Monthly Archives: January 2012

GB & Australia set up London duel

Great Britain's team pursuit team of Wendy Houvenaghel, Laura Trott and Dani King

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World Championships 2011: Team pursuit gold for GB’s women

Great Britain and Australia have both named strong line-ups for February’s track cycling World Cup in London.

The event, at the Olympic Velodrome, is set to become an early chance to see the likely squads for the 2012 Games.

Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton lead the British team while Anna Meares and Jack Bobridge star for Australia.

GB chief Dave Brailsford called the event a “learning opportunity” ahead of the Games, adding: “We have selected a full-strength squad accordingly.”

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With the Olympics being on that track later in the year, it’s obviously going to be important for everyone

Jason Kenny
Member of GB sprint team

His Australian counterpart, Kevin Tabotta, said: “This will be our only opportunity to race on the Olympic Velodrome and familiarise both athletes and staff with the environment ahead of the Games.

“We are on target to qualify the maximum [number of] track places for the Games, so the focus now it to ensure we are in the best possible position to win medals in London.”

Ross Edgar, earlier suggested as a doubt for London’s leg of the World Cup series as he recovers from injury, is named in the British sprint squad and is now likely to form the GB men’s sprint team alongside Hoy and Jason Kenny.

“With the Olympics being on that track later in the year, it’s obviously going to be important for everyone,” said Olympic and world champion Kenny.


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London Olympic Velodrome

  • Opened in February 2011
  • 250m Siberian pine track constructed by 26 carpenters
  • 6,000 seats
  • Sir Chris Hoy helped with design

“It would be nice to turn up there in form, be competitive and get stuck into the racing to get a feel for the place.”

With Bradley Wiggins opting to focus on road cycling, Geraint Thomas will lead the British men’s pursuit squad.

Laura Trott, Dani King and Wendy Houvenaghel, who won Britain’s only world title last year – until Kenny’s retrospective promotion to gold early in January – are reunited alongside Joanna Rowsell in the women’s pursuit line-up.

Pendleton and Jess Varnish resume their quest to better Australian rivals Meares and Kaarle McCulloch in the women’s sprint events, a contest won in style by Australia at the last world championships, where Meares picked up gold in the sprint, team sprint and keirin.

Bobridge returns to the Australian men’s pursuit team, also world champions, to line up against the British.

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The meeting, which also serves as test event for the velodrome ahead of the Olympics, will welcome 340 riders from 48 nations for four days of racing and begins on Thursday, 16 February.

Beyond the World Cup, the one remaining major event prior to the Olympics is April’s World Championships in Melbourne.

Despite initial suggestions that Britain would fly a weakened team to Australia for the Worlds, plans are now in place for a full GB squad to travel.

“Hopefully I can keep building momentum through London then the World Championships and on to the Olympics,” said Kenny.

Great Britain team for London World Cup

Sprint: Matt Crampton (representing Sky Track Cycling), Ross Edgar, Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Victoria Pendleton, Jess Varnish

Endurance: Steven Burke, Ed Clancy, Pete Kennaugh, Ben Swift, Andy Tennant, Geraint Thomas, Wendy Houvenaghel, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott

Australia team for London World Cup

Sprint: Alex Bird, Matthew Glaetzer, Shane Perkins, Scott Sunderland, Kaarle McCulloch, Anna Meares

Endurance: Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge, Alexander Edmondson, Michael Hepburn, Glenn O’Shea, Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson, Melissa Hoskins, Josephine Tomic

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London plans ‘classic’ road race

A cyclist in the prologue of the Tour de France outside Buckingham Palace

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Phil Liggett and Jonny Clay back plans for London ‘classic’ race

London plans to host a one-day professional road race to rival classic events such as the Paris-Roubaix.

To be first staged in August 2013, the race will be part of a two-day cycling festival, which will become an annual event, as part of the Olympic legacy.

London has to meet certain critera, but British Cycling’s Jonny Clay said the race would “definitely” go ahead.

