Monthly Archives: October 2011

Olympic medallist Hayles retires


Rob Hayles

Hayles won three Olympic medals

Three-time Olympic medallist Rob Hayles has announced his retirement.

The 38-year-old professional cyclist from Portsmouth won Olympic silver and two bronzes on the track, as well as two World Championship titles.

Hayles also won Commonwealth Games gold and silver during a glittering career.

“After 27 years of racing, 19 of those full time, and 16 as a professional, I have had an amazing time but feel it’s time to concentrate on other very exciting things,” said Hayles.

Hayles hope to continue his career in broadcasting and also took the role of rider/manager at the British-based Endura squad at the start of the 2010 season.

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It’s time to step back and watch another generation of British cyclists rule the world

Rob Hayles

On the road, Hayles won the British road race title in 2008 and also held the national 10 and 25-mile time trial titles.

He spent three years from 2001-2003 racing on the continent for the French Cofidis squad.

“Cycling has been a great life for me, and i hope it will continue to be in one way or another,” added Hayles on Twitter.

Hayles’ last race came on Sunday at the national hill-climb championship in Buxton where he finished in 14th position.

He added: “The highlight of my career has to be winning my first World Track Championship title with Mark Cavendish in 2005, and it’s been an absolute pleasure seeing how his career has taken off since then.

“It’s time to step back and watch another generation of British cyclists rule the world.”

Article source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/cycling/15493481.stm

Clancy ponders giving up omnium



Ed Clancy leads team-mates Steven Burke, Peter Kennaugh and Andy Tennant during the team pursuit final at the European Championships

Clancy (left) competed in both the team pursuit and omnium at the Euros

New European omnium champion Ed Clancy could give up the event to help GB defend the Olympic team pursuit crown.

The 26-year-old, part of the team pursuit quartet in Beijing and a former omnium world champion, won the European title in the Netherlands last weekend.

“The omnium is more an endurance-man’s game now and that doesn’t suit me too well,” Clancy told BBC Sport.

“I’m all for the team pursuit, whatever it takes – I’ll scrap this omnium, I’ll leave it alone.”

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I want to be the best team pursuiter I can be, and being good at team pursuit will give me the form I need to ride a good omnium

Ed Clancy

The omnium is a two-day event, spanning six separate races designed to equally test sprint and endurance capabilities, and is new to the Olympic programme for London 2012.

Clancy won the world title in the event in 2010 and he is currently British Cycling’s preferred candidate to ride in the event at the Games.

But he was surprised to take European gold in the Dutch town of Apeldoorn, as he believes alterations to the format have removed some of his advantage.

“The omnium’s changed a little since 2010. The elimination race has managed to find its way in there, and the distances in the points race and scratch race are quite different,” he said.

“I tend to be better in the shorter, punchier races and it’s taken me a while to get used to the new format.

“I don’t think I am the best omnium rider in the world – I’m not going to win all the time. Team pursuit’s where it’s at in my mind; I really want to get hold of that and there’s nothing like it when a team pursuit goes well, so I’m making a push for that.”

Clancy rode in the pursuit team which won European gold in Apeldoorn on Friday, but the British quartet missed their target time and performance director Dave Brailsford has admitted there is “work to be done” ahead of February’s World Cup in London.

Australia, the world champions in men’s team pursuit, set a time of three minutes, 57.832 seconds on the same track at the World Championships.

Britain had been looking to challenge that mark last week, but produced a ride of 4:00.008 in their final.

“We weren’t a million miles from [our target] – we’ve got work to do there, but we’ve got time as well and a good plan,” said Clancy.

“I want to be the best team pursuiter I can be, and being good at team pursuit will give me the form I need to ride a good omnium.

“I’m not going to spend the next nine months specifically training for the omnium because, physically, the team pursuit training takes care of that.

“If I get a ride in the omnium because of the team pursuit, great. If not, hopefully I’ll go on to do good things in the team pursuit and I’ll be happy with that.”

Article source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/cycling/15445482.stm

Thomas puts Olympics before Tour



Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas made his Tour de France debut in 2007

Geraint Thomas has confirmed he will miss next year’s Tour de France in order to concentrate on the 2012 London Olympics.

The 2008 team pursuit gold medallist has decided to participate in the Giro D’Italia instead.

