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December 15, 2017
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  • Todd!

    I believe!

  • CrazyDutchwoman

    Bradley has a very good chance now that poor Contador can’t ride the tour. I hope Wiggins will win this year.

  • CrazyDutchwoman

    Bradley has a very good chance now that poor Contador can’t ride the tour. I hope Wiggins will win this year.

  • Daff

    Why can’t you spell lose?

  • BikeventsBruce

    Go Cadel!
    Go Gerro!!

  • Flyingscotsman

    Come on wiggo!

  • Justin

    Who would have thought a tour with two English speaking protagonists. And it is even more interesting without Contador, making it so evenly matched. I believe this summer could be a golden period for British cycling, Wiggins for the tour, Cavendish for RR gold and the Brits on home soil winning on the track.  Phil Liggett when interviewed some 7 or 8 years back didn’t believe an Englishman would win the tour in the foreseeable future.  Amazing what some lottery money and good coaching can do.  The irony for me is that British cycling lost 50 years due to their domestic TT fixation thus never producing the kind of road men to vie for GC, but now an excellent TT’er and allrounder can be a top contender.

    • cmuir

      if by lottery money you mean sky money… and jacques was bagging tour wins as a specialist TT’er quite a while ago. 

      • Justin

        Lottery money aided the resurgence of British cycling by emphasising track success that influenced road success. Sky stepped in at an opportune time. Anquetil was an excellent TTer but also completed a full road season as did every other notable champion Euro of previous and subsequent eras. My point remains that the UK domestic racing scene emphasised time trialling to the detriment of road racing for many years. Many British tt’ers failed when racing on the continent. They simply did not have the hard racing miles in their legs that the continentals had built up. There were of course some notable excetions that performed very well when racing on the continent but there were no GC aspirants. Simpson and Boardman to name two, were not GC contenders but exceptionally gifted as classics riders or time triallers.

        Ps if Ryder Hesjedal recovers, we may even have 3 English speaking contenders!

        • cmuir

          I’m still not convinced by the whole lottery money thing and i was just being mischievous regarding the TT question. its great generally and i think regardless of whether we win the tour and gold we can consider this a golden period for UK cycling nonetheless. i must say i’d prefer to see riders like thomas and froome unleashed from their sky commitments and see if they can develop some panache. watching the sky train chugging along is not very inspiring, i’d love to see some maverick british riding! don’t forget robert miller he very much had the class to challenge for overall GC and i do hope ryder hesjedal can mix it up a bit too, although if we are relying on ryder for panache it could be a very boring tour indeed… sorry I’m such a pessimist! hope you enjoy it. did i mention i can’t stand cav or the whole sprint train thing in general? i’ll shut up.

    • cmuir

      if by lottery money you mean sky money… and jacques was bagging tour wins as a specialist TT’er quite a while ago. 

  • Notso Swift

    Your first sentence in the main text is exactly how I feel
    Cadel can still climb better than Wiggo, my tip is Wiggo to get the Yellow by Stage 9 then to choke on it 17, the test will be how he comes back on 19

    • jules

      i agree NS. while i think CT will be proved correct that the race winner will be revealed through time gaps in the stage 19 ITT, the foundations for their performance in stage 19 will be laid in the mountains.

      this is where it gets frightening for Cadel – Wiggo is unlikely to lose time on the basis of his TT abilities, so Cadel will need to try and isolate him in the mountains and make him hurt. that’s a tall order though, with the amount of protection Wiggo will have around him.

      i think the difference in this Tour may well be the strength of BMC in the mountains.

      • jules

        difference, meaning the determining factor in how well Cadel can challenge Sky and Wiggo

      • jules

        difference, meaning the determining factor in how well Cadel can challenge Sky and Wiggo

    • Dan Williams

      Last time I looked Cav was born in Great Britain.

      • Notso Swift

        Look Harder
        Isle of Man is part of the United Kingdom but not part of Great Britain

        • Dan Williams

          Well if its semantics I’m having Wiggins then. After all he doesn’t to the best of my knowledge claim to be Belgian. 

  • Notso Swift

    Your first sentence in the main text is exactly how I feel
    Cadel can still climb better than Wiggo, my tip is Wiggo to get the Yellow by Stage 9 then to choke on it 17, the test will be how he comes back on 19

  • daga

    Wish Andy Schleck was there. He might have been able to put Sky under pressure on the climbs, isolating Wiggo, and thereby helping Cadel.  Who’s going to animate the climbs this year?

