Category Archive: Cycling

Cycling News

Jul 23

Tour de France 2017 – in pictures

As this year’s Tour reaches its climax after 20 stages of racing, we bring you some of our favourite images from three weeks of two-wheel action

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/gallery/2017/jul/23/tour-de-france-2017-in-pictures

Jul 23

Sky’s the limiting factor for Chris Froome in Tour de France popularity stakes

Briton’s four wins place him in exalted company, but team’s image prevents fans from properly celebrating his achievements

In 1963, the Tour de France organisers devised a route to discomfit Jacques Anquetil, who had just won the race for the third time. The time trial kilometrage was slashed and the mountain stages increased. It did not work: Anquetil took his fourth Tour in emphatic style. A similar process can be traced leading to Chris Froome’s fourth Tour win, sealed in Marseille in one of the most scenically beautiful and atmospheric stages the event has ever run.

This Tour route looked tailored for the young French hopeful Romain Bardet, he of the nerveless descending skills, more downhill skier than cyclist, but the outcome was the same as in 1963: the man who, on paper, was least favoured by the route, ended up the winner, taking his fourth Tour.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/23/sky-chris-froome-tour-de-france

Jul 22

On the verge of Tour victory … but will Chris Froome win British hearts?

Cycling’s doping past and an upbringing abroad have stopped the Tour victor getting acclaim he deserves

As Chris Froome rides over the polished cobblestones of the Champs Élysées on Sunday afternoonlater today, the cyclist will surely enter the pantheon of British sporting greats.

After finishing the penultimate stage of the Tour de France 54 seconds ahead of his closest rival on Saturday, the 32-year-old is a certainty, barring accidents, to win the brutal race for a fourth time, something only four other men have ever done.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/22/chris-froome-battle-to-win-over-british-public

Jul 22

Tour de France diary: Macron’s man-hug, Barguil usurps Bardet and a killer wolf | William Fotheringham

Another Chris Froome PR disaster; cringeworthy presidential memories; a new French hero is born; and a return to Puy-de-Dôme must be on the cards

For the first time this year, I drive the roads of the Tour stage; the last 120km. Up to 10 years ago, this was a daily occurrence, but it is something we never do now, as all superfluous cars are directed on to a diversionary route to avoid risks to spectators. As always, there are insights to be gained from actually seeing the roads that you simply don’t get from a television camera, and there is local colour in abundance. Everywhere is the emblem of the Beast, an 18th century legend involving – depending on who you believe – a vast homicidal wolf, or a serial killer who covered his crimes by inventing the legend of the wolf. Vast wolf prints are drawn on the road, trailers of hay bales are covered with wolf posters, and a lifesized wolf model sits on a roundabout in the town of Saugues. Also commemorated is a big beast of French cycling writing, Pierre Chany, whose poster adorns a tower in his home village of La Margeride. The L’Équipe writer died in 1996, one of the last of the old-school devotees of chain-smoking Gaullists, proper lunch breaks and typed copy, who could recall passing a bottle to Louison Bobet from a press motorbike in the mid-50s. Truly the stuff of legend.

Related: How it feels to tackle the Tour de France’s ‘final battle’ – the Col d’Izoard

Related: Allez allez! Le Tour de France – a photo essay

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/22/tour-de-france-diary-macron-barguil-bardet-froome

Jul 22

Tour de France: Chris Froome all but wins his fourth title – video highlights

Chris Froome came third in the time trial stage, the penultimate stage of the 2017 Tour de France, but extended his overall lead to 54 seconds, all but guaranteeing his fourth title. The final stage is a largely processional affair, Tour etiquette dict…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/video/2017/jul/22/tour-de-france-chris-froome-all-but-wins-his-fourth-title-video-highlights

Jul 22

Tour de France 2017: Chris Froome puts success down to ‘conservative but efficient’ tactics

Britain’s Chris Froome says Team Sky’s “conservative but efficient” tactics have been the key to his success after he effectively clinched his fourth Tour de France title.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/40692080

Jul 22

Chris Froome set for fourth Tour de France title after increasing lead in time trial

• Team Sky rider increases lead to 54 seconds in stage 20 time trial
• Bodnar wins penultimate stage with Uran moving top second overall

In football parlance, there was no penalty shootout here as Chris Froome finished third to the stage winner Maciej Bodnar to seal his fourth Tour de France victory.

