• Rouleur's Favourite Shirts: Mapei Masterclass

    Here is a photograph of a MAPEI / Quickstep jersey signed by Oscar FreireWhat did Mapei mean? Literally, it stood for Materiali Ausiliari Per l’Edilizia e l’Industria, a Milan-based firm specialising in paints, tiles, floor coverings and sealants. Among the logo-busy jerseys of the pro peloton, some say that it was prettier than most, with its graphic of multi-coloured cubes floating on a blue sea of tile adhesive, like a flotsam of Liquorice Allsorts. It was certainly one of the loudest and most easily-recognised. But what this Italian team really stood for during its decade of sponsorship (1993-2002) was an unprecedented domination of the northern classics, fronted by that quintessential of Belgian riders, Johan Museeuw, and flanked by a roster of Italian strongmen – Franco Ballerini, Michele Bartoli, Andrea Tafi, Gianluca Bortolami and Stefano Zanini.

    They were not a Grand Tour squad – the fact that Tony Rominger won the Vuelta (1994) and the Giro (1995) in a Mapei jersey is almost forgotten. Easily overlooked, also, is the fact that four times in ten years Mapei’s riders brought home the World Champion’s jersey (Abraham Olano, 1995; Museeuw, 1996; Oscar Camenzind, 1998; Oscar Freire, 2001). For spring, not summer or autumn, was Mapei’s natural season, and its specialty were the gritty, attritional one-day races of 250km or more: the exposed roads of Ghent-Wevelgem, the Flèche Wallone and Het Volk, the cobbled muurs of Flanders, the hills of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Amstel Gold. And, above all, the fearsome pavé of Paris-Roubaix.

    Franco Ballerini winning the 1995 edition of Paris Roubaix For the second half of the 1990s, Mapei owned the franchise to Paris-Roubaix in a way no other team has ever managed. It is an astonishing record in a race where chance – a crash here, a puncture there – plays a far greater role than in any of the other classics. Look at their list of winners and see why: 1995, Ballerini; 1996, Museeuw; 1998, Ballerini; 1999, Tafi; 2000, Museeuw. Only a win by Française des Jeux’s Frédéric Guesdon in 1997 spoiled Mapei’s relentless procession (and Museeuw still no worse than 3rd then). The explanation for such consistency was simply that, in any given year, any one of three or four Mapei riders were individually capable of winning the race. On two occasions, the question of who actually crossed the line first in the velodrome at Roubaix was resolved not by strength but by diktat of the directeur sportif, as Mapei took over all three podium places in 1996 and repeated the feat in 1998.

    These were awesome displays, in which sheer power and endurance trumped the best efforts of team tactics. Mapei eventually left the sport after Stefano Garzelli tested positive in the 2002 Giro, and several other Mapei riders have subsequently been tainted by doping scandals, including Museeuw himself, Camenzind and Frank Vandenbroucke. It was an almost inevitable side-effect for a team so dominant during that low, dishonest decade. Yet Mapei’s final exit did not come before it had joined forces with another flooring manufacturer, Quick Step, to set up the next era of Belgian hegemony. But even with such extravagant talent as Paolo Bettini and Tom Boonen, Quick Step has not reproduced the exploits of Mapei’s masterclass: the rouleurs’ rouleurs.

    Matt Seaton – Journalist and author



    RLR_issue10_cover Rouleur Issue 10

    This article has been reproduced with the very kind Permission of Rouleur.  Originally published in Issue 10, with a subsequent follow up in issue 12, we really enjoyed the varied essays from the various Rouleur contributors.

    We are delighted to say that Issue 53 (on sale 12th March 2015) will feature a Prendas Ciclismo double-page advertisement with everything that's new for Spring.

    If you wish to find out more information about the Rouleur magazine, please take a look at their website where you can find an exclusive offer our customers.

  • Issue 70 - ADR/Agrigel 1989 Retro Team Jersey and Bibshorts

    The 1989 edition was the first Tour de France I ever watched.

    After racing local MTB races and club time trials, the glamour of Le Tour seemed like a different planet!

    The lack of coverage in those days also seemed to help with the suspense between Greg Lemond and Laurent Fignon. With 30 minutes of coverage every day on Channel 4, as well as the weekly newspaper-style summaries produced by the 'Winning' editorial team, the stage was set for the final time trial in Paris with 50 seconds separating the pair.

    If you fancy re-living that time trial or watch this clip that is a stunning video montage of the 1989 coverage that is featured in Volume 2 of the Cycling Anthology.

