Section: Cycling

Cycling: Geraint Thomas wins the Volta ao Algarve for Team Sky

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas has won the five-stage Volta ao Algarve for his fourth career stage-race victory.

The Welshman held a 27-second lead going into the final stage – won by German Andre Greipel – and stayed out of trouble to secure overall victory.

Thomas, who had led the race after winning stage two, said: “I don’t get to win very often so it’s really nice.”

The 28-year-old’s victory came on the same day that Team Sky’s Chris Froome won the Ruta del Sol in Spain.

Thomas’s only other stage-race wins had been in the Bayern-Rundfahrt, which he won in both 2011 and 2014 and the Fleche du Sud in 2006.

He added: “You look at the previous winners and there are a lot of strong guys there. There’s a lot of strong teams here too.

“We’ve got a big month ahead with Paris-Nice and the classics. The form seems to be building nicely so I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.”

Overall standings:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB/Team Sky), 19hr 46min 13sec
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol/Etixx-QuickStep) +27sec
3. Tiago Machado (Por/Katusha) + 1min 11sec
4. Richie Porte (Aus/Team Sky) + 1min 14sec
5. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa/Astana) + 1min 18sec

Read more at BBC Sport

Track World Championships: GB women lose team pursuit title

Great Britain’s women were beaten as Australia broke the world record by nearly three seconds in the Track World Championships team pursuit final.

They denied Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell a fifth straight gold and inflicted on them their first defeat in four years.

Australia won gold with a blistering time of four minutes 13.683 seconds.

The GB men’s pursuit team also had to settle for silver after a desperately close battle with New Zealand.

Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Andy Tennant and Owain Doull clocked an impressive time of 3:54.687 in a final in which they had opened up a lead of more than half a second.

However, a final-lap surge from New Zealand saw them edge back ahead to take the gold in a time of 3:54.088 and deny Britain a first gold in the event since 2012.

But the performance of the evening came from Australia’s women Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Amy Cure and Melissa Hoskins as they demolished Britain’s previous world record of 4:16.552.

“I’m a bit gutted, I guess,” said Trott, who had previously always taken gold in the event since her Track World Championships debut in 2011.

“It’s the first one we’ve lost so a bit of a shock but they rode a 4:13 which is unbelievable. We’ve never gone anywhere near doing that so hats off to them.

“It’s disappointing. We are used to being on the top step so it was a different feeling. But we rode a PB, quicker than we’ve ever been before at sea level, and for us that is a massive step. It also shows we have work to do.”

Earlier Britain’s Jason Kenny, the 2013 world champion, failed to qualify in the men’s keirin.

“I was just a spectator and never really got involved in the race,” he said.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cycling: Geraint Thomas wins Tour of the Algarve second stage

Britain’s Geraint Thomas broke away to victory in stage two of the Tour of the Algarve and took the overall race leader’s yellow jersey.

Team Sky rider Thomas won the 197km run from Lagoa to Monchique by 19 seconds from Estonia’s Rein Taaramae, with Valerio Agnoli of Italy third.

The Welshman has a 30-second lead overall, with Taaramae second and Czech Zdenek Stybar third at 33 seconds.

Friday’s third stage is a 19km individual time-trial.

The cyclists will ride from Vila do Bispo to Cabo de Sao Vicente in Sagres.

Stage Two

1. Geraint Thomas (GBR) 4hr 59min 13sec
2. Rein Taaramae (EST) at 19sec
3. Valerio Agnoli (ITA) 23.


1. Geraint Thomas (GBR) 9hr 12min 56sec
2. Rein Taaramae (EST) at 30sec
3. Zdenek Stybar (CZE) 33sec

Read more at BBC Sport

Cycling: Lance Armstrong given $10m bill after losing lawsuit

Lance Armstrong must pay $10m (£6.51m) in damages after losing a lawsuit with insurance firm SCA Promotions Inc.

In 2006 Armstrong, 43, received $7.5m (£4.88m) in payments from SCA relating to his seven Tour de France victories.

Armstrong admitted to doping and was found to have lied in proceedings.

SCA said: “The award, which must be paid directly to SCA, is believed to be the largest award of sanctions assessed against an individual in American judicial history.”

SCA initially refused to pay out money covering the bonus for Armstrong’s sixth Tour de France win in 2004.

Armstrong took the company to an arbitration hearing in Dallas in 2005 and won, because the contract between the parties stipulated the insurance money would be payable if Armstrong was the “official winner” of the Tour.

He was awarded $2.5m (£1.6m) in damages and costs.

“SCA’s dispute with Armstrong is not over,” said the firm.

“It has a currently pending lawsuit in Dallas state district court where it is pursuing additional claims against Lance Armstrong and Bill Stapleton (Armstrong’s agent).”

In 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency issued Armstrong with a life ban and stripped all seven of his Tour de France titles.

The Texan was accused of being part of the “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme” that sport had ever known.

During a 2013 television interview with American talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong confessed that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his cycling career.

Last month, the Texan told the BBC , when asked if he would make the same choice to cheat that he made in 1995: “When I made the decision, when my team made that decision, when the whole peloton made that decision, it was a bad decision and an imperfect time.

“But it happened. And I know what happened because of that. I know what happened to the sport, I saw its growth.”

SCA Promotions president and founder Bob Hamman said: “It is hard to describe how much harm Lance Armstrong’s web of lies caused SCA but this is a good first start towards repairing that damage.”

