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Simon Yates: Briton wants to ‘finish the job off’ at the 2019 Giro d’Italia

Simon Yates

Simon Yates won his first Grand Tour at September’s Vuelta a Espana

Britain’s Simon Yates says he wants to “finish the job off” when he returns to the Giro d’Italia in 2019.

The 26-year-old led the race for 13 days in May but lost the leader’s jersey to eventual winner Chris Froome on stage 19 of the 21-stage race.

Yates, who rides for Mitchelton-Scott, went on to win his first Grand Tour at the Vuelta a Espana in September.

“It’s a race I have great memories from but one which also left a bitter taste in my mouth,” Yates said of the Giro.

“I want to go back to try to finish the job off.”

Yates claimed three stage victories in the 2018 edition and came within two days of winning the title.

However, he lost almost 39 minutes when Froome attacked on the Colle delle Finestre, falling from first to 17th in the general classification, and eventually finished 22nd.

“The Giro is always an extremely difficult race and next year, with three time trials, it’s maybe not perfectly suited to me,” said Yates, who is a climbing specialist.

“We will still give it a real go and see what we can achieve.”

Mitchelton-Scott sports director Matt White said he had “a gut feeling” that Yates would return to the Giro.

“He will return with the self-assurance that he’s been there and he and the team know they can win a Grand Tour,” White added.

“Regardless of who is on the start line, Simon will go in as one of the favourites and we’re comfortable with that.”

The 102nd edition of the Giro d’Italia begins on 11 May with an 8km time trial in Bologna that ends with a 2km climb to the finish line.

British riders won all three Grand Tours in 2018, with BBC Sports Personality of the Year Geraint Thomas, claiming the Tour de France title.

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Sports Personality of the Year winner: Geraint Thomas triumphs after Tour de France success

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Watch: Cyclist Thomas wins Sports Personality of the Year 2018

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas has been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018.

The Team Sky rider, 32, became only the third Briton to win the race, after Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.

“I take great pride in representing Britain and Wales,” he said on Sunday. “It has been a great year for British sport and long may it continue.”

In a public vote, Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton finished second while footballer Harry Kane was third.

Thomas – who was presented with his award by 2017 winner Sir Mo Farah – is the first Welshman to win Sports Personality since footballer Ryan Giggs in 2009.

“I really should have thought about what I was going to say,” a shocked Thomas said.

“I feel very lucky to have come into cycling when I did. I just went down to the local leisure centre for a swim and instead I rode my bike.

“As a bike rider, I always focus on myself. Obviously people want me to win, but hearing stories like Tyson [Fury]’s and Billy [Monger]’s, you realise that what we do does inspire people back home.

“To see people on their bikes and enjoying it, you take just as much pride from that as winning something like this.”


Thomas received a hero’s welcome at his homecoming parade in Cardiff in August

The award comes after Thomas was named BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2018 earlier this month.

His victories in the public votes are recognition for his success on two wheels. Between 2007 and 2012, he won two Olympic and three world team pursuit titles on the track.

His Tour de France victory came in his ninth appearance – one fewer than the record for most appearances before winning.

He won two stages of the Tour, including stage 12, which included the famous Alpe d’Huez climb, and wore the Yellow Jersey for the final 11 stages.

Thomas was the first Welshman to win the Tour and it was the sixth time in seven years a Brit had won.

In 2018, Hamilton won his fifth F1 World Championship title, while World Cup Golden Boot winner Kane captained England to the semi-finals in Russia.

“I’m really proud to be in the top three and hopefully in the years to come I can try and win it,” Tottenham striker Kane told BBC Sport.

“When you’re in a team sport, you have to bring the nation together and as an England team we did that, which was amazing.”

Sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, England cricketer Jimmy Anderson and skeleton’s Lizzy Yarnold were also shortlisted for the main award.

Reaction to Thomas’ win




Other award winners at Sports Personality 2018

A memorable night in Birmingham

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Watch: Baddiel Skinner reform to perform Three Lions

Pop star Paloma Faith opened the show at the Genting Arena with a rendition of Aretha Franklin’s Respect before hosts Gabby Logan, Clare Balding and Gary Lineker welcomed the six contenders onto the stage to the sound of This Is Me from the Greatest Showman.

Special guests in the sell-out crowd included some of the divers who rescued the Wild Boars football team from a flooded cave in Thailand, as well as Vera Cohen, 102, and her sister Olga Halon, 97, who were Manchester City mascots in September.

There were lumps in throats when teenage racing driver Billy Monger received the Helen Rollason Award and was joined on stage by the doctors and race marshals who saved his life following a Formula 4 crash at Donington Park in 2017.

The crowd also reminisced about a remarkable summer when Baddiel and Skinner reunited with The Lightning Seeds to perform Three Lions, which broke chart records during England’s World Cup semi-final run.

And there were other lighter moments, including a topless Mark Williams filmed in a caravan, football legend David Ginola talking golf, and George Ezra dressing as Gareth Southgate to close the show with a performance of Paradise.

The previous five SPOTY winners

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GB claim Madison silver at Track Cycling World Cup in London

Fred Wright and Matthew Walls won silver behind Madison champions Denmark

Fred Wright and Matthew Walls won silver behind Madison champions Denmark

Great Britain claimed a silver medal in the men’s Madison on the second day of the Track Cycling World Cup in London.

