Cyclist dies after collision with car towing trailer in Earl’s Court

68-year-old woman the fourth cyclist to die in London in 2018

A female cyclist has died after being involved in a collision with a car towing a trailer in Earl’s Court in west London.

The incident took place just before 4pm on Tuesday afternoon on Warwick Road, with paramedics attending to the 68-year-old cyclist involved.

They were unable to save her and she died at the scene, becoming the fourth cyclist fatality in London this year.

Police said the driver of the car stopped at the scene and was helping them with their enquiries but has not been arrested. The victim’s next of kin have been informed.

Police are appealing for witnesses to contact the Metropolitan Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 020 8543 5157.

Tuesday’s fatality is the fourth in London this year after two male riders were killed on the same road in Greenwich in the same week in May and a further man was killed riding his bike in Deptford in June.

Edgaras Cepura, a married 37-year-old software engineer, died on the A206 near the Woolwich roundabout after colliding with a lorry, while Oliver Speke, 46, died in hospital two days after colliding with a lorry outside the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.

Antonio Marchesini, 52, died at the scene of an incident on June 3 near his home in Deptford in a suspected hit-and-run attack.

The death of the three cyclists in May and June led to a ‘die-in’ protest outside of Woolwich Town Hall, with calls for the proposed CS4 Cycle Superhighway from Greenwich to Tower Bridge to be pushed through quickly.

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British National Championships 2018 road race start list

Start list for the 2018 British National Championships road race in Northumberland on July 1

The National championships are looming, and on Sunday July 1 we’ll see the winners of the men’s and women’s races receive their stripy jerseys.

The men will take on 185 kilometres, and the women 106km, on a course in Stamfordham which is characterised by technical, narrow country lanes.

The key climb, Ryals, comes 30km before the end of the men’s race and 10km before the flag for the women’s.

Stamfordham, in Northumberland, last hosted a National championships in 2011, when both Lizzie Deignan and Bradley Wiggins won via late attacks.

>>> British Road National Championships 2018 routes: road race and time trial courses

The men’s start list includes defending champion, Steve Cummings (Team Dimension Data) as well as Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) fresh from his win at Critérium du Dauphiné and 2012 champion Ian Stannard (Team Sky).

Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue Sport) also takes to the start line, as 2016 champion, plus defending under 23 champion Tom Pidcock (Team Wiggins).

Lizzie Deignan celebrates her win – picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

The women’s title is up for grabs, with Deignan sitting out whilst she waits for the birth of her first child.

Katie Archibald (Wiggle High5) is out due to injury, having broken her collarbone at the Tour de Yorkshire and abandoned the Women’s Tour following another crash.

Vying for the crown will be riders such as Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM), who won in Stockton in 2016, edging out sister Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM), who took the under 23 title for her second place that year and may be looking to go one better. They’ll be competing against the likes of Dame Sarah Storey (Storey Racing) plus Elinor Barker (Wiggle High5).

 British National Championships road race start lists

Men’s road race start list

Women’s start list

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The One Fitness Tip You Shouldn’t Ignore: Act Your Training Age

What’s my training age again?

“Your training age refers to the total training time you have in a form of training or sport, regardless of your actual chronological age,” says trainer Dan Forbes, founder of Veteran Athlete. “If you’ve been bodybuilding for six years, then you’d have a bodybuilding training age of six years regardless of whether you are 26 or 46.”

So it’s sport-specific?

Yep. Obviously, strength training and running build very different qualities, but there’s also some reason to consider different training styles in even narrower spheres. “For example, if you have been strength training for four years but have no experience in plyometrics, then your strength training age would be four years, but your plyometric training age would be zero,” says Forbes. “This would have implications when it came to adding a plyometric element to your training plan. And remember, training age is purely a measure of quantity, not quality. If volume of repetitions were indicative of ability, most boxercise class attendees would be world champions.”

OK, but how does it affect my training?

“Generally speaking, those with a low training age lack the co-ordination and skillset needed to be able to perform complex movements,” says Forbes. “But, as I mentioned, training age has no bearing on an individual’s level of expertise. I’m a big believer in ‘earning’ the right to progress to complexity. Spending time perfecting form, developing strength and building muscle size allows some time to develop the co-contractions [when multiple muscles contract simultaneously to provide stability] and muscle-firing patterns you need to perform more advanced options safely. That way you ensure you benefit from doing them regardless of your training age.”

