Philippe Gilbert attacks on the Muur to take solo win in Three Days of De Panne stage one

Belgian champion takes commanding overall lead

Phlippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) took victory on the opening stage of the Three Days of De Panne after attacking on the Muur van Geraardsbergen and riding solo to the finish.

Gilbert had forced an initial selection when he accelerated on the first of two ascents of the Muur, dragging a group of 15 riders clear of the field.

>>> Watch: Katusha rider nearly takes out spectator while riding on pavement

After hard work from team-mate Dries Devenyns to make sure that the move wasn’t caught by a chasing group, Gilbert attacked on the Muur for a second time with 16km to go, with no one able to match his acceleration.

The Quick-Step Floors rider was then able to hold off a valiant chase from two-time Australian time trial champion Luke Durbridge (Orica-Scott) to take the stage win by 17 seconds, putting himself in a commanding position to also win the race overall.

Watch: How to ride on cobbles

The opening stage of the Three Days of De Panne saw the toughest day of racing with more than 200km covered from the coastal resort of De Panne, finishing with a hilly circuit around Zottegem.

The main break of the day contained seven riders, but the racing really got going on the first climb of the Muur van Geraardsbergen with just over 60km to go, when Philippe Gilbert led a group of 15 riders clear.

The second and final climb up the Muur came with 16km to go and saw another Gilbert attacked, with the Belgian champion accelerating from the very base of the climb.

This time Gilbert was able to dispense with all of his fellow riders, with Luke Durbridge the last rider to be dropped only a couple of hundred metres from the top of the climb.

>>> Muur van Geraardsbergen: cycling’s iconic places

What followed was essentially a pursuit between Gilbert and Durbridge, with the Australian unable to eat into Gilbert’s narrow 10-second lead on the flat roads towards the final climb of the Klemhoutstraat.

That gentle ascent played into Gilbert’s hadns as he opened his advantage out to 20 seconds, which he would hold all the way to the line.

The race will continue on Wednesday with a stage from Zottegem to Koksijde featuring the Kemmelberg climb, and concludes on Thursday with a road stage and time trial stage.


Three Days of De Panne 2017, stage one: De Panne – Zottegem (2o2.5km)

1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, in 4-26-18
2. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-Scott, at 17 secs
3. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 34 secs
4. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at same time
5. Matthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-Segafredo, at same time
6. Frederick Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at 53 secs
7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin, at 58 secs
8. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
10. Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, all at same time

Overall classification after stage one

1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, in 4-36-05
2. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-Scott, at 22 secs
3. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 43 secs
5. Matthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-Segafredo, at 46 secs
5. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 47 secs
6. Frederick Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at 1-06
7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin, at 1-11
8. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
10. Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, all at same time

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Georgia Tech Picks Up Backstroker Austin Daniel

Photo Courtesy: Austin Daniel

Agon is the proud sponsor of all high school coverage (recruiting, results, state championships, etc.) on For more information about Agon, visit their website

Austin Daniel has committed to swim for Georgia Tech beginning in the fall. Daniel is a senior at Cambridge High School in Milton, Georgia and swims for SwimAtlanta. He is a backstroker and freestyler.

Daniel shared, “The combination of a great team and excellent academics made GT the perfect choice for me.”

His best times are:

  • 100 Back 48.47
  • 100 Free 45.88
  • 200 Free 1:41.04

Daniel finished eighth in the 100 freestyle at the 2017 Georgia High School 6A/7A state championship.

At Georgia Tech he will join a backstroke group led by to-be senior William Oberg. He sneaks into ACC scoring range, as a 48.68 finished 24th this year.

To report a verbal commitment email

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12 things every cyclist has in their garage

Cyclists are great collectors of things. Nothing is too old or worn to throw away, just in case you ever need it again

It’s tough to admit it, but cyclists do have a tendency to hoard bits of old kit that are quite possibly well past their use by date.

Keeping such a collection of parts has a sound theory behind it: those worn items might just do as a back-up in an emergency, or that box of bits reserved could be used for a winter bike that hasn’t quite materialised yet.

