The latest edition of the world’s best cycling magazine is now available in UK shops. Cycle Sport June contains exclusive interviews with Mark Cavendish and Taylor Phinney, an in-depth preview of the upcoming Giro d’Italia and much more.
Words by Cycle Sport staff
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Friday April 11 2013
Happy birthday to us! Cycle Sport’s first edition came out 20 years ago this month! Within the pages of this month’s bumper 164-page issue…
Nothing’s changed much with Mark Cavendish, then. The fastest sprinter in the world may be riding with a new team, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, in 2013, but he still applies the same attention to detail to everything, whether it be sprinting or telephoning cycling journalists. He’s still got the same fighting spirit and outspoken honesty as he always did, the only real difference is that the win total keeps on ticking upwards (he’s currently four away from 100).
Cavendish’s intensity is legendary, and it’s showing little sign of dying down. He says the move to Omega Pharma has rejuvenated his ambition, after a good, but not perfect year at Team Sky. Another Cavendish personality trait is that he’s extremely demanding, and when Sky couldn’t accommodate his demands, with their focus on winning the Tour de France with Bradley Wiggins, it was best that he left.
It’s probably going to be a good year for Cavendish, and that means winning Giro and Tour de France stages. He couldn’t quite repeat his 2009 victory in Milan-San Remo, sprinting in a handful of seconds behind the leading group, and Ghent-Wevelgem will have to wait another year, but he’s got a strong team that will focus almost exclusively on his goal of bagging stages in Grand Tours. “It’s three years since Quick Step have won a Tour stage,” Cavendish says. You get the impression it won’t be long before they break that run.
The Clown Prince, by Richard Moore
”Taylor the Clown or Phinney the Cannibal. Sometimes the two incarnations can be apparent in the same race. At the Tour of Qatar, he rolled up with his BMC team-mates to the start line for the team time trial. It was the kind of stage a rider of his build and his abilities should relish, but his chirpy mood went beyond simple optimism. As he approached the line, Phinney whistled a jaunty tune. Then, as the eight riders were held up and the electronic clock counted down, he burst into song. Beside him, his team-mates’ faces were uniformly fixed in grim concentration. Phinney ceased singing, then piped up: “Is everybody in the right gear?” The mischievous question was met with a stony silence. But when they were pushed off, Phinney was transformed from joker into a machine.”
Taylor Phinney is fast developing into one of the best Classics riders and time triallists in the world. He was seventh in Milan-San Remo, after being the only rider brave and strong enough to bridge from the peloton to the lead group through the streets of San Remo, and he rode well in Paris-Roubaix, although he still lacks the experience to make the front group. Richard Moore tries to find out if Phinney is the serious professional or the clown, and discovers that the answer is more complicated than you might think.
On the Evelyn of Greatness, by Andy McGrath
Evelyn Stevens’ story is one of the most fascinating in world cycling. She famously went from a high-powered job in New York, to the professional peloton, after discovering late that she had the aptitude and ability to be a competitive cyclist. Just a few years after taking up cycling, she’s enjoying life as one of the best female cyclists in the world – how many others have outsprinted Marianne Vos on the Mur de Huy in Flèche Wallonne?
Andy McGrath interviewed Stevens, and spoke to her first cycling coach, about her extraordinary rise. It was clear Stevens was good – when her coach Neal Henderson saw her physiological test results in 2009, he assumed she was a world-class female athlete. In fact, she had only been riding a few months. Stevens’ weakness – her relative lack of experience compared to some of her rivals – is also a strength. The life experience and perspective that she gained from her years on Wall Street have given her balance, and she’s learned from her rapid rise that she won’t be shackled by limits.
SPECIAL FEATURE: GIRO D’ITALIA PREVIEW
The countdown to the first Grand Tour of 2013 continues. The Giro d’Italia is the connoisseur’s Grand Tour, a unique race, and one that is attracting more and more major race contenders, as opposed to its parochial history.
