CHRIS WILLIAMS - FRESH EYES
"The neo-pros didn’t complain about weigh-ins nor skin fold tests. They didn’t complain about meetings. They didn’t complain about eating pasta for the eighth consecutive day. They didn’t complain about riding farther than planned. They didn’t complain about early morning anti-doping controls. They didn’t complain when the Spanish guys were on the front driving the pace up a climb."
TNN stalwart and Conquista star blogger Chris Williams was also in attendance at this year's training camp (see below). Read what he made of the arrival of some extremely eager new young teammates in the latest instalment of his blog, The Williams Way
Chris Williams rides for Team Novo Nordisk - the world's first all-diabetes professional cycling team
Image: ©Angus Sung
TEAM NOVO NORDISK - PRESEASON TRAINING CAMP
Team Novo Nordisk were in action in the early season at the Dubai Tour, mixing it up with the giants of the peloton. At their recent preseason training camp we caught up with riders Fabio Calabria, David Lozano and Joonas Henttala, plus Team General Manager Vassili Davidenko. Take a look at what they said about their preseason training and their goals for 2017 here.
Image: ©Angus Sung
BRADLEY O'GRADY - GIRL'S KEIRIN
Regular readers will know that we have a big soft spot for Japanese keirin racing.
We devoted forty pages of Conquista issue 10 to a history of the sport, complete with spectacular photos from the great Brian “Black” Hodes, the first western photographer to be invited behind the scenes at the annual Keirin Grand Prix. Then late last year Bradley O’Grady gave us an on-the-spot account of Kokusai Keirin, where a select group of the world’s finest track sprinters (including Theo Bos and Shane "Perko" Perkins) are invited to compete in a special calendar of international racing.
Now Bradley returns with a special report on “Girl’s Keirin” (complete with photos by Mark Morinishi). By employing UCI rules and permitting carbon frames and wheels, Girl’s Keirin differs radically from the traditional men’s version of the sport. Take a look here.
Image: ©Mark Morinishi
TREVOR GORNALL - RIDING BY NUMBERS
Over a decade ago, cycling rescued Conquista editor Trevor Gornall from a career of desk-jockeying. There followed years of pleasure and pain, culminating in his now-legendary assault on the course of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, immortalised in the pages of Conquista issue 7 (you can tell from the picture above how much he enjoyed it).
But while attempting to recover from that experience, Trevor discovered a serious health problem - meaning he had to reassess his relationship with the sport he loves. With that now behind him, and now in his mid-forties, Trevor is back on the bike in earnest and trying to recover his old condition. But does he still have it in him?
Trevor will be recording his progress in his new blog Riding by Numbers. Check it out here.
JOSH LANE - LIFE BEHIND BARS
Meet Conquista's new blogger, Josh Lane
- mechanic at London's super-hip look mum no hands!
, cycling obsessive and all around good egg. But Josh can introduce himself perfectly well . . .
"I have raced downhill, 4x, cx and xc, competed in dirt jump and slope style events, free ridden, commuted, couriered, BMXed and TTed. Alongside this I have been a professional mechanic, making sure people's bikes are the raddest they can possibly be!
In short I have spent my life pursuing the perfect ride and this has taken me to places and situations that I wouldn't have dreamed were possible."
Check out Josh's blog Life Behind Bars here
MARK McNALLY - BACK IN THE SADDLE
Mark McNally is a professional road cyclist with Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert
, a Belgian-based Pro-Continental outfit. Despite being in the second tier of professional cycle racing, the team benefits from a huge number of wildcard invites to the top races and in 2016 finished as the highest ranked team in the UCI Europe Tour.
In the past, Mark has been part of the British Cycling youth development system, where he became Junior European Champion on the track. But he followed his heart to Belgium where he now lives and races, making his way in the uncompromising world of pro cycling.
