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Alejandro Valverde: I consider Mikel Landa more dangerous than Vincenzo Nibali at Giro d’Italia

Alejandro Valverde enters his first Giro d’Italia as one of the favourites and believes Team Sky’s Mikel Landa is the one to beat for the pink jersey

Alejandro Valverde: I Consider Mikel Landa More Dangerous Than Vincenzo Nibali At Giro D’Italia

Movistar at the presentation of the 2016 Giro d’Italia (Watson)

Alejandro Valverde reveals he is more concerned about Mikel Landa (Team Sky1) than Vincenzo Nibali2 (Astana) when it comes to the fight for pink at the Giro d Italia3. At the age of 36, Movistar4 s Valverde is riding his first Giro with the goal of completing the trio of podium finishes, having achieved this already at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espa a. With Landa showing his form at the Giro del Trentino5 last month, and Nibali finishing well down in the classification, Valverde cites his fellow Spaniard as the one to beat.

I consider Landa more dangerous than Nibali because of the excellent run of form he showed in Trentino.

They, along with Rigoberto Uran, Esteban Chaves, Rafal Majka, Tom Dumoulin and Ilnur Zakarin will become men to monitor closely, he told Spanish newspaper AS.6

Who are the 2016 Giro d Italia contenders?

Valverde begins the Giro as third favourite for the title7 behind Nibali and Landa, but has dismissed the idea that his inexperience in the race will hold him back in his battle for the general classification. The 2009 Vuelta champion says his years as a professional cyclist and experience from other Grand Tours will hold him in good stead over the next three weeks.

I think that age and experience help you ride with more focus, with responsibility, and with less tension, he added. I have inspected the mountain stages with Andrey Amador, and have the support of my team a united and powerful group.


  1. ^ Team Sky (
  2. ^ Vincenzo Nibali (
  3. ^ Giro d Italia (
  4. ^ Movistar (
  5. ^ form at the Giro del Trentino (
  6. ^ Spanish newspaper AS. (
  7. ^ as third favourite for the title (

New Campagnolo Potenza groupset to take “direct aim” at Shimano Ultegra

New mid-range offering described as “Ultegra with soul”

New Campagnolo Potenza Groupset To Take “direct Aim” At Shimano Ultegra

Campagnolo has taken direct aim at Shimano Ultegra1 with the new Campagnolo Potenza groupset, a groupset that it says offers all the performance of the highly-impressive Ultegra offering, but with a little added soul .

>>> Buyer s guide to road bike groupsets (video)2

To do this, Campagnolo Potenza has been given many of the same technologies as the higher end Super Record, Record, and Chorus groupsets, but with the aluminium construction of Athena and Veloce3 in order to keep the cost down. This will mean that it will sit below Chorus and above Athena, providing the mid-point of Campagnolo s six-tier groupset range.

New Campagnolo Potenza Groupset To Take “direct Aim” At Shimano Ultegra

Campagnolo Potenza inherits the Revolution 11+ technology that was introduced into the Super Record, Record, and Chorus groupsets back in 2014, although what this means in practice varies from component to component. However, it is also the first Campagnolo groupset to be made available with a 32 tooth sprocket and a long cage derailleur, with the Italian brand previously offering 29 tooth as the biggest option.

>>> Campagnolo disc brakes finally revealed4

Pricing for the whole groupset is yet to be announced (although Campagnolo told us that it will be similar to Shimano Ultegra, but with a small premium for its soul ). However, the main intention of this groupset is to allow Campagnolo to regain ground in the OEM market (i.e. the groupset that you get when you buy a complete bike), an area which SRAM and, in particular, Shimano have dominated.

Rear Derailleur

New Campagnolo Potenza Groupset To Take “direct Aim” At Shimano Ultegra

The Campagnolo Potenza rear derailleur doesn t have the flash red graphics of Record and Super Record

The star of the show on any groupset is the rear derailleur, so we ll start there. Like many of the other components on Campagnolo Potenza, the rear derailleur looks very similar to those on higher end Campagnolo groupsets. It doesn t have the red flashes on the graphics like Super Record or Record, but the basic shape is the same.

>>> Are you using your bikes gears efficiently?5

Up close and despite the black anodising, its clear that the rear derailleur is made from aluminium rather than the carbon of Super Record, Record, and Chorus, but the construction and technologies are the same.

