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Owain Doull: Team Sky’s Olympic gold medallist eyes 2018 Vuelta a Espana

Owain Doull celebrates winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics

Owain Doull celebrates winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics

Olympic gold medallist Owain Doull has targeted the Vuelta a Espana as his main goal for 2018.

Doull is preparing his second full year on the World Tour with Team Sky and will start his season at the Tour Down Under this month.

The 24-year-old hopes to make his Grand Tour debut after the cobbled classics in the spring.

“My big goal is to try and get set up for the Vuelta,” Doull told BBC Sport Wales.

“I would like to get a Grand Tour under my belt.”

Doull says the Spanish race is the most likely of the three Grand Tours to target after the cobbled classics of March and April.

“The Giro D’Italia is too soon after the classics, while the Tour de France is too big an ask for me at this stage,” said Doull.

“Hopefully I will be set up for a good spring with the cobbled classics and play a big role in that because they are ideal races for my skill set.

“I want to continue my progression and get some results for myself also.

“I feel more confident coming into Team Sky. Initially it’s almost like coming from a primary school to a high school level, that bit bigger and that big scarier.”

Doull’s burst appendix

Doull will be part of the seven-strong squad in the Tour Down Under alongside Kristoffer Halvorsen, Chris Lawless, Egan Bernal, Jon Dibben, Salvatore Puccio and Lukasz Wisniowski.

The racing takes place on the roads around Adelaide, starting with the pre-race People’s Choice Classic criterium on 14 January before the main event between 16-21 January.

The race will also be fellow Welshman Scott Davies’ first race as a professional with his new team Dimension Data.

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Owain Doull posted this from his hospital bed on social media in January 2017

It promises to be a different experience for Doull than last year when the Cardiff cyclist was forced to pull out of the 2017 event because of a burst appendix.

Doull had not long switched to the road following his Olympics track team pursuit success at Rio 2016.

“It feels a different experience coming out here this time,” said Doull.

“I managed to work hard after the 2016 Olympics to be in good shape because I wanted to make a good first impression.

“My appendix burst and I spent four days in hospital and another three days in hospital recuperating before flying back.

“That set me back a lot last year. It was only towards the back end with the Tour of Britain and World Championships when I was back to myself.

“I have worked hard over the winter and am looking forward to racing.

“We have a young team here with new signings and big talent and I will play roles in leading them out.”

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Owain Doull was given an MBE in the 2017 New Year Honours list after his Olympics gold in Rio

Doull insists it is business as usual for Team Sky following the latest revelations surrounding Tour de France four-times winner Chris Froome, who produced an adverse drugs test at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana.

Froome had double the permitted level of a legal asthma drug in his urine.

Cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, wants more details from Team Sky, but Froome is not suspended.

“I can’t speculate on the Froome stuff because it adds fuel to the fire and we need to let things run their course,” said Doull.

“It’s business as usual at Team Sky. Everyone was training hard in the December camp and focused on their own goals and racing plans.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/42629834

Truck crashes into finish line at Tour Down Under

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-42660071

Chris Froome: Romain Bardet wants Briton to not race until ‘adverse’ test resolution

Chris Froome and Romain Bardet

Froome and Bardet finished on the podium in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Tour de France

Chris Froome should rule himself out of racing until an investigation into his “adverse” drugs test is complete, says French rival Romain Bardet.

Team Sky’s Froome had double the allowed level of legal asthma drug salbutamol in his urine after a test during September’s Vuelta a Espana.

The Briton, 32, has denied wrongdoing and he has not been suspended.

“I can’t really see how Froome can race as if nothing was going on,” Bardet, 27, told French sports daily L’Equipe.

“Since Team Sky are doing nothing, nothing prevents their rider from taking a step back until there is a decision from the authorities.”

Froome says he took his team doctor’s advice to increase his inhaler use after his asthma symptoms got worse during the Vuelta, but it was within the legal limits, and that cycling’s world governing body the UCI is “absolutely right” to ask questions.