Throughout 2016 Mark brought us regular updates from inside the peloton, giving us insight on life as a pro and tales of racing that you just can't see by watching on TV. He'll be doing the same this year. Check out his latest blog entry about training in Spain here
HOLLY BLADES - CYCLO-CROSS
If you’ve enjoyed watching the CX action and marvelling over the photos at the links below, you may be wondering how on earth this wonderful sport ever got started. If so, look no further. We asked the inimitable Holly Blades to roll up her sleeves and give us the lowdown. See the results of her dirty work here.
Image: ©Matt Grayson
MATT GRAYSON - UK NATIONAL CYCLO-CROSS CHAMPIONSHIPS
The British National Cyclo-Cross Championships took place last weekend in Bradford, Yorkshire,and Conquista was lucky enough to have two of our favourite young photographers in attendance.
Earlier this week we posted a gallery of shots from Dan Monaghan
. You can find it, together with a short race report here
And now we bring you yet more spectacular shots, courtesy of Matt Grayson. Just click on the image below to view them.
Image: ©Matt Grayson
DAN MONAGHAN - UK NATIONAL CYCLO-CROSS CHAMPIONSHIPS
This year’s British National Cyclo-Cross Championships took place last weekend in Bradford.
Photographer Dan Monaghan
was there for Conquista to capture the action and atmosphere – take a look at his gallery here
CHRIS WILLIAMS - THE YEAR IN NUMBERS
As the thoughts of pro cyclists everywhere turn to their goals for 2017, Conquista star blogger Chris Williams
of Team Novo Nordisk
- the world's first all-diabetes professional cycling team - takes one last quantitative look back at the year just passed. See how his numbers stacked up in the latest entry in his blog, The Williams Way
DOWN UNDER DIARIES 2017 - LAURA FLETCHER
Early 2017 sees much of the pro peloton - male and female - head to the Antipodes for some pre-season action. In particular, the leading riders will be taking on the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and the Santos Tour Down Under - plus of course the locals will be competing in the Australian National Road Race Championships.
Laura Fletcher of thepelotonbrief.com has headed Down Under to get a sense of the early season form and report back for Conquista. She begins her Down Under Diaries with the 2017 Bay Crits - starting on New Year's Day, no less. Check out her race report and Top Ten Facts About the Bay Crits here.
While she was at the crits Laura also caught up with Trek-Segafredo star Koen de Kort for an interview which you can read here.
Image: ©Laura Fletcher
CANYON//SRAM - INTO 2017
It may have been the off-season, but Canyon//SRAM Racing have certainly not been idle over the last few weeks. First, they announced their 2017 roster
, retaining all nine riders from the 2016 season and adding French star Pauline Ferrand-Prévot. Then they hit the headlines by recruiting new team member Leah Thorvilson
by working together with partner Zwift, the online social fitness platform for cyclists. After a series of structured online workouts and tests, followed by a combination of indoor and outdoor sessions, the field was narrowed down to three talented women who joined the team's preseason training camp in Mallorca
for a ten-day final assessment, from which Thorvilson emerged victorious. And now established star Tiffany Cromwell is looking forward to the Australian national road race championships
on Sunday 8th January.
Follow all the news from Canyon//SRAM Racing in their team blog on our website here
Image: ©Tino Pohlmann
CONQUISTA ISSUE 13
As 2016 passes under the flamme rouge, Conquista issue 13 brings to a climax several year-long series from our favourite writers. Elsewhere, new voices take us to less familiar territory.
From the WorldTour to Iceland’s lavafields . . . from the wild young things of downhill mountain bike racing to the homeless cyclists of LA . . . from the seedy scandals of 1990s road racing to the sheer pleasure of riding a vintage bike from vineyard to vineyard . . . Conquista has never been bigger or better. We love it. We think you will too.
Take a closer look here.
THE WILLIAMS WAY: PERSPECTIVE
In his latest blog post, Chris Williams talks about Team Novo Nordisk's project of building homes for people affected by diabetes and poverty in the Dominican Republic. Find out how it changed his perspective here.
