Monday Shorts

Evans counts points – Mourey counts to eight – Vuelta counts the decimal places – NetApp count on the Tour – Sanchez sans job – Chris Horner’s Dutch auction – Team Sky change powermeters?

It’s already Monday in Australia and Simon Gerrans is the new Australian road race champion. Rider nicknames are uncommon these days but if he did have a moniker then “The Sniper” seems appropriate for the way he’s able to target a race. Gerrans is a clever rider who doesn’t have the physiological firepower of Cadel Evans or Richie Porte but his “one shot” is making him a good trophy hunter, think yellow in the Tour or Milan-Sanremo. You can read his account of how he won at He’s now an obvious contender for the Tour Down Under.

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Who Will Win The Tour de France?

Chris Froome Dauphiné Time Trial

Having looked at the other jerseys, now it’s time to assess the contenders for cycling’s ultimate prize, the yellow jersey and the overall win in the Tour de France.

Chris Froome is everyone’s pick and it’s easy to see why. But who are his rivals and how can he be beaten? Also the quantity of top-10 contenders stands out, promising a battle in the mountains.

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The Spin: Criterium International Preview

This weekend sees the Criterium International take place on the French island of Corsica. A race in its own right, it’s also an avant première of the Tour de France and its opening stages in Corsica, complete with several big names who face a tricky sprint stage, a long mountain pass and a short time trial.

Here’s a preview of the route, the riders, the TV and more.

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The Pyrenees on the Horizon

Bradley Wiggins Yellow Jersey Evans

Today’s rest day brings to mind Antonin Magne, winner of the Tour in 1931 and 1934 who said “the Tour is won by sleeping”. He didn’t mean he snoozed on his bike, instead that recovery was so important. Many riders today will have been working hard on their rest day, going for the right ride, eating correctly, stretching hard and getting a strong massage.

They’ll need it given the two giant stages in the Pyrenees. Playwright Antoine Blondin said the great cols of the Pyrenees “separate once and for all the racers from those who use a bicycle to go to the market” and more than the Alps these climbs can be traps with irregular gradients and twisty descents.

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Who Will Finish Third in the Tour?

Tour de France winner odds bookmakers

The odds on Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France are now so short that the some bookmakers price him as a safer pick than Lance Armstrong in 2003. Cadel Evans is a close second but as the table above from shows, everyone else is far out. Madness?

Possibly and we should note that the odds are a price and not a probability, it is likely that a lot of people have been putting a lot of money on Evans and Wiggins and this has shortened the odds. But precision apart, Wiggins and Evans are the two prime contenders. Who are the others capable of finishing on the podium?

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The Altitude Tent

Altitude tent

Altitude training has long been a fixture for endurance athletes. It has been common for riders to head for the mountains for some time. As well as familiarising themselves with the local passes and working on the pedal stroke riders are also subject to hypoxia or oxygen deprivation, triggering a set of responses in the body.

But riders need not go to the high mountains for this. It is possible to sit at home yet experience the conditions of altitude thanks to what is commonly known as an altitude tent.

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The Dauphiné Contenders

The race starts this Sunday with a prologue but we’ll need to wait for the high mountains the following weekend to decide the winnner.

Bradley Wiggins is a favourite but he’ll face Tony Martin in the time trials and Cadel Evans and others in the mountains. Here’s a look at the overall contenders for the race plus some thoughts on the likely stage winners along the way.

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A history of the Tour Down Under

A reader’s been in touch with the history of the Tour Down Under in Australia and I enjoyed the read so much I asked if I could put it on here.

Many races begin for a reason, famously the Tour de France started because a newspaper wanted to create an event so impressive that readership would soar. Paris-Roubaix began because some industrialists in Northern France wanted to publicise the velodrome in Roubaix. A more recent addition to the calendar, the Tour Down Under has its genesis in politics, promotion and even a beer boycott was involved. Here’s the story…

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Highlights of 2011 – Part III

Five moments from 2011. They are a personal choice like any list sometimes you omit more than you include but I’ll explain each moment. They’re presented in no particular order.

Here, a double header: Stage 18 and Stage 19 of the Tour de France. I could cover each stage as a separate highlight but that means I’d have to drop something else from the year so a tandem highlight…

Stage 18 of the Tour de France saw something special: a contender for the yellow jersey launching a long range attack.

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