Tour de of Britain, Stage 5. Clacton Time Trial.

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The term MOD comes from the French for ‘modified bicycle’. The above ‘modified bicycle’ is ridden by the writer Richard Moore.

Today’s stage was held in the beautiful town of Clact-on-Sea. The peaceful atmosphere of this typical British seaside town ensures that plenty of day trippers visit the area for a stroll along the pier or perhaps to sit on the beach licking an iced cream and wonder what time the amusement arcade closes. This is a far cry from the Clact-on-Sea of over 50 years ago though. On the Easter weekend of 1964 teams of Mods and Rockers descended on the town to engage in some fisty-cuffs and drove the Daily Mail readers of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain into a worried frenzy about the moral fibre of the country’s youth. Luckily their fears were misplaced and we now they have some great institutions such as UKIP and British Cycling holding the country together. The Clact-on-Sea riots weren’t the only flash points involving the Mods and Rockers. There were further skirmishes in Brighton in May 1964 and La Toussuire in July 2012. The spouses of that final battle in 2012 have kept the traditional hostilities alive on Twitter.

Mr Mod Bradley Wiggins-Sir and Rocking, Rolling Mr Chris Froomes are both great time trialists and I asked Mr Bradley for some advice for today’s individual team time trial. He told me on the phone from his castle, “Listen ere Giles, that Chris Froomes aint a good time trialist. Do you know ow many Olympic gold medals e as for it? None! That’s ow many”. It’s good to hear Mr Wiggins-Sir back to his cheerful self. He has lost a bit of his spark recently, perhaps due to a downturn in his popularity. I wonder if he yearns for the life he had during the 2012 Tour de of Britain when the Sun fakenewspaper printed a cut out Bradley Wiggins-Sir TUE certificate.

Lars Anthonius Johannes Sonic Boom won the stage and now holds the Oxo Tour de of Britain leaders Green Malliot Jaune Jersey.

 

Tour de of Britain. Stage 1, Edinburgh to Kelso.

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The wiggins MOBILE will be missing from this years race.

It’s jolly good to be back at the Tour de of Britain after two years. I had a smashing time riding for, and alongside, Bradley Wiggins-Sir in the 2015 race and after taking some time out of the sport to do some research for a book I will be bringing out with someone going by the name of Bikegob Glasgow I thought it was time to get back to racing and get back to the Tour.

But crikey! I nearly never got here at all! The chaps I ride for, TEAM wiggins, have been in a competition this year between six British teams to qualify for the tournament, with only four going through (Team Skye had already gained a spot as top seeds). Me and the rest of the TEAM wiggins riders found the going tough in the qualifying races. We had lost some of our best riders, including Mr Wiggins-Sir at the end of last season and I thought at times that perhaps we weren’t able to handle the pressure. And blimey there was a lot of pressure! Entry to the Tour de of Britain was the top objective of the year for the team. If I won the final qualifying race we would have got there but I didn’t. I felt I let the team down, I was in great shape, the other riders rode well, the support staff looked after me well, they even kept asking me if I was absolutely sure that I didn’t have hay fever. But forget about them, I have made it to the race after being selected to ride for the United Kingdoms of Great Britain team.

The whole thing kicked off today in Edinburgh which is the second largest city in Scotland behind the countries capital Glasgow. And crikey! the starting point was outside my namesake, St Giles Cathedral! Seriously though, we went along the royal mile, Scottish for royal kilometer, out of Edinburgh and down towards the boarders and eventually ended up in Kelso beside another religious erection, Kelso Abbey. There were three KOM climbs along the route including the feared Dingleton known as ‘The Severe Judge Of The Boarders’. The last time the race had a stage finish in the town two years ago we ended up outside Floors Castle who now co-sponsor the Quick-Step team.

One of the best things about riding in the Tour de of Britain is getting to meet some of the worlds top riders. I was able to chat to the Polish rider who’s name is Michał Kwiatkowski. The super-domestique has recently helped Team Skye to successfully defend the Tour de France so I was expecting to find him in fine fettle but his mood was rather morose. During our chin-wag he explained to me that while he has had a great summer his mind is occupied with the coming spring where his team will force him to win some of the most prestigious one day races in the world.

