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Tour de France shorts: Royalty at the Tour, Bianchi anxious

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The Belkin team issue Bianchi Infinito CV is black and celeste

The Belkin team issue Bianchi Infinito CV is black and celeste (Image credit: Bianchi S.p.A.)
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The Belkin riders on their 2014 Bianchi bikes

The Belkin riders on their 2014 Bianchi bikes (Image credit: Twitter / Radsport)
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Matteo Tosatto (Tinkoff - Saxo)

Matteo Tosatto (Tinkoff - Saxo) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Laurens ten Dam (Belkin)

Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Royals at the Tour

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge — William and Kate — will attend the Grand Depart on Saturday, along with Prince Harry. In addition, the Duchess is said to be presenting the first yellow jersey of the 2014 Tour de France.

The royal couple has often shown their interest in sport, most recently attending Wimbledon. They also caught a lot of events at the London Olympics, including the cycling track events.

Bianchi wants to know

Belkin has given itself a deadline of August 1 in its search for a new sponsor, but bike supplier Bianchi isn’t willing to wait that long. The Italian firm has said it needs to know whether the team will continue by the first rest day of the Tour de France, Tuesday, July 15.

"Business-wise, it is essential that there is a World Tour team riding our bikes next year," a Bianchi spokesman told "We cannot afford to just sit and wait until mid-August to know, because by then all the big teams will have their bike manufacturer."

Tosatto starting in his 29th grand tour

Matteo Tosatto has taken to the start of his 29th grand tour, having ridden his first one in 1997 as a tender young 23-year old and now facing the Tour de France as a hardened veteran of 40.

The "grand" total is nine Tour de France, 11 Giro d'Italia and nine Vuelta a Espana. He has finished all but five of them. He has never ridden all three in one year, but has participated in two grand tours 12 different years.

"The difference between 23-year old Matteo and 40-year old Matteo is the experience and the recovery time. In '97 I attacked all the time as soon as the stage started," he said on the Tinkoff-Saxo team website. "Now I use my energy much more wisely when the opportunities arise. I still have the same power but I naturally need to focus more on recovery, resting after the stages and getting ready for another day."

Ten Dam with junky lungs

Laurens ten Dam is starting the Tour for Belkin with the handicap of "a bit of a cold" which he picked up at last week's rainy Dutch national championship.

"I don’t want to go into the disgusting details” of the illness he said, for which we are grateful. But he then added, "There's some junk in my lungs."

"I'm a little asthmatic, it's my weakness," he told He is not worried, though. "We won’t make a big drama out of it. When I am on the bike I forget about it. It only bothers me when I sit still."