Saturday, December 31, 2011

10 Bikes Under £1000 for 2012

Specialized Allez Triple 2012 Road Bike
The Allez Triple is a great bike if you are just getting in to road racing, with a smooth welded aluminium frame. With its Shimano Triple gearing making changing gear smooth and easy. This bike is also good for racers who need a decent winter training bike, to keep the fitness up over the off season. Previous versions of this bike have proved successful and the surprisingly light weight frame seems to be the key. Currently you can get it in any colour, as long as it’s black.
Price: £539.99

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Alberto Contador's Clenbuterol Timeline

Alberto Contador has announced his intentions to compete in the 2012 Tour de France and Olympic Games. However his entry hangs in the balance, depending on the verdict in his pending Clenbuterol case. In case you have been under a rock for the past year, here is a timeline from failed test to CAS hearing.

21st July 2010  Contador takes a test on the second rest day, during the Tour de France, after dinner with the team.

30th September 2010 – It is revealed that the test taken on 21st July, during the Tour de France, had tested positive for micro levels of Clenbuterol. Contador immediately calls a press conference and says the stray clenbuterol came from contaminated steak.

6th October 2011 – Dr Jordi Segura, who developed the testing method that found the minimal levels of Clenbuterol in Contador’s blood, says the plasticizers also found are a certain indication of a blood transfusion. It has never been officially confirmed that plasticizers were found, however, the New York Times and L’Equipe printed these claims.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tour de Clock - Will Andy Schleck be the bridesmaid again?

The hearts of both the Schleck brothers collectively dropped, when they discovered the route of the 2012 Tour de France.

Frank and Andy put on a brave face at the unveiling of the next Tour route, despite it having 100km against the clock. 2012 looks to be a very different year for the Grand Tours, with the Giro much flatter than its predecessor. The Olympic Games has probably got something to do with it, with riders not wanting to tire themselves out before the Games. The Grand Boucle will start a week earlier than normal to accommodate the games.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2012 Giro d'Italia Swaps Mountains for Sprints

Reigning champion Alberto Contador has given to 2012 Giro d’Italia his seal of approval, after calling it ‘more human’.

New Giro boss, Michele Acquarone, has gone for a completely different approach, to his predecessor Angelo Zomegnan. Compared with this year, which contained only four flat stages, 2012 will have a massive seven flat stages. With so many flat stages, there are sure to be plenty of sprinters hopeful of the red sprinter’s jersey. Mark Cavendish might look for the triple in 2012, with the Giro, Tour and Olympics. It could be possible, with the flatter nature of all of the events.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is Cavendish's move to Sky a good choice?

Cycling’s worst kept secret has finally been revealed, with Mark Cavendish confirming he is heading to Team Sky; but is the Manx missile making the right choice?

There have long been rumours that Cav was heading to the British-based team, but his hand was forced when HTC decided to pull out of cycling. The newly crowned World Road Champion will be joining some of the men who helped him take the title in Copenhagen. Including this year’s Vuelta successes, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, and Welshman Geraint Thomas. Other Grand Tour are Edvald Boasson-Hagen and, for the first time, another Manxman Peter Kennaugh. So, do Sky have the mother of all teams or the mother of all nightmares?

Monday, October 10, 2011

2012 Tour de France route accidentally revealed

The official tour website accidentally leaked what looks like next year's route map and some lucky soul got a couple of screen shots. There will be a few happy campers like Cadel Evans, Alberto Contador, Samuel Sanchez and Bradley Wiggins, with two individual time-trials and the prologue is back. The Schleck brothers won't be best pleased. Andy will have to work even harder on his TT skills, if 2012 is to be his year.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tour of Beijing: Good for Cycling or Bad for Cyclists

The inaugural Tour of Beijing is nearing its end and there has been mixed reviews from the cycling community. So is the Tour of Beijing good for cycling or bad for cyclists?

