Less than three months before the Tour de France's scheduled start, the possibility of cycling's greatest show taking place remains shrouded in doubt, while the organisers have thrown up a wall of silence. "There will be a huge hunger for sports when this is over," ASO chief Christian Prudhomme said in early March. Unless the lockdown continues well into the summer, it would be hard to imagine the Tour being cancelled.
Posted: April 1, 2020, 7:02 am
The decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics until next year because of the coronavirus pandemichas left American cyclists with an abundance of mixed feelings. ''As tough as the news is to hear when obviously the planning that goes into the four-year cycle of it all, and obviously now we're only a few months out and on the homestretch of that path, it does stink to hear,'' BMX rider and Olympic silver medalist Alise Willoughby said. Not just cyclists, of course, but for swimmers and gymnasts and a myriad other athletes for whom the Olympics is the once-every-four-year pinnacle of their sport.
Posted: March 28, 2020, 7:26 pm
Perhaps no other sports event puts so many fans in such close contact with athletes as the Tour de France, with swarms of people clogging city streets, winding roads and soaring mountain passes during cycling's three-week showpiece and getting within touching distance of the riders. For now, the start date remains June 27 - and there is a possibility that the race could be held without any fans lining the course. France's sports minister Roxana Mărăcineanu said the Tour can still exist in a time of social distancing.
Posted: March 26, 2020, 7:20 pm
High-level sports was one of the first social activities shut down by the coronavirus pandemic and many athletes, who play in front of crowds and train with team-mates, have been among the high-profile victims. While only one sports personality, the 76-year-old former Real Madrid president, Lorenzo Sanz, has so far died, those infected spread across the age range and the sporting spectrum, with clusters in Italian football, the NBA and cycling. Valladolid in the Spanish Liga rejected test kits saying they should be used on those who need them.
Posted: March 26, 2020, 6:10 pm
It is too soon to decide whether the Tour de France can go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic, but if it does it may be without roadside spectators in order to minimise infection risk, the French sports minister said. Following the postponement of the Euro 2020 soccer Championship and the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Tour de France - which takes place in June and July - is one of the last major global sporting events that has not yet been cancelled or postponed.
Posted: March 26, 2020, 11:18 am
French sports minister Roxana Maracineanusays this year's Tour de France could be staged without spectators in a bid to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The French government is in talks with Tour organisers about the future of the June 27-July 19 edition of world cycling's top event which draws more than 10 millions fans annually to the roads of France. The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and the Euro 2020 football championships has focused attention on the Tour which winds its way for thousands of miles through the towns and villages of France in a wide loop for three weeks ending on the Champs Elysees in Paris.
Posted: March 26, 2020, 11:12 am
A Canadian court has dismissed a lawsuit against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) by three Russian cyclists who claimed damages after being banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics. WADA on Wednesday announced the ruling, which was made last month by the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario following motions heard last May in Toronto, saying the appeal period had expired. The trio also sued Canadian professor Richard McLaren, whose report unveiled a broad Russian doping scheme and manipulation of testing results.
Posted: March 25, 2020, 3:23 pm
"Right now all Italian families are in the kitchen, cooking," the 35-year-old, one of seven riders to win all three grands tours, said on Friday from his home in Switzerland. Nibali's coach Paolo Slongo told Reuters: "Vincenzo has been taking it easy after Paris-Nice (which ended last Saturday), two hours a day (of training) without stress." Racing has been suspended until the end of April and the Giro d'Italia has been postponed, leaving professional riders with at least a six-week gap to fill.
Posted: March 20, 2020, 7:00 pm
LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cyclists deprived of their weekend ride out with friends and fitness fanatics who can't get to the gym are turning to online cycling workouts to help them stay in shape during the coronavirus shutdown. Some of the best-known riders in professional road cycling have been making the most of the their unexpected spare time to lead out 'virtual' rides on Zwift's fictionalised Watopia course as amateurs join in from their home-based exercise bikes. "Guests have included (2018 Tour de France champion) Geraint Thomas, (German rider) Andre Greipel, (world champion) Annemiek van Vleuten and many more."
