Wiggins takes control of Tour of Britain

Home favourite Bradley Wiggins took control of the Tour of Britain after dominating the time-trial third stage on Tuesday.

The Team Sky rider clocked 19min 54.2sec around the 16km course in northern England, leaving him 33sec ahead of fellow Briton Ian Stannard in the overall standings.

Bradley Wiggins on his way to winning the 16km ITT at the Tour of Britain. Photo courtesy of Sweetspot Group/Tour of Britain

Bradley Wiggins on his way to winning the 16km ITT at the Tour of Britain. Photo courtesy of Sweetspot Group/Tour of Britain

“Admittedly it’s not been a great season up to now for one reason or another,” said Wiggins, who had a failed bid at the Giro d’Italia, but is now shaping up well for a tilt at the World Championships in Florence later this month.

“But I’ve been training right through July and I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve gone round this course.”

Wiggins, who came into Tuesday’s stage in 12th position, added: “It was nice to do a performance like that after the last two days.

“To win these races… I’m not a great climber so I had to get as much out of that time trial as possible. I had to take every second I could really.”

New Zealander Jack Bauer was third in the time-trial, finishing 42sec short of Wiggins’ mark and behind Stannard.

Overnight leader Gerald Ciolek of MTN Qhubeka fell off the pace, the German clocking 21:45.

Gerald Ciolek in yellow during stage 3 of Tour of Britain. Photo courtesy of SweetSpot Group/The Tour of Britain

Gerald Ciolek in yellow during stage 3 of Tour of Britain. Photo courtesy of SweetSpot Group/The Tour of Britain

Text via AFP

Stage 3 ITT : 16km
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBR) Sky 0:19:54
2 Ian Stannard (GBR) Sky 0:00:36
3 Jack Bauer (NZL) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:42
4 Martin Elmiger (SUI) IAM 0:00:54
5 Alex Dowsett (GBR) Movistar 0:00:56
6 David Lopez (ESP) Sky 0:01:16
7 Alexander Wetterhall (SWE) NetApp-Endura 0:01:20
8 Stefano Pirazzi (ITA) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox 0:01:22
9 Sergio Pardilla (ESP) MTN-Qhubeka 0:01:25
10 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:01:26

General classification
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBR) Sky 11:25:54
2 Ian Stannard (GBR) Sky 0:00:37
3 Martin Elmiger (SUI) IAM 0:00:47
4 Jack Bauer (NZL) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:55
5 Alex Dowsett (GBR) Movistar 0:00:57
6 David Lopez (ESP) Sky 0:01:17
7 Michal Golas (POL) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:01:18
8 Sergio Pardilla (ESP) MTN-Qhubeka
9 Gerald Ciolek (GER) MTN-Qhubeka 0:01:21
10 Alexander Wetterhall (SWE) NetApp-Endura

Pantani’s mother suspects foul play over star’s death

The mother of former Tour de France champion Marco Pantani has called for an inquest into his death to be re-opened because she suspects he was the victim of foul play.

archive pics Giro D'ItaliaItalian star Pantani, the winner of the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia in 1998, officially died of a cocaine overdose at ‘La Rose’ hotel complex in Rimini on February 14, 2004.

But after recently studying court documents, his mother Tonina believes many questions still remain unanswered.

She suggested the death of Pantani, suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career and known later to have cocaine problems, may have been facilitated by figures keen to stop him exposing the extent of drugs use in the peloton.

“I’ve asked for the re-opening of the investigation because I want explanations, I want answers,” she told the Mattino Cinque television programme.

“I want to know how he died. My biggest concern is that he may have been killed. In my opinion, Marco had ruffled someone’s feathers.

“He spoke his mind and talked about doping, that doping was a big problem.”

Earlier this year a damning French parliamentary commission named Pantani among several cycling stars to have used the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin) during the 1998 Tour de France.

It was the cyclist’s last Grand Tour victory and came two months after he won the Giro d’Italia.

Pantani remains the last cyclist to achieve the Tour-Giro double, however, faced with ongoing allegations of drugs use, he went into depression and never really recovered.

His death in 2004 was attributed to acute cocaine poisoning but his mother Tonina says recent documents released from the court contain “false” accusations.

“I’ve seen the court documents and there are things written in there which are just not true,” she added.

She notably claims Pantani may not have been alone in the hours leading up to his death.