Image: ©Harolin Ortiz
TEAM NOVO NORDISK: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC TRAINING CAMP
In late 2015, Team Novo Nordisk’s men's professional squad and staff headed to Rosarita, Mexico to build houses for two families tragically impacted by diabetes and poverty. This unique training camp resonated throughout the season and everyone agreed it was essential to continue giving back.
This year, Team Novo Nordisk built three houses in Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic, again for families affected by diabetes and poverty.
You can learn more about this remarkable project in Team Novo Nordisk's blog at conquista.cc here.
Image: ©Harolin Ortiz
REVOLUTION CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2016
This year’s Revolution Series
came to a spectacular climax at last Saturday night’s London round. Photographer Matt Grayson
was there for Conquista: see a fabulous gallery of his images, and read our take on this year's series, here
Image: ©Matt Grayson
We are curious to know what our readers think of Conquista. Ideally, we'd kick off our Crocs and sit down for tea and tabs with each and every one of you, like our favourite keirin stars pictured above. But instead we have put together a short survey.There are only nine questions, and all are multiple choice (though you can tell us more if you want to), so it will only take a moment. But your feedback is essential to our efforts to keep making Conquista better and better. We’d really appreciate it if you could find a couple of minutes to give us your feedback on Conquista. Start by clicking here.
CANYON//SRAM - 2017 ROSTER ANNOUNCED
Throughout 2016 we have been following the progress of Canyon//SRAM Racing. This week the team confirmed that all nine riders from last year will return in 2017, and will be joined by multiple world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot.
You can read more here
, and follow their team blog on our website here
Image: ©Tino Pohlmann
BLACK FRIDAY SUBSCRIPTIONS OFFER
Black Friday is upon us. And we’re celebrating with a unique special offer.
Normally, the cost of a year’s subscription to Conquista is £44 for UK and £60 in the rest of the world. But, for this weekend only, we’re halving the price.
Yes: four issues of the very best in cycling writing and photography, commissioned, collected and curated by Conquista, beautifully presented by Liverpool’s leading design house SB Studio, and delivered to your door, starting with issue 12, for just £22 (£30 RoW).
This offer will only be available from now until midnight on Cyber Monday, 28th November.
Click here to subscribe now.
DAN MONAGHAN - GHENT SIX DAY
This year's Ghent Six Day will live long in the memory. Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish took overall victory, but only after stealing a decisive lap in the dying minutes of the final Madison chase.
The tight and atmospheric Kuipke velodrome was packed to the rafters as Wiggins and Cavendish took a total of eleven laps on the field in the final hour of racing. In doing so they avenged their defeat in the Six Day London at the hands of Kenny De Ketele and Moreno De Pauw, who finished second in Ghent.
Photographer Dan Monaghan
was at the Kuipke: take a look at a gallery of his images here
Image: ©Dan Monaghan
BRADLEY O'GRADY - KOKUSAI KEIRIN
Every year a select few of the finest international track sprinters are invited to Japan to race in a special calendar of keirin racing.
In 2016 the kokusai (international) keirin, held in Nagoya, included two former world champions in Shane Perkins (Australia) and Theo Bos (Netherlands), and a silver-medallist at the Rio Olympics in Matthijs Büchli (Netherlands).
was on hand for Conquista. Read his full report, together with a history of this uniquely Japanese form of cycle sport, here
And remember - you can learn more about keirin in our major feature in issue 10, complete with photography by Brian "Black" Hodes
. Available here
Image: ©Mark Morinishi
DAN MONAGHAN - NATIONAL HILL CLIMB CHAMPIONSHIPS
The UK cycling season traditionally ends with the National Hill Climb Championships
, which this year were held in Matlock, Derbyshire
. With an average gradient of 14% over its 834m, peaking at 20%, the tough course didn't deter the 240 riders who took to the start line.Dan Monaghan
was on hand to capture the gurning and the glory. Take a look at a few of his shots here
Image: ©Dan Monaghan
MICHAEL BLANN - WATCHING THE GIRO
At this year's Giro d'Italia
, photographer Michael Blann
turned his camera around and took a look at the crowds standing at roadside waiting for the pro peloton, capturing the colour and atmosphere of this uniquely stylish race.. Check out his gallery of images Watching the Giro
Image: ©Michael Blann
SIX DAY LONDON - MATT GRAYSON
We've already shared our pictures from last week's Six Day London
, but we've also come across these, from up and coming cycling photographer Matt Grayson
. They're so good, and we loved the Six Day so much, that we just had to share them. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did - view them here
SIX DAY LONDON
Last week was all about the Six Day London, where some of the world's finest track cyclists took to the boards of the Lee Valley Velodrome, site of the Olympic triumphs of Team GB at London 2012.
