It's time for summer at Cycling Plus…

Tour de France bikes tested, and a TdF rider tests us

It’s Tour de France time again and while we can only dream of having the legs of the peloton, there’s nothing stopping us having its bikes. So this month we test out 10 of the brands in this year’s race – including Specialized, Trek, Pinarello and Cannondale – and pick a winner. Other bikes tested this issue include the Orro Terra Gravel Road, the Niner RLT 9 and the Giant Defy 1, while there are two mammoth gear tests of sunglasses and saddles.

In features, we put ourselves up against the physiological specimen that is Chris Froome. The two-time Tour de France champion headed to the lab last summer in a bid to prove those sceptical about his performances wrong. A whole bunch of his physiological data came out of the process, allowing everyone to see how they measure up to the best. We couldn’t resist and headed to St. Mary’s University to undergo the same tests. Charitably, you could say the results are mixed.

One of the things that makes Froome special is his huge heart and no matter what level you ride at, treating it well is crucial to happy cycling and living. GP and cyclist Andy Ward talks us through the threats of heart disease, the precautions to take and how cycling boosts your health.

Mont Ventoux is one of the biggest tests awaiting the riders at the Tour this year but you don’t need to go up it to feel its wrath. We headed to the Bald Mountain's shadow for a sun-baked ride.

This month saw the latest edition of Eroica Brittania, the vintage bike event in the Peak District. But the phenomenon began in Tuscany in the 1990s with L’Eroica, the original event that now attracts riders in their thousands. Last October we tried it out and this month we tell you all about it. Despite the festival feel, it’s always a brutal day in the saddle, no less so than the Majorca 312, a full loop around the island. Two Team Cycling Plus members tackled it this year and give their verdicts.

Elsewhere, we contemplate acclaimed cycling novel The Rider as it gets a re-release, look at the same pair of Sidis that Froome is wearing this July, focus on the incredible Mather Cycles Beast bike, chat with former NBA basketball player and cyclist John Amaechi, hear the story of a man who lost more weight than a whole Tour de France climbing specialist weighs and see Ned Boulting pick apart climbs.

A couple of freebies come with this month's issue, too: a raspberry and kiwi recovery shake from Etixx (tip: add milk, not water) and a stages wall chart for this year's Tour.

Cycling Plus magazine is out now in all good newsagents and supermarkets, on Apple Newsstand, Google Play and Zinio. You can also order from Mags Direct with free first class delivery! Even better, we've got some amazing subscription offers here!

After early cycling flirtations with the Tour de France on childhood holidays, John Whitney fell for it hook, line and sinker in his mid-20s as an escape from the more sedate sports of his youth. As a classically trained news reporter, he snagged his dream job as a cycling writer straight out of college and is now fully immersed in the industry and wouldn't have it any other way.
  • Discipline: Road

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