Sky Fly at Criterium du Dauphine

More great news for Team Sky at the Criterium du Dauphine today (June 6) with Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen taking first place on the 167km Stage 3 (Givors – La Clayette) in a time of 4h 22’ 13” and defending champion Bradley Wiggins maintaining his overall lead in the standings for yet another day.


Speaking after the exhausting stage the Norwegian commented: ‘The team did a good job to keep Bradley up the front and I could just sit behind. Yesterday I was riding a lot at the front but today I was able to conserve my energy for the sprint… I knew I had to find my own way to the line and at the finish I was sitting on Ciolek’s wheel and he had a good lead-out; I was just waiting for the last 150 metres before opening up my sprint and it was great to get the victory.’ Adding, ‘The main goal this week is the yellow jersey and I’m here to help Bradley win the race but I got the chance today to try for the sprint; I’m really happy to be in a team like this, it’s the best one you can be in.’


The Criterium du Dauphine continues with Stage 4 tomorrow with the 53.5km Individual Time Trial from Villié-Morgon to Bourg-en-Bresse.



Wiggins Takes Lead

20120605-103929.jpgSunday (June 3) saw defending champion Bradley Wiggins beaten into second place by 21-year-old junior world Time Trial champion Luke Durbridge at the prologue of the Critérium du Dauphiné; whilst yesterday’s 187km route (Seyssins to Saint Vallier) was bagged by Cadel Evans, with Wiggins in 61st place. Despite this, Wiggins takes the overall lead, one second ahead of the Australian TdF champ as they move into today’s Stage 2 160km from Lamastre to Saint-Felicien in the Ardennes.


Wiggins was clearly irked by questioning from reporters post-race who suggested that with the TdF just weeks away he had potentially peeked too soon here; the Team Sky rider snapped back: ‘I can never win whatever I do… If I didn’t take the jersey or perform here then I’m the biggest piece of rubbish out there but if I win here I’ve peaked too soon.’ – The Critérium du Dauphiné concludes on June 10.



Critérium du Dauphiné

Just time between getting over the excitement of the Giro d’Italia and revving up for the Tour de France to squeeze in the ever excellent Critérium du Dauphiné which runs its eight stages between June 3 and 10. Established, like so many great cycling events, by a newspaper (the Dauphiné Libéré) looking to promote both itself and the Dauphiné of France, the first running of the event took place in 1947 – Won by Polish rider Edouard Klabinski – and has always been seen as a precursor to the TdF.


Now celebrating its 64th Edition the Critérium du Dauphiné, which shortened its name from Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré in 2010 when Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) took over full organisational responsibility, will once again see top teams sporting top riders lining up for the 5.7km prologue in Grenoble this coming Sunday. Amongst them will be Sky’s Bradley Wiggins who finished first in the 2011 Overall Standings (on time, with 26h 40′ 51″) managing to nudge Cadel Evans into seconds at + 01′ 26″, making it clear what an indicator of the TdF it can be given that Evans went on to win le Tour (Wiggins crashing out).


In many ways the Critérium du Dauphiné can also be viewed as a distillation of all that is great about the TdF – the hills, the TTs, the dramatic sprints, the irrepressible French crowd support, the sheer Joie de vivre. Christian Prudhomme, Director of Tour de France, describes the 2012 edition thus: ‘After a long absence lasting 24 years, the Col du Gran Colombier ascent is back on the Critérium du Dauphiné agenda. Sports fans are waiting with bated breath to witness this year’s hot topic – the strengths and weaknesses in the time trials – between the prologue stage in Grenoble and the 53 km individual time trial between Villié-Morgon and Bourg-en-Bresse. The Rhone Alps region offers competitors a real chance to test their mettle, with its extremely wide range of landscapes, the slog of the roads through the Ardèche and the ascents leading to the mountain passes of Joux-Plane or Colombière. Perhaps this is where Bradley Wiggens, expected to reclaim his title this year, will have to fend off the threats of Cadel Evans, four-time runner-up and winner of the 2011 Tour de France.’


Prologue June 3 Grenoble – Grenoble    5.7 km

Stage 1 June 4  Seyssins – Saint-Vallier             187 km

Stage 2 June 5 Lamastre – Saint-Félicien 160 km

Stage 3 June 6 Givors – La Clayette 167 km

Stage 4 June 7 Villié-Morgon – Bourg-en-Bresse 53.5 km (ITT)

Stage 5 June 8 Saint-Trivier-sur-Moignans – Rumilly 186.5 km

Stage 6 June 9 Saint-Alban-Leysse – Morzine 167.5 km

Stage 7 June 10 Morzine – Châtel 124.5 km


Full details at



Wiggins Reigns at Romandie

Despite mech issues that saw him briefly dropping his chain at the beginning of the climb at Crans-Montana on the final leg of the Tour de Romandie, Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins unleashed a spectacular ride to win not just the stage but to claim overall victory. Wiggins, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Saturday, admitted that a new maturity was probably in play when he was briefly forced to dismount and re-chain, saying: ‘I’m pleased with the way I handled that moment because a few years ago I might have thrown my toys out of the pram and chucked my bike down the ravine!’ Final overall standings saw Wiggins on 18:05.40 with Team Garmin’s Andrew Talansky second on the podium with 18:05.52 and Movistar’s Rui Costa with 18:06.16.