    • mattb

      according to the hilarious  @tweetersagan:disqus  our Slovakian debutant will get around 20 stages this year so it a fait accompli for Evans and Wiggins.
      With so few GC contenders, I do think that the green jersey will be the more interesting battle with Goss vs Cav vs Greipel vs Sagan vs Renshaw vs Kittel

      hopefully the TT klms means that Frank, Gesink etc have to attack really hard on the climbs to blow it apart in a go for glory move

  • The Pelican

    I’m more excited for this year’s tour than I have been in ages.  Due to all the TT’ing and lack of iconic big climbs, all the other contenders (outside of Wiggo & Cadel) will need to attack, attack, attack!  This will undoubtedly make for some wonderful racing.  Will Sky act like favourites and chase dangerous breakaways?  Will Cadel use the transitional stages to try and put some time into Wiggo?  Will Gossy win the Green Jersey?  Bring on Saturday night!!!

  • Tricky Dicky

    I think there’s one thing CT might not have mentioned – the stages with tricky descents to a finish.  Cadel used these well last year and there are a few in this race that people haven’t really talked about. Wiggo descends like Bambi. See stage 8 and especially stage 16 for some crazy Nibali/Evans descending exploits. Wiggo also doesn’t like the mountains that are too steep: there are actually more cetgorised climbs this year than in any year since 2006 and although most of them are smaller, a number are also steeper than is usual for the Tour. That again evens out the chances between the big two favourites, I think. I’m more in the Wiggo support camp but I’d still be delighted if Cadel won it showing some “panache”. Good luck to the both of them. If Froome also gets third, then I’ll get rich at the bookies.

    • Moutain goat

       I’m with Tricky Dicky, Cadel has some chances to make small time gaps on the descents, should be very exciting. Wiggans also does not like the really steep climbs so all combined with the TT miles it seems a very even course for both riders. Should be great to watch.

    • Moutain goat

       I’m with Tricky Dicky, Cadel has some chances to make small time gaps on the descents, should be very exciting. Wiggans also does not like the really steep climbs so all combined with the TT miles it seems a very even course for both riders. Should be great to watch.

    • JBS

       Agreed.  The descent into Gap (stage 16) last year tends to get forgotten, but Cadel picked up 1:09 on Schleck that day (the final margin was 1:34).  Wiggo has the same weakness and if the Dauphine is anything to go by, Cadel knows it and intends to exploit it again.

    • Matt

       Exactly what i was thinking. “Only 3 mountain top finishes” is a silly comment that disguises the fact that an attacking climber could attack on any other climbs and have no real length of flat where a chasing group would pull him back in.
      A quick glance says you would stay away at the end of stage 10 and after an attack on the last 3 climbs in the torturous stage 16.

      in fact there’s probably only 3 “climbing stages” where a climbing attack wouldn’t net you anything.. 14 and 12 IMO.

      • Matt

         sorry to reply to myself. i noticed a mistake in my post – I meant to the 3 climb stages without a real chance to hold your attack advantage to the end were 8, 12 and 14 IMO…. edit would have been useful

    • Michael in Sydney

      I am so over Cadel having to show ‘panache’.  Last year he showed more panache than any one.  He chased down the two big attacks and went on to win.  If Wiggen wins with out panache will his win be discounted?  Shelck and Contodor showed “panache” and lost.  Evans showed guts and won.

      • Tricky Dicky

        I think you misinterpreted my post – could be my fault – I was trying to say that I want Wiggo to win but, despite that, if Cadel wins it with some of the attacking flair and the guts and determination (to use your phrase) he demonstrated last year (and I thought he showed some “panache” – eg. my reference to his descending escapades) , then the race will be a great one and I won’t begrudge a Cadel win. It wasn’t a dig at Cadel at all: don’t be so thin-skinned.

        • Michael in Sydney

          Tricky Dicky, not thin skinned, take your point.

  • Steel

    Wiggans has a definite TT advantage, but can he maintain that over Cadel over the three weeks of the tour. From what I’ve seen over the last 3-4 years of watching the tour, plenty of good TTers have nothing left come the penultimate stage.

  • Steel

    Wiggans has a definite TT advantage, but can he maintain that over Cadel over the three weeks of the tour. From what I’ve seen over the last 3-4 years of watching the tour, plenty of good TTers have nothing left come the penultimate stage.

