Monthly Archives: February 2012

Ill Cavendish triumphs in Belgium

Team Sky’s Mark Cavendish overcame illness to sprint to victory in the 195km Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne one-day race in Belgium on Sunday.

Britain’s world road race champion

was perfectly delivered to within 250m of the line by team-mate Chris Sutton before sprinting away from the field.

“When I got to the final corner, I knew we’d win,” said Cavendish who also won

two stages in February’s Tour of Qatar.

“I was ill all day and kept vomiting,” the 26-year-old added.

“I talked to CJ [Sutton] after the climbs and I told him you should be prepared to sprint.

“With 50km left I still didn’t feel marvellous but just kept going and was being kept out of trouble all the time.

“They controlled it at the end to deliver me and with 250m to go I kicked and that was it.”

Sky riders controlled the race from the off with Juan Antonio Flecha and Mathew Hayman joining a breakaway group.

When that group was caught with around 60km remaining, another breakaway attempt was covered by Bernhard Eisel as Sky worked tirelessly to keep Cavendish in with a shout of victory.

Alex Dowsett, Jeremy Hunt, Eisel, Flecha, Ian Stannard and Hayman then led out Cavendish in the closing stages with Sutton sitting behind and prepared to sprint if his leader could not.

“The team worked the whole day for me,” he said. “The break went, when we got it back, they started riding immediately and just stayed there to the finish. I’m so proud.”

A clearly delighted Cavendish then

tweeted after the race: 

“First win in Europe this year. Absolutely buzzing. Team Sky controlled it like a video game. Looks like the train is on track. So proud.”

Cavendish’s win is a second successive victory in the race for Team Sky after Sutton won in 2011.

And the Australian

added on Twitter: 

“What a day. Team Sky was so strong. The boys gave the perfect lead out. I dropped Mark Cavendish with 250m to go. What a win. Congrats Cav.”

FDJ-Big Mat’s Yauheni Hutarovich was second ahead of Vacansoleil-DCM’s Kenny Robert Van Hummel.

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Hindes replaces Edgar at Worlds

Ross Edgar will miss April’s World Championships in Melbourne as 19-year-old Philip Hindes gets the chance to stake a claim for an Olympic place.

Sir Chris Hoy will lead a team of 15 riders when Great Britain compete at the last major track cycling event before this summer’s Olympic Games.

Edgar was part of

the British sprint squad that took bronze

at last week’s World Cup event in London.

But he has been left out the Melbourne squad to pursue gym and road training.

Britain topped the medals table at the World Cup but the men’s team sprint performance was disappointing, with the line-up of Edgar, Jason Kenny and Hoy losing at the semi-final stage.

Matthew Crampton and the German-born Hindes will vie for the now-vacant place on the team in Melbourne, with performances set to play a major part in Olympic selection decisions.

“We have selected a very similar team to travel to the World Championships; the only difference is in the men’s sprint squad,” said Dave Brailsford, British Cycling performance director.

“In London, Ross Edgar was in the early stages of recovering from an injury and we think the best option for him now is to focus his training in the gym and on the road over the next few months and as such he won’t travel to Australia – this doesn’t mean we have ruled him out of selection for the Olympic Games.

“The sprint coaches also feel that Philip Hindes has shown great potential in training and therefore it would be good for his development to shadow the World Championships team this year.”

Reigning world champions Wendy Houvenaghel, Dani King and Laura Trott are joined in the women’s team pursuit squad by Joanna Rowsell, who replaced Houvenaghel as the team broke the world record in winning gold in London last week.

Sir Chris Hoy

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Hoy roars to sprint gold

Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish are likely to face Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch in the women’s team sprint once again, having also broken the world record as they beat the Australians to gold at the World Cup.

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Wiggins secures Algarve stage win

Bradley Wiggins continued preparations for the most momentous year of his career by clinching the final stage of the Tour of Algarve.

Wiggins edged out Germany’s Tony Martin to win Sunday’s 25.8 kilometre stage from Laoa to Portimao.

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It is only early in the season but we’ve beaten some really strong riders here

Sean Yates

Team Sky team-mate Richie Porte landed the overall title, with triple-Olympic champion Wiggins finishing third.

Wiggins is aiming for an overall win at the Tour de France in July,

before the Olympic Games time trial in London


Team Sky sports director Sean Yates praised the efforts of Wiggins and Porte.

