Friday Feature: The Brits are coming

Are we on the verge of a golden era of British road cycling? While Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins grab the headlines and the attention of casual fans, it is the strength in depth of British riders which is raising eyebrows among the cognoscenti. While Cavendish was winning a brace of stages at the Tour of Qatar last week, 21-year old Andrew Fenn (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) bagged a double at the Mallorca Challenge, while Endura’s Jonathan Tiernan-Locke won two stages plus the overall classification at the Tour Mediterraneen. It was an unprecedented week of success for British cycling.
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Challenge Ciclista Mallorca preview

The Spanish racing season kicks off with the 21st Iberostar Challenge Ciclista Mallorca – down this year to four rather than five single-day races – raced around the island of Mallorca, the home of many a pro-cycling training camp during the winter months.

According to the organisers, Unisport Consulting, the costs saved from the reduction in length have allowed them to broadcast the race on Spanish terrestrial television.

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Is the 2012 Vuelta a Espana route the hardest ever?

Many of the riders who rode the 2011 Vuelta a Espana said it was the hardest Grand Tour they had ever tackled. Our initial view of this year’s route, which was unveiled in Pamplona today, suggests that 2012 will be even tougher.

The highlights

The key features of the 2012 Vuelta route are:

  • This will be the 67th edition of the Vuelta.
  • Starts Saturday August 18th in Pamplona, ends Sunday September 9th in Madrid.
  • 21 stages covering 3,300km, with rest days after stages 9 & 16.
  • Ten uphill finishes, of which six are in the ‘alta montana’ high mountains (equivalent to ‘hors categorie’ at the Tour de France).
  • Two time trials: one team, one individual.

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