Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar won the UAE Tour, finishing the weeklong race 35 seconds ahead of British rider Adam Yates.
Posted: February 27, 2021, 5:40 pm
'There's never been a better time to be involved': British Cycling's new CEO Brian Facer on Freeman, Brexit and tapping into the lockdown boom
British Cycling’s new chief executive, Brian Facer, has only been in the role for five weeks - most of which he has spent at home - but he certainly has his hands full. With Covid-19 having forced the cancellation of 4000 races in the last 12 months, the country’s domestic scene is struggling. Internationally, Britain’s cyclists are facing a period of huge uncertainty with new Brexit regulations requiring work permits of certain non-elite riders. HSBC UK, the national governing body’s commercial partner, is pulling out at the end of this year leaving an estimated £30 million black hole of funding. And there is always the ever-present threat of a doping scandal. On Tuesday, a medical tribunal will hand down its decision on the case of Richard Freeman, the former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor who is accused of ordering a batch of testosterone to the national velodrome in 2011 with the intention to dope a rider. Regardless of the verdict, UK Anti-Doping has already charged Freeman with two anti-doping rule violations arising from his evidence. It has been described as potentially the most serious blow yet to the reputation of the all-conquering professional road and Olympic teams. Yet Facer could hardly sound more thrilled with his lot. “It’s a hugely exciting time,” says the former London Irish CEO, in what is his first interview since taking over from Julie Harrington. “I’d argue there’s never been a better time to get involved in cycling.” Facer’s positivity is based on the fact that, while Covid may have hit the professional and amateur race scene, cycling is booming at a grassroots level. Retailers could hardly keep up with the lockdown demand as families and individuals rediscovered the simple enjoyment of riding on traffic-free roads. “23 million people are riding bikes,” Facer says. “9.1 million people are riding their bikes more than three times a week. You’ve got 1.4 million more children cycling last summer, bicycle sales grew by 60 per cent [in lockdown]... it’s a substantial market. There are huge opportunities out there to capitalise.” Facer, 50, is one of the 23 million. An unashamed ‘fan’ of cycling, he rides with Daventry CC and in the press release last autumn which announced his move to British Cycling he made a point of saying that he had completed a number of Etapes du Tour, including Col du Tourmalet and Alpe d’Huez. It’s not hard to imagine how some might have seen that as a bit try-hard, but Facer is unconcerned. “I think it's definitely beneficial to love what you do and be passionate about what you do and want to get involved in it,” he says. “Yes, I’m a huge fan. I’ve been to every Tour de France for the last 15/16yrs. I’ve been standing on the side of the road with my cowbells. And normally, to be fair, when I'm not at races in person, I'm usually on GCN or one of the channels watching what's going on. Even when I was working in rugby I’d always have the races on my phone or whatever.” Facer, who names mountain biking as his discipline-of-choice, is clearly not just a fan, though. If London Irish’s current renaissance is anything to go by - the club, in a new home in Brentford and with a revitalised squad, are closing in on the Premiership play-offs having been relegated in his first season - he knows how to run a business. He also clearly brings a strong work ethic. Facer drove two-and-a-half hours to Sunbury-on-Thames and back every day while at the Exiles, and still got up at 5am every day for a run with his dog and sometimes got a ride in on his return. He has now rented a place in Glossop [although lockdown 3.0 hit the day after he signed the lease so he hasn’t been able to use it] and says he wants to apply that energy at British Cycling in a number of areas. Finding a new commercial sponsor is clearly high on the list - “Obviously, the pandemic doesn't help. But the positives of what we heard [from the Prime Minister] on Monday night has certainly helped now with our conversations. And we are in some good conversations at the moment.” - but so, too, areas such as diversity, gender equality and athlete welfare. British Cycling has just announced a new diversity advisory group, featuring an impressive expert panel, about which Facer is excited. “There’s got to be a shift in the way we take cycling to the cities and the way we talk to different groups within the Bame community,” he says. “I’m a big champion of Freestyle BMX because that is something you can take to the cities.” He adds that this is not merely box-ticking, with British Cycling’s own makeup under review. “Absolutely. You have got to look inwardly first. We’ve got to be more diverse and inclusive. And then it gives comfort that we're doing the right thing. So absolutely, it’s a root and branch thing. If you're going to talk, you have to walk the walk.” He is also keen to set up some sort of independent body, similar to The Rugby Players Association [RPA], for riders and athletes to air grievances. “There’s things I think I can bring from the rugby world which could help us develop,” he says. “But overall I think we’re in great shape. Julie did an amazing job. She did the hard yards in terms of overhauling the culture and governance of the organisation.” Would a high-profile ban for Freeman undermine that progress and set British Cycling back? “We expect that there will be mud thrown at us because it's so high profile,” Facer says. “But it’s important to us that those allegations are really out there and properly pursued. I think we’re a very different organisation to back then, both culturally and from a medical governance point of view. “If you talk to UK Sport, to Sport England, or DCMS, actually we now set the standards. I think it’s something we need to shout about a bit more. “In the conversations we’ve been having [with potential partners] it hasn’t been a problem. This is a great time to be invested into cycling on the back of the Tokyo Olympics, with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year, then the cycling world championships in the UK in Glasgow the year after, and then Paris 2024. Millions of people on bikes. It couldn’t be a better time to invest really in a sport that’s really on the up.”
