Monthly Archives: June 2015

Thomas could lead Sky

Welshman Geraint Thomas could lead Team Sky in Grand Tours in the future, says team principal Sir Dave Brailsford.

Thomas, 29, and fellow Welsh cyclist Luke Rowe are part of the nine-man team that will support 2013 champion Chris Froome in the 2015 Tour de France.

Brailsford said: “Geraint is going from strength to strength.

“His opportunity to ride Grand Tours, try and lead the team at stage races is becoming clear – that’s the way it’s going to go.”

He said “nobody knows” the limit of Thomas’ talent and that he was “a very exciting prospect”.

Thomas became the

first British rider to win

one of the hardest races on the professional circuit – the formidable E3 Harelbeke race in Belgium – in March this year.

In early June he

finished second in the Tour de Suisse,

finishing five seconds behind Simon Spilak, and Brailsford says Team Sky will try to protect the “versatile” Thomas.

Brailsford confirmed he would be discussing Thomas’ growing role in the team with the double Olympic pursuit champion, who will be competing in his sixth Tour this year.

“I’m a very big believer in ownership,” Brailsford told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

Geraint Thomas

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Geraint Thomas reveals his sporting highlight

“You can tell people what to do but if they believe in it, they are part of the decision-making process, they buy into it more.

“In my opinion that’s the way to go, so that will very much be a discussion with Geraint.

“He’s one of the world’s most versatile riders.

“The challenge for Geraint is that he can get dragged in to helping out in all scenarios.

“The key for us as a team this year is to make sure we use his specific skills that we want to use in a certain area and give him the protection he deserves and give him the opportunity.”

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Froome one of 10 Britons in Tour

Chris Froome will be one of 10 Britons in this year’s Tour de France, which begins on Saturday.

The 2013 winner will be joined on the Team Sky roster by Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard,

Luke Rowe

and newly crowned British champion Peter Kennaugh.

Alex Dowsett will ride for Movistar while Mark Cavendish has been named in the Etixx – Quick-Step team.

Twins Adam and Simon Yates are in Orica GreenEdge’s squad, with Steve Cummings riding for MTN-Qhubeka.

It equals the record for the biggest British contingent in the Tour, set in 1955, and is a big increase on the four Britons who started the 2014 race in Yorkshire.

“Last year’s disappointment is this year’s motivation for Team Sky,” said Froome, 30. “From the moment I crashed out in 2014 I’ve had the burning desire to get back to this year’s Tour in the best possible shape.”

Team principal Sir Dave Brailsford said Froome was “hitting form at just the right time”.

“He’s in good shape, he’s healthy, he’s relaxed, he’s strong mentally as well,” said Brailsford.

“So I think we are happy. I don’t think we could be in a better position as we are now.”

The Team Sky line-up is completed by Australian Richie Porte, Ireland’s Nicolas Roche, Dutch rider Wout Poels and Leopold Konig of the Czech Republic.

Saturday’s opening stage will see the riders take part in an individual time trial around the Dutch city of Utrecht.

The race will end on 26 July in Paris.

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Kennaugh & Armitstead win GB titles

Peter Kennaugh and Lizzie Armitstead have won the men’s and women’s British national road race titles in Lincoln.

Defending champion Kennaugh outsprinted 2013 winner Mark Cavendish on the final cobbled climb to win his second title with Ian Stannard in third.

Armitstead, who was

flown to hospital

following a crash 11 days ago after winning stage one of the Women’s Tour, won from Alice Barnes and Laura Trott.

“The longer the race went on the better I started to feel,” said Armitstead.

“It means a lot. I get new kit and I get to be proud of being British in every race I do,” the 26-year-old Boels-Dolmans rider added, referring to the fact she will wear the British national champion’s jersey in every road race she competes in for the next 12 months.

(l-r) Alice Barnes, Lizzie Armitstead and Laura Trott

Armitstead (centre) also won the race in 2011 and 2013

Armitstead, the London 2012 Olympic silver medallist, went clear on the penultimate ascent of Michaelgate in the centre of Lincoln and completed the final eight-mile lap on her own to win her third national title by one minute, 52 seconds.

Olympic track champion Trott said: “Lizzie was in a league of her own – she attacked and that was it. Nobody could follow. She floated up the hill and left the rest of us for dead.”

