Monthly Archives: July 2013

GB can produce BMX best

Liam Phillips believes Great Britain will soon become a force in BMX racing, having clinched

his first world title in Auckland on Sunday.

He won every race at the World Championships en route to the final where he edged out New Zealand’s Marc Willers to triumph.

“We’ve got everything to produce the best BMX riders in the world,” he said.

“It won’t be long before the young academy guys will be competing for world and Olympic medals.”

Liam Phillips factfile

Liam Phillips

  • Age:

    24
  • Born:

    Taunton
  • 1999:

    Wins European BMX title
  • 2005:

    Accepted on to the Olympic Academy Programme
  • 2006:

    Wins silver at European Championships
  • 2008:

    Makes quarter-finals at Beijing Olympics
  • 2010:

    First podium finish in World Cup race
  • 2012:

    Wins world time trial silver medal
  • 2012:

    Crashes in Olympic final
  • 2013:

    Wins time trial gold medal in Supercross at World Cup in Manchester
  • 2013:

    Wins World Championship in New Zealand

Somerset rider Phillips added that he was optimistic about the long-term future of the sport in Britain, which has already produced a three-time world champion in Shanaze Reade.

“We’ve seen numbers double at grassroots level during the cycle from Beijing to London,” he continued.

“I expect that to continue from now to Rio. At the elite end, we’ve got great academy riders coming through.”

Phillips won several British and European titles early on in his career before joining the Olympic Academy Programme in 2005.

He made the quarter-finals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and achieved his first World Cup podium two years later.

In 2012, he won time trial silver at the World Championships before breaking his collarbone just over two months before the Olympics.

“It happened 10 weeks before the Games, but I got back in one piece,” said Phillips. “I was in good form before London 2012 and was pleased how I raced there.”

Phillips reached the Olympic final

but crashed out of the race.

He said that even if a rider entered a competition as favourite, the “unpredictable” nature of the sport meant that success was still hard to achieve.

“Since that race, this has been in the forefront of my mind,” he added.

“The Worlds are always the biggest outside the Olympics and I had this as a key goal. To come here and deliver… it’s my best-ever performance.

“I’ve worked towards this for such a long time. To finally win a rainbow jersey at the World Championships is amazing.”

The Manchester-based cyclist said he was focused on realising another major ambition.

“I’ll be 27 in 2016 for the Rio Olympics and it’ll be the back-end of my career. Hopefully I can go there and make amends for London.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/23482319

Tour chief criticises Harman letter

Tour de France chief Christian Prudhomme has criticised Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman for writing an open letter to him requesting a women’s edition added on to

next year’s race.

The minister’s letter was backed by a 70,000-strong petition.

“It would have been better for Harman to talk to us at the end of one of the stages or after another race,” he said.

“The Tour is huge and you cannot have it bigger and bigger and bigger down the road – it is impossible.”

The Frenchman added: “We are open to everything. Having women’s races is very important for sure.”

The organiser of the petition was former world champion and Olympic silver medallist Emma Pooley, who won the Grande Boucle, widely regarded as the closest thing to a women’s Tour, when it was last staged in 2009.

Next year’s men’s race begins in Yorkshire, and Harman said having a women’s event would “set an example to the rest of Europe and Le Tour”.

“After the success of the Olympics, women’s cycling should not be allowed to slip back into the shadows,” Harman had written in her letter.

“Britain has some of the best women cyclists in the world – but for years they had to compete for foreign teams as there was no investment in an elite women’s team.

“The Grand Depart being held in Yorkshire and from Cambridge to London in 2014 presents a great opportunity to hold a women’s event and set an example to the rest of Europe and Le Tour.”

Meanwhile, Prudhomme added he was looking forward to seeing UK sprinter Mark Cavendish win his first yellow jersey in England.

“I can imagine for him this first stage of 2014 is the most important sprint of his life,” he said of the first stage which will start in Leeds and finish in Harrogate.

“A win in Yorkshire, at his mother’s place, for a yellow jersey. It would be his first yellow jersey.

