Geraint Thomas: ‘I saw the Barcelona result, and thought anything can happen in sport’

Team Sky rider draws inspiration from football for Tirreno-Adriatico stage win

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas began the Tirreno-Adriatico stage today with revenge and football on his mind, and ended it with a solo escape to the hilltop Tuscan town of Pomarance.

Thomas lost his chances of winning the Tirreno-Adriatico overall, one year after doing so in Paris-Nice, when Team Sky suffered from three wheel problems in the opening team time trial, losing more than a minute to the other overall contenders.

However the Welshman drew inspiration from Barcelona’s overturning of a 4-0 first leg deficit in the Champions League to win 6-5 on aggregate against Paris St Germain as he took a fine solo victory.

“It was a massive disappointment yesterday,” Thomas said of the team time trial. “We came here to win the GC, with myself and Landa with a two-pronged attack, so that was massively disappointing for how it ended yesterday.

“We saw the Barcelona result last night and that shows anything can happen in sport. We wanted to be aggressive and race every day as best. I had my chance today and I was lucky to finish it off.”

>>> Team Sky wheel sponsor issues response to Gianni Moscon’s dramatic Tirreno crash

Thomas attacked in the undulating Tuscan hills. He first marked Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) then attacked, at 4.8 kilometres remaining, to pull away Jungels, overall leader Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) and Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar). Not happy with his companions, he surged free with 3.9 kilometres remaining, maintaining his advantage on the final kilometre kick into Pomarance.

It was his first win since the Paris-Nice overall last March and his first win in Italy in an 11-year professional career. He gained time bonus and a handful of seconds on the favourites, like Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), but not enough to think of the overall classification when the race ends Tuesday along Italy’s east coast.

“Barcelona start from scratch in the quarter finals, we don’t. But never say never,” Thomas said. “The thing is to try to keep race aggressively every day and try to take wins.

“We have Elia Viviani for the sprint tomorrow and other guys for the mountain top finish. I’m not thinking of the GC now but if something happens, fantastic. But I’m just treating it as a good chance to race for stages.”

>>> Geraint Thomas ‘frustrated’ and ‘annoyed’ by Team Sky press coverage

Thomas could ride clear on the 16.1-kilometre climb to Monte Terminillo, where Quintana won in a snow storm two years ago. If he gained enough time, he could perhaps re-join the overall classification hunt.

Chris Froome is watching closely. Thomas helped him win the Tour de France three times and decided to switch focus to winning the Giro d’Italia this May before going to the Tour.

The two trained together for two weeks at altitude in South Africa last month. It was the first time that Thomas spent such a long time alone with is long-time team-mate and cycling’s grand tour star.

“I’ve raced in all three of his wins, you learn the most there when the pressure is on,” Thomas said. “Then training with him in the last month too, it pushes you every day, you are always testing yourself against him, there’s no other better training partner.”

Yesterday, Froome sent Thomas a message after seeing the team’s disastrous time trial. Gianni Moscon hit a hole in the road and his carbon front wheel collapse in pieces. The team was forced to wait as it lost others to wheel problems as well.

They did not speak about the parliament and UKAD investigation into Team Sky and British Cycling.

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

“I haven’t spoken to Froomey actually. Yesterday, it was about what happened in the stage, saying sorry and things. I haven’t spoken with him about that [the Team Sky situation].”

He explained that it was the same with Dave Brailsford, the team’s founder and boss. Yesterday, Brailsford arrived in central Italy to watch Landa and Thomas race together.

“He showed up just before the team time trial and he shook my hand and said thanks for yesterday [for the Twitter support]. That was it, we didn’t speak but focused on the race. After race, there was a lot of other stuff going with wheels and stuff.”

There had been reports that Brailsford may be forced to step down. Then on Tuesday, Sky and Brailsford issued a response to UKAD’s comments and the parliament’s inquiry. Thomas saw the document, but said that he is in “a bubble” and is “trying to lose weight and get fit.”

“The riders speak to each other, but it’s more about… It’s nothing to do with us. It is indirectly because we are in Team Sky, but it’s more an issue for the management and the medical team,” he explained.

