Rafael Nadal to return to number one after Roger Federer's Cincinnati withdrawal

Breaking news

Rafael Nadal will be the new world number one from next Monday after Roger Federer withdrew from the Cincinnati Masters with a back injury.

The Swiss 19-time Grand Slam winner was the only player who could have denied Spain’s Nadal taking the top spot in the rankings from Andy Murray.

Federer was injured in Sunday’s Rogers Cup final defeat by Alexander Zverev.

Briton Murray pulled out of Cincinnati last week as he continues to recover from a hip problem.

Nadal returns to the top of the rankings for the first time since July 2014.

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Freya Anderson Highlights British Team for World Junior Champs

Photo Courtesy: British Swimming

British Swimming has announced the roster of athletes it will send across the Atlantic next week for the World Junior Championships in Indianapolis. Among the top performers headed to Indianapolis is Freya Anderson, a semi-finalist in the women’s 100 free at the FINA World Championships last month.

The meet runs Aug. 23-28 in Indianapolis. Read British Swimming’s full press release below.

A group of young British swimming talent are about to set off to the World Junior Championships in Indianapolis to compete in the biggest junior competition of the year.

The 22-strong team features 2017 World Championship semi-finalist Freya Anderson and European Junior silver medalist Ciara Schlosshan. Last year’s European Junior champion Emily Large and medalists Anna Maine and Elliot Clogg also feature as part of the team.

The six-day competition begins on 23 August and will see athletes tackling the full Olympic programme as well as the 50m Breaststroke, 50m Butterfly and 50m Backstroke.

British Swimming’s Head of Elite Development Tim Jones is looking forward to the team taking a step up again at a major competition.

“This will be an exciting event coming at the conclusion of a busy season of high quality racing,” Jones said. “We have already seen some incredible performances by junior swimmers from across the globe at the recent World Championships in Budapest and European Junior Championships in Netanya.

“As an event the World Juniors is growing in importance, and for that reason we have chosen to prioritise the meet for a sizeable group of British swimmers.

“Our goal will be to continue to unearth and develop some exciting junior talent who show the potential to add to our British result in Tokyo 2020, but also reinforce the need for our athletes to be at their best at these ‘end of season’ benchmark events.

“We look forward to stepping up to the plate against some of our keenest international rivals.”

The British Team consists of:

Elliot Clogg – City of Sheffield

Nathan Hughes – National Centre Loughborough

George Clough – Warrender

Brodie Williams – Millfield

Cameron Brooks-Clarke – City of Sheffield

Nikki Miller – East Kilbride

Anna Maine – Woking

Harrison Coulter – Stockport Metro

Annabel Guye-Johnson – Royal Tunbridge Wells

Alexandra Waller – Heart of Midlothian

Freya Anderson – Ellesmere College Titans

Nicholas Pyle – Newcastle Swim Team

Luke Turley – Hatfield SC

Emily Large – Newcastle Swim Team

Keanna MacInnes – Heart of Midlothian

Cassie Wild – Ellesmere College Titans

Amy Bell – City of Sheffield

Callum Smart – City of Oxford

Jacob Peters – Poole

Katie Robertson – South Ayrshire

Ciara Schlosshan – City of Leeds

Lewis Burras – Southport / Hamilton Aquatics (Dubai)

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Seven of the best places for cycling in Italy

From the rugged coasts of Puglia to the mind-boggling switchbacks of the north, these are the best places to go cycling in Italy

Cycling in Italy is becoming as essential to the aspirations of two-wheeled purists as traditional explorations of France. From the rugged coasts of Puglia to the mind-boggling switchbacks of the north, there is plenty to suit all tastes.

1. Sardinia

Best for… Autumn training

Challenge level: Medium

italy cycling holidays

Orosei, Sardinia (Alamy)

Cycling in Italy is not all about the mainland, and winter training camps are not all about Majorca. Sardinia’s quiet coastal roads in the south east sample the island’s white sand beaches, while a trip on the Giro d’Italia’s SS125 road ensures a stomp on the pedals through the mountainous heart of Barbagia.

