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National Track Championships: John Archibald and Josie Knight win individual pursuit titles

John Archibald at the National Track Championships

John Archibald won silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games

John Archibald successfully defended his individual pursuit title on the opening day at the National Track Championships in Manchester.

Josie Knight defeated Anna Morris to capture the women’s individual pursuit.

Six-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny rode the qualifying round as Team Inspired won gold in the team sprint.

The championships continue on Saturday when the men’s sprint, kilo and points race and the women’s team pursuit, keirin and scratch titles take place.

Archibald qualified fastest with a time of four minutes 12.624 seconds, while HUUB Wattbike team-mate Jonny Wale beat former national champion Dan Bigham and recorded a personal best of 4:13.059.

In the final, Wale got off to his customary explosive start, but Archibald moved into the lead around the 1,500m mark and he crossed the line in 4:14.572

“I didn’t have the perfect ride but I’m delighted to win – that’s all that counts,” he said.

Knight was the afternoon’s fastest qualifier in the women’s competition, clocking 3:32.771, and was always in control in the final, despite a valiant effort from Morris, who finished just over a second behind.

As well as Kenny, the Team Inspired squad was made up of Phil Hindes, Jack Carlin, Ryan Owens and Joe Truman.

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Injured Yates up to fourth at Tour Down Under

Simon Yates (in yellow and black) was five seconds behind stage three winner Richie Porte

Yates (in yellow and black) was five seconds behind stage three winner Richie Porte

Britain’s Simon Yates finished third on stage three of the Tour Down Under despite racing with a knee injury following a crash on stage two.

Yates almost missed the start because of the issue but finished five seconds behind Australian winner Richie Porte on the short climb to Paracombe.

Porte’s win gave him the race leader’s jersey, with Yates fourth in the overall standings, 11 seconds adrift.

Australian Rob Power just beat Yates into second on the 131km stage.

Yates’ Mitchelton-Scott team-mate Daryl Impey is second overall, six seconds behind Porte.

On the state of his knee, which was bandaged from the start, Yates said: “It was a little bit stiff in the morning and it was a good job that we didn’t have a quick start. But once we got into it, it started getting better and better.

“I just did the best I could (up the final climb). I could see Impey was close, so I was half doing a job for him and half for myself. Chapeau to Richie though, he showed again on these short little climbs he is a nudge above.

“I think Willunga (the final climb on the final stage) suits me more. I don’t think I’ve ever won a three minute climb before, add a 0 on the end to make it 30 minutes and that is better.”

The race is over six stages and finishes in Willunga Hill, near Adelaide, on Sunday.

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Froome to return at UAE Tour, while Yates injured at Tour Down Under

Chris Froome

Chris Froome had to pull out of the 2019 Tour de France following the crash but aims to be back for the 2020 event

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome is set to return to competitive racing in February at the UAE Tour, eight months after a high-speed crash.

The Team Ineos rider is training again after being seriously injured during the Criterium du Dauphine last June.

The Briton, 34, will compete at the UAE Tour from 23-29 February, after taking part in a training camp.

“I look forward to taking the next step in my recovery and getting back to full strength,” Froome said.

“I’ve come back off a good block of training in Grand Canaria.”

Froome suffered a broken hip and fractured his right femur, elbow and ribs while on a practice ride during last year’s Criterium du Dauphine.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Simon Yates has suffered a knee injury in a nasty crash on stage two of the Tour Down Under.

The Mitchelton-Scott rider was involved in an incident inside of the final mile of the race to Stirling, on the outskirts of Adelaide, and finished more than five minutes behind stage winner Caleb Ewan.

“His left knee is the real concern,” said Mitchelton-Scott team director Matt White. “He could barely pedal to the finish line.”

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Irish champion Bennett wins first stage of Tour Down Under

Sam Bennett

Bennett made his Deceuninck-QuickStep debut in Australia

Irish national Road Race champion Sam Bennett leads the Tour Down Under after winning a tight sprint finish in Tuesday’s first stage.

The Waterford rider, 29, edged out Belgium’s Jasper Philipsen by half a bike at the end of the 150km stage.

It is the perfect start to the new season for Bennett, in his first race for his new Deceuninck-QuickStep team.

“I’d be lying if I’d said I didn’t feel the pressure to get that first win,” he said.

“I am very happy it came today, on the very first stage of the season’s first race.”

Bennett enjoyed an excellent 2019 campaign, becoming national champion in June before claiming two stage victories at the Vuelta a Espana.

He now takes a four-second lead over Philipsen into the second stage of the Australian tour.

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Women’s Tour: Suffolk to host final stage of 2020 event

Jolien D'Hoore

Belgian rider Jolien D’Hoore won last year’s Women’s Tour stage in Suffolk

The final stage of the 2020 Women’s Tour is to take place in Suffolk – the seventh stage of the event held in the county in the past six years.

Stage six will see cyclists race from Haverhill to Felixstowe on 13 June.

Britain’s Lizzie Deignan was last year’s champion, becoming the first cyclist to win the event twice.

In 2019 Suffolk hosted the first stage of the Women’s Tour between Beccles and Stowmarket, with Belgian rider Jolien D’Hoore coming out on top.

The county’s previous six stages have brought in more than £5.3m for the local economy.

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