Posted: March 20, 2020, 5:30 pm
Julia Harrington, the organization's chief executive, has written to health secretary Matt Hancock to urge the government to add cycling to a list of recommended activities during the outbreak which has infected around 2,600 people in the UK and killed 137. "While I am glad to see the Government recommend walking as a way to stay active and alleviate some of the issues related to prolonged isolation, I believe it is in all our interests to extend this advice to also include cycling." Harrington, however, is urging that cycling alone should be permitted in Britain, even if the government tightens its response to the coronavirus spread.
Posted: March 19, 2020, 5:49 pm
The president of the International Cycling Union hopes the Giro d'Italia and other races postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak can go ahead later this year. Four one-day classic races to be held next month were canceled this week. The Paris-Roubaix cobblestone race, the Fleche Wallonne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Amstel Gold race have all been called off.
Posted: March 18, 2020, 1:13 pm
The Paris-Roubaix cycling race, a major event on the French sports calendar, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday as organisers held back on changing dates for the Tour de France. The one-day Paris-Roubaix race, contested in mud or dust over old cobbled mining roads in mid-April, is known as 'the Hell of the North' and is watched as avidly by the French public as the Tour. Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), who run the Tour and Paris-Roubaix, also announced the postponement of two huge cycling dates in Belgium.
Posted: March 17, 2020, 9:30 pm
The Tour of Romandy and Tour of the Basque Country have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, cycling authorities said on Monday. Run over a week in late April and early May, the Tour of Romandy takes in the Swiss Alps and is seen as a key warm-up to the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France. Organisers said the Swiss cantons where the race passes through "are considered risk zones by the World Health Organization".
Posted: March 16, 2020, 8:10 pm
Cycling's governing body (UCI) plans to retroactively use March 3 as the cut-off point for Olympic qualification in mountain bike, BMX Racing and BMX Freestyle as the coronavirus pandemic continues to decimate the sporting calendar. Road and track cycling have completed their qualification events, the last of which was the Berlin track world championships last month, but riders in the other disciplines had until June 1 to score enough UCI points. The BMX world championships, a key event for Olympic qualification spots, are still scheduled for Houston on May 30-31.
Posted: March 15, 2020, 4:09 pm
VALDEBLORE-LA COLMIANE, France (AP) -- German cyclist Maximilian Schachmann won the Paris-Nice race on Saturday in a rare case of a sporting event still going ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic. While France's soccer and rugby leagues scrapped their matches indefinitely on a hectic Friday - amid cancellations around the world - organizers maintained one of cycling's biggest stage races. Schachmann led overnight by 36 seconds from Belgian rider Tiesj Benoot heading into the hilly 166.5-kilometer seventh stage, ending with a steep Category 1 climb to Valdeblore-La Colmiane.
Posted: March 14, 2020, 3:36 pm
La Colmiane (France) (AFP) - Germany's Maximilian Schachmann of the Bora-Hansgrohe team won the Paris-Nice cycling race on Saturday, holding on in a frantic climb to a summit finish where he fell to the ground exhausted.
Posted: March 14, 2020, 3:24 pm
Apt (France) (AFP) - Germany's Maximilian Schachmann held on to the overall lead of Paris-Nice on Friday, with racing set to go ahead on Saturday despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Posted: March 13, 2020, 6:01 pm
Cycling's first Grand Tour of the season was scheduled to start on May 9 in the Hungarian capital -- the first time the prestigious race was to depart from eastern Europe. "The organising committee of the Giro d'Italia's Hungarian stages declared the Giro's start could not be held in Hungary at the originally scheduled time," a statement said. "All parties have agreed that they are determined to work together to enable the Giro d'Italia to depart from Hungary at a later time."
Posted: March 13, 2020, 3:00 pm
This year's Giro d'Italia cycling race has been postponed due to coronavirus fears, race organisers RCS said on Friday. "RCS, having taken note of the national and international situation, announce the postponement of the 2020 Giro," a statement said. Italy has put a stop to all sporting events taking place until April 3 in a country-wide lockdown aimed at slowing the deadly outbreak.
Posted: March 13, 2020, 2:09 pm
Sunday's eighth stage into Nice has been canceled, meaning Saturday's seventh to Valdebore la Colmiane will be the last. Several teams were said to be unhappy that the race was continuing and Team Bahrain McLaren pulled out on Friday.