“They put this document together but we didn’t see it until it came out. I haven’t read it all. Six pages is quite a lot to read. I’ve just got confidence in the team and that’s that.”

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USA Swimming Posts National Team Director Job Listing

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Following the announcement of Frank Busch’s retirement from the position of National Team Director, USA Swimming is conducting a search for a dynamic leader to oversee and direct all aspects of USA Swimming’s National Team program.

A full job description is listed below.

Interested candidates should submit a resume and supporting materials to

Position: National Team Director

Reports to: Chief Executive Officer

Mission: The National Team Director is responsible for overseeing and directing all aspects of the National Team program with the ultimate goal of ensuring that USA Swimming maintains its position as the #1 ranked swim team in the world.

To achieve this mission, the National Team Director will be expected to:

  •  Lead the U.S. National Team into and at international competitions
  •  Ensure that all athletes, coaches and staff are representing USA Swimming in a manner that is consistent with USA Swimming’s standards and values:
    • Work with coaches and athletes to help ensure that athletes are prepared to deliver optimum performance in major international competitions
    • Lead the team in displaying a positive attitude and team spirit through friendly, honest and forthright interactions
    • Be professional in appearance and conduct
  • Provide leadership, continuity, oversight and supervision in the development and implementation of the programs, services and projects of the National Team Division
  • Develop a strong working relationship with National Team coaches
  • Develop a strong working relationship with National Team athletes
  • Create annual High Performance Plans for the USOC that will guide the National Team Division
  • Work collaboratively with the USOC
  • Lead, direct and motivate USA Swimming National Team staff

Travel: Travel to meets and training camps is critical to implement services and programs. Travel will also be expected to get to know the coaches and athletes, and find out how to best serve them.

Job Details: The National Team Director’s job consists primarily of the following.

Athlete and Coach Development

  • Provide vision and leadership for America’s top coaches and elite athletes, with the focus on performance success at the Olympic Games and World Championships.
  • Provide consistent leadership that ensures the perpetuation and continued growth of a National Team culture that has been historically characterized by the highest levels of personal accountability; medal-winning performance results; team spirit; and national pride.
  • Develop and implement programs to help identify and mentor younger and less experienced coaches.
  • Provide general oversight and philosophical direction to the National Junior Team program with the goal of maintaining a strong athlete pathway to the National Team and fostering the culture that characterizes the National Team program.
  • Assume a strong leadership and communication role with Athletes’ Executive Committee and the National Team Athletes Committee.  Ensure that athlete concerns and opportunities are recognized and advocate for those concerns, as appropriate.
  • Assume a strong and vocal leadership role in support of USA Swimming’s anti-doping and education programs.
  • Address disciplinary action on National Team trips.

National Team Division Support

  • Work collaboratively and communicate regularly with the National Steering Committee and National Steering Committee Chair on all appropriate aspects of the National Team program.
  • Work collaboratively with other Division Directors as a member of the senior staff team to creatively develop and achieve USA Swimming’s strategic plan and key objectives.
  • Participate in senior staff meetings and lead the National Team’s efforts in the annual budget development process.-1
  • Work in collaboration with Chief Executive Officer and others to effectively represent and lobby for the needs of the National Team program with domestic and international organizations.
  • Perform duties, serve on task groups and take on special assignments as requested by the Chief Executive Officer.
  • Direct and supervise the National Team Managing Director and National Team Division staff.-2

International Relations

  • Accompany the Chief Executive Officer in all meetings involving the Pan Pacific Charter Nations.
  • Attend all meetings of the International Relations Committee and participate in USA Swimming’s International Relations strategic planning and initiatives.
  • Participate on the FINA Coaches’ Commission, if requested.


  • A bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Leadership experience with a national level sports organization.
  • Strong strategic planning skills.
  • Demonstrated experience with development and implementation of High Performance Plans focused on high level success.
  • Experience working in international sport.
  • Proven relationship-building skills.
  • Experience working with elite-level athletes and coaches.
  • Proven financial management experience.
  • Proven staff management experience.
  • Ability to travel and work effectively while away from national office.

