Monthly Archives: June 2017

From Dusseldorf to Paris

Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome celebrate Tour de France victory in 2016

Chris Froome will once again be helped fellow Briton Geraint Thomas in his quest to win the Tour de France

Britain’s Chris Froome will look to win a fourth Tour de France title and third in a row when this year’s race starts on Saturday.

The three-week 3,540km (2,200 miles) race starts in Germany with a 14km individual time trial and ventures through Belgium and Luxembourg before heading into France.

The route takes the 198 riders down the eastern side of France to the Jura mountains in the opening week before a rest-day transfer across to the Dordogne in the west.

Two days in the Pyrenees mountains will dominate the second week, while the third week is all about the Alps and what race organisers will hope is a decisive 22.5km individual time trial on the penultimate stage.

Former British cyclist Rob Hayles, who will be BBC Radio 5 live’s expert summariser, offers his guide to each of the 21 stages…

Saturday, 1 July – Stage 1: Dusseldorf, 14km (8.7 miles) individual time trial

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Rob’s guide: The race returns to Germany for the first time since West Berlin hosted in 1987 when the wall was still standing. It starts with an almost pan-flat time trial that predominantly follows the river Rhine. There are a few twists and turns but nothing overly technical, although the rain that is forecast for Saturday could bring its own problems. You can’t win the Tour on stage one but you could certainly lose it. Caution may be the order of the day for the big favourites for the overall title.

One to watch: Tony Martin. The German is a four-time world time trial champion and with home support he has every chance of taking the first yellow jersey of this year’s race.

Sunday, 2 July – Stage 2: Dusseldorf – Liege, 203.5km (126.5 miles)

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Rob’s guide: That early category four hill will probably help a breakaway escape up the road but the sprinters will want to have their say in Liege so expect the race to all come back together for a bunch finale.

One to watch: Mark Cavendish. This will give both us and his rivals an idea as to whether he is over the glandular fever that has blighted his season.

Monday, 3 July – Stage 3: Verviers – Longwy, 212.5km (132 miles)

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Rob’s guide: Three stages in and a third different winner is likely. Gone are the days of the opening week being all about the sprinters. This stage has a Tour de Yorkshire feel to it with lots of short climbs that will suit the types of riders who enjoy the spring one-day classics such as Liege-Bastogne-Liege. A breakaway will form but the puncheurs will have their day. Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde and Dan Martin of the Quick-Step Floors team may fancy this one.

One to watch: Philippe Gilbert. The Belgian was born in Verviers and his solitary Tour stage win came on a similar finish in 2011.

Tuesday, 4 July – Stage 4: Mondorf-les-Bains – Vittel, 207.5km (129 miles)

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Rob’s guide: A second day for the sprinters, although race organisers are warning there may be crosswinds, which, as we’ve seen before, can decimate the peloton and wreck the chances of the contenders for the overall title if they are not paying attention.

One to watch: Marcel Kittel. The German sprinter goes into the race just two stage wins behind his rival Andre Greipel. If he won stage two, this is the chance to draw level.

Wednesday, 5 July – Stage 5: Vittel – La Planche des Belles Filles, 160.5km (100 miles)

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Rob’s guide: This is just the third time the race will visit La Planche des Belles Filles but the ski resort is already creating its own legend within the race. Chris Froome won his first Tour stage here in 2012, while Vincenzo Nibali extended his lead on his way to victory in 2014. Expect the general classification contenders to test each other on a climb that features gradients of 20%. We are only five stages in but the race has already given us every opportunity to see every type of rider. And the general classification riders will have been challenged.

One to watch: Nairo Quintana. The diminutive Colombian may have some seconds to make up after the time trial on day one and this will give an indication of how much the Giro d’Italia in May took out of him.

Thursday, 6 July – Stage 6: Vesoul – Troyes, 216km (134.2 miles)

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Rob’s guide: After a mountain-top finish, this is a relatively benign day but it will be interesting to see if La Planche des Belles Filles has sapped any energy from the sprinters because they will be expected to contest the finish on the wide boulevards of Troyes.

