The 2021 Dakar Rally route through Saudi Arabia features 12 stages of competition, a seeding round and a rest day. Carlos Sainz looks to defend last year's win in cars while America's Ricky Brabec defends his motorcycle title.
Posted: November 25, 2020, 5:54 pm
Shane Sutton, former technical director of British Cycling, accused by ex team-mate of misleading a select committee in 2016
Shane Sutton, the former technical director of British Cycling, has been accused by a former team-mate of misleading a Commons select committee in 2016 when he said he had “no experience” of doping either during or after his cycling career. Kvetoslav Palov, a former team-mate of Sutton’s at British team ANC-Halfords in the late 1980s, told a medical tribunal on Tuesday that Sutton would have seen the exact same thing he did when he entered the toilets of a McDonald's restaurant in Edinburgh prior to the first stage of the 1987 Tour of Britain and found “syringes all over the place from bike riders”. The Czech ex-pro also told the tribunal of rumours that the team’s soigneur at the time, Angus Fraser, had “spent £10,000 on drugs” for Sutton at that year’s Tour de France. Palov was speaking at the fitness-to-practise tribunal of Dr Richard Freeman. The former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor is accused by the General Medical Council of ordering testosterone to the national velodrome in 2011 “knowing or believing” it was intended for an athlete. Freeman has admitted to 18 of the GMC’s 22 charges but denies that central charge, insisting he ordered the drug to treat Sutton’s erectile dysfunction. Sutton has rejected those claims and called Freeman a “liar”. Palov’s recollection of the McDonald's incident was queried. Simon Jackson QC, for the GMC, said that the witness had requested to change his statement to the tribunal and was not claiming to have visited the toilets “with Sutton” in person, but was merely speculating that Sutton would have seen what he had. “Everybody in that peloton who started that race would have used that toilet,” Palov countered. “Shane would have been there as well. I am not saying we went in there holding hands. My point was that anyone saying they had no [experience] of drug use was absolutely not true.” “You signed a document that you stated that is not true,” replied Jackson who also noted that the first McDonald's in Scotland did not open until two months after the alleged incident took place, adding that it was in Dundee. “I will take your word for that,” Palov said. “It was a fast-food place. It was right on the square where the race started. It could have been a different restaurant.” Palov, who was called as a witness for the defence, was speaking via video link from Australia where he now resides. He said it was fanciful for Sutton to suggest that he had no experience of doping. “Anyone who has been in and around pro cycling for so long and isn’t aware of anyone taking drugs is absolutely lying,” he said. Meanwhile, Tony Cooke, the father of 2008 Olympic champion Nicole Cooke, has described UK Anti-Doping as “not fit for purpose”. In a statement to the tribunal, which was released to media overnight on Monday after he had given evidence in person, Cooke said that he and his daughter had separately raised concerns with UKAD and Team Sky’s then head of medicine Dr Steve Peters about Sutton in 2013, but that neither had acted. Cooke said that he had gone to UKAD and identified to them “an ex team-mate of Sutton’s who wished to be taken on the record as having witnessed Sutton using PEDs and giving UKAD other anecdotal evidence to support this account”. “I believe that UKAD is not only not fit for purpose, its self-imposed construct and operating constraints, facilitate an avenue that the unscrupulous exploit,” Cooke wrote. “UKAD is a significant part of the problem.”
Posted: November 24, 2020, 4:40 pm
Dr Richard Freeman tribunal hears that Shane Sutton found an empty phial of EPO in his car at Welsh race
Tony Cooke, the father of 2008 Olympic champion Nicole Cooke, told a medical tribunal on Monday that Shane Sutton discovered an empty phial of EPO in his car at the Five Valleys road race when he was national coach of Wales. Cooke was called as a witness for the former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman, who is accused of ordering testosterone for an unnamed rider in 2011. Freeman has admitted to 18 of 22 charges in his fitness-to-practise hearing but denies that central charge, insisting he ordered the drug to treat Sutton’s erectile dysfunction. Sutton has rejected the claims and called Freeman a “liar”. The hearing was due to finish by Thursday, but will now run into a third year. Under cross-examination from the General Medical Council’s QC Simon Jackson, Cooke told the tribunal on Monday that he had heard a story relating to a phial of banned blood booster EPO at the Five Valleys road race. It was not specified at which edition of the race the incident took place but Sutton was coach at Welsh Cycling in the late 1990s before joining British Cycling in 2002. Cooke said he heard from Sutton’s driver at that race that both men had left the car unattended and returned to find the empty phial in it. “Your informant said Mr Sutton was very angry about this being left in the car in which he was travelling?” Jackson asked. “He thought it had been left there deliberately by a rider?” “That's correct,” replied Cooke. “My own interpretation of it at the time was one of his [Sutton's] innocence.” “But you also say you felt uncomfortable that the Welsh national coach would have recognised a phial of EPO ?" continued Jackson. “That was the point,” Cooke said. “I interpreted it at the time as Mr Sutton rightly being angry. Why was it there? Etc But how would one know in such a short space of time? Mr Sutton was obviously able to recognise it according to the account given to me.” Cooke also alleged that he and his daughter went to UK Anti-Doping with a number of concerns in 2013, including concerns about Sutton, but said that none of them were acted upon.
Posted: November 23, 2020, 8:00 pm
Aprilia has named three riders for its 2021 MotoGP line-up, but only Aleix Espargaro remains confirmed while one of Lorenzo Savadori and Bradley Smith will be his teammate.
Posted: November 23, 2020, 12:54 pm
British Cycling chief says Paul Manning's departure is sudden, but denies controversy is behind decision
Stephen Park, the performance director of British Cycling, has denied that any specific fallout or controversy was behind Paul Manning’s shock decision to quit his role as women’s endurance coach 10 months out from the Olympic Games. Park did concede, however, that weariness at new governance put in place over the last four years may have been a factor. Manning, who coached Britain’s women to successive gold medals in London and Rio and also guided Laura Kenny to her individual golds, only informed the squad on Tuesday of his intention to quit. He said in a statement that he would be “forever proud” of the performances to which he had contributed and added that his remaining time with the team would be focused on “a successful launch into 2021”. But he gave no reason beyond that for his decision. Coming hot on the heels of the dismissal of men’s sprint coach Kevin Stewart for “inappropriate relationships” with riders, it inevitably led to speculation that all may not be well within the Great Britain Cycling Team (GBCT), which is now having to fill two key vacancies just months out from an Olympic Games. Park conceded the timing was less than ideal but insisted the two cases were completely unrelated. “Would I prefer he had done it in 10 months’ time? Yeah, I would. But equally I respect his decision,” he told Telegraph Sport on Wednesday. “For clarity, Paul has not been ‘exited’. He has decided for whatever reason that it’s time to move on.” Asked whether he and Manning had fallen out in any way, Park replied: “Not particularly no. No more or less than the other coaches. Ultimately, when you’re the boss of any organisation, your job is not to be liked. Have I had any blazing rows with Paul Manning recently? No. Frankly, even if he wanted to, that’s not really his character. Maybe he will come out later on that there was some issue but there’s nothing obvious that falls into that bracket.” Park did admit that weariness at the way he was running GBCT — and the way UK Sport was requiring it to be run - was probably a factor. “I’m sure there are things which are going on, in terms of the way I’m running the programme, in terms of the way UK Sport are requiring governing bodies to run their programmes, I’m sure there are things on that list which everybody involved in the world-class programme are not necessarily happy with, or agree with,” he said. “And I’m sure some of those things, if you were able to dissect Paul Manning’s brain and look at that list, I’m sure some of those things would be relevant.” British Cycling commissioned an independent review of its cultures and practices in April 2016 following a number of allegations of sexism and bullying. The report made 39 recommendations. “We’ve worked pretty blooming hard as a governing body to address the 39 points which were raised in the Cycling Independent Review,” Park said. “We’ve worked very hard to educate our workforce. And we’ve added additional bits and pieces.” “I think through this four-year cycle, as a result of both societal changes and all the inquiries which have gone on, there’s far more governance in terms of what happens in a world-class high-performance programme — accountability, goal-setting, evidencing decision-making, behaviour, training… things that are non-technical. Mandatory training around everything from expenses to equality policy to diversity… there’s module after module after module. “Whether you’re a performance director or a communications officer or a coach, when you start looking at that list, the first thing you’re thinking is: ‘How is this going to make us win more medals?’ All of that time you’re spending on that is time you’re not spending directly with athletes. But the other side is we’re trying to make sure we provide all that training so that we educate our workforce, so we can ensure they do the right thing, in the right way, at the right time.” Both coaching roles were being advertised on the British Cycling website on Wednesday, with Park saying he wanted to “cast the net wide”. “We just topped the medals table at [last week’s] European Track Champs,” he said. “And we do have people internally who we feel have the capability to step up. But equally we’re keen to cast the net wide. We need to take the opportunity now to see how we can move on and use this as an opportunity. We’re medal-competitive in both those disciplines. So what new input can come in and take us on and improve our performance still further? “There will be people in other countries’ programmes for instance who have already committed to those countries because it’s Tokyo but if they don’t take this opportunity with BC [British Cycling] it may not come up again. So if they want it they may have to come and get it. If coaches want to come and work with the best cyclists in the world now’s the time for them to apply.” Meanwhile, Alex Dowsett has postponed his attempt at the hour record next month after the British rider tested positive for Covid-19, cycling's governing body the UCI said on Wednesday. The 32-year-old, who held the record in 2015, was hoping to take the record back from Belgian Victor Campenaerts who rode 55.08km last year in Mexico. No new date has been set for Dowsett's attempt. "I am really disappointed the attempt can't go ahead as planned but my health is first and foremost the priority," Dowsett said in a statement. "I very much look forward to attacking the record in 2021 with the same intent."