Buyer s guide to road bike groupsets

The rear derailleur uses what Campagnolo calls embrace technology , which limits the rotation of the rear derailleur and moves it closer to the cassette, meaning that the chain is engaged with one or two more teeth on the cassette. According to Campagnolo, this means better power transfer and less wear on the chain and cassette.

>>> Review: SRAM Red eTap6

However, the big story with the Campagnolo Potenza rear derailleur is that it is has been optimised for larger cassettes and is available with either a short or long cage. The long cage will still work with cassettes with a largest sprocket of 32t, while the limit for the short cage is 29t.

Front Derailleur

New Campagnolo Potenza Groupset To Take “direct Aim” At Shimano Ultegra

The front derailleur has a steel cage and an aluminium arm

The Campagnolo Potenza front derailleur also has a similar shape to those on higher end Campagnolo groupsets, although with a different construction. Unlike the rear derailleur, it is not predominantly aluminium, coming with a one piece steel cage.

>>> How much faster is an aero bike? (video)7

However, aesthetics aside, Campagnolo says that the front derailleur will offer the same shifting performance as its more expensive offerings, and offers 10 per cent smoother shifting fluidity compared to Shimano Ultegra.


New Campagnolo Potenza Groupset To Take “direct Aim” At Shimano Ultegra

The shifters are aluminium, while hood are more rounded for comfort

As you can probably guess by now, the Campagnolo Potenza shifters are rather similar to those on the company s higher-end groupsets, but with an aluminium brake lever and composite shift levers

The lever ergonomics, that have been so lauded on other Campagnolo groupsets over the years, are the unchanged from the Italian company s existing groupsets. However there has been a small alteration to the hoods, which are slightly rounder on the tops to improve comfort for those who ride with their hands on the very tops of the hoods.

>>> SRAM eTap vs Di2: which is better?8

The internal mechanism has received more of an overhaul, which Campagnolo says reduces the effort to move from the small ring to the big ring with the front derailleur. The system also inherits the multi shift function of higher Campagnolo groupsets, allowing it to shift up to three gears at a time.


New Campagnolo Potenza Groupset To Take “direct Aim” At Shimano Ultegra

Campagnolo claims that the Potenza crankset is the stiffest on the market

Aesthetically, there s little to tell the crankset apart from its more expensive cousins. The four-arm spider design that was introduced into Super Record, Record, and Chorus in 2014 has made its way down to this aluminium groupset. According to Campagnolo, this design makes the Campagnolo Potenza crankset the stiffest aluminium crankset on the market, and must also make it the best-looking too.

>>> Is it the end for the 34t chainring?9

The crankset is compatible with 53/39t, 52/36t and 50/34t chainrings, all of which are made from aluminium, with the only part of the system that isn t aluminium being the steel Power Torque + axle. Campagnolo has also come up with a new internal mechanism that should make removing the crankset much easier.


New Campagnolo Potenza Groupset To Take “direct Aim” At Shimano Ultegra

The 32t largest sprocket may come in handy on steep climbs

The Campagnolo Potenza cassette is not intended to be used solely with Potenza, but is actually an entirely new Campagnolo 11 cassette range. This means that it can be used with any of Campagnolo s other 11-speed groupsets.

>>> How to ride faster up short, steep hills (video)10

There are five different gear combinations available 11-32t, 11-25t, 11-27t, 11-29t, and 12-27t with the 11-32t being the only cassette that will currently only work with Campagnolo Potenza due to the lack of long arm rear derailleur s in the company s other groupsets.


New Campagnolo Potenza Groupset To Take “direct Aim” At Shimano Ultegra

The brakes have a classic Campagnolo design

Finally, the brakes have the same skeleton structure that is present throughout the Campagnolo range. However Campagnolo has also developed a new brake compound for better braking performance and decreased rim and pad wear.

Pricing and Availability

At its launch in early March, Campagnolo was not able to give precise details of either UK pricing or availability of Campagnolo Potenza. The only details the company were willing to give were that the pricing would be similar to Shimano Ultegra which costs but with a small premium for being Campagnolo . However a complete Shimano Ultegra groupset has an RRP of 750 in the UK, while the European pricing of Campagnolo Potenza is ‘ 904 (roughly 705), so we ll have to see if such a premium makes it into the final pricing.