  • Michal

    Cadel handles bike better, Wiggo seams to “sit on bike” better, especially in time trial. Both amazing athletes among many other. Go Cadel!

  • Michal

    Cadel handles bike better, Wiggo seams to “sit on bike” better, especially in time trial. Both amazing athletes among many other. Go Cadel!

  • Gus

    That first photo montage with the two riders highlights the big difference in their TT position. No doubt they have both gone through countless hours in the wind tunnel etc to maximise their individual best result, but I simply can’t see how Cadel’s position can be faster than Wiggo’s. Mainly I am scratching my head about Cadel’s low hand position resulting in downward sloping fore-arms. This essentially scoops air up and directly into his chest and I would have thought been slower than a higher hand / forearm position such as Wiggo’s that pushes the air down and under the body. Would be really interesting to find out if Cadel has ignored the aerodynamic information and gone on his feel rather than data.
    Regardless of this waffle though ……. go Cadel !!!

    • GeoffOfOz

       Its not just about aero. I fyou go faster at a lower metabolic cost then that is the best position for you. The prize for the fastest rider is the yellow jersey. What colour is the jersey for most aero??? Aerodoes not automatically equal fastyer, it helps but not as much as people are led to belive.

      As Michael Roger’s has said (I think in an article on cycling tips) “We’re better off doing efforts on a velodrome as there is a big difference between the wind tunnel and the road.” (or that was the sentiment anyway)

  • Anonymous

    No Tom. No Bertie. No Interest…. expect for Sagan… he aiight.

  • Marcus

    I think the ASO should be pilloried for this route – the stages just do not appear as selective or spectacular as the usual parcours. It may lead to tighter time gaps but so do crit races. It’s the Tour for crying out loud!

    I say we are sorely lacking an “iconic” mountaintop finish – say a Plateau de beille, Ventoux, Alpe d’huez to name a few. Any name mountains (other than La Toussuire – hardly a legendary climb) are ridden through, not finished upon. But that Stage does look a doozy – we just need more of them.

    That being said, I reckon Wiggins is a monty to have a jour sans at some stage. What gives me this opinion other than one-eyed support for Cadel? Wiggins has been good all year and his Grand Tour history of having trouble sooner or later. Despite him and his team’s contention that he still has improvement in him, that is what all riders say who have been on the edge for so long. Those riders feel good – right up to the point where they don’t anymore.

    • Notso Swift

       The stage to La Toussuire is a pretty good one though. IIRC there are 3 x 20 km climbs above 6% before they get there

      I think you are right Wiggo is more venerable for the 3 weeks period than Cadel, but those days can happen to anyone.
      If I was Porte I would want to keep myself as fresh as possible and right up on the TT, if Wiggo blows and Porte just “marks the other teams” he could find himself in a Froome position. Team would be happier if he lost time at the start for this very reason so they may work him hard.

  • Pettya

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with Australian culture, it is seen as unacceptable to be beaten by an Englishman. You may not win but you must beat the pom. This is born out of our colonial past. The Ashes cricket series often facilitates this rivalry, it is a terible thing to lose the ashes. Winning tastes good but beating a pom and winning tastes even better. Cadel carries a cultural directive to beat Wiggins.

    • Abdu

      Boom tish.

      Who writes your material, Hughesy?

      If you knew anything, you’d know Cadel is anything but ‘that’ kind if Aussie, but 100% ‘his own kind’ of Aussie… 

  • D-Man

    Whilst I have no doubt about Wiggo having trained to peak in, say, a fortnight or so from now, I wonder how the rest of the team will fare.  Watching Porte, Boassen Hagen (excuse the spelling) et al tear it up at the Dauphine earlier this month, I doubt they’ll have the legs come TDF week 3 and a fairly arduous time awaits them in the Pyrenees.   The TDF riders BMC selected are yet to come good this season which makes me think the team as a whole is yet to hit top form.  Plus they don’t have the distraction of a missile in their midst.

    Love this time of year!!!

    Peace!

    • Abdu

      Has Wiggo got what it takes to make it all the way through a Grand Tour in a top spot anyway?

      In 7 years, he’s got 4th, 124th 24th, and two WD’s in the TdF, 123rd, 134th, 71st and 40th in the Giro, and 3rd in the Vuelta.

      Hmmm?