“I’d be surprised if in a few years it isn’t one of the world’s biggest cycling races,” Clay told BBC Sport.

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This is no longer a cinderella, cloth-cap image sport. We’ve got the best riders in the world

Phil Liggett
Cycling commentator

The Milan-San Remo is the first Classic of the season, with six more races taking place over March and April in Belgium, France and the Netherlands, culminating in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege on 24 April.

As with the London marathon – where elite runners and amateurs run the same course on the same day – the London road race will involve professional and amateur cyclists who will tackle a 100-mile route, starting in the Olympic Park and based on the 2012 Games cycle road race.

Cycling has a crowded calendar with the one-day classics taking place before the sport’s major races such as the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

But British Cycling’s cycle sport director Clay, who won a bronze medalist at the 2000 Sydney Games in the team cycling pursuit, insisted London’s commercial pull will attract teams, riders and sponsors.

“Britain now leads the world in track cycling and I’m sure that will be reflected in the Olympics,” said British cycling commentator Phil Liggett.

Mark Cavendish

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Cavendish sprints to world troad race itle

“And after Mark Cavendish’s incredible road race world title win in Denmark and winning the Sports Personality of the Year award, he has the profile now, as does the sport.

“The obvious next step is to bring a major road race to the heart of London. We were going to see the Olympic road race and then silence for the years ahead, but that is not going to be happen now.

“We will eventually bring the best riders, who are household names now, to London.

“This is no longer a cinderella, cloth-cap image sport. It’s a very highly financed professional business and we’ve got the best riders in the world.”

A spokesman for the UCI, the sport’s governing body, said: “[The] UCI is committed for the cycling development worldwide, and we are obviously very satisfied of such a project, but we do not know it in detail.”

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Edgar doubt for GB at World Cup

Ross Edgar (right) with GB team sprint predecessor Jamie Staff

Edgar, right, is seeking to fill the shoes of Staff, left, in the British line-up

Ross Edgar is fighting to recover from injury in time to join Sir Chris Hoy in GB’s strongest-possible team sprint line-up at February’s London World Cup.

Edgar, 29, was labelled the potential key to British team sprint hopes by coach Iain Dyer on Tuesday but may miss the event inside the Olympic Velodrome.

“Ross has shown really good development and progression, but he has been battling injury,” said Dyer.

“We hope he’ll be on form for London but he might come up short on time.”


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Ross Edgar

  • Like his sprint team-mate Sir Chris Hoy, Edgar is a Scot – he was born in Suffolk but qualifies for Scotland through his father
  • Edgar carried the Scotland flag at the 2010 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Delhi
  • He won silver in the men’s keirin behind Hoy at the Beijing Olympics in 2008

Hoy Edgar claim gold and silver in Beijing

The problem of Britain’s team sprint line-up has proved a tough one for British Cycling to crack since Jamie Staff retired after his gold medal-winning outing alongside Hoy and Kenny at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Team coaches are sure that longstanding team-mates Kenny and Hoy are ideally suited to the positions of ‘man two’ and ‘man three’ respectively in the team sprint, but the pair have shuffled positions since Beijing as Britain struggled to find a suitable replacement for Staff.

Different skills and strengths are required in each position in the line-up, so ensuring that Hoy and Kenny – two of the world’s finest sprinters – ride to their full potential.

“Jamie Staff was such a very strong man one,” said Dyer. “And, when paired with Jason Kenny in man two and Chris Hoy in man three, we had a team where we could honestly say each athlete was the very best in the world in that position.

“That’s a pretty rare occurrence for any team or relay style event.

“We’ve ridden out of position for a long time. We’ve tried various different combinations, we’ve tried Matt Crampton in man three behind those two and we’ve also looked at different man one riders to see if we can push Jason and Chris back up the order and that’s been our plan for quite some time now.

“But good man ones don’t grow on trees and to be as strong and powerful as you need to be takes a lot of time and a lot of development, as Jamie demonstrated in Beijing.”