The imposing Monte Albo climb is one for the bucket list. Self-guided coast to coast itineraries are possible for those who enjoy the feeling of a journey – punctuated by archaeological sites, vineyards and top-notch Mediterranean cuisine.

Book your break to Sardinia with LastMinute.com

2. Tuscany

Best for… Indulging

Challenge level: Medium

cycling in italy

Tuscany, home of L’Eroica (Alamy)

Tuscany is the posterboy of cycling in Italy. Among the lush, green, rolling lands and picturesque hilltop towns are miles upon miles of riding, taking in some of the nation’s most beautiful countryside, fuelled by Italy’s best cuisine.

The Giro is known to swarm through Tuscany, past the vineyards of Chianti, north past Pistoia and south past Grosseto – so don’t take the region, perhaps better known for its gastronomy, lightly. After all, the region’s famous white roads host the classic L’Eroica ride, a route of which you can trace at any time of year.

Book your break to Tuscany with LastMinute.com

3. The Stelvio Pass

Best for… One big challenge

Challenge level: Hard

cycling in italy

Stelvio pass in summer (Alamy)

Seen from a distance it looks like the Alps have cracked and some tremendous geological splinter is imminent. But no, that’s just the 48 hairpins turns of the eastern approach of the Stelvio Pass, the second highest paved road in the Alps and one of the most bewitching in Europe.

Tackling the famed side from Prato will tie you in knots over 24.3km, climbing 1,808m, at an average 7.4 per cent, with your eye constantly on the summit. The western ride from Bormio is no stroll, either. At just under 22km you’ll climb 1,560m at 7.1 per cent, with a 14 per cent kicker at the summit. When it comes to cycling in Italy, file the Stelvio Pass in ‘iconic’.

Book your break to The Stelvio Pass with LastMinute.com

4. The Dolomites

Best for… Serious climbers

Challenge level: Hard

cycling in italy

Cycling in the Dolomites (Alamy)

For achingly beautiful scenery – not to mention the aching thighs – any roads that pass within spying distance of the jagged, spinal Dolomites range are worth a trip.

The list of passes that cyclists travel to northern Italy to conquer is as long as your arm: the Passo Sella, the third climb of the famous day race Maratona dles Dolomites; the lesser-known but equally awe-inspiring Passo delle Erbe; and the Passa Fedaia, with sections of 15 per cent near (but not near enough) its summit, are just the start.

Indeed, sign up for July’s Maratona dles Dolomites to join 9,000 riders in tackling the region’s greatest climbs.

Book your break to The Dolomites with LastMinute.com

5. Puglia

Best for… Explorers

Challenge level: Easy

Going off-road in Puglia (Alamy)

Going off-road in Puglia (Alamy)

Fancy cycling in Italy without breaking too much of a sweat? Not all of its climbs are X-rated, and the increasingly popular southern heel is testament to that. Spend a week exploring the white-washed villages, rugged coastline and turquoise waters of Puglia, not to mention savouring its cathedrals and castle and sampling its seafood and wines.

The famous Unesco-listed rock-hewn city of Matera can be included on a route, as can the 13th century Castel del Monte. It’s possible to clock up decent distance between stops – creating a healthy total by the end of a trip – and though the landscape is undulating, you’ll find hills worth a climb if you go looking.

Book your break to Puglia with LastMinute.com

6. The Carnic Alps

Best for… Masochists

Challenge level: Hard

cycling in Italy

Monte Grappa (Alamy)

In the Carnic Alps, which border Austria, is a climb regarded as one of the country’s most demanding and regularly features in the Giro d’Italia. There are three routes up to Monte Zoncolan, west from Ovaro and east from either Sutrio and Priola, with the former the least forgiving.

