Tour de France podcast: Team Sky, BMC Racing and AG2R pre-race press conferences

July 5, 2018

With the Tour de France just days away and the Cyclingnews team on the ground and on location, it’s time for our first podcast from this year’s race. On Wednesday evening Team Sky held their pre-race press conference with BMC Racing and AG2R La Mondiale following suit on Thursday morning.

 Wednesday was a chance to put questions to Dave Brailsford and Chris Froome in relation to the latter’s now closed salbutamol case, while BMC Racing head into the race with Richie Porte looking to podium but the team’s future still uncertain. We hear from Porte on the race, and the BMC management on the recent departure of several key members of staff and the continued search for sponsorship.

 And we also dip into AG2R’s press conference to hear from home favourite Romain Bardet. The Frenchman has finished third and second in the Tour de France but is hoping to make the top step of the podium this time around. As ever there’s the usual discussions over form, tactics and Tour gossip from the Vendee.

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Richie Porte’s Tour de France route analysis

July 3, 2018

Put aside all the talk of a move to Trek-Segafredo and the disarmament of the BMC Racing arsenal, and you'll find that Ritchie Porte and his teammates are solely focused on success at this year's Tour de France, where the Australian will be hoping to at least challenge for the podium.

Porte and BMC Racing were on song in June's pivotal Tour de Suisse, where they controlled the race from start to finish courtesy of a winning ride in the opening team time trial, with Porte then displaying his mettle in the high mountains.

At the race, Cyclingnews sat down with Porte after one of the medium mountain stages for an exclusive interview. With Procycling's Tour de France guide to hand, Porte took us through the route, at times stage-by-stage, giving his interpretation and predictions from the opening stages in the Vendée to the Alps, and on through the Pyrenees.

Porte and his BMC Racing teammates have carried out reconnaissance rides over several key stages, and the Australian details those experiences, along with picking out several key teammates who will help him throughout the race.

Back in the Cyclingnews office, we then look at Porte's chances of overall victory at the race. The former Team Sky rider has never made the podium in a three-week Grand Tour, but has constantly demonstrated that he has virtually all the necessary individual skills to succeed. Strong against the clock, powerful in the mountains, and with a strong team around him, the ingredients are all there.

However, bad luck, crashes and illness – all features of racing – have often played their part and hindered Porte's ambitions. The Australian is undoubtedly one of the most successful and consistent riders of his generation when it comes to week-long stage races, but transferring those skills into Grand Tour success remains Porte's Holy Grail. Can he finally succeed? Only time will tell…

This podcast is brought to you in association with Prendas Ciclismo, Pinarello and Floyd's of Leadville.

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Tour de France team analysis with Philippa York

June 28, 2018

In this week’s episode of the Cyclingnews podcast, brought to you in association with Prendas Ciclismo, Pinarello and Floyds of Leadville, we sit down at go through a number of the squads that have been announced ahead of next week’s Tour de France.

 With special guest Philippa York joining Ed Pickering and Daniel Benson in the studio, we look at key selections for the likes of BMC Racing, Movistar and Ag2R La Mondiale – all of which have named strong and dynamic teams for this 2018 edition of the race.

 We also pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of several other teams, such as Vincenzo Nibali’s Bahrain Merida and Jakob Fuglsang’s Astana squad.

And although Team Sky are yet to announce their eight-man line up to defend Chris Froome’s title we look through a number of the possible inclusions and debate whether any weaknesses exist within the British team’s camp.

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Tour de France route preview

June 22, 2018

With the Tour de France on the horizon and a volley of teams starting to announce their eight-man rosters for the race, Cyclingnews sits down with EF Education First Drapac – powered by Cannondale’s Tom Southam to analyse and pick apart the race route. The profile of this year’s Tour can be neatly divided into two halves with the first portion dominated by sprints, cross-winds, cobbles and the team time trial. The second half of the race will see the peloton – or rather what’s left of it – head into the mountains with the Alps followed by the Pyrenees. Even the transition stages could be key in the battle for the yellow jersey. There is of course the final time trial on the penultimate day but this year’s Tour de France is set to be brutally tough race with no let up through the early stages in the Vendee or as the race travels through Brittany.

 Along with looking at the route the team of Southam, Cyclingnews’ Daniel Benson, and Procycling editor Ed Pickering pick out the standout riders for the race, from the sprinters to the climbers and GC candidates. Southam also discusses what goes into picking a Tour de France roster, and provides is expert opinion on how the race might unfold.

This podcast is brought to you in association with Prendas Ciclismo, Pinarello, and Floyds of Leadville.

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Tour de France contender analysis & Van Avermaet interview

June 19, 2018

Aside from Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin we’ve seen nearly all of the pre-race favourites for this year’s Tour de France race over the last two weeks. From the Criterium du Dauphine, to the Tour de Suisse and everything in between, there have been impressively strong performances from some candidates, while several still have a way to go before finding their best form.

 In the latest edition of the Cyclingnews podcast, brought to you in association with Prendas Ciclismo, Pinarello and Floyds of Leadville, we look back at the last few weeks of racing with Daniel Benson and Procycling’s Ed Pickering evaluating the form of Richie Porte, Movistar’s trio of Mikel Landa, Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana, Rigoberto Uran, Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates, Vincenzo Nibali and a host of other riders.

 There’s also an exclusive interview with Olympic road champion Greg Van Avermaet who tells us why he turned his back on a promising career as a football player, his hopes of the future and, his the type of team he’s hoping to join for 2018.

