Sunday, 30 June 2013

Tour de France Stage 2: Sprinters Dropped, Froome Attacks, Bakelants In Yellow

When the route for the Tour was originally made public much was made of placing this 'mountain' stage so early in the race but by the time the stage rolled around their was speculation that rather than being a true mountain stage the sprinters might be able to hang on over the numerous categorised climbs to form a bunch sprint in the final metres but it wasn't to be...

Saturday, 29 June 2013

In True Tour de France Fashion...

It goes hand in hand with the Tour that the first week will see more than it's fair share of crashes as riders try to find their rhythm and jostle for position in the quick sprint finishes but today's stage one had all of that and more crammed into the final 10km meaning a few riders found themselves at the mercy of the French hospitals whilst Mark Cavendish missed out yet again on that all illusive yellow jersey...

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Tour de France 2013: The Contenders

I'm sure you are all familiar with the format by now so lets get straight to the point. The 100th Tour de France is upon us in 3 days time and it's time to take a look at who's who in this years race. It's been a good year of racing so far and some have shone much brighter than others to put it mildly, so who are the favourites for the biggest Grand Tour of the year and why?...

Monday, 24 June 2013

Picture This: From Blanco to Belkin

Dutch Team Blanco who have been without a title sponsor since Rabobank withdrew (they still supplied the team with the remaining year of funding left on the contract but did not wish their name to be linked with a team accused of systematic doping) in the Winter. It's expected that the Blanco Team will announce a new title sponsor today and that sponsor is pretty certain to be Belkin - an American company which builds and supplies electronics from “wireless home networking and entertainment, to mobile accessories, energy management, and an extensive range of cables.” Of course with a sponsor/name change comes a kit-change and though it isn't the official kit this picture is the only spoiler I could find, make of it what you will. The kit isn't important though - what is important is we have a fully sponsored team coming into the Tour de France with a fresh start and a reported 2 and a half year sponsorship contract...

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Tour de France Village

With a race the size of the Tour de France it's inevitable that it comes with baggage - and lot's of it. At the start of each stage a pop-up village appears where only hours before bare tarmac laid. As soon as the riders leave the start-line workers rush in to dismantle the entire village ready for transportation to the next town - it's a lot of work for a lot of people but Le Tour wouldn't be Le Tour without the village...

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Away Again

I'm off on my honeymoon tomorrow just as the Tour de France looms so the blog will slow down again for a week or so but fear not - I have pre-written a few posts to be spread out across the week though as time progresses the information I have provided to coincide with the Tour de France may change. I promise this is the last time the blog will be neglected (planning a wedding has left me grossly unprepared) and once I'm back - I'm back. Please stay in touch with the blog because I've got some big ideas for the Tour this year and hoping to provide as much coverage as possible. I will still be around (as much as the wife allows) on Twitter with more up-to-date info and pre-race tweets, just follow @InTheGC and I will be back soon to carry on where I left off! 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Picture This: Tour de France - Corsican Beginnings

We have already had a glimpse of the beauty of Corsica this year with the Criterium International (which Chris Froome won) but the weather wasn't much to write home about. The Corsican start to the Tour de France will not only be set to this amazing backdrop with a little more sunshine but it's likely to see one of the most entertaining starts to the Tour de France in quite a while. An Island with everything - Coastline, crosswinds, huge climbs, technical descents, narrow roads - the racing is likely to be frantic and as somebody described to me yesterday, it has 'carnage potential'. The start of every Tour is the same as riders jostle for position and find their rhythm, accidents certainly occur on a regular basis but it's unusual to have so many tough stages - and ones which may effect the GC - so early on which means the stakes are high and an error here could ruin a riders race... 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Tour de France 2013: Team Rosters

With the Tour de France less than two weeks away teams are finalising their rosters for the race and it's a good idea to keep an eye on just who is going to be riding this year. It's difficult to find the information all in one place until the release of the official start-list so this post will be kept updated and refreshed with all the latest team rosters and some of them make for interesting reading...