From Ovaro in the Gorto valley awaits 10 kilometres of 11.9 per cent, with a maximum gradient of 22 per cent, and featuring switchbacks, forested steeps and disorientating tunnels.

The final six kilometres average 15 per cent. Monte Grappa, a 23.8km slog up to 1,745m and home to a number of First World War battles, is also in the region for the masochists.

Book your break to The Carnic Alps with LastMinute.com

7. The Italian Lakes

Best for… Sightseeing

Challenge level: Medium

Muro di Sormano (Alamy)

Muro di Sormano (Alamy)

Easily accessible from Milan, the Italian Lakes boast some of the prettiest scenery in Europe. So what better way to explore the region than by bike? Take your time and tick off the picture postcards shots in the region but leave time for some healthy climbs – does the Muro di Sormano ring any bells?

The Wall of Sormano near Lake Como is less than two kilometres but the average gradient is 17 per cent and the steepest tickles 25 per cent. In the area be sure to visit the tiny chapel of Madonna del Ghisallo, belonging to the adopted patron saint of cycling. Link the towns and villages of Lake Garda, including Sirmione, which boasts its own castle, for a more relaxing day out.

Book your break to Lake Garda with LastMinute.com

– Words by Hugh Morris

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UAE Team Emirates ‘just days away’ from announcing Fabio Aru deal; Dan Martin also likely to join

UAE look to bolster GC ambitions with big name signings

UAE Team Emirates look set to announce the signing of Fabio Aru in the coming days, with Dan Martin and Domenico Pozzovivo also possibly joining the team.

Cycling Weekly understands that Aru has already inked a deal already with the Arab team, with Martin and Pozzovivo also possibly a part of the planned announcement.

“Many teams want them would like to have them,” team manager Carlo Saronni told Italian website Tutto Bici when asked about Pozzovivo and Martin.

“Negotiations are underway, some things have yet to be defined, but in the coming weeks, or rather, in the coming days, we can say precisely. Let’s say that at least a couple of riders are near the finish line and soon our backers will celebrate the arrival of new high quality, winning, riders.”

>>> Cycling transfers: All the ins and outs from the WorldTour

Quick-Step Floors rider Martin rode to sixth place behind Chris Froome (Team Sky) at the Tour de France last month, and has been linked with a move to UAE Team Emirates for a number of weeks

Another possibility is that Martin signs with Trek-Segafredo, the American WorldTour team being in search of another GC rider after Alberto Contador announced he will retire after the Vuelta a España.

Pozzovivo could potentially add climbing strength to the Grand Tour team that UAE would take to the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France to support Martin and Aru. Cycling Weekly understands the deal is nearly ready to bring the Italian from Ag2r La Mondiale.

Watch: Vuelta a España essential guide

The team, run by Saronni’s father Giuseppe, is also bringing on board sprinter and Classics rider Alexander Kristoff. However South African stage race talent Louis Meintjes will leave the team after it was announced that he will ride for Dimension Data from 2018.

Aru would leave Astana after six years, a spell which included a Vuelta a España title in 2015 and a runner-up spot in the 2015 Giro d’Italia. He recently placed fifth overall in the Tour after suffering with illness in the final week.

“That we are interested in him is no longer a mystery, who would not like to put the class of Aru into a team project? For such an important rider it is right to prepare a proper proposal in every detail, at the moment, I can only confirm that we are working to develop the best possible proposal,” Saronni said.

>>> Fabio Aru confirmed as Astana leader for upcoming Vuelta a España

“The operation is complex because it involves a broader project with more people. We need to find the right balance between our team’s needs and the priorities that Aru has repeatedly mentioned as necessary to enable him to reach the maximum goals.

“In short, work is under way to arrive at a proposal that takes into account what I have just mentioned. We are almost ready to present our proposal to the Sardinian: a comprehensive, complex and complete project.”