Caleb Ewan of Austria won the stage and leads the Oxo Tour de of Britain. 

 

Tour de of Britain Announcement

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I am delighted to announce that the well known cyclist and historian, Giles Ripwell, will be writing for the website and telling tales from within the peloton during the upcoming Tour de of Britain. The ‘Gentleman On Two Wheels’ shared his insights here during the race in 2015 but has since been out of the sport to research a book with Bike Gob Glasgow about cycling in the United Kingdoms of Great Britain.

Mr Ripwell feels fortunate to be riding in the competition. He had hoped to be competing for TEAM wiggins but Bradley Wiggins-Sir’s squad failed to qualify for the event. However at the last minute, and after switching his allegiances from Austria, he was selected for the United Kingdoms of Great Britain team and he hopes to repay the countries faith in him by not finishing last.

You can read past articles from Mr Giles Ripwell here:

2015 Tour de of Britain Stage 1

2015 Tour de of Britain Stage 2

2015 Tour de of Britain Stage 3

2015 Tour de of Britain Stage 4

2015 Tour de of Britain Stage 5

2015 Tour de of Britain Stage 6

2015 Tour de of Britain Stage 7

2015 Tour de of Britain Stage 8

Ripwell Reports: What’s in the jiffy bag?

Ripwell Reports: The menace of the roads, and the pavements.

Giles Ripwell v Bradley Wiggins-Sir in the Olympic Pursuits.

 

Ripwell Reports. What’s In The Jiffy Bag?

It has been almost three months since the Fancy Bears international hack team leaked the medical documents which showed Bradley Wiggins had received three highly questionable medical treatments during his days as a Grand Tour contender. It has been two months since the revelation of a potentially sinister package being transported across Europe by Team Sky employees. It seemed for a while that Wiggins and Sky’s worlds could come crashing down. The one man who could have helped the situation, David Brailsford, has remained fairly quiet, possibly wanting the whole thing to blow over. After a period of relative respite that tactic may have been working but things will start hotting up again as on Monday the 19th of December Brailsford will need to appear in front of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in Parliament.

With the story being quite a mess and so many unanswered questions I sent my undercover reporter, the well known historian and cyclist, Giles Ripwell on the case to summarise what has been going on and try to answer the what everyone wants to know.

Ripwell Reports. What’s In The Jiffy Bag?

It has been over a year since I last rubbed shoulders with the fellow going by the name of Mr Bradley Wiggins-Sir. I was riding for his side TEAM wiggins in the Tour de of Britain and remember having jolly good chats with him during the stages. Since then I hadn’t heard much from him. Apparently the British weather had finally got to much for him in his old age and he would only cycle on the indoors roads doing Olympic Pursuits. I thought he had forgotten his old pal Giles until he called me in July. He was very emotional and explained to me through sobs that the dastardly Mr Chris Froomes had won another yellow jersey. A couple of months later I heard from him again but this time he was in much better spirits. Jingos! He had won another Olympic gold medal and told me it was now Wiggo-Sir 5 FroomesDog 0. Since then, as you might have heard, he has been involved in a touch of controversy and I was sent on the case to find out was has been happening. I tried contacting him to see if he could give me any information but I was told that he’s only talking to his new best friend, some fellow going by the name of Mr Andrew Marr. So with Mr Wiggins-Sir gone quiet I had to figure out what has been happening myself.