One to watch: Nacer Bouhanni. If there have been no French winners in the opening five stages, pressure will be mounting.

Friday, 7 July – Stage 7: Troyes – Nuits-Saint-Georges, 213.5km (132.7 miles)

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Rob’s guide: Another chance for the sprinters before the race goes seriously uphill for a couple of days. Expect the usual formula of a breakaway involving riders from the lesser teams chasing exposure for their sponsors, with the teams of the sprinters controlling the peloton’s pace, trying to time the perfect capture in the closing kilometres while setting up their man for glory. This is the fourth stage over 200km and that means by the end of the first week there will be a lot of kilometres in the legs.

One to watch: Andre Greipel. The ‘Gorilla’ may well have already added to his 11 Tour stage wins by today but if not, the German will want to be beating his chest over the finish line.

Saturday, 8 July – Stage 8: Dole – Station des rousses, 187.5km (116.5 miles)

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Rob’s guide: With Sunday’s ridiculously tough day to come, the general classification riders may opt to just keep tabs on each other, paving the way for a breakaway rider to have a day in the sun.

One to watch: Thomas Voeckler. The Frenchman is riding in his 15th and final Tour de France. He finished fourth in 2011 and has lit up the race with his infectious enthusiasm, gurning face and aggressive riding style. He may not win today’s stage but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go for one last attack.

Sunday, 9 July – Stage 9: Nantua – Chambery, 181.5km (112.8 miles)

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Rob’s guide: With three of the six hors categorie climbs in this year’s race coming today, expect those riders chasing the polka dot ‘King of the Mountains’ jersey to be making an early break and anyone who is clear over the summit of Mont du Chat will have the advantage on a technical descent to Chambery. The general classification riders will be wary of any moves made among their group and while one of their number may not win the stage, they could pick up significant seconds on the run to the finish.

One to watch: Chris Froome. The defending champion has said that the winner of this year’s race will need to be aggressive. That doesn’t necessarily mean on the ascent. Froome showed he can descend with the best last year and will need to do so again if he harbours hopes of winning again.

Monday, 10 July – Rest day, Dordogne

Tuesday, 11 July – Stage 10: Perigueux – Bergerac, 178km (110.6 miles)

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Rob’s guide: The legs can be a little slow to get moving after a rest day so this benign stage should be the perfect hit out for everyone. The general classification will be taking shape and the riders chasing the yellow jersey will stay hidden in the peloton as the sprinters prepare to do battle in Bergerac.

One to watch: Dylan Groenewegen. The fast-rising Dutchman has won five races this year, including stage one at the Tour de Yorkshire and at 24 looks to have a bright future ahead of him.

Wednesday, 12 July – Stage 11: Eymet – Pau, 203.5km (126.4 miles)

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Rob’s guide: Another flat transitional stage moves the race to the foothills of the Pyrenees. The sprinters will again be chasing the stage win after the inevitable breakaway has toiled for hours out in front.

One to watch: Arnaud Demare. The Frenchman is in good form having won his national title and stage two and the points classification at the Criterium du Dauphine.

Thursday, 13 July – Stage 12: Pau – Peyragudes, 214.5km (133.3 miles)

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Rob’s guide: A steady start to the stage gives no clue as the brutality that awaits in the final 100km. Five categorised climbs and more than 3,000m of ascending should help shake up the general classification. The final kilometre features a 200m section with a 16% gradient. We could see some significant time gaps if anyone is not on their game.

One to watch: Richie Porte. The Australian has been in great form in 2017 and rightly justifies his tag among the favourites. He has had off days on the Tour in the past though and he cannot afford another one today.

Friday, 14 July – Stage 13: Saint-Girons – Foix, 101km (62.8 miles)

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Rob’s guide: An exciting day of fast racing is almost guaranteed with the race organisers throwing in a short, sharp mountain stage on Bastille Day. French riders are duty bound to go on the attack.

One to watch: Romain Bardet. He finished second behind Chris Froome last year so he won’t be allowed to break clear by the favourites for the title but he is an excellent descender and may eke out a few seconds on the ride into Foix.

