Velo Magazine, August 2012: The Power Issue

Velo celebrates 40 years with our look at the most powerful people in cycling

In the August 2012 issue of Velo, we celebrate our 40th anniversary. North America’s top bike racing magazine began as Northeast Bicycle News in 1972, and since then has been reborn as CycleNews, Velo-News and, as of 2011, simply Velo. As the magazine itself has modernized, improved and had its fair share of growing pains, so too has the sport of cycling. To celebrate 40 years in the sport we love, we’ve dedicated much of the August issue to looking back at cycling through the ages. Decade-by-decade, our staff recounts the glory days and controversies of cycling since the 1970s. We discuss the major races, major riders and major technical innovations, some of which have faded in importance and some of which remain today.

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If we’re going to talk about the metamorphosis of cycling through the decades, we also have to pay attention to its heroes, villains and major power players. Thus, the 40th anniversary issue also doubles as the Power Issue, featuring the 25 most powerful people in pro cycling today. We acknowledge that power comes in many forms, from physical strength on the bike to managerial and often, most importantly, financial sway. Who made the list, and who didn’t? The answers may surprise you — some may be names you’ve never heard, and we guarantee some won’t be popular choices. AIGCP teams organization president Jonathan Vaughters and anonymous Twitter personality UCI Overlord weigh in with their comments on each of the selections.

In “VeloNotes,” editor-in-chief Neal Rogers comments on the London 2012 Olympic team selections and their apparent link to Lance Armstrong’s USADA charges, encompassing over a decade of cycling controversy in his analysis of the men’s road and time trial roster. Nick Legan appeals to vintage-loving cyclists when he shows you how to achieve that old-school style without sacrificing modern performance. Ryan Newill discusses the power of the Tour de France to attract spectators even after the race is over with its post-Tour criteriums, while Matthew Beaudin reflects on an event of diminishing power, the Philadelphia International Championship. Looking for a power boost yourself? Read Phil Gaimon’s “Ask a Pro” for advice on what fresh bar tape or a brand new girlfriend can do to your average watts during tomorrow’s workout.

The Power Issue was also an opportunity to examine the way top athletes use power in training to become the superstars they are. Matthew Beaudin sits in with Skratch Labs owner, Dr. Allen Lim to talk about the benefits of training with a power meter, while Adam Pulford and Chris Carmichael emphasize the importance of putting data into context as they analyze one year of power outputs from U.S. 24-hour solo mountain bike champion Pua Mata. Beaudin also sits down with a top sprinter that may turn out to be the future of power: German up-and-comer Marcel Kittel of Argos-Shimano.

Cycling power can be wasted or enhanced depending on equipment choice: in their VeloLab test, Nick Legan and Caley Fretz seek to find out just how much that choice matters. This month, they test top time trial bikes for the second time (the first TT bike test was featured in the September 2011 issue). Which “time traveler” — the Specialized Shiv or the Trek Speed Concept 9.5 — stood out in the lab and on the road?

“At the Back,” Dan Wuori reflects on one of the newer ways power in cycling is defined: by number of Twitter followers. The sport has a unique relationship with Twitter, as embodied by Lance Armstrong’s roughly 3.5 million followers and @UCI_Overlord’s anonymous sway in our 25 Most Powerful commentary. Read about the latest Twitter celebs of the peloton and how they’re using their newfound Internet fame (cough, cough: to recruit young lady fans).