[26/24] This Week In Cycling

With the Tour de France 2024 due to set off this Saturday, very unsurprisingly the big cycling news sites have been going into TdF overdrive this week, even more so than last week.

Is it a foregone conclusion that, incidents and accidents omitting, this one is practically in the bag for Pog before a single wheel rotation has … err, rotated?

Right now Pog is the bookies favourite, by quite a margin, for all kinds of things. From overall winner, to Stage 1 winner, rider to win a stage :/ and if you stretch the boundaries to include things that include Pog, overall team winner. He’s joint favourite to take the KOM jersey also.

Is there anything that cannot be Pogged?

Well, we are about to find out.

Other things happened this week, I’m sure, but Tour de France fever has gone into overdrive. Let’s stop the waffle, and dive right on in.

Where Can I Watch The Tour de France 2024?

The Tour de France 2024 sets off on June 29 in Florence, Italy.

Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard faces stiff competition from Tadej Pogačar, Primož Roglič, and Remco Evenepoel.

Mark Cavendish aims for a record-breaking stage win to surpass Eddy Merckx.

Fans can catch every moment on various platforms: ITV4 and ITVX in the UK, Eurosport and Discovery+ across Europe, Peacock in the USA, and SBS in Australia.

Other countries have their own channels, and you can find a good list of where and how to watch at Rouleur.cc.

A Guide to the Tour de France Jerseys

The Tour de France features various competitions marked by distinctive jerseys: yellow for the overall leader, polka-dot for the best climber, green for the points leader, and white for the best young rider.

The yellow jersey is awarded to the rider with the fastest cumulative time, while the polka-dot jersey goes to the rider with the most mountain points.

The green jersey is for the rider who accumulates the most points from sprints, and the white jersey is for the fastest rider under 25.

Each jersey competition carries its own prestige and prize money, adding layers of excitement to this iconic race.

For a full breakdown, head on over to Velo.

Tour de Predictions

Everyone’s got their favourite for the yellow, green, polka dot, and white jerseys, but let’s be honest, with 21 stages it’s really anyone’s guess.

Tadej Pogačar seems to be the popular pick for multiple jerseys, while Jasper Philipsen is a safe bet for green.

Wild cards like Mark Cavendish aiming for a record-breaking stage win add to the excitement.

With opinions as varied as the climbs, all we can do is sit back, enjoy the ride, and leave our banter in the comments.

Read in full at Cyclist.co.uk.

Tour de France 2024: The Big Favourites

Cycling Weekly dives into the rollercoaster pre-race form of the top contenders for the 2024 Tour de France.

Jonas Vingegaard, despite a brutal crash in April, has been training hard but still has question marks over his readiness.

Tadej Pogačar, fresh off a dominant Giro d’Italia, claims to be in top form and is the favourite to win.

Primož Roglič, another crash survivor, bounced back with a victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné and is ready to challenge.

Remco Evenepoel also recovered from injuries and showed promising signs at the Dauphiné, though he remains cautious about his debut Tour.

Carlos Rodríguez and Pello Bilbao, both in strong form, round out the list of hopefuls looking to make their mark in this year’s race.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Pogačar’s Pre-Tour Pandemic Predicament 🤒

Tadej Pogačar tested positive for Covid just before the Tour de France Grand Départ in Florence.

He revealed this during his pre-race press conference, assuring everyone that he had fully recovered.

Pogačar experienced a challenging few weeks, including winning the Giro d’Italia and losing a close relative.

He explained that his Covid infection, which occurred about ten days prior, had minimal impact on his training.

Despite the setback, Pogačar is determined to vie for overall victory in the Tour.

He dismissed claims that the race would be decided early and expressed respect for his rival, Jonas Vingegaard.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

From Military Captain to Pedal Pusher

Bart Lemmen transitioned from a Dutch military captain to a pro cyclist in just 18 months.

At 28, he replaced Sepp Kuss in Visma-Lease a Bike’s Tour de France team.

Lemmen had impressive finishes in early 2024 races, including the Tour Down Under and UAE Tour.

He started competitive cycling in 2017 and quickly moved up the ranks.

Balancing military duties, he only turned fully professional in 2022.

His rapid success earned him a two-year contract with Visma-Lease a Bike.

Read in full at Rouleur.cc.

A Day in the Life of a Tour de France Photographer

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a Tour de France photographer?

From closed roads and rowdy crowds to burning clutches and stroppy officials, it’s a wild ride.

Starting the day groggy and disoriented, photographers like Pete Goding navigate the chaos to capture the perfect shot.

They juggle between finding the best vantage points, dealing with technical issues, and racing against time.

Their work brings the vibrant spectacle of the Tour de France to life for fans worldwide, despite the numerous challenges.

Read in full at Cyclist.co.uk.

Tour de France’s Legendary Previous Winners

Four riders hold the record for the most Tour de France titles, each with five wins: Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain.

Chris Froome is the only current rider close to this record, with four titles to his name.

Henri Cornet remains the youngest winner at 19, while Firmin Lambot is the oldest at 36.

Recent champions include Jonas Vingegaard, Tadej Pogačar, and Egan Bernal.

Read the full list at Rouleur.cc.

UCI Investigates Visma-Lease a Bike’s Control Room

Visma-Lease a Bike’s shiny new ‘control room’ data vehicle, designed to be the nerve centre for Jonas Vingegaard’s Tour de France title defence, faced scrutiny from the UCI just hours after its launch.

The UCI is investigating to ensure the technology complies with regulations and maintains sporting fairness.

Visma-Lease a Bike’s innovative van was meant to optimise race decisions using real-time data but now risks being sidelined.

