Dylan Groenewegen says he and his family needed police protection after receiving death threats and even a noose in the mail following the Tour of Poland crash last summer that left fellow Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen with life-threatening injuries. Groenewegen, 27, caused the crash when he deviated from his line on a high-speed downhill finish in Katowice in August. He was handed a nine-month ban by the UCI, in November, although many felt cyclingâ€™s world governing body and the local race organisers should have taken more responsibility for the dangerous finish. Jakobsen, meanwhile, was placed in a medically induced coma for two days and subsequently underwent several reconstructive surgeries to his face. But with the 24-year-old now back on his bike, Groenewegen has spoken for the first time about the extent of the backlash he faced. â€œThere were such concrete and serious threats that we called the police a few days after the crash,â€� he told Dutch magazine Helden. â€œThe following days and weeks the police guarded our door. We could not spontaneously leave the house. â€œWe received handwritten letters in the mail, in which even a noose was added with which we could hang our [newborn] child. When you read that message and see that piece of rope, you are terrified.â€� Groenewegen added his mental health suffered in the aftermath. His house alarm went off one day, causing him to think â€œthe craziest thingsâ€�. On another occasion when a driver was tailgating him, he panicked. â€œOf course that affects you. What sick world do we live in? The most crazy things go through your head. Getting out of bed in the morning was quite a challenge in that period.â€� Meanwhile, the fitness-to-practise tribunal of former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman was adjourned yesterday without once entering public session. Freeman is accused of ordering testosterone to the national velodrome in May 2011 with the intention to dope a rider. Freemanâ€™s defence team were supposed to begin their closing submissions yesterday, the tribunal having heard from the General Medical Council, who have brought the charges, last Friday and on Monday. However, â€œan unforeseen issue in relation to one of the partiesâ€� caused a delay. All parties will now almost certainly need to agree on new dates for the hearing, with Mary Oâ€™Rourke QC, Freemanâ€™s counsel, having indicated she would require a day and a half to give her closing submissions, and today [Weds] the only remaining day set aside. The tribunal panel is due to hand down a facts decision in writing on March 2.
Posted: January 26, 2021, 7:08 pm
The cyclocross world championships will go ahead this weekend despite the spread of a variant of the coronavirus, Ostend Mayor Bart Tommelein said Tuesday. Following discussions with the International Cycling Union and Flemish authorities, Tommelein said the city will be able to host the event with extra sanitary measures. More than 20,000 people have died with the virus in Belgium.
Posted: January 26, 2021, 4:55 pm
Tribunal told Dr Richard Freeman ordered banned testosterone when 'dopers' worked within Team Sky and British Cycling
Richard Freeman, the former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor, ordered banned testosterone to the national velodrome in 2011 at a time when â€œsleepersâ€� and â€œdopersâ€� worked within the organisations, a tribunal heard on Monday. Freeman is accused by the General Medical Council of ordering a batch of Testogel sachets in 2011 with the intention to dope an unnamed rider. The doctor, who now works as a GP in Lancashire, accepts ordering the package and then lying to cover his tracks. But he claims he was bullied into doing so by former head coach Shane Sutton to treat the Australianâ€™s erectile dysfunction, a claim Sutton strenuously denies. The GMC finished its closing submissions on Monday by submitting that â€œthe only reasonable conclusionâ€� the panel could draw from the evidence it had heard over the course of the hearing, which has dragged on for nearly two years now, was that the testosterone was not ordered for clinical purposes but â€œused to dope a riderâ€�. Simon Jackson QC told the tribunal that Freeman had spun a â€œweb of deceitâ€� after being caught out, digging an ever deeper hole and eventually, in 2017, deciding to pin his mistake on the â€œconvenient suspectâ€� which was Sutton. The Australian had by then left British Cycling under a cloud following accusations of bullying and sexism. Jackson said the suggestion that Sutton had bullied Freeman was not supported by evidence. And he added there was "no proof" that Freeman destroyed the Testogel sachets at home, as he claimed during the hearing. On the other hand, Jackson said, there was plenty of proof of Freemanâ€™s interest in the testosterone levels of his riders at that time. And he added that Freeman was a â€œrisk-takerâ€� who â€œlooked at what the riders wanted and didnâ€™t focus on what the [Wada] Code prevented.â€� â€œDr Freeman saw himself in every sense in the ridersâ€™ camp,â€� Jackson told the tribunal. â€œHe stood against what Dr CC [a former Team Sky doctor who left the team in 2010] stood for, which was independent medical assessment.â€� Jackson added that evidence given to the tribunal last autumn by Tony Cooke, the father of former Olympic champion Nicole Cooke, had indirectly highlighted serious concerns about some of Team Skyâ€™s staff in that era. Geert Leinders was one of a number of doctors brought in to the team at that time. The Belgian was subsequently banned for life for doping violations carried out at his previous team Rabobank. â€œCookeâ€™s evidence was led by the defence in the hope of being able to pull down Shane Sutton,â€� Jackson said. â€œBut in a sense evidentially leaving the back door open to Tony Cooke giving evidence that he had been in touch with all manner of people to raise his anxieties regarding proven dopers, which I underline again Team Sky and British Cycling were not aware ofâ€¦ â€œBut there were sleepers, there were dopers in the past who were within these organisations when Dr Freeman was acquiring the Testogel. They had doped before. And so these arenâ€™t bold allegations in the sense they are unsubstantiated. â€œThe GMC has been able to pull all these strands together. The only reasonable conclusion is that they [the Testogel sachets] werenâ€™t clinically indicated but they were used to dope a rider.â€� Mary Oâ€™Rourke QC said she was alarmed by what she described as new evidence put forward by Jackson. â€œThere are things that Mr Jackson has said this morning, and at 2.30pm this afternoon, that we have never heard before,â€� Oâ€™Rourke said. â€œHeâ€™s put a completely different case. I perceive a complete change in the GMCâ€™s case.â€� Oâ€™Rourke said she might now need to review her closing submissions, which she will begin to give at 10:30am on Tuesday morning. The tribunal panel is due to hand down a facts decision in writing on March 2. Freeman is not attending closing submissions as he is helping to deliver the Covid vaccine in his local area.
