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Och Aye the Noo:  Tour of Britain begins with Glasgow to Castle Douglas stage

 
05/09/2016


The BBC reports;

 

Cycling stars - including eight medallists from the Rio Olympics - are set to race from Glasgow to Castle Douglas as the Tour of Britain begins.  The opening stage of the week-long event is the only one in Scotland.

 

The Grand Depart will see riders roll out of Glasgow's George Square before doing a circuit of the city.  They will then head south taking in Kilmarnock, Auchinleck, Cumnock and Dalmellington before finishing in Castle Douglas about 15:30.  Thousands of spectators are expected to line the route with the race also being televised live.

 

The Tour of Britain has grown in stature in recent years and now attracts some of the biggest names in the sport.

 

Olympic medallists Mark Cavendish, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull, Elia Viviani, Jack Bobridge, Alex Edmondson, Michael Hepburn and Tom Dumoulin are all among the line-up.

 

Former world hour record holder Rohan Dennis and German sprinter Andre Greipel, nicknamed The Gorilla, are other high profile riders taking part.

 

Legacy

 

Sports bodies hope that staging major events can also help to create the stars of the future or simply encourage people to get more exercise.

 

Vicky Strange, head of development at Cycling Scotland, said: "To have such a big event now coming to Scotland for its first stage is just fantastic.

 

"The Tour of Britain is one of the biggest events on the calendar - it has really gained in profile.

"So to have the big names coming to Scotland and having these people - household names - right there on your doorstep and we can all get the chance to go and see them up close, I think is hugely inspirational for us."

 

Past winners of the Tour of Britain's previous visits to Scotland are:

 

2005 - Nick Nuyens (Bel) Glasgow to Castle Douglas

2006 - Martin Pedersen (Den) Glasgow to Castle Douglas

2007 - Paul Manning (GB) Dumfries to Glasgow

2008 - Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Glasgow to Drumlanrig

2009 - Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Peebles to Gretna

2011 - Mark Cavendish (GB) Peebles to Dumfries

2012 - Mark Cavendish (GB) Jedburgh to Dumfries

2013 - Elia Viviani (Ita) Peebles to Drumlanrig

 

Large crowds are expected at the start and finish of the race which should provide a boost for businesses in the area.

 

Dumfries and Galloway Council, which has hosted the event on a number of occasions, estimates the visitor expenditure at between £250,000 and £300,000.

 

There is also a further boost for accommodation providers with the huge entourage which follows a major cycling race.

 

TV Coverage

 

Television coverage of the race, which is beamed around the world, is seen as providing a major opportunity to raise the tourist profile of an area.

 

It has previously been estimated to translate to the equivalent of an advertising campaign costing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

 

Councils which have helped to host the event will hope it shows off the attractions of the west and south of Scotland to its very best.

 

There will undoubtedly be a breakaway attempt or two across the opening stage but a bunch sprint finish on King Street looks a likely outcome.

 

If that is the case, there are few sporting scenes more dramatic than a huge group of cyclists hurtling at top speed in their multi-coloured kits.

 

Rival teams will battle in the final kilometres to try to get their lead-out "train" in position to give their best sprinter a chance of victory.

 

Spectacular crashes are commonplace but, if he emerges unscathed, Mark Cavendish has to be among the favourites to take the win.

 
 
 

Wiggins end to Sky Relationship

 
28/08/2016


 
 

Tour under huge pressure to ease security after a horrific few days in France

 
15/07/2016

 

Inside the Sprint Finish: Stage 5: Tour de Suisse

Great little 3 minutes bit of footage.

Youtube Footage
 
 
Tiernan-Locke tells Plymouth Herald of his Bender Mistake in 2012
 
Updated  22nd April 2015



Jonathan Tiernan-Locke says he wants to return to professional racing when his two-year doping ban expires at the end of December.  The former Team Sky rider, who continues to protest his innocence, is confident he can return at the level he was at in 2012 when he won his Tour of Britain title. Tiernan-Locke insists that he won that race “fair and square”.

