Today’s finish in Carmaux will be crucial for the green jersey competition as it pits puncheurs like Philippe Gilbert against Mark Cavendish and the other pure sprinters. Currently Gilbert leads the competition by 45 points from Movistar’s Jose Rojas. Mark Cavendish is third, 19 points behind Rojas.
Procycling has just driven the final 25kms. The two categorised climbs shouldn’t cause any splits but there are two 90-degree turns within the final kilometre, making it very technical. If Cavendish’s HTC-Highroad team want to deliver him to the line, their lead-out on the superfast run-in (it’s practically all down hill for the final 3kms) needs to be absolutely perfect.
If Cavendish scores the maximum 45 points today, he could be in green after tomorrow on the relatively straightforward sprint stage to Lavaur. But if he fluffs it and Gilbert collects around 26-30 points – a distinct possibility – the Manxman will have a real fight on his hands to stay in the running for the jersey in Paris. After today there are two, perhaps three opportunities left where Cav could score big – Montpellier, the Champs Elysees and maybe into Gap on stage 16. Gilbert and Rojas, let us not forget are far superior climbers to Cavendish and its likely they will be able to nip over early cols to pick up points at the intermediate sprints.
As we predicted before the race started, the green jersey is developing into a fascinating competition, pitting wildly different riders against each other.
On our Tour preview cover we had Thor Hushovd nonchalantly leaning on Mark Cavendish’s shoulder in front of the Arc de Triomphe. It was a piece of mischievous Photoshop work based on their run into Besancon in 2009 when Cavendish was disqualified for closing out Hushovd in the sprint for the line. Ultimately, that disqualification ensured the Norwegian won the green jersey in Paris. It was a controversial decision and Cavendish would have been in green if the commissaires had swayed the other way.
Procycling’s ops ed, Jamie, rides the new aero bike from Specialized, compares it to its aero rivals and wonders whether the bike can live up to the hype
When the reigning Tour champion fails a drugs test, keeping a low profile is impossible. But while Alberto Contador’s fate was awaiting a decision, he kept media interviews to a minimum. Following the repeal of his provisional suspension, Procycling caught up with him in Spain. He talks frankly about life since his positive test for clenbuterol at last year’s Tour and how support from fans pulled him back from the brink of quitting the sport.
Like Contador, Alexandre Vinokourov divides opinion too. Exciting road racer, unrepentant ex-blood doper or both? Either way, his is a fascinating story shaped as much by his own strong will as the tumultuous era in which he has competed. We explore the various stages of Vinokourov’s career.
Garmin-Cervélo’s Christian Vande Velde is far less controversial but no less engaging because of it. An eloquent, humorous and open interviewee, we get to know the man whose fourth place at the Tour in 2008 vindicated years’ of struggle and cemented his place as one of the most respected members in the peloton.
Regular Procycling contributor Richard Moore has written a book about the fascinating dual between Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond at the 1986 Tour. We’ve got an extract from the book and we also ask if it was the best Tour ever – some of our other contributors beg to disagree.
It’s available in newsagents from today.
Enjoy the issue!
When Multipower visited to show us the nutrition range that keeps Liquigas-Cannondale going, operations editor Jamie Wilkins helped himself to the energy bars, gels and juice on offer and went for a ride with the brand’s ambassador, triathlete Will Clarke. Here’s how they got on
James Moss, riding for Endura Racing is back from a tough Tour de Bretagne, bloodied but unbowed. After the team lost the jersey on Stage 3 and a disastrous stage 4 in which four of the team took a tumble, René Mandri was still in with a chance of winning the overall. Here’s how the action unfolded in the final stages.
Sprinters are not known for their cosy relationships and the latest contretemps to emerge is between André Greipel and Kenny Van Hummel, after the latter was accused of hitching a ride on the hills in previous stages of the Presidential Tour of Turkey.
Procycling is currently following the Presidential Tour of Turkey, which made a symbolic crossing of the Bosphorus Bridge on stage 1, linking Europe with Asia.
James Moss, a rider for Endura Racing is racing the Tour de Bretagne at the moment. He gives us his view from inside the peloton.
This month, our operations editor Jamie Wilkins has been putting the new Schwalbe Ultremo tubular tyres through their paces – and through some potholes by the looks of things. Here’s what he thought.