Advertisements

24 hours from the Tour de France

The title of the Gene Pitney song is actually 24 Hours from Tulsa, but what the hell? For both die-hard and occasional cycling fans, the biggest day in the sport’s cycling calendar is now just one day away. Tomorrow, in Liege in Belgium, the 2012 edition of the Tour de France begins. Three weeks of hell. Two wheels. One amazing race.

Will Sky’s Bradley Wiggins live up to his billing as the bookies’ favourite and become the first British rider to wear the coveted yellow jersey in Paris (let alone the first to finish on the Paris podium)? Or will Australia’s Cadel Evans be able to defend the title he won with such battling panache last July?

Will the combination of Mark Cavendish‘s preparations for the Olympic road race and Sky’s focus on Wiggins compromise his effectiveness as he seeks to add to his 20 Tour stage wins in defence of his green jersey? Or will we see a new sprint king crowned in Peter Sagan or perhaps Andre Greipel, Matt Goss or Mark Renshaw, all former teammates of Cavendish at HTC-Highroad?

Who will delight us with their daring attacks on the steep climbs and equally precipitous descents of the Alps and Pyrenees? And who will provide us with the drama and romance which featured protagonists such as French media darling Thomas Voeckler and Johnny ‘Barbed Wire’ Hoogerland?

In previous years I have provided stage-by-stage recaps and analysis here. However, all cycling coverage has now transferred over to our new dedicated site velovoices.com, where you will find full previews, daily recaps, stats and analysis throughout the next three weeks. Just click on the banner above and come and join us!

Advertisements

My sporting month: March 2012

The football season will be gearing up for its home stretch in March, as the Premier League season enters its final third and we have the quarter-finals of both the FA Cup and the Champions League to look forward to. Similarly the Six Nations reaches its climax this month with a potential Grand Slam showdown to look forward to. And the England cricket team embark on the final leg of their winter tours.

But for many other sports their year is only just beginning, or at least getting into their stride. As winter turns to spring, here are five of the key sporting events I’ll be watching this month.

Read more of this post

The week in numbers: w/e 26/2/12

Pietersen bagged a brace of centuries in the one-dayers against Pakistan

4Kevin Pietersen hit 130 as England won the fourth one-day international against Pakistan by four wickets to complete a series whitewash. England batsmen scored centuries in each match, with Pietersen and captain Alastair Cook registering two each.

2Liverpool won the Carling Cup 3-2 on penalties after the game finished 2-2 in extra time (1-1 after 90 minutes). But it wasn’t a good day for the Gerrard family. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard saw the opening spot-kick of the shootout saved, while cousin Anthony missed the target with the final penalty.

45 – Including extra time, Liverpool had 45 shots in the game, an average of one every 160 seconds.

20Wales secured their 20th Triple Crown with a dramatic 19-12 Six Nations win at Twickenham to follow their previous wins over Ireland and Scotland. Scott Williams scored the only try of the game with five minutes left, but England’s David Strettle had a last-gasp try controversially ruled out as officials decided he had not grounded the ball.

Read more of this post

My sporting month: February 2012

February sees major sporting events all over the globe, from the NFL’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis to a glut of events in the Middle East: Test cricket in Dubai, and cycling in Qatar and Oman. Closer to home football’s Champions League enters its knockout phase, with eight first-leg matches including tricky assignments for the Premier League’s two survivors, Arsenal and Chelsea. And that is just the first of a series of challenging fixtures for the misfiring Gunners, who face a horrendous run of games in a short spell. But it will certainly be an exciting month, and here are five of the key events I will be following in February.

Read more of this post

The week in numbers: w/e 25/12/11

Cavendish added the BBC SPotY award to his green and rainbow jerseys (image courtesy of Wikipedia

2 – Mark Cavendish followed in the footsteps of Tom Simpson by becoming only the second road cyclist to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SpotY). Cavendish had already emulated the achievement of Simpson 46 years earlier as the only British riders to win a World Championship road race, and also became the first Briton to win the green jersey at the Tour de France in 2011.

49.47% – In winning SPotY, Cavendish received a staggering 49.47% of the total votes cast between the ten shortlisted finalists, four times as many as runner-up Darren Clarke.

Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: