The Wait of a Nation

Giant Alpecin

Ein Stein. Lifting the cobbled trophy last Sunday was a triumph for John Degenkolb and the culmination of a lot of team work. But behind the scenes it’s also the remarkable story of riders as ambassadors who’ve managed to convince German TV to give the sport a second chance, partly thanks to solid results, partly thanks to soft power and coffee.

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Alpecin Shampoo Review

The Giant-Alpecin team is off to a great start with Marcel Kittel winning the first race of the year. New for 2015 is sponsor Alpecin, a brand of shampoo from Germany. It’s got caffeine inside, the idea is it will stimulate the roots of your hair. Does it work?

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Germany Comes in From The Cold

Giant-Alpecin launched the team for 2015 today. We know the sponsors, we know the riders, so what’s new? Well the location was telling, they used the French embassy in Berlin. While most teams book a hotel or a theatre this one went for the grandiose symbolism of diplomacy and Franco-German unity. This is about much more than bikes and shampoo.

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Giro Stage 6 Preview

The longest stage of the race thanks to a landslide which has added 10km to today’s stage. A flat route before scaling the road to the hilltop abbey of Montecassino, a visually spectacular finish and the Giro’s commemoration of a 1944 battle.

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The Giro’s Sprinters

Quintana, Rodriguez, Evans, Uran et al are the talk of town in Belfast and rightly so since the Giro has 38,000 vertical metres of climbing. All the mountains are backloaded into the race and the overall contenders and pretenders will merely hope to finish first week feel fresh and without losing any time. In short they’re sleeper agents until Stage 8.

The first week is all about the sprinters with a series of flat finishes and the time bonuses to allow them to take the race lead.

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Albert Timmer’s Long Year

Who had the biggest year in 2013? Certainly in qualitative terms Chris Froome is the obvious choice and winning awards and exhibition races alike. But what about Adam Hansen’s Giro-Tour-Vuelta grand tour trinity? All valid but in terms of pure numbers it’s Albert Timmer (Argos-Shimano) who’s had the biggest season.

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Warren Barguil

Two stage wins in the Vuelta means a remarkable début for Warren Barguil in the pro peloton. This time last year he was an amateur but with a difference as he’d just won the Tour de l’Avenir overall. And the mountains jersey. And the points jersey. And a stage win.

Before this he’d been national champion and first caught the eye of Argos-Shimano managers when they mistook him for a Colombian. Who knows where he’ll go but here’s a quick look at where he’s come from.

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2013 World Tour Rider Age and Nationality

Jens Voigt

There are 507 riders from 43 nations registered with the 18 UCI World Tour teams for 2013.

The average age of a rider is 28 years and 2 months. The oldest rider is the 41 year-old Jens Voigt (Radioshack) whilst Vacansoleil-DCM’s Danny Van Poppel is the youngest pro aged 19.

Here’s a look at the 2013 peloton in numbers. There’s a look at rider age, the “oldest team” and also analysis of how many pros come from each country and more.

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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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