With the harsh light of France’s south reflecting intensely off the twinkling Mediterranean, this stage resembled a 4-0 win for the three-times Tour champion, who went up early and had the game in the bag by half-time, hammering home his advantage in the final quarter, as Romain Bardet’s challenge for the yellow jersey turned into a scrap to save his place on the podium from Mikel Landa.

Related: Tour de France 2017: Chris Froome set to win fourth title after time trial – live!

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/22/chris-froome-fourth-tour-de-france-title

Jul 22

Team Sky’s Dave Brailsford says he let himself down following an exchange with a reporter

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford says he let himself down following “foul-mouthed exchange” with a reporter during the Tour de France.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/40694544

Jul 22

Tour de France 2017: Team Sky’s Dave Brailsford ‘regrets’ exchange with reporter

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford says he “let himself down” following an exchange with a reporter during the Tour de France.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/40693410

Jul 22

Tour de France 2017: Chris Froome set to clinch fourth yellow jersey

Britain’s Chris Froome effectively seals his fourth Tour de France win after finishing third on the penultimate stage of the race in Marseille.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/40691623

Jul 22

Tour de France 2017: Chris Froome win worth ‘brutal’ race, says Luke Rowe

Luke Rowe says seeing Team Sky leader Chris Froome win the 2017 Tour de France would make riding with a broken rib worthwhile.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/wales/40691555

Jul 22

British Cycling answers Hoy’s call to secure funding by voting for change

• Sir Chris Hoy said vote was vital not just for cycling ‘but society as a whole’
• Six-time Olympic champion penned an open letter to members

British Cycling members have answered the call of Sir Chris Hoy and voted to amend the sport’s governance structures, safeguarding around £43m of Sport England and UK Sport funding.

At an extraordinary general meeting of its national council on Saturday, British Cycling accepted proposals to fall in line with sports minister Tracey Crouch’s code to promote diversity by October.

Related: Allez allez! Le Tour de France – a photo essay

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/22/british-cycling-secure-future-funding-members-vote-change

Jul 22

British Cycling votes to accept governance reforms

British Cycling will retain £43m in public funding after its national council approved governance reforms during an extraordinary general meeting on Saturday.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/40692580

Jul 22

Tour de France 2017: Chris Froome set to win fourth title after time trial

Maciej Bodnar won the time trial, while Chris Froome extended his lead to 54 seconds and will seal victory in Paris

5.07pm BST

And it’s also all from me for this year’s Tour, as somebody else will be swanning in with a late burst to grab the glory in tomorrow’s final stage … which is absolutely fine with me! Thanks everyone for your time, your emails, questions and contributions over the past three weeks. It’s always a pleasure. We’ll just finish up by giving this column I wrote on Lance and his podcast one last push.

Related: Whatever your opinion on Lance Armstrong, liking his podcast is not a sin | Barry Glendenning

5.04pm BST

Related: Chris Froome set for fourth Tour de France title after increasing lead in time trial

5.00pm BST

A mail from Anthony Lawton: “Everyone, you included, says now that Froome has ‘won’ by being in yellow at the end of today. Why? Is tomorrow not a real race, but just a parade ride into a Paris for the cameras?”

Traditionally it’s a procession, Anthony, that hots up in the final 10 kilometres as the teams with sprinters get their ducks in a row to fight out a mightily aggressive finish on the Champs Elysees. Neither Froome nor his team-mates will have anything to do with that. The yellow jersey did change hands on the final day once, in a time trial. Greg Lemond took it off Laurent Fignon and because a Frenchman lost out, the organisers did their damnedest to ensure it never happened again.

4.49pm BST

An email from Daniel Mitchell: “Wow, oh wow,” he wows, oh wows. “What a finish! I had twenty quid EW on Bardet so that last ten minutes was me frantically pacing around the flat, shaking. Quick question – should I celebrate now or wait ’til tomorrow? Are the podium places effectively locked?”

