Contador and Froome Near Miss

Contador and Froome Near MissYesterday’s Stage 16 (168km – Vaison-la-Romaine to Gap) near miss between Alberto Contador and Chris Froome on the final descent of Col de Manse seems to be attracting some tenuous comparisons to the drama between Lance Armstrong and Joseba Beloki ten years previously. Whilst the Texan/Spaniard encounter of 2003 left Beloki with multiple fractures and saw Armstrong going very much ‘off road’, yesterday’s action was more mundane (though certainly with potential for worse consequences) when Contador’s aggressive attack saw him slip wide on a bend, forcing Froome to take evasive action and momentarily unclip. Contador was certainly risking all in his hell-for-leather approach but as Sunday’s effort on Mont Ventoux proved it seems futile attaching Froome and his wingman Richie Porte on ascents.


Froome was certainly flustered by the interaction post-race but remained in trademark analytic mood, saying, ‘It was quite a dangerous descent and a bit careless of Alberto Contador to attack like that. He was really pushing the limits around the corners and pushed himself too far when he crashed in front of me. I went off the road a little bit and had to correct myself, unclip, and get back going again…’ Taking to social media later he tweeted: ‘Almost went over your head @albertocontador.. Little more care next time?’


As a reminder of just how much more dramatic the Armstrong/Beloki incident was, take a look at the video below…




Mountains of the Tour de France

The Tour de France is many things to many people, but to most the race is synonymous with the mountains – the Alps, the Pyrenees, even the surprisingly lumpy bits in Corsica… Thanks to our friends at RoadCycling UK, we’re delighted to bring you another of their gorgeous in-graphics, this one looking at more literal highs of the Tour de France

Tour de France Mountains

To see the Tour de France in Numbers click here, take a look at RoadCycling UK’s Anatomy of Chris Froome info-graphic here or take a look at our guide to the six British riders in this year’s Tour de France here.


Want more? The Origins of the Tour de France here and our review of the Tour de France 100th Race Anniversary Edition book here. And, of course, for more great content from RoadCycling UK visit their website.



Greig Leach the Art of the Tour de France

There are so many ways to enjoy the Tour de France – on TV, the apps, twitter, actually being there (you lucky things), but few have brought us as much pleasure as following the on-going work of artist Greig Leach. Time, we thought, to share… Greig is a one-time amateur club bike racer, participating in the DC and Richmond, Virginia areas of the US; he’s also a talented (and successful) artist with a passion for capturing the urgency and energy of the Pro Tours. Throughout this week we will be bringing you some of his highlights – starting with the drama of last Sunday’s Mont Ventoux below. To learn more about his work and for details of his substantial output from this year’s Tour see


Greig Leach



Mont Ventoux Beats Contador

Mont Ventoux has become an icon of the Tour de France and Stage 15’s 242.5km from Givors to the bleak mountain finish did not go short of drama for the 100th edition of the race. Team Sky’s Chris Froome, brilliantly partnered by teammate Richie Porte, won the stage to solidly extend his lead in the General Classifications (and display some of the most impressive climbing legs of recent years) but the day was as much about the failure of Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador as the success of Froome…


When Froome made his tactical move with 7km of hard work still ahead, Contador reacted in initially combative style but entirely failed to live up to expectations, his race falling to pieces beneath his pedals; ultimately he finished sixth – some 1minute 40seconds off pace. Post-stage he was in an analytical frame, commenting,  ‘I had enough trouble climbing in our pace as it were so ‘chapeau’ to him (Froome). There’s really not much more you can say. Froome is very strong. I’ve always been thinking about winning. That’s the goal but every day there is a face-to-face situation he takes even more distance. But we’ll see. In the Tour you never know what will happen until Paris. Now I just think about recovering and enjoying the rest day. Going for second position is secondary… It was a difficult stage. Especially because it was very fast throughout the first half. We rode at an incredible pace because teams like Europcar wanted to put someone in the break and they failed.’


When it came to the subject of the notorious mountain itself, Contador added, ‘We arrived at the foot of Mont Ventoux with 220 kilometers in the legs and with that pace we didn’t have much strength left. I was trying to follow Froome as I knew that he had to be more attentive to Quintana. He knew that he had a chance, because it was a single climb and in a face to face with the rest, he would have the advantage…  I don’t think anyone can beat Froome uphill unless he has a bad day but let’s see what happens in the Alps stages where several climbs may cause damage to his team. The Tour is not over until Paris although the overall difference is already big.’


Chris Froome’s domination on Ventoux came a day after the anniversary of the death of Tom Simpson on the climb in 1967 with the Team Sky rider commenting: ‘I think today has to be the most memorable and the biggest win I’ve had in my career so far – given that this is the 100th Tour de France. To win a stage like that, at the end of 242km of racing, with the crowds that were out on the road and the way the team delivered me to the climb; it was just a massive, massive victory for me… The team did a huge job in getting me to the climb in that first position.’



Lotto Belisol: Behind the Scenes

There’s far more to a successful team at the Tour de France than just a squad of outstanding riders – mechanics, soigneurs, chefs; without those behind the scenes the modern team simply couldn’t function. Thanks to our friends at RoadCycling UK, we’re delighted to bring you another of their gorgeous in-graphics, this one looking at the inner workings of Andre Greipel’s Lotto Belisol team.

loto belisol

To see the Tour de France in Numbers click here, take a look at RoadCycling UK’s Anatomy of Chris Froome info-graphic here or take a look at our guide to the six British riders in this year’s Tour de France here.


