Green Jersey Shakeup for Tour 2011

Nicolas Roche will be glad with the lack of time trial kilometres in the 2011 Tour de France

The Tour of Lombardy brought the 2010 racing season to an end on Saturday, and all of two days later our attention is already turning to 2011 with the unveiling of the Tour de France route. As it’s 100 years since the Alps were included in the Tour, the organisers have concocted a route which will come to an Alpine climax with three uninterrupted consecutive mountain stages. Although the route is paying homage to the route of 1911, the 2011 peloton will actually only ride over two of the seven Alpine mountains which were crested 100 years ago, the Col de Galibier and the Col de Télégraphe. In fact, the 2011 route and the 1911 route have more Pyrenéan climbs in common than Alpine, as both routes include the Col d’Aspet, Col du Tourmalet and the Col d’Aubisque.

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The Falling Leaves are here

Oscar Freire becomes only the 2nd man after Rik van Looy to win Paris-Tours, Milan San Remo, the Worlds Road Race and the Tour de France Green Jersey

So the Tour of Lombardy takes place this coming weekend. It doesn’t seem right that we’re already at the end of the season. Cadel Evans attacking during the Tour Down Under while wearing the Rainbow Jersey really doesn’t feel like ten months ago. But ten months ago it is as we reach the final monument classic of the season, and indeed the final classic of the season.

The penultimate classic was raced last weekend, Paris-Tours, and was won by Oscar Freire. As Fit Tech Eric from BikFit pointed out to me recently, Freire is the first person ever to win both Paris-Tours and Milan San Remo in the same year. As both races are considered sprinter friendly, this is quite a shocking fact. Although there is perhaps more scope than usual to unearth surprising facts when Paris-Tours is involved seeing as it’s the only major race which Eddy Merckx never won.

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Drugs, Pubs and Cycling

The majority of posts on Irish Peloton tend to incorporate plenty of past race results, trivia and random facts. Many of the sentences begin with ‘he was the first rider to win’ or ‘only three riders have ever…’, etc. etc. Amongst the barrage of doping stories that have emerged over the past couple of weeks, it’s hard to stay motivated to write such relatively unimportant sentences. Alberto Contador, Ezequiel Mosquera, Riccardo Ricco, Oscar Sevilla, Roy Sentjens and Kirk O’Bee have all contributed to a very gloomy period for the sport. Suddenly, posts filled with stats about who won what back in the eighties or nineties seem irrelevant and insignificant.

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A Rainbow Jersey and Dodgy Commentary

Bernard Hinault - The last rider to win Paris-Roubaix as World Champion, 30 years ago.

So Thor Hushovd is the new World Champion, Norway’s first ever winner of the road race. In fact it’s Norway’s first ever medal of any kind in either the road race or the time trial. Hushovd did what he does best, he survived with what was left of the bunch as the likes of Cadel Evans and Phillipe Gilbert were swept up, and he powered past everybody in the resulting sprint. There was plenty of debate in the build up whether the race would come down to a bunch sprint or not. Although the top placings contain a number of sprinters, it definitely was not a ‘bunch sprint’.

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