Peter Sagan: Cas to hear case against Tour de France disqualification

Mark Cavendish crashes in the sprint

Mark Cavendish (far left, on the ground) has won 30 stages in the Tour de France

World champion Peter Sagan will appeal against his 2017 Tour de France disqualification when his case is heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) on 6 December.

The Slovak was deemed to have caused the crash which ended Briton Mark Cavendish’s involvement in the race during stage four in July.

Cas rejected an initial urgent appeal to have the Slovak reinstated.

His team Bora-Hansgrohe said the jury did not listen to Sagan’s argument.

Cavendish said the 27-year-old elbowed him during the sprint finish in Vittel. The 32-year-old Briton crashed into the barriers and later pulled out of the race with a broken shoulder.

“I can accept the decision but for sure I do not agree with them, because I think I have done nothing wrong,” Sagan said at the time.

The cyclist and his team insisted he did not see Cavendish as the Manxman tried to race up the inside by the barriers.

Sagan was initially docked 30 seconds before the race jury reviewed the footage and upgraded his punishment to disqualification, ending his bid to win the Tour’s green jersey for the leader of the points classification for a record-equalling sixth straight year.

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Watch: GB women win World Cup team pursuit gold

Rugbytots Bristol

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Britain win third World Cup gold medal

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Great Britain women win gold in team pursuit

Great Britain claimed their third gold medal of the Track Cycling World Cup with victory in the women’s team pursuit in Manchester on Sunday.

Elinor Barker, Katie Archibald, Emily Nelson and Neah Evans crushed the Italian team in the final.

It was Archibald and Barker’s second gold, having triumphed in Saturday’s madison after Britain’s men’s team won their team pursuit final.

Callum Skinner took bronze in the men’s 1km time trial for the 100% me team.

Scotland’s Skinner finished over one second behind gold medallist Matthew Glaetzer from Australia, while German Eric Engler was second.

Earlier in qualifying, Glaetzer set a sea-level record of 59.790 seconds, the first sub-one-minute time in the event.

The women’s team pursuit victory came in a time of four minutes 16.803 seconds, their fastest since their world-record time at the 2016 Rio Olympics and almost five seconds ahead of Italy.

“It is pretty quick considering we have had a big month of racing before this,” Barker said. “It says a lot and we can push this time a bit going into the Worlds.”

Archibald added: “I really didn’t think we would have that margin. I feel quite buoyant now.”

Britain’s Joe Truman qualified for the men’s keirin final, but finished sixth as Dutchman Matthijs Buchli won gold.

Great Britain finished second in the medal table with five medals, while Jonathan Mould also won silver for Team Wales.

Germany topped the table with four gold medals, three of which were won by Kristina Vogel.

The event is the second of five World Cup weekends with the next coming in Milton, Canada, from 1-3 December.

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Track Cycling World Cup: GB’s Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker win madison gold

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Rowe back on bike three months after breaking leg

Luke Rowe

Luke Rowe was Team Sky’s road captain at the Tour de France

Welsh cyclist Luke Rowe is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a broken leg and was back on his bike on Saturday.

The Team Sky rider, 27, fractured his tibia and fibula while white-water rafting during his brother’s stag party in the Czech capital Prague in August.

Rowe had feared he could be out for a year but tested his leg at the Wales National Velodrome in Newport.

“Big day for me, first time on the pushy for three months,” Rowe tweeted.

“Few clicks on the boards, mega.”

Rowe’s accident happened barely two weeks after he helped fellow Briton Chris Froome win his fourth Tour de France.

In terms of a return to competition, the Cardiff rider said: “I haven’t really set myself a date, a race or a target. I’ve just said get back as soon as I can.

“Everyone knows I’ve got a love for the Classics, but I don’t think it’s realistic to be there, and that’s going to be hard.”

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Free from the pins that fused her pelvis, Barnes targets Commonwealth Games

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Victoria Barnes – ‘My whole back ripped open’

“Before we can make you into an athlete, you need to be a normal, functioning human.”

Sprint cyclist Vicky Barnes fractured her neck and back, dislocated her pelvis and slipped a disc in her neck in a serious crash during an omnium race in Rotterdam in January 2016.

Doctors feared the 2013 World Championships bronze medallist may be paralysed.

But just six weeks ago, she was coming round from a six-hour operation to remove the pins that were holding her pelvis together in the latest part of her rehabilitation.

Now the 24-year-old, who represented Great Britain under her maiden name Williamson before marrying husband Ollie Barnes in July, is targeting April’s Commonwealth Games.

