Tour of Britain 2018: Team Sky’s Ian Stannard claims victory on penultimate stage

Ian Stannard

Stannard broke clear of Nils Politt in the final stages

Team Sky’s Ian Stannard claimed a solo breakaway win on the Tour of Britain’s penultimate stage as Julian Alaphilippe protected his overall lead.

The Briton, 31, battled clear of German Katusha-Alpecin rider Nils Politt over a series of sharp climbs as the 215.6km race approached Mansfield.

Alaphilippe, 26, is almost certain to defend the green jersey over Sunday’s final 77km circuit race in London.

He remains 17 seconds clear of Wout Poels after finishing in the peloton.

It was Englishman Stannard’s second career stage win at the Tour of Britain, adding to his stage three victory at the 2016 event.

He crossed the line 59 seconds clear of Politt, 24, for the first British success at this year’s race, with 23-year-old Italian Giovanni Carboni third, three minutes and nine seconds back.

French Quick-Step Floors rider Alaphilippe, who won the King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour de France, is unlikely to have his lead seriously threatened over the flat profile of Sunday’s final stage in central London.

Stage seven result:

1. Ian Stannard (GB/Team Sky) 4hrs 1min 51 secs

2. Nils Politt (Ger/Katusha-Alpecin) +59 secs

3. Giovanni Carboni (Ita/Bardiani-CSF) +3mins 09secs

4. Mark McNally (GB/Wanty-Groupe Gobert) +3mins 54secs

5. Emīls Liepins (Lat/One Pro Cycling) +4mins 04secs

General classification after stage seven:

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Quick-Step Floors) 19hrs 46 min 54 secs

2. Wout Poels (Ned/Team Sky) +17secs

3. Primoz Roglic (Slo/LottoNL-Jumbo) +33 secs

4. Patrick Bevin (NZ/BMC Racing) +46 secs

5. Bob Jungels (Lux/Quick-Step Floors) +51 secs

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Double Olympic champion Vogel ‘can’t walk any more’

Kristina Vogel

Kristina Vogel won gold and bronze at the Rio Olympics and has also claimed 11 world titles

Double Olympic champion Kristina Vogel says she “can’t walk any more” after sustaining a serious spinal injury when she crashed during training in June.

The 27-year-old German was involved in a high-speed collision with another cyclist on a track in Cottbus.

Vogel, who is also a part-time police officer, won team sprint gold at London 2012 and the individual title in Rio.

“I believe that the sooner you accept a new situation, the sooner you learn to deal with it,” she told Der Spiegel.

At the time of the crash, Vogel’s compatriot Maximilian Levy wrote a letter encouraging race winners in Cottbus to donate their prize money to Vogel and her family.

“We will start funding for her, her family and beloved ones, to cover their support, the transport to get her home, or her rehabilitation,” said Levy.

Vogel has won 11 world titles, and the crash in Cottbus is not the first of her career.

She was put into an artificial coma for two days in May 2009 after hitting a car during a training session.

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Tour of Britain 2018: Primoz Roglic takes overall lead after team time trial

LottoNL-Jumbo celebrate

Roglic (second left) has a six-second lead over Julian Alaphilippe

Primoz Roglic took the overall lead at the Tour of Britain as his LottoNL-Jumbo team sealed victory on stage five’s 14km team time trial.

The Slovenian, 28, is now six seconds clear of Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe, 26, whose Quick-Step Floors team finished second after Thursday’s course from Cockermouth to Whinlatter Pass.

Alaphilippe’s team-mate Bob Jungels is 10 seconds further back in third.

Previous leader Patrick Bevin of BMC is fourth, 24 seconds behind Roglic.

The New Zealander’s team finished sixth on the stage, 38 seconds behind LottoNL-Jumbo.

Friday’s stage six sees the riders take on a 168.3km route from Barrow-in-Furness back to Whinlatter Pass.

The eight-stage race finishes on Sunday.

Stage five result:

1. Lotto NL-Jumbo 19mins 37secs

2. Quick-Step Floors +16secs

3. Katusha-Alpecin +20secs

4. Team Sky +26secs

5. Movistar +36secs

Overall classification after stage five:

1. Primoz Roglic (Slo/LottoNL-Jumbo) 15hrs 45 min 04 secs

2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Quick-Step Floors) +6secs

3. Bob Jungels (Lux/Quick-Step Floors) +16 secs

4. Patrick Bevin (NZ/BMC Racing) +24 secs

5. Wout Poels (Ned/Team Sky) + 26 secs

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‘Death or glory’

Rachel Atherton sprays champagne after being crowned world champion in 2016

Rachel Atherton celebrates after winning her fourth World Championship title in 2016

Rachel Atherton keeps her four world champion rainbow jerseys in a birdcage.

