Thorsten Hagemann | Cycling

Thorsten Hagemann is an avid cyclist

Category: Sports

Cycling Spotlight- Chris Froome

Cycling Spotlight: Chris Froome

Chris Froome has overcome many obstacles to reach the success and fame he has today. A three-time winner of the Tour de France, this Great Brittain rider currently rides for Team Sky as one of the team’s most integral members. Chris Froome has a unique origin, having been born in Kenya and traveling the world for his sport. A true athletic champion, Chris Froome has enjoyed many wins in his 10 years of professional cycling, and is considered one of the greatest stage racing riders of our time. He was a clear choice for my next cycling spotlight series, and it is my hope that you come to admire this athlete’s story and accomplishments as I have.

 

Career Awards

Froome excelled easily in cycling, showcasing his talents as a frequent stage winner in nearly every race he competed in. His earliest professional victories include a stage six win in the 2007 Tour of Japan, as well as a second and first place victory in stages three and five, respectively, in the Giro delle Regione. In 2008, Froome continued to be a threat to the competition as he participated in such pro races as the Giro del Capo. where he finished second overall and the Giro dell’Appennino, in which he finished third. Looking ahead to 2010, Froome had an extraordinary showing at the British National Time Trial Championships, clenching a second place finish in the highly competitive race.

 

Over the next few years, Froome enjoyed several first, second, and third place finishes in various stages of professional races throughout the world. However, it was in 2012 when Froome seemed to truly hit his stride. Not only did he place second overall in the Tour de France at the age of 27, he also won Bronze at the London Olympics Individual TT. This accomplishment sparked a slew of first place finishes for Froome over the next several seasons. These wins include first overall at the 2013 Tour of Oman, Criterium International, Tour de Romandie, Criterium du Dauphine, and the heaviest win of all, the Tour de France. Froome went on to win the Tour de France again in 2015, and place first in stage 8 of the Tour de France in 2016.

 

From 2014 to present day, Froome has collected 8 more first place standings, including another win at the 2014 Tour de Romandie, the Tour of Oman, the 2015 Vuelta a Andalucia and Criterium du Dauphine, and a third win of the 2016 Criterium du Dauphine.

 

Background

Chris Froome was born in Kenya in 1985 to British parents. His family life struggled after his parents divorced and their family business started to decline. Froome’s brothers were sent to Rugby boarding school where they studied in Warwickshire, England. This left Froome living alone with his mother in Africa, as she worked to help support their family.

 

After attending a street fair at a young age, Froome was introduced to cycling and soon began practicing the sport, even becoming captain of his Kenyan cycling team. Despite the color of his skin being different from those surrounding him, Froome connected with his teammates and learned several local languages in order to keep racing. It was clear that his love of racing would one day fuel his career, however, he went on to attend one of South Africa’s top boarding schools and began studying economics at Johannesburg University for two years before dropping out to pursue cycling. He was 22 when he rode his first professional race with his team in South Africa.

 

In 2009, Froome was diagnosed with Bilharzia, a parasitic disease usually contracted through infected water. Unfortunately, the disease has affected Froome regularly, at times, leaving the powerhouse rider as what he describes as, “lifeless.

 

Froome is happily married to his wife Michelle, having tied the knot in 2014. They currently live in Monaco with their son, Kellan.

 

Moving Ahead

Although he has often stated that he immense love and appreciation for his unique upbringing as both an African and British citizen, he has seen that his ties to multiple countries has perhaps overshadowed his mark in British cycling history. His love for the sport, however, far outweighs this concern, as he continues to praise the sport for having given him the best opportunities that life has to offer.

 

Top Cycling Podcasts

Top Cycling Podcasts

If you’re truly passionate about biking, love for the sport doesn’t stop after going out for a ride. If you’re looking to stay plugged in to cycling news while stuck in the office or looking for some informative background news at home while relaxing, choosing a cycling-based podcast can elevate your day. Since podcasts are easily accessible and only require your ears to indulge, you can take your cycling interests with you everywhere you go. I highly suggest the podcasts listed below to stay up to date on the culture of cycling. Even if you’re new to cycling, there are podcasts for beginners as well. From the top spots on iTunes, to personal favorites, these are the podcasts to follow in 2017.