You can go and collect, Dan. Barring a kidnapping, a particularly bad slip in the shower or a fall down the stairs you’ll get your winnings.

4.44pm BST

4.39pm BST

4.34pm BST

Bardet and Froome finish: Bardet finishes and clings on to third place by the skin of his teeth. Mere seconds later, Chris Froome crosses the line behind him. He was fast, but not fast enough to topple Maciej Bodnar. The Polish Bora Hansgrohe rider wins the stage.

4.31pm BST

Froome has Bardet in his sights: The only two riders left out on the course negotiate a long stretch of road that affords Froome a view of his rival and gives him something to aim at as he passes under the flamme rouge signposting one kilometre to go.

4.30pm BST

Uran finishes: Despite a brief encounter with a barrier near the finish, Uran stays upright and pedals his way home. He’ll be on the second step of the podium in Paris tomorrow.

4.28pm BST

Mikel Landa finishes: The Sky man stops the clock at 29min 06sec. Romain Bardet needs to finish in a time of 30min 19sec to prevent Landa taking his place on the podium. Bardet has already been knocked down to third place by Rigo Uran.

4.26pm BST

Chris Froome powers on: He’s having another great day and any faint hopes his rivals might have had of taking the yellow jersey from him have all but evaporated. At the second checkpoint, Froome clocks in at just two seconds slower than Michal Kwiatkowski, his team-mate.

4.24pm BST

Romain Bardet blows up on the climb: Not literally, I hasten to add. He’s battling the gradient and losing a lot of time as he bobs up and down, in and out of the saddle. Stick a fork in him, he’s done.

4.21pm BST

Chris Froome hits the first checkpoint He’s two seconds quicker than stage leader Maciej Bodnar and 43 seconds quicker than Bardet. Rigoberto Uran went through 26 seconds off the pace and looks to be riding himself into second place on GC. He’ll overtake Bardet at this rate.

4.18pm BST

Warren Barguil finishes: The King of the Mountains left the velodrome with a big goofy grin on his chops and it’s still there when he returns. He salutes the crowd on the short ride from the stadium entrance to the finish line.

4.16pm BST

Alberto Contador finishes: The Spaniard posts a time of 28min 36sec, which ought to put him in the top 10 on the stage. He’s also likely to leapfrog Warren Barguil on the General Classification. Maciej Bodnar’s time of 28min 15sec remains the one to beat.

4.13pm BST

Froome going well: Wearing a yellow helmet and skinsuit, Froome is motoring along nicely and reports suggest he’s already going a lot faster than Romain Bardet. It’s not inconceivable that he could catch and pass the Frenchman, which would guarantee him a less than warm welcome back to the Velodrome.

The most popular Englishman ever to set foot in Marseille’s Stade Vélodrome was a Chris, of course: Chris…Waddle.

4.11pm BST

The most popular Englishman ever to set foot in Marseille’s Stade Vélodrome was a Chris, of course: Chris…Waddle.

4.10pm BST

Lizz Poulter writes from the Velodrome “That was vicious booing,” she writes. “The reaction, understandably, to Bardet was raucous, but when Froome came up on screen the catcalls were shockingly widespread and really loud. I get the reasons but wow! All over bar the pedalling now.”

4.06pm BST

The race leader and defending champion rolls away at the countdown and goes on his way. It will be interesting to see if he goes all out to win the stage, or takes it a little bit easy to avoid any accidents. He hasn’t won a stage in this year’s Tour, or a bike race of any kind in this calendar year. One suspects that barring an accident or a mechanical, he’ll win quite a big bike race tomorrow.

4.02pm BST

Maciej Bodnar still leads Mikel Landa and Rigoberto Uran are out on the road, while Romain Bardet and Chris Froome are under starters orders. Bardet sets off and like every other Frenchman today, is cheered out of the stadium.

3.59pm BST

it;s from the sandpaper (!) he glues to the saddle for extra grip (via @clickclickjim) pic.twitter.com/ImvMb9pNr2

3.58pm BST

Just four more to go: Fabio Aru sets off. Mikel Landa, Rigoberto Uran, Romain Bardet and Chris Froome are the only riders left to start. Bardet needs to make up 23 seconds on Froome, Uran needs 29.

