A Harrogate Yarn

article-2662512-1EEC4DC300000578-156_634x382So Le Tour is here, as proud Yorkshire lass I’m extremely excited, last night was spent in a rather damp Harrogate but it wasn’t stalling the party atmosphere, people were spilling out the bars and pubs on to the streets to enjoy their pints in the traditional northern drizzle. It did feel like a little bit of France had been grafted on to the historic town. Wooly knitted jerseys adorned the street furniture… some shrinkage had occurred, others looked like those old bathing suits from the 1940’s that would reveal all upon leaving the chilly surf of Skegness… I should point out I don’t have first knowledge of this I’m not that old! I have heard many tales from older relatives.


Mark at the start of Stage 1 Leeds – ©chrismaher.co.uk/CyclingShorts.cc

The people of Yorkshire have taken the tour to their heart with everything from the wooly bunting mentioned above, matching sheep… so that’s how they get the polka dots on the jerseys! a pub renamed… The Cvndsh and Horses or Betty’s creating little Malliot Jaune.

I’m now set up in the press area at the finish line (I say finish line, it’s a fair old trek) while the very brave CS team members are out along the course or at the Depart in Leeds. Heather, Fred and Chris working their magic (as you may have seen from the tweets). 
10495687_1471807243061468_388344776117289403_oI’ve heard some amazing plans by friends of mine about where they intend to watch the race from and then whizz to the finish line, I have to say they are ambitious to say the least, I can’t wait to hear how they get on and if the rail system holds up under the unbelievable demand. There doesn’t look to be too much space for spectators near the finish line of stage one so it will be interesting to see what happens.
The approach to the finish line down Ripon Road is quite a spectacle without a mass of cyclists coming down it, so it should be a real treat to see the colourful peloton swarm it’s way down the hill past the Conference Centre, it then takes quite a nasty kick up towards the infamous Betty’s Tea Rooms, the speed the riders come down the Ripon Road will mean they cope with the rise quite well, but if it’s a breakaway or a few sprinters prematurely out of the pack it’s going to sting. I still think Kittel, Cav and Sagan will be in the mix but the weather could play a big part in the stage. The forecast is for rain early in the stage and clearing later but so far it’s been beautiful with the crowds and , so fingers crossed…the hills may not be that of the Grand Tours usual haunts but it’s not as flat as the stage profile leads you to believe, there are some really nasty sharp bumpy climbs before you even get to Cote de Buttertubs. The  peloton need to remain alert as a small group off the front may stay away and spoil the race for the sprinters in Harrogate. 
Currently as I write this there is a breakaway of riders Nichola Edet (Cofidis), the ever tenacious Jens Voigt (TREK) and Beniot Jarrier (Bretange), the crowds and scenery are everything you’d expect from the Tour de France, Yorkshire was made for this race. 
Back to the racing, more to follow…

2015 Tour of Yorkshire Official Launch – Yorkshire’s Cycling Legacy Begins

3 days before the Tour de France Grand Départ,
the legacy is already underway …

Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) supported by British Cycling have submitted an application to the UCI for a new, world class professional cycle race in Yorkshire.

If approved by the world’s governing body, the provisionally titled ”Tour of Yorkshire” will be a three-day race and its inaugural edition will run from 1 – 3 May 2015.

Based on the strong collaboration that has been built up between Welcome to Yorkshire and ASO for the Grand Départ and working in partnership with British Cycling, the race will be a 2.1 UCI Europe Tour event, guaranteeing the participation of some of the world’s leading cyclists and providing a fitting legacy to this year’s Tour de France visit in “God’s own County”. Indeed, the organisers are strongly committed to create what shall become “a breathtaking new race in a region made for cycling”.

Beyond the discovery of the entire Yorkshire County, certainly beyond the routes of the Tour de France Grand Départ, and an impactful promotion through international TV coverage, a strong focus will be put on not only sustaining, but further increasing the already outstanding enthusiasm for cycling in the UK. All three entities are therefore committed to creating a sustainable event which will also help grow the sport of cycling both in Yorkshire and nationally.

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France added: “Alongside the public interest for cycling, highlighted by the Grand Départ, Yorkshire boasts beautiful breathtaking scenery worthy of any of the cycling season’s major events. It therefore seems perfectly natural for Welcome to Yorkshire, British Cycling and ASO to continue working together in this new land of cycling, through the Tour of Yorkshire. In particular, this three-day stage race will offer television viewers worldwide the opportunity to continue discovering the splendid landscapes of this English region, a journey started by the Tour de France, whose Grand Départ this year will remain its founding act.”

