Chris Froome talks to us post stage 2 at Sheffield Tour de France
Image ©Chris Maher / CyclingShorts.cc
Chris Froome talks to us post stage 2 at Sheffield Tour de France
Image ©Chris Maher / CyclingShorts.cc
Tickets for the biggest ever Tour de France Team Presentation Ceremony in history will go on sale this week.
The biggest stars from the world of cycling, including Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish, from all 22 teams will grace the stage as part of a spectacular live event.
The show will take place at Leeds Arena on the evening of the 3rd July, just two days before the Tour de France 2014 gets under way in Yorkshire.
It will be the first time the Team Presentation Ceremony has been done on such a large scale and will see the teams joined by live entertainment and acts – marking another first for Yorkshire’s Grand Départ.
The event will be overseen by Martin Green, the Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympics, where he led the team who delivered the opening and closing ceremonies. The event will see him return to the city where he studied for his masters degree in theatre studies at Leeds University.
Ticket prices range from £45 to £85 – and are available to buy from 9am on Friday April 25 via the official arena ticket website at www.firstdirectarena.com
Live acts and entertainment are set to be announced in the coming weeks.
Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France, said: “The Team Presentation this year in Leeds will be a first for the Tour and we hope it will become a template for Team Presentations in the future. It shows how much passion there is for cycling in the UK and Yorkshire’s Grand Départ.”
Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “When we were handed the honour of hosting the Grand Départ here in Yorkshire, we promised the ASO that we would put on the grandest of Grand Départs. This spectacular event at the arena is part of doing just that – and this offers fans the chance to not only witness a first in the history of the Tour, but be part of a once-in-a-lifetime event for our county.”
Tony Watson, Director of Sales, Marketing & PR at the Leeds Arena, said: “The Leeds Arena has been designed to deliver world class events and therefore our team are delighted to be welcoming the Team Presentation Ceremony here in a few weeks’ time. With world class acoustics, great views from every seat and with us being located right in the heart of Leeds, there isn’t a better way to kick-off the greatest annual sporting event on Earth.”
Welcome to Yorkshire has been encouraging people since the start of the year to register for an opportunity to purchase tickets early (this Thursday) ahead of general sale (this Friday), and people still have chance to join the thousands of others who have already pre registered by visiting www.letouryorkshire.com/teampresentation before it closes at midnight tonight (Tuesday April 22).
More than ten thousand are expected to see the Team Presentation Ceremony on the evening of the 3rd July, making it the biggest in the history of the Tour de France.
Cast your mind back to Team Sky’s annus mirabilis. Its 2012 and the halcyon day’s of Wiggo’s dominance in the stage races cumulating in victory in the Tour de France and yet another Olympic gold, this time in the time trial. Every pedal stroke of which, you’ll recall, was chronicled in the rather good ’21 Day’s to Glory’.
Now comes this 2013 Grand Tour journal charting the ups, downs, plan A’s, plan B’s, the tragedies, the triumphs and inner working’s of Team Sky.
The Pain and the Glory delves deep into Team Sky’s attempt to win the double: the 2013 Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. This is a book in two-parts and is generally chronological.
It opens with a well written introduction from Sir Dave and quickly leaps straight into the Giro and Sky’s charge for victory through Bradley Wiggins – remember all the talk, Nibali or Wiggins – and their eventual re-structuring and plan-B second place in GC with Rigoberto Uran. The ‘second half’ of the book covers the Tour and Chris Froome’s gradual deconstruction of the other main GC contenders. Geraint Thomas’ epic ride through of pain will long live in the memory – a legend tales root.
The Pain and the glory has a real fly-on-the-wall feel to it. Although it does leave one or two crucial question unasked – as you’d expect from an internally employed team of professional journalists. The book rally excels in the unusual layers of detail about each and every stage. All supplemented beautifully by the Scott Mitchell’s sublime photography and enriched by input from the all the main protagonists – Wiggin’s, Froome, Uran, Thomas (he of the fractured pelvis in stage 1… This man is one tough dude!), Stannard, et al. It also allows an insight into to the oft hidden, but absolutely vital, work of the mechanics, medical staff, cooks and families.
