Tacks Blight Tour

Investigations are continuing today after sabotage on Stage 14 (Limoux – Foix) brought chaos to the Tour de France. Multiple punctures were caused around 200m from the summit of Mur de Peguere by carpet tacks that had been scattered in the path of riders; both Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome escaped unscathed but defending champion Cadel Evans dismounted at the summit to make good his bike. In accordance with Tour etiquette Wiggins slowed the peloton pace to avoid taking advantage of others’ misfortune.


Rabobank’s Luis Leon Sanchez went on to win the stage in 4hrs 50’29”, with Peter Sagan in second and Sandy Casar third. Wiggins retained his Yellow Jersey to extend the British record number of days and maintained his lead of 2’05” over team mate Froome. Evans goes into Stage 15 (158.5km Samatan – Pau) sitting at fourth and 3’19” behind Wiggins.



Sky Ride High

Plenty of reasons for Team Sky to be celebrating today, not only does Bradley Wiggins go into Stage 11 of the Tour de France – 148km from Albertville to La Toussuire – Les Sybelles – wearing the yellow jersey for a British record-breaking fourth day (beating Boardman and Millar’s three), but elsewhere Sky’s Ben Swift finished yesterday’s Stage 2 of the Tour of Poland in first place.


Easily outpacing Liquigas-Cannondale’s Elia Viviani, Swift lived up to his name over the 239.4km from Walbrzych to Opole, the longest stage in this year’s tour, to finish in a time of 5 hours 49’57”. Post-race, Swift commented, ‘It was brilliant. We made the call to save our legs for the lead out – if we needed to we were going to put someone on the front but the guys did a perfect job looking after me and got me right into position.’



Mod the Jersey

With Bradley Wiggins continuing to prove a tour de force at the Tour de France it could be time to head over to Milltag, home of some of the most inspiring jerseys available, to take a look at this year’s tribute to the great man. Following the success of last year’s design this one once more reflects Wiggins’ passion for all things Mod (think Paul Weller on a bike) in a British Racing Green and blue colour combo. As with all Milltag jerseys this is of the highest quality, with fast wicking properties plus a secure zipped rear pocket and angled outside pockets for ease of access. Probably a little too early for a yellow version, but whilst he’s riding high this is worth the £70 pop to show your support. Further details and online purchase at



Wiggins Takes Time Trial

Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins has strengthened his lead at the Tour de France, winning his first stage, the Time Trial, in 51 minutes and 24 seconds across the 41.5km from Arc et Senans to Besancon. Resplendent once again in the yellow jersey he now leads the overall classifications by a margin of one minute and 53 seconds ahead of reigning TdF champion Cadel Evans (BMC), a massive improvement on the mere 10 second lead he had at the start of the day.


A naturally delighted Wiggens commented, ‘Time trialling’s what I do best… I get into my zone, know exactly the routine I have to go through during the stage and I felt great today. The minute I turned the first pedal stroke on the warm-up I felt fantastic so I knew I was on a good one. “This is what we’ve trained for”, Sean (Yates) was saying to me on the radio in the last 10km – “think of all those hours, all those sacrifices you’ve made”, this is what that was all for and that really motivated me. All the hard work during the winter, missing my children’s birthdays being on training camps and things – this is what it’s all for – these moments.’


A double reason for Team Sky to celebrate with Chris Froome taking the second place on the TT and RadioShacks Fabian Cancellara third.



Wiggins Puts on the Yellow

20120707-183135.jpgThe first big climb of the Tour de France on Stage 7 (199 kilometres route from Tomblaine to La Planche) proved to be a spectacular success for Team Sky with Chris Froome taking a blazing win and Bradley Wiggins awarded the yellow jersey after finishing in third place two seconds adrift of his team mate and just a place behind rival Cadel Evans (BMC, on equal time). ‘It wasn’t the plan to go for the stage win, my only concern was keeping Bradley up there’ admitted a delighted Froome.