Posted: January 25, 2021, 7:33 pm
Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin will take a break from cycling after struggling to handle the pressure of the sport and needing time to consider his future.
Posted: January 23, 2021, 6:16 pm
Tom Dumoulin will take a break from cycling as the Dutchman decides what he wants to do in the future, it has been announced. Dumoulin, 30, has left his team's training camp in Alicante, Spain, where he had been preparing for the new season. Speaking earlier this week in the Dutch media, Dumoulin outlined his plans for the year that were to include competing at a number of the one-day spring classics. Dumoulin, however, has performed a dramatic volte face, saying he needed to take time out and that he had been unhappy for sometime. Dumoulin will take unpaid leave from Jumbo-Visma, whom he is contracted to until 2022, while he considers his future. "I took the decision yesterday. And the team supports me in it, and it feels really good," he said in a team statement. "It is really as if a backpack of a hundred kilos has slipped off my shoulders. I immediately woke up happy. "It feels so good that I finally took the decision to take some time for myself. That says enough. I have been feeling for quite a while that it is very difficult for me to know how to find my way as Tom Dumoulin the cyclist. "With the pressure that comes with it, with the expectations of different parties. I just want to do very well for very many people. I want the team to be happy with me. I want the sponsors to be happy. I want my wife and my family to be happy. And so I want to do well for everyone, but because of that I have forgotten myself a bit in the past year. What do I want? Do I still want to be a rider. And how?" In 2017 Dumoulin became the first Dutchman to win the Giro d'Italia before later that year adding the rainbow bands to his growing collection of jerseys after winning the world time trial championships in Bergen, Norway. A runners-up spot at the 2018 Tour de France was followed by a disappointing season in 2019 after he was forced to abandon the Giro having sustained a knee injury. Following a transfer to Dutch squad Jumbo-Visma in 2020, Dumoulin showed signs of improvement and played a key role in his team's Tour de France challenge spearheaded by Primoz Roglic, who finished runner-up.
Posted: January 23, 2021, 3:13 pm
Former Giro d'Italia champion Tom Dumoulin is taking a break from cycling in order to ponder his future as a professional rider, his Jumbo-Visma team said on Saturday. Dumoulin, 30, won the Giro in 2017, finished second overall in the 2018 Tour de France, and has claimed stage victories on all three grand tours. "I have been feeling for quite a while that it is very difficult for me to know how to find my way as Tom Dumoulin the cyclist," said Dumoulin.
Posted: January 23, 2021, 1:55 pm
"Postponement is a difficult decision, but it has become inevitable, given the evolution of the pandemic situation in Portugal," a statement said. Daily coronavirus cases in Portugal rose 40% on Wednesday from the previous day to a record 14,647, with the national health system (SNS) on the verge of collapse and the government pondering tougher lockdown measures to tackle the surge. The Algarve Tour, which had attracted 14 WorldTour teams, is the latest race to be postponed as the professional cycling calendar faces disruption.
Posted: January 21, 2021, 1:13 pm
Frenchman Thibaut Pinot won't compete at the Tour de France this year, skipping his home race to focus on the Giro d'Italia.
Posted: January 19, 2021, 7:06 pm
Frenchman Thibaut Pinot won't compete at the Tour de France this year, skipping his home race to focus on the Giro d'Italia. Pinot, a talented rider with flair and strong climbing abilities, has enjoyed mixed fortunes at cycling's biggest event. Last year, he went into the race with the goal of ending a 35-year drought for France but crashed in the opening stage and finished 29th in the general classification.
Posted: January 19, 2021, 2:14 pm
Chris Froome says he was riding with a â€œ20 per cent deficitâ€� in one of his quadriceps muscles last season without realising it. He also says he was in discomfort at the Vuelta a EspaÃ±a in the autumn due to a metal screw above a knee which was piercing the bone. The seven-time grand tour winner, who has moved to Israel Start-Up Nation after a decade with Ineos, said the discovery that his body was still â€œimbalancedâ€� following his career-threatening crash in 2019 gave him hope that he could make it back to the top level of cycling. Froomeâ€™s stated aim is to win a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title. â€œI think the biggest learning towards the end of last year was actually going and doing some isokinetic testing once I got through the season,â€� Froome said on a video call from California, where he is training. â€œFiguring out that I was still sitting with about a 20 per cent deficit in quad strength on the right hand side. That was probably the biggest revelation; that the rehab process wasnâ€™t actually 100 per cent completed, and that I still had work to do. â€œThatâ€™s obviously driven a lot of my planning and thinking into this winter period.â€� Froome, who was a long way off the pace of the leaders in Spain, has been doing rehab at the Red Bull High Performance Centre in Santa Monica. â€œTwo-hour sessions, three or four times a week,â€� he said. â€œFocusing on really building muscle mass and strength. Weâ€™re trying to regain muscle mass on the leg that was injured. And I feel thatâ€™s going really well. I feel as if the delta has certainly been narrowed quite substantially since the end of last season.â€� Froome added that the removal of two metal screws from just above his kneecap after the Vuelta was also significant. â€œI could feel something sort of in the belly of my quad,â€� he said. â€œA pain quite deep in my quad that didnâ€™t make sense. I went to have some scans done straight after the Vuelta and we found that one of the screws was actually piercing through the bone and potentially causing a bit of a grating sensation on the muscle as I was cycling.â€� Froome is working with a new coach, Canadian physiologist Paulo Saldanha, after many years with the Australian Tim Kerrison. He said he was still on friendly terms with his former team-mates at Ineos but had made a clean break coaching-wise. â€œThatâ€™s been going really well so far,â€� he said. â€œItâ€™s quite a different sort of technique and training to what Iâ€™m used to. It certainly isnâ€™t copying and pasting what Iâ€™ve done previously. â€œBut I think that thatâ€™s probably quite good for me at this moment, having a bit of different mental stimulation. It feels like something quite fresh and especially joining the team, it feels like a new start.â€� Froome will be 36 in May, the same age as Firmin Lambot when the Belgian set the record for oldest Tour winner in 1922. Froome said he still believed he could win cyclingâ€™s biggest race. â€œNaturally as an athlete youâ€™re constantly questioning yourself,â€� he said. â€œAnd there are no guarantees. But I donâ€™t see any reason why physically I shouldnâ€™t be able to get there. Hopefully once the racing starts, Iâ€™ll have a much clearer idea of where Iâ€™m at and what the build-up to the Tour de France looks like. â€œI see this as the biggest challenge of my career. Not only am I coming back from the injury but also I spent two years away from the Tour de France. Iâ€™m coming back this year, up against a lot of new faces who I havenâ€™t got experience racing against. Guys like [2020 champion Tadej] Pogacar, guys like my former team-mates who I havenâ€™t got experience racing against. â€œSo itâ€™s going to be a whole new experience but something Iâ€™m really, really looking forward to as well. I think weâ€™ve got a fantastic group that Israel Start-Up nation have put together for this season. And itâ€™s exciting to be part of a new young project that wants to get up on to that top tier.â€�
Posted: January 18, 2021, 7:34 pm
Dutch cyclist Wilco Kelderman and two of his teammates on Bora-Hansgrohe have been hospitalized after a car crashed into their training group.
