The latest edition of the world’s best cycling magazine is now out in the UK, featuring photography to which the word “stunning” does not do justice, and in-depth reportage, analysis, insight and interviews.
Our cover star is Bradley Wiggins, who has gone into the Tour de France as the outright favourite. It’s almost as if Wiggins has gone through 2012 with a strong tailwind – very little has gone wrong for him, and much has gone right, including dominant wins at Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandy and Critérium du Dauphiné. We’ve looked at his final build-up to the Tour in the Dauphiné, and compared it to the relative lack of spark and Tour favourites in the concurrent race, the Tour of Switzerland. It’s too early to talk of him winning the Tour – the race has only just begun, but it shows how far British cycling has come in the last decade that in some years in the early 2000s, there were no British riders at the Tour. Now Wiggins has gone into the race as the outright favourite.
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ALSO IN THE MAGAZINE
It looks like cycling and Lance Armstrong are currently going through the equivalent of a rather messy divorce at the moment. The United States Anti-Doping Agency has opened proceedings against the Texan, accusing him and five others of violations of the UCI’s anti-doping code. If found guilty, Armstrong faces being stripped of all seven of his Tour victories.
In a major look at Armstrong’s career and achievements, in the context of the USADA case, Edward Pickering writes: “A few days after interviewing Lance Armstrong in Austin, Texas, for this magazine on the occasion of his comeback, in late 2008, I got The Call.
“It’s not unusual for me to contact interviewees after we’ve spoken. It’s sometimes necessary to follow up and check a couple of facts, or explore a line of inquiry that we didn’t have time for.
“This one was different.
“‘Hey Ed, it’s Lance Armstrong,’ said the voice at the other end.”
To read the rest of the feature, buy Cycle Sport August. It’s now 13 years since the first accusations of doping against Armstrong, but this time, it feels like resolution may finally happen.
The 2012 Giro d’Italia was one of the all-time classic Grand Tours – a subtle, slow-burning event with a twist in the tail. The race swung back and forth between the two main protagonists, Garmin’s Ryder Hesjedal and Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez – as a measure of how unpredictable and exciting the race was, one of these riders gained time on the other 10 times during the course of 21 stages. We’ve spoken in depth with winner Hesjedal, as well as the key Garmin management members and support staff involved in the race – Jonathan Vaughters, Charly Wegelius, Allan Peiper and Robby Ketchell – and built a detailed, insightful and unique feature about how the 2012 Giro was won. Vaughters told Edward Pickering, “I’ve got more info than you guys on Ryder’s physiology. And the thing that’s interesting about him is that as he gets fatigued, his power levels don’t drop off. So if you can find a race that’s going to be decided in the third week, he’ll be good at it. When we saw the Giro, we said, wow, the Stelvio with two days to go, and a time trial… it’s loaded in the back end. In a week-long race, Ryder can get top 10, but he’s not great at those because he’s a diesel. Basically, he won the Giro because he outdieseled everybody. He wasn’t spectacular anywhere, but he never faltered, while everybody else was getting fatigued.”
To continue the Giro theme, we’re also proud to be running pictures of the race by Jered Gruber. Cycling is the most beautiful sport in the world, and the Giro is arguably the most beautiful race, and Gruber’s pictures capture this perfectly, whether of a stunning mountain vista, a moment of interaction between a rider and a fan, or a cyclist sweeping down a curving road.
It’s the edition of Our man in the bunch that everybody has been waiting for: it’s all about money. Our anonymous peloton insider, a professional rider, explains how much cyclists earn, where they can pick up extra money through sponsorships, how teams’ bonuses are structured and how some teams allegedly get around the minimum wage requirements.
As cycling coaching and racing becomes more and more scientific, it’s refreshing to speak with a rider like Oscar Freire, whose organic, and even chaotic approach to the sport hasn’t prevented him from building one of the most impressive palmarès in the peloton. Andy McGrath interviewed Freire, who shared a revealing anecdote about losing his passport, getting another one, and losing the second one en route to the airport. He doesn’t seem to have trouble finding his way to the front of the peloton, however.
The 1986 Tour was one of the most fascinating editions in the race’s illustrious history. Everyone knows the story of how team-mates Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond went at each others’ throats through the race. But there was a third major protagonist in the 1986 Tour: Urs Zimmerman, who shared the podium with winner LeMond and Hinault. Richard Moore, author of Slaying the Badger, which tells the story of the race, went to Switzerland to interview Zimmerman to get his perspective on the race, and recount his own complicated journey through cycling. The Swiss rider cut an unusual figure in the peloton, both for his independence and his intelligence, and he suffered from depression when his career was over. At the end of their encounter, Moore writes, “I found myself wishing him well.”
The Olympic Games are fast approaching, and we’re celebrating by having a look at the history of the Olympic road race. Ellis Bacon has delved through the archives to the amateur era, when Eastern Europeans dominated, then the North American breakthrough at Los Angeles, and finally the modern, professional era. The Olympic road race is one of the most unusual in the race calendar – it only happens once every four years, and each race seems to throw up a different surprise.
We’ve also previewed the London Olympic road race route. But instead of just blathering on about gradients and saying it’s going to be tough for Mark Cavendish to get over Box Hill nine times, like everybody else, we’ve gone for a day trip on the route, in a black cab, with two very special guests. In the course of our day, we were asked to move along by the police a number of times, doorstepped the lovely people at the Tour of Britain and got an earful about cyclists from Tony, the cabbie who picked us up. This is the kind of insight you don’t get from lesser cycling magazines.
Bjarne Riis is one of the most controversial individuals in cycling. He won the 1996 Tour at a canter, then later confessed to having doped to do it. The Dane’s autobiography has recently been translated into English – it’s an uncomfortably frank and revealing read, yet still raises questions about whether Riis has been totally honest about some aspects of his career. Richard Moore interviewed Riis and found him in typically enigmatic form.
This month sees the very last in our long-running series of Iconic Places, with a look at the tough Pyrenean climb of Hautacam. The Tour stage winners on this bleak mountain to the south of Lourdes have been, with the exception of Javier Ochoa in 2000, controversial figures: Bjarne Riis, Luc Leblanc and Leonardo Piepoli. But this is a classic climb, showing all the characteristics that make the Pyrenees so hard to manage for riders.
Plus…All our regular features – Graham Watson shares his best pictures of the Dauphiné and Tour of Switzerland; Broomwagon wonders aloud just where Lance Armstrong stands on Floyd Landis (probably his foot); Shop Window makes us all wish we earned enough to buy the latest bling cycling gear; Geraint Thomas predicts a strong Tour showing from Team Sky and Bradley Wiggins; Cipollini sounds off; top 10 Tour disqualifications; insightful writing, excellent photography and much, much more.
That’s 10 major features, along with many extras, for the provocatively reasonable price of £4.35.
Cycle Sport August, featuring the very best writing and photography of professional cycling is available now in the UK, and will be on sale in the USA shortly. It is also available electronically through Zinio.