“We’ve dominated the race,” said Yates.

“The boys rode fantastic and it is a massive display from the team.

“It is only early in the season but we’ve beaten some really strong riders here.

“We’ve got to keep our feet on the ground but the boys rode relaxed, in control. They communicated and dominated.”

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Hoy storms to London sprint gold

Sir Chris Hoy powered to victory in the individual sprint to win his second gold medal of the Track World Cup at London’s Olympic Velodrome.

Hoy beat Germany’s Maximilian Levy 2-0 in the final to complete a successful meeting personally that included keirin gold and team sprint bronze.

GB also took men’s team pursuit silver, while Laura Trott won omnium bronze.

That left the host nation top of the medals table with four golds, one silver and two bronzes.

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Next time I come back here, hopefully I’ll be in much better shape and show them how it’s done

Victoria Pendleton

Hoy, 35, lost just one race in four knockout rounds of sprinting on Sunday, coming through 2-1 in a tense battle with France’s six-time world champion Gregory Bauge in the quarter-finals.

The reigning Olympic champion looked near his best in the final against Levy, taking the opening race comfortably and blowing the German away down the home straight to seal victory in the second.

“I had a tough day out there,” Hoy told BBC Sport.

“I felt it in my legs this morning. I’m really pleased – more than the actual result is the way I rode. I’ve been making mistakes in the sprint recently but I only made one today. I see this as an important step for the Olympics.”

Trott completed an impressive weekend by adding bronze in the six-discipline omnium event to

the gold she won in the women’s team pursuit on Friday.

“I’m really pleased,” said the 19-year-old Londoner. “I was a bit disappointed yesterday with the points race because that let my overall [score] down, but there’s still time to work on it so I’m happy with the bronze.

“We are going to do some work on the points race because that’s the difference between winning and losing.”

The British men’s pursuit team of Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh professed themselves satisfied with a time of three minutes 56.330 seconds in their final.

However, Australia’s Jack Bobridge, Rohan Dennis, Alex Edmondson and Michael Hepburn looked mightily impressive as they clocked 3:54.615 – the second-fastest time in history – to confirm their current status as the best in the world.

“We’re disappointed because we want to win but, looking at the time, we haven’t gone that fast in a while,” said Thomas.

“There’s a lot for us to work on but the way we got stuck in was great and the crowd here is crazy. It’s unbelievable. Without them we would have lost by about 10 seconds.”

Asked if he thought they could overhaul the Australians by the Olympics, Clancy said: “I think so. First things first, we never said we were going to set the world on fire here. The Aussies are a force to be reckoned with but I think we’ve got more to come.

Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton

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Pendleton stutters in keirin final

“We need a bit more endurance and a bit more tolerance at the back end of the race, but when we’re all focused on the track I think we can go places.”

Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Varnish started the final day with hopes of success in the keirin but only Pendleton made the final, and she could only manage fifth place after finding her route blocked in the closing stages.

“I didn’t expect to squeeze through that gap, it was a bit naive on my account,” said Pendleton. “I really haven’t got anything left in the legs. I didn’t want to lead out as many of the heats as I had to.

“It’s been a positive learning experience. That’s what we set out for it to be. I didn’t want to put high expectations on myself; mind you it’s nice to win but it’s not easy to deal with when you’re not in peak condition.

“Next time I come back here, hopefully I’ll be in much better shape and show them how it’s done.”

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Cavendish ends down field in Oman

Mark Cavendish finished well down the standings in the Tour of Oman after the sixth and final stage on Sunday.

The world road race champion, who

crashed in the Tour of Qatar earlier this month

, was defending his title from last year but could only end 96th.

Team Sky team-mate Ian Stannard was the highest-placed Briton at 26th, with David Millar of Garmin coming 37th.

Cavendish finished 14th in the final sprint on Sunday as Slovakia’s Peter Velits won the overall title.

Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali was second, with France’s Tony Gallopin third.

Cavendish, 26, won two stages of the Tour of Qatar before suffering cuts and bruises in a fall on the final day in Doha.

He completed the stage without his helmet to finish sixth overall.

The 2010 Tour of Oman was the scene of Cavendish’s first win of the season before he clinched the Tour de France green jersey and World Championship road race title.

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