Saturday, 15 July – Stage 14: Blagnac – Rodez, 181.5km (112.8 miles)

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Rob’s guide: This will be a tough stage on tiring legs with the road going predominantly uphill for the final 100km. A breakaway could succeed here but it’s more likely that a puncheur will prevail on the uphill drag to the finish as Chris Froome and his rivals enjoy a less hectic day.

One to watch: Peter Sagan. The Slovakian will undoubtedly already have lit up the race with his aggressive riding. He will certainly have marked this stage down as one that suits his prodigious sprinting and climbing talents.

Sunday, 16 July – Stage 15: Laissac-Severac l’Eglise – Le Puy-en-Velay, 189.5km (117.7 miles)

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Rob’s guide: Part of this stage will be contested at an altitude of more than 1,000m and the opening climb to the Aubrac plateau should provide the perfect platform for a breakaway. Whether it can stay away over the late first category climb is debatable. One thing is for sure, this is an intriguing stage that will be tough and unpredictable.

One to watch: Alejandro Valverde. He will be riding for Movistar team-mate Nairo Quintana but if the race situation allows, he may be allowed to chase a stage win.

Monday, 17 July – Rest day, Le Puy-en-Velay

Tuesday, 18 July – Stage 16: Le Puy-en-Velay – Romans-sur-Isere, 165km (102.5 miles)

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Rob’s guide: A welcome rest day will have come and gone too quickly for the riders. But at least the two categorised climbs should come early enough in the day to allow the sprinters to re-group and contest the finish in the Rhone Valley.

One to watch: Mark Cavendish. He won four stages last year, despite saying he was unsure of his form. This year, a bout of glandular fever floored the Manx Missile and he said he was only racing because it was the Tour de France. He started the race on 30 stage wins, four behind Eddy Merckx’s record…

Wednesday, 19 July – Stage 17: La Mure – Serre-Chevalier, 183km (112.8 miles)

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Rob’s guide: Two huge mountain passes dominate today’s stage and the Col du Telegraphe is no easy climb either. The Col du Galibier is back on the Tour route for a 33rd time and first since 2011. It is the roof of this year’s race and the rider who reaches the top first will be rewarded with the Souvenir Henri Desgrange in memory of the Tour’s founder. It will be a big day for the general classification contenders.

One to watch: Alberto Contador. The Spaniard has won the Tour twice before and geared up his entire season around this year’s race. Is he too old, at 34, to win a third? Expect him to delight fans with his attacks as he dances his way up the Galibier but will it be enough?

Thursday, 20 July – Stage 18: Briancon- Izoard, 179.5km (111.5 miles)

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Rob’s guide: A first finish at the summit of the Col d’Izoard promises to be sensational. There could well be two races going on. The one for the yellow jersey and, with double points on offer, the one for the King of the Mountains. This will be the 35th ascent of the legendary Alp and it could be crucial to determining the winner.

One to watch: Pierre Rolland. The Frenchman won the white jersey as best young rider in 2011 but hopes he would be the first home rider to win the race since Bernard Hinault in 1985 have long faded. He loves the high mountains though and at 30 years old knows opportunities to add to his two Tour stage wins are fast running out.

Friday, 21 July – Stage 19: Embrun – Salon-de-Provence, 222.5km (138.3 miles)

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Rob’s guide: The race tumbles out of the Alps and heads southwards towards the Mediterranean on the longest stage of the race. Will the sprinters be bold enough to ask their teams to ride for them in the hope of setting up a sprint finish? Or will everyone be too tired to care and allow a breakaway to succeed? Or will a puncheur use the Col du Pointu to ride clear? I reckon it could be the latter.

One to watch: Steven Cummings. The Briton has won stages in each of the last two Tours, could he make it a hat-trick?

Saturday, 22 July – Stage 20: Marseille, 22.5km (14 miles) individual time trial

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Rob’s guide: Race organisers will be hoping that Chris Froome needs to make up time on some on his rivals because if he arrives in Marseille with any kind of advantage, it is race over. A bit of a hill two-thirds of the way into the test is not stiff enough to create any significant gaps. If nothing else, it should provide good images for the television.