Conquista was on site all week, soaking up the action and atmosphere, as the on-track action was accompanied by a spectacular light show and tunes from Martin 2 Smoove from Ministry of Sound.
Check out our gallery of images here
PETROS GKOTSIS - SPARTAKIADA
"490BC. That was the year Pheidippides was entrusted to run some in 257km in full regalia from Athens to Sparta to ask for reinforcements to repel the threat of the coming Persian juggernaut in Marathon.
Fast forward to the twentieth century, in the spirit of reviving this great feat, the Greek cycling community started the Spartakiada, a ride that would mirror the ancient route. This became a new tradition and on October 8th, some 280 cyclists embarked on what is the biggest amateur ride in Greece. Not a grand fondo, not a race, but a ride."
Petros Gkotsis captured Spartakiada for Conquista. With text by Neofytos Sakellaridis.
Image: ©Petros Gkotsis
MARK MCNALLY - ENECO-RAGING PERFORMANCES
Mark McNally had a tough Tour of Britain, but put in a terrific performance in the Eneco Tour, where he was in the break two days running and came within inches of taking his first win of the year. Read all about his ups and downs in the latest instalment of his blog here
CONQUISTA ISSUE 12 - IN PRODUCTION
HOLLY BLADES - LOMBARDIA
"Imagine there was a cycling rivalry that you loved, maybe Coppi and Bartali, or Anquetil and Poulidor, or, erm, Armstrong and Ullrich... And imagine that the last time they met, it hadn't been the result you hoped for. Oh, and imagine you're actually a pretty well established journalist for the biggest sports newspaper in your country. What do you do? You create a rematch obviously."
Holly Blades offers her unique take on the rivalries and intrigues that litter the history of the last Monument of the season. Read all about it here.
Image: ©Cor Vos
RBC V SERIES - CANARY WHARF
Despite the fact that summer’s “silly season” is over, on Thursday night Conquista attended the RBC V Series, where teams representing eighteen different firms – mostly City institutions – raced in an Italian pursuit format around the closed roads of Canary Wharf.
Some were more successful than others.
Take a look at our report and gallery here
CLIFFORD & NIGEL DISCUSS . . . THE TOUR OF BRITAIN
Conquista was on the road all last week following the Tour of Britain (if you haven’t already, see our race galleries in the Conquista News blog here). When we stopped off in Congleton for the start of stage 3 we caught up with our old friends Clifford & Nigel, who were debating that age-old question: just where is the spiritual home of British cycling?
Find out their conclusions here.
GUEST POLEMIC: THE FESTINA AFFAIR - SUZE CLEMITSON
We mock the demonic Virenque; we mourn the sainted Pantani. Hypocrisy? (EPO-crisy?)
Has cycling learned anything from the catclysmic Festina affair? Suze Clemitson gives a very personal view in our first ever Guest Polemic.
TOUR OF BRITAIN 2016 - GALLERIES
All last week Conquista followed the pro peloton as it made its way around some of the most picturesque corners of our fair island home - from Glasgowto Castle Douglas, down through Cumbria, around Cheshire, along the spine of Wales and then across to Bath, before heading to the green hills of Devonand the city centres of Bristol and London. All in all, a pretty good place for a bike race.
