Who comes out on top in our Brad vs Bertie Top Trumps?
What Brad doesn't know about time trialling isn't worth knowing. The Olympic gold medallist came second to Tony Martin in the 2011 World Road Championships Time Trial and won two of the three 2012 Tour de France ITTs.
Score: Wiggins is ranked up with Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara in the triumvirate of Time Triallists but, where Cancellara prefers the shorter events, Wiggins has the endurance strength to last over 50km on his own as he proved in 2012. 9 POINTS
Contador isn't a through and through time trialler but he won the Under 23's Spanish Time Trial Championships back in 2001 and took several TT stages in smaller races during his career. In 2007 however, he won the Tour de France on the back of Stage 19's Time Trial, beating specialists in the field, Cadel Evans and Levi Leipheimer.
Score: Bertie's Time Trialling is hit and miss. It's no secret that he's a great tester when it comes down to it, but sometimes, more recently, he's shown he just doesn't always have the legs for it in a grand tour. 8 POINTS
Brad has never won a Mountain Top stage of a Grand Tour but that's never stopped him being up there with the main contenders. Whilst he would never attack on a climb, in 2012, he held on to Contador and Joaquim Rodriguez's wheel in the categorised climbs to keep the yellow jersey safe.
Score: Wiggins has a tenacity rather than a punch when it comes to climbing. This skill leads to the climbing specialists generally being surprised to see him still there whenever they look round. 7 POINTS
Outside of his voided results between 2010 and 2012, Contador has won five Grand Tour Mountain stages. He is a climber by speciality and most at home when “dancing on the pedals” up the steepest slopes in Europe.
Score: The mountains are where Contador is, along with many other skinny Spanish riders, in his element. Whether he's attacking Andy Schleck, surprising Joaquim Rodriguez or dropping Cadel Evans, Contador comes alive in the climbs. 9 POINTS
Okay, so Brad has only got one Grand Tour under his belt. But that's so far. He's only been targetting them for three years, so give him chance. And in those three years, he's finished third twice (2009 Tour and 2011 Vuelta) and first once.
Score: Bradley's star is in ascent. He knows he can do it now, the monkey is off the back and all that. With his eye on the Giro, the Grand Tour that is generally more of a wild card, anything could happen in 2013. 8 POINTS
Contador has had two Grand Tour wins stripped from his palmares, leaving his top places on the podium numbering four since he started targeting Grand Tours in 2007. The stripping of titles isn't something that can be ignored when it comes to Contador. However you feel about his situation, it is always going to have a big black cloudy question mark in situ.
Score: His form is regularly shaky but Bertie can often find legs from nowhere (ahem) when it comes to the mountains so he should never be underestimated, even as a new wave of riders come to the fore. 8 POINTS
Brad could not have become the first Brit to win the Tour de France without the help of fellow Brit (via Kenya) Chris Froome.
Score: The 2013 Sky roster retains Chris Froome and the engine that is Ian Stannard, but also adds Tour of Britain winner Jon Tiernan-Locke to the fold, a rider who could be of assistance to Froome and Wiggins in those mountain stages. Time Trial specialist Dario Cotaldo joins from Omega Pharma Quickstep and will no doubt assist in Team Time Trials. 9 POINTS
Contador hasn't always had the best of luck with his team mates – back in 2009, cycling nearly saw another Hinault/LeMond incident when Bertie had to share a team with Lance Armstrong who had little time for the young upstart.
Score: Contador continues with Team Saxo-Tinkoff in 2013, a team featuring riders mainly in their mid-30s. However, that experience, in riders like Juan Jose Haedo and Nicki Sorensen could prove useful, as well as the legs of younger climbers like Michael Morkov and Chris Anker Sorensen. 7 POINTS
Outside the Sport:
Brad is a cycling rock star. He obviously hates the attention, but the UK have taken him to their hearts, along with sideburns, Paul Weller and a general disregard for modern etiquette. Having given up partying to prepare for the 2012 Tour, and now fearing partying due to his status in the media, Brad lives a quiet life with his wife and two children in Lancashire.
