Wednesday shorts (boxers)

Nacer Bouhanni won the opening stage of the Etoile de Bessèges in southern France. The FDJ-BigMat rider is a sprinter and this time last year I wrote about his impressively low position on the bike (being short helps too). Now in his second year as a pro it’ll be interesting to see how he does, … Read more

2012 UCI Pro Teams

Professional cycling teams are ranked into three tiers. The top level is UCI Pro Team and the 18 teams here have automatic and obligatory access to the big races on the UCI’s World Tour calendar. In addition, there is a range of rules governing these teams that aim to ensure sporting and financial stability.

You’ll find the top-18 teams below, their sponsors explained plus riders and staff listed.

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FDJ back in the Pro Tour

FDJ logo

French team FDJ will rejoin the UCI ProTour in 2012. The team received confirmation from the UCI via email this afternoon and the official announcement is expected tomorrow. It matters for a team that has ambitions to grow and to nurture French talent.

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Saur-Sojasun’s rubbish jersey

maillot saur-sojasun

A comment on the blog yesterday about riders ditching their waste food wrappers reminded me of a small detail worth sharing. The Saur-Sojasun jersey has two small pockets on the side for riders to put waste, for example empty gel wrappers.

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Thibaut Pinot

Thibaut Pinot

Just 21 years old, FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot impressed in the Critérium du Dauphiné, notably with second place on the final stage. After spending half of the stage on the attack, when caught on the final climb he was still able to lead the sprint in front group behind Joaquim Rodriguez.

Prior to this race he’s grabbed some other good results, notably a third place in a stage of the Dauphiné last year and winning the mountains competition in the Tour de Romandie in 2010 too. I’ve long kept an eye on Pinot, tipping him in the winter as a rider to watch for 2011.

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Yoann Offredo

Offredo Nieuwsblad

Seventh in Milan-Sanremo, Yoann Offredo is looking like the real deal for a French classics rider. It wasn’t a fluke, you simply can’t appear at the front of the race on the Poggio by accident. He was the first rider to jump on Tom Boonen’s wheel in Het Nieuwsblad a few weeks ago, making the front group then too.

Last year he was third in the GP Plouay, behind Matt Goss and Tyler Farrar and before that I’d tipped him this time last year as one to watch. Now 24 years old, he’s been a pro with FDJ since 2008. His first flash was in Milan-Sanremo last year when he attacked in the late stages of the race, riding solo and only getting caught on the Poggio. He’s from just outside Paris and a big rider at 1.90m tall, although only 67kg.

The Frenchman has proved strong and has a predilection for hard races with long distances and bad weather. In fact he’s known for his hard training sessions, often doing more than 200km at a time in a bid to get himself ready for the big races.

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Where do the French riders live?

Above is a map of France. Look closely and you’ll see coloured dots marking where riders from each of the four main French cycling teams are from. I’d been wondering if the teams had any regional bias towards signing riders and finally got round to charting where the riders are all from. Bbox, now Europcar, … Read more

FDJ’s low ranking is no surprise

“It is with surprise and incomprehension that we have learned the UCI’s decision not to grant a ProTour licence to the FDJ cycling team” So says La Française des Jeux’s team manager, Marc Madiot according to There’s been a change this year whereby teams part-qualify for a “Pro Team” licence based on ranking points … Read more

FDJ’s new jersey

Française des Jeux riders unveil their new jersey for the Tour de France. The sponsor recently signed a new deal with the team, backing Marc Madiot’s band for another four years. Photo: L’

Tour de France preview

Sorry but I’m not going to write a big Tour de France preview. They all say the same thing: Contador’s the favourite Andy Schleck’s his closest challenge Those cobbles could cost someone the race Can Wiggins go better? Eugene Christophe broke his forks in the Pyrenees …I could go on, take a look at some … Read more