Monthly Archives: July 2015

Week 2 of the Tour De France 2015


Dear Roulers,

Unless Chris Froome makes a catastrophic error, he has the 2015 TDF in the bag. His co-ordinated attack, with Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte, on Day 1 of the Pyrenees created buffer that he has sat on ever since.

The probable winner of TDF2015

The probable winner of TDF2015

It is also clear that the average French yobbo thinks he’s another Lance Armstrong. Chris Froome is made of sterner stuff. I’m not sure that I would have taken a face full of urine so calmly. If he had been more like Bernard Hinault, that spectator may have ended up in hospital.

Speaking of hospitals, I think its time that the excellent work of Warren Barguil (Team Giant-Alpecin) was recognised.  Warren has single handedly brought back the subtle art of biffo and bad sportmanship in TDF2015. Geraint Thomas of Team Sky must have seen his life pass before his eyes when Warren Barguil took a bad line on the descent into Gap and forced Thomas head first into a telephone pole and down into a ravine. Fortunately, Thomas was unhurt and finished the stage. Barguil, however, rode on rather than stop and help a rider in a crash he caused, even if it was by accident. Chapeau!! Warren.  Someone who clearly doesn’t give a toss for TV copyright has posted the SBS coverage of the incident on youtube.  You can find it at  I’ve watched it and wondered how the hell Thomas didn’t wipeout or take a couple of spectators with him.  The only thing I’ve seen that’s freaked me out more was that footage of Mick Fanning starring in his own personal ‘Jaws’ movie.

Big Bad Warren Barguil

Big Bad Warren Barguil

Barguil’s other TDF 2015 highlights include being involved in the Stage 3 crash that took out Fabian Cancellara and the Stage 6 crash that took out Tony Martin, both of whom were wearing the Maillot Jaune at the time.

Perhaps Barguil has been watching ‘Death Race’ either 1975 Stallone version or the 2008 Statham version and decided the quickest way to the top of the GC to take out the competition, one crash at a time. Perhaps this is a new and exciting twist in the Le Tour and would draw a younger Gen Y audience. I’m sure that Henri Desgrange would approve. I digress….

So given the last 16 days of drama where are all the Australian and how is Orica GreenEdge performing? Well glad you asked. The overall GC standings, end of stage 16 for the Aussie contingent is as follows:

 Place Name Team Arrears (H:MM:SS)
32   Michael Rogers   Tinkoff-Saxo   1:01:00
60   Richie Porte   Team Sky   1:30:28
102   Rohan Dennis   BMC Racing Team   2:02:57
136   Adam Hansen   Lotto-Soudal   2:26:04
141   Nathan Haas   Team Canondale-Garmin   2:30:12
153   Luke Durbridge   Orica GreenEdge   2:39:15
157   Mark Renshaw   Etixx-Quickstep   2:45:13
165   Michael Matthews   Orica GreenEdge   2:57:52

As far Orica GreenEdge go, they are unfortunately last out of the 22 teams by a very large margin.

OK that’s it for now.


Product Review: Bontrager RXL Waterproof Softshell Shoe Cover


Dear Roulers,

A few weeks ago I wrote about my experiences with a new combination of Shimano R107 shoes and 105 5800 SPD-SL pedals.  I’m pleased to report that both are going very well and continue to be fine upgrades to my Willier.

The only drawback that I’ve had was the venting located on the top of shoe, which in poor conditions; result in cold and wet feet.  So I did walk-in purchase at the Port Melbourne franchise of Freedom Machine and purchased a pair of Bontrager RXL softshell shoe covers.

Ordinary this would have been a straight to Wiggle or Chainreaction purchase, but I thought doing an in person fitting would be sensible.  So took one of my trusty R107’s to the store.  As it turns out that was a good idea as ordering the large size instead of the snug fitting medium size would have resulted in product return.

 Photo care of Marv  Explanation care of Marv
 Before  20150701-Shimano-Shoes+Pedals This is the photo of my shiny new shoes from a few months ago.  As you can see, the top vent is ideally positioned to allow water in.
 After 1  20150720-BontragerOvershoes-1  So here’s the same shoes fitted with overshoe.  The ‘boot’ part comes up over the ankle and stops water running down into your shoe, for the most part.
 After 2  20150720-BontragerOvershoes-2  Here’s another angle with the cleats exposed through the ‘boot’s’sole.  So far the overshoes have delivered the goods.

I’m now a bit peeved that these have gone on sale this week with a deep discount of 35% and a price of $58.  For those of you looking for overshoes, that’s a steal.  They are very well made and are weather proof.  I’ve been out in some really horrible wet and windy conditions over the last 2 weeks and they have kept my feet warm and mostly dry.

I’m giving them 4 out of 5 Marvs.

Heres some tech spec stuff about the overshoes I’ve pinched from the Trek website:

The Bontrager RXL Waterproof Softshell Shoe Cover – Black

  • overshoes constructed with Profila shearling-backed Softshell fabric
  • taped for waterproof and windproof protection in cold and wet conditions.
  • zips are also waterproof
  • velcro fastener at the ankle which ensures that the covers stay firmly in place.
  • used with road cycling shoes with cleats.
  • has reflective features to increase your visibility  in low light conditions.

