Monday Musette – Interbike, Di2, and the Vuelta

While we won’t be making the pilgrimage to Vegas this week, we are eagerly awaiting the various reports and eye-candy that make it one of the most fascinating of the year. Here are some things we recommend you check-out:

1. The good folks at IF have posted some pretty interesting photos on their blog about things to look for at this year’s show. While they won’t have a dedicated booth of their own, they’re building bikes to be showcased by companies including Whipperman, EDGE, and Cane Creek. What caught my eye the most was this photo. I can’t place the date, location, or anything for that matter, but I can tell that it looks F-U-N!

2. Our friends over at Handspun are also set to reveal some new goodies in the handbuilt, spoked-wheel department. For instance, David tells me that the Pavé-favorite Neo Classic clincher is due for an upgrade. From the looks of things, it will soon be coming with a deeper HED Belgium rim. To be honest, I’m a bit skeptical of an alloy rim with anything other than a box-section profile, but David’s promised us one of the first sets to try and change my mind. Look for more to come–as well as a review of the current tubular Neo Classic.

And in other news:

3. It’s become clear to me that by February we’ll know if Di2 is here to stay. Competitive Cyclist noted earlier that Hincapie won the national championship on it, clearly demonstrating his confidence in the group’s reliability and performance. Now Niels Albert appears to be taking things one step further. My eyes could be deceiving me, but take a look at Albert’s bike from this weekend’s cyclocross race in Neerpelt, Belgium. Looks to me like he’s running Di2, no? If the group can survive the rigors of a European ‘cross season, then at what point must we all take it seriously? Will we see winner at Roubaix next Spring aboard the electronic grouppo?

I can’t help but wonder if Shimano wanted us to feel uninspired by 7900. By practically inviting us to criticize the group, they’ve given themselves almost the perfect cover under which to develop, tweak, and fine tune what might truly become the new industry standard. If Albert wins in the sand at Koksijde and the mud at Overijse and he does it with Di2, I just might have to consider myself convinced.

4. As for racing, Worlds is set to begin later this week. I’ll be saving my official picks for later, but it looks certain to be an exciting race with just about everyone peaking at the right time.

5. The Vuelta shaped-up as planned, with Alejandro Valverde finally getting the Grand Tour win he so craved. While it’s a terrific victory for Valverde, Caisse d’Epargne, and the Spanish fans, I can’t help but think it will ultimately prove to damage his chances in other races. Let’s face it, Valverde’s never going to win the Tour. Let’s hope his Vuelta win doesn’t cause to him to forego his chances in other important events in exchange for glory that will never come in July.

6. And finally, is Roman Kreuziger inconsistent or what? Look at his results in the three races against the clock in Spain: 6th in the Stage 1, 63rd in Stage 7, and 5th in Stage 20. One can only wonder what he might have done on GC had he ridden to his potential in Valencia. And watch-out for Phillip Gilbert. He took 6th in the final ITT, a sign that he’s in the shape if his life. Mendrisio beckons.

That’s it for us today. What’s on your mind? Headed to Interbike? Early picks for Worlds? Final thoughts on the Vuelta?

Share your comments below.

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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