So I shouldn’t be doing plyometrics if I’m new in the gym?

“This is a tough one,” says Forbes. “If you look at the ground reaction times and forces in sprints, it certainly qualifies as a plyometric, but very rarely do we ensure people can hit a decent squat before they start sprinting. Use common sense, and accept that there’s a hierarchy when it comes to strength/plyometric training, and you’ll be fine. I’ve seen someone who couldn’t trap bar deadlift half their bodyweight doing 1m depth jumps, and all they were doing was increasing their risk of injury while entirely missing the benefit of the exercise – it drove me insane.”

Not everyone needs to do advanced plyometrics, but for most people there are benefits to doing a few hops and jumps. “Skipping is a great example of a low-level plyometric that most people can throw into their programmes right now,” Forbes says.

What else should I be worried about?

The biggest thing is work capacity. If you haven’t spent a while building up the capacity and neural drive to tolerate doing six moves for each body part, you’d be better off picking one or two and hitting them as hard as you can. And some movements are unnecessarily complex for a new lifter: do you really need to do Olympic lifts when you could get 90% of their benefits from deadlifts and squats? Act your age and you’ll improve consistently with less risk of injury.

Building Confidence

Lately I’m not sure if the workouts are getting more difficult or if we are all just getting stronger and pushing ourselves harder. As much as the success of athletes at Factory Square has been widespread, there have been times where the struggle to finish has been wide spread. In a WOD a few weeks ago I wasn’t even through the first few rounds and I already failed at the weight. Instead of simply giving up or taking weight off the bar, I took a few seconds to take a deep breath and calm myself.  Just like that I picked the bar back up and chipped away at the rest. Instead of continually getting ahead of myself, I focused on eat rep one at a time – listened to the coach, finished my pulls, and avoided what could’ve felt like a disaster. From time to time everyone struggles a bit like this.

It’s moments like these that make me think back to when I first started Crossfit. Back then I would have just given up or immediately dropped in weight. Everyone would tell me that I could do it but I didn’t believe them, I didn’t believe in myself. I let myself get into my head so easily. Now I refuse to let myself think that I cannot do something when I know I can. Yes I may have had an “off” day but that sure as heck didn’t mean I wasn’t going to stop trying.

There are times in everyone’s Crossfit journey when you witness this, not only on an individual level but as a community. We all support each other to the finish our workouts. It’s almost as if no workout is completed till the last person finishes. The difference between now and when we all first started is the knowledge we’ve acquired about ourselves and what we are capable of. It’s the confidence to know we can do anything we put our minds and bodies to. We are committed to succeed. Just look at all of the PR’s and successes athlete’s at Factory Square have been having lately! It’s insane!

The more confidence people gain in themselves, the more potential for growth you have. (Not to mention it’s contagious!) Believe in yourself that you can and in time you will. Sometimes all you ever need to do is take a few extra seconds to take a deep breath and then get right back to it. It never gets any easier; we only get stronger, better, faster.

Everyone keep up the good work! Happy Lifting!

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Chamois cream: how to use it and some of the best formulas

Why you need chamois cream, how to apply it, and where to buy it

Chamois cream, and the application of, is something of a taboo subject. You don’t even get many experienced racers talking about it in an open and honest way. But as you cycle more and more, you may find the need to use some. Question is, what the hell are you meant to do with it?

In your desire to find out more, you may have caught the eye of someone applying it. Before awkwardly averting your gaze. Do you apply it to the pad (which used to be made of chamois leather, hence the name) in your shorts? Your under-carriage? Both? What is it, and how does it help? Do you actually need it?


Watch: Nine beginner mistakes to avoid


According to legend, racers in the days before chamois would use steak to help prevent sores, then eat it that night after it had been tenderised during the ride. Thankfully, the birth of the padded ‘chammy’ insert meant that riders could leave the beef at home. Even so, riders quickly discovered that washing the shorts repeatedly would lead to a hardening of the pad, thus requiring a cream to soften the otherwise leathery chamois.

