tour de France

What a (cycling) weekend, in la Tour and elsewhere

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Well on Saturday the 100th Tour de France go under way in Corsica. And the first stage was eventful if nothing else. This was a stage which was targeted by the sprinters as their chance to wear yellow for a day, but chaos marred the stage.

 

As the image shows the team bus of Orica GreenEDGE was stuck under the finish line Imagewhich caused the finish to be moved to the 3km to go stage, but then the bus was successfully removed and the finish was able to be used. However there was still a bit of panic in the peloton and a crash ended the hopes of many of the sprinters of taking the stage including Cavendish who was caught up in the delay rather than the crash. As a result the times were neturalised and the yellow jersey was on position. This meant that David Miller was in fourth on the second stage and his team were working hard to try and put him in yellow for stage three today.

 

A potential nightmare nearly played out in the final stages of stage two with a Scottish Imageterrier lose on the road and it just moved out of the way as the fast approaching peloton came around a corner. Thankfully the riders didn’t crash and as far as I am aware the dog is fine to. However if you take a dog near a sporting event keep it on a lead please, as Carlton Kirby mentioned in commentary.

 

However before the do incident on the final climb Chris Froome send a message to his rivals and it could be a big one. Up the final climb he injected pace which took him out of the wheel of team mate Richie Porte and made an attempt to catch the lone Europcar rider and bridge the gap. The peloton didn’t, chose not to or couldn’t respond. After the stage Froome said it was good to keep people on their toes and he went to make the decent safer as he was alone. This may have been the case but it is a clear message that Sky have the option of the explosion which wasn’t seen in last years tour. We knew Froome was in the form of his life, but this really sent a message.

 

So with the third stage today and the final one on Corsica before the Team Time Trial in Nice tomorrow it will be another interesting stage and who knows what will happen today. It might just be a “boring” day of breakaways and cycling skill, rather than stuck buses and wandering dogs. Lets hope so.

 

Away from the tour on a personal note I was out again on another training ride and with just one more weekend before the London to Brighton Nigh Ride, which will be a long one, I am feeling ready to go. This week I’ll cycle to work, put about  in my legs this week, before tapering off the training in the final week to limit injury and ensure I am in the right place to achieve sub 4 hours. Until then its tour highlights just to keep the cycling juices following.

My fundraising page is still active and I am so close to my target, just £20 required before event day. You can show your support here. Thank you it means a lot to me but even more to The British Heart Foundation.

Images from http://www.metro.co.uk and http://www.telegraph.co.uk

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Just 3 days to go until the 100th Tour de France

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The waiting is nearly over. 3 days until the start of the 100th Tour de France. Will Mark Cavendish be in Yellow at the end of the first day which is set up for the Sprinters. Lets hope so. Image

I think the 100th tour will be a good one. Last year returned Sir Brad as the first British winner and with a bit of luck we could have Froom taking the honours in Paris in three weeks with Cav returning to glory in Green.  At this rate the UK will be targeting all the jerseys, although the King of the mountains could be a struggle this year. The route is an interesting one. It is a shame Sir Wiggo won’t be there to defend his title and we will never know if he decides not to ride the tour again. Lets wait and see.

There are many stages to look out for in this years race. I think one of the most important ones will be Stage 18 Gap to Alpe D’Huez where the riders will climb the famous mountain twice with the finish line at the top of the second summit. If Froome manages this with a lead or gains the lead on this stage he will be in an excellent position to take the 100th tour, his first victory and the second for a British rider. Image

It might only be 168km long but the fact on this stage they are going over 4 big climbs at a high altitude before the final climb up Alpe D’Huez for the finish.

In my opinion its stages like this that make the tour what it is. The physical and mental challenge the riders face must be phenomenal, just for this stage alone, but the fact they have been riding for 17 stages before this just proves these riders are something special.

So I all starts on Saturday, at last. For the next three weeks cycling will rule my life, watching the tour as well as a certain ride In doing on 14th July, eek!

Images taken from http://inrng.com/2012/10/2013-tour-de-france/

One of the biggest events in the cycling calendar and…

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no live coverage on the two television channels of the National Road Race Championships. At least there is highlights tomorrow night (Monday 24th June) on ITV4!

Next weekend and for the following three weeks both British Eurosport and ITV4 will show live coverage and highlights of the 100th Tour de France, but today nothing. Please, please get this sorted for 2014! I know there would have been reasons for not covering the race live, but I think a glorious opportunity was lost today.

I ask why that one of the biggest events in the road cycling calendar is not covered live? Later in September they will be coverage if the Tour of Britain which is great but over the weekend we have had many of the worlds top rivers in UK road fighting it or for the honour of wearing the national champions jersey.

I have to say a massive thank you to Twitter for my coverage of the race. It certainly added something, as it was very nerve wracking watching the action unfold in 140 characters or less but annoying I could not watch the action live on TV. After all the south east is along way from Glasgow where the championships took place so couldn’t attend live. @BriSmith (Brian Smith Eurosport &ITV4 commentator) @cyclingweekly and @ BritisjCycling et al kept me and the world updated which the action. Without this fantastic service it works be the old fashioned way of finding our the result in the paper tomorrow or doing A Likely Lads and trying to avoid the result until watching the highlights tomorrow evening.