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It’s our plan to roll Ross out at man one, Jason at man two and Chris at man three at the London World Cup and see what that gives us

Iain Dyer
British Cycling sprint coach

Dyer still hopes that latest candidate Edgar will have the chance to impress in London, ahead of April’s World Championships in Melbourne, having convinced coaching staff over the winter.

Crampton, Hoy and Kenny initially finished third at the last World Championships, in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn, behind France and Germany, but were moved up to the silver-medal position earlier this month when French star Gregory Bauge had his – and his team’s – results annulled following doping test offences.

“It’s extremely difficult,” said Dyer, “and rare to be a very good sprint and keirin rider and also excel in man one, so Ross Edgar has been dealing with that challenge in the last year or two and I believe at this point has shown really good development and progression in that position.

“It’s our plan to roll Ross out at man one, Jason at man two and Chris at man three at the London World Cup and see what that gives us.

“Unfortunately, in the last few weeks, Ross has been battling against an injury, so we hope that he’ll be on form for London. But he might just come up a little short on time to rehabilitate the injury and progress his fitness once again.”

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Storey in team sprint for Worlds

Sarah Storey

Storey first appeared in the Paralympics as a swimmer in 1992

Sarah Storey has been selected for the Great Britain team sprint at next month’s Para-Cycling Track World Championships in Los Angeles.

International cycling rules now allow mixed teams so Storey will line up alongside Darren Kenny and Jody Cundy.

The selection for the team sprint opens up the chance of Storey challenging for five Paralympic gold medals in London.

“If we want to win we need the three fastest riders and Sarah is one of those,” said head coach Chris Furber.

The World Championships are the last opportunity for countries to obtain ranking points to earn qualification places for the London 2012 Paralympics.

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Sarah has done some great work with the team pursuit squad and some of the skills she has picked up there have enabled her to be competitive in the team sprint

Chris Furber
GB Para-Cycling head coach

Storey, who was born with a deformed left hand, was part of the women’s Olympic team pursuit squad before being dropped last month.

She switched to cycling in 2005 after a successful Paralympic swimming career which saw her win 16 medals, including five golds.

The 34-year-old won two Paralympic cycling golds in Beijing and goes to the World Championships as defending kilo and individual pursuit champion in her category.

Furber added: “Sarah has done some great work with the team pursuit squad and some of the skills she has picked up there have enabled her to be competitive in the team sprint.

“She is now starting faster and can ride at a higher peak speed so she is well equipped to challenge for a team sprint spot. LA is a good test to see how the line-up works out.

Sarah Storey

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It’s the parallel Olympics – Sarah Storey

“We have three incredibly experienced athletes. Darren and Jody won gold in the event in Italy last year and were part of the Paralympic gold medal-winning line-up and, although Sarah has not done team sprint before, she has applied herself very well.”

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Harrison misses out on medal ride

Becky James

Becky James is one of a young squad, with four making their World Cup debuts

Great Britain’s Sam Harrison endured more frustration after missing out on a medal ride in the individual pursuit at the Track World Cup meeting in Beijing.

Harrison, who helped GB to fourth place in the team pursuit on Friday, was half a second adrift after qualifying sixth.

Harrison, Mark Christian, Joe Kelly and Simon Yates missed out on a bronze medal to New Zealand.

Becky James and World Cup debutant Victoria Williamson went out in qualifying for the flying 200m.

Commonwealth medallist James clocked 11.582 seconds to finish 19th with Williamson eight hundredths further adrift in 20th, but only the top 16 progressed to the next round.

Another World Cup debutant, Callum Skinner, finished third in his keirin heat and went out after a fourth-place finish in his repechage heat.

Another new-boy, 18-year-old Owen Douall, placed 12th in the scratch race on Friday after finishing third in qualifying.

Most of GB’s leading lights such as Sir Chris Hoy are preparing for February’s London leg, also an Olympic test event.

The Beijing leg is the third race in a series of four ending on 15 January, following November’s Kazakhstan meet and December’s race in Colombia.

London will host the finale on 17-19 February.

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Johnny’s favourite stores