Martin Wins as Wiggins Climbs

vuelta a espaniaThe ninth stage of the Vuelta a España (which runs August 20 – September 11) was won yesterday, August 28, by Garmin-Cervelo’s Dan Martin who moved clear of Dutch rider Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) for a sprint finish in the closing straight at the ski resort of La Covatilla. But despite the Irishman’s win on the 183km leg from Villacastín to the high Sierra de Bejar – his first Grand Tour victory – it was Mollema who took the General Classification lead (and red jersey) from Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez and Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins who shone all day.


Wiggins, looking strong after his disastrous exit from the Tour de France with a broken collar bone, has looked every bit in control of his destiny at this year’s Vuelta, tackling yesterday’s tough assents as if they were an ITT stage (though that takes nothing away from his team-player credentials). He now moves up to 13th place, hopscotching his team-mate Christopher Froome in 14th, and leaving Sky in 11th overall position.



Will Wiggins Reign in Spain?

Bradley WigginsTeam Sky has announced their line up for the Vuelta a España with the much anticipated inclusion of Bradley Wiggins a month after he spectacularly crashed out of the Tour de France with a fractured collarbone. However Wiggins, who subsequent to the accident had plates inserted to support his clavicle, will miss the Tour of Britain – which runs September 11 to September 18 – as it clashes by a single day with the Vuelta which starts in Benidorm this Saturday (August 20) and ends in Madrid on September 11.


Dave Brailsford, Team Sky principal, said: “Having Bradley back has reinvigorated us all.” Wiggins, the team’s great General Classification hope, will be joined in the nine-man squad in Spain by Xabier Zandio, Chris Sutton, Chris Froome, Ian Stannard, Thomas Lofkvist, Dario Cioni, Morris Possoni, and Kurt-Asle Arvesen.


Tragedy struck Team Sky at last year’s Vuelta when their massage therapist, 43-year-old Txema Gonzalez, died after contracting a bacterial infection. The Team withdrew from the event and with this year’s penultimate stage ending in Gonzalez’s home town of Vitoria have admitted that it will be an emotional day for all.



Tour Over For Wiggins

Wiggins Tour de FranceThe Tour de France, it’s often said, can be won in the mountains but lost of the flat – a race-ending truism that became painfully evident to Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins yesterday (July 8). With around 40km left of the 218km Stage 7 (Le Mans to Châteauroux) a spectacular peloton pile-up decimated the pack and left the Sky Rider, who had been widely tipped for a final podium place this year, with a fractured collarbone. Somewhat ironically, given the recent days of twists, turns and rainfall (not to mention an almost unprecedented number of collisions) Wiggin’s downfall took place in near perfect conditions on an arrow-straight section.


In brighter news for British riders  Mark Cavendish of HTC-Highroad, who had been unaffected by the earlier crash, went on to claim victory  in Chateauroux, a poignant moment for the Manx  sprinter as this is where he won his first ever Tour stage win back in 2008. The success brings his total Tour de France stage wins to 17, edging him ever closer to André Darrigade’s record of 22.


Overall standings now see Garmin Thor Hushovd leading on a time of 22hr50’34” with Australia’s Cadel Evans (BMC) a second behind.



Wiggins Wins at Nationals

Bradley WigginsIn a repeat of last year Sky Pro Cycling have taken the one, two and three at the British Road Race National Championships. In a blaze of glory across the 196km course Bradley Wiggins scored a solo win – his first – at Stamfordham, Northumberland, yesterday (Sunday, June 26) in a time of 4:41:08, holding back his team mates, Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh, into second and third respectively – both on +30. The win means that Wiggins will now be entitled to wear the British Road Race National Champion’s jersey in the Tour de France, which begins Saturday July 2, in addition to the British Time Trial National Champion’s jersey.


In the under-23 event Scott Thwaites of Endura Racing took first with Andrew Fenn and Erick Rowsell following up.