    ADR Jersey and Bibshorts by Santini

    ADR/Agrigel 1989 Retro Team Jersey Back of the ADR Retro Jersey

    Back to the product! This replica ADR jersey produced by Santini (who were the original team clothing supplier) is quite simply stunning with all the colours faithfully reproduced.

    We had to miss off a couple of minor sponsors (Mavic, Coors Light, Bottechia) for trademark/copyright reasons but we still feel the look of the jersey was an accurate replica of Greg Lemond`s iconic 1989 kit.

    We did a fair bit of research; reading through the vast collection of cycling books we have, browsing lots of old Winning magazines, archive photographs from John Pierce and we even purchased an old used original jersey from eBay - such is our dedication to getting it right!

    adr-agrigel-original-jersey-from-ebay  adr-agrigel-original-jersey-from-ebay-back

    When teamed up with the matching bib shorts, the look was on trend with plenty of non-retro kits sporting generous amounts of fluro yellow!

    Group photo of the ADR retro Jersey and bib shorts An accurate replica of Greg Lemond`s iconic 1989 team bib shorts

    Why can't I buy an ADR jersey then?

    I know what you are saying - where is the ADR jersey and bib shorts on the Prendas website?

    Unfortunately, we have now discontinued the ADR retro kit from our "retro peloton" as the demand for it fell away quite considerably after a fairly short time after it's launch.

    We had plenty of positive comments, Tweets, Facebook likes but not many orders!  We even had a retro pricing offer where you could buy the combo for really low prices, but even this didn't really have a huge impact on sales. So, sorry to say that this is one jersey that we will not be bringing back into our retro range of jerseys any time soon.

    If you want to read more about it. there's a nice blog article here about the launch of the adr jersey and bibshorts on Wheelsuckers - they liked it!

  • Issue 69 - The Cycling Anthology Book at Prendas; Volume 1, 2 & 3

    When Lionel and Ellis first approached us about being part of the Cycling Anthology series we jumped at the chance. Although we only played a small part in it's success, we thoroughly enjoyed being part of the buzz that was about when Volume 1 of the paperback series landed. Along with Foyles, we were one of a very select few that stocked the book and we were delighted by the take up with both new and old Prendas customers.

    Volumes 2 and 3 came into stock, and went out just as quickly, which actually resulted in some improvements to our dispatch department to keep up with demand.

    Volume four (and five) are now published by Yellow Jersey Press, part of the Random House Group, which is one of the largest publishers in the world. This inevitably led to Amazon stocking the book at rock bottom prices which made no business sense for Prendas to stock it anymore.

    If you do wish to buy it, our recommendation is to take a look at the excellent Foyles book store website where you can buy all five volumes of the Cycling Anthology. They even have some of the "old skool" covers by Simon Scarsbrook for sale still....

    Cycling Anthology Volume 1

    Cycling Anthology Paperback Book - Volume 1

    The launch issue of Cycling Anthology book featured the fabulous cover art of Simon Scarsbrook and was a collection of 14 of the world's best cycling journalists, collated by editors Ellis Bacon and Lionel Birnie in a handy 272 page paperbook format - just like the Penguin paperback books of our college days!

    Cycling Anthology Volume 2

    Cycling Anthology Paperback Book - Volume 2

    Volume 2 was a celebration of the 100th Tour de France Special - authors included Samuel Abt, Ned Boulting, Richard Williams, Daniel Friebe, Jeremy Whittle, Edward Pickering, James Startt and former Prendas supported rider Daniel Lloyd.

    Cycling Anthology Volume 3

    Cycling Anthology Paperback Book - Volume 3

    The third volume of the Cycling Anthology book carried on the great quality writing with the collection of stories/essays by some of the world's best cycling journalists all in a handy paperback format! Sadly Volume three was the last issue that Prendas were to sell...

  • Issue 68 - The special edition Santini jerseys produced for the Felice Gimondi Gran Fondo

    1968 Vuelta Espana

    1968 Vuelta Espana

    We did not sell this in 1999, as wool jerseys did not sell particularly well for us during the late nineties, however the Grand Fondo organisers found some NOS jerseys in 2012 and we happily took them off his hands!

    10th Anniversary


    This was the first Felice Gimondi GF jersey that Prendas sold to our customers in 2005.  We are still happy to see this jersey design every day as it forms a key part in one of the murals that we have outside our front door (I've added some photos at the end of the article).   Mick still has his jersey and enjoys teaming it up with a pair of Royal Blue SLICE bib shorts!

