Tour Of California

Fantastic to see the Tour Of California get so much airtime. Every evening live racing on Eurosport starting at about 9pm. First couple of nights was poor coverage due to the weather, you would have thought the yanks had got this technology thing sussed!

Last night's 3rd stage was awesome coverage however getting good coverage of both the breakaway and peloton. Astana's Levi Leipheimer retained his lead, however the star of the TOC at the moment for me is Lance Armstrong. For someone who has been out of cycling for so long and to come back and ride at the front of the bunch all race is fantastic. He didn't do too badly in the time trial either, coming in the top 10 even with his time trial bike being nicked.

Armstrong isn't having the best of luck, on the second stage he crashed into a camera cycle and yesterday Leipheimer crashed into the back of him. Fortunately everyone recovered pretty quickly.

Cavendish missed out on last night's bunch sprint due to a disrupted leadout train, which may show some smoothing out to be done with the new guys.

It's really good viewing, check it out if you can!

Aintree Unaffiliated Showjumping Championship



I'm a very proud boyfriend. On Sunday, Becky and Jess became the first ever Aintree 75cm Unaffiliated Showjumping Championship champions with a massive 4 second lead in the jump off.

It's been a long, tough year of early Sunday mornings, standing around freezing cold arenas and listening to a bunch of loudmouths who make sure everyone knows how good they are - only for them to knock virtually every fence over in their round. The thing I love about Becky is that she lets her riding do the talking. Becky and Jess quietly get on, doing their amazing own thing and go home, normally as winners.

Time and time again you see riders bombing around a jump off course, looking at using full speed rather than simple skill and precision. One thing I always say is that it's all in the turn, and Becky and Jess are a good example of that.

Their success is a credit to both the horse and rider. Becky has beautiful smooth control and great vision to find the perfect turn for Jess. Despite Jess being nearly 19, she still has good acceleration and fantastic commitment into jumps. Throughout a whole year and a half, taking in well over 30 competitions, Jess has only knocked over 2 fences.

It was fantastic to see them after all the hard work take a little piece of Aintree history at the weekend, the first ever combination to win the 75cm and take second in the 85cm. I'm so very, very proud.

Question Time

Bit of a treat last night on Question Time with a very decent panel on offer which included Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon, UK Independance Party leader Nigel Farage, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Theresa May, Director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti and singer Will Young. There was a lot of publicity and hype surrounding last night, with even Radio 2's Chris Evans willing viewers to tune in to see the very brave Will Young.

Will is a keen follower of politics, a degree in it to be matter of fact, but unfortunately came across as a bit of wet lettace. Not his fault, he was up against a very strong panel. He presented his thoughts on the 'snow crisis' well, but then other points were a bit fluffy. I think being put on the spot, knocked him off his balence slightly and in my opinion he looked afraid of expressing his opinion what with Ross, Brand and Thatcher all getting smacked wrists recently.

Conincidently the Thatcher debarcle was discussed, Will said that private matters should be kept private, but unfortunately in the industry he is in people want to know all about celebrity personal lives (a point which I wrote about in another blog recently.) In some cases I agree, unfortunately these dimwit celebrities don't seem to grasp that they have a responsibility. Being in the main public eye, they need to act professionally and with neutral dignity at all times, on air or not.

A number of people have blogged about last night, including Wayne at work, who enjoyed listening to Shami Chakrabarti, Heidi Stephens who loved Will Young and Jon Clements, who thought Geoff Hoon came across pretty cold.

I thought he came across pretty well. He handled the 'snow crisis' situation very well and I totally agreed with him. We haven't had snow like this for 18 years, and it's hard to plan for the weather. You simply plan to your traditional climate. Dimbleby exclaimed we needed more snow ploughs, but like we're going to spend millions upon millions on getting loads of snow ploughs which will be used once in a blue moon, and as Geoff Hoon explained, need to be replaced every 10 years anyway! If this snowfall hadn't had happened, and we found out that we had £5-10 million pounds worth of snow plough not being used just sat around, you can imagine the response!

Shami Chakrabarti did no harm to herself last night, it was good performance throughout the evening. She had researched the subjects very well and her statements were refreshingly to the point. It was good to have someone as young, passionate and energetic as Shami on board. On the flipside to that Nigel Farage didn't come across too well in my opinion. He seemed desperate to be heard, very loud, obnoxious and quite smarmy, and if he was in charge he would have had the school children marching to school digging their own way through the snow! Ba Humbug!

We've had a good run of celebrity guests, James Caan, Willie Walsh and Sainsburys boss Justin King and I enjoyed having Will Young on the show, it was good to see him have a go. If anything he boosted the profile of Question Time, and with that entice a new, fresh audience. Good for him.

Tour Of Qatar

Great start for the UK, with Bradley Wiggins taking the top spot after the stage 1 time trial and Roger Hammond, beating the likes of Tom Boonen today in the 134km stage. It was Hammond's first win in 2 years as strong winds breaking up the peloton. Even better news, huge up and coming star Dan Lloyd came 10th for Cervelo!

Hammond takes the yellow jersey with Boonen 6 seconds behind.

I went and tried the notorious Mow Cop climb over the weekend with a 1 in 4 climb. I only got half way up before I ran out of gear to peddle up, a trip to Dave Hinde's is on the cards for the Cheshire Cat! It is just crazy how steep the climb is, even walking up it was a nightmare. Such is the gradient that on the way back down I had my brakes pretty much full on and still couldn't stop. This 60 mile sportive is gonna be a killer!