Giro Rest Day Review

The Giro needs a rest after a busy opening week with many stages that have seen the script ripped up. Climbers went backwards on mountaintop finishes and took time in time trials. It’s been a week of skirmishing with riders battling for seconds. The race is heading to the Alps this week and the promise of real battles among the top riders. So far so good.

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Giro Stage 3 Preview

Fast and flat and potentially a repeat of yesterday’s stage, only if Marcel Kittel can win again he’ll take the overall lead in the race.

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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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Tour de France: Who will win the Green Jersey?

Mark Cavendish Napoli

A straight battle between Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan? That seems to be the settled view. But how does the route suit each rider and what of other contenders?

The more you look at the 2013 Tour route, the more chances Mark Cavendish will have but if he’s good, he’s got plenty of competition from others. The Tour de France is arguably the only race of the year where we get to see all the top sprinters in competition.

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Riders Speak Out

A tweet can often substitute news these days but Marcel Kittel’s message is worth sharing for the sake of it, especially because many readers don’t use Twitter.

Better still Kittel is not alone as other riders have stood up to express themselves on the USADA-Armstrong case, a refreshing balance to some of the odd views expressed by some big names. In the spirit of Twitter I’ll keep this post short.

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Do Junior World Champions Succeed in the Pro Ranks?

Oskar Svendsen Merida

Norway’s Oskar Svendsen is the new junior time trial world champion. Who knows what the future holds for him now but it seems he could well become a force to be reckoned with in the senior ranks in the years to come.

Why? Because it turns out the time trial is a good measure of talent. This might seem obvious yet the road race is a very different story where past winners have flourished, proved mediocre or vanished into cycling obscurity despite the glory of a rainbow jersey.

Here’s a look at the correlation between junior performance and adult success in the time trial and road race. Plus what this means for today’s gold medallist Oskar Svendsen, who isn’t just the world time trial champion, apparently he has the world record for the highest VO2 Max ever recorded.

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Blood irradiation explained

One of the quirks of following pro cycling is a passing knowledge of medical vocabulary. Words like quadriceps or lactic acid are obvious. But worryingly the discerning fan can build up a formidable lexicon of haematology, although knowing the vocabulary is quite distinct from knowing the subject. In recent years the likes of haematocrit, reticulocyte and plasma have appeared in cycling headlines. Now the latest concept is “blood irradiation” following allegations in Germany. Here’s a small explainer.

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Marcel Kittel, a sprinter?

Marcel Kittel

Mark Cavendish seems so good you almost wonder what is wrong with the other sprinters. Look around and here’s ageing Alessandro Petacchi, André Greipel is strong but not prolific and Tyler Farrar is fast but usually not fast enough. But there’s a new generation coming, with several Italian riders lead by Andrea Guardini and a crop of Australians, Michael Matthews for example. But right now the Germans seem to have the edge, with neo-pro John Degenkolb already winning at the top level and above all Marcel Kittel. The Skil-Shimano rider took four stages in the Four Days of Dunkirk and last week took another four stages in the Tour de Pologne. But is he a sprinter?

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Meanwhile in France… Kittel’s triple win

If you’re waiting to see who gets to wear the pink jersey today… look no further than northern France. Here a 22 year old German rider from Skil-Shimano has won the first three stages of the Four Days of Dunkirk and is wearing the leaders jersey… which is pink. La vie en rose He’s also … Read more