    1974 Milano - San Remo


    As per the 1968 Vuelta jersey, we did not sell this jersey in 2006 but where happy to get hold of six jerseys to sell to six very lucky individuals in 2012. With sizes M, L & XL available they only lasted two days on our website!

    Celebration Jersey


    In 2010, Mick was lucky enough to actually see the final touches being added to this elaborate jersey in the Santini design department, as soon as the design was confirmed, we ordered a sizable quantity of them immediately!  It's a great way to celebrate the different teams and jerseys that Sngr Gimondi wore during his career.

    1972 Italian Champion


    Once again, as soon as we got the design through in our inboxes, we starting furiously typing a reply back to Santini confirming our latest order!  This Italian Champion wool jersey that was available in 2011 was popular with new and old school customers alike.

    1973-76 Bianchi/Campagnolo


    This classic looking jersey celebrates Gimondi's life-long association with Bianchi.   Based in Bergamo, in the same town as Santini, Gimondi still plays a very active role at Bianchi and continues to be an great ambassador for them.  This fabulous Bianchi/Campag jersey is still available to buy from Prendas as we arranged to re-order the 2012 jersey as there was no event in 2013.

    1973 Worlds; Barcelona


    When Monica sent the 2014 GF jersey design to us, both Mick and Andy both described the latest jersey as beautiful!  The vivid "Azzurro Italia" colour used by Santini in this production is ever better in real life than when we first viewed it in our inboxes!  It has all the same great attention to detail as the 2012 jersey such as it's great authentic retro look, made in Italy using pure wool, embroidered scudetto and Bianchi/Campagnolo logos and 3 rear buttoned pockets.  This 2014 Italia/Worlds jersey is now available to buy from Prendas Ciclismo

  • Issue 67 - The story behind the 2014 Maglia Rosa

    The big responsibility!

    Fergus Niland, designer of the 2014 Giro d’Italia jerseys, talks about the responsibility and honour of the challenge in designing the Maglia Rosa.

    31 year old Fergus Niland is the head of product development and design at Santini Maglificio Sportivo (SMS), the internationally renowned cycling clothing manufacturer based in Bergamo, Italy.

    The 2014 edition of the Giro d'Italia saw Fergus put his talents toward designing all four classification leaders jerseys and the additional special edition stage jerseys.

    "Conceptually speaking you really don't design the Maglia Rosa," Fergus explains. "I would see my job as to simply guide this iconic sporting metaphor through one more iteration while trying to subtly make reference to this years grande partenza on the island of Ireland, my home. For more than a century this epic stage race has remained unsurpassed in terms of brutality and passion; far beyond just a sporting event, the race's historical and cultural links drive deep into Italy's spiritual core. As such the responsibility for delivering the Giro collection is huge but the honour to be handed the opportunity is far greater – it's a dream come true."


    Prendas customers will be interested to know that Fergus has helped us with a number of key retro jersey projects since he joined Santini. These include:

    About Fergus

    Fergus originally trained as a fine artist in painting at the National College of Art & Design (NCAD) in Dublin, Ireland. After graduating, he worked as an exhibiting artist through his early twenties before uprooting from Dublin to the west coast of Ireland. The move inspired him to combine his life-long love of cycling, triathlon, and fashion with his creative talents; initially working on a freelance basis, he cultivated a strong roster of both domestic and international clients within the cycling and multi-sport industries.

    In 2011, Santini launched a competition to design the apparel for the Dutch World Tour team, Vacansoleil DCM. Long story short, Fergus won. Shortly after an introduction to Santini's management in the summer of 2012, he was offered a full time position which he accepted and shortly after swiftly transferred to Bergamo, Italy to work at the heart of Santini.

  • Issue 66 - Opinion by Simon Mills (Outdoor Fitness Magazine)

    Simon Mills Simon Mills

    If you're the kind of person who champions the aesthetics of cycling – the nuances, the details, the subtleties and eccentricities, the esoteric beauty, recondite poetry and whirring romance of the sport at its highest level, it is inevitable that you are also something of a gear snob.

    And you won't be remotely apologetic about your snootiness, either. You will, for instance, sneer at ill-educated neophytes who insist on sliding the arms of sunglasses inside rather than outside their helmet straps. When removing those same glasses during a ride, you will wedge them upside-down in the fore-vents of your pricy Catlike helmet… just as the pros do. Following a downpour you will fully unzip your expensive rain jacket and, with the casual panache of a descending pro, let it flap ostentaciously in the wind.

