The week in numbers: w/e 1/1/12

A shock early exit for 15-time champion Taylor (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

2 – 15-time world champion Phil Taylor was defeated by Dave Chisnall in the second round of the PDC Darts World Championship, only the second time in his career he has failed to reach at least the quarter-finals at the tournament. (He also lost in the second round in 1993.)

10 – Defending PDC champion Adrian Lewis won ten straight legs as he overturned a five sets to one deficit to beat James Wade 6-5 in their semi-final.

5 – Kauto Star won the King George VI Chase at Kempton by 1½ legs. It was his fifth win, eclipsing the record of Desert Orchid.

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Introducing a new cycling blog: Velo Voices

Followers of this blog will know that cycling, along with football, is one of my two great sporting passions. However, unlike football, it is not always so easy to come into contact with fellow cycling fans and chew the fat over the issues of the day. Even though Mark Cavendish was recently voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year cycling remains far from mainstream, with ITV’s nightly highlights of the Tour de France in July attracting a meagre average of around 700,000 viewers. That’s where the capacity of the internet and social media to connect people has been invaluable, allowing me to both read and chat with others who are just as interested as I am about, say, who dominated the sprints at the Tour of Poland.

And that’s why I’m involved in the launch of a new blog focussing specifically on the world of pro cycling.

Through my love of the sport, I have come into contact with many people who are equally passionate and frequently far more knowledgeable than I. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but I always feel I come out of any such discussions with a better informed and more rounded view of a sport which engenders a lot of fervent debate, both positive and negative. Which is why I wanted something which fitted somewhere in between a serious news website and an online forum – something which is informative yet informal, the blogging equivalent of wanting to stop for a sandwich, a coffee and a quick chat rather than dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Therefore today we have the launch of the new Velo Voices blog at velovoices.com. Here’s what you’ll find there:

This is a blog for fans, written by a group of fans and from a fan’s perspective. Each of us has a different voice and different opinions, but we all share the same passion for the sport.

Our team of writers spend more hours than they would care to admit reading about and watching the sport, so that we can bring you original content, informed opinion and even the occasional exclusive, including:

  • In-depth interviews with both the stars and unsung heroes of the peloton.
  • Round-table discussions about the latest events and issues in the sport.
  • Profiles and updates on our favourite teams and riders.
  • ‘Live’ race reports.
  • Anything else that takes our fancy, really.

Each of us looks at cycling in a different way, and each of us has different preferences: from sprinters to climbers, from the Belgians to the British, and from the Grand Tour contenders to the one-day specialists. We take pride in those differences, and it is our pleasure to share our varying voices and views with you.

What we want to be is the blogging equivalent of your favourite coffee shop – a place where you pop in regularly for a friendly chat or just to catch up with the latest gossip. We will be here. Feel free to just listen in if you want. Or join us for a natter any time. (Mine’s a skinny latte, by the way.)

Above all, we fervently believe that cycling is the ultimate in terms of combining teamwork and individual ability, speed and stamina, perspiration and inspiration. We take the sport seriously, but with a soupçon of irreverence thrown in. After all, watching sport – any sport – should be fun, right?

Basically, we love cycling. We hope that Velo Voices entertains and informs you so that you love it a little bit more too.

If you are interested in cycling – whether as a casual fan or a dedicated die-hard – please take a moment to pop over to velovoices.com and join in the debate. We don’t bite (well, not often).

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