      • I reckon we are going to see a major 3rd week fade similar to the Giro the other year.

  • Abdu

    You’re forgetting the immense amount of pressure Wiggo will be under. The entire English cycling fraternity (mainly their jouno’s) are literally fluffing Wiggo’s pillows, the bandwagon pressure is building and building (think of the English football team before every World Cup and their inevitable ‘end in tears’ result).

    I reckon Wiggo might well crack mentally, if he can stay upright that is, before the final ITT.

  • Bracks_ashat

    Wiggo will never get the yellow this tour. You heard it from me!
    Lets go Cadel!

    P.S. Abdu, I’ve just shipped your Boras.

    • Abdu

      Ha! Unfortunately your tips are about as reliable as Ted Baillieu’s election promises…

      Cadel will do everything he can to ‘make’ Wiggo wear yellow, and carry all the stress with it. Look out for more cranky press conferences from Wiggo (like Paris-Nice?). Cadel hasn’t arc’d up since he became ‘Good Cadel’, those old “If you step on my dog/ Don’t touch me!) on my dog/) clips are long gone.

      Reckon Wiggo might get it around stage 19 in the Pyrenees, but the Tourmalet stage (16) includes a 15km descent to the finish (where Wiggo might get the speed wobbles, and Sagan will probably descend all the way doing a mono). Wiggo might lose a bit of time on stage 7 too, that’s got 16km’s descent to the finish. Last year in the last week or so, Cadel finished top 5 every big mountain stage (ie. 12, 14, 18, 19). Not sure Wiggo can do it then, when it really matters.  

      We’re also giving a lot of credibility to the Sky train (too much?), and Wiggo doesn’t have Old Man George at BMC shepherding him through all the other stages. I just don’t think Sky will be as dominating as they were in the Dauphine, a few of their boys will be knackered early trying to deliver Cav in the sprints (ie. Bernie E), or just doing their own stage hunting (ie. Eddie Bo-Hag). No team can help you if you descend like your grandma…

      The Retirement Shack team could be a wild card, although Klodibear, Poppo, Der Jens, and Horner have a combined age of 423, don’t write off them putting Fronk Schleck conention in the hills and at least getting close in the GC (before the inevitable ITT capitulation).

      The best news is Baden Cooke being picked for O-GE, well deserved. There’s gunna be some stage huntin’ going on with those boys too.

      Somehow, I can’t see a young Wiggo doing this (check out baby Cadel):

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0KN9ZmTtzg

      • Abdu

        another clip of Cadel (and Phil Gil) but no Wiggo…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yISN7pgfCtY&feature=related

      • Bracks_ashat

        Hahahahaha Sagan descending doing a mono, goddammit that killed me!!!!! The Shack’s not going to have any luck this year just like last year, although I’d like to see Poppo go for a stage win. 

      • Cadel tried to get away on the descents in the Dauphine, and Wiggins was descending pretty well there – he was doing the chasing at some points (not just following wheels, which is easier when you dont have the confidence to descend).  I think his ‘descending like a Grandma’ days are over – I’m sure he’s worked on this with the team – you don’t get to do 100,000 metres of climbing without a little downhill practice!  Although if it’s a wet day on the downhill finish stages that could be another matter…

    • JM

      And there it is the Bracks_ashat kiss-o-death 2012! Make it interesting this year and perhaps a round of custom build Baums for everyone if Wiggo finds himself yellow?

      • Bracks_ashat

        Ok, but this time its only the top 3, not the top 10 like last year. So that leaves 2 more spots left….

        • Abdu

          So that’s your ‘bet’ is it Bracksy? A pretend Baum to go with the pretend Bora’s you bet last year.

          Can’t believe you’re being a tight arse on bets you don’t even pay up on. Suppose you’ve got Monopoly money hidden under your mattress then as well.

  • cmuir

    schleck wouldn’t have stood a chance in this tour. its a shame alberto couldn’t make it, he would have added a bit of variety to the GC contenders. i think this could be a very dull tour. i hope the mountains they have put in upset a few trains but i can’t see any of the serious GC boys doing anything other than marking each other on the steep days… i hope cadel rides with guts and puts the knife in on steep sections when he can. i reckon he is tougher on the really steep stuff (going up and down) than wiggins and could steel valuable time in such nasty places. cadel can put a lot of pressure on wiggins mentally too and that can have a big effect. i hope whoever wins it shows the guts to take it on and we don’t get some horrible team controlled bore fest. respect the race, attack!

