Disc brakes seen at the Eneco Tour, a foreman for Sagan, no carbon copy for Tommy D, and sink or swim at Europcar... that's today's Bike Shorts.

After the UCI announced back in April that disc brakes would be trialled at select races in August and September, riders from at least one team is using them at the ongoing Eneco Tour, marking their first use in professional road cycling.

Only Dutch Pro Continental outfit Team Roompot, the team of Johnny Hoogerland, has been seen using disc brakes with three riders on a different set-up, their bikes fitted with SRAM's Red 22 HydroR disc system. However a spokesman for the governing body confirmed to CyclingTips that "a total of eight UCI WorldTeams will trial disc brakes over 12 events in August and September."

So far, only SRAM and Shimano produce a hydraulic disc brake system for road bikes, with Campagnolo's own, as per usual, yet to hit the market.

"If the experience is satisfactory, disc brakes will be officially introduced to the UCI WorldTour in 2017." - Union Cycliste Internationale

While hydraulic disc systems offer significant benefits over cable-actuated discs and are popular in mountain bike and cyclocross circles, also gaining traction in the recreational road bike market, the professional road scene has, in general, been reluctant to adopt the trend. Among the concerns is a lack of an industry standard when it comes to axle length and rotor size - not to mention the fact that many bike manufacturers do not yet make a disc-ready frame suitable for racing.

In their April announcement, the UCI said testing would continue into next year. "If the experience is satisfactory," they said, "disc brakes will be officially introduced to the UCI WorldTour in 2017. The aim is to eventually introduce disc brakes to all levels of road cycling."


Wednesday 12 Aug 2015

Rumours of discontent surrounding Peter Sagan were rife at the Tour de France, who, despite winning a fourth consecutive green jersey, was said to be less than happy with a lack of support on stages suited to his abilities.

However, with Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reporting Classics veteran Filippo Pozzato has signed for Tinkoff-Saxo in 2016 - the headline 'Pozzato is foreman of Peter Sagan' - to specifically to help the precocious 25-year-old Slovak, it appears team owner Oleg Tinkov has found a way to keep Sagan sated.

"Why Tinkoff? He'd like to help Sagan, who he sees as a huge star in the northern classics." - Filippo Pozzato's agent, Alex Carrara

On the third to last stage to La Toussuire, journalist Lionel Birnie asked Tinkov if Sagan's future lay with the team. "Yeah, definitely - he will be with us. He is the most valuable rider in the sport," said the Russian billionaire. "And I think he does a lot of promotion - not only for Tinkoff-Saxo, but also for cycling in general. For me, it's a pleasure to have such a rider.

"Right now, we are talking with different teams, including Tinkoff, but no decision is made yet," Alex Carrara, Pozzato's agent, told VeloNews. "Why Tinkoff? He'd like to help Sagan, who he sees as a huge star in the northern classics."

Doubtless, Sagan will be hoping that whoever supports him at next year's Tour, he can turn the five second places, two thirds, two fourths and one fifth place he earned this July into a stage win.

Carbon Isotope Ratio, or CIR, a test used to distinguish between naturally produced (endogenous) testosterone and its synthetic (exogenous) counterpart using molecular weight, was the method used to ping Cannondale-Garmin rider Tom Danielson, and is being used in a new way, VeloNews reported Monday.

Danielson tweets innocence after "positive" test
Cannondale-Garmin rider Tom Danielson has taken to Twitter today to deny any wrongdoing after he was told by the United States Anti-Doping Authority that he had tested positive for “synthetic testosterone”.

While the traditional method of detecting testosterone abuse looks for an imbalance in the ratio of testosterone and epitestosterone, known as the T/E ratio test, testosterone/epitestosterone ratios return to normal very quickly, and often overnight, limiting the test's efficacy. The ban on overnight testing, which has since been partially lifted, had also reduced the window of opportunity for drug testers.

"How it got there will be the crux of Danielson's defense, but its presence is undisputed thanks to CIR."

Instead of looking for a physiological response, as is the case with the T/E ratio test, CIR is accurate enough to detect the product itself, by first determining the quantities of two isotopes, or types, of carbon within an individual's testosterone molecules, known as carbon-12 and carbon-13.

"The ratio between carbon-12 and carbon-13 is constant within an individual," writes VeloNews' Caley Fretz. "This is the crux of the CIR test: Labs compare the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 in an individual's testosterone with the carbon-12/carbon-13 ratio in some other, non-performance-enhancing compound, like cholesterol. The two ratios should match. If they don't, that's a positive test.

Tan Lines: A Loss For Clean Cycling
The news that a Cannondale-Garmin rider returned a positive doping test is not a sign that professional cycling is getting better at catching cheats, but a billboard to say some things remain unchanged, writes Anthony Tan.

"USADA determined that the ratio between carbon-12 and carbon-13 isotopes in Danielson's testosterone molecules did not match the ratio that occurred naturally in the rest of his body. A synthetic form of the hormone had to be present. How it got there will be the crux of Danielson's defense, but its presence is undisputed thanks to CIR."

Danielson is still waiting for his B-sample results, who said on Twitter on August 3 he intends to "have the supplements I take, tested to see if this is what caused it", implying he intends to use contamination as a defence against his doping infraction.

Still no word on a title sponsor for next year... will Team Europcar cease to exist in 2016?

General manager Jean-René Bernaudeau, who has been with the team since the beginning when it was known as Bonjour, going through various iterations including Brioches La Boulangère and Bouygues Télécom before the hire-car company stepped in prior to the 2011 season, has until this Saturday, August 15, to find a replacement sponsor, prepared to cough up around 10 million Euros.

"a service course in a stone-walled barn and country manor house rather than the usual warehouse unit in an industrial park"

Their marquee riders, namely Thomas Voeckler, Bryan Coquard and Pierre Rolland, said they'd stick by Bernaudeau till this date. After that they'll have to take what they can get, which, relative to the lofty standards set by BMC Racing, Team Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo and Katusha, probably isn't much.

The Inner Ring writes that Europcar is stuck in a bit of a time warp - "the team never seemed too clued up on the public relations front and is still improving on social media"; with riders building towards Grand Tours measuring their efforts in kilometres ridden and little else, and a service course "in a stone-walled barn and country manor house rather than the usual warehouse unit in an industrial park."

Their last WorldTour victory? The 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné, where Voeckler and David Veilleux won a stage apiece, the latter retiring that year, at the ripe old age of 25.

Just in case you needed a(nother) example of how the business of cycling is broken...