“From the first day in Yorkshire in 2014 everything will be very important.”

And Prudhomme hinted that the race may return to the United Kingdom in future years.

“The future of cycling speaks English – and I am a Frenchman saying that,” he added.

“We had three bids and Yorkshire won, and we still have a bid from Scotland. There is a huge passion for cycling in the United Kingdom and it is very important to keep the passion here – very, very important.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/23424137

I could not watch the Tour

Sir Bradley Wiggins, who was unable to defend his Tour de France title

because of illness and injury,

has admitted he could not watch this year’s race.

A chest infection and knee injury kept Wiggins out of the 2013 Tour, won by Sky team-mate Chris Froome.

Continue reading the main story

Chris’s performance was dominant – he’s probably the best climber in the world

Wiggins on his successor as Tour de France champion Froome

“I didn’t watch, I couldn’t watch. I would have loved to have been there,” said Wiggins.

He finished nine minutes behind the stage one winner on his racing return in the Tour of Poland on Saturday.

Wiggins said he “focused on the positives rather than sitting watching telly depressed” when the Tour de France was on.

He added: “I watched the end of the first stage when I heard the bus knocked the finish down, but otherwise I just followed what the guys did from afar.”

Wiggins had spoken of

his desire to defend his Tour de France title,

but

Froome had already been given the nod

to lead Team Sky at this year’s race before Wiggins’s withdrawal was announced.

Froome won the 2013 Tour by more than four minutes from Movistar rider Nairo Quintana of Colombia, securing three stage wins along the way.

A year earlier, the Kenya-born rider finished as runner-up to Wiggins and was the Kilburn-raised champion’s strongest team-mate in the mountains.

“It was a great team performance, a great individual performance and they deserved everything they got,” Wiggins said of Froome’s triumph.

“Chris’s performance was dominant. I’ve said before, he’s probably the best climber in the world.


Sir Bradley Wiggins

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Sir Bradley Wiggins revealed his ambitions for 2013 back in April

“I’ve never been that good a climber. I can climb but my speciality is the time trial and working back from that. A Tour like this year, Chris is the stronger rider.”

Wiggins finished the first stage of the Tour of Poland, a 184.5km (114.1-mile) mountain stage in Italy, alongside team-mate Ben Swift and Giro d’Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali.

They were nine minutes and 13 seconds behind winner Diego Ulissi on a day that saw the field break up into several groups of riders.

Wiggins also confirmed he will miss the Vuelta a Espana next month to prepare for

the World Championships, 

to be held in Florence in September.

The Team Sky rider followed his historic triumph in the 99th edition of the Tour de France, when he became the first Briton to win the yellow jersey, by claiming

his fourth Olympic gold medal,

winning the men’s time trial at London 2012.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/23480165

Boost for 2012 mountain bike track

Finances have been secured to make the London 2012 mountain bike track in Essex a publicly accessible venue.

A third of people

surveyed by BBC Sport

said the Olympics had a positive impact on sports facilities.

But it has taken 12 months to confirm

plans for the Hadleigh Farm track.

My legacy story

Molly Williams

Molly Williams from Brampton in Cambs, 16 years old

“I watched the Olympics. We recorded it and I watched it about five times. So I tried a bit of off-road biking and I really liked the culture behind cycling.

“I wanted to try out the racing. The adrenaline you get from racing hit me.

“The course here is epic. It’s really inspiring. To be on the same course as the Olympians gives you a lot of confidence.”

“I imagine it would have been frustrating for some members of the public,” Rob Anderson, Hadleigh Farm legacy project manager at Essex County Council, told BBC Look East.

“I’m pleased to say now we have the funding so we can get on site and start work.

“We want people here to have fun. It’s a gruelling Olympic mountain bike venue and at the moment it’s not fun for people just starting out.”

Since hosting the mountain bike cross-country competitions for last year’s Olympics, use of the course has been restricted to five events and coaching sessions for the Hadleigh Mountain Bike Club.

Planning permission was only initially granted for the period of the Games, but the county council can now turn the venue into a track suitable for beginners and families.

