With the Tour de France on the horizon, VeloNews editor at large John Wilcockson visited the Ardennes Classics to witness firsthand how this year’s Tour contenders were shaping up. At the Amstel Gold Race Belgian Philippe Gilbert used his impressive power to win a difficult uphill sprint ahead of Ryder Hesjedal. At Flèche Wallonne Cadel Evans jumped past Alberto Contador on a steep summit finish for a cagey win. And at Liège-Bastogne-Liège Alex Vinokourov launched a perfect counterattack to outwit Evans, Contador and the Schleck brothers for victory. Any of these three scenarios could have been epic battles at the Tour de France — only RadioShack’s Lance Armstrong, Andreas Kloden and Levi Leipheimer were missing. But regardless of who wasn’t there, the Ardennes were telling of what’s to come in July.
What’s nearly sure to come in July are more stage wins for HTC-Columbia’s Mark Cavendish. In an excerpt from his new book Boy Racer, Cavendish describes his first stage win, which came at the 2008 Tour.
The field sprints that Cavendish has come to dominate are dicey affairs where protocol, power and passion congregate, and occasionally collide. The last few seasons have provided several examples of field sprints where these lines have been crossed, such as between Theo Bos and Daryl Impey at the Tour of Turkey, Rahsaan Bahati and Jake Keough at the Dana Point Grand Prix, and Cavendish and Thor Hushovd at last year’s Tour de France. In a special feature, VeloNews reporter Brian Holcombe examines the gray area between accidental and incidental crashes in the final kilometers.
Prior to his admissions of doping and controversial accusations aimed toward former teammates, Floyd Landis had his best post-comeback performance to date at the Tour of the Battenkill. A win at the demanding UCI race would have been symbolic for Landis, however one rider was better that day — 23-year-old Caleb Fairly of Garmin’s development team Holowesko Partners. Contributor Jason Sumner was at Battenkill and reports on the racing, as well as the unique flavor of the event, with a course that is 25-percent dirt roads.
No stranger to dirt roads, Pua Sawicki is a three-time national 24-hour solo champion. For 2010 she’s applying her skills to the European World Cup circuit. Singletrack.com editor Jamie Bate took a close look at how Sawicki’s European campaign has gone, and what it takes for a privateer to compete against the top riders and teams on the circuit.
All these stories are inside the July issue, plus tech editor Zack Vestal’s report on 2×10 mountain-bike cranksets, and managing editor Neal Rogers’ feature on rising American Andrew Talansky.