10 December 2009

Is Sky now no Limit for Wiggins?

Earlier this week I posted my preview of next year's Tour de France. Today comes the news that the British based Team-Sky have netted one of the two goals they were most keen to when the outfit was announced.

Sprint King Mark Cavendish may be remaining loyal to his team, indeed lead out train, at Columbia-HTC, but the other British star of last years tour Bradley Wiggins seems set to be the team leader as the team prepares for France in July, he's announced he is leaving Garmin-Slipstream to join the British outfit next year.

The three time Olympic Gold Medalist and multiple world champion on the track, finished fourth in last year's race. If it hadn't been for the return of seven time winner Lance Armstrong to last summers race, he may well have been on the podium on the day that Cav led the race over the line in the sprint on the Champs d'Elysses. Wiggo will be joining Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Russell Downing, Peter Kennaugh, Chris Froome, Steve Cummings and others in flying the flag for British cycling on the roads from now on with Team Sky.

Wiggins has also said that in last year's Tour de France it was like entering the Champions League with Wigan instead of Man United. He is teaming up again with Dave Brailsford the man who has been behind the success of the GB cycling team on the track including Wiggins earlier career. Having dominated the track Brailsford now thinks GB riders can dominate on the roads. With Wiggins on the team there is a real chance of a Brit finally making the podium in Paris, we already have in Mark Cavendish the man most likely to take the Green sprinter's jersey, but he needs his team to be geared to that goal.

4 December 2009

Parcours for the 2010 Tour de France

Mister Stephen managed to get the lovely Miss Caron to watch some of this year's Tour de France. It is a little cold outside to day so what better way to warm my paws up than to think of the sunny climes of France in July when the Grand Tour is almost exclusively within France itself. For Caron and others here is a preview of the route.

Last year the race was decided on the climb of Mont Ventoux and even Miss Caron was enjoying the spectacle and acheivement as the top five in the General Classifiacation of last year launched attack after attack on that famous climb. The race last year also started straight into a stage but 2010 will see the Prologue return as the peleton race mano a mano against the clock around Rotterdam.

Stage Two includes a reverse approach of the Rosier Climb from the Liege-Baston-Liege Classic, before ending up in Spa. Two Formula One locations in two years the Tour organisers are spoiling us cross-over fans. The following stage and the entry into France will see an astonishing 13.2 km over cobbles, hopefully not enough to stop Mark Cavendish looking for what may very well be his second or third stage win of the race if he keeps up his form of last season.

The Alps appear first in this years Tour with only two days of high mountains separated by a rest day so don't expect to race to be decided as we leave the alps on Bastille Day with the run from Chambéry to Gap.

So expect the race to heat up in the Pyrenees, where there are three consecutive days of racing from 18-20, then the climb to the top of the classic Col de Tourmalet after the rest day in Pau it what looks set to be the highest Pyrenees passes second Mountain top finish.

If it is still tight at the top of the Col it may well come down after the long run into Bordeaux with the only time trail apart from the prologue on next years tour at Paulliac on the penultimate day. Then after the overnight transfer into the heart of the country from the coast it will be run up to the arrival on the Champs-Élysée on the 25th of July.