We’ve broken down the route and identified the key stages, looked at the local culture, and found local experts to guide us round the three-week race. Will Bradley Wiggins win his first pink jersey? Will Ryder Hesjedal defend his title successfully? Will Vincenzo Nibali confirm his early promise and finally win his home Tour? All these questions will be answered soon.
Route master, by Gregor Brown
Michele Acquarone is the new race director of the Tour of Italy, and 2013 will be his second race in charge. Acquarone is a proud Italian whose cycling roots are deep – he grew up in San Remo – and he has designed a race this year that showcases Italian culture and geography. But he’s also staunchly outward-looking. He tells Gregor Brown, “If I had to describe this year’s race in one word, I’d say ‘modern’…I’m happy with the mountain stages, but also the stages that sell Italy. That’s something that’s important to me, to have Naples, Florence, Matera, Vajont, Ischia. We are selling bella Italia.”
Images of the Giro d’Italia
No words. Just some of the most beautiful pictures from the Giro’s long and illustrious history.
Swede Success, by Andy McGrath
Where did it all go wrong for Thomas Löfkvist? He was once one of the most talked-about prodigies in cycling, developing with the FDJ team, wearing the white jersey with Columbia, and being signed by Sky, originally as their team leader. But three difficult years with Sky have led to Löfkvist becoming one of cycling’s forgotten men, the race wins drying up and the ambition shrinking as the hard realities of life sink in.
But the Swede is enjoying a new lease of life with a new team, IAM. He’s come to terms with the fact that he won’t win a Grand Tour, but he now sets his sights on the week-long stage races that suit his talents down to the ground. And he’s already bouncing back – he won the Tour of the Mediterranean this year with a display of strength, resilience and tenacity. In this revealing interview, Andy McGrath finds out what makes the Swede tick, and why he still feels, having just turned 29, that his best is yet to come.
Tainted Town, by Owen Slot
Lance Armstrong is a walking cliché in Austin. The skeleton in the closet, the elephant in the room. But how has his rapid demise affected his adopted hometown? Owen Slot went right to the heart of the story when Armstrong did his famous confessional television interview with Oprah Winfrey, to explore the town and examine its reaction to their most famous son’s disgrace. He spoke to the locals, tested the atmosphere, and wrote us this eyewitness piece which finds that the city is doing just fine, but has a curious reluctance in some quarters to discuss Armstrong.
By Presidential Decree, by Klaus Bellon
Colombian cycling’s heyday was famously in the 1980s, with a cohort of talented and fragile climbers landing in the 1984 Tour de France, immediately winning races, and establishing themselves as genuine Grand Tour contenders. Lucho Herrera won the King of the Mountains competition in France, and won the Vuelta. Fabio Parra was third in the Tour in 1988. But there is a renaissance happening right now, spearheaded by the Colombia team, which has secured a wild card entry to the Giro d’Italia, and has the ambition to repeat and even surpass the exploits of their forebears. Klaus Bellon, an expert on the Colombian cycling scene, describes how the ambition of the country’s cyclists is reflected by the country’s aims to rebuild its own confidence.
I love 1993, by Edward Pickering
In the latest of our retro series looking at seasons past, we go back 20 years to the year of Cycle Sport’s birth, 1993. It was a year in which the news wasn’t universally good –some results and performances demonstrated that EPO was inexorably taking hold in the peloton. It was a year in which Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle pipped the strongest rider in the race, Franco Ballerini, to win one of the most entertaining Paris-Roubaix in history, and the year Miguel Indurain achieved an unprecedented second consecutive Giro-Tour double.
Plus…All our regular features – Graham Watson shares his best pictures from the Classics; Shop Window features the latest cycling bling it’s the LAST EVER BROOMWAGON, and possibly the funniest in history; Q&A with Peter Stetina (“Yorkshire pudding and what? Bitter?); Flanders route frustrations, Ghent-Wevelgem’s food and booze map; Tour-ometer; Team of the Month; Geraint; great writing, brilliant photography and more.
Cycle Sport June, featuring the very best writing and photography of professional cycling, is available now in the UK, and will be on sale in the USA shortly. It is also available electronically through Zinio.