Monthly Archives: July 2015

Storey wins Para-cycling world gold

Dame Sarah Storey claimed the 16th world title of her cycling career with gold in the time trial at the Para-cycling Road World Championships.

The Briton finished more than two minutes ahead of Poland’s Anna Harkowska in Nottwil, Switzerland.

Storey can win a 17th title when she rides in Saturday’s road race.

“It’s a massive relief to win,” said the 37-year-old, who is targeting further Paralympic success at next year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Storey celebrates with her gold medal

Storey celebrates with her gold medal

Storey is Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian with 22 medals.

She has won 11 gold, eight silver and three bronze medals in both cycling and swimming across six Paralympics.

She won four golds at the 2012 Games in London and has now won 21 world titles across both sports.

Storey began her sporting career in the pool, winning six medals at the 1992 Paralympics before switching to cycling in 2005.

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Thomas ‘deserves Vuelta lead role’

Former Tour de France stage winner Magnus Backstedt says Team Sky should make Geraint Thomas their lead rider for the Vuelta a Espana.

Chris Froome

is considering bidding to be only the third rider to complete a French and Spanish Grand Tour double.

But after supporting Froome in Le Tour, Swede Backstedt believes Thomas, 29, should be given his big chance in La Vuelta.

“There’s more to come from Geraint,” Backstedt, 40, said.

“I certainly hope they give him the opportunity with the back-up of a team that’s clearly capable of looking after a rider to have a go at the general classification.

“I would like to see that being in the Tour of Spain this year.”

The three-week long Spanish Vuelta, in which Froome finished as runner-up in 2014, starts on 22 August.

Thomas finished 15th in the Tour de France having been fourth up until the 19th stage where his efforts finally took their toll.

The Welshman was was praised for the support he gave Team Sky leader Froome, who secured his second title.

Cardiff-born Thomas said his performance at the 2015 Tour de France has

given him confidence

that he can lead Team Sky in a Grand Tour in future.

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Team Sky to race in Tour of Britain

Tour de France yellow jersey winners Team Sky will be one of nine UCI world teams – road cycling’s top division – in the 2015 Tour of Britain.

Etixx – Quick-Step and Cannondale-Garmin will also take part in the race, which takes place from 6-13 September.

Sir Bradley Wiggins’ Team Wiggins will make their Tour of Britain debut.

One Pro Cycling,

co-founded by former cricketer Matt Prior, also feature in a line-up described as “undoubtedly the strongest” in the race’s history.

Race director Mick Bennett added: “The Aviva Tour of Britain presents a fantastic opportunity for British fans to see what will be the best line-up of teams and riders to race in this country this year.

“In 2014 we saw Michal Kwiatkowski, Sir Bradley Wiggins and the BMC Racing Team all go on to win world titles immediately after the race and are sure that this year’s Tour will provide an equal platform for riders going on to target the World Championships.”

This year’s

World Championships 

take place in Richmond in the United States from 19-27 September.

The Tour of Britain starts in Anglesey on 6 September and takes in Colne, Edinburgh, Blyth, Stoke, Fakenham and Ipswich before ending in London on 13 September.

The other six UCI World Teams taking part are Tinkoff-Saxo, Movistar, BMC Racing, IAM Cycling, Lotto Soudal and Lotto NL Jumbo.

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Brailsford hails ‘best’ Sky team

Team Sky’s line-up is the best in their five-year history, principal Sir Dave Brailsford said after Chris Froome’s

Tour de France victory on Sunday.

Froome first won the race in 2013 and was also a team-mate to Sir Bradley Wiggins in 2012 when

Wiggins became the first Briton to finish in yellow.

“It is the best team I’ve ever worked with,” Brailsford told Sky Sports.

“It is a group of world-class guys who are willing to sacrifice everything to help Chris win.”

Froome and Wiggins’

competing claims to be Sky’s lead rider dominated the build-up to the 2013 race,

and in 2012 sprinter Mark Cavendish’s chances of stage wins were restricted as he helped the team’s pursuit of a historic title.

