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  AUS vs BAN Super 8 Group 1, Match 44 T20 Prediction, Playing 11, Fantasy team
Posted by: kush1298 - Yesterday, 14:14 - Forum: Pre-Match Reviews - No Replies

AUS vs BAN, Match 44, Super 8 Group 1, ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024
Match Info

  • Match: AUS vs BAN, 44th Match, Super 8 Group 1, ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024
  • Date: Friday, June 21, 2024
  • Time: 6:00 AM (Jun 21)
  • Venue: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua
  • Umpires: Michael Gough, Richard Illingworth
  • Third Umpire: Kumar Dharmasena
  • Match Referee: Sir Richie Richardson

Venue Info:
  • Stadium: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium
  • City: North Sound, Antigua
  • Capacity: 10,000 (20,000 for 2007 World Cup)
  • Ends: Media Centre End, Pavilion End
  • Hosts to: Antigua and Barbuda, Leeward Islands

Broadcast Guide
  • Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar
  • TV: Star Sports Network

Win Probability
  • Australia: 55%
  • Bangladesh: 45%

Predicted Scores
  • If Australia bats first: 145-155
  • If Bangladesh bats first: 135-150
  • Prediction: Australia will win the match.

AUS vs BAN Squad Details:
Australia Squad
  • Mitchell Marsh © - Allrounder
  • Ashton Agar - Bowler
  • Pat Cummins - Bowler
  • Tim David - Middle-Order Batter
  • Nathan Ellis - Bowler
  • Cameron Green - Batting Allrounder
  • Josh Hazlewood - Bowler
  • Travis Head - Top-Order Batter
  • Josh Inglis - Wicketkeeper Batter
  • Glenn Maxwell - Batting Allrounder
  • Mitchell Starc - Bowler
  • Marcus Stoinis - Batting Allrounder
  • Matthew Wade - Wicketkeeper Batter
  • David Warner - Opening Batter
  • Adam Zampa - Bowler

Bangladesh Squad
  • Najmul Hossain Shanto © - Top-Order Batter
  • Taskin Ahmed (vc) - Bowler
  • Jaker Ali - Batter
  • Litton Das † - Wicketkeeper Batter
  • Mahedi Hasan - Allrounder
  • Mahmudullah - Allrounder
  • Mustafizur Rahman - Bowler
  • Rishad Hossain - Bowler
  • Shakib Al Hasan - Allrounder
  • Shoriful Islam - Bowler
  • Soumya Sarkar - Batting Allrounder
  • Tanvir Islam - Bowler
  • Tanzid Hasan - Opening Batter
  • Tanzim Hasan Sakib - Bowler
  • Towhid Hridoy - Top-Order Batter

  • Australia won by 8 wickets
  • Bangladesh won by 60 runs
  • Australia won by 3 wickets
  • Bangladesh won by 10 runs
  • Bangladesh won by 5 wickets

Sir Vivian Richards Stadium: Pitch Report
  • Fast bowlers should expect modest seam movement from the pitch. But for those that work particularly hard, there might be more bounce available.
  • Although the genuine pace of the game allows batters to have fun after they settle in, spinners may receive some turn.
  • As has been the case lately, the team that wins the toss will most likely choose to bowl first.

Weather Report:
  • Temperature: 31 degree celsius
  • Condition: Showers
  • Precipitation: 40%
  • Humidity: 74%
  • Wind: 24 km/h

Form Guide(Last 5 Matches)
  • Australia: W, W, W, W, W
  • Bangladesh: W, W, L, W, W

Key Players To Watch: AUS vs BAN
  • David Warner (AUS): 8 M • 321 Runs • 40.13 Avg • 158.12 SR
  • Travis Head (AUS): 7 M • 250 Runs • 41.67 Avg • 155.27 SR
  • Towhid Hridoy (BAN): 10 M • 248 Runs • 27.56 Avg • 126.53 SR
  • Tanzid Hasan (BAN): 9 M • 199 Runs • 24.88 Avg • 122.08 SR

  • Adam Zampa (AUS): 10 M • 19 Wkts • 8.65 Econ • 11.68 SR
  • Marcus Stoinis (AUS): 5 M • 11 Wkts • 6.75 Econ • 8.72 SR
  • Mustafizur Rahman (BAN): 9 M • 20 Wkts • 4.94 Econ • 10.5 SR
  • Rishad Hossain (BAN): 10 M • 14 Wkts • 6.56 Econ • 14.57 SR