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “When we bid to host the Tour de France we did so in the knowledge that this would be the start of a long relationship with ASO. So I am delighted to be able to announce this exciting new race for Yorkshire. Our county is a new cycling heartland of Europe and we look forward to welcoming back some of the world’s best riders in Yorkshire in less than 12 months’ time.”

Jonny Clay, British Cycling’s Director of Cycle Sport said: “We will await the decision of the UCI but I am confident that ASO and Welcome to Yorkshire will create a world-class event attractive to the best teams in cycling. What is more, all three organisations are committed to ensuring the race delivers lasting benefits to cycling by engaging more fans for our great sport and by encouraging more people to get active by getting on their bikes. What is common to all our events work is a determination that they inspire participation in the sport and support the network of volunteers upon whom cycling is reliant at every level.”


Press Release – Cavendish Leads Classic Field

• Mark Cavendish headlines Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic
• New status and tougher route in 2014
• Race to be shown live on BBC 1
Former World Champion and 25-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish will lead the line-up in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic on Sunday 10 August, part of the Mayor of London’s multi-award winning annual festival of cycling.
The Manx cyclist will lead his Omega Pharma Quick-Step team in the event, which has been awarded 1.HC status (the second-highest international classification) by the UCI, the international cycling federation, in only its second year, and takes place on a new, tougher route this year.
Changes to the men’s pro race route will see the 200-kilometre racing start at 13:00 and focus on multiple circuits in the Surrey Hills. The changes include two climbs through Denbies Vineyard to Ranmore Common and the introduction of additional sections of the 2012 Olympic Road Race route, such as the climb of Staple Lane over the North Downs near Guildford.
The race will be covered live on BBC1 and shown internationally in more than 160 countries.
Cavendish will arrive at Prudential RideLondon from the Tour de France, where he’ll be setting his sights on winning the green points jersey, which he won in 2011.
“I’m excited to be riding in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic for the first time this year,” says Cavendish. “It’s another opportunity to race in front of the amazing crowds in Britain. Coming after the Tour de France and Commonwealth Games, more and more people are going to be at the roadside cheering us on and wanting to be a part of the weekend.”
“The whole event just shows the growth of cycling in Britain, so it will be great to be a part of it with my Omega Pharma Quick-Step team. We know it’s a challenging route, but we also know it’s one that can end in a sprint finish, which should suit the team and me.”
The 2013 British Champion will headline a 150-rider field comprised of 25 teams of six riders, including Cavendish’s current world number-one-ranked team Omega Pharma Quick-Step. Further details of the remaining teams and the world-class field of riders for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic will be announced in the coming weeks.
 “We are delighted to welcome Mark Cavendish and his Omega Pharma Quick-Step team to the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic,” said Race Director Mick Bennett. “The fact that he and his team have chosen to ride the event, and our elevation to Hors Categorie status for 2014, underlines Prudential RideLondon’s status as the world’s greatest festival of cycling.”
“This year we have looked at the route and made some significant changes to the race in the Surrey Hills, with the addition of the climb through Denbies Vineyard, an exciting and innovative change that we feel will benefit both spectators and riders.”
The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic starts at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, goes out through central London and into Surrey with the main route changes taking place in the Surrey Hills. Fans are invited to watch the race at spectator vantage points along the route including Kingston, Wimbledon, Putney and Dorking.
First riders will tackle the climb of Staple Lane, a new addition to the 2014 route, before heading into Dorking and the climb of Coldharbour and Leith Hill.
After returning to Dorking the race will tackle two circuits of the ascent through Denbies Vineyard, before racing back through Dorking and on to Box Hill. The more direct route used by the London 2012 road race, via Leatherhead, Oxshott and Esher, will see the distance from the final climb to the finish shortened, bringing in to play a greater tactical element as the sprinters’ teams battle to bring back any breakaways.
The last 25km of the race features the recently renovated Ancient Market Place in Kingston, a new sprint up Wimbledon Hill, the Chelsea Embankment, Tate Britain, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament and Whitehall. The final kilometre marker at Downing Street will see the race intensify as the peloton speeds to Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and the final sprint for the line on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic is the fifth and final event of the Mayor of London’s Prudential RideLondon festival of cycling over the weekend of 9-10 August.
An extensive communications campaign is already underway to help businesses and the public plan and get around on the day, as well as make the most of the events over the weekend. Since May, information has been sent to more than 1 million residents and businesses along and close to the event routes to help them plan ahead – further information will follow in July. A series of public information sessions will be held next month in the affected areas to provide details of the temporary changes in place and to offer residents and businesses the opportunity to ask questions. Information on travel disruption and advice is available on www.tfl.gov.uk/prudentialridelondon. To avoid delays, wherever possible all drivers are advised to avoid areas near the event routes.