An even more understandably elated Wiggins added, ‘It sounds corny but this is something I’ve dreamt of since I was a child – sat on the home trainer in Kilburn watching my hero Miguel Indurain do it. Those dreams have come true now and I’m sat here at the top of a mountain in yellow. It’s phenomenal.’ Wiggins becomes only the fifth Briton to win the famous leader’s yellow jersey following in the tyre tracks of Tom Simpson (1962), Sean Yates (1994), David Millar (2000) and Chris Boardman who managed it an impressive three times – 1994, 1997 and 1998.



TdF Weekend Roundup

Tour de FranceAn exhilarating weekend opening for the 2012 Tour de France, which saw RadioShack-Nissan’s Fabian Cancellara take the Liege ITT Prologue win with Sky’s Bradley Wiggins in second and Omega Pharma-Quickstep’s in third. Wiggins, something of a TdF favourite this year, began his attack 11th last out on the 6.4km course with a time of 7minutes 20 (set by Sylvain Chavanel of Omega Pharma-QuickStep) to beat, but finishing his run with the new benchmark set (and ten riders still to race.) Despite ultimately taking second once Cancellara had turned out, Wiggins saw himself well set-up for the coming days and without the undue pressure of being first in the overalls; always magnanimous Wiggins commented, ‘Fair play to Fabian, he’s the best in the world at what he does and I think he proved that again today.’


With a tough climb finish on Stage 1 (Day 2) it was Liquigas-Cannondale’s Peter Sagan that crossed the line first after 198km of racing that, for a long time, had seen no clear leader. Prologue winner Cancellara took the second place (thus retaining his first overall standing) and Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen third, both on equal timings to Sagan. Misfortune with a puncture within 10km of the finish line saw Sky’s Chris Froome finish a disappointing 95th on the day, whilst last year’s champion, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), currently sits at eighth overall.


The TdF continues today (July 2) with the 207.5km leg from Visé to Tournai.



Tour de France Team Sky Squad

Team Sky have confirmed their line-up for the Tour de France, which begins on June 30. With consecutive victories at Paris-Nice, Tour of Romandie and Critérium du Dauphiné Bradley Wiggins will lead the team consisting of Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mark Cavendish, Bernhard Eisel, Chris Froome, Christian Knees, Richie Porte, Michael Rogers and Kanstantsin Siutsou. The 99th edition of the TdF marks Wiggins’ sixth appearance at the event and with both Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador out of contention (due to injury and being a drugs cheat respectively) hopes are high for an overall win. In a statement accompanying the squad announcement Wiggins said, ‘I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and I’ll do everything I can to win the Tour de France. Hopefully we can do the business for ourselves and our fans, and become the most successful British-based cycling team ever.’


World Road Race Champion Mark Cavendish makes his debut for Sky at the Tour, commenting on his squad inclusion, ‘It’s a dream to ride for a team that holds so much British interest and has a chance to win the yellow jersey.’


Dave Brailsford, Sky’s Team Principle, described the selection process as ‘a very tough challenge’, adding: ‘…we are blessed with a great depth of talent in our squad. We believe we have picked a strong and balanced team though, and one which can cater for any eventuality… Our priority this year is the General Classification with Bradley but that doesn’t mean we’ll neglect the sprint stages, or Mark’s bid for green jersey.’


Featured Features

Tour de France 2012

June already? That must mean it’s time for the annual Cyclo guide to the biggest event of the season – true to say, we feel, even in an Olympic year – with details of all the upcoming stages (plus a little history) of the Tour de France 2012.


