Monthly Archives: December 2015

Dusseldorf to host 2017 Grand Depart

Tour de France

Cyclists at the Place de la Concorde in Paris on the last stage of the 2015 Tour

The 2017 Tour de France will begin in the German city of Dusseldorf, it has been announced.

London turned down the chance to host the Grand Depart, citing the cost of staging the event – reported to be about £35m – as the reason.

It will be the first time since West Berlin in 1987 that Germany has hosted the opening stage of road cycling’s premier race.

La Manche in north-west France will host the 2016 Grand Depart.

This 2015 event started in the Dutch city of Utrecht, a year after thousands came to Leeds to watch the cyclists set off.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/35160200

Pooley to return for Rio Olympics

Emma Pooley

Pooley narrowly missed out on gold to Linda Villumsen in the 2014 Commonwealth Games time trial

Olympic silver medallist Emma Pooley is set to return to the British cycling team for the Rio Olympics in 2016, having retired from the sport in 2014.

The former world champion will target the time trial and may also support Lizzie Armitstead in the road race.

Pooley, 33, retired from cycling after winning two silver medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games to concentrate on triathlon and other endurance events.

“This is a truly rare opportunity that I can’t resist,” she said.

Pooley won silver in the time trial at the 2008 Beijing Olympics before finishing sixth in the event at London 2012, where she also helped Armitstead win a silver medal in the road race.

The 29.8km time trial course in Rio features the 1.2km, 7% average gradient Grumari climb and the “impressively hilly nature” of the terrain persuaded Pooley, renowned for her climbing abilities, to come out of retirement and target a gold medal.

“I’ve decided it’s worth a serious attempt at targeting that event,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.

“If I can prove to both myself and the GB team selectors that I have the capacity to win the time trial in Rio, I’ll compete for selection for the Olympic team – I’m happy knowing I won’t get selected unless I really do have the potential to win.

“I have no desire to go to the Rio Games, and sacrifice some of the most exciting triathlon races of the season, just for the experience of another Olympics – I’m committed to aiming for gold.”

‘Emma won’t fall away’

Pooley won road race silver at Glasgow 2014 behind teammate Lizzie Armitstead, with Ashleigh Pasio taking bronze

After turning to multi-sport events in August 2014, Pooley won the world long-distance duathlon title at the first attempt a month later, breaking the course record by 16 minutes.

She successfully defended her crown in September and is aiming to make it three consecutive wins next year, adding that long-distance triathlon and duathlon remain her “main focus” in 2016.

Yet after studying the Rio courses, British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton says he approached Pooley about a return, believing she could also improve world champion Armistead’s chances of winning gold in the road race.

“I’m really pleased that Emma saw the value in the opportunity and is back with us,” he added.

“Having her talent and experience in the team enhances our medal prospects in the time trial and Lizzie Armitstead’s opportunity to win the road race.

“The road race field is likely to fall away from behind, but as a pure mountain climber, I don’t see Emma falling away. It would be great to see her in the road race supporting Lizzie.”

Wiggins to ride on

Wiggins broke the UCI hour record at the Olympic velodrome in London in June

Meanwhile, former Tour de France champion Sir Bradley Wiggins says he wants to keep riding beyond this season, having previously claimed he would retire at the end of 2016.

The four-time Olympic gold medallist, 35, is set to compete in the team pursuit on the track at Rio and could continue racing into 2017.

“I will see how I feel this time next year,” he said.

“There might be other opportunities. If I haven’t got a job by this time next year I will keep racing.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/35112601

Did London come close to hosting Tour?

Marcel KittelImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Germany’s Marcel Kittel powers to victory in the third stage of the 2014 Tour de France, a day of elite cycling paid for by Transport for London

The proposed route for the start of the 2017 Tour de France would have seen three days of racing in London, East Sussex, Kent, Surrey and West Sussex.

Transport for London, the body running the bid, rejected the chance to host the start in September, just days before a deal was set to be announced.

But a Freedom of Information request has revealed just how far talks with ASO, the Tour’s owner, had gone.

TfL’s correspondence with the French also shows how dramatic its U-turn was.

The three stages would have taken place on 1-3 July.

Image copyright
Transport for London

Image caption

Stage one would have started in Greenwich, heading west through London towards Bushey and Richmond Parks, before a loop through Surrey back to The Mall, via a detour around Hampstead

TfL started talks with ASO about bringing the Tour back to London in January, with the then TfL commissioner Sir Peter Hendy taking the lead.

TfL’s emails, letters and text messages suggest ASO was initially a little cool on the idea of bringing the race back to London again so soon after the success of its Grand Depart in 2007 but by mid-March momentum was building.

A meeting in Paris on 27 May between senior TfL staff, Jon-Paul Graham from London mayor Boris Johnson’s office and Tour director Christian Prudhomme’s team appeared to have sealed the deal.

