Friday’s British news round-up

Millar set to lead GB road race team at the Worlds
Cavendish keen to ride Worlds despite illness
Sky: who’s riding for the new superteam?
Sky names its first six riders

Lotto Belisol rider Lizzie Armitstead showed that he is back to her best after crashing out of the Route de France, claiming back-to-back second places in the Tour Cycliste Féminin International Ardèche.

On stage three, the Belgian-based youngster broke away with team-mate Grace Verbeke and Kristin Armstrong (Cervélo Test Team) on the 102.7km stage between Vals les Bains and Le Teil.

After working hard over the hills to cement a strong advantage, Olympic time-trial champion Armstrong then attacked with five kilometres left to drop the Lotto pair, soloing to victory, by 21 seconds, and the leader’s jersey.

The pair finished just under four minutes ahead of the peloton, which was led in by teenager Katie Colclough, riding strongly for the Great Britain team.

On the following day’s stage, Armitstead had to settle for second place again, denied victory in a 20-strong bunch sprint by German rider Angela Hennig.

With two days to go, Armitstead lies third overall, 53 seconds down on Armstrong. Sharon Laws is also faring well, currently holding ninth place.

See the current issue of Cycling Weekly for a ride with Lizzie Armitstead.

Up-and-coming Briton Peter Kennaugh, who recently signed to join the Sky team as of next year, placed 11th in the toughest stage of the Tour de l’Avenir yesterday.

The 146km stage from Château-Salins to Gérardmer was won by Timofey Kritskiy of Russia with Kennaugh placing 11th.

Kennaugh has been ill recently so is not currently at his best, but is riding himself back into form for the World Championships, in which he will be the leader of the under-23 team.

Tom Murray, formerly of Plowman Craven, will ride in the colours of Sigma Sport next year and is optimistic to have some better luck next season.

“Matt Stephens rang me about a month ago,” said Murray, “but I had been talking to some other teams.

“It’s a pretty good destination for me so I’m pleased with the move. With the Tour Series, they’re taking on more riders and different riders for different races.”

After leaving Plowman Craven mid-way through the season, Murray went to Belgium to race kermesses, but says that it was always part of the plan to return to Britain.

“I went to Belgium because my head had gone with racing and with what had happened at Plowman Craven,” said Murray of the split in the team that saw most of the riders leave the squad.

“But as soon as I got to Belgium I crashed and had to take a month off. I came back to Britain, did the Richmond GP, went back to Belgium and caught a chest infection. So I’m looking forward to next year and the plan is to re-find the form I had at the start of the year and get winning. This year has been a bit of a write-off,” Murray added.

Tom Murray in yellow

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Above: Murray (centre) leading the Girvan earlier this year

On Monday, 100% ME rider Joanna Rowsell clinched another win in Belgium, taking the 70-kilmetre Avond van Zonnebeke in a bunch sprint, beating some of the most talented local young stars, including Belgian hot-shot Lieselot Decroix (Cervélo).

The 20-year-old explained: “I led the sprint out; there were two corners quite close to the finish. So long as I could get in there first, I was then strong enough to hold on.

“I’ve never won a race in a sprint before so I was really pleased because I’ve won all my races differently: away on my own, from a small group and now this.”

Impressively, this is Rowsell’s fourth Belgian win in as many weeks, continuing her red-hot streak of Flemish form.

The 20-year-old is staying in Belgium for two more weeks before returning to Manchester for the National Track Championships and the World Cup in October.

BMC UK Racing Team is undergoing some major changes ahead of the 2010 season, the hope being that the team will be able propel itself into the upper echelons of domestic racing.

A new title sponsor is on board and the team is currently in talks with several new potential additions to the team.

Team manager James Whatling is busy planning and was very excited about the new season when he spoke to Cycling Weekly: “despite a successful first season, with 12 victories and countless podium places, 2009 has been a very steep learning curve for the riders and management alike.

“Armed with the knowledge gained from this season’s campaign, we’re now fully focused on 2010 and putting together a squad capable of finishing in the top five teams in the country and, should we be lucky enough to secure an invitation, to really shake the big teams up in the Tour Series”.

In the meantime, Whatling has been product testing Rotor’s 3D cranks that have been developed from the company’s partnership with the Cervélo Test Team.

The cranks will be available from mid-November with prices ranging from £250 for the steel axle model to £380 for the 475-gramme titanium axel model.

British cyclo-cross ace Ian Field has moved to Tielt-Winge in Belgium for the European cyclo-cross season. The Hargroves Cycles rider will be living with British champion Helen Wyman for the duration of his stay.
As he seeks to crack the top twenty-five of World Cup events, Field’s schedule is heavily weighted towards Belgian racing.

“I’m just going back for three or four races in the winter,” he said. Field pinpointed National Trophy rounds at Exeter, Derby and Bradford and the national championships as his only likely forays in British racing.
He will be competing this Sunday in the first UCI-rated cross event of the year at Erpe-Mere.

“I’m feeling good, but I’ll see where I am this Sunday,” Field said.

Giro has

released a special edition helmet for national road race champion,

Kristian House, to coincide with the Tour of Britain which starts

tomorrow in Scunthorpe.

The helmet features the distinctive white, red and blue of the national champion’s jersey.

House will also be riding a prototype carbon frame from Condor in the Tour.


Above: House’s special edition helmet