Can A Frenchman Make The Podium In Paris?

With Vincenzo Nibali in command the race is on for the other riders to seize their chance. Can a Frenchman can finish on the podium in Paris? Yes because Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot are duelling for the white jersey, just 16 seconds separate them while Michał Kwiatkowski is 14 minutes behind. Barring a double disaster a Frenchman will stand on the podium on the Champs Elysées.

Enough smart answers, the real question is whether a Frenchman can finish in the top three overall? Bardet is third overall and Pinot fourth but there are three mountain stages and a long time trial to come.

It’s a result many in France want to see but there’s also wider support for this outcome. But could it be a big dream and a rude awakening awaits? On the rest day here’s a look at the GC contenders.

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Thursday Shorts

Where’s Wiggo? A year ago Bradley Wiggins was all over the media. But now he’s almost vanished from sight, understandable if he wants a  quiet family life away from being doorstepped by the paparazzi. But he’s dropped off the radar too in the quieter and normally more reasonable world of cycling world. We know Chris Froome’s aiming to repeat his Tour success and Richie Porte wants the Giro. But the best journalists don’t know what Wiggins has planned. Some talk of Paris-Roubaix, the Tour de France, maybe a return to track cycling and maybe a look at the Hour Record?

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Roy De La Montagne, Part II


With the Giro rest day in the ski resort of Valloire, a report from Saint-Jean de Maurienne, a town just down in the valley below that was recently host to the FDJ team’s mountain training camp.

After a few days training with Thibaut Pinot and Alex Geniez, Jérémy Roy is joined by many more of his FDJ team mates for a bigger mountain training camp. As he explains it’s easy to avoid seeing many of your team mates during the year and this is a chance to meet up. But it’s not a social occasion, it’s a chance to recce more Tour de France stages, practice team time riding and more, all whilst trying to avoid the threat of rain in the high mountains.

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Roy de la Montagne

Jérémy Roy FDJ

Last week FDJ riders Jérémy Roy, Thibaut Pinot and Alexandre Geniez went to Mont Ventoux and the Alps to check out the route of several crucial Tour de France stages.

Jérémy Roy kept a diary and you can read about the training camp below which covers the technical aspects such as bike choice for the Tour de France’s tricky mountain time trial, videos of the descents and Strava files but also more light-hearted elements such as fooling around with cyclotourists, a night spent sharing the same blanket as Thibaut Pinot, high altitude pizzas and more.

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Wednesday Shorts

Corsica Tour de France ferry

What’s a ferry got to do with the Tour de France? Well the Mega Esmerelda will be the headquarters of the Tour de France during the grand départ in Corsica. It will host the Tour’s technical offices and play host to press conferences. Hundreds of journalists will stay in cabins; expect grouchy articles about not being able to sample the “Isle of Beauty” as they file reports from their iron hotel.

It’s one small detail but shows the size of the race, plus the budget. Because this floating base will belong to the race for several days, quite an asset to use. But that’s not all, Nice Matin reports five “Mega Express” ferries will also be used to take the race, from publicity caravan to team vehicles, back to the mainland once the Corsican stages have finished.

Those familiar with the ferry crossings might be pleased with the choice of Corsica Ferries, it is an Italian company and rival operator SNCM is infamous for going on strike at peak times for maximum effect.

More below: Cannondale’s leaked team jersey, Bongo in Gabon, Giro wildcards facts, the Flèche d’Emeraude vanishes, Laurent Roux’s son and how FDJ put their heads in the clouds.

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12 Riders To Watch For 2013

Vincenzo Nibali

As the 2013 season approaches here is a selection of riders to watch for. I’ve picked six established riders who face different challenges in the new year and six young riders who could impress but first have to hop the chasm from amateur and pro.

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World Tour: FDJ, Lotto, Argos and Saxo In, Katusha Fired

Weeks ago the UCI announced four teams were competing for final three places in the UCI World Tour and the lottery winners are FDJ, Lotto-Belisol and Argos-Shimano and Saxo Bank all stay in.

This arithmetic only works thanks to the sensational news that Katusha have been ejected and are left hoping to become a Pro Continental team for 2013.

Katusha look to be the big loser but it’s the system itself that takes a hit too. Plus on a secondary level smaller teams like Cofidis, Vini Fantini, MTN-Qhubeka or NetApp-Endura will find their chances of doing the big races shrink.

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Thibaut Pinot

Pinot Porrentruy stage win tour

He might ride for the French lottery, he might have a four-leafed clover on his jersey but yesterday Thibaut Pinot didn’t get lucky. Instead his stage win was clever tactics coupled with strong riding rather than a breakaway finally beating the odds. I’ve tipped him on here and it seems even Team Sky are watching him closely.

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Pinot Wins, Madiot Roars

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat) won today’s stage of the Tour de France. The youngest rider in the race, he delighted French fans with a big win to confirm the hopes invested in him. But there was nobody more delighted than team manager Marc Madiot.

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FDJ’s Offredo suspended

FDJ’s Yoann Offredo has been suspended for one year by the French Cycling Federation after three anti-doping “whereabouts” errors. News of the mistakes came out in early January. Now the sanction has arrived.

Is it harsh? This depends on your viewpoint but we have a rider entering the prime of their career suspended thanks to paperwork problems.

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