Posted: January 18, 2021, 12:03 am
With some stunning shots of shipwrecks, scenery and sand a wrapup of the Dakar Rally, which concluded Jan. 15 in Saudi Arabia.
Posted: January 16, 2021, 8:00 pm
Ricky Brabec won the final stage of the Dakar Rally but was edged in overall results by Honda teammate Kevin Benavides; Stephane Peterhansel (cars) won his record 14th Dakar.
Posted: January 15, 2021, 2:00 pm
A Munich court on Friday sentenced a German sports doctor to four years and 10 months in prison for masterminding an international network helping athletes with blood doping for years. The defendant, identified only as Mark S, was found guilty on two dozen charges linked to helping at least 23 athletes from eight countries gain an unfair advantage via performance-enhancing blood transfusions. He was the first active physician in Germany to receive a significant jail sentence for doping.
Posted: January 15, 2021, 11:28 am
Suffering the effects of an accident two days earlier, Joan Barreda missed a refueling point and ended his rally in a hospital undergoing observation.
Posted: January 14, 2021, 4:45 pm
'Iâ€™m a realist': Mark Cavendish insists he is not living in a fairytale land on his return toÂ Deceuninck-Quick Step
Mark Cavendish says he is not expecting to win multiple Tour de France stages this year after rejoining Belgian super team Deceuninck-Quick Step, describing himself as a â€œrealistâ€� rather than one living in a â€œfairytale landâ€�. Analysis: How and why Deceuninck-Quick Step became world's No 1 team However, the 30-time Tour de France stage winner â€” who rode for the Belgian team from 2013 until 2015, a period he describes as the happiest of his career â€” said he felt he was still a top rider and could "add somethingâ€� to the team. Speaking at a virtual pre-season team presentation in Altea on the Costa Blanca, Cavendish said he was not yet sure of his race schedule, but was realistic regarding his role given the teamâ€™s star-studded line-up, which includes Irish sprinter Sam Bennett plus Colombian Ã�lvaro Hodeg and Fabio Jakobsen. â€œIâ€™m a realist,â€� he said. â€œIâ€™m not looking to hang on to something or try to finish my career as I want to in a fairytale way. I just know Iâ€™m still good. "If I thought I wanted to go and win six stages at the Tour de France, Iâ€™m in fairytale land and it makes it even less likely if you come to the strongest team in the world who have dominated. "But even if Iâ€™m not winning, I think I can still add something to this team. Last time I added to them and they added something to me. So why not join them if itâ€™s my last year or if Iâ€™ve got 10 more years in me? "Ultimately, I was at my happiest when I was here and the opportunity to come back and race for Deceuninck-Quick Step is a dream â€” if I do one month more or 10 years more.â€� Cavendish added that he was just happy still to be riding professionally, with the world in such an uncertain state. "Like many riders, I just like to race. Before that, I hope the world gets back to some kind of normality and that people stay safe. I know the vaccine is coming now and being distributed, so we can get back to normal," he said. "I feel the same as the Belgian fans: I live and breathe it [cycling], so I just feel at home at Deceuninck-Quick Step. "The best part of my career was at this team. I tried something else but in hindsight, I wish Iâ€™d stayed here my whole career. I have an incredible rapport with the team and staff and sponsors, especially with Specialized. I helped develop the Venge. It was a bike made for me and I proved it was the best bike for me to win on. "Cycling has been my life for as long as I can remember and always will be. We donâ€™t know how long that is on the bike or off the bike but for now I just want to keep enjoying racing and thankfully in a Deceuninck jersey this year."
Posted: January 13, 2021, 6:34 pm
Ricky Brabec moved a step closer to defending his Dakar Rally championship, winning Stage 10 while former overall leader Nacho Cornejo crashed out.
Posted: January 13, 2021, 2:00 pm
Kevin Benavides moved into the lead of the Dakar Rally after overnight leader Jose Cornejo retired from the race following a crash on Wednesday's Stage 10.
Posted: January 13, 2021, 11:05 am
An Austrian cyclist who won a stage at the Spanish Vuelta was found guilty of fraud on Tuesday in connection with a doping scheme. The Austria Press Agency reported Stefan Denifl received a two-year sentence with 16 months of that time suspended after being accused of doping from 2014 to 2018. Denifl admitted being involved in a blood doping ring allegedly run from neighboring Germany, but denied he earned money fraudulently by doping, APA reported.
Posted: January 12, 2021, 5:04 pm
Toby Price began the day in second and was making up ground on the leader when he crashed 150 kilometers into the stage.
