Bradley Wiggins Closes on Volta a Catalunya Lead

Bradley Wiggins Closes on Volta a Catalunya LeadBradley Wiggins has moved a step closer to overall lead in the Volta a Catalunya (Tour of Catalonia) after an impressive turn of speed on the climb to the Pyrenees ski resort of Vallter 2000 and the stage three summit finish. Finishing in fourth place on the 180km route behind first/second-placed Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde (both Movistar) and third-placed Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha, Wiggins was rewarded with the same time as Valverde (+6seconds), which now puts him within 10seconds of the overall lead.


Commenting on the dramatic end to the day, Team Sky’s Sports Director Marcus Ljungqvist said, ‘It was a good effort from the guys and it was great to see Brad getting up there at the end. He feels like he attacked too early but the most important thing is that he is up there and in a position to do that on the climb at the end of the stage… The escapees went early and Movistar and Katusha did a good job of controlling things. We joined in with Danny and Christian so that made it a slightly easier day for everyone. It just all came down to that last climb. There were a lot of fresh legs at the end but hopefully some people will pay more for the effort tomorrow than we will.’


The Volta a Catalunya continues with tomorrow’s 218km Llanars-Vall de Camprodon – Port Ainé-Rialp stage and concludes on Sunday March 24 in Barcelona.



Wiggins and Froome: 2013 Schedule

Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome announce 2013 schedule - team skyIt has been announced that Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, who finished first and second for Team Sky at the 2012 Tour de France, will begin the 2013 seasons at the Mallorca Challenge and Tour of Oman respectively. Wiggins will surely be hoping for better weather than last year when the final day of Mallorca was cancelled due to snow, whilst Froome, who begins his campaign a week later in Oman, is expecting his teammate to join him, although this has yet to be confirmed. The likely race programmes, announced by Team Sky’s Head of Performance Support Tim Kerrison yesterday, are subject to change but should see Froome head off to tackle Tirreno-Adriatico (March 6-12), while Wiggins returns to the Volta a Catalunya, which runs March 18-24. With the details of each rider’s schedule still being refined, Froome will take advantage of further training camps before competing at the Criterium du Dauphine (June 2-9) – a race the team has won for the last two years. Both riders will line-up at the Tour de France, which begins on June 29.



Knight Riders

Bradley Wiggins Knighted in New Years Honours ListCould this be the least surprising news of the year? Bradley Wiggins – Tour de France Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist, BBC Sports Personality of the Year – has been knighted in the New Year Honours list. Also knighted is Dave Brailsford who, as both Performance Director of British Cycling and head of Team Sky, was largely responsible for masterminding not only Wiggins’ TdF victory, but also the overall success of the London Olympics squad. Paralympic cyclist Sarah Storey, winner of Team GB’s first (and three subsequent) gold medals at London 2012, has been made a dame, whilst the now-retired Victoria Pendleton has been awarded a CBE and Jason Kenny, who won gold medals in both the Team and Individual Sprints, is rewarded with an OBE.



Wiggins 2013 Schedule

Bradley Wiggins 2013 race scheuleWith such an incredible year drawing to an end for Bradley Wiggins, there has of course been huge speculation as to his likely schedule for 2013. A month back Sky boss Dave Brailsford gave the first hint, commenting to reporters at UK Sport’s World Class Performance conference in Leeds, ‘It does look as though the plan going into next year… is that the Tour of Italy would be a very good target for Bradley and leave Froomey then to focus on the Tour de France,’ although he has since suggested that plans are rather more flexible than that and that Wiggins may still be in contention at the TdF. With rather more certainty we do know that Wiggins won’t feature in the traditional season opener, the Santos Tour Down Under (Australia, January 22-27), where Sky have already announced that Edvald Boasson Hagen, who finished seventh at this year’s event, will lead out with former stage winner Chris Sutton going for sprint glory.


However, according to Spanish website (with no indication as to why they should know when no one else does) Wiggins 2013 will open with the Tour of Algarve (February 13-17), which he will follow with Tirreno-Adriatico (March 6-12), the Tour of Catalonia (March 18-24) and then either the Giro del Trentino or Tour of Romandy. Likely pure speculation, but it looks to Cyclo like a reasonable run up to the Giro d’Italia which begins in Naples on May 4.



