UCI Track World Cup: Laura Kenny and Emily Nelson claim final day gold

Emily Nelson and Laura Kenny

Emily Nelson and Laura Kenny both won two gold medals in Germany

Britain’s Laura Kenny and Emily Nelson claimed madison gold on the final day of the UCI Track World Cup in Berlin.

Four-time Olympic champion Kenny was a late replacement after Katie Archibald withdrew following her omnium crash during her gold medal win on Saturday.

Kenny and Nelson had Britain’s sole podium finish on the final day in Germany – and the fifth of the weekend.

Sunday’s race was halted temporarily with 54 laps to go after a crash involving Italy’s Letizia Paternoster.

Paternoster was taken to hospital after receiving medical treatment trackside and when racing resumed, Kenny and Nelson consistently scored highly in the sprints.

In the closing moments, Danish duo Julie Leth and Trine Schmidt took a lap to go top of the leaderboard but the British pair secured the double points victory on the final sprint to finish on 37, nine points clear.

It added to the gold they won as part of the women’s team pursuit and as well as Archibald’s gold, there was silver in the men’s team sprint and for Ollie Wood and Mark Stewart in the madison.

Wood finished 11th in the omnium after an early exit in the elimination in the second session.

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Tour de Yorkshire to use Worlds circuit in Harrogate

American Megan Guarnier raises her hands in celebration as she crosses the line after winning the 2018 women's Tour de Yorkshire

American Megan Guarnier won the 2018 women’s Tour de Yorkshire with victory on stage two in Ilkley

The 2019 men’s and women’s Tour de Yorkshire will include the circuit being used for next year’s Road World Championships races in Harrogate.

Both pelotons will cover the 14km (8.7 miles) circuit during a 132km route from Barnsley to Bedale.

It will be the second of four stages in the men’s race, which runs from 2-5 May, and first of two for the women.

“With the Worlds in Yorkshire, we’re expecting our strongest field,” said race organiser Sir Gary Verity.

“This will be the only chance the riders get to sample the Harrogate circuit under race conditions.

“I’m also proud that we’re continuing to lead the way when it comes to promoting women’s cycling. Changing the start of the women’s race from Thursday to Friday should guarantee greater exposure and the routes for the two stages are now exactly the same as the men’s.”

Christian Prudhomme, ASO’s Tour de France director, added: “Including the Harrogate circuit gives the race an added dimension and we want ‘The Yorkshire Classic’ stage of the men’s race (stage four) to become one of the most anticipated dates on the professional cycling calendar.”

The stages

  • Thursday, 2 May: Men’s stage one – Doncaster to Selby (178.5km)
  • Friday, 3 May: Men’s stage two / women’s stage one – Barnsley to Bedale (132km)
  • Saturday, 4 May: Men’s stage three / women’s stage two – Bridlington to Scarborough (132km)
  • Sunday, 5 May: Men’s stage four – Halifax to Leeds (175km)

The Tour de Yorkshire was upgraded by cycling’s governing body, the UCI, in October to HC status for the 2019 edition – the highest category for a multi-day race outside of the UCI WorldTour.

The women’s Tour de Yorkshire moved to a multi-stage event for the first time this year, having been run as a one-day race for its first two editions.

American Megan Guarnier won the 2018 race, with Olympic road race champion Greg van Avermaet claiming the men’s event.

The 2019 Road World Championships will run from 21-29 September.

The elite men’s road race will feature seven laps of the finishing circuit in Harrogate, with the elite women covering three laps.


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Armstrong says returns from Uber investment ‘saved’ his family

Lance Armstrong holds up seven fingers while wearing the yellow jersey in 2005 to signify the seven Tour de France titles he was later stripped of

Lance Armstrong invested in Uber during his comeback to cycling after initially retiring in 2005

Lance Armstrong says an early investment in Uber has “saved” his family after paying out $111m (£86.8m) in legal fees and settlements.

The American, 47, was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life in 2012 before admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs.

He says he gave $100,000 (£78,212) to a venture capital fund that invested in the ride-hailing app in 2010.