Want more? The Origins of the Tour de France here and our review of the Tour de France 100th Race Anniversary Edition book here. And, of course, for more great content from RoadCycling UK visit their website.



Edvald Boasson Hagen out of TdF

Edvald Boasson Hagen out of TdFTeam Sky have announced that Edvald Boasson Hagen has been forced to abandon the Tour de France due to injury after yesterday’s crash which happened as the peloton prepared for the bunch sprint. Despite remounting and finishing the stage (218km Fougères to Tours) Boasson Hagen was visibly in pain and medical checks revealed a fractured scapula (shoulder blade). Boasson Hagen’s withdrawal reduces Team Sky to just seven riders with Vasil Kiryienka having missed the time cut on Stage 9. Team Sky’s doctor, Alan Farrell, confirmed the news, saying: ‘After the crash Edvald was taken to a local medical centre for x-rays which revealed he had a fracture of his right scapula… Fortunately this doesn’t require surgery but Edvald will return home to Norway for further investigation and treatment and we look forward to seeing him racing again sometime over the summer.”’


Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford added: ‘It’s a real shame for Edvald and a setback for the team that he’s been forced to abandon the race… It’s never nice to lose a rider of Edvald’s ability, but ultimately we’re still confident that with the riders we’ve got left we can pull together and see the race through. The plan doesn’t change and we will do everything we can to support Chris (Froome).’


Froome, who retained the leader’s yellow jersey at the end of yesterday’s stage, tweeted: ‘Tough day today loosing Eddie BH from our lineup with a fractured shoulder. Such a great guy, we’re going to miss him on & off the bike!’



Cavendish Banned from Boxmeer Criterium

Mark CavendishRace organisers at the Boxmeer Criterium in Holland have said that Mark Cavendish is no longer welcome at the event and have withdrawn his name following the controversial collision between the Omega Pharma-Quick Step sprinter and Dutchman Tom Veelers in the closing seconds of Stage 10 of the Tour de France on Tuesday. TdF organisers absolved Cavendish of blame, but heated debates have rumbled on.


Dutch news agency ANP are reporting that Cavendish will not be allowed to compete in the one-day event, which takes place on July 22, the day after the TdF finishes, with organiser Twan Poels telling NOS television, ‘I saw the images of the sprint on the television and together with the committee I decided to withdraw Cavendish from our list of participants,” organiser Twan Poels told NOS television… The jury may think that he was not responsible for Tom Veelers’ fall. We think the complete opposite.’


Despite his current performance in the Tour, not a good week from the ‘Manx Missile’ who, inexcusably, had urine thrown over him by spectators during yesterday’s ITT stage. In an attempt to laugh the incident off Cavendish subsequently tweeted: ‘Well I think the apple juice looks far from appetising for me tonight… And I’m not taking the piss. Did that once already today. #standup’


For more on Cavendish’s tweets (and responses) to the collision with Veelers click here.



Mark Cavendish on Twitter

Mark Cavendish on TwitterA bunch sprint and a terrifying looking final bend before the line was not a recipe for an event-free finish at yesterdays Tour de France; with seconds to go Mark Cavendish made contact Marcel Kittel’s lead-out man Tom Veelers, sending the Argos-Shimano rider sprawling. Kittel claimed victory, Cavendish still managed third (behind Lotto’s Andre Greipel), but the spat over who was to blame for the tumble quickly escalated, with Cav agitated enough to make a grab for a reporters recorder. Organisers have made it clear that Cav will not be penalised over the incident – effectively absolving him – but that well know court of arbitration, Twitter, has been aglow with ‘expert’ opinion. Here, for your delectation, is both Cavendish’s twitterage and some of the choicest comments that surrounded the debate…


Mark Cavendish @MarkCavendish


‘Not seen a replay of the final yet, but was involved in an incident with Tom Veelers. Whatever has happened, if I’m at fault, I’m sorry.’


‘There’s no way I’d move on a rider deliberately, especially one not contesting a sprint. I hope ?@tom_veelers is ok.’


‘Just seen the sprint. I believe I didn’t move line. I’m actually coming past Veelers & we touch elbows when he moves. Anyway, hope he’s ok.’


‘Can all sprint experts on twitter go & try flicking their bike right at 65kph without leaning your body left to balance & come back to me.’


‘If you wonder what happened to the journalists dictaphone yesterday, I gave it back literally 9 seconds after I took it #shitpickpocket’


The Best of the Rest


Colin Murray ?@ColinMurray

‘#cavendish asked was crash his fault, and he stole the journos tape recorder! So funny. He’s a one-man soap opera!! #tdf’


Wiggly Braddins ??@BradleyWiggins4

‘Breaking News! Cavendish wins ‘most aggressive rider’ of the day award.’


Callum O’Neil ?@Callum9592

‘From the grimace and extra shoulder nudge on top of additional movement for balance, can’t help but think #Cav was deliberate in crash #tdf’


Matt Goss ??@mattgoss1986

‘That was a close as u can come to going down in a sprint today! Veelers bike hit my front wheel then my leg then sent me in the air at 70kph’


Peddler ??@SecurityLog1

‘A lot of Twitter people telling Mark Cavendish how to sprint. The simplicity of instant opinion ?#ludicrous’


Stuart Edwards ??@StueyEd

‘Breaking news – French Police raiding OPQS team bus…’


‘…oh, hang on, nothing to do with doping – apparently they have a warrant to search the bus for a stolen tape recorder!’


James Lucas ??@RabAusten

‘Break away! Peloton,

fearful of an echelon.

Trains fight for space,

as Lotto set a pace.

Cav & Arg’y Bargy.

Kittel 1st to the party.’