New Balance Limited Edition Cobbled Classics 574

New Balance Limited Edition Cobbled Classics 574Back in January New Balance, already the exclusive off-bike athletic footwear and clothing sponsor for Team Garmin-Sharp, announced an expanded partnership with the pro cycling team.


Taking things to the next level New Balance have revealed the Limited Edition Cobbled Classics 574 shoe inspired by and commemorating both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. The shoe, say New Balance, ‘…captures the shades of the region and draws inspiration from the historical cobbles, with premium suede, mesh and contrast accents.’ The word ‘Cobbled’ is embroidered on the back of the left shoe and ‘Classics’ on the right — a tribute to the nickname for the two races.


And how do you get hold of a pair? There’s the tricky bit as New Balance really means limited when they say limited – only 75 pairs of the Cobbled Classics 574 have been made and Team Garmin-Sharp get to wear 12 of them. The rest will go on sale, priced at $159.99 (£94), at 10am EDT – that’s 3pm in the UK – at


There is one other outside chance of getting your hands on a pair. Take a look at the Team Garmin-Sharp facebook page and suggest a band name for the team (seen sporting their New Balance shoes.) If you win them or buy them, let us know…



Daniel Martin Wins Volta a Catalunya

Daniel Martin Wins Volta a CatalunyaIn perfect conditions – thankfully without rain or significant winds – Belgian’s Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) has won the final stage of the Volta a Catalunya (Tour of Catalonia), with Sky’s David Lopez in second and RadioShack-Leopard’s Robert Kišerlovski third. But despite the podium places of the day it was Garmin-Sharp’s Daniel Martin who claimed overall victory in a total time of 29h02’25”; making him only the second Irishman ever to have won the Volta a Catalunya after Sean Kelly last took the honours back in 1984 and 86. Martin had already taken control of the Volta when he won Stage 4 – the so-called ‘Queen Stage’ – last Thursday; from then he had looked unlikely (certainly unwilling) to give anything away.


Today’s 122km route from El Vendrell to Barcelona – with eight sapping loops of Montjuïc (a cat 3 climb) – saw a group of five leading out in the final circuit with another four in the gap behind; all bets on the day’s winner seemed to be off even in the final kilometre, but the final shakedown ultimately saw De Gendt take the line.


Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins had started the day 54seconds adrift and, even with the time bonuses on offer for Day 7, it was never a gap that could realistically be closed by any significant degree; he ended the day fifth in general classification still on +54seconds.



Rapha Condor Minus Sharp

Sharp end sponsorship Rapha CondorThe end of the 2012 season is set to mark the parting of ways between Rapha Condor and Sharp as sponsors of the British UCI Continental team. Rapha Condor will continue to sponsor the UK based outfit whilst Sharp – who initially backed the team in 2009 under the ‘Sharp4Prostate’ charity banner, and shifted up a gear as a title sponsor for the 2010 season – will concentrate efforts on support of the Garmin-Sharp team at World Tour level.


Paul Hide, Managing Director of Sharp in the UK commented: ‘Our sponsorship of Rapha Condor Sharp has allowed us to put the Sharp brand in front of the kind of tech-savvy, design-conscious audience we want to engage with. Rapha and Condor have been the ideal partners to guide us in the sport, and we wish them every success in continuing their project to develop young talent. Sharp’s support of pro-cycling has now moved to UCI World Tour with Garmin Sharp. Like Rapha Condor, this is a team with an unwavering commitment to the best elements of cycling.’


Simon Mottram, Rapha’s CEO, added: ‘Sharp’s support over the last three and a half years helped us to develop a successful team and to reach the pinnacle of British domestic racing. We have really enjoyed working with them and although it is sad to part ways, seeing a multi-national company move up to supporting cycling at World Tour level is a very positive step for the sport and very satisfying.’



Tour of Britain Route Announced

The ninth edition of the modern Tour of Britain runs from Sunday 9 to Sunday 16 September 2012, and will cover 1,349 kilometres through England, Scotland and Wales.


The Grand Depart will take place in Ipswich, with Suffolk and Norfolk hosting the 199km opening stage of this year’s race on Sunday 9 September. From there The Tour will visit Nottingham, Knowsley and Merseyside, Scotland, the North West, Stoke-on-Trent, Wales and Devon before the challenging final stage in the Surrey Hills, finishing on Guildford’s uphill, cobbled High Street on Sunday September 16.


The organisers are expecting over 100 of the world’s best riders representing teams familiar from the Tour de France. From Spain, or more specifically the Basque Country, will be Euskaltel Euskadi, Garmin – Sharp from America, Liquigas – Cannondale from Italy and the Aussies from Orica GreenEDGE. Home interest will rest on Team Sky Pro Cycling who won the event in 2009, with Edvald Boasson Hagen, and grabbed a couple of stage wins in 2011 through Mark Cavendish. Other local interest might also be provided by Endura, Node4 Giordana and Team Raleigh GAC.


One interesting addition will be debutantes Team UK Youth. Owned by Nigel Mansell and ‘promoting the values of leading youth charity UK Youth’ the team seems to be a bit of a family affair with sons Greg riding and Leo acting as Managing Director. You can find out more at Team UK Youth.


The organisers hope the event will once again ‘…showcase Britain’s stunning scenery to a domestic and international audience with some of the world’s top cyclists competing on British roads for the right to win the Gold Jersey.’ This year the key sponsors include logistics firm Yodel and IG Markets.


You can keep up with the latest developments at the news section of the ToB website. You can find preview maps here. You’ll find descriptions on all of the stage routes available and highly detailed interactive stage maps. If you fancy sampling a Tour of Britain route first hand, then visit for more information on the official Tour of Britain sportives taking place in August and September.