One to watch: Chris Froome. Will this be a lap of honour around Marseille for the Team Sky leader? If it is, don’t back against him extending his advantage and chalking up another stage win.

Sunday, 23 July – Stage 21: Montgeron – Paris Champs-Elysees, 103km (64 miles)

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Rob’s guide: And so to the now traditional early-evening dash round Paris. The jerseys will have been decided and champagne will have been sipped on the road in from Montgeron – where the Tour de France started in 1903. Tommy Voeckler may well be allowed a lap out front on his own in recognition of his efforts before the serious racing begins for a coveted stage win on the Champs Elysees.

One to watch: Andre Greipel. The German is chasing a third successive victory on the cobbles and it will be hard to back against him. His compatriot Marcel Kittel won the two before him though and will have a say. But if four-time winner in Paris Mark Cavendish has made it to Paris and needs one more stage to catch Eddy Merckx…

The jerseys

Yellow - the coveted maillot jaune is worn by the rider how has taken the least cumulative time to complete the race after each stage and thus the overall Tour winner. The winner receives 500,000 euros (£440,000).

Green - worn by the leader of the points classification. The maillot vert rewards consistently high finishes with points being awarded for intermediate sprint and end-of-stage placings. The winner receives 25,000 euros (£22,000).

Polka dot – the maillot a pois is worn by the ‘King of the Mountains’. Points are awarded on categorised climbs with the harder ascents offering more points. The winner receives 25,000 euros (£22,000).

White - the maillot blanc has been awarded every year since 1975 and is open to riders aged 25 and under. If a rider is leading any other classification, that jersey takes precedence. The winner receives 20,000 euros (£17,600).

Other prizes

Each stage winner receives 11,000 euros (£9,680).

There is a ‘most combative rider’ prize, selected each day by a jury of four cycling experts. The rider is denoted by a red number on the following stage and the race’s most combative rider – super-combatif – is decided after the final stage and awarded 20,000 euros.

There is also a 50,000 euro (£44,000) prize for the best team performance, which is calculated by adding up the times of the first three riders on each team.

Rob Hayles was talking to BBC Sport’s Peter Scrivener

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/40415125

Will Froome win fourth title? Tour de France route & challengers

Chris Froome (in yellow) celebrates his 2016 win with team-mates and coaching staff

Chris Froome is trying to become just the fifth man to win at least four Tour titles and three in a row

The 104th edition of the Tour de France will have to go some way to beat the extraordinary scenes of last year.

The sight of race leader Chris Froome running up Mont Ventoux, frantically searching for a bike, any bike, to replace his mangled machine which lay strewn on the mountain will live long in the memory.

So too will fellow Briton Adam Yates’ misfortune when the 1km to go inflatable collapsed on him during stage seven.

And so too will the seven stage wins by British riders – including four for Mark Cavendish – matching the record set in 2012.

What stories will this year’s race, which starts on Saturday and runs for three weeks across 3,540 kilometres (2,200 miles), throw up?

Will Froome complete his third straight win and a fourth victory in five years? Will Cavendish become the leading stage winner of all time? Will we finally see a French winner after a 31-year drought?

  • ‘Like playing poker on wheels’ – inside Froome’s secret world of climbing
  • How Froome won the 2016 Tour de France

Where does the race go?

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The highest point in this year’s race comes atop the Col du Galibier at 2,642m and the first to reach its summit will be awarded the Souvenir Henri Desgrange – named in honour of the race’s founder

A total of 198 riders from 22 nine-man teams will set off on the 21-stage race. It takes in four countries and features two individual time trials, nine flat, five hilly and five mountainous stages.

And race organisers appear intent on breaking Team Sky’s recent dominance, which has been characterised by their ability to control the pace of the race. The mountain climbs are generally shorter and steeper, while two short individual time trials should not allow Froome to gain too much on his challengers.

The German city of Dusseldorf hosts the opening individual time trial and the start of stage two, which finishes in Liege, Belgium.