A day later Sir Peter emailed Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director for surface transport, and Ben Plowden, director of surface strategy and planning, to congratulate them and ask “when an announcement can be made!”

Image copyright
Transport for London

Image caption

Stage two would have been a flat, east-west test of speed and strength against the clock, passing some of London’s most iconic sights

The next four weeks saw proposed routes for the three stages exchange hands, a visit to London by ASO’s route experts, and ASO ask TfL for data on cycling’s growth in the capital since 2007.

Chris Mather, TfL’s head of behaviour change, claimed 2014 “was the safest year on record for London cyclists” and cycling was at an “all-time high”.

By the beginning of August, TfL finalised its plans for the three stages and booked the Guildhall’s Old Library for the launch and everything seemed ready for the deal to be announced during the World Road Cycling Championships in late September.

But while ASO’s staff took summer breaks following the race in July, bosses at TfL were in “delicate negotiations” with the Treasury about London’s transport budget.

With the Department for Transport not one of the protected ministries in Chancellor George Osborne’s Spending Review, TfL was told its £591m annual grant would be gradually withdrawn over the next three years.

Suddenly, the decision to spend an estimated £35m, which included a £4m hosting fee for ASO, on three days of elite sport, and with no input from UK Sport’s major events budget, was made much harder and more political.

Image copyright
Transport for London

Image caption

Stage three would have been familiar to London-Brighton riders, with a climb up Ditchling Beacon, before heading along the coast for a rolling finale into Hastings

The first ASO knew of this was in a letter from Leon Daniels to Mr Prudhomme on 15 September saying “recent events dictate that we can no longer offer to host a Grand Depart in 2017″.

Mr Daniels explained the cuts, which were revealed last month to total 37% of the Department for Transport’s running costs, and said TfL’s spending “will be under intense scrutiny” as it fought to safeguard “front-line transport services”.

He concluded by saying TfL was pulling out with “a heavy heart” and hoped to “welcome the Tour back in the future”.

The BBC, however, understands ASO’s initial response was anger and shock, particularly as time and bargaining power have been lost in the attempt to find an alternative Grand Depart host.

That search continues with Dusseldorf emerging as the favourite to replace what would have been three thrilling days of colour, noise and sport for cycling fans in London and the South East.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-35040022#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Tokyo 2020 to move cycling events

The Ariake district of Tokyo

The Ariake district is due to host volleyball and tennis

Cycling events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be held 75 miles away from the city as part of a £1.2bn programme of cuts.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board approved moving the track cycling and mountain bike events to an existing venue in Izu.

Both were due to be in temporary venues – track cycling in the Ariake district and mountain biking at Sea Forest.

The changes to the programme will bring savings of £66m to the Games budget.

Earlier this year, the Japanese government scrapped plans for a £1.3bn Olympic stadium designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid – the designer of the London 2012 aquatics centre.

A new plan costing about 60% of the original is expected to be agreed.

Sea Forest will still host the canoe sprint and rowing events, plus the cross-country and eventing elements of the equestrian programme.

An IOC statement said: “The athlete experience will be guaranteed, as all athletes and team officials whose events will be at Izu will have the option to stay in the main athletes’ village before and after their competition.

“During the competitions, they will stay at a satellite village located close to the event venues.”

International Cycling Union president Brian Cookson said his organisation had embraced the IOC’s cost-cutting programme and the UCI would work with local authorities to build on the sport’s legacy in Japan.

All sports have now been assigned venues for Tokyo 2020 except football, with a decision on that expected after next year’s Rio Olympics.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/35049434

Tokyo 2020 to move cycling events

The Ariake district of Tokyo

The Ariake district is due to host volleyball and tennis

Cycling events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be held 75 miles away from the city as part of a £1.2bn programme of cuts.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board approved moving the track cycling and mountain bike events to an existing venue in Izu.

Both were due to be in temporary venues – track cycling in the Ariake district and mountain biking at Sea Forest.

The changes to the programme will bring savings of £66m to the Games budget.

Earlier this year, the Japanese government scrapped plans for a £1.3bn Olympic stadium designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid – the designer of the London 2012 aquatics centre.

A new plan costing about 60% of the original is expected to be agreed.

Sea Forest will still host the canoe sprint and rowing events, plus the cross-country and eventing elements of the equestrian programme.

An IOC statement said: “The athlete experience will be guaranteed, as all athletes and team officials whose events will be at Izu will have the option to stay in the main athletes’ village before and after their competition.

“During the competitions, they will stay at a satellite village located close to the event venues.”

International Cycling Union president Brian Cookson said his organisation had embraced the IOC’s cost-cutting programme and the UCI would work with local authorities to build on the sport’s legacy in Japan.

All sports have now been assigned venues for Tokyo 2020 except football, with a decision on that expected after next year’s Rio Olympics.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/35049434

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