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Tour de France

Analysis and Comment (36)

It’s tough out there. It’s tough out there. EPA/Yoan Valat

Explainer: how to win a Tour de France sprint

The final dash to the line in a Tour de France sprint finish may appear to the bystander to be a mess of bodies trying to cram into the width of a road, but there is a high degree of strategy involved…
The race remains world cycling’s crown jewel, despite the doping scandals. The race remains world cycling’s crown jewel, despite the doping scandals. EPA/ Kim Ludbrook

Le Tour de France is losing traction in its homeland

July in France means tourists, sunflowers, Bastille Day and the running of the national bicycle race. The Tour is one of the most recognisable symbols of France in the global imagination. But it is an…
Get in line. Riders keeping out of the wind on the road to Sheffield. Get in line. Riders keeping out of the wind on the road to Sheffield. Adam Bowie

The science behind Tour de France’s hide-and-seek tactics

When the Tour de France comes to town, it’s a chance to get your gladrags on. This year’s Grand Depart in Yorkshire saw Leeds decked out with yellow flowers, bikes placed in coffee bar windows, statues…
There are rules, and then there are ‘rules’ for riders. There are rules, and then there are ‘rules’ for riders. EPA/Kim Ludbook

Unofficial rules of the Tour de France matter most

Riders in the Tour de France are engaging in a battle of wits as they follow two sets of rules – the official rules and the other set of “unofficial” rules that come with any competitive sporting challenge…
Pumped. Armstrong in 2003. Pumped. Armstrong in 2003. Jasper Juinen/EPA

Tour de France’s doping history clouds a ‘cleaner’ sport

With the start of the 101st Tour de France only one day away, the topic of doping in cycling will no doubt start to rear its ugly head. While the riders cover 3,664km in 21 stages over three weeks in an…
Blurred lines. Costs and benefits of the TDF are hard to define. Blurred lines. Costs and benefits of the TDF are hard to define. oneshotimages

Tour de Yorkshire will boost economy but what about the environment?

When the world’s greatest cycling race starts in Yorkshire, England on July 5, some 2-3m visitors are expected to turn out to watch a spectacle which will cost an estimated £10m to host. If the organisers…
Tut tut: Belgian cyclist Dries Devenyns throws his bottle during the 10th stage of the 2011 Tour de France. Tut tut: Belgian cyclist Dries Devenyns throws his bottle during the 10th stage of the 2011 Tour de France. EPA/Nicolas Bouvy

The Tour de France – race of beauty or environmental hazard?

It’s that time of year again. The 101st Tour de France begins this Saturday July 5 in the Yorkshire city of Leeds, and three days later it returns to French home soil for Stage 4 (Le Touquet-Paris-Plage…
We love you because you’re a Victorian: Simon Gerrans (centre) celebrates after winning the Liege-Bastogne-Liege cycling race in April. We love you because you’re a Victorian: Simon Gerrans (centre) celebrates after winning the Liege-Bastogne-Liege cycling race in April. EPA/Nicolas Bouvy

Victorians rule Australian cycling, at the Giro d'Italia and beyond

The annual Giro d'Italia bike race starting tomorrow signifies a peak time on the world professional cycling calendar, with the European Spring Classic races just finished, and the rest of the Grand Tours…
Cyclist Stuart O'Grady’s admission to doping is an important moment in Australian sport. Cyclist Stuart O'Grady’s admission to doping is an important moment in Australian sport. Ben Macmahon/AAP

Dopers like O’Grady should pay, even if they’re good blokes

Recently retired professional cyclist Stuart O’Grady is the latest elite Australian sportsperson to confess publicly to doping during his career. He admitted last week to using the banned blood oxygen…
For perfect pedalling, it’s important to do the rounds. For perfect pedalling, it’s important to do the rounds. Nicolas Bouvy/EPA

Pedalling technique and the Tour de France – watch and turn

Professional cyclists, such as those riding in this year’s Tour de France, have repeated the same circular pedalling action countless times. But does this mean they’ve developed a more effective pedalling…
You may think you’re strong but without food you’re fuelling no-one. You may think you’re strong but without food you’re fuelling no-one. seemakk

Nutrition for the non Tour de France cyclist … et voilà

Modern Tour de France riders compete as part of a professional cycling team, with support staff who work to ensure that each individual’s nutritional needs are met. Under such circumstances – as we wrote…
It’s hard graft, but pros love it when a plan comes together. It’s hard graft, but pros love it when a plan comes together. Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA

What’s in a plan? Training for the Tour de France

To reach the start line of the Tour de France – currently underway – is an incredible feat in itself for any professional cyclist. It is the culmination of years of dedicated training and competition…
Having legs with the right type of muscle fibre can make all the difference. Having legs with the right type of muscle fibre can make all the difference. Yoan Valat/EPA

Building a Tour de France-winning body: know your muscles

Cyclists in this year’s Tour de France – currently underway – will cover more than 3,300km over 21 stages in 23 days. Of course, due to the extreme physical exertion required to do this at speed, many…
Many things go into making a Tour de France champion – including nutrition. Many things go into making a Tour de France champion – including nutrition. Sebastien Nogier/EPA

Eat me, drink me – fuelling riders in the Tour de France

We know professional cyclists have strong legs and the desire to win, but what role does food and drink play in their chances of success? The Tour de France is considered one of the world’s most demanding…
Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Mark Cavendish, Philippe Gilbert, Tejay van Garderen, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador in front of the map for the ‘cleanest tour ever’. But have attitudes towards doping in cycling changed in the past year? Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Mark Cavendish, Philippe Gilbert, Tejay van Garderen, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador in front of the map for the ‘cleanest tour ever’. But have attitudes towards doping in cycling changed in the past year? EPA

It’s the first Tour de France since the Armstrong saga – but has anything changed?

The historic 100th edition of the Tour de France, kicking off tomorrow in Porto-Vecchio, Corsica, is being heralded by many as the cleanest Tour ever. This year’s Tour favourite, Britain’s Chris Froome…
Oprah Winfrey in Sydney in 2010 and Lance Armstrong on his way to win his seventh Tour de France title in 2005. Oprah Winfrey in Sydney in 2010 and Lance Armstrong on his way to win his seventh Tour de France title in 2005. AAP/Tracey Nearmy & EPA/Gero Breloer

What Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah means for Livestrong

How Lance Armstrong handles his soon-to-be aired interview with Oprah will impact on the fate of Livestrong, which he founded in happier days. That’s because organisations, including non-profits such as…
Australian cyclist Matthew White admitted to taking drugs during his time riding for Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service cycling team. Australian cyclist Matthew White admitted to taking drugs during his time riding for Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service cycling team. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Review of cycling integrity must consider the lessons of history

Federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy’s recent announcement of an independent review of Cycling Australia appears sensible given the local fall-out from the Armstrong case. The minister sees this review “as…
Did Armstrong’s decision to dope come down to a simple cost-benefit analysis? Did Armstrong’s decision to dope come down to a simple cost-benefit analysis? STR/EPA

Lance Armstrong broke rules, but it was a logical choice

Had Lance Armstrong nudged one of his Tour de France rivals over the edge of the Alpe d'Huez he would have likely received a less hostile response than he has in recent weeks for breaking a simple sports…
Hero to zero: Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal may cause domino effect in corporate support of cycling. Hero to zero: Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal may cause domino effect in corporate support of cycling. EPA/Olivier Hoslet

Rabobank, Lance Armstrong and the future of professional cycling

Yesterday it was announced that the UCI (International Cycling Federation) will back the US Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) decision to ban Lance Armstrong for life and strip him of his seven Tour de France…
Lance Armstong listens to the national anthem on the podium after winning the 2005 Tour de France. Lance Armstong listens to the national anthem on the podium after winning the 2005 Tour de France. EPA/SRDJAN SUKI

The Lance Armstrong paradox: how saving lives can be wrong

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has officially upended the Elysian podium that held Lance Armstrong aloft as victor of seven Tours de France. Its ruling comes in the wake of the damning judgement…
The Armstrong affair is a wake-up call for those who govern professional sport. The Armstrong affair is a wake-up call for those who govern professional sport. oeflintham

The Lance Bomb has blown, but is doping really cheating?

Should Lance Armstrong lose his seven Tour de France titles for doping, as is being proposed by the US Anti-doping Agency (USADA)? It’s an issue that puts the UCI – the international cycling union – and…
Armstrong has consistently maintained that USADA has been leading a “witch hunt” against him. Armstrong has consistently maintained that USADA has been leading a “witch hunt” against him. Aspen/Snowmass

The Lance Armstrong ‘witch hunt’ is over – and he’s a witch

In June, when the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)’s allegations against cyclist Lance Armstrong were released, I wrote: Armstrong has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, describing USADA’s actions as a “witch…
Lance Armstong’s decision not to contest USADA charges of doping has done little to quell rumours. Lance Armstong’s decision not to contest USADA charges of doping has done little to quell rumours. Christophe Karaba/EPA

Is the Lance Armstrong affair a race to the bottom for cycling?

