Blazin' Saddles

  • Yes to AV?

    Following two months in Australia
    and a few days in Hong Kong, Saddles returned to the UK this week to discover
    that, when not mesmerised by the peachy rear of the perma-tanned sister of a
    commoner named Kate who married a balding prince called William, everyone was
    harping on about AV.

    More precisely, either a
    resounding "yes" or "no" to AV.

    Just why everyone was so
    interested in Alexandre Vinokourov is another matter - he's not even racing the
    forthcoming Giro, which starts in earnest on Saturday in Turin and will be
    covered in its entirety by Saddles (lucky you).

    If Saddles had to vote

    Read More »from Yes to AV?
  • Giro 2011: Sprinters guide

    With 40 major mountain climbs, seven summit finishes
    and numerous transfers, the 94th edition of the Giro d'Italia will
    hardly have the sprinters chomping at the bit.

    In fact, following stage 12's likely bunch sprint in
    Ravenna on Tuesday 19th May there are no flat finishes at all - so
    don't expect many (if any) of the peloton's fast men to make it all the way to
    Milan.

    It's a bit much to ask the sprinters to slog it out through
    the mountains for more than a week and then not even reward them with a chance
    to dispute the race's final stage. As such, it will be a big surprise if the
    winner of

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  • Chain reaction

    The world of cycling was plunged into turmoil on the Monday after Alberto Contador decided, following days of failing to cut Andy Schleck's slender lead, that he would try a new tactic and actually ride ahead of his rival instead of alongside him.

    Armchair pundits were divided on the controversial twist with some claiming Contador's attack was pretty exciting compared to watching a battle of attrition EVERY... DAY... while others were disappointed that the Spaniard would have the audacity not to give Schleck the requisite two-minute lead going into the decisive time trial in the Medoc just to

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  • What’s eating Gilbert Great?

    Forget Easter eggs this Sunday: Belgium's Philippe Gilbert hopes to
    serve himself a fourth course of succulent Ardennes pate with victory in
    Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

    And an unprecedented fourth Belgian classics win in two weeks would be
    sweet as chocolate for Phil Gil, who admitted after his imperious taming of the
    Mur de Huy in last weekend's Fleche-Wallonne that his excellent form is
    beginning to surprise even him.

    "I no longer know what my limits are," the limitless Gilbert
    said, not knowing if he should limit his post-race interviews to one major
    press junket or give Saddles a direct call for

    Read More »from What’s eating Gilbert Great?
  • Cobbled kryptonite

    With it being spring classics season, Saddles obviously only has one person to talk about - and a third Spartacus-themed blog in succession will look at Fabian Cancellara's self-proclaimed Superman status ahead of defending his Paris-Roubaix crown on Sunday.

    "It looks like on paper I will win Paris-Roubaix," a modest Cancellara said this week. About his third-place in the Tour of Flanders, the Leopard Trek maestro bigged up his near-flawless performance: ''I am not frustrated. I am not disappointed. I have done an amazing race. I don't see any mistakes. I was targeted by 95 per cent of the

    Read More »from Cobbled kryptonite
  • Fab’s Golden Balls

    Spartacus may have put those outlandish claims of motoring across the cobbles to bed, but now the Swiss time-trial specialist has been accused of having balls - and golden ones at that.

    According to the owner of a bike shop in Riccione, Italy, Fabian Cancellara's hoard of gold medals, classics and ITT stage wins were won with the aid of a revolutionary system of "Gold-Race" ball bearings that cuts down friction by 95 per cent and offers time gains of up to 2.5 seconds per kilometre.

    The reduction of friction is said to bring about a decrease in lactic acid accumulation, allowing riders to use

    Read More »from Fab’s Golden Balls
  • Kangaroo court for Cancellara

    It's that time of year again as scores of conspiracy
    theorists stretch their blogging fingers and prepare themselves for the latest
    round of Cancellara bashing.

    This annual event usually follows the Swiss Spartacus's
    total domination in the spring classics as Big Fab eats up the cobbles as he
    would Weetabix for breakfast.

    Last year we had Davide Cassani's "so stupid I'm
    speechless" claims that Cancellara had concealed a motor inside the frame
    of his bike, allowing him to power ahead of Tom Boonen in Flanders and everyone
    else on the way to Roubaix.

    And this year we have already had the

    Read More »from Kangaroo court for Cancellara
  • AC/AV Fly on the Wall

    At some point on Friday evening a fly landed
    on Saddles's arm and informed the world's current least favourite cycling
    blogger that he had just been perched on the wall of the Astana team bus.

    What luck, Saddles thought; a fly on the
    wall of the Astana team bus, with access to the post-race discussions - won't
    that make for an easy and informative blog for tonight. (You see, Saddles is
    very busy for his sister - Traceycle - is getting married tomorrow and it's all
    hands on deck.)

    So, here's what happened according to that
    fly.

    First, Alexandre Vinokourov burst in on his
    own and threw his

    Read More »from AC/AV Fly on the Wall
  • Haribo makes Andy happy

    Luxembourg's Andy Schleck celebrated his third consecutive white jersey triumph by guzzling a whole packet of Haribo sweets during Sunday's showpiece stage to Paris.

    While his grown-up rival sank glass after glass of vintage champagne, Schleck feasted on foam eggs and jelly bears, making sure he kept a few of those red heart-shaped gummy chews for his special friend Alberto.

    Schleck's close confidants say he is already hoarding a load of multi-coloured rings from the Starmix selection in the event that the Spaniard will accept his hand in civil partnership before next year's race.

    "That way,

    Read More »from Haribo makes Andy happy
  • Pellizotti punt backfires

    The
    12:05 at Melbourne's famous Flemington racecourse on Saturday included a hotly
    tipped horse called Pellizotti, and Saddles - quite naturally - couldn't resist
    a little flutter.

    Currently
    on his own tour Down Under and out at the races for a friend's
    "bucks" (stag) day, BS backed the handsome royally-bred bay colt at
    $5 each way at generous odds of 11-1.

    How
    could he resist? Pellizotti's film-star looks encouraged his trainer to bid
    $450,000 for him as a yearling at the Sydney Easter sales last year. This was a
    horse with prime pedigree. In the paddock, the aristocratic looker was sleek
    and

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