Posted: January 12, 2021, 4:16 pm
Ricky Brabec became the first rider in the 2021 Dakar Rally to finish on the podium after winning a stage, placing third in Stage 8 of 12.
Posted: January 11, 2021, 1:30 pm
Chris Froome wantsÂ â€˜to get back to top levelâ€™ after leaving Team Ineos for Israel Start-Up Nation
Chris Froome says it feels â€œrejuvenatingâ€� to have joined a new team after 11 years with Team Sky/Ineos, adding that he feels â€œreally optimisticâ€� about returning to winning ways at Israel Start-Up Nation. The seven-time grand tour winner is training in California, trying to improve his form and fitness 18 months after his career-threatening accident at the Criterium du Dauphine. Froome said the benefit of training in the States, apart from the warm weather, was the proximity to Red Bullâ€™s High Performance Centre in Santa Monica. â€œIâ€™ve been focusing a lot this winter on really addressing some of those imbalances and weaknesses Iâ€™ve had from the injury,â€� he said. â€œIâ€™m feeling really optimistic about the upcoming season.â€� The injuries sustained in that crash in France saw Froome struggle for form in 2020, returning from the first coronavirus lockdown a long way off the pace and eventually missing out on selection altogether for Team Ineosâ€™ Tour de France squad. He returned for the Vuelta a Espana where again he was a long way short of his best, albeit he grew stronger as the race wore on. â€œMy goals havenâ€™t changed,â€� he told his teamâ€™s website. â€œI want to get back to that top level, I want to be fighting for victories at the Tour de France and other grand tours.â€� Froome, 35, added that the change in scenery had given him new impetus. â€œIâ€™m 35,â€� he said. â€œIâ€™m coming back from a big injury, year after year with the same team. â€œIâ€™ve been â€“itâ€™s almost been copying and pasting every year, year on year, and changing teams at this point in my career is going to give me so much more, I guess, mental stimulation and motivation. â€œItâ€™s a whole new change. Itâ€™s a new project, a new chapter and it does feel quite rejuvenating for me.â€�
Posted: January 10, 2021, 9:57 pm
Ricky Brabec knows that opening the course has been detrimental to other riders this year, but he will have to lead the way Monday after winning Sunday.
Posted: January 10, 2021, 5:03 pm
Reports have said athletes may have to quarantine ahead of the Tokyo Games, and with the Tour finishing less than a week before the scheduled road race, cyclists could face a tough choice. Sagan has won a record seven green jersey for the points classification on the Tour de France.
Posted: January 10, 2021, 2:32 pm
After a breakout season in 2020, Swiss cyclist Marc Hirschi has joined Tour de France winner Tadej PogaÄ�ar at UAE Team Emirates.
Posted: January 9, 2021, 8:44 pm
Riders and staff of Tour de France champion Tadej PogaÄ�ar's cycling team have received a COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the 2021 season.
Posted: January 8, 2021, 6:42 pm
"The riders and staff of the Tour de France 2020 winning team UAE Team Emirates have taken the UAE Ministry of Health & Prevention approved COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinopharm CNBG," UAE Emirates said in a statement. "A total of 27 riders, including the Tour de France 2020 winner Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogacar, plus 32 staff have now received the vaccine."
Posted: January 8, 2021, 4:02 pm
Two-time Dakar Rally winner Toby Price moved back into the overall bikes lead in Stage 6 while Stephane Peterhansel retained the lead in cars.
Posted: January 8, 2021, 3:00 pm
Skyler Howes remains the top American while a gamble by Ricky Brabec leaves him 14th in the overall at the conclusion of Stage 5.
Posted: January 7, 2021, 4:23 pm
Honda rider Kevin Benavides became the sixth different outright leader of the motorcycle category in the 2021 Dakar Rally after grabbing his first stage win of the Saudi Arabian event.
Posted: January 7, 2021, 11:06 am
Xavier de Soultrait became the fourth rider in four stages to lead the Dakar Rally. In cars, Nasser Al-Attiyah won his third consecutive stage.
Posted: January 6, 2021, 2:30 pm
Skyler Howes, just 'a dude from Utah riding a dirt bike in Saudi Arabia,' jumped into the overall lead in motorcycles at the end of Stage 3.
Posted: January 5, 2021, 5:26 pm
Yamaha's factory Dakar Rally team has confirmed that contaminated fuel was the cause for Andrew Short's retirement on Monday's second stage of the 2021 edition.
Posted: January 5, 2021, 8:11 am
Defending bike winner Ricky Brabec jumped to second with a second place in Stage 2 of the Dakar Rally, and Andrew Short withdrew because of a mechanical problem.
Posted: January 4, 2021, 3:00 pm
Cycling health check for 2021: Which stars are waning, who is on the rise and what is the sport's looming crisis?
