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Cycling: Dutch fans make for awesome spectacle on Alpe d'Huez

In the world of cycling, there is no other venue quite like L'Alpe d'Huez during the Tour de France. Hundreds of thousands of fans from all over the world descend on this mecca of cycling whenever the Tour comes to the mountain, which is famous for its 21 hairpin bends on the road up towards the summit. And Thursday's 18th stage of the 100th Tour included two separate climbs of the legendary peak, further increasing the excitement among fans.

Cycling: Alpe d'Huez double in store on Tour's Queen stage

With two climbs of the mighty Alpe d'Huez in store, Thursday's 18th stage of the Tour de France has all the makings of an epic, as long as the weather is not too unkind. The 172.5-kilometre ride from Gap north to the finish 1,850 metres up is the Queen stage of this year's Tour, with three category-two climbs lying in wait as well as the double ascent of what is one of the most famous mountains in the history of the race.

Cycling: Gesink can't wait for Alpe d'Huez goosebumps

Dutch climbing specialist Roberto Gesink can't wait for the Tour de France 18th stage -- and the free pushes he expects to get from drunken Dutch fans on the 13.8 km trek to the finish line. The first of three stages in the French Alps, Thursday's ride begins in Gap and features a total of six climbs, including two ascensions of the Alpe d'Huez. For the Dutch fans, that means double the fun, or double the pain depending on how their riders are faring on the 21 hairpin bends which are traditionally lined with hundreds of thousands of fans.

Cycling: Martin plays down time-trial chances

He may boast a remarkable record in the discipline, but Germany's Tony Martin dismisses any notion that he should be considered as the favourite to win Wednesday's individual time-trial between Embrun and Chorges in the Alps. The 17th stage of this year's Tour de France will be the second and final individual time-trial of the race, and Martin comes into it as the man to beat after his stunning victory in last week's stage between Avranches and Mont-Saint-Michel.

Cycling: Tour de France briefs

Tour de France briefs before the end of the 16th stage from Vaison-la-Romaine and Gap on Tuesday: I'm too sexy for my bike

Sky would give WADA data to prove team are clean

By Julien Pretot ORANGE, France (Reuters) - Facing yet another barrage of doping questions after Chris Froome's awe-inspiring victory up Mont Ventoux in the Tour de France, Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford said he was ready to give the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) all their team training data. This year's race has been under extra scrutiny as it is the first Tour being staged since Lance Armstrong admitted that he had cheated his way to seven Tour titles from 1999 to 2005.

Cycling: No reason to doubt Froome, says Contador

If Chris Froome is fed up of having his credibility questioned again following his stunning win on Mont Ventoux, he can take some comfort from the words of his biggest rival on Monday. Alberto Contador saw his Tour de France chances suffer another crushing blow when he ceded 1min 40sec to Froome on Sunday's 15th stage to fall 4min 25sec behind the British rider in the overall standings. Froome's stunning performances have been greeted with scepticism by some members of the public and media as memories of the Lance Armstrong scandal remain fresh in the minds of everyone.

Cycling: I'm no cheat like Armstrong, says Froome

Tour de France leader Chris Froome on Monday hit out at critics who believe he could be following in the footsteps of shamed drugs cheat Lance Armstrong after his stunning win on Mont Ventoux. "To compare me with Lance... Lance cheated, I'm not cheating. End of story," the British rider said on the race's second and final rest day Monday. Froome reinforced his grip on the race leader's yellow jersey, with an impressive win on the fabled climb on Sunday to claim his second mountaintop stage victory of this year's 100th edition.

Rivals gain time on Tour de France leader Froome

Saint-Amand-Montrond, France, Jul 12 (EFE).- Briton Mark Cavendish won Friday's 13th stage of the Tour de France, while compatriot Chris Froome saw his lead in the 21-day-long race reduced by 1 minute, 9 seconds. It was Cavendish's second stage win in the 2013 Tour and his 25th overall, moving the sprinter up to third on the all-time list, trailing only Bernard Hinault, with 28 stage wins, and the legendary Eddy Merckx, with 34.

Cycling: Germany's Kittel chasing more glory on flat

The sprinters are set to take centre stage for the second day in a row in the Tour de France on Friday, with the 13th stage another largely flat ride. The 173-kilometre stage from Tours on the banks of the Loire River to Saint-Amand-Montrond in central France takes a more undulating route than Wednesday's stage 12 but it will nevertheless be a final chance for the sprinters to impress before the race heads into the Alps.
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