This job description is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities or qualifications associated with the job; other duties may be assigned.

USA Swimming is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer

[1] The National Team Division’s operating budget is approximately $10M/year.

[2] There are currently 14 employees in the National Team Division.

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André Greipel storms to Paris-Nice 2017 stage five win

German powerhouse André Greipel makes the most of the last sprint stage of 2017 Paris-Nice as the race heads into the mountains

André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) used his experience and power to navigate through a tricky finish to win stage five of 2017 Paris-Nice on Thursday.

Several of the sprinters’ trains were disrupted on the run-in to Bourg-de-Péage after a series of roundabouts, turns and a draggy rise into a headwind to the line.

Greipel put himself into the perfect position in the scrappy bunch sprint finale to win by over a bike length ahead of former race leader Arnaud Démare (FDJ), with Dutch champion Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) in third.

Overnight race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) finished in the peloton to retain his position in the yellow jersey. The Frenchman leads compatriot Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) by 33 seconds overall, with Spaniard Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) in third at 47 seconds.

>>> Paris-Nice 2017: Latest news, reports and info

It wasn’t all plain sailing for Alaphilippe, as he momentarily lost contact with the front group after the peloton split as a result of a crash just inside the final 20km.

As the two parts of the peloton rejoined, they soon after caught the remnants of the day’s escape group, which had comprised Axel Domont (Ag2r), Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie), Federico Zurlo (UAE Team Emirates) and Remy di Gregorio (Delko-Marseille) after they attacked in the opening kilometres.

As various teams moved to the front of the race, some squads became fragmented due to the number and size of the roundabouts. At one point, Alaphilippe tagged himself onto the back of the Katusha team at the front of the bunch, evidently mindful of the earlier incident.

In among all the chaos, Greipel did not panic. Positioning himself perfectly in the finale and using his strength to burst ahead of his rivals into the headwind and take the victory – his third of the year, and first in a 2017 WorldTour race.

Thursday’s stage represented the last chance for the sprinters to go for a win, as the race heads into more mountainous terrain. Friday’s stage six runs for 193.5km from Aubagne to Fayence and includes six categorised climbs, including a final second category ascent to the line.

It will be a stern test for Alaphilippe, as the 24-year-old leads a major stage race in his home nation with the weight of expectation on his shoulders. Paris-Nice has not been won by a Frenchman since Laurent Jalabert in 1997.


Paris-Nice 2017, stage five: Quincié-en-Beaujolais to Bourg-de-Péage, 199.5km
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Soudal
2. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ
3. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
5. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
6. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott
7. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors
8. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie
9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
10. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe, all same time
13. Ben Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates
14. Dan McLay (GBr) Fortuneo-Vital Concept
19. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, at same time

General classification after stage five
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, in 17-20-02
2. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal, at 33 secs
3. Gorka Izagirre (Esp) Movistar, at 47 secs
4. Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky, at 1-05
5. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, at 1-20
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at 1-24
7. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin, at 1-28
8. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ, at 1-29
9. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo, at 1-31
10. Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ, at 1-32
15. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott, at 2-16

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2017 NCSA Junior Nationals Psych Sheet Preview: 8 Swimmers to Watch

Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

The psych sheet for the 2017 NCSA Junior National Championship has been released. Next week hundreds of swimmers will travel to Orlando for what is always a competitive meet.

At a meet where 40 swimmers get a finals swim in each event, there are plenty of swimmers and races to keep an eye on. Here are eight to pay close attention to.

View the full psych sheet here.


Morgan Tankersley

Greater Tampa Swimming Association’s 17 year old Tankersley has an incredible range across the freestyle events. She is entered in seven events next week and takes the top seed in two of them: the 200 and 500 freestyle. She’s also second seed in the 100 free and third in the 50 free.

Tankersley is also in the mix in the distance events. She is the fifth seed in the 1000. She enters the 1650 with her 1000 time, but given her presence in that event, she could be a significant player from an early heat.