Posted: February 27, 2021, 12:48 pm
Tom Pidcock completes superb weekend for young Britons after Mads Pedersen takes win at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne
Sunday February 28 — Kuurne to Kuurne, 197km Tom Pidcock claimed a superb third place at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday after Ineos Grenadiers's first-year neo-pro was inched out by Anthony Turgis while Mads Pedersen won the Belgian semi-classic. Just 24 hours after making his WorldTour debut at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, where compatriot Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) took runners-up spot behind Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Pidcock, who in a recent interview with Telegraph Sport said his new team Ineos Grenadiers should be winning more one-day races, became the second 21-year-old Briton in two days to take a podium spot on Opening Weekend, the name given to the traditional start to the classics. Tom Pidcock interview: 'Ineos should be winning more classics' After a six-man breakaway had formed early in the race most had assumed the race would follow a familiar pattern, that is until Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) attacked off the front of the main bunch around 83 kilometres from the finish of the 197km race. Having accelerated on a short but gnarly section of road, only Jhonatan Narváez (Ineos Grenadiers) was able to follow his wheel. Making his first appearance on the European roads this season, Van der Poel appeared in a typically aggressive mood and having formed an alliance with the Ecuadorian managed to bridge over to the race leaders. UCI WorldTour 2021: Complete team-by-team guide and race calendar However, despite their efforts the main bunch containing the big-hitters managed to rein them back in before a group of 30 riders went to the line in Kuurne where the race was decided following a bunch sprint finish. Pidcock was first to open up his sprint — perhaps a little too early — though he was jumped by Turgis while Pedersen, the former world champion, was shepherded perfectly towards the line by Jasper Stuyven enabling the Dane to pounce and add to his expanding palmarès.
Posted: February 27, 2021, 8:26 am
Tadej Pogacar maintained his lead in the UAE Tour by keeping closest challenger Adam Yates at bay in Thursday's fifth stage, won by Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard.
Posted: February 25, 2021, 2:27 pm
Irish rider Sam Bennett claimed the sprinting honours with a 50th career win on the fourth stage of the UAE Tour on Wednesday as Slovenian Tadej Pogacar retained the leader's red jersey.
Posted: February 24, 2021, 1:19 pm
Strade Bianche 2021: When is it, which teams are racing, what TV channel is showing it and who are the favourites?
What is this race and why should I care about it? Strade Bianche is a unique race in the professional calendar that has its earned place in the hearts of cycling fans, despite only being in existence for 14 years. While amateurs are often found aping their heroes at cyclosportives or granfondos, the first Italian race of the WorldTour season in fact reverses the paradigm. Taking its lead from the huge popularity of L'Eroica, the non-competitive amateur event that traverses the chalky white roads of Tuscany and requires riders to complete the event on retro steel bicycles, RCS Sport, organisers of the Giro d'Italia, launched Strade Bianche — then called Monte Paschi Eroica — in October 2007 when Alexandr Kolobnev won the inaugural edition of the race. After moving the race to March the following year, Swiss classics specialist Fabian Cancellara won the first of the three Strade Bianche titles he claimed before retiring in 2016. Unsurprisingly, the race has become a particular favourite with the classics riders, particularly since its move to the earlier part of the calendar — other than last year's event that was moved to August as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Previous winners include Philippe Gilbert, Michal Kwiatkowski, Zdenek Stybar, Julian Alaphilippe and Wout van Aert, while Moreno Moser is the sole Italian to have the race on his palmarès. Strade Bianche earned itself WorldTour status in 2016. The seventh edition of the women's edition takes place on the same day as the men's race and in 2021 will be the first event of the Women's WorldTour season. When is Strade Bianche? The men's race gets under way at 11.45am (10.45am GMT) on Saturday March 6, 2021. The women's race starts at 9.15am (8.15am GMT). How long is this year's race? The Strade Bianche is just 184 kilometres long. The women's is 136km. How can I watch this year's race? Those lucky enough to have subscriptions to Eurosport or GCN can follow all the action on either television or the app. If you cannot watch the race live then you can follow the second half of both races right here. Bookmark this page and return on the day of race for the latest updates. What's in it for the winner? The winner of the men's race will trouser a cheque to the value of €16,000 which, by our calculations, is over 600 per cent more than their female counterparts. The men's runner-up takes home €8,000 and the rider on the third step of the podium €4,000. Here's the breakdown . . .
Posted: February 23, 2021, 8:26 am
A Belgian cycling official was banned from the sport through 2022 after multiple women riders alleged he sexually harassed them.
Posted: February 22, 2021, 5:15 pm
"Alpecin-Fenix, in agreement with the UAE Tour organiser, have decided to withdraw its team from the race, in order to safeguard the race bubble and ensure the safe continuation of the race," race organisers said in a statement. Alpecin-Fenix rider Mathieu van der Poel was the overnight leader after winning the first stage of the race on Sunday. The final two stages of last year's UAE Tour, which featured some of the world's top riders, was cancelled due to two Italian participants testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
Posted: February 22, 2021, 1:45 pm
Italy's Filippo Ganna won Monday's 13km individual time trial on the second stage of the UAE Tour as Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar took over the race lead.
Posted: February 22, 2021, 1:13 pm
The Alpecin-Fenix cycling team withdrew from the UAE Tour on Monday after a staff member tested positive following the opening stage of the seven-day race.