You like to think of it as more treasure trove than junk pile. Even if that isn’t quite the reality.

Here is a compendium of items that we’d bet you could find in the average cyclist’s garage, shed or basement to accompany their bike(s).

>>> Six things no-one tells you when you start cycling

A length of cable outer that isn’t long enough for anything

You paid good money for that replacement cable set, and carefully cutting off the right length of cable outer to stop your bike looking like a mobile clothes line has meant that you have at least 75p worth of black tubing left. It could come in handy for a very tiny bike with a short cable run.

Tools for bottom bracket/headset you no longer own

Remember the days of headsets that required two spanners to tighten them up? Of those old cartridge bottom brackets? They may be obsolete tech now, but the tools you bought at great expense to service them still look good. Keep them just in case the world reverts to one-inch threaded headsets.

Half-used brake pads

You changed your brake pads because they were looking dangerously worn, to the point where your levers were all the way back to the bars and the barrel adjusters at maximum. However, what if you ever need an emergency set of brake pads with enough life for a couple of metres of braking? Sling them in a box, just in case.

Spare links left over from shortening a chain

Rather like the spare bit of outer cable we mentioned earlier, there is something upsetting about shortening a chain and being left with a few perfectly good, brand new links. Keep them somewhere safe and after a lifetime of changing chains you may have enough spare links to make a whole new one. It doesn’t matter that the links will variously be eight, nine, 10, 11 and possibly 12-speed…

Old wheels with worn-out rims

What do you do with old wheels with worn-down rims? The hubs are perfectly serviceable but the whole wheelset is rendered useless by the rims being in a condition that means one more episode of hard braking and there could be disaster. You could get some new rims put on there, of course, but that would cost about as much as buying a new set of wheels. New wheels it is, then. And keep the old ones, just in case.

Worn-out cleats

Those old cleats barely stay in the pedals any more, but you can detect that there is a small amount of wear left in them. Just in case.

>>> Embarrassing cycling problems, and how to prevent them

Collection of inner tubes waiting to be fixed

Of all the items in your bike shed/garage, this is perhaps the one that creates the most guilt. You know that inner tubes can be fixed, and you will get around to it one day. For now, though, let’s just pop a new one in the tyre because you’re not sure that tube of patch glue is still any good. Fix them all next week.

Cassette with one less sprocket than is needed

The old cassette with one less sprocket than you need takes two forms: one is literally an old cassette where one of the vital pieces has rolled under a set of shelves never to be seen again; the other is a seven-speed cassette dating back to 1989. Kept for spares, just in case.

>>> Are you using your bike’s gears efficiently?

An obsolete bike light

One of the few parts of bike technology that has truly evolved in leaps and bounds in recent years is bike lights. Modern LED lights are small, light, bright and can be recharged via the ubiquitous and convenient USB socket. The sorry old bike light that you keep – you guessed it – just in case, is dim, heavy and leaking some corrosive fluid all over your collection of rounded-off bolts.

One odd tyre lever, not part of a set

The other two were either left in a layby, fell out of your back pocket, snapped or got eaten.

Some bits of an old groupset

Whole websites are dedicated to the inter-compatibility of bicycle components (probably), but don’t let that stop you keeping hold of that old front derailleur that doesn’t fit your frame, the shifters that offer two gears too little and the derailleur with perfectly round jockey wheels.

Various shims, washers and adapters

Bike stuff tends to come with other stuff. And it all has to get put safely somewhere. Those extra light fixings for handlebars too thick/narrow, bike computer mounts, valve caps, Aheadset spacers, cable-end nipples, manuals, washers that you can’t remember what they are for, etc must be kept. JUST IN CASE.

… And one thing you definitely don’t keep in your garage

Who has room in their garage for a car?

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Tiger Woods: Reliving his incredible Masters win in 1997, aged just 21

Take a look back at the Masters of 1997 when a 21-year-old Tiger Woods announced his arrival on the world stage as he won the tournament at Augusta by a record 12 shots to record his maiden Major win and began his period of dominance at the top of the game.

Listen to Tiger’s Masterclass: 20 Years On, Wednesday 29 March, 21:00 BST on BBC Radio 5 live.