AUS vs BAN Probable Playing XIs:

Australia Squad: Travis Head, David Warner, Tim David, Matthew Wade(wk), Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Marsh©, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis

Bangladesh Squad: Tanzid Hasan, Towhid Hridoy, Mahmudullah, Jaker Ali, Rishad Hossain, Taskin Ahmed, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Mustafizur Rahman, Najmul Hossain Shanto©, Litton Das(wk), Shakib Al Hasan

AUS vs BAN Dream 11 fantasy Team:
  • Keeper – Liton Das
  • Batsmen – David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Travis Head (vc)
  • All-rounders – Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis ©, Rishad Hossain
  • Bowlers – Adam Zampa, Mustafizur Rahman

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  Rob's Job
Posted by: themaclad - Yesterday, 13:09 - Forum: Gateshead - No Replies

Rob Elliot has been confirmed as Gateshead manager after his successful tenure as interim boss.

The club have also appointed Louis Storey as his assistant after the pair guided the Heed to a first FA Trophy triumph and sixth place in the National League.

That would have normally meant a place in the play-offs, but they were excluded for not meeting the Football League's ground ownership requirements.

Elliot and Storey were appointed after Mike Williamson left in October 2023 to take over at Milton Keynes Dons, with the team sitting in sixth.

The caretaker management team maintained that position and took them to Wembley with 21 wins from 38 games in all competitions.

Chairman Neil Pinkerton told the club website:, external "It was always our intention to sit down at the end of the season and agree terms, which we have now successfully concluded.

"Rob, Louis and the entire team have been relentless in the off-season, so rest assured that we're very well-placed in terms of our on- and off-field recruitment plans."

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  Cox in
Posted by: themaclad - 19-06-2024, 13:13 - Forum: Oxford City - No Replies

An international footballer who also featured in the hit TV show Ted Lasso has been hired as the new manager of Oxford City.

Sam Cox, who still plays for his country Guyana, will lead the club in the National League North, following their relegation from the National League last season.

The 33-year-old joins after a spell as interim manager at Wealdstone - where he helped the club secure National League survival.

He played fictional West Ham United player Armando in season three of the Apple TV show about an American Football coach who gets a job managing in the Premier League.

'Hopefully attractive'
Cox said the show had been a "fantastic experience", adding: "Not in a million years did I think I'd be getting the opportunity to be going on a global TV series."

He has made nearly 350 appearances during his senior football career, with 32 of those coming internationally with Guyana as captain.

He also led his country to their first ever major tournament, the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.

When asked what city fans could expect from him, Cox said: "Positivity - a style and philosophy that is hopefully attractive, and ultimately winning football matches."

"I know where I feel I can get this football club, and I'm going to do my very best to do that," he added.

Cox said he still stays in touch with some of the cast and crew of Ted Lasso, adding: "Who knows, they might even pop down [to Oxford City] one day."

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  WI vs ENG SUPER 8, Match 42, T20I Prediction, Playing 11, Fantasy team
Posted by: kush1298 - 19-06-2024, 12:36 - Forum: Pre-Match Reviews - No Replies

ENG vs WI • 42nd Match, Super 8 Group 2 • ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024

Match Information

  • Match: ENG vs WI • 42nd Match, Super 8 Group 2 • ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024
  • Series: ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024
  • Date: Tomorrow
  • Time: 8:30 PM LOCAL, 12:30 AM GMT
  • Venue: Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia
  • Umpires: Rod Tucker, Paul Reiffel
  • 3rd Umpire: Allahudien Paleker
  • Referee: David Boon
Venue Information
  • Stadium: Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium
  • City: Gros Islet, St Lucia
  • Capacity: 15,000 (increasing to 20,000)
  • Known As: Beausejour Stadium
  • Ends: Pavilion End, Media Centre End
Broadcast Guide
  • Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar
  • TV: Star Sports Network
Prepare for an exciting encounter at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in St Lucia as England and West Indies battle it out in the Men’s World Cup 2024 Super-8. Set for an early 6 AM start, both teams will showcase their formidable talent and determination in this crucial match. England steps in with confidence following a strong group stage performance, while West Indies will be bolstered by enthusiastic home support.

Win Probability
  • West-Indies: 58%
  • England: 42%

Predicted Scores
  • If West-Indies bats first: 155-170
  • If England bats first: 145-160
  • Prediction: West-Indies will win the match.