Posted: February 22, 2021, 11:37 am
This week's UAE Tour may have featured just two hills, but Chris Froome has left himself a mountain to climb if he is to win a record-equalling fifth Tour de France, which starts under four months from now on June 26. Following a winter of training in California — along with a continued period of rehabilitation after his career-threatening crash in June 2019 — Froome made all the right noises ahead of the race. When it mattered, though, his legs failed to deliver. Making his Israel Start-up Nation debut the seven-time grand tour winner looked a shadow of his former self. UCI WorldTour 2021: Complete team-by-team guide and race calendar After stage one, when the crosswinds wreaked havoc, Froome was on the back foot. Although he was not alone in missing the crucial split — sprinters Sam Bennett and Caleb Ewan who were targeting the stage were also caught out — it appeared an omen of things to come. In fact, Froome who was signed to Israel Start-up Nation in order to lead their Tour de France challenge, lost time on each of the seven stages. Even the most ardent Froome fanatics will have been concerned following stage two, the 13-kilometre time trial, where he finished 1min 12sec behind reigning Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar. On this form Froome could quite feasibly lose as much as five minutes to Pogacar at the Tour de France, which this year includes 58km in time trials. On the two climbs featured at the UAE Tour — Jebel Hafeet and Jebel Jais — Froome lost a further 6min 39sec to Pogacar. These are not margins that Froome needs to close, but chasms. When Froome returned from that career-threatening crash at last year's UAE Tour few expected him to challenge, and he did not, finishing in 71st place, 19min 45sec off the pace in the truncated race. A year later he was 22min behind Pogacar (16min 38sec after five stages). However determined he is to make an assault for a fifth maillot jaune, as things stand Froome simply cannot compete with Pogacar. Following the emergence of the young Slovenian at the Vuelta a España in 2019 the trajectories of the two riders' careers have been diametrically opposed. Along with Pogacar, Froome must also catch up with Primoz Roglic, Mikel Landa and Enric Mas. And then there are his former team-mates from Ineos Grenadiers, Geraint Thomas, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Richard Carapaz. The odds are stacked against him. During the mountainous fifth stage when Froome was working, quite selflessly, on behalf of team-mate Ben Hermans he was dropped 3.7km from the summit. Alone, Froome drifted off the back with only the television cameras for company. Though smiling and waving to the viewers, that must surely have hurt the seven-time grand tour winner. Not only did he lose contact with the main protagonists in the general classification race, but their mountain domestiques too. Davide Formolo and Rafal Majka finished almost 10min ahead of Froome on general classification. In fact, other than sprinter Fernando Gaviria and his lead-out man, Pogacar's entire team finished ahead of Froome. By whatever metric you want to use, Froome appears beyond his best. Win a record-equalling fifth Tour de France? Not a chance. On this form, the rider that many consider the greatest grand tour rider of a generation may struggle even to break into the top 50 in July. Stage seven: Pogacar seals UAE Tour as Ewan finally wins Saturday February 27 — Yas Mall to Abu Dhabi Breakwater, 147km
Posted: February 22, 2021, 11:27 am
Chris Froome will be part of a top-drawer line-up as the four-time Tour de France winner gets his second injury comeback rolling when cycling's first major race of the season, the UAE Tour, starts on Sunday.
Posted: February 20, 2021, 10:15 am
The Ineos Grenadiers rider, who made the announcement on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/CLcBLAenLTq along with a photo of him taking a knee, said the chosen athlete would work with team owner Axel Merckx to race this summer. "Cycling has a problem with diversity and inclusivity," said Geoghegan Hart.
Posted: February 19, 2021, 7:27 am
Cycling's world governing body UCI said last week that the Pro Cycling Council approved a range of safety measures for riders, including enforcing a ban on the 'super tuck' descending position starting from April 1. The 'super tuck', a tactic of hunching over the bars while putting weight on the top tube to gain an aerodynamic advantage on descents, has become increasingly popular in recent years. "No one this time can say that they weren't informed," Trentin, who rides for UAE Team Emirates, told Cycling News.
Posted: February 11, 2021, 12:49 pm
This year's Vuelta a Espana will start in Burgos in central Spain with an individual time trial before ending in Santiago de Compostela three weeks later, organisers said on Thursday. Moving away from the traditional end point of Madrid, the race also features another individual time trial on the final stage, representing another shift from the usual victor's procession towards the finish line. Five of the race's 11 mountain stages will be held in that week, including four summit finishes.
Posted: February 11, 2021, 12:31 pm
Belgian cycling star Remco Evenepoel has received the all-clear from his team to resume training following a horrific crash during a race in Italy in August that left him with a fractured pelvis and a damaged right lung.
Posted: February 11, 2021, 5:34 am
The second and third stages, from Stupinigi to Novara and Biella to Canale, respectively, will also be hosted by the region, which is hosting the 'Grande Partenza' for the first time since the race departed from Turin in 2011. The three-week grand tour will return to Piedmont for the finish of stage 19 at Alpe di Mera in Valsesia, followed by a stage 20 start from Verbania the next day.
Posted: February 4, 2021, 10:39 am
Veteran Geraint Thomas will lead the Ineos Grenadiers Tour de France bid this year with surprise Giro d'Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart in a supporting role, team boss Dave Brailsford said. Welshman Thomas, who turns 35 in May, was left off the Ineos's Tour de France squad last year because of poor form, and was later forced out of the Giro after an accident. But Brailsford has no doubt that Thomas can challenge for a second Tour triumph, having won it in 2018.