Posted: March 13, 2020, 11:20 am
La Côte-Saint-André (France) (AFP) - Niccolo Bonifazio called his victory in the fifth stage of the Paris-Nice race "a little gift for my country", with Italy plunged into a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis.
Posted: March 12, 2020, 6:26 pm
USA Cycling will have a familiar face directing its efforts at the Tokyo Olympics this year. The national governing body announced Wednesday the return of Jim Miller as its head of elite athletics. Miller spent 17 years with USA Cycling, helping bring home 14 Olympic medals and numerous world championship titles, before resigning to spend the past two years with performance company TrainingPeaks.
Posted: March 11, 2020, 7:55 pm
Saint-Amand-Montrond (France) (AFP) - Max Schachmann strengthened his hold on the lead in the Paris-Nice race on Wednesday after finishing second in the time trial behind Soeren Kragh Andersen.
Posted: March 11, 2020, 5:49 pm
La Châtre (France) (AFP) - Spain's Ivan Garcia Cortina of the Bahrain-McLaren team took advantage of a late crash to emerge as surprise winner in a bunch sprint on stage three of the Paris Nice cycling race on Tuesday. Germany's Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-hansgrohe), the winner of the opening stage on Sunday, retained the overall lead after coming home 13th. The late fall Tuesday caused a ripple of panic as Garcia Cortina and Slovak superstar Peter Sagan reacted quickest, speeding across the line first and second after a long 212.5km ride in wind and rain.
Posted: March 10, 2020, 7:00 pm
Cancelling the Giro d'Italia or Tour de France would be a disaster, says UCI president David Lappartient
Get unlimited access to award-winning sports journalism from The Telegraph – Sports Newspaper of the Year – for just £40 per annum Cancelling the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France would be a disaster for cycling, says UCI president David Lappartient whose sport has already been badly hit by the coronavirus crisis. UCI WorldTour: The complete team-by-team guide to the season Several races, including the Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo, have been called off as Italy deals with rapidly escalating numbers of infections and deaths. The Giro d'Italia, the second-biggest race behind the Tour de France, is due to start on May 9 in Budapest, ending in Milan on May 31. Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Monday all sports events in the country were suspended. Asked about the prospect of the Giro and Tour de France becoming the latest victim to the coronavirus crisis, Lappartient said: "That would be a disaster for our sport of course if we can't have the Giro d'Italia or the Tour de France." The Tour de France starts in July and Lappartient expressed some optimism that by that time the worst of the coronavirus outbreak may be over. "Maybe the gap of two months in between [the Giro and Tour de France] will have also some consequences on the virus," the Frenchman said. "Maybe in summer we hope so, that it will after the summit of the peak, decrease. "So we hope that these races will be able to take place. But we are, due to the situation in Italy, a little more worried today with the situation with the Giro d'Italia. "We know what the decision from the Italian government is until April 3, but who knows what will be the situation after. So there is a potential risk that the Giro can be cancelled." The Giro began in 1909 and has been held every year apart from during the two World Wars while the Tour de France was first held in 1903 and has been contested every year since 1947. The Paris-Nice race is ongoing, but with infections rising in France, Lappartient said there was a danger that race might have to be cancelled too or fans barred from watching it. "I hope Paris-Nice can go to the end. This is indeed the goal. But maybe the prefect [French state representative] will have to decide whether or not they close for the finishing area without fans and so on," he said. "This is not what we want, but if it's the only solution to organise the race, we'll have to go ahead with this. So we are in touch day by day [with race organisers ASO]. "We have to follow the situation with the virus and take the best decision at the moment."
Posted: March 10, 2020, 11:52 am
Cancelling the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France would be a disaster for cycling, says UCI president David Lappartient whose sport has already been badly hit by the coronavirus crisis. Several races, including the Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, have been called off as Italy deals with rapidly escalating numbers of infections and deaths. The Giro d'Italia, the second-biggest race behind the Tour de France, is due to start on May 9 in Budapest, ending in Milan on May 31.
