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Ex-Garmin Physio Toby Watson's Blog

Strade Bianchi baby!

Strade Bianchi baby! The white roads of Tuscany get another run on the Pro Tour today. This is a relatively new one day classic, and an Italian take on the cobbled classics of the legendary Belgian spring.

Spring Classics Have Sprung!

And so the warm weather (excluding Tour of the Med) precursors to the bike season proper have concluded. Down Under, Qatar, Oman, Algarve, etc have all had their brief moments in the spotlight, Langkawi has kicked off with a win to Zab in the time trial (no surprises that Zab is nowhere near the Classics! Not a sketchy conditions type of rider is the great DZ.) Now we head to the heartland of the sport and the portion of the season where the hardmen have their moments to shine.

Alberto’s Clenbuterol, Ockham and Basque Beef

Contador, the best grand tour rider of his generation has finally been re-found guilty of being a drug cheat. For those who have (understandably) forgotten what has happened, Alberto Contador was tested in the sleepy town of Pau on the second Rest Day of the 2010 Tour de France. Here's my views on Alberto's Clenbuterol.

A Superb Start for GreenEdge

If perfection is a 10/10, and the attainment of perfection is impossible, then GreenEdge have had a 9/10 first month of racing. They have won both the road and TT Australian jerseys for the year, and have won the overall on their first ProTour race. Simon Gerrans is top of the UCI World Rankings, and GreenEdge are 3rd (see the full lists).

Gerry – Doin’ The Math on Wilunga Hill

Today the traditional break went up the road, and things settled into a nice rhythm, and most were likely preparing mentally for the two ascents of Wilunga Hill at the end of the stage.

Oscar Freire Starts The Show

The Big Gorilla didn't pack his climbing legs for this year's TDU. Translation: Andre Greipel couldn't stay with the peloton as it went up the very tough Mengler's Hill at warp speed. Oscar Freire, however, did, and he led a good-sized bunch over the line in Tanunda today. It was a very good result for the race as much as anything: processions tend to put the fans off.

Return To Normal Proceedings; Andre Greipel back on top

After the W Clarke bolt from the blue of yesterday, there was no way that Stage 3 of the TDU was going to be anything but a bunch sprint, and all of the key teams worked together to guarantee this today, with Andre Greipel from Lotto again the winner. The big man can sprint! Will he finally threaten Cav this year?

Will Clarke Wins For The Little Guys

Will Clarke. Wow! A full day up the road with only one bloke helping out, and only for a short period of time. Chapeau! A great win.

Andre Greipel at the TDU – Same As It Ever Was

And so they're off! Once again Andre Greipel has won a stage at the TDU, once again there is a bit of controversy about sprinters not holding their line, and once again the accused sprinter has taken the classic "What! Me?" stance. The season is underway.

Tour Down Under 2012 – Starting NOW!

The pro cycling season kicks off today with the Tour Down Under. Finally! It feels longer and longer between the end of the previous season and the start of the next. But thankfully the wait is over and we are away.

The Tour Down Under 2012 – Rolling!

The Tour Down Under 2012, alrighty! We’ve had the little teaser of a crit race around a park on the edge of Adelaide’s CBD, which Andre Greipel emphatically dominated, we’ve had head knocks and called cops for GreenEDGE riders.

GreenEDGE-pectations

GreenEDGE - pectations... oh yes. How about THAT for a play on words! 2012 is here and I’ve managed to get a blog post going in the first week of the year. Two New Years resolutions in one; get a blog post a fortnight out there, and at least make it past January 10th prior to failing at keeping to all resolutions.

Copenhagen Road Worlds 2011 Reminiscences

As I sit here on a rainy Wednesday awaiting my wife's transition from early labour to full gas labour (is that the correct terminology? heh) I thought I should get my act together and at least attempt to begin more regular blog posts. What better time to try and commit to spending more self time than just before one of the major upheavals of your life, where you're guaranteed to have less time to do exactly that? What could possibly go wrong here"¦

Cav and the TDU Winners

The final stage of the 2011 TDU has been run and won, with the expected wins for Mark Cavendish in the sprint, and Cadel Evans in the overall coming to fruition. A victory on the Champs Elysees is one of the great achievements for a sprint cyclist, and Cav's ability to produce on the big stages with such consistency will already have him posted as a strong favourite to win the World Championships this September.

Desperate Procession at the TDU

Today the final stage of the 2011 TDU gets underway, a desperate procession maybe, but it's devastatingly disappointing for me, but also extremely exciting considering it is Cadel Evans who will cross the line the champion today, calamitous misadventure notwithstanding. (brief pause while author touches wood.) I can't believe it's nearly over, and conversely can't believe that Gilbert's win on Stage One was only three weeks ago.

Cadel Evans – A Grand Victory?

Cadel Evans is going to win the Tour de France in 2011. Hahahaha! I'm going to say that again, just because I can. Cadel Evans is going to win the Tour de France in 2011. What a nice sentence to read and write! The time trial last night was expected to be a shootout between the world's best time triallist, Fabian Cancellara, and the next big thing, Tony Martin.

Andy Schleck: Down to Two

Two nights ago there four men still in contention, then Contador was out of the race. Yesterday saw the end of Frank Schleck's chances, and tonight will see the demise of the final contender for the Tour. Andy Schleck will hope to defend his 57sec lead over Cadel Evans tonight, and will certainly fancy his chances. The last time he was in this position, Cadel just didn't have enough in the tank to overhaul Carlos Sastre back in 2008.

One More Time

One more time over some incredible hills. One more chance for the Schlecks to take seconds away from Cadel. One more opportunity for them to sap the power from his legs to minimize the damage he does to them in tomorrow's TT. 100km, three categorized climbs, 2851m vertical ascent. This stage is not as huge as last night's, but being so short and sharp, there is still enormous potential for damage to be done.

Frank Schleck, One For The History Books

If you were lucky enough to watch Stage 18 last night, you saw one of the best days of bike racing in years. Andy and Frank Schleck finally attacked and got it right, using their double-threat to maximum advantage, and as a result achieved another stage win, jumped in the GC to now be in a dominant position, and Andy has ridden a stage that will be talked about for years.

Tour de France 4 Stages In, 4 Contenders

Tour de France 4 Stages... We have finally made it to the first of two stages that have loomed large over this whole race, and will play a huge role in determining who is the 2011 Tour de France champion. Today is officially a filthy stage on the bike. 200km, three hors categorie climbs, approximately 470om vertical gain through the stage, including a single climb from 335m above sea level to 2744m! Holy smokes.

Over Already?

"It's over already?" Most of the riders in the peloton would be thinking that as the rest day ends and they prepare for the final week of this year's Tour. The racing has been brutal: nervous and hectic through the first week, typically savage through the Pyrenees (which happened through the second week), and windy and wet virtually the whole time.