Posted: November 18, 2020, 8:33 pm
British Cycling has suffered the loss of a second senior figure during the final countdown to the Tokyo Olympics with the resignation of women's endurance coach Paul Manning. The news comes only a week after men's sprint coach Kevin Stewart was dismissed for "inappropriate relationships" with riders, though British Cycling said Manning's resignation is unrelated as the 46-year-old departs to pursue new challenges. Manning has spent more than a decade within the coaching set-up, with the riders under his guidance winning every available Olympic gold medal during that time. He was named the UK's high performance coach of the year after Laura Kenny, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell set a team pursuit world record at the London Olympics in 2012. In a statement, Manning said: "My time as a coach for the Great Britain cycling team has helped me recognise how it feels to be part of a high-performance team when they are operating exceptionally well. "I will forever remain very proud of the performances I have contributed to and feel I am leaving the squad well prepared for the final push to Tokyo 2021. My remaining time with the team will be focused on a successful launch in to 2021." Manning, himself an Olympic champion rider in the men's team pursuit squad at the Beijing Games in 2008, has been a constant presence throughout a golden era for British Cycling on the track. As rivals ramp up the pressure ahead of Tokyo, with both the men's endurance and sprint riders left playing catch-up at recent events, the women's endurance squad under Manning has performed the strongest. They took team pursuit silver at the World Championships in February and only last week claimed gold at the European Championships in Bulgaria, though Manning was not present. Jon Norfolk, British Cycling's head of Tokyo performance planning, said: "I would like to congratulate Paul on his fantastic career with the Great Britain cycling team, both as a rider and as a coach, and wish him the very best of luck in his next chapter. "We fully respect his decision to call time on his coaching career with the Great Britain cycling team, Paul can reflect back with pride at the significant contribution he has made to the success of the women's endurance squad and he can leave knowing he has laid the foundations for this legacy to continue in Tokyo and beyond. "We will begin the recruitment for a new podium women's endurance coach imminently but I am confident that the strength, focus and resilience displayed by all the riders within the squad will ensure we remain on the trajectory for success at the Olympic Games next year."
Posted: November 17, 2020, 7:41 pm
Ian Stannard interview: 'Pain is part of your life as a rider but it felt like my hands were on fire'
As a rider, Ian Stannard loved nothing better than to dish out pain. It was his stock in trade. Riding on the front, in all weather, mile after mile, putting rival teams in the red. “That was when I was happiest,” says Stannard. “Hearing on the radio that the group has split behind. OK, let’s go. Squeeze a bit more. Put that nail in the coffin. I remember in the [Criterium du] Dauphine the other year, with Kiry [Vasil Kiryienka, his former Ineos team-mate], killing it on the front. It feels weirdly good.” Even for Stannard, though, there is a limit to how hard you can be. The Chelmsford-born rider was forced to retire last week, at the age of just 33, after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The pain was simply too much to endure. Sitting in his home in Wilmslow, in an office empty but for a framed photo of a line of riders strung out on what looks like a section of Roubaix pavé, it is clear Stannard is still struggling to come to terms with how it ended. “It’s very weird,” he says. “I mean, it’s all I’ve ever known. It’s your whole identity. I always thought I had another three or four years in me.” Of course, Stannard tried to tough it out. After first noticing the pain in his hands last summer, he tried to convince himself it was down to a change of bike, from the Pinarello F10 to the F12. “I told myself it must be these new handlebars,” he says. “I haven’t quite got the position right. The shifters are slightly wrong. I didn’t want to admit it. But it was getting worse and worse. I’m sat down in the evenings and my wrists and fingers are on fire.” After being diagnosed, Stannard tried to manage the symptoms as best he could while juggling training schedules and race programmes.
Posted: November 16, 2020, 5:08 pm
Lizzy Banks was just coming to the end of another hugely encouraging season when the bombshell dropped last month that her team Équipe Paule Ka was folding with immediate effect. It turned out Paule Ka, the French fashion label who entered the sport in a blaze of glory and positive PR this summer, rescuing Bigla from oblivion after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, were not quite the shining knights they had made themselves out to be. Despite committing to three-and-a-half-years of sponsorship, they only paid one instalment in July before going very quiet. “The whole thing was an absolute disaster,” says Banks. “When your team folds in October, in a year where there's been a global pandemic, and we're on the brink of a huge global recession, and every other team have filled their roster [for 2021]… absolutely horrendous. At that point, frankly, we were all screwed.” Fortunately, Banks was not quite as screwed as she thought. The 30-year-old, who only began racing in 2015, quitting medical school to chase her cycling dream, is a growing force in the women’s peloton as she demonstrated when racing resumed in August. It was Banks who instigated the winning move at GP de Plouay in August, eventually finishing second behind compatriot Lizzie Deignan. Weeks later, she won the 170km fourth stage at the Giro Rosa, riding the last 90km in the company of one other rider. Various options emerged with Banks confirming on Wednesday that she will ride for Ceratizit-WNT in 2021. While they are a UCI Continental outfit rather than part of the Women's WorldTour, Banks says she is thrilled to be joining a team with former world champion Lisa Brennauer and Dutch powerhouse Kirsten Wild on their books. “It’s a brilliant team,” she says. “Obviously, you have the star names. We saw last weekend that Lisa Brennauer won the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta. But what was notable was that it was a fantastic team performance. I think there's so much talent there. It's just bubbling and waiting to come through.” “Also, with Boels-Dolmans moving up to the WorldTour, we'll actually be the top-ranked Continental team. So we’ll get entry to all the Women’s WorldTour races off the back of that. It's a great position to be in. At all the big races, but you don't have the responsibility to chase things down like you would if you were at Trek-Segafredo or Boels-Dolmans for instance.” Banks says she feels she and Brennauer, in particular, can work well together. “I think that combination is something that is very exciting, very dynamic, and very dangerous,” she says. “I feel funny comparing myself to somebody who has won so much and is such a prolific racer, but I do feel that our styles are quite similar; that the areas where one of us is slightly weaker, perhaps the other one makes up for it. “I think you're going to have two tactically smart riders across all terrain who, especially with the backing of a really, really strong dynamic team can really create some fireworks and hopefully get some really big results next year.” Banks should get plenty of opportunities to do so. She says the team “absolutely mirror” her ambitions and given her ambitions are pretty lofty, that must mean leadership opportunities. The Sheffield-based rider is certainly not afraid to aim high. “I truly believe that I can be a world champion one day,” says Banks who believes age is no barrier. “Maybe it won’t be next year or the one after but I believe I can get there and I can be one of the best riders in the world. I've only been racing for five years. I've only just finished in my second year racing in Europe. It’s quite unbelievable when you think about how far I've come. To think Ronde van Drenthe was my first women’s WorldTour race in 2019. “I had no idea what I was doing. I learned how to ride crosswinds in the middle of that race. I don't want children at the moment, and probably not in the future either. So yeah, I really see no barrier. “Plus,” she adds, “if somebody tells me that I can't do something, I will do my bloody hardest to make sure I can do it. Look at Annemiek [van Vleuten]. She is 38.” In the immediate future, Banks’s focus will be on knuckling down to a winter of hard training. But her thoughts are already turning to next year. She had designs on the Tour de Yorkshire only for it to be postponed on Wednesday due to Covid. But she is still targeting the Women’s Tour in June (“To get a podium there would be a dream”) as well as the spring classics, particularly the elusive Tour of Flanders. “I didn’t get to ride it last year because I got concussion and then this spring it was cancelled because of Covid, and then this autumn my team couldn’t race because of folding. I just feel like it is one of those races that, you know, would probably really suit me.” Banks is also hoping to be named in Britain’s Olympic team. Most of all, though, she is just excited to bed into her new team after a period of huge uncertainty, which left her stressed and struggling to sleep. Banks feels the women’s side of cycling is “definitely going in the right direction” even if it was a sad reflection of the times that she and her fellow Équipe Paule Ka riders were scrabbling around for contracts worth a fraction of what the top men earn. A survey of riders published by the Cyclists’ Alliance last week found that only a quarter of respondents were making more than €30,000 a year. There is a minimum salary of €15,000 for riders employed by their team and €24,600 for self-employed riders, but these standards apply only to the nine Women's WorldTour teams. “The amounts that we're looking at are a drop in the ocean compared to how much how much men's teams are run with. If I said to Chris Froome, ‘Can I have one per cent of your salary?’ That'd be a pretty good salary for a woman. He wouldn't even notice. Not to pick on Froome who has obviously won seven grand tours, but still, yeah…” “Last month was a really f------ s--- situation. I've not been that stressed for a really, really long time. I wasn't sleeping. I mean, we've committed to doing major building works on our house. I was supposed to be the main breadwinner. Suddenly, it put massive pressure on my husband. It’s all worked out quite well in the end but I would never wish that stress upon anyone.”