Score: A fashionista, a designer, a wannabe musician, an advocate of clean racing, Brad is the kind of cyclist you would fancy a pint with. 8 POINTS
Outside the Sport:
Following his ban and denial and lack of admittance or remorse, a shadow hangs over Contador's career. Everything he gained by showing Lance Armstrong that he wasn't the centre of the world back in 2009 has been called into question. However, he still gains kudos for not using the “I had a massive brain tumour and nearly died” sob story in every interview. See? You can have a life threatening illness and not use it as a way to try and extort money.
Score: Bertie will forever remain a bit shady now. But, he gains bonus points for keeping Canaries and being married to a woman called Macarena. 6 POINTS
And the winner is: Bradley Wiggins!
Bradley Wiggins: 41 Points
Alberto Contador: 38 Points
Phew, thank god for that. I was trying to be open minded, but seriously, who wouldn't want the Brit to be top of the pile for 2013 GC Contenders??
Katusha, the Russian Cycling Team, has been granted a Pro Continental license that will allow them to participate in second-tier events, a website statement revealed on Tuesday.
MaxCycling takes a look at eight moments that changed professional cycling.
Who comes out on top in our 2013 Tours Top Trumps?
David Harmon is the voice of British Eurosport and regularly MC's the British party season, fronting the Out of the Saddle, Braveheart and Dave Rayner Charity auctions. MaxCycling.tv caught up with the man behind the voice to find out whether once upon a time, a small boy dreamt of becoming a professional commentator and if not, how somebody finds themselves following the biggest bike races around the world, and what else is on the cards for the voice of the Tour de France.
A Reluctant Hero | LeMond to stand for UCI Presidency?
UCI president pat McQuaid will be asking himself what more he needs to do to convince people he is working for the greater good of the sport. As the Change Cycling Now Group met in London, with the former Tour champion Greg leMond paraded as their figurehead, pressure intensified on the besieged UCI President.
The goal of the group is change and there are people out there who would make great presidents of the UCI. I'm not certain I would, but I would be willing to do it temporarily.
With LeMond being so outspoken on doping, and Lance Armstrong in particular, he certainly seems an obvious candidate for the post. But anyone who thinks public pressure can shoe-horn LeMond into the Presidency is deluding themselves.
It is the UCI Congress which decides who is the UCI President. If Pat McQaid has enough friends in Congress, there is little chance an outspoken former Tour winner can succeed. He will need the lobbying skills of the finest politician to have any chance.
ARMSTRONG | Is Lance about to get a whole lot poorer?
So, there you have it. The UCI backed up USADA's findings yesterday, banning him for life from cycling and stripping him of his 7 Tour de France titles. "He deserves to be forgotten in cycling" said the under-fire UCI President Pat McQuaid.
When a rider is disqualified, he must pay the prize money back.
But it's not over yet for Lance. Now officially the most notorious drug in cheat in the history of sport he faces a number of legal actions including most notably from Dallas-based SCA Promotions, who insured Tailwind Sports against Armstrong's win bonuses. They initially refused to pay Armstrong $5 million after rumours of his drug taking circulated. But Armstrong sued, and after costs walked away with $7.5 million. SCA now want that money back.
Omega Pharma-Quick-Step announced Thursday that Mark Cavendish is joining them for 3 years from 2013, ending months of speculation. Joining Classics Specialist Tom Boonen and Time Trial World Champion Tony Martin, the team look well set up for next year.
Rabobank has announced that it is ending its 17 year support of cycling at the end of 2012. This comes in the wake of the USADA report, and Rabobank rider Carlos Barredo testing positive this week. The bank said "We are no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport.. We are not confident that this will change for the better in the foreseeable future."