“Marco wasn’t alone in the Rimini residence where he was found dead: there could have been other people with him,” she said. “He called the police, complaining of people who were bothering him and an hour later he was found dead.”

Text via AFP

Evans says another Tour win is unlikely

Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) has given up on winning the Tour again. In an interview with French sporting daily, L’Equipe, he said that matching his 2011 victory is “unlikely.”

“I won’t say that it’s impossible [to win again] but it’s very, very difficult and, for me, unlikely,” the 36-year-old Aussie said, according to Cycling News. “Does that surprise you?”

PIC213416321

Evans suffered the last two years. This year, after placing third at the Giro d’Italia, his energy seemed to be zapped. In fact, Evans said the double “cost too much” energy. He explained that his aim is to return to his old, pre-2012 levels for 2014. In a previous interview with Fairfax Media, he said he would focus on the Giro d’Italia, not the Tour.

Read more

Cookson confident of UCI election win

Brian Cookson said that he has the needed support to win the UCI Presidential election comfortably over Pat McQuaid. Enough delegates, according to the Englishman and president of British Cycling, have promised him their votes for the September 27 election.

“I’m confident that I will get a vote that is at least in the high 20s,” Cookson told British newspaper, The Telegraph.

To win, a candidate needs a majority, 22 or more of the 42 votes. On Sunday, the European Cycling Union (UEC) promised its nine votes to Cookson. Oceania last month lent its faith, and three votes, as well.

Read more

Vuelta to continue mountainous trend

The Vuelta a España will continue to include many mountain passes and finishes in 2014. This year’s race, which Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) secured in a close finish over the weekend, included 11 uphill finishes.

“I am not going to lie to anyone, we like the mountaintop finales,” Vuelta boss Javier Guillén told VeloNews. “We like the explosive hilltop finales, and we will continue to add them in the route, including new climbs which we are always searching for.”

Read more

Giro 2014 includes Oropa and Montecampione

The Giro d’Italia organiser will unveil a stage of the 2014 edition today at the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas. A time trial in the Barolo wine region is on the menu for May 22, which, according to Italian media, will set the race up for a weekend mountain run to Oropa and Montecampione.

Oropa, last used in 2007 and made famous by Marco Pantani in 1999, would conclude a three-day run through Italy’s Piedmont region. The climb to Montecampione, a day later on Sunday and a week before the Giro ends, last featured in 1998.

Organiser RCS Sport already announced Belfast will host the race start on May 10 and Trieste will welcome the finish on June 1. Like last year, it is unveiling certain key stages along the way. On Friday, it announced the percorso would take in Monte Zoncolan and sent out an invitation to its Las Vegas party. RCS Sport did not confirm the Barbaresco to Barolo time trial, but with glass of red wine and the words “Taste the new Giro stage” on the invitation, the clues are there. It will announce the rest of the route, including confirmation of Oropa and Montecampione, on October 7 in Milan.

Read more

Bettini’s last worlds?

Paolo Bettini may leave his post as Italian national coach if next week’s World Championships are unsuccessful. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, he had a hard year dealing with contracts and the possibility of Max Sciandri taking over.

Bettini, himself a two-time champion, took over the job in 2010 for the Geelong Worlds after then coach Franco Ballerini died in a rally car race.

Interview with Caleb Ewan

If you’re wondering who will be Australia’s next big thing, look no further than Caleb Ewan. He just came off two stage wins at the Tour l’Avenir and has had a successful first European season with the AIS WorldTour Academy.

Rob Arnold from RIDE interviews Caleb and asks about his chances for the U23 World Championships and his prospects for turning pro. Have a read of this excellent interview:

Read the interview here.

Before Caleb was 18 years old he was outsprinting riders like Robbie McEwan, Leigh Howard and Alan Davis.

Before Caleb was 18 years old he was outsprinting riders like Robbie McEwan, Leigh Howard and Alan Davis.

Cavendish tries to reach 100km/h

Mark Cavendish teamed up with the Jaguar Academy of Sport to test out the Isle of Man TT route, where he tried to reach 100km/h and provided some sprint tips for aspiring riders.

World human powered vehicle speed record upped to 133km/h

A team of Dutch students have set a new world record for the fastest unassisted human powered vehicle, reaching 133.78kmh. The record – also chased by Graeme Obree and his Beastie bike, was taken at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge at Battle Mountain in Nevada, USA.

Read more