Matthew Walls, 20, and Fred Wright, 19, followed up Friday’s team pursuit bronze medals by sealing second place, 16 points behind champions Denmark.

The inexperienced British duo scored in seven of the 12 sprints and finished strongly to hold off Spain.

“It was a really hard race and the standard of the field was mad – there were so many good riders,” Walls said.

“We got quite a few points at the end, so we’re really happy to come away with silver.”

There was disappointment in the men’s keirin where Jack Carlin was edged out of the medals into fourth position, and the women’s omnium in which Elinor Barker finished fifth.

Katy Archibald reached the quarter-finals of the women’s sprint where she was beaten by the eventual winner Stephanie Morton of Australia.

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Great Britain’s women win team pursuit gold at World Cup

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Kenny, Archibald, Evans and Dickinson win gold in women’s team pursuit

Great Britain’s women won gold in the team pursuit at the World Track Cycling World Cup in London.

Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald, Neah Evans and Ellie Dickinson beat world champions United States at Lee Valley VeloPark.

The quartet lapped the American team in an impressive display on Friday.

In the men’s team pursuit, the independent British track team Huub Wattbike took gold in a time of three minutes 57.726.

John Archibald, Daniel Bingham, Ashton Lambie and Jonathan Wale made up the quartet to beat Belgium.

Will Tidball, Ethan Vernon, Matt Walls and Fred Wright won bronze for the Great Britain team by three hundredths of a second from Italy.

The Italians had better luck in the women’s team pursuit, beating Britain’s Team Breeze – made up of academy riders Jenny Holl, Josie Knight, Rebecca Raybould and Jessica Roberts – to bronze.

After catching the American women with more than one kilometre still to go in the team pursuit, Archibald said the way they started the race was “a really good formula”.

“The most important part of a team pursuit is inevitably that last kilometre and we’re yet to really test that, but although the world championships seem a long way away, I’m excited to see what we can do there,” she added.

In the men’s sprint, Joe Truman, Ryan Owens and Phil Hindes took silver for Great Britain after being beaten by the Netherlands in the final.

The fourth event in the six-stage World Cup series offers riders the chance to earn qualifying points for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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Will Tidball, Ethan Vernon, Matt Walls and Fred Wright win team pursuit bronze

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British Cycling coaches had ‘complete’ control, tribunal hears

Jess Varnish

Jess Varnish arrives at the employment tribunal on Wednesday, accompanied by boyfriend and ex-GB BMX champion Liam Phillips (second left)

British Cycling coaches had “complete” control over athletes, according to a doctor’s evidence at the employment tribunal of ex-rider Jess Varnish.

Varnish is suing the national governing body and UK Sport for wrongful dismissal and sexual discrimination.

Ex-British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman pulled out of appearing for Varnish on legal advice.

But Judge Ross accepted a written statement from Freeman at the Manchester tribunal on Thursday.

“The control by the coaches over the athletes was complete – cycling is a coach-led sport,” wrote Freeman, heard on day three of the tribunal.

“The coach would decide everything. The athletes were very firmly controlled.”

Sprinter Varnish, 28, was dropped from British Cycling’s elite programme in 2016, after which former technical director Shane Sutton was found to have used sexist language towards her.

Sutton had already resigned though was later cleared of eight of nine allegations.

Varnish has to persuade the judge that she was effectively employed by British Cycling and the funding agency UK Sport before she can sue British Cycling for wrongful dismissal, sex discrimination and detriment to a whistle-blower.

The former European team sprint champion says British Cycling’s control over her made it akin to her employer.

In his statement, Freeman said “non-compliance was not acceptable” because the coaches alone decided whether riders would stay on the programme.

Freeman is due to appear at a General Medical Council (GMC) hearing in February over a mystery delivery of testosterone to the National Velodrome in 2011.

He has also denied any wrongdoing over a medical package given to Sir Bradley Wiggins after a race in 2011.

GMC representatives were due to attend the Varnish tribunal because Freeman would be “cross-examined to establish his probity” by British Cycling’s lawyer Thomas Linden QC.

Freeman was therefore advised by his lawyer to pull out of appearing as a witness on Wednesday, but Varnish’s barrister, David Reade QC, asked Judge Ross to admit Freeman’s written evidence instead.

Linden “completely rejected” this request as the evidence was unsigned and could give Freeman “plausible deniability” if he were to change his view.

Judge Ross admitted the evidence after stating employment tribunals were “less formal” than courts but added she would give it “very little weight” in her deliberations.

Should it be ruled that Varnish was an employee of British Cycling and UK Sport, the parties will reconvene for a tribunal in 2019.

The rest of Thursday’s session heard British Cycling’s head coach Iain Dyer and programme director Andy Harrison, as well as UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl, cross-examined by barrister Reade.

Both Dyer and Harrison were challenged on several points related to the level of control British Cycling had over athletes in terms of training, their free time, what they wore and personal sponsorship deals.

Final submissions are on Friday, with a verdict expected on Monday.

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July 2018: Former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Freeman – We never crossed the line

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