Blazin' Saddles

Vicky earns a crust

Blazin' Saddles

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Victoria Pendleton, Britain's top female cyclist, was spotted by Saddles's father (true story) on a photoshoot on the cobbled slope of Dorset's Gold Hill, where Ridley Scott's famous 'Boy on a Bike' Hovis advert from the 70s was shot.

Pendleton, a world and Olympic champion, has signed a three-year deal with the bread company during which she will work on a series of advertisement campaigns to educate the public on healthy eating.

BS had broken this story on but was told to keep schtum by Hovis's PR wagon because of an embargo, lifted on Thursday.

Fans of Pendleton's previous work - which include a raunchy shoot for FHM and a naked recreation of Annie Leibovitz's iconic Lance Armstrong nude - will be let down to see that the 29-year-old didn't get her buns out this time.

SKY'S THE LIMIT: Meanwhile, Bradley Wiggins' new partnership is going from strength to strength as Team Sky's official launch in London saw the 26-rider squad of 12 nationalities (put together with a £35m golden handshake and to be run on a huge £10m annual budget) get together for the first time and show off their new strip.

BS was very unimpressed with the minimalist black, white and blue jersey. It looks just like an advert for Sky, which is probably the point. But you'd think that with such lofty means, David Brailsford's team - as ethical in their recruitment as Jan Ullrich was picky with his food - could have paid someone to do a half-decent job.

Wiggins was naturally very upbeat, claiming, rather presumptuously, that his team will go to the Tour de France "with the best form of our lives and with the best team behind us". So there we have it: Sky are so strong that they will be able to ride in front of the best team, whichever that may be.

The Brit also let it slip that he was in fact tapped up during last season's Tour: apparently he and Brailsford "had a coffee" during the race, and "after five minutes I said I was on board and that was that".

Except it wasn't, because Brad insisted on fuelling the "will he, won't he?" game in the press for the next five months, during which he made those memorable comments about Garmin being cycling's Wigan to Sky's Manchester United.

Continuing with the football analogy, Wiggo now claims his new outfit are "more organised than a lot of Premier League teams". Let's hope it's the United team that beat Chelsea to the title last year - and not the shambolic mess that recently capitulated to League One's Leeds United, cycling's equivalent of Milram.

NEWS FELCH: Lance Armstrong will dabble in his fair share of spring classics this season after the American confirmed his participation in the Tour of Flanders, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Amstel Gold.

Australian brothers Allan and Scott Davis will join Astana for 2010 in a move which will hardly have Albertro Contador roaring from the snow-topped roofs of Kazakhstan.

Allan's former manager at Quick Step, Patrick Lefevere, had previously aimed at bringing in the Spaniard, plus three of his team-mates, to ride alongside Davis in his team - a plan which now appears as cunning as one of Baldrick's.

It has to be said, however, that if there was a classification of the peloton's top brothers, the Davis duo would come well behind the Schlecks and Feillus.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "On a lighter note, I also have a T-shirt that says 'cycling is dope' which I still think is a great shirt," American time-trialist Tom Zirbel, who recently tested positive for steroids, tells Cyclingnews. "So great, in fact, that I wore it to the opening and testing of my 'B' sample. Bad form? I thought it was funny, and I'm in need of laughs these days."


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