Posted: February 4, 2021, 1:07 am
Tao Geoghegan Hart was supposed to get his 2021 season up and running this week. Three months after his stunning victory at the Giro d’Italia, an achievement which made the 25-year-old from Hackney a household name overnight –albeit one no one could pronounce – he was due to line up at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. Inevitably, it fell victim to Covid at the 11th hour, joining several other races around the world on the postponed or cancelled list at the start of the 2021 season. Geoghegan Hart is philosophical. “I was excited to race,” he says, speaking from his home in Andorra. “I’m feeling great. I was just coming to the end of a six-and-a-half hour training ride when I got the call. But I can’t complain. We’re lucky to be able to do what we do. And I think in sport and definitely in cycling you have to be adaptable. Nothing is set in stone.” One thing is, in Geoghegan Hart’s mind at least. After much deliberation, he has decided he will not be returning to Italy in May to defend his Giro crown. He has set sights instead on a Tour de France-Olympic double this year. It was not, he says, an easy decision. The honour of wearing the No 1 jersey at the Giro was not lost on Geoghegan Hart, a keen student of the sport. “I was pretty much 50-50 [between targeting the Giro and the Tour] because I think both would be really exciting,” says Geoghegan Hart, speaking for the first time about his race programme in 2021. “I love racing in Italy. I loved the experience of the Giro. And of course, it would be incredible to go back there this year with the No 1 jersey. I understand the significance of that. But I think as a bike racer, to put it bluntly, you can't see the number on your back. How I won the Giro d'Italia, by Tao Geoghegan Hart “Ultimately, I felt it I wanted to target something new and different. And yeah, the biggest race in cycling. I think there's no argument there.” It will be Geoghegan Hart’s first time at the Tour, assuming he is selected by Ineos, which of course will depend on form and fitness. He has a good chance, though, having made the decision with the blessing of Ineos principal Dave Brailsford. Did they also discuss leadership? Geoghegan Hart is coy on the subject, as you would expect. Chris Froome may have exited stage left, but Ineos still have two Tour winners on their books in Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal. The latter is sizing up the Giro this year, but may double up at the Tour. Then there is 2019 Giro winner Richard Carapaz and the newly-signed Adam Yates, a fourth-place finisher at the Tour in 2016. “We haven't had that conversation,” Geoghegan Hart says. “And to be honest it's not really a conversation I’m too interested in either. I think at the end of the day, the legs that you show, probably coming out of the [Critérium du] Dauphiné in June but even just at the start of the race, that’s what will decide [leadership].” Geoghegan Hart is adamant, though, that he is capable of challenging the best in the world on the biggest stage in the world if he’s in his best condition. The Giro field last autumn may have been relatively thin given it was held back-to-back with the Tour, but the confidence gained from his exploits there, the way he rode, particularly in that third week when he did not put a foot wrong, have clearly given Geoghegan Hart huge reserves of self-belief.
Posted: February 3, 2021, 10:21 am
Tom Pidcock 'disappointed' with fourth at world cyclo-cross championships after Mathieu van der Poel wins again
Tom Pidcock admitted it was a “big disappointment” not to finish on the podium at the world cyclo-cross championships in Ostend on Sunday as Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel won the rainbow jersey for the fourth time in seven years. Pidcock, 21, battled back from a slow start to finish fourth in the men’s elite race, just seconds behind Belgian Toon Aerts. But he was unable to get close to pre-race favourites Van der Poel and Wout van Aert on the sandy North Sea course. The two kings of cyclo-cross have between them now won the last seven world titles. “I felt good today,” Pidcock told Sporza afterwards. “Some laps were good, some s---. I came close to Toon Aerts, but unfortunately not close enough.” In an interview with British Cycling, Pidcock added that he had been too tentative on the opening lap.
Posted: January 31, 2021, 5:21 pm
Tom Pidcock says he wants cyclo-cross to have “three kings” rather than two as he prepares to take on Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert at the world championships in Ostend on Sunday. Dutchman Van der Poel and Belgian Van Aert have between them won the last six elite world titles and will be heavy favourites once again in Belgium this weekend. But Britain’s 21-year-old rising star Pidcock who becomes a WorldTour rider with Ineos as of Monday did beat Van der Poel at an event in December and feels the gap to the leading duo is closing. “I don’t think I am on their level, not yet,” Pidcock said. “I’m certainly close. But that’s my ambition. I want to join their league. At the moment they’re the two guys of ’cross. When I do well, people say ‘Now there are three kings of ’cross’. But then I do a race where I’m not as good, and then there’s only two. I want to try and confirm my place with those guys at the top.” Pidcock was a surprise runner-up at the world championships last year but so rapid has been his progression through the ranks — despite his tender years, he led the British team at the world road race championships last autumn — he will have no chance of taking anyone by surprise this year. Like Evie Richards, who goes in the elite women’s race on Saturday after finishing sixth in Switzerland last year, Pidcock says the sandy course in Ostend is not ideal for him. But he says he plans to race his own race and see where that leaves him. “It’s probably the worst course for the worlds [for me], but I think at the end of the day the fittest guys will be at the front come the finish line, unless I make many mistakes, which I hope I won’t," he said. He added: “For me, if I take the lead, I ride much faster, ie if I ride my own race, that’s always been the best way for me to race.” Pidcock added that he was looking forward to joining Ineos full time, although he was non-committal on his racing programme for the rest of the year. A first grand tour at the Vuelta a España has been mentioned, and the road worlds again, while he is openly targeting Strade Bianche this spring. Pidcock also confirmed that he wants to race mountain bike for Team GB at the Olympics in Tokyo this summer. Qualification will depend on what other nations do but Britain are close to securing a place and Pidcock hopes the selectors look favourably on him if they do. “They [the selectors] like a story — me — coming to mountain bike, so it’s quite probably… it’s quite a good chance,” he said. “But I’m trying to stay focused on the weekend. “It’s the end of the journey with Trinity. I want to do myself and the team proud. It kind of feels like now this is the moment... everything I’ve done so far in cycling, it’s like you have two phases in your career and I’ve done phase one now as of Sunday. And then phase two is actually being full pro in an elite team. And that starts as of the 1st Feb.”
