Arizona Road Cyclist News
J
ack Quinn, Editor

 © May 13,  2009

Welcome to Arizona Road Cyclist News, which is sent out by E-mail every other Wednesday and is posted to the "Back Issues" page of www.azroadcyclist.com several days later. This newsletter attempts to address issues of interest to people who cycle the roads and streets of Arizona, be they commuters, club riders, recreational riders, tourists, or racers. Arizona Road Cyclist News is free of charge. Feel free to forward it to your friends. If someone has E-mailed this newsletter to you, you may sign up for your own free subscription at www.azroadcyclist.com.

This newsletter is copyrighted. You may send individual articles to others if you identify Arizona Road Cyclist News as the source. However, it's much easier to forward the entire newsletter, in which case the copyright information is already included.

In this issue:
    
     Plea Deal for Driver in Tour de Tucson Crash
     Alejandro Valverde Banned from Racing in Italy
     UCI to Make Time Trial Bikes Obsolete?
     Arizona Ranks 7th in Bike-Friendly States
     National Bike Month, Week, and Day
     The New Shimano Ultegra Groupset
     Double Standard on Doping?
     No Giro d'Italia Coverage in the USA
     Upcoming Races on Versus
     Upcoming Races in Arizona
     Upcoming Club Rides in Arizona

Plea Deal for Driver in Tour de Tucson Crash

Attorneys representing the 91-year-old driver accused of hit and run in the Tour de Tucson crash that seriously injured Phoenix-area cyclist Gary Stuebe have worked out a plea agreement under which William Wilson will either receive probation or up to two years in prison. Otherwise, Wilson could have been sentenced to up to 12.5 years behind bars. Mr. Wilson is to be sentenced in Pima County Superior Court on June 22.

According to press reports, Gary Stuebe is progressing on the slow road to recovery from the serious injuries sustained when he and other cyclists in the Tour de Tucson struck Mr. Wilson's car after Mr. Wilson made a left turn in front of them. Following the accident, Gary Stuebe's serious head injury kept him in a coma for nearly three months.

For those not familiar with the details of the accident can read earlier posts on this story on the www.azroadcyclist.com Website. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the first article, and read about subsequent developments in order by scrolling up the page from there.

Alejandro Valverde Banned from Racing in Italy

On Monday, it was announced that the Italian Olympic Committee had banned Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde, who rides for the professional team Caisse d'Epargne, from competing in Italy for two years. If this ban holds on appeal, it will make his participation in the Tour de France unlikely, because stage 16 passes through the Italian Val d'Aosta region on July 21. The Italian decision is based on a determination that DNA evidence showed that one of the bags of blood found in the possession of the infamous Spanish doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in Operación Puerto in 2006 belongs to Valverde. This ruling comes despite the fact that a Spanish court had previously ruled that criminal evidence obtained in Spain could not be used against Valverde in Italy.

UCI to Make Time Trial Bikes Obsolete?

According to an article in the New York Times, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body of bicycle racing, is contemplating a crackdown on time trial bikes. No one knows exactly what the new UCI standards for time trial bikes will look like, but the organization, which does not have a reputation for commonsense rules, has published some unclear guidlines. The UCI apparently believes that aerodynamic features designed into modern time trial bikes place too much emphasis on technology and not enough on the rider's physical ability.

The UCI made its intentions known in a letter sent out to professional teams in January, and the new standards are expected to be enforced beginning on July 1, just before the start of the Tour de France. Most professional teams have a huge inventory of racing bikes, often supplied by bicycle manufacturing sponsors such as Specialized, Trek, Cevelo, etc. Some of these bikes may soon be obsolete.

Of course, most people who buy bicycles, including time trial bikes, do not race them under UCI rules. The biggest market for time trial bikes is probably to riders who compete in triathlons. Many triathletes and casual riders buy the bikes because they believe that the aerodynamic position shows that they are serious cyclists. Serious non-racing cyclists often buy the bicycles that the pro racers ride, and if the pros stop riding time-trail bikes, they may, too.

The new rules may be justified, but enforcing them in mid-season with only a few months' notice is not a reasonable way to initiate change. Providing clear standards at least a year in advance, perhaps two years would be more reasonable and would have given bicycle manufacturers and racing teams time to adopt.

