Castroviejo overcomes injury, mechanical to reclaim Spanish title – News shorts

Movistar’s Jonathan Castroviejo reclaimed the Spanish time trial title in Soria on Friday, topping Team Sky’s Mikel Landa by more than a minute.

While the result is not remarkable in light of Castroviejo’s prowess in the discipline, as European champion and a three-time Spanish champion, it is impressive considering he is still suffering pain in his ribs from a crash on stage 2 of the Tour de Suisse, and had a mechanical that forced him to change bikes during his race.

“I had to withdraw from the Tour de Suisse with that pain in my stomach, which made me difficult to absorb any food I ate, but my condition – as shown on the opening TT – was really good,” Castroviejo said. “I spent three days completely off the bike and got back to it searching for those good sensations, then I started thinking about this championship. It was both a test on how I was doing on the bike before the Tour and also a bid for that third title.”

The 43km route, Castroviejo said, was “incredibly tough” with strong winds, high heat and constant undulations. His race came to a halt briefly when he suffered a mechanical and had to switch bikes, leaving him without the power meter for reference. “I had to use my instinct, but managed myself well over the second half of the race. I think the gaps were really made on that part, with such strong headwinds. It’s a distance which suits me well, I always do great at TTs lasting roughly an hour.”

Castroviejo’s victory was Movistar’s only win in the various national championships that have run so far. Nelson Oliveira was unable to start the championships in Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal because, the team says, his start time was changed without sufficient notice. Daniele Bennati dropped out of the Italian time trial, and Alex Dowsett was defeated by Steven Cummings for the British title on the Isle of Man.

Jasha Sütterlin’s second place to Tony Martin in Germany, just 15 seconds behind the world champion, was the team’s other bright spot on the day.

Zakarin wins Russian time trial title

Ilnur Zakarin came off his post-Giro d’Italia break with surprising form, winning the elite time trial title at the Russian National Championships in Voronezh on Friday.

Zakarin last claimed a national title in 2013, when he won the time trial, and was surprised to take his second victory. He beat teammate Maxim Belkov by 52 seconds, with Gazprom-Rusvelo’s Anton Vorobyev a close third, clocking a 49:38 on the 40.3km course.

“I am really happy and honestly I did not expect to win the gold medal today,” Zakarin said. “After the Giro d’Italia I took ten days rest, and I even gained some kilo’s. When I saw that, after 20 kilometers, I had already 20 seconds to Maxim, I decided to go for my second title. This is nice. Let’s see on Sunday what we can do for our team in the road race.”

Katusha-Alpecin’s team director Dmitry Konyshev was pleased with Zakarin’s result, saying the rest was necessary because he “was really tired and also too skinny”.

“He gained some weight and that may have helped him to secure the title. He started fast and he finished fast. He did a perfect time trial on hilly and windy course.”

Mullen tops Roche to win Irish title

Ryan Mullen (Cannondale-Drapac) took out an important victory in the Irish national championships time trial. The 22-year-old beat Nicolas Roche (BMC) on the 33km course in Wexford by 15 seconds.

When Mullen last won the national title in 2015, the WorldTour riders skipped the race, and last year he came third behind Roche and Eddie Dunbar (Axeon Hagens Berman) more than a minute off the pace. He rallied over the second half of the season and was fifth place at the world championships.

“It means a lot to me,” Mullen said of his title. “I felt like I was under a bit of pressure to win, especially after Worlds last year. To be honest, I expected to win and would have been disappointed if I didn’t. I’m glad I wasn’t unrealistic or over-confident about my chances.”

Mullen said the course with poorly surfaced country roads favoured his physique. “The lighter guys probably bounced about. There wasn’t much in the way of climbs. It was a fairly straightforward course.

“I had to start a little bit harder than what I could sustain,” Mullen said of the headwind. “I got to the halfway point, and I hadn’t over-paced. I was 15-seconds down. I thought: ‘Well, shit. This hasn’t gone to plan.’ But Roche went out too hard as well, and I pulled back 30, 40 seconds on him going back.”