 

The Devon-born rider, now 30, stripped of his title after an anomalous biological passport reading from September 2012, just before he signed for Sir Dave Brailsford’s team will feel tainted.

 

Tiernan-Locke claimed that the reading was caused by dehydration after a massive bender in Bristol, an explanation rejected by UK Anti-Doping. He decided against appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport saying he could not afford to do so.

 

Last autumn Tiernan-Locke said he was “50-50” about a comeback, but he now says he has set his sights on a return to the domestic scene at least and claims he has had “a bit of interest already”.  He’s been passing time riding horses.

 

"I've no doubt that I can get back to the level I was riding at in 2012,” Tiernan-Locke told the Torquay Herald Express. "I also believe I can make myself a more complete rider than before.

 

"If I can do the top UK, Premier Calendar races and, say, UCI 2.2-level events, and pick up wins, that would be great.

 

"And I'd like to have a proper crack at the National Road Race Championships, where I've never done as well as I've wanted in the past."

 

Tiernan-Locke added that he felt he had “a point to prove”.

 

"I am not an angry person, someone who carries that sort of emotion around with me,” he said. "I did say at one point that I was never going to race again, and I am going back on that.

 

"But they say 'never say never', and the anger I felt has gone now. If I win a race, it's not like I'm going to stick two fingers up in the air at anyone.

 

"I know I won that [2012 Tour of Britain title] fair and square – I've got the photos and I still have the jersey.

 

"I know, and my Endura Racing teammates know, what we put into the race, and into others.

"I am excited about racing again, and I think I can be a better rider than I have ever been before."

 worked well together and I wasn’t sure if they were bluffing a bit near the end – panting and pulling faces – but fortunately they weren’t, and it was great for me.

“This six-week period we’re in from Paris-Nice to Paris-Roubaix is my big focus of the season. The way Paris-Nice finished was disappointing, but I felt good again at Milan-San Remo [where he led the field over the last climb], and to get the win now is really special.”

On a remarkable afternoon for Team Sky, Ben Swift also claimed victory on stage two at Settimana Coppi e Bartali to move into the race lead, and Richie Porte, the UCI’s No1-ranked WorldTour rider, seized the overall lead at the Volta a Catalunya.

With Ian Stannard claiming last month’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Luke Rowe in fine fettle, and Wiggins targeting Paris-Roubaix in his final race for Team Sky, the British squad are enjoying easily the best classics season of their short history and appear to have plenty of options. Next up is Gent-Wevelgem tomorrow, and then Flanders (April 5) and Roubaix (April 12).

Nor will they have to worry about one-day specialist Fabian Cancellara (Trek) whose classics season is over. The Swiss suffered two fractured vertebrae in a crash during Friday’s E3 Harelbeke.

 

Tour of Britain 2015: Brutal Route

Tour of Britain organisers are hopeful that Wiggins will ride in the race this September with his new road team WIGGINS, despite the 34-year-old switching his attention as of this summer from road to track, with the aim of ending his career with team pursuit gold at Rio 2016.

 

A “brutish” 2015 route, which begins on Sept 6 on Anglesey and finishes in London on Sept 13, was officially unveiled on Tuesday night at Wembley Stadium.

 

Race director Mick Bennett said that he had noted feedback from the Tour last year, which riders described as the “hardest ever”, by coming up with an even tougher proposition. At just over 900 miles, it will be the longest contemporary edition of the race.

 

“It did not escape people’s notice that the most successful riders at last year’s world road race championships in Ponferrada – Michal Kwiatkowski in the road race, Brad Wiggins in the time trial – competed at the Tour of Britain rather than the Vuelta a Espana,” Bennett said. “The kickback publicity from that has been excellent and we are hopeful of having another high-class turnout this year.”

 

Asked whether he expected Wiggins to return, Bennett, who won team pursuit bronze at the 1972 Olympics in Munich and again in Montreal in 1976, said he saw no reason why not. “Stage racing is excellent preparation for endurance riders,” he argued.

 

Twenty teams of six riders – one of which is likely to be the England cricketer Matt Prior’s new outfit ONE Pro Cycling – will tackle this year’s route, which should feature “two or three” sprint stages to entice the likes of Mark Cavendish.