The urine test, taken on 7 September 2017, showed levels of salbutamol were at 2,000 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml).

That compares to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (Wada) threshold of 1,000 ng/ml.

The use of salbutamol is permitted, without the need for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE), but only within certain doses.

But Bardet, who finished runner-up to Froome in the 2016 Tour de France and was third last year, is unhappy with the ongoing situation.

“Will the UCI have the means to shed light on this case? Will experts manage to prove that it is possible to have such high natural levels [of salbutamol]?” he added.

The AG2R-La Mondiale rider also hopes the UCI will reach a conclusion before the start of the Tour de France in less than six months.

“Otherwise, it would be catastrophic for the image of the race and the image of cycling. It would be a farce,” he said.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/42706922

Welsh cyclist Scott Davies ‘nervous’ before professional debut

Welsh cyclist Scott Davies

Welsh cyclist Scott Davies was fourth overall in the 2017 U23 Giro d’Italia

Welsh cyclist Scott Davies is “quite nervous” as he prepares for his debut ride on the UCI World Tour at this week’s Tour Down Under in Australia.

The 22-year-old from Carmarthen signed his first professional contract with Team Dimension Data in September.

The 2018 Tour Down Under begins in Adelaide on Tuesday and ends eight days later.

“I’m looking forward to it but I won’t lie – I’m quite nervous as well,” he told BBC Sport Wales.

“It’s essentially the same job but the scale of it and the professionalism have really stood out so far.

“It’s still early days so I’m still learning a lot and trying to take it all in.”

Dining hall ‘packed with stars’

Davies has won the last four British Under-23s time trial titles and spent the previous two years with Team Wiggins.

He now lines up in the same squad as 30-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish after signing a two-year deal with South Africa-based Team Dimension Data.

“The dining hall here is packed with stars so I feel very lucky to be where I am and I just want to make the most of it,” Davies said.

He continued: “2018 for me is going to be a lot of learning.

“Hopefully some results too, but I’m going to prioritise the learning and put it to good use in 2019.”

Davies’ fellow countryman Owain Doull will race the Tour Down Under for Team Sky.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/42682220

National Track Championships: Jason Kenny set to compete in 2018 event

Jason Kenny prepares to compete in the sprint final of the Revolution Series in Manchester

Jason Kenny was beaten by France’s Gregory Bauge in the Revolution Series sprint final on Saturday

Six-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny will continue his return to competitive cycling at the British National Track Championships this month.

The 29-year-old finished second on Saturday in his first track event since reversing a secret retirement decision after winning three golds at Rio 2016.

He will race in the team sprint at the event in Manchester from 26-28 January.

Olympic and world champion Katie Archibald will defend her points, scratch and individual pursuit titles.

The Scot, 23, will also compete in the keirin, in which she won silver last year, and the individual sprint.

Elinor Barker, who won team pursuit gold alongside Archibald at the Rio Olympics, is set to ride the scratch and points races.

“I know everybody says it, but that’s because it’s true – there really is so much strength in depth and it’s really tough racing,” said three-time world champion Barker.

“I’ve actually won more world titles that I have national titles in my career, which I think just shows how tough the competition at national level is.”

London 2012 team pursuit champion Dani Rowe is registered to compete in the endurance events, while Rio 2016 individual sprint bronze medallist Katy Marchant will return after missing last year’s championships through injury.

Britain’s joint most-successful Olympian Kenny will race alongside double Olympic champion Philip Hindes at the National Cycling Centre, but Callum Skinner, who also won team sprint gold at Rio, is set to ride the kilo, as will two-time Olympic team pursuit champion Steven Burke.

Four-time Paralympic and 12-time world champion Jody Cundy leads the para-cycling line-up and will be joined by Rio 2016 gold medallists Sophie Thornhill, Lora Fachie, Louis Rolfe and Jon-Allan Butterworth.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/42660991

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