Lance Armstrong was no ordinary cyclist. His was a business model that changed the face of professional cycling, perfecting techniques of media management and being the vehicle by which cycling administrators…
The seven-times Tour de France winner looks set to lose his titles. The seven-times Tour de France winner looks set to lose his titles. Gero Breloer/EPA

Lance Armstrong drops his doping fight with USADA – what now?

It seems as if the case against Lance Armstrong has ended not with a bang but a whimper. The American seven-times Tour de France champion issued a statement earlier today, stating that “enough is enough…
The Radioshack-Nissan-Trek rider has retired from this year’s Tour de France. The Radioshack-Nissan-Trek rider has retired from this year’s Tour de France. Nicolas Bouvy/EPA

Frank Schleck, the Tour de France and doping: so what’s xipamide?

After the recent re-ignition of allegations against seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, many in professional cycling had hoped for a quiet year on the doping front. But, it seems, the Tour…
There’s more to conquering hills than dropping a few kilos. There’s more to conquering hills than dropping a few kilos. AAP image

Tour de France: the science of hill climbing

As the Tour de France enters its final week, riders have already negotiated some of the toughest climbs in Europe, and have some major climbs still to go. So what makes some of those riders successful…
The energy produced per rider during sprints could power a fridge, TV and most of the lights in a standard house. The energy produced per rider during sprints could power a fridge, TV and most of the lights in a standard house. Nicolas Bouvy/AAP

Suffer score: how demanding is Le Tour de France?

The Tour de France – currently underway – has long been regarded as one of the most demanding endurance events in sporting history. But what does that mean in physical terms for the athletes taking part…
Blood, sweat and tears goes into Le Tour, and the design of high-performance bike wheels. Blood, sweat and tears goes into Le Tour, and the design of high-performance bike wheels. Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA

Le Tour de France is set to roll, so what makes a perfect bike wheel?

And so, once again, some of the world’s top athletes are about to set forth on the highlight of the professional road racing calendar, Le Tour de France. Before a pedal has even turned, top riders have…
Lance Armstrong could potentially lose all seven of his Tour de France victories. Lance Armstrong could potentially lose all seven of his Tour de France victories. Jean-Christophe Bott/AAP

Lance Armstrong charged with ‘blood doping’ and EPO-use … so how do they work?

The cauldron of long-standing doping allegations against former professional cyclist Lance Armstrong has finally boiled over. The seven-time Tour de France winner is now facing charges from the US Anti-Doping…
Have scientific standards negatively affected legal reasoning? Have scientific standards negatively affected legal reasoning? Alberto Martin/EPA

Contador, doping and the need for speed

On the day the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) handed down its decision on the Alberto Contador doping case, Cadel Evans – Australian Tour de France champion – was quoted in the cycling press repeating…
He’s in the spotlight for taking a drug that probably didn’t even help his performance. He’s in the spotlight for taking a drug that probably didn’t even help his performance. EPA/Alberto Martin

Alberto Contador banned for doping, but what is clenbuterol?

After a drawn-out and controversial case, Spanish professional cyclist Alberto Contador has been found guilty of doping and banned from the sport for two years. Contador was stripped of his victories at…
The time trial is critical to Evans' chances in the 2011 Tour de France. The time trial is critical to Evans' chances in the 2011 Tour de France. AFP/Pascal Pavani

Cadel Evans and other machines: the science of the Tour de France time trial

Following the 18th stage of the 2011 Tour de France last night, the top six riders are within less than four minutes of one another: Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck, Ivan Basso, Damian Cunego…
Climbing mountains is all about fighting gravity. Climbing mountains is all about fighting gravity. Nicolas Bouvy/EPA

The science of elite cycling: Tour de France (stages 12 to 21)

This is the second in a two-part series about the science of Le Tour de France. Part one is here. After 1,916 kilometres of the 2011 Tour de France we’re starting to see some of the favourites make their…
With more than 3,000 kilometres to cover, technique is only part of the equation. With more than 3,000 kilometres to cover, technique is only part of the equation. Nicolas Bouvy/EPA

The science of elite cycling: Tour de France (stages 1 to 11)

This weekend, approximately 200 of the world’s best cyclists will begin competing in one of the most challenging sporting events in the world: Le Tour de France. Le Tour is widely regarded as the most…