3.56pm BST

Dan Martin is away He’s sixth on GC and 2min 56sec behind Chris Froome on GC. He won’t make that up, but could make up the 1min 01sec separating him from Fabio Aru in fifth. Ahead of him on the road, Louis Meintjes and Simon Yates are both racing.

3.53pm BST

More on Tony Martin’s possible misfortune: “There is also talk that the brown marks on his shorts is sandpaper that he uses to give him extra grip on his saddle,” writes Benjamin Parker, offering an explanation I’m happy to run with. “However on watching the video of the soigneur giving him water after the stage it appears as though he is reluctant to get too close. I guess we may never know.”

3.51pm BST

Warren Barguil sets off Wearing the polka-dot jersey for King of the Mountains, the Frenchman rolls down the ramp and is cheered on his way out of the stadium sporting a big goofy grin. For him, today will be more of a lap of honour than a time trial.

3.49pm BST

Louis Meintjes and Simon Yates coming up The battle for the white jersey should end today and it’s Yates’s to lose. The Orica-Scott rider is seventh overall, one place and 2min 06sec ahead of Meintjes on GC.

3.47pm BST

Sylvain Chavanel finishes to rapturous applause The Velodrome looks quite empty, but there’s plenty of noise as the French veteran powers home. He’s 37 seconds off the pace in a highly commendable seventh place.

3.40pm BST

Kieran Pender is in Marseille: He’s bedded in with Orica Scott and has spent half an hour this afternoon following Daryl Impey around the course. The South African is fourth fastest at the moment, with a time of 28min 35sec. Perhaps if Kieran and the lads in the car had tooted their horn and shouted a bit of encouragement, Impey might have gone 21 seconds faster. Anyway, here’s Kieran’s long read about 24 hours on the road with the Australian funsters. You read that and I’ll be back in five minutes …

Related: Orica-Scott: 24 hours on the road with the Australian Tour de France team

3.34pm BST

Here’s a home-town decision if ever I heard one Team Sunweb’s French rider Warren Barguil has been awarded the Super Combativity award. Like Keith, below, I would have bet the farm on Thomas De Gendt winning that. Even if Barguil was a more worthy winner than TDG (and I don’t think he is), he already has a couple of stage wins and the polka dot jersey to his name. Would it kill the judges to share around the baubles?

@bglendenning Barguil gets the Super Combativity award. Thomas De Gendt woz robbed!

3.28pm BST

Tony Martin: Judging from evidence posted by one eagle-eyed TV viewer on Twitter, it seems Tony Martin’s failure to win might have had something to do with a little “accident” he had on his way around today’s course. I’ll spare you the grisly details, but let’s just say he’s probably the only cyclist alive who actually wishes he was kitted out in the brown shorts worn by AG2R Mondiale.

3.22pm BST

Primoz Roglic is have a shocker. The outright favourite for today’s stage was 25 seconds off the pace at the first checkpoint and then had a mechanical at the bottom of the hill leading to the second. After a bike-change, he was 38 seconds off the pace at the top of the climb and won’t be winning this stage.

3.21pm BST

144 riders have started: [Reporter takes embarrassingly long time to do mental arithmatic] There are just 23 left to go out and it’s currently a Polish one-two. Maciej Bodnar is the surprise leader with an excellent time of 28min 15sec, just one second ahead of his compatriot Michal Kwaitkowski.

3.16pm BST

Lizz Poulter writes: “Greg van Avermaet managed a cheery wave as he left the stadium,” he says. “He was on stage this morning but I can’t remember why.”

Keep those cracking anecdotes coming, Lizz!

3.12pm BST

3.10pm BST

Kwiatkowski finishes a second down: Despite a herculean effort, Michal Kwiatkowski finishes a second down on Maciej Bodnar.

3.04pm BST

Oops! Kwiatkowski’s time at the second checkpoint was 20min 21sec, just one second quicker than Bodnar. I’m not sure how I got that quite so wrong – humble apologies. I think I might need new specs.