Which stars are waning? Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish are both 35 and both raging against the dying of the light, which makes their respective stories compelling. Froome is adamant he can still be one of the best stage racers in the world despite his life-threatening crash last year. The seven-time grand tour winner, who has left Team Ineos and is moving to Israel Start-Up Nation for 2021, looked a shadow of his former self post-lockdown. Unable to make Ineosâ€™s squad for the Tour de France, he then suffered at the Vuelta a EspaÃ±a, although he rallied towards the end. His form will be one of the big stories of the year. Cavendish, meanwhile, looked as if he might be forced into retirement with McLaren pulling out of cycling. But he earned himself a contract at Deceuninck-QuickStep, one of the biggest teams in the world, and again it will be fascinating to see whether he can return to winning ways. Even one last victory, after all he has been through, would be cause for massive celebration. Geraint Thomas, 34, will also hope to prove he still has what it takes with cyclingâ€™s winners getting ever younger. On the team front, Ineos are trying to reclaim top dog status from Jumbo-Visma. Which stars are rising? Sir Dave Brailsford spoke of a â€œchanging of the guardâ€� after this yearâ€™s Tour de France, with the likes of Froome and Thomas nearing the end of their careers and a new generation of talent coming through. He meant within his own team but it applies more generally. Cyclingâ€™s winners do seem to be getting younger and younger (certainly on the menâ€™s side - the womenâ€™s side is still dominated by riders in their 30s such as Annemiek van Vleuten, Anna van der Breggen and Lizzie Deignan). After Egan Bernalâ€™s tour de force last year at the age of 22, the Tour this year was won by a 21 year-old: Tadej Pogacar. 2020 also featured the rise of newcomers such as Switzerlandâ€™s Marc Hirschi and Belgiumâ€™s Remco Evenepoel, while three weeks ago 21 year-old Yorkshireman Tom Pidcock said he felt he â€œcame of ageâ€� after beating three-times world cyclocross champion Mathieu van der Poel in a big race in Belgium. Pidcock, clearly one of the hottest young talents around, has signed for Ineos, where young Tao Geoghegan Hart just won the Giro dâ€™Italia. Inside the Wolfpack: How and why Deceuninck-Quick Step became the world's No 1 team Also on Ineos's books is the exciting Ethan Hayter, who is going for three gold medals in Tokyo on the track. It will be fascinating to see how they all kick on. Brailsford has re-signed Rod Ellingworth to oversee the development of the teamâ€™s young talent. Beyond Covid, what is the sportâ€™s looming crisis? Track cycling is in an interesting (read: uncertain) moment. It was meant to be enjoying a quiet winter after the Tokyo Olympics ahead a complete overhaul of its format in 2021-22, with the current World Cup series due to be rebranded as the Nationsâ€™ Cup and becoming a summer rather than a winter thing, and a jazzy new World League scheduled to run over the winter. With the Olympics now taking place this summer, the complete lack of competition at the moment feels glaring. Who knows whether the new format will be a success or not? Either way, we have a long time to wait to find out, until after the 2021 World Track Championships, which have been moved to October from their usual place in February/March (again, a decision made before the Olympics were postponed) and are taking place in the hugely controversial venue of Ashgabat in Turkmenistan. The decision to award the event to a place with such a dubious human rights record has already attracted a fair bit of scrutiny. UCI president David Lappartientâ€™s links to the country and its ruler Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov could well become a major headache for the sport in 2021. Do not be surprised if â€¦ Froome comes back to win again It has been a long road back for Froome since his crash at the Criterium du DauphinÃ© in June 2019, when he fractured his ribs, his C7 vertebra (neck) and damaged his lung, as well as breaking his femur, hip and elbow. After training like a demon through lockdown, he was adamant he could make Ineosâ€™s Tour squad this summer and go for a fifth Tour win. In the end, that proved beyond him. Froome struggled in the warm-up races, decided to refocus on the Vuelta and ended up bombing in that. But you cannot write him off.
Posted: January 3, 2021, 11:43 am
Pertinent information on TV, schedules, stages and rules for the 2021 Dakar Rally, which will be broadcast nightly on NBCSN.
Posted: January 1, 2021, 11:00 am
In the sixth part of a 12-part series, we relive the most memorable images of the sporting year with the people who were there. Scroll to the bottom for the full collection. Tao Geoghegan Hart began this yearâ€™s Giro dâ€™Italia as a domestique for Geraint Thomas, not even among the top 20 or 30 favourites for the race. Thomasâ€™s crash on stage three meant the Londoner assumed Ineos leadership and he rose steadily from then on, winning two stages in what was an enthralling final week to claim the pink jersey for the first time on the very last stage, a time trial in Milan. He admits the post-race victory ceremony in an empty Piazza del Duomo on Sunday, Oct 25 was both memorable and strange. â€œI remember lifting that trophy â€“ it was surprisingly heavy and springy â€“ and smashing it against the podium roof," he says. "The empty square down below was definitely not how I had ever pictured celebrating winning a big race. How I won the Giro d'Italia, by Tao Geoghegan Hart â€œIn 2010, aged 15, I raced in mainland Europe for the first time, in the Flanders region of Belgium. The racing was intense, another level from that of the UK, but the main attraction was the crowds. Even for a â€˜nieuwelingenâ€™ [youth] race, there felt like a crazy amount of people out on the road supporting us. Yet here I was, the biggest victory of my somewhat fledgling career, stood in front of the spectacular Gothic Duomo di Milano, with not even a man and his dog to cheer me. â€œLooking at this photo makes me realise how privileged we were. Not only to have raced in the first place, especially given Italy had suffered so badly in the Covid pandemic, but to have done so with the fans along the road. The tifosi are incredible, outside and in mostly incredible weather for all of the 2,000 miles and 85 hours of racing. â€œFor me, this is cycling; the fans, the scenery, the great outdoors; mountains, coastlines and everything in between. A sport that covers the length and breadth of a country in one race. A sport that somehow managed to provide distraction from all the complication of this virus- stricken year, in a moment it was perhaps needed most, the winter looming, second waves, lockdown two and all. â€œObviously I had none of my family there for the celebration, but I was lucky my team-mates and all the Ineos staff managed to get into the Duomo square at that moment. They were all screaming and cheering and they were the only people that mattered. â€œI remember smiling when I had the trophy, but obviously I had my mask on. I thought, â€˜Hang on, I might well be seeing these photos for the rest of my lifeâ€™. So I decided to quickly take off my mask and share my smile with all the people who had made this happen. â€œWe will remember 2020 in many ways, positively and negatively, and this moment is just one of many incredible memories as I look to 2021 with hope, excitement and anticipation.â€� Part one: Romain Grosjean's Bahrain GP horror crash Part two: England and West Indies take a knee Part three: Crowds descend on Cheltenham hours before lockdown Part four: Tyson Fury enters as the Gypsy King Part five: Liverpool's lockdown-flouting title celebrations