Mullen will line up on Sunday for the road race knowing that he can wear his national colours in time trials for a year.

“Being a national champion is something I’m very proud of. I will always make an effort to come to Nationals, even if the timing or the location doesn’t make it the easiest race in the world to include in my schedule.”

Bonifazio out with tonsillitis

Bahrain-Merida‘s Niccolo Bonifazio will not be racing at the Italian road race championships this weekend because he has come down with tonsillitis.

The team announced on Friday that the Italian has been suffering from a high fever and has had to start on antibiotics.

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Tour de France 2017 start list

Provisional list of teams/riders taking part in the 2017 Tour de France (July 1-23)

The 2017 Tour de France kicks off on Saturday, July 1, in Düsseldorf, Germany and finishes in Paris on Sunday, July 23.

While the WorldTour teams have automatic entry into the Tour, the wildcard teams are hand-picked by ASO, with Fortuneo-Vital Concept, Cofidis, Direct Energie, and Wanty-Groupe Gobert making the cut

>>> Tour de France: Latest news, reports and info

The 2016 Tour was won by Chris Froome (Team Sky), claiming his third victory in the race. The British rider will return in 2017 to attempt a fourth victory and will likely face opposition from Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Romain Bardet (Ag2r), Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing).

Teams usually start announcing provisional teams in June, with the official start list confirmed – with race numbers – shortly before the race.

>>> Tour de France 2017: Latest news, reports and info

Tour de France 2017 start list

Team Sky

Great Britain | WorldTour

Chris Froome (GBr)
Sergio Henao (Col)
Christian Knees (Ger)
Mikel Landa (Esp)
Mikel Nieve (Esp)
Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol)
Luke Rowe (GBr)
Geraint Thomas (GBr)
Vasil Kiryienka (Bel)

Movistar Team

Spain | WorldTour

Nairo Quintana (Col)
Alejandro Valverde (Esp)
Daniele Bennati (Ita)
Johnathan Castroviejo (Esp)
Daniel Moreno (Esp)

Astana Pro Team

Kazakhstan | WorldTour

Fabio Aru (Ita)
Jakob Fuglsang (Den)
Michael Valgren (Den)
Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz)
Andriy Grivko (Ukr)
Andrey Zeits (Kaz)

UAE Team Emirates

UAE | WorldTour

Louis Meintjes (RSA)
Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)
Diego Ulissi (Ita)
Ben Swift (GBr)

Ag2r La Mondiale

France | WorldTour
Romain Bardet (Fra)
Pierre Latour (Fra)
Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra)
Oliver Naesen (Bel)
Mathias Frank (Swi)
Axel Domont (Fra)
Jan Bakelants (Bel)
Samuel Dumoulin (Fra)
Ben Gastauer (Lux)
Cyril Gautier (Fra)

Team LottoNL-Jumbo

Netherlands | WorldTour

George Bennett (NZl)
Dylan Groenewegen (Ned)
Robert Gesink (Ned)
Tom Leezer (Ned)
Primoz Roglic (Slv)


USA | WorldTour

André Cardoso (Por),
Alberto Contador (Esp),
John Degenkolb (Ger),
Koen de Kort (Ned),
Fabio Felline (Ita),
Michal Gogl (Aut),
Markel Irizar (Esp),
Bauke Mollema (Ned)
Jarlinson Pantano (Col)

Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling

Bahrain | WorldTour

Ion Izagirre (Esp)
Tsgabu Grmay (Eri)
Sonny Colbrelli (Ita)
Grega Bole (Slv)

Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling

USA | WorldTour

Taylor Phinney (USA)
Pierre Rolland (Fra)
Andrew Talansky (USA)
Rigoberto Uran (Col)
Sep Vanmarcke (Bel)

BMC Racing Team

USA | WorldTour

Richie Porte (Aus)
Damiano Caruso (Ita)
Stefan Kung (Sui)
Nicholas Roche (Ire)
Alessandro De Marchi (Ita)
Amael Moinard (Fra)
Michael Schar (Sui)
Greg Van Avermaet (Bel)
Danilo Wyss (Sui)