Posted: November 11, 2020, 10:58 pm
American Chloe Dygert has signed a four-year contract with Canyon-Sram in an exciting development for professional cycling. Dygert is one of the strongest riders in the world on track and road. The 23-year-old is the star turn in the American team pursuit quartet who beat Great Britain to gold at this year’s Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin earlier this year. After losing to Laura Kenny, Elinor Barker, Katie Archibald and Joanna Rowsell-Shand at Rio 2016 they will be hoping to avenge that defeat in Tokyo next summer. The rider from Brownsburg in Indiana also smashed the individual pursuit world record twice in the same day en route to gold in that event at the same championships. On the road, Dygert secured junior world titles in the time trial and road race at the world championships in Richmond in 2015 and has carried that promise through to the senior ranks. She claimed the world time trial title in Yorkshire last year and would surely have won again in Imola this year but for a huge crash which saw her flip over a metal guard rail, sustaining a nasty laceration in her left leg in the process. She is still recovering from her operation. Dygert joins Canyon-Sram from American development team Twenty20 Pro Cycling where she has spent six years. Twenty20 Pro Cycling team manager Nicola Cranmer said in a press release that Dygert's time with team had provided her with the tools she needed to grow. “Although it appears Chloe has God-given strength and talent, many assume these talents spring out of nowhere or burst on the scene — but it takes years of patience, nurturing, mapping, and of course the partnership with her coach, Kristin Armstrong, to develop an athlete like Chloe,” Cranmer said. Dygert, meanwhile, said she was excited to be stepping up to the Women's WorldTour and joining the European road racing scene, even if her focus for the coming season was on her recovery and then the Olympic Games. “My focus in 2021 is clear — the Tokyo Olympic Games. I just want to heal and be ready in time, and my goals are to win gold in the time trial and the team pursuit,” stated Dygert. “I haven’t raced on the road in Europe yet because I still had goals to accomplish before we could move to that one. I’ll stay working with my coach Kristin Armstrong. We’ve always set goals and gone after them one at a time, without spreading ourselves too thin. We’ll keep that approach next year and we’re looking forward to the supportive environment of Canyon-Sram and its partners." Of Canyon-Sram, who have British sisters Hannah and Alice Barnes on their books, she added: “Honestly, it’s the best team for me — willing to work with my track schedule and giving me the freedom to still be the athlete I strive to be,” Dygert said. “I’m excited to see myself in the Canyon-Sram colours. “It will be my first time racing on the road in Europe but my coach and I agree that the time for that has now come in my career. I’m confident that Canyon-Sram will provide the best environment for me to achieve my future goals over the next four years."
Posted: November 11, 2020, 9:08 pm
The International Cycling Union, cycling’s world governing body, has come under fire after handing Dutch sprinter Dylan Groenewegen a nine-month suspension for causing the collision with compatriot Fabio Jakobsen during the Tour of Poland in August. Jakobsen was placed in a medically induced coma for two days after the crash at the finish line in Katowice, while Groenewegen was disqualified from the race. The UCI issued a statement saying that the rider had “acknowledged that he deviated from his line and committed a violation of the UCI Regulations”, adding that his suspension would run until May 7, 2021. However, it prompted a backlash from riders and pundits who felt the UCI was refusing to take any responsibility itself for an unsafe downhill sprint finish. “Just a reminder to everybody going nuts on the @UCI_cycling — they’ve always been like this,” wrote retired rider David Millar on Twitter, calling out UCI president David Lappartient. “@DLappartient doesn’t really care about pro cycling. He wants a job at the @Olympics — It’s what they do. f---theioc and the UCI while we’re at it.” Groenwegen, meanwhile, once again apologised to Jakobsen in a post on Instagram on Wednesday morning. "The crash in the first stage of the Tour of Poland will forever be a black page in my career," he sad. "During the sprint I deviated from my line. I am sorry, because I want to be a fair sprinter. "The consequences were very unfortunate and serious. I am very aware of that and I hope this has been a wise lesson for every sprinter. I follow the news of Fabio’s recovery very closely. I can only hope that one day he will return completely. "Closing the disciplinary matter creates clarity. That gives me the opportunity to look ahead again. I am happy about that, even though May 7th is still far away. I am happy with the support I get from Team Jumbo-Visma, my family and friends. Together we will work towards that day both mentally and physically." British rider Lizzy Banks, a double Giro Rosa stage winner and podium finisher at GP de Plouay in August, has signed a one-year contract with Ceratizit WNT for 2021. Banks had been left without a team after Équipe Paule Ka folded suddenly last month.
Posted: November 11, 2020, 5:27 pm
Bjarne Riis, the 1996 Tour de France champion, is stepping down as as team manager of South Africa-based NTT Pro Cycling.
Posted: November 11, 2020, 4:37 pm
Cyclist Dylan Groenewegen is banned from racing for nine months for causing a sprint-finish crash that left a rival in a coma with severe facial injuries.
Posted: November 11, 2020, 4:30 pm
British Cycling has dismissed one of its top coaches after finding him guilty of gross misconduct including inappropriate relationships with riders. Head men's sprint coach Kevin Stewart, who worked with six-time Olympic track champion Jason Kenny, had been given repeated warnings about his behaviour, British Cycling said in a statement. "While this has been uncomfortable for everybody concerned, it demonstrates the robustness of the processes we have in place when concerns are raised," said Stephen Park, Performance Director for British Cycling.
Posted: November 11, 2020, 12:12 pm
British Cycling sacks sprint coach after investigation finds 'long-term pattern of inappropriate relationships' with riders
British Cycling has sacked a senior sprint coach on the grounds of gross misconduct after an investigation established a "long-term pattern of inappropriate relationships" with riders. Kevin Stewart, who used to work with the women’s sprint squad but had switched to coaching the men’s squad including six-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny, was dismissed last week following a concern raised in October. In a statement, the governing body stressed that an investigation had found “no evidence of a physical relationship between Kevin and any rider on the Great Britain Cycling Team”. But it added that the dismissal followed “repeated warnings” that his behaviour "fell short of the values and standards expected”. A former sprinter, who represented Scotland at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Stewart is the brother of former podium rider Mark Stewart. British Cycling’s statement said he was also found guilty of “failing to follow specific direction of the Performance Director in regard to relationship with riders and professional boundaries”, the “inappropriate use of electronic communication” and "actions bringing British Cycling into disrepute”. Stewart said he "wholeheartedly apologised" for actions which were "not acceptable”. “I realised my actions had made my position on the team untenable and had handed in my resignation before being dismissed while on my notice period,” he said in the same statement issued by British Cycling. It is unclear who raised the complaints. The governing body said the episode proved that its new protocols, heavily redrafted in the wake of bullying and sexism allegations following Shane Sutton’s dismissal in 2016, were working. Stephen Park, performance director for British Cycling, added: "While this has been uncomfortable for everybody concerned, it demonstrates the robustness of the processes we have in place when concerns are raised. "The GB Cycling Team has a clear set of expected behaviours and values and we must hold ourselves and each other to account when we do not meet the standards of behaviour we set as a team.” It remains to be seen what effect the dismissal may have on the men’s sprint squad, or how the coaching structure might be altered. Britain’s men have won the last three Olympic gold medals in team sprint.
