Blazin' Saddles

  • News that Lance Armstrong has given up the fight to clear his name and has now been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles has rocked the world of cycling.

    Here was a man renowned for never throwing in the towel — a man who once crashed on his way to winning at Luz Ardiden, a man who recovered from life-threatening cancer not only to live a healthy life but also to win cycling's hardest stage race seven times — finally saying, quite literally, that "enough is enough".

    The US Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency claim that by stepping down, Armstrong has effectively conceded

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  • Vuelta a Espana preview: Contador v Froome

    It's less than a month since Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France in Paris, but it's that time of year again: the third and final Grand Tour of the season, the revenge race and last chance saloon that is the Vuelta a Espana.

    In between Paris and Pamplona we have even had the small matter of the Olympics. While many riders have had a hectic schedule, for one of them - the overwhelming race favourite - the Vuelta marks the first major stage race of the season. Yes, Alberto Contador is back — and in most people's minds, anything less than the overall win for Bertie in Madrid would be a major

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  • Six things learnt in the past week

    For obvious reasons, it's been a rather busy week for any sports blogger based in London. Along with all the Olympic action going on around town, there's the small matter of all the National House parties to attend (for networking purposes and research), not to mention the pursuit of that elusive late-night invite back to the Athletes' Village from one one of the Dutch women's field hockey team.

    In a haze of Naomi van As hecticness, Saddles has managed to make the following six observations about the world of cycling this week...

    Hoy is the greatest

    Last week Bradley Wiggins was the toast of

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  • Team GB on track with Lord Wiggo

    Bradley WigginsLike everyone in the UK, Saddles is currently gripped in Olympic euphoria — so much so that he had to escape to the far reaches of Cornwall in the south-west of England last weekend for fear of suffocation by London 2012 smug satisfaction.

    But down in wet and dreary Cornwall, in a quaint pub in the picture postcard coastal village of Port Isaac, Saddles overheard even the cider-guzzling locals marvel about "that cyclist called Wiggo — you know, the one with the sideburns".

    Making it big in Cornwall is a fair indication of just how well things are going for Bradley Wiggins, who added an Olympic

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  • Phase two of Team Sky's, sorry, Team GB's Summer of Domination™ gets under way on Saturday just six days after Bradley Wiggins rode into Paris with the yellow jersey.

    Having largely reduced world champion Mark Cavendish to a road-rashed water-carrier and Cat.1 mountain novelty pace-setter, the Tour de France champion will look to repay the Manx Missile for his hard work — just like he did on the Champs Elysees last Sunday.

    For Cavendish, the 2012 season was always about netting an Olympic Gold on home soil — and everything has been geared towards the 27-year-old triumphing in London. All roads

    Read More »from Men’s Olympic Road Race preview: Not a done deal
  • The Saddles Tour de France 2012 Awards

    The 99th Tour de France had a bit of everything — including temper tantrums, performances of panache, horror smashes, Gallic flair, British brilliance and whatever lowly adjective that can be used to describe the Katusha team.

    Sit back and reminisce over three wonderful weeks in France with the annual Saddles Tour Awards...

    Worthy Winner Award: Bradley Wiggins, who triumphantly completed his long journey from track Olympian to winner of the world's greatest bike race with a commanding Tour during which he never sat lower than second on GC. Given the unprecedented run upon which he entered the

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  • With a sea of Union flags and under a blue, cloudless sky — this was how the Queen's Diamond Jubilee was meant to be.

    Bradley Wiggins was crowned Britain's first ever winner of the Tour de France on Sunday as scores of British fans cheered along the Champs Elysees. As he stood atop the podium in yellow for the crowning moment of his illustrious career, the 32-year-old was then brought crashing down to earth with the glass-cracking, ear-stabbing sounds of Lesley Garrett butchering the national anthem.

    Didn't Wiggo always say that it wasn't over until the fat lady sang?

    Perhaps this was

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  • Credit where credit’s due for Sky

    Bradley Wiggins cycles during the individual time trial of the 19th stage of the 99th Tour de France

    Saddles watched Saturday's 53.5km ITT to Chartres and was completely blown away by the brilliance of Bradley Wiggins and his Team Sky sidekick Chris Froome.

    Saddles then listened to Wiggins's emotional post-race press conference and was wholly won over by a man at the pinnacle of sporting achievement — a worthy winner who was roundly applauded by the whole room for the meticulous and human way he went about becoming the first ever Briton to win the Tour de France.

    So today, on the eve of the Tour's finale in Paris, let's take a little look at what Wiggins, Froome and Dave Brailsford's Team

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  • Wayne Rooney on wheels

    Moments after switching bidon fetching for stage winning, Mark Cavendish compared his role in this year's Tour de France as akin to playing Wayne Rooney in defence.

    Despite admitting to taking pride in remoulding himself as a Cat.1 mountain pace-setter and water-carrier extraordinaire, Cavendish told reporters: "But I'm a sprinter — it's kind of like putting Wayne Rooney in defence. You know, I was kind of lost."

    It has certainly been a surreal sight seeing the world champion stretch those famous rainbow stripes with water bottles for his Team Sky lieutenants battling it out for the maillot

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  • Golden handshakes prove decisive in the mountains

    Alejandro Valverde rides through the mist in a downhill in a breakaway on stage 17 of the Tour de France (AFP)

    The final mountain stage of this year's Tour de France was decided by two handshakes — one physical and one metaphorical.

    The literal handshake occurred on the descent of the Cat.1 Col de Menté just over 100km from the finish. As a small breakaway made its way downhill two men off the back were deep in discussion; one of them, in Movistar colours and visibly balding beneath his helmet, clearly objected to the presence of the other, wearing the lime green of Liquigas.

    After some heated words, the pair shook hands and the Liquigas rider slipped back to the chasing peloton, which was roaring

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