Monthly Archives: September 2013

Team Sky cyclist in UCI inquiry

Team Sky cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has been notified of a potential discrepancy in his “biological passport data” by the sport’s governing body.

The Sunday Times reported 

that he has been asked by the

International Cycling Union 

(UCI) to explain suspect blood values.

Team Sky

said the 28-year-old Briton 

has withdrawn from racing “whilst his response to the UCI is prepared”.


pulled out

of the Road World Championships on Thursday.

The 2012 Tour of Britain winner, who joined Team Sky in October last year,

cited a lack of form 

as the reason for his withdrawal after the decision was announced.

The Sunday Times article stated that the suspect blood values dated back to September 2012.

“We have no doubts over his performance, behaviour or tests at Team Sky and understand any anomaly is in readings taken before he joined the team,” Team Sky added in its statement.

A cyclist’s biological passport is an electronic record in which the results of all doping tests over a period of time are collated.

It contains the results of an individual’s urine and blood tests.

New UCI president Brian Cookson told

BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek:

“It’s important that it [the inquiry] is handled properly and with integrity under the processes that are laid down. I certainly won’t be interfering in it.

“I am concerned that it’s leaked out because I don’t think this information should be in the public domain while someone is being questioned. That’s not the same at all as them being guilty and let’s see what happens.”

Tiernan-Locke raced for Endura Racing in the 2012 season, claiming overall wins in the Tour Mediterraneen, Tour du Haut Var and Tour Alsace.

In September last year he became the first British rider since 1993 to

win the Tour of Britain.

He is believed to now have three weeks to reply, with

Team Sky 

urging that he be allowed to do so “in private and without prejudice”.


British Cycling 

spokesman added: “It is not our policy to discuss individual cases until they are concluded and all appeals heard. Until then, information is considered personal and confidential and its release is absolutely at the discretion of the athlete.

“We remain committed to respecting what should be a confidential process which allows the anti-doping authorities to do their job in the right way and an individual the chance to explain privately and without prejudice.”

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Costa wins Worlds as Froome pulls out

Portugal’s Rui Costa won a rain-soaked men’s road race at the World Championships in Tuscany after Britain’s Chris Froome withdrew.

Costa, 26, took the lead just yards from the finish as he beat Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez by a bike-length in seven hours, 25 minutes, 43 seconds.

Spaniard Alejandro Valverde took bronze, narrowly ahead of Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali.

Tour de France champion Froome

quit with more than 80km left.

Britain's Chris Froome

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Froome has ‘no excuses’ for Worlds flop

“This has been a big dream of mine for a long time. I still can’t believe I’m the world champion,” said Costa, who broke down in tears on the podium.

Heavy rain caused multiple crashes early in the race, with none of the eight-strong British team, which included

former Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins

and ex-world champion Mark Cavendish, making it over the finishing line.

“The conditions are the same for everyone; we’ve got no excuse. We just weren’t there,” Froome, who was attempting to become the first man in 24 years to win the Tour and world road race in the same year, told BBC Sport.

“It’s a big disappointment, especially having made it such a big objective, but with these conditions it just wasn’t meant to be.

“The first three laps on the circuit, there were crashes everywhere. It’s rained solidly all day. After three laps the split started happening and I looked around and realised I didn’t have any team-mates left and it wasn’t going to happen.

“Given we’ve come up empty-handed, we’ll have to go back to the drawing board [ahead of the Rio Olympics in 2016].”

Route for 2013 men’s road race

The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore






San Baronto (5km, max gradient 13%)

Finish circuit:

10x 16.57km circuits around Florence


San Domenico (4.3km, max gradient 9%) and Via Salviati (600m, max gradient 16%)

Froome’s withdrawal meant Geraint Thomas was the only Briton left riding, but he also pulled out shortly after.

“It was just carnage out there,” Thomas told BBC Sport. “I saw five or six crashes out in front of me.

“Once you’re in that back half, you’re kind of destined to get dropped. We all committed to try and get Froome there, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Cavendish, the

2011 world champion,

led the peloton and helped keep Britain in contention for much of the first 106km after the race left Lucca.

However, as soon as the race hit the first of 10 laps around Florence, featuring two significant climbs, the Italian squad took over the pace-setting and Cavendish fell away.

Wiggins, who had been expected to support Froome in the latter stages of the race, was always near the back of the peloton and soon retired along with Cavendish.

The punishing 16.5km circuits, coupled with the horrendous weather conditions, were taking their toll with riders dropping out at an average of around 15 a lap.

Poland’s Bartosz Huzarski, who broke away with four other riders early in the race, held on to the lead for around 240km.