Posted: January 29, 2021, 3:22 pm
Dylan Groenewegen says he and his family needed police protection after receiving death threats and even a noose in the mail following the Tour of Poland crash last summer that left fellow Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen with life-threatening injuries. Groenewegen, 27, caused the crash when he deviated from his line on a high-speed downhill finish in Katowice in August. He was handed a nine-month ban by the UCI, in November, although many felt cycling’s world governing body and the local race organisers should have taken more responsibility for the dangerous finish. Jakobsen, meanwhile, was placed in a medically induced coma for two days and subsequently underwent several reconstructive surgeries to his face. But with the 24-year-old now back on his bike, Groenewegen has spoken for the first time about the extent of the backlash he faced. “There were such concrete and serious threats that we called the police a few days after the crash,” he told Dutch magazine Helden. “The following days and weeks the police guarded our door. We could not spontaneously leave the house. “We received handwritten letters in the mail, in which even a noose was added with which we could hang our [newborn] child. When you read that message and see that piece of rope, you are terrified.” Groenewegen added his mental health suffered in the aftermath. His house alarm went off one day, causing him to think “the craziest things”. On another occasion when a driver was tailgating him, he panicked. “Of course that affects you. What sick world do we live in? The most crazy things go through your head. Getting out of bed in the morning was quite a challenge in that period.” Meanwhile, the fitness-to-practise tribunal of former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman was adjourned on Tuesday without once entering public session. Freeman is accused of ordering testosterone to the national velodrome in May 2011 with the intention to dope a rider. Freeman’s defence team were supposed to begin their closing submissions on Tuesday , the tribunal having heard from the General Medical Council, who have brought the charges, last Friday and on Monday. However, “an unforeseen issue in relation to one of the parties” caused a delay. All parties will now almost certainly need to agree on new dates for the hearing, with Mary O’Rourke QC, Freeman’s counsel, having indicated she would require a day and a half to give her closing submissions, and Wednesday the only remaining day set aside. The tribunal panel is due to hand down a facts decision in writing on March 2.
Posted: January 26, 2021, 7:08 pm
Tom Pidcock interview: the world's most exciting cyclist is ready to make his mark with Ineos Grenadiers
Six months before signing for the biggest cycling team in the world, Tom Pidcock was at home playing computer games with his younger brother. It was a blissful time for Pidcock, 21, who lives all over Europe during the cycling season, with bases in Girona, Andorra and Belgium depending on what his varied race schedule allows. But there is just one place he calls home. “I will remember the summer I had at home in Yorkshire with the nice weather for the rest of my life,” Pidcock says of that first lockdown. “Instead of being away racing, I was able to spend time at home.” UCI WorldTour 2021: Complete team-by-team guide and race calendar Speaking before his move to Ineos Grenadiers, Pidcock says he played more computer games than normal in 2020 — “I play Xbox a lot when I've got the time” — not that you would have noticed from his results. Taciturn, with an impish smile and a mop of unkempt hair, coupled with his slight frame, Pidcock looks more like a Dickensian chimney sweep than a professional cyclist. Do not be fooled though, this 58kg flyweight may just be, pound-for-pound, the best cyclist in the world right now. He is certainly one of the most exciting. With an enviable palmarès that covers almost every discipline on two wheels, Pidcock has junior or under-23 national, European and world titles in them all. In 2020 Pidcock became the first Briton to win a medal at the elite men’s cyclo-cross world championships; was the first rider from Great Britain to win the Giro Ciclistico d'Italia — or the Baby Giro as it is more commonly known — along with three stages; and won the maiden electric mountain bike cross-country world title. In between playing computer games and racing on Zwift with brother Joe — who joined the Groupama–FDJ Continental development team in 2021 — he also got his first taste of road racing with the seniors at the European championships before leading Britain at the Imola world championships. Little wonder, then, that some struggle to describe what type of rider he is. Not so Pidcock who, although quiet, does not lack confidence. “I’m just a cyclist,” he says. “Road was my first love. My first big successes came in cyclo-cross though, so a lot of people know me as a cross rider.” Despite his successes in the mud and sand of northern Europe, including the recent ‘coming of age’ victory over three-time world cyclo-cross champion Mathieu van der Poel, Pidcock says cross is his least favourite discipline nowadays. Which is just as well, because following his fourth-place at last month’s world cyclo-cross championships, Pidcock joined British WorldTour team Ineos Grenadiers on a three-year deal.
Posted: January 26, 2021, 5:07 pm
The cyclocross world championships will go ahead this weekend despite the spread of a variant of the coronavirus, Ostend Mayor Bart Tommelein said Tuesday. Following discussions with the International Cycling Union and Flemish authorities, Tommelein said the city will be able to host the event with extra sanitary measures. More than 20,000 people have died with the virus in Belgium.