Posted: November 11, 2020, 11:57 am
The Danish former rider joined the African-based team at the start of the year and departs by mutual consent. The team, founded by South African former pro Ryder in 2007 and the first African team to compete at the Tour de France, is fighting for it's future after NTT announced it was withdrawing at title sponsor.
Posted: November 11, 2020, 10:58 am
Groenewegen, who rides for the Jumbo–Visma team, was jostling for position with Jakobsen in the final metres of the first stage of the Tour of Poland when the pair came together. Jakobsen, 24, crashed into the barriers and collided with a race official. "The UCI referred (to its disciplinary commission) the case against the rider, who acknowledged that he deviated from his line and committed a violation of UCI regulations," cycling's governing body said in a statement.
Posted: November 11, 2020, 10:07 am
British Cycling has appointed Brian Facer as its next Chief Executive Officer. Facer will join from Premiership rugby club London Irish, where he held the same position. He will take up his new role early in the new year as replacement for Julie Harrington, who leaves in January 2020 after three years at the governing body. Facer, who has a commercial background, is a British Cycling member and rides with Daventry Cycling Club. “I’m delighted to be joining British Cycling as the organisation’s new Chief Executive,” he said in a statement. “It is an exciting time for the whole cycling community across the country, where we are going into the postponed Olympic and Paralympic year, have had another British rider become a Grand Tour champion, and have seen the number of recreational cyclists increase dramatically during the last six months. “I’ve been a very keen cyclist all of my life, ranging from bike rides with my family all the way through to mountain biking across the Alps and completing a number of Etapes du Tour, including Col du Tourmalet and Alpe d’Huez, so being offered the position of CEO of British Cycling is a dream come true.” British Cycling chair, Frank Slevin, described Facer as the "clear choice" from a "competitive field". “I am delighted to conclude the search for a new Chief Executive Officer for British Cycling with the appointment of Brian," he said. “Brian is a British Cycling member and a passionate cyclist, and he understands the needs of the cycling community who are the core of the organisation. What also impressed us was his knowledge of British Cycling, and his commitment to investing in all of our staff and volunteers, so that they can achieve their own potential and make the federation as a whole even stronger.”
Posted: November 10, 2020, 5:09 pm
A total of 46 members of Spain's civil guard have tested positive for COVID-19 after working on traffic control at the Vuelta a Espana cycling race, a source confirmed on Tuesday. The civil guard source said the officers, who had mild symptoms or none at all, were isolating in their residences.
Posted: November 10, 2020, 5:09 pm
Alex Dowsett has announced plans to regain the world hour record in Manchester next month. Dowsett, 32, set a mark of 52.937km at the national velodrome in May 2015 but only held the record for just over a month with Sir Bradley Wiggins managing to complete 54.526km at the Olympic velodrome in London in June of that year. Since then, there have been three more attempts to capture the record. Only Belgian Victor Campenaerts was able to improve on Wiggins’ mark. Campanearts managed 55.089km in Mexico last year. “It’s going to be a very big ask but I think I’m capable,” said Dowsett, who is in good form having just won the second grand tour stage of his career at the Giro d’Italia last month. “When I took the record in 2015, we rode enough to break the record but I knew I had more in the tank at the end which was frustrating given the work put in by everyone. “I spotted an opportunity in December this year to have another go and obviously I want to try and break the record, I want to see what I’m capable of and it’s an event I just really love and feel privileged to have the opportunity to take on again.” Dowsett, who rides for Israel Start-up Nation, has severe haemophilia A and is the only known elite sportsperson with the condition to compete in an able-bodied field. He will be using his attempt to raise awareness of his charity Little Bleeders and The Haemophilia Society. The hour record is one of cycling’s most iconic and punishing events. Even the great Eddy Merckx only did it once, in 1972, climbing off his bike and vowing “never again”. It has undergone a resurgence in recent years with the UCI simplifying the rules. Dowsett’s attempt will take place on Saturday, December 12, at the Manchester velodrome. “The biggest hurdle to overcome in the hour record is actually wind,” Dowsett said. “Put simply, the more efficiently you can cut through the air, the easier holding 55km+ per hour will be. “The only variable outside of our control is atmospheric pressure so we’ll have our fingers crossed for preferable air pressure come December 12th.” Meanwhile, Chloe Dygert has signed a four-year contract with Canyon-Sram, joining from American development team Twenty20 Pro Cycling where she spent six years. Twenty20 Pro Cycling team manager Nicola Cranmer said in a press release that Dygert's time with team had provided her with the tools she needed to grow. “Although it appears Chloe has God-given strength and talent, many assume these talents spring out of nowhere or burst on the scene—but it takes years of patience, nurturing, mapping, and of course the partnership with her coach, Kristin Armstrong, to develop an athlete like Chloe,” Cranmer said. Dygert, meanwhile, said she was excited to be stepping up to the Women's WorldTour and joining the European pro racing scene, even if her focus for the coming season was on her recovery and then the Olympic Games. “My focus in 2021 is clear— the Tokyo Olympic Games. I just want to heal and be ready in time, and my goals are to win gold in the time trial and the team pursuit,” stated Dygert. “I haven’t raced on the road in Europe yet because I still had goals to accomplish before we could move to that one. I’ll stay working with my coach Kristin Armstrong. We’ve always set goals and gone after them one at a time, without spreading ourselves too thin. We’ll keep that approach next year and we’re looking forward to the supportive environment of Canyon-Sram and its partners."
Posted: November 10, 2020, 4:19 pm
Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic won the Vuelta a Espana Grand Tour, becoming the first repeat champion since Roberto Heras in 2005.
Posted: November 8, 2020, 7:45 pm
It was a much different ceremonial final stage for Primoz Roglic at the Spanish Vuelta than two months ago at the Tour de France.
Posted: November 8, 2020, 5:34 pm
Hugh Carthy described his unexpected third place finish at the Vuelta a España as a “turning point” in his career as Chris Froome bade a tearful farewell to Ineos Grenadiers on the final day of the season in Madrid on Sunday. Carthy, 26, ended up finishing 1min 15sec behind race winner Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), who exorcised the demons of his final-day collapse at the Tour de France by claiming the Vuelta title for the second successive year. Carthy, who lost a few seconds on the run-in to Madrid after he drifted in at the back of the bunch, had never previously finished in the top 10 of a grand tour. Stephen Park, performance director at British Cycling said the Lancastrian’s performance, along with Tao Geoghegan Hart’s victory in the Giro d’Italia a fortnight ago, reaffirmed his confidence "that the Great Britain Cycling Team have every chance of success on the road not just in Tokyo 2020 but in Olympic Games and World Championships to come.” “I am very satisfied with how my Vuelta has gone,” said Carthy who rides for the American team EF Pro Cycling. “This is a turning point in my career. “I don’t want to slow down now, as there are still plenty of opportunities to come in the future. I can count on a great team, it is the perfect environment for a GC [general classification] rider.”