Posted: December 21, 2020, 9:38 am
Ethan Hayter interview: British cyclist on breaking his back, a first pro win and no Olympics in a tough 2020
To say the year did not to plan for our Olympic athletes would be rather understating things. But when Ethan Hayter says it he really means it. On the day he was meant to be winning team pursuit gold in Tokyo this summer â€“Wednesday August 5 â€“ the 22-year-old Londoner broke his back. â€œYep, crashed at Milano-Torino, my second race for Team Ineos,â€� says Hayter. â€œBroke it in three places. It kind of sums up a pretty average year for me to be honest.â€� Hayter is not kidding. A year that began with huge disappointment on the track - Great Britain failing to qualify for a medal ride in the team pursuit at the track world championships in Berlin, a discipline they have dominated at the Olympics since Beijing 2008 - seemed at times to be cursed. After Tokyo 2020 was officially postponed, Hayter initially tried to distract himself with sunny lockdown training rides with his flat mates (and fellow cyclists) Fred Wright and Matt Walls, only to develop tendonitis. â€œI got a niggle and tried to train through it,â€� he explains. â€œObviously I couldnâ€™t get a massage or anything [due to lockdown]. And I couldn't get a scan as it was emergency appointments only.â€� Hayter began to struggle mentally. â€œIt was definitely the worst point of the year,â€� he says, which is quite an admission from someone who, as mentioned, broke his back a few months later. â€œI just played Playstation and watched TV. You start falling into a bad routine, especially as an athlete. There was literally nothing to do and nothing to plan for. â€œThere was a day when I was just getting back into training and I got five minutes up the road and my knee got sore and I had to turn around. I went and sat in a local park and I thought â€˜What the ---- am I doing?â€™ I wasnâ€™t in floods of tears but it was a low point. I would take a broken bone over that any day.â€� The hits kept on coming. When the road season finally started up again post-lockdown, Hayter broke his back. That meant six weeks on the sidelines. Then, just when things were looking up, with Hayter grabbing his first professional win at the Giro dell'Appennino, experiencing his first road world championships and enjoying a few of the Ardennes Classics, he went and broke his fibula and ruptured knee ligaments in another crash at his final race of the season, Ghent-Wevelgem. â€œThat was another seven weeks of rehab,â€� he says, by now laughing. â€œI only got back to full training earlier this month.â€�
Posted: December 21, 2020, 7:57 am
Colombian track star Fabian Puerta, the 2018 keirin world champion and a medal favorite at next year's Tokyo Olympics, was given a four-year suspension Wednesday after testing positive for the banned substance boldenone. Puerta claimed it may have come from contaminated meat, but an anti-doping tribunal from the UCI, cycling's world governing body, ultimately found him guilty of doping. The 29-year-old Puerta for years has been one of the best sprinters in Latin America, where there is a small but growing number of track cyclists.
Posted: December 16, 2020, 8:12 pm
A season which looked at one stage as if it might collapse completely, along with half of its teams, eventually managed to cram in some half decent action. Not for the first time, it was Yorkshirewoman Lizzie Deignan who led the way in terms of British success on the road. The 31-year-old, who returned to the sport last year following the birth of daughter Orla in 2018, clearly managed to get lockdown just right. Deignan was on fire once racing resumed in August. She ended up winning three of the seasonâ€™s 11 Women's WorldTour events â€“ the GP de Plouay, La Course by Le Tour de France and LiÃ¨ge-Bastogne-LiÃ¨ge â€“ which was enough to see her win the overall title. Her team Trek-Segafredo took the team category. While the 2015 world champion was unable to repeat her success from Richmond five years ago, finishing sixth in Imola as Anna van der Breggen claimed the rainbow jersey, Deignanâ€™s form bodes very well ahead of next summerâ€™s Tokyo Olympics where she will attempt to go one better than the silver she managed at London 2012. If Deignan was the standout in terms of wins, Lizzy Banks was once again most improved. The 30-year-old, who only began racing in 2015, quitting medical school to chase her dream, is a steadily growing force in the womenâ€™s peloton, as she proved again when she won stage four of the Giro Rosa in September, beating breakaway companion Eugenia Bujak (Ale BTC Ljubljana) in Tivoli, the pair of them having ridden the last 90km on their own. Banks has also become a recognised and much-respected voice in the media, campaigning for greater equality from a variety of platforms. It was no surprise to see her snapped up by Ceratizit-WNT for 2021 after her team Ã‰quipe Paule Ka folded suddenly in October. On the track, Elinor Barker was the undoubtedly outstanding British rider of the year. Her points race gold medal at the Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin in March saw her bail the British team out with their only gold medal of the week for the second straight year. After a long hiatus, Barker returned to the boards in November, coming home from the European Track Championships in Bulgaria with three medals, including two golds in the elimination race and the team pursuit, plus a bronze in the Madison. Storey continues to be a force of nature Dame Sarah Storey, the 43-year-old and mother of two, picked up three gold medals at the world para-cycling track championships in March, bringing her tally of world titles up to an extraordinary total of 38. Needless to say Britainâ€™s most successful female Paralympian (14 gold medals) is already greedily eyeing Tokyo next summer. It is off the bike, however, where Storey is arguably having the biggest impact these days. As active travel commissioner for the Sheffield City region, she has become one of the most important voices in Britain in terms of changing the way in which we travel. Storeyâ€™s efforts helped persuade the Government to pledge Â£2 billion to create, in the words of Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, â€œa new era of cycling and walkingâ€� in the UK. Storey is rapidly acquiring national treasure status.
Posted: December 16, 2020, 4:02 pm
FrancoÂ MorbidelliÂ says he doesnâ€™t believe keeping his current Yamaha MotoGP bike for 2021 will be an advantage despite the problems of the 2020 M1.
Posted: December 16, 2020, 11:57 am
Cycling managed to deliver an exhilarating, action-packed season that saw the younger generation, led by Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar, take power despite the season being shortened by the new coronavirus pandemic. There was a 4-1/2 month hiatus due to restrictions aimed at containing COVID-19 but four of the five 'Monument' classics and 18 of 33 World Tour races plus all three grands tours were held. Paris-Roubaix, the 'Queen of the Classics', was the only major one-day race to be cancelled along with its maiden women's event as the second wave of the pandemic in Europe also threatened the rescheduled Giro d'Italia.