To be honest I think it is a bit of both; cycling needs to broaden its horizons, but not at the expense of the riders’ health. Cycling in Asia, when you compare it to Europe and even America, is almost non-existent. With some big sponsors dropping out of the sport (not mentioning any names HTC) and places like China are full of big business companies, who would be very willing to invest.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

World Champs: Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas interviews

World Champs: Mark Cavendish takes the Rainbow Jersey Ahead of Matt Goss

Mark Cavendish becomes the first male British Road Cycling World Champion, since Tom Simpson did it in 1965, after a tense sprint to the line.

Cavendish already has two Madison World Championship titles and came in to this year’s event as one of the clear favourites. There were some tense moments as his lead out men Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard looked frantically around for the Manxman. Thomas has to drop down the field, as they were heading around the final corner, to find him, but the Welshman delivered him to the front on time.

The Manx express then had to do the work for himself, with none of his teammates around; he clung to the back wheels of his rivals. He finally launched his attack with around 200 metres to go and beat his, soon to be former, trade team teammate Matt Goss, by half a bike length. With the demise of HTC Goss will be moving to Green Edge and is looking to make his mark on the sprinting world. The Aussie got a good lead out from, his German-born, teammate Heinrich Haussler, but he couldn’t quite manage to stay ahead of Cav.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

World Champs: Bronzini and Vos interviews

World Champs: Bronzini retains her title while Vos settles for another second

Giorgia Bronzini rode to her second consecutive World Road Championship, while Marianne Vos had to settle for second yet again.

Bronzini and her Italian team timed the sprint to perfection, as she launched herself off the front and beat Vos by a mere half a wheel. Vos ran out of road, as she chased the defending champion, and had to settle for her fifth silver medal in a row. The Dutch rider tried to move out from behind the bunch, but Teutenberg was also beginning her sprint and momentarily blocked her. This is now Italy’s fourth women’s title in five years, only interrupted by Nicole Cooke in Verese.

Teutenberg’s attack faded towards the line and she was passed by Vos, but still managed to hold off Cooke. It looked like it was going to be an exact repeat of the podium in Geelong, but Cooke timed it slightly wrong and couldn’t catch up with the German. Her teammate Lizzie Armitstead was, for many, one of the pre race favourites, but she could only manage seventh.

Video: Pat McQuaid "Cycling has an anit-doping culture"

World Champs: Fabian Cancellara Pre-Race Interview

World Champs: Thor Hushovd Pre-Race press conference

Friday, September 23, 2011

World Champs: Elite Men's Road Race 2011 Start List

1 Thor Hushovd NORWAY
2 Kurt Asle Arvesen
3 Edvald Boasson Hagen
4 Gabriel Rasch

5 Carlos Barredo Llamazeles SPAIN
6 Imanol Erviti Ollo
7 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni
8 Oscar Freire Gomez
9 Juan Manuel Garate Cepa
10 Pablo Lastras Garcia
11 Vicente Raynes Mimo
12 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil
13 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil

World Champs: Elite Women's Road Race 2011 Start List

1 Giorgia Bronzini ITALY
2 Monia Baccaille
3 Noemi Cantele
4 Elena Cecchini
5 Tatiana Guderzo
6 Elisa Longo Borghini
7 Valentina Scandolara
8 Alessandra D'Ettorre

9 Chantal Blaak NETHERLANDS
10 Lucinda Brand
11 Martine Bras
12 Loes Gunnewijk
13 Annemiek Van Vleuten
14 Marianne Vos
15 Kirsten Wild

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

World Champs: Top-Three Elite Men Interviews

World Champs: Tony Martin Destroys the Field to make it two for Germany

Tony Martin destroyed the field, to take his first World Time-Trial championship, by over a minute to Bradley Wiggins in Copenhagen.

Martin went out of the blocks full steam ahead and passed two riders on the way to the finish line, including, the man who beat him to silver in 2010, David Millar. He has had a good run in to the world championships, taking the ITT in the Vuelta in a similar fashion, which many people saw as a sign of what was to come. Nothing seemed to faze the German and defied expectations, by keeping up his high pace on the second lap of the city. Many riders had made the mistake of going out to hard, before fading quickly, but Martin just went faster.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

World Champs: Judith Arndt talks about her Gold Medal Time-Trial

World Champs: Judith Arndt finally takes Gold in the Women's TT

Judith Arndt stormed to victory in the Elite Women’s time-trial, in a wet Copenhagen, beating Linda Villumsen and Emma Pooley to the top spot.