Posted: March 9, 2020, 10:39 pm
SHOWS: AIGLE, SWITZERLAND (MARCH 9, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. . (SOUNDBITE, English) UCI PRESIDENT DAVID LAPPARTIENT SAYING ON POTENTIAL CANCELLATION OF GIRO D'ITALIA: "That would be a disaster for our sport, of course if we can't have the Giro D'Italia or the Tour de France. Even if they are not exactly at the same period. The Giro D'Italia is at the beginning of May. The Tour de France at the beginning of July. So maybe the gap of two months in between will have also some consequences on the virus. Maybe in summer we hope so, that it will after the summit of the peak, decrease. But when, I don't know exactly who knows with that. So we hope that these races will be able to take part. But we are due to the situation in Italy, we are a little more worried today with the situation with the Giro d'Italia. So we know what the decision from the Italian government is until the third of April, but who knows what will be the situation after. So there is a potential risk that the Giro can be cancelled. We hope no and I know RSC and UCI as we are working to safeguard the Giro. But if not, then we will have to find some some solutions." STORY: Cancelling the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France would be a disaster for cycling, says UCI president David Lappartient whose sport has already been badly hit by the coronavirus crisis. Several races, including the Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, have been called off as Italy deals with rapidly escalating numbers of infections and deaths. The Giro d'Italia, the second-biggest race behind the Tour de France, is due to start on May 9 in Budapest, ending in Milan on May 31. Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Monday all sports events in the country were suspended. Asked by Reuters about the prospect of the Giro and Tour de France falling victim to the coronavirus crisis, Lappartient said: "That would be a disaster for our sport of course if we can't have the Giro D'Italia or the Tour de France." Cycling blue-riband event the Tour de France starts in July and Lappartient expressed some optimism that by that time the worst of the coronavirus outbreak may be over. The Giro began in 1909 and has been held every year apart from during the two World Wars while the Tour de France was first held in 1903 and has been contested every year since 1947. Italy has been severely hit by coronavirus and is second behind China in terms of infections. The number of recorded cases has jumped by 24% over the past 24 hours to 9,172 while the number of deaths rose 26.5% to 463. France, which recorded its 21st death on Monday, has banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people as the death toll and number of coronavirus infections continued to rise. The Paris-Nice race is ongoing, but with infections rising in France, Lappartient said there was a danger that race might have to be cancelled too or fans barred from watching it. "I hope Paris-Nice can go to the end. This is indeed the goal. But maybe the prefect (French state representative) will have to decide whether or not they close for the finishing area without fans and so on," he said. "This is not what we want, but if it's the only solution to organise the race, we'll have to go ahead with this. So we are in touch day by day (with race organisers ASO). "We have to follow the situation with the virus and take the best decision at the moment." (Production: Iain Axon, Oliver Regan)
Posted: March 9, 2020, 10:08 pm
Châlette-sur-Loing (France) (AFP) - Italian sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo pounced late to win a rainy stage two of the Paris-Nice on Monday, as pre-race favourite Nairo Quintana suffered a damaging day. Sunday's stage 1 winner Germany's Maximilian Schachmann of the Bora team remains in the overall leader's yellow jersey, while double Giro d'Italia points winner Nizzolo is second, 15 seconds adrift. Stage two culminated in a small bunch sprint after a blustery 166.5km struggle from Chevreus to Chalette-Sur-Loing with Slovak star Peter Sagan and 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali notably keeping pace with a lead group of 12.
Posted: March 9, 2020, 5:50 pm
Maximilian Schachmann won the opening stage in the Paris-Nice on Sunday, taking a frantic four-man sprint at the end of a dank day's racing through northern France. Schachmann, a German who rides for Bora, edged two Belgians Dylan Teuns and Tiesj Benoot. Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe was three seconds back in fourth at the finish of a 154-kilometre loop that began and ended in Plaisir on the outskirts of Paris.
Posted: March 8, 2020, 5:08 pm
The Paris-Nice often sets the agenda for the cycling season and as the eight day tour embarks Sunday toward the sunny south it offers a ray of hope for a cycling season under a coronavirus cloud. While four cycling teams are still in quarantine following the abandoned UAE Tour, Paris-Nice lost a bevvy of stars as four of the world's top teams Ineos, Jumbo, Movistar and Astana all pulled out. French rider Thibaut Pinot said he had no worries.
