Friday, 30 March 2012

Film Friday: Tommeke Talks Tour Of Flanders

Keeping on the theme of Flanders (I know, I know!) today's film Friday features an interview with my favourite for the race, Tom Boonen who looks ahead to this Sunday, his preparation, his take on his rivals and the changes made to this years parcours. The interview has only just gone live, but was actually filmed after the Tour of Qatar -Long before Boonen took the honours at E3 and Gent-Wevelgem and became a real race favourite for the classics this year. Tommeke looks to be in the form of his life or at least the best since his amazing 2005 campaign.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wordless Wednesday: A Very Belgian Connection

This is the moment Nick Nuyens crossed the line to win the 2011 Tour Of Flanders, the 67th Belgian to do so in 95 editions of the stunning Belgian Spring Classic. Flanders is more than just a race, it's an institution, every climb and cobble runs deep in a Belgian riders blood. Ask any Belgian rider which race they would most like to win, and this would be it. The 2011 edition was not won by a Belgian team (Quickstep placed second), but instead a Belgian rider. Coincidentally Nick Nuyens signed for Saxo-Bank as a replacement for Classics King Fabian Cancellara who left to join Leopard-Trek, a good move for Saxo-Bank as fan favourite and race favourite Cancellara (above right) could only manage third place on the day. My Money this year is on a certain Belgian team and Belgian rider to take the honours and keep the very Belgian connection alive...

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Sagan And Boonen: Rivals And Team Mates?

Tom Boonen is on fire. There's no two ways about that and with 7 wins to his name already this season (he took 8 victories all year last year) I would pen him down as my Flanders and Roubaix favourite this year. He's not the Boonen of 2005, this isn't raw power, but he is smarter this time round and his wins this year have been very classy. But when a 22 years old Slovak that's been making ripples for the last 2 seasons turns up for a training ride in the guise of Three Days Of De Panne and still ends up winning, Boonen has to be worried, doesn't he?

Monday, 26 March 2012

Tour Of Flanders 1919 - Borrowed Bikes And Beer.

The tale of the legendary 1919 Tour of Flanders has been told many times, but in the week of the one of the greatest races in the cycling calendar, I'm sure nobody minds if I repeat it. A true story of borrowed bikes, blonde beers and troublesome trains.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Catalunya Success For Troubled Euskaltel-Euskadi

I watched yesterday as one of my favourite riders, Samuel Sanchez stormed to a fantastic solo victory on stage 6 of the Volta A Catalunya which had all of the hallmarks for a sprint finish. A small incline 2km from the finish provided a perfect kick for Sanchez as he put his foot on the gas and took off from the front of the bunch securing the victory with a 2 second time gap, placing him second in the overall classification.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Film Friday: Garmin - Tour of Flanders 2011

Its Friday again, which means less talk more film. This time it's a little documentary I remember watching and enjoying last year which followed the highs and lows of the Garmin team at the Tour of Flanders in 2011, one of the monumental spring classics. I thought after today's fantastic drama filled E3 Harelbeke it really is time to get geared up and in the mood for the Classics season, so sit back and enjoy this thoughtful take on the Tour of Flanders...

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Endura: Castilla y Leon and Route du Sud

The Endura cycling team have been given invites to this years Castilla y Leon and Route du Sud I can confirm. There were worries that the Vuelta Castilla y Leon wouldn't go ahead this year due to funding/sponsor issues, but the 2.1 race is to remain in the form of a 3 day stage race rather than the usual 5. Exciting me about the Route du Sud though is this...

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Catalonian Weather

A picture can paint a thousand words - on a day that saw stage 3 of the Volta a Catalunya shortened, time gaps nullified, TV coverage non-existent and the withdrawal of 39 riders (5 didn't start, 34 abandoned) all thanks to extreme weather, I still don't think this picture of agony quite covers it! Pro cyclists are hard. No discussion needed. Thanks to The Inner Ring for tweeting the following link to all of the pictures here

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Valverde Feels Full Wrath of Omega Pharma-Quickstep

On a day that saw Alejandro Valverde tell the world that he thought he could win this years Tour de France despite the course favouring the time trialists, it would have been a good idea to accompany his statement with actions in the form of a strong performance in the Volta a Catalunya. Levi Leipheimer had other ideas and revenge on his mind...

Monday, 19 March 2012

A Tale Of Two Teams

There was plenty of hype surrounding a certain group of teams before the season kicked off. One being that of newly formed GreenEdge, another the suppertime that is BMC. I know which team I would have backed to get off to a flyer in the early part the season but the contrast between the two couldn't be bigger. Its a good job I'm not a (huge) betting man...

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Jon Tiernan-Locke To Strike Again?

I witnessed Jon Tiernan-Locke (JTL) and his talents first hand as a spectator at the Tour of Britain last year where I took the attached photograph. I have since kept a close eye on him, watched as the rumour mill did its rounds close season and the speculation as to whether he would be riding with one of the big teams for 2012 grew, I watched as that speculation faded and Tiernan-Locke signed a contract for Endura Racing. I also watched in delight as he took on the big boys and beat them in a phenomenal start to his 2012 campaign.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Film Friday: Cavendish Comes Of Age

Each Friday I intend to post up a cycling related video clip, partly due to my laziness, partly because its Friday and what better way to relax than watch cycling vid's whilst sipping a glass of Vino. Its also an excuse for me to trawl YouTube and watch my favourite clips. Anyway, what better way to kick off Film Friday than Mark Cavendish winning the 2009 Milan-San Remo, perhaps history will repeat itself tomorrow...

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Milan-San Remo: 1910

The one day spring classic is 103 years old this year, and with the route still the longest one day race in the calendar its reputation as a tough, gruelling affair is not without its merits. This year however it looks as though the riders are set to race in 20 degree sunshine, a world away from the now infamous 1910 edition of Milan-San Remo...

The race left Milan in heavy rain barely above freezing. The Riders would carry on to face gale force winds and 20cm of snow left behind on Turchino Pass by a strong wintry storm. 65 riders started the race, only 4 made it to the finish.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Nibali: Sagan Most Dangerous Adversary

When is a joke not a joke? Vincenzo Nibali recently 'joked' that Peter Sagan was his 'most dangerous adversary' but whichever way you look at it, that statement is uncomfortably close to the truth...