This is the very official account of a tumultuous yet ultimately successful year in the life of one of the leading professional road cycling teams. Kudos to Sarah Edwards for generating such a flowing narrative.
Marginal gains on the road… Massive gains in reader experience: the book is accompanied by a fascinating commentary from the team players, photographers and writers. Just download the free Livebooks App from The App store or Google Play, scan the photo’s with the livebook symbol and sit back and listen. This really works and is highly effective in enriching and enlightening. I found the chats about photography, framing and choice, artistic and highly educational.
CyclingShorts Star Rating: 80/100 (9 if Team Sky ran a women’s team!)
Exclusive – with accompanying Team Sky podcast Apps
Harper Collins – Non Fiction on 17th October 2013
Available in Hardback & eBook
RRP £20.00 (Hardback) RRP £13.39 (Digital)
As the 2013 road cycling season ambles its way towards a conclusion and news tidbits start to dry up it feels like a good time to review the season; and what a season it has been both on and off the bike. Whilst the crashing fall of a certain Mr Armstrong has overawed the majority of the season,the racing and politics of the sport continues to provoke excitement and angst in equal measure.
Two new Grand Tour winners, two new classic winners, some biblical weather and a change in the top tier of the sport all point to that fact that it wasn’t a bad year after all!
Grand Tour Deja-Vu?
American bike rider defies all the odds to win one of cycling’s biggest races for the first time. No we haven’t been transported back to the drug riddled late 1990’s; its Christopher Horner (at 41 – the oldest Grand Tour winner ever) triumphing in the Vuelta a Espana. The impossibly gaunt and skinny rider from Oregon scrawled yet another chapter in the sports chaotic relationship with drugs and rumour.
Climbing for impossibly extended moments out of the saddle, the American arguably rode the perfect race to despatch Vincenzo Nibali. Herein lies perhaps the most important motif of that Vuelta – it remains a stiff task to be competitive in more than one grand tour during the year. Ultimately this has to be a positive thing for the sustainability of the sport.
That brings us to a certain Mr Nibbles. Safely despatching his opponents despite some biblical weather and some shortened stages – he certainly has to be classed as one of the top 3 grand tour riders at present. Admittedly a tentative Wiggins, an ageing Evans, an off colour Hesjedal and an improving Uran didn’t provide much of a challenge.
Again the Tour de France was strangled by a Sky armada, albeit in a less comprehensive fashion than 12 months previously. A precession from stage 8 for Mr Froome wouldn’t have been so enjoyable if it wasn’t for the 100th Tour which included a double ascension of Alpe D’Huez, Mount Ventoux and a dusk finish in Paris. Marcel Kittel also emerged as the top sprinter we all knew he would be, throwing down a challenge to Monseiur Cavendish. He’s certainly come a long way in a very short time since finishing third at the 2010 World Time Trial championship! Oh and who can forget the Australian bus incident!
An Irish Panda
Let’s hope MTN Quebeka’s win at Milan San Remo inspires a generation (to pinch a well-known phrase) of African cyclists. Yet, history may well remember the ice crusted helmets, blue faces, mid stage bus ride and a tottering Sky rider instead.
Whilst Fabian Cancellara doubled up at Roubaix and Flanders and Rodriguez did the double at Il Lombardia, Dan Martin ensured Irish eyes were smiling again when triumphing at thoroughly enjoyable edition of Liege Bastogne Liege with the current fall guy of cycling Hesjedal teeing his Garmin teammate to perfection.
With Messers Boonen and Cancellara nearing the epoch of their careers and the timely proliferation of a number of new classic stars, 2014 may well see a new paradigm in one day races. Certainly, Zdenk Stybar can count himself extremely unlucky this year.
Cookson comes to the fore
Arguably the most important moment of the year came when the defiant Pat McQuaid was finally wrestled from his position of UCI president by Brian Cookson. Only time will tell whether the much publicised change Cookson has promised comes to fruition. With calendar alterations a foot for 2015, next year this maybe the last season we enjoy procycling in its current format.
