural RideLondon 100 Sportive announced, while the first London Cycle Sportive was also launched.

With sportives becoming ever popular our coaching columnists offered advice on how to progress from bronze times to gold, as the month ended with preparations well underway for both amateurs and professionals as the season began to get into full swing.

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