“It’s saved our family,” he told CNBC.

In April, Armstrong agreed to pay $5m (£3.9m) to the US government to settle a long-running lawsuit that could have cost him $100m (£78m) in damages.

However, he said he felt he did not “get off scot free” as other settlements and legal fees meant he had to pay $111m in total.

Armstrong, who has five children, did not say how much he had earned from his Uber investment but added it was “too good to be true”.

He said Uber, which was founded in 2009, was valued at $3.7m (£2.9m) when he invested. The company was valued at $72bn (£56bn) this year and is targeting a valuation of $120bn (£94bn) in 2019.

When asked if he had earned “10, 20, 30, 40 or $50m”, Armstrong replied: “It’s one of those.”

He added that he did not even know he was investing in Uber when he gave the money to associate and entrepreneur Chris Sacca, who started Lowercase Capital in 2010.

‘The way I acted was my undoing’

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Armstrong on drugs, history and the future

Armstrong retired after winning seven straight Tour titles from 1999 to 2005, finishing third in his comeback in 2009 before retiring again in 2011.

The US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) subsequently found Armstrong had led “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”, with the Texan admitting in 2013 he had used drugs throughout his career.

Yet Armstrong said it was how he conducted himself and not just the fact he cheated that led to his downfall.

“Most people have enough history and knowledge to know everybody did it [doping],” he said.

“That isn’t the issue for people – the issue is how aggressively I defended myself, being litigious, going after people.”

Armstrong agreed a settlement with The Sunday Times in 2013 having previously been paid to settle a libel case in 2004 after the newspaper alleged he had cheated.

“Whether or not I would do it all over again – what I would rather do is go back and win seven in a row against everybody else that’s drinking water and eating bread,” he said.

“Even if I did all that [doping] but I was a gentleman and I had class and dignity and treated people with respect, they would’ve let me off.

“Nobody would’ve come after me. I insist that it was the way I acted that was my undoing.”

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London 2012 gold medallist Rowe retires

Dani Rowe, Laura Kenny and Jo Rowsell Shand

Dani Rowe (left) won Olympic team pursuit gold with Laura Kenny and Joanna Rowsell Shand in 2012

London 2012 gold medallist Dani Rowe has announced her retirement from cycling.

The Briton, 28, won team pursuit gold at London 2012 and three consecutive World Championship titles in the event between 2011 and 2013.

More recently a road racer, Rowe – formerly King – won bronze at April’s Commonwealth Games.

“Today marks both the end of one chapter in my career, and the start of a new one,” she said.

“After 14 years of dedicating my life to a bike I’ve decided to go out on a high after the satisfaction of achieving everything and more in the sport that I ever set out to.”

Rowe – who is also a two-time European team pursuit champion – won her Olympic gold alongside Laura Kenny and Joanna Rowsell Shand.

Originally from Hamble, Hampshire, she competed for England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but switched her allegiances to Wales in 2017 after marrying fellow cyclist Matt Rowe.

“I feel that it would have been an easier decision to carry on cycling, as it’s something that’s defined me since the age of 14,” she added.

“It’s a scary world outside of professional sport but one I’m willing to jump into with open arms, taking opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to when cycling.”

British Cycling performance director Stephen Park said: “Dani’s achievements and medal record are there for all to see, but for those who have worked closely with her, she has been not only a wonderfully talented bike rider, but also a true team player who has possessed all the qualities a coach could ask for in a rider.

“Her fighting spirit and resilience have been evident at various points during her career and, throughout her impressive list of achievements, her attitude has been exemplary.

“She’s been a true role model for the younger members of the squad and, I’m sure, for many, many other riders who have watched from afar.

“This natural talent for mentoring and developing young riders has shone through, and will continue to stand Dani – and those she works with – in good stead going forward. Dani is keen to stay involved with British Cycling and the sport as a whole, which will be valuable to all parties.”

