Monthly Archives: November 2018

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas answers Random Questions

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas answers BBC Sport’s Random Questions, including who he would take a on a dream bike ride and what is his favourite Welsh word.

WATCH MORE: ‘There’s no way I’m eating a spider': Random Questions with GB gymnasts

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Chris Froome: Briton will begin his 2019 season at Tour Colombia

Britain's Chris Froome

Froome has just taken part in the Giro de Rigo alongside Rigoberto Uran and amateur riders in Colombia

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has announced he will begin his 2019 season at the Tour Colombia in February.

The Team Sky rider won his third consecutive Grand Tour title at the Giro d’Italia in May before finishing third at the Tour de France.

Froome, 33, follows his team-mate Egan Bernal to Antioquia for the race which takes place from 12-17 February.

The Briton made the announcement in Spanish on social media.

Bernal won the inaugural Tour Colombia in his home country in 2018.

Froome and Bernal both rode in Colombia at the recreational Giro de Rigo, alongside EF Education First’s Colombian rider Rigoberto Uran and hundreds of amateur riders, on 4 November.

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Smashed teeth, a broken hip

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Alex Coleburn: BMX rider wants to be Jersey’s first Olympic medallist

The Olympics are changing and British freestyle BMX rider Alex Coleborn could be the man to lead Team GB into a new ‘urban’ era for the Games.

Tokyo 2020 will be the first senior Olympics in history to feature events like 3v3 basketball, sport climbing, skateboarding and freestyle BMX.

Given ‘breaking’ and roller speed-skating debuted at the recent Youth Olympics more Urban Park events are likely to follow as International Olympic Committee (IOC) attempts to boost the Games’ youth appeal and thus safeguard its future.

However, Britain is desperately short of genuine medal contenders in all of these new sports – with Jersey-born Coleborn, who claimed silver at the first-ever UCI Urban Cycling World Championships last year – a rare exception.

“When I was a kid I’d watch the X Games and think ‘that’s where I want to go’ and the Olympics seemed so far off, but now BMX is in, it’s insane,” says Coleborn.

Before his bid for gold at this year’s World Championships in Chengdu, China, BBC Sport meets Coleborn and some of his GB team-mates who are targeting Tokyo 2020.


Jersey-born Alex Coleborn claimed silver at the first-ever UCI Urban Cycling World Championships last year

What is freestyle BMX?

“Freestyle riding is just freedom,” Coleborn says.

Unlike ‘quickest wins’ BMX Supercross, which has been in the Olympics since 2008, in freestyle BMX athletes are allowed two one-minute runs each to perform a series of tricks and techniques which are judged.

Riders are assessed on the difficulty, originality, style, flow risk, amplitude (height) and execution of their tricks which helps determine the highest scores and event winners.

“You’re away from the outside world,” says Coleborn. “You’re cruising around trying tricks, crashing and then when you pull it off you’re buzzing – there’s no feeling like it.”

Digging in the dirt and leaving home at 17

Coleborn began riding at the age of 13 but facilities on the island of Jersey were limited at the time so he and his friends simply decided to build their own.

“At the time we basically had nothing, so we’d all get the spade out and go building little mud jumps in fields and we played around really,” said Coleborn, who may never have progressed further without his father’s intervention.

“My dad sent a video to a professional rider in the UK [Mark Webb] and he invited me over to the UK to practice – after a few days he’d signed me up.”

The rider moved to Corby in Northamptonshire and has been based at the ‘Adrenaline Alley’ facility for the best part of a decade.

“I suppose it could have been hard leaving home at that age and moving to the UK, but I was just loving it,” he said.

“The facilities were incredible and I was travelling to all of these countries and was meeting new people all the time so it was just really fun.”

Broken teeth and a broken hip – ‘BMX is brutal’


Coleborn admits he often think ‘what if’ when trying new tricks

Coleborn’s skills have helped him gain more than 100,000 followers on Instagram, which has also led to several commercial sponsors deals.

However, the rider has also endured the more challenging side of the sport.

“You don’t want to think it, but in the back of your mind when you try a new trick is a ‘what if’,” Coleborn admits.

“I’ve had a few injuries; I knocked my teeth out, I broke my hip pretty bad in 2012, but you overcome them.”

The 26-year-old showed he had fully recovered last year by claiming Britain’s first-ever urban cycling, freestyle BMX world silver medal which helped convince UK Sport to invest more than £1m in a British team heading towards Tokyo 2020.

“It gives us the freedom to ride everyday and we know the physiotherapy is there when we need it,” he says.

“We’ve learnt so much in terms of diet, gym work and new ways to train, so it’s been really helpful.”

Jersey’s first Olympic medallist?