Happily, cycling short technology has come a long way since then and arguably could eliminate the need for any cream. Near-on perfect fabrics and fit limit friction, materials disperse moisture and chamois are washable without any stiffening. So why do we still buy it?

What is chamois cream?

Chamois cream is an anti-bacterial, viscous substance that helps eliminate friction between skin and clothing, and therefore the chafing that can occur during a ride. It comes in a number of forms including balms, creams and even powder.

Why use chamois cream?

Cyclists use chamois cream for prevention of saddle sores or, even worse, something that can leave you off the bike for several days and require medical attention: an abscess.

The idea is to minimise friction and keep bacterial build-up at bay, therefore prevent any nasties. If you’d forgotten to apply and get sore after your ride, some saddle sore creams act as a cure to help alleviate the pain, put a stop to any further problems and help prevent infection.

Is chamois cream for you?

In a word: yes. Riding every now and then shouldn’t cause too much discomfort down below, but once you start riding everyday and taking on longer rides, you’ll need to consider applying some cream.

First-time training campers usually fall foul of painful saddle sores, because cycling consistently over a week, especially in hot weather, is a big step up from what most riders are used to.

Simply apply chamois cream before each ride and you’ll avoid having to miss a day on the bike!

Can I just use Sudocrem instead of chamois cream?

Sudocrem is a fairly inexpensive antiseptic healing cream. It’s traditionally used to help clear up nappy rash, eczema, acne and other skin conditions. It can also be used on saddle sores. Some people do use Sudocrem instead of chamois cream, because it’s cheaper and sometimes easier and quicker to come by. However, it’s not created with a focus on lubricating the chamois/skin interface, and purpose designed chamois creams are generally better for this. Using Sudocrem after a ride to treat any sores is a great idea.

Recommended chamois creams

With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.

Assos Chamois Cream £13.99

Help eliminate saddle sores with Assos Chamois Créme

Assos chamois cream is renowned among cyclists as being one of the best formulas. The cream reduces friction and has antibacterial properties. It’s worth noting that it’s well known for the cooling effect that it gives to the skin – some riders like this, others don’t.

Read our full review here 

Buy now at Wiggle for £12.99 – pair with Assos Skin Repair Gel, £16.99 at Wiggle, for further protection post ride

Paceline Chamois Butt’r Original

Paceline Chamois Butt’r Original

Paceline Chamois Butt’r Original

Comes in a tube, which is generally considered more hygienic (tubs encourage the double-dip) – a non-greasy skin lubricant that will help to reduce friction.

Buy now at Evans Cycles for £15.99

Dznuts Pro Chamois Cream and Bliss Women’s Chamois Cream

dz nuts chamois cream

dz nuts chamois cream

Most chamois cream is gender neutral, and seems to do the job well. However, DZ Nuts wanted to provide a special formula for women that catered for sensitive skin and helped to reduce prickling and itching. Both anti-bacterial formulas have been tested by pros and amateurs alike.

Buy DZ Nuts Pro Chamois cream for men for £15.99 at Planet X

Buy DZ Nuts Bliss Chamois cream for women for £15.99 at Planet X 

Muc Off Luxury Chamois Cream

Muc Off Luxury Chamois Cream

Muc Off Luxury Chamois Cream

Most well know for their bike cleaning formulas and tools, Muc Off entered the athlete care market with a range of lotions and potions fairly recently. Their chamois cream contains Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel, Shea Butter and Sunflower Oil and Provitamins – a range of lovelies to help keep your skin tip top.

Buy now for £14.99 at Evans Cycles 

Morgan Blue Chamois Cream Soft

Morgan Blue Chamois Cream Soft

Morgan Blue Chamois Cream Soft

The ‘soft’ chamois cream from Morgan Blue contains Vitamin E to help protect skin, along with Saint John’s Wort oil, olive oil, sunflower oil and rosemary oil. There’s a women’s specific version too, which uses a formula based on almonds.