Wiggins and Brailsford Rewarded

Wiggins wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2012A great year not only for Bradley Wiggins but for British cycling as a whole, as the Tour de France winner (and Olympic Time Trial champion) took the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, whilst British Cycling’s mastermind Dave Brailsford won the Coach of the Year award for his part in steering Team GB to eight Olympic Golds. Wiggins, the odds-on favourite from the start, took almost 500,000 of the 1.6m votes cast, 50% more than second place Jessica Ennis.  In typically jocular fashion, though promising not to swear, Wiggins thanked Brailsford, his coaches, Team Sky (for paying him) and the Olympians in general. He also invited everyone backstage to enjoy the free BBC bar…


Wiggins win marked the second year running that a cyclist has taken the award home after Mark Cavendish took the laurels in 2011; further proof of the rise of popularity of the sport in the UK was demonstrated by the fact that this year’s shortlist of 12 included two other cyclists: Sir Chris Hoy (the 2008 winner) and Sarah Storey, although they poled only 2.64% and 0.64% respectively.



Froome to Lead Team Sky on Tour?

Chris Froome to lead Team Sky at Tour de France 2013After much speculation as to how Team Sky will play the big races of 2013 we seem to be a step closer to knowing with Sky boss Dave Brailsford commenting, ‘It does look as though the plan going into next year… is that the Tour of Italy would be a very good target for Bradley and leave Froomey then to focus on the Tour de France.’ Brailsford, speaking to reporters at UK Sport’s World Class Performance conference in Leeds, said: ‘We are just getting back into training now and need to do quite a lot of planning.’


Chirs Froome of course looked strong (arguably in contention for an overall win despite team instructions) at this year’s TdF and the idea of unleashing him unfettered on the 2013 Tour as every bit as exciting as the prospect of Wiggins adding a Giro title to his impressive roster. The Giro takes place May 4 – 26, whilst the TdF (the 100th edition, with a course likely to favour climbers like Froome) runs June 29 – July 21.



BBC Battle: Wiggins, Storey and Hoy

BBC Sports Personality of the Year SPOTY 2012 Bradley Wiggins Sarah Storey Sir Chris HoyCould a Brit cyclist make it two years running for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year? Always a tough call in an Olympic year, but with Mark Cavendish having taken the award in 2011 this year’s short list includes three cyclists: Sir Chris Hoy, Sarah Storey and, bookmaker’s favourite, Bradley Wiggins. Just choosing between the three would be hard enough; Hoy (the winner in 2008) has an almost unbelievably illustrious career to recommend him, Storey has 11 Paralympic Golds – matching Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s record – and Wiggins became the first Brit ever to win the Tour de France and picked up his fourth Olympic Gold this year to boot.


Their competition comes in the form of: Nicola Adams, Ben Ainslie, Katherine Grainger, Rory McIlroy?, Andy Murray, Ellie Simmonds?, ?David Weir?, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah. The latter two most likely to give Wiggins a run for his money on the night. The BBC SPOTY (as it is colloquially known) will be decided by vote during a live ceremony from London’s ExCeL Centre on Sunday, December 16. Further details at


Featured Features Reviews

Cyclo: Best Books

The popularity of cycling in Great Britain is at an all-time high and if you’re looking for some supporting evidence for that, then the heaving bookshop shelves tell the tale more than adequately. If you’re also looking for a stocking-filler for your cycling-loving loved one or just need a good read to distract you from that winter ride that you’d rather put off, then Cyclo brings you our rundown of the very best cycling books. We’ve mixed and matched some brand-new titles with some perennial favourites and oft overlooked hidden treasures. Enjoy…


My Time – Bradley Wiggins Book Review Top Cycling BooksMy Time – Bradley Wiggins


It has, of course been the year of Wiggo, so no better place to start than with the great man’s autobiography, My Time. Proving he can deliver more than 140-character tweets (although largely ‘ghosted’ by cycling journalist William Fotheringham), Wiggins’ renowned dry wit, level-headedness and downright frankness shines through here and whilst his previous book In Pursuit of Glory felt slightly thin on the ground – in part perhaps because it came pre-national treasure status – My Time packs the full punch. Published by Yellow Jersey, ISBN-10: 022409212X, RRP £20.00, Amazon £9.00


Bradley Wiggins: Tour de Force by John Deering - Team Sky Book Review Top Cycling BooksBradley Wiggins: Tour de Force – John Deering 


Naturally no shortage of other books available on Wiggo too as the clammer and crush for a little vicarious success infects all-known journalists. But best amongst them is, in Cyclo’s opinion, Tour de Force by John Deering who, as a regular contributor to Eurosport’s cycling coverage, Procycling and The Official Tour de France Guide, certainly knows his (French) onions. Intertwining biographical detail with a pretty much day-by-day account of the 2012 Tour, Deering’s book works brilliantly for those wanting to learn more about the intricacies of team tactics in general and Team Sky in particular. Read the full Cyclo review herePublished by Birlinn Ltd, ISBN-10: 1780271034, RRP £12.99, Amazon £9.09


