Jul 3, 2015

Friday File: TdF; Dishing up the Classics and my predictions, Key numbers and Classic Cool

Ag2R recon on les paves.

One day to go and cobbles/Muy du Huy
is on the menu...

I agree with Sean Kelly (winner of 4 of 5 monuments) on his prediction that the upcoming cobbles on stage 4 will be perilous, especially for the Fantastic Four. If the weather turns wet and windy, like last year, light weight's Quintana, Contador and Froome will 'not suit them.' Nibali would have the advantage in rotten conditions and ride like hell over the hell of the north cobble section to gain advantage before the mountains begin. It's always difficult to predict a race that's so unpredictable. The forecast is for sunny skies but that doesn't ensure an easy ride. Nibali will have it slightly better than the other three as it will be a day of hard fast riding. It will be to his advantage to gain time on the three climbers before the mountains start on stage 10 into the Pyrenees. Then we'll see who's really in form.

The previous stage will finish on the Muy du Huy and really favors Valverde, Martin and Rodriguez.

Stage 3 Antwerp-Huy 160km: Dan Martin will win in classics style.

My prediction, Stage 4 Seraing-Cambrai 223.5km: Sep VanMarcke will conquer his favorite cobbles.

The Fantastic Four: The battle will be in the mountains.

Before the storm,
The Gorilla at rest.

Before the battle begins, starting with the Ultrecht ITT, here's two from Le Tour past...

Classic Cool: 

As if the Badger knows only how to race.

Bring back the Michelin men on bikes!

1977 Tour.

When the dust finally settles, my prediction to win the 2015 Tour de France: 

The Fantastic One.

Jul 1, 2015

My Picks: KoMs, Sprinters & Happy/Hot Canada Day

 Classic Cool: Richard Virenque comfortably poses with his record 7 KoMs jerseys.

King(s) of the Mountains...

MTN Qhubeka is the first African team to participate in Le Tour de France. I'm looking at this group of riders to win a stage and perhaps compete for the KoMs jersey. Two guys I'll be closely watching are climbers; Daniel Teklehaimanot, fresh from earning their first ever World Tour leaders jersey in the Dauphine and Louis Mentjes. 

Both riders are making their maiden voyage in Le Tour had strong performances in the Dauphine and look poised for the big stage. I'm hoping that climbing ace Mentjes can shine in the second part of the race in the high mountains and come out with a stage win and/or wear the KoMs jersey.

Climbing high!
via Louismeintjies.wordpress.com

Colombian cycling is known for it's depth of talented climbers and Trek's Julian Arredondo, winner of the KoMs 2014 Giro d'ltalia will be looking to win the polka dot jersey. 

At 5ft5", Arredondo is probably the smallest rider in this Tour. How small is his bike? Here's his winning 2014 Trek Madone...

The return of the Colombian escarabajos.


The sprinting crown has opened up, now that Marcel Kittel is out of Le Tour. I'm glad that Nacer Bouhanni is back and I'm wondering if he is fit enough to sprint against the likes of Cavendish, Greipel, Kristoff, Sagan and Coquard? 

Bouhanni's injuries from his fall in the French national road race looked certain his Tour hopes were gone. Maybe he has a trick up his sleeve...

Poised for the one-two or just making everyone guess his next move?

better times ahead?

Can Peter Sagan win the green jersey? My answer he'll win a stage and the green jersey. Now, winning a fourth green jersey will tie him with Sean Kelly but the main objective for Tinkoff Saxo is the yellow. A green jersey will be happy icing on their tumultuous cake. From his blog, Oleg Tinkov says about Sagan...

It was suggested that he wasn't happy and might leave team before the end of his contract. The truth is that we both have a contract that we have to respect but everything is possible. We'll see what happens after the Tour de France.  

Happy Canada Day!

Today is Hot Canada Day and I celebrated with my ride up Burnaby Mountain where the heat was working up to 30C. I started early at 8 AM in hopes of beating the heatwave, to no avail. Still it was a  fun ride. We're trying to endure living through a record heatwave and what better image to combat the hot weather riding...

Jun 29, 2015

Cycling on the Mattamy National Velodrome with Steve Bauer and Curt Harnett.

With the help of Steve Bauer and Curt Harnett, CBC news reporter David Common takes a ride on the new Mattamy National Cycling Centre velodrome in Milton, Ontario. For a first timer, he looks good on his first ride on a velodrome. The track looks rather impressive made from ...Siberian hardwood and built for the upcoming Pan Am Games. The velodrome is the first ever UCI regulated indoor velodrome in Canada. Giuseppe Marinoni set the hour track record (75-79 age group), 35.728 km at the Montichiari velodrome, Italy. He plans to set the hour record, in the over 80 category, in 2017 at the Milton, Ontario velodrome.

Allez Pepe!

Pepe Marinoni smashing the hour record (35.728 km) on the same track bike 
he made for Jocelyn Lovell, Oct. 20, 2012 Montichiari Velodrome.

Jun 28, 2015

Classic Cool - 1974 Giro d'ltalia The Greatest Show on Earth

Classic Cool guys #capsnothats

This is the first post titled, 'Classic Cool.' This will be everything that I found to be cool in cycling; riders, bikes, races and anything else that was cool in it's cycling heyday. I'm not dismissing current cycling coolness, which there are a plenty. I like the old school. From time to time, I'll probably throw in some current coolness but for now it will be all about past cycling coolness that continues to inspire me. Enjoy!

up the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Cima Coppi).

The Greatest Show on Earth (Italian version)...

Jun 26, 2015

Friday File: Eight days, Tourmalet & Vive Le Maillot Blanc

A young King Kelly showing his climbing legs on top of the Tourmalet, 1978 Tour de France.

Eight days until for the Grand Depart in Ultrecht and one of my favorite and iconic climbs will be on the menu on stage 11. The Col du Tourmalet is the most visited mountain (81 times so far) and famous as part of the circle of death including the Peyresourde, Aspin and Aubisque. An incensed Octave Lapize called Tour officials, 'assassins' during 1910 Tour stage after walking up the dirt road ascent of the Tourmalet. That was the first stage to use the Tourmalet, a long slough of 326km. Thankfully, those days of long torturous distances are long gone replaced by more 'humane' distances such as stage 11 (161 km) that include the Tourmalet. The above image is a young Sean Kelly (first Tour appearance) leading up teammate Freddy Martens on top of the Tourmalet.

Octave Lapize, 1910 Tour de walk in the Pyrenees.

This upcoming Tour de France will be exciting for the yellow but here are my top three picks for the equally exciting young riders classification...

Romain Bardet (24 yrs old -AG2R)

Romain Bardet is back  to win the white jersey and to better his 6th place from last year. 

Thibault Pinot (25 yrs old -FDJ)

Last year's white jersey winner, Thibault Pinot is back to improve upon his exceptional third overall and also go for a consecutive white jersey. 

Louis Meintjes (MTN Qhubeka)

Winning the 2014 Coppi e Bartali

Louis Meintjes is a climber and can contest the KoMs classification but he'll ride his first Tour and will be up there for the white jersey. He's 23 and won the 2014 Coppi e Bartali and best young rider in the 2015 Giro del Trentino.

Laurent Fignon (23 yrs old - Renault ELF)

1983 Tour de Fignon.

Laurent Fignon was the first rider to win both the white jersey and the yellow jersey in the same Tour since 1975.

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