He was finally caught with a little over 25km remaining, by a group of 40 riders that included

defending champion Philippe Gilbert

and fellow pre-race favourites Peter Sagan of Slovakia and Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara.

However, the trio were unable to respond when Italy’s Michele Scarponi, Rodriguez and Nibali attacked on the final 4.3km climb to Fiesole , eventually finishing in a group 34 seconds behind Costa.

Recent world champions


Philippe Gilbert (Bel)


Mark Cavendish (GB)


Thor Hushovd (Nor)


Cadel Evans (Aus)


Alessandro Ballan (Ita)

Rodriguez rode away from

Giro d’Italia champion Nibali,

who had crashed on an earlier descent, but was unable to open a significant advantage on the final ascent of the 600m-long Via Salviati.

Costa broke clear of Nibali and Valverde to catch Rodriguez with one kilometre remaining, before making the decisive move in a laboured sprint to become the first Portuguese world champion.

“Losing like this is stupid,” said a tearful Rodriguez. “Winning is all that matters so this medal doesn’t mean anything to me right now.

“We (Spain) had the numbers; we were the strongest; we should not have lost.”

Also in the British team were Ian Stannard, Josh Edmondson, Steve Cummings and Luke Rowe, who replaced Jonathan Tiernan-Locke.

Tiernan-Locke withdrew

on Thursday for what he claimed was a lack of form, but it was revealed on Sunday that the UCI, the sport’s governing body, is investigating a

potential discrepancy in his “biological passport data”.

Race result:


Rui Costa (Por) 7:25:44″


Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) ST


Alejandro Valverde (Spa) +15″


Vincenzo Nibali (Ita)


Andriy Grivko (Ukr) +31″


Peter Sagan (Svk) +34″


Simon Clarke (Aus)


Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz)


Philippe Gilbert (Bel)


Fabian Cancellara (Swi)

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Kenny wins sprint title at Nationals

Olympic champion Jason Kenny claimed gold in the men’s sprint to secure his second title at the British Cycling National Track Championships.

Kenny added to his keirin title by beating Peter Mitchell while Matthew Crampton defeated Craig MacLean in the bronze medal contest in Manchester.

Corrine Hall beat Olympians Laura Trott and Dani King in the women’s 15km scratch race.

Jess Varnish and Danielle Khan were victorious in the team sprint.

It was a third title of the week for Varnish after wins in the 500m time trial and women’s sprint.

Kenny said: “It is the first race on wood because we have been training on concrete over the summer, so I was only just finding my feet towards the end of the night.

“But winning is a habit so let’s hope we can carry it on through the World Cup. It is only going to get harder from here.”

Hall, who

won gold and silver

as tandem pilot to Lora Turnham at the recent Para-cycling Road World Championships in Canada, was surprised to beat Trott and King.

“It is a bit of a shock really. I wasn’t even going to ride, but my coach talked me into it,” she said.

“I knew if it came down to the sprint that I couldn’t beat Laura or Dani, so when I saw a couple of people go off the front I thought ‘I have got to go with a do or die effort’.”

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Froome ‘to launch Worlds hill attack’

Road World Championships, Florence, Men’s Road Race

  • Date: Sunday 29 September

Coverage: 1230-1445 on Red Button; 1415-1615 on BBC Two, with continuous coverage 0900-1615 online and on selected Connected TVs. 5 live sports extra commentary from 1400; live text commentary online

Tour de France winner Chris Froome says his best chance of winning Sunday’s road race at the World Championships in Italy is to go for a solo victory.

The 272km (169.2mile) race finishes with 10 16km circuits of Florence which take in a couple of climbs on each lap.

Briton Froome, who is not known for his sprinting speed, knows he needs to distance his rivals before the finish.

“If I am to win, I’m going to have to try and go clear on possibly the last couple of laps,” he said.

The 28-year-old is aiming to become the third British winner of the race – after Tommy Simpson and Mark Cavendish – and the first man to win the Tour de France and world title in the same year since America’s Greg Lemond in 1989.

He will be helped by seven British team-mates, including Sir Bradley Wiggins,

who won the silver medal in the time trial on Wednesday,

2011 winner Cavendish and Olympic track champion Geraint Thomas.

Thomas told BBC Sport

he expects to be one of the key helpers early on in the race

while Froome hopes Wiggins will be influential in the latter stages.

“I’m expecting Brad to be there in the last few laps in Sunday,” Froome said.


“Brad is going to enjoy the job of working, the pressure is off him.