Dusseldorf stepped in after an abrupt U-turn from Transport for London scuppered a bid for the race to start in the English capital.

From Belgium, the race heads through Luxembourg and on into north-eastern France and then south towards the Alps to end week one.

A rest-day transfer to the Dordogne region in the west is followed by a second week dominated by the Pyrenees mountains before the Alps take centre-stage for the final week.

For the first time since 1992, the race visits all five of France’s main mountain ranges, but there are just three summit finishes.

Will Froome win?

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Since Sir Bradley Wiggins won Britain’s first Tour title in 2012, Froome has won three in four years

The man himself says he is “fresher” than he has ever been but he goes into the race without a victory in 2017. The 32-year-old’s three Tour triumphs were all preceded by winning the traditional Tour warm-up, the Criterium du Dauphine, but he only finished fourth this year.

Froome concedes that “this year’s Tour suits Richie Porte really well”, while his own Team Sky race director Nicolas Portal says they will have to “find a new way to win” because the race features fewer individual time trialling kilometres – just 37.5km – than ever before and fewer mountain climbs and summit finishes than last year.

Still, it’s hard to back against him.

He will expect to be stronger than his main rivals in the two races against the clock – on stages one and 20 – and he has eight team-mates who are well-versed in looking after their leader, keeping him out of trouble on sprint stages and delivering him to the foot of mountain climbs in the perfect position.

The first big test for those hoping to challenge will come with the summit finish at La Planche des Belles Filles on stage five. If that mountain sounds familiar, it’s because Froome won his first Tour stage there in 2012.

The ability to descend quickly is also going to play a huge part in this edition, with three stages finishing at the bottom of mountains.

Prior to last year’s race, Froome was not considered as one of the sport’s best at going downhill – but he answered his critics in fine style with a winning attack on stage eight that put him in the yellow jersey.

Belgian Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurain of Spain and French pair Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil have won a joint-record five Tours de France each. A fourth victory for Froome will elevate him to fifth on the list and cement his place among those legends.

Froome’s main challengers

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Richie Porte (right) was one of Froome’s key domestiques when he won the 2015 Tour de France

Former Team Sky team-mate Richie Porte is the man in form this year, winning a couple of early-season stage races and finishing second in the Criterium du Dauphine.

However, whether the 32-year-old Australian has the legs for the three-week test ahead is debatable. He took over as Team Sky’s leader when Froome pulled out after a crash in 2014, but he struggled in the high mountains and finished 23rd.

His best result was last year’s fifth but the BMC Racing rider tends to have one bad day that destroys his chances.

Nairo Quintana is one of the few who can ride away from Froome in the mountains and the paucity of time trialling this year race will also help the 27-year-old Colombian’s cause – but he needs to be more aggressive.

It will be interesting to see if the Movistar rider, who has twice finished runner-up to Froome (2013 and 2015) is helped or hindered by competing in Italy’s equivalent race, the Giro d’Italia, where he finished second in May.

Should Quintana fade, Movistar have Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde in their ranks. The 37-year-old won his home tour – the Vuelta a Espana – in 2009 and has had seven other podium finishes, including third at the 2015 Tour.

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Will Quintana, Contador or Valverde be strong enough to break Froome in the mountains?

Alberto Contador has won all three Grand Tours at least twice, but while the 34-year-old Spaniard is not as feared as he once was, he will be a marked rider.

Expect dancing on the pedals and sharp attacks in the high mountains as the Trek-Segafredo rider tries to shake up those chasing podium places.

Italy’s big hope for the race is Fabio Aru. The Astana man is only 26 but his aggressive riding in the mountains helped him win his solitary Grand Tour to date – the 2015 Vuelta.

He has a super-domestique in Jakob Fuglsang and the Dane is in terrific form, having attacked on the final stage to beat Porte at the Dauphine. However, the 32-year-old’s ambitions of a podium finish will be tempered by Aru’s progress.

What price a French winner? Home fans will not need reminding that they have had little to celebrate since Bernard Hinault’s victory back in 1985.