Kingston Takes Centre Stage for Handcycling At Ride London

• Fifth event added to Prudential RideLondon
• Handcycle event to start at Kingston
• Kingston to host family-friendly festival for great day out
The Prudential RideLondon Handcycle Classic, part of the Mayor of London’s multi-award winning festival of cycling, will start at Kingston upon Thames on Sunday 10 August.
It becomes the fifth event within the world’s largest festival of cycling. Last year, the handcycle event was part of the series of Grand Prix criterium races in St James’s Park on the Saturday evening.
A field of up to 50 elite handcyclists, including top names from Paralympic sport, will line up on the start line in Kingston’s Ancient Market Place at 0830 on Sunday 10 August to race over a 15 mile route through the capital to finish in spectacular style on The Mall.
“Kingston is a key part of the route for Prudential RideLondon with the riders in the mass participation event and the men’s professional race passing through twice,” said Event Director Hugh Brasher. “Making the handcycling an event in its own right and moving it to Kingston means we offer the athletes a more testing challenge and make Kingston a central focus of the events on Sunday 10 August.”
“Kingston is proud to be hosting this event and to be at the heart of some great cycling action once again,” said Councillor David Glasspool, Kingston Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Heritage, Tourism and Leisure. “People will see Kingston at its best as we welcome Prudential RideLondon to our streets. Kingston town centre will be open for business as usual on 10 August with a family-friendly bike festival creating a carnival atmosphere for residents and visitors.”
As well as lining the route to cheer on the riders, people will be able to pull up a deck chair and watch the action on a giant screen, visit a cycling exhibition featuring the best international and independent cycling brands, and make the most of all that Kingston’s variety of shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and market stalls has to offer.
All car parks in Kingston town centre will be open as usual on 10 August, although access may be different due to road closures. Check www.kingston.gov.uk nearer the time.
“This event is amazing,” says Walter Ablinger (Austria), winner of the 2013 Prudential RideLondon Handcycle race. “I will never forget winning in front of Buckingham Palace with thousands of spectators cheering us on. I’m very excited to hear the plans for this year and I’m really looking forward to lining up on the start line in Kingston on 10 August.”
The Prudential RideLondon Handcycle Classic will take place during the same road closure window that was originally planned for Sunday 10 August and does not involve any additional road closures.
An extensive communications campaign is already underway to help businesses and the public plan and get around on the day, as well as make the most of the events over the weekend. Since May, information has been sent to more than 1 million+ residents and businesses along and close to the event routes to help them plan ahead – further information will follow in July. A series of public information sessions are being held in the affected areas to provide details of the temporary changes in place and to offer residents and businesses the opportunity to ask questions. Information on travel disruption and advice is available on www.tfl.gov.uk/prudentialridelondon. To avoid delays, wherever possible all drivers are advised to avoid areas near the event routes.


Prudential RideLondon comprises five separate events: the Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle, the Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, the Prudential RideLondon Handcycle Classic and the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic over the weekend of 9-10 August 2014. Find out more at www.PrudentialRideLondon.co.uk.

Pearl Izumi Jersey International Road Race Report

Having gone close in Friday afternoon’s Pearl Izumi Tour Series hill climb, Adam Blythe finally stood on the top step of a Pearl Izumi podium in Jersey on Sunday lunchtime.

The NFTO Pro Cycling rider launched a last lap attack in the final five kilometres of the Pearl Izumi Jersey International Road Race, part of the Jersey Festival of Cycling, to take victory by 14-seconds from breakaway colleagues Steve Lampier and James McLaughlin, the latter riding for a Channel Islands composite team.

The trio, plus Ian Bibby and Yanto Barker had been at the head of the race since the opening lap, in a move instigated by the latter on the first ascent of St Catherine’s Hill, midway around the 14-kilometre loop.

The five worked well together to stay clear of a fractured peloton, with a group of ten riders, eventually led in by Marcin Bialoblocki providing their own real opposition, but one which faded over the final two laps of the Jersey circuit.