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From The Graham Norton Show to the French mountains

Geraint Thomas

Newport’s Wales National Velodrome was officially renamed the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales after his Tour de France win

Two weeks ago, Geraint Thomas was sat on a sofa next to Nicole Kidman on The Graham Norton Show.

Chatting with a Hollywood actress on primetime TV would once have been alien territory for the Welshman but these days it is a scene which typifies how his life has changed since winning the Tour de France.

Now, after the longest off-season of his life, the 32-year-old is starting the long, arduous process to regain the peak level of performance which brought him the fabled yellow jersey.

Thomas is back with Team Sky, scaling the mountains of southern France, and he is feeling rusty.

“I’ve been back training two weeks now and I’m starting to feel like a bike rider again,” he told BBC Sport Wales.

“The first week was tough going but it’s nice to be back in one place, a bit of routine and back on the regime with the diet.

“It was hard to start with. I’m about three weeks behind everyone at the moment so it’s a bit of a grind but I’m sure we’ll get there.”


Geraint Thomas with Nicole Kidman, Stephen Fry and Joe Lycett on The Graham Norton Show

In common with many elite athletes, Thomas likes routine.

He is happiest riding for hours on his bike or relaxing at home with his wife Sara, watching a box set or playing with their dog Blanche.

For a Tour de France champion, such opportunities are becoming so scarce that Thomas cannot recall being off his bike for such long periods.

“I can’t remember. I think when I was a kid,” he said.

“It’s certainly the longest off-season I’ve ever had but I’ve enjoyed it and made the most of it.

“By the end of it I was craving just to be in one place, doing five or six hours on the bike and then getting home and sitting on the sofa. A bit of normality.

“I moved apartment last week as well, which didn’t really help. Back to the real world.”

Following in the footsteps of comedians

Thomas and his Sky colleagues will travel to Mallorca for a training camp next week, before he embarks on a personal training camp in Los Angeles over the New Year.

The double Olympic track champion’s season starts in earnest in February but, before then, he still has to make time for one more extracurricular activity.

Thomas will be on stage in Cardiff on Saturday, 26 January, in conversation with broadcaster Ned Boulting for an event entitled ‘Geraint Thomas: Welsh Legend’.

“That’s a bit crazy really. We’re just chatting about my career and giving a different insight, having a bit of fun with it,” said Thomas.

“It’s strange, even this time last year, you dream of winning races and then suddenly you’re at the Motorpoint Arena like [comedian] Michael McIntyre. Well, I won’t be making any jokes like him but it’s certainly surreal.

“It’s going to be strange. The last one I went to see [at the Motorpoint Arena] was [comedian] Jon Richardson last year, so it’ll be weird being on the stage rather than sat in the audience.

“It’s kind of a similar feeling to this year being on the podium at the Champs Elysees rather than watching from my front room in Cardiff. It’s been a crazy few months.”

Planning for the Tour


Geraint Thomas (left) celebrates his Tour de France win with team-mate and four-time champion Chris Froome

Thomas and Team Sky are in the early stages of preparing his race schedule for the coming season, when the focus will be on the three Grand Tours – the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana.

All three are prestigious races but the Tour retains a special place as cycling’s crown jewel.

Four-time champion Chris Froome started this year’s edition as Sky’s leader but, as he faltered and fell behind Thomas, the team eventually turned their support to the Welshman.

Next year poses team principal Sir Dave Brailsford with an intriguing choice: Back Froome for a record fifth title or give Thomas the chance to defend his crown?

Is it possible to do both?

“I’m not sure but if we both wanted to go to the Tour 100%, as long as we both ride like we did this year, we can both do really well,” said Thomas.

“As long as we don’t race against each other, we both have our ambitions and that works well in training because we both push each other.

“Obviously Froomey wants to go back to the Tour and win his fifth, which would be a record.

“I definitely feel there’s unfinished business there [Giro] but next year might be the wrong time.

“Being there [at the Tour] with number one on my back, it would be a shame to know I wouldn’t be at my best, so I’m definitely leaning more towards that.

“But I just need to sit down with Tim [Kerrison, Team Sky coach] over the next few weeks and nail down a plan.”

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