Team Dimension Data

South Africa | WorldTour

Mark Cavendish (GBr)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor)

Team Sunweb

Germany | WorldTour

Nikias Arndt (Ger)
Warren Barguil (Fra)
Roy Curvers (Ned)
Simon Geschke (Ger)
Michael Matthews (Aus)
Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned)
Laurens ten Dam (Ned)
Mike Teunissen (Ned)
Albert Timmer (Ned)


France | WorldTour

Thibaut Pinot (Fra)
Arnaud Demare (Fra)
Ignatas Konovalovas (Lit)
Marc Sarreau (Fra)
Olivier Le Gac (Fra)
Jacopo Gaurnieri (Ita)
Davide Cimolai (Ita)
Michael Delage (Fra)


Germany | WorldTour

Emanuel Buchmann (Ger)
Maciej Bodnar (Pol)
Marcus Burghardt (Ger)
Rafa Majka (Pol)
Jay McCarthy (Aus)
Pawel Poljanski (Pol)
Juraj Sagan (Slo)
Peter Sagan (Slo)
Rudiger Selig (Ger)

Team Katusha-Alpecin

Swizterland | WorldTour

Tony Martin (Ger)
Maurits Lammertink (Ned)
Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
Rick Zabel (Ger)
Reto Hollenstein (Sui)
Marco Haller (Aut)
Robert Kiserlovski (Cro)
Tiago Machado (Por)
Nils Politt (Ger)

Fortuneo-Vital Concept

France | Pro Continental

Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg)


Belgium | WorldTour

André Greipel (Ger)
Tiesj Benoot (Bel)
Tim Wellens (Bel)
Thomas De Gendt (Bel)
Tony Gallopin (Fra)
Adam Hansen (Aus)

Direct Energie

France | Pro Continental

Bryan Coquard (Fra)
Thomas Voeckler (Fra)
Lilian Calmejane (Fra)

Quick-Step Floors

Belgium | WorldTour

Marcel Kittel (Ger)
Daniel Martin (Irl)
Fabio Sabatini (Ita)
Petr Vakoc (Cze)
Julien Vermote (Bel)
Yves Lampaert (Bel)
Jack Bauer (Nzl)
Niki Terpstra (Ned)
Matteo Trentin (Ita)
Zdenek Stybar (Cze)
Gianluca Brambilla (Ita)
Philippe Gilbert (Bel)

Cofidis, Solutions Credits

France | Pro Continental

Nacer Bouhanni (Fra)


Australia | WorldTour

Orica Scott Michael Albasini (Sui)
Esteban Chaves (Col)
Luke Durbridge (Aus)
Mathew Hayman (Aus)
Damien Howson (Aus)
Daryl Impey (RSA)
Jens Keulekeire (Bel)
Roman Kreuziger (Cze)
Simon Yates (GBr)

Wanty – Groupe Gobert (Confirmed)

Belgium | Pro Continental

Frederik Backaert (Bel)
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel)
Guillaume Martin (Fra)
Marco Minnaard (Ned)
Yoann Offredo (Fra)
Pieter Vanspeybroeck (Bel)
Thomas Degand (Bel)

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A badge for every col from Café du Cycliste

French clothing brand offers free badges to customers who’ve ridden its local climbs

Based in Nice, there’s no shortage of impressive climbs for Café du Cycliste to choose from. So the high-end French clothing brand has decided to let anyone who’s ridden one of them claim a free badge.

With climbs on the menu including the Ventoux and Bonnette as well as the even more local Col de la Madonne and Col d’Eze, you could probably plaster your jersey with more badges than fabric.

>>> How to master a long climb

To claim your badge you need to join the Café du Cycliste Strava club and also create an account on Café du Cycliste’s website, using the same first name and surname. You then choose Badges from the menu and grant access to your Strava account, so Café du Cycliste can verify that you really have climbed all those cols in one day, choose your badge and complete the check out.

This is one of the routes up the Col de Turini

You can claim your first free badge on its own, but after that you’ll need to buy something to get subsequent badges.