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Tour de France runner-up Rigboberto Uran commits future to Cannondale-Drapac with new three-year deal

Uran given chance to structure season around the Tour

Rigoberto Uran will ride for Cannondale-Drapac until at least the end of 2020 after agreeing a new three-year deal with the American team.

Uran, who finished as a surprise runner-up at the recent Tour de France, had been linked with a move away from Cannondale, but has now signed a new contract with the team letting him structure his season around the Tour.

“A three-year contract offers security, and the team is willing to allow me to focus my season on the Tour de France,” Uran said. “I was very happy to sign.

“I’ll race many races, and I have many goals,” said Uran. “The biggest, of course, is the Tour de France. I want to win the Tour.”

>>> Cycling transfers 2018: All the ins and outs from the WorldTour

Cannondale-Drapac team boss Jonathan Vaughters said that the team had no hesitation in signing Uran, having supported him through a difficult start to his time at the team as he was plagued with illness through 2016 and the first part of 2017.

“Cycling is a sport where people have a bad year or two and they get written off quickly,” Vaughters said. “Let me qualify that Uran’s ‘bad year’ included a seventh place finish at the Giro d’Italia while racing with bronchitis. We knew what he was capable of.

“His ambition [to win the Tour] is one that we share, and the team is excited to work with him on his biggest goal. Rigo is a great mentor and leader. Good times and bad, he inspires people.”

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Cyclist offers £1,000 reward for ‘very rare and very, very expensive’ bikes stolen from garden shed

Two road bikes and one mountain bike stolen from York cyclist’s shed

A cyclist from York has offered a £1,000 reward after having three bikes stolen from his garden shed.

Richard Hutchinson had three bikes stolen from his shed on Wednesday night, describing them to The Press as “very rare and very, very expensive”, one of which was not in a condition to ride.

>>> Nine bike storage solutions: hooks, racks, and sheds

The bikes, which can be seen below, are a Kinesis mountain bike, and Orbea and custom-built Pro-Lite road bikes, the Orbea featuring a very distinctive black and blue chain to match its paintjob.

The bikes were stolen after thieves apparently broke the hinges on the garden shed, making off with the three bikes, with Mr Hutchinson saying that the Kinesis mountain bike was not in a safe condition to ride.

Mr Hutchinson says that he will offer a £1,000 to anyone with information that could lead to the bikes’ return, and can be contacted on 07834381732.

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Orthopedic Surgeon David Geier on Injury Prevention for Kids

Some of you might know that I have two little kids. When they’re not throwing food on the floor, they’re practicing their drills:

As a parent and coach, I have a few “rules” I like to follow when it comes to exercise and kids:

  • It’s not exercise. It’s play.
  • Be a generalist (sport specificity is too advanced – and risky)
  • It has to be fun

So on a typical weekend, you’ll find us at the playground, beach, or just running around the backyard like crazy people.

And over time, my wife and I have gradually built more physical play into the backyard:

  • A trapeze for upper body strength
  • A sandbox for fine motor skills and hand strength
  • A bunch of tires for crawling, lifting, and hiding (and for Dad to throw around, too!)
  • And a stick fort for hiding, crawling, lifting big sticks, and hiding beer when they’re teenagers

Now of course, my kids are 4 and 2 right now. They’re not ready for “sports” yet – but it seems like that time comes earlier and earlier.

So I want to be prepared.

When they’re hurling their first lacrosse ball, what’s the best way to not only ensure they stay healthy but thrive as athletes?

Are there things we can do now to help them become the best athletes they can be (if they choose to be athletes)?

I’m admittedly not an expert in this area. I can’t tell you what’s developmentally appropriate for a 3 year old vs. a 7 year old. Or even how to coach little ones.

I just want to make sure my kids stay healthy when they start playing competitive sports.

So I asked an orthopedic surgeon to come on the podcast to chat about kids and injuries.

