CW Live: Mark Cavendish accused denies planning robbery; introducing the Orange Seal Academy, NCL announces Miami club house; Tom Pidcock nominated for Leeds sportsman of the year; Stonehenge gravel event opens; Egan Bernal considered retiring after crash

Bringing you all the latest news from around the cyclosphere

A very good morning on this freezing UK day – join me, James Shrubsall, as we attempt to warm the cockles with some of the hottest news off the cyber-press. Our U.S.-based editor, Anne-Marije Rook, will join us in the UK evening to share the news from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Key developments

9.43 - Grace Brown wins women's TDU overall
10.26 - Alberto Bettiol takes TDU prologue
11.06 - Mark Cavendish accused denies planning robbery
12.49 - Astana appear to confirm Mark Cavendish signing
14.59 - Juan Pedro López injured in training camp crash
17.41 - Egan Bernal says he considered retirement after crash


12.49 PST - Miami’s ZIeL Concept Store to become club house home of NCL’s Miami Nights team

12.00 PST - Introducing the Orange Seal Academy


Grace Brown wraps up women's TDU overall with stage three victory

Tour Down Under

Grace Brown wins stage three ahead of Amanda Spratt

(Image credit: Tim De Waele / Getty Images)

Australia's Grace Brown sealed overall victory at the Women's Tour Down Under earlier this morning after outgunning breakaway partner Amanda Spratt at the finish in Campbelltown on the third and final stage.

It's the second victory the FDJ-Suez rider has taken so far this year – she won the Australian ITT  Championship a week ago (not to mention bagging silver in the road race).

Spratt (Trek-Segafredo) was the instigator of the move, breaking away on the climb of the Corkscrew with 11km to ride. She went over the summit alone, but with Brown chasing hard, ultimately catching her quarry with 2.5km remaining and outsprinting her at the line.

Building on her fifth and 20th places in stages two and one respectively, it placed Brown 10sec ahead of Spratt in the final GC, with Kiwi Georgia Williams (EF Education-Tibco-SVB) in third place at 19sec. It's the biggest career win for Brown, who was third in the Women's Ronde in 2021 and has been second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes twice, in 2020 and 2022.

Alberto Bettiol takes Tour Down Under prologue as heavens open on his rivals

Tour Down Under 2023

(Image credit: Tim De Waele / Getty Images)

Alberto Bettiol swept into the lead in the men's Tour Down Under this morning after taking advantage of early dry conditions to set what proved to be an unbeatable time in the short Adelaide prologue.

The Italian EF Education-Easypost rider set off in dry conditions as fourth starter, finishing the 5.5km course in just 6.19. It's likely that 2019 Tour of Flanders winner Bettiol found his two-and-a-half hour stint in the hot seat more gruelling than the pint-sized race itself.

With the rain coming down just 15 minutes after the racing started, the later riders struggled to get close to Bettiol's time, with Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) and Julius Johansen (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) second and third respectively – significant time gaps over that distance.

Mark Ca

Mark Cavendish accused denies planning robbery at party

Mark Cavendish waves and smirks

(Image credit: Getty)

A man has denied making plans to rob Mark Cavendish at a party in Manchester shortly before the offence took place, a court has heard (reports Manchester Evening News).

Intruders wearing balaclavas broke into the Manxman's home in Ongar, Essex, while he was asleep with his wife and three-year-old child, apparently holding a 'rambo-style' knife to the rider's throat and threatening to stab him, before making off with two Richard Mille watches worth a combined £700,000.

Romario Henry, of Lewisham, South-East London and Oludewa Okorosobo, of Camberwell, South-East London, both deny taking part in the robbery, which took place on November 27.

Another man, Ali Sesay, has already admitted two counts of robbery, and the court has been told that his DNA was found on Cavendish's wife Peta's phone. Two others, Jo Jobson and George Goddard, have been named as suspects but remain at large.

When it was put to Henry that he, along with Okorosobo and Sesay, planned the robbery at the Manchester party, he said: "I say that's not true."

The trial, at Chelmsford Crown Court, continues.

The six-year-old raising money by cycling 100km in London

Six-year-old Isla Urquhart from South London has embarked on a fairly epic cycling based challenge in a good cause. She aims to ride 100km this month in aid of her local food bank.

She has already started racking up the Ks on her 10km round trip to school, which she completes with her parents, hooking her bike up to theirs during the busy sections, and unattaching for the quiet parts, reports My London.

Her original aim was to raise £100 for Tooting Community Kitchen, but she has smashed that target and is up to £575. 

Tom Pidcock nominated for Leeds Sportsman of the Year awards

Alpe d'Huez

Tom Pidcock rides to victory on Alpe d'Huez

(Image credit: Michael Steele / Getty Images)

Yorkshireman Tom Pidcock has been shortlisted for the Leeds Sports Awards in the 'sportsman of the year' category.

The Leeds 23-year-old has had a fine year, winning the cyclo-cross World Championship in Lafayette, Indiana in January and following that with a solid year on the road that was crowned with a superb performance to win on Alpe d'Huez in the Tour de France. The Ineos Grenadiers rider became the second Brit in a row to win on the mountain following team-mate Geraint Thomas in 2018, when he broke away to win by 48 seconds on stage 12.

Pidcock's fellow nominees in the sportsman category are cricketer Harry Brook and diver Jack Laugher.

Entry open now for Stonehenge gravel event

See more

"You don't have to be a druid to do this ride" says title sponsor Ekoi. ("...but it helps" maybe?)