And for the 1604 metre high Col de Turini, Café du Cycliste has gone further, setting up the Brevet des Zinzins de Turini. There are multiple routes up the Turini and Café du Cyciste has set up a challenge to scale the col by at least three of them within 24 hours.

Zinzin means “a bit crazy” in French. To set the atmosphere, Café du Cycliste has produced a video suggesting what might be in store for you.

Café du Cycliste includes a brevet card for the ride with the purchase of any product from its Audax line. This can be stamped at any of the starting points for the climb as well as at the summit. You can also use your Strava trace to prove that you’ve completed the challenge.

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Dad cycles 1,400 miles to meet man who received his daughter’s heart donation and hear her heartbeat

Bill Conner riding across America to raise money and awareness for organ donation

A man in America has cycled 1,400 miles across the country to meet the man who benefited from his daughter’s organ donation and hear her heartbeat.

Bill Conner lost his daughter Abbey in January when she was found face down in a hotel pool while on holiday in Mexico. The 20-year-old suffered irreversible brain injuries, passing away once doctors had taken her organs for donation.

>>> New study says cycling 30 miles per week cuts heart disease and cancer risk in half

Now he is riding more than 2,000 miles from his home in Madison, Wisconsin to the Broward Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where her organs were harvested.

Along the way Conner made an emotional stop-off to meet Loumonth Jack Jr., who received Abbey’s heart after suffering from a heart attack and being given only 10 days to live.

The two met on Father’s Day in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sharing a long embrace before Jack Jr. pulled out a stethoscope to let Conner hear his daughter’s heartbeat one more time.

>>> Cycling and heart health: can you push your heart too hard?

“Knowing he’s alive because of Abbey, Abbey is alive inside of him – it’s her heart having him stand up straight,” Conner told CBS.

“I was happy for him and his family, and at the same time, I got to reunite with my daughter.”

Conner is now continuing his ride to Florida, and is nearly $15,000 towards the $20,000 that he is aiming to raise online in his daughter’s memory.

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‘Grand Tour riders will become more valuable with eight rider teams’

Team directors say reduced teams will make selection even harder for Grand Tours

The decision to reduce the number of riders per team in Grand Tours from nine to eight from the 2018 season will make riders more valuable as there will be less opportunities for many to race three-week stage races.

That is the view of Dimension Data sports director Roger Hammond, who dismissed suggestions that the ruling – announced on Thursday as part of increased safety measures – would dramatically alter the dynamics of racing tactics.

>>> 2018 Tour de France rescheduled to reduce clash with FIFA World Cup

“What does it change?” Hammond pondered to Cycling Weekly. “Little. We run out of riders with nine riders, so we are going to run out with eight, so nothing really changes. It will make races harder to control, but significantly harder? I doubt it.”

The impact, Hammond believes, will be on the value of riders and domestiques who aren’t guaranteed Grand Tour selection each year.

“Does it make the Tour de France more valuable?” he questioned.

“I think it will make Tour teams more expensive to run. Riders will be more valuable because they have to be better at what they do and they can command a price.”

Rolling away on the turbo, Steve Cummings, who won the British National Championships time trial yesterday, interjected: “There’ll be pros without jobs – prices will maybe go up, prices will maybe go down.”

Hammond added: “It will be more disappointing for riders because Grand Tours are getting more and more important to ride, so that means there are less opportunities.

“That’s three riders in a season who would have had a ride and won’t now. For furthering careers it’s important [to ride a Grand Tour].”

Rod Ellingworth, Hammond’s counterpart at Team Sky, commented: “It will make selections hard. We have left out some really fit and healthy bike riders this year so it will make that even harder.

“Last year [at the Tour] was the first time we’d finished with nine riders, so when you look back, eight rider teams won’t make a huge difference.

“Will it change anything tactically? Not massively. If it went down to six it would – the races were it is six-man teams are quite difficult – but I wouldn’t have thought they’d do that in a Grand Tour.”

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What’s the most unusual item of food you’ve taken cycling?

