It’s only three years since Geraint Thomas (Barloworld and Wales) won the world junior track scratch race championships, now at 21, he’s swapped smooth boards for the gnarly tar of the Pyrenees. Geraint, from Cardiff, capital of Wales is the youngest rider in the race at just 21, we caught-up with him after stage 17, Pau to Castelsarrasin with the Alps and Pyrenees behind him.
Indeed, this is our final Tour de PEZ of 2007. Ed Hood's voyage across the latter part of the 2007 Tour de France came to a close on Monday, but his final impressions of another conflicted Tour are poignant, heart-felt, and something that needed to be said, read on...
If your post-Tour hangover hasn’t kicked in yet – it will any day now. So to ease the pain of grand tour withdrawal, PEZ-man Bob Cullinan looks back on his remarkable ride across England, Belgium and France.
Champs Elysees that is… - It’s 6:00 AM Sunday on the Champs Elysees, Paris the last stage of the Tour de France is just hours away and PEZ joined the bright young things coming home from parties, the technical crews and the cops, to sneak in a quick lap of the most famous finishing circuit in cycling.
Race Analysis Final - A cyclist’s body responds to stress by adapting and growing stronger, and riding the Tour de France is just about the most stress any rider can apply to his body in a three-week period. It’s such an immense stimulus that not only affects a rider’s fitness for the rest of the season, but it also plays a role in his performance next year as well.
PEZ Roadside St. 19 - It took three hours to get to the start from Sarlat, along winding rural roads, dodging the 'crazies,' but when we got there, we settled down for a high-quality picnic amid the vineyards, crowds, open road, and the riders as they howl ever closer to Paris.
Race Analysis St. 19 - After the most exciting time trial in recent memory, I can't actually say which rider had the most impressive performance, so I'll take a look at the rides from the incredible three, as they all stepped up for one final day of outstanding racing in what has been one of the best Tours in years.
Our man on the scene, Ed Hood, gets up close and comfortable with the bikes of the men that are defining this Tour de France. Without them, there's no Tour, let's take a look at the hardware that's doing the business, en France.
TDF Analysis After Stage 18 - The moment the finish clock stopped on today’s race, another clock started running. This one counts down the start of tomorrow’s 55.5-kilometer individual time trial. With the top three riders separated by only 2:49, the yellow jersey is still very much up for grabs, and everything that happens between the end of Stage 18 and the start of Stage 19 will have an impact on the final standings in Paris.
Our man Magnus Backstedt isn't at the Tour right now, but he sure has something to say about it, and it's a refreshing voice to be heard. Mr. Backstedt weighs in on his own feelings about the continuing dope scandals that are destroying our sport.
Coming to the finish line in a small group always gives you a better chance of winning than entering the final straightaway with the entire pack, but when Daniele Bennati won today, he played his cards well and came away with his first Tour de France stage win. Here's how he did it.
PEZ Roadside Stage 17 - Yesterday, we touched on the Vinokourov situation, today we have to do more than touch on the Cofidis and Rasmussen situations. They cannot be 'glossed-over' and we think you should know what the feeling on the race is like, to that end, we spent this morning gathering opinions from riders and others.
Orthez, in the foothills of the Pyrenees... it's a beautiful morning, the mist is burning-off, and long shadows from the greenest of trees have groups of spectators using them as shade from what is aleady a hot sun. The road is rolling gently through the maize fields and meadows and every few seconds I have to stop writing to wave to wide-eyed children.
The Tour de France is unquestionably the biggest, most important race in all of cycling, and correspondingly, it is the biggest and best stage for the riders to make a name for themselves, to prove their value, and to ensure that they remain in the game or better their position as they 'race for a contract.' It's not all about winning stages or jerseys though, and there are more than a few ways to prove your value to prospective squads.
While the shock of Vino’s positive test threatens to spoil a lot of fans' hope for the cleansing of cycling, the fact remains there’s still a whole Tour de France to finish. It’s ‘rest day’ in the Pyrenees, so PEZ dropped in on Discovery Channel and Predictor-Lotto for a little catch-up.
TDF Analysis Rest Day 2 - There’s a price to being the center of attention. When you’re wearing the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, everybody wants a piece of you, and if an athlete is not careful, life in the spotlight can hurt his chances of keeping the jersey all the way to Paris.
PEZ Roadside Stage 15 - Le Point de Passage Oblige, the end of the neutralized section and, when Jacky Durand used to race, his favourite part of the course. It's 09.00 and there's a cock crowing somewhere over in the farm to our right as PEZ sets-out to take you with us over all of the 196 kilometres between Foix and Loudenvielle-Le Louron on stage 15 of the 2007 Tour de France.
TDF Analysis Stage 15 - If only the Col de Peyresourde was a little longer, or that Alberto Contador had started attacking a little earlier. Michael Rasmussen had the power to answer all of the Discovery Channel rider’s attacks on the final climb of Stage 15, but towards the end he really seemed to be digging deep to get back to Contador’s wheel. Another few kilometers uphill and who knows…
PEZ Roadside Stage 14 - Today’s Pyrennean opener was a crunchy handful from this box of Tour crackers, and with a stage this big there’s just no way to eat the whole thing, so PEZ staked out the Col de Pailheres for a roadside sampling…
TDF Stage 14 Analysis - You remember that loner in high school who always ate lunch by himself and didn’t have any friends? In professional cycling, they’re the climbing specialists. They spend long hours training by themselves on desolate mountain roads, talking to themselves and thinking only about the damage they can do when races enter their turf.