Margaret Aroesty


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Aroesty is set up to be the breaststroke queen of the meet. Long Island Aquatic Club’s National Junior Team member takes the top seed in the 50, 100, and 200 breaststrokes. She enters with few challengers in the 100 as her 58.98 makes her the only swimmer under a minute. Ema Rajic is seeded second, but well back at 1:00.77.

In the 200, the University of Southern California commit has three Marlins of Raleigh swimmers on her tail: Ashley McCauleyAbigail Arens, and Julia Poole. Aroesty is also second seed in the 200 IM, sandwiched between teammate Kristen Romano and Poole.

Phoebe Bacon

While only 14, Nation’s Capital’s Bacon is a swimmer to watch next week. One of the youngest swimmers at Olympic Trials this summer, Bacon has the experience to be competitive here. She enters with four top three seeds: the 50 and 100 backstroke and the 50 and 100 butterfly.

Madison Homovich

homovich-madison-santa-clara-2015 (3)

Photo Courtesy: David Farr

Homovich has long been a name at the top of the distance events. She holds 11 North Carolina LSC short course records and looks to continue her distance success on the national stage this week. The Marlins of Raleigh’s high school junior is the top seed in the 1000, 1650, and 400 IM.

In the 400 IM she looks to have a great race with Romano. In the 1000 Sierra Schmidt is seeded a full four seconds behind her and in the mile Homovich leads the way by 14 seconds. She’ll have a long week, as she heads to Orlando entered in nine events, and is seeded in the top 20 in seven of them.


Reece Whitley

Whitely is a swimmer to watch whenever he dives in the pool. After challenging and setting National Independent School records just two weeks ago, Penn Charter Aquatic Club’s 17 year old could be chasing National Age Group records next week.

Whitley will be racing the clock in the 100 breaststroke, where he enters with a 51.84, over three seconds faster than the second seed, but less than a tenth shy of Kevin Cordes‘ NAG of 51.76. Whitley also leads the way in the 50 and 200 breaststroke and 200 IM.

Jack Dolan


Photo Courtesy: Swimming World TV

After racing at Speedo Sectionals in Columbia this weekend, Dolan will travel to Orlando to race again. Only 16, the Rockwood Swim Club swimmer has top seeds in four of his seven events: the 50 and 100 freestyle and 50 and 100 backstroke.

At Winter Nationals in December, Dolan posted the fourth fastest all time 50 freestyle time for 15-16 boys. Currently the only entry under 20 seconds, Dolan will see if he can climb the rankings in that event this week. He’ll also race in what should be an impressive 200 freestyle field, where he is seeded fifth.

Trey Freeman

The Baylor Swim Club junior (entered in the psych sheet as Robert) will be looking to take the distance trifecta next week. Freeman is top seed in the 500, 1000, and 1650 freestyles. He’s also second seed in the 200 free.

In the 1650 he’s entered 20 seconds ahead of the field while his 1000 seed time is nine seconds faster than the next best swimmer and his 500 time is five seconds quicker. The University of Florida commit appears on the psych sheet an impressive 15 times, however, so only time will tell which events he ends up racing.

Camden Murphy


Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

Murphy enters the meet as the most dominant men’s butterflyer. The 17 year old from Kingfish Aquatic Club in Michigan has the top seed in the 50 and 100 butterfly and is seeded third in the 200 butterfly. Last year, when the meet was swum long course at night, Murphy won the 100 butterfly. This year with a short course finals, he will look to repeat as champion.

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Why the Team Sky saga is not big news outside Britain… for now

Recent events surrounding Team Sky and British Cycling may have dominated British headlines, but the story has not appealed to continental news outlets, who says it’s ‘complicated’

The Team Sky saga dominates the headlines at home in Great Britain, but abroad, newspapers and readers have yet to fully embrace the news. Foreign journalists say that could change as further details emerge and as the Tour de France approaches.

Parliament and the UK Anti-Doping Agency are looking into wrong-doing and doping claims in Team Sky and British Cycling. Already, UKAD blasted Sky’s Doctor Richard Freeman in a select committee hearing. Others have suggested that team founder and boss David Brailsford should step down.

“The story doesn’t have much sex appeal in Flanders,” Het Laatste Nieuws journalist Marc Ghyselinck told Cycling Weekly.