 

Cycling 360

An informative and comprehensive podcast, the Cycling 360 podcast covers topics such as, “Cycling Without Stress,” and “Foot Pain and Cycling,” to give listeners real advice for the road.

 

The Cycling News

This world-wide-reaching podcast covers everything about professional cycling. The Cycling News podcast was created by the world center of cycling, and often features interviews with high profile cyclists.

 

Ask a Cycling Coach – TrainerRoad Podcast

This podcast is extremely popular since it gives listeners the chance to have Q & A’s with some of Cycling’s top coaches. Perfect for anyone training for a triathalon or looking for new techniques, TrainerRoad has enjoyed great success by reaching out to listeners and connecting them with professionals.

 

The Slow Ride Podcast: Bikes. Advice. Cycling.

The Slow Ride Podcast is a fun show that touts their content as, “an unscripted conversation.” There is no topic too big or small for this show and its hosts, Matt Allen, Spencer Haugh, and Tim Hayes, all avid cyclists.

 

Women Talk Bikes

Men aren’t the only ones enjoying the cycling podcast world. Women Talk Bikes details the world of women who ride, offers advice, has spearheaded social rides for women, and features interviews from top cyclists.

 

Zwiftcast

The Zwiftcast podcast is a way to connect fans even further to the mega-brand Zwift, an indoor cycling community that provides a workout and a social connection to other riders all from the comfort of your own home.

 

The Bike Show

Itunes describes The Bike Show as a podcast devoted to the art, science, politics and transcendental pleasure of cycling, in London and beyond.” This podcast should be at the top of the list for any cycling enthusiast.

 

The Briefing

The Briefing melds together the highlights from The Velocast and This Week in Cycling History podcasts to give listeners a shortened version of the popular podcasts to listeners who can’t devote time to the entire podcasts, and are published every Monday.

Cycling Spotlight Series-Tom Boonen

Cycling Spotlight Series: Tom Boonen

As I continue my spotlight series on prominent cyclists in the sporting industry, the next athlete to focus on seemed like an obvious choice. Recently announcing his retirement after 16 years of pro cycling, Tom Boonen has defined what it means to be a professional. Boonen had his final race in April of this year at one of my favorite races, the Paris-Roubaix – an event that he previously won 4 times. After overcoming the harrowing odds of addiction, this inspiring member of the Quick-Step Team is an extraordinary rider that deserves all of the praise he’s received. Here, we’ll take a look at the highlights from his 16 year career.

 

Career Awards

One of Boonen’s earliest accomplishments in pro cycling came in 2002 as a rider for the U.S. Postal Service, where he finished 3rd at the Paris-Roubaix. After getting a taste of the solo spotlight, Boonen decided that the U.S. Postal Service team was not giving him the opportunities he needed to grow as a cyclist. He joined the Quick-Step team in 2003 and remained within this program for the majority of his career.

 

2005 proved to be a winning year for Boonen, as he claimed victory in the Tour of Flanders and at  Paris-Roubaix, along with a victory at the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen. While his confidence and impeccable training during this year prepared him for winning the second and third stages of the Tour de France, Boonen unfortunately had to drop out of the epic race after stage 11 due to injuries that he sustained in crashes. After winning several other high profile races in 2005, Boonen was awarded the Crystal Bicycle, the Golden Bicycle, the Trophy for Sporting Merit, Belgian Sportsman of the year, and Belgian Sports Personality of the Year. Quite a feat for someone to achieve in one year.

 

Over the next decade, Boonen continued to excel and enjoy many major wins, despite an unfortunate lapse in judgement when he tested positively for cocaine in 2008 and 2009. After being barred from several major races, and being forced to sever ties with his team for some time, Boonen took this time to focus once more on high quality training and reclaiming his sportsmanship persona. With this life event behind him, he went on to win Paris-Roubaix twice, continued to be victorious in favorite races such as the Tour of Qatar, and had a streak of wins in 2012 that put him back in contention for the Olympics and favorability for standard high profile races.