Posted: November 8, 2020, 3:59 pm
In the end it was not quite enough to take first or second place overall, but no one could accuse Hugh Carthy of not giving everything. The Lancastrian, who has shot to prominence at this year’s Vuelta a España, said he was prepared to risk his third place in an effort to claim the whole shooting match. And he was as good as his word. Beginning the day 53 seconds behind race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and eight seconds behind Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) Carthy attacked once, then twice on the 13km climb to the finish line on Alto de la Covatilla in a desperate attempt to drop the two men ahead of him in the general classification. Both times the 26-year-old was reeled in by Roglic. When Carapaz then launched a strong counter-attack with just over 3km of the stage remaining, Carthy had no response. At that point, the destination of this year’s Vuelta a España title came down to a straight fight between Carapaz or Roglic. There would be no repeat of Tao Geoghegan Hart’s unexpected grand tour victory at the Giro d’Italia two weeks ago. The battle between the top two was riveting, though. Carapaz’s initial surge roughly halved his overnight deficit of 47sec to Roglic. And with 2km still remaining to the top it looked for a minute as if the unthinkable might happen again, with Roglic falling at the very last as he did at the Tour de France in September. But this time the Slovenian rallied, dug in and managed to hold the gap to Carapaz. Roglic ended up crossing the line 21 seconds behind the Ecuadorean and six seconds behind Carthy, thus ensuring his second consecutive Vuelta a España title. Roglic will be crowned on Sunday with the final ride into Madrid pan flat and ceremonial for the general classification riders. Frenchman David Gaudu of Groupama-FDJ had won the stage from the day’s breakaway around two minutes earlier. Carthy can hold his head high. He looked disappointed at the finish line but he can have no regrets. Never before has he even finished in the top 10 at a grand tour. Carthy won the Queen stage of this race on the Angliru last Sunday and secured a podium finish on Saturday. It was sensational and bodes extremely well for the future. “I was trying to test them, to see how strong Roglic and Carapaz were,” said the EF Pro Cycling rider. “In the end it wasn’t enough. But yeah we gave our best, the whole team, for all three weeks. It’s a team effort, a real team effort. I couldn’t have done it without them. But as regards my performance I’m happy with my effort and my progression. I’ve shown my ability.” He certainly has. And not just on the bike. Carthy has always had a reputation for being a bit different. At 6ft4in and with an ear stud, he looks a bit different on the bike, too. But he has revealed a dry sense of humour and incredible battling qualities over the course of the last three weeks. His reputation has grown exponentially. The win on the Angliru last Sunday, with his grimacing as he fought his way up the final vertiginous climb, will live long in the memory and this race should give him huge confidence. It will be fascinating to see where he goes from here. Sunday’s final stage will bring down the curtain on the 2020 season, one which had looked at one stage as if it might implode due to the coronavirus pandemic, bringing down multiple teams with it, but which ended up providing some thrilling action. All three grand tours were decided by less than a minute, with this last one the closest of the lot. Roglic will win the Vuelta by just 24 seconds and after what happened to him at the Tour it would take a heart of stone not to be pleased for him. Carthy, meanwhile, will finish 47 seconds back. He could not quite overhaul the two men ahead of him — grand tour winners both — but he did enough to suggest this will not be the last time he is in contention.
Posted: November 7, 2020, 6:44 pm
Hugh Carthy hoping to add his name to elite list of British grand tour winners in final Vuelta a Espana stage
Hugh Carthy will attempt to pull off another hugely unexpected grand tour win by a British rider at the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday. After Tao Geoghegan Hart’s Giro d’Italia victory in Milan a fortnight ago ensured the Londoner became the fifth British grand tour winner in history, 26-year-old Carthy has the opportunity to become the sixth if he can find a way of dropping Primoz Roglic [Jumbo-Visma] and Richard Carapaz [Ineos Grenadiers] on the final climb up to the ski station of La Covatilla. That will be no easy task. With no disrespect to Geoghegan Hart, who rode a phenomenal race and could only beat the riders in front of him, Carthy is up against two grand tour winners who ride for the two strongest stage racing teams in the world. Race leader Roglic won last year’s Vuelta and has been probably the best rider in the world since lockdown. The Slovenian looked set to win the Tour de France, only to be dramatically usurped by his compatriot Tadej Pogacar in the penultimate day time trial. But he bounced back to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege last month and has won four stages already at this Vuelta. Carapaz, meanwhile, won last year’s Giro d’Italia and has the might of Ineos Grenadiers around him. Carthy, though, is still in contention. He begins the day in third place overall, eight seconds behind Carapaz and 53 behind Roglic, who managed to increase his lead over both of his nearest rivals on Friday courtesy of the six bonus seconds he picked up for finishing second behind Denmark's Magnus Cort Nielsen in a reduced bunch sprint. While that is a substantial margin to make up, the climb to La Covatilla - 10 kilometres with a 12 per cent segment at the bottom and another mid-way up - should offer the opportunity to create splits. Carthy is clearly climbing well. He won last weekend’s Queen stage on the Angliru, albeit he only beat Carapaz by 16 seconds and Roglic by 26 seconds. The Slovenian appeared to struggle on that stage, though, and the memory of his collapse at the Tour may give Carthy encouragement. Roglic has been racing almost non-stop since the Slovenian nationals back in June and speaking earlier this week seven-time grand tour winner Alberto Contador picked Carthy as the “strongest in the race”, saying anything could still happen. The Spaniard’s view seemingly changed after Roglic’s strong finish on Friday and the apparent inability of Ineos in particular to do anything about it. “Carapaz is playing his role and I don't think he can do much more with what his colleagues are doing,” Contador said. “Jumbo is winning without any problems and almost without any effort and that has to be analysed.” Contador warned that Roglic’s rivals could not afford to wait until the bottom of La Covatilla to make their move: “If the whole bunch decides to go in block to the base of La Covatilla, this Vuelta will not escape Roglic.”
Posted: November 6, 2020, 7:34 pm
The Slovenian had no answer to Denmark's Magnus Cort Nielsen who claimed victory with a well-timed burst at the end of the 162km ride from Salamanca to Cuidad Rodrigo. Britain's Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) is third overall at 53 seconds. There was heartbreak for France's Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) who looked like he might solo his way to victory after spending all day in the breakaway.
Posted: November 6, 2020, 4:36 pm
Belgian Jasper Philipsen won stage 15 at the Vuelta a Espana on Thursday after a gruelling 230km hilly route from Mos to Puebla de Sanabria lasting over six hours in persistent rain and a constant headwind. Overall leader Primoz Roglic of Slovenia retained his 39-second lead over Ecuador's Richard Carapaz as both riders crossed the line along with Philipsen in an 84-man peloton, meaning no change to the general classification standings. Italian rider Mattia Cattaneo launched a solo attack from the breakaway group with 30km remaining and at one point had a 90-second lead but was reeled in during the final phase of the stage.
Posted: November 5, 2020, 4:49 pm
Six iconic velodromes will host the inaugural UCI Track Champions League next year as part of cycling's governing body the UCI's revamp of the season. First announced in March as a World League taking place in 2021 and 2022, the new format will instead be staged over six successive weekends at the end of next year. The UCI, in partnership with broadcaster Eurosport, hope the Champions League featuring the world's best sprint and endurance riders will help expand track cycling's global TV fanbase outside of its traditional following.
Posted: November 5, 2020, 12:43 pm
Ian Stannard, one of the most successful British riders of the last decade, has been forced to retire from professional cycling at the age of 33 due to rheumatoid arthritis. Stannard is best remembered for being the diesel engine at the heart of countless Great Britain and Team Sky victories, including Mark Cavendish’s 2011 World Road Race Championships win in Copenhagen and Chris Froome’s Tour de France successes in 2013, 2015 and 2016. The Chelmsford-born rider - known as ‘Yogi' by his teammates, with whom he was extremely popular - was famed for his long, selfless turns on the front in any weather. But he also had notable individual successes, including stages of the Tour of Britain in 2016 and 2018 and back-to-back victories at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2014 and 2015, the second of them a collectors’ item due to the fact that he escaped with three Etixx-QuickStep riders, including the Belgian great Tom Boonen, and then outwitted them all on their home turf. Although Stannard was never able to pull off the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix title many felt he deserved, the 2012 British road race champion did take a notable third place at Roubaix in 2016. Stannard’s team mates were quick to pay tribute to him. Luke Rowe said on Instagram: “Many a mile spent chopping off with this big man. Always a good crack on and off the bike. Enjoy retirement Yogi Bear.” Geraint Thomas added: “Sad to see Ian Stannard retire, after over 20 years racing together. Going to miss you mate, but what a career.”
Posted: November 5, 2020, 11:49 am
British rider Ian Stannard has been forced to retire from professional cycling because of rheumatoid arthritis, the Ineos Grenadiers team said on Thursday. Stannard has been with the hugely successful British outfit since it was launched as Team Sky in 2010 and was an integral part of five Grand Tour winning lineups. "It's disappointing to have to stop like this but it is clearly the right decision for my health and my family," the 33-year-old Stannard said.
Posted: November 5, 2020, 9:50 am
Hugh Carthy finished safely in the bunch on stage 14 of the Vuelta a España to remain in the hunt for an unlikely victory. Carthy, 26, lies third overall in the final grand tour — and race — of the season, only 47 seconds behind Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and eight behind Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers). Wednesday's long 204km stage, featuring three smaller categorised climbs in the second half and a sharp uphill finish, looked perfectly suited to a breakaway and that was how it played out. An elite seven-rider group rode clear of the bunch after 40km with Lotto-Soudal’s Tim Wellens eventually pipping EF Pro Cycling's Michael Woods in Ourense. The leaders finished among a large pack 3min44sec behind Wellens with Israel Start-Up Nation’s Dan Martin winning the sprint for the minor places, albeit unable to gain any time with his attack. Martin lies fourth in the standings at 1min42sec, and cannot be completely ruled out for the overall victory. But it is looking increasingly like a three-way fight between Roglic, Carapaz and Carthy, with chances to attack Roglic before the finish in Madrid on Sunday fast running out.