No bird has ever lived in the cage; Atherton says she “just really likes birdcages”.

“I didn’t want to frame my jerseys or hang them on the wall,” she says. “I like to be able to take them out, touch them and remember those races.”

The cage door may be opening once again this month, with the 30-year-old Briton attempting to win World Championship number five.

Victory in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on Sunday would make her the most decorated world champion in downhill mountain bike history.

But Atherton, who won a record sixth World Cup title in August, is well aware of the perilous nature of the race that awaits her, calling it a “death-or-glory” situation.

“Most people either win or crash,” she tells BBC Sport. “No-one really cares about second place.”

‘I’m physically sick on race day’

Atherton truly announced herself on the downhill scene in 2008, when she won her first World Championship and World Cup titles, and has dominated the sport for a decade.

But even the very best are struck down by nerves, which Atherton says have got worse as time has passed – with a particularly drastic turn in recent years.

“I’m physically sick at least a couple of times on race day,” she says. “It’s only the past two or three years that it has happened.

“I think it’s my body’s way of getting ready, I’m going into war, so it’s that fight or flight mode.

“My older brother Gee – he also races and is a multiple world champion – started being physically sick and I guess I’ve always wanted to do what my brothers do, so now I do it as well!”

Atherton puts her nerves down to the growing pressure she puts on herself, such is her expectation of victory.

“I expect a lot from myself, and that, over the years, has become more and more,” she says.

“The more injuries you get, the more you become aware of the consequences, so I think that adds up to this one big ball of pressure.”

‘I’ve always felt a bit battered’

As is to be expected given the nature of the sport, Atherton has had her fair share of injuries, including broken wrists and collarbones, and has even had to have bone grafts.

In 2009 she needed a nerve graft after a collision with a pick-up truck in California left her with a dislocated shoulder, which severed a nerve.

Atherton is the oldest rider in the field, and her list of injuries is something she says she is becoming “more aware of” as the years pass.

“I do notice the injuries now. I had some big injuries relatively young and I’ve carried them throughout my career, so it’s nothing new,” she says.

“I’ve always felt a bit wrecked and a bit battered. It does take slightly longer to recover, it takes slightly longer to warm up in the mornings, but that’s counteracted with the experience I’ve got from racing for so long.”

Atherton says she has learned to cope with the ever-increasing aches and pains.

“You can carry injuries forever and you have to deal with that,” she adds.

“I find ways of racing and riding that mean I can still acknowledge that I am nervous. I ride perhaps a more calculated race now, and over the years that seems to have paid off.”


Atherton in action at last year’s World Championships, from which she was forced to withdraw after fracturing her collarbone

‘That one race that means so much’

Atherton will go into this week’s Mountain Bike World Championships, which start on Wednesday, in good form after an “emotional” World Cup final triumph in La Bresse, France, in August.

She won three rounds of this year’s World Cup before winning the overall title for a sixth time – a record feat she says is “very special”.

“Looking back, I didn’t really know it was going to be an historic number six – no-one had ever done that before,” she says.

“It’s an achievement that has spanned 10 years, from when I won my first World Cup title in 2008.

“When I think about that, with all the injuries I’ve had in between, it’s incredible really. I never set out with that goal in mind as a kid.”

Attention quickly switched to the challenge ahead in Switzerland and, with downhill not part of the Olympic mountain bike programme, Atherton describes the World Championships as “our Olympic final”.

“It’s weird to have one race that means so much,” she says. “You win the jersey and the stripes and there is this huge hype surrounding it.

“The whole year adds up to the World Cup title, and then this one race, one afternoon, is huge.”

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France’s Alaphilippe wins Tour of Britain third stage

Julian Alaphilippe

Alaphilippe won two individual stages of the Tour de France earlier this year

France’s Julian Alaphilippe won the third stage of the Tour of Britain, while New Zealand’s Patrick Bevin moved into the overall lead in Bristol.

Alaphilippe, racing for the Quick Step team, gained the victory in a sprint finish to move up to third overall.

The fourth Tour stage will take place on Thursday over a distance of 183.5km from Nuneaton to Leamington Spa.

The race is held over eight stages with the race ending in central London on Sunday.

More to follow.

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