So the result. Stop reading now if you don’t want to know the result of both the men’s and women’s races. AllI will say before saying who won I’d I might be getting one if the jerseys when they are on sale which I have a feeling will be very soon.

So here it is the result. A big well done to ladies champion Lizzie Armistead who won on Saturday and the men’s champion, yes you guessed it, the Manx missile Mark Cavendish. He will wear his new national champions jersey in the tour next week, well until he gets the yellow one after stage one and the green points jersey for leading the points classification. I think the OPQS jersey in UK champions decorations will be a nice sight to see. We have seen the Sky version with Ian Stannard and Wiggo a few years back, but now its Cav’s.

The top four in the rave will all be of to the tour next week so it easy a strong fiend which you expect for your national championships. Well done to the top riders for their participation. Next year lets hope this key event in the cycling calendar is covered live so we can all enjoy the event. After all isn’t cycling gaining more popularity? It would gain more covering it live!

Fantasy Cycling!

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Well you can now get close to the action as your own Director Sportif by selecting a 9 man team from the pro riders who are riding in the 2013 Tour De France. You get 20m Euros to build your squad and can have no more than 2 riders from any Pro Team. Unlimited changes until the start of the tour and then 20 throughout the three week race, with a maximum of three per stage. You don’t have to do the maths to say you need to be cleaver with your choices.

I would normally now justify my choices. Well if I did that would be giving others an advantage, or would it? Go on spend a few minutes putting together your team and lets see how we all get on. You can see my team here http://rcuktourdefrance.fantasyleague.com/Team.aspx. Its totally free and a bit of good harmless fun.

I just can’t wait…

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For the Tour De France which has its grand depart at the end of June and for my own challenge if London to Brighton at night for the second year running.

Let’s start with my own challenge, London to Brighton. The distance isn’t a problem, 60 miles, it’s can we do it in sub four hours. This involves a moving average of 25kmph. Sounds straight forward enough, especially on a road bike which I an becoming very comfortable on. Stock up with water, gels and a Jaffa cake or two and as long as we don’t need to stop, the target is on. Even with the big hill, Devil’s Dike at about 48 miles the rest of the ride should allow time to be made up before we reach the climb. I know this as I know the route from last year and I know what shape I’m in with my new bike. Plus there is still four weeks left to lose a few more pounds (as he puts the lovely point of Adnams down). Monday will see the serious diet and proper food prep I tell myself. The training ride in the morning will help, as we are going a power hour. This is a short warm up then go hell for leather in one direction for 30 minutes, then turn as around and come back. The plan is to build the power and operating at a high tempo. On another point good luck to all doing the day ride tomorrow. Your doing a great job well done. I can’t wait for my chance to see if I can achieve my goal of sub for hours, as I know I’ll be raising some money for The British Heart Foundation to find a cure for heart failure. You can show your support by sponsoring me a few pounds, Dollars, Euros or whatever your currency is here. Thank you your help is really appreciated.

As I complete my challenge the greatest cycle race will be two weeks old as the Rogers prepare for the final week. Hopefully Chris Froome will be in yellow and with the support of Team Sky will hold off any final attacks from the likes of Contador et al and we can have another British winner of Le Tour. With a bit of good fortune, which you need in cycling, winning The Tour Dr France could be like waiting for a bus. You wait for ages then two come along at once! Come on Froomy make your great form count now! Last year they said the course was perfect for Wiggins, well I said when this course was announced it was suited to Froome. Only time will tell but I hope he does the business.

I know there are many others who are just waiting for the Tour to start. At least we age nearly there. Let’s cross everything and hope for a great double, sub four hours for me (& reaching my target) and a second British winner of The Tour de France.

You know you’re hooked when ….

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Its still (just) over a month until I complete London to Brighton again Raising money for The British Heart Foundation (you can sponsor me here) and I find myself looking at the next challenge. This happened last year to a degree, but it stopped when I just decided to redo the same ride. However this year it is different. Yes this year I have upped the anti and set myself the challenge of #l2b in sub 4 hours, but i am now thinking of which other rides could be completed.

To date I have briefly looked at the Surrey 100 which includes Box hill as used in the Olympic road race in 2012, but is could be a case of biting off more than I can chew, or a more realistic possibility the 2014 Dunwich Dynamo. Briefly this is a turn up and ride 120 miles from North London to the Suffolk coast. No fundraising involved which might take the pressure off, just a ride for the fun of it and off course the challenge of completing it. However I will do some fundraising for someone, I just know it.

Other possibilities have been incorporating cycling with the love of cricket my friends and I have. There is something appealing about cycling to a test ground, or between test grounds and then getting to watch a days test cricket, or more! I also want to attempt to cycle up Alpe D’Huez just so I can say I have cycled up a famous Tour de France climb. All I know is I certainly have been hooked on cycling and trying to push myself longer, further and possibly higher than I’ve gone before. Mad I may be but I know its going to be fun!