Dec 9th, 13. Crowd favourite German cyclist Jens Voigt will make his 11th appearance at the ... read more
Dec 8th, 13. Reta Trotman and Grayson Napier were impressive winners in the elite women’s and ... read more
Dec 5th, 13. Injured cyclist Eddie Dawkins will take his place in the team sprint combination ... read more
Coach's Tour picks: Aaron Strong
Jun 30th, 12. Auckland coach Aaron Strong from Steel Springs Performance Coaching gives his view on the Tour de France.
Strongman, as he's known in cycling circles, won the Club Nationals M2 time trial and was M2 road race runner-up back in April.
Top 3 General Classification picks?
Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Denis Menchov (in that order)
Who do you want to win the Tour?
Pierre Rolland – he's French and they need a new hero. They haven't had a winner since the great Bernard Hinault in 1985.
Rolland impressed me a lot in 2011 when he won the best young rider jersey and had an impressive win on Stage 19 up to the summit of Alpe d'Huez.
All these achievements while riding selflessly in the service of his teammate who was in Yellow for half the race, Thomas Voeckler.
He made the climbs look easy and half the time I was left wondering what he could do if he was given the all clear to leave his captain.
How will the Tour be won?
Attacking in the mountains will be the only hope if anyone wants to upset Wiggins. If my predictions come true though, then the GC will be won in the TT's.
Wiggins will dominate these (amongst GC contenders) and then a combination of his good recent climbing form and a superstar support team will mean that he will not likely lose much time anywhere that matters on the road stages.
Who will be the best sprinter (not necessarily the green jersey)?
Cavendish is still the best sprinter. I've never seen him in such good shape and he's super motivated for London. He will win stages, but I don't reckon we'll see him go all the way to Paris.
Who is your favourite rider to watch?
My favourite rider to watch would have to be Thomas Voeckler. He's fearless to the point of reckless on the descents and is one of the most tenacious riders in the peleton.
He attacks in a manner that completely ignores the text book but because of that is often seen pulling off huge wins.
He takes his chances well and often finishes them off with a result. His riding style also makes you believe he is trying really, really hard.
What do you love best about the Tour de France?
What I love about TdF? The scenery and the sheer scale of the spectacle. What a magnificent stadium to play out a really complex game where anything can and will happen.
It's such an unpredictable event where many things can go wrong and the suspense builds as the race enters its 3rd week. Even a clear favourite can be upset by some dumb luck. It's just awesome.
Right from the outset this year the Tour route throws up some chances of surprise. The first road stage already has a chance for some time gaps with a steep uphill sprint finish.
Stage 11 is the first big test in the Alpes and if the climbers want to have any hope this year they will be forced into attacking this early in the Tour. This stage could be a ripper.
With four days around the Pyrenees this is where the real suffering will begin for many. Stage 16 is the big daddy. With four famous climbs that they're calling the 'Circle of Death' this day appears to be the chance for someone with good climbing legs to go on a do or die mission and put time into Wiggo and Cuddles.
The climbs that legends are made of are: Col d'Aubisque, Col du Tourmalet, Col d'Aspin & Col de Peyresourde. Good bye Cav, Greipel etc.
Many will be disappointed that Andy Schleck isn't there but in my opinion he wouldn't have had a shot at the podium anyway. He must have known that too and I wonder how that would have affected his preparation and attitude towards the race had he made the start line.
If you would like a coach to get your training on track, find Aaron's details on RoadCycling.co.nz's Cycling Directory.
Read about other Kiwi coach picks:
Tweet Follow @roadcycling
Support RoadCycling.co.nz Advertisers