Blazin' Saddles

  • Movistar write great script but forget happy ending

    It started with the action coming thick and fast - much like the opening sequence in a Bond film.

    So much happened in the scene-setting segment of the film - with the CGI count (Chaos Garmin Input) hitting overdrive - that, when Adele finally started warbling the lyrics to 'Skyfall', Chris Froome's team-mates had done just that.

    Garmin really got their jaws stuck in. David Millar, Jack Bauer, Ramunas Navardauskas, Tom Danielson, Andrew Talansky, Ryder Hesjedal and Dan Martin - that's seven riders, or 007 if you will - all made repeated attempts to break away.

    It was as if they were still

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  • Can people not just accept that Sky are better?

    Look, the title of this blog is not a statement and nor does it necessarily reflect the author's full, measured opinion. It's a rhetorical question that should be asked - especially on a day that seems to have inevitably left a bitter taste in the mouths of many.

    Someone once said, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose" (The more things change, the more they stay the same). It's a phrase uttered often in the world of cycling with its litany of doping scandals through the ages.

    After Gewiss it was US Postal and Discovery. Then when Sky began to dominate races in a way - pointed out by

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  • Cannondale’s crash course in causing chaos

    "Kind of knew what Cannondale would do today but there was no way to prevent it. They rode faultlessly. Congratulations to Peter Sagan. He's a machine."

    This was Mark Cavendish's Twitter reaction to being at the receiving end of a right rogering from Cannondale during stage seven of this increasingly intriguing Tour.

    On the second of four categorised climbs in the long and undulating stage from Montpellier to Albi, Cannondale suddenly ramped up the pace. This wasn't a mere leg-stretching exercise - this was a full-on distance-all-rivals operation.

    The boys in green, with their man in green,

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  • Impey makes history as Gorilla pooh-poohs Sagan

    Six stages in and we've had six different winners - although one thing has remained pretty constant: if there's a sprint at the end, Peter Sagan will finish second.

    Last year, the Slovak tyro in his pre-podium molesting days notched three stage wins en route to nailing the green jersey in his debut Tour; this year, Sagan's still sitting pretty for the points classification, but he's stuck in a rut of three bridesmaids' finishes.

    One more runner-up berth, and Sagan will have managed to mirror, in this year's Tour, his spring classics wedding campaign - that's to say 2nd in Strade Bianche, 2nd

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  • Cavendish keeps green dream five alive

    Tour organisers could well bring forward the Alpe d'Huez as early as stage five in next year's Tour de France and Mark Cavendish would still probably win it.

    They could get a spectator wearing a red t-shirt to throw Tony Martin under a bus driven by a white dog - and still the German would dust himself off, organise an efficient lead-out train and then pass the baton on to his erstwhile Omega Pharma-Quick Step team-mates to finish off the job.

    If Pierre Rolland is further up the road on the 15th hairpin bend, then fine - they'll just get Sylvain Chavanel on his bright orange bike to reel him

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  • Curmudgeonly race officials showed no mercy on Tuesday after kicking out 30-year-old Tour debutant Ted King because he finished seven slender seconds outside the official cut-off point.

    The Canondale rider had already battled his way through excruciating pain to even make it to Nice, but according to official timekeepers Festina he finished the 25km team time trial in 32:32.

    That meant he missed the 25 per cent time limit by one second less than Greg LeMond's total advantage over Laurent Fignon in the famous 1989 Tour finale in Paris. Not a bad effort considering that his injury-wracked body

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  • GreenEdge train proves just the ticket for Gerrans

    It had become a running joke that the biggest impact Orica-GreenEdge would make on a Tour finish would be through their bus driver rather than any of their riders.

    The Australian team entered their second Tour de France still looking for an elusive win and things started rather inauspiciously when their bus got GreenWedged underneath the finish gantry in Bastia.

    To make matters worse, Matt Goss found himself on the front and shorn of his main opponents following a nasty succession of pile-ups - only to fall off his bike for no apparent reason on the final bend, allowing Marcel Kittel to sweep

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  • No puppy love from the peloton as dog almost gets run over

    Perhaps dismayed by the lack of high-speed pile-ups during the Tour's second stage in Corsica, one dog owner decided he'd level things out by letting his cute pooch off the leash just as the world's biggest bike race approached at breakneck speed.

    Animated by the whooshing past of birthday boy Sylvain Chavanel, the dog - which looked very much like a West Highland White Terrier - scampered across the road into the path of the Cannondale-led peloton.

    Having seen his pet almost reach the other side of the road, the owner had the smart idea of whistling and beckoning it back - a bit like seeing

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  • Corsican opener proves a real roof-raiser

    You wait all day for a bus and when it finally comes not only does it bring the world's greatest cycling race to its knees - quite literally - it also spells the end for a stuffed kangaroo.

    They say a picture says a thousand words, and this priceless shot of the Orica-GreenEdge bus - complete with distraught driver and comedy prone stuffed marsupial mascot - wedged underneath the finish banner in Bastia, certainly falls into that category.

    This wasn't the script for the Tour's first ever visit to Corsica, whose stunning natural beauty had been captured early on by a succession of aerial

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  • Can Froome do it? Corsican!

    What better way to get the 100th edition of the Grande Boucle off to a flying start than with the kind of pun that will be a staple fixture in this daily musette of Tour de France blog fun?

    With the world's most famous bike race starting on the island of Corsica and visiting the only two departments of Metropolitan France yet to be graced by the Tour's travelling circus, Chris Froome, last year's runner-up, is the logical favourite to take the yellow jersey into Paris, at dusk, in three weeks' time.

    In the absence of defending champion Bradley Wiggins, it's his team-mate Froome who carries

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