Dr. David Geier on Maximizing Youth Performance and Limiting Injuries

David is here to share numerous ways that young athletes can improve their performance without sacrificing their careers in the long run (these puns are my lifeblood).

We’re coming at this topic as a surgeon, coach, and two dads with different aged kids.

You might know David from drdavidgeier.com where he simplifies the complex area of sports medicine.

He covers a lot of areas that I love to geek out on:

David’s most notably an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina.

He was Director of MUSC Sports Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina for eights years and is currently the Communications Council Chair for the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Board of Directors.

Major media have featured his advice in interviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, The Atlantic, Forbes, and many others.

Check out David’s new book, That’s Gotta Hurt! The Injuries That Changed Sports Forever.

As you can see, I was quite excited to chat with him about the best injury prevention practices for younger athletes.

Listen to our conversation on iTunes or if you use the Android OS, Stitcher.

Show Resources & Links:

Preventing injuries is one of the running topics that I’m most passionate about because it enables you to run more consistently.

With more consistent running, you’ll be able to run more and train harder.

The result?

You’ll be a stronger, more capable athlete who’s crossing the finish line sooner than ever before.

And THAT is what gets me excited.

Don’t miss our injury prevention resources – they’ve helped tens of thousands of runners just like you.

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Team Sky reveal strong team to support Chris Froome at Vuelta a España

Froome looking to become only the third rider to win both races in the same year

Team Sky have revealed the eight riders who will support Chris Froome at the upcoming Vuelta a España as he goes in search of a historic Tour/Vuelta double.

The runner-up in the Spanish Grand Tour in 2011, 2014, and 2016, Froome will be supported by an experienced team of domestiques with Mikel Nieve and Wout Poels likely to be his most crucial team-mates in the race’s mountainous terrain.

Aside from Froome, Nieve and German rider Christian Knees are the only two riders to travel to the Vuelta having ridden the 2017 Tour de France.

>>> Vuelta a España 2017 start list

There is also a return for Ian Stannard, who missed out in July, but there is no space for Peter Kennaugh, who had been tipped to ride his final Grand Tour with Sky before departing for Bora-Hansgrohe at the end of the season.

Gianni Moscon will ride his first Grand Tour for Sky have ridden strongly in support of Mikel Landa at the Vuelta a Burgos, while 36-year-old David Lopez will be the most experienced domestique on the team as he takes to the start line for his 13th Grand Tour.

>>> Vuelta a España route 2017: key climbs and what to expect

Completing the line-up are two more Italians, Salvatore Puccio and Diego Rosa, both of whom rode the Giro d’Italia in May before returning to stage racing at the recent Tour of Poland.

Watch: Vuelta a España essential guide

With the race, which starts in Nîmes on Saturday, now less than a week away, Chris Froome said that he was looking forward to taking on a race which has frustrated him in the past.

“It certainly feels as if I’ve got unfinished business with this race. I’ve finished second three times now, but I’ve got a good feeling about this year’s Vuelta,” Froome said.

“It feels like we’re on much more of a mission this year, and aiming for the Tour/Vuelta double this season has been a huge motivation.team

“I don’t think we’ve been to the Vuelta a Espana with a team as strong as we’ve got this year.”

>>> Vuelta a España 2017: Who are the bookmakers backing for victory?

As ever, the 2017 Vuelta a España features a mountainous parcous that packs nine summit finishes into 21 days of racing, and team principal Dave Brailsford is under no illusion about the challenge faced by the team.

“But we know from experience just how tough and competitive the Vuelta is as a race. This year is no different with one of the very hardest mountain top finishes on the Angliru on the penultimate stage,” Brailsford said.

“We go into the race with Chris supported by another group of very talented riders. It is great to have Wout Poels back after injury and it is an opportunity for him to put his mark on the season after a challenging year. Gianni Moscon will also be riding his first Grand Tour. He is an exciting talent with a lot to offer the team.