Available to UK users only.

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3 Hill Workouts for Strength, Speed, and Injury Prevention

Hill workouts are the unsung hero of speed work. Any runner can do them – and every runner will benefit.

Running Hill Workouts

Throughout my running career, hills have been used strategically in many types of workouts.

In high school, we ran hill repetitions and circuits. Sometimes, we ran them before or after other types of fast work (diabolical!).

In college, we ran similar workouts but added long repetitions and reps with “cruise recoveries” (in other words, even the recovery was run at a quicker pace).

Those were brutal…

And tellingly, we ran hill workouts during every season: summer base training, cross country, indoor track and the spring outdoor track season.

If the goal race was 10k or 800m, hill workouts were on the schedule.

That shouldn’t be surprising. Frank Shorter famously said, “Hills are speedwork in disguise.”

But I think my favorite sentiment about hills comes from this anonymous quote:

Most of us try to avoid hills, but what’s so good about that?

Think about it: flat tires, flat hair, flat returns, and the ultimate – flatlining.

Life happens on the hills. They’re opportunities to prove to yourself that you’re stronger than you ever imagined.

If you never attempt the ascent, you’ll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side.

Hill workouts are hard and unpleasant. They challenge your endurance, speed, and strength.

There’s no other workout like hills.

And that’s just why they’re so valuable.

Why Are Hill Workouts so Beneficial?

Running uphill (against gravity) stresses your body in a unique way that you can’t mimic on flat land.

That stress results in some fantastic adaptations and benefits:

  • There’s less impact running uphill so it’s easier on your joints and connective tissues
  • Hills “force” you to run with better form, reinforcing a more efficient stride
  • Running up steep grades builds power more safely than running fast on flat terrain
  • Hills provide the most specific strength work runners could ask for
  • Hill workouts build strength, speed, endurance, VO2 Max, and every other metric runners care about!

While hill sessions aren’t too race-specific (unless you’re training for an entirely uphill race), they have a valuable place in any training program.

And since they’re so versatile, they can be used at any time during the season – the early base training phase, the middle competition period, or even late in the season during the taper.

It all depends on how the hill workout is completed.

When Should Hills Be Used In Training?


Ok ok, I got carried away. I just really like hills. Let’s take a look at this graphic for a better visual:

Hill Workouts

To recap:

  • Hill sprints: outstanding workout that can be done anytime during a training season. They’re very effective at accomplishing their goals.
  • Short reps: very helpful workout best done in the mid or later stages of a training cycle.
  • Long reps: Best done during the earlier phases of training, but can be done (less effectively) during the middle stages of training
  • Hill circuits: a good workout for the middle or later phases of the training cycle. Not my preferred type of workout though

Pay less attention to the y-axis – the “Effectiveness” of the workout. All are effective, just at different things (i.e., hill sprints are great for neuromuscular training but long reps are better for aerobic fitness).

The real measure of a workout’s value is in how it’s used, when it occurs, and the workouts that come before and after them in the entire progression.

Let’s look at some types of hill workouts and how to best implement them in your training plan.

Hill Workout #1: Short Reps

Short hill repetitions are the traditional workout that most of us think of when we envision a hill workout.

They’re usually 60-90 seconds in length with a jog down recovery (you turn around at the end of the rep and run easy down to the bottom before turning around to start again).

They’re usually done at about 3k-10k pace on a 4-7% grade hill. In other words, they’re short and fast!

They’re a classic VO2 Max workout, helping the body increase its ability to deliver and process oxygen to hard-working muscles.

But there’s also a significant strength aspect, making this a great workout for those who struggle with injuries.

Here are a few examples of short hill rep workouts:

  • 10 x 90sec hills at 5k Pace
  • 8 x 60sec hills at 3k Pace
  • Descending ladder: 3x90sec, 3x60sec, 3x45sec starting at 10k Pace and getting progressively faster

There’s a lot of flexibility in designing short hill rep workouts. Vary the pace, length of rep, and number of reps to suit your needs.

These hill workouts are best incorporated into the middle or late stages of a running season as you’re focusing more on power and speed.

