Former Manchester United hardman Roy Keane is loving life on two wheels, according to Ned Boulting. The ITV commentator currently working on the Tour de France told his Never Strays Far podcast that he bumped into Keane at ITV studios recently and had a chat about cycling.
Roy was apparently quick to say he sympathised with cyclists having to deal with dangerous motorists. “Roy said ‘you know this whole thing, supposed war between cyclists and motorists? It's all the motorists," Boulting recalled. "He said ‘you might get one or two idiots on a bike but until I’d experienced what it was like to get a close pass from a white van and the way people disrespect cyclists.' He was really emphatic."
Who'd have thought it? Keane recently shared a snap of him ready for a ride on Instagram with the caption: "I’ll wear the helmet but if you see me wearing Lycra, run me over."
However, if you're hoping to go for a spin with the notorious midfield general you'll have to be a decent mechanic. Well, know how to change a tube that is...
"He’s got a great story about getting a bike and he’s even more mechanically inept than I am," Boulting continued. "The one skill I have, inflating a tyre... he can’t even do that – and he’s never tried. The first time he got a puncture on his road bike, not only did he not repair it himself, he threw the bike away and got another one!"
"Oooh Tour de France friends" 👍
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) July 5, 2021
Wiggo's big comeback is almost here. No yellow jersey attempt, but he'll be back out on the road on a motorbike with another angle to the coverage tomorrow.
Sorry, Ben. I know we said you won Strava this morning but you've lost your crown. Fiona Kolbinger is back doing quite ridiculous things on her bike. This time riding 778km in 27 hours from Dresden in Germany to Trentino in Italy, passing through the Czech Republic, back into Germany, through Austria and into the Italian mountains. Epic.
Riding to what we think was third place at the ElbSpitze ultra-endurance race, she averaged 28.6km/h and racked up 10,095m of elevation on the way, including setting the eighth fastest women's time up the HC Don Lavazé which averages 7.6 per cent for nearly 12km after more than 30 hours out on the road.
It is not the first time the 2019 Transcontinental champ has had us questioning our life choices. A few weeks back she stunned Strava followers with a 428km ride at 30.5km/h. Good luck getting near her when the Transcon race returns in 2022...
Chris Froome took to his YouTube channel to talk about modern racing and how much more dangerous it has become. Froome was taken down in the second major pile-up of the Grand Depart in Brittany and looked as though he may have to abandon.
After stage three, Froome described the action as "another mental day of racing." He told the camera: "Something's got to change because racing is just getting more and more dangerous. It's unfortunate that it's the way the sport is. There's obviously so much pressure on all the teams and everyone thinks they can get into the yellow jersey, everyone wants to win a stage, all the GC riders want to be up front. It's a recipe for disaster.
"The teams and riders. We're not innocent either. Everyone's pushing to be at the front and all that tension builds up and crashes happen."
Hopefully we'll see more of Froome at the right end of the race as the stages go by, but anyone got any rest day thoughts on how we can make the sport safer? Are crashes and injuries just an unhappy inevitability of bike racing or can something be done to help the riders?
— Thomas De Gendt (@DeGendtThomas) July 4, 2021
Lotto-Soudal breakaway extraordinaire Thomas De Gendt opened up to Sporza about just how much higher the level is at this year's Tour de France. The Belgian is normally on our TV screens off the front of the race putting the hurt on everybody else but has this year found himself struggling off the back. Despite this the 34-year-old insists his performance levels have not dropped, in fact he's as good as he's ever been according to the power data...
"Yesterday I did one of my best 10 minute values ever from the start," De Gendt explained. "Those values have been recorded since 2013. Normally I drive things to pieces with those values, now I was 100 meters behind a group of 70 riders. And I would have started from the front row. If you don't keep up with the peloton, the general level is just much higher.
"I have to hope for a super day. I can only try. This year I already had one super day and then I won the stage in the Tour of Catalonia. So it is possible, but everything has to go well."
