Monthly Archives: April 2016

Van Poppel wins Tour de Yorkshire stage

Van Poppell (right)

Danny van Poppel (right) has won a stage of the Espana de Vuelta

Dutch rider Danny van Poppel from Team Sky has won the second stage of the Tour de Yorkshire.

The 22-year-old sprinter crossed the line in Doncaster ahead of first-stage winner Dylan Groenewegen of LottoNL-Jumbo, who retains the overall lead.

Van Poppel’s compatriot Kirsten Wild won the women’s race earlier on Saturday over the same 136km route.

Elsewhere, Britain’s Chris Froome of Team Sky earned a solo victory on the fourth stage of Tour de Romandie.

Van Poppel, who claimed his first victory since jointing Team Sky in the winter, picked up 10 bonus seconds with his bunch-finish win to elevate him to second in the general classification, six seconds behind Van Groenewegen.

Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) was third in the stage and is third overall, two seconds further back, with Chris Opie (ONE Pro Cycling) Britain’s highest-place finisher in fourth.

The three-day race is in its second year and a legacy of Yorkshire’s hosting of the Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France.

Sunday’s final stage, a 198km route from Middlesbrough to Scarborough, contains six categorised climbs.

Froome fights back to win stage

In the Tour de Romandie, Froome began the day more than 17 minutes down on the general classification lead after a disappointing second stage, but showed the fighting qualities that have earned him two Tour de France titles.

In the company of Tejay van Garderen (BMC), he pulled away from the peloton with 40km to go as the race tackled the first of two steep ascents.

Froome then dropped Van Garderen three kilometres from the summit of the final climb and took no risks on the wet descent to win by four seconds from Ion Izagirre (Movistar).

Colombia’s Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is the overall leader by 19 seconds from France’s Thibaut Pinot (FDJ).

Tour de Yorkshire 2016

Stage two men’s result

1 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky, 3hrs 4mins 20secs

2 Dylan van Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo same time

3 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Alpecin same time

4 Chris Opie (GB) ONE Pro Cycling same time

5 Loic Chetout (Fra) Cofidis same time

General classification

1 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky 8hrs 13mins 15secs

2 Dylan van Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo +6sec

3 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Alpecin +8secs

4 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge +10secs

5 Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis +1min

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Wiggins withdraws as Groenewegen leads

Sir Bradley Wiggins pictured before stage one

Sir Bradley Wiggins pulled out about 26km from the finish

Sir Bradley Wiggins dropped out of the Tour de Yorkshire during the first stage as Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Dylan Groenewegen took the overall lead.

The four-time Olympic champion – riding as part of his build-up to the 2016 Olympics – pulled out around 26km from the finish in cold, damp conditions.

“I’m gutted not to join you into the weekend but Rio needs to take priority,” said Wiggins.

Groenewegen, 22, outpaced Australia’s Caleb Ewan in a bunch finish to win.

The Dutchman, who earned a 10-second time bonus, completed the 186km stage between Beverley and Settle in five hours, nine minutes and 11 seconds.

Wiggins – the 2012 Tour de France winner, who turned 36 on Thursday – was riding for his Team Wiggins outfit.

He added: “Great atmosphere in Yorkshire today. It was a tough day’s racing so thanks to everyone who braved the weather and came out to support. The boys and I really appreciate it.

“Good luck to everyone over the weekend.”

JLT-Condor’s Chris Lawless was the top British rider in seventh, while One Pro Cycling’s Pete Williams will wear the pink King of the Mountains jersey on Saturday.


Team Wiggins’ Andrew Tennant was one of the riders caught in a multi-bike pile-up outside Beverley

Team Katusha’s Sven Erik Bystrom was left with minor facial injuries after a multi-bike crash outside Beverley that the Russian team claim was caused by a cattle grid.

Saturday’s stage two takes place on a mostly flat 136.5km route between Otley and Doncaster that is likely to favour the faster riders.

Sunday’s final stage, a 198km route from Middlesbrough to Scarborough, contains six categorised climbs compared to Saturday’s three, and will favour the climbers in the peloton.

World champion and home favourite Lizzie Armitstead heads the field for Saturday’s one-day women’s race, which follows the same 136.5km route the men will tackle later the same day.

The winner of the women’s race gets £15,000 – more than the winner of the men’s race and £14,000 more than 2015 champion Louise Mahe.

Tour de Yorkshire 2016

Stage one result.

1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 5:09:11

2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica GreenEDGE

3. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin

4. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie

5. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky

6. Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC Racing Team

7. Christopher Lawless (GB) JLT Condor

8. Karol Domagalski (Pol) One Pro Cycling

9. Dion Smith (NZ) One Pro Cycling

10. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise

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British Cycling denies kit sale claims

Great Britain cycling

British Cycling is conducting an internal investigation into the kit sale allegations

British Cycling has denied that any kit or equipment provided by UK Sport has been given away or sold on for profit.

It follows the start of an investigation into claims official kit, including a high-performance bike, was available to buy online.

British Cycling said it has a “detailed and exhaustive” inventory of UK Sport-funded equipment.