Omega Pharma-Quick-Step fired Levi Leipheimer after his admission of doping. The team was upset that they only told them about the doping, earlier in his career, 2 hours before the USADA document was released. Leipheimer maintains he won his Olympic bronze medal clean.
We are no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport
ARMSTRONG | Nike, Trek withdraw their sponsorship.
In the face of overwhelming evidence against him, the Texan stubbornly continues to protest his innocence.
He is no longer a viable figure in a marketing platform for anyone moving forward
Paul Swangard, Marketing expert.
USADA FALLOUT | Millar calls for Heins Verbruggen to resign.
David Millar has called for the International Cycling Union's (UCI) honorary president Hein Verbruggen to resign in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping revelations.
I never said that Armstrong never doped, What I said was...we have never had a positive case for Armstrong
Marco Haller (Katusha) won stage 4 of the Tour of Beijing. it was his first pro win - and he beat season sprint veteran Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) in the sprint. Tony Martin still leads overall.
Leopard SA have announced that RadioShack-Nissan-Trek and Johan Bruyneel have parted company. Bruyneel is battling USADA doping allegations.
TOUR OF BEIJING | Francesco Gavazzi wins stage 3. Boassen Hagen closes in on Tony Martin.
Boasson Hagen threatened Martin's leader's jersey by attacking with three kilometers to the finish and taking almost twenty seconds advantage.
When Boasson Hagen attacked I thought it was over because this style of finish perfectly suits him
STAGE 2 | Tony Martin solos to victory.
The defending champion, kept up with the best climbers on the three climbs that featured on the 126 kilometres from the Olympic Park to Mentougou District.
I knew I had to try something without the TT. I knew, in the right moment, I had to take a chance.
This has just popped up on YouTube - Trials rider Martyn Ashton taking his £10k Dogma out for an unconventional spin:
Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has joined Team Sky on a 2 year deal. He said
"This season's results have given me a lot of confidence and I can't wait to compete at the very top of the sport. I'm under no illusions - it's going to be a big step up - but with all the support I'll receive from the coaching staff, and having such talented riders around me, I'll definitely be looking to up my game."
Mark Cavendish has reportedly negotiated a free release from Team Sky. He is tipped to join Tom Boonen at Omega Pharma Quick-Step.
Jacob Fuglsang has signed with Astana, along with Vincezo Nibali, strengthening the Kazakh team's GC aspirations. Fuglsang had a torrid time at Leopard-Trek, where relations with Johan Bruynell were not good. Now Astana need to decide which of the two lead the team in the 3 Grand Tours. Nibali's success at the Tour de France, where he came 3rd, should see him go for the GC next year, whilst the Dane could look to make his mark at the Giro and Vuelta.
Adam Blythe (BMC Racing) cemented his reputation as one of the sport's rising young stars by winning the Binche-Tournai-Binche race, beating the Vuelta's stand out sprinter John Degenkolb in the process.
Yannick Eijssen has renewed his contract with BMC Racing or 2013. He said "During the season, I got stronger and stronger and I'm really happy that I finished the Vuelta – the biggest race in my career," Eijssen said. "I hope to do a good winter of training and will try to be good from the beginning of the season."
Cyclingnews.com reports that Joaquim Rodriguez may return to the Tour de France next year. This year he chose to race in the Giro D'Italia instead, where he came 2nd overall and won the points classification, however the time trial stages may rule him out of similar success in Italy next year.
Team Sky have signed Italian time trial champion Dario Cataldo. Cataldo, formerly at OmegaPharma-Quickstep, won the 16th stage at the Vuelta. His pedigree could prove very useful support to Bradley Wiggins at next year's Giro, should Wiggo elect to participate.
October 3, 2012
The Official Launch:
Il Lombardia Official Promo Video
Philippe Gilbert, winner in 2009 & 20120 has a chance to show off his World Champions jersey - and maybe win for a third time.
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