Saturday is the big day, the 2015 Tour de France launches its self down the start ramp in Utrecht for the stage 1 individual time trial and the first yellow jersey. Our most experienced Tour follower, Ed Hood, has run his eye over the past Tour stats, the parcours and the main contenders. Here comes the biggest race of the year... Vive le Tour!
Some say the Tour isn't the Tour without the l'Alpe d'Huez, and anyone who's been there will tell you it's the ONLY place to be when the race comes through. L'Alpe returns again this year and PEZ's Ed Hood knows the 21 bends better than most - here's what race fans should expect...
The 2015 Tour de France will not be crossing the Col du Galibier, normally the highest point of the French Grand Tour, on its way to l'Alpe d'Huez on stage 20. All this due to a landslide which has damaged the Chambon tunnel. So what better time to have a look back at one of Ed Hood's many Alpe visits.
Gordon Singleton came up through the ranks, first riding the track at 17 years old in Canada before jumping over to England to learn his trade in the 'dog-eat-dog' hotbed of cycling in Liverpool. A rainbow jersey was his aim and in 1982 he grabbed one, but it could/should have been two. Ed Hood gets the inside story.
The 2015 Tour de France is a matter of only 20 days away, but Ed Hood, our most experienced Grand Tour follower, is thinking back to the first of his ten 'accredited' Tours. The 2006 Tour was an up and down affair, it was scandal riddled and the Landis Tour of '06 will go down in history as one of the worst.
Ed Hood has a ride down memory lane with Canadian ground breaker, Ron Hayman. The man from British Columbia (via Scotland) made the bold step of moving to Belgium to fight amongst the hardest men in cycle sport on the hardest roads. From there he cut a fine career in the top US teams in the 80's.
When looking back at the 2015 Giro d'Italia it's hard to think of any negatives. The only 'what if' would be Landa being told to wait for Fabio Aru in a Froome/Wiggins sort of way. Ed and Martin are back home in Scotland and 'happy' to be at their day jobs, so we asked them for the 'Top 12' best things Giro.
PEZ Roadside St.21: It's the end of the Giro d'Italia road for the riders and for Ed and Martin. The adventurous pair were in amongst everything in Milano, roadside, backstage, at the busses and as near the finish line and podium as they could get. It's the last day of school in Milan.
Giro'15 St.20: There's only one place to watch this penultimate stage of the 2015 Giro d'Italia - and that's on the spiralling slopes of the Colle della Finestre. Ed & Martin battled closed roads and the long way 'round, but made it to the top of one of cycling's most epic climbs.
And to think, this morning started so well... We've been in them all; the hotel from The Shining, leaks, no heating, no hot water, no breakfast, no wi-fi... But last night... "Majestic" by name, majestic by nature, back to a time when hotel staff didn't wear Korn T-shirts and call you; 'mate.'
Ed and Martin are into the 'Giro Groove' and have this bike race chasing down to a fine art. They've worked out the best places to see the race, eat pizza & drink beer, plus find the very important coffee and a read of the Gazzetta. Day 3 of their Giro Adventure rolls to Verbania!
After missing out on the Mortirolo yesterday, Ed and Martin made point of soaking up the atmosphere at the start in Tirano, before shooting off towards Switzerland. But everyone is still talking about Alberto and the Mortirolo and the guys were taking it all in.
Ed and Martin jumped off at the deep-end, first day at the Giro 2015 and they went for the hardest day with, arguably, the hardest climb of this years race. The Passo del Mortirolo strikes fear into the heart of many a bike rider. The boys find out why.
Ed Hood and Martin Williamson have hit the Italian soil running, only in the country for a handful of hours and they have sorted their creds, seen tomorrow's route, inspected the bikes and sent us the first words and photos. The productive pair will be on the Mortirolo tomorrow, here is the story so far:
Stage 14 Race report: On another miserable, dangerous day in the Pink Race, Alberto Contador (Spain & Saxo-Tinkoff) reminded everyone why he’s the best stage race rider of his generation, wresting the maglia rosa from Fabio Aru (Italy & Astana) and opening up a 2:28 buffer.
Being a Pro cyclist isn't all top hotels, big team busses and 1st class travel, on the lower rungs of the professional cycle sport life is not so easy. Logan Loader is in Italy on the Continental team Amore & Vita, Ed Hood found out what life is like on the lower step.
Race Report: Stage Three and all the world is pink - but especially Australia - as Michael Matthews reprises his last year’s Giro performance of winning with that most beautiful of jerseys on his back. The multi-jersey wearing Australian cooly crossed the line in pink...again.
Saturday is the big day in Italy for cycling fans, the Giro d'Italia launches its self down the start ramp in Sanremo for the first Grand Tour of the 2015 season. Ed Hood takes a close look at the most important stages and riders and talks to Giro virgin Calvin Watson. Giro time baby!
Joey Rosskopf has had a hard baptism of fire in the European Spring Classics and as he recovers before the Tour de Yorkshire this weekend, Ed Hood managed to catch-up with the BMC rider to hear all about it. The life of a young American in Europe:
When 2015 Giro d'Italia route was announced last October our most experienced Grand Tour reporter, Ed Hood, gave us his first look (full preview next Wednesday). This year's Italian tour is mostly in the north, but in Ed's own words: "There’s something for everyone in the 2015 Giro!"