“The readers care, but it’s far from what they think of as cycling in Flanders. This is a complicated story as it is with Doctor Richard Freeman, a 2011 mystery package… It’s quite complicated. It’s not rider A positive for product B.”

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

On Monday, the Belgian newspaper led one of its pages with the Sunday Times‘s story on Team Sky. That occupied one-third of a page in their five-page cycling coverage devoted mostly to the upcoming classics.

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford. Photo: Graham Watson

“At the moment, it doesn’t get that much coverage because it’s a weird scandal, not a doping case scandal, so it’s a little too complicated for the average German fan,” explained Felix Mattis of Rad-Sport News.

“However, I think it’s going to change heading to the Tour de France. If it goes on like this, then it’ll be a big topic because all the big German media will be covering cycling and they will ask what Sky is doing, or was doing.”

The pink Italian daily sports newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport ran two news items in the last 10 days.

“We haven’t done much on it,” journalist Paolo Marabini said. “Our impression is that there needs to be something concrete. And maybe because there aren’t Italian cyclists involved. It is all around Bradley Wiggins, who’s an ex-cyclist, so there’s not so much push from us to go deeper.

Watch: UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead in front of MPs

“However, we followed every step of the Lampre Mantova investigation because that was an Italian team. We printed elements from the case that others didn’t have. We had someone there at the prosecutor’s office and in every hearing.”

With speculation this week that Brailsford could be forced out of team Sky, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf printed an interview with Sky’s Wout Poels on the subject.

>>> Team Sky chair backs Dave Brailsford as team hits back at ‘inaccurate’ and ‘untrue’ assumptions

“When the team started, when David Brailsford arrived, they talked about a different way of cycling, doing everything differently than the Armstrong period, that they would have full transparency, but now look, like everyone in sport, they are searching in the grey area,” De Telegraaf‘s Raymond Kerckhoffs said. “In my eyes, Sky has lost its halo in this.

“However, there is nothing that says that Sky dopes. If you have to fire David Brailsford, then I know many other team managers that have to be fired too.”

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Psych Sheet Preview: FAST Girls, Alexei Sancov Lead Iowa City Sectionals

Photo Courtesy: Lance Holter

Iowa City will be one of four locations for Speedo Sectionals meet this weekend.

The Fort Collins Area Swim Team girls enter the meet as a dominant force. In the 200 backstroke they take the top five seeds, led by Bayley Stewart. Stewart’s teammates Zoe Bartel and Bailey Kovac are also consistently in the top of the mix on the psych sheets.

Bartel, the 200 breaststroke National Age Group record holder, is the fastest entrant in the 200 IM and 100 and 200 breaststroke. She’s also in the top five in the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke and the 100 freestyle. Kovac is a top eight seed in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, 200 IM, and 200 backstroke. The 18 year old also leads the way in the 400 IM.

Ruby Martin, the Iowa Flyer swimmer who had a breakout Olympic Trials this summer, is the top seed in the 200 butterfly by a full five seconds. The 17 year old also leads the way in the 100 butterfly. She’ll also swim the 200 IM, 400 IM and 200 backstroke.

Piranhas Swim Club’s Sarah Schemmel is top seed in the 100 freestyle and seeded second in the 50 free. Melissa Pish from Waves Bloomington/Normal Y has a large lead headed into the 500 freestyle. Pish is also top seed in the 200 freestyle and third in the 100. The Duke commit‘s teammate Noell Peplowski is second in the 500 and third in the 100 breaststroke.

On the men’s side, there is a little more team diversity at the top. Lake Forest Swim Club’s Levy Nathan is among the top of the distance events. He’s first seed in the 1650 and the 1000 and second only to Terrapins’ Alexei Sancov in the 500.

Fifteen year old Peter Larson is top seed in the 200 backstroke. The Edina Swim Club swimmer also enters fourth in the 100 backstroke.

Unattached 21 year old Justin Winnett has the fastest times in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. He’s also the leader in the 50 freestyle while Sancov tops the 100. Sancov also has the fastest entry in the 200 butterfly and 200 freestyle. Lane 4 Aquatics’ Caleb Aman is entered in just one event this weekend- the 200 IM- but he is the top seed.

