COOKE AND THOMAS LEAD WELSH COMMONWEALTH TEAM
Reigning Olympic champion Nicole Cooke and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) will lead the Welsh challenge at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
24-year-old Thomas has resolved to miss the track events so as to be fresh for a medal assault in the road race.
“It will be great to ride with the Welsh jersey on my back again. These days it doesn’t happen very often – only once every four years! So it will definitely be very special. Hopefully me and the other guys can do the jersey proud,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cooke, who claimed the gold medal in the road race at the Manchester in 2002, will be a big favourite again in Delhi.
Up-and-coming talents like Luke Rowe, Jon Mould, Sam Harrison, Becky James and Jessica Allen also get their chance in what is Wales’s biggest ever cycling contingent at a Commonwealth Games.
The men’s team consists of Yanto Barker, Paul Esposti, Sam Harrison, Rhys Lloyd, Jon Mould, Lewis Oliva, Rob Partridge, Luke Rowe and Geraint Thomas.
The women’s line-up: Jessica Allen, Kara Chesworth, Nicole Cooke, Alex Greenfield, Becky James, Angharad Mason, Lily Matthews and Hannah Rich.
ENDURA SIGN CAMANO
Endura have strengthened their lineup by adding former ProTour rider Iker Camano.
“He’s not a stagiaire. We’ve brought him on and given him an
opportunity. I think he’s got a bit of everything: can ride on the
front, ride on the climbs and sprint a little bit,” Endura manager Julian Winn said.
Camano, who hails from the Basque Country, has been without a team since not having his contract renewed by Fuji-Servetto last year.
He has finished in the top 40 of all three Grand Tours in a career that started with Phonak in 2002 and saw him move on to Euskaltel and Saunier Duval.
First, the 31-year-old will ride with the team at the two-day Paris-Correze stage race (August 4-5).
“He’ll do a training camp with us,” Winn added, “and maybe the Tour of Britain. If he batters everyone at the camp, he’ll self-select himself.”
RALEIGH REFLECT ON PORTUGUESE ADVENTURE
The weather has been good recently, but Team Raleigh were looked particularly bronzed in Beverley last weekend.
The reason? They had taken the mid-July window of opportunity to get in a tough Portuguese stage race, the Trofeo Joaquim Agostinho (July 7-11), in 35-degree heat.
“There were some tough stages,” said team manager Chris Truett. “The first stage was a prologue; Dan Shand came tenth, seven seconds down, which was a really good start for him.”
It proved to be Raleigh’s best stage result in the UCI 2.1-rated event, though Liam Holohan was active in a breakaway on a stage.
After making all the key splits, Dan Fleeman finished fifteenth overall, as Candido Barbosa took the victory.
“It was mainly controlled by the winning team for the whole event. It was still good to get over there and important for getting the lads back to road fitness.”
After the final Premier Calendar event, the Richmond GP, next Sunday, the squad heads out to the continent again for the tough Tour of the Pyrenees, a race which Fleeman won two years ago.
Truett hopes that the busy racing schedule will pay dividends at the Tour of Britain in September: “We know we’re not going to compete at the highest level [ie. among ProTour teams]; we’re going to compete among the other British teams.
“That’s why we’ve these two tours up – a lot of other domestic teams aren’t going away, and we are, so we’ve still got a good race programme.”
Ex-Cervelo rider Fleeman finished 15th overall in Portugal
TOP FIFTEEN RIDE FOR ROWE
GB Academy rider Luke Rowe claimed 13th place in Sunday’s Giro del Casentino in Italy.
Near the head of the bunch, he crossed the line 25 seconds behind breakaway race winner Andrea Pasqualon.