Posted: December 16, 2020, 2:13 am
"Even with a normal ultrasound appearance, two new tests (Holter ECG 24 hours, which highlighted further arrhythmias, and a cardiac MRI scan) have drawn a conclusion of myocarditis." The 31-year-old Ulissi, who has eight Giro d'Italia stage wins to his name, will therefore have to take time out from racing for several months.
Posted: December 14, 2020, 8:21 pm
Tom Pidcock says heÂ â€˜came of ageâ€™ after beatingÂ Mathieu van der Poel to win the Superprestige Gavere
Tom Pidcock said he felt he â€œcame of ageâ€� after beating three-time world cyclocross champion Mathieu van der Poel to win the Telenet Superprestige Gavere. Pidcock, 21, made a fast start in Belgium, riding away from the field on the first of eight laps before Van der Poel brought him back. Pidcock and Van der Poel were then joined by the Belgian rider Toon Aerts and the trio proceeded to mark each other in the middle stages of the race before Aerts was dropped by a Pidcock acceleration. That made it a shoot-out between the British champion and the world champion, with Pidcock riding away from Van der Poel on lap six and holding on to win by 25 seconds. â€œTo be honest, I donâ€™t know what to say, today I think I came of age,â€� Pidcock said. â€œI think the past years Iâ€™ve been bad at the starts, so Iâ€™ve been working on them and trying to improve and I know if I can do a good first lap and then not already be in the red after one lap then I can have a lot more at the finish. Iâ€™ve been training hard and now it pays off. â€œEach race Iâ€™ve been getting stronger and after my last race the important thing I told myself was no one will remember that if you get a result here, so hopefully people can forget about that. â€œThe first part in the mud, I was not so good, but in the second part where it was steep I was stronger.â€� Pidcock, who has signed for Team Ineos next season but will continue to race across a variety of disciplines including cyclocross and mountain bike, is regarded as one of the most exciting young talents in world cycling. The Yorkshireman won the Under-23 or â€œBabyâ€� Giro dâ€™Italia this year before leading the British team at the world championships at Imola where he stayed with the leading group until the final 30 kilometres. â€œI feel like Iâ€™m ready for the WorldTour but also excited to keep exploring disciplines with the support of this team,â€� he said at the time of his Ineos announcement in late September. â€œI just want to keep racing, learning and growing as a bike rider, and having the opportunity to do that in this team is amazing.â€� Pidcock will head to the next round of the World Cup in Namur next Sunday full of confidence. â€œIâ€™ve been training specifically for the climbing races,â€� he said. â€œIâ€™ve trained at Beringen this week and will go next week as well.â€�
Posted: December 13, 2020, 8:55 pm
History was made on Wednesday when Ashleigh Moolman Pasio took the first rainbow jersey awarded to a rider competing in the virtual world after the South African won the women's UCI Cycling Esports World Championships. Moolman Pasio, who will ride for WorldTour team SD Worx next year in the real world following her transfer from CCC-Liv, completed the 50.035-kilometre course in the virtual world of Watopia in one hour 13mins 27sec. Moolman Pasio beat Sarah Gigante (Australia) by 0.064secs and Cecilia Hansen (Sweden) by 1.24sec after timing a late surge on the uphill finish to perfection. â€œIt was really awesome. I wasn't a fan of virtual training before the lockdown but to now win the virtual world championships, I'm super proud,â€� said Moolman Pasio who turned 35 on Wednesday. â€œIt's now time to celebrate,â€� she told Eurosport before opening a bottle of champagne. Moolman Pasio will be awarded a physical version of the rainbow jersey that all UCI world champions are given, and a digital version that she and her online avatar will wear during UCI-sanctioned Esport races in 2021. Moolman Pasio added: â€œI know that virtual cycling, and Esports, is something quite new but I think it will become a big thing. I'm proud to be the first-ever Esports world champion. Of course, there will be some that say itâ€™s not the same and itâ€™s not as impressive, but in time more and more will convert, and they will enjoy it. I think the younger generation is really behind Esport, so thereâ€™s plenty more to come in the Esports world, and Iâ€™m very proud to be part of that movement.â€� Shortly afterwards a former rower, Jason Osborne of Germany, won the men's race ahead of Danish duo Anders Foldager and Nicklas Pedersen. â€œIt was a completely new experience for me,â€� the 2018 rowing world champion said. â€œI have raced on Zwift before but this is much bigger. The field was very tough and I just tried to keep calm.â€� Both races were contested over the same course and with equal prize money, Moolman Pasio and Osborne each pocketing â‚¬8,000.
Posted: December 9, 2020, 4:29 pm
Tom Pidcock says modern technology in cycling must not be dismissed, and that those riders who ignore it will be left behind. Speaking before the inaugural UCI Cycling Esports World Championships, in which he will compete as part of the Great Britain team, Pidcock told Telegraph Sport he is no longer sceptical about online racing. â€œEveryone was a bit sceptical at first,â€� he says. â€œBut things are developing all the time. Things like E-bikes [electric bikes] and E-racing are the new things in the sport. The quicker you accept this and come to terms with change, then the quicker you're on the train.â€� Zwift power: How amateur cyclists can log on and join the pros Racing platforms like Zwift flourished in lockdown as both amateur and professional cyclists logged on in their thousands. Pidcock says he was able to use the break to â€˜resetâ€™ during the spring before going on to enjoy his best year yet on the road. Following the disappointment of missing out on winning the Under-23 world title on his home roads of Yorkshire in 2019 â€” an experience he says â€œmakes me punch my pillow at nightâ€� â€” Pidcock won three stages at the Giro Ciclistico d'Italia, or the Baby Giro as it is more commonly known, en route to claiming the overall title and the mountains jersey. Shortly after becoming the first Briton to win the Baby Giro, it was announced that Pidcock had signed a three-year deal with Ineos before he later experienced â€œa dress rehearsal for the futureâ€� as he led the Great Britain team at the rescheduled world championships in Imola, Italy. In his typically understated way, Pidcock who also finished runner-up to Mathieu van der Poel at the cyclo-cross world championships in February, described his year as being â€˜okayâ€™. â€œI will remember the summer I had at home in Yorkshire with the nice weather for the rest of my life,â€� he says. â€œInstead of being away racing, I was able to spend time at home. I'm quite lucky in my situation in that all I needed to do was ride my bike, which I was still allowed to do.â€�
Posted: December 7, 2020, 5:46 pm
Mark Cavendish, one of Britain's most successful cyclists, has agreed to return to the Deceuninck-Quick-Step team for 2021.