3.00pm BST

Kwiatkowski hits the second checkpoint: He’s put another second into Bodnar and is now seven quicker. That’s not official, but we’ll know very shortly.

2.55pm BST

Michal Kwiatkowski is burning up the course: The Sky rider is putting in a big shift and you can bet your bottom dollar Chris Froome is following him in the team car. He passes the first checkpoint at 11min 53sec, six seconds quicker than Bodnar.

2.47pm BST

Stefan Kung finishes: The 23-year-old Swiss is one for the future, but finishes 34 seconds down on Maciej Bodnar, whose time of 28min 15sec is looking more and more impressive.

2.41pm BST

Man down! Movistar’s Jonathan Castroviejo’s overcooks a corner and crashes into a barrier. He’s quickly back on his feet, gets handed a replacement bike and continues on his way. Mathiej Bodnar continues to lead the stage with a time of 28min 15sec. I’ll be back in five minutes, so here’s Orica-Scott’s Strage 19 Backstage Pass to help you pass the time.

2.38pm BST

Skinsuit palaver: After the dreary dispute over Sky’s skinsuits that followed the Dusseldorf time trial, it has been confirmed that Chris Froome will be wearing one provided by the Tour today, which presumably won’t have the panelling in the duds worn by his team-mates. On ITV, Luke Rowe has joined the commentary team and says the yellow jerseys Froome wears each day are provided by the Tour and only have three-quarter length zips, which means they can’t be opened like everyone else’s shirts.

Related: Vortex suits explained: Team Sky’s latest rule-pushing marginal gain

2.32pm BST

Thomas Voeckler: Riding his penultimate stage of the Tour before retiring tomorrow evening, the 38-year-old Frenchman is out on the road and passes the first checkpoint 1min 19sec on the time posted by Bodnar.

2.29pm BST

Tony Martin finishes: It’s another frustrating ride for Tony Martin, who finishes 14 seconds down on Maciej Bodnar. He hasn’t been in the best of form this year, or perhaps he’s just getting old. It happens to the best of us, Tony.

2.23pm BST

92 riders have started: Just 75 more to go …

2.18pm BST

Tony Martin further down: There’s practically three riders abreast as Tony Martin crosses the second checkpoint at the top of the climb. He’s almost 13 seconds down on Maciej Bodnar.

2.16pm BST

Another email from Lizz Poulter. She wants to know where fellow Guardian reader Zinzi is sitting in the Velodrome. This could be a long afternoon …

2.14pm BST

Tony Martin a second behind: The German was a second off the pace set by Bodnar at the first checkpoint and has just passed his minute-man.

2.12pm BST

Maciej Bodnar sets a new best time: The Bora–Hansgrohe rider smashes up the course, finishing in 28min 15sec. That’ll take a bit of beating. Sky’s Vasil Kiriyenka doesn’t trouble it as he enters the stadium and posts a time of 29min 22sec.

2.09pm BST

From Lizz Poulter in Marseille: “Good crowd in the Green Jersey stand, yellow looking very sparse (maybe prawn sandwich brigade will join later), and white absolutely deserted thanks to Carrefour’s shenanigans,” she writes. “Huge cheer for Tony Martin as he set off.”

Martin is approaching the first checkpoint, while Luke Rowe has joined Ned Boulting in the ITV commentary box. He said he didn’t do a recon ride around today’s course and got seriously caught out by the climb, which kept ramping up every time he thought he’d reached the top.

2.03pm BST

Checkpoint No1 is at Palais du Pharo at the 10.2km mark, while No2 is at the top of the ramping climb at Notre-Dame de la Garde (15.6km). Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe) was quickest so far past the first in 11min 59sec, while Cannondale-Drapac rider Tyler Phinney was quickest past the second at 20min 22sec. Phinney is the current clubhouse leader with a finishing time of 29min 21sec.

1.58pm BST

Tony Martin rolls down the ramp: The first of the big stage favourites rolls down the ramp in his Katusha skinsuit. He’s the reigning world time trial champion and a two-time Tour de France time trial stage winner. He’s likely to give us a fair idea of what today’s winning time might be. Depending on how he’s feeling, he might even give us today’s winning time.