    Yes, imitating one's heroes is slavishly elitist and silly, but if you are prone to shaving your legs and referring to water bottles as "bidons", these things tend to matter.

    But there is one key element of professional style that must never be mimicked: the team jersey. At the risk of sounding cruelly prescriptive, I'd say that no amateur cyclist should don the replica kit of a contemporary pro team. Never ever. Neither on the bike, nor off it either. Why? Well, because it is unspeakably naff and uncool. Because it is presumptuous beyond belief, suggesting that in your Omega Pharma Quick-Step strip you may be of similar talent as Mark Cavendish. And because replica kits are not replicas anyway – they are made from low-quality, fire-risk fabric.

    An even more heinous crime against gear etiquette is wearing a yellow jersey or the red polka-dot livery of the King of the Mountains – especially when the closest you ever get to a mountain is that steep-ish bit halfway round Richmond Park.

    Not that anyone will take any notice of my clothing diktats, obviously. With cycling booming, sales of replica team jerseys are going through the roof. Rapha, who have done a sterling job of making the Team Sky gear look simultaneously conspicuous, distinguished and understated, are now offering a bespoke replica jersey with the owner's name printed on the side panel where Wiggins has (irritatingly) "Wiggo". A nice idea, but the unfailingly superior Rapha people must be dreading the day they encounter some beer-bellied oik wearing a XXL Team Sky jersey with jeans and flip-flops at the pub on a Sunday.

    Actually, Rapha gets an unfair kicking from some of the more curmudgeonly members of the two-wheeled community. Yes, their gear costs Gucci money, but it is well-made, unfussy and elegant. More to the point, Rapha stopped me and a whole generation of confused weekend rouleurs from wearing ghastly replica team tops splashed with mysterious brand names such as Mapei and Polti. Hopefully, it may also deter some clueless rookies from purchasing those unfunny garments with Marmite or Dennis the Menace on them.

    The commercial provenance of some quasi-iconic jerseys is not always very cool, either. Mapei makes industrial adhesives; Polti is a domestic steam-cleaning device. Quick-Step? A Belgian laminate-flooring outfit. Keen to romanticise every heroic detail of our sport, cycling aesthetes like me would sometimes overlook the gaudy ugliness and downright naffness of gear like the Z jersey worn by Tour de France winner Greg Lemond in 1990. Yes, Greg was a bona fide hero, but I reckon the main reason he chased the fabled maillot jaune with such gusto was so he didn't have to ride through France wearing a jersey advertising an obscure children's clothing store.

    Wearing the colours of a disgraced, dope-scandalised team – Tinkoff, Festina, Astana – is another major no-no, and it goes without saying that anything to do with Lance Armstrong, from Discovery Channel through to Mellow Johnny's, is unacceptable.

    Got a steel frame with suicide shifters? Wear merino wool. State of the art carbon fibre and electronic gears require slick, modern, tight-fitting kit.

    There is, of course, a corollary to these sartorial rantings. After, say, 10 or 15 years have elapsed and a team has long been disbanded, its replica kit becomes magically acceptable, attaining the swaggering recherché chic of a prized vintage. If a fabled rider once rocked it, even better. In the picture that goes with this column I'm wearing a Molteni jersey, made famous of course by Eddy Merckx. I also have jerseys with Seven Eleven, Bic Razors and Brooklyn Chewing Gum logos all over them. I buy them, misty-eyed after a few glasses of wine, from the Prendas website. I've also got a lovely replica Cinzano kit in finest merino, as worn by the Italian team in the movie Breaking Away. There never was an actual Cinzano team, by the way. I just like the jersey. I even wore it with jeans and loafers. Once.

    Simon Mills

    Our thanks go to Jonathan Manning of Outdoor Fitness Magazine for allowing us to publish this article that originally appeared in the July 2013 edition of the printed magazine which is also available on iPad or Android.

  • Issue 65 - Friday 13th!

    Andy, Pietro Santini and Mick Andy, Pietro Santini and Mick

    by Mick Tarrant

    Friday 13th January saw Prendas Ciclismo closed for the day. Not for any superstitious reasons but the fact that Santini were previewing the next winter collection AND it was founder Pietro Santini's 70th birthday made it imperative that we attended.

    Thursday saw us close up a tad earlier than our usual 6pm so that we could get home, grab a bite and a bag and exit en route to the Radisson Hotel at Stansted for an overnight stop due to a real early flight out, also giving us only a 2 minute journey to terminal building with car parking included. Checked in approx 9.40pm and resisted the call of the bar to sack out at 11'ish.