Next year’s Tour will finish on 22 July – less than a fortnight before the Olympic track qualifiers begin.

“The Olympics is the main goal for me so I don’t want to jeopardise that in any way,” he told BBC Sport Wales.

“Riding the tour is a bit more of a gamble. I could be going really [well] but could also end up on my knees and pretty tired.”

Thomas was one of Britain’s men’s team pursuiters who won through to take gold on Friday in the track cycling European Championships, although he did not compete in the final.

But the Cardiff-born rider has said next year’s Olympics could be his track cycling swan-song.

Thomas wore the white jersey for best young rider in the opening seven stages at this year’s Tour de France.

His fellow Team Sky and GB riders Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins are expected to compete in both events.

The Welshman’s preparations will mirror those before the Bejing Olympics in 2008 when he concentrated his efforts on the Giro D’Italia in May.

“I’m going to be doing similar preparations to before Bejing when I rode the Giro and didn’t ride the tour,” said Thomas.

“That’ll give me the work from a three-week race but also give me time to adapt back to the track and give myself every chance of making the team.”

The 25-year-old said the decision to pull out of the Tour was his decision alone.


Great Britain's Geraint Thomas

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‘Excited’ Thomas glad to be back

“It was down to me at the end of the day. I obviously spoke to the coaches and staff but it was my call and I’m pretty comfortable with that,” he added.

“It [the Tour de France] is massive, and especially next year with Cav [Cavendish] on the team I’d love to be a part of it.

“But for me this year as in previous years the Olympics is the main goal. I’ll still have the Tour de France the year after, it’s an annual event so that’s one way we’re fortunate.

“But home Olympics, it’s a once in a lifetime thing.”

Thomas admits team-mates Wiggins and Cavendish might be taking a risk competing in both events next summer.

“I think they can do it. When you come out of the Tour you can be really good, especially when you’re racing on the road in a week, two week’s time. It’s great preparations,” he said.

“Unless you come out of it on your knees, which could happen. I think for them it’s worth the risk.

“But for me being a completely different discipline to the track. I just need a bit more time than the 11 or so days after the Tour.”

For the latest updates and reaction to this story, read Sportsday Live. Have your say on Twitter via the hashtag #bbcsportsday.

Article source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/cycling/15424157.stm

Brailsford demands ‘grit’ from GB



British cycling chief Dave Brailsford

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Brailsford sends warning to British cyclists


Dave Brailsford says his British track cycling team must “knuckle down” for a vital period of training after winning seven European gold medals last week.

Though the haul is impressive, it masks a fruitless outing in the men’s team sprint and no individual sprint medals.

“There’s a lot of work to be done between now and Christmas. There’s nothing fancy, it’s hard, hard graft and real grit,” said Brailsford.

“It’s a foundation [and] if you don’t get it right, you’re in trouble.”

British riders won titles in all four of the races GB entered on Sunday, the final day of the European Championships, but Friday and Saturday brought frustration, particularly in the sprint races.

Sir Chris Hoy withdrew through illness, the men’s team sprint failed to contend for medals following a slip at the start of their qualifying run, and Victoria Pendleton could only finish eighth in the women’s sprint with Jason Kenny fourth in the men’s event.

“It was important that we came away from this on a high,” Brailsford, the team’s performance director, told BBC Sport.

“When you take the overall event, we’ve come out with seven golds in the 10 Olympic disciplines, which is a good return.

“We didn’t really compete in one – the men’s team sprint where we had the mishap – and we’ll have to go back to the drawing board on the individual sprints. But, overall, it’s a good start to the season.”

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You’ve got to get momentum and start winning, it breeds self-belief

Dave Brailsford
British Cycling performance director

Nine of the squad will travel to Kazakhstan for the season’s first World Cup in two weeks’ time, but the remainder will now plunge into a period of intensive training designed to prepare them for a succession of important events in 2012.

The Olympic year begins with the London stage of the World Cup, which will be the first competition held inside the Olympic Velodrome, followed by April’s World Championships in Melbourne and the Olympic racing itself.

“Before Christmas we’ll go back and do some really hard work. There’s no time for messing about now, there can be no substitute for hard work and that’s what we’re going to do,” Brailsford added.