 

“The second stage from Clitheroe to Colne is like a mini-Ardennes classic,” Bennett said. “The summit finish to stage five on Hartside Fell is a brute, while for me the hardest stage will be stage six from Stoke-on-Trent to Nottingham, taking in the Peak District. That will be leg-sapping.

“It’s perfect race preparation for this year’s world road race championships [in Richmond, Virginia]. “It’s just the right distance, with a week’s break in between, to prepare.”

 

The final stage, involving 15 laps of a 3.8-mile circuit around central London, will start and finish on Regent Street, taking in Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, the Strand and Whitehall.

Tour of Britain route details:

Stage One: Sunday, September 6
Beaumaris, Anglesey to Wrexham (177-kilometres)

The race starts on an island for the first time with a first Welsh Grand Depart which goes through all six North Wales regions. The route includes the climb of Pen-y-Pass but is likely to finish in a sprint.

Stage Two: Monday, September 7
Clitheroe to Colne (162km)

The first Lancashire stage since 2010 will be enjoyable for spectators – it will be feasible for one roadside fan to watch the peloton go by in around four different locations on the day – but challenging for the riders, with the Nick O’Pendle climb a highlight.

Stage Three: Tuesday, September 8
Cockermouth to Floors Castle, Kelso (216km)

Skirting the Lake District and the Solway Firth, the peloton will ride through Dumfries and Galloway and finish at the home of the Duke of Roxburghe, the largest inhabited castle in the UK. The sprinters are expected to be vying for victory.

Stage Four: Wednesday, September 9
Edinburgh to Blyth (218km)

The modern tour, reborn in 2004, will visit Edinburgh for the first time with a start at Holyrood Palace. The route will travel south along the coast into Northumberland, where winds could make the finale interesting and create costly time splits.

Stage Five: Thursday, September 10
Prudhoe to Hartside Fell (171km)

Hadrian's Wall is followed for much of the stage before the brutal concluding climb of Hartside Fell. At 1,904 feet (575 metres), the 8km climb, which averages five per cent with sections at over 10 per cent, is almost 100-metres higher than the 2014 summit finish on the Tumble in South Wales.

Stage Six: Friday, September 11
Stoke-on-Trent to Nottingham (189km)

Tour race director Mick Bennett believes the Peak District stage is the race's hardest and “completely leg sapping”. The stage finishes on the Recreation Ground in Nottingham, a venue with cycling history.

Stage Seven: Saturday, September 12
Fakenham to Ipswich (225km)

There is no respite. Wind could wreak havoc on proceedings on the penultimate day, with whoever is in possession of the race lead needing to be on high alert for the longest stage of the race.

Stage Eight: Saturday, September 13
London (93km as 15 laps of a 6.2km route)

 

French Riders Poised to Podium  

 
Updated 21st July 
2014
 

If the front page of L’Équipe is any reflection of the mood of the French sporting public, it is fair to say the locals are getting a little bit excité.

For five days now, the famous sports daily has splashed on the exploits of a trio of Frenchmen of whom you are unlikely to have heard: Thibaut Pinot, Jean-Christophe Péraud and Romain Bardet. On their shoulders rest the hopes of a nation.

It has been 29 long years since Bernard Hinault won his fifth and final maillot jaune in 1985, and 17 years since Richard Virenque became the last French rider even to make the podium of the biggest bike race on earth.

The TdF is to France what Wimbledon is to the British; an institution, a national treasure, the envy of the world.

French failure in the last quarter of a century has been a source of national despair, one that Sir Dave Brailsford, Team Sky’s principal, controversially offered to help rid them of a couple of weeks ago. All the signs are, following a fascinating 16th stage on Tuesday from Carcassonne to Bagnères-de-Luchon in the Pyrenees, that that dismal record is going to change come Paris on Sunday.

Pinot (FDJ) and Péraud (AG2R) finished in the yellow jersey group, 8min  32sec behind stage winner Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) but crucially nearly four minutes ahead of American Tejay van Garderen (BMC) who was dropped early on the final hors catégorie Port de Balès.

