SKY’S SWIFT GOING IN AUSTRIA
The Tour de France is the dominant cycling event of the summer but it is far from the only one.
The eight-day Tour of Austria, which finished last Sunday, was an opportunity for the young Brit Ben Swift to impress.
The Sky rider completed the race with three top-ten finishes, twice bagging a spot on the podium in bunch sprints, finishing second to Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia) in the opener and third on stage six.
Roger Hammond (Cervelo) was also fourth on stage eight.
Sky rider Morris Possoni placed eighth overall, while teammate Chris Froome was the highest placed Briton in the final classification, finishing 64th, 32-03 behind the winner.
Meanwhile, Riccardo Ricco wrapped up the overall victory, a little over four months since returning from a 20-month ban from the sport for testing positive for CERA.
The Ceramica Flaminia leader almost didn’t finish the race: a collision with a motorbike on the penultimate day’s time-trial left him with a broken nose.
However, despite 12 stitches, a heavily battered and bandaged Ricco completed the final stage, maintaining his lead over Sergio Pardilla.
Ben Swift races at the Lincoln, weeks before winning the Tour of Picardy
ELITE CRIT SERIES HEADS TO COLNE
Tonight, the National Elite Circuit Series heads to Colne and the home turf of current competition leader Ian Wilkinson.
With an enviable record of first, first, second, first in the opening four rounds, the Endura rider has stubbornly both kept Rapha-Condor-Sharp off the podium and levered open a commanding lead in the standings.
While he’ll be extra motivated to win his hometown race, John Herety’s men in black also be keen to get off the mark in the series – and extend their lead in CW’s Super Team Challenge, no doubt.
Motorpoint pair Ian Bibby and Steven Burke are also local lads to watch, among a top-quality British field.
The elite race starts at 8.15pm.
NATIONAL CHAMPION GARNERS BELGIAN WIN
Reigning U16 national circuit race champion Lucy Garner showed her pedigree in in the junior women’s race in Michelbeke on Sunday.
The Olympic Talent Team rider, who rides for Leicestershire RC, outsprinted Heidi Dalton for the win.
Hannah Layland (VC St Raphael) placed eighteenth, seven minutes down in the main bunch.
ENTER LONDON’S FIRST CLOSED-ROAD HILL CLIMB
Rollapaluza have organised London’s first closed-road hill climb, up the renowned Swains Lan,e on July 22.
Taking place hours after the queen stage of the Tour de France, which finishes on the Tourmalet, riders can test their mettle on the testing Highgate ascent, featured in Simon Warren’s new book “100 Greatest Cycing Climbs”.
Condor Cycles and Rollapaluza are supplying the prizes.
Entry is free but hurry: when we went to press, both senior and veteran male events were already sold out.
Visit www.urbanhillclimb.com for more details.
TOUR OF THE BLACK MOUNTAINS ENTRY CLOSES SOON
Every July hundreds of cyclists take part in the Tour of the Black Mountains (July 24), commonly dubbed the “Welsh Etape”. This summer, riders will be returning to the challenging Welsh peaks for the fifth consecutive year.
This sportive provides a mountain stage to rival the Grand Tours. The demanding Black Mountains make it one of the hardest sportives in the UK and a perfect opportunity to test your limits!
This year’s event offers three different routes of 120 miles, 101 miles and 63 miles. Riders who tackle the longer climbs will be the rewarded with spectacular views over the Gospel Pass and on the 7km climb up Cwn Claisfer.
There are only five days left to enter. Register online at www.registrations.pendragon-sports.com/index.php