Wednesday, 31 July 2013
Monday, 29 July 2013
Erik Zabel has little left to celebrate. In 2007 Erik Zabel stood in front of the press in floods of tears as he spoke about his 9 year old son while confessing to using EPO in the first week of the 1996 Tour de France. In his own words he described how, just on a single occasion he chose to use the performance enhancing drug before stating that thanks to the severity of the side effects, he never used it again. Today Erik Zabel told the world otherwise, having been named in the French Senate report as testing positive in the 1998 Tour...
Saturday, 27 July 2013
The Tour of Poland starts today and in fact its the 70th edition - quite an unusual stat fro a race outside of France, Belgium and Italy which means there is a certain pedigree here. If we have become use to Poland's use of City Centre crit stages and largely flattish terrain then this years edition starts with a bang because the opening two stages happen to be in the very mountainous north of Italy...
Thursday, 25 July 2013
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
Sunday, 21 July 2013
Wednesday, 17 July 2013
The Tour de France makes history tomorrow to mark its 100 edition with a double ascent of Alpe d'Huez. Looking above, this profile is enough to strike fear into any professional bike rider but if many will be looking to take it easy and focus on just getting through the day - this stage could also be the last real opportunity for anybody looking to overhaul Chris Froome.
Monday, 15 July 2013
Remember this 'unbelievable' ride by Turkish national Mustafa Sayar to take victory in the 2013 Tour of Turkey? At the time it was hard to watch knowing that a year before, race winner Ivailo Gabrovski went on to test positive for EPO after performing a similar feat. This year Sayar was eventually given the benefit of the doubt, having looked into the eyes of Matt Rendall and told him: I am a clean and credible winner. We all knew deep down this 'probably' wasn't true with even Eurosport commentators making their feelings known as the stage progressed and now Sayar has tested positive for a banned substance during the Tour of Algeria in March. So what effect will this have on a race already tarnished?...
Sunday, 14 July 2013
Thursday, 11 July 2013
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
What better accompaniment to the frankly stunning scenery of Mont-Saint-Michel than Tony Martins winning TT performance that almost put him into the record books:
A 54.25kph TT finish for Martin. Not a record, quite, (that's still LeMond's 54.54 from 1989) but very, very fast. #tdfChris Froom put well over two minutes into Contador, Valverde and Cadel all but ending any contest for the GC barring something massive but more remarkably (even Tony Martin himself expressed surprise) after two thirds of the course Froome was two seconds quicker than Tony Martin before dropping 14 seconds in the final 10km as a headwind set in leaving him 12 seconds off Martins Pace. Lower down the pecking order many suffered badly, most notably Pierre Rolland who lost over 4 minutes to Froome. It's been an interesting day with some interesting rides but the end result could make for a dull remainder of the race but we will have to wait and see. As for the scenery? There was nothing dull about that...
— Michael Hutchinson (@Doctor_Hutch) July 10, 2013
Monday, 8 July 2013
The Alps are looming just around the corner and without getting out on a bike and actually riding the climbs of the Tour, the closest most of us come to the mythical French mountains is watching the pro's ride them on TV and of course they make it look far easier than it actually is. The Breakaway - Cycling the Mountains of the Tour de France by Rolf Rae-Hansen looks not only at the climbs and their history but at just what it takes to ride them both physically and emotionally, their effects upon the soul, on body and mind in a Journal that truly bares all on the mountainside...
Sunday, 7 July 2013
Friday, 5 July 2013
The race so far has seen some hilly terrain in Corsica but stage 8 represents the first summit finish as the riders make a fleeting visit to the Pyrenees this weekend. The first 130km of Saturdays stage look relatively un-testing before the race suddenly heads skywards on the Hors category climb of the Col du Pailheres - a 15km brute that averages around an 8% gradient - before plummeting down a 16 kilometre long descent to the foot of the final climb of the day up to Ax 3 Domains...
Wednesday, 3 July 2013
Here is Pierre Rolland in his Polka Dot 'King of the Moutains' Tour de France kit - it's true that for some the colour is a little hard to take but none the less this often undervalued jersey is a sure sign of a very talented and enduring rider, in fact I have as deep a respect for the 'mountains' jersey as I do for the the Yellow - whoever is in Polka Dots come the end of the Tour has undoubtedly been one of the strongest riders in the race, sure they might finish a mile back on the GC in the end but the power, energy and determination it takes to consistently ride to the top of the mountains first, each mountain, every day is something to behold and marks an incredible achievement - besides I quite like the spotty kit though Pierre could do with the matching gloves and socks here (each to their own) but if you don't like the colour blame Chocolat Poulain who became the first sponsor of the Mountains Classification in 1975 thus creating the now iconic jersey which just so happened to be the colour of the Chocolat Poulain bar wrappers. Nice.