COUTTS IN CHINA

Britain?s Alex Coutts (Giant Asia Racing Team) is currently in action at the Tour of Hainan in China.

Coutts is lying an impressive 22nd overall, 2:13 down on race leader, Boris Shpilevsky (Russian National Team) after five stages.

Coutts moved up the general classification on the fourth stage when the field split on the flat, but wind-swept run-in to the finish. Coutts made sure he made the decisive cut and finished 23rd on the stage.

The race concludes on Wednesday.


ROCHE ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Fresh from his recent appearance in the New York marathon, Ireland?s Stephen Roche will ride the London-Paris ride next year. Roche will be joined by his marathon companions, former British champion Brian Smith and cancer-survivor, Geoff Thomas.

London-Paris (June 25-28 2009) is Britain?s premier ?pro-am? cycling events and one of the closest experiences amateurs can get to the experience of competing in the Tour de France.

?These are just the first three big names in our line up,? said London-Paris director, Svein Thiele.

?We will be announcing other exciting additions to next year?s event in the coming week. With the success?in Beijing, cycling in Britain is enjoying a real boom and in the run up to 2012 we expect interest and enthusiasm for the sport to increase?.

The event will support the Geoff Thomas Foundation as well as the Schools for Children Campaign in Cambodia and South Africa?s Morning Star, which works with children with HIV.

For more details, please see www.londres-paris.com

Plowman Craven


REVIEW OF THE SEASON WITH GARRY BECKETT

Garry Beckett, former team manager of the Plowman Craven squad, gives his run-down of the season to www.cyclingweekly.com.

How do you feel this season has gone?

Although we didn?t get many big results, we managed to get some podiums. I take my hat off to Russ [Russell Downing], he?s pure class. We seemed to get off to a good roll, but a few little things like injuries tripped us up. We lost out a bit with Rapha Condor getting into Europe to do some races, but there were some great moments like when Evan Oliphant was up the road for 90 miles in the Tour of Britain.

Best moment?

Going to California and racing in the Redlands and the Sea Otter Classic was great and we beat some of the Rock Racing guys. The whole season was good, working with the lads and working with Simon Barnes, who is a fantastic sponsor.

Worst moment?

Alex Higham?s disqualification at the Tour of Britain was the low point of the year, it was a terrible decision.

Plans/hopes for next year?

There are a few rumours going about [regarding the future of the team] but it would be unfair of me to say anything. The door?s not completely shut for me at Plowman Craven [after leaving the team at the end of the season], and there are a lot of things I can still pass on to them.


SUPERPRESTIGE ROUND-UP

Britain?s Mark Thwaites was in action yesterday at round two of the U23 Superprestige cyclo-cross series in Belgium.

Thwaites finished 23rd, 8:11 down on race-winner and current series-leader, Philipp Walsleben.

In the women?s race, the British duo of Helen Wyman and Nikki Harris impressed, finishing 5th and 7th respectively. Wyman originally finished 6th, but was promoted to 5th after an illegal pit entrance meant Veerle Ingels was disqualified after the race.


ORGANISERS TO MEET

British Cycling will hold a meeting with Premier Calendar and criterium organisers on November 28 to discuss, amongst other things, their hopes and aspirations for the 2009 season.

Also on the agenda is how the new Tour Series (organised by Tour of Britain organisers, Sweetspot) will fit around the existing National Criterium races and the Nocturne series.