The new inquiry comes after technical director Shane Sutton quit amid sexism and discrimination allegations.

Australian Sutton, 58, was also asked to attend a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the kit allegations, revealed in the Daily Mail. He said he “rejects the specific claims”.

UK Sport, which helps fund Britain’s Olympians and Paralympians and is investing £30.5m in British Cycling between 2013 and 2017, ordered the investigation to “protect our investment in all sports on the world-class programme”.

In response, British Cycling issued a statement explaining that:

  • No kit supplied by UK Sport has left the National Cycling Centre in Manchester in the past 10 years;
  • Other equipment and clothing supplied for free by commercial partners is booked in and out by a “stock management system”;
  • Riders are told to return it when they leave British Cycling;
  • Old, unworn kit is sometimes sold at cycle jumble sales with the money reinvested into the team;
  • A dealership who fix GB bikes are sometimes given old equipment as “payment in kind”.

The statement added: “Once sold, we are obviously unable to guarantee what individual buyers will do with the kit they have purchased.”

The investigation is ongoing.

It is the third lot of allegations made against British Cycling this week, with chief executive Ian Drake telling BBC Sport his organisation is not in crisis.

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‘British Cycling needs independent review’ – Ian Drake speaks to BBC sports editor Dan Roan

Sutton, a GB coach since 2002, is alleged to have used derogatory words like “wobblies” and “gimps” to describe Para-cyclists. An independent investigation into those accusations is under way.

A separate review will also look into claims by cyclist Jess Varnish that Sutton made sexist comments towards her, allegedly telling her to “go and have a baby” after she failed to qualify in the team sprint for this summer’s Olympics.

Sutton said the allegations had “become a distraction” and he had stepped down “in the best interests of British Cycling”.

He was part of the team that won seven track gold medals at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, with British Cycling also claiming 25 gold medals across the past two Paralympics.

There are just 99 days until the start of the Rio Olympics, with programmes director Andy Harrison taking charge of the team after Sutton’s resignation.

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Sutton resigns amid discrimination row

Team Sky payment ‘not declared’

Despite leaving his post at British Cycling, Sutton is still employed by professional cycling outfit Team Sky, in a paid “occasional advisory role”.

However, after Drake told BBC Sport on Tuesday that Sutton was not paid by Sky as well as British Cycling, the organisation clarified on Wednesday that it was not aware of his Sky retainer and that Sutton had not declared this when he became British Cycling technical director in 2014.

A Team Sky statement said: “Since he stepped down as head coach of Team Sky in January 2013, his occasional involvement as an advisor to Team Sky has been completely separate from his role with British Cycling.

“Any reimbursement for his work with Team Sky has been funded by the team.”

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Sutton quits amid discrimination claims

Shane Sutton

Australian Shane Sutton joined British Cycling as a coach in 2002

British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton has resigned amid claims of sexism and discrimination towards elite cyclists.

He had been suspended while the sporting body investigated allegations of derogatory comments about Para-cyclists.

Great Britain cyclist Jess Varnish previously said Sutton made sexist comments towards her and told her to “go and have a baby”.

Sutton “rejects the specific claims”.

In a statement, the 58-year-old Australian said the allegations against him had “become a distraction” to British athletes and that he decided to step down “in the best interests of British Cycling”.

His resignation comes on the day Great Britain’s athletes start their 100-day countdown to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sutton denies wrongdoing

Sutton said: “It is important that the review announced by British Cycling and UK Sport now takes place, and I will obviously co-operate fully with this.

“I have made clear that I reject the specific claims that have been made against me in recent days, and I look forward to taking a full part in the review process so I can respond to the allegations in detail.”

British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake added that programmes director Andy Harrison would take over and thanked Sutton for “his work with British Cycling and the part he has played in our success”.

“I understand and respect Shane’s decision to stand down. His primary focus has always been the athletes, and this decision is something he has taken to allow them to focus on their preparation for Rio,” said Drake.

Sutton’s predecessor, Sir Dave Brailsford, said the Australian’s contribution to the success of British cycling had been “immense”.

Brailsford, who oversaw a British team that won eight gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, said: “His sole focus has always been the athletes, and so it’s understandable that if he feels this has become a distraction to their preparation for Rio he has put the interests of the team first and decided to stand down.”

The sexism allegations

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Sprinters blame bosses for Rio miss

Varnish, 25, who was dropped from the GB team after failing to qualify for the sprint team for Rio, said she spoke out against Sutton in order to change attitudes at British Cycling.

Sutton, who has been a GB coach since 2002, denies Varnish’s claims, which include him making a sexist comment about her body shape.

He said that Varnish’s contract was not renewed because her times had slowed over the past three years and she was unlikely to win a medal, saying she was “not up to the job”.

“There was never any talk of babies,” he told The Times.

He insisted he had never used the terminology “you’ve got a fat arse”, adding: “I’m just really upset she would say that.”

The disability discrimination claims


Kenny, right, at the London 2012 Paralympic Games

British Cycling had already begun an “independent review” into its performance programmes following Varnish’s comments.