This week’s Big Question asked CW readers to name the most unusual foods they’ve taken cycling to keep them fuelled. In association with Decathlon

We all know the foods we should take cycling to keep us going; an energy bar, a gel, maybe a nice sandwich if you’re out over lunch. But those rules aren’t binding, so we thought we’d ask the CW what were the most unusual items of food that they’ve taken with them on the ride. And as expected, there were some amusing answers…

Presented in association with Decathlon.

>>> What ingenious bike repair has got you home after a mechanical disaster?

Add your suggestions in the comments section below.

What’s the most unusual item of food you’ve taken cycling?

Flask of hot, home-made chicken and lentil soup. Nothing quite like it on a chilly ride.
Nadia Lewis

Chuggin’ cold rice pudding out of a bidon on the National 24-hour. Tasted fantastic after I’d eaten hot baked beans and a tuna mayo sandwich mixed with soggy brown paper bag, and crumbs of fruit cake. That was a musette of pleasant surprises!
Kevin ‘Herbie’ Blackburn

During the blazing hot summer of 1976, I stopped at a village shop and they didn’t have any non-fizzy drinks. So I filled my bidon with ice pops.
Neil Jackman

Haggis baguette.
John Fox

Had a team-mate pull a sloppy McDonald’s Big Mac hamburger out of his pocket during a race. I was given a tomato once when I was in the middle of a bad bonk.
Michael Elmer

Half a kebab from the night before. They fit surprisingly snugly in a jersey back pocket.
Phil Dennis

Back before pubs all served food, packed lunches were carried in the saddle bag. Sardine and banana sandwiches were the only thing that people didn’t nick if left unattended so that was my standard filling.
Richard Jordan

Seen a bloke nail three decent-sized egg custards at a receipt stop on an Audax. Don’t think he took a breath between each one either.
Stephen Hooley

For the last century event I had pitta bread with Boca Burger spicy ‘chicken’ patty and cheese. Wrapped in foil and put it into my La Vie Claire musette.
Alonso Reyes

A Mars bar that had been in my saddlebag for months. When it was required, it had green mould on it. Suffice it to say I was having hunger knock so scraped it a bit then ate it. Still here many years later.
Dave Connor

A wild boar on a spit. Bloody difficult to change gear!
Michael McEwan

I come from 10 minutes up the road from where Beryl Burton came from, so liquorice allsorts, obviously.
Thomas Willingham

One-week-old chocolate cake. Hard as bones but still tasted good, so why not?
Victor O. Rivera

My ‘fuel’ used to be Love Hearts and Frubes, pre-gel era.
Terry Christopher Hudson

Filled a bidon with sherry once, à la Hennie Kuiper. Only came off three times.
Jon Stasiuk

Pancakes are normal, right?
Erik Schopman

Twenty miles with a jersey full of tamales left over from Christmas.
Aleks Medina

I was riding near Bordeaux and realised I had left all my supplies back home and only had one euro with me. There aren’t many things you can buy with one euro that can help you sustain a long ride, so there I was, riding with a baguette on my back.
Romain Hiernard

Sushi — bloody lush!
Paul Wright

Many years ago, I use to take fried egg sandwiches on rides.
Gordon Moat

Gravy in a bottle!
Yatnig Fernandez

I won a first-cat road race snacking on Mega Monster Munch.
Mick Miller

Baby food: screw-cap sachet, easy to digest and there is a good variety.
Martin Millington

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Team Sky expecting usual ‘hostile environment’ at Tour de France, says Dave Brailsford

The team boss says he doesn’t see road side support being any more hostile considering an ongoing investigation by UK Anti-Doping

Team Sky boss David Brailsford says that the hostilities will be the same in the Tour de France regardless of a recent British Cycling report or an ongoing UKAD inquiry into wrongdoings.

>>> Team Sky reveal the eight riders who will support Chris Froome at the Tour de France

Last week, an independent review report of British Cycling found a “culture of fear” during the time Brailsford was performance director. Another UK Anti-Doping inquiry into Team Sky continues after reports of questionable TUEs, a medical package delivery and tramadol abuse.

“We were racing there last week in the Critérium du Dauphiné and there was absolutely no change in the support at the side of the road,” Brailsford told Sky Sports.

