PLANET X SPLITS AS CRITERIUM RIDERS LEAVE
Cycling retailer Planet X has reneged on its previous decision to have a criterium side to its 2010 team, prompting the bulk of the roster, as well as team bosses Cherie Pridham and Eddie White, to attract a new sponsor.

“Planet X just decided to withdraw at the last moment. We’ve had to work on plan B, and everything’s back on track. I’ve got nothing against Planet X, they just decided that it wasn’t the direction they wanted to go in for marketing,” said Pridham.

Kuota have come in as the new title backer, with five of the planned Planet X line-up – Jon Mozley, Jeroen Janssen, Jefte de Bruin, Martin Smith and Tom Martin – on board.

“The main thing is that we have the same infrastructure, same management and the same riders,” she said. Pridham was manager of the now-defunct Plowman Craven team last year, alongside White.

“We’re looking forward to moving on to the racing – especially the criteriums, where we can start to play some games,” she added.

Kuota-road.cc debuts at Saturday’s Eddie Soens Memorial.

Meanwhile, Planet X is going Irish this season, maintaining the likes of Martyn Irvine and Roger Aiken as planned while also drawing in some new talent. More details are to be announced in the coming weeks.

WILKINSON LOOKS AHEAD TO MURCIA

The next big test for Endura starts today at the Tour of Murcia, where the team goes up against likes of ProTour heavyweights Team Sky, Radioshack and Rabobank in the five-day Spanish race.

After a fortnight of solid training following their baptism of fire at the Tour of the Med, Ian Wilkinson was hopeful about their chances of mixing it with Armstrong, Wiggins and company.

“We’re going to be more acclimatised to the speed and the company we’re in. I can’t wait really. There’s a good atmosphere in the camp, and everything’s set up nicely, let’s see what we can do,” he said.

The Lancashire man tipped Jack Bauer, who has recovered from his concussion in the Tour du Haut Var, to be the team’s star man in Murcia. “I think Jack is going to blow his cover. He’s going well and we’re ready to back him up.”

As for taking on Team Sky and Radioshack, the latter who are in the hotel down the road?

“We don’t like to mix with them; next thing you know they’re copying you, your training and wanting the same bikes and kits. We try to keep away from them,” he said, deadpan.

As we went to press, Endura could already judge the first day a success, as French rider Alexandre Blain established himself in the day’s breakaway for over 100 kilometres, claiming the intermediate sprints jersey.

To see Cycling Weekly’s Tour of Murcia profile, click here >>>

MARTIN BEST OF BRITS AT HET NIEUWSBLAD

In the women’s edition of Het Nieuwsblad, Lucy Martin was the best-placed British rider, finishing 17th, just over four minutes down on winner Emma Johansson.

Great Britain teammate Annie Last finished a few spot back in the same group, placing 24th.

Johansson’s teammate Emma Silverside, Hannah Mayho and Laura Trott also completed the race, claiming 34th, 42nd and 63rd respectively.

DALLAGLIO CYCLE SLAM REACHES MILLENNIUM STADIUM
The Lawrence Dallaglio Cycle Slam peloton rolled into the Millenium Stadium yesterday to complete another leg of their 2,800-km epic.

The fourth stage, from London to Cardiff, saw the likes of Ashes stars Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff joining the group.

“It’s been a fantastic journey so far. Having Freddie Flintoff on board has really helped keep the spirits high. He’s a fantastic guy to have around and it is great to see him enjoying himself and keeping everyone entertained.

dallagliowales1
Three sporting heroes of the Noughties

“Michael Vaughan is very sharp and quick-witted and the fact so many people have come out to take part in this challenging cycle shows just how important the causes are, so I urge people to go online and support us,” Dallaglio said.

Indeed, the challenge is almost three-quarters of the way to achieving the charity fundraising target of £1 million for Sport Relief and the Lawrence Dallaglio Foundation.

The physical challenge is nearing its conclusion too, with just 800 kilometres to go till arrival in Edinburgh on March 12. The next stop is Dublin on Saturday.

To support Lawrence and his fellow cyclists, visit http://www.dallagliocycleslam.com.

SOLDIERS SADDLE UP FOR ANGLO-WELSH RUGBY CUP CHARITY RIDE

Lawrence Dallaglio is not the only one saddling up for a rugby-related charity cycling challenge.

On March 14, eight members of the 1st Armoured Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment will begin an 1,000-mile route, taking in all 16 grounds of the English and Welsh rugby teams involved in this year’s LV Anglo-Welsh Cup.

The novel thing is that they aim to ride all the way carrying a rugby ball, which will then be presented and (apparently) used in the cup final at Sixways Stadium, Worcester on March 21.

The group are attempting to raise money and awareness for the British Legion Poppy Appeal and Help for Heroes charities.

To give support and for more information, visit http://sites.google.com/site/rhinopoppy.

  • Carl Lawrenson

    The Eddie Soens Memorial is on Satturday!!