View the full psych sheet here.

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Injury Prevention Essentials for Bigger Runners with Coach James Dunne

If we’ve met – or you’ve seen pictures of me – it’s clear that I am not a big guy. Actually, I’m tiny.

I’m no bigger than Shalane Flanagan…

At 5’7″ and 125 pounds, I have the stereotypical runner’s body. And I love it.

I’ve always been very comfortable in my skin, though it wasn’t always like that. I played basketball through middle school, always wondering when that growth spurt would (finally!) hit.

Alas, I’ve been waiting since 1998. When I started running in high school, I had an important decision to make: do I continue with basketball (knowing that I’d likely never play on Varsity because of my size) or run indoor track instead?

I chose track – and my thin frame proved advantageous. Looking at the body types of Olympians, it’s clear that the stereotypical body for distance runners helps you run faster.

You carry less weight. You’re more economical. And you can therefore run a lot faster.

But did it help with preventing running injuries?

Are lighter runners less likely to get injured? Are heavier runners more likely to get hurt?

I’m not quite sure… so I dove into the latest literature and invited James Dunne on the Strength Running podcast.

James Dunne and Running Heavy

James doesn’t look like the “typical” runner – he’s 6’6″ and 250 pounds. A former professional rugby player, James has a degree in Sport Rehabilitation and is fully insured member of the British Association of Sport Rehabilitators and Trainers (BASRaT).

He’s the founder of Kinetic-Revolution and has an ongoing fascination with the functional biomechanics of running (in other words, how you move while running).

In this far-reaching discussion, we talk about quite a few issues:

  • Should overweight runners be more worried about injury?
  • Is gaining weight more important for injury risk than being consistently overweight?
  • Does training for weight loss differ than training for a race? How?

Check out this episode on iTunes (or Stitcher if you have an Android device).

Show Resources & Links:

A big thanks to James for coming on the podcast. Be sure to say hi on Facebook if you enjoyed the show!

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‘Cav is pushing me to get results in the big races’

Dimension Data new recruit Scott Thwaites has been getting tips from team-mate Mark Cavendish ahead of the spring classics

Scott Thwaites is heading towards the classics this spring with a new enthusiasm, and encouragement from new Dimension Data team-mate Mark Cavendish.

They previewed the final kilometres of the Milan-San Remo course on Monday and began rooming together in Tirreno-Adriatico this week.

“It’s good, he’s a great guy,” Thwaites told Cycling Weekly ahead of Tirreno-Adriatico stage two.

“Rooming with him is great, you pick up so many small bits just through conversation. He’s just a great guy to motivate you for races. Obviously, these are all big races, WorldTour races and he’s trying to push me to improve myself so I have the confidence to go for results in these bigger races.”

>>> Exclusive: Scott Thwaites to ride for Dimension Data in 2017

The Yorkshireman spoke quietly outside the team bus in Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy. Behind him, one by one, his team-mates including Cavendish lifted their bike from the stand and rode to sign-in for stage two.

Thwaites has raced the last seven seasons for Bora/Endura, which was then a UCI Professional Continental team. He signed with Doug Ryder’s South African Dimension Data team over the winter, which means the ability to concentrate more on the big one-day races.

Scott Thwaites in 2017 Strade Bianche. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

With the idea that he may race Milan-San Remo for the first time next Saturday, the team invited him along with Cavendish and Edvald Boasson Hagen to preview the Cipressa and Poggio climbs leading to seaside finish.

“He’s giving me little tips on how to ride in the group, saving energy. Like riding in San Remo: what to look for and when to move, and things like that. It’s all little bits of knowledge that help you save energy during the day,” he explained.

“He knows the roads, the descents, the corners, and everything like that, because that’s where it can often split more than on the climbs.”

Dimension Data’s Rolf Aldag and Roger Hammond have yet to give him the green light, but Thwaites could race Milan-San Remo and in the northern classics like Ghent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

Last year, he placed eighth in Dwars door Vlaanderen and 20th in the Tour of Flanders.