Posted: January 26, 2021, 4:55 pm
Tribunal told Dr Richard Freeman ordered banned testosterone when 'dopers' worked within Team Sky and British Cycling
Richard Freeman, the former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor, ordered banned testosterone to the national velodrome in 2011 at a time when “sleepers” and “dopers” worked within the organisations, a tribunal heard on Monday. Freeman is accused by the General Medical Council of ordering a batch of Testogel sachets in 2011 with the intention to dope an unnamed rider. The doctor, who now works as a GP in Lancashire, accepts ordering the package and then lying to cover his tracks. But he claims he was bullied into doing so by former head coach Shane Sutton to treat the Australian’s erectile dysfunction, a claim Sutton strenuously denies. The GMC finished its closing submissions on Monday by submitting that “the only reasonable conclusion” the panel could draw from the evidence it had heard over the course of the hearing, which has dragged on for nearly two years now, was that the testosterone was not ordered for clinical purposes but “used to dope a rider”. Simon Jackson QC told the tribunal that Freeman had spun a “web of deceit” after being caught out, digging an ever deeper hole and eventually, in 2017, deciding to pin his mistake on the “convenient suspect” which was Sutton. The Australian had by then left British Cycling under a cloud following accusations of bullying and sexism. Jackson said the suggestion that Sutton had bullied Freeman was not supported by evidence. And he added there was "no proof" that Freeman destroyed the Testogel sachets at home, as he claimed during the hearing. On the other hand, Jackson said, there was plenty of proof of Freeman’s interest in the testosterone levels of his riders at that time. And he added that Freeman was a “risk-taker” who “looked at what the riders wanted and didn’t focus on what the [Wada] Code prevented.” “Dr Freeman saw himself in every sense in the riders’ camp,” Jackson told the tribunal. “He stood against what Dr CC [a former Team Sky doctor who left the team in 2010] stood for, which was independent medical assessment.” Jackson added that evidence given to the tribunal last autumn by Tony Cooke, the father of former Olympic champion Nicole Cooke, had indirectly highlighted serious concerns about some of Team Sky’s staff in that era. Geert Leinders was one of a number of doctors brought in to the team at that time. The Belgian was subsequently banned for life for doping violations carried out at his previous team Rabobank. “Cooke’s evidence was led by the defence in the hope of being able to pull down Shane Sutton,” Jackson said. “But in a sense evidentially leaving the back door open to Tony Cooke giving evidence that he had been in touch with all manner of people to raise his anxieties regarding proven dopers, which I underline again Team Sky and British Cycling were not aware of… “But there were sleepers, there were dopers in the past who were within these organisations when Dr Freeman was acquiring the Testogel. They had doped before. And so these aren’t bold allegations in the sense they are unsubstantiated. “The GMC has been able to pull all these strands together. The only reasonable conclusion is that they [the Testogel sachets] weren’t clinically indicated but they were used to dope a rider.” Mary O’Rourke QC said she was alarmed by what she described as new evidence put forward by Jackson. “There are things that Mr Jackson has said this morning, and at 2.30pm this afternoon, that we have never heard before,” O’Rourke said. “He’s put a completely different case. I perceive a complete change in the GMC’s case.” O’Rourke said she might now need to review her closing submissions, which she will begin to give at 10:30am on Tuesday morning. The tribunal panel is due to hand down a facts decision in writing on March 2. Freeman is not attending closing submissions as he is helping to deliver the Covid vaccine in his local area.
Posted: January 25, 2021, 7:33 pm
Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin will take a break from cycling after struggling to handle the pressure of the sport and needing time to consider his future.
Posted: January 23, 2021, 6:16 pm
Tom Dumoulin will take a break from cycling as the Dutchman decides what he wants to do in the future, it has been announced. Dumoulin, 30, has left his team's training camp in Alicante, Spain, where he had been preparing for the new season. Speaking earlier this week in the Dutch media, Dumoulin outlined his plans for the year that were to include competing at a number of the one-day spring classics. Dumoulin, however, has performed a dramatic volte face, saying he needed to take time out and that he had been unhappy for sometime. Dumoulin will take unpaid leave from Jumbo-Visma, whom he is contracted to until 2022, while he considers his future. "I took the decision yesterday. And the team supports me in it, and it feels really good," he said in a team statement. "It is really as if a backpack of a hundred kilos has slipped off my shoulders. I immediately woke up happy. "It feels so good that I finally took the decision to take some time for myself. That says enough. I have been feeling for quite a while that it is very difficult for me to know how to find my way as Tom Dumoulin the cyclist. "With the pressure that comes with it, with the expectations of different parties. I just want to do very well for very many people. I want the team to be happy with me. I want the sponsors to be happy. I want my wife and my family to be happy. And so I want to do well for everyone, but because of that I have forgotten myself a bit in the past year. What do I want? Do I still want to be a rider. And how?" In 2017 Dumoulin became the first Dutchman to win the Giro d'Italia before later that year adding the rainbow bands to his growing collection of jerseys after winning the world time trial championships in Bergen, Norway. A runners-up spot at the 2018 Tour de France was followed by a disappointing season in 2019 after he was forced to abandon the Giro having sustained a knee injury. Following a transfer to Dutch squad Jumbo-Visma in 2020, Dumoulin showed signs of improvement and played a key role in his team's Tour de France challenge spearheaded by Primoz Roglic, who finished runner-up.
Posted: January 23, 2021, 3:13 pm
Former Giro d'Italia champion Tom Dumoulin is taking a break from cycling in order to ponder his future as a professional rider, his Jumbo-Visma team said on Saturday. Dumoulin, 30, won the Giro in 2017, finished second overall in the 2018 Tour de France, and has claimed stage victories on all three grand tours. "I have been feeling for quite a while that it is very difficult for me to know how to find my way as Tom Dumoulin the cyclist," said Dumoulin.
Posted: January 23, 2021, 1:55 pm
"Postponement is a difficult decision, but it has become inevitable, given the evolution of the pandemic situation in Portugal," a statement said. Daily coronavirus cases in Portugal rose 40% on Wednesday from the previous day to a record 14,647, with the national health system (SNS) on the verge of collapse and the government pondering tougher lockdown measures to tackle the surge. The Algarve Tour, which had attracted 14 WorldTour teams, is the latest race to be postponed as the professional cycling calendar faces disruption.
Posted: January 21, 2021, 1:13 pm
Frenchman Thibaut Pinot won't compete at the Tour de France this year, skipping his home race to focus on the Giro d'Italia.
Posted: January 19, 2021, 7:06 pm
Frenchman Thibaut Pinot won't compete at the Tour de France this year, skipping his home race to focus on the Giro d'Italia. Pinot, a talented rider with flair and strong climbing abilities, has enjoyed mixed fortunes at cycling's biggest event. Last year, he went into the race with the goal of ending a 35-year drought for France but crashed in the opening stage and finished 29th in the general classification.