Bardet (AG2R) also gained nearly two minutes on Van Garderen, although he dropped behind both of his compatriots in the general classification. No matter, Pinot, Péraud and Bardet now lie third, fourth and fifth respectively on GC, the last of them with a cushion of almost three minutes over Van Garderen in sixth place. That is significant as the American – as his initials “TVG” almost suggest – is useful against the clock, and will likely win back time in the long, 50km (31-mile), penultimate-stage time trial on Saturday. 

 

Paris, France : Self-Service Rental Bikes for Kids

 
Updated 19th June 
2014
 

France notched up another cycling landmark, the world's first self-service city rental bike for kids.  City authorities in Paris have decided that their widely imitated Velib rental bike program is so popular it should be extended to children as young as two.

 

On Wednesday, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo launched P'tit Velib, which offers four sizes of cycle in five leafy off-road locations across the city.  "Because good habits begin early, the mayor of Paris wishes to familiarize children with using more environmentally friendly modes of transport, and from a young age," the P'tit Velib website says.

 

Nadhera Beletreche, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office, said the plan was the first of its kind anywhere.

 

Velib was launched in July 2007 and now claims to have more than 20,000 of its chunky gray bikes available from 1,800 docking stations around Paris.  The service, which offers half an hour of free riding followed by incremental charges, was reportedly used to make 130 million trips in its first five years.

 

Although Velib followed numerous earlier bike-sharing and rental plans, it grew to become one of the world's most successful.  The model of using corporate sponsorship and computerized docking stations has been imitated by other cities such as London.

 

The new children's bikes designed with the same gray stylings as their adult counterparts are available to rent in the Bois de Boulogne near the Porte La Muette and the Rond-Point du Jardin d'Acclimitation, the Ourcq Canal, the Bois de Vincennes and the banks of the Seine, between the Pont des Invalides and the Pont De l'Alma.

 

Rental rates start at €4 ($5.40).  Further locations are expected to open later in the year.


 

8 Seconds for Contador as Sunny Spain produces More Talent

 
Updated 15th June 
2014
 

Sunny Spain's Alberto Contador overtook Chris Froome as the leader of the Critérium du Dauphiné as the Dutchman Lieuwe Westra won stage seven for Astana.  Froome looked like he needed more drink during the stage.

Froome had gone into the stage with a 12-second lead despite a crash on Friday but the Team Sky man from Kenya was overhauled by a late break from Contador.With Westra out in front and overtaking the Russian pair Yuriy Trofimov and Egor Silin, who finished the stage second and third for Katusha, Froome and Contador were both in a 10-strong pursuing group clear of the main peloton.

Contador, riding for Tinkoff-Saxo, made his move with two kilometres to go and Team Sky’s Froome was forced to ride flat out to respond.

While the 2013 Tour de France winner limited the damage he could not prevent the Spanish taking an eight-second lead in the overall standings after the finish in Finhaut-Emosson.

The American Andrew Talansky, fifth in the stage with Froome seventh, lies third overall for Garmin-Sharp, with the Dutchman Wilco Kelderman, of Belkin, the only other man within a minute of Contador.

Sunday’s final stage runs 131.5km from Megève to Courchevel.

Pictured: Scarlett Johansen who is a fan of the Critérium du Dauphiné and Dutchman Lieuwe Westra.


Sky's Big Question: Who Supports Froome

 
Updated 4th June
2014
 

When ruffled haired moody Sir Bradley Wiggins pulled out of the Giro d’Italia last year with a knee injury, whatever the short‑term disappointment for Wiggins and Sky, it solved an issue: should the 2012 Tour de France winner ride alongside Chris Froome at the Tour de France and if so, on what basis?

The question was only postponed for 12 months or so, however, and it has become the big one for Sir Dave Brailsford as the 2014 Tour draws near. Brailsford is bound to have a solid idea of most of the eight support riders who will back Froome at the Tour: the chances are they are the seven who will race the Criterium du Dauphine. For the past three years, Sky have used the Dauphiné as the main dress rehearsal for the Tour de France, and there is no reason to change a winning formula.

