Lost Races: Basque Country

We’re all familiar with the ‘Orange tide’ which lines the upper slopes of the Tours of France and Spain each year. These Basque fans hail largely from the lush emerald green regions of northern Spain and south-western France (coloured yellow on the map) where the mild climate and roads empty of traffic make it ideal for riding all year round. And cycling is a way of life here. Known as Euskadi in Basque and Pais Vasco in Spanish, this region is home to some 1,500 cycling clubs and thousands of cyclists. Both Spanish WorldTour teams are based in the region: Euskaltel-Euskadi in Bilbao and Movistar in Navarra (green on map: Nafarroa). Continue reading

Friday Feature: Six questions about Fabian Cancellara’s absence

Image courtesy of RadioShack-Nissan

It is the ultimate compliment to a rider that his presence or absence from a race fundamentally changes its shape, affecting the tactics of all his main rivals to the point where they ride more to negate than they do to win. Arguably there are maybe only four or five riders among the current generation who command this ultimate level of fear and respect: Alberto Contador on the big climbs of the Grand Tours, Mark Cavendish in the sprints, the 2011 model Philippe Gilbert on punchy finishes such as the Ardennes Classics. And in the hard-man races which demand a combination of both physical and indomitable will-power: Fabian Cancellara. Continue reading