Just as we put Wiggo saying he wants to see Ineos stage wins at the top of the blog we've come across this behind the scenes video from Ineos Grenadiers about the team's far from ideal start to the race, including footage of the aftermath of G's crash on stage three.
— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) July 4, 2021
In the latest episode of his podcast on Eurosport, Sir Bradley Wiggins says he believes the Tour de France is far from over for Geraint Thomas and that a stage win should be his priority in the second and third weeks of the race. "I don’t remember a Tour like it for a long time," Wiggo said. "It’s been brutal. To think it’s only one week we’ve done. We’ve got two weeks left of the race and the field is decimated. It’s absolutely decimated.
"I don’t think this race is over for G yet. It is for GC definitely, it would be nice to see Ineos spread their numbers a bit and let G go up the road. He is capable of doing something like Ben O’Connor did and that is something you’re not used to seeing from a Team Sky or Ineos point of view. It would be lovely to see that."
Despite losing big time on GC, Thomas was back at the head of the peloton yesterday helping his teammate Richard Carapaz who sits in fifth place, five minutes behind Tadej Pogačar. At the back of the race, Mark Cavendish made the time cut, something his former teammate and track partner was delighted to see.
"I saw him getting dropped on the first climb, and he had three or four team-mates around him," Wiggins continued. "It shows the difference that a team makes to you, committed to a cause and committed to Mark as well and it shows he was lacking on the team front a couple of years ago, and he's back in his rightful place."
Cav may be eyeing a third stage win of the race on the lumpy run to Valence tomorrow on stage 10.
— tom owen (@tomowencc) July 5, 2021
Tom Owen is back with another masterclass. Having previously brought us the madness of Nicolas Cage as bottle cages, he has now put his mind to Beyoncé as Tour de France caravan vehicles...and it's as weird as you'd expect.
— tom owen (@tomowencc) July 5, 2021
— Chris Sidwells (@ChrisSidwells) July 5, 2021
No time for rest days on the Alt Tour but Lachlan Morton found a moment to pay tribute to British cycling legend Tom Simpson at the memorial on the upper slopes of Mont Ventoux. The EF Education-Nippo rider is now onto stage 12 of the Tour having summited the famous climb twice and is almost halfway to Paris. He is currently heading to Nimes before beginning the long road south west towards the Pyrenees.
Lachlan endured more rain and punctures on his journey to the #MaRégionSud and arrived at the foot of the Mont Ventoux in the late afternoon, giving him enough time for one ascent of the mythical climb. #sudavelo #villedemarseille #vaucluse
— EF Pro Cycling (@EFprocycling) July 5, 2021
Ever wondered what it takes to win an epic mountain stage of the Tour de France? Maybe you've been watching the serene mountain scenery on TV and thought you could hold the wheel in the breakaway. How hard can it be?
The Aussie riding for home team AG2R Citroën snuck away early in the stage with a big group of riders, picking them off one by one over the 147km route with 4,441m of elevation. O'Connor's average speed stayed a touch under 32km/h, even with one HC mountain and two first cat climbs and he maxed out at 92km/h on the descent of the Cormet de Roselend.
Where his numbers become even more impressive is when we look at the power data. Unlike Tadej Pogačar, who selfishly keeps his power hidden on Strava, O'Connor uploaded his ride in full. His normalised power for the four hour plus stage was 350w, which at his Strava weight of 67kg is 5.2w/kg and is nothing short of staggering. Next time you're giving it beans up your local hill ask yourself if you could sustain it for another four hours?
When we take a look at the climbs things get even more silly. O'Connor summited the hors catégorie Col du Pré in 39:08 at 18.8km/h pushing 366w average. On the Cormet Roselend he held 367w for 21:18 before getting a touch of recovery on the freezing descent. He then covered 23.5km in the final hour as he slogged up to the finish at Tignes, 2000m above sea level at an average power of 343w...
And that doesn't include the efforts he made to make the break in the first place...
Dan joined road.cc as live blog editor last year. He has previously written about various sports including football and boxing for the Daily Express and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been enjoying life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends exploring the south of England.