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Interbike show -

Las Vegas, Nevada USA, September 25-29, 2006

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Interbike Part 6 - Pro riders and more at Interbike

by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Las Vegas

World champion on display at Interbike

World champion Kristen Armstrong
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
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Newly crowned time trial world champion Kristen Armstrong turned many heads as she walked the floor of Interbike in her rainbow stripes and gold medal. Cyclingnews chatted to her while she signed autographs at the Trialtir booth for TEAm Lipton's clothing sponsor Biemme.

"Winning was amazing," she said. "And to have Christine Thorburn on the podium with me was incredible! I had it in my mind to win the world championships. I told myself last year when I was a bronze medalist that I had three more years before I retire."

Even though TEAm Lipton's stated goal is to produce an Olympic winner, Armstrong knows how important winning worlds is to her as a cyclist. "I know that the Olympics are the pinnacle of sport in general and winning the rainbow stripes is the pinnacle of sport in cycling. The respect you earn in the peloton is amazing. You know who the Olympic medalists are but once you win the rainbow stripes you always have them."

While she would not admit if she slept in the jersey for the following days before the road race, she did confess that winning became quite a distraction for her, albeit a good one. "For about three nights after I had insomnia. I knew going into the road race I had no pressure. My head was a little bit away from the road race after that, I have to admit! Not many people get to experience what it is like to become a world champion, but if they do then they will understand why my head wasn't there!"

Coming to Interbike and sporting the newest item in her closet is a new experience for Armstrong too. "I'm not one to walk around in my jersey, but my sponsors obviously want me to, and the reaction from the crowd... people see me in magazines but might not recognize me. Now people are coming up to me all the time saying congratulations."

It is not hard to believe that Armstrong's phone would be ringing with offers from the major teams in Europe. But she says that staying put where she is now is the best move for her. "I did have a lot of offers from European teams after winning, the top teams in the world. But I just feel that being successful at this level is your environment and being happy. What makes me happiest is getting along with all of the riders and being able to go home every now and again. That will keep me from burning out over the next two years."

On the topic of Europe, however, Armstrong said that getting race experience overseas is key to developing women's racing here in the States. "I know Lipton is going to try to race overseas soon. Hopefully we can get some sponsors that support that idea or use the national team to give some girls the experience over there."

"You just need to be over there to learn to race in the peloton. I think that is what American cycling is lacking. The more girls that go over and race the more American cycling will become like that. A lot of girls just don't know what it feels like, but it sounds like some teams like Colavita and Cheerwine are heading over there."

Meanwhile, Armstrong is most looking forward to a nice off season at home in Boise without the hectic travel schedule. "I love nordic skiing, so I can't wait for the snow to fall. But I also like mountain biking, and the month of October is gorgeous. The leaves are turning and it's in the low 70s. And just catching up with friends -- no traveling!"

Navigators goes down-under for new talent

Ernesto Colnago
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
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Ed Beamon announces his new roster on the first day of Interbike in conjunction with unveiling the new team Colnago at the Trialtir booth. While a few riders have moved on, only a couple of key changes highlight the team that stormed the last part of the season, winning the big money in the month of August.

The most noticeable change comes from two down under finds in Aussie Ben Day and South African Darren Lill. "I feel some of the areas where we were weak this year were the stage races like Tour of California and Georgia," Beamon told Cyclingnews. "The early season races are a difficult thing. Our team thrives on the second half of the season and that is how we have always built the team. It is one of the reasons Ben Day and Darren Lill are two guys to put on the team. Both are from the southern hemisphere and both have the opportunity to be fit early in the season."

The other major change for the team is sprinter Vassili Davidenko retiring. However, his presence will still be felt as he becomes the new assistant director sportif. "Vassili retiring is an important loss of talent and experience, but he is coming to the management side of the team," said Beamon, "so that is an important adjustment we will make because he brings a lot of knowledge to the table. I think he will be just as valuable as a manager as he was a rider."

"We went into the whole process thinking about and strengths and weaknesses from this year. We were pretty happy with the type of season we had -- a good, solid season with guys who had great chemistry."

Pedro's cleans up everyone's act

One of the industry leaders in making bikes cleaner is also taking steps to make the environment cleaner. Pedro's has a new line of products that are not only completely bio-degradable, but also much more friendly to use. Chris Zigmont of Pedro's says that other products that are bio-degradable have known carcinogens in them, making the 'shop environment' unsafe.

The three products leading the line are a foaming bike wash that can be washed or wiped off -- a new and improved degreaser that is claimed to be 100 times stronger than Oranj Peelz -- and a green-friendly chain lube.

Also turning heads at Pedros is the new carbon-fibre multi-tool -- a must have for those that are the ultimate weight savers. But be prepared to fork over $70 for it. Included with this new tool (and the non-carbon version) is a new attachment for wrenching Mavic Ksyrium spokes.

Many pros and many lines

Thor Hushovd
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
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It is not difficult to find the VIP autograph sessions -- just look for the long lines. Dave Zabriskie and Christian Vandevelde were all over the place on Wednesday, singing autographs for Bell Sports, Descente and Full Speed Ahead. Tour de France stage winner Thor Hushovd was also on hand in the Look booth.

Thursday and Friday will continue to offer for chances for signatures, including Fast Freddie Rodriguez and legend Eddie Merckx.



For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mark Zalewski/Cyclingnews.com

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