Posted: January 19, 2021, 2:14 pm
Chris Froome says he was riding with a “20 per cent deficit” in one of his quadriceps muscles last season without realising it. He also says he was in discomfort at the Vuelta a España in the autumn due to a metal screw above a knee which was piercing the bone. The seven-time grand tour winner, who has moved to Israel Start-Up Nation after a decade with Ineos, said the discovery that his body was still “imbalanced” following his career-threatening crash in 2019 gave him hope that he could make it back to the top level of cycling. Froome’s stated aim is to win a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title. “I think the biggest learning towards the end of last year was actually going and doing some isokinetic testing once I got through the season,” Froome said on a video call from California, where he is training. “Figuring out that I was still sitting with about a 20 per cent deficit in quad strength on the right hand side. That was probably the biggest revelation; that the rehab process wasn’t actually 100 per cent completed, and that I still had work to do. “That’s obviously driven a lot of my planning and thinking into this winter period.” Froome, who was a long way off the pace of the leaders in Spain, has been doing rehab at the Red Bull High Performance Centre in Santa Monica. “Two-hour sessions, three or four times a week,” he said. “Focusing on really building muscle mass and strength. We’re trying to regain muscle mass on the leg that was injured. And I feel that’s going really well. I feel as if the delta has certainly been narrowed quite substantially since the end of last season.” Froome added that the removal of two metal screws from just above his kneecap after the Vuelta was also significant. “I could feel something sort of in the belly of my quad,” he said. “A pain quite deep in my quad that didn’t make sense. I went to have some scans done straight after the Vuelta and we found that one of the screws was actually piercing through the bone and potentially causing a bit of a grating sensation on the muscle as I was cycling.” Froome is working with a new coach, Canadian physiologist Paulo Saldanha, after many years with the Australian Tim Kerrison. He said he was still on friendly terms with his former team-mates at Ineos but had made a clean break coaching-wise. “That’s been going really well so far,” he said. “It’s quite a different sort of technique and training to what I’m used to. It certainly isn’t copying and pasting what I’ve done previously. “But I think that that’s probably quite good for me at this moment, having a bit of different mental stimulation. It feels like something quite fresh and especially joining the team, it feels like a new start.” Froome will be 36 in May, the same age as Firmin Lambot when the Belgian set the record for oldest Tour winner in 1922. Froome said he still believed he could win cycling’s biggest race. “Naturally as an athlete you’re constantly questioning yourself,” he said. “And there are no guarantees. But I don’t see any reason why physically I shouldn’t be able to get there. Hopefully once the racing starts, I’ll have a much clearer idea of where I’m at and what the build-up to the Tour de France looks like. “I see this as the biggest challenge of my career. Not only am I coming back from the injury but also I spent two years away from the Tour de France. I’m coming back this year, up against a lot of new faces who I haven’t got experience racing against. Guys like [2020 champion Tadej] Pogacar, guys like my former team-mates who I haven’t got experience racing against. “So it’s going to be a whole new experience but something I’m really, really looking forward to as well. I think we’ve got a fantastic group that Israel Start-Up nation have put together for this season. And it’s exciting to be part of a new young project that wants to get up on to that top tier.”
Posted: January 18, 2021, 7:34 pm
Comprising 19 teams from 13 different countries and five continents, the UCI WorldTour is the highest division of professional road cycling. Ahead of the new season that features 33 events ranging from one-day races through to the three-week grand tours — jewels in the crown of men's cycling — Telegraph Sport casts its critical eyes over each squad. How did they fare last year? Where will their wins most likely come from in 2021? What are the big transfers that have happened and which youngsters are we most excited about following throughout the year? Featuring 33 events in 2021, ranging from one-day races through to the jewels in the crown of cycling — the three-week grand tours — the men's season gets under way at the UAE Tour on February 21 and runs through to October with the season-ending Gree-Tour of Guangxi in China. The Women's WorldTour, meanwhile, features 20 events following a series of cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic. The top tier of women's road racing that features nine teams, gets under way at Strade Bianche on March 6 and concludes in China on October 19. Next race . . .
Posted: January 18, 2021, 4:39 pm
Dutch cyclist Wilco Kelderman and two of his teammates on Bora-Hansgrohe have been hospitalized after a car crashed into their training group.
Posted: January 18, 2021, 12:03 am
With some stunning shots of shipwrecks, scenery and sand a wrapup of the Dakar Rally, which concluded Jan. 15 in Saudi Arabia.
Posted: January 16, 2021, 8:00 pm
Ricky Brabec won the final stage of the Dakar Rally but was edged in overall results by Honda teammate Kevin Benavides; Stephane Peterhansel (cars) won his record 14th Dakar.
Posted: January 15, 2021, 2:00 pm
A Munich court on Friday sentenced a German sports doctor to four years and 10 months in prison for masterminding an international network helping athletes with blood doping for years. The defendant, identified only as Mark S, was found guilty on two dozen charges linked to helping at least 23 athletes from eight countries gain an unfair advantage via performance-enhancing blood transfusions. He was the first active physician in Germany to receive a significant jail sentence for doping.
Posted: January 15, 2021, 11:28 am
Suffering the effects of an accident two days earlier, Joan Barreda missed a refueling point and ended his rally in a hospital undergoing observation.
