ROWE RIDES TO VICTORY IN ITALY
GB Academy leader Luke Rowe took a long-awaited first win of the year at the GP Sportivi di Poggiana last Sunday.

It’s been some time coming for the Welshman, who has been, in his own words, “knocking on the door all season”.


”It was a pretty big one day event, it was good to go there and do the business,” the 20-year-old told Cycling Weekly.

“Everything went my way; I couldn’t have asked for a course that suited me more. It got rid of the real-fast sprinters and left a group of thirty.”



“One team [Zalf] had six in the group, and another [Trevigiani Dynamon Bottoli] had eight, so they both had really organised leadouts, then it was just a case of tagging onto the back of them.”


It was far from an emphatic win though. “I don’t know if you’ve seen the photo, but the margin was about two centimetres,” Rowe said. 



He now heads for his next target, the Tour de l’Avenir [September 5-12], with a spring in his step. “I’m going for the overall in the Avenir, trying to get a top 10 or something like that. I think I’m capable of that, I’ve seen the course; there’s some real hard hilltop finishes.”

Afterwards, Rowe travels to Melbourne for the World Championships and then will compete in Delhi for the Welsh Commonwealth team.

“I just really want to finish the season off strong and see what I can do. It’s a bit of a shame they’re so close, as I wanted to target the track at the Commonwealth, so it’ll be a case of going full on for the [worlds] road race then dropping in for the track [in Delhi] and seeing what I can do.”



“I’m really looking forward to Delhi. I don’t get to represent Wales very often, it’s always British Cycling. It’s going to be a good race. We’ve got quite a good team to work around G[eraint Thomas],” he added.

Luke Rowe GB under 23 Olympic Academy
Rowe holds the ZLM Tour trophy last year, his biggest win to date

SIGMA SPORT AND RALEIGH ANNOUNCE TOUR OF BRITAIN LINE-UPS
Top British squads Sigma Sport-Specialized and Team Raleigh have announced their six-man rosters for next month’s Tour of Britain.

Premier Calendar runner-up Simon Richardson will lead the challenge for Sigma Sport, also joined by former national champion Matt Stephens and 2009 East Yorkshire Classic winner Wouter Sybrandy.



Meanwhile, off the back of seventh overall in the Tour of Pyrenees, Dan Fleeman spearheads the Raleigh challenge. Notably, he’s also accompanied by experienced Tom Barras and Welsh champion Dale Appleby.

Sigma Sport-Specialized roster

Stephen Gallagher, Kit Gilham, Tom Murray, Simon Richardson, Matt Stephens and Wouter Sybrandy



Team Raleigh roster

Dale Appleby, Tom Barras, Dan Fleeman, Richard Handley, Liam Holohan and Daniel Shand.

CONSISTENT ARMITSTEAD SHOWING WELL IN FRANCE
Lizzie Armitstead has had a flying start to the Route de France. After ninth in the prologue, she placed in the top ten in the bunch sprints on the following days.



The Otley-born talent finished third from an eight-rider break on stage three in the Loire, securing the best young rider’s jersey and moving further up the overall.

Tenth place in Thursday’s time-trial kept her in contention. The 21-year-old is currently sitting sixth overall, 52 seconds behind leader Annemiek van Vleuten.

THREE PEAKS RACE ALMOST FULL
The Three Peaks race is an institution in cyclo-cross race, and take-up for the 48th edition’s riding slots has been appropriately swift.

As we went to press, 587 people had entered; the first 500 berths were sold in the opening three days.

With a capacity of 600, the time is now to get an entry in.

Seven-time winner Rob Jebb and reigning champion Nick Craig will be back for a likely head-to-head for the race, which takes place on September 26.

The well-trodden course covers 61 kilometres (38 miles) over Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent before finishing at Helwith Bridge.

CYCLING’S BRIGHT LIGHTS HEAD TO BLACKPOOL
Tour de France stage winner Rubens Bertogliati will be amongst the
 continental road race stars lining up for the Blackpool Nocturne.

Another 
star rider is expected to be signed up in the next few days.
 


The elite race takes place in the Lancashire seaside resort on the evening
 of Saturday August 21st with the foreign stars taking on a strong contingent 
of crit-conditioned Brits.
 


Amongst them will be National Criterium Champion Ed Clancy and the victors
 of the previous rounds of the Nocturne Series in London and Edinburgh: Ian
 Bibby and Kristian House.
 
Dean Downing, Chris Newton and Malcolm Elliott are also down to ride.
 


The evening promises to be a spectacular one with the 1km course starting and 
finishing beside the famous Winter Gardens and passing directly through the
 Brilliance sound and light installation on Birley Street.
 


As well as the elite event there is a Cycling Weekly sponsored support race,
 a folding bike race and another challenge event utilising Blackpool’s own
 hire bike scheme.

The action kicks off at 6pm. For further info, visit 
www.blackpoolnocturne.com.

ENTER THE IBBO CAKE QUEST
One of the friendliest sportives in the south has had a revamp for 2010.

The Cake Quest, run to raise money for the John Ibbotson Fund that sends young riders to race abroad, will have free photography kindly provided by www.sportivephoto.com, timing and neutral service.

The event has four rides; a guided 20km off-road ride, and 60km, 110km and 150km road rides.

All start in Walton-on-the-Hill (near Box hill) and take in the roads around Dorking and Leith Hill. Entry via the website www.ibbocakequest.com

HOTCHILLEE UNVEIL ALPINE CHALLENGE
HotChillee have announced their latest event: a three-stage Alpine Challenge.



Using Annecy as a base, there will be a timed climbing section in each stage, followed by a lunch break and a grouped return rider under escort.

The best male and female riders will wear the King of the Mountains jersey the next day; there’s even a team award.



Loosely based around their successful London to Paris format, the event sees a professional back-up crew, technical and mechanical service, rolling road closures..


Climbs include recent Tour de France inclusions the Aravis, Forclaz and Croix Fry.
 
Fittingly, former Tour de France winner Stephen Roche will also be riding.

To enter, visit www.thealpinechallenge.com

ETAPE HIBERNIA SEES BIG ENTRIES
Entries have rocketed for the Ireland’s first closed-road event, with 1,400 riders currently registered.

Sean Kelly, comedian PJ Gallagher and Olympic heptathlon star Denise Lewis are among the celebrities taking part.



If there is still room at the County Clare event, entries on the line on Saturday will be expected, costing 54 Euros, cash only.