Marcel Wüst wins Gold in the Olympics prediction event

Marcel Wüst is a former professional cyclist from Germany. He had a hugely successful career where he won 12 stages of the Vuelta a Espana (which puts him in eighth place on the all-time Vuelta stage winners list) and he is a member of the elite club of 82 riders who can claim to have won a stage in all three Grand Tours.

These days Wüst is perhaps better known as the resident bicycle reviewer for Pro Cycling Magazine. Some readers find his bike reviews to be insincere and repetitive and it is perhaps the case that you could simply replace the brand name being reviewed each week in the text and the resulting articles wouldn’t be too dissimilar to what we are currently fed (great lateral stiffness, fast out of the corners, fun to ride etc.). ~ Continue reading ~

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Irish cyclists at the Olympics

In London tomorrow, the cycling road race takes place over 250km and provides each of the competitors the opportunity to secure the first medals on offer at the 2012 Olympic games. Representing Ireland are David McCann, Nicolas Roche and Daniel Martin. Although Ireland have never won a medal of any sort in this discipline, the green jerseys are not without their history in this prestigious event. With Roche and McCann both having competed in previous games, Martin is set to be the 30th cyclist to represent Ireland in the Olympic games men’s road race. ~ Continue reading ~

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2012 Tour de France Trivia

General Classification

  • This is the first Tour de France victory for Bradley Wiggins and for Great Britain. The previous best for both was fourth place in 2009 (Robert Millar also finished in fourth place in 1984).
  • Along with Roger Walkowiak, Wiggins is now one of only two Tour winners who have never won a road stage in any Tour de France (although of course, Wiggins still has a few years to rectify this).
It is also the first time since 1968 that the Tour winner has finished outside the top 10 in the mountains classification. Jan Janssen did so in the Tour directly after Tom Simpson died which was raced over a more cautious route with less demanding mountain stages.

  • Wiggins is the first Olympic track gold medalist to win the Tour de France. The closest any rider had come to achieving this previously was Guy Lapebie who won the 4km team pursuit in Berlin in 1936 and finished third in the Tour in 1948 behind Gino Bartali and Briek Schotte.
  • Having taken the yellow jersey on Stage Seven, Wiggins and Team Sky defended the race lead all the way to Paris for 13 stages. This is the most stages a Tour winner has held the yellow jersey directly before Paris since Bernard Hinault defended successfully for 15 stages in 1985.
  • Since trade teams were re-introduced to the Tour de France in 1969, the one-two finish by Wiggins and Chris Froome is the first time that two riders from the same team and same country have finished first and second in the Tour de France. It is the first time since Bjarne Riis and Jan Ullrich in 1996 for two riders from the same team and it is the first time since Laurent Fignon and Bernard Hinault in 1984 for two riders from the same country to finish first and second.

  • The last two times where two riders from the same team have finished first and second at the Tour (Riis-Ullrich 1996 and Hinualt-LeMond1985), the younger rider who finished in second place behind his team leader went on to win the Tour the following year. (This ‘two times’ ignores the team one-two by LeMond-Hinault in 86, where the following year Hinault retired and LeMond had been shot).
  • By finishing on the third step of the podium in Paris, Vincenzo Nibali has now finished on the podium of all three Grand Tours (2nd – Giro 2010, 1st – Vuelta 2010). He is the first Italian to achieve this feat since Felice Gimondi.
  • Starting with Andy Schleck’s inherited Tour de France in 2010, Wiggins’s victory makes it seven Grand Tours in a row where the winner has never before won a Grand Tour (Schleck, Nibali, Scarponi, Evans, Cobo, Hesjedal, Wiggins). This has only ever happened once before between the Vueltas of 1965 and 1967 (Wolfshohl, Adorni, Gimondi, Gabica, Aimar, Motta, Janssen).
  • Nicolas Roche’s 12th place finish overall goes one better than his father achieved in his final Tour de France in 1993 where he ended the race in 13th place. Roche junior also bettered his own personal best at the Tour which was 14th in 2010. His performance this year is now the highest G.C. place for an Irishman since Stephen Roche’s ninth place in 1992.

Stage Wins ~ Continue reading ~

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Britishness, Irishness, Patriotism and Cycling

With Team Sky set to deliver a one-two at the top of the general classification via Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome as well as nabbing four stages so far with four different riders, this is undoubtedly the best year ever for Great Britain at the Tour de France.

After today’s stage in the Pyreneés, it seems clear that all of Wiggins’s potential rivals are either unwilling or unable to attack him. The only threat that could conceivably see Wiggins not reaching Paris with the yellow jersey seems to be from within his own team. ~ Continue reading ~

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Debut Winners – Green Jersey

Peter Sagan has won three stages so far in this year’s Tour de France and with a 56 point lead in the points competition it looks like he may take home the green jersey too. Aged just 22, it is one of the most impressive debuts in the history of the race.

When the Slovakian won the second stage into Seraing he became the youngest Tour de France stage winner since a 21 year-old Lance Armstrong won in Verdun in 1993. Although since then Thibaut Pinot has taken over that title from Sagan.

Sagan’s first two stage wins this year were uphill sprints, the type of stage finishes which Philippe Gilbert would have won in his sleep last year. But while the Belgian remains without a win since last September, Sagan has taken over as the king of the tough sprint finish. But as he proved on Stage Six, Sagan can also win in a more orthodox bunch finish. ~ Continue reading ~

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