But of course, like most things in running, there are exceptions. If the reps are shorter, with longer recoveries, they can be used in the early phases of training as a precursor to more challenging workouts.

Hill Workout #2: Long Reps

Long reps of 2-4 minutes hold a dear place in my memory: I’m terrified of them.

Once per season during college cross country, my coach had us run 5 x 3min hills with a jog down recovery. The pace was hard and the undulating terrain made them particularly challenging.

Thinking of that workout – “We’re going to Pig Hill today” – still makes me nervous 12 years after my last Pig Hill workout. While they weren’t as intense as short reps, they seemed more challenging mentally because of their length.

These types of hill workouts can be used for a variety of reasons:

  • Early strength-building during the base phase of training
  • A type of tempo workout (if the pace is kept under control)
  • A replacement for shorter hill reps if an easier day is needed

Since a slower, but longer hill workout like this is more aerobic, it’s best used in the earlier phases of training.

Hill Workout #3: Circuit

Hill circuits are usually the most challenging of any type of hill workout because the recovery jog is done at a faster pace.

This reduces the amount that you’re able to recover between repetitions and makes the workout more aerobically demanding.

Here are a few examples:

  • 8 x 90sec hills at 5k effort, jog down recovery at marathon effort
  • 8 x 45sec hills at 3k effort, jog down recovery at 10k/half marathon effort

These sessions are similar to track workouts with “cruise recoveries” where the rest period is run at a more challenging pace.

Because the recovery is demanding and the pace of these reps is fast, it’s best to use these workouts in the middle or later stages of a season when the goal race is at the half marathon or shorter distance.

The harder the workout, the more appropriate it is for the later stages of a training cycle because it will get you into peak shape sooner.

And you can only maintain peak shape for a brief 6-8 week window in most cases.

Bonus Workout: Hill Sprints

I’m including hill sprints in this post – even though I don’t consider them a “workout.”

Like strides, hill sprints are more like drills that you do after a run. They’re only 8-10 seconds, but these short, max-intensity sprints up the steepest hill you can find pack a powerful punch.

Because the hill is so steep – and the pace is literally as fast as you can go – they recruit as many muscle fibers as possible, helping you:

  • Increase stride power
  • Engage more muscle fibers
  • Improve running economy
  • Strengthens muscles and connective tissues (helping with injury prevention)

If you’re injury-prone, they should be a regular addition to your program. Here’s more info on hill sprints or check out this video demonstration:

Note the recovery: it’s just walking! I take my sweet time between reps since this is a speed development workout.

Who Should Run Hill Workouts?

Short answer: everyone!

Every runner stands to benefit from the power, speed, and strength gained from structured hill workouts.

But there are a few key groups of people who will reap disproportionate rewards from hills.

If you’re injury-prone, hills are a safer alternative to road or track workouts because there’s less impact force distributed throughout your legs.

They also reinforce proper running form. It’s more challenging to over-stride or have poor posture while running uphill.

Finally, hill workouts build very running-specific strength. It takes a strong runner – both muscularly and aerobically – to run quickly up a steep hill.

And stronger, more economical runners are always less prone to running injuries.

If you’re a new runner, hills build more skill and power (which are not common facets of fitness that beginner runners typically focus on during training).

The exception here is if you’re still in the first few weeks of your running journey. With such a low training age, it’s best to focus on hill sprints and running hills at your easy pace on a regular run.

If you’re training for a hilly race, it’s clearly important to build some hills into your training program.

While hill repetitions are not the most race-specific type of workout, they do build the power and strength to be successful on hilly race courses.

And it’s important not to discount the psychological benefits of being comfortable on hills. Without practice, a hilly course might seem overly daunting on race day.

You can also check out even more hill workouts in my book, 52 Workouts, 52 Weeks, One Faster Runner.

Your turn: What types of hill workouts do you run? Do you structure them differently?

Let us know in the comments below – I’d love to learn more about how you use hills in your training.