Arndt has only one second place to her name, for 2011, but showed form in a recent invitation race.  The German looked like she had the race under control from the start, passing the first check point only a handful of seconds down on the current leader Clara Hughes. She managed to keep her high pace up and benefited from other riders completing a slower second lap.

World Champs: Elite Men Time-Trial Start list 2011

12:30:00 LAGAB Azzedine Lagab
12:31:30 Tyron Giorgieri
12:33:00 Ivan Mauricio Casas Buitrago
12:34:30  Ioannis Tamouridis
12:36:00 Pavol Polievka
12:37:30 Michael Morkov
12:39:00 Vitaliy Popkov
12:40:30 Semere Mengis
12:42:00 Carlos Oyarzun
12:43:30 Martin Kohler
12:45:00 Jesse Sergent
12:46:30 Thomas de Gendt
12:48:00 Matias Medici
12:49:30 Eugen Wacker
12:51:00 Maciej Bodnar
12:52:30 Gediminas Bagdonas
12:54:00 Dimitri Champion

World Champs: Women's Elite Time-Trial Start List 2011

14:00:00 Kathryn Bertine
14:01:30 Elena Tchalykh
14:03:00 Seba Alraai
14:04:30 Liesbet de Vocht
14:06:00 Monrudee Chapookham
14:07:30 Melodie Lesueur
14:09:00 Rhae-Christie Shaw
14:10:30 Aleksandra Sosenko
14:12:00 Valeria Muller
14:13:30 Olena Pavlukhina
14:15:00 Alenka Novak
14:16:30 Michelle Lauge Jensen
14:18:00 Eneritz Iturriagaechevarrua Mazaga
14:40:00 Verónica Leal Balderas
14:41:30 Nontasin Chanpeng
14:43:00 Claire Fraser
14:44:30 Martina Sablikova
14:46:00 Julia Shaw
14:47:30 Dinah Chan

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vuelta a España - Exciting or Trying too hard

The Vuelta a España has been one of the Grand Tours and a regular on the calendar since 1955, but many people think it should hang it’s cycling shoes up and give the sport for another race.

Bing or Bust?
So what did the 2011 edition of the Vuelta a España do to quell its critics and was it exciting or just trying too hard. It certainly wasn’t the easiest, in a year where the Grand Tours have really challenged the riders in the extreme. The 2011 Vuelta was not one for the light hearted and I think it produced some of the most exciting racing this year. None of the “flat stages” were ever really flat and with gradients that reached 23%, you had t dig deep.

Video: Final Stage of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana

The first video is the peloton and the support vehicles going through after to finish their third lap of the Madrid circuit.

La Vuelta a España 2011 - Stage 21 - Gallery


A collection of my photos taken during the final stage of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana. Sorry there are only descriptions for some, but I will get around to updating them all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Video: La Vuelta 2011 - Stage 21

So I popped down to Madrid and took in the final stage of this year's Vuelta a Espana and I wasn't dissapointed. Juanjo Cobo's fans were out in force, with their drums and cowbells, making a brilliant atmosphere. I even managed to find a few of the riders after the stage and took a lot of pictures. So here are a few of the pictures I took, set the the Vuelta's theme tune Como Yo, by La Fe de Manuela. I am currently uploading my pictures to Flickr and they should all be on the blog by tomorrow, so enjoy the video.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Video: Juanjo Cobo wins on the Angliru (interview/entrevista in Spanish)

VaE: Cobo takes red as Sky falter on the Angliru

Juan Jose Cobo assumed the lead of the Vuelta a Espana, after a solo attack up the very difficult Alto de l’Angliru on stage 15.

Cobo went off the front, with 6km left, and never looked troubled, even on the 23% sections. The Spaniard kept pedalling at a constant rate, which enabled him to gradually pull out a big enough gap to take the red jersey. In contrast Bradley Wiggins struggled and even began to weave across the road, on certain sections.  By the time he reached the finish line, he had been distanced by his teammate Chris Froome.

