Congratulations to Lizzie Armitstead for Britain's first medal!

At least the sun came out for the medal ceremony!

Today's women's cycling road race was a much more exciting affair than yesterdays men's race.  The second half of the race saw appalling conditions, experienced by Triple P out on the road side, with a lot of nasty crashes.  It was so dark we thought that we wouldn't be able to get any photos but managed a few.

L to R Shelley Olds (US), Zabelinskaya (Russia), Armitstead (UK) and Vos (Netherlands) storm through Triple P's village

Olga Zabelinskaya's attack on Box Hill made the race and it was good to see her getting a bronze for her effort.  Shelley Olds, who was in the breakaway foursome, was unlucky to puncture in Esher but it took some of the pressure off the others as the American is a formidable sprinter.

This photo gives an idea of how bad the rain was.  All three sported road rash from earlier falls

Armitstead didn't put a pedal wrong tactically but beating current world number one, the formidable Marianne Vos, in a sprint was always going to be a big ask.  The Dutch team consistently attacked and made the race exciting viewing so for them to end up with the gold medal was well deserved.  A much better result than the men's race!
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Olympics come to Triple P's village...but no luck for Britain and a dismal show by the BBC

The peloton follow Triple P's route to the station

Triple P, unexpectedly enjoyed the Olympics ceremony last night and although it was a little too hip and multicultural for his taste we did think it was a striking looking production.

Today the Olympics came right past our door (well about a 100 yards from our door) with the men's road race coming through the village.  It was strange to watch it on TV going through all the places we know and then hopping out the house for ten minutes to watch it go by before racing back to catch the finish.  No doubt the local roads, which have been inundated with road cyclists since the route was announced will be even worse from now on.

Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins (left) and Mark Cavendish (right)

Unfortunately the much vaunted UK team were victims of their own success in the Tour de France with no-one helping to catch the breakaway group.  The fact is that if Mark Cavendish had only taken his early stage on the Tour then people might have thought that he had lost some top end speed and someone like the Germans might have worked a bit harder in the chasing group.  However, his two later dominant wins in the Tour showed that he was still the fastest sprinter in the world so nobody from another team was going to help towards pulling the breakaway back to enable a bunch sprint.  They would rather the UK lost than they themselves won, as Cavendish rightly suggested.  

Vinokourov (centre) whizzes along the A244

Given there were some good riders in the breakaway it was a shame it was won by convicted blood doper Vinokourov whose Astana team has always been dodgy; as, indeed, has the whole Kazakh cycling federation who let Vinokourov back after his ban tremendously early so he could compete in the Beijing Olympics.  

The biggest problem will be that Bradley Wiggins buried himself for Cavendish and only has a day to recover for the time trial.

The BBC coverage of the race was appalling and Tour de France commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin were much missed.  Thank goodness for Chris Boardman as Hugh Porter constantly misidentified riders and, indeed, countries.  He is seventy two now, only four years older than Liggett, but has completely lost his touch.  Time to find someone else BBC (hint his name begins with "L").  The lack of time separation information was also unforgivable.  The French can manage real time information regarding the gaps between groups why can't the BBC?  The BBC didn't have enough cameras out on the route either. 

Triple P has a horrible feeling that this will just be the start of a series of disasters for our top stars in the next two weeks!
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Tour de France 2012 Podium Girls: 5

If we had organised ourselves properly we would have finished our look at this year's Tour de France podium girls by finishing with the yellow jersey.  We could not have foreseen Bradley Wiggins' monumental victory back then or, perhaps, we didn't want to hex it!

So, instead, we have the climbers jersey girls who include our favourite hotesse on this years Tour in the incarnation of this exotic beauty.

So that's it for another year in what has been a remarkable Tour de France for Britain.    Olympics next!
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Jessica Ennis on Time magazine cover

It's great to see Jessica Ennis on the cover of Time magazine (at least in the European, African and Middle East editions) in a wonderful shot by London-based  photographer Levon Bliss.  He's really caught the magnificence of her physique whilst still capturing her appealing femininity.  Great job!