Posted: November 4, 2020, 6:37 pm
Yamaha believes Michael van der Mark made the “wrong decision” to leave the Japanese manufacturer and join BMW for the 2021 World Superbike season.
Posted: November 4, 2020, 3:57 pm
Defending champion Primoz Roglic won the individual time trial at the Spanish Vuelta on Tuesday to retake the overall lead from Richard Carapaz.
Posted: November 4, 2020, 3:08 am
Britain’s Hugh Carthy delivered an impressive performance in Tuesday's individual time trial at the Vuelta a Espana, finishing fourth on stage 13 to remain third overall and right in contention. An intriguing race looks as if it is heading for the wire with the lead changing hands once again as Primoz Roglic [Jumbo-Visma] won his fourth stage of the race to leapfrog Richard Carapaz [Ineos Grenadiers]. It was the third time Roglic had taken the red leader’s jersey in this race. The Slovenian clocked 46:39 to beat American Will Barta [CCC] by a solitary second. Roglic was 49 seconds faster than Carapaz, who dropped to second overall at 39sec. Carthy, the lanky 26 year-old from Preston, is only eight seconds further back after an excellent performance against the clock. The 6ft4in rider matched Roglic pedal stroke for pedal stroke in the early part of the 33.7km course, before a superior bike change and strong finish from Roglic saw him grab a handful of seconds up to the line in Mirador de Ézaro. The final climb had an eye-watering average gradient of 14.8 per cent. “It’s beautiful, eh? It’s a long time since I won a time trial. I felt strong, surprisingly. I thought I would suffer a lot more,” Roglic told Eurosport. Earlier, race organisers announced that all riders and other members of the ‘race bubble’ were tested for coronavirus, for a fourth time, on their rest day. All 681 tests came back negative. Meanwhile, Richard Freeman’s medical tribunal will continue through lockdown according to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. Dr Freeman, who has been accused by the General Medical Council of ordering 30 sachets of Testogel to the National Cycling Centre in 2011 "knowing or believing" it was intended to boost an athlete's performance, is still being cross-examined at his hearing which began nearly two years ago. Freeman’s QC, Mary O'Rourke, complained on Tuesday that the GMC’s lawyers had more than doubled the number of documents submitted in evidence since her client entered the witness box, claiming Simon Jackson QC was trying to "ambush" him as a cross-examination expected to last five days continued into a fifth week. Freeman, who has admitted 18 of 22 charges against him, including ordering the testosterone and lying about it, but denies the central charge of seeking to dope a rider, also complained his cross-examination was being dragged out unnecessarily, saying: "There is a line in a poem, 'Never ending, still beginning', and that is what I feel about this [cross-examination].” The hearing window expires on November 26 and there are fears the tribunal could drag on into next year, although the MPTS announcement yesterday that it would continue to hear evidence through lockdown, albeit “part-virtual” was encouraging. “Following the announcement of additional restrictions across England the MPTS has considered the guidance and as a public service our hearing centre will remain open,” a statement read. “The tribunal has decided the hearing will reconvene next week as a part-virtual hearing to allow the doctor to continue his evidence in person.” The tribunal will continue on Monday.
Posted: November 3, 2020, 6:19 pm
Hugh Carthy backed to excel in Vuelta a Espana time trial as hopes grow of another shock British grand tour win
Hugh Carthy has been backed to produce the time trial of his life at the Vuelta a Espana on Tuesday and keep himself in contention for what would be a second shock grand tour win by a British rider in the space of two weeks. After Tao Geoghegan Hart’s hugely unexpected Giro d’Italia victory 10 days ago, 26-year-old Carthy now has an opportunity to write his name into cycling’s history books. The Prestonian won the Vuelta’s queen stage on the fearsome Angliru on Sunday to propel himself up the general classification. Carthy, who rides for American team EF Pro Cycling, currently sits third on GC, 32 seconds behind race leader Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) and 22 seconds adrift of race favourite Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), heading into Tuesday's 33.7km effort against the clock from Muros to Mirador de Ezaro Dumbria in La Coruna. And while Carthy is not known for his time-trial skills, his former mentor at Rapha-Condor believes the lanky 6ft4in rider should not be underestimated. “A lot of people don’t seem to realise it, and it surprised me at first, but he can do a really good time trial,” John Herety told Cycling Weekly on Monday, citing Carthy’s performance in last year’s ITT at the Giro d’Italia. “It had a very similar profile to the Vuelta’s TT on Tuesday and Hugh finished eighth, 1-30 down from Roglic [and 25 seconds up on Carapaz] “Now Roglic should be the best again tomorrow, but to be in the top 10 in a grand tour time trial is pretty impressive. “It was unusual for a junior of his build to be a good time trialist – and it’s still unusual now – but he can put out good power on a flat. As a junior, he would record 19-minute 10 mile TTs. “At the end of the day, the riders that can climb and time trial make the best riders. As a young kid, one of his mentors was Randy Allsopp who was a time trialling legend in the north. “He really helped Hugh, and Hugh was a classic club cyclist doing his club 10s. He grew up in the time trialling scene.” Carthy has never finished in the top 10 of a grand tour but served notice of his grand tour prowess with an 11th place finish at last year’s Giro. He was also prominent at this year’s Tour de France, helping Colombian team-mate Dani Martinez to a win on stage 13.
Posted: November 2, 2020, 7:48 pm
A Tour de France route featuring a double ascent of Mont Ventoux on stage 11 has been unveiled for 2021. Despite the eye-catching detail, and the inclusion of five mountain stages in the Pyrenees in the final eight days, the 2021 edition has been hailed as a route for more the ‘all-rounder’ than pure mountain goats. The 2021 Tour will begin in Brest in the north west of France on June 26 next summer — coronavirus permitting — and finish in Paris on July 18, so as to be done in time for the postponed Tokyo Olympics. As well as the usual flat stages for sprinters, the riders will tackle two individual time trials, totalling just under 60km and split roughly evenly between stage five from Changé to Laval and the penultimate stage from Libourne to Saint-Émilion. While nowhere near as much time trialling as the Tours of the 1990s and early 2000s, it will be the most individual time trial kilometres of any Tour since 2013.
Posted: November 2, 2020, 11:19 am
The 2021 Tour de France route was unveiled, including two climbs of Mont Ventoux among the mountain stages next summer.
Posted: November 1, 2020, 8:32 pm
Oct 3, Stage 1: Monreale to Palermo, 15.1km time trial Geoghegan Hart finishes 126th, two minutes and four seconds behind the leader So much can happen in 3,500km and 21 days of racing. After crashing out of the 2019 Giro with a broken collarbone, I returned to the race this October at the end of a bizarre and difficult 2020 caused by Covid-19. During the spring I had spent seven weeks in strict confinement with my girlfriend Hannah, dreaming of being able to race again whilst training inside every day. When the races finally arrived they flew by, opportunities slipping through my fingers and the pieces of the puzzle seemingly never quite fitting together. Stage one was a time trial in Sicily and, in theory, a completely stress-free day. As a support rider I simply needed to finish safely. It was blowing a gale and the time trial course, overlooking Palermo, was taking the brunt of it. We rode the course in the morning and saw barriers flying into the road, with a few riders even crashing in what was simply their ‘practice lap’. I rolled down the start ramp of the 103rd Giro d’Italia with no adrenaline — my race plan to ‘save energy’ and finish safely. I lost two minutes to my incredible team-mate Filippo Ganna (who we call ‘Top Ganna’) but I was happy — many other riders had crashed on a series of tricky turns, but within the team we had all stayed safe, won the stage and our leader, Geraint Thomas, had put time into all his key rivals. We enjoyed a glass of champagne that evening, toasting to the rest of the race. Oct 5, Stage 3: Etna to Etna, 150km Geoghegan Hart finishes 24th and moves up to 24th overall, 3.12 adrift The day started in an unimaginable way as Geraint’s wheel was hit by a stray water bottle 300m into the neutral zone (think Formula One warm-up lap). He fell hard, right in front of me, laying motionless for what felt like an age. We stood there waiting, hoping he would be OK. Being the bloke he is, he was bandaged up and remounted, and without even a word on the crash we got on with the race. We approached it exactly as we had planned, riding as a unit around Geraint. Then, with about 30km remaining, he came on the radio to explain the pain was too much and he simply couldn't push with one leg.
Posted: October 31, 2020, 8:47 am
The shortened version of this year's Vuelta a Espana is heating up - and Sunday's stage 12 is likely to play a major part in determining who will be wearing red in Madrid next month. Coming just a day after a punishing 170km mountain stage, the 109km route is noticeably shorter than a normal Grand Tour stage - and with good reason. Riders will tackle five categorised climbs and finish at the summit of what many professionals call the toughest ascent in the sport: the Alto de l'Angliru.