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Stephen Roche special edition frame celebrates 30 years since he won the Triple Crown

Battaglin brings out frameset to celebrate Roche’s wins 30 years ago while riding the company’s bikes

It’s been 30 years since Stephen Roche won the Triple Crown of the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and World Championships in less than six months.

To mark the anniversary, cycle maker Officina Battaglin has launched a special edition Stephen Roche frameset. Like the original Battaglin bike ridden by Roche, the new Stephen Roche frameset is made of steel. And since it’s 30 years ago, Battaglin is only making 30 of the Roche frames, building them to order.

>>> Icons of cycling: the rainbow jersey

The frame bears a gold insert with three diamonds marking Roche’s three wins

You can reserve a frame at The frame is finished in corrosion resistant black chrome. It’s embellished with a decal reproduced from the 1980s bikes which was used by Battaglin to celebrate Roche’s win. To finish off, there’s a gold plaque bearing three diamonds, marking the three victories.

>>> Top seven father and son combinations in cycling

Battaglin Cycles started out making steel frames, but in 1996 switched to aluminium and carbon fibre. In 2014 Battaglin returned to hand building all its frames out of steel, with all being made in Italy with traditional lugged construction. Battaglin backs up its steel frames with a one million mile warranty against defects in material and workmanship. It says this is the longest and most comprehensive guarantee on the market.

Columbus resurrected its SLX tubing for the anniversary

The classic lugged frames are built in Columbus SLX tubing. It’s a name going back to the 70s and 80s, when it was the material from which top pro bikes were made, but went out of production in the late 1990s. Battaglin has worked with Columbus to reintroduce the SLX tubing for the Roche frame.

>>> Giovanni Battaglin’s Giro d’Italia winning Tre Cime Pinarello

Watch: Show us your scars Stephen Roche

Columbus SLX tubing had internal helical reinforcements built into the end of its seat tube and down tube, ensuring that there was extra material around the bottom bracket area, where higher stresses occur.

Giovanni Battaglin himself was one of the top racers of his generation, A pro for 12 years, he won the Giro-Vuelta double in 1981 – only the second rider to do so after Eddy Merckx.

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Geraint Thomas: ‘I hope I’ve got all my bad luck out of the way before the Giro d’Italia’

Welshman looking forward to his first shot at Grand Tour as leader

With his shot at the Giro d’Italia GC now less than six weeks away, Geraint Thomas says that he hopes all his bad luck is out of the way after missing out in Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta a Catalunya.

Thomas finished fifth in Tirreno-Adriatico after losing time in the opening team time trial due to the collapse of Gianni Moscon’s wheel, and then lost more than 26 minutes on the penultimate day of the Volta a Catalunya when he and the rest of Team Sky missed a split early in the stage.

>>> Nairo Quintana: ‘We’ll need to keep a close eye on Geraint Thomas at the Giro’

“The time losses on Saturday [at the Volta a Catalunya] were just down to a mistake by us,” Thomas said. “We were in the wrong part of the group when the race split, we ended up having to chase and that was it.

“I said after the team time trial in Tirreno that it would be nice to get all my bad luck out the way early on and have all the luck in the world at the Giro.”

Watch: Giro d’Italia 2017 essential guide

Speaking to the Team Sky website after finishing the Volta a Catalunya, Thomas said that he was happy with his form heading towards his first opportunity to lead a team in a Grand Tour, and had learned a lot from his experiences in Spain.

“I had a bit of a bad day on the main mountain stage. I learned a few things there, though – not just about how I coped physically but also mentally.

>>> Giro d’Italita 2017 start list

“I think I can take quite a lot from that, because I’ve rarely been in those positions. The more times I can be in those positions before the Giro the better, so it’s all positive in a round-about way.’

Thomas’s next race will be the Tour of the Alps (April 17-21) – formerly known as the Giro del Trentino – before heading to the Giro d’Italia two weeks later.

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Davis Cup: Andy Murray will miss Great Britain's quarter-final against France

Andy Murray

Andy Murray will miss Great Britain’s Davis Cup quarter-final against France next month as he recovers from an elbow injury.

Murray, 29, pulled out of the Miami Open almost a week before his opening match because of the elbow issue.