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Tour de Suisse: Porte in yellow, Greipel’s contract, Mitchelton team meeting

June 13, 2018

It’s the end of stage 5 at the Tour de Suisse, and in the latest edition of the Cyclingnews podcast, brought to you in association with Prendas Ciclismo, Pinarello, and Floyds of Leadville, we look back at the first mountain-top finish of this year’ race.

 We start with Mitchelton Scott, who kindly allowed us onto their team bus in order to listen to their pre-stage meeting. Conducted by Matt Wilson, the squad made detailed plans about the stage, with each of their riders given precise instructions in order to protect their leader, Jack Haig. The riders looked at the race profile video, while Switzerland’s Michael Albasini gave his expert view on the roads and how the race might unfold. There was time to listen to the riders discuss their rivals and several race scenarios before the squad headed to sign on for the stage.

 Before the start we also spoke to sprinter Andre Greipel on his future at Lotto Soudal. The full details can be found here, but the audio from the interview is certainly worth a listen on its own. The German sprinter is still without a contract for next year, but there appears to be tension between him and his manager, Paul De Geyter, who told Cyclingnews earlier in the week that Greipel has not been offered a contract. Greipel told Cyclingnews on Thursday that he had been handed a two-year proposal.

 We also analyse the race and hear from Larry Warbasse, who was in the early break, and then Richie Porte, who now leads the race after some solid work from his BMC Racing teammates to repel Movistar. We also talk tech, Wilco Kelderman and look ahead to stage 6.

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Tour de Suisse: Sagan, BMC share the spoils and Southam guests

June 10, 2018

Following on from a short break after the Giro d’Italia the Cyclingnews podcast returns from the Tour de Suisse. Looking back over the opening weekend, in which BMC Racing and Peter Sagan both enjoyed victories, we analyse the race so far and hear from Sagan, Michael Matthews and Fernando Gaviria.

 We’re also joined by special guest Tom Southam from EF Education First Drapac, powered by Cannondale, who takes us through the race so far, his team’s ambitions for Suisse, the dying art of the breakaway specialists and what it’s like to direct a team at WorldTour level. There’s also time to reminisce about the first kits we bought and in Southam’s case we head back to the 1990s for two standout designs.

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The Froome debate and conclusions from the 2018 Giro d’Italia

May 31, 2018

The 2018 Giro d’Italia may have concluded last Sunday but the debates and opinions surrounding the race and the manner of Chris Froome’s (Team Sky) final overall victory in Rome have shown no signs of softening.

 Froome effectively won the race with an 80-kilometre solo attack on stage 19 in which he put over three minutes into a number of his GC rivals. Until that point Froome, who is still awaiting a decision over his adverse analytical finding for salbutamol from the 2017 Vuelta a Espana – had been off the pace with Simon Yates, Tom Dumoulin, Thibaut Pinot and Domenico Pozzovivio looking like the candidates to determine the podium places. Froome’s jaw-dropping ride turned the race on its head and forms the central theme to our latest episode of the Cyclingnews podcast.

 We hear from Froome, Dumoulin, George Bennett, Thomas Dekker, Simon Yates and Matt White as we look back at a frantic last few days in Italy, while the team of Daniel Benson, Ed Pickering and Patrick Fletcher attempt to put Froome’s ride and the subsequent praise and criticism into some form of context.

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Giro d’Italia 2018 rest day analysis

May 21, 2018

The latest episode of the Cyclingnews podcast, brought to you in association with Prendas Ciclismo, Pinarello, and Floyds of Leadville, comes on the third rest day of the 2018 Giro d'Italia. 

A week on from our previous rest day podcast, there are plenty of developments to discuss, chiefly Simon Yates' continued dominance, Tom Dumoulin's growing consistency, and Chris Froome's short-lived resurgence. 

We'll hear from all three, with reaction from Sappada from Yates and Dumoulin and rest day press conference thoughts from Froome.

In the studio, Patrick Fletcher is joined by Procycling magazine editor Ed Pickering not just to discuss the action from the second week, but also to look ahead to the final stages of this Giro d'Italia. Tuesday's all-important time trial is followed by three gruelling stages in the mountains, so there's ample room for the plot to thicken, even if this looks suspiciously like a two-horse race, and maybe even a one-horse race. 

Before making more predictions that will no doubt fail to stand the test of time, we also bring an interview with Bernhard Eisel on his recovery from emergency brain surgery at the end of last month.

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Yates soars, Froome flops – Giro d’Italia rest day

May 14, 2018

It’s the second rest day of the 2018 Giro d’Italia and the Cyclingnews team are back to dissect the latest developments in Italy.

 Since our last episode after last week’s Mount Etna stage, the general classification took further shape at the weekend with summit finishes on Montevergine di Mercogliano and Gran Sasso d’Italia.

Chris Froome crashed on the former and lost a minute on the latter, and we’ll hear from the Team Sky rider as he sat down with the press near the Adriatic coast on Monday’s rest day.

 Daniel Benson is joined by Patrick Fletcher and Procycling magazine Editor Ed Pickering to discuss whether the four-time Tour de France champion can now realistically win this Giro, and why Sky have found the Giro such a tough nut to crack.

 We’ll also hear from Simon Yates, who added a further stamp of authority on proceedings with stage victory on Gran Sasso. He looks comfortably the strongest rider in the race, we conclude, and has one of the strongest teams.

 As well as focusing on the two Brits, we ponder whether 2017 champion Tom Dumoulin, third overall, should be satisfied or concerned, whether Montevergine winner Richard Carapaz is the real deal, and why Astana burned their matches on Gran Sasso.

 Thoughts are spared, too, for the relative fortunes of Rohan Dennis, Domenico Pozzovivo, and Fabio Aru.

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