West Indies Squad Details
  • Rovman Powell © - Middle Order Batter
  • Alzarri Joseph (vc) - Bowler
  • Johnson Charles † - Wicketkeeper Batter
  • Roston Chase - Allrounder
  • Shimron Hetmyer - Top Order Batter
  • Shai Hope † - Wicketkeeper Batter
  • Akeal Hosein - Bowler
  • Shamar Joseph - Bowler
  • Brandon King - Top Order Batter
  • Obed McCoy - Bowler
  • Gudakesh Motie - Bowler
  • Nicholas Pooran † - Wicketkeeper Batter
  • Andre Russell - Allrounder
  • Sherfane Rutherford - Middle Order Batter
  • Romario Shepherd - Bowling Allrounder

England Squad Details
  • Jos Buttler © - Wicketkeeper Batter
  • Moeen Ali - Batting Allrounder
  • Jofra Archer - Bowler
  • Jonny Bairstow † - Wicketkeeper Batter
  • Harry Brook - Batter
  • Sam Curran - Allrounder
  • Ben Duckett - Top Order Batter
  • Tom Hartley - Bowler
  • Will Jacks - Batting Allrounder
  • Chris Jordan - Bowler
  • Liam Livingstone - Batting Allrounder
  • Adil Rashid - Bowler
  • Phil Salt † - Wicketkeeper Batter
  • Reece Topley - Bowler
  • Mark Wood - Bowler

Recent Head to Head: England vs West Indies
Overall Record:
  • England Wins: 4
  • West Indies Wins: 6
  • 5th T20I, WI vs ENG 2023
    • West Indies: 133/6 (19.2 overs)
    • England: 132 all out (19.3 overs)
    • Result: West Indies won

  • 4th T20I, WI vs ENG 2023
    • England: 267/3 (20.0 overs)
    • West Indies: 192 all out (15.3 overs)
    • Result: England won

  • 3rd T20I, WI vs ENG 2023
    • England: 267/3 (20.0 overs)
    • West Indies: 222/6 (20.0 overs)
    • Result: England won

  • 2nd T20I, WI vs ENG 2023
    • England: 226/3 (19.5 overs)
    • West Indies: 176/7 (20.0 overs)
    • Result: West Indies won

  • 1st T20I, WI vs ENG 2023
    • West Indies: 172/6 (18.1 overs)
    • England: 166/7 (20.0 overs)
    • Result: West Indies won

T20I Venue Stats: Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium
  • Total Matches Played: 20
  • Matches Won Batting First: 10
  • Matches Won Batting Second: 10
  • Tied Matches: 0
  • Matches With No Result: 0
  • Highest Team Total: 201/6
  • Lowest Team Total: 105
  • Highest Total Successfully Chased: 192
  • Lowest Total Successfully Defended: 146
  • Average First Innings Total: 163

Pitch Report: Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium

The wicket at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium offers a fair batting surface, typically yielding a par-score of around 161. During the last CPL 2023 season, inclement weather led to four out of six matches being abandoned, while the remaining two matches witnessed scores of 187 and 201 runs in the first innings.
Spin bowlers are likely to have a significant impact on this pitch, particularly in morning fixtures during the T20 World Cup 2024. These games may feature slightly drier conditions, enhancing the spinners' ability to extract turn from the surface.

Weather Report:
With a maximum temperature of 28.0°C, there is no chance of rain during the matches.
  • Temperature: 28 degree celsius
  • Precipitation: 12%
  • Humidity: 79%
  • Wind: 24 km/h

Form Guide(Last 5 Matches)
  • West Indies: W, W, W, W, W
  • England: W, NR, L, W, W

Key Players To Watch: WI vs ENG Match 42

  • Brandon King (WI): 9 Matches • 280 Runs • Avg: 31.11 • SR: 142.85
  • Johnson Charles (WI): 10 Matches • 234 Runs • Avg: 23.4 • SR: 149.04
  • Phil Salt (ENG): 10 Matches • 409 Runs • Avg: 51.13 • SR: 181.77
  • Jos Buttler (ENG): 10 Matches • 311 Runs • Avg: 38.88 • SR: 161.13

  • Gudakesh Motie (WI): 7 Matches • 15 Wickets • Econ: 6.29 • SR: 9.6
  • Alzarri Joseph (WI): 7 Matches • 12 Wickets • Econ: 7.85 • SR: 13
  • Adil Rashid (ENG): 10 Matches • 15 Wickets • Econ: 7.37 • SR: 14
  • Reece Topley (ENG): 6 Matches • 9 Wickets • Econ: 7.31 • SR: 13.22

Possible Playing XI: WI vs ENG

West Indies (Possible Playing XI): Brandon King, Johnson Charles, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Shai Hope/Roston Chase, Rovman Powell (capt), Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Akeal Hossain, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Obed McCoy/Romario Shepherd.

