Tour de France route preview – Podcast

With the Tour de France on the horizon and a volley of teams starting to announce their eight-man rosters for the race, Cyclingnews sits down with EF Education First-Drapac  p/b Cannondale’s Tom Southam to analyse and pick apart the race route.

The profile of this year’s Tour can be neatly divided into two halves with the first portion dominated by sprints, crosswinds, cobbles and the team time trial. The second half of the race will see the peloton – or rather what’s left of it – head into the mountains with the Alps followed by the Pyrenees. Even the transition stages could be key in the battle for the yellow jersey. There is of course the final time trial on the penultimate day but this year’s Tour de France is set to be brutally tough race with no let up throughout the early stages in the Vendée, or as the race travels through Brittany.

Along with looking at the route the team of Southam, Cyclingnews’ Daniel Benson, and Procycling editor Ed Pickering pick standout riders for the race, from the sprinters, to the climbers, and GC candidates. Southam also discusses what goes into picking a Tour de France roster, and provides his expert opinion on how the race might unfold.

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This podcast is brought to you in association with Prendas Ciclismo, Pinarello, and Floyds of Leadville. You can find the provisional start list for the 2018 Tour de France, here.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Van der Breggen extends with Boels Dolmans until 2020

Anna van der Breggen has extended her contract with the Boels Dolmans for a further two years, bringing her current deal up to 2020.

“I’m happy to have re-signed with Boels-Dolmans,” Van der Breggen said in a team press release. “The team, its staff and dedicated sponsors are a tremendous support in letting us achieve the absolute maximum result. I feel at home with Boels-Dolmans and cannot wait to pursue further success with this team in the years to come.”

Van der Breggen joined the team in 2017, after three seasons with the Rabo Liv squad. She immediately delivered by winning the Tour of California, the Giro Rosa, and a historic triple at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Flèche Wallonne and the Amstel Gold Race. Her run of form earned her the 2017 WorldTour title, Boels Dolmans’ second consecutive win in the series. This season, the 28-year-old has been dominant and has won four WorldTour races. While her teammate Chantal Blaak took the win at Amstel Gold, Van der Breggen was once again victorious in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne, she also claimed her first titles at the Tour of Flanders and Strade Bianche.

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She currently leads the WorldTour standings ahead of Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott), but has decided to take a different path through the middle part of her season and is set to skip her title defence at the Giro Rosa. In stead, she is now turning her attention to the the mountain bike World Cup in Val di Sole in July.

“I’m doing something totally new,” Van der Breggen told Cyclingnews. “I wanted to do some mountain biking. In the beginning, I didn’t do that well, and I didn’t initially have a plan, but now I have decided to compete in the World Cup in Val di Sole.

Prior to her appearance at the Val di Sole World Cup, Van der Breggen will ride the Dutch national time trial and road race championships next week.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Chris Froome’s coach blames media for salbutamol case backlash

Chris Froome‘s coach, Tim Kerrison, has blamed the media for the growing backlash over the Briton’s Adverse Analytical Finding (AFF) for salbutamol, saying that his case has been sensationalised, mainly by the French press, ahead of the Tour de France that is set to begin on July 7 in the Vendée region.

“If things are presented in a way that incites or sensationalises, or fuels anger or resentment towards Chris, then I don’t think that’s very responsible,” Kerrison said in an interview with The Guardian. “I think fair treatment in the media is a responsible requirement to ensure the riders’ safety.”

Froome returned a positive test for salbutamol following an anti-doping control test that took place September 7 following stage 18 of the Vuelta a España last year, a race he went on to win. His urine sample contained 2,000ng/ml of salbutamol, twice the permissible limit. As salbutamol is classed as a specified substance, Froome is free to compete until the case is resolved, and he has denied any wrongdoing.

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Froome hired London-based lawyer Mike Morgan as part of his defence team, but continues to race, sub judice. In May, Froome went on to win the Giro d’Italia, which sparked further controversy, and he intends to start the Tour de France with a goal of winning a fifth overall title. However, Kerrison suggested that the doubt over Froome’s pending case has been unfounded.

“I’m very confident that he is innocent,” he said. “There have never been any question marks for me.”

But on Wednesday, Bernard Hinault called for the peloton to go on strike if Froome takes part in the Tour de France, telling Ouest France, “The peloton should put its foot down and go on strike saying: ‘If he’s at the start, we’re not starting!'”

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com