A total of £6.8m – mostly from the council, but with £2m from external investment – will be spent on the legacy project.

The money will be used to adapt the course, but will also go towards creating one of Essex’s biggest conservation areas and building a visitor and education centre.

However, club coach Jeremy Vince believes the course has already had a positive affect on mountain bike participation in the area.

“There wasn’t a club before the games. Part of the legacy is that it has coordinated all the local riders into forming a club,” he said.

“We have a place to be part of and riders who didn’t know each other are part of a club of 80 members.

“We want to develop young riders. Hadleigh gives us a base to do that – to help get children into competitive cycling and help grow the sport.

“It’s one part of British cycling where there is a weakness. We’re doing fantastic on the road, fantastic in the velodrome, BMX is growing all the time, but cross country mountain biking we’re not famed for. We want to see more riders come through.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/23455085

Women’s Tour of Britain race planned

A women’s version of the Tour of Britain has been given the go-ahead for 2014.

The race will be staged over five days in May, which is separate to the men’s event held in September.

Head of British Cycling Brian Cookson said: “It will be the first step in having a full equivalent Tour of Britain as it develops.”

He also said the reinstatement of a Tour de France for women should be explored.

British Olympian and former world time trial champion Emma Pooley has started a petition with other high profile female cyclists,

which has collected nearly 80,000 signatures, 

urging women to be allowed to compete in the world’s most famous cycle race.

There have been a number of versions of the race over the years but the women’s equivalent finally ended in 2009 because of a lack of sponsorship and media coverage.

Cookson, who is vying for the presidency of cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, against current incumbent Pat McQuaid, said he was organising a meeting with ASO, the Tour de France owners, Pooley, Olympic road race champion Marianne Vos and Tracey Gaudry, a member of the UCI’s management committee.

“Undoubtedly having a female equivalent of the biggest bike race in the world is an objective we should need to explore,” he added.

“It is vital that we work as a group and tap into the wealth of knowhow of people like Tracey who as a pro rider rode three editions of the Tour Feminin [the female equivalent of the Tour de France].

“We know that some previous attempts to simply replicate men’s events and men’s teams have been problematic and failed, so it is vital that we learn from the past.”

However, the head of British Cycling does not predict there will be a fully equal Tour de France for more than a decade.

“The specific challenges of the Tour de France, as it’s run at the moment for men, are very, very difficult,” he told BBC Sport.

“I’m not sure if a women’s event of exactly that nature will be feasible in the next 10 years, 20 – I don’t know.

“What I do think can be made to happen is a women’s Tour de France with a format – distances, degree of difficulty – that is attainable by a substantial number of women, enough to make it a genuine sporting spectacle.”

Cookson believes the Tour of Britain will be a great platform to re-live the excitement of the Olympic road race, in which

Lizzie Armitstead won Britain’s first London 2012 medal,

as well as showcasing women’s cycling.

“There’s been a lot of attention recently on the need to develop women’s cycling at all levels of the sport. People are passionate about the issue and are rightly frustrated that not enough is being done,” he said.

“I’m pleased to be able to confirm that there will now be a five-day international stage race for women in Britain in 2014. The event will be separate from the men’s race, but it will be promoted to a high standard and will, I’m sure, be the first step in having a full equivalent Tour of Britain as it develops.”

Pooley wants women cyclists to ride over the same distances and on the same days as the men’s race but

Cookson has already said he believed this was unrealistic, saying “modified distances, modified number of days” would be more appropriate. 

“Cycling has a long way to go to ensure women’s cycling is given an equal stage to the men’s events. We won’t get there tomorrow, nor next week, but what riders like Marianne and Emma have achieved shows us the potential there is given the right focus, investment and, crucially, leadership by the UCI.”

This year’s Tour of Britain, which is set to feature 2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins and sprinter Mark Cavendish, starts in Peebles, Scotland, on 15 September.

On the final day, for the first time, a women’s race will take place in London to run alongside the men’s stage.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/23467530

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