England (Possible Playing XI): Phil Salt, Jos Buttler (capt & wk), Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali, Will Jacks, Sam Curran, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood/Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley

Dream 11 Fantasy Team Prediction
  • Wicket-keepers: Phil Salt, Jos Buttler, Nicholas Pooran
  • Batters: Brandon King, Jonny Bairstow/Harry Brook
  • All-rounders: Andre Russell, Romario Shepherd
  • Bowlers: Mark Wood, Alzarri Joseph, Adil Rashid, Akeal Hosein
  • Captain: Phil Salt
  • Vice-Captain: Andre Russell

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  USA vs RSA Super8, Match 41 T20 Prediction, Playing 11, Fantasy team
Posted by: kush1298 - 19-06-2024, 11:59 - Forum: Pre-Match Reviews - No Replies

USA vs RSA, 41st Match, Super 8 Group 2, ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024

Match Info

  • Match: USA vs RSA, 41st Match, Super 8 Group 2, ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024
  • Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2024
  • Time: 8:00 PM
  • Venue: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua
  • Umpires: Chris Gaffaney, Richard Kettleborough
  • Third Umpire: Joel Wilson
  • Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle

Venue Information
  • Stadium: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium
  • City: North Sound, Antigua
  • Capacity: 10,000 (20,000 for 2007 World Cup)
  • Ends: Media Centre End, Pavilion End
  • Hosts to: Antigua and Barbuda, Leeward Islands

Broadcast Guide
  • Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar
  • TV: Star Sports Network
In their inaugural T20 World Cup appearance, the USA team, designated as A2, is set to begin the Super Eight stage facing South Africa. Both teams will travel to North Sound in Antigua, which is not a home ground for the USA. They will be hoping for improved batting conditions and clear weather.

Win Probability
  • South-Africa: 68%
  • United-State: 32%

Predicted Scores by 42 Bet Experts:
  • If South-Africa bats first: 170-185
  • If United-State bats first: 140-155
  • Prediction: South-Africa will win the match.

Pitch Condition: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium
  • Pace Bowling: Average
  • Batting Condition: Average
  • Spin Bowling: Average

Venue Stats: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium(T20I 2024)
Innings Statistics
1st Innings
  • Runs: 164
  • Average Runs: 164
  • Average Wickets: 6
  • Average Strike Rate: 136.72

2nd Innings
  • Runs: 151
  • Average Runs: 151
  • Average Wickets: 7
  • Average Strike Rate: 137.41

Weather Report:
  • Temperature: 31 degree celsius
  • Precipitation: 20%
  • Humidity: 71%
  • Wind: 21 km/h

South-Africa Squad Details:
  • Aiden Markram © - Opening Batter
  • Ottneil Baartman - Bowler
  • Gerald Coetzee - Bowler
  • Quinton de Kock † - Wicketkeeper Batter
  • Bjorn Fortuin - Bowler
  • Reeza Hendricks - Opening Batter
  • Marco Jansen - Bowling Allrounder
  • Heinrich Klaasen † - Wicketkeeper Batter
  • Keshav Maharaj - Bowler
  • David Miller - Middle Order Batter
  • Anrich Nortje - Bowler
  • Kagiso Rabada - Bowler
  • Ryan Rickelton † - Wicketkeeper Batter
  • Tabraiz Shamsi - Bowler
  • Tristan Stubbs - Batter
USA Squad Details:
  • Monank Patel † © - Wicketkeeper Batter
  • Aaron Jones (vc) - Top Order Batter
  • Ali Khan - Bowler
  • Corey Anderson - Batting Allrounder
  • Andries Gous † - Wicketkeeper
  • Harmeet Singh - Bowling Allrounder
  • Jasdeep Singh - Bowler
  • Nosthush Kenjige - Bowler
  • Nitish Kumar - Top Order Batter
  • Milind Kumar - Allrounder
  • Saurabh Netravalkar - Bowler
  • Nisarg Patel - Allrounder
  • Shayan Jahangir - Batter
  • Steven Taylor - Opening Batter
  • Shadley van Schalkwyk - Allrounder
USA vs RSA Head-To-Head Stats:
  • This is the first ever T20I match between USA and RSA. They have never faced each other before.