“I was very proud of how we rode the Tour this year – the teamwork and the way our riders supported each other was exceptional. This group go into the race with the same mindset and we will give them every support we can to help them succeed together.”

Team Sky line up for Vuelta a España

Chris Froome
Christian Knees
David Lopez
Gianni Moscon
Mikel Nieve
Wout Poels
Salvatore Puccio
Diego Rosa
Ian Stannard

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Louis Meintjes rejoins Dimension Data to bolster team’s GC options

Move frees up space for bigger-name GC riders to join UAE Team Emirates

Louis Meintjes will rejoin Dimension Data in 2018, agreeing a deal to return to the South African team after two years at Lampre-Merida/UAE Team Emirates.

The South African rider started his professional career at what was then MTN-Qhubeka in 2013, before moving to Lampre-Merida at the start of 2015.

However Meintjes, who finished eighth at the recent Tour de France, is now moving back to Dimension Data, as UAE Team Emirates looks to bring in more established GC riders, with possible moves for Fabio Aru and Dan Martin.

>>> Cycling transfers 2018: All the ins and outs from the WorldTour

“I am super excited to be coming back home to an African team,” Meintjes said. “My choice to come home was easy, as Team Dimension Data stands out from other professional teams.

“In the past two years I’ve gained tremendous experience from a European team, and I aim to use that experience to contribute to the success of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. African cycling has stepped up to a world class level over the last five years.”

Meintjes will join Dimension Data as their main GC rider, with sprinters such as Mark Cavendish and Edvald Boasson Hagen providing options for flatter stages.

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Movistar name Soler and Betancur in youthful Vuelta a Espana line-up

In the absence of Nairo Quintana and the injured Alejandro Valverde, Movistar has named a youthful team for the Vuelta a España, which gets underway from Nimes on Saturday. The highly-rated Marc Soler makes his Grand Tour debut, while the mercurial Carlos Betancur will seek to build on his solid Tour de France performance last month.

The Movistar line-up features no fewer than four Grand Tour debutants, with Soler joined in the team by Jorge Arcas, Richard Carapaz and Antonio Pedrero. That inexperience is balanced by the inclusion of Dani Moreno, José Joaquin Rojas, Nelson Oliveira and Ruben Fernandez.

Quintana’s decision to attempt the Giro-Tour double meant that a defence of his 2016 title was never on the cards, but Valverde – who has raced the Vuelta every season since he returned from a doping ban in 2012 – was long slated to lead Movistar in the third Grand Tour of the season. He misses the event after fracturing his kneecap in a crash in the opening time trial of the Tour de France.

Betancur’s 18th place overall in Paris was a rare bright spot in a trying Tour for Movistar. The Colombian rode strongly in support of Quintana and will hope to replicate that form in Spain. Betancur placed fifth overall at the 2013 Giro d’Italia, but has struggled to make an impact in Grand Tours since.

Soler announced himself on the international stage by winning the Tour de l’Avenir in 2015 before turning professional last season. The Catalan rider has quietly impressed this season, placing third overall at the Volta a Catalunya and riding to eighth at the Tour de Suisse in June.

The veteran Moreno has been a remarkably consistent performer at the Vuelta over the years, and has never finished lower than 12th in his past nine appearances. Moreno was eighth overall in Madrid a year ago and should arrive in Nimes relatively fresh, having missed the Giro and the Tour.

Rojas performed well in support of Quintana last year before he was forced out when he broke his leg in a crash on the penultimate stage. The Spaniard recovered to take fifth at Amstel Gold Race this spring and will enjoy greater freedom than normal on this year’s Vuelta.

Movistar team for Vuelta a España: Jorge Arcas (Spa), Carlos Betancur (Col), Richard Carapaz (Spa), Rubén Fernández (Spa), Dani Moreno (Spa), Nelson Oliveira (Por), Antonio Pedrero (Spa), José Joaquín Rojas (Spa) and Marc Soler (Spa).

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