Buy the Morgan Blue Chamois cream soft for £8.49 at Chain Reaction Cycles 

Buy the Morgan Blue Ladies Chamois cream soft for £8.49 at Chain Reaction Cycles 

How to apply chamois cream

Apply to yourself around the contact and chafe points of the saddle or, if you prefer, mirror these points on the chamois. If you find that one or the other isn’t enough, don’t be afraid to apply the chamois cream to both chamois and yourself. How much is up to you — the more you apply the less likely to get sore, but don’t go mad!

Best bike saddles: a buyer’s guide

Best women’s bike saddles: a buyer’s guide

Whatever you choose, ensure you wash your shorts post ride to avoid any build-up. The other key piece of advice to avoid sores is to change out of your shorts as soon as you have finished your ride. Even if you don’t have access to a shower you should put clean, dry clothes on. Sitting around in a damp chamois is as bad for your skin as a long ride with no cream.

Don’t get it wrong!

Finally ensure you don’t mix your chamois cream up with your leg warm up rub. You may laugh, but it has happened to many a cyclist over the years and still does today. If you start to feel a fiery feeling downstairs, get home quick!

Got any more questions about chamois cream? Ask in the comments below — your embarrassing question might help other cyclists!

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Meet Natalie Fahey, Southern Illinois’ First Transgender Swimmer

Photo Courtesy: Natalie Fahey

Commentary by Andy Ross, Swiming World staff writer.

At some point in every single person’s life, they need to face who they really are. This is simple for some, while it is harder for others.  For Southern Illinois senior swimmer Natalie Fahey, it was a decision that would drastically change her life.

Fahey is transgender.

She was born male and has been on hormones since February 12, 2018 – she later changed her name from Nolan to Natalie.

“[Hormones therapy] is such a long process, it’s never really going to end,” she said. “Physically, most of the changes from hormones are done around two years.”

Trans sexuality is still something that is relatively new in college sports. One of the most famous cases in the sport of swimming was Schuyler Bailar, who swims for the Harvard men’s team. But Bailar transitioned from female to male, a less controversial transition than the other way around.

natalie-fahey-3

Photo Courtesy: Lauren Stockton/Andy Ross
Fahey before the start of a sophomore year race.

Fahey is about to start her senior year at Southern where she was a B-finalist at the Mid-American Conference Championships as a male. As for this upcoming season, she will still be competing with the men’s team because that is what she allowed to do in accordance with the NCAA.

But as for taper, Fahey’s goal is to compete alongside her female teammates at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships in 2019. Under the current NCAA rules, this will be possible to achieve.

In 2011, the NCAA updated their policy on transgender participants. The update indicates that Fahey would be allowed to compete as a woman after one calendar year of starting hormones, which means she could close her career out as her true self: as a woman. Last year, the MVC Championships started on Feb. 14 and the MAC Championships took place from Feb. 28-March 3.

natalie-fahey-2

Photo Courtesy: Andy Ross

On the outside looking in, it could seem like a lot to go through for one weekend of racing. But Fahey has the desire to compete as a woman, even if only for a single meet. This is something that she has struggled with, and refuses to wait any longer to deal with.

After doing some research, and discovering Bailar, Fahey ultimately realized that transitioning and then competing could become a reality.

But deciding to undergo hormone therapy whilst still swimming was not an easy decision. She originally wanted to hold off on transitioning until her career was over in March 2019, but then it became a lot more important to her that it was something she needed to do.

“It wasn’t something I could put off until later,” she said about transitioning. “It became more of an issue with my mental health and how comfortable I was with myself.”

Then she was hit with a mild shoulder injury, leaving her virtually chained to a kick board for an entire week.

“I was tempted to quit and I was seriously thinking about it.

Ultimately I decided swimming is essential to who I am as a person as is my gender identity.”

natalie-fahey-1

Photo Courtesy: Andy Ross

Fahey is still rather early in the transition. She only recently came out to her team at Southern Illinois, who welcomed her with open arms. Then she went to Southern Illinois’ student-run TV station to talk about her transitioning, where she used this as a way to come out to the rest of her friends on social media.

There are a still a few more hurdles she needs to climb, like legally changing her name in her native state of Wisconsin, getting a new driver’s license, and eventually, getting cleared by the NCAA.

But with that could come controversy, something Fahey has feared since coming out as transgender.