Brailsford said thinly-veiled accusations of cheating from the French media and

animosity from spectators on the road-side

had helped pull his current line-up together.

“The more people criticised us, the more we pulled together. The dynamic looks after itself in those circumstances,” he added.

“The communication, the honesty, the way they committed to one another – it was something fantastic to watch.”

After becoming the first man since Eddy Merckx in 1970 to win both the yellow jersey and the King of the Mountains jersey for the Tour’s best climber, Froome, 30, has his eyes on another historic double.

Only two men – Frenchman Bernard Hinault in 1978 being the most recent – have won the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana in the same year.

The Vuelta – the third Grand Tour of the season – begins in Puerto Banus on 22 August and Froome suggested he was keen to be on the start line.

“I know it would be a massive challenge to back up the Tour by contending in the general classification in another Grand Tour, but that is in the back of my mind,” Froome said.

Sir David Brailsford

Brailsford was previously performance director at British Cycling before setting up Team Sky

“It is early to say 100%, but that could be on the cards certainly.”

Brailsford was more cautious, stressing such thoughts were “a bit premature” and advising Froome and his team-mates to appreciate their Tour de France success first.

However, Brailsford said he himself was already looking forward to attempting to defend Froome’s title.

“You need hunger as well as talent to succeed and these guys have both. I’m sure they will be back and fighting,” he said.

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Froome completes historic Tour win

Chris Froome became the first Briton to win the Tour de France twice when he safely reached the finish line in Paris at the end of the three-week race.

The 2013 champion finished alongside his team-mates on the final stage, behind a sprint won by Andre Greipel.

Mark Cavendish, seeking a fifth win on the Champs-Elysees, finished sixth after the 109.5km race from Sevres.

The win for Froome means a Briton, and Team Sky, have now won three of the last four of cycling’s showpiece races.

Froome, 30, beat Colombia’s Nairo Quintana to the yellow jersey by 72 seconds with Spain’s Alejandro Valverde third.

The final stage ended with 10 laps of a 7km course around Paris but the times for the general classification were taken the first time they crossed the finish line because heavy rain in the French capital had made the roads treacherous.

Chris Froome

That meant Froome could not lose time if he was held up by a crash or mechanical problem but he still had to complete the stage.

Inside the last 10km he had to stop to remove a paper bag that had got caught up in his gears, while moments later he rode over a discarded water bottle. If either had caused him to crash and not cross the finish line his title would have been cruelly taken away.

However, he stayed upright and rode over the line arm-in-arm with his Team Sky team-mates several seconds behind the main bunch.

How did the other Brits get on?

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish (left) won the green jersey at the 2011 Tour

There were a record 10 Britons at this year’s Tour, with Geraint Thomas (15th, Team Sky) the highest ranked after Froome. The Welshman rode through the pain barrier, and at one point a telegraph pole, in the name of helping his team-mate Froome and was up in fourth until the latter stages of week three.

Froome was also supported
by Ian Stannard (128th),

on his second Tour, and Luke Rowe

who was making his Tour debut, while Team Sky lost
Peter Kennaugh

to illness on stage 16.

Sprint specialist
Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quickstep, 142nd)

had a mixed Tour, having been accused of giving up in a sprint on stage two, something which he reacted angrily to. The Manxman took his record tally of Tour stage wins to 26 by winning on stage seven, but lacked team-mates to succeed on the Champs-Elysees.

Twin brothers
Adam Yates (50th)

Simon Yates (89th)

not only made it to Paris on their Tour debuts, but often put their Orica-GreenEdge team in front of the cameras with regular breakaways.

A stage win for Stephen Cummings (86th)

for his MTN-Qhubeka team on Mandela Day would have made the man from the Wirral a popular man in his camp.

And Movistar’s
Alex Dowsett,

who Bradley Wiggins took the hour record off earlier this year, had to withdraw on stage 12 after a crash earlier in the Tour.

How Froome won

Froome had led the general classification

since stage seven.

The eight Team Sky riders to finish the 2015 Tour de France

Team Sky finished the race with eight of the nine riders they started with – only Pete Kennaugh abandoned

In fact, he had never dropped out of the top two positions since the third stage and up until Thursday held a lead of three minutes 10 seconds over the field.