1 Bradley Wiggins (Sky Pro Cycling) 4:41:08
2 Geraint Thomas (Sky Pro Cycling) +35
3 Peter Kennaugh (Sky Pro Cycling) +35
4 Ian Stannard (Sky Pro Cycling) +5:41
5 Ian Bibby (Motorpoint Pro Cycling) +8:02
6 Kristian House (Rapha Condor-Sharp) +8:05
7 Ben Swift (Sky Pro Cycling) +8:13
8 Yanto Barker (Pendragon) +8:20
9 Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing) +8:28
10 Andrew Fenn (AN Post) +8:28



Sky’s the Limit

Wiggins8 days of action are over at the Critérium du Dauphiné with a decisive and important win for Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky. On the final day of action (117.5km Pontcharra – La Toussuire) Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) took the stage win but Wiggins had managed to stay ahead of his rivals since Wednesday’s Grenoble 42.5km Individual Time Trial to bag overall victory; making him only the third Brit to win the Dauphiné (a vital indicator of potential Tour de France mettle) after Robert Millar in 1990 and Brian Robinson in 1961. Team Sky’s Sports Director, Sean Yates, commented: “This is the biggest win Team Sky have had so far, there’s no doubt about that. The Dauphiné is a massive race with a super-strong field and pretty much anyone who’s anyone was here apart from Alberto Contador and the Schlecks. It’s often described as a mini Tour de France and you cannot underestimate the quality of this result, and the team’s performance.”


Cadel Evans of BMC, a runner up in Dauphiné between 2007 and 2009 and winner of this year’s Tirreno Adriatico and the Tour of Romandie, had, many thought, been the man to watch at this year’s event – but ultimately he had to settle for second place with Alexandre Vinkourov (Astana) taking third.


For full results and stage analysis see:



London ITT Announced

Tour of BritainSweetSpot Group, the organisers of The Tour of Britain (September 11-18) have announced that the final day’s racing in London will be a split-stage with the morning’s action featuring an Individual Time Trial, the first for six years. The 10k ITT will, like the afternoon’s closing circuit, start and end at Whitehall. Although a final line up of riders is some way off from being announced, it goes without saying that the inclusion of the Stage 8a ITT will clearly give the likes of Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) and SKY duo Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas a chance to become the first British winner since the event was rebooted in 2004.


Commenting on the announcement of the split-stage Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett says, “We are very excited about the route for the 2011 Tour of Britain, particularly with the inclusion of the final day time trial in the very heart of London.”


The confirmed stages now stand as:
Stage 1 (September 11) Peebles – Dumfries
Stage 2 (September 12) Kendal – Blackpool
Stage 3 (September 13) Stoke-on-Trent Circuit
Stage 4 (September 14) Welshpool – Caerphilly
Stage 5 (September 15) Exeter – Exmouth
Stage 6 (September 16) Taunton – Wells
Stage 7 (September 17) Bury St Edmunds – Sandringham

Stage 8a (September 18) London Individual Time Trial

Stage 8b (September 18) London Circuit



Nice Won

After 8 electrifying days of competition and 1,307km of gruelling peddling the opening leg of the  European UCI World Tour has drawn to a close with the 69th edition of Paris-Nice now over. And what an event of (quite literal) ups and downs it has been: Day Two saw New Zealander Greg Henderson (Team Sky) sprint to victory across the 199km stage from Montfort l’Amaury to Amilly whilst Tony Martin of HTC-Highroad smashed through day 6’s 27km time-trial to lead with two stages remaining.


But the most dramatic racing was saved for today where the race really failed to live up to its more common name, “Race to the Sun”, as riders battled horrendous weather on the final 124km loop out and back from Nice which had riders testing themselves to the limits on climbs up the Côte de Duranus, the Col du Chateauneuf and Col de Calaïson, before the long final rain-soaked straight. French champion Thomas Voeckler of Europcar was first man home on the day (3h15’58”) but there was no denting Martin’s overall lead as he became only the third German ever to win Paris-Nice with a time of 34h03’37”. Radioshack’s Andreas Kloden took second (+00’36”) with a third place for Britain’s Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky, +00’41”).