“It’s an unknown variable, but how are teams and athletes going to react at meets? Because that’s going to be the majority of my life this next season.”

It’s a fear that Fahey has began to overcome, but it does still exist.

“Even though I’m out on social media, I’m not out to the whole world,” she said.

But the world is going to know about Fahey soon. She is one of the first open male to female transgender swimmers to compete in the NCAA and she is hoping she can use her experience to help others going through the same issues.

And although the rest of the world doesn’t know about her yet, she isn’t too worried what they are going to think.

“No matter what new people find out, I have this huge group of people here to support me.”

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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The Best Men’s Sliders For A Summer Spent Next To The Pool

It’s time to forget you ever owned Crocs – sliders are 2018’s summer accessory of choice. They work when lounging around the pool, spending leisurely weekends in town or even for a relaxed evening out. Here are our favourites for every budget.

K-Swiss K-Slides

Let’s start things off with this no-nonsense pair. Pristine white, contrast blue logo, leather strap, foam footbed, grip on the sole and all for the price of a couple of cocktails from the poolside bar. You won’t go wrong with these. £20, buy on k-swiss.com

Primark

For this money, you’d expect no-thrills block colour, but Primark’s done the business with the simple but aesthetically pleasing asymmetrical stripes. £5, available in stores

Calvin Klein

This statement pair in eye-catching red from the esteemed fashion house are a dynamite choice. £40 (currently reduced to £20), buy on urbanoutfitters.com

Palladium Pampa Solea

Think you might need your footwear to do a little more than pad from the pool to the lounger? Then consider this pair from the London bootmaker. The brand has stuck a slider topper on the usual outsole design. £35, buy on palladiumboots.com

Tommy Hilfiger Splash

Less of a sartorial splash, more of a smart-casual workhorse thanks to the urbane use of the logo on the bandage, cushioned footbed and grip on the sole. £35, buy on scottsmenswear.com

Gucci GG

Few will notice the engrained “GG” logo on the leather strap all the way up there at eye level, but you’ll know, and you’ll feel the grained leather-effect insole as well. And that’s what matters. £265, buy on matchesfashion.com

Prada

If you’re keen for the world to know you dropped top dollar on your sliders, this bold-faced choice with geometric styling straight from the Spring/Summer18 catwalk will do the job. £185, buy on matchesfashion.com

Base London Hextor Waxy

We’re straying into sandal territory here with the two straps, but you’ll use the same slide on/slide off action so we’ll let it, er, slide. The leather straps also help this pair to work with more outfits than the standard slider. Versatile stuff. £44.99, buy on baselondon.com

Fila Drifter

Here’s what we wrote about this pair last year: “The retro sportswear trend isn’t going anywhere any time soon, so these white sliders emblazoned with the Fila logo will serve you for this summer and next.” Odds are we’ll be quoting this whole thing back to next you and feeling even smugger than we do now. £25, buy on fila.co.uk

Lacoste L30

With that gorgeous crisp white sole, we’d save these for poolside and nothing else. There are five colourways, two of which have a black sole, but you’d be missing a trick if you plumped for them – stick with this red, or the green, or white with green accents. £30, buy on houseoffraser.com

Hugo Boss Solar

A muted navy pair get an instant upgrade with the impact logo. £45, buy on houseoffraser.com

Adidas Duramo

There’s much to like about these sliders from the German giant. There’s the iconic three stripes of course, the multitude of colourways (green with yellow accents, or yellow with black accents were runners-up when we were picking our favourite) and the price. £16, buy on sportsdirect.com

Luke Sport Ellis

Did you think sliders were as casual as it gets? How about sliders with a towelling bandage? That’s so laid-back it’s positively horizontal. £15, buy on usc.co.uk

Vuelta director: ‘We can’t start the 2018 race without knowing the 2017 winner’

Vuelta a España director Javier Guillén says Chris Froome’s case must be resolved before the start of the 2018 edition

The Vuelta a España says that it must absolutely know if Chris Froome is the 2017 victor before running the 2018 edition, starting August 25 in Málaga.

Team Sky’s star tested over the limit for asthma drug salbutamol, a specified substance, on the way to winning the 2017 title. If he cannot prove a reason for his high reading, he risks being stripped of the title in a judgment due sometime this summer.