“When we go to the Tour de France every year, ever since we started, it has been a hostile environment for us as a team to go there and win the race, so I expect no difference in that sense.”

Chris Froome and Team Sky during 2016 Tour de France (Watson)

Fans jeered and, in some instances, punched and threw urine on Sky’s riders in the past. Froome had a cup of urine thrown on him mid-stage to Mende in 2015.

Extra police protected the Sky riders at the stage starts and finishes. Officers in blue, and some reportedly undercover, circled the Sky bus.

Attitudes towards the British super team, winners of four tour titles with Froome and Bradley Wiggins, will not be helped by the investigations at home.

“From an investigation point of view, we will wait for the outcome of that, but I am very confident there is no wrongdoing,” Brailsford said of the UKAD investigation.

“As far as the Tour de France goes, we are very focused on the race.”

Brailsford’s initial reaction to the independent report into allegations of sexism and bullying within British Cycling “was disappointing.”

“High-performance sport is a tough environment, there is no doubt about it, but it doesn’t mean to say you have to neglect the welfare of athletes in any way,” he continued.

“You have got to look at yourself in the mirror and take your own responsibility, and my frame of reference will always be to start with myself and think ‘Could I have done anything differently, is there anything I could learn from that, and what can I do going forward to make sure that I get better?’

“There are some lessons to be learned but I am very proud of our time at British Cycling and to see how the sport has grown.”

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Emotional Steve Cummings hopeful National Time Trial win will secure Tour de France spot

Steve Cummings hopes that his victory in the British Time Trial Championships is enough to earn him Tour de France selection
– Alex Dowsett admits he couldn’t have done anymore to beat the Dimension Data rider.

An emotional Steve Cummings has said that his win in the British Time Trial Championships confirms  the form he thought he had – and he is now hopeful that he will be selected in Dimension Data‘s Tour de France squad.

The 36-year-old beat defending champion Alex Dowsett (Movistar) by eight seconds in the Isle of Man on Thursday evening to secure his first senior national stripes.

Remarkably, it was Cummings’s first race since he fractured his collarbone, sternum and scapula in a crash at the Tour of the Basque Country in April. He was a late entrant to the time trial, with Dimension Data only insisting this week that they wanted to assess the Merseysider’s form to see if he could ride a three-week Grand Tour on the back of a 10 week lay off. 

>>> Steve Cummings edges out Alex Dowsett to win British National Time Trial Championships

After winning, Cummings went backstage on the podium to cry and then shed tear in a TV interview afterwards. The victory, after a frustrating few months, meant a lot, for it proved his condition is worthy of Tour selection.

“Today is the perfect confirmation of what I was seeing in training and feeling,” he said. “I said in the morning that I would go full gas. I managed to go faster and I was probably better than what I thought. It’s pretty cool to be national champ.”

Cummings, who was joined by his Dimension Data DS Roger Hammond, told Cycling Weekly before the race that being picked for the Tour was dependent on his result in the time trial and Sunday’s road race. Asked what he needed to do, he joked: “There’s no pressure expect I have to win one of them! No, I have to do a good performance, that’s crucial.”

He is confident that he has done enough to earn a place in the South African outfit’s nine-man roster where he is aiming to win a Tour stage for the third successive year.

Who will win the 2017 Tour de France?

“I have to prove myself this weekend because that’s what the team want,: he added “Unfortunately, I can’t just say I am ready, I have to prove it. I am am dropped on the first climb [on Sunday] I won’t be in the team. But if I am in the final racing for the win, I might be there.

>>> Claire Rose takes national time trial title as Hayley Simmonds misses out on third successive victory

“My mind is alright. I am confident in the work I have done and the process I have done over the years to get me in shape and to get me results.

“I’m always pretty confident. I am a logical guy; I look at the numbers and what I do in training. But it’s the Tour and I understand that the team wanted to see me race, because three weeks is a long time if you’re not on form.”

As for doing the Nationals double on Sunday? “Of course, why not? I’ll try me best,” he smiled.

