UCI World Championships selection criteria

The number of riders that each country are allowed to select to take part in the World Championships is most certainly not straightforward. So the following is an attempt to shed some light on how many riders Ireland can expect to bring to the World Championship road race in Copenhagen towards the end of September.

The criteria include UCI WorldTour rankings, each of the separate UCI Continental rankings, the number of riders contributing to a country’s points tally as well as a number of other odd exceptions and stipulations. I’ll ignore the criteria that don’t apply to Ireland and just stick to the ones that do. ~ Continue reading ~

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Green jersey points breakdown: Is the system actually geared towards Cavendish?

Stephen Roche wrote in an article yesterday that he thought it would be an interesting exercise to calculate who would be leading the green jersey competition if the intermediate sprints were ignored and the points were assigned on the stage finishes alone.

Well, Roche’s wish is my command. His comments were made in relation to Mark Cavendish, so does this year’s points classification suit the Manxman more than last year’s?

Currently the green jersey standings in this year’s Tour de France are as follows: ~ Continue reading ~

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The Tour de France for stats geeks

Alberto Contador is aiming to win his fourth Tour de France. Should he be successful he will leave the company of Philippe Thys, Louison Bobet and Greg LeMond and be in a category of his own just behind Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain,  who all have five. It would also be Contador’s seventh Grand Tour victory which would see him move up to fourth on the list of all time winners, level with Indurain, Fausto Coppi and Lance Armstrong.

However, even if Contador makes it to seven Grand Tour wins, the CAS hearing in August could see him stripped of two Tours de France and a Giro d’Italia landing him right back down at four wins. ~ Continue reading ~

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L’affaire Roche et Gadret

John Gadret and Nicolas Roche don’t get on. There have been diplomatic comments coming from both of them in the past few days. Gadret has said he would be willing to work for Roche at the Tour and Roche has congratulated Gadret on his stage win in the Giro. But it still seems to me like they don’t get on.

Gadret performed beyond all expectations in the Giro to finish fourth. This is the best performance by a Frenchman in the Giro since Laurent Jalabert also managed fourth in the 1999 edition. It has been decided for some time, after last year’s results in both the Tour and the Vuelta, that Roche would be the leader once again for the Tour de France. But Gadret’s recent fourth place seems to have thrown a spanner in the works. ~ Continue reading ~

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A race named after a beer?

Of all the major races that make up the top tier of the professional cycling calendar there are relatively few which have not been won by either Stephen Roche or Sean Kelly back in the eighties. Roche was a thoroughbred stage racer while Kelly was an unstoppable all-rounder capable of victory on almost any terrain. Between them, they had all the bases covered.

Indeed, Roche had this to say in his book, The Agony and the Ecstacy:

When people compare what I have won to what Kelly has won my reaction is to ask them not to compare but to combine. Instead of asking what each has won, it is better to put our victories together and say, ‘Here are two Irishmen who between them have won almost every race in world cycling’. ~ Continue reading ~

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The Implications of Youthful Success

The age of the riders that are winning races this year is remarkable. The ProTeam rider with the most wins in 2011 is Peter Sagan (21) with four, closely followed by Matthew Goss (24) and Cameron Meyer (23) with three wins each. It is only natural to speculate at this stage in a rider’s career whether a victory in one of the sport’s major races is possible.

With Goss, his sprinting abilities make Tour de France stage wins and Milan San Remo a distinct possibility while Meyer has already shown that he is capable in week long stage races, making him a possible challenger at Paris-Nice in the future. For Peter Sagan, who is slightly younger than the other two, it is still unclear whether he will become the type of rider that can win Milan San Remo, or the type that could contend in a race like Liége-Bastogne-Liége. ~ Continue reading ~

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