  • Pink Fish

    Your comment about Cadel, just isn’t true ‘and
    in my opinion deals with the stresses of racing (the media circus, team
    expectations, etc) fairly well these days.’ just check youtube, for his frantics, this guy is the most boring rider on the tour! 

  • khdroberts

    Sorry, but we can’t have the top step of the final podium occupied by those side burns and that mullet.

  • Sean Doyle

    I think I’m a little different to most. I reckon this Tour has enough elevation change to make the TT’s just an interesting side show. My tip is one TT, at most, may have an affect on the overall winner.

    • Matt

       which one?

      • Sean Doyle

         Either or. It’s a wild theory but I’d say the two lead up days to the 1st TT will do more to determine who wins ie. who’s managed their energy the best to do a good TT. A bit abstract I know and when I read that back it does come back to time differences in the TT.

  • Michael in Sydney

    Based on expectation it would appear that the raceis between the Australian and the Belgian with the Australian father who identifes as an Englishman, key Australian domestics and the Australain coach. 

    I hope that Wiggens is overcooked for the Tour and the irony may be that in the end he can beat Evans in the TT.  In the end it will who recovers the best.  Evans is a proven 3 week racer and Wiggen is still to prove that he really can do it.  His 4th in his first Tour was a surprise to everyone and since then he has not shown that he can stay in the lead over 3 weeks, eg last years Vulta where he lost it in the last week.

    • Matt in Tatura

       I’m an Aussie aswell, and want Cadel to win obviously.. but I don’t hope that Wiggins is overcooked. I hope the top guys are all in peak form for the whole 3 weeks – that’ll produce the best racing and best result.

      I’m actually disappointed that A Schleck had to pull out, and that Voeckler had the bung knee, and that Contador is still serving his ban. I’d much rather get a 2nd or 3rd for Cadel and see a unbelievable race, than get a Cadel win against Wiggins and a smaller group of contenders.

      • Tricky Dicky

        Good on you Matt. Couldn’t agree more. Not sure what Michael is insinuating with Wiggins’ “Britishness”. His childhood story is actually a very sad one and frankly deserves a bit of sympathy: his “Aussie” dad was anything but what one would have wanted as a father figure, although he was obviously a troubled individual.

        Good luck to both Wiggins and Evans – I find them both “believable”: great talents for many years in different sections of the sport who now have their chance to shine in the cleaner, slower, peloton that now exists.

        • Matt in Tatura

           in Michael’s defense, I think he was only referring to the fact that the two favourites have more Australian in them (and their teams) than anything else.
          We Aussie’s can get patriotic if provoked enough! :)

          • Michael in Sydney

            Matt you are right the irony does not come through too well in a post and I meant to add that it would be an Aussie win all round.  I also meant to add that also Sky is owned by a former Australian.  So it is Aussie, Aussie Aussie!  I have no problems with Wiggins and think that he is the stand out favourite.  And in the end like I think anyone I want a good race and the best racer to win on the day.

  • Riddos

    Would be a much better route if the Stage 9 TT was half the length and uphill. Would keep alot more of the GC contenders in the mix, Gesink, F Schleck, Rolland, etc. Prospect of all those guys out of the running before halfway through the tour and BMC vs Sky just covering each others moves. 

    • Matt in Tatura

       That is an excellent idea, but I’ve never seen it done. Somehow the tour planners always want the TTs to be able to maintain a decent speed for a long time. Maybe on climbs the 3 minute gap doesn’t work so well?!?

      But I too would love to see the great climbers given a great opportunity to get some substantial time on the only-decent climbers.

  • Joshua McDougall

    Any thoughts on whether Hushovd and more so Phil Gil and Evans’ strengths over classic type stages with multiple hard cat 2, 3 and 4 climbs and technical descents could assist Evans get time? These types of stages and “unkown” climbs were one of the selling points of this years tour, the hope being that these stages can reward the attacking rider. 

    • Matt in Tatura

       Gilbert might help.. but given that Thor isn’t riding, it’s a stretch to say his moral support will be helpful.
      I’m actually really disappointed that Thor isn’t riding. I was very interested in whether he could help Evans through the medium mountains or even in a 3 man breakaway with Gilbert on a decent that stays away by protecting Evans.
      Sadly, we might never know.

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