Below are my rider and race or stage of the year. Who or what is yours?
My rider of the Year – Joaquim Rodriguez
Race of the year – Stage 6 of Tirreno Adriatico
Have you ever wanted to have a mooch around the much-vaunted Team Sky bus? I know I did, and thanks to Jaguar, along with some lucky competition winners, we got that very chance whilst the Death Star sat awaiting its star charges during the final stage of the Tour of Britain.
For a race like the Tour of Britain, Team Sky send the team bus and a big service truck – the service truck has a kitchen and laundry at the front, and bike storage and a workshop at the back. The workshop is empty because the team are out on stage, safely shepherding Sir Brad’s run to the gold jersey.
Visiting the team bus while the riders were away was the cycling equivalent to stepping aboard the deserted Marie Celeste where the coffee pot on the stove was still hot. Bernie Eisel’s spare helmet waits patiently for the call to arms.
The bus was designed and built solely to transport nine riders from the hotel to the start line in as comfortable a fashion as possible. The first vehicle to be built so uncompromisingly, other teams have since followed suit.
Team Sky advise that their riders become attached to particular seats – this seat, the second row on the right hand side, is the one that Chris Froome favoured during his Tour de France triumph.
The seat behind the Froome chair is the one that David Lopez occupied during the Tour of Britain, and his newspaper, recovery bar and phones await his return. Team Sky were fantastically open-handed about allowing us access.
Wiggo’s seat, predictably enough, is in the front row, right behind the driver – some goon who really doesn’t like having his picture taken poses with the jersey that Sir Bradley picked up at the end of the Guildford stage the day before. The helmet weighs nothing.
Sir Bradley’s shades and his Guildford trophy. The seats are exquisitely comfortable.
The rules according to Team Sky.
At the back of the bus, past the showers, is a little meeting room where the world’s supply of energy bars, gels and powders are stored. We were invited to go and have a look around, but I felt too guilty intruding on someone’s workspace to go any further.
How much do you want to try a bottle of this?
Even from the outside, I’ve always been appreciative of what Team Sky have done for the sport in the UK, purely in terms of results and the associated boosting of the profile of racing. But it was a privilege to have a chance to have a look on the inside – even in the closing stages of a fairly important stage race in which they had a vested interest, they took the time to offer the chance to have a mosey around to four randoms that they didn’t know from Adam. And not just a faceless guided whizz around – we had a guide, of course, but Rob could not have been more open and friendly. It was remarkable – all their riders’ personal kit was there, any questions could be asked, photos were encouraged and nothing was off limits. British Cycling Head Coach Shane Sutton was on and off the bus doing his thing whilst we were there, and he was perfectly happy to answer questions as he worked.
It was a fantastic treat, for any cycling fan, and a real privilege to have had the chance – massive “thank you thank you thank you!” thanks to Fran Millar of Team Sky and Claire Boakes of Jaguar for allowing Cycling Shorts this window into such a fascinating world. #ToB2013 #ridelikeapro @TeamSky @JaguarUK @Sportbrake
As the riders have a well earned day off after a tough week and the two gruelling days in the Pyrenees we take a look at some interesting figures compiled by our partners at RoadCyclingUK.
Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas fractured his hip on the first stage of the 2013 Tour de France but has refused to quit.
Such displays of courage are the norm for professional cycling, despite the unimaginable challenge of racing for three weeks.
Do the stars of other sports have it easy by comparison, and reap greater rewards?
When Andy Murray stepped on to Centre Court at Wimbledon, he was playing for a £1.6m pay cheque. If Chris Froome wins the Tour de France, he will collect €450,000.
Thomas tweeted recently on the £23,000 prize money given to players who exit Wimbledon after the first round, joking that his girlfriend should attend the local tennis court.
We compare the prize money offered to the riders of the Tour de France and the players at Wimbledon, it’s certainly an eye opener.
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