No Jersey athlete has ever won an Olympic medal in any sport and their last Olympian was swimmer Simon Militis at the Sydney 2000 Games.

However, after his breakthrough World silver in 2017 Coleborn is now aiming to make further history.

“It would mean so much to be at the first ever Olympics for [freestyle] BMX and being a Jersey boy it would be great to fly the flag,” he said.

“To get up onto the podium would be something I’d be super proud of.”

Coleborn describes his 2017 silver as “unbelievable” and says it would be “everything” to repeat that success or better it at this year’s event.

Other GB riders to watch

The British team for this year’s World Championships features eight riders after Charlotte Worthington suffered a concussion in training and withdrew from the event.

Izzy Burrell the youngest competitor at just 17, but Liverpool-based 20-year-old rising star talent Emma Finnegan is likely to be GB’s strongest female medal contender.

“Representing GB in BMX freestyle wasn’t a thing when I started, especially for me and for women, but now we’ve been welcomed into the sport along with the guys I think it’s really great to be a part of,” she said.

British UCI BMX Urban World championship line-up:

Elite Men: Declan Brooks (22, Portsmouth), Jack Clark (24, Essex), Alex Coleborn (26, Jersey), James Jones (24, Swansea), Ben Wallace (32, Portsmouth)

Elite Women: Izzy Burrell (17, Derby), Emma Finnegan (20, Liverpool), Val Ward (31, London)

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Geraint Thomas says ‘let road decide’ as Team Sky leader with Chris Froome

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Geraint Thomas: ‘It takes a bit longer to buy a pint of milk now’

Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas believes he and Chris Froome can both compete for Grand Tours while riding for Team Sky.

Thomas, 32, won his first Tour de France title this year, while Froome is a four-time champion.

Froome, 33, was initially the lead rider, but after Thomas eventually claimed that status Sky face a dilemma in who fills that position next year.

“We both need to decide what we are doing first,” Thomas told the BBC.

“I can imagine he (Froome) will want to go to the Tour 100% because he will want to get the record of five Tour de France wins.

“I am keen to go back and enjoyed wearing and winning the yellow jersey.

“I think we can do similar the same as this year. He was a bit ahead of me in the leadership.

“But the way we raced I think we can do the same as this year and not race against each other. I think it can still work.

“As long as we are open and honest as we were this year, as they say let the road decide and the best guy will come out on top.”

Working together

Thomas admits in his book – The Tour According to G – that he initially found it difficult when Sky’s instructions were to protect Froome, even when Thomas was leading the race.

The Welshman accepted their reasoning and, once he was clearly ahead, Thomas said Froome was fully supportive of him in the latter stages of the Tour.

In May, Froome had clinched his first Giro d’Italia, becoming the seventh cyclist to win all three Grand Tours.

It is possible that Froome’s exertions in Italy – particularly his extraordinary stage 19 victory – may have hindered his bid to win a fifth Tour de France in July, and that he may choose to concentrate on the Tour next year.

If that was to happen, Sky could consider giving Thomas the lead status for next year’s Giro.


Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome have won five Tour de France titles between them

The 2017 Giro was the Welshman’s first experience of leading Sky in a Grand Tour and, having crashed out of that race, the 32-year-old has indicated he feels he has unfinished business in Italy.

“There is also the Giro d’Italia as well a couple of months before,” Thomas said.

“That is in May and I will have a look at the Tour in depth. Over the next few weeks I will decide what I want to go for 100%.

“I am pretty sure I will go back to the Tour. It will just depend on what shape I am and whether I have done the Giro before.”

Life after cycling

Thomas has also enjoyed his time off and has met footballer Lionel Messi after attending a Barcelona game, and also gave World Cup-winning New Zealand rugby union player Dan Carter a signed yellow jersey.

The Welshman has also stated he wants to do marathons and an Ironman when he retires.

“I wouldn’t want to do one thing,” said Thomas.

“Chris Boardman does lots of different things. That variety would be key. I’m so used to travelling around and not being in more than one place for two weeks.

“If I was just living in Cardiff, doing the same thing day after day, it would be too much of a shock to the system.

“I want to do marathons, I want to do an Ironman. That’ll be something physically to wean me off being a professional cyclist.

“I’ve done a couple of runs in the off season and can barely walk the next day. A different part of me aches. It’ll take some getting used.

“Initially I want to do it just to do it but when you start looking at times you’ll get more into it, more serious, probably end up treating it as serious as I do a bike rider.

“I’d love to do it, especially the Wales one. The bike route on that is pretty hard so that’ll be nice for me.”

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Geraint Thomas: ‘It takes a bit longer to buy a pint of milk now’

Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas tells BBC Breakfast that since winning the 2018 Tour de France with Team Sky, he receives a lot more public attention.

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Johnny’s favourite stores