Dan Evans, Kyle Edmund, Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot will line up for Britain for the tie in Rouen from 7-9 April.

GB captain Leon Smith conceded it was “a big loss to our team” to be without Andy Murray, the world number one.

Murray is resting his elbow injury for a second consecutive week and no decision has yet been taken about when he will return to the practice courts.

His next scheduled tournament – in Monte Carlo – starts in three weeks.

“Most importantly we all wish him well for a speedy recovery back to full health and fitness,” said Smith.

“I know that he would really want to be here with the rest of the team.”

The tie will be played indoors on clay at the Kindarena, and Britain will rely on the same squad that overcame Canada in the first round, when Murray was also absent.

“In Dan and Kyle we have two top-50 singles players who are improving all the time on the tour and both with games capable of upsetting higher ranked opponents,” added Smith.

“Jamie and Dom once again combine as our doubles team and will draw much confidence after performing so well recently to win key rubbers against Serbia and Canada to defeat Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil.

“This is a team with significant Davis Cup experience now and these guys have all stepped up and delivered performances at the very top of the competition.”


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

There was no Murray in Canada for the first round tie, and Britain still won, but this French side has six top 50 players to choose from – plus the world doubles number one Nicolas Mahut.

Edmund and Evans are also in the top 50, but Evans has not contested a tournament on clay since May 2015.

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Italian team managers and Trek-Segafredo rider banned over ‘pay-to-race’ scandal

Gianni Savio and Angelo Citracca given three month bans, while Marco Coledan is ruled out of the Classics

The Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) has banned two Italian team managers for three months, ruling them out of the Giro d’Italia and other events, because they charged cyclists to race in their teams.

Trek-Segafredo rider Marco Coledan, has also been banned for refusing to testify in the case.

The federation banned Gianni Savio and Angelo Citracca, managers of Androni Giocattoli and Wilier Triestina respectively, for three months after the made riders to pay for professional contracts to ride on their teams.

Wilier earned one of the four wildcard invitations to the Giro d’Italia, but the ruling means that Citracca will be unable to follow his team.

The FCI acquitted Bruno Reverberi, team manager of Bardiani-CSF, the other Italian team to earn a Giro wildcard together with Polish team CCC Sprandi Polkowice and Russian team Gazprom-RusVelo.

>>> Giro d’Italia 2017 start list

It is a bad sign for Italian cycling, which for the first time in modern cycling lacks a top-level professional team, with the case hitting two of the country’s major teams just weeks ahead of the start of the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia (May 5 to 28).

Olympic omnium gold medallist and Team Sky‘s Italian sprinter Elia Viviani spoke with the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in June. He provided details how Reverberi would not allow Marco Coledan, now with Trek-Segafredo, to leave his contract unless he paid a penalty.

“He had a contract for one more year, I wanted him on my Liquigas team, but the sum to leave was €15,000,” Viviani said. “That’s reasonable. He could do that since Liquigas would pay €80,000. I was going to help him pay it. Then Reverberi asked for around 30-40 thousand. Coledan remained another year with Bardiani before joining Trek-Segafredo.”

Watch: Giro d’Italia essential guide

Coledan, who rode in support of John Degenkolb in E3 Harelbeke on Friday, has been given a 15 day ban for not testifying meaning that he will not be able to ride either the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix.

Matteo Mammini, a former Italian time trial champion, said that Gianni Savio asked for €50,000 from him to have a professional contract with Androni, but he did not pay. Patrick Facchini, another former rider, said that he, and other cyclists like Marco Frapporti and Antonio Parrinello, had to bring sponsors to the team to race for Savio.

Italian journalist Marco Bonarrigo exposed the system in an article he wrote for Corriere della Sera last year.

“A system that accepts only cyclists who are able to bring in sponsors, then that does not allow them to go to more competitive teams if they don’t pay a penalty,” Olympic committee prosecutor Massimo Ciardullo said in November. “The result? If you are talented and don’t pay, you stay put as a prisoner.”

In a statement Savio said that he is “shocked” and that he will contest the decision, but risks a longer sentence if he loses an appeal.