Romain Bardet carries the weight of the nation’s expectations this year. The 26-year-old AG2R-La Mondiale rider finished runner-up to Froome in 2016, but he was more than four minutes adrift. Again, a lack of individual time trials will help the climbing specialist, but can he take on Froome in the high mountains?

Can Cav catch Eddy?

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Mark Cavendish will never win the Tour de France, while Merckx (right) won the race a joint-record five times

From a British point of view, the most interesting sub-plot in a race that always features many, will be whether Cavendish can equal, or even surpass Belgian legend Merckx’s record of 34 Tour stage wins.

The ‘Manx Missile’ starts his 11th Tour on 30 and in half of the previous 10 he has won at least four stages.

And with nine designated ‘flat’ stages this year, you would think there would be ample opportunity for the team Dimension Data sprint specialist to add to his tally.

However, the 32-year-old has missed three months of this year after being diagnosed with glandular fever, caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.

Cavendish returned in the Tour of Slovenia in mid-June and also rode in the British national championships, on the Isle of Man.

But he said of his inclusion in this year’s race: “If I am being totally honest, had this not been the Tour de France we may have collectively taken a different approach.”

Having written all that, Cavendish went into last year’s race unsure of his form after spending much of the year training for an Olympic medal tilt on the track in Rio and he went on to claim his first yellow jersey and four stage wins.

Who can stop Cavendish?

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Cavendish won stage one last year, beating Kittel (centre) and Greipel, to claim his first yellow jersey

German sprinters Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel are the most likely candidates.

A former team-mate of Cavendish, Greipel has won 11 Tour stages, while Kittel has picked up nine.

Also keep an eye out for 24-year-old rising star Dylan Groenewegen. The Dutchman had three top-10 finishes on his Tour debut last year and Tour de Yorkshire fans will recognise his name after he won stage one in 2016 and 2017.

National road champion Arnaud Demare, 25, and 26-year-old Nacer Bouhanni are the French hopes. Bouhanni, you may recall, had to withdraw from last year’s Tour after injuring his hand in an altercation at a hotel.

The race for green

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Sagan’s aggressive style of racing has endeared himself to fans

Slovakia’s Peter Sagan is favourite to retain the green points jersey that he has won in such entertaining fashion for the past five years and equal Erik Zabel’s record.

The classification rewards consistently high finishes on each stage and because Sagan has a rare ability to mix with the sprinters and tackle minor climbs he has dominated the classification since Cavendish took the title in 2011.

However, race organisers also appear keen to stop Sagan’s fun and give the pure sprinters more of a sniff.

Will Sagan find a way of accumulating enough points? The race for green should keep the Tour interesting on days when Froome and his rivals are busy reserving their energy for the mountains.

Any other Brits in the race?

Yes. Seven.

Welsh duo Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe will be part of Team Sky’s nine-man squad.

Thomas is riding in his eighth Tour, having been a key domestique for Froome in each of his three previous wins. He had been Team Sky’s leader in May’s Giro d’Italia but his race was ultimately ended by a crash involving a police motorbike.

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Thomas will again be one of Froome’s main helpers in the mountains

Joining Cavendish in Team Dimension Data are Yorkshireman Scott Thwaites and newly crowned national road race and time trial champion Steven Cummings. The 36-year-old has won two Tour stages, including a solo victory last year.

Simon Yates will share Tour leadership duties for Orica-Scott. The 24-year-old climber won a stage and finished sixth in the 2016 Vuelta a Espana. Will he emulate his twin brother Adam, who won the white jersey as best young rider in 2016?

Sprinter Dan McLay, who impressed with four top-10 finishes on his Tour debut last year, returns with the Fortuneo-Vital Concept team, while former Sky rider Ben Swift will be racing for UAE Team Emirates.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/40416666

Andre Cardoso suspended for failed drugs test and misses Tour de France

Andre Cardoso

Andre Cardoso joined the Trek-Segafredo team for the 2017 season, and was set to be a support rider for Alberto Contador

Portuguese cyclist Andre Cardoso has been suspended by his team for a failed drugs test, four days before the start of the Tour de France.