Form Guide(Last 5 Matches):
  • South Africa: L (Loss), W (Win), W (Win), W (Win), W (Win)
  • U.S.A.: L (Loss), W (Win), T (Tie), L (Loss), A (Abandoned)
Key Players To Watch: USA vs RSA
  • Reeza Hendricks (SA): 10 M • 276 Runs • Avg: 27.6 • SR: 133.33
  • David Miller (SA): 6 M • 153 Runs • Avg: 38.25 • SR: 107.74
  • Andries Gous (USA): 9 M • 263 Runs • Avg: 29.22 • SR: 143.71
  • Monank Patel (USA): 7 M • 240 Runs • Avg: 34.29 • SR: 138.72

  • Anrich Nortje (SA): 6 M • 9 Wkts • Econ: 6.5 • SR: 14.66
  • Ottneil Baartman (SA): 5 M • 8 Wkts • Econ: 4.65 • SR: 15
  • Saurabh Netravalkar (USA): 10 M • 12 Wkts • Econ: 6.97 • SR: 16
  • Shadley van Schalkwyk (USA): 8 M • 8 Wkts • Econ: 8.73 • SR: 19.5

Probable Playing XI

South Africa: Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Aiden Markram ©, Tristan Stubbs, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ottneil Baartman, Tabraiz Shamsi

USA: Monank Patel ©, Steven Taylor, Andries Gous, Aaron Jones, Nitish Kumar, Corey Anderson, Harmeet Singh, Shadley van Schalkwyk, Jasdeep Singh, Saurabh Netravalkar, Ali Khan

USA vs RSA Dream 11 Fantasy Team:
  • Wicket-keeper: Heinrich Klaasen, Monank Patel, Quinton de Kock
  • Batter: Aaron Jones, David Miller, Tristan Stubbs
  • All-rounder: Marco Jansen, Corey Anderson
  • Bowler: Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi ©, Anrich Nortje
  • Captain: Tabraiz Shamsi
  • Vice-captain: Quinton de Kock

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  Tour De France 2024
Posted by: themaclad - 19-06-2024, 11:55 - Forum: Cycling - No Replies

Time to get the lycra out Tour time is almost with us

[Image: Screenshot-2024-06-19-104700.png]

The 2024 Tour de France route is a thrill-seeker, seeking to capture the increasingly elusive attention of as broad an audience as possible. We have mountains at the start, mountains at the end, and gravel in the middle. We have the hilliest ever opening stage and we have a real race on the final day for the first time in 35 years.

In short, we have plenty of ammo for this run-down of 'unmissable' stages.

Here, we take a closer look at the days that will either shape the race, bring the drama, or, with a bit of luck do both at the same time.

Read more: Tour de France 2024 route revealed

Stage 4: Why take a tunnel when you can climb a col?
July 2: Pinerolo – Valloire, 139.6km

[Image: 4e94c.jpeg?w=1348&auto=format]

“Never before has the Tour been so high, so soon,” said Christian Prudhomme as he unveiled this early foray into the Alps. We knew the race had to get from Italy to France, and that means negotiating the Alps, but doing so in this way was not on many bingo cards.

“We could have passed through some tunnels, but we had no interest in doing that, so we preferred to pass over some cols,” Prudhomme added with a mischievous smile.

This is a proper mountain stage. Even if you look at it and think it’s not the likeliest to generate decisive general classification movement, you then remember it’s only stage 4 and that this sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen this early in a Grand Tour.

A full-on mountain stage this early is unprecedented, but it's not the first time the Tour has started with some hills. In some respects the first few stages of this Tour are a natural step up from what we saw last year. We have more elevation gain on the opening day in 2024 (3,600m) than we did in the Basque Country last year, which was followed by an early foray into the Pyrenees where, even on routes that didn’t look ultra-decisive, Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar traded significant blows.

The same is possible on this route, which effectively climbs from the gun, all the way to Sestrières at 2035m. The race crosses the Italo-French border via the Col de Montgenèvre (8.3km at 5.9%) and then it’s time for the Galibier, one of the most iconic mountains of the Tour de France.

It's the southern side of the mountain in action here, totalling 23km at 5.1%, much of that being a steady plod up the Col du Lauteret, where the prevailing headwind could see a contained race. But things suddenly change when you ignore that left turn and head right onto the upper reaches of the Galibier, as the gradient ramps up dramatically, the mountainside vertiginously falls away, and the altitude starts to bite.