With Bibby and Barker tailed off on the penultimate tour, a cramping Lampier and McLaughlin had no answer to Blythe’s attack, with the NFTO rider having been to the fore of the break throughout.

Consolation for third placed McLaughlin, who rides for the French Guidon Chalettois team was the day’s King of the Mountains prize, for amassing the most points over the St Catherine’s Hill climb, which the race tackled on each of its ten laps.

The Pearl Izumi Jersey International Road Race
Sunday 15 June 2014, Gorey, Jersey Festival of Cycling

1) Adam Blythe, GBR, NFTO Pro Cycling, 3h 19’47
2) Steve Lampier, GBR, Node4 Velosure, + 14″
3) James McLaughlin, GBR, Channel Islands composite, same time
4) Ian Bibby, GBR, Madison Genesis, + 50″
5) Yanto Barker, GBR, Team Raleigh, + 1’10
6) Marcin Bialoblocki, POL, Node4 Velosure, + 2’06
7) Tom Scully, NZL, Madison Genesis, + 2’26
8) Gruff Lewis, GBR, Pedal Heaven Colbornes, + 3’10
9) Mike Northey, NZL, Madison Genesis, same time
10) Evan Oliphant, GBR, Team Raleigh, same time
11) Rob Partridge, GBR, Node4 Velosure, same time
12) Matthieu Boulo, FRA, Team Raleigh, + 3’15
13) Rhys Lloyd, GBR, Metaltek Kuota, + 3’45
14) Jon Mould, GBR, NFTO Pro Cycling, + 6’35
15) Ed Clancy, GBR, Rapha Condor JLT, same time
16) Tom Stewart, GBR, Madison Genesis, + 6’48
17) George Harper, GBR, Node4 Velosure, + 6’53
18) Will Bjergfelt, GBR, Metaltek Kuota, same time
19) Chris Latham, GBR, Great Britain, same time
20) Richard Hepworth, GBR, Node4 Velosure, same time

King of the Mountains prize: James McLaughlin, GBR, Channel Islands composite

52 starters / 41 finishers

Pearl Izumi Tour Series Final Round Jersey – Report

In a sundrenched Gorey on Friday evening, Rapha Condor JLT became Pearl Izumi Tour Series champions for 2014.

Having led the Series since Round Two in Barrow, Rapha Condor JLT became assured of the title mathematically after the afternoon’s hill climb, won by Team Raleigh’s French rider Matthieu Boulo.

Such was their advantage, and after winning the afternoon’s hill climb, John Herety’s team could afford to come third on the night, behind round winners Madison Genesis, and lose Felix English after a lap with a broken wrist sustained in Tuesday’s Woking event, and still finish 16-points clear of Madison.

There was on the night glory for Madison Genesis though, taking their second double of the week to follow their Woking success, with Tom Stewart claiming another solo individual win to help them to the night’s team prize.

Stewart was part of a ten rider group who worked their way clear early on around Gorey’s fast, but technical circuit. Repeated attacks from the leader’s failed to stay away, until Stewart’s move approaching the hour mark saw him rapidly build a 16-second advantage he would hold to the finish.

As in Woking three nights before, Node4 Velosure’s George Harper led the chase, but come the final sprint along Gorey’s coast road it was Morgan Kniesky edging Ed Clancy for second spot. Harper claimed fourth before fifth for Alex Paton, after another impressive ride by the Pedal Heaven Colbornes rider, and Guernsey’s Tobyn Horton sixth, in what was the closest the Channel Islander gets to a home round.

Stewart’s win helped Madison Genesis to their fourth team win of the 2014 Pearl Izumi Tour Series, with Node4 Velosure coming second thanks to top 10’s from Harper and Rob Partridge.
Rapha Condor JLT took third on the night to finish the Series with six team wins, their best ever haul in a season, while the young Great Britain academy team were celebrating having come out on top of the three-way battle for the wooden spoon, which went, narrowly, to Pedal Heaven Colbornes, in their debut season.

The final Costa Express Fastest Lap of the year went to a Great Britain rider too, with youngster Germain Burton following up on his seventh place in the hill climb with the fastest individual race lap.

There was another Sprint win for Kristian House, but it was Jon Mould winning the green jersey, which he’d taken on the opening night in Stoke-on-Trent, by 17-points.

Earlier in the afternoon Raleigh’s Boulo had taken the hill climb win above Gorey Harbour, high enough he joked afterwards that family in France would have seen his victory.