The whole situation started in September when some Russian computer buffs started a fancy new website where you can go and look at medical files of athletes that have been in the Olympics. It caused quite a stir to begin with until everyone realised that most of the athletes medical information was stuff we already knew or contained information on drugs and medical practices which everyone has agreed for a while should be more tightly monitored. Unfortunately for Mr Bradley Wiggins-Sir his information was among that of a small group of people who’s information raised some alarm bells. Three of Wiggins-Sir’s courses of drugs looked highly suspicious and one of those was just before the Tour de France which he won against Mr Chris Froomes. I have complete faith in my good friend though and firmly believe that those drugs were taken for genuine medical reasons and not to enhance his performance. There would be no need for him to dishonestly take any drugs to win the race as I’ve been told of an unsavoury character calling himself Mr Sean Yaytes who would have brought harm to anyone trying to beat Mr Wiggins-Sir, including his team mate the scoundrel Mr Froomes.

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Tour de Past, Stage 7. 2011, Britain Not Ready For A Tour Win Yet. 

 

Team Sky came into the 2011 Tour with a lot of hope and expectation. A difficult race the previous year, where their top GC rider Bradley Wiggins only finished 24th, was put down, in part, to the fact that it was the teams debut year and mistakes were bound to be made. Now though they thought they were ready to mount a serious challenge at the Tour de France. Bradley Wiggins had been going well so far in the season and won in the recent Criterium du Dauphine, beating rival Cadel Evans, and followed that up with a win in the National Championships. Sky fanboys all over the UK were being driven into a state of frenzy. They knew when the team launched they stated that their main aim was to “create the first British winner of the Tour de France within 5 years” but they could achieve it in 2!

Team Sky and their fans confidence had taken a further boost the previous day after Edvald Boasson Hagen had won their first ever Tour de France stage. Geraint Thomas was in the white jersey as best young rider and they occupied 6th, 7th and 8th in the overall. However all these positive points weren’t hiding a couple of truths. Out on the road the Sky riders still had a lot to learn about riding as a team and the tactics given to them by the DS’s were very limited.

In the nervous first week of Grand Tours there are plenty of sudden crashes in the peloton. The top riders will therefore stay at the front of the pack as this reduces the chance of being involved in a situation, there won’t be a mass of riders suddenly falling down infront of you at high speed. To further help them stay out of trouble he’ll have a couple of riders around him for protection. However during the first week you would often see Sky’s GC man Bradley Wiggins, easy to spot in his British Champions jersey, in the middle of the bunch with no teammates around him. The more this happened the more Sky were tempting fate.

With 40km of the stage from Le Mans to Chateauroux left it happened. There was a smaller crash almost 10km before as a warning but this one was massive. Dozens of riders were involved. Amazingly after most of the riders had untangled their bikes and started riding again there were only three left seriously injured. Remi Pauriol was sitting down cradling his arm, Chris Horner was in a ditch somewhere and Bradley Wiggins was wondering around in a daze. The doctor arrived fairly quickly though it was clear what was the problem as Wiggins like Pauriol was now holding his arm in the classic “I’ve broken my collarbone” fashion. The dream was over for Wiggins. He had paid the price for being in the wrong place at the wrong time but what was most disappointing was that he should have been in the wrong place.

Not being able to keep their main rider out of trouble wasn’t thethe end of Sky’s tactical woes though. As Wiggins was being assessed by the doctor three of his team mates (Edvald Boasson Hagen, Xavier Zandio and Juan Antonio Flecha) were waiting for him. Fine, this is standard practice. If Wiggins was good to continue they could try and pace him back up to the peloton, though the longer they waited the harder it would be, and it wouldn’t matter if they lost time as they weren’t GC riders. At least the white jersey leader Thomas whos time was precious wasn’t one of them? Well no but he was waiting further up the road along with Rigoberto Uran the exciting young Columbian. Why had Sky sacrificed their whole team to protect Wiggins now it was too late. Was it necessary? All of the eight remaining Sky riders rolled in 3 minutes 6 seconds behind the leaders. Their leader had crashed out and due to some strange tactics Uran’s GC and young riders chances were over along with Thomas’ in the young rider competition. At the start of the day they had three riders in the top 10 and now their best placed man was 38th. Sky didn’t just put all their  eggs in one basket they dropped the basket too.

Giles Ripwell from the final stage.

Stage 8. London to London.

