Monthly Archives: April 2018

Cavendish to return at Tour de Yorkshire

Mark Cavendish was injured twice in March

Mark Cavendish was due to represent the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games in Australia before he was forced to withdraw

Mark Cavendish will make his return from injury at the Tour de Yorkshire in May after recovering from breaking ribs in two high-speed accidents in March.

The 32-year-old crashed at 55km/h on stage one of Tirreno-Adriatico and then somersaulted over his handlebars in the Milan-San Remo one-day classic.

“I’m delighted to be back racing sooner than I initially thought,” he said.

The four-day race, a legacy of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart hosted by Yorkshire, takes place from 3-6 May.

Cavendish’s injuries – he also damaged his ankle after flipping over a traffic bollard in the final 10km of the Milan-San Remo on 17 March – forced him to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games where he was due to compete for Isle of Man in the men’s road race on the Gold Coast.


Cavendish was due to compete in the men’s road race on the Gold Coast

The 30-time Tour de France stage winner – the second highest in race history – said the Tour de Yorkshire “could be described as a home race” for him and he is excited to take part.

“My mother’s from Harrogate and obviously the last time I raced things didn’t go that great (for me) in the 2014 Tour de France,” he said, referring to dislocating his collarbone in a crash on stage one.

“But one thing I do remember is the incredible crowds and I know that the Tour de Yorkshire always provides.

“It’s the first time that I’ve raced the Tour de Yorkshire and I’m extremely excited.

“Results-wise; I’m not sure where my form will be actually only having had a couple of weeks back on the bike but I’ll just be absorbing the atmosphere in one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity – the man behind the race and who brought the Tour de France to the county – said he is looking forward to seeing “living legend” Cavendish in action.

He added: “His crash in Italy looked really serious but he’s such a tough, tenacious character and we’re thrilled he’s been able to make such a speedy recovery.

“I’m sure Mark will have his eyes on at least two of the stages on this year’s route and we can’t wait to see him launch his trademark sprint. It’s not every day you get to see a sportsman of his stature competing on home roads, and we’re certain he’ll receive a hero’s welcome.”

Cavendish is the second high-profile rider to confirm his attendance at the Tour de Yorkshire after his Team Dimension Data team-mate Serge Pauwels revealed last week he would be back to defend his title.

The four-day race starts on Thursday, 3 May with stage one going from Beverley to Doncaster.

Friday’s second stage takes the riders from Barnsley to Ilkley. Saturday’s third stage is from Richmond to Scarborough with the finale on Sunday, 6 May starting in Halifax and finishing in Leeds.

A two-day women’s race will take place on 3-4 May, preceding the men’s race and starting and finishing in the same towns.

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French cyclist Di Gregorio tests positive for EPO

French cyclist Remy di Gregorio

Remy di Gregorio won stage two of the Tour la Provence in February

French cyclist Remy di Gregorio has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for a form of banned blood-boosting hormone EPO.

The 32-year-old returned a positive test for darbepoetin (depo) on 8 March during stage race Paris-Nice.

Cycling’s world governing body the UCI said it was an “intelligence-led doping control” planned and carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF).

Di Gregorio has the right to request and attend his B sample analysis.

The Frenchman has also been suspended by his team Delko-Marseille Provence KTM, who he joined in 2014.

“I am appalled and would feel deeply betrayed if the B sample analysis confirms the finding,” said team manager Frederic Rostaing.

“I am angry and sad, but this is not all – this fundamentally calls into question the investment in our project that started 20 years ago, with ethical values at its core.”

The Delko-Marseille Provence KTM rider was suspended and withdrawn from the 2012 Tour de France by former team Cofidis over doping allegations during the race.

He was sacked by Cofidis but partially cleared by the Court of Appeal in France and successfully sued his former team for wrongful dismissal in 2013.

Erythropoietin, or EPO, is a hormone which can increase endurance. It is injected under the skin and stimulates red blood cell production, which speeds up the delivery of oxygen to muscles.

It is one of several banned substances American cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted to using to win his seven Tour titles, which he was later stripped of.

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UK Sport will not seek costs from Wiggins ‘jiffy bag’ investigation, says chief

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We did not cross the ethical line – Wiggins

UK Sport will not seek money from Team Sky and British Cycling to help pay for the UK Anti-Doping investigation into the ‘jiffy bag’ delivered to Sir Bradley Wiggins at a race in 2011, says chief executive Liz Nicholl.

A report by MPs said UK Sport should determine what Team Sky and British Cycling should pay Ukad to cover the costs of a 14-month investigation made “longer and harder” by their failure to keep proper records.

But Nicholl told BBC Sport: “It’s not for UK Sport to do that.”

Ukad’s investigation, which closed in November, was unable to determine whether the medical package that arrived at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011 contained a legal decongestant or, as alleged, Triamcinolone, which athletes are banned from using during competition.

In a letter revealed by BBC Sport in January, Ukad claimed its enquiry was “hindered” and may have even been “potentially compromised” by British Cycling’s failure to report doping allegations sooner.

Asked about trying to get compensation from the two parties involved in the investigation, Nicholl reiterated: “It’s not a matter for UK Sport.

“It’s rather complex because Team Sky doesn’t receive any public funding.

“Our relationship is with British Cycling and what we’ve seen from them is an absolute commitment to having a very strong action plan which is going to deliver over and above from any recommendations they’ve received.”

Nicholl added British Cycling was “heading in the right direction” with “new values and new culture” after appointing several new senior figures, including chief executive Julie Harrington and independent chairman Frank Slevin.

Bob Howden stepped down as chairman in February 2017 amid an investigation into claims of bullying at British Cycling, but remains the organisation’s president.

Nicholl said that British Cycling is “on track to do incredibly well” at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

What did the investigation find out?