Will your time trial bike become obsolete? If you participate in races sanctioned by USA Cycling, perhaps it will. Even amateur racing follows UCI rules, and both professional and amateur riders compete in many races in the USA.

To read the New York Times article, click here.

Arizona Ranks 7th in Bike-Friendly States

According to the League of American Bicyclists, Arizona is the seventh-most-bicycle-friendly state in the USA, down from the third-most-friendly in 2008. Arizona is ranked behind Washington, Wisconsin, Maine, Oregon, Minnesota and Iowa in that order. Dead last in 50th place is Alabama. Our fellow southwestern state New Mexico is near the bottom in 46th position. Colorado is in 13th position followed by California in 14th position.

The League of American Bicyclists says that the criteria used in ranking states include legislation, policies, programs, creation of places to ride, education of motorists (Arizona needs some work on that one) and the encouragement of people to ride for recreation and transportation. To view the entire list of states in PDF format, click here.

National Bike Month, Week, and Day

We were almost a week into May before I realized that someone had declared this month National Bicycle Month. The League of American Bicyclists is using the opportunity to promote this week as national Bike-to-Work week. If you have not been commuting to work by bicycle this week, it is not too late to start. This Friday, May 15, is national Bike-to-Work Day. Are you afraid of arriving at work sweaty after riding in the desert heat? It helps if you have previously dropped off a change of clothes at work. If there is no shower available where you work, a wiping down of certain body parts (face, chest, armpits) in the men's or ladies' room with a wet towel followed by some deodorant does wonders. And if you arrive home stinking after work? Well, if you are a cyclist, your spouse has probably smelled worse after your Saturday rides.

The New Shimano Ultegra Groupset

For months, the talk in the cycling press has been about Shimano's new 7900 Dura Ace gruppo and its electronic version, the Di2 7970 gruppo. Shimano probably did not want to steal the fire from its flagship Dura Ace group by publicizing the fact that a new Ultegra groupset will also soon be available. Dubbed the 6700 series, the new gruppo reportedly shaves 151 grams off the weight of the previous 6600 line.

As was the case in the previous version, the new Ultegra crankset will be available in three versions: double (53-39 or 52-39T), triple (52-39-30T) and compact (50-34T). Cranks will be available in four lengths: 165, 170, 172.5 and 175 millimeters. The outer chainring features what Shimano calls its Hollowglide technology; the new chainring is hollow to save weight, and Shimano claims that this technology also adds to its stiffness. With 170-millimeter cranks, Shimano specs the 53-39T version at 785 grams including the integrated bottom bracket.

The control levers, like the new Dura Ace, will feature carbon shift blades, under-the-handlebar-tape cable routing and a reach adjustment to accommodate different-sized hands and different handlebar bends. The levers weigh 445 grams per pair.

The RD-6700 rear derailleur will come in two versions: a short-cage version for double cranksets and a medium-cage version for triples. The short cage will have a capacity of 33 teeth including a difference of 16 teeth in the chainrings and a maximum rear cog of 26 teeth (the new Dura Ace derailleur will take up to a 28-tooth cog in the rear). There will also be a choice of two front derailleurs: one for double chanrings and the other for triples.

Double Standard on Doping?

The baseball world was rocked last week when Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games, which translates to several months, after testing positive for the banned drug human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a female fertility drug that steroid users take to regulate their testosterone levels. The drug has been banned by the International Olympic Committee since 1987, but major league baseball only got around to banning it last year.

Mr. Ramirez's comparatively short suspension seems very severe to many baseball fans, but had he been a professional cyclist, he would have received a two-year ban from the sport for the first offense and a lifelong ban for the second one.

Now, I'm not saying that cycling's attitude is too harsh. On the contrary, I think that the attitude in baseball and other non-cycling sports if far too meek. I remember that a year ago, the two main German television networks both dropped coverage of the Tour de France over doping scandals, but no one has suggested that German TV stop televising soccer because of the doping that takes place in the Bundesliga, and as far as I know, German extensively covers the Olympic Games despite all of the Olympic swimmers, runners, etc. who have been exposed as dopers. Mention professional cycling to almost any German national, and he or she will immediately respond that the sport is plagued by doping scandals. Mention soccer, and you do not get the same reaction.