This will be as much about the descent as the ascent, with the route re-tracing the steps that made Tom Pidcock a Netflix star, so we’re in for a spectacular finale, however the Galibier leaves it hanging. The draggy nature of much of the climbing may fail to inspire some fans, but you have a Tour de France icon, altitude, and a stunning descent, and then you remember it’s only stage 4.

Read more: Analysing Ineos Grenadiers’ Tour de France 10-rider long list

Stage 9: Gravel storm incoming
July 7: Troyes – Troyes, 199km

[Image: 76911.jpeg?w=1348&auto=format]

Love gravel, hate gravel, you are not missing this. This could be a massive moment for the race; it could be a massive moment in the history of the Tour de France; it could amount to very little at all; but it’s going to be captivating viewing, either way.

There was a sense of shock after Christian Prudhomme had unveiled the parcours for this stage. The very presence of gravel had been heavily touted in the pre-presentation rumour mill, but, sorry… how much?! No fewer than 14 sectors will line the route of stage 9, totalling more than 32km of the so-called chemins blancs (white tracks). That’s not Strade Bianche territory, but it’s considerably more than the 12.9km used when the Tour de France Femmes visited this area in 2022, the 11.6km on offer at next year’s Giro d’Italia, and any helping of cobblestone sectors we’ve had over the years.

It’s going to kick up a storm of dust on the day but it has already whipped up a stormy debate. “It is not necessary,” said an exasperated Jumbo-Visma boss Richard Plugge, a feeling echoed by his Bora-Hansgrohe counterpart Ralph Denk and in more diplomatic terms by his rider, the defending champion Jonas Vingegaard. Remco Evenepoel has already spoken out against the gravel, while his Soudal Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere has never hidden his own distaste for gravel and cobbles.

Read more: Does gravel belong in the Tour de France? Off-road stage of 2024 route divides opinion

The general argument against is that the heightened risk of mechanical problems or crashes could take a leading contender out of contention or out of the race altogether – rather than being decided on strength and tactics, it increased the role of Lady Luck. The argument in favour draws on both the past and future of cycling. Prudhomme pointed out that some of the sport’s legends were making their mark before long before paved roads were the norm, while gravel as a modern discipline is the sport's major growth area.

The Tour de France has made obvious efforts in recent years to appeal to the social media generation, so it’s no surprise to see them jump on the gravel hype train. If nothing goes drastically wrong on stage 9 next July, we can expect to see them lean further into the drama and entertainment angle, with Tour routes veering further away from the traditional. This is part of the testing ground for how a Grand Tour could and should be designed.

As for the day itself, the luck factor will be impossible to predict but in purely racing terms there is plenty of time to be won and lost. Plugge may have underlined Vingegaard’s bike handling skills, but the Jumbo-Visma reaction doesn’t scream confidence, nor does that of Primož Roglič’s Bora-Hansgrohe, while Evenepoel will have flashbacks to his nightmare outing on the Tuscan gravel in the 2021 Giro. That’ll be music to the ears of Pogačar, a former winner of Strade Bianche and the reigning champion at the Tour of Flanders. He is, quite simply, a more rugged and rounded rider, and he will surely see this not as an obstacle but an opportunity.

However it falls, the sight of the yellow jersey and co. careering onto the gravel – a haze of dust in the dry, or a mudbath in the wet – will be compelling viewing. Even if nothing much happens, you’ll be holding your breath on the edge of your seat for each sector, but there’s every chance this could be one of the most dramatic days of the whole Tour.

Stage 15: A Bastille Day epic
July 14: Loudenvielle – Plateau de Beille, 197.7km

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Bastille Day, and as if the French fans needed any more incentive to get out there and scream their lungs out, we have a crazy day in the Pyrenees.

Let’s start with the stats: 198km, six climbs, 4850m elevation gain. It’s a big, big day and, what’s more, it comes hot on the heels of another big day. Stage 14 might not be quite as heavy, but it still goes over the Tourmalet, Hourquette d’Ancizan and up Pla d’Adet, meaning the legs will already be dulled for this epic.

It’s another summit finish, up at Plateau de Beille, but more on that later. The stage rips out of the traps, climbing the western flank of the Col de Peyresourde from the gun. The ascent from Loudenvielle measures 6.9km at 7.8% and the bunch is going to explode immediately. Breakaway artists will be on the move, pawns will be placed, lower-rung GC riders will be on the hunt, and we could even see a favourite or two looking to take advantage of the chaos. After the descent there are 20km in the valley but then the Col de Menté hits and it’s vicious (9.3km at 9.1%), followed straight away by the Portet d’Aspet (4.3km at 9.7%).