 

Wiggins is not at the Dauphiné, which can be interpreted in two ways. One is that Brailsford doesn’t want to risk riding him alongside Froome. The other is that his putting Wiggins in the Tour of Switzerland makes sense, because it is a race he can win without sideburns, and its slightly later date gives him more time to recover from body-clock disruption after the Tour of California.

There are several others in the mix: Wiggins for one, Peter Kennaugh perhaps, or Bernhard Eisel, one of the better domestiques when it comes to positioning a leader at the front, who can be expected to show strongly on the tricky cobbled stage into Roubaix. Sky may even gamble on Sergio Henao if he is cleared to race after an investigation into anomalous blood test results.

Brailsford knows that it would be madness to announce Sky’s Tour squad early, merely to damp down debate. With the Dauphiné, Tour of Switzerland and Route du Sud still to come, crashes or illness can still force changes to the squad. He leaves selections late, which has the added bonus of keeping his athletes hungry.

This is not new territory for Brailsford – Jason Kenny ahead of Chris Hoy for the London Olympic match sprint being the most celebrated call he has made to date – and he selects in a certain way. On past form, emotion will not come into it; the decision will be made on performance grounds. He has also experienced a Tour with two leaders before – 2012, when the world champion Mark Cavendish rode – and it was not a happy experience.

The argument that you should include a past Tour winner out of respect for him and for the institution can be discounted: those are emotional reasons. Having Wiggins would be good PR, admittedly, but losing the Tour because of internal discord would undo that. You don’t select someone simply to keep them happy, or because you have a long and fruitful working relationship with them, as Brailsford has with Wiggins.

The questions going around the Sky head’s mind could include these: putting aside Wiggins’s obvious box-office appeal in a Tour that starts on British soil – emotion again – what will he bring to a team centred on Froome that Bernhard Eisel or Vasil Kiriyenka will not? Given the troubles between him and Froome in the past, is there the slightest risk that Wiggins’s presence in the team will be disruptive, no matter how honourable his intentions and how many times he says he is there to work for Froome?

If Wiggins offers no more as a team‑mate than one of the others, the main argument for including him is that in the Tour, anything can happen, and a crash or an ill-timed puncture – like the one that did for Alejandro Valverde last year – is as likely to happen to Froome as anyone else. Having a No2 of Wiggins’s experience, who can step in if required, could be sensible insurance, particularly when that No2 is a former Tour winner who will divert some of the media attention.

Taking that Froome has said he feels Richie Porte can fill the role, the tide seems to be running against Wiggins.




Pink Jersey: I'm Amazed - Rigoberto Uran

 
Updated 22nd May
2014
 

 

  

Columbian rider Rigoberto Urán won the 12th stage of the Giro d’Italia and took the overall lead on Thursday.

He was 57 seconds behind Cadel Evans going into the stage, then won the 26-mile individual time trial from Barbaresco to Barolo in under an hour, and Evans finished one minute, 34 seconds behind in third.

“It’s incredible, I’m really surprised. I didn’t think that I would win it. I cannot believe I won the stage and took the pink jersey,” Urán said. “I worked a lot on my time trial, spending time in the wind tunnel over the winter, but today surpassed my expectations.

“It’s too early to say the race is over. We still have not raced the hardest mountains yet. The most difficult part of the Giro is still to come.”

Urán took the pink jersey off Evans to lead the Australian by 37 seconds.

“I saw Urán coming into form,” Evans said, “but I honestly did not expect him to have such an amazing time trial. Of course, I had hoped to have done better myself. The time trial course suited me well, but as I said yesterday, the verdict is on the road.

“My position is good tactically. It is going to be interesting.”

Diego Ulissi led for most of the day and looked on course for a third stage victory in the race but had to settle for second after Urán beat the Italian cyclist’s time by 1:17. Overall, Rafal Majka was third, 1:52 behind Urán.

Thomas de Gendt was one of the early leaders and was in front for a long time as he was one of the last cyclists to complete the stage on dry roads.

Later cyclists struggled in the rain, and there was even thunder and lightning at the finish.

