Seven-day round-up: Cav in town, Boardman's time trial tips and more
A week's worth of news, reviews, previews, advice and observations in one handy post
Cavendish in town, Cannondales arriving with the post, and Yorkshire beckoning in the shape of a sneak preview of the Rapha Tempest festival…
it's been a busy old seven days at RCUK Towers, and that's before we've mentioned talents as diverse as German sprint king Marcel Kittel and Welsh rugby legend, Gareth Thomas. Oh, and there's the small matter of the 100th edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege this weekend. Never a dull moment - literally!
The rain may have returned, but that hasn't stopped us taking a first look at some beautiful new summer kit from Italian clothing specialists, Sportful, getting the lowdown on how to ride a time trial from no lesser authority than former world champion, Chris Boardman, and putting up a set of Swiss Side Hadron wheels for grabs.
If your week has been as busy as ours and you've fallen off the back of the RCUK peloton, then fear not - think of this round-up as your own personal domestique, faithfully guiding you back to the bunch. Need to catch up on a week's worth of news in a single post? Step this way...
[part title="Cherubim Sticky frameset - review"]
RCUK Towers is never short of jaw-dropping machinery but just occasionally a machine comes through the gates that makes even the casual by-stander do a double take.
The Cherubim Sticky proved to be just such a machine, with its super slim pipework, fillet brazing, and pearlescent finish winning the seal of approval from aficionados and aesthetes alike.
But how did it perform on the road? Looks mean little when the rain is hammering down and fifty, hilly miles lie ahead. We spent a month aboard the Sticky, the custom-made product of Japanese craftsman Shin-ichi Konno to discover if looks could be deceiving, or if the performance would match its striking appearance.
[part title="Chris Boardman's top time trial tips"]
Chris Boardman's top time trial tips
Show us someone who says they know more about time trailing than Britain's Chris Boardman and we'll show you a liar.
The former world champion and multiple British champion, winner of three Tour de France prologues, is rightly regarded as an expert on the race of truth. Who better then to ask for tips on competing against the clock?
We caught up with the Wirral man to quiz him on the various aspects of the timed, solo effort. Follow this link to Boardman's advice on everything from 'the three Ps' to the importance of confidence, not to mention aerodynamics, another subject on which the former head of British Cycling's 'Secret Squirrel Club' knows more than a little.
[part title="CVNDSH-Specialized clothing launch"]
CVNDSH-Specialized clothing launch
When Mark Cavendish is in town, we take the trouble to find out what the British road race champion is up to. And when we received a mysterious invitation to a warehouse in London's achingly hip Shoreditch, our interest was piqued. Such an occasion had not been stages merely to discuss his return to action at the low key Tour of Turkey, surely?
What we found was a new clothing collection, complete with CVNDSH editions of Specialized's top-tier S-Works road shoes and Evade helmet. And Cavendish, as ever, was nothing less than forthcoming. "You probably know that I can be a bit of a perfectionist; a bit obsessive, " he told guests. "A ball ache to work with, I can guarantee that. But I say it’s passion and desire." The Manx Missile believes the attention to detail he brings to the final 200m of the Champs Elysees can be found in his new collection. Judge for yourselves by following this link all the new CVNDSH-Specialized gear.
[part title="Liege-Bastogne-Liege preview"]
This season's Spring Classics have more than met expectations. Beginning with another epic edition of Milan-San Remo, and including an edition of Paris-Roubaix arguably the equal of any, just one Spring race remains before the peloton turns its attention to the Grand Tours - Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
La Doyenne will celebrate its hundredth anniversary tomorrow and Ireland's Dan Martin will roll out in Belgium as defending champion. The Birmingham-born nephew of Stephen Roche will have much to do if he is to make it two Liege victories in succession, with Amstel Gold Race winner, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), and Movistar's Alejandro Valverde, who won La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday, both in scintillating form.
[part title="Eight reasons why you should ride the Paris-Roubaix sportive"]
Eight reasons why you should ride the Paris-Roubaix sportive
The brutal parcours of the Classics are no longer the sole preserve of cycling's elite professional riders. It's one of the many things that makes cycling such a fantastic sport: mortals like the rest of us can experience the theatres of combat in which the very best shape their destiny. And as courses go, the 28, bone-jarring cobbled secteurs of Paris-Roubaix take some beating [or should that be the riders? - Ed]
Alex Palmer of Canyon UK was among the 3,000 amateur riders brave enough to kit up and sample the gruelling pavé for themselves. An experienced cyclist whose previous favourite challenge had been the Tour of Flanders sportive, Alex shared his tips on making the most of the Paris-Roubaix experience.
Looking for eight reasons to ride next year's Paris-Roubaix sportive? Follow this link.
[part title="Rapha Tempest Festival - preview"]
Rapha Tempest Festival - preview
Whisper it, but there's a minor bike race coming to Yorkshire this July. If you're hoping to watch some of this little-known event (the Tour de France, we believe it's called) then you won't be stuck for choice. While hotels have been booked up for months, and B&Bs have responded by pushing their prices through the roof, cycling festivals represent a fun and affordable way to watch the world's greatest bike race when it visits these shores.
We headed to the stately surroundings of Broughton Hall, the sumptuous property of the Tempest family, to discover what might be on offer to those who choose to spend the Grand Depart in the company of London-based clothing brand, Rapha, suppliers to Britain's Team Sky.
Find out what cycling's most stylish outfitter has in mind for Yorkshire by following this link.
[part title="Marcel Kittel previews Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire"]
Marcel Kittel previews Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire
Only one man has a realistic chance of upsetting Mark Cavendish's plans to win the Grand Départ stage of the 2014 Tour de France in his mother's home town of Harrogate, and that man is German sprint sensation, Marcel Kittel. The Giant-Shimano star, who won four stages of last year's Tour, including the final stage in Paris, could rain again on Cavendish's parade.
Or perhaps the weather will beat him. The good-natured powerhouse, whose tongue is never far from his cheek, Tweeted in advance of his visit to Yorkshire to reccee the Grand Depart, that he hoped the weather wouldn't be "too British". You can have three guesses at the conditions that greeted him as he rolled out in Yorkshire, or follow this link to a full-width gallery of stunning images from top sports photographer Simon Wilkinson.
[part title="Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod Red Racing - first look"]
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod Red Racing - first look
We know that Cannondale know how to make racing bikes. Just ask two-time Tour de France green jersey winner, Peter Sagan. We've tested a few ourselves, but the latest arrival is particularly head-turning. Decked out in SRAM Red 22, with the notable exception of the 'Dale's exquisite SISL2 chainset, and rolling on our 'go to' aluminium clincher, the Mavic Ksyrium Elite S, our expectations of this machine are high.
We'll have formed a full opinion of its talents in a few weeks time, when the necessary testing miles have been logged. On arrival, however, it is our custom to weigh the steed and make a detailed note of its idiosyncrasies, before publishing our early impressions in a 'first look' article to whet the appetite for the review to come.