“I had people tell me that it’s not possible. You’re trying to get to that 0.1% of the population that compete as elite athletes having broken your neck, back and pelvis – it’s not feasible,” she tells BBC Sport, clutching the bag of pins that were removed from her pelvis in September.

“Once people got to know me and the people I work with, and I started to overcome stuff I probably shouldn’t have, it was like ‘this girl means business’.”

Here, Barnes talks BBC Sport through the horrific injuries she sustained and her exhausting road to recovery.

‘She saw my bare spine’


The rest of the racing schedule was cancelled at Rotterdam’s Zesdaagse following Barnes’ crash

Racing at Rotterdam’s Zesdaagse was cancelled after a serious crash involving Barnes, who collided with Dutch cyclist Elis Ligtlee.

“I was holding on to the fence to get up before the race and a Dutch guy jokingly offered me a sip of his beer,” says Barnes. “The next thing I remember is being in and out of consciousness. Apparently I stood up, I don’t remember that.

“I asked my team-mate Ellie Richardson to take a picture of me. At the time I had no idea how badly injured I was, but Ellie said she saw my bare spine.

“When I initially crashed, I hit the fence, which is what split my back open. It was like a motorbike accident, I stuck to the track and that forced my skin to rip open.”


Barnes spent a week in a Rotterdam hospital

Barnes was taken to hospital in Rotterdam, where she stayed for a week before being flown back to Stepping Hill in Stockport in an air ambulance which she says was like “hovering in a basket, I was laid flat and on anaesthetic, every jolt was a mixture of sick and pain”.

“Rotterdam is one of the best hospitals in Europe for trauma,” adds Barnes. “They did a really good job.

“I had to lay completely flat, I was log-rolled to stop me getting pressure sores, but didn’t have any incline on the bed or any sitting up until four weeks, which was after the back surgery in the UK.

“I don’t like flying anyway, but the little aeroplane they flew me back in did not feel safe. I was strapped to a board and had a couple of people sat in the back with me – it was by no means luxury.”


Barnes suffered wounds to her back in the crash in Rotterdam

The force of Barnes’ back being ripped open on the track left her with the above scar, while the patch next to it is where the sprint cyclist’s number stuck to her skin.

“That bit of the scar is a bit messier, because the skin was burned where they had to peel the number away,” says Barnes. “It heated up, went through the skin suit and stuck to my skin.

“The first thing they did was stitch that up and flush everything out. The big thing was the risk of infection. Had I got an infection I would have needed plastic surgery.

“To start off with, Rotterdam did such a good job of cleaning everything out, because my bare spine was nearly touching a velodrome.


The pins Barnes had inserted in her pelvis while in Rotterdam were added to on her return to Stepping Hill

“When they did surgery, they extended the scar slightly to get into my pelvis and I then had back surgery at Stepping Hill, which left a smaller straight scar – that’s where they put the lumber spine pins.

“I have another tiny mark on the side, which is where in the UK they added to the pelvis pins from Rotterdam. It was hollow, but in the UK the surgeon wasn’t happy it was hollow, so he put a pin through the middle to give it more stability.

“The back surgery in the UK took eight hours with all the pins and about four hours in Rotterdam to put one pin in.”

Barnes said at the time she was lucky not to be paralysed.

“Every operation was near the spinal cord, especially the pelvis and the fractures in my neck,” she says.

“You sign a sheet which says ‘risk of paralysis’ but I needed the surgery, so I just had to tick it and carry on. You trust the surgeon. Especially in the UK, I still have a good relationship with him; he messages me to see how I am doing.”

‘My body had adjusted to being flat’


Barnes was able to leave her bed after nearly four weeks in hospital

“This was when I had to try and get upright,” says Barnes. “I had been looking forward to it for so long that I built it up like ‘yes, I can sit up and I can walk’.

“On the first day the physio came round, a couple of inches of incline made me feel sick. My body had adjusted to being flat. Any sort of incline, I didn’t like. I fainted on Ollie’s mum, she was in panic mode and started hitting buttons.

“I thought ‘am I ever going to get upright again without feeling ill or faint?’. It took me a good four or five days to get upright and to feel comfortable upright.

“Once I was up, it was a lot nicer, because I could sit and eat breakfast rather than having to be fed laying down.”

Getting out of bed for the first time happened a few days before Barnes was released from hospital after just four of the eight weeks she was predicted to spend there.

“That was the first time I started moving,” she explains. “It was all very well getting upright, but then I had to get out the bed and try to move. I got to the toilet and back, a couple of metres, and it felt like an achievement.