1.55pm BST

1.38pm BST

Good spread in @guardian this morning including analysis of Sky’s unpopularity (with some) from @rwilliams1947 #TdF2017 @willfoth #LeTour pic.twitter.com/XGAU7BUoy9

There’s also my column on Lance Armstrong and his Stages podcast on the back page, if you fancy buying yourself a paper today. Alternatively, you can read it here …

Related: Whatever your opinion on Lance Armstrong, liking his podcast is not a sin | Barry Glendenning

1.34pm BST

Luke Rowe speaks The first man out on today’s stage says he felt very sluggish and more or less confesses to ITV’s interviewer that he wasn’t trying a leg on today’s stage. He tells them he enjoyed the finish in the stadium, saying he now knows how Wayne Rooney must feel when he scores a goal [insert obvious gag about reminding Wayne here].

Rowe also says that he was slowing down at the corners, to try to figure out the best way to take them so he can pass on any pertnent info to Chris Froome. Realistically, he says, there’s not really much he can tell his team leader that he won’t already know.

1.30pm BST

Related: Annemiek van Vleuten wins La Course by a stretch ahead of Lizzie Deignan

1.25pm BST

Rowe’s glory is short-lived: Taylor Phinney clocks in at 29min 21sec, while on ITV, David Millar and Ned Boulting speculate on today’s winning time. Boulting goes for around 28 minutes, but Millar thinks it will be lower.

1.23pm BST

The Velodrome far from full: There’s plenty of empty seats at this early stage, but the welcome is warm as Luke Rowe complete’s his day’s work. The Sk rider didn’t kill himself out there, it must be said – making up that 4hr 33min 04sec deficit on his team leader Chris Froome was always going to be a tall order. His time for today was 31min 09sec and makes him the early clubhouse leader.

1.16pm BST

Today’s main stage contenders: Primoz Roglic is the favourite to win this stage, while Tony Martin, Chris Froome, Stefan Kung, Michal Kwiatkowski and Vasili Kiriyenka are the only others the bookies give any sort of realistic chance of winning the stage.

Kiriyenka is lowest on GC in 114th place and will be the first of this bunch out on the road. He’ll be followed by Martin, (101st on GC), Kung (80th), Kwiatkowskli (58th), Roglic (38th) and Froome (1st).

1.02pm BST

Here’s our man in France with all the skinny on Edvald Boasson Hagen’s win yesterday and a comprehensive preview of today’s stage, which is well worth a few minutes of your time.

Related: Boasson Hagen breaks clear to win stage 19 as Froome tightens grip on Tour title

12.58pm BST

As lanterne rouge, Sky’s Luke Rowe is first out on the course. He’ll be able to do a reconaissance mission for Chris Froome, who I’m sure has studied and ridden the course already. Froome will probably follow one or two of his team-mates around in the team car later. At the Dusseldorf time-trial he followed Michal Kwiatkowski.

12.52pm BST

12.50pm BST

12.48pm BST

Having won both stages, the Dutch rider is a worthy winner, but the format of this women’s race needs tweaking. Today’s pursuit course was too short to give Van Vleuten’s rivals any chance of catching her and made for a bit of a damp squib. Your humble reporter would suggest a three-stage race for next year’s renewal, including a climb, a time-trial and a sprint finish on the Champs-Élysées.

Anyway, hats off to Annemiek and Lizzie Armitsted, now it’s time to turn our attention to the lads. There are three riders still in with a chance of winning this year’s Tour but it’s Chris Froome’s to lose.

12.40pm BST

The remaining riders finish: The final group of riders enter the stadium, where it’s only 100 metres from the entrance to the finish line. I know the tickets were free, but the assembled crowd aren’t getting much bang for their buck. Here’s hoping DJ Faze is playing some banging tunes.

12.37pm BST

12.35pm BST

Deignan sprints into the stadium: Lizzie Deignan sprints into the stadium ahead of her Italian rival and crosses the finish line in second place. It’s the same one-two-three as we had on Col d’Izoard.