Carnage in the Tour De France 2015

Dear Roulers,

OMG… what more could happen in the opening 7 stages of the Tour De France?  Already 12 riders have withdrawn from the race. So many questions still be answered and race hasn’t been anywhere need the mountains.

Has the Malliot Jaune become a curse to whoever is riding in it a la Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin?

Will Orica Green Edge have anybody actually finish the race?

Does Adam Hansen feel pain…at all…after riding a number of stages strapped like this? Will he complete his 12th grand tour in a row?


And where are all the Australians?

Well the answer to that question is:

At the end of Stage 7 and 1134.3km into the race, they were placed:

36. ROGERS Michael 46 TINKOFF-SAXO 26h 50′ 33” + 09′ 42”
71. DEMPSTER Zakkari 195 BORA-ARGON 18 26h 58′ 11” + 17′ 20”
76. RENSHAW Mark 115 ETIXX-QUICK STEP 26h 59′ 02” + 18′ 11”
78. DENNIS Rohan 63 BMC RACING TEAM 26h 59′ 33” + 18′ 42”
117. HAAS Nathan 163 TEAM CANNONDALE-GARMIN 27h 09′ 05” + 28′ 14”
137. DURBRIDGE Luke 103 ORICA GREENEDGE 27h 15′ 30” + 34′ 39”
159. PORTE Richie 35 TEAM SKY 27h 21′ 57” + 41′ 06”
184. HANSEN Adam 76 LOTTO-SOUDAL 27h 38′ 58” + 58′ 07”
186. MATTHEWS Michael 105 ORICA GREENEDGE 27h 43′ 05” + 01h 02′ 14′

This is who has retired:


And in addition from Orica GreenEdge:

104 IMPEY Daryl Stage 4 – DNS
102 ALBASINI Michael Stage 6 – DNS

Also, congratulations must go to Michael Matthews for his Most Combative Rider award on stage 5 for riding with badly bruised and cracked ribs over cobbles.  For some reason he doesn’t look particularly happy, at least to me 😉


I had hardly wait to see what happens next.


Product Review: Shimano R107 shoes and 105-5800 SPD-SL Pedals


Dear Roulers,

Nearly three months ago, I purchased a shiny new pair of Shimano riding shoes and pedals. I had previously been riding around on Shimano MOV76 MTB shoes and SPD pedals. These have been awesome and I’m still using them for commuting. As beginner’s kit, they greatly assist the learning process of clicking in and out at traffic lights, whilst providing reasonable connection to the bike. SPD pedals are heavy-ish but nearly indestructible. Within 6 months of using them, I had converted every bike I own to SPDs.

However, I felt ,that in the quest to go a bit faster and a bit longer I, needed to try some new kit. I’m still procrastinating over rims but I felt an upgrade to new pedals and shoes would be a sound investment. So I bought a black and blue pair of Shimano R107s and a set of Shimano 105 SPD-SLs.


I’ll start with the Shoes.

Shimano R107 Road Shoes

The shoes are fairly light weight, quite stiff and IMHO look pretty good. I got them for what I consider to be a bargain on a internet bike shop at the princely price of $120. I’ve seen them in Melbourne based bike shoes for $60-$80 more. I ordered a size 42 which was the same size as the MOV77 and noticed that the fit is smaller and narrower. In hindsight I would have purchased size 43 to allow for winter socks and a slightly less constricted feel. The good news is that shoes are very well vented and cool. The bad news, at least during the cooler months, is that the shoes are very well vented and my feet are becoming ice blocks. I’m seriously contemplating overshoes to keep my feet dry and warm.
The only annoying gripe that I have is that Shimano don’t provide additional cleat screws and plates. I managed to lose one early on and fortunately the the kind chaps at City Cycle Galleria gave me spares. Overall I’m really impressed with quality of the shoes.

Shimano 105 5800 SPD-SLs

I bought these pedals on the strength of many outstanding reviews and this one in particular convinced me that this was the right option for the type of riding that I do.

They are a little tricky to fit, you have to use an allen key to tighten them into position. I now have a useless Park Tool pedal spanner 🙂
So the SPD-SLs….oh man I had no idea how difficult it is to clip into ‘Look’-a-like pedals. My initial ‘strike rate’ was about 25% and I was losing 30 to 45 seconds of time at traffic lights trying to clip in. Also, I had to unlearn the, now unwise, habit I had of resting my not clipped-in, right foot on the pedal. The combination of new slippery carbon fibre shoe sole and beautifully smooth pedal do not allow the rider to put any power into the reverse side of the pedal.

After my first couple of rides, I developed a bruise the size of an orange on the back my right calf muscle. I would miss the clip in or attempt to rest my foot on the pedal and have the crank spin round and smack the pedal into the back of my calf….ouch!!! I’ve figured out my own method for clicking in and I’m somewhere near 75% first time contact.

Now that I’ve been riding on them about 10 weeks I think I can say they were worth buying, although I haven’t necessary achieved the increase in speed that I was hoping for. I’ve fitted the yellow cleats in a neutral setting and I’m still fiddling my fit on the bike to find the best way of using them.  I’ve read that the blue ones might be better and I’ll try these next.

Finally its 3 more sleeps to the Tour De France and I can’t wait for 3 weeks of sleep deprivation 🙂