    5am wake up, brekky on the hoof, braved security queues (even pre 6am) and boarded at back of boarding line thereby avoiding the usual RyanAir "bunfight" for seats (there's always enough to go round). Picked up on arrival at Bergamo and in the Santini conference area for coffee and pastries pre commencement at 10am. Apart from "the catwalk" there were teaser videos for the Green Edge kit (not officially launched pre Tour down Under) and the Giro d'Italia.

    The briefing lasted for a good 2.5 hours and then we had a few words from Sig Santini himself with English translation from daughter Monica (MD). It was also the last time that the French distributor would attend as he was retiring and handing over the reins. He was presented with a watch for long and loyal service to the brand. Sig Santini was quite emotional regarding his 70th and when you consider that he has been involved since founding the company in 1965, it was understandable.

    20120116-prendas-visit-santini-4 Yum!

    An extra special lunch was produced with wine from the "Moser" winery accompanying typical Italian fare, meats, cheeses, polenta etc. This was a chance to catch up with various staff members, distributors and agents as well as members of the Satini family. Espresso's were on tap to finish the meal (natch) and Pietro was presented with many thoughtful gifts and the icing on the cake so to speak was a magnificent birthday cake in the image of the "maglia rosa" the leader jersey from the Giro. Looked so good, was a shame to cut it but carved up it was and it tasted as good as it looked.

    20120116-prendas-visit-santini-1 Pietro Santini's 70'th Birthday cake
    The cake is of course an edible version of the Maglia Rosa The Maglia Rosa in edible form!
    The Santini family The Santini family

    The afternoon was spent in the warehouse and followed with a meet with Monica and Anna to iron out a few issues with regard to production schedules for some of our "specials" including the new "Matrix - Prendas" women's team for 2012. Warehouse manager Claudio kindly whisked us off to Orio airport for the return flight @ 5.30pm. Once again we joined the stragglers and bagged seats in the last row which although offering even less space than the regular Ryanair seat, does ensure a swift exit. Would have been a whole lot swifter if the ground staff at Stansted had produced stairs for us to exit the plane. Approx 10 miniutes or more after coming to rest, the stairs were produced to rear exit... only!...yaaay!

    Quick sprint to passport control, parking ticket validated at Radisson, scrape the windscreen clear of frost and we were away. Mercifully, the M25 was all clear and forward motion was ours. Dropped Andy off at 9.15 pm and I was home 15 mins later to a beer, pasta, and glass of wine. A full schedule but a productive one. Expect to reap the benefits of our visit in a couple of weeks.

    Amazing what you can do in a day!

  • Issue 64 - First Update of 2011, by Owain Doull

    My first major goal of the year was the Junior Paris Roubaix where I was designated team leader for the GB squad but unfortunately crashed badly in the feed zone, I spent all race jumping from group to group trying to get myself back in the race and finished 18th in the end. I was really gutted as I targeted this one.

    After returning home I had a few days off to recover from my crash and on my first ride out I got knocked off my bike by a 40 foot lorry which was hands down the scariest moment of my life. Luckily the bike took the brunt of it (i.e. it went under the lorry instead of me) and I got off lightly with only severe bruising to my shoulder and hand and a few grazes. My team sponsor Pete Hargroves (Hargroves Cycles) sorted me out a new bike really quickly and then it was off to Croatia for the 2nd round of the junior world cup series. I was in the winning move on the first day which pretty much wrapped up the overall in the end but punctured out of it when the neutral service was not yet in the gap. After that, it was all about working for Jon Dibben who also made the break and was well placed for GC.

    Owain winning with Prendas accessories. Owain winning with Prendas accessories.

    After Croatia it was off to the Isle of Man where I thought my luck had finally changed with a stage win on the final day but I was wrong. After Isle of Man it was off to Czechoslvakia where on the 4th stage I went down in a big pile up and took most of the skin on my left side off and might have fractured my thumb (I didn't really trust the Czech hospital I was in). Its not a great start to the year!

    I'm having a few easy weeks off now over my exam period then getting back into full time racing with a few British National Series and British champs and a stage race in Luxembourg.

    Owain Doull

    We at Prendas wish Owain a change of fortune for the rest of the season and hope you will join us in wishing him the best of luck and the victories that his undoubted talent deserves.