The Flying Scotsman – Graeme Obree Book Review Best Cycling BooksThe Flying Scotsman – Graeme Obree


First published back in 2004, Graeme Obree’s autobiography has lost none of its considerable clout with the kind of candidness that often leaves you open-mouthed. Like all great sports biographies/autobiographies the lesson learned is that from terrible beginnings (and, on occasions, presences) great things can still be achieved. Sir Chris Hoy calls Obree ‘a true inspiration’ (and provides the book’s foreword) and it’s almost impossible to disagree. This is a book that deserves to be better known and wider read – we can’t recommend it highly enough. Published by Birlinn Ltd, ISBN-10: 1841583359, RRP £8.99, Amazon £7.99


French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France – Tim Moore Book Review Top Cycling BooksFrench Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France – Tim Moore


Very much on the lighter side of things Moore takes the everyman approach to tackling the toughest ride in the world. As a self-confessed slouch Moore takes to the roads and, indeed, the mountains to test himself against everything that’s thrown at him – his trademark humour and observational wit carries the book and, whilst you may not learn anything particularly new – it at least proves that, once in a while, the hackneyed phrase ‘laugh-out-loud book’ can be more than appropriate. Published by Vintage, ISBN-10: 0099433826, RRP £8.99, Amazon £6.75


Between the Lines – Victoria Pendleton and Donald McRae Book Review Best Cycling BooksBetween the Lines – Victoria Pendleton and Donald McRae


Having just retired from what has often, rightly, been called a glittering career it’s no surprise to find Victoria Pendleton autobiography on the shelves. In fact much of the donkey-work writing duty has fallen to McRae, but as the double-winner of the William Hill award (for Dark Trade and In Black & White) that’s perhaps no bad thing and Pendleton’s story is both engaging and, at times, enlightening. There is turmoil here to be sure, along with a good dash of raw emotion, but the real target audience is those who have followed her career and admire her brilliance rather than those out for revelations or true insight. Published by HarperSport, ISBN-10: 0007327528, RRP £20.00, Amazon £9.99


It’s Not About the Bike – Lance Armstrong Book Review Best Cycling BooksIt’s Not About the Bike – Lance Armstrong


Really? Hell Yes! Okay so we now know that rather than being the greatest ever Tour de France champion Armstrong was, in fact, the greatest ever Tour de France cheat, but revisiting the book with that in mind brings an excellent new dimension, not to mention sense of irony with regards to the title. Whatever Armstrong did wrong (and it would appear to be legion), there is no taking away from him the fight he undertook against the cancer that ravaged his body. In light of recent revelations this book may no longer be held in such high regard, but if you haven’t read it already now would seem a good time… Published by Yellow Jersey, ISBN-10: 0224060872, RRP £8.99, Amazon £6.29


Racing Through the Dark – David Millar Book Review Best Cycling BooksRacing Through the Dark – David Millar


And on the subject of doping… Millar pretty much begins his tale of rise and fall and rise  again with the lines: ‘My name is David Millar. I am a professional cyclist, an Olympic athlete, a Tour de France star, a world champion – and a drugs cheat.’ A powerful start and so in continues, with one of the most painful (and painfully honest) accounts of the pressures of professional cycling ever put to paper. Don’t dismiss this book as an exercise in self-flagellation; no doubt it was part of Millar’s redemptive process, but his honesty to improve and fight the good fight burns on every page. Read the full Cyclo review herePublished by Orion, ISBN-10: 1409120384, RRP £8.99, Amazon £6.29


Road to Valour – Aili and Andres McConnon Book Review Best Cycling BooksRoad to Valour – Aili and Andres McConnon


Or to give it its staggeringly long full title ‘Road to Valour: Gino Bartali: Tour de France Legend and Italy’s Secret World War Two Hero’. The McConnons may be guilty of overly breathy narrative prose, but Bartali’s story of rise from rural poverty to multiple wins at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France pretty much warrants it, especially when considering his sideline as WWII Italian Resistance hero. This is real ‘boy’s own’ stuff, likely to appeal as much to non-cyclists and cyclists. A thriller wrapped up in a sports biography… Read the full Cyclo review herePublished by W&N, ISBN-10: 0297859994, RRP £20.00, Amazon £13.50