Nobody was aware of the distancing until they came to the line, as the camera bike following them succumbed to the gradient and fell over. With the time bonuses taken in to account, Cobo now sits at the top of the GC with Froome 20 seconds behind him and Wiggins down to third. The directors at team Sky will have a tough rest day, deciding who will assume the race leadership. Wiggins may now be forced to work for Froome, to try and ensure Sky leave the race with the red jersey.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Video: Interview/entrevista Juan Jose Cobo (In Spanish)

Video: Rein Taaramae "I have cramp in my legs, but I'm happy"

VaE: Nibali blows as Wiggins confirms his Vuelta lead on Stage 14

Bradley Wiggins may not have won the stage, but he looks like he may have just won the Vuelta, after a superb ride by himself and Chris Froome, on Stage 14.

Froome really put the hammer down, with two kilometres to go and immediately began to shell riders off the back of the peloton. Wiggins made sure to keep a tight hold of his Kenyan-born teammate’s back wheel and even took a few turns on the front. Next came the unexpected and Vincenzo Nibali popped and fell off the back.

The Italian was probably regretting not making a go of it on one of the several descents, which preceded the final climb. Joaquin Rodriguez couldn’t keep up with the pace either and was quick to join Nibali’s pity party, further down the mountain. When the finish finally came Wiggins had put a huge 1 minute 16 seconds, between himself and the defending champion. The effort really showed on the red jersey holder, after the finish line, as he slumped on to the front of his handlebars.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Video: Bradley Wiggins just about retains the red jersey

VaE: Albasini wins in Ponferrada, as Nibali moves closer to red

Michael Albasini took, probably, the Vuelta’s slowest sprint finish and the biggest stage victory, of his career on stage 13.

Albasini finished in a group of 18 riders and had the legs on all of them, bringing the bike home around two lengths over Eros Capecchi. The big Swiss rider, who won last year’s Tour of Britain, sprung out of the group with about 500 to go and was uncatchable. Daniel Moreno gave Katusha a boost, with yet another stage victory for the Russian outfit. Nicolas Roche couldn’t manage the sprint, but still rode over in 5th place. He now sits just outside the top 10 and with the times so close at the moment, he could find himself in there very soon.

A few tight bends towards the end cause some trouble, but nobody was injured. Jan Bakelandts came unstuck at a roundabout, after he misjudged the bend and lost control of his back wheel. The Belgian was still clipped in to his pedals, as he tried to get off the ground. Saved by the padding over the road furniture, he was able to finish 15 seconds down on Albasini.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Video: Sagan wins stage 12

VaE: Sagan wins again

Peter Sagan continued his Vuelta to remember, by winning Stage 12 and his second of this year’s Vuelta.

Sagan, who is only riding his debut Grand Tour, powered up the uphill finish and beat John Degankolb by over a bikes length. The Slovakian showed he is one to watch, by winning the Tour of Poland and moved himself closer to the sprinter’s jersey in this race. Unlike his first victory, the Liquigas rider was lacking in teammates and had to rely on his pace to get to the line.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Video: New red jersey holder Bradley Wiggins interview

Video: Interview with David Moncoutie, Stage 11 winner (In French)

VaE: Moncoutie moves closer to fourth consecutive mountains classification, with victory on Stage 11

David Moncoutié’s efforts finally paid off, as he rode the final 19 kilometres of Stage 11 alone, to take his fourth Vuelta a Espana stage.

Moncoutié is known for his climbing prowess and moved himself within one point of a fourth consecutive Vuelta mountains classification victory. The Cofidis rider got in to a breakaway, with several other riders, after almost 70 kilometres of racing. He also went on to take points on two of the three climbs, placing him just behind Matteo Montaguti.