Behind Adam Blythe was runner-up, just over a second behind Boulo, with Harper, Jack Pullar and House all within five seconds of the winner in a closely fought affair.

The cumulative times gave the team win to Rapha Condor JLT ahead of Node4 Velosure and Madison Genesis, with Starley Primal unlucky to finish seventh, having placed both Pullar and long-time leader George Pym in the top nine fastest times.

The team title for Rapha Condor JLT was also momentous on several counts – the squad becomes the first to win the overall prize for a second time, following their success in 2011; John Herety becomes only the second team manager after Keith Lambert to win the title on two occasions; and Ed Clancy becomes the first rider to win the Pearl Izumi Tour Series overall in four years (2009, 2010, 2011 & 2014).

Saturday morning saw the Jersey Festival of Cycling continued on Saturday morning with the Pearl Izumi Tour Ride coastal sportive on Saturday, with just under 400 amateur cyclists taking on either a 50 or 100-kilometre route, starting and finishing from the picturesque location of Gorey Harbour.

Highlights of the final event of the 2014 Pearl Izumi Tour Series will be shown on ITV4 at 7pm on Monday 16 June, with a repeat at 11.50am on Tuesday 17 June, and will be available on the ITV Player for 30-days after broadcast.

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series
Friday 13 June 2014, Gorey, Jersey Festival of Cycling

Round Ten Hill Climb Team Result
1) Rapha Condor JLT
2) Node4 Velosure
3) Madison Genesis
4) NFTO Pro Cycling
5) Team Raleigh
6) Great Britain
7) Starley Primal Pro Cycling
8) Metaltek Kuota
9) Pedal Heaven Colbornes

Round Ten Hill Climb Individual Result
1) Matthieu Boulo, FRA, Team Raleigh, 3’09.62
2) Adam Blythe, GBR, NFTO Pro Cycling, 3’10.88
3) George Harper, GBR, Node Velosure, 3’11.87
4) Jack Pullar, GBR, Starley Primal Pro Cycling, 3’12.39
5) Kristian House, GBR, Rapha Condor JLT, 3’13.16
6) Jon Mould, GBR, NFTO Pro Cycling, 3’14.46
7) Germain Burton, GBR, Great Britain, 3’14.77
8) Jon Dibben, GBR, Great Britain, 3’15.60
9) George Pym, GBR, Starley Primal Pro Cycling, 3’16.78
10)Mike Northey, GBR, Madison Genesis, 3’17.55

Round Ten Criterium Team Result
1) Madison Genesis
2) Node4 Velosure
3) Rapha Condor JLT
4) Team Raleigh
5) Great Britain
6) Pedal Heaven Colbornes
7) NFTO Pro Cycling
8) Starley Primal Pro Cycling
9) Metaltek Kuota

Round Ten Criterium Individual Result
1) Tom Stewart, GBR, Madison Genesis
2) Morgan Kniesky, GBR, Team Raleigh
3) Ed Clancy, GBR, Rapha Condor JLT
4) George Harper, GBR, Node4 Velosure
5) Alex Paton, GBR, Pedal Heaven Colbornes
6) Tobyn Horton, GBR, Madison Genesis
7) Jon Mould, GBR, NFTO Pro Cycling
8) George Atkins, GBR, Team Raleigh
9) Rob Partridge, GBR, Node4 Velosure
10)Kristian House, GBR, Rapha Condor JLT

Round Ten Criterium Costa Express Fastest Lap: Germain Burton, GBR, Great Britain
Round Ten Criterium Sprint Winner: Kristian House, GBR, Rapha Condor JLT

Final Overall Team Standings, post-Round Ten
1) Rapha Condor JLT, 126pts
2) Madison Genesis, 110pts
3) Team Raleigh, 95pts
4) NFTO Pro Cycling, 84pts
5) Node4 Velosure, 81pts
6) Metaltek Kuota, 50pts
7) Great Britain, 47pts
8) Starley Primal Pro Cycling, 46pts
9) Pedal Heaven Colbornes, 45pts

Final Overall Sprint Standings, post-Round Ten
1) Jon Mould, GBR, NFTO Pro Cycling, 79pts
2) Kristian House, GBR, Rapha Condor JLT, 62pts
3) Graham Briggs, GBR, Rapha Condor JLT, 45pts
4) Tom Scully, NZL, Madison Genesis, 40pts
5) Mike Northey, NZL, Madison Genesis, 26pts

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