There was a scare when Tobias Ludvigsson misjudged a corner on the technical descent and went flying over a barrier, landing hard after a short drop. He lay prone for several minutes but was later seen sitting up before being taken to hospital.

The weather abated and the roads were beginning to dry out again when Ulissi came flying out of the starting gates.

He crossed the line 50 seconds ahead of De Gendt, who eventually finished eighth.

Friday’s 13th stage is a mainly flat, 98-mile leg from Fossano to Rivarolo Canavese.

 
 
 

Tour of Britain Climbs in Abergavenny (Misses Out On Scotland)                   

 
Updated 6th April 2014


Former professional cyclist Julian Winn has welcomed Tour of Britain organisers' decision to include a climb of The Tumble above Abergavenny in the 2014 race.

Riders will face the daunting six-kilometre climb at the end of stage three on Tuesday, 9 September.

Abergavenny resident Winn was King of the Mountain in the 2005 Tour and said cyclists will know what to expect.

"It's pretty well-known in cycling and it's pretty brutal," Winn said.

"In the race I guess it's going to be taking 12-15 minutes and you've got to be ready for it."

The Tumble rises 432 metres over its six kilometre distance and will mark the end of the race's in Wales, with stage two ending on the seafront at Llandudno the day before.

"We've got two stages in Wales which is great for us," added Winn.

"I think [the organisers] just vary the terrain really and it's great that they're including the Tumble - it's a classic climb in Wales.

"It's well used by our high-profile riders like Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe - it's an iconic climb which is firmly on the map."

And Winn believes Team Sky rider Thomas - a double Olympic track gold medallist - has the ability to become the first Welsh rider to win the event, if it fits in with the team's schedule.

"His career appears to be developing in the right direction at the right speed," added Winn.

"He's got the makings to win it, for sure."

The Tour of Britain 2014

Stage One: Sunday 7 September, Liverpool

Stage Two: Monday 8 September, Knowsley to Llandudno

Stage Three: Tuesday 9 September, Newtown to the Tumble

Stage Four: Wednesday 10 September, Worcester to Bristol

Stage Five: Thursday 11 September, Exmouth to Exeter

Stage Six: Friday 12 September, Bath to Hemel Hempstead

Stage Seven: Saturday 13 September, Camberley to Brighton

Stage Eight a: Sunday 14 September, London individual time trial

Stage Eight b: Sunday 14 September, London circuit race 


Guide To The One Day Spring Classics - The Toughest One Day Races           

 
Updated 5th April 2014

 

Yorkshire Gets Chuffin' for Tour de Chuffin' Yorkshire From 2015

 
Updated 4th April 2014


Yorkshire will stage a three-day race from 2015.

The Tour's organisers - ASO, Welcome to Yorkshire and British Cycling - will jointly stage the international race in May for at least the next three years.

Gary Verity, CEO of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "I am so chuffin' pleased, this new race will rank as a major new addition to the global cycling calendar.

"It will be three days of cycling right the way across the county."

The race is expected to include a stage through the North York Moors to Scarborough, and will start with a split stage - a time trial and short road stage.

There is no plan to stage a women's version of the race in the initial three-year deal, but it is hoped it can be added later, along with an event for amateurs.

British Cycling director of cycle sport Jonny Clay said: "This is chuffin' good news for cycling fans across the country but particularly in Yorkshire, where interest in the sport has rocketed thanks to the Grand Depart.

(Picture was not taken in Yorkshire)

"Principal among our criteria for approval is the long-term viability of an event - we want races which will return to inspire people year after year - and how effective it will be in getting more people and investment into grassroots cycling. Ee By-ek"

The race was announced as Yorkshire marked 100 days to go before the start of the Tour de France.

Leeds hosts the Grand Depart on 5 July, with the first stage finishing in Harrogate. Stage two of the 101st Tour starts in York and ends in Sheffield.

The third stage starts in Cambridge and takes in a complete a circuit of the Olympic Park in London before finishing on the Mall in the capital.

The race last visited the UK in 2007, when London and Kent hosted the prologue and opening stage.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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