Tag Archives: Tour de France

Jean Bobet cycling book, Tomorrow We Ride

Jean Bobet’s book, Tomorrow We Ride

Jean Bobet’s book, Tomorrow We Ride is written by the brother of three-time (1953-55) Tour de France winner Louison Bobet.

A very strong cyclist in his own right, Jean hesitated before pursuing a professional career as a bike rider. With good school grades and a degree in English (during which time he won the student world championships) he went on to spend time teaching French at Robert Gordon College in Aberdeen in Scotland.

I went cycling – for I had packed my bike all the same – in the superb Highland countryside with the Aberdeen Wheelers, who made my life difficult: not because of their cycling potential, but because of their fearsome local accent.

Written with dry humour and subtle wit, I found it an entertaining read, far from a formulaic blow-by-blow account of the more famous brother’s career. Jean’s own story as faithful domestique to his brother is interesting, and it’s rare to get a view from inside the peloton that is as well written as this.

One of the most revealing insights for me was the examination of race-fixing that was par for the course in the lucrative professional post-Tour criteriums, but also de rigeur in many amateur races at the time.

I can recommend this book if you are interested in cycling history, but equally Bobet’s eye for little details that will chime with anyone who has trained hard and raced a bike, can still give the reader pleasure today. Find Jean Bobet’s book, Tomorrow We Ride on amazon.

Jean Bobet book, Tomorrow We Ride

Further reading
excellent review by twmp
Aberdeen Wheelers cycling club

Gadret and Roche

I’ve been Scotia-centric for the past few weeks on the blog, and after a wee while out of the game completely, I thought it’d be nice

I listened to last week’s Carrément Vélo podcast while hacking back the jungle, I mean cutting the lawn, and there was a great interview with French rider John Gadret who finished fourth at the 2010 Giro d’Italia.

The Evil John Gadret
Continue reading

Brittany July 2011

A few weeks back, when the February cold was still biting, a post on La Gazzetta della Bici gave me hope for the future. 24 Hours in Brittany, by Phil Gale who spent 6 seasons in the region racing as a full time elite amateur. This post is as much for my own research purposes as anything, but as Phil points out, race fans in the south of England can get the ferry over to St Malo and have easy access to three Tour de France stages.

I’ll be based in the centre of Ille-et-Villaine for 3 weeks and will be within easy reach of stages 4 and 5. Brittany can be perceived as flat next to the Hors Categorie mountainous ranges of the Pyrenees and Alps but in reality it is rolling, punchy terrain and can be very windy. Breakaways might have a chance to succeed and unusually, stage 4: Lorient-Mûr de Bretagne on Wednesday 5th July has a tough uphill finish. The steep, straight Mur is known as the Breton Alpe-d’Huez.

First stop was to recce stage 4 Lorient – Mur de Bretagne arrival. The finish is on a 2km 15% climb, I’ve race down it at 100kph.


Continue reading

From Scotland to Kazakhstan via the Peyresourde

A quick pic of the day.

This shot is of Paolo Tiralongo, pacing Alberto Contador up the Col de Peyresourde at the beginning of Stage of the 2010 Tour de France. A large breakaway with Lance Armstrong in it had got away, and Astana, having taken the yellow jersey the day before in the infamous ‘chaingate’ incident were obliged to keep the gap within reach.

Why I am not a pro photographer

The admin of Astanafans.com contacted me via flickr to request use of the pic, and it’s fun to see what they’ve done to Tiralongo. I can’t imagine him wearing headgear like that in the July heat though.

If you read Kazakh or Russian, why not take a look. There’s a bit of news in English there too.

Exclusive: TdF 2017 Edinburgh prologue course!

I’m ignoring my own advice about counting your chickens with regards to a Scottish Grand Depart for the Tour de France. I much prefer to assume they have already hatched and proceed directly to speculating on a prologue route.

Dave Hamill kindly commented with an excellent suggestion that takes as many attractions and historic monuments as it’s possible to do in 5 miles.