Here is his picture of her with the shot.  There is an article in the Mail on Sunday today, however, which mirrors Triple P's fears that she has signed too many sponsorship deals which involved too many appearances and photo shoots as a result.   She is not at her best at present and a gold will be a big ask for her given the strength of the competition.

Since they have painted her 270 foot tall image on a field below the approach to Heathrow airport her position as national poster girl has been firmly cemented.  You cannot go into any newsagents or supermarket in Britain without seeing Jessica's utterly lickable tummy on view.  Her stomach has become the erogenous zone for London 2012 and is more of  a mascot in its own right than the two tragically ugly official mascots.

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Tour de France 2012 podium Girls: 4

Tejay van Garderen has been up close with the maillot blanc girls this week

We're running out of days to cover the remaining podium girls so we'll look at two of the newer categories in this post.

The maillot blanc for the best young (under 25 years old) rider was first introduced in 1975 but ceased to be awarded in 1990 only being reintroduced again in 2000.  The winner of this is often a good tip for a Tour winner of the future.  The maillot blanc is sponsored by Skoda and the young ladies that present the jersey on the podium are some of the nicest looking of this year's Tour; all looking elegant in their nicely figure-hugging dresses.

The winner of the prix de la combativité every day doesn't get a red jersey but he does get a red number to wear the next day.  The podium girls for this prize have had to wear the most over the top of what are a rather conservative collection of podium girl fashions this year.  Dressed in balletic ball gowns they certainly couldn't pop unnoticed into a local bar, for a post race vin blanc cassis, in these little numbers.

Just one jersey left, the  maillot à pois rouges, which we will look at tomorrow.

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Tour de France 2012 Podium Girls: 3

A completely awesome sprint from Mark Cavendish to take today's Tour stage and give him his 22nd Tour win.  Since his win in the first week Cavendish has had to sacrifice his stage win aspirations to support Bradley Wiggins' seemingly unstoppable route to becoming the first British winner of the toughest sporting event in the world.

Cavendish had deliberately lost weight to help him on the nine ascents of Box Hill on the Olympic road race route, taking place next weekend (and passing just 200 yards from Triple P's house) .  He seemed to have lost his top end speed in some of the other sprints early on in the tour.  Despite all those mountain ascents, however, he looked like his old self in Brive-la Gaillarde today; coming from way back to take the line in one of his greatest sprints ever.  It bodes well for the Olympics!

Most satisfactory!

So its appropriate to look at the points leader's jersey podium girls in this post.  The PMU girls are not slavishly following the all over colour coding of the other jerseys but instead have these rather elegant white numbers with just a hint of colour.  Elegant!
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Amii Stewart: Record Covers

Knock on Wood 1979

American born Amii Stewart first found fame working in London with British producer Barry Leng and had several big hits, including Knock on Wood which charted in 1979.  Triple P was very taken with her from the moment he saw this striking record cover and immediately bought her first album.  

We had at least one poster of her up on our wall at college.  In our third year we had a room in North Oxford and here is a photo of it with our poster of Amii, centre bottom between the door and our bookcase.

Try Love 1984

She was regarded as a slightly B grade disco diva in the Donna Summer mould but Triple P enjoyed some of her work a great deal and she had a better voice than much of her material showcased..  Her career never really took off but she was, nonetheless, a fantastically beautiful girl and we recall buying at least one record of hers (above) purely on the basis of the cover photo.  By this time she had moved to Italy where they are quite happy to gratuitously exploit women's looks without anyone objecting.

Intense May 2012

Amii is still making records and still looking sensational.  Over 30 years after Knock on Wood she can still pose, most effectively, wearing very little for her latest CD cover.

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Tour de France 2012 Podium Girls: 2

Time for another look at this year's podium girls and this time its those who hand over the maillot jaune so they really should be the pick of the bunch.  Bradley Wiggins has been picking up a fair few Credit Lyonnais lions this week but at least he has been collecting them and his jerseys from some delightful podium girls.  Triple P particularly likes the one on the right.

The one on the left is too Minnie Driver for Triple P whereas the one on the right is more Kristin Davies which is better.

Minnie (not her real name)

Charlotte (that is her real name)

Sometimes the Yellow Jersey girls wear black for some reason but have natty little scarves so that they can remember what they are supposed to be doing.