In the end it turned out to be the narrowest winning margin since Carlos Sastre beat Cadel Evans by 58 seconds in 2008.

But it will be seen as vindication for Froome, whose composed and gritty riding was at risk of being overshadowed by persistent questions over the legitimacy of his performances and three isolated incidents of abuse from spectators.

Froome’s Tour victory was predominantly established by an excellent first week, followed by a phenomenal burst on the climb to La Pierre-Saint-Martin

on stage 10

that put him almost three minutes clear.

Questions and abuse

It was that climb which caused some to question whether Froome’s performances were being enhanced by doping, with a French TV channel using images of Lance Armstrong to draw parallels between the shamed drugs cheat and the Team Sky rider.

A French physiologist also

presented data that he described as “abnormal”.


Team Sky produced their own numbers

to counter that claim and Froome has repeatedly said that he is clean.

Chris Froome faces the press

Team Sky released Froome’s riding data to the media earlier in the week

That has not stopped Froome being subjected to abuse from spectators, as he claimed he had

urine thrown at him on stage 14

and appeared to have

twice been spat at

in the last two stages before Paris.

Team-mate Richie Porte has said he was punched during stage 10.

There is also a sense that Kenya-born Froome has never fully secured the support of the British public, particularly in comparison to Sir Bradley Wiggins, who was the first Briton to win the Tour in 2012.

It remains to be seen whether his victory this year, which came among a field of Grand Tour winners including Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde, will persuade doubters of his ability.

The big four

Nairo Quintana

Nairo Quintana has now finished runner-up to Chris Froome twice

Much was made of the big four of Froome, Nibali, Contador and Quintana all racing against each other.


said he ultimately lost the race on stage two when he finished 88 seconds behind Froome. He gained time in the Alps but had to be content with second, replicating his result behind Froome in 2013.

Defending champion

finished alongside Quintana on stage two and lost further time on stages eight and nine before fading further as Froome dominated stage 10. Although the Italian did win stage 19.


came into the race hoping to become the first man since 1998 to win the Tour and Giro d’Italia in the same year. He would also have held all three Grand Tour titles, having won last year’s Vuelta a Espana.

However, the Spaniard never looked at his best in the mountains and had to be content for fifth overall.

The other jersey winners

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan has won four consecutive green jerseys


The points jersey which rewards consistently high finishes on each stage. Slovakia’s
Peter Sagan

dominated the classification without winning a stage. He did, however, finish in the top five on 10 stages. He amassed 432 points, 66 more than second-placed Greipel


The King of the Mountains.

became the first rider since the legendary Eddy Merckx in 1970 to win both the overall race and mountain classification in the same year.


Best young rider.

won it for a second time in three years by finishing second overall. The 25-year-old will be too old to contest it in 2016.

Britain's Chris Froome, Brian Robinson and Robert Millar

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Has Chris Froome joined Britain’s greatest road cyclists?

Team award: For the team whose top-three riders have the lowest cumulative time. Won by

who beat Sky by 57 minutes 23 seconds.

Stage 21 result:

1. Andre Greipel (Ger/Lotto) 2hrs 49mins 41secs

2. Bryan Coquard (Fra/Europcar) Same time

3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor/Katusha)

4. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor/Team MTN Qhubeka)

5. Arnaud Demare (Fra/FDJ)

6. Mark Cavendish (GB/Etixx – Quick-Step)

7. Peter Sagan (Svk/Tinkoff – Saxo)

8. John Degenkolb (Ger/Giant)

9. Michael Matthews (Aus/Orica)

10. Ramunas Navardauskas (Lit/Cannondale)

General classification after stage 21:

1. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) 84hrs 46mins 14secs

2. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +1min 12secs

3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +5mins 25secs

4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Astana) +8mins 36secs

5. Alberto Contador (Spa/Tinkoff-Saxo) +9mins 48secs

Chris Froome (left) and Nairo Quintana

Froome and Quintana have had huge battles in the Pyrenees and Alps over the past three weeks

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Johnny’s favourite stores