It then started a further investigation and suspended Sutton on Wednesday after Darren Kenny, one of Britain’s most decorated Para-cyclists, told the Daily Mail he heard members of the British disability team referred to as “gimps”.

Kenny, 46, who won six Paralympic gold medals, later told BBC Sport the use of the word “became common”.

“I never heard the term ‘wobblies’ but the other term, I don’t think there is anyone at British Cycling who hasn’t heard it. It was an everyday thing.

“I certainly had heard it used on numerous occasions. I imagine it was sometimes in jest and sometimes with intent behind it.

“Some people were offended by it, for others it went over their heads.

“I stayed away from the Manchester base as much as I could. I didn’t enjoy my last five or six years there. I did have some great times. I am a grown-up and I could have chosen to leave earlier.

However, Kenny also said he felt Sutton “does a good job” and was “being made a scapegoat slightly”. He claimed to have “heard other talk of other situations”, adding the investigation was “not much of a surprise” because “we all know it happened time and time again”.

“It does not achieve much cutting somebody off. It is about education and changing people’s views rather than changing people,” he continued.

“I would hope it does not destabilise British cycling. It is really one of the reasons why I never said anything before and kept quiet.”

Who is Shane Sutton?


Sutton and Hoy embrace during the 2012 Games in London

Sutton joined British Cycling as a coach in 2002 and was part of the team that won seven track gold medals at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

He was made technical director in 2014 when predecessor Sir Dave Brailsford stepped down after a decade in charge.

Sutton, who won Commonwealth Games gold as a rider, had been due to take charge of performance at the Rio Olympics, which begin on 5 August.

In 2009, British cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy described Sutton as his mentor and said he had been “hugely influential in my success”.

He said Sutton, who also mentored Sir Bradley Wiggins, is “so intense that there are times that the only thing you can do is fall out with him”.

Hoy added: “Half the time you want to throttle the guy and the other half you are trying to get into his good books.”

Reaction from British cyclists


Pendleton and Varnish competed together in the team sprint at London 2012

Olympic champions Victoria Pendleton and Nicole Cooke both backed Varnish and criticised British Cycling.

“I know exactly how miserable they made me,” said Pendleton, 35, now retired from track cycling. Cooke, 33, a road specialist who is also retired, added: “Speak out and your dreams will be destroyed and years of hard work wasted. Or put up with it and hope.”

Joanna Rowsell Shand, 27, who competes on track and road, said she was “surprised” by the allegations and felt British Cycling’s treatment of track riders was “very equal”.

Fellow Olympic gold medallist Dani King, 25, said she had never been subjected to sexist comments by Sutton, and double London 2012 gold medallist Laura Trott, 24, said she had “only ever had a wholly positive and healthy working relationship” with him.

Peter Kennaugh, who won gold as part of the team pursuit at London 2012, told BBC Radio York: “The whole thing’s quite sad. Shane’s a great guy with a massive heart. It is a sport and if you are not meeting the standards which are very high at British Cycling, then unfortunately there’s no place for you anymore.

“It is ruthless at this level. I think a lot of it has been blown out of proportion.”

Key dates in Sutton’s career:

  • 1978: Wins track team pursuit gold at Commonwealth Games
  • 1984: Moves to Great Britain
  • 1990: Wins Milk Race (now Tour of Britain)
  • 2002: Joins British Cycling as coach
  • 2008: Wins coach of the year award
  • 2010: Awarded OBE in Queen’s birthday honours list
  • 2012: Diagnosed with bleeding on the brain after a bike crash in Manchester
  • 2014: Appointed technical director of British Cycling after Brailsford leaves

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Thomas fourth in Romandie prologue

Geraint Thomas

Thomas finished behind Team Sky team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski

Britain’s Geraint Thomas finished fourth in the opening prologue of the six-day Tour de Romandie.

The Welshman was seven seconds behind leader Jon Izagirre, with Thomas’ fellow Briton and Team Sky team-mate Chris Froome another 19 seconds back.

Froome is trying to win the race for the third time as he prepares to defend his Tour de France title.

Rain slowed times on the opening 3.95km stage in the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, with poor weather expected all week.

Tour de Romandie, stage one:

1. Jon Izagirre (Spa/Movistar) 5mins 33secs

2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Giant) +6secs

3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Team Sky) +7secs

4. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky) same time

5. Gorka Izagirre (Spa/Movistar) +8secs

6. Moreno Moser (Ita/Cannondale) +9secs

7. Reto Hollenstein (Swi/IAM Cycling) +11secs

8. Louis Vervaeke (Bel/Lotto) same time

9. Tejay van Garderen (US/BMC Racing) same time

10. Martijn Keizer (Ned/LottoNL) +12secs

Selected others:

62. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky +26secs

74. Alex Peters (GB) Team Sky +30secs

89. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky +34secs

142. Adam Blythe (GB) Tinkoff Team +52 secs

149. Mark McNally (GB) Wanty-Groupe Gobert +54secs

157. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky +1min 5secs

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Johnny’s favourite stores