Posted: January 14, 2021, 4:45 pm
'I’m a realist': Mark Cavendish insists he is not living in a fairytale land on his return to Deceuninck-Quick Step
Mark Cavendish says he is not expecting to win multiple Tour de France stages this year after rejoining Belgian super team Deceuninck-Quick Step, describing himself as a “realist” rather than one living in a “fairytale land”. Analysis: How and why Deceuninck-Quick Step became world's No 1 team However, the 30-time Tour de France stage winner — who rode for the Belgian team from 2013 until 2015, a period he describes as the happiest of his career — said he felt he was still a top rider and could "add something” to the team. Speaking at a virtual pre-season team presentation in Altea on the Costa Blanca, Cavendish said he was not yet sure of his race schedule, but was realistic regarding his role given the team’s star-studded line-up, which includes Irish sprinter Sam Bennett plus Colombian Álvaro Hodeg and Fabio Jakobsen. “I’m a realist,” he said. “I’m not looking to hang on to something or try to finish my career as I want to in a fairytale way. I just know I’m still good. "If I thought I wanted to go and win six stages at the Tour de France, I’m in fairytale land and it makes it even less likely if you come to the strongest team in the world who have dominated. "But even if I’m not winning, I think I can still add something to this team. Last time I added to them and they added something to me. So why not join them if it’s my last year or if I’ve got 10 more years in me? "Ultimately, I was at my happiest when I was here and the opportunity to come back and race for Deceuninck-Quick Step is a dream — if I do one month more or 10 years more.” Cavendish added that he was just happy still to be riding professionally, with the world in such an uncertain state. "Like many riders, I just like to race. Before that, I hope the world gets back to some kind of normality and that people stay safe. I know the vaccine is coming now and being distributed, so we can get back to normal," he said. "I feel the same as the Belgian fans: I live and breathe it [cycling], so I just feel at home at Deceuninck-Quick Step. "The best part of my career was at this team. I tried something else but in hindsight, I wish I’d stayed here my whole career. I have an incredible rapport with the team and staff and sponsors, especially with Specialized. I helped develop the Venge. It was a bike made for me and I proved it was the best bike for me to win on. "Cycling has been my life for as long as I can remember and always will be. We don’t know how long that is on the bike or off the bike but for now I just want to keep enjoying racing and thankfully in a Deceuninck jersey this year."
Posted: January 13, 2021, 6:34 pm
Ricky Brabec moved a step closer to defending his Dakar Rally championship, winning Stage 10 while former overall leader Nacho Cornejo crashed out.
Posted: January 13, 2021, 2:00 pm
An Austrian cyclist who won a stage at the Spanish Vuelta was found guilty of fraud on Tuesday in connection with a doping scheme. The Austria Press Agency reported Stefan Denifl received a two-year sentence with 16 months of that time suspended after being accused of doping from 2014 to 2018. Denifl admitted being involved in a blood doping ring allegedly run from neighboring Germany, but denied he earned money fraudulently by doping, APA reported.
Posted: January 12, 2021, 5:04 pm
Toby Price began the day in second and was making up ground on the leader when he crashed 150 kilometers into the stage.
Posted: January 12, 2021, 4:16 pm
Ricky Brabec became the first rider in the 2021 Dakar Rally to finish on the podium after winning a stage, placing third in Stage 8 of 12.
Posted: January 11, 2021, 1:30 pm
Chris Froome says it feels “rejuvenating” to have joined a new team after 11 years with Team Sky/Ineos, adding that he feels “really optimistic” about returning to winning ways at Israel Start-Up Nation. The seven-time grand tour winner is training in California, trying to improve his form and fitness 18 months after his career-threatening accident at the Criterium du Dauphine. Froome said the benefit of training in the States, apart from the warm weather, was the proximity to Red Bull’s High Performance Centre in Santa Monica. “I’ve been focusing a lot this winter on really addressing some of those imbalances and weaknesses I’ve had from the injury,” he said. “I’m feeling really optimistic about the upcoming season.” The injuries sustained in that crash in France saw Froome struggle for form in 2020, returning from the first coronavirus lockdown a long way off the pace and eventually missing out on selection altogether for Team Ineos’ Tour de France squad. He returned for the Vuelta a Espana where again he was a long way short of his best, albeit he grew stronger as the race wore on. “My goals haven’t changed,” he told his team’s website. “I want to get back to that top level, I want to be fighting for victories at the Tour de France and other grand tours.” Froome, 35, added that the change in scenery had given him new impetus. “I’m 35,” he said. “I’m coming back from a big injury, year after year with the same team. “I’ve been –it’s almost been copying and pasting every year, year on year, and changing teams at this point in my career is going to give me so much more, I guess, mental stimulation and motivation. “It’s a whole new change. It’s a new project, a new chapter and it does feel quite rejuvenating for me.”
Posted: January 10, 2021, 9:57 pm
Ricky Brabec knows that opening the course has been detrimental to other riders this year, but he will have to lead the way Monday after winning Sunday.
Posted: January 10, 2021, 5:03 pm
Reports have said athletes may have to quarantine ahead of the Tokyo Games, and with the Tour finishing less than a week before the scheduled road race, cyclists could face a tough choice. Sagan has won a record seven green jersey for the points classification on the Tour de France.
Posted: January 10, 2021, 2:32 pm
After a breakout season in 2020, Swiss cyclist Marc Hirschi has joined Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar at UAE Team Emirates.
Posted: January 9, 2021, 8:44 pm
Riders and staff of Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar's cycling team have received a COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the 2021 season.
Posted: January 8, 2021, 6:42 pm
"The riders and staff of the Tour de France 2020 winning team UAE Team Emirates have taken the UAE Ministry of Health & Prevention approved COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinopharm CNBG," UAE Emirates said in a statement. "A total of 27 riders, including the Tour de France 2020 winner Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogacar, plus 32 staff have now received the vaccine."
Posted: January 8, 2021, 4:02 pm
Two-time Dakar Rally winner Toby Price moved back into the overall bikes lead in Stage 6 while Stephane Peterhansel retained the lead in cars.
Posted: January 8, 2021, 3:00 pm