  • Issue 63 - Track Worlds 2011, Para-Cycling, by Sarah Storey

    Sat at home with two rainbow jerseys, two gold medals and my race number neatly folded on the table next to me in the peace and tranquillity of my home. It's an amazing feeling to know the experimental track season I've just had has ended so well. I wasn't alone in my experimental training over the past few months, as most of my team mates on the GB team for the Para-Cycling Track Worlds had also been working on a few different options to their race repertoire. With well known sprint kings, Jody Cundy, Barney Storey, Anthony Kappes and Jon-Allan Butterworth all stepping up to ride the 4km Individual or Tandem Pursuit, my voyage into the unknown of coming into individual events off the back of team pursuit training was in very good company indeed.

    Sarah Storey on the Podium. Photograph kindly supplied by Eamonn Deane (Sports Massage Bournemouth).

    Watching my team mates on the first night of finals come away with medals galore got me really fired up to be adding to that tally and I was excited to enter the velodrome on the morning of Saturday 12th March for Individual Pursuit qualification. As defending world champion I had the privilege of riding in the final heat and was seeded against World Silver Medallist from the last Championships Greta Neimanas of USA. Greta is a young and very talented rider across track and road and having recently signed for Kristin Armstrong, the 2008 Road Time Trial Olympic Champion, in her new team Peanut Butter and Co, I knew there would be a strong challenge to contend with.

    It was clear blue skies outside, high pressure and cold inside so the conditions weren't what I'd experienced at my most recent race in the warmth of the Manchester Velodrome with the typical low pressure of a Manchester winter! My biggest challenge for the Individual Pursuit appeared to be my pace control, as in the limited training sessions I'd done on my own, I always seemed to forget I didn't need to accelerate on to the team pursuit speed I'd been doing previously! When the gate opened and I set off I kept my focus and started strongly, but not too quick and was able to catch Greta around the half way mark. With my world record schedule being walked by Chris Furber, I was right where I needed to be, but with the coolness of the track and the heaviness of a big team pursuit gear on the bike, I decided not to push all the way to the line as I knew I was on schedule to go through to the gold medal ride in the final as fastest qualifier.

    Posting a 3.36.852, the third fastest time in history for my class, C5, I was comfortably through, with Greta taking second fastest, so we would meet again in the final. Having the pursuit prior to the 500m is always a good chance to see how your opponents are riding and it was interesting for me to see the return of the 500m Time Trial World Record Holder, Ju Fang Zhou of China. Zhou had been absent from competition since the Beijing Paralympics until the Asian Games held in Guangzhou in December last year, where she won the 500m Time Trial. Her time in Guangzhou was not as blisteringly quick as her world record but with a few extra months under her belt I knew she would be a threat for the World Title.

    Watching her ride the 3000m qualification and miss out on a medal ride, some 17 seconds slower than her best, made me think she was saving everything for the shorter event. There was no time to wonder about that though, so I pushed all worries about her to the back of my mind and concentrated on completing the job in my favoured event, the Individual Pursuit.

    With 10 hours between the qualification and final I headed back to the team hotel for some food, a couple of games of cards with my team mates and then a snooze and a snack before heading back to the velodrome to prepare for the final. It's a pretty relaxed atmosphere at our team hotel, no stress needed, keep a cool head and go out and do the job you have trained for.

    Undoubtedly there are a few nerves as the events get closer, but having some light hearted banter and good morale always helps distract me from over thinking about races coming up. The success of your team mates also allows you to feed off the positive energy and with everyone riding so well we could support each other whilst not over stressing.

    For the final, my plan was to set off a bit quicker and to see whether I could make another catch. It's always tough to know whether your opponents have kept something back for the final so a catch was not inevitable and I knew the pace I'd saved in the morning could come in handy for the final, should I need it.
    In the event I started strongly, opting to stay on the big team pursuit gear and keep my legs used to the pressure I would feel when back on the track in team formation. Greta also started fast and for the first 500m it looked as though I was settling in for a full 12 laps. As I started to hit top speed though I started to see I was closing in and by the half way mark I'd reeled in the gap for a fire of the gun and a chance to celebrate claiming the title for the 4th successive Championships. I was so chuffed, and all the video feedback pointed towards a stronger start than the morning, it was time to rest up and see what the 500m would bring on the following afternoon.

    Walking into the velodrome for my second event, with a white jersey and gold medal already packed for home, it was a sweet feeling but I knew all eyes were on myself and Ju Fang Zhou to see who would win a battle over 500m that so far she held at 5-0!

    My 500m was the first final up in the final session of the Championships and with around 30 minutes to wait for my call to the start gate I completed my last preparations including some standing starts in the track centre and the last second chalking of my hands. It has to be last second or I'll end up getting chalk all over my visor! By the time I was settled in the gate, Zhou was still top of the leader-board with a 38.506. A time I knew was well within my grasp, but I had to really concentrate on getting the power out as with the temperature in Montichiari Velodrome still wobbling dangerously close to tipping over the 20 degree marker! I knew the conditions were tough and this was reflected in the times of my opponents.