But mostly its yellow.  There are four maillot jaune hostesses but this one is the only blonde.  Well, actually we don't think she is a real blonde.

The Tour seems to have abandoned its totally misguided trial last year of podium boys which would have only been appropriate for female riders.  Some people (ugly women, mostly) say there is no place for podium girls any more but we can't see them disappearing any time soon.  This is France, after all not Canada.


This girl, Marie-Alexie Bazerque, is something of a veteran podium girl, having been a maillot jaune girl back in 2007, a year after she was a semi-finalist in the Miss France competition.

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Victoria Pendleton in GQ

Well, GQ have trumped Esquire’s Victoria Pendleton pictorialby offering up this magnificent study in their issue coming out tomorrow.  The divine Victoria’s comment on being photographed naked was that essentially there was no difference from wearing a skinsuit.  Excellent justification!  We wait to see the usual reaction from the feminist, wimmin cyclists who always come out of the woodwork to trash Victoria whenever she poses.

Triple P thinks she looks rather like an Art Deco lamp and thinks she would look rather splendid in our living room.
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Victoria Pendleton in Esqure

Even with the Tour de France in full swing there is always time to take a sideways look at the lovely Victoria Pendleton; Olympic Gold medalist from Beijing.  Victoria makes the cover of Esquiremagazine’s August issue, which was out yesterday, in a preview for some delightfully slinky pictures inside.  

We can’t think of any other British sportswomen who has made the cover of both Esquire andFHM.  How the image of cycling, particularly women’s cycling, has changed in Britain in the last decade.  It would have been unthinkable for a lady cyclist to appear on the front cover of Esquire ten years ago.  Let’s hope that Esquire, unlike FHM, actually paid Victoria for her session.

The glory of Pendleton's body, of course, is her magnificent haunches and of all the Esquire pictures this one best captures the power in her upper legs and glutes.

It is good to see, in this Olympic year, that magazine publishers and others are starting to realise that some people find fit, toned women attractive and that to be sexy they don't have to be emaciated sticks.

Triple P likes a girl who packs a bit of muscle.  Perhaps it's something to do with the amount of time he spent admiring lady rowers at college!  Last year Triple P was chatting to a UK national team rower at a charity fun run.  She was wearing lycra shorts and a top and had sculpted shoulders and upper arms, powerful glutes and those bellied rear thighs that rowers have.  Delicious! 

Meanwhile, Victoria has also been seen shaking her lustrous locks for a Pantene shampoo advertisement.  

She’s also been seen promoting EDF Energy in a dress made from wire. At least it’s a better image than Hovis’ bizarre Pendleton-as-Britannia picture.  

Victoria has done a lot of shoots for bread company Hovis, who always seem to find strange things for her to do in their pictures.  They have also had her pose as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and as an angel and devil.   Who knows what they have planned for her next?  The proof of the fact that she has gone mainstream is that they no longer see the need to include a bike in her pictures.

Earlier this year Victoria launched her own range of women’s bikes, including this rather natty retro number, at car accessory and bike retailer Halfords.  She now even has her own retro-cycle company style logo.

The bikes have been a great success; partly because of the popularity of the BBC period drama Call the Midwife which features our baby-delivering heroines setting off for calls on similarly be-basketed bicycles.

We're sorry to see her promoting evil antipodean media magnate Rupert Murdoch but if you are part of British competitive cycling it's hard to avoid, given the huge amount of money Sky are putting into the UK's cycling programme.

This shot is a good one of her thighs, which, sadly, some photographers try to disguise.  It's like hiding Jessica Ennis' stomach.  In our wildest fantasy we would have a naked Pendleton sat astride an equally naked Ennis' midesction and wriggling about whilst we poured Laurent Perrier Rosé Brut over them both (based on a true incident - as the film posters sometimes say - with a couple of Italian ladies in the eighties).

She even manages to look good in the slightly odd- judo-style team uniform she modelled a few weeks ago.  Triple P is worried, however, that like Jessica Ennis, the ladies are spending far too much time in photo shoots and not enough time training.  We are concerned that the pressure of home expectations may get too much for some of our Olympic favourites.  Hopefully our pessimism will be proved wrong!  This is the picture we want to see again!

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