The 32-year-old, one of nine men in the Trek-Segafredo team that includes 2009 Tour winner Alberto Contador, tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO).

Cardoso’s sample was taken at an out-of-competition test on 18 June, said the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Spanish rider Haimar Zubeldia will take Cardoso’s place in the team.

EPO boosts the production of red blood cells, which speeds up the delivery of oxygen to muscles.

A Trek-Segafredo statement read: “It is with deep disappointment that we have just learned that our rider, Andre Cardoso, has tested positive for a prohibited substance.

“In accordance with our zero-tolerance policy, he has been suspended immediately.

“We hold our riders and staff to the highest ethical standards and will act and communicate accordingly as more details become available.”

Cardoso has completed seven Grand Tours but never raced in the Tour de France, which runs from 1-23 July.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/40425356

Cummings completes national road race & time trial double

Steve Cummings

Cummings had already beaten Movistar rider Alex Dowsett to win Thursday’s time trial

Steve Cummings became the first man in 10 years to win the British national road race and time trial titles.

The Team Dimension Data rider, 36, won with a solo attack in the final 10km of Sunday’s road race on the Isle of Man to emulate David Millar’s 2007 double.

Chris Lawless was second and Ian Bibby third, while Mark Cavendish, racing for the second time after three months out with glandular fever, finished 21st.

In the women’s race, ex-world champion Lizzie Deignan won her fourth title.

The Boels-Dolmans rider, who won the Tour de Yorkshire in April, caught long-time leader Elinor Barker in the final stages of the 103.7km course.

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The Isle of Man’s Peter Kennaugh finished fourth

Katie Archibald and defending champion Hannah Barnes were second and third respectively.

“It’s one of the hardest national championships I’ve ever won,” said 28-year-old Deignan.

“I’m very proud of the fact that we have so many women now who are capable of competing internationally as well as domestically.”

Cummings, who won the time trial title on Thursday, went clear in the final stages of the 193.7km men’s road race to leave Axeon-Hagens Berman rider Lawless and Bibby of JLT Condor trailing.

2014 and 2015 road race champion Peter Kennaugh, racing for Team Sky in front of a home crowd alongside fellow Manxman Cavendish, was fourth.

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Lizzie Deignan’s previous National Road Championship titles came in 2011, 2013 and 2015

Thursday was Cummings’ first race since he fractured his collarbone, shoulder blade and sternum in a crash at the Tour of the Basque Country in April.

“It was a really tough race. That style of competition is what you miss when you haven’t been racing, it was punchy and explosive,” he said.

“It’s nice to be back doing what I do and I’m looking forward to whatever is next. It’ll be nice to be at the Tour de France and to get stuck in.”

Team Dimension Data, for whom Cavendish also rides, are yet to announce their squad for this year’s Tour, which begins on Saturday.

Cavendish, 32, has the second highest number of stage wins in the race’s history with 30 – four fewer than legendary Belgian Eddy Merckx – but he is not certain of a place in the team following his recent illness.

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Manx cyclist Mark Cavendish was competing on home soil.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/40398657

Mark Cavendish confirmed for Tour de France after recovering from glandular fever

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish is chasing Eddy Merckx’s Tour de France record of 34 stage wins

Mark Cavendish is one of three Britons who will be racing for Team Dimension Data at the Tour de France.

The 30-time Tour de France stage winner will be joined by compatriots Steve Cummings and Scott Thwaites.

Cavendish, 32, recently returned to racing after three months out with glandular fever.

“If I am being totally honest, had this not been the Tour de France we may have collectively taken a different approach with regards to my inclusion,” he said.

“But I feel that I owe it to myself, the team, our sponsors and most importantly to the Tour itself given its history and everything that it stands for – as well as the emotional attachment I have for it – to give it my best and to put everything I have into trying to help the team.”

The Tour de France starts on Saturday 1 July, with Team Sky’s Chris Froome, of Britain, aiming for a third straight race victory, and fourth overall.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/40407394

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