Monthly Archives: April 2013

Wiggins wants Tour and Giro double

Sir Bradley Wiggins believes winning the Giro d’Italia could be tougher than his

historic 2012 Tour de France win.

Wiggins also

reiterated his desire to defend his Tour de France title

rather than play a support role for Team Sky team-mate Chris Froome.

The Giro d’Italia starts on Saturday and 33-year-old Wiggins said: “It’s a huge challenge, probably bigger than the Tour de France.

Wiggins Grand Tour record

“The Tour de France is my focus, it’s just that I’m doing the Giro before.”

Wiggins will need to improve his record in the Italian race if he is to stand a chance of becoming the first cyclist since Marco Pantani in 1998 to win both the Giro and Tour de France.

The Briton has competed in the Giro four times and finished 40th the last time he competed in the three-week race around Italy in 2010.

However, since then he has become the first British rider to win the Tour de France and he followed that up by two weeks later claiming a fourth Olympic gold medal with victory in the men’s time trial at London 2012 in August.

“It’s like last year and the Olympics,” he continued. “I was focused on that and the Tour. This year the Giro comes first.”

Wiggins admitted there had been a lot of talk of him riding in support of Froome but that it was a decision “for the team management to decide”.

“We are both on different paths and we’re both professionals,” said Wiggins. “We have been there before. We’re on the same team and know what needs to be done.

“I would be comfortable in a supporting role but it’s not like I’m going to ride 200km on the front and swing off and lose 30 minutes. I want to be there at the death, I want to be on the podium.”


The general British sports fan has learned a lot about cycling recently, and is now being asked to get their head around something called the Giro d’Italia. That should be OK – the Tour de France in Italy with more mountains and a pink leader’s jersey instead of yellow – but what happens next might provide the best explanation as to why cyclists ride in teams. History suggests that Froome versus Wiggins could be this summer’s greatest sporting drama, but civil wars in cycling tend to end with two losers, not one

Froome, 27, finished second and acted as a valuable support in helping Wiggins to win the famous French race last year and wants to step up as Team Sky’s main rider to try to claim victory himself in 2013.

Like Wiggins last year, Froome has shown he is in good form by winning April’s

Tour de Romandie

and he has also won the

Tour of Oman


Criterium International

events so far this season.

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford said in November 2012 that

Froome was likely to be selected as Tour de France leader

, although the the plan had not “completely been signed off”.

But, after Wiggins stated his desire to defend his crown, Brailsford said the problem of choosing between the two is one he will “relish”.

The 100th edition of the race this year features several tough ascents in the Alps and Pyrenees which are likely to suit climbers such as Froome, while the time trials at which Wiggins excels have been reduced to 65km from 100km in 2012.

Wiggins added: “Somebody will need to make that decision. It will be quite hard, and I’m glad it’s not me, but Dave is good at it.”

The exploits of Wiggins saw him claim the

2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award

and, despite his heightened profile, he insists he has retained his focus on cycling.

“My saving grace is that I haven’t gone out and tried to cash in on the Olympics and got my face everywhere – got on game shows and all this stuff – like most of them have done,” he said.

“I went back to work on 1 January. I’ve been out there grafting with my team. I’ve gone back to trying to do what we do best – and that’s trying to win bike races.”

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I will lead Team Sky, says Froome

Chris Froome insists he will lead Team Sky’s Tour de France charge this summer despite team-mate Bradley Wiggins claiming he wants to defend his title.

Froome, who was runner-up to Wiggins last year, was told he would be Sky’s main man this summer, with Wiggins prioritising the Giro d’Italia.

But Wiggins said on Monday

he wants to win both of the Grand Tour events.

Froome replied: “I have been reassured by the management at Team Sky that I have their full backing.”

Who will lead Team Sky?

Wiggins: “I think the decision will be made probably in the last three days before we get to the Tour. I think whoever is in the best shape should be.”

Froome: “I have been reassured by the management at Team Sky that I have their full backing. At no time has the leadership of the Tour team been in question.”

He added: “At no time has the leadership of the Tour team been in question.”

Kenya-born Froome supported Wiggins in last year’s Tour success and, in November,

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford said he would lead their charge this year


But this week, when asked if a decision had been made on who would lead Team Sky in France, Wiggins said: “Not yet, no. I think that decision will be made probably in the last three days before we get to the Tour.

“I think whoever is in the best shape should be really. I think it is too early to decide but we are both, as we have now for the last six months, been going towards that same goal. Someone will get the nod.”

But in reply, Froome released a statement reading: “There has been much speculation regarding the leadership for Team Sky at the Tour de France this year. I have made it clear that winning the Tour would be my main objective for 2013.

“Attempting to win the Tour de France, is a massive undertaking, and will take total commitment from each and every team member.

“The Tour team has yet to be selected but with the depth of talent that we have at Team Sky, I have no doubt that the strongest and most willing riders will be there to support me.”