    There's no time to think in a 500m Time Trial. It's just a case of using every ounce of raw power you have to get the bike up to speed as fast as possible and then don't let off the pedals, keep driving. I came through the first lap and could hear everyone in the crowd screaming and Chris Furber yelling for me to “drive, drive, drive”. Flying through the second lap and then seeing Chris virtually run the final 20 metres with me to the finish, I just got my head down and charged across the finish line.

    37.733, just shy of my personal best and whilst my start hadn't been any quicker than the rest of the field, I was almost a second quicker for the second lap!

    Pulling on the rainbow jersey and standing to listen to the National Anthem being played for me again was a truly amazing feeling and I can't quite believe I managed to beat the world record holder. Every other time I've raced her, I've finished with a bronze, I'll have to keep working as it's still 5-1 to her though!

    Sarah Storey with Paola Santini who was working throughout the championships promoting Santini Clothing. Photograph kindly supplied by Quentin Storey.

    Packing for home also brought the news that I hadn't been included in the Team Pursuit group that will be travelling to Apeldoorn next weekend. It was the team selection that everyone had been waiting for and so many riders and staff from other nations had said they would keep their fingers crossed for me but in the event it was my turn to miss out this time and instead get a head start on the last full road season before next summer when we'll be combining track with road in the run up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    This season has proved to be an unprecedented catapult for me into the squad of team pursuiters and whilst the World Cup in Manchester gave me a chance to step up and ride fast, I always knew the schedule for a transition back into the Team Pursuit after Montichiari and the Para-Cycling Worlds would be tough.

    With only two possible sessions before a flight to Apeldoorn, it would have been a big ask for me to slot straight back into the team. Competing in team events creates more considerations than an individual would normally face and even with all the will in the world, it's important to be realistic about what can be achieved when the decisions affect a team of people. My non-selection is a sign of the strength in depth we have in our women's team and I will be cheering them on for Worlds and looking forward to being reunited with them for the next and final winter track season before the London Games.

    So for now it's time to celebrate such a successful end to my 2010/2011 track season, I am over the moon to have successfully defended both track world titles and to have learned even more about the balancing act I need to do with each of my 5 events across track and road. When I started the track season I didn't know whether picking up the team pursuit event would even be a possibility, so to finish the season knowing I have the engine and skills that might take me through to the final Olympic selection next year is a massive confidence boost.

    It's time to enjoy a couple of easy days now though, before getting stuck in back on the road. It's been like Christmas in our house today as the equipment for Horizon Fitness/Prendas Ciclismo/Dolan RT has started to arrive, so I'm off to try on my new gear!

    Sarah Storey x

  • Issue 62 - A tale of two silver medals & an interesting pursuit, by Barney Storey

    The UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Montichiari, Italy were to be my biggest event for 2011, with crucial qualifying points to be gained by Team GB for London 2012 qualification. I was paired with Anthony Kappes, who I rode to Gold with in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. It was a slightly different approach to our usual "plan of attack" for the World Championships, with gaining a large number of points our main priority, as well as picking up good performances along the way.

    Anthony Kappes and Barney on the Podium. Photograph kindly supplied by Eamonn Deane (Sports Massage Bournemouth).

    The qualification for the London 2012 Paralympic Games means each categories top points scorer will go forward to the nations overall score. So the more points each top ranking athlete gets in each male category, the more nation places you get for the games, clear? There are a few other factors, but I will keep it simple for now!

    <span">For those interested on some further reading, the qualification criteria we have for the London 2012 Paralympic Games is here.

    We arrived in Italy on Monday 7th March, a few days before the competition started on Friday 11th March. The first few days would be about putting the polish on the months of training before the event. The training we had on the track in the practice days was shared with other nations and you can always hear the "beeping" on stop watches by coaches when you are carrying out a training effort. Everyone is curious of each others performance levels just before the events. The practice sessions can also be a little dangerous too, with so many bikes on the track ranging from high speed tandems going 70kph to solo bikes going half the speed! It can resemble a game of space invaders at times! Myself and Anthony managed to get straight into the swing of training and had an excellent start with some really quick times, always good for the morale! The final track session on Thursday 10th March was a success too, with some good standing start times setting ourselves up for a good championships.

