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Retrospectives Podcast Episode 2: Catching Up With Chris Horner

In Episode 2 of our ongoing “Retrospectives” podcast, The Outer Line talks with long-time American racer,  Vuelta a Espana winner and current NBC Sports announcer Chris Horner, wherein he talks about his long career, shares details on his special race nutrition strategies and stakes his claim as the third best bike racer in American history. No U.S. professional road cyclist has had a career quite like Chris Horner. The San Diego native persevered through a 25-year-plus professional career to become the oldest athlete ever to win a Grand Tour, climbing his way to victory in the 2013 Vuelta a Espana at age 41. But for more than two decades, as he readily admits, he was an underdog – always fighting for a spot on a number of different American and European-based teams. His unique and unconventional style, which included an “All-American dietary secret” that helped him win the Vuelta, may...

The Tour That Almost Wasn’t

What could happen to team race strategies, or the overall outcome if one or more teams are expelled from the race?  The chaotic 1998 Tour provides some interesting lessons and insights. News circulating that four teams have returned at least one positive COVID-19 test in their respective “team bubbles” has put the on-going Tour de France on edge. The single case per team is below the two-cases-and-you’re-out mandate of the French Health Ministry, but another case in any of these teams would mean an immediate withdrawal from the race. And given the large crowds witnessed across many of the stages so far – some honoring mask-wearing and social distancing, but many others not even trying – there is the likelihood of more positive coronavirus tests and new outbreaks. ASO is predictably committed on the race finishing as scheduled despite the circumstances and increasing likelihood of teams...

The Devilish Task of Race Logistics – Then and Now

Professional road cycle racing is notoriously difficult and expensive to organize and stage on the open road. Over the past few years, extensive interviews with Mike Plant  (founder), Chris Aronholt and Jim Birrell (of Medalist Sports), Michele Acquarone (ex-RCS), and Michael Aisner (ex-Coors Classic) have highlighted the almost “ringmaster vs. the circus” nature of the managerial challenges to executing a top-flight bike race. There are so many examples of gaffes, some of them humorous and others dangerous, that it’s a small wonder riders and teams can still afford insurance, races can break even or make a profit, and that the sport has been able to survive. The risks are high, and in the current COVID-19 pandemic environment, the stakes are higher than ever before. Some of the most enduring – and endearing – examples of races not quite following the script...

Peter Sagan — the Best Tour de France Rider Since Eddy Merckx?

Peter Sagan has 12 Tour de France stage wins to his credit, and has won a record seven sprinter’s green jerseys. But despite these other-worldly results, his metronomic consistency at the Tour is almost criminally underrated. Despite “only” being ranked 16th on the list of Tour de France stages won with 12 stage wins, the three-time world champion holds an astonishingly high “podium rate” in mass-start stages of 33 percent, with 45 individual podium finishes. This means that for every one in three times Sagan lines up at a (non-time trial) Tour de France stage, he lands himself somewhere on the podium. This is even more impressive when we recall that he has never finished on the podium in a mountain stage – which can make up about a third of the event’s overall stages. This raw figure is obviously impressive, but to put it into perspective, Alejandro Valverde, Mr....

The Outer Line: Introducing the “Retrospectives” Podcast : Episode 1 – A Talk with Kevin Livingston

(The Outer Line, in conjunction with KOM Sports Marketing, a long-time sports event organizer and marketing agency, is pleased to announce the new “Retrospectives” podcast, featuring talks with key historical cycling personalities and newsmakers. In this initial episode, KOM’s President Steve Brunner, interviews former pro racer Kevin Livingston, a key lieutenant for Lance Armstrong in his first two wins at the Tour de France. Future “where are they now” oriented episodes will include discussions with a wide variety of other cycling luminaries and notables from past years. – Steve Maxwell) At his peak, during the years around the turn of the 21st century, Kevin Livingston was perhaps the very definition of a “super-domestique.” Although he took few personal victories, he was a powerful rider and one of the top climbers in the peloton. And he played a key support role in the early years...

PeopleForBikes Is Changing With the Industry

Most people around the American cycling scene are at least vaguely aware of PeopleForBikes (PFB). We see the PFB logo on a tee shirt or cap or a bike jersey here and there. We hear the name in the cycling press now and then – usually about some sort of broader community effort or political initiative. But many people don’t really understand exactly what PeopleForBikes is – what the organization consists of, and what it actually does to help us, as either enthusiasts or serious cyclists? Below, we explore the mission and activities of PFB against the broader backdrop of changes going on in cycling today. We also ask what we as cyclists can do to help the organization? PeopleForBikes is an industry coalition made up of 280 cycling-industry members, and some 1,000 Ride Spot retailer members, along with a cycling community of almost 1.4 million individual riders. It was founded...