Availibility is just as up in the air, with Campagnolo only saying that Potenza would be available fairly soon .

We ll report back with further details as soon as we get them.


  1. ^ Shimano Ultegra (
  2. ^ >>> Buyer s guide to road bike groupsets (video) (
  3. ^ Veloce (
  4. ^ >>> Campagnolo disc brakes finally revealed (
  5. ^ >>> Are you using your bikes gears efficiently? (
  6. ^ >>> Review: SRAM Red eTap (
  7. ^ >>> How much faster is an aero bike? (video) (
  8. ^ >>> SRAM eTap vs Di2: which is better? (
  9. ^ >>> Is it the end for the 34t chainring? (
  10. ^ >>> How to ride faster up short, steep hills (video) (

The many different faces of Fabio Aru

Fabio Aru is close to overtaking Thomas Voeckler’s crown of being the peloton’s biggest gurner. Here’s are some of his best facial expressions

The Many Different Faces Of Fabio Aru

Fabio Aru at the Astana training camp in 2015 (Watson)

It s quite a coincidence that Astana1 rider Fabio Aru2 looks a fair bit like former Labour leader Ed Milliband, given his tendancy to be photographed at the most inopportune moments. Like the politician, Aru seems to have a knack for pulling quite odd faces although he s doing it while trying to win bike races, not eating bacon sandwiches and like the politician there are always plenty of cameras around to snap him.

Thomas Voeckler3 may be nearing the end of his career as a professional cyclist, but when he hangs up his wheels he can do so safe in the knowledge that Aru will take up the mantle of being the peloton s best gurner. We can split Aru s many different facial expressions into two categories Happy Aru and Pained Aru. Take a look at some of our favourites.

Happy Aru

Aru was clearly very happy to finish second overall to Alberto Contador in the 2015 Giro d Italia.

The Many Different Faces Of Fabio Aru


When he wins a stage, like these ones at the Giro4 and Vuelta, he shows us just how wide he can open his mouth.

The Many Different Faces Of Fabio Aru


The Many Different Faces Of Fabio Aru


At the Vuelta a Espa a, though, Aru found something with as wide as smile as him: the orange donkey mascot.5

The Many Different Faces Of Fabio Aru


But he never looks happier than when in the leader s jersey of a Grand Tour, like at this year s Vuelta.

The Many Different Faces Of Fabio Aru


Pained Aru

While he s all smiles before and after the stages, during the race he s all about the gurning. He lost over two minutes to rival Contador on stage 16 of the 2015 Giro6 and this was what he looked like up the final ascent.

The Many Different Faces Of Fabio Aru


It s not just the Grand Tours where he shows us the dexterity in his face this shot comes from stage six of the Tour of Poland7

The Many Different Faces Of Fabio Aru


Back to the Giro d Italia and Aru grimmaced his way to victory on stage 20 of the race8 his second consecutive stage win up the Colle de la Finestre

The Many Different Faces Of Fabio Aru


On stage 11 of the Vuelta he smashed the final climb to finish second behind teammate Mikel Landa9, taking the leader s jersey, and allowed himself a huge exhale as he crossed the line.

The Many Different Faces Of Fabio Aru


On a misty stage 1410, Aru was foaming at the mouth as he crossed the finish line in ninth to retain his lead in the race.

The Many Different Faces Of Fabio Aru


One thing is for sure, though: the faces Aru pulls must be working as even at the tender age of 25 he s already proving himself to be one of the best Grand Tour riders in the peloton. Long live the gurning!


  1. ^ Astana (
  2. ^ Fabio Aru (
  3. ^ Voeckler and Tinkov in Twitter spat over Russian s plans for cycling reforms (
  4. ^ Alberto Contador under pressure in Giro d Italia s penultimate stage as Aru wins again (
  5. ^ There s something oddly brilliant about professional cyclists sitting on a donkey (
  6. ^ Five talking points from stage 16 of the Giro d Italia (
  7. ^ Sergio Henao wins Tour of Poland stage six to take overall lead (
  8. ^ Alberto Contador under pressure in Giro d Italia s penultimate stage as Aru wins again (
  9. ^ Chris Froome drops out of Vuelta a Espa a contention as Mikel Landa wins stage 11 (
  10. ^ Four talking points from stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espa a (