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‘I’m a Believer,’ a great song, the Monkees had the hit back in 1968. I used to be a ‘Believer’ and can remember the sense of relief when we discovered that Lance’s Tour ‘positive’ back in 1999 was all a big mistake; those tricky corticosteroids had been in a cream he used to treat a saddle sore and he had a TUE to cover it. What a relief.
Michal Kwiatkowski is hoping to tackle the Tour of Flanders this season as he looks to continue his momentum following a standout 2017 campaign. The Pole enjoyed arguably the best 12 months of his career with marquee victories at Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and Clasica San Sebastian, before heading to the Tour de France to help wingman Chris Froome to a fourth title.
Dylan Van Baarle has improved each time he has competed at the Tour of Flanders, and in 2017 was knocking on the door of a podium with fourth place. Now 25, the Dutchman is ready to challenge for more on the cobbles, and can’t wait to slot himself into the team’s Classics group.
KASK have today unveiled their most aerodynamic road helmet, which be available to buy later this year. The KASK Utopia offers the very latest technology in aerodynamics and ventilation, giving cyclists a super-fast ride while retaining excellent safety and cooling capabilities.
Jon Dibben hopes that starting his season at the Tour Down Under will set him up for a strong Classics campaign. The 23 year old believes he learnt a lot during his first professional road season and he’s looking forward to taking those lessons into 2018. After racing the Classics in 2017 Dibben enjoyed a varied race programme as he settled into life on the WorldTour and the Brit picked up his first win at the Tour of California, claiming the stage six time trial.
Chris Lawless admits the feeling of pulling on a Team Sky kit will be a special one ahead of his pro debut at Tour Down Under. The young Brit is part of an influx of under-23 talent to join the team during the off-season, and he heads to Australia as part of an exciting youthful lineup.
Team Sky will line up with a ‘young and exciting’ squad as the 2018 season gets under way at the Tour Down Under. Neo-pros Kristoffer Halvorsen and Chris Lawless make their first appearances as Team Sky riders alongside Egan Bernal, who will target the general classification across the six-day WorldTour event.
We hope you enjoyed our series of interviews with Scotland’s medal prospects for The Gold Coast – we certainly enjoyed speaking to such talented and highly motivated young men and women. But let’s not got too cocky, endorsing what Katie said in her interview we’ve heard again that the Aussies are prioritising the Commonwealth Games - on their home ground - above The Worlds. ‘Lighter’ than normal teams have been representing them at the World Cups and it’s all about peaking early April for them. We’ve warned you...
Oh dear. I hate this carry on, writing about drugs scandals. And please, Froomists don’t pick me up on a point of semantics; to the man in the street, it’s a ‘drug scandal,’ pure and simple. OK, here goes. What’s up? The winner of the 2017 Vuelta a España, Christopher Froome of Team Sky returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for the asthma drug ‘salbutamol’ on Stage 18 of the race.
It’s that time again when I go from being that old weirdo who’s always going to bike races no one has heard of to the ‘go to guy’ (I do hate that expression) – yeah, you’ve guessed; 'Brailsford, corticosteroids, package, Sky, Wiggo'... I’ve lived through all the doping scandals; Festina, Riis, Pantani, Lance, Tyler, Floyd and the fact is that just like that 1976 disco classic by Bugatti and Musker contends, ‘Ain’t no Smoke Without Fire.’ The pattern is always the same, revelation, vehement denial, steady drip of more damning facts and finally there’s a tearful confession or a ‘guilty’ verdict. Can you remember one ‘doping scandal’ which ended with vindication and media apologies? Me neither.
If you watched the recent live stream of the Parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing (part of the inquiry into "Combatting Doping in Sport") you'll know the bulk of the session focused on the key question "what was in the jiffy bag?" which was transported from the UK by Simon Cope, handed to Dr. Richard Freeman at the end of the Critérium du Dauphiné, for use by Sir Bradley Wiggins. Committee member John Nicolson (Member of Parliament for East Dunbartonshire and the SNP spokesperson on Culture, Media and Sport) demonstrated an amazing ability to ask logical, 'boiled-down' questions which presented a narrow set of options as answers.
TUE's - once again I'm reminded of Elton John's words; 'and all this science I don't understand...' The forums are ablaze with righteous indignation from carpet fitters and bike shop mechanics, all of whom are well versed in conditions which affect an athlete's breathing and the treatment of any ailments related thereto. Me? I'm a glazier originally and I can't remember Prednisolone ever cropping up once during my 'apprenticeship.'