Naturally the overall victory was part of the team play, something that Wiggins was quick to acknowledge after a gruelling few days that had seen strong support from the start: ‘It’s really nice to finish it off in a time trial on the last day for the boys. All week they’ve been incredible – it doesn’t matter how strong you are as an individual, without those team-mates this week I wouldn’t be in this position… What a team we’ve had here this week; you know you’re in a great team when you’ve got the world champion riding for you on the front.’



Under the Same Sky

Today, Tuesday April 24, sees the start in Lausanne of the 431-mile Tour de Romandie. This, the 66th edition of the Swiss six-stager, will be of particular interest to GB and Team Sky fans as the event sees the first time that Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have competed together in the same colours; Brits Geraint Thomas and  Chris Froome also add to the weight of the eight-man squad. TdF winner, Cadel Evans, will be hoping to defend his 2011 Tour de Romandie title against strong competition, which draws to a close with a 16.5km Time Trial in the ski resort of  Crans-Montana on Sunday, April 29.



Paris-Nice Win for Wiggins

Yesterday (March 10) saw a decisive overall win for Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins at Paris-Nice. Wiggins went into the eighth and final stage – Nice to Col d’Eze (individual time trial) – with a 6 second lead which he spectacularly managed to stretch to 8 seconds across the 9.6km route to be crowned king of the ‘Race to the Sun’, arguably the biggest win of his career to date. Vacansoleil-DCM’s Lieuwe Westra finished two seconds down on the ITT to take second on the stage and overall with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) taking the third overall spot.


The 31-year-old becomes only the second Briton to win what is one of the biggest races on the cycling calendar outside of the three Grand Tours, emulating Tom Simpson who triumphed at Paris-Nice in way back in 1967. Team Sky’s Sports Director Sean Yates summed things up saying, ‘Everything’s gone our way except the rain on the prologue day. But Brad’s capped it off with a perfect scenario winning the stage and the GC and it’s quite a big day for the team.’


Wiggins himself commented, ‘I always said it was about me doing my ride, emptying it to the top which was always going to be horrible. It was a 19-minute effort and pacing wise we got it absolutely perfect. Then it just depended on what everyone else did and there was one guy in Westra who got very close but it’s job done.’ Adding in typically gracious style, ‘I’m pleased more for everyone else rather than myself after all the hard work the boys have put in this week. Ultimately it fell on my shoulders to finish the job off and I’m just made up that I was able to do that.’



Paris-Nice Opener

With more than a dash of national-characteristic cliché it’s probably fair to say that it takes a Brit to defy the weather like that seen at the start of yesterday’s Paris-Nice and still post a blistering time. But so it was for Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins who made his start on the opening Time Trial (9.4km, Dampierre-en-Yvelines to Saint-Remy-les-Chevreuse) third from last with heavy rain blighting conditions and the seemingly impossible task of catching up on a time of 11’19” set by Sweden’s Gustav Larsson of Vacansoleil-DCM. Finishing just a second behind the Swede, Wiggins took overall second to set himself up nicely for the coming stages.


Less fortunate was Team Saxo Bank, who not only saw Juan Jose Haedo replaced due to illness by Anders Lund at the last minute, but then witnessed their Belgian star Nick Nuyens crash out brutally on a descent and slam hip-first into a traffic island. After a check-up in hospital a bruised Nuyens reported: “Luckily, there are no broken bones. But naturally, I’m sore and especially my hip took a hard beating in the crash. My preparations for the Ronde van Vlaandern are only in danger if I’m unable to complete Paris-Nice so I’m really hoping that I’ll be back in the saddle tomorrow…”


Paris-Nice continues today with a flat, and hopefully dry, 185.5km run from Mantes-la-Jolie to Orléans.



Cobo Crowned at Vuelta

vuelta a espaniaAnd so the 2011 Vuelta a España ends; and whilst the Madrid final didn’t deliver an ultimate overall British winner it was the scene of a spectacular UK two, three podium finish for Sky’s Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins respectively, one of the finest results for a grand tour in living memory and the first time a Brit has been on the podium since Robert Millar (second in 1986). It was, of course, Spain’s Juan Jose Cobo of Geox-TMC that rode for crowning glory with a total time of 84:59:31 – with Froome on +13seconds and Wiggins + 1minute, 39seconds.


With the final stage in the country’s capital a parade lap in all but name, the unofficial rule dictates no attack on the race leader meaning Cobo’s victory was all but guaranteed by the end of the penultimate Stage 20 (185km Bilbao to Vitoria) which was won by Leopard Trek’s Italian sprint specialist Daniele Bennati. Although in theory, with a time bonus 32 seconds up for grabs, Froome could still have snatched victory, it was not to be. The final standings marked the first major tour victory of Cobo’s career.


Full results and analysis from