Posted: March 7, 2020, 3:32 pm
More cycling races were canceled Friday and more soccer matches will be played in empty stadiums because of the virus outbreak spreading around the world. RCS Sport, which organizes cycling events in Italy, canceled the Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo races as well as the Giro di Sicilia. On Thursday, the Strade Bianche men's and women's races were canceled.
Posted: March 6, 2020, 3:53 pm
The Milan-San Remo cycling race has become the latest sporting event in Italy to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the organisers announced on Friday. The race's start town Milan is in Lombardy, a COVID-19 hot-spot, and so far 148 people have died from the outbreak in Italy. The one-day event, scheduled to take place on March 21, was shelved alongside next week's Tirreno–Adriatico, a week-long stage race.
Posted: March 6, 2020, 1:43 pm
The Strade Bianchi, the first big race of the Italian cycling season, was cancelled on Thursday because of the coronavirus while other races including the Milan-San Remo classic were under threat. Ahead of this weekend's start of the Paris-Nice race, French officials established new rules ordering riders to stop signing autographs, imposing a selfie ban, and scaling down the traditional end-of-day award ceremonies with hostesses banned. Over the previous 48 hours, several teams had withdrawn from the race, including Mitchelton, EF, Jumbo, Groupama-FDJ and Ineos.
Posted: March 5, 2020, 5:40 pm
The Strade Bianchi, the first big race of the Italian cycling season, was cancelled on Thursday because of coronavirus while more teams pulled out of Paris-Nice and Milan-San Remo. The organisers of the Strade Bianche met with officials in Siena, where the race starts and ends. For the time being, there has been no decision on the two other World Tour races scheduled for the coming weeks in Italy, Tirreno-Adriatico (11-17 March) and Milan-San Remo (21 March).
Posted: March 5, 2020, 2:16 pm
The cycling season was plunged further into disarray after the Strade Bianche men's and women's races in Italy were canceled on Thursday because of the virus outbreak. The races were to be held on Saturday, but following a meeting in the Tuscan city of Siena between the city's prefect and mayor the decision was taken to cancel Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite, race organizer RCS Sport said in a statement. ''RCS Sport will request the UCI, via the Italian Cycling Federation, to allocate a new date on the international cycling calendar,'' the statement added.
Posted: March 5, 2020, 12:44 pm
Six more people with links to the canceled UAE Tour cycling race have been infected with the virus spreading around the world. The Ministry of Health in the United Arab Emirates said in a statement that two Russians, two Italians, one German and one Colombian have been diagnosed with the virus. Rider Igor Boev of the Gazprom-RusVelo team told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that he was in the hospital after being diagnosed.
Posted: March 4, 2020, 11:18 pm
Cycling giants INEOS announced on Wednesday they will take a three-week break from racing after the death of sports director Nicolas Portal and in light of concerns over coronavirus. INEOS, who count four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, 2018 champion Geraint Thomas as well as 2019 winner Egan Bernal among their riders, will not field teams in prestigious races such as Paris-Nice and Milan-San Remo. "Team INEOS have today taken the decision to withdraw temporarily from all racing until the Volta a Catalunya on March 23," the team said in a statement.
Posted: March 4, 2020, 10:51 pm
The two French cycling teams kept in the United Arab Emirates following the outbreak of coronavirus that ended the UAE Tour, will be quarantined for 10 more days, team officials said on Wednesday. "We have just learned that we are officially quarantined, in theory until March 14," Thierry Vittu, the president of Cofidis' competition team, posted on Facebook. The 12-member Groupama squad, which includes four riders, also remains under quarantine.
Posted: March 4, 2020, 1:13 pm
Cycling teams confined to a luxury Abu Dhabi hotel have been instructed by the state's health authorities to remain in quarantine until March 14 due to coronavirus concerns, several team members said on Wednesday. Emirati authorities ordered the lockdown of the Crown Plaza in Yas Island and the nearby W hotel after two Italian participants involved in last week's UAE Tour were suspected of contracting coronavirus. Members of the French teams Cofidis and Groupama-FDJ as well as Russian outfit Gazprom -- including 18 riders -- have been confined to the fourth floor of the W Abu Dhabi Hotel since Thursday.
Posted: March 4, 2020, 11:40 am
Nicolas Portal, a team official who helped guide four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome to victory at the race, has died. As Froome's sports director, Portal helped plot the Briton's wins at the Tour, speaking into his ear via radio from a team car.