12.34pm BST

Annemiek van Vleuten hits the stadium: The Dutchwoman rides into the stadium to a rousing reception and crosses the finish line. It was an easy win in the end, which is rather disappointing. Lizzie Deignan and Elisa Longho Borghini rode well together, but just weren’t good enough to beat a time trial specialist.

12.32pm BST

Good news from the Velodrome: “It’s pretty quiet in here for the women’s race,” writes Zinzi. “But they have started showing the race on the screens at least!”

12.31pm BST

2.5km to go: Annemiek van Vleuten is going to get a crick in her neck from looking over her shoulder, but there’s nobody in sight behind her. She passes under the Two Kilometre To Go banner, as Deignan and Longo Borghini continue their futile pursuit. The gap is now out to 1min 50sec.

12.29pm BST

3.7km to go: Annemiek van Vleuten pedals relentlessly onwards, her hands on the drops as she taps out a ferocious rhythm. The gap is 1min 41sec – as much as they’ve tried, the rest of the field have failed to put up any sort of decent fight.

12.26pm BST

Megan Guarnier dropped: The American, who has been riding with Deignan and Longo Borghini, is struggling on the climb and gets left behind.

12.24pm BST

7km to go: Van Vleuten has a look over her shoulder and sees nobody in pursuit. She reaches the top of the climb and begins her short descent. The gap is down to 1min 29sec.

12.23pm BST

8.5km to go: I’m guessing here, but presumably if the riders have no support cars, then they also have no race radios, a state of affairs that suggests Annemiek van Vleuten has no idea how far ahead she is of her three pursuers. Halfway up the climb to Notre-Dame de la Garde, the gap is 1min 46sec. Barring a mechanical, she won’t be caught. It really does seem quite extraordinary that the crowds gathered in the Velodrome aren’t being shown this race.

12.18pm BST

10 kilometres to go: Annemiek Van Vleuten heads towards the climb with her lead intact. The three riders in pursuit are not making any sort of dent on her lead, which remains at 1min 41sec.

12.17pm BST

La Course st2 is underway but is not being shown on the screens in the stadium. That’s a massive @LaCoursebyTDF

Instead of the race the screens are showing the stadium DJ. You wouldn’t know there was a race on.

12.14pm BST

Van Vleuten holding her lead: The Dutch time trial champion’s talents are standing her in good stead as she slightly extends her lead over the three girls trying to chase her down and turn the end of this stage into a sprint finish. She has a little over 12 kilometres to go.

12.12pm BST

Amazing scenes in the Stade VDrome pic.twitter.com/shDrWJaSV9

12.11pm BST

15km to go: At the back of the field, Karol-Ann Canuel has made up the 16 seconds that separated her from the four riders who started together before her. They’re about five minutes behind the race leader and working together.

12.08pm BST

18km to go: Van Vleuten has a lead of 1min 37sec over the three riders in the chasing group: Deignan, Longo Borghini and Guarnier. All 19 women are now out on the course. They’re all on road bikes, as time trial bikes are verboten today. Curiously, none of the riders have support cars, so I’m not sure what happens in the event of a puncture or some other mechanical.

12.05pm BST

Deignan, Borghini and Guarnier are working together. The women placed second, third and fourth are now riding together in a team pursuit of Van Vleuten. Behind them, a small group of riders who all finished at the same time on Thursday set off together.

12.03pm BST

Lizzie Deignan is racing: Yorkshire’s finest sets sail, 43 seconds after Van Vleuten and sets off at a fairly sedate pace, presumably waiting for Elisa Longo Borghini and Megan Guarnier to catch up with her so they can start working together. Spare a thought for the Eurosport commentary team, who are working without pictures after a power outage in their box.

12.01pm BST

Annemiek Van Vleuten is racing: The La Course leader rolls down the ramp in her Orica-Scott kit and leaves the stadium riding a road bike.

11.58am BST

Lizzie Deignan speaks: Currently in second place and due to set off 43 seconds after Van Vleuten, the English rider says she’ll almost certainly try to form alliances with other riders in her bid to hunt down the Dutchwoman. “ I’m not the best trialist,” she says. “Trying to close the gap is not possible for me so I’ll probably wait for the other girls and see if we can work together. I’ve got nothing to lose.”

