The Tour de France

The hundredth Tour de France begins in Corsica on 29 June and each of its 21 stages will be on French soil.

The big betting question mark is hanging over last year’s winner, the highly esteemed Sir Bradley Wiggins. Life has not been too kind to him of late. He was not even placed in the Challenge Majorca; he failed in the Tour of Oman, and finished in fifth place in the Giro Del Trentino and Tour of Catalonia. The final insult was that he had to withdraw from the Giro d’Italia due to illness. Certainly it is not looking good for him, but he retains a bullish attitude to the Tour de France and he is convinced that he will recover in time to prepare for it.

Some bookmakers are offering odds as long as 16/1 on him, which are longer odds than some bookmakers are offering on any of the top ten in the standings. If you are a betting person, then odds like that should spark at least a little enthusiasm; they are very good adds and almost certainly represent excellent value.


Cavendish Aims High

Professional road racing cyclist Mark Cavendish, who is a part of the UCI ProTeam Omega Pharma-Quick Step, is aiming for his fourth consecutive victory by winning the Belgian semi-Classic at Schelderprijs.

This tournament is all set to start in Belgium on April 3, 2013, from 12:30 PM onwards.

Cavendish had won the Three Days of De Panne in second place a couple of weeks ago and that had brought him a lot of confidence, said Cavendish according to reports.

The director sportif for the Belgian super team, Wilfried Peeters said that he is always ready to back up Cavendish. He is also very impressed with his wins and said that he believes that Cavendish can break the 50 year old record of Piet Oellibrandt, the Belgium professional cyclist who had set a record in this tournament in the year 1963. Wilfried Peeters also added that they all have a hit and confident team and Cavendish should be able to lead them very well in this Belgian semi-Classic at Schelderprijs.

Other competitors who look string to win this title are André Greipel from Germany, Arnaud Demare, Gerald Ciolek, and Marcel Kittel amongst others.

This Belgian semi-Classic at Schelderprijs will be a 204 kilometer race, parcourse and several well renowned and award winning participants will be a part of this grand tournament. The cyclists will start out from Antwerp down to a flat.

Mark Cavendish is known for his sprinting skills. Some call him arrogant as well. This is because when the press asks him if he is the best sprinter in recent times or not, he always says yes! Cavendish said in his defense, in a light mood that this is sometimes deemed as arrogant but he just says what he feels is true.

Cavendish’s Sprint Finish

Mark Cavendish, the former road race world champion sealed his Tour of Qatar win with a final stage victory, thus winning his fourth consecutive Tour of Qatar. Cavendish’s win marks a rare overall victory in his second race after signing up with team Omega Pharma-Quick Step of Belgium. This is the second general classification win for Cavendish after he won the Ster ZLM Toer in Netherlands in 2012.

Popularly known as the Manxman, Cavendish took 116 km final stage from the Sealine Beach to Doha, beating Yauheni Hutarovich of Belarus and Barry Markus of Netherlands.

Cavendish’s comprehensive win proved that he was thoroughly enjoying his time with his new team, having quit Team Sky in October 2012. After the win, Cavendish tweeted, “Amazing to have a race full of real gentlemen today, who neutralized a close race so I could rejoin the group after crashing”.

In the general classification, Cavendish beat his nearest competitor Brent Bookwalter, by 25 seconds. His fellow British rider, Adam Blythe was 30 seconds behind him and finished fourth. Coming out victorious, Cavendish said he was “over the moon”.  He said that he comes here expecting a guaranteed overall victory alongside Tom Boonen but with Boonen out with an injury, he was nervous and under a bit of pressure.

Elated with the win, he said, “The guys did an amazing job here. They looked after me well and never failed to deliver. I am extremely happy that I could bring it home for my team once again. We have won Tour of Qatar six times and in several stages, and I am so happy that I could be a part of something so amazing”.

Cavendish, 27 is an out-and-out sprinter but has a few overall wins in his kitty. He started his Omega Pharma career with a one stage victory at Tour of San Luis in Argentina.

A near miss for Mark Cavendish

In Tour of Qatar, Mar Cavendish came very close to winning the first race of the 2013’s racing season. He tried his best while nearing the finish line on the windy beach of Dukhan, ended up finishing sixth in this race.

Tour of Qatar was a dramatic event with high winds and interrupted by odd sandstorms. Mark Cavendish rode the entire distance of 145 kilometer braving all the nature. Along with Manxman right from the start, Cavendish stayed closed to the main six waves of riders. The final dash to the finish line saw some huge mass of riders. In the end it was a tight finish with only fraction of seconds separating Cavendish from the wining riders.

Cavendish along with his Belgian team has already won the Tour de San Luis, Argentina during early January 2013. Qatar’s weather and the waves of riders made it difficult to make a mark in the race. But he can race at his best during the upcoming Europe’s best cycle races.

Brian Holm, says that the Belgian team was performing at its best during the Qatar tour than in the Argentinean race. Brian Holm is Mark Cavendish’s sports director working for Omega Pharma. He added by saying that he will be satisfied if Cavendish just won one or two stages in the race.

Holm also believes in forming a good team for lead out, and expects the new sprinter to perform in the team. He expects that the team formation will take up to one year.

Personally Cavendish has won 4 stages of the Qatar tour before this year. His new Belgian team Omega Pharma-QuickStep has won 5 times during the last 7 years of tour. Ian Stannard, Former team member of Cavendish observes that Cavendish is always ready for a sprint and he’ll get a chance to perform sooner rather than later.

Cavendish wins opening stage

Mark Cavendish, who is a part of the UCI ProTour Omega Pharma-Quick Step, recently won the Tour de San Luis’ opening stage which was held in Argentina.

Cavendish recently changed teams from Team Sky to Omega Pharma-Quick Step. This was his first appearance as a part of the UCI ProTour Omega Pharma-Quick Step and his first win of this year as well. Cavendish was not seen as a threat from the first 200 meters but then he picked up pace and stunned everybody by winning the opening stage.

Alberto Contador was also a part of the opening stage in the Tour de San Luis but he didn’t make it to the top list of winners.

Cavendish said that the last few kilometers were the most crucial and he had to push his personal limits. The other teams were also very much in form and everyone was trying to do his best in the last few kilometers and Cavendish said that the pressure had built up to a lot. Cavendish was noted saying that he took the jump and there was a lot of risk involved as there was some amount of wind which could have caused an accident if the move hadn’t been handled with expertise and care.

After his win, mark Cavendish said that it was a fresh start to the New Year and he feels “so good” to have made a winning start. He said that the bike was in top condition and his trainers had taken good care of him so he was full of energy even during the end.

On the recent note of Lance Armstrong’s confession of taking performance enhancing drugs, mark Cavendish said that he is deeply saddened as he has considered him as a friend. He also said that he had called him up several times for advice and that too, as it seems now, while was abusing drugs. At the wake of these findings, Cavendish says that he was with Armstrong during several of his winnings and knowing the truth behind his success really has shaken him up and he also added that lance has tainted this sport forever.