 

Background

As seen on his personal website, Boonen is not shy about his personal life. Over the course of his career, he has kept his fans updated on life events and feelings towards his racing abilities through a series of diary-like entries posted online. Born on October 15th, 1980, in Belgium, Boonen has enjoyed a happy life taking the racing reins from his father, Andre Boonen, who was also a pro cyclist. This passion for sport led him to race in junior competitions as a child until Boonen realized that his talent could take him to major heights in the sport.

 

Although Boonen is not married, he and his longtime girlfriend welcomed twin girls In 2015, giving Boonen a chance to pass on his love for racing to his children just like his father had done for him.

 

2017

Over the course of his career, Boonen suffered injuries from dozens of intense crashes that led him to withdraw from races several times. After a successful 16 years, and as a new father, Tom Boonen decided that 2017 would be the year he would retire. Quoted as not being emotional about his retirement, Boonen left the sport with grace. His final event was the Paris-Roubaix, Boonen’s favorite pro-cycling race of his tenure.

 
Although Tom Boonen will be missed in the sport of cycling, his friendly persona, unique spirit, and incredible athleticism has solidified his lasting legacy. The cycling world is sure to hear from Boonen again, as many speculate that he won’t be able to stay away from involvement in the sport for long. As his career comes to an end, fellow teammates and former rivals praise his commitment to being a winning athlete. I’m sure I speak for the entire cycling community as I wish Boonen a happy retirement and thank him for his contributions to the sport.

Buying Your First Bike

Buying Your First Bike

Buying a bike is like buying a glove – everything has to fit comfortably as if it was tailor made for you. Whether this bike is just for a leisurely Sunday morning ride, or you’re looking to go off-roading, it’s important to purchase the right vehicle for your specific needs. With various types, models, and brands, your choices can seem overwhelming. By following this small guide, you’ll be well on your way to purchasing the perfect vehicle.

 

Pick A Bike, Any Bike?

Unfortunately, bikes are not a one-size-fits-all property. Not only are there different bikes for different types of terrains and activities, there are different types of bikes within each category. What are your biking goals? Are you commuting to work to save on gas or looking to mountain bike on the weekends in lieu of a trip to the gym? Define what your long-term needs are for your first bike and you’ll be able to narrow down your choices.

 

Generally speaking, there are 3 main classifications of bikes: road bikes, mountain bikes, and hybrid bikes. If you’re commuting often, a hybrid or road bike will suit you best. Road bikes tend to be thinner and sleeker with curved handles for better aerodynamics and are typically lightweight for convenience and for terrain type. Road bikes also house professional cycling bikes as a subcategory, but if you’re looking for your first bike, it’s best to stick with a standard model. Hybrid bikes are for the rider that might want to do it all. Although it is not as durable as a mountain bike, these bikes are great for commuting, transporting goods, and can even be customized for a sportier terrain. Mountain bikes are best suited for dirty and rough terrain, with wide tires and saddle options for a more comfortable experience.

 

Visit A Shop

If you’re not sure which type of bike is best suited for you, take a trip to the nearest bike shop and tell them your plight. Any respectable shop will be more than happy to get another cyclist started on their biking journey. Employees within a shop are best suited to help you pick your bike as they tend to be more passionate and knowledgeable about cycling in all of it’s forms than a superstore employee. As long as you are open about what your needs are and what your budget is, they’ll be able to match you with the perfect bike.

 

Deciding to purchase a bike for commuting or for fun should only culminate in a happy experience from start to finish. While the options may have you nervous about pinning down the right model for you, professionals and various online forums will be able to point you in the right direction. The most important thing to do is to simply have fun with your new bike, being sure to follow all care instructions so you can enjoy your new vehicle for years to come.

 

Cycling Spotlight Series: Peter Sagan

Cycling Spotlight Series: Peter Sagan

Over the next few months, I’ll be spotlighting a few prominent cyclists in the hopes that their work may inspire those who share the same passion for the sport as I possess. With the amount of outstanding athletes in the cycling world, the list of who to spotlight will surely continue to grow and become more difficult to define. We all have a reason as to why we enjoy the sport, but what we may not know is how the sport has impacted each other’s lives. With this in mind, I crafted this series to keep the growing history of the sport alive and as an educational tool for generations to come.

