Monday’s British news round-up

Lizzie Armitstead already has some fine results to her name on the track, including a world title in the team pursuit, but she is also starting to achieve on the road in what is her first season as a professional.

The 20-year-old put in a string of impressive performances in last week’s Giro Donne, the women’s equivalent to the Giro d’Italia, to claim the white young riders’ jersey as well as 15th overall.

Armitstead’s coach, Dan Hunt, was pleased with his protégé’s performance.

“The overall target this summer has just been for Lizzie to survive or endure the whole season,” explained Hunt, “so we’ve been giving her as much racing as is reasonable”.

For Armitstead, who was climbing well in the Giro Donne’s mountain stages, this year “is still very much a development year,” according to Hunt.

“We learned a lot from the Tour de l’Aude, recovery, eating and just general dietary information and she has taken a lot on board.

“Lizzie has got a very good power to weight ratio and she’s a bit lighter than she was on the track, it’s good for her to carry a bit of extra weight on the track but as the road season started she’s lost a couple of kilos.

“I fully expected her to be climbing with the very best,” said Hunt, “but the thing about Lizzie is that she can also sprint with the very best.”

After her fine showing at the Giro Donne, Armitstead will take a brief mid-season break before building up to the road World Championships.

British professionals Jeremy Hunt (Cervélo Test Team), Ben Swift (Katusha) and Ian Stannard (ISD) were racing at the Tour of Austria, which finished on Sunday.

All three were in the thick of the action during the eight-day race. Jeremy Hunt made the winning breakaway on the fifth stage to Judenforf-Straßangel, finishing second to Dries Devenyns (Quick Step).

The day after, Ben Swift finished sixth – one of several top ten finishes – in a sprint finish won by the prolific Andre Greipel

On the seventh stage time-trial, over 26.3 kilometres around Podersdorf am Neusiedler See, ISD man Stannard enjoyed a season-best fourth place finish, 21 second behind victor Koos Moerenhout (Rabobank).

Swiss rider Michele Albasini (Team Columbia-HTC) took the overall title.

Emma Trott took the first professional win of her career on Saturday at the Tour de Feminin Krasna Lipa stage race in the Czech Republic.

On the race’s second stage, covering 105.5 kilometres around Jirikov, the 19-year-old escaped with Turkish rider Semra Yetis in the pouring rain. At the finish, she outgunned her rival to cross the line first, and moved up to sixth place overall.

After fifth in the following day’s time-trial and a fourth-place finish in the final stage, former Halfords Bikehut rider Trott maintained her high overall position to the race’s conclusion.

The Cheshunt rider was the highest finisher from the Anglo-Dutch Moving Ladies squad, which also includes Sarah Cramoysan, Kate Cullen and Nikki Harris.  

Tour de Feminin Krasna Lipa (2.2), Stage 2; Jirikov-Jirikov, 105.5km
1. Emma Trott (Gbr) Moving Ladies 3-04-36
2. Semra Yetis (Tur) Koga-Miyata at same time
3. Romy Kasper (Ger) Team Nürnberger Versicherung at 39sec.
7. Kirsten Peetoom (Ned) Moving Ladies st
25. Laura Ringlever (Ned) Moving Ladies at 2-18
31. Mirthe Wagenaar (Ned) Moving Ladies at 6-17
33. Kate Cullen (Gbr) Moving Ladies at 15-12
34. Eva Heijmans (Ned) Moving Ladies st

General Classification after stage two
1. Alexandra Burchenkova (Rus) Petrogradets 6-16-46
2. Edwige Pitel (Fra) Mixed Team at 2sec
3. Martina Ruzickova (Cze) Team Uniqa Elk at 58sec
6. Emma Trott (Gbr) at 3-57

Just over 1,000 British entrants will make up the total of 8,500 riders tackling l’Etape du Tour this year, which culminates with the infamous Mont Ventoux.

According to Sports Tours, one of the official tour operators, it is the most popular British entry since the 2006 edition.

This is due in part to the mystique attached to the Ventoux. “Along with l’Alpe d’Huez, they are the two mountains that everyone wants to climb,” commented a Sports Tours representative.

Fancy watching the penultimate stage of this year’s Tour de France in style? Then why not head down to The Sports Café in London for the inaugural Etape du Sports Café in aid of the John Ibbotson Fund.

Boasting eight plasma HD screens, the cost of the ticket will also include a welcome drink, soft drinks and buffet food as well as a mystery guest.

Tickets cost £45 per person. Contact 01737813892.

Saturday July 25, The Sports Café, 1-6pm, 80 Haymarket, London, SWIY 4TE.

St. Paul’s Primary School in Portsmouth could well be the worst school in the UK for cycling.

11-year old Sam O’Shea has spent the entire year campaigning to be able to cycle to school. He has gone to great lengths to convince his school it should be encouraging, not banning, cycling. But, this week as the summer term ends, his school has still not lifted the ban which stops him parking his bike at school.

In October 2008, St Paul’s said the road outside the school was not safe, so Sam and his family persuaded the council to bring forward a planned re-design of the road layout.

They also arranged for a professional risk assessment, which found that the street around the school was safe for children to cycle on. Yet the headmistress continued to insist cycling was too dangerous and that she could not allow Sam to bring his bike to school. Furthermore, the council offered to provide cycle parking, which the school did not take up.

Sam O’Shea said: “The school said I needed to do cycle training, which I’ve done. Then they said the road layout was dangerous, so we got the council to change it, but they still said it was unsafe. I just want is to ride my bike to school. It’s good for the planet, and it’s good fun.”
In desperation, Sam and his family enlisted the help of CTC which asked to meet with the school to explain the risks and benefits of cycling. Recently the headmistress finally offered to meet CTC at the beginning of next term, by which time Sam will have moved on to secondary school.