Five Tour de France virgins

The list of teams picked to ride the Tour de France each year always throws up some controversy. New teams like Radio Shack and Team Sky have arrived this year seemingly to the detriment of smaller setups such as Skil-Shimano and Vacansoleil. Although the teams that boast overall contenders like Lance Armstrong and Bradley Wiggins are brand new, they are at the Tour because the have riders such as these.

Footon-Servetto do not have such riders and consequently are on the receiving end of some animosity when opinions are aired on which teams should be in the race. The Spanish Pro Tour team will be fielding eight riders in France this year who have never ridden the Tour before. This fact will no doubt irk some successful Tour riders who will not be at the start line like the Feillu brothers or Jimmy Casper, but there are plenty of riders on other teams who also have never been at the Tour de France. Here’s a run down of five such riders who, perhaps surprisingly, will be riding their first Tour: ~ Continue reading ~

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Team Sky vs. Astana

The Tour de Suisse and the Critérium du Dauphiné are over and there are currently dozens of National Championships taking place throughout the world. This can mean only one thing, the Tour de France is almost upon us. As such, plenty of teams have finalised their Tour de France rosters while the remaining teams are expected to do so in the coming days. Unfortunately, like last year, there will only be one Irish rider present on the startline in Rotterdam. And like last year, this rider is Nicolas Roche who has recovered sufficiently from a hamstring problem which forced him out of the Tour of Romandy back in April. ~ Continue reading ~

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Tour Contender Preparation

There is only 17 days left until the Tour de France gets underway in Rotterdam. Teams are finalising their nine man rosters and riders have been fine tuning their preparations at the Criterium de Dauphiné and the Tour de Suisse. While others have been quietly going about their business since the Giro. In this month’s Cycle Sport magazine, Tour director Christian Prudhomme had this to say about the G.C. contenders for the Tour:

Overall, nobody is surefire value for the Tour this year – there’s some degree of uncertainty about their condition, either because it’s better than expected, slightly worse, or because, simply, they’ve kept it under wraps. And that sort of uncertainty can only be good. ~ Continue reading ~

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Prepare & prevent, don’t repair & repent

Recently I’ve found myself grumbling about the stories that appear on Sky Sports News every day. While the World Cup coverage on Sky is insufferable at best, as is their reporting on anything they don’t have live rights to, it is even worse when there isn’t even any match results to report yet. All they seem to be discussing this past week is injuries, as there have been a lot of them. As the World Cup is for international teams, Sky have shifted from interviewing any pleb who has played for both teams involved in the current match being discussed, to interviewing any pleb who has played in the Premier League and happens to hold a passport from the country currently being discussed. They ask about the player who has just been injured, the particular injury the player has sustained, the possible replacements that may be called up in place of the injured player, what affect the injured player’s absence will have on the squad etc. etc. all the while the interviewee, who is only present due to where he was born and who he played a few games for back in the early nineties, nods and agrees and seems to say nothing at all. ~ Continue reading ~

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The Tour of Ireland will be back

Irish cycling fans have been hit with the news this week that there is to be no 2010 edition of the Tour of Ireland. In a press release, the organisers said:

“Despite significant commercial and public sector funding, current economic conditions have meant that the additional investment required to make the event viable has not been forthcoming in time.”

But the release goes on to give us hope for 2011:

“We fully intend to bring it back for 2011 when the private sector environment is stronger” ~ Continue reading ~

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