The valley roads in the middle of the stage should be where things settle back into some sort of pattern, but the shake-up will recommence on the Col d’Agnes (10km at 8.2%), and the short hop over to the Port de Lers. A descent and a short valley stretch then lead to the final climb to Plateau de Beille (15.8km at 7.9%), which didn’t see much action on its last appearance in 2015, but then again this is a harder stage in general. The first few kilometres are the hardest, averaging 9%, and it hangs mostly between 7-8% the rest of the way up. For such a long climb, the average gradient is high, and there’ll be guaranteed damage by the top.

The 2024 Tour route seems to have less of a penchant for super-steep climbs than previous years, with a return to more of the traditional steadier efforts, but this stage features the sharpest gradients of the whole Tour, and also the most elevation gain of a single stage. It’s set to be a defining day.

Stage 19: Up in the clouds
July 19: Embrun – Isola 2000, 144.6km

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Rivalling stage 15 for the honour of the race’s ‘queen stage’ is this trip down the eastern flank of the French Alps, and it offers a real contrast to its Pyrenean counterpart.

For starters, it’s shorter, by 53km, and it contains almost as much elevation gain. Although it doesn’t start uphill, it’s a more intense affair. Secondly, the climbs are less steep, but longer, the Col de Vars and Cime de la Bonette both around the 20km mark.

The most important factor – and the thing that truly sets this stage apart – is the altitude. 2000 metres has become a sort of mythical benchmark, often referred to as 'the barrier'. Above the barrier, things change as the paucity of oxygen dulling both the muscles and the senses. At that height, you can crack and never recover.

The Tour goes above 2000m on the Galibier on stage 4 and the Tourmalet on stage 14, but stage 19 is ‘the altitude stage’ of the 2024 Tour.

The Col de Vars takes us to 2109m with an 18.8km climb at an average gradient of 5.7% that’s heavily mitigated by a 3km plateau in the middle. It’s then over to the Cime de la Bonette, which, at an eye-watering 2802m, is one of the highest paved roads in Europe.

This is extreme altitude, and while the climb, measuring 22.2km at 6.9%, would be hard enough from seal level, half of it is above the 2000m barrier, where the riders will be toiling for more than half an hour.

The long descent to Isola sets us up for another vertical kilometre on the final climb to Isola 2000, which as the name suggests, punctures that 2000m barrier for a third time. It’s another long climb at 16km, and while it’s a steady traditional ski resort seven percent-er, the day’s exertions will start to take their toll.

It’s the sort of stage, heading into the clouds, where the idea of climbers ‘taking flight’ feels very apt indeed.

Read more: Analysing Visma-Lease a Bike’s Tour de France long list

Stage 21: Drama til the last
July 21: Monaco – Nice, 34km (ITT)

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For the first time in the history of the Tour de France, the race will finish away from Paris, and for the first time since 1989, we’ll have a competitive final day.

Those memories from 35 years ago will only whet the appetite for this 35km time trial between Nice and Monaco. The final day of that 1989 edition, concluding with a time trial into Paris, is one of the most memorable day’s in the race’s rich tapestry, with a pioneeringly aerodynamic Greg LeMond snatching the yellow jersey from Laurent Fignon by a mere eight seconds – the tightest ever Tour.

The arrival of the peloton in Paris is, for many, symbolic. However, the champagne-fuelled procession is not to everyone’s taste, and those who prefer the last day of the race to be, well, a race, will delight in the 2024 finale on the Côte d’Azur.

Provided it’s not a complete walkover to that point, the yellow jersey will be in play until the very last metres and moments of the Tour de France.

If the yellow jersey is indeed in play, then even the flattest of time trials would be gripping, but this is a far more interesting route than most, heading into the hills behind Nice to provide an all-round test of climbing, descending, flat power, and also bike handling.

The route starts in Monaco and spends all of 3km on the flat before heading up La Turbie, a well-trodden training climb for the enclave of Principality-based pros. At 8.1km at 5.6%, it’s a solid climb but more of a steady, seated effort. It provides a link to the Col d’Eze, famous from Paris-Nice, so it’s not the full climb but a steep 1.6km kicker at the top, which is followed by a long, fast, sweeping descent into Nice for a flat final 6km.