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee report in March said Wiggins and Team Sky “crossed an ethical line” by using drugs to enhance performance instead of just for medical need.

But the committee said it was also “not in a position” to state what was in the ‘jiffy bag’ dispatched from the medical storeroom that Team Sky shared with British Cycling at their Manchester headquarters and received by former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman at La Toussuire.

The Ukad investigation discovered Dr Freeman kept Wiggins’ medical records on a laptop that was stolen on holiday in Greece in 2014 and that he made no back-up copies.

Following that investigation, Harrington said there had been a “blurring of the boundaries” between British Cycling and Team Sky after the latter’s launch in 2010 under Sir Dave Brailsford, who remained performance director at British Cycling until 2014.

She added that there are now “clear boundaries and distinctions” between the two organisations, with no one simultaneously employed by both.

Team Sky said it “strongly refutes” the DCMS select committee’s report’s claim that medication was used for performance enhancement but added it “takes full responsibility” for mistakes made in relation to medical record keeping, and have taken steps to improve this since.

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Manchester Velodrome ‘track of champions’ for sale

training session at the Manchester Velodrome

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The track at Manchester’s velodrome contributed to the UK’s cycling success

Cycling fans can own “a piece of history” as the original track from the Manchester Velodrome is on sale.

Planks of the Siberian spruce, which are being replaced, have been donated to recycling charity Emerge.

It is getting the entire old track to sell on but British Cycling will keep the start/finish line.

Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Dame Sarah Storey and Sir Bradley Wiggins trained on the track at the National Cycling Centre.

Emerge group director Lucy Danger said the wood had been arriving at the charity’s base at New Smithfield Market in van loads, each one carrying 800kg.

She said she was “a bit nervous” to take responsibility for it.

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British Cycling said it is holding on to the start/finish line pieces

She said the recycling group has had to rent an additional unit to store the track and when the site opened on Friday morning there was a queue of people outside.

“There’s been a lot of interest from people who are into cycling, cycling groups and so on, since the word got out there,” she added.

“We’ve had people coming down saying they want to make a boardroom table, we’ve had someone say they’re going to make a load of trophies from it for the British Cycling Federation.

“It’s been an amazing project to be part of and to help people get their own piece of history.”

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Wai Lee said he will turn his wood into wall art

Wai Lee 36, from Manchester, a member of the Cheshire Mavericks cycle club, is one of those who has collected a piece.

He said he wanted “a piece of Manchester history, plus the memory of riding on it makes it something special”.

“I think I’ll turn it into some sort of wall art,” he added.

Manchester Velodrome

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Sir Chris Hoy at Manchester Velodrome in 2011

  • The National Cycling Centre, known locally as the Manchester Velodrome, was Britain’s first indoor Olympic standard cycling track when it opened in 1994
  • One lap is 250 metres and the bankings are 42.5 degrees
  • Regular users of the track include members of the GB track cycling teams and Paralympic team, including Jason and Laura Kenny and Jody Cundy

Alistair Rutherford, 36, a Masters World Championship winner in the 2016 team pursuit and points race, said he started riding on the track in 1994 when it first opened and bought a piece for sentimental value.

“Think of how many times I’ve crashed on that track,” he said.

“I’ll put it on the wall. Put it in my man cave.”

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Alistair Rutherford bought some track for sentimental value

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Commonwealth Games: Wales’ Dani Rowe and Jon Mould win road race medals

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Bronze for Wales’ Rowe after thrilling road race finale

Wales’ Jon Mould won silver in the Commonwealth Games men’s road race after compatriot Dani Rowe claimed bronze in the women’s race.

Mould was leading with 50m of the 168km race remaining but Australia’s Steele von Hoff outsprinted him to claim gold.

Australia’s Chloe Hosking won the women’s race, with New Zealand’s Georgia Williams pipping Rowe.

“It’s not just my medal, it’s all of the girls’,” said Rowe in recognition of the effort of her team-mates.

The 27-year-old, who won Olympic gold on the track at London 2012 as Dani King with Laura Trott (now Kenny) and Jo Rowsell (now Rowsell Shand) switched her allegiance from England for these Games after getting married in September 2017 to Welsh cyclist Matthew Rowe.

“I feel like I’ve been waiting a long time for a bit of success. I’ve been working hard on the road for a few years now,” she said.

“I feel like an honorary Welsh girl. I’ve been living there for over five years now. It’s been absolutely incredible. It means so much to fly the flag for Wales so I hope they’ll all welcome me back when I get back to Cardiff.”

Rowe, who rode for England at the Glasgow 2014 Games, looked strong throughout the 112.2km race and clenched her fist in celebration as she crossed the line after being led-out by team-mate Elinor Barker, who finished seventh.


Hosking (centre) celebrates as Williams (left) and Rowe (in red) finish second and third

Australia had, as expected, dominated the tactical side of the race and had four riders in the closing stages as they set up sprinter Hosking.

Scotland’s Neah Evans was eighth, with Mel Lowther and England team-mate Hayley Simmonds in ninth and 10th.

Rowe’s brother-in-law Luke Rowe, had been among the favourites to win the men’s race but he faltered on the final ascent with a couple of kilometres remaining.

Team-mate Mould pushed on as he looked to emulate the achievement of Geraint Thomas, who won this race for Wales in Glasgow in 2014.

However, with the finish line approaching, Mould was passed by Von Hoff, and South Africa’s Clint Hendricks edged out Northern Ireland’s Mark Downey in the battle for third.

Guernsey’s Tobyn Horton claimed seventh with England’s Tom Stewart eighth and Ian Bibby 12th. Rowe came home 14th.

  • Day-to-day guide to Gold Coast 2018
  • What’s on when: Full Games schedule
  • BBC Sport’s coverage times and channels

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Johnny’s favourite stores