Friday, 14 June 2013

A Few Days Off

Well I'm getting married tomorrow so it's time for me to take a few days off from the blog and devote a little time to the other half. I realise time is moving firmly in the direction of the Tour de France but I will be back posting next week before a head off out on my honeymoon - there might not be much pre-race chat but there will certainly be a lot of articles and updates during the actual race. Thanks to all who have wished me well and thanks to everyone that takes the time out to read the blog now and again, it's what makes this blog worthwhile. Happy riding and see you soon.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Picture This: Chris Froomes Living Room - 2019

Is this a picture we have seen before or is it simply a vision from Chris Froome's future? In an interview with The Times Froome says “I don’t feel like I am looking for fame or looking to be recognised for something. I’ve got my goals, and personally where I want my career to go is to target the Tour, not just this year but for the next six or seven years. I am driven by that goal, not from a fame point of view.” It's a big ambition especially as he has yet to win his first but it sends a clear message to the likes of Contador and Rodriguez - he's focused and he's confident. A little too confident? Well time will tell but lets hope his living room hides slightly less secrets than that of Lance Armstrong come 2019...

Monday, 10 June 2013

Movie Monday: Tour de France 2013 Trailer

OK, so the 100th edition of the Tour de France is still 19 days away but who are we kidding, the excitement starts right now! With the Dauphine over it's back to the drawing board for some big names and hopes to hold form for others but the race is being set up nicely - lets hope the 100th edition can live up to expectations. 2012 had a pleasing result for the British but it wasn't exactly a vintage year and now 2013 see's the return of some big names, some big mountains and some big ambitions. From now until the 29th this blog will feature some little teasers and tasters in an effort to build the excitement we have come to know and love with the Tour de France. There will be some video's, history lessons, interesting book reviews (reading to accompany the viewing) and of course 'the' preview. Today we start, naturally, with the official 2013 trailer and as trailers go it's a pretty good one - it should get the mouth watering nicely! A quick note to add that between now and the Tour I get married and take my honeymoon and though the blog may slow down for a week or so before the Tour I hope there will still be some content and of course I will be back in full swing when the racing starts on the 29th...Enjoy!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Criterium du Dauphine 2013: Montee de Risoul

It's a dramatic picture but will the climb to Risoul tomorrow make for a dramatic end to this years Dauphine? The answer is that I doubt it but it should make for an interesting climb if only to get a snapshot of what the wider picture will be like at the Tour in July...

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Picture This: First Blood - Chris Froome

As predicted after Alberto Contadors poor performance in yesterdays time trial he decided today was a day to test his legs, attacking on the final climb of Valmorel with just over a kilometre to go. How would Froome respond? Well it was business as usual for him as he kept tempo and slowly reeled Contador back in before bridging across and riding away from his rival to take a strong looking stage victory and the yellow jersey. Froome didn't have to ride away for solo victory today once he had brought Contador back but instead he decided to stamp his authority on the race one again and cross the line in style. It's becoming a familiar picture and one we might see on repeat over and over again in July...

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Criterium du Dauphine: TT's, GC's And Tomorrows Summit Finish

We all knew that today’s Time Trial would be the first time this years Dauphine saw a shake up in the General Classification but the relatively flat 32.5 kilometre course has thrown up some surprising results and though there are some tough days to come it looks as though a few race favourites are no longer in contention…

Monday, 3 June 2013

Santambrogio Lands Another Blow To Cycling

When it was revealed that Danilo Di Luca had tested positive for EPO at the Giro the saddest thing about the whole affair was that nobody was surprised. He was of course a serial doper, an addict given numerous chances to turn his cycling career around yet he let the sport down time and time again reaffirming the opinion of many that a positive test should lead to a lifetime ban but today's announcement that his fellow Vini Fantini rider Mauro Santambrogio has also tested positive for EPO brings yet another more surprising blow to the sport...

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Critérium du Dauphiné 2013: The Contenders

The Critérium du Dauphiné 2013 gets underway tomorrow and it starts with an unusually lumpy stage including a category three climb to the finish setting the scene for much of the week ahead. The riders looking to race well here will be the same riders looking to bag a podium place at the Tour de France next month but let's not forget that this is a top level stage race in it's own right. So who will be looking to take the yellow jersey and put the frighteners on everybody else in time for the Tour?...