Team Sky’s Ben Swift seems to have been with us a long time but the fact is he’s that he’s still only 28 years old, just coming into his prime as a rider. And if any of us thought his third place in the 2014 Milan-Sanremo was a fluke we had that notion debunked when the man from Rotherham stepped up one place on the podium to second spot behind controversial winner, Arnaud Démare (F des J & France) in this year’s race – Démare having been accused of taken pace from his team car on the Cipressa climb whilst coming back from a crash.
It was the end of 2012 when we last spoke to 23 year-old American Ian Boswell on the eve of his first get together with Team Sky. We caught up with him again in January of this year to see how his professional debut year with double Tour winning squad SKY had gone.
It was 2011 when we first spoke to American Joe Dombrowski; we interviewed him at his Copenhagen hotel in the run up to the U23 Worlds. That year he’d finished second in the Baby Giro, an excellent performance, but he came back in 2012 and went one better, beating Fabio Aru – now one of Vincenzo Nibali’s lieutenants – to take victory. Sky know a good thing when they see one and snapped the skinny man from Virginia up – here’s what Joe had to say to VeloVeritas about his first season in the World Tour.
Baby Giro winner, Joe Dombrowski is just half the story when it comes to rising US stars joining Team Sky for 2013. Dombrowski’s friend, countryman and Bontrager-Livestrong team mate, Ian Boswell is another young man who’s been busy this year, attracted a lot of attention and will be joining the Team Sky juggernaut. The 21 year-old was second in the U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege and fifth in both the Tour of Utah and Tour de l’Avenir. Boswell took time off from ‘camping, hunting and fishing’ in Bend, Oregon to chat to Velo Veritas not long before he prepared to fly back to London for a Sky get together.
Sometimes a ride comes along and right away you can just tell he has what it takes. We first caught sight of Joe Dombrowski at the Italian Valle d’Aosta stage race, last year. Aosta, l’Avenir, the Baby Giro and the U23 Worlds are where the pro talent scouts do their window shopping. At the Copenhagen Worlds we caught up with him for an interview and our positive impression of this young man was nothing but endorsed.
It's no surprise that Endura Racing's 'man of the year' Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has today signed for Team Sky. Anyone who thought that Englishman’s top six GC placing and King of the Mountains win back in the 2011 Tour of Britain was a freak result had their eyes opened this spring when the 27 year-old from Plymouth won the first stage, fourth stage and GC in this season’s Tour of the Mediterranean – a race dating back to 1974 and which boasts Eddy Merckx as one of its winners.
I have chronic-doping-scandal-fatigue. We always knew that Lance Armstrong literally had a never-say-die attitude. Perhaps in recent days this fact has become more abundantly clear even than when he was actually on his deathbed. He’s had a lawsuit chucked out of court within a few hours of submitting it because it was so terrible; it was for a restraining order against the US anti-doping agency. It was 80 pages long and contained “improper argument, rhetoric, [and] irrelevant material”, not my words, the judge’s. Lance Armstrong just got benchslapped.
When Steve Cummings rode for Discovery Channel in 2007, he was in the service of Alberto Contador. 'Bert' told the Disco mechanic Allan Butler; "when you ask Cummings to ride on the front-he rides, I'd have him on my team any time!" Praise doesn't come much higher. We caught up with Steve just before he jetted off to the Far East for the new Beijing WorldTour race, to talk Cav, his move from Sky to BMC and-Liverpool FC.
John Lee Augustyn is probably best known outside of the African continent for his head-first lunge down the scree slopes of the Col de la Bonette-Restefond descent to Jausiers in the Tour de France a couple of years ago, and this after leading the race over it's summit in glorious solitude - only Frederico Bahamontes and Robert Millar share that particular accolade. Last season was difficult for John Lee, but now though, things look like they're going to change for the 23 year old, and we recently chatted to him to find out more...
It's great to see cycling breaking main stream - a double page colour spread in the Times. It's almost as if the guy that bank rolls the team, owns the newspaper. He does? Oh! We're treated to nine examples of marginal gains...
Ben Swift - top guy, affable, always happy to chat, looks the business and has a great career ahead of him. But-I don't like what's happening with this Sky business. I might be wrong - and am probably writing my own obituary here, as far as Sky interviews goes - but it smacks to me of; 'we can't get Brad, so we have to get some one else who can win a bit and who's English!'
I was coming down the 'parachutes' in the Transit on Friday - the old East 25 course - when I got the text message from Dave; 'Garcia and Hesjedal away with two K to go.' I was talking to Ryder only last night-about his great ride on stage 9, when he was second to Simon Gerrans; then the next text came in; 'Your man has won!'