Of course, if you have been following us on Instagram you’ll know all about it: but to see the best of our snaps all in one place, take a look at the galleries on our Conquista News blog here.
MARK McNALLY - FELINE THE STRAIN
"Turns out looking after a week-old kitten and bike riding don’t go together so well. The little Chapine (female version - or Chapette) needs feeding every three hours, 24hrs a day. But it's somewhat rewarding. You give it food, a clean bed and warmth, and in return it purrs gratifyingly."
This week, Conquista's star blogger Mark McNally of Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert welcomed a new member into the household. Read all about it in his new blog entry here - but be warned: contains extreme cuddly cuteness . . .
POLEMIC - ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF TEAM GB'S OLYMPIC SUCCESS
In Conquista's latest Polemic, we ask: does the the combination of gold medals (especially in cycling), state funding and pro-Team GB television commentary mean that our great nation has “turned Soviet”?
In a word: nyet. Find out why here
Image: ©Cor Vos
MARK McNALLY - CANDY & NUTS
Mark McNally of Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert has been getting closer and closer to a season's first victory, finishing in the top ten in Prudential RideLondon and twice crashing out of the leading group of Dwars Door Het Hageland - a race which crosses some of Macca's favourite training routes (see picture).
Catch up with the adventures of Liverpool's Lionheart in his latest blog entry, exclusive to Conquista, here.
Image: ©Conquista / Mark McNally
POLEMIC - IN DEFENCE OF THE IOC AND RULE 40
Yes it’s that time again: every four years, regular as clockwork, for better or worse, the Olympic Games hove into view. Just as predictable are the howls of protest about the IOC’s protective approach to their intellectual property. Particular ire is reserved for their notorious Rule 40, which prevents athletes’ personal sponsors from breathing a word about their charges and their progress for the duration of the Games.
Image: ©Cor Vos
THE WILLIAMS WAY - GOTTA CATCH 'EM ALL
When we last saw him, Chris Williams of Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, was grumbling about racing in Asia. But now he has found something from that great continent which he can’t get enough of.
Read the latest entry in his blog, The Williams Way
Image: ©TDW Sport
PRUDENTIAL RIDELONDON CLASSIC - CHRIS AULD
Prudential RideLondon, which yesterday reached twin climaxes in the form of the Surrey-London 100 sportive and the Classic one-day men's professional race, styles itself “the world’s greatest festival of cycling”. And with 100,000 participants in a huge range of bicycle-related events over three days in the heart of one of the world's great cities, it's hard to disagree.
Photographer Chris Auld was on hand to capture the anticipation before the start and the excitement at the finish of the Classic - exclusively for Conquista.
See a spectacular gallery of Chris's shots, and read what we made of the whole enormous affair, here.
(Image: ©Conquista / Chris Auld)
PRUDENTIAL RIDELONDON CLASSIQUE - PHOTO ESSAY
On Saturday the women's pro peloton took to the streets of central London for the Prudential RideLondon Classique. This year, for the first time, it was rated a UCI Women’s WorldTour event – the highest level of the women’s sport.
The prize money on offer for the Classique was both the highest ever offered for a women’s event and matched that available to the men – something made all the more remarkable by the fact that the latter is also the world’s richest one-day men’s race.
Conquista editor Trevor Gornall
was on the spot with his camera. Take a look at his photoessay, direct from The Mall
Conquista loves criterium racing. Multiple laps of high-speed action, in a convenient city-centre location close to beer, doughnuts and public transport: what's not to like?
So we were excited last Thursday when the country’s top male & female criterium racers headed for Birmingham to contest the British Cycling National Circuit Race Championships over a 1.1km city centre circuit.
After being bussed to the site on a selection of WWII military vehicles, serenaded by one of Normandy's top 100 covers bands, each team took to the stage in front of thousands of excited fans.
It’s been a spectacularly successful national championships week for CANYON//SRAM Racing, with jerseys for Hannah Barnes in the UK, Trixi Worrack and Lisa Brennauer in Germany and Elena Cecchini in Italy.