Posted: October 30, 2020, 12:42 pm
German rider Pascal Ackermann won stage nine of the Vuelta a Espana on Thursday despite finishing second behind Irishman Sam Bennett, who was relegated for shoulder barging an opponent twice in a highly disputed end to the race. Bennett edged out Ackermann in the bunch sprint at the end of the flat 157km stage from Cid Campeador. Castrillo del Val to Aguilar de Campoo and celebrated as he crossed the line but the victory was snatched away as footage showed him barging Trek-Segafredo's Latvian rider Emils Liepins.
Posted: October 29, 2020, 5:32 pm
Dr Richard Freeman tells medical tribunal that neither he nor his former employers would ever 'cross the line'
Richard Freeman, the former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor, has told a medical tribunal neither he nor they would ever “cross the line” while he worked for them. Freeman faces a fitness-to-practise hearing in Manchester revolving around a package containing banned testosterone patches which he ordered to the national velodrome in May 2011. Freeman is accused of ordering the Testogel “knowing or believing” it was intended for an athlete. He denies the charge, saying he was bullied into ordering it for former head coach Shane Sutton, a claim which Sutton vehemently denies. Facing cross-examination from General Medical Council QC Simon Jackson, Freeman was on Wednesday asked about a past comment referring to intravenous nutritional support. “You say, ‘My ethics as regards to professional sport are: as long as you do no harm you go to the line, even if that means considering intravenous, intramuscular support’,” read Jackson. “What are you identifying as the line there?” Freeman went on to say that references to “the line” were part of the mantra of Team Sky at the time, with the team jerseys having a blue line up their backs. Freeman said: “This expression was used frequently since the inception of Team Sky. Sir Dave Brailsford [team principal] said there is a line we go to every day but we never cross it.” As leading doctor, Freeman was in charge of drawing up protocols for his medical team to follow with regards to administering intravenous support to riders to aid recovery during or after races. Jackson read out an email from Freeman’s former colleague Dr David Hulse in 2010 in which he raised concerns that aspects of the proposed protocols “may compromise the safety of our riders” and potentially breach World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines. His reservations included the use of hotel rooms for intravenous treatment. “He talks that, in his judgment, it would be serious,” said Jackson. “A hotel room would not be suitable for non-emergency invasive procedures and infusions of non-emergency pharmaceutical products. Do you agree with that?” Freeman said that he did not agree, and while a hotel room may not have been the first choice it was better than the back of a bus. He said: “Dr Hulse described what may have been his impression. He was a very good doctor and all the things here are very sensible but it is about risk management. “Obviously the ideal would be a hospital operating theatre, then it would be a doctor’s clinic or a velodrome clinic. “I didn’t think injections on the back of the bus were appropriate. I have never given an injection on the back of the bus. That’s what I was trying to move away from. “There was all sorts of anecdotal evidence that these things had happened in cycling’s past in such environments. They were completely and utterly inappropriate.” Freeman added that he had been in contact with senior figures at cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, at the time to ensure the protocols complied with regulations. Dr Freeman has admitted 18 of the 22 charges he is facing. The hearing was adjourned until Friday.
Posted: October 28, 2020, 6:26 pm
Richard Freeman, the former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor, has been accused of agitating for the removal of another doctor on the team in 2010 because he saw him “as a bar” to his plans to introduce controversial intravenous recovery protocols, a medical tribunal heard on Tuesday. Freeman faces a fitness-to-practise hearing in Manchester revolving around a package containing banned testosterone patches which he ordered to the national velodrome in May 2011. Freeman is accused of ordering the Testogel “knowing or believing” it was intended for an athlete. He denies the charge, saying he was bullied into ordering it for former head coach Shane Sutton, a claim which Sutton vehemently denies. The General Medical Council (GMC), which has brought the case, is trying to build a picture of Freeman as a doctor who was prepared to compromise his ethics and Tuesday’s hearing centred on the team’s decision to dispense with the services of Dr David Hulse - now of Mitchelton-Scott - in 2010. Freeman claimed that his major problem with Hulse was that he had failed in his duty of care towards Txema Gonzalez, a team soigneur who tragically died of sepsis during the 2010 Vuelta a Espana. He added that Professor Steve Peters, then the head of medicine at Team Sky, had “fudged” a critical incident review, and that the incident “warranted more investigation.”
Posted: October 27, 2020, 6:50 pm
End of an era? Perhaps, but there is a wealth of talent lying beneath the surface of British cycling
Amid all the champagne and pink ticker tape that followed Tao Geoghegan Hart’s historic victory in the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, it went almost unnoticed that another young British rider was creeping up the general classification at the Vuelta a Espana. Hugh Carthy, a 26-year-old from Preston who has never finished in the top 10 of a grand tour, rose to second overall in the final grand tour of the year thanks to a late attack on the final climb of stage six which saw him put time into most of his GC rivals. Whether Carthy, one of the most taciturn riders in the pro peloton but an interesting character, can go on to emulate Geoghegan Hart and claim a historic victory in Madrid a week on Sunday will depend not only on his legs but those of his EF Pro Cycling team-mates - and how the American team chooses to deploy them. It was notable that, despite Carthy being back down the road, EF Pro Cycling’s Michael Woods was allowed to press on in the break and try to win Sunday’s stage. Will EF Pro Cycling switch all their focus to Carthy in the final week, as Ineos did with Geoghegan Hart once he got himself in pink jersey contention? Could Tejay van Garderen play the Rohan Dennis role in the final week, blowing the race apart in the mountains in the cause of a plucky young Brit? We will see. But Carthy’s emergence as a Vuelta contender is another reminder of the bubbling pot of talent lying beneath the surface of British cycling. The ‘end of an era’ headlines which followed team selection for the Tour de France in August, when Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas were left out by Ineos, and Mark Cavendish by Bahrain-McLaren, have been dredged up in recent days to highlight how wrong we all were. Oh ye of little faith. But those headlines were not entirely wrong.
Posted: October 26, 2020, 8:15 pm
Dr Richard Freeman will face renewed suggestions on Tuesday that he “topped up” a rider with testosterone, his barrister told a medical tribunal on Monday. The former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor can also expect to be cross-examined regarding medical data relating to a “Tour de France winner”, Mary O’Rourke warned. Freeman’s long running fitness-to-practise tribunal, which first started in February of last year, resumed in Manchester on Monday but did not make much progress as Freeman struggled to gain access to an Apple laptop. Freeman, who is accused of ordering testosterone to the national velodrome in 2011 “knowing or believing it was intended for a rider”, accompanied his legal team and a British Cycling lawyer to a downstairs room at the MPTS tribunal building in Manchester with the computer in question. But they failed to switch it on, apparently due to a faulty power lead. Although a working lead was later found, O’Rourke said she would prefer it if her client could have time to study the contents of the computer and requested that the hearing be adjourned until this morning, adding that she was becoming “concerned” about Freeman’s mental health. “There was an incident downstairs where he tried to take that laptop, put it in his own bag and walk away with it,” O’Rourke told the tribunal. “Mr Eastwood [Freeman’s solicitor] had to intervene. I am worried about him.” Freeman - who has had one of his laptops stolen, admitted to destroying another, and said he was unable to access the hard drive of a third - denied he had tried to take this latest laptop with him. “I didn’t snatch the bag,” he said. “I put it in the travelling case it came in because I was frustrated. I was going to take it away and charge it myself.” Freeman denies he has ever doped a rider. He claims he ordered the testosterone in 2011 to treat former Team Sky and British Cycling coach Shane Sutton’s erectile dysfunction. Sutton denies he has ever suffered from that condition. Freeman became exasperated on Monday when it was suggested that the hearing be adjourned for the day, adding that he was happy to continue. But his lawyer intervened. “I am convinced that it is in Dr Freeman’s best interest not to answer any questions this afternoon because of what I witnessed.” The laptop allegedly contains riders’ confidential medical records. O’Rourke told her client he could expect to be cross-examined by the General Medical Council, which has brought the case, about one rider whose testosterone levels jumped “from 3.4 to 7.2” and about a “Tour de France winner”.