There are 19 riders contesting today’s stage – those being the ones that finished within five minutes of Van Vleuten on Thursday. Canada’s Karol-Ann Canuel will be last out of the gate, 4min 50sec after the leader.

11.54am BST

Joanna Rowsell Shand speaks: The Olympic champion and now retired British cyclist is a pundit on Eurosport and says if she was a betting woman, she’d have her pennies on Annemiek Van Vleuten, who is an excellent time-trialist, going full bore from the gun and staying away to win the stage and La Course.

11.50am BST

An email from Lizz Poulter: “I’m over-excited to be sitting in the Vélodrome watching the caravan,” she writes. “I’m in the Polka Dot jersey stand – Carrefour were touting outside the metro so we changed our White Jersey stand tix for bags and hats and t-shirts.

“Of course there’s no such thing as a free lunch and we’ve been asked to move twice so that the stand looks fuller on TV! We were bought cheap. Anyway, I’m planning to bug you with inane observations and the odd photo during the afternoon. At the moment we’re watching bike stunts (I’d rather be watching Zidane in his pomp, but hey).”

11.38am BST

11.33am BST

Today’s stages in both the men’s and women’s race begin and end in the Orange Velodrome, a venue better known as the home of Ligue 1 football team Olympique de Marseille, but reverting back to its original role for today’s shenanigans. It is expected to be packed to its 67,394 capacity.

A technical, 22.5-kilometre city time-trial, today’s route boasts one steep climb to Notre-Dame de la Garde, the basilica that towers over Marseille. Here’s what Will Fotheringham had to say about it in our stage by stage guide to this year’s Tour.

Finishing in the Stade Vélodrome with a quick flip round the Vieux Port, this is the last chance to change the standings but it is relatively short. Expect a battle for the stage win with Tony Martin the likely favourite, and if yellow is close it could be a thriller to match the Giro d’Italia finale.

11.33am BST

Here’s how our man pootling around France in his Citroen 2CV saw Thursday’s stage from his splendid view atop Col d’Izoard.

Related: Annemiek van Vleuten wins La Course stage one with Lizzie Deignan second

11.33am BST

Related: Whatever your opinion on Lance Armstrong, liking his podcast is not a sin | Barry Glendenning

11.33am BST

10.01am BST

Greetings one and all. We’ve a long day’s bike-racing around Marseille ahead of us, which kicks of with the second and final stage of La Course. Described somewhat enthusiastically by Lizzie Deignan as “that thing”, it is a peculiar race that will start in the Orange Velodrome at Marseille. Riders will set off in dribs and drabs based on the time differences recorded at the finish of Thursday’s stage on Col d’Izoard, ride the 22.5km course that the men will be using for their time trial later and first past the post wins.

Collaboration and collusion between riders is allowed. Annemiek Van Vleuten will, be first out of the gate, having won Thursday’s stage by 43 seconds from Deignan. Elisa Longo Bourghini finished in third place, 1min 43sec off Van Vleuten’s pace.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jul/22/la-course-by-le-tour-de-france-2017-live

Jul 22

La Course 2017: Lizzie Deignan second as Annemiek van Vleuten wins

Annemiek van Vleuten holds off the chasers to win the two-day La Course by the Tour de France as Britain’s Lizzie Deignan sprints to second.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/40692046

Jul 22

Annemiek van Vleuten wins La Course by a stretch ahead of Lizzie Deignan

  • Dutch rider finishes 1min 52sec ahead of British champion
  • Deignan waited for riders to work together to close gap to no avail

The Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten blitzed the field in the 22.5km finale of La Course in Marseille to win ahead of Britain’s Lizie Deignan by 1 minute 52 seconds.

Having taken stage one at the summit finish on the Col d’Izoard with a lead of 43 seconds, Van Vleuten was favourite to win in Marseille as she started the pursuit race in with that same time advantage.

Related: Tour de France 2017: stage 20 time trial – live!

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/22/annemiek-van-vleuten-wins-la-course-by-a-stretch-ahead-of-lizzie-deignan

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