 

The first cyclist in this spotlight series is multiple Tour de France winner, Peter Sagan.

 

Career Awards

At only 27 years of age, this Slovak racer has earned many victories across the world. Sagan is actually considered one of the winningest participants in the sport today, having conquered the Tour de France 5 years in a row (2012-2016) with winning statistics. In 2010, Sagan sailed past the competition to win his first World Tour Stage at the 2010 Paris-Nice, referred to many as the “Race to the Sun”. Moving on from this impressive win, Sagan went on to clench his first Grand Tour stages, capitalizing on 3 stages of the Vuelta a Espana. After winning his fourth stage win in 2012 at the Tour of California, Sagan started to become a regular at all high-profile cycling events.

 

As he enjoyed his successful first run as the youngest winner of a stage during the Tour de France, Sagan perfect his athletic reign by winning 22 total races in 2013 alone – the most for any professional rider in 2013. Sagan claimed the esteem honor of becoming the first rider from Slovakia to win the World Road Race Championships in 2015. He continued to gain more momentum in the cycling world in 2016, as he further solidified his winning status becoming the first Slovakian to win the Tour of Flanders, and the inaugural winner of the European Road Championships.

 

Background

A recent article shed some light into Sagan’s early life, claiming that the young cyclist always set his sights high. Born in 1990, this millennial cyclist apparently had a knack for sneaking out of class as early as kindergarten in the hopes of exploring the world. He officially dropped out of school as a teen become a pro-cyclist in Italy.

 

Sagan began racing in 2006, placing 3rd at the National Junior Road Championships. He continued to build his cycling strength over the next several years, participating in races such as the Paris-Roubaix Juniors, and the Philadelphia International Championship. It was in 2009, however, that Sagan got his big break when he received his first offer to race professionally with the Dukla Trencin-Merida team.

 

Almost quitting the sport altogether in 2009, Sagan came back with a vengeance. By excelling on the Liquigas-Doimo team, he secured himself years of professional experience, with Liquigas even selecting the then 19 year old for his first pro tour race, the Tour Down Under.

 

2017

Sagan has garnered a great amount of success over the years, and a great amount of press as well. As one of the most sought-after cyclists in the industry, he has kept a busy schedule in these early months of 2017. Early in the year, he participated in the same Tour Down Under that he mastered in his early career. Most recently, Sagan suffered a brutal crash near the end of the Tour of Flanders, in which he was the defending champ.
Looking ahead, Sagan is sure to enjoy continued success in pro-cycling. With a tenacious attitude towards racing and a passion for the sport, Peter Sagan is likely to go down in history as one of the greatest to ever participate in cycling.

11 Cycling Apparel Brands You’ll Want to Ride In

11 Cycling Apparel Brands You’ll Want to Ride In

Anyone who is an avid cyclist knows that the riding gear they invest in is worth a lot more than just what it looks like. This gear is what protects you from the elements when in the midst of a steep climb in the sunshine, or riding downhill in the rain. It’s important that every amateur and professional cyclist is equipped with nothing but the best activewear to ensure the most enjoyable cycling experience. Here, we’ll take a look at 11 brands that tout some of the best cycling apparel money can buy.

 

Bernard

Bernard touts kits that are so popular, they’re likely to sell out whenever a new look is debuted. With unique graphic designs and expertly crafted fits, this brand is one that will get you noticed on any course.

 

Jaggad

This company is based out of Melbourne, Australia and features very high quality and ultra modern designs. Jaggard has perfected their cycling apparel to be fit for both amatuers and pros, and even has a juniors collection to start the cycling fever early.

 

Assos

Assos has enjoyed tremendous success with impressive statistics: over 250 Olympic gold medals have been awarded to athletes donning the brand. This line will have you looking and riding like a pro.

 

Black Sheep Cycling

In a nutshell, this is the line of apparel you’ll want to buy if you want to get noticed. Their flashy designs and unique kits make Black Sheep Cycling a stand-out brand not to be missed.

