Blood is thicker than Coffee


There is a drug that pervades the peloton like no other. Almost every single rider administers it to themselves, usually several times a day. Cyclists are totally addicted to the extent that they can’t even fathom going for a training ride without taking it – sometimes a double dose, maybe even a triple.

But this drug has no need for omertà. This drug is legal. This drug is caffeine.

Caffeine can reduce fatigue, improve muscle contractibility and increase the time it takes to reach an exhausted state. It provides enough performance enhancement that it is currently being monitored by WADA as a substance which might be subject to abuse. We once saw a rider revolt during the 1998 Tour de France because of the indignities suffered by dopers being investigated. That protest largely consisted of the peloton sitting in the middle of a road. If WADA decided to ban caffeine, then we’d really see what a rider revolt looks like.

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2017 Milan San Remo Preparation


Mark Cavendish beat Heinrich Haussler to win Milan San Remo in 2009. He beat him by about an inch on the line. Winning that race was the result of thousands of little decisions made by Cavendish and Haussler themselves but also by their team-mates, rivals, directeur sportifs and loved ones. All of those decisions put together added up to what transpired between the two men in the approach to the finish line.

What became clear in the instant that Cavendish thrust his wheel one inch in front of Haussler’s was that Cavendish’s decision to ride Tirreno-Adriatico was right and Haussler’s decision to ride Paris-Nice was wrong.

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Froome backs Brailsford? No Sir!


Journalists don’t write the headlines. The articles are written, submitted and left in the hands of a sub-editor. Sometimes, a sub-editor can simply be clumsy and end up making the journalist seem a bit foolish. I recall an article I once wrote for previewing an early-season race with a subheading of ‘Cillian Kelly pulls on the latex togs and freewheels through the week’s cycling action’. A slightly shinier look than I would have been hoping for but no reason to get my latex knickers in a twist.

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Froome’s Emergence from the Shadows


Chris Froome used to be bad at cycling. He joined the Barloworld team in 2008 and from then until the 2011 Vuelta he managed only one victory, in the Giro del Capo in South Africa.

‘Bad’ is all relative of course. He was good enough to be a professional cyclist and he was also good enough to be signed by Team Sky. But the story goes that before that 2011 Vuelta the team were done with him. They wouldn’t be renewing his contract because he wasn’t worth paying anymore.

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Christmas Quiz 2016 – Answers

Here are the answers to the Christmas Quiz I set last week. Almost 100 entries, some journalists in there as well as a couple of professional riders and (I’m almost certain) lots and lots of Googling!

The winner was Doug Hart who got his entry in with just a couple of hours to spare. Doug got all 20 correct, the only person to do so.

Congratulations Doug! A copy of the latest Soigneur magazine is all yours. I’ll be in touch via email.

1. Dimitri Konychev

1991 Tour de France – Stage 22

It’s the famous tumble taken by Djamolidin Abdoujaparov on the Champs Elyssés with Olaf Ludwig sprinting beside him, but it was Dimitri Konychev who won the stage.

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Christmas Quiz 2016

The winner takes it all, right? Well, in cycling that often isn’t the case. Some of the most iconic moments in the history of the sport have involved riders who did not win. The identity of the actual winners often gets forgotten with the passing of time.

So the question for each of the following 20 photos is simple: on the day that the famous incident occurred, who won?

For stage races, I’m looking for the winner of the stage that day, not the winner of the overall race.

Send me your answers via email only please to Let’s not flood the comments below by giving away answers to potential rivals.

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