Already, the case has dragged on longer than many imagined it would have. The high reading in his urine came after stage 18, September 7 and was later leaked to the public on December 13.

Meanwhile, because of rules for specified substances that riders declare, Froome is free to race. He won the 2018 Giro d’Italia in May and will line up for the Tour de France in July to try to take a fifth title.

“What I want is to have a resolution,” Vuelta director Javier Guillén told the Marca newspaper.

“What is absolutely necessary is to know who won the 2017 Vuelta for the 2018 Vuelta start. We cannot sit here one year later without knowing what has happened.

“He won the Giro and we do not know what will happen with the rest of the races that he raced. I get the feeling that the passing of time complicates matters. I don’t know what we would do [if Froome decides to race the Vuelta], but I do know that the Vuelta must know who won in 2017 before the 2018 race.”

Some insiders speculated that Froome would take a short ban in a ruling sometime before the Tour. Due to rules for specified substance, he would keep the race results since the Vuelta. The 2017 Vuelta would be stripped, which would mean Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) would become the winner.

Froome appears to be going for an all-or-nothing approach. Some reports suggest he will argue kidney failure and some that he will rely on a Dutch research paper that points out flaws in the salbutamol test.

Salbutamol is allowed up to 1000 ng/ml. The actionable threshold is said to be at 1200, while Froome tested at 2000.

“Time is not helping us. The winner of the Vuelta should have known at the end of 2017 and this was no the case. He should have been known before the Giro d’Italia, but no,” Guillén added.

“I hope that it is known before the Tour de France, but I don’t have any information on what will happen. It is a topic that should be resolved for the good of the Tour, for the sake of Sky, but above all for the good of cycling in general. The Tour is the most important event, it reaches many millions of fans and I think we all deserve to have a resolution.”

Cycling Weekly learned from a rider in the top classification of the 2017 Vuelta that winnings were held after the race finished. Organizer Unipublic is likely waiting for a ruling before paying out.

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Five key climbs of the 2018 Tour de France

We take a look at some of the most important climbs of the 2018 Tour de France

The 2018 Tour de France covers 26 climbs that, along with the time trials and Roubaix cobbles, will have their say in the race’s outcome.

The race does not seriously begin climbing until stage 10, after the first rest day, but when it does it takes the riders up steep 20 per cent-plus pitches, to iconic places and several times over 2000 metres.

>>> Tour de France 2018 route: stage details of this year’s race complete with Alpe d’Huez and Paris-Roubaix cobbles

Some will feature more than others as the team leaders fight for the Tour’s famous yellow jersey. Below we have a look at five ascents that should be key in deciding the winner of the 2018 edition.

Stage 10: Plateau des Glières

If you want a Zoncolan type climb in the Tour, then here you are, the Plateau des Glières. It is mid-way into the first mountain stage, stage 10 with the Col de la Colombière and descent finish to Le Grand-Bornand. The organiser is bringing in the Plateau des Glières for the first time in 2018 up the difficult east side.

Though only six kilometres compared to the Zoncolan’s 10.1, its gradient averages 11.2 per cent until the plateau were French resistance fighters battled the Nazis. Along the way, sections of 20 per cent or more should bring all but the stars to a crawl. From the HC point, there are almost another two kilometres of lighter gradients on hard-packed gravel to the Col des Glières.

Stage 12: Alpe d’Huez

The iconic Alpe d’Huez climb comes mid-week this year but concludes the Alpine run of three-consecutive stages. It ends a classic stage over the Col de la Madeleine, the Lacets de Montvernier and the Col de la Croix de Fer.

The climb with its 21 hairpins debuted in 1952, marking the first summit finish which was won by Italian great Fausto Coppi. It seemed perfect, but summit finishes took a while to catch on and the Alpe d’Huez did not return until 24 years later.

Now it is an icon of cycling with its winners marked on every turn. From Bourg d’Oisans, the climb covers 13.8 kilometres at 8.1 per cent. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) last won at the ski village in 2015.