“The job he is going to have to do in my opinion, because they don’t share the tactics, could see him in the hunt himself, because for Chris Froome, if there’s a bunch coming in together, there’s a good chance he could lose the sprint so he has to arrive on his own.

“The team said they’re working for him so that tells you they’ve got to make it a really hard race.

“There’s a lot of riders in there – Rodriguez, Valverde, Sagan – who can get over these short climbs – so if they’re there at the finish, the British team has lost.

“Therefore, they’ve got to make it super hard not just on the last lap, but five or six laps out they’re going to have to start going at it to try and break it down so that the real climbers are the only ones left.

“I think it’s going to be a brilliant race to watch.”

“He’s definitely going to be one of the key guys towards the end of the race. It would definitely be great if he could help me towards the final stages.”

Tactics will play a huge part in a race which is expected to be one of the most open in recent years and Froome knows that winning a one-day race has an element of good fortune attached to it.

“Given that it is a one-day race, it’s quite a gamble – it is a bit of a long shot to go for the win there and anyone who wins will need a little bit of luck in their favour.

“Even if it does come to a sprint, it’s very much still about who’s got legs. You can be explosive and fast but if you don’t have the legs it’s not going to help you any more.”

The two hills on each circuit – the 4.3km ascent to Fiesole and the 600m climb of Via Salviati, which has an average gradient of 10% but has sections at 16% – are not particularly taxing in their own right but when tackled 10 times, are expected to split the peloton.

Froome has said he will be “trying to make it the hardest race possible” in an effort to eliminate the pure sprinters and puncheurs – riders who can get over small climbs and sprint – such as Belgium’s defending champion Philippe Gilbert.

The Italians are also planning on riding aggressively and their team coach Paolo Bettini said: “Rather than chase all day, we want to be chased. We won’t hold back.

“The circuit is fast – they’ll do the Fiesole climb at 30kmh (18.1mph) and it’ll be very hard when the racing is hard. There’s very little time to recover or organise a chase because there are two climbs per lap.”

Bettini expects Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali to be in with a chance of winning.

“He’s unusual as a rider,” said the two-time world champion. “He can win Grand Tours but can also blow one-day races apart and win. He can do something on Sunday.”

The intention to make it a climber’s race could also play into the hands of Spanish trio Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde, Colombian duo Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Uran and Irish pair Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche, who are all comfortable on ascents.

However, as well as Gilbert, Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara and Slovakia’s Peter Sagan could find the circuit to their liking.

Gilbert has won numerous one-day classics, which have a similar terrain to the Worlds course, but he had endured a testing season in the rainbow jersey before finally recording his first win of 2013 by taking stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana earlier this month.

Cancellara has been in excellent form throughout the year, winning the Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders one-day races in the spring, and the 32-year-old held his form through the summer before winning the time trial at the Vuelta and bronze in the world time trial earlier this week.

Sagan is regarded as one of the sport’s brightest prospects and has proved throughout the year he can keep pace with the climbers and also has the ability to beat sprinters on the flat.

The 23-year-old, who has won 21 races in 2013, including the one-day sprinters’ classic Gent-Wevelgem, and finished second to Cancellara at the Tour of Flanders believes he is in good shape.

“I feel ready,” he said. “This is the best I’ve ever felt for the World Championships. Whatever happens, I know I’ve done everything I can to be ready.”

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Varnish & Trott win British titles

Jess Varnish and Laura Trott each won their second gold medals of the week at the British National Track Championships in Manchester on Friday.

Varnish saw off Victoria Williamson and Katy Marchant as she took sprint gold, while Jason Kenny won the keirin.

“I’m really happy with the sprint win because it’s been something I’ve been working on,” said Varnish.

Trott beat Wiggle Honda team-mates Dani King and Elinor Barker to claim victory in the points race.

“It was really hard, it was a tough race,” said Trott, who also won the pursuit title on Thursday.

“It’s not like a pursuit, that’s predictable, but in the points people use different tactics so you never know what’s going to happen.”

Trott, King and Barker will team up with Joanna Rowsell for the team pursuit on Sunday as they ride in the event as a four for the first time.

Kenny beat Matt Crampton to win the keirin, and said: “It was nitty gritty on Matt’s wheel in third place. I was just happy to hold station knowing Matt was one of the race favourites.”

Sam Harrison lapped the field as he beat Ed Clancy and Steven Burke in the scratch race.

In the para-cycling pursuit, Sophie Thornhill and pilot Helen Scott won the BVI Mixed 3000m/4000m and Shaun McKeown took gold in the C1-C5 Mixed 3000m/4000m.

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Johnny’s favourite stores