2015 Tour memories

Unable to sleep I spent the early hours of day light re-watching stage 20 of the 2015 Tour de France on Eurosport.

Not only were Sean Kelly and Carlton Kirby in brilliant form, the race was exciting and the sun was beating down on the peloton as they headed towards the foot of Alp D’Huez.

But this was a Tour with an undertone. There was a feeling of real hatred towards Chris Froome in the yellow jersey. At times as well it spilled over from feelings into actions which is wholly unacceptable, regardless of what nationality you are and what teams or riders you are aligned with.

This was a Tour, and in the Covid age of masks preventing saliva transfer this seems ridiculous, that Froome found himself spat on regularly as he rode towards Paris.

In fact within the last 4km of the Alp on this stage you saw a clearly drunk man in a free gift polka do jersey lurch into the road to empty his sinuses on the passing yellow jersey.

Despite being in a real battle with Nairo Quintana to keep the race lead, Froome still had time to look back over his left shoulder and clock a look at the perpetrator.

Cycling is the most wonderful, beautiful and positive experience. But as with everything there are those who can’t behave and who let themselves down. This will be important to remember going forward as any indiscretions like that in this autumns condensed calendar will see bad publicity and possibly racing cancelled.

We don’t want that.

Froome zooms off

Chris Froome has officially announced that he is leaving Team Ineos at the end of 2020 and joining Israel-Start up.

Where this leaves his Tour de France campaign is anyone’s guess but if he makes the start line this is going to be fascinating.

Think Froome vs Wiggins in 2012… I CAN’T WAIT

…and I am sure nor can you.

Lance battles for relevance

urgh.

I thought Oprah was the end of this sorry tale, but it seems Lance Armstrong, fresh from the success and positive reviews of his Wedu podcast is back in the forefront of the cycling media.

To be honest I think a lot of people who would class themselves as “into” cycling are probably so far over the American and his negative impact on the sport that we will be able to take or leave the ESPN documentary.

The fact this is the second programme to offer the truth with no holes barred makes me sceptical for a start.

But he has apologised to Stephanie McIlwain of Oakley and Fillipo Simeoni who he hounded out of the sport along with his primary targets Christophe Bassons and Betsy Andreu.

For me this is too little too late. I still remember the tweet with all the yellow jersey’s on the wall post being found guilty of doping. There are ways to make amends to the people he hurt directly. A TV show which propels him back into the limelight isn’t one of them.

Is Froome transfer story for real?

No soon had my post which mentioned how I felt there was a bit of a bias against Ineos at Cyclingnews gone live that the website launched a story saying Froome wanted out, and maybe even before the 2020 Tour de France, should that happen.

Interesting stuff.

Reading the comments on the article shows that many share the viewpoint I have that there is an agenda of some sort at play here.

The comments point to the fact that the article is full of “Cyclingnews understands” and “we believe and agent said”. Of course there is the old adage that there is no smoke without fire and you don wonder how all of the leaders will fit at Ineos. Who will get the front seat of the team bus for example (!). But I don’t see Froome going at this stage of the season.

Ineos don’t release riders unless they feel their performances will be going down. SO for me if Froome does pitch up at Bahrain before any Tour de France sets off, I wouldn’t be betting my last pound on him doing much.

Revised 1 day calendar offers some hope

After the announcement last week that there could be a late August Tour de France, Cyclingnews is reporting a revised single day classics calendar that is with the teams.

This is due to start on August 1st with Strade Bianche.

Of course this is subject to all manner of peaks of infection and travel restrictions being lifted but on a day where the sun is shining outside but my mood is pretty grey, this is a positive.

So let’s hope and pray we get to see some racing.

Provisional continuing 2020 men’s UCI calendar according to RTBF

August 1: Strade Bianche

August 8: Milan-San Remo

Second week of August: Critérium du Dauphiné (four days)

August 22-23: National championships events

August 29-September 20: Tour de France

September 20-27: UCI Road World Championships

September 30: Flèche Wallonne

October 4: Liège-Bastogne-Liège

October 3-25: Giro d’Italia

October 10: Amstel Gold Race

October 11: Gent-Wevelgem

October 18: Tour of Flanders

October 25: Paris-Roubaix

October 31: Il Lombardia

From November 1: Vuelta a España

Make this season happen

This is a time of great significance in all our lives, and when I started a blog about cycling in the fens back in 2015 I never could have imagined that we would find ourselves here.

With the announcement of the delay of the Tour de France until later in the summer I have a bit more morale that we might see some action in 2020.

There is still a lot of lockdown and plenty of evenings spent staring wistfully out of a window to get through, but I think we can make it.

My turbo has never seen such action and the couple of times a week I am venturing out have not been longer than an hour. There is plenty of debate as to whether its appropriate to be outdoors and I do wonder if todays UK government announcement might see more stringent controls to get us over the peak.

But, we have some dates in the diary again and something to focus on to get us through the coming days, weeks and months.

So let’s all do our bit and stay safe, stay away from others as much as possible and get through this together.

Raymond passes away

RIP Poulidor…

A tragic week in cycling with Tour de France legend Raymond Poulidor passing away.

Only in a sport as beautiful as ours would a man be immortalised for failing to win the worlds biggest event.

Jaques Anquetil and Eddy Merckx were simply better, but the fact he never gave up and always rode for the win endeared him to all.

He will be missed come July in France and always.

Our men 2019 – Update

We put our 9 riders for 2019 on the BikeRadar forum back in February and with the season now over we thought it might be time to have a look at how they did. 

Where they were hits, boy were they hits, but when they missed….

Tom Dumoulin

Poor year for the former Giro winner who crashed in that race early on before missing the Tour de France. Made the move to Jumbo-Visma for 2020. 

Krists Nielandts

Was present in a number of classics before getting in the frame as a potential worlds winner with his brilliant solo attack to win the GP Wallonie in Namur the week before the Rainbow bands were decided. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufilter=NULL&v=43_e4ITdkoc

Bob Jungels

Really poor year from Bob who was present in the cobbled classics without being too prominent. Only really saw him in Lombardia after that. 

Remco Evenepoel

Fabulous first season for a rider who showed in Columbia back in the Northern winter before some semi classic action. 

His season ignited with a Classica San Sebastian win the week after the Tour de France. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufilter=NULL&v=n871v2M8gCs

Jurgen Roelandts

Not seen all year. Really sad for our hero…

Egan Bernal

Inspired pick if I say so myself. Won the Tour de France and an Italian semi classic. It will be interesting to see how he works with Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome next year. 

Thomas De Gendt

Wonderful solo attack in the Volta a Catalunya which he proved was no fluke by holding off the combined forces of Julian Alaphillipe in Thibaut Pinot in the Tour de France for a memorable stage win. 

Tony Gallopin

Surprisingly quiet year for Gallopin who did at least end it on a high by being prominent in Paris Tours on the final weekend of the European season. 

Mathieu Van der Poel

Started the season on fire with form from the Cyclo Cross campaign he’d dominated. 

He ended up in a flower bed in the Tour of Flanders before getting back to the lead group, a memorable ride. Followed that up with arguably the ride of the year in winning the Amstel Gold. 

Dominated the Tour of Britain, but couldn’t quite hold on to win the Worlds in Yorkshire. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?edufilter=NULL&v=Yi4opDanurU