“This is critical and there is no excuse, no frills, no commercial pressures. It’s time to knuckle down and do some real hard yards.”

Hoy and Jason Queally lost valuable time on the track as a result of the former’s illness and the sprint team’s failure to reach the medal races, in which Queally – the Sydney Olympics gold medallist who came out of retirement for London 2012 – had been earmarked for a ride.

“They’ll be frustrated – they need to race, and they know that,” said Brailsford. “The way it panned out, with Chris’s illness and the mishap in the team sprint, it’s frustrating.

“But they’re old warriors, those two. They know how to manage themselves. They’re hungry, they want it and it won’t be a big setback for them.”

And while both pursuit teams rode to gold, the manner of the men’s victory was less than convincing, in a time outside the one they had targeted.

Brailsford added: “It was an ugly win, to use the footballing analogy, but you’ve got to get momentum and start winning – it breeds self-belief.

“But we can be better than that. We know we can. We’ve got some work to do there.”

For the latest updates and reaction to this story, read Sportsday Live. Have your say on Twitter via the hashtag #bbcsportsday.

Article source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/cycling/15423340.stm

Pendleton admits she lost faith



British cyclist Victoria Pendleton

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Pendleton buoyed by Euro display


New European keirin champion Victoria Pendleton has admitted to losing faith in her own ability as results failed to go her way in the last year of racing.

Pendleton, who took keirin gold in Apeldoorn on Sunday, missed out on the sprint world title for the first time since 2006 earlier this year.

“It knocked my confidence. The worst thing is doubting yourself,” she said.

“I thought, ‘Maybe this year’s not my year’. But I’m going to try my damned hardest to make sure 2012 is my year.”

Pendleton came away from the 2011 World Championships – held in the same velodrome as this week’s European Championships, in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn – without a title to her name, Anna Meares and Simona Krupeckaite beating her into bronze-medal position in the sprint.

But she picked up her second European victory here with an exciting performance in Sunday’s keirin final to match Friday’s victory alongside Jess Varnish in the team sprint.

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You don’t get to be multiple Olympic champion if you haven’t got any guts, and that girl’s got guts – oodles of it

Dave Brailsford
British Cycling performance director

Pendleton displayed an aggression and self-belief that had seemed lacking a day earlier, when she came eighth in the sprint.

“The sprint can be a toss of a coin, sometimes it’s heads and sometimes it’s tails,” said Pendleton.

“Yesterday I had a lot of tails and usually it doesn’t go that way, so I’m hoping I have a lot of heads credit going on.

“I’m lacking a lot of explosive speed at the moment. When you know you haven’t got the form, that’s the hardest thing.

“You know what it should feel like and psychologically, when you know you haven’t got the full package, it can be quite hard to attack in the same manner that you normally do, with the same confidence.

“Now there will be a lot of hard work, going back to basics in a real slow-build to the London World Cup [inside the new Olympic Velodrome, in February], which is exactly what I wanted. I’m going to have to be on fighting form when it comes to that, and I can concentrate on that now.”

British Cycling’s performance director, Dave Brailsford, said: “The way she turned [Saturday’s sprint performance] around, came back under pressure and pulled out that performance demonstrates what a great champion she is and you should never write her off.

“You don’t get to be multiple Olympic champion if you haven’t got any guts, and that girl’s got guts – oodles of it.

“She showed that today, she’s determined and she came back fighting after a tough day yesterday, and she rode a world-class keirin there.”

Pendleton will now miss November’s World Cup, in Kazakhstan, to focus on intensive training having turned up at the European Championships struggling for form.

But though she admits beginning to doubt her training last season, she is determined to reach her next major event – February’s World Cup, which doubles as the Olympic test event – in the form of her life.

“The worst thing you can do is start doubting what you do. As soon as you start doubting your training programme and over-analysing it, you just start spiralling down. And I’m an emotional person,” she said.

“Last year I felt I was in a situation a bit like a tug-of-war. With all my strength I was really trying to get that performance in my grasp, [but] I almost felt like I’d lost before I’d started.

“Now I want to have that solid foundation in place to build on through the year. You can’t start building strength in April, it’s too late. You have to be confident in your programme and hopefully it’ll come together.”

Article source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/sport1/hi/cycling/15424604.stm

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