2012 sees the 99th edition of the greatest cycling race in the world (sorry Italy and Spain…) which this year runs from Saturday June 30 to Sunday July 22, comprises of one prologue and 20 stages to cover a total energy-sapping distance of 3,497km. In addition to the 6.4km prologue in Liège and the two rest days on July 10 and 17, the TdF will this year comprise of nine flat stages, four medium mountain stages, five mountain stages and two Individual Time Trials (July 9 & 21) – there are also three summit finishes to look forward to. When it comes to stunning backdrops to the cycling action the TdF is always hard to beat and this year nine new stage towns, including Samatan, Abbeville and Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, have been added to the roster; as Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France, rightly says, ‘To love cycling, inevitably means to love geography and, additionally, the different regions.’


Naturally all of the big name teams will be present and correct for 2012 although there will be notable absences from a couple of star riders; Alberto Contador remains suspended for doping violations and won’t rejoin his Saxo Bank team again until August 5 (debate amongst yourselves whether this is a loss to the TdF or not) and the man who officially won the 97th Tour as a result of Contador’s disqualification, Andy Schleck, will remain sadly road-side due to injuries sustained in the Critérium du Dauphiné.


Arguably, the mighty defending champion Cadel Evans aside, this leaves the way far clearer for Sky’s Bradley Wiggins (winner of this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné) although that perhaps misses the more complex and subtle points of pro cycling where team work and homogeneous ‘whole’ can often outweigh individual skill and ability. Beyond that, as Wiggin’s knows all to well from the disastrously race-ending collarbone fracture he suffered on stage 7 last year, the TdF is a race where anything can happen. And often does…


Before looking at this year’s stage breakdowns, Cyclo, as always, feels a little factoid session may be in order:


* The oldest winner was in 1922 – Firmin Lambot, aged 36. The youngest was Henri Cornet, aged 19, all the way back in 1904.


* Lance Armstrong is the only rider ever to have won seven times at the TdF (consecutive years 1999 to 2005)


* Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain have each won five times, but only Indurain did so in consecutive fashion, with wins from 1991 to 95.


* Seven riders have tasted double-victory with wins in the same year at both the TdF and Giro d’Italia: Marco Pantani, Stephen Roche, Jacques Anquetil, Fausto Coppi (twice, 49 and 52), Bernard Hinault (twice, 82 and 85), Miguel Indurain (twice, 92 and 93) and the great Eddy Merckx who managed it three times – 1970, 72 and 74.


2012 Tour de France Stages:

Prologue (June 30) Liège – Liège – 6.4 km

Stage 1 (July 1) Liège – Seraing – 198 km

Stage 2 (July 2) Visé – Tournai – 207.5 km

Stage 3 (July 3) Orchies – Boulogne-sur-Mer – 197 km

Stage 4 (July 4) Abbeville – Rouen – 214.5 km

Stage 5 (July 5) Rouen – Saint-Quentin – 196.5 km

Stage 6 (July 6) Épernay – Metz – 207.5 km

Stage 7 (July 7) Tomblaine – La Planche des Belles Filles – 199 km

Stage 8 (July 8 ) Belfort – Porrentruy – 157.5 km

Stage 9 (July 9) Arc-et-Senans – Besançon (ITT) – 41.5 km

Rest Day (July 10)

Stage 10 (July 11) Mâcon – Bellegarde-sur-Valserine – 194.5 km

Stage 11 (July 12) Albertville – La Toussuire – Les Sybelles – 148 km

Stage 12 (July 13) Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – Annonay Davézieux – 226 km

Stage 13 (July 14) Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – Le Cap d’Agde – 217 km

Stage 14 (July 15) Limoux – Foix – 191 km

Stage 15 (July 16) Samatan – Pau – 158.5 km

Rest Day (July 17)

Stage 16 (July 18) Pau > Bagnères-de-Luchon – 197 km

Stage 17 (July 19) Bagnères-de-Luchon – Peyragudes – 143.5 km

Stage 18 (July 20) Blagna –  Brive-la-Gaillardev222.5 km

Stage 19 (July 21) Bonneval – Chartres (ITT) – 53.5 km

Stage 20 (July 22) Rambouillet – Paris Champs-Élysées – 120 km