 

Rapha

If you’re looking for a brand that has it all, look no further than Rapha. A highly popular UK line, you’ll receive high quality gear and accessories from skincare products made especially for cyclers to lightweight and comfortable bib shorts.

 

Pearl Izumi

With a successful line for both men and women, Pearl Izumi has excellent basics that any cyclist would be happy to have in their arsenal of apparel. Aside from being a great brand, this company also has a great history that keeps customers returning.

 

ROKA

While ROKA may be best known for their protective eyewear, the featured pro collection for cyclists has enjoyed 5 star reviews. Their beautiful designs and kits will make you feel sleek and professional, and unique items such as these thermal arm warmers for women are a must-purchase.

 

Cafe du Cycliste

This cycling line also features both a men’s and women’s section. With products designed to withstand wind and long rides, fans of the brand can also enjoy a more casual appearance with high performance standards.

 

Lone Wolf

If you’re looking for something to keep your head warm while you ride, Lone Wolf is the brand for you. With popular designs that are frequent to sell out, these casual caps can get you through every season mother nature throws at you.

 

Babici

Some of the most eye-popping designs come from Babici’s line, featuring colorful Japanese culture-inspired jerseys for both men and women. This line is for riders who love to stand out and look flashy while speeding past the competition.

5 of the Hardest Cycling CoursesIn the World

5 of the Hardest Cycling Courses in the World

In the world of cycling, extreme is a word that can be often used when describing any number of races. Extreme climbs lead to extreme downhill racing, which requires extreme strength and, of course, extreme focus. Some of the most famous races in the world can last up to three weeks’ time, which requires extreme stamina as well. While cyclists need to be in top shape to complete any race, it’s these extreme courses that keep professional cyclists training non-stop. Here, we’ll explore 5 of the world’s hardest cycling courses.

 

Transpyr

According to Active.com, the mountainous climbs encountered in the Transpyr can inflict some of the worst pain cyclists can experience. This 8 day race begins on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and continues to San Sebastian. The race is made up of 8 stages and includes 66,000 feet of climbing along it’s 509 mile course. If biking across the Pyrenees is something you’d like to cross off your bucket list, make sure your body and mind are up for the challenge.

 

Race Across America

This course will take you 3,000 miles across 12 states in The United States. Designed west to east, the Race Across America – or RAAM for cycling insiders – is in it’s 35th year of testing cycling enthusiasts and professionals. Riders can expect to climb around 175,000 feet as you cross some of America’s longest rivers and most iconic scenic locations, such as the Mojave Desert and the Great Plains. The race begins in Oceanside, California and ends in Annapolis, Maryland, pushing cyclists to test their limits.

 

Tour de France

No list would be complete without the Tour de France, and for good reason- this well-known and high-coverage race is the world’s largest annual sporting event. This race spans across over 2,100 miles and cyclists have 3 weeks to complete this daunting multi-staged competition. The most difficult factor of the Tour de France is the speed of racing that needs to be maintained by all who participate. On average, each cyclist will ride at around 25 mph steadily over those 3 weeks.

 

La Ruta de los Conquistadores

This grueling race is best known for two things: being the first mountain bike race of its kind and being one of the world’s toughest courses. Taking place in Costa Rica, this individual race welcomes all who dare to take on the treacherous path through many different climates and surroundings, including volcanic mountains, sandy beaches, and the jungle. The La Ruta also invites ametuer racers to test their skills, giving each cyclist only 12 hours to finish each stage of the competition.

 

Cent Cols Challenge

Best described from the source, the Cent Cols Challenge involves “…climbing 100 Cols in ten days, cycling approximately 200 kms per day with 4,500 – 5,000 metres of ascension on each stage.” With the intense climbing of 100 mountains, this is another race that can cause a major amount of pain for cyclists who participate. Open to only a small amount of cyclists who feel they are up to the challenge, this race will strongly test the will of a cyclist’s body and mind.

 

The courses listed above are only some of the world’s most grueling. Each year, thousands of participants take on challenging courses that take intense training and skills to master. Keep checking my blog for more information on cycling and challenging courses around the globe.