Jeff Tillotson, SCA’s promotions lawyer added: “This record-breaking award was justified given Armstrong’s outrageous conduct.”

Read more at BBC Sport

Cycling: Almeria Classic victory is Mark Cavendish’s fifth win of 2015

Mark Cavendish continued his excellent start to the season as he sprinted to victory in the one-day Almeria Classic race in southern Spain.

The Isle of Man rider, 29, edged out Spaniard Juan Jose Lobato and Mark Renshaw of Australia to win the 185.9km (115.51 miles) race.

Cavendish, who recently took an overall victory at the Tour of Dubai,won in four hours 36 minutes 19 seconds.

The victory is the Etixx-QuickStep cyclist’s fifth of 2015.

Cavendish said: “By the time I went it was just a matter of finishing off the race for the win. It was perfect. I am super happy and proud about the way the team controlled the race the entire day.

“Now we just need to keep up this team atmosphere and keep trying to win races.”

Final overall standings:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Etixx-QuickStep (4:36;19)
2. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar
3. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Etixx-QuickStep
4. Valeri Agnoli (Ita) Astana
5. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport

Read more at BBC Sport

Tour of Qatar: Lizzie Armitstead wins

Commonwealth champion Lizzie Armitstead claimed the overall victory of the women’s Tour of Qatar by winning Friday’s final stage.

The 26-year-old Briton beat Australia’s Chloe Hosking in a sprint finish after an 85km race from Sealine Beach Resort to Doha Corniche.

Boels Dolmans rider Armitstead had won Thursday’s third stage to move into the lead for the first time in Qatar.

Armitstead finished 12 seconds ahead of Hosking in the overall rankings.

“We did it! Three out of four stages and the overall victory in Tour of Qatar,” Armitstead tweeted.

“Very proud of Boels Dolmans we rode as a team from start to finish!”

Read more at BBC Sport

Cycling: Dubai Tour: Cavendish sprints to second season win

Mark Cavendish secured his second victory of the season after winning the opening stage of the Dubai Tour in a sprint finish.

Cavendish, cycling for Etixx-Quick Step, pipped Italians Andrea Guardini, of Astana, and Team Sky’s Elia Viviani, to the end of the 90-mile route from the Dubai International Marine Club to the Union House Flag.

The win follows the Briton’s victory at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina last week.

“I’m super happy with my form and the cohesion between Etixx-Quick Step,” he said. “We really rode strong as a team in Argentina and we rode really well as a team in Dubai today. All winter I was happy.

“At training camp it was such a strong ambiance. We knew we’d start off on a good note this season. We won more than 60 races last year and we want to try and or better than this year.

“It’s not going to be a big ask I don’t think, because we can feel the desire and motivation to go out as a unit and win.”

Meanwhile, fellow Briton Lizzie Armitstead was third on stage two of the women’s Tour of Qatar to sit second overall.

The Commonwealth Games champion was three seconds behind Ellen van Dijk on the 70-mile route from Al Zubarah Fort to Madinat Al Shamal, which the Dutchwoman won.

Van Dijk and Armitstead are team-mates on the Boels Dolmans squad and the Yorkshirewoman may ride in support of the Dutchwoman in the race, which finishes on Friday.

Read more at ESPN

Cycling: Ex-Team Sky consultant Geert Leinders given life ban

Former Team Sky doctor Geert Leinders has been banned for life for multiple doping violations, the United States Anti-Doping Agency has announced.

The Belgian was guilty of violations carried out when he worked for Rabobank cycling team between 1996 and 2009.

He was later a freelance consultant for Team Sky in 2011 and 2012, but team principal Sir Dave Brailsford has since said the appointment was a mistake.

Team Sky made a public commitment to a zero tolerance policy to anti-doping.

USADA said on Thursday that during his time at Rabobank, Leinders “possessed, trafficked, and administered banned performance-enhancing substances without any legitimate medical need”.

Leinders was not part of Team Sky’s staff when Sir Bradley Wiggins’ won the 2012 Tour de France, and Sky ended their involvement with Leinders in October 2012.

In the same month, Brailsford said: “We set out with a zero tolerance policy, so we said that anyone who has had a doping conviction from the past or proved to have been involved in doping hasn’t got a place on Team Sky. That is our policy.”

Read more at BBC Sport

Cycling: UCI World Cup: Great Britain take men’s team pursuit gold

Great Britain have been crowned men’s team pursuit champions in the UCI Track World Cup series after taking bronze in the final round in Cali, Colombia.

Germain Burton, Matt Gibson, Chris Latham and Mark Stewart beat Denmark in the third-placed race by just under half a second.

GB won in the London round in December and finished with 810 points, ahead of Australia with 780 and Denmark on 662.

It is their fourth World Cup trophy, with wins in 2005, 2008 and 2010.

The 16-person squad for the Colombian round includes several Olympic academy programme riders to give them top-flight international competition experience.

Read more at BBC Sport

Womens Tour of Britain: Bury St Edmunds will start the tour

The 2015 Women’s Tour of Britain will begin in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

The five-stage race, which will take place from 17-21 June, starts from Angel Hill, where last year’s Tour finished, with the first stage ending in the coastal town of Aldeburgh.

The routes of the other four stages to be contested by 100 of the world’s best cyclists have yet to be announced.

Last year’s inaugural edition of the event was won by Dutch Olympic and world road-race champion Marianne Vos.

Read more at BBC Sport