Dave’s route starts in the Grassmarket, surrounded by historic buildings and closes, where the Nocturne Series has hosted an elite crit for the past three years. Surrounded by pubs and hotels, this is an ideal starting point for media and hospitality, although conditions might be a bit tight.

Cam Meyer Nocturne 2010

Continue reading

Scotland to bid for Tour de France

This morning I read eagerly an article in The Scotsman reporting that Scotland will attempt to host the Tour de France, with 2017 being the first opportunity. EventScotland is a National events agency that supports the Tour of Britain and Mountain Bike World Cup, as well as other sporting and cultural events to drive tourism and the economy.

Either Glasgow or Edinburgh would be the home venue for the pre-race time trial and the start of the first phase of the Tour following three years of talks with organisers.

To say that central Edinburgh would be an ideal location for the Grand Depart and a prologue is an understatement. You’ve got pictoresque backdrops, cobbled streets, short sharp hills, and great access for fans. But the logistics must be a nightmare, and with the laborious progress of the Tram project, I would reserve judgement before getting too excited.

Bank of Scotland building, dusk

What would be your dream prologue route around Edinburgh?

The race route may link the two cities or head as far north as the Trossachs.

Another understatement on the way: I would be beyond excited if, say, a stage 1 was to go from Edinburgh to Glasgow via the Trossachs. The Trossachs National Park is an area where I ride often, with rolling terrain, lochs and lakes, and a decent hill in the Dukes Pass, which is used for local races including the Sam Robinson Memorial and the Tour de Trossachs hilly TT.

Financial backing would come from the Scottish Government, to the tune of £5m, but a £100m benefit to the Scottish economy is predicted. Logistical and political hurdles must be overcome however- the elosed roads caused quite a rumpus at the Etape Caledonia sportive in 2009. Cycling is not a mainstream sport here and there are plenty of people that would not be happy to see their daily lives disrupted.

It’s clear that there has been considerable effort to bring the Tour to Scotland though. Cyclingnews reported in 2007 that discussions had been held between EventsScotland and the ASO, so years of work are going in to this.

le Tour Bretagne 2011

All this snow is getting me down. But today I received something that anticipates sun and warmth – a newspaper cutting of stages 4 and 5 of the 2011 Tour de France in Finistère. That’s the windy bit of Brittany that sticks way out west into the Atlantic.

Stage 4 from Lorient to Mûr-de-Bretagne will be a punchy stage and will feature some nasty hills at finish, not something Brittany is known for.

Stage 5 finishes along the picturesque Breton coastline where we could see splits caused by the wind that Brittany is known for.

I’m looking forward to seeing a bit of stage 7, from Dinan in the Cote d’Armor, to Lisieux in Normandy- a long (226km) flat stage for the sprinters. It’s on my daughter’s 3rd birthday though, so I’ll probably just watch the départ and then head back to base for jelly and ice cream.

LeTour.fr: course/preview
Cyclingnews 2011 preview

Robert Millar quotes

Philippa York, while racing professionally as Robert Millar was often someone of few words. But those words were carefully chosen and could be cutting or insightful.

“Why stop for a cup of tea when out training, when you could have one when you got home? Either you were training or you weren’t.”
As a racer, training was taken seriously. Rumour has it Robert would do a dozen reps of the Crow Road to try to simulate Continental climbs.


Bagnères de Luchon 1983 –


Tour de L’Avenir 1982

Pics via Facebook’s 80s cycling remembered group

David Millar’s ‘Bat Wing’ skinsuit

I’m not hugely into time trialling but this item, heard on the Joe Beer podcast, and about Scotland’s top pro racer was interesting. I also hadn’t heard or seen it anywhere else so thought it was worth posting.

At about 55:50 on this podcast, coach Joe Beer talks about ‘aero going bonkers’ at the 2010 Tour de France. Items included Lance Armstrong’s ‘burner’ rear mech and Dave Millar’s ‘Batsuit’. Co-host Martin Crocker commented that his wife noticed that Dave Millar seemingly hadn’t pulled his skinsuit on correctly. In fact it was a special cut to create a smoother line between the body and the arm area.

57 David Millar - Garmin
Continue reading