“Despite the bumps on the way out of hospital and trying to get in the car, it was nice leaving even ‘though I had to have blood-thinning injections every day.

“I couldn’t inject myself, my mum did them. It hurt, I know it sounds pathetic after everything I have been through, but these little things into your stomach, they are like the devil. I would dread it every day.”

Beginning the rehabilitation process


Once Barnes’ wounds had healed, she was able to perform recovery work in the pool

“I did some on-land stuff first. It was basic, just trying to stretch and gain a bit of motor control back. As soon as the wounds had healed, I could get in the pool,” she explains.

“This was under Rob Sheridan. He looked after me for nearly a year until it was deemed everything had healed and I got passed on to the Intensive Rehab Unit at Bisham Abbey.

“It was just trying to get a routine back into my life after not having done anything for a while. It took a few months to fully heal without risking infection. I saw him from April until I started down at Bisham Abbey in March.

“I was under medical care until March this year, because we’ve gone with the idea of ‘before we can make you into an athlete, you need to be a normal, functioning human’.

“Until March, the bone graft hadn’t healed and I wasn’t in a position to try and become an elite athlete. That’s why I was under the care of the NHS. I had regular contact with the medical team at British Cycling, but wasn’t necessarily under their coaches.

“Until I became a normal human, there was no point in trying to chase the performance.”

‘Numb from the knee down’


A trapped nerve root in Barnes’ left leg meant she had no sensation from the knee down

As a result of her injuries, Barnes lost the feeling in her lower left leg, the one she puts pressure on when performing a standing start while racing.

“On my left side, my nerve root got trapped which left my knee to my foot numb,” explains Barnes. “The sensation had gone. I would close my eyes and the surgeon was mapping out where my loss of feeling was.

“We were tracking it to see if it had improved. It was numb from the knee down. Now I am at my foot. To start off with he wasn’t sure whether the nerves would heal, which wasn’t ideal as that is my start leg.

“It obviously wasn’t crushed badly enough to completely die. Only marginally have I got loss of sensation on the top of my foot, so I think in the next six months it’s going to be back to normal. I am nearly there now.”

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The Barnes’ wedding was 18 months after the crash, but by this point the cyclist was “full steam ahead” in her recovery.

It’s a good job we hadn’t booked it for 2016!” says Barnes. “I was in a good place physically before the wedding, and it was nice to have that break mid-rehab.

“I was just about to start compound lifts, like squats. I’d been working on capacity stuff – high reps and building a big base to come off before I started more power stuff.”

Commonwealth goals


Barnes had pins removed from her pelvis in September

Recovery was going well, but in September Barnes had to decide whether to have her pins removed after a snapped screw beneath her pelvis showed up on X-ray.

“I had to make the call to just take the snapped one out, or take the hit and get everything out,” she explains. “I have 100% made the right decision because, six weeks on, I’m back where I was pre-surgery.

“I had in my head it would take months and I’d lose all the hard work I put in. But I’m in a better place and – other than half the cracked one – I’m a normal person with a fused back and fused pelvis.

“Pins can limit force production, and being a sprint athlete that is quite important. The fact I have now not got any metal work should in theory allow me to produce more force.

“In the grand scheme of an Olympic cycle, six weeks is not a lot.”


Barnes hopes to finish her rehabilitation by January

If next year’s Commonwealth Games is the short-term goal, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is Barnes’ ultimate aim having “accepted the fact I didn’t go to Rio, it wasn’t meant to be”.

“I am coming out of the rehab-gym programme now and on my last two stints at the rehab unit, then I’ll be back with the team,” says Barnes.

“We are moving more into performance, so I will start loading, squats, deadlifts, all the compound movements in order to get my power back as an elite athlete.

“I am due to finish hopefully at the end of January at the rehab unit. The idea is I will be physically really strong and brute, and then transfer it on to the bike.

“Then I am back and ready to go, and it’s just a case of learning to ride a velodrome again.”


Barnes’ long-term goal is a place at Tokyo 2020

So does Barnes think she will compete on the Gold Coast in April?

“The Commonwealth Games is still likely at the minute, but until I get on a velodrome I can’t tell you how good I am going to be,” she says. “It’s like ‘can I be fit in two, three months?’ I’ll be fit, tip-top condition, but won’t have been on a bike.

“I am thinking more about process goals at the minute. Gym targets. If the outcome of Commonwealth Games is do-able, then great, it’s a bonus at the end, but if not I will be pushing towards the World Cup season.

“Next year we’ll only be two years away from Tokyo, but that’s the long-term goal, to get an Olympic place.”

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