Posted: March 4, 2020, 11:14 am
Nicolas Portal, the sports director of British cycling outfit Team Ineos, died suddenly at his home in Andorra aged 40, his team said Tuesday. A hugely popular figure on the cycling circuit, affable Frenchman Portal took part in the Tour de France six times as a rider and retired in 2010 after diagnosis of an irregular heartbeat. After becoming Team Sky's sports director in 2013 he helped guide Chris Froome to his first Tour win, and was still in the job with Ineos at the time of his death.
Posted: March 3, 2020, 10:37 pm
Portal oversaw all four of Chris Fromes' wins at the Tour de France after his own cycling career.
Posted: March 3, 2020, 10:04 pm
Frenchman Portal was 40 years old. "It is with the greatest sadness that we announce the passing of our much loved team mate, colleague and friend Nico Portal who died suddenly this afternoon at his home in Andorra," the team said.
Posted: March 3, 2020, 7:45 pm
The head of a French cycling team quarantined in Abu Dhabi since last week's aborted UAE Tour said on Tuesday riders felt like victims of a "hostage-taking". Most of the 20 teams who took part in last week's UAE Tour, cut short after two Italian officials tested positive for the coronavirus, have been allowed to leave Abu Dhabi. A fourth team, UAE Emirates, has opted to stay behind voluntarily.
Posted: March 3, 2020, 12:44 am
Two French cycling teams described their continued coronavirus quarantine in the United Arab Emirates as confusing on Monday after swathes of other competitors were allowed home. Chris Froome's Team Ineos and a majority of the other riders were given the all-clear to leave quarantine on Sunday. The lockdown started last Thursday when two mechanics attached to the UAE Emirates Team were suspected to have contracted the new coronavirus, and the last two stages of the race were cancelled.
Posted: March 2, 2020, 5:51 pm
Emma Hinze of Germany and Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands put a fitting bow Sunday on the final day of the track cycling world championships, the last major event for their sport ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Hinze won her third gold medal by holding off the field from the front in the keirin, making it a clean sweep for the host nation in the women's sprinting events at the Berlin Velodrome.
Posted: March 1, 2020, 6:22 pm
Get unlimited access to award-winning sports journalism from The Telegraph – Sports Newspaper of the Year – for just £40 per annum A difficult week for the British team ended at least on a positive note, Elinor Barker claiming the world points race title for the second time in her career, thanks to a wonderfully gutsy ride which left the Welsh rider “seeing stars”. Barker famously said after winning her first world points race title in Hong Kong in 2017 that she was happy to be the bride rather than the bridesmaid for once in a world championship bunch race. She is becoming something of a bridezilla these days, what with her scratch race win as well last year. She certainly remains one of the heavyweights of this Great Britain squad; one of a trio of women’s endurance stars alongside fellow Olympic team pursuit gold medallists Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald. Britain are lucky to have Barker. This was the second straight year she has bailed them out with their only gold medal of the world championships. The concern – and it was one that Barker herself pointed out – is that the points race is not an Olympic discipline. In fact, rather incredibly given their successes over the past 15 years, no British rider or team has won a world title in an Olympic discipline for two years. Tokyo 2020 will be the first time since Sydney 2000 that the British team will go to an Olympics without a reigning world champion in any of the disciplines. It was a point not lost on Barker. “I’d have much rather have won the Madison to be honest,” she said, referring to Saturday’s disappointment, when team-mate Neah Evans crashed 20 laps from the finish, costing them any chance of competing for a medal. “But I knew that I had good legs yesterday, so I’m glad that I was able to prove that today.” She certainly did. Lying fifth with 21 laps of the race remaining, six points behind leader Jennifer Valente of the United States, Barker went all in, trying to gain a lap on the field which she knew would win her 20 points and see her leapfrog her opponents. Working initially with Australia’s Alexandra Manly, and then, once Manly blew, on her own, Barker risked it all. It was a brave move. She made the point afterwards that, having won a few world titles now, she is in a place where she would rather finish 10th trying to win the race than ride cautiously and settle for a medal. “I’m not too scared of that anymore.” The crowd appreciated it, as did the German announcer on the PA system, who screamed something about the “British Empire” as she made the catch. Barker admitted she would have been powerless to react had one of her rivals launched a late counter-attack at that point. “I wanted to have some