This year, he already signalled his intentions by clawing his way back through Strade Bianche’s gravel sectors after a crash and placing 10th in Siena.

“I feel that that was a nice start and it was good to get a decent result in early to take some of the pressure off. It does give you confidence, especially the way I rode, I felt strong and started to come through a bit towards the end of the race,” the 27-year-old added.

“It’s obviously a bit shorter than the main classics, but it was nice to have some strength left at the end and pull through. I hope that that helps for the next few races.”

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How less than an hour of cycling a week can help slow the ageing process

Study shows how high intensity exercise can stop your cells from ageing

If you don’t get out on your bike quite as much as you’d like, then researchers in the US have some good news, as cycling for just 52 minutes per week could help to slow the ageing process.

In a study of 45 young (18-30 years) and 27 older (65-80 years) people, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that short bursts of high intensity cycling slowed the ageing process within cells by improving the ability of mitochondria to produce energy, therefore preventing frailty. This effect was particularly seen in the older test group.

>>> Only riding at the weekends is just as good as riding all week, study finds

Of course this doesn’t just mean 57 minutes of any old pedalling, and you have to do some pretty specific interval training to get the desired effect.

The researchers used a form of high intensity interval training, with the study’s participants doing three cycling sessions a week consisting of four sets of four minute intervals at near-maximal effort followed by three minutes of pedalling at no load. This was complemented by two 45 minute walks.

Watch: Top three nutrition mistake amateurs make

The high intensity cycling also helped participants in the study to burn more fat, although muscle strength, which also declines with age, was improved more by weight training.

>>> Don’t drink so much water during exercise, new reseach says

For this reason Dr Sreekumaran Nair, a senior author in the study, said that although high intensity cycling was the best form of exercise, he would recommend a combination of different exercises.

“If people have to pick one exercise, I would recommend high-intensity interval training, but I think it would be more beneficial if they could do three to four days of interval training and then a couple days of strength training.”

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WADA considers complete ban of hay fever drug used by Bradley Wiggins

Use of drug open to abuse under TUE system, according to WADA director general

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is considering introducing a blanket ban on the use of corticosteroids, such as the drug used by Bradley Wiggins before his 2012 Tour de France victory.

Speaking at the Tackling Doping in Sport conference, WADA director general Oliver Niggli said that his organisation had set up a working group to examine the use of triamcinolone and other corticosteroids in sport, saying that the current system is open to abuse.

“It is an unsatisfactory situation, we all agree with that,” Niggli said “and we have set up a group to try to come up with better proposal to how we can do it.

>>> Team Sky doctor prevented Richard Freeman from applying for a fourth Bradley Wiggins TUE

“The hope has been for a number of years that research would bring us a detection method that would distinguish the route of administration. Reality is that it doesn’t seem that easy to come up with a method to allow us to do that distinction.

“We are now at a stage where we needed to have a number of discussions about how we deal with that. In my view, I agree the system as it is now is not good.

“In fact, only those who are being honest about what they have been doing get caught. Otherwise, you always say, ‘It was a cream’, and you get away with it.”

Watch: Nicole Sapstead gives evidence to MPs

Wiggins received therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for triamcinolone prior to the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France and the 2013 Giro d’Italia, meaning that he was allowed to take this otherwise banned drug to treat asthma and hay fever, which Wiggins said put him “back on a level playing field”.

However David Millar, who was banned for doping offences in 2004, claimed that as well as treating asthma and hay fever, the drug has the effect of reducing a rider’s weight without them losing power.

>>> MPs will not question Bradley Wiggins over medical package and TUEs

The news of the WADA’s decision to examine the issue of corticosteroids was welcomed by Nicole Sapstead, the chair of UK Anti-Doping.

“If they were to introduce an outright ban then great,” Sapstead told the Telegraph.

“Our view is that they [corticosteroids] aren’t always being administered in a way that’s reflective of an individual’s actual medical needs and that can’t be right when somebody doesn’t actually have a medical problem that warrants that use because it then has some additional effects that they can benefit from.”

No time frame has been given for the working group to reach its conclusions.

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