A Rainbow Jersey and Dodgy Commentary

So Thor Hushovd is the new World Champion, Norway’s first ever winner of the road race. In fact it’s Norway’s first ever medal of any kind in either the road race or the time trial. Hushovd did what he does best, he survived with what was left of the bunch as the likes of Cadel Evans and Phillipe Gilbert were swept up, and he powered past everybody in the resulting sprint. There was plenty of debate in the build up whether the race would come down to a bunch sprint or not. Although the top placings contain a number of sprinters, it definitely was not a ‘bunch sprint’. ~ Continue reading ~

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It’s a World apart

For some riders, the pinnacle of a cycling career is to win the biggest race in the world, the Tour de France. For any generation, there are few riders who can claim to be genuine contenders for this honour. For the next three or four years the yellow jersey will probably be won by one of only two riders, Alberto Contador or Andy Schleck. There are a number of other possible candidates, but something would have to go badly wrong for both Schleck and Contador for them to stand a chance. The likes of Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali, Denis Menchov, Samuel Sanchez and Ivan Basso will all be talked about as Tour contenders next year but all will likely fall short. ~ Continue reading ~

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Climbing, time trialling and a bit of glic

With two stages to go in the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, Irishman Nicolas Roche currently lies in 7th place in the overall classification. Sunday’s stage is a criterium race around the Spanish capital Madrid. It is akin to the Champs Elyseés stage of the Tour de France and will almost certainly come down to a bunch sprint and as such will have no effect on the General Classement. This leaves Stage 20 as the final opportunity for Roche to gain time. Or phrased another way, it is the final hurdle to overcome in his quest not to lose time. ~ Continue reading ~

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Bring back time bonuses at the Tour!

Having won Stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana Mark Cavendish has now won an individual stage in all three of cycling’s Grand Tours. He is one of eight riders in the current peloton who can claim this honour. The others are Daniele Bennati, Simon Gerrans, Thor Hushovd, Pablo Lastras, Denis Menchov, Alessandro Petacchi and David Zabriskie. Petacchi is one of only three riders who have ever achieved the feat in the one season, the others are Miguel Poblet (1956) and Pierino Baffi (1958). Should Cavendish wish to achieve this feat himself next year, the fact that André Greipel will no longer be his team mate, in terms of his race program, the Manxman should be free to give it a go. ~ Continue reading ~

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Bono at the Vuelta a Espana

In what year did Bono stand atop the winner’s podium at what was a great day for Ireland at the Vuelta a Espana?

The answer is 1962. Bono, Paul Hewson, of U2 fame, was but a 2 year old drawing on the walls in his house in Glasnevin in 1962. But, the Bono who made it on to the winner’s podium of the Vuelta 48 years ago was the little known Italian rider Ernesto Bono who claimed the biggest victory of his career by winning Stage 12 of that year’s race into the city of Logrono. The reason Ireland had cause to celebrate was that Seamus Elliott had retained the Vuelta race leader’s jersey. Elliott would go on to wear the jersey for a total of nine days that year only losing the jersey three stages from the end to eventual winner Rudi Altig of Germany. ~ Continue reading ~

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Schleck needs time to settle

Although this season is far from over with big races such as the Vuelta a Espana, the Tour of Lombardy and the World Championships still to be won, one of the main talking points of next season has already presented itself. Will Andy Schleck be able to win the Tour de France as part of a new team, and in so doing, defeat his ex-directeur sportif Bjarne Riis and the reigning Tour champion Alberto Contador?

Both riders will be riding for new teams, Contador will be in the unusual position of riding for the team Andy Schleck has just left, while Schleck, along with brother Frank, has moved away from Riis to start a Luxembourg based team. Incidentally, as well as Contador and Schleck, the third rider who finished on the Tour podium will also be riding for a different team next year. Denis Menchov will be making the move from Rabobank to Mauro Gianetti’s Team Geox. This will be the first time ever that all of the podium finishers in the Tour de France have changed teams for the following season. ~ Continue reading ~

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