The FCI had initially found Savio and Citracca not guilty over the claims, but was made to reopen the case by CONI.

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Dr Richard Freeman’s response in Team Sky/British Cycling saga ‘leaves major questions outstanding’

Former Team Sky medic Dr Richard Freeman gives nine-page response to questions from British MPs relating to the ‘mystery package’ delivered to the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné

Doctor Richard Freeman’s response in the Team Sky/British Cycling controversy “leaves major questions outstanding,” says Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

Freeman, who missed his committee hearing date on March 1 due to health reasons, responded in a nine-page letter to the select committee.

“Once again, this new evidence leaves major questions outstanding for Team Sky and British Cycling,” said Damian Collins MP, Chair of the Committee.

“In particular, why were no back up medical records kept for Bradley Wiggins in 2011, beyond those on Dr Freeman’s laptop computer? Why were there not more formal protocols enforced on recording keeping, and whose responsibility was it to make sure that Team Sky’s own stated policies were being enforced.”

Freeman told the committee that he would be available for future hearings when his health improves.

>>> Everything you need to know about the British Cycling/Sky mystery package saga

“I did not routinely upload these notes [medical records] to Dropbox which I found difficult to use, having ongoing concerns about its security and greater confidence in my own system of note keeping,” he wrote.

“The present system of medical record keeping and medicines management is a massive improvement to that which existed in 2011. I accept that it would have been desirable to have backed up my clinical records, whatever system was used. I regret not doing this.”

Today, Freeman said that the teams use a “commercial secure and backed up record keeping systems”.

Watch: UKAD’s Nicole Sapstead gives evidence to select committee

The jiffy bag or package sent to the Critérium du Dauphiné‘s final stage at the La Toussuire ski resort, from England to France via Simon Cope, contained “only Fluimucil.” Freeman ordered the decongestant medicine to avoid buying it abroad.

“The Dauphiné in 2011 was also unique for me, as a high altitude training camp followed immediately after the race without the opportunity to return to my place of work to re‐stock. I wanted to ensure I had enough supplies of medication if required at that training camp, having used up some of my present stock during the race,” he explained.

“My request made to Shane Sutton a day or two before the end of the Dauphiné 2011 was set against this background. I do not believe Fluimucil nebuliser solution was then available in France, by contrast to the powder version to be made up with water as a drink for oral ingestion, which I do not believe to be particularly effective.”

Team Sky admitted that it once bought Fluimucil from a pharmacy in Yverdon, Switzerland in April 2011 – which only would have been a three-hour drive from La Toussuire.

“I have not brought any medication from the pharmacy before or since,” Freeman said of the April 11 purchase. “During the Dauphiné in June 2011, we were running low on Fluimucil during the Dauphiné, my first thought was of the supply I had in Manchester, and that the Team would be able to access that supply quickly. It did not occur to me to travel to Switzerland.”

Team Sky at the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné. Photo: Graham Watson

The Sky and British Cycling storm brewed with the Russian hacker group Fancy Bears’ leak of medial information about Olympic athletes last summer. It revealed that Bradley Wiggins‘s triamcinolone injections before important stage races. The UCI approved Wiggins to inject the corticosteroid prior to the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Tour, and the 2013 Giro d’Italia.

“I am not, and have not been concerned that the TUE process is abused by athletes, in relation to my clinical experience and practice,” Freeman said.

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“Medicines are always prescribed for clinical need. Triamcinolone is an anti‐inflammatory glucocorticoid steroid injection in frequent use in medical practice for a variety of medical conditions.

“I have only ever personally administered triamcinolone to one rider at Team Sky and British Cycling. In the last seven years, I’m aware of only a handful of riders in either team being referred to hospital for image guided triamcinolone injection for clinical need, with none needing a TUE.

“Coaches and Performance Directors were involved in the process. The ethics of this treatment was discussed. No concerns were raised with me about this treatment. Use of triamcinolone is very infrequent in these teams but my obligation to doctor/patient confidentiality does not allow me to explain further.”

There is no suggestion that Team Sky, British Cycling or Bradley Wiggins have broken any anti-doping rules.

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