more energy to at least get involved in another sprint after I got the lap, but I had absolutely nothing left, I was seeing stars,” she said. “I couldn’t even entirely tell who the four at the front were, I just had my fingers crossed that they didn’t get the lap or anything. The plan would have been to have a few more beans at the end but it went as well as it possibly could.” It certainly helped to gloss over some of the more worrying aspects of these championships from a British perspective. It has been a bruising week for the team, what with sponsor HSBC UK announcing at the start of it that it was choosing not to take up the option of a second Olympic cycle. On the track the battering dished out to the men’s pursuit team was even more painful than the crash in the omnium that left golden girl Kenny with four stitches in her face. Ethan Hayter and Ollie Wood, looking for some late redemption after that pursuit thrashing, never looked like getting it in Sunday’s Madison, finishing ninth. Katy Marchant, meanwhile, narrowly failed to make the women’s keirin final. Hayter insisted he was not panicking, pointing out that Britain’s quartet produced a personal best in qualifying, with the gap to Denmark – who broke the world record three times en route to gold – not quite as big as everyone was making out since there were two teams on the track in the later rounds. “I think the [deficit] is only four seconds in qualifying,” he said. “Which knowing we’ve got a lot to come is bridgeable. I’m still positive.”
Posted: March 1, 2020, 6:04 pm
As part a revamped track cycling calendar, the UCI said a Nations Cup will replace the multi-race World Cup tournament, with three rounds to be held between March and September. The UCI are organizing the new league format with American media giant Discover, and has promised riders attractive prize pots on top of their participation bonuses. "I am thrilled and delighted that Discovery will be by our side to help launch and promote our new UCI Track Cycling World League," UCI president David Lappartient said in a statement.
Posted: March 1, 2020, 6:01 pm
Kasper Asgreen lands Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne after Ineos rider Gianni Moscon is kicked off race for throwing bike at rival
Get unlimited access to award-winning sports journalism from The Telegraph – Sports Newspaper of the Year – for just £40 per annum Kasper Asgreen won the biggest race of his career on Sunday when the young Dane claimed Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne following an impressive solo effort. Just two days into the spring classics campaign, which got under way at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider made an audacious move not too dissimilar to that of team-mate Bob Jungels who won the Belgian race in 2019. Kasper Asgreen Q – the cyclists' dozen: 'I love the cobbles, but hate the steep climbs' Following a series of moves on what was an aggressive afternoon of racing, Asgreen made his move with around 30 kilometres of the 201km race remaining. Despite having worked on behalf of team-mate Fabio Jakobsen who was expected to contest a sprint finish, Asgreen still had enough in the tank to surge off the front, taking with him Roy Jans (Alpecin-Fenix) and Boris Vallée (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles). Jans and Vallée, however, were unable to hold the wheel of the time trial specialist. Having first shaken off Jans, Vallée was the next to lose the wheel of Asgreen, though with his advantage having dropped to just 15sec the move appeared doomed. Asgreen ultimately held on all the way in what was a nailbiting finale that saw the 25-year-old hold of the speeding bunch by just 3sec. Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT) won the sprint for second ahead of Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) while Ben Swift (Ineos) was the highest-placed Briton in eighth spot. “It’s definitely the biggest victory of my career,” Asgreen said in a team statement on Sunday evening. “Taking a classic is so important, because when I turned pro, I had the goal of developing myself into a classics-type of rider, and to win this hard but beautiful race, just two years into my pro career, means so much to me. “Bob told me in the bus this morning to do what he did last year, when he too attacked and claimed a solo victory here, so I just followed his advice, knowing the small and narrow roads would play into my favour.
Posted: March 1, 2020, 5:03 pm
Denmark's Michael Morkov said winning the men's madison title at the world track cycling championships in Berlin on Sunday just a day after being released from coronavirus quarantine was "indescribable". Morkov had been placed in isolation in his hotel room after arriving in Germany having competed at the UAE Tour which was cut short after two Italian staff members on the race tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. "From not being able to race to becoming world champion in my absolute favourite discipline is indescribable," he told BBC Sport.
Posted: March 1, 2020, 4:55 pm