#bikeschool: Les Solutions de Rechange

By my calculations it is exactly 18 days until the start of this years pinnacle event in the season’s calender, Le Tour de France. This year’s event is set to be a real spectacle with 4 mountain-top finishes and the re-installment of the team time trial as well as enough flat stages for the sprinters to shake a stick at. [ED - While we are on the subject of mountain-top finishes, here's a neat little fact for you to taunt your buddies with. This year's Tour passes over the highest mountain it has been over in it's history. Le Col Agnel stands at 2,777m and will be at an average of 6.5% and has only been used in Le Tour once before in 2008 when Egoi Martinez crested the summit first with Simon Gerrans eventually taking the stage win.]

As I write this, the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de Suisse are in full swing where some of the big guns are showing their worth, knowing that it is vital in preparing the body for the perils of Le Tour as well as being able to get the closest possible reconnaissance of your rivals before the riders arrive on L’Ile de Noirmoutier on the 2nd of July. We have already witnessed a somewhat crazy, if not enthralling (compared to last year) Giro d’Italia with notable rides from Scarponi, Gadret, Nibali, Rodriguez and the punchy José Rujano who all seemed to be fighting for 2nd place after Clenbutador turned on the gas in the mountains.


The ‘Alternative List’

Over the next few weeks you will undoubtedly be inundated with lists of possibles, probables, big hitters and no hopers for this years Tour. Quite boringly these official publications, online and in print, have their image to think about and don’t generally rock the boat… well now you have me! Here is the ‘Alternative List’ of information on some of the biggest riders (and one other) in this years race with my own take on their chances…


Alberto Contador, Clenbutador, Clenty… what ever you want to call him he is going to play a big part in this years Tour, as he has done over the past few years. The diabolical state that he and the UCI have left our sport in over the last 12 months is unexcusable to you and I but the powers that be seem to sleep soundly at night. The wins that he gifted to José Rujano, Igor Anton and Paolo Tiralongo in this years Giro in an attempt to gain kudos points to cash in at Le Tour made me choke on my filet mignon. Personally, I cannot fathom how anybody who knows anything about professional cycling could cheer for Clenty and I hope he snaps a spoke or drops a chain on every major climb and gets found to be the cheating ass that we all know he is. That is all.



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