Nerdy facts from this year’s Giro d’Italia

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Vincenzo Nibali could have been forgiven for conceding defeat in the Giro d’Italia with a week left to race.

It was quite clear after the first real mountain stage up Mount Etna that Contador was in a league of his own. So instead of trying to match him, blowing up, losing massive amounts of time and sacrificing any chance of a podium place, why not ride for second place knowing that you may actually be riding for first?

This is the farcical scenario we were left with as Contador continues to race pending the result of an appeal by both the UCI and WADA to the Court of Arbitration for Sport regarding his exoneration by the Spanish cycling federation after his positive test in the 2010 Tour de France. Now the appeal process has been delayed even further which means Contador now seems likely to be at this year’s Tour. Which means if Contador is subsequently found guilty we could potentially see him stripped of a Giro and two Tour de France titles, all because of one positive…lunacy!

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And Ekimov is calling Hamilton a liar?

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No doubt over the coming weeks and months, as the federal investigation into Lance Armstrong comes to a climax, there will be plenty of riders, past and present who will be asked to comment. Now more than ever it is important to scrutinise carefully what each of them say and not allow what they say to easily pass into the realm of what is true.

Armstrong himself has been a master of proof by repeating over the years. A major case in point is his tired old line ‘the most tested sportsperson in the world’. This line has been repeated so often by Armstrong and his entourage that it seems to be taken as fact by millions. This, despite the fact that Armstrong himself has no way of knowing whether this is true or not.

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Competition Result and Answers

We have a winner!

The winner, with a paltry one out of three is Mick Brady who wins a copy of In High Gear by Samuel Abt.

Nobody guessed two out of three correctly and Mick was the first person to get on to me with one out of the three right.

So as you can all give out to me for my dismal performances, the answers were:

1 – Alberto Contador
2 – Greg LeMond
3 – Bradley Wiggins

Most people got Contador, (it was the one that Mick got), not many got Greg LeMond and only one person guessed Wiggins. Funnily enough most people guessed Laurent Fignon for number 2 and Mark Cavendish for number 3.

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Competition Time!

So, recently I got a little bit carried away in my quest to find and purchase every cycling book that exists in the internet and I ended up ordering two of the same book. The book in question is In High Gear by Samuel Abt and I’ve come up with a rather ridiculous way of giving it away in a competition.
Below is a youtube video of me attempting to do impressions of three famous cyclists. The first person to email me with the name of all three cyclists gets the book. If, as will probably be the case due to my woeful artistry on the bike, nobody gets all of them right, I’ll give the book to whoever gets two right (or one), if that proves to be the case.

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An Post-Sean Kelly team decided for the upcoming Rás

The An Post-Sean Kelly team has been announced for the upcoming An Post Rás. The five man team is made up of three Irishmen, an Englishman and a Lithuanian. Sam Bennett, Mark Cassidy and Ronan McLaughlin will all be flying the home flag throughout the eight-day race while the team is made complete by Mark McNally and Gediminas Bagdonas.

Conspicuous in his absence is the hugely promising Irish rider Philip Lavery who has struggled slightly with illness in recent weeks. Although he had shown a slight return to form in the Tour of Ulster where he placed fourth on a stage and took 10th overall, team manager Kurt Bogaerts admits it was difficult to leave Lavery out of the Rás team.

“It was hard to pick the squad for the Rás, but it is a good problem for me to have. I am lucky that the guys have been racing well recently and they all wanted to be part of the team. It was an especially tough decision to leave Philip Lavery out, but at the moment I feel I have picked the strongest five for this race. Bennett and Cassidy are both previous stage winners of the race, while Ronan has been one of our strongest riders recently. Mark McNally also has good experience of the race, while Gediminas won at the weekend and looks in top shape.”

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Spaniards vs. Italians – Each in t’others race

The Tour de France is still waiting for a French winner. Since Bernard Hinault last delivered a home victory in 1985, the Tour has been a free for all.  It has been won by five Spaniards, two Amercians, an Italian, a German, a Dane and an Irishman. So while the biggest Grand Tour of them all has been a largely international affair, the same is not quite true of the Tour’s younger cousins.

Of the past ten years in the Vuelta, the race has been won six times by five different Spaniards. The Giro fares even better with eight victories by five different Italians. Unlike the Tour, both the Giro and Vuelta have managed to maintain a steady stream of home victories.

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