Dowsett, meanwhile, was understandably upset at not being able to win a record-equalling sixth national time trial title, and he also doesn’t expect to earn a call up to Movistar’s Tour squad.

>>> Who are all the new national champions?

“I’m not happy, but I couldn’t have done anymore,” he said. “That was probably one of my best rides I’ve ever done at the Nationals – I got everything out. I tore myself apart up the climb and on the corners.

“I’m happy for Steve. He’s a had a rough year and I’m sure he will do the jersey proud.

“I though he was going to be either really, really good or nowhere. I’ve jumped onto Zwift a few times and knew he had been working hard. Steve out rode me, but not by a great amount. It was a good race, a good fight, we had to dig deep. I couldn’t have done a great deal more.”

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UCI reduces Grand Tour teams to 8 riders for 2018

Grand Tour rosters will be reduced from nine to eight riders next season, and pelotons in all UCI races will be limited to 176 riders as part of changes approved Thursday by the governing body’s Professional Cycling Council (PCC).

The PCC also agreed to leave the WorldTour calendar “substantially unchanged,” with the Tour of Qatar falling off the list and the Tour of Turkey moving to October. The Abu Dhabi Tour will expand to five days, the UCI announced the changes on its website.

Other announcements included a change of dates for the Tour de France in order to avoid conflicts with the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The race will move back one week from the original dates, which will affect other races in the second half of the calendar. The full UCI men’s road calendar, including races at .HC, .1 and .2 levels, will be published in September.

The PCC considered safety issues when deciding to reduce the size of team rosters and pelotons. The issue arose last year when Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), which owns the Tour de France and co-runs the Vuelta a España, came together with Giro d’Italia owners RCS Sport and Belgian one-day organisers Flanders Classics to agree to limit the number of riders teams can field in races.

The organisers proposed limiting Grand Tour teams to eight riders and other events to seven, but the UCI balked at the proposal, telling all three groups that they could not independently change cycling’s rules. The PPC’s decision today makes the Grand Tour proposal official.

Safety was also the driving force behind a test at the Tour de Suisse that revised the protocol for the calculation of time gaps for a split in stages expected to have bunch sprint finishes to three seconds rather than one.

The revision is “intended to address the issue of increased stress and risk during Grand Tour bunch sprints, while retaining the sporting integrity of the sprint and stage,” according to the UCI statement about the changes.

The revised protocol will be tested again at the Tour de France next month.

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Steve Cummings edges out Alex Dowsett to win British National Time Trial Championships

Cummings takes his first national title on the road since 1999

Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) denied Alex Dowsett (Movistar) a record sixth national time trial title as he took victory by just eight seconds on the Isle of Man.

Riding his first race since fracturing his collarbone, sternum, and scapula in a crash at the Tour of the Basque Country in April, Cummings entered the race in unknown form, but pulled out a stunning ride to beat Dowsett by just eight seconds on the 44.4km course.

Setting off in the first half of the 44-rider field, Cummings did not have any splits to aim for on his ride, and set a time of 28-42.48 through the first of the two 22.2km laps.

That time stood for nearly three quarters of an hour until Dowsett, who as defending champion had been the final man down the start ramp, went 13 seconds faster.

Almost at the exact moment that Dowsett went through the first lap, Cummings was completing his ride, setting a time of 57-18.66 to put him in the hot seat.

For a while no rider was able to get close to that mark, with Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Sky) and Harry Tanfield (Bike Channel-Canyon) both finishing around 1-30, before James Gullen (JLT Condor) went into provisional second with a time of 58-09.45.

From there it was going to be between Cummings and Dowsett, and with the advantage from the earlier split, the odds seemed to be in the favour of the Movistar man who was chasing a sixth national time trial to put him level with the record held by Stuart Dangerfield.

However it was not to be for the defending champion, who wasn’t able to hold onto his lead, eventually finishing eight seconds down to give Cummings his first national title on the road since he took the junior road race in 1999.

Earlier in the day Scott Davies (Team Wiggins) won a fourth consecutive under-23 title ahead of Tom Baylis (One Pro Cycling) and Charlie Tanfield (Brother NRG).

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