My recap of the final stage of the Tour de of Britain comes a day late. TEAM wiggins had cause to celebrate after the end as our rider, a certain Mr Owen Doull finished third overall and ended up on, what they call in cycling competitions, ‘The Podium’. And by by jingos! Mr Wiggins-Sir can party! He introduced me to a concoction called a ‘Yager Bomber’ and after 2 of them I was quite worse for wear!
The route went round and round and round London taking in many of the tourist structures of the town. As well as piccadilly circus, now closed after revelations of cruelty to some of its performing animals, we went passed Whitehall, The Strand and The Trafalgar Square. The Trafalgar Square commemorates a decisive battle in the Boer War won by the British army lead by a sea-faring fellow called Mr Horatio Nelsan. A nearby statue, called Nelsans column, was built to honour him and it is one of the biggest erections in London.
Mr Bradley Wiggins-Sir told me that he won an Olympic gold medal in London and made sure I was aware that Mr Chris Froom had never won a medal of any description.
Eli Viviani won the stage after my good friend Andrew Greipel was disqualified and Eddie Bosan-Haggen won the competition overall.

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Tour de of Britain. Stage 6.

Stage 6. Stoke-on-Trent to Nottingham.

Today we started in Stoke-on-Trent which was built on the burial site of the first King of the Britons, a gentleman called Trent. We went through the Peak District so went over many climbs. The Peak District is often called ‘The heart of Britain’. Mr Bradley Wiggins-Sir told me that his heart is always in Britain and his blood runs red, white and blue unlike Chris Frooms. He told me Mr Froom comes from an African area called Kenya. When I asked him which part this splendid country he comes from he just stroked his beard and looked longingly into the distance.
Nottingham has seen three stage finishes, the last in 1964 was won by one Mr Robin Hood of Team Raleigh before failing a doping test.
Marty Trentin won today and Eddie Bosan-Haggen retained the lead.

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Giles Ripwell from the Tour de of Britain.

Stage 5. Prudhoe to Hartside Fell.

Today’s stage was the toughest so far as it had a summit finish atop Hartside Fell in Cumbria. The inclusion of this difficult finish and the absence of a time trial may scupper Mr Wiggins-Sir’s chances of winning the competition this year. He seems sure that Mr Froom and a fellow going by the name of Mr Davey Brailsford-Sir are behind these aspects of the route. Before we got to the finish we passed the site of the Ullswater Steamers, a prehistoric tribe who’s diet consists purely if alcohol. After this we passed through Penrith. Originally located in Wales, Penrith was moved to the Lake District in the 60’s so its townsfolk would be closer to the Keswick pencil museum, the best museum of its type in Britain.
Walter Poels won on the final climb. Eddie Bosan-Haggen was second and took over the race lead. But crikey! What a wizard ride from my teammate Owen Doull who stays 5th overall.

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Tour of Britain stage 4 report

Stage 4. Edinburgh to Blyth.

Today saw us start in Edinburgh, the location of the final of the recent Tour de of the Scotland won by the magnificent Raymondo Barr. The start up the royal mile had to be neutralised as cycling is done in kilometres and nobody would have known how far we would have gone. Then …. blimey! What a corker of a structure! Edinburgh Castle! Carved out of a volcano 5000 yesrs ago but still looking spectacular. I asked Mr Bradley Wiggins-Sir if he had ever been in a castle and he said no. Later on in the day he rode up to me and said “Listen here Giles Ripwell. I may not have been in a castle but I’ve been to the London structure Buckingham Palace to see the Queen. I got a knighthood from the old lady. Chris Froom doesn’t have a knighthood, not one not two, none!”.
The route went through Midlothian and the Scottish Borders and we ambled through Amble. Seriously though, it was a tough day and the longest of the race competition. It was an emotional day for myself and fellow Scots Andrew Fen and Tao Gagenhart as we don’t get to see our homeland much but we were happy to see the finish line in Blyth, North East England, the area most famous for being the birthplace of Jimy Nail.
Ferdinand Gaviria won todays stage and Lobato stays in the race lead.

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