Cofidis have had a lacklustre year, when it comes to Grand Tours, so this victory will prove a big boost for them. Nobody could keep up with the pace of Moncoutié and second place man Beñat Intxausti rolled across the line over a minute down.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Video: Tony Martin interview - winner of the ITT on Stage 10

Video: Interview with Chris Froome, the new leader of the Vuelta a Espana

VaE: Tony Martin wins as Chris Froome surprises everyone

Tony Martin did what he came to the Vuelta to do and won the Stage 10’s individual time-trial, while Chris Froome surprised everyone and moves in to red.

Martin rolled off the ramp over an hour down on the day’s leader, Bauke Mollema, and blasted the rest of the pack away. Fabian Cancellara was the stage’s leader, at the time, but Martin stopped the watch at 1 minute 27 seconds up on the Swiss rider. The German’s time only looked threatened when Bradley Wiggins was one seconds ahead of him, at the first intermediate checkpoint. Wiggins then faded towards the end and Martin’s time remained.

Froome was really the surprise of the day, when he came home 57 seconds down on Martin and moved in to the lead of the race. The Kenyan born rider has been on Wiggins’ side for the first week of the tour, but moves 20 seconds ahead of his team leader. Team Sky now has two riders in the top two, with Jakob Fuglsang splitting the pair. Fuglsang may believe he could have taken the red jersey though; he suffered a slipped chain, just metres after the starting ramp.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Video: Red Jersey holder Bauke Mollena interview

Video: Dan Martin - "I can alway sprint"

VaE: Martin beats the favourites on Stage 9 as Rodriguez struggles

Dan Martin took his first Grand Tour victory and moved in to the mountain’s jersey, as Bauke Mollema went in to red, on stage 9.

Martin sprinted the final metres of the climb and was almost caught, by a charging Mollema, but held out until the line. The Irishman had initially jumped off the front, with less than 5 kilometres to go, and was followed by his cousin, Nicolas Roche. The pair pulled out a small gap, but Roche was unable to keep up the pace and slid back in to the main group.

He was not on his own for too long, when he was joined by Vincenzo Nibali, and took out 15 seconds on his nearest riders. Michele Scarponi tried to bridge the gap, but he eventually went out the other end and lost time. Sky duo, Chris Froome and Bradley really put the hammer down and took Mollema and Juan Jose Cobo with them.

Froome took first shift and powered his way up the climb, before Wiggins began to time-trial towards the finish line. The Londoner looked unbeatable at times, while the others struggled to keep up with his pace. One of the pre-Vuelta favourites, Jurgen Van Den Broeck cracked before the top and ended up almost 20 seconds on the group.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jen Voigt talks at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

VaE: Joaquim Rodriguez interview/entrevista

VaE: Rodriguez wins again and takes the red jersey

Joaquim Rodriguez demolished the field on the San Lorenzo de el Escorial, putting himself in to the leader’s jersey on Stage 8.

Rodriguez was the only one who looked even remotely comfortable, on a climb which went up to 23%. Michele Scarponi knew there was nothing he could do to stop the Spaniard and concentrated on keeping himself ahead of the other big contenders. He now sits 32 seconds ahead of his teammate Daniel Moreno, in the GC.

Igor Anton showed that he is on his way back to form, by crossing the line with the lead group. Also in the front group were Jurgen Van Den Broeck and cousins Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin. Sylvain Chavanel, who started the day in the red jersey, lost just over a minute to Rodriguez and slides down the standings, but stays in the top ten. Bradley Wiggins lost a further 25 seconds to Rodriguez, while Vincenzo Nibali struggled and lost 32 seconds.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

VaE: Sagan wins after great descent from Liquigas on Stage 6

Peter Sagan took the biggest victory of his short career, by beating his teammates to the line on Stage 6.

The Tour of Poland winner was the first of four Liquigas riders to take a top 5 spot, after the team used Vincenzo Nibali’s superior descending skills to push a break in the peloton. With 5km to go, the Italian team ripped the peloton apart and reached speeds of 89kph.

 With 20 bonus points up for grabs and the red jersey within reach, Nibali was the clear favourite for the victory. There seemed to be some confusion and Sagan rounded two of his teammates, to take the victory by half a bikes length. Splitting the Liquigas group was Pablo Lastras; the Movistar rider bonked severely on stage 5, one day after his solo victory.