Froome has won the Tour of Oman, Criterium International and Tour de Romandie titles this year, while Wiggins has been focusing on preparing for the Giro, which will start on Saturday in Naples.

The late Marco Pantani was the last rider to achieve a Tour/Giro double in 1998.

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VIDEO: Hoy retires from competitive cycling

Six-time Olympic gold medallist

Sir Chris Hoy announces his retirement from competitive cycling,

saying it was a decision he did not take lightly and explains what his future holds.

James Cook reports.

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Froome captures Tour de Romandie

Britain’s Chris Froome won the Tour de Romandie for the first time after finishing third in the final stage.

The 27-year-old, expected to be Team Sky’s lead rider in the Tour de France, has also won the

Tour of Oman


Criterium International

this season.

He began the final day’s time trial with a 47-second advantage and extended that to 54 seconds, with Simon Spilak second and Rui Costa third.

World time trial champion Tony Martin of Germany won the final stage.

The last two winners of the event, Australian Cadel Evans and Briton Sir Bradley Wiggins, have both gone on to win the Tour de France in the same year.

“It’s definitely a good omen but the Tour is still two months away and I need to do a lot of hard training,” said Froome,

runner-up to Wiggins

in the Tour last year.

Froome, who led the event from start to finish, added: “I’m really happy with my condition now. It’s just been a really, really good week for us.”

Stage 6 result

1. Tony Martin (Germany/Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) 21 minutes 7 seconds

2. Adriano Malori (Italy/Lampre) +16″

3. Chris Froome (Britain/Team Sky) +34″

4. Lieuwe Westra (Netherlands/Vacansoleil) +36″

5. Simon Spilak (Slovenia/Katusha) +41″

6. Stef Clement (Netherlands/Blanco) +50″

7. Richie Porte (Australia/Team Sky) +52″

8. Mads Christensen (Denmark/Saxo-Tinkoff) +55″

9. Rohan Dennis (Australia/Garmin) +56″

10. Tobias Ludvigsson (Sweden/Argos) +1:01″

Overall standings

1. Chris Froome (Britain/Team Sky) 19 hours 24 minutes 51 seconds

2. Simon Spilak (Slovenia/Katusha) +54″

3. Rui Costa (Portugal/Movistar) +1:49″

4. Tom Danielson (US/Garmin) +1:54″

5. Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands/Blanco) +2:03″

6. Jean-Christophe Peraud (France/AG2R) +2:14″

7. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Belgium/Lotto) +2:16″

8. Richie Porte (Australia/Team Sky) +2:31″

9. Alejandro Valverde (Spain/Movistar) +2:32″

10. Marcel Wyss (Switzerland/IAM Cycling) +2:41″

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Irish reconsider McQuaid nomination

Pat McQuaid’s nomination by Cycling Ireland to stand for a third term as head of the world governing body is set to be reconsidered.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) under McQuaid has been heavily criticised 

since details of systematic doping by Lance Armstrong emerged.


McQuaid initially received a nomination from his own country

as he pledged to overhaul the world body.

But Cycling Ireland said on Friday that the matter would be looked at again.

This will take place at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of Cycling Ireland on a date yet to be announced.

A statement from the Irish governing body said: “Cycling Ireland at a meeting of its board on 26 April decided to convene an EGM to consider matters which have arisen following the decision taken at its board meeting on 12 April to nominate Mr Pat McQuaid to stand for the position of UCI president.”

Cycling Ireland’s secretary Geoff Liffey said details of the EGM would be circulated to member clubs next week.

Reacting to Friday’s development, McQuaid put the decision down to a “technicality”.

“I understand that Cycling Ireland has now decided to refer the matter to an EGM as a result of a technicality arising from the fact that its president temporarily vacated the chair of the nomination meeting so that he could contribute to the meeting under the chair of the CEO,” McQuaid said on the UCI website.

“This decision was taken on the basis of legal advice on procedural rules not on the merits of my nomination, which the board has endorsed.”

Former Cycling Ireland vice-chairman Anthony Moran resigned from the board of the Irish governing body after it nominated McQuaid for a further UCI term.

There have also been reports that there may be some unhappiness within Irish grassroots cycling about McQuaid’s nomination.

The 63-year-old, who has been in the post since 2006, has resisted

calls for him to resign,

and says his candidacy is based on a record of “combating the scourge of doping in cycling”.

Cycling Ireland’s initial support

came with conditions, 

including limiting presidents to two four-year terms.

The presidency of the UCI will be decided at the organisation’s World Congress in September.


stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles,

won in successive years from 1999 to 2005, in October 2012 after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) published a

1,000-page report

into what it called “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.

After Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis testified against their former team-mate to Usada,

McQuaid called the pair “scumbags”, 

while Hamilton called on the Irishman to step down.

Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond called for McQuaid to resign

following accusations that the UCI covered up a positive test from Armstrong for the banned blood booster EPO at the 2001 Tour de Suisse.

American LeMond said in December that he would be

willing to run for the UCI presidency


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