Tour de France 2010

Well this wouldn't be Thoughts From The Bike without a post about the Tour!!

My predictions - Alberto Contador to win, but I would keep an eye on Cadel Evans, he is having an amazing season at the moment, he could pull it off.

This season we have the debut of Team Sky, the first British cycling team since Raleigh in the 80s. It is an exciting project, with Bradley Wiggins on board as GC and Edvald Boasson Hagen for the sprints it will be interesting to see how they get on. It's great to see Geraint Thomas and the Wirral's Steve Cummings get a shout. I've read a number of interviews with Steve Cummings, it's good to see a good guy get the opportunity!

We are a few stages into the tour already and it is interesting to see how the race is progressing already. I've got to say Stage 3, which took in parts of Paris-Roubaix pave, was a sensational race. The race was split apart and we even lost one of the favourites Frank Schleck with a broken collarbone! Seeing Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans at the end being interviewed, white as a sheet, totally exhausted said it all. The images of the crowds along the pave, the riders following each other darting from side to side to find the smoothest line were amazing.

After a surprising Prologue from Armstrong which saw him take out a few seconds on Contador, people starting talking whether Armstrong could do it in his last ever tour. After stage 3 that all changed, those who were minutes behind (such as Cadel, Andy Shleck and Bradley Wiggins after poor Prologues) found themselves back in the top 10 with minutes ahead of Contador and Armstrong.

Contador wasn't going to do any damage on the cobbles and even managed to take a minute out of Armstrong. His performance so far has been solid, managing the flat stages well, no major accidents and kept himself quiet ready for the mountains to come.

This is going to be the most exciting Tour for years, I would love for Mark Cavendish to pick up the Green jersey too. I've just watched stage 5, which having seen Cav been written off the day before (due to loosing a sprint into stage 4) totally destroy the field. Mark Renshaw did an incredible lead out (one of the best I've seen from such a long way out) and Cav finished it off. The pouring of tears on the podium and in the interview afterwards just showed that despite his spiky personality, underneath he is just a cocky teenager with an incredible talent. Cav is under a huge amount of pressure, and together with a poor build up to the Tour, today showed he is a very tired guy. I hope he lasts through the mountains, but today he won himself a lot of respect for the passion he has for cycling.

Get ready for the Pyrenees!!

BTW I'm all over the ITV footage of the Tour, excellent interviews throughout and some behind the scenes footage. ITV 4 at 7pm or watch it live.

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