Tuesday’s British news round-up

Nicole Cooke’s win at the National Championships on Saturday was a remarkable feat in itself but it was also her tenth national title, a simply astonishing accomplishment.

“Winning the National Championships for the tenth time was a great feeling,” explained Cooke.

“It was very special to race in front of a home crowd and hear the support out on the course.

“Especially riding down the finishing straight, the noise was incredible and then the cheers and appreciation afterwards will stay with my forever,” Cooke continued.


Cervélo professional Daniel Lloyd was a close second to Kristian House at the National Championships on Sunday: it’s a position he’s becoming all too familiar with at the Nationals, having been beaten by David Millar in 2007.

Asked whether Lloyd was due a win in the Nationals, team-mate Roger Hammond replied, “I hope so, I really hope so, because he’s a good guy and he works hard.

“I know he will be bitterly disappointed [about coming second]. He will probably feel that he has let us down, but he hasn’t at all. He has done a good ride. That’s life. It will come,” said Hammond.

With such a high calibre field at the National Championships, it may come as something of a surprise to hear that just three Britons will line-up in Monaco on Saturday for the start of the Tour de France.

Bradley Wiggins and David Millar will represent Garmin whilst Mark Cavendish will be in Columbia colours.

Full Tour de France team listing>>>

British Cycling today unveiled its new ‘Whole Sport Plan’ for 2009-2013 that aims to increase participation in cycling as a sport, as a method of transport and as recreation through ‘achieving worldwide success’.

The ‘inspiration to participation’ plan sets out to further develop British success in elite-level competition (the Tour de France, Olympics and World Championships) and to use this success to ‘dramatically increase mass participation in cycling’ via a series of initiatives.

British Cycling has devised a plan to turn the London Olympics in 2012 into a lasting legacy for cycling in the UK. To achieve this, British Cycling has set a series of objectives:

-To ‘inspire through success’ by ‘asserting the UK’s position as the leading cycling nation in the world’. The ongoing success of British riders, in addition to the new Sky professional road team, will aim to ‘drive interest and participation in cycling’.

-To ‘get more people on the bike’ by rolling out a series of mass participation rides. Working with Sky, British Cycling aims to get one million more people cycling once a month by 2013 through its Skyride initiative.

-To ‘boost cycling as a sport’ by investing more and better resources to encouraging competitive cycling at grass roots level.

-To ‘improve the playing environment for competitive cycling’ by creating a network of nationwide traffic-free facilities like Redbridge in London. British Cycling is also working with government departments to develop a legal framework to ensure the safety of road racing in the UK.

-To ‘exercise Britain’s international influence’ by major international events in the build-up to London 2012.

-To ‘position British Cycling as an essential resource’ for cyclists, the aim being to increase membership from 27,000 to 100,000 by 2013 via a range of new membership packages to suit all cyclists.

“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity in the run up to London 2012 to really engage Britain with cycling and turn our ‘medal success’ into a ‘people success’ by inspiring mass participation in our sport,” explained Ian Drake, CEO at British Cycling.

“The scale of the task we have set ourselves at home is comparable to…going for gold in the Olympics but now is the time to act as we have never been in a better position to use elite success to grow cycle sport in the UK.

“With increased funding and fantastic public and commercial partnerships on board, we finally have the resources in place to drive real progress in all areas of our sport, from the elite team and talent development to volunteer engagement and lobbying for new legislation to allow competitive cycling to thrive.

“The purpose of all this is to grow our sport at a grass roots level and in turn increase our chances of future elite success. We will be making several announcements this year about the specific steps we are implementing to deliver on our new vision.”

One day after Nicole Cooke won the national road race title for the tenth time, she travelled to Surrey to support cyclists who took part in Action Medical Research’s Ride 24.

Based on the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold Park, Ride 24 is the UK’s first 24-hour relay cycle race and it raises money for the charity that works to find cures and treatments for diseases affecting babies and children .

23 teams took to the start at 12pm on Saturday with teams of up to four riders trying to cover the greatest distance overall, with each rider completing several laps before handing over to their team mate in rotation over the whole 24 hours.

Nicole Cooke was on hand to present the prize to the winning team, Iron Horses, which completed 179 laps of Dunsfold, five laps ahead of the second-placed team. All 23 teams finished and solo rider Jonathan Crossick rode alone for the whole 24 hours, completing 55 laps.

“There was a great atmosphere and even after nearly 24 hours of intense competition there was big excitement as the event came to an end,” said Cooke.

“Each rider who took part showed great spirit and was rightly very proud of taking part. What I liked most was that, through having a lot of fun and pushing their personal limits, people were also helping to raise money for people in need.”

British cycling fans may be interested to know about a series of programmes dedicated to Lance Armstrong and his return to professional cycling.

The programmes will be shown on ESPN Classic (Sky Channel 442) from July 1 and lasting throughout the month of July.

See www.espnclassic.com for full listings.

If you have any news you would like to share, please contact andrew_canning@ipcmedia.com