Who Really Won The Tour de France?


"I think that's it guys, you can take the stabilisers off now,"

“I think that’s it guys, you can take the stabilisers off now,”

Now That Was A Tour de Force

After last year’s golden daze of cycling mayhem, a first British TdF winner followed immediately by a hugely successful cycling Olympics, it was always going to be hard to get a better Tour. However, this Tour has exceeded all expectations. Finally visiting every single French Department (check), outstanding drama from the word go (check), brief punch through the Pyrenees (check), cross winds and echelons (check) and a kick ass finale up some really big alps (double and sometimes treble check). And finally the kind of spectacle that only the French can provide going down the Champs-Élysées and round the Arc de Triomphe. This Tour had everything. So really it was the Tour that came out on top.  The rest are merely basking in its shadow.

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Who’s Really Winning The Tour de France (part deux)


"Yes, I think you'll find I've just won the Tour de France, unless you care to stop me..."

“Yes, I think you’ll find I’ve just won the Tour de France, unless you care to stop me…”

Back On The Offensive

Friday looks like being the new ‘attack day’ on this tour We saw the very briefest of phoney wars being overtaken by full on action as first Omega Pharma Quickstep, then Saxo Tinkoff blew the peloton apart on the way to Saint-Amand-Montrond. Last week it was Cannondale shredding the peloton over some mini-mountains and effectively winning the Green jersey for Sagan, this week it was Mark Cavendish’s team doing everything to eliminate the sprinting competition as they took advantage of some serious cross-winds and the whole show went echelon crazy. Saxo-Tinkoff then blew the remnants of the peloton apart as they sought to claw back some of Chris Froome’s time advantage over Contador, before Cavendish put the icing on the cake and outsprinted Sagan to take the stage.
 
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Who’s Really Winning The Tour de France?


2013 Tour de France route map

Less a circle than a strangely designed @ symbol, the 2013 route has been a masterpiece so far…

This Is Offensive Sport

The tediousness of the 2013 Prem season aside, this has been something of a watershed year for sport. You can almost feel the barriers coming down and there’s a real sense of the old guard/old systems being superseded by the brash new kids. For me the most obvious sign has been the refusal of lesser players to be cowed and the rise of offensive play. The most perfect example of this being Bayern Munich taking the game to Barcelona and crushing them in the process, but you could also see it in the strategies employed by teams like Tahiti, Japan and Brazil in the recent, excellent Confederations Cup.

In essence it’s a reaction at the consistent dominance of the big players. Faced with what appear to be fait accomplis, the smaller, supposedly weaker teams have recognised that there’s little point in simply playing the defensive game, hoping your opponents crumble and somehow let you into the game. Instead they have taken the game to their opponents, surprising them in the process.

Sure it doesn’t always work. Both Tahiti and Japan crashed and burnt, losing all their matches and being roundly spanked in the process, but it really worked for a Brazil team that had looked distinctly average when playing against Engerland only a fortnight before their Confederations Cup final against Spain. Their desire to attack meant they scored vital early goals which changed the complexion of their games and won them the Cup.

This Is An Offensive Tour

Cycling has had a similar epiphany. Faced with the apparent dominance of Sky, other teams and riders have have to adapt to have any chance of winning. Right from the off this Tour has been offensive. Even the route has been unsettling. Riders have had to compete right from the start, without the usual bedding-in time trial that would give the also-rans a comfortable, breakaway legitimising deficit from the word go.

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Definitely Maybe


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Bamberlamberdam – New Track by Lairds of Scunthorpe


Hot off the master presses, this is the ready for release version.

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Old Tech Still Out There Working


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Over at Google’s rather disappointing East London campus. Here is some old tech they’ve got running the show. No doubt their upcoming Kings Cross HQ will be more suited to the 21st Century.

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