BLYTHE BACK IN ACTION

Britain?s Adam Blythe is back in action after a bout of tendonitis.

Blythe rode the 2.2 ranked Tryptique des Monts Chateaux stage race over the weekend, a punishing four stages punctuated by many first and second category climbs, which may well have enflamed any lingering knee issues.

Blythe took second on the third stage and helped his team-mate, Kris Boeckmans to the overall victory.

His next race will be the Circuit des Ardennes, another race full of climbing.


BELLIS IN CIRCUIT DE LA SARTHE

Saxo Bank?s Johnny Bellis is currently in action at the 2.1 ranked Circuit de la Sarthe in the Loire region of France.

Bellis finished 18th on the first stage to Ancenis, 0-19 down on the stage winner, Enrico Rossi.

Today?s stage is 93.8km from Ancenis to Angers, with a 6.1km individual time trial to follow in the afternoon. The race concludes on Friday.


VIRTUAL TOUR DE FRANCE

Cancer survivor and cycling fanatic, Geoff Thomas, is calling on the nation?s cyclists to join him in riding the Virtual Tour de France to raise funds for the Geoff Thomas Foundation.

Thomas has twice ridden the route of the Tour de France to raise funds for the GTF which is trying to fund blood cancer nurses at six hospitals in Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford, Cambridge, London and Manchester. The Foundation also campaigns for improved treatment for blood cancer patients.

The idea is for friends and work colleagues to ride the Tour de France distance on exercise bikes in the gym or out on the road on their bikes. Teams can share the 2,175 miles and the GTF has created a number of options for covering the cycling marathon this summer. However, as with the real Tour de France, the challenge must to be completed over three weeks.

Thomas, who to date has raised around £1million for charity, said: ?Since riding the Tour de France lots of people have told me they?d like to have a go but they haven?t got the time to do the whole route themselves. With the GTF Virtual Tour de France, it?s possible to share and complete the Tour distance at home with your mates and have some fun while doing it. We?re hoping people will be able to get sponsorship for their assault on the Tour mileage and help improve treatment for blood cancer patients.?

Anyone wishing to join the GTF Virtual Tour de France should contact: becky@geoffthomasfoundation.com

Or call 07796 681299 for a full fundraising pack.


BRITONS AIMING HIGH IN FRANCE

The path to becoming a professional cyclist in Britain rising through the ranks of British Cycling?s development programme is well-documented but the more traditional route of making your own way on the continent is still a popular one.

Alastair Carr, Mathew Jones and Nathan Edmondson have been riding for COC Fougeres in the Brittany region of France.

So far they have had some good results and also some misfortune. Matt won the first race of the season, the Prix d?Ouverture before finishing 3rd to Johan Le Bon the following week.

During the Fleche d?Armor stage race he finished 6th during the time trial; unfortunately, he then crashed heavily late in the following stage, breaking a bone in his wrist putting him out of action for six weeks.

Alastair has gained seven top twenty placings already this year finishing 20th in the Elite Nationale Souvenir Louison Bobet, won by former Crédit Agricole rider, Jimmy Engoulvent.

He then went onto win King of the Mountains in the premier category Tour du Pays de Lesneven.

Nathan has been progressing well during his first year as a senior after a short break due to injury. The experience he has gained so far in much longer races with bigger fields will stand him in good stead for the rest of the year.

Stay tuned to read more about how the British COC Fougeres trio are getting on in France.


YOUNG GUNS WANTED FOR CITY RAT RACE

Detail Events, organisers of the Edinburgh Rat Race, are calling on all young multi-sport enthusiasts between the ages of 14 and 18 to sign up now for a new youth team event as part of Scotland’s latest urban adventure challenge.

On July 18 and 19 Edinburgh will be transformed into a multi-sports playground with youth teams battling it out alongside elite adventure racers for the very first time. The young guns will take part in a range of physical and mentally challenging activities including navigation, endurance, mental agility, running, climbing, mountain biking, kayaking and abseiling.

They might find themselves tackling activities such as abseiling from the roof of Murrayfield Stadium, kayaking the Union Canal, mountain biking in the Pentlands, scaling the epic 100ft climbing wall at Edinburgh’s International Climbing Centre and even space hopper racing.

The Edinburgh Rat Race is the original urban adventure race and the flagship of an eight-date UK race summer series that will also take in Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol, Sheffield, Gateshead/Newcastle, London and Belfast. The Rat Race concept originated in Edinburgh in 2004 and is now a global brand, with events in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa.

Online entries are now open at http://www.ratraceadventure.com or phone 0845 009 4365 for more information.


KINESIS RACING IN FRANCE

The Kinesis team went to France recently for the 2.2 ranked Boucle de l?Artois three-day stage race in the Nord pas de Calais region.

Team manager Chris Truett talked cyclingweekly.co.uk through it:

?The first stage was a 170km fast stage with small climbs and a cobbled climb, which is where we had our first incident as Alex Bhogel couldn?t avoid a falling rider and rode into him.

?Both came down and had to finish the climb on foot, with a mad chase to regain the bunch, which then split into two.

?Meanwhile, Steve Lampier and James Moss made the front split, the two bunches came together, but it then split and reformed as the wind wasn?t near its full strength as it can sometimes be in this region.

?The three lads made it onto the finish circuit where they had to do three laps of a 10km circuit where they had to avoid the crashes that come in this type of race. They all made it home safely on the first page of the results just seconds behind a six-man group.

?The next day saw the riders face a 16km TT and in the afternoon a 100km hilly stage. The TT saw some good rides from the lads but they where all put firmly in the shade by “L’Enfant terrible” himself, Frank Vandenbroucke who also took the yellow jersey.

?The afternoon saw them face a fast 50km to a finishing ciruit that was 10km long with two steep climbs per lap. A group went away of about 15 with Steve making Vandenbroucke?s group as with two laps to go the pace and hills were taking their toll on the peloton.

?A hard weekend?s racing but this will set us all up for the Girvan and FDB Ras to come,? said Truett.

imageAbove: The Kinesis team in France


WOMEN ON WHEELS

Women On Wheels (WOW) is an exciting new cycling event aimed at women being staged at 7stanes Kirroughtree Trail Centre, Dumfries and Galloway, on Sunday May 17 as part of the Original Bicycle Festival 2009.

It is a free event for women and girls of all ages, abilities, and cycling genres who want to come along and be inspired, learn and to have fun on two wheels.

On offer will be bikes to rent or buy, with a MTB, trials and BMX stunt team on display.

There will also be talks and question and answer sessions with inspirational women and role models in cycling, including a talk from 71 year-old local hero, Granny Mave, who successfully completed a 5,500-mile transcontinental bike ride across Canada from Vancouver, on the West coast, to St John’s, New Foundland, on the East.

WOW is being organised by Clair Scaife and Sam Hill from thebreakpad bike shop based at Kirroughtree. Clair Scaife said: ?We felt that it would be a great idea to have an Original Bicycle Festival event that focused on females, whatever their age, cycling experience and fitness level. Our aim for WOW is to ensure that everyone has fun, learns something and we all share the experience with like minded people within a relaxed atmosphere.?

Full details can be found at www.thebreakpad.com

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