    Friday 11th March was the first day of the championships for myself and Anthony, with the tandem kilometre time trial. This event has a mix of concentration/control and speed all condensed into somewhere near a minute! We warm up on turbo trainers and rollers before the start, hopefully just in perfect time. The coaches and management are always on hand to keep us up to date with timings of the event too, a great help.

    Myself and Anthony were seeded in heat 15 of 31 and once on the start line we were fired up and ready to go! There was a slight delay with other nations getting re-starts due to mechnicals, subsequently delaying the programme. Trying to stay relaxed in these situations is the key and we were ready for action now! We had a solid ride and a PB for myself and Anthony in the kilo TT, with a time of 62.6 seconds in far from ideal track conditions. We then had to wait until the final heat of our Great Britain Team mates, Craig McLean and Neil Fachie who were off last to try and challenge our time. They started incredibly fast and then this was where the close racing happened! they were nearly 1 second up after lap 1, but faded and hung onto beat us by 0.022seconds, close??...... yes, a matter of centimetres!! A Personal best and 1-2 for GB on the podium, a good day at the office! The standard of the tandems was the highest I've ever witnessed with the 10th placed tandem coming home in a time of 65 seconds.

    Saturday 12th March was certainly a day where myself and Anthony headed into the unknown! The 4km Tandem Pursuit....... This was part of our "grand plan" to score nation points, but in an event where we have never ridden at World Championship level it could be very tricky! The aim was to try and get as high as we could inside the top 10 places, which is where the qualification points for the Games in 2012 are scored. The higher the placing the more points we scored, simple really! Neither myself or Anthony really knew the exact time we would do, as our training over the last few months had been about juggling 3 events and trying to stay competitive in all three events! Again the competition was to be the most competitive tandem pursuit ever witnessed in Paracycling, with myself and Anthony placing 7th in a competitive field. This might seem a little poor compared to our usual standards, but when you consider this was our weak event out of the three, we had to be happy to score a load of nation points and certainly surprise a few compettiors with our new found endurance powers!! Our finishing time was 4min 28secs for the 4km (less than a second away from the British record), with the difference between 4th and 7th place only being 1second! My old friend from Australia, multiple Paralympic Champion Kieran Modra blasted round the velodrome to finish with a new world record of 4mins 17secs to qualify fastest and then win the event. Great to see standards rising in Para-cycling again! The objective was achieved by myself and Anthony, score a load of points.

    Sunday 13th March was my birthday.... plus we had some very exciting tandem spriting to do!! This was the final day of racing for the World Championships and its a race day I always look forward to, as tandem sprinting can be exciting/dangerous and fast all within a few seconds. Both myself and Anthony were starting to feel a little jaded after our previous couple of days racing, but as soon as you pin a number on a our backs it really ignites the fire to race inside us both! We qualified 2nd in the qualiying 200m time trial with a time of 10.351 seconds (a PB for myself and Anthony), only bettered by our team mates once again with a new World record in the event of 10.289 seconds! an excellent ride. (For those interested in the science of the conditions, it was only 18degrees celcius when we rode at 10am, plus the pressure was just under 1000Mb.)

    Once the qualifying was over we went straight into the quarter finals against the Irish Tandem. We managed to beat the Irish 2-0, as each race is best of three matches over 6 laps each time! The semi finals saw us ride against our old rivals the Spanish Tandem, with former Able bodied World Championship medallist Jose Villenueva piloting their tandem. Whenever we seem to ride against this tandem, it always ends with some sort of excitement! After a small collision in the back straight the Spanish were relegated in the first ride, then we managed to beat them in the second ride! The final was against... you guessed it!! our GB team mates. Myself and Craig have known each other for a while and there isn't much we don't know about each others chosen tactics. A game of chess on a bike you might think... We managed to beat them in the first ride in the final, but they came back to beat us 2-1 in the final race to close the championships. Some thrilling tandem sprinting throughout the day and also again, a reminder that the rest of the world are catching us up! Even more of an incentive to stay ahead!

    In terms of success, if somebody was to ask me was the championships a success??... I would have to say yes! 3 Personal bests in 3 very different races. As a pair we made sure Anthony is now the top scoring Visually Impaired rider in the World in the Paralympic track rankings, with one more major scoring event to go at the Track World Championships next year in Los Angeles. Is there more to come??... Yes, I believe we can go faster in several areas. My determination is still extremely high to turn the silver medals from these world championships into gold medals! It will certainly be a huge motivator between now and next February when the next World Track Championships are held.

    Now for a short rest before next season starts!


    Barney Storey

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