Posted: December 5, 2020, 11:32 pm
Mark Cavendish has agreed a deal to return to former team Deceuninck-Quick Step in 2021. The 35-year-old had looked to be in a very tight spot, without a contract for next year and with the Bahrain-McLaren project having imploded in the last 10 months. Cavendish admitted in a tearful interview at the finish to Ghent-Wevelgem in October that he might have raced for the final time, what with Covid-19 cases rising across Europe and the season in danger of being called off. But he was always open that he wanted to continue if he could. An extension to his contract with Bahrain-McLaren was a possibility. But finances were an issue, with McLaren leaving the sport to focus on F1 having been hit hard by the pandemic. And the shock departure of Cavendishâ€™s long-time mentor Rod Ellingworth earlier this week did not bode well. Cavendish, though, had been in discussions with Quick-Step principal Patrick Lefevere for a number of weeks and has now agreed what looks on the surface to be a fantastic deal for him at one of the biggest teams in the world. Inside the Wolfpack: How and why Deceuninck-Quick Step became the world's No 1 team The 30-time Tour de France stage winner spent three seasons at Quick-Step between 2013 and 2015, winning 44 times. If he can get back to winning ways after a barren few seasons in which he has suffered with injuries and illness - his last win came in February 2018 - it would be one of the biggest stories of 2021. â€œI canâ€™t explain how delighted I am to be joining Deceuninck-Quick Step,â€� said Cavendish, who had teased the announcement by posting a picture of a wolfpack on social media, alluding to the teamâ€™s nickname. â€œI have never hidden my affection for my time with the team and to me this genuinely feels like I am coming home. â€œAs well as the incredible group of riders, I canâ€™t wait to start working again with the staff, most of which were here during my first spell and were part of one of the most successful periods of my career, an era that I am immensely proud of. â€œEven with an extremely difficult and disrupted season this year, they have shown how strong and unified they are and I am hoping to add to even more. I canâ€™t wait to be back in the Wolfpack.â€� Cavendish will join an all-star line-up at Deceuninck-Quick Step, home to world champion Julian Alaphilippe, rising star Remco Evenepoel and Irish sprinter Sam Bennett, who won the green jersey at this yearâ€™s Tour. Cavendish is due to meet up with his new team-mates in Altea, Spain, next week. â€œUs and Mark share many beautiful memories and have a history that goes a long way back,â€� said Lefevere in a team press release. â€œWe are happy to have him return to our family, as he is a leader and brings across a wealth of experience that he can share with our young riders, but at the same time we are confident he still has something to give to the team.â€�
Posted: December 5, 2020, 1:53 pm
SHOWS: PARIS, FRANCE (OCTOBER 22, 2014) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. MARK CAVENDISH BEING INTERVIEWED 2. CAVENDISH SITTING WITH OTHER CYCLISTS GHENT, BELGIUM (JANUARY 14, 2015) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 3. CAVENDISH, CYCLING AROUND TRACK 4. CAVENDISH WAVING TO FANS HAREWOOD NEAR LEEDS, UK (JULY 5, 2014) (UK POOL - ACCESS ALL) 5. CAVENDISH MEETING PRINCE WILLIAM 6. CHRIS FROOME (THIRD FROM RIGHT) WITH ALBERTO CONTADOR (YELLOW TOP) 7. CAVENDISH TALKING TO THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE STORY: Briton Mark Cavendish is joining Deceuninck-Quick Step for the 2021 season, the Belgian outfit where the former world champion spent three years said on Saturday (December 5). "Mark Cavendish is returning to Deceuninck-Quick Step after five years... the Manxman has agreed to sport the new kit of the team, which will be revealed in a couple of days, throughout the 2021 season," Deceuninck-Quick Step said in a statement. Cavendish, who has won 30 stages on the Tour de France and is considered one of the best sprinters in the event's history, left the then Etixx-Quick Step team after the 2015 season to join Dimension Data before spending a season at Bahrain-McLaren. The 35-year-old has not won a race since February 2018, when he prevailed in the third stage of the Dubai Tour. "I can't explain how delighted I am to be joining Deceuninck-Quick Step," said Cavendish, who this season had briefly hinted at retirement. "I have never hidden my affection for my time with the team and to me this genuinely feels like I am coming home. "As well as the incredible group of riders, I can't wait to start working again with the staff, most of which were here during my first spell and were part of one of the most successful periods of my career, an era that I am immensely proud of." As well as 30 Tour stage wins, 2011 world champion Cavendish has won 15 stages on the Giro d'Italia and three on the Vuelta. (Production: Andy Ragg)
Posted: December 5, 2020, 11:58 am
Briton Mark Cavendish is joining Deceuninck-Quick Step for the 2021 season, the Belgian outfit where the former world champion spent three years said on Saturday. "Mark Cavendish is returning to Deceuninckâ€“Quick Step after five years... the Manxman has agreed to sport the new kit of the team, which will be revealed in a couple of days, throughout the 2021 season," Deceuninck-Quick Step said in a statement. Cavendish, who has won 30 stages on the Tour de France and is considered one of the best sprinters in the event's history, left the then Etixx-Quick Step team after the 2015 season to join Dimension Data before spending a season at Bahrain-McLaren.
Posted: December 5, 2020, 10:11 am