La Siesta: Froome Masters The Walls

Nine stages completed – all pretty entertaining – and we’re faced with the possibility of another three week period of Chris Froome in a Grand Tour leader’s jersey. At the 2013 Vuelta the jersey exchanged shoulders eight times with five swaps the following year and eight in Fabio Aru’s 2015 success. Not one of those races featured a rampaging Chris Froome and an ultra-organised Team Sky. Froome’s been hungry for Vuelta success as far back as 2011 but he’s never been able to arrive with legs this fresh. This year – putting Tour dominance at risk – Froome looks to have almost targeted the Vuelta. His rivals have been no match for him over a very taxing opening week.

Contador and Froome

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Vuelta a España 2017: The Big Preview

If the Grand Tours were a series of films, the Vuelta Espana would be the third instalment with plenty of action, plenty of plot twists and plenty of your favourite characters. There wouldn’t be time for a long build or slowly unravelling story and we might even see a major shock in the opening scene.  It would only be mediocre commercial success but the critical reception would likely be brilliant. The Vuelta calls up leading GC riders with varying form, fitness and motivation for an end of summer showdown packed full with summit finishes. Get your popcorn, it starts this Saturday.

Vuelta 2016

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Une Course Différente

This post is a little late. I had intended to post about the frustrations surrounding this year’s La Course immediately after the second ‘part’ had concluded. It’s also late in another sense. This is the first time I’ve posted about women’s cycling – not counting short race predictions – since I started writing back in 2014. An embarrassing admittance when you consider I have watched and tweeted about many excellent one day events over the last few years.

La Course Paris

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Quick Picks: San Sebastian

The Clásica Sab Sebastian takes place tomorrow. The Basque race is a spikey affair that doesn’t really fit in with any other race on the cycling calendar. It takes place in Gipuzkoa at the very top of Spain and can be quite beautiful if the weather holds. It’s a quirky but popular one day race – a young Lance Armstrong’s favourite post-Tour jaunt – and this year will host a farewell to Haimar Zubeldia.

It’s finely balanced between an Ardennes revival and a chance for the serious climbers to have some fun following the Tour de France. There’s so many big names to consider but here’s a few that have caught my eye.

Mollema San Sebastian

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Quick Picks: Tour of Poland

The Tour of Poland is one of the oldest races on the calendar but has changed a fair amount over the years and attracted a crop of major stars since 2005. You might recall the 2011 race which saw Marcel Kittel rise to prominence and a 21-year old Peter Sagan confirm his star potential.

In recent years the organizers have endeavoured to include more climbing than ever – though perhaps not as much as their lively profiles suggest – and the inclusion of a time trial has further skewed the race towards genuine GC riders.

The time trial has been taken away for 2017 but a selection of sharp hilly finishes has attracted a number of leading riders. Here are my quick picks for the overall GC.

Tim Wellens Poland

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Five Times Adriano Malori Proved He Was a Brilliant Rider

On the first rest day of this year’s Tour, Adriano Malori announced his premature retirement from pro cycling. The Movistar and former Lampre rider was a brilliant time triallist, resilient personality and highly popular teammate. An unusual and horrible crash at the 2016 Tour de San Luis has ultimately led to the end of an impressive career dotted with major results. He aims to stays in cycling and has stepped into the classroom to study sports science. Here’s five times he proved his brilliance on a bike…

Adirano Malori Jersey

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Team of The Tour 2017

The Tour de France is over for another year and we can revert to our ‘normal’ lives without dedicating a chunk of the afternoon to the world’s most famous bike race. Chris Froome silenced (most) of his doubters, Rigoberto Uran rocketed back to prominence and Romain Bardet took his second podium in as many years. However, none of the top three make my Team of the Tour. Here’s who does…

Michael Matthews Win

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Showdown On The Izoard: Who Could Win And How?

It hasn’t been easy but on the eve of Stage 18 of the 2017 Tour de France we can conclude the organisers have got what they wanted. They didn’t want Chris Froome to stomp his familiar brand of victory all over this year’s edition and they wanted each mountain stage to be ridden in earnest. Tomorrow’s stage isn’t mind-blowingly difficult but a simple double-peaked profile with a finish on the Col d’Izoard ensures there’s one last roll of the dice for a tightly packed top six.

We have a pretty good idea of what will happen on the final time trial. Unless Rigoberto Uran does something spectacular – or fate intervenes once more – Froome will gain time on Stage 20. Uran should be the next best, with Fabio Aru somewhere between the Colombian and Romain Bardet, the worst time triallist in the top four. With this in mind, we will certainly see some attacks tomorrow. Froome looks beatable and that hasn’t always been the case.

With gaps still relatively small, several riders could hypothetically seize the yellow jersey.  Here’s how…

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