This is another blow for the team already dealing with crashes and setbacks.

Team CEO Richard Plugge insists the control room uses publicly available information and welcomes the UCI to inspect it.

Read in full at Velo.

How Cycling’s Top Brass Are Shifting Gears

Velo’s Jeremy Whittle explores how modern WorldTour team bosses, like Richard Plugge, Merijn Zeeman, and Dave Brailsford, are bringing business acumen to roles traditionally held by ex-riders.

These leaders are transforming team management with skills in marketing, relationship management, and branding.

Plugge’s success with Jumbo-Visma and Brailsford’s move to Manchester United exemplify this trend.

This shift marks a departure from the past when team managers were often former professional cyclists focused primarily on tactics and results.

Now, the emphasis is on funding, sponsor visibility, and expert collaboration.

The experience gained in cycling management is proving valuable in other sports, as seen with Zeeman’s upcoming move to Dutch football.

Read in full at Velo.

Geraint Thomas Cycles Off Olympic Stage

Geraint Thomas has missed out on selection for the final Olympic Games of his career.

The 38-year-old Welshman was omitted from the five-man team for the road events.

This means he will not take part in the road race or time trial.

It will be the first Games the Ineos Grenadiers rider has missed since Athens in 2004.

The GB team looks towards the future, opting for younger talent.

Josh Tarling and Ethan Hayter are set to compete in the time trial.

Tarling will join Fred Wright, Stevie Williams, and Tom Pidcock in the road race.

Thomas recently finished third overall at the Giro d’Italia and is part of the upcoming Tour de France squad.

British Cycling’s performance director, Stephen Park, cited Thomas’s form and the need for fresher riders as reasons for the decision.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Trek’s New Madone Leaked

The new Trek Madone Gen 8 bike was leaked in a YouTube video, which has now been set to private.

This bike is expected to be ridden by the Lidl-Trek team in the upcoming Tour de France.

The bike was already on display at the Critérium du Dauphiné, showcasing a mix of the Madone and Émonda models.

The new model features slender frame tubes and an IsoFlow seat tube/seat stay junction.

Cycling Weekly first spotted the video but it was quickly made private, likely due to an embargo breach.

Speculations about the bike have been circulating since January, with images suggesting a more aero-focused design.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Decathlon’s Sporting Empire

Decathlon, the French sporting goods giant, has made waves by offering high-quality cycling gear at lower prices.

By covering a multitude of sports, the brand achieves economies of scale, allowing it to reduce costs.

Their recent partnership with the Decathlon-AG2R pro team highlights this, with their Van Rysel RCR Pro bike costing significantly less than competitors’ models.

Decathlon’s extensive R&D facilities ensure rigorous testing and innovation across its product range, from bike frames to helmets.

Their investment in 3D printing further cuts costs and reduces waste by allowing on-demand production of parts.

This approach ensures Decathlon can maintain world-class quality while keeping prices accessible for everyone.

Read in full at Cycling Weekly.

Trek’s New Madone

Trek’s 2025 Madone is now lighter and just as fast as its predecessor.

The new model boasts a 320g weight reduction due to updated tube shapes and materials.

Trek has discontinued the Émonda climber’s bike, opting for a single all-rounder.

The Madone features a new composite blend called OCLV 900 and a ‘Full System Foil’ tube design.

Despite fewer frame sizes, the bike fits a wider range of riders and costs around £2000 less per build.

Both SLR and SL tiers are available, with prices ranging from £3,250 to £12,500.

Read in full at Cyclist.co.uk.

Scott Sports Rides High with New President

Scott Sports appointed Hap Seliga as president of its US subsidiary.

Scott Sports Rides High with New President

Seliga co-founded Competitive Cyclist and was recently CEO of Signa Sports USA’s bike division.

Seliga expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity, highlighting Scott’s strong heritage and significant investments.

Read in full at BicycleRetailer.com.

Giant’s Spia Cycling Saddles Up for Stages’ Assets

Spia Cycling, a subsidiary of Giant Manufacturing, emerged as a stalking horse bidder for Stages Cycling LLC’s assets following their Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

Spia made a $2.51 million down payment to protect Stages’ assets during the bankruptcy period.

Giant Manufacturing’s board approved its participation in the bidding process, although the bid amount wasn’t disclosed.

Stages, which sold power meters and smart bikes, shut down in April.

The bankruptcy filing includes related companies like Foundation Fitness, which owes $32 million to Union Bank & Trust.

Court hearings approved spending on insurance, utilities, and distribution centre payments to maintain Stages’ remaining assets.

Read in full at BicycleRetailer.com.

Bike Video Of The Week

This is actually a topic I refuse to apply to myself in real life.

There are limits.

As a bald man, I feel I am naturally already doing my bit for aero gains without also shaving my legs.

But it turns out there genuinely are gains to be had. Which does, for me, beg the question why top level cyclists don’t go completely hair free. Come join us, brothers!

Bike Of The Week

Bianchi Specialissima CV Oropa Anniversary Edition

There’s a lot to love about Redditor twohub’s Bianchi Specialissima CV Oropa Anniversary Edition.

But my favourite part? The muck on the chain ring and crank. A bike that has been ridden.

As best I can tell, you’re looking at (approximately) $12,999 asking price for such a bike. I found a very similar, but not identical bike on two hubs own website and that’s what it is listed for.

Crikey Moses, eh?

Lovely bike, but if I was dropping top end new money I’d want top end new tech.

Still, it’s a hypothetical as I’ll never have that kind of money to spend on a bike.

OK, until next week, enjoy the Tour!

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