Arguing With Myself About Team Sky

I was once told my view on Team Sky’s dominance – and jiffy bags – was balanced and refreshing. I don’t like Sky, but I try not to obsess on one collection of riders. I’d rather talk about key moments in races, winning moves or bold tactics. I’ve also been told my view on Team Sky is dull and inconclusive. I don’t make my mind up. I don’t love Chris Froome (he’s never been my preferred race winner) but nor do I condemn him.

If somebody asked me which team have won six tours in the last seven years I’d say Team Sky with no hesitation or caveat. Unfortunately, alarm bells have been ringing almost the entire time. Following Geraint Thomas’ victory at this year’s Tour – a race where Froome looked surprisingly human, but former E3 Harelbeke winner Thomas delivered a flawless climbing performance – it’s time to make my mind up on the issues which make the Sky regime quite so dubious.

Sky Car

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What could happen in the final week?

The final week of the Tour de France is a time where absolutely anything could happen.

Or absolutely nothing.

We could see a continuation of the Alps – Sky squashing Movistar, Dumoulin digging in – or something completely different. Will our race leader hang on? Will the Giro take its toll? Just how bad will Romain Bardet’s final time trial be? Here are some possible outcomes…

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What Won’t Happen in The Giro This Week (2)

The Giro d’Italia in an alternative universe.

The Giro d’italia trundled through its first week proper with Bob Jungels seizing the Maglia Rosa on Mt.Etna and holding it for four days before cracking on Blockhaus. Boredom reached channel-switching levels on Stage 7 as approximately nothing happened for 223km before Caleb Ewan, Fernando Gaviria and Sam Bennett took part in a three-man drag race. Things heated up on Stage 8 and the route from Molfetta to Peschici served as fantastic antipasti for the following day’s big summit finish. On Blockhaus, Geraint Thomas was involved in a terrible crash (a moto was involved, again) before Nairo Quintana danced away for victory and Tom Dumoulin hauled himself into contention.

But what’s going to happen this week…

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Quick Picks: Volta a Catalunya

The Volta a Catalunya dates back to 1911, making it over 20 years older than the Vuelta Espana. It’s therefore no surprise the race has been part of the top tier calendar since the inaugural ‘Pro Tour’ in 2005 and has an honours list stacked with big names. Despite its rich history, Catalunya has never gone stale. Whilst the likes of Paris-Nice have maintained a balanced week of racing, the Catalunya organizers design routes full of rolling hills and sharp climbs. Here are my quick picks for this year’s race.

Cycling: 96th Volta Catalunya 2016 / Stage 3

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Eight takeaways from Paris-Nice 2016

Michael Matthews is ready for San Remo

We hadn’t seen anything from Michael Matthews this season – then he won two stages in three days. His prologue win was the more eye-opening of the two, so obviously strong and in form. Milan-San Remo is his first aim for the season but Matthews was yet to appear before the start line in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. He promptly rode his cobwebs off – if they had ever been any – and was a San Remo favourite just a few days later. A shoulder to shoulder with Nacer Bouhanni handed him his second win and his sprint looks at a good level. Completely skipping the Australian racing season, Matthews proved that with training rides alone you can reach competitive condition.

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Tour de France 2015: A Froome with a View

Yesterday Chris Froome won his second Tour de France becoming the 20th rider in history to take more than one title. The race leader since Stage 7, Froome was rarely troubled until things took a difficult turn when the race reached the Alps. The only man with any chance was Nairo Quintana and his measured attacks on the Brit- saved for the final two mountain stages- saw chunks of Froome’s lead fall away. A stage win eluded the Colombian runner-up, with last year’s heroes Vincenzo Nibali, Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot feasting on the Alpine summits in the final week.

Chris Froome Tour de France 2015

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Tour Talk: Rest Day 2

Fireworks were expected for the second week of the Tour but after Chris Froome lit up the field on the Col de Soudet seven days ago it’s all got a little cagey. Froome’s attack on the Soudet, a summit finish but the first and only climb of the day, blew away the field with next-best Nairo Quintana restricting his loses to a minute. Thankfully, there’s since been some signs of defiance from the other contenders and the race is yet to reach the Alps. The best part of the second week has been some genuinely exciting battles for stage wins and Peter Sagan’s gripping pursuit of a victory. Here’s ten shorts.

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