Posted: October 26, 2020, 5:30 pm
Sir Dave Brailsford claimed Tao Geoghegan Hart’s stunning victory at the Giro d’Italia was the “the stuff of comic books”. The 25 year-old from Hackney in east London, who rides for Ineos Grenadiers, finished 13th in the final day time trial in Milan. Crucially, he was 39 seconds faster than Jai Hindley, his Australian rival from Sunweb with whom Geoghegan Hart began the day level on time. It was the first time in grand tour history that the top two riders were tied on time heading into the final day. Geoghegan Hart’s victory completed a stunning turnaround for the team and the rider. Geoghegan Hart, who never wore the pink leader’s jersey until after Sunday’s final stage, finished 126th in the opening day time trial in Sicily back on Oct 3 when he was still riding in support of 2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas. The Welshman’s crash on stage three meant Geoghegan Hart assumed team leadership and he rose steadily from then on, winning two individual stages in what was an enthralling final week. Geoghegan Hart becomes only the second British rider to win the Giro after Chris Froome in 2018, and only the fifth British rider to win a grand tour - the name given to cycling’s three biggest stage races - after Froome, who has won seven in total, and Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates, who have all won one each. Afterwards, an emotional Wiggins called for Ineos to give his fellow Londoner a crack at the Tour de France as he was unlikely to blow his own trumpet. “My worry is that Tao will naturally play second fiddle to [the more established Ineos riders],” Wiggins said. “He will always see a job for Geraint [Thomas] or [Richard] Carapaz as more important because that’s the modesty he carries with him. He will naturally not see himself as worthy of this, that it’s been given to him, and that is a contradiction to the confidence that he rode with [in the race]. “I hope he kicks on from this and gets the opportunity to do it in the Tour de France and we can talk about him for the next 10 years. He’s a worthy, worthy champion and everything this country needs as a role model in sport. Much like Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome, but this guy is young. I hope Tao gets his reward and his standing in this sport.” Ineos principal Sir Dave Brailsford - whose team won seven stages in total as well as the overall, making it their most successful grand tour ever - recalled how his latest winner bunked off school to attend the Team Sky launch a decade ago. “It’s the stuff of comic books really,” Brailsford said. “I would say for Tao there was a moment in this race when he switched from being ‘maybe, maybe, maybe’ to ‘I can do this’. He’s a geezer at the end of the day. Him and Bradley Wiggins, London has something about it.”
Posted: October 25, 2020, 9:13 pm
He began the day recalling how he used to spend his Sundays kicking a ball around Hackney Marshes and going to Brick Lane Market with his brother and father. “Today is just another Sunday,” Tao Geoghegan Hart wrote in a tweet posted on Sunday morning, about five hours before his life changed forever. “I haven’t seen my family in 10 months, but they are always with me.” Geoghegan Hart will wake up on Monday, look over at his pink jersey - assuming he did not wear it to bed - and remember he did not just dream it. This was not ‘just another Sunday’. He really did win the Giro d’Italia. The boy who grew up on the Nightingale Estate next to Hackney Downs, who bunked off school in Stoke Newington as a 14 year-old to attend the launch of Team Sky, who had only won a couple of pro races before this month, has joined the likes of Alfredo Binda, Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx in winning La Corsa Rosa. It was no wonder he was so emotional at the finish. After embracing his team mates and his girlfriend, the Canyon-SRAM rider Hannah Barnes, who initially forgot to take off her facemask to plant a smooch on her man, Geoghegan Hart tried to sum up how he was feeling. “Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine this might be possible when we started in Sicily [three weeks ago],” admitted the former Cycling Club Hackney rider. “All my career I have dreamt of being top five or top 10 in a race of this stature. I think it’s going to take a long time to sink in.” This was a stunning win, precisely because it was so unexpected, so surreal. Geoghegan Hart had not been among the favourites at the start of the race in Sicily three weeks ago. Not even close.
Posted: October 25, 2020, 8:28 pm
Tao Geoghegan Hart won the Giro d’Italia by 39 seconds after being tied with Jai Hindley going into the final time trial.
Posted: October 25, 2020, 6:17 pm
Tao Geoghegan Hart has made history at the Giro d’Italia, becoming only the second British rider to win the famous race. The 25 year-old from Hackney in east London, who rides for Ineos Grenadiers, finished 13th in the final day time trial in Milan. Crucially that was 39 seconds faster than Jai Hindley, his Australian rival with whom Geoghegan Hart began the day level on time. The win produced emotional scenes at the finish line. After embracing his team mates and Ineos principal Sir Dave Brailsford, and kissing his girlfriend Hannah Barnes - also an elite rider - Geoghegan Hart spoke to Eurosport. “Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine this might be possible when we started in Sicily,” admitted the former Cycling Club Hackney rider, who had only won two stages of the Tour of the Alps as a pro before this Giro. “All my career I have dreamt of being top five or top 10 in a race of this stature. I think it’s going to take a long time to sink in.”
Posted: October 25, 2020, 4:41 pm
Cycling's new generation claimed another Grand Tour victory on Sunday as British rider Tao Geoghegan Hart won the Giro d’Italia after a tense time trial. Geoghegan Hart edged Australian Jai Hindley by just 39 seconds in one of the most exciting final stages of a Grand Tour. As well as the Maglia Rosa (pink jersey), Geoghegan Hart also beat Hindley to the white jersey that goes to the best young rider who is 25 or under.
Posted: October 25, 2020, 3:41 pm
Briton Tao Geoghegan Hart won the Giro d'Italia after beating Maglia Rosa holder Jai Hindley in the final-stage time trial on Sunday as Ineos-Grenadiers turned around a dismal season in spectacular fashion. The 25-year-old started the day 0.86 seconds behind Hindley but he beat the Australian to win the race by 39 seconds and give Ineos-Grenadiers their second Giro title after Chris Froome's 2018 triumph. Dutchman Wilco Kelderman, Hindley's team mate at Sunweb, took third place overall, 1:29 off the pace after the 15.7-km individual time trial between Cernusco sul Naviglio and Milan won by Italian Filippo Ganna.
Posted: October 25, 2020, 3:37 pm
Comment: Tao Geoghegan Hart can join the immortals if Briton wins cycling's ultimate race of truth Full results and details after Tao Geoghegan Hart seals pink Comment: The kids are alright: British cycling is in rude health Tao Geoghegan Hart has become the fifth Briton to win a Grand Tour with victory in the Giro d'Italia. The 25-year-old Londoner pulled on the pink jersey for the first time on the final podium in Milan after a dramatic closing weekend of the race, which saw two riders not considered contenders at the outset starting the last stage level on time - unprecedented in a Grand Tour. Sunweb's Jai Hindley had taken pink as Geoghegan Hart won stage 20 on Saturday, but got to wear it for only 18 minutes in the race as Geoghegan Hart beat the Australian by 39 seconds over the closing 15.7 kilometre time trial. Geoghegan Hart's Ineos Grenadiers team-mate Filippo Ganna took the stage win with a time of 17 minutes 16.55 seconds, some 32 seconds faster than second-placed Victor Campernaerts. That secured the Italian's fourth stage win of the race and a seventh for the team - making this the most successful Grand Tour in the history of what was Team Sky and then Team Ineos. Geoghegan Hart follows Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates in winning one of the big three stage races on the calendar, delivering Britain's 11th Grand Tour victory since Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012, and second in the Giro after Froome won in 2018. But this was by far the most unexpected entry on the list, with Geoghegan Hart having started the Giro planning to support Thomas before the Welshman's race-ending crash on stage three. The race also lost fellow contenders Simon Yates and Steven Kruijswijk following positive tests for coronavirus, while more established names like Vincenzo Nibali and Jakob Fuglsang came up short at the end of this stangest of seasons. An outstanding final week in the mountains propelled Geoghegan Hart up the standings, with his victory on Saturday's stage 20 setting up the unprecedented scenario of the top two in a Grand Tour being level on time at the start of the final day. "It's bizarre, to be honest," Geoghegan Hart said. "Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this would be possible when we started nearly a month ago in Sicily. "All of my career I've dreamt of trying to be in the top five, top 10 maybe in a race of this stature so this is something completely and utterly different. I think this is going to take a long time to sink in." Geoghegan Hart was up on every time check during the time trial, which fittingly resembled an old-fashioned British 10-miler in distance. His advantage was such that the team car were telling him to ease off towards the end. "You know you're in a pretty good situation when they're screaming at you not to take any risks in the last kilometre," he said. "It's not often your directeur sportif tells you to slow down in a 15km time trial but I knew the work had been done up to that point." Hindley's team-mate Wilco Kelderman, who lost pink to his team-mate Hindley on stage 19 over the Stelvio on Friday, took third place overall, 89 seconds down overall. Joao Almeida, who enjoyed 15 days in the pink jersey, finished fourth with Pello Bilbao fifth. Nibali took seventh place, leaving Italy without a rider in the top five for the first time in Giro history. PA
Posted: October 25, 2020, 12:06 pm