It’s a stunning route, perched above the glistening blue waters of the Mediterranean, and it should balance things finely between the remaining yellow jersey contenders, coming down to who’s still firing after three weeks. That’s another part of the novelty; the 2024 Tour effectively has one extra day of ‘real’ racing, and this TT comes after two big summit finishes, and five mountain stages in the space of the previous seven days.

If it goes down to the wire, it will live long in the memory.

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Posted by: themaclad - 18-06-2024, 17:57 - Forum: Other........ - No Replies

Leamington manager Paul Holleran has undergone surgery for prostate cancer.

The newly-promoted National League North club have issued a statement over the health of their long-serving 53-year-old boss, who was first diagnosed in March, when Leamington were in the middle of an ultimately successful Southern League promotion battle.

"Following speculation regarding the health of Paul Holleran and him receiving many enquiries from within the football community, and following discussions with the club, initiated by Paul, it has been decided to make a statement on what is a very personal matter for Paul," the club said.

"Paul advised the club almost three months ago that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and would be having an operation in very early June with a then yet to be determined course of treatment.

"The operation took place as scheduled and Paul is now recuperating at home, following doctor's orders. He envisages being back in the dugout in time for the season ahead."

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Holleran said: "I would like to thank all of my family, close friends and football family for all their support over the recent months since my diagnosis of prostate cancer.

"I have had exceptional treatment and care from all the staff at the Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital and am thankfully at home now being cared for by Mrs H.

"I would like to urge all men from their late 40s onwards to request a simple PSA blood test from your local GP, symptoms or no symptoms, to help with early diagnosis.

"I would also like to pay special tribute to National League sponsors Vanarama as I can still remember their MANarama campaign for awareness of prostate cancer. At Leamington FC, we will hold another men's health day this coming season."

Leamington went back up to English football's sixth tier by beating AFC Telford on away soil in the Southern League Premier Division Central play-off final at the Bucks Head in May.

The Brakes' first pre-season fixture is at Coventry Sphinx on Tuesday 9 July, followed by a home game against a Coventry City XI the following Saturday.

The new National League North season starts on Saturday 10 August.

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Posted by: themaclad - 18-06-2024, 17:55 - Forum: Macclesfield FC - No Replies

Macclesfield have appointed Robbie Savage as their head coach, while former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey has also joined the club in an unspecified role.

Former Leicester, Birmingham and Blackburn midfielder Savage, who is a shareholder at the club, takes over from Michael Clegg, who departed on Monday.

Savage, 49, had held a director of football role with the club since their reformation in 2020 following the downfall of Macclesfield Town.

"As a result of achieving two promotions as well as reaching a play-off final and FA Trophy semi-final within the club’s first three years, it came as no surprise when Robbie was offered a senior role elsewhere recently," a club statement said., external

"Robbie subsequently agonised over this on numerous levels as it would have meant him relinquishing his role at Macclesfield FC – in addition to his shareholding.

"This was something which the board was not prepared to let happen and it was unanimously decided that Robbie should be given the chance to prove himself here at Macclesfield FC as he launches his coaching career with us."

Former Wales midfielder Savage, the club's seventh managerial appointment since 2020, has brought in Peter Band as his assistant.

His appointment comes after the Silkmen narrowly missed out on promotion from the seventh-tier Northern Premier League Premier Division last season having been defeated in a play-off by Marine.

Since his retirement, he has worked with former club Leicester City as a coach of their women's team, taking over as head coach on an interim basis in 2021.

In 2023, he took on a coaching role with England's youth set-up before last year's Under-17 World Cup.

Macclesfield FC launched following the demise of Macclesfield Town, who were expelled from the National League in 2020 having been wound up by the High Court.

The newly formed club entered the league pyramid in the North West Counties League, achieving two promotions and reaching the FA Trophy semi-final in their first three and a half years of existence.

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  2024 Euro's
Posted by: Blue Baggie - 18-06-2024, 12:01 - Forum: West Bromwich Albion - Replies (1)

I assume most are watching.
Quite a struggle for the so called better sides.
(Including us) 
Shows us lots of excellent unknown talent are out there. Brings me on to what the hell are our recruitment department doing.

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  Kevin Campbell
Posted by: drewks - 15-06-2024, 11:50 - Forum: West Bromwich Albion - Replies (2)

Whow, that's a real shocker - RIP KEVIN CAMPBELL, at just 54 Cry Peace dove Peace dove

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