Morbid Curiosity and the Redemption of Chris Froome


The This Week in Cycling History podcast began as exactly that. I attempted to find three stories for each show, from any year in cycling’s past, but the stories needed to have taken place in the week of the year in which we were currently in. Simple enough. But one winter of research was enough to turn me away from this idea. It was just too bloody hard to find stuff that happened in cycling over the winter months! There’s only so much track cycling a guy can wade through.

These days, thankfully, the stories are plucked from any time throughout the year although they tend to maintain some kind of relevance to whatever race is currently going on. But that one winter of desperate searches for something, anything, that happened, due to the complete lack of racing, inadvertently led me to writing about rather a lot of rider deaths.

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Punch-ups, bike changes and a stolen Tour of Flanders


The gloves were off on Stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana. Gianluca Brambilla and Ivan Rovny took issue with each other and had a boxing match while on the bike. Meanwhile, according to Philip Deignan’s daily diary in the Irish Independent, Joaquim Rodriguez bust his lip open with a punch during the stage.

While Rodriguez got away with his pugilistic misdemeanor, Brambilla and Rovny were not so fortunate, caught as they were in plain sight of a race commissaire, who took the unsual step of disqualifying them while the stage was still in progress. Unusual, but not unprecedented. For there has been a similar incident in cycling before, although one with an altogether more bizarre outcome.

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2014 Tour de France for stats geeks

Astana Tour

Vincenzo Nibali

1974 – The last time a rider won four road stages on his way to overall victory. This year, Nibali won four, but in 1974 Eddy Merckx actually won six. The Belgian also managed four road stage wins throughout his Tour victory in 1970. The only other riders who have achieved this feat since World War II are Luis Ocana (1973), Fausto Coppi (1952) and Gino Bartali (1948).

6 – The number of riders who have now won all three of the Grand Tours: Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana. Nibali joins the elite group containing Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Alberto Contador.

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The great British enigma

Bradley Wiggins is one of the most enigmatic riders in the peloton.

“Frankly, there is no story to tell other than that Robert failed to engage, communicate or evidence any activity of any significance that led me to think he was suited to a formal professional coaching position. Competing and coaching in sport are two very different things, even though they clearly have many things in common. Professional coaching in a highly accountable publicly funded role is a task that requires very specific skill sets, attitudes and insights, that in my judgement Robert did not possess. There have been many things I did in my tenure at British Cycling that, on reflection, I regret or would have done differently. Letting Robert go was not one of them.”

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In Dublin’s fair city…oh what a pity


This article was first published as a podcast for the Velocast and is republished here with permission. To login or subscribe to the Velocast go to


The Giro in Belfast was supposed to feel like the race had come to my home for the day, my country. But I don’t know Belfast. Was the route of Stage One of the Giro the best they could have come up with for the day’s racing?

I don’t know.

It looked great and the crowds were undeniably big. But I don’t know the streets, I don’t know the alternative routes.

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Cancellara – Record Breaker

Cancellara wins the 2014 Tour of Flanders - his seventh monument classic.

Twitter is a transient beast. Almost as soon as you plop a thought or a fact or a piece of nonsense on the screen…it’s gone. For all it’s worth, an adequate Twitter search engine still does not exist, rendering this transient information largely inaccessible.

During Fabian Cancellara’s displays of strength in this year’s Milan San Remo and the Tour of Flanders, I happened across a few facts pertaining to his incredible consistency in the monument classics, tweeted them, but now they’re gone. So I’ve collected a few of the better ones here to illustrate just how impressive Cancellara has been over the past few years.

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