Stage 14: Côte De La Croix Neuve

Steve Cummings won the last time the Côte De La Croix Neuve in 2015 (Sunada)

The Côte De La Croix Neuve covers only three kilometres, but it will be decisive at the end of the stage with 10.2 per cent average gradients before reaching the flat airstrip finish above Mende. Making it harder, the road begins already to climb two kilometres before reaching the climb that appears like a wall on the official stage profile.

Laurent Jalabert won here with the French national jersey in 1995 when it debuted in the Tour, hence it’s also known as the Montée Laurent Jalabert. Steven Cummings gave MTN-Qhubeka its first win on South Africa’s Nelson Mandela day at the airstrip in 2015, the last time the climb was used, by surprising French hopes Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot.

Stage 16: Col du Portillon

The Col du Portillon is one of those normal Pyrenean climbs but stands out with its fast descent to Bagnères-De-Luchon. Followers in 2016 were blown away by Chris Froome’s attack at the top of the climb and even more so by his descending chest-to-stem style. The performance erased any doubts about Froome’s descending skills.

Chris Froome wins stage seven of the 2016 Tour de France (Sunada)

The climb takes the peloton back into France after brief visit in Spain near the end of the stage. It climbs 8.3 kilometres at 7.1 per cent. The descent of 8.3 kilometres gets tricky with three hairpins in short succession with midway down.

Stage 17: Col de Peyresourde / Peyragudes

At 65 kilometres, this is the shortest stage in the Tour for the last 30 years, so the Peyragudes at the front end will play a significant role.

Coming from the east, the climb features two parts: first the Col de Peyresourde and a small descent before going to 1645 metres for the Montée de Peyragudes.

Romain Bardet wins on Peyragudes in the 2017 Tour de France (Sunada)

Froome suffered here in 2017 and lost the lead to Fabio Aru for a few days. They will climb from the same direction, this time going 14.9 kilometres to a higher point than last year’s finish line. The whole run averages 6.7 per cent, a perfect launch pad for those hoping to take advantage ahead of the Col de Val Louron-Azet and Col de Portet finish.

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Gianni Moscon cleared of deliberately causing Sébastien Reichenbach to crash

The Italian was accused of intentionally causing the Swiss rider to crash at Tre Valli Varesine in 2017

The UCI disciplinary commission has dropped the case against Team Sky’s Gianni Moscon, who had been accused of pushing and causing Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ) to crash in a race last October 3.

Reichenbach said that Moscon purposely caused him to crash in the 2017 Tre Valli Varesine. The Swiss rider broke his elbow and fractured his hip in the fall. The incident came after the alleged racist remarks that Moscon made to former FDJ team-mate Kévin Reza.

It is welcome news for Moscon, who is set to help Chris Froome in the 2018 Tour de France next month.

“Team Sky welcome the decision by the UCI to dismiss the case against Gianni Moscon,” said a Team Sky spokesperson.

“It has been a lengthy process during which an independent panel heard evidence from all parties and found that there was not a case to answer.

“These were serious allegations which Gianni and the team have always strongly contested.”

The Italian faced six to 12 months of suspension given the seriousness of the allegations. The UCI’s disciplinary commission called in both parties on April 9, the day after Moscon raced Paris-Roubaix.

Moscon remained for 11 hours before the commission adjourned. With no video footage of the Tre Valli Varesine incident, the commission had to piece together details. It gathered testimony from Sky team-mate Kenny Elissonde, who raced with FDJ for years, and Nicola Graffurini della Sangemini and Marco Zamparella (Team Amore e Vita riders in 2017).

The 24-year-old Italian said at the time: “We were on a section of rough road and Reichenbach’s hands slipped from his handlebars.”

Reichenbach said that “it was deliberate, and several riders who were at the scene.”

He claimed the incident was retaliation to his Twitter post that claimed Moscon used “racist slurs” against Kévin Reza.

Team Sky suspended Moscon for five months over the Reza incident in the 2017 Tour de Romandie. He also attended a diversity awareness course.

Moscon had support from the team in the recent case with Reichenbach.

“We back Gianni and he has our full support. We are pleased he can now get on with racing with a line now drawn under this episode,” Team Sky said.

“He is a very talented young bike rider who will have much to contribute to the Team over the coming months and years.”

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