The men’s race was a tighter affair with Team Sky trio Kennaugh, Stannard and Luke Rowe, vying for the title with Etixx – Quick-Step’s Cavendish on the final lap.

Kennaugh and Cavendish, who both come from the Isle of Man, broke clear in the closing stages and the former had the stronger legs on the final ascent, which has an average gradient of around 16%, winning by five seconds.

“That has got to be one of the hardest races of my career,” said Kennaugh, who also hinted that he would be in Team Sky’s nine-man squad for the Tour de France which is scheduled to be named on Monday.

“Hopefully I should be part of the team and then let the carnage begin in July.”

Cavendish conceded it was always going to be “difficult” given Team Sky’s prominence at the front of the race but declared himself “super happy” with his form and to have won the silver medal.

However, he added he would need to get his left shoulder “checked out” before the Tour after he hit a spectator’s camera with “three or four laps to go”.

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Armstrong to ride part of Tour route

Lance Armstrong will go ahead with controversial plans to ride part of the Tour de France route for charity.

The disgraced drugs cheat

will join ex-England footballer Geoff Thomas for the hilly stages on 16 and 17 July.

Cancer survivor Thomas and a team of amateurs are aiming to raise £1m for Cure Leukaemia by cycling each stage a day before the official peloton.

Lance Armstrong

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Lance Armstrong: In-depth interview

“We know Lance’s involvement has split opinion, so we’ve tried to be as respectful as possible,” said Thomas.

“The stages Lance will be riding come towards the end of week two, when I know all the riders will need some support.

“I know his arrival will give them the encouragement they will need to carry on with this gruelling challenge and in turn raise as much money as possible for blood cancer patients.”

Armstrong will ride the 198.5km 13th stage between Muret and Rodez on 16 July and the following day tackle the 198.5km 14th stage from Rodez to Mende.

The American

was stripped of his record seven Tour titles

and banned from most organised sport for life by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) in 2012. He later admitted on US television that he had used performance-enhancing drugs during all of his Tour victories, and news of his controversial return to France has shocked many within the sport.

'No regrets' over Armstrong - Thomas

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No regrets over Armstrong – Thomas

In March the Texan was warned not to take part in the ride by International Cycling Union (UCI) president Brian Cookson, who said it was “completely disrespectful” to the current riders, cycling authorities and the race.

“Lance would be well advised not to take part in that,” he said. “I’m sure Geoff Thomas means well, but frankly I think that’s completely inappropriate.”

Armstrong, who recovered from life-threatening cancer in 1996,

told the BBC in January

that his ban made it very hard to do the charity work he did throughout most of his post-cancer career.

Thomas was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2003, a year after he retired from a 20-year football career that saw him captain Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final and win nine England caps.

Geoff Thomas

Former footballer Geoff Thomas rode the Tour route in 2005 and 2007

Inspired by Armstrong’s story, he rode the 2005 and 2007 Tour de France routes ahead of the professionals, raising £250,000 to fund research nurses at the Birmingham hospital that treated his cancer.

Now 50, he is trying it again and persuaded Armstrong to join the team in a bid to raise money for the Cure Leukaemia charity.

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford told The Times Armstrong had “done enough damage” to cycling and the Tour already.

“For the sake of all clean riders in the peloton, who’ve already suffered enough from that era, leave them alone – enough’s enough,” Brailsford added.

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London could bid for Tour de France

The Tour de France could return to London again in 2017 after Mayor Boris Johnson’s office confirmed it is in discussions to bring the race back.

London held two stages

in 2007


last year

it was the finish for stage three of an event that began in Yorkshire.

Formal consideration for a bid is still to be agreed but the mayor’s spokesman said: “He’s supportive in principle.

“But he wants to see how it benefits London economically and if it genuinely boosts cycling participation.”

The mayor’s office added: “The mayor has to balance costs associated with the Tour against the vital work of making cycling safer and more accessible across London. If the Tour can help that then it’s something he would consider carefully.”


lost out

to Yorkshire for last year’s Grand Depart and is expected to bid again, but London’s proximity to northern France could make it a preferable destination for Tour organisers Amaury Sport Organisation.

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