Cycling has done a lot more than any other sport that I am aware of to try to clean up its doping problems. Perhaps cycling should get some credit for taking the problem seriously and baseball, soccer, track and field, swimming, etc. should be encouraged to do more.

No Giro d'Italia Coverage in the USA

The world's second biggest bike race, the Giro d'Ialia, is in progress, but from the US media, you wouldn't know it. The premium cable and satellite channel Versus has carried a short summary of this race in the past, but not this year. Versus claims that the Giro organizers wanted too much money for the U.S. broadcast rights. The Website Cycling TV (www.cycling.tv) has apparently obtained the rights and is streaming the race video over the Internet, but at a price. A year's subscription to the service is $99.99. Versus will broadcast live coverage of the Tour de France, but will the Vuelta a España be available? Both Versus and Cycling TV are apparently still negotiating with the organizers, although Versus usually broadcasts only a short summary of the Vuelta after it is over. Last year I was able to watch many of the Vuelta stages live, thanks to my satellite package, which includes TV Española, but of course, the commentary was in Spanish.

Upcoming Races on Versus

The next race to broadcast on Versus will be the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré on June 7 and June 14, the days of the first and last stages, beginning at 2 p.m. Arizona time both days. This "critérium" is not a criterium in the American sense of the word but a tough weeklong stage race through the French Alps that ends in Grenoble, a city dear to my heart, because I attended university there for a year and was therefore once able to witness the end of the final stage in person. Live daily coverage is available on www.cycling.tv for a fee.

The Tour de Suisse will be available on Versus on June 14 and June 21 beginning at 2 p.m. Arizona time. Then, live coverage of the Tour de France begins on the Fourth of July.

Upcoming Races in Arizona

The Sonoita-Patagonia Time Trial will be held in Southern Arizona on May 17. The first rider leaves Sonoita at 9:30 a.m. The course is 11.7 miles long with a drop in elevation of 700 feet. Average speeds are expected to exceed 30 miles per hour. The event's Website can be accessed here.

The first race in the Three Bears Time Trial series takes place on May 23 on Park Link Drive, which connects the I-10 frontage road to US-79. The races will be 30 kilometers long. The remaining races in the series will be held on June 20 and July 18. To view a PDF file with more information, click here.

The final time trial of May is the Thunder Road Time Trial on May 31. The course is 16 miles long and is located in the Tucson area. The event flyer in PDF format can be viewed here.

Finally, the weekly Tortilla Tuesdays series of road races begins on May 19 at 5:30 p.m. in Apache Junction. The race goes along the Apache Trail to the end of the pavement beyond Tortilla Flat and then returns via the same route. There are two races each evening, an A race for the more advanced riders and a B race for the rest of us with a separate women's race if three or more women show up. The Website for the series can be accessed by clicking here.

Upcoming Club Rides in Arizona

Although the various bicycle clubs in the state are maintaining their regular weekly ride schedules, there are few big events to report at present. However, there are some events worth mentioning.

The Ride of Silence takes place on May 20 in Tucson and in Green Valley to pay tribute to the many cyclists who have been injured or killed throughout the nation. The Tucson ride, which will be escorted by police, leaves at 6 p.m. from the North Side Ramada #31 at Hi Corbett filed and proceeds about 9-1/2 miles. This ride's brochure can be viewed in PDF format by clicking here.

The Green Valley ride also leaves at 6 p.m. but from Green Valley Recreation East Social Center parking lot. Riders will pedal seven miles under the escort of the Pima County Sheriff's Department.. Riders are invited to show up at 5:30 p.m. for refreshments before the ride. The ride's brochure in PDF format can be viewed by clicking here.

The Ride of Silence is promoted nationally through the Ride of Silence Website at www.rodeofsilence.org.

GABA's Luna Lake Bike Tour takes place on Memorial Day weekend of May 23. through May 25. On the first day, riders will pedal 48 miles from Springerville to Quemada, New Mexico. The second day's ride is 55 miles from Quemada to Reserve, New Mexico, and on Monday riders will cover 63 miles from Reserve back to Springerville. GABA and ABC members pay $90 and others $105 if they preregister. Day of the event registration jumps to $105 for GABA and ABC members and $120 for others. The fee covers SAG stops, luggage transport, camping and showers. For more information, click here.

Arizona Road Cyclist News,  http://www.azroadcyclist.com
Jack Quinn, Editor