Druid or not, entries go on sale today for the Ekoi Stone Circle gravel event, based out of Salisbury and held just after the solstice on June 24. Promoted by HotChillee, the rides begin at the ancient fort of Old Sarum and head out to Stonehenge, so the ancient iconography shouldn't be lost on anyone.

Riders are promised the "fast rolling feel of iconic US gravel races" as well as stunning scenery. Two distances are available – 215km and 135km, the latter also permitting ebikes. Entry is from £65 to £85.

Just 400 places are up for grabs, so best get in quick if you like the sound of this.

Astana appears to confirm Mark Cavendish signing

See more

Astana Qazaqstan seem to have confirmed that Mark Cavendish will indeed be riding in its colours this year, posting a close-up portrait of the Manxman wearing one of its jerseys with the caption "Still waiting?"

It's unclear whether this is a reference to the team's ongoing wait for the UCI to process Cavendish's registration, or whether it's a little teaser aimed at fans. What does seem fairly clear though is that Cavendish has finally found a new home in the WorldTour.

See more here.

Get set for the coming cold snap with Cycling Weekly's best winter clothing guide

The vast majority of the stage was covered in snow (Photo: Sportograf)

(Image credit: Future)

In case we thought we'd seen the worst of what winter could throw at us, when UK temperatures plummeted in mid-December, the f-f-f-freezing temperatures are back with a vengeance. 

This week promises sub-zero temperatures, frost and even snow. Even if it's short lived, what's the betting February might hit us with another blast of the frosty stuff?

No reason to despair though – check out our guide to the best winter clothing and layer up accordingly. With spring not actually too far off, you might even pick up a bargain. 

But do remember, even the best clothing can't protect you from icy roads – best stay at home and stream some bike racing if that's the case. 

Juan Pedro López injured in Trek-Segafredo training camp crash

See more

Juan Pedro López may be forced to start his season a little late after reportedly broken his collarbone in a crash at the Trek-Segafredo training camp.

The 25-year-old Spanish rider was 10th on GC at last year's Giro d'Italia. 

As the team says in its tweet, he's due to have surgery tomorrow, after which there will be an update on his condition. Get well soon!

I considered retiring, but crash was the best thing that happened to me, says Egan Bernal

Deutschland Tour 2022

(Image credit: Stuart Franklin / Getty Images)

Egan Bernal's horror crash that left him with extensive serious injuries was the best thing that has ever happened to him, he has told sports outlet AS.

He also admitted to thinking about retiring during his long recovery, but said he was inspired to continue by others facing similar injuries out of the media spotlight.

"Obviously, if I could turn back time, it would not have happened," he said, "but once it happened and I was a year later, I think it was one of the best things. I managed to get closer to my family, to God, I met very good people.

He would tell his children and grandchildren how he nearly killed himself by crashing into a bus aged 25, he said, and show them that even bad things can turn out well.

He considered retiring he said, but the quiet heroism of others kept him going.

"There are daily accidents in our country and mine was in the media," he said, "but there are many people like me. I thought about retirement but what motivated me was seeing the people who set their minds to that and manage to get ahead."

Bernal was left with 20 broken bones and two collapsed lungs after hitting a stationary bus at 62kph in January last year. He raced again for the first time in August at the tours of Denmark and Germany, posting low-table finishes but happy to be back.

This year, he said, would begin with the Vuelta a San Juan this weekend, and lead up to his main aim, the Tour de France. 

Miami’s ZIeL Concept Store to serve as club house of NCL’s Miami Nights team


(Image credit: NCL)

The National Cycling League today announced that ZIeL Concept store, a high-end shop and community hub for Miami’s cycling community, will serve as the official fan headquarters and club house for its Miami Nights cycling team.

“ZIeL is a hub for cyclists to train, recover, shop, service their bikes, and learn about the latest trends and tech in the sport, surrounded by people who are passionate about cycling,” said Miami Nights rider, Frank Travieso. 

“I’m looking forward to the well-earned post ride recovery coffee at ZIeL with my Miami Nights CC teammates and my fellow cyclists after one of the NCL/ZIeL training rides leading up to NCL Miami Beach 2023.”

Launching in 2023, the National Cycling League (NCL) is a championship-style race series consisting of closed-course criterium races in major cities across the country with virtual races alongside them.

Similar to North American professional ball sports, each host city will be home to at least one co-ed team. While the men and women will compete in separate events, they’ll be equally compensated and everyone will earn points toward earning a slice of the $1 million prize purse. In addition to the NCL races, like the Miami Beach race in April, the NCL teams will compete in a full racing season, including road races and stage races. 

The Miami Nights NCL team will be led by longtime Continental and domestic pros Johnny Clarke, Frank Travieso and latin American Olympians Daniely Garcia and Paola Munoz Grandon. 

ZIeL will support the NCL riders and fans as the Headquarters for the NCL Miami Beach race and year-round as the club house for Miami’s NCL team, the Miami Nights CC. Throughout the season, cyclists and fans will be invited to ZIeL for group riders, clinics, and special events.

“Our mission is to honor the sport of cycling and the lifestyle and nourish its culture. We’re committed to helping people access and fall in love with the sport and the lifestyle - whether it is by finding their dream bike, training them to become the best athlete they can possibly be or simply by leading a damn good ride” said ZIeL founder Enrique Romero. 

“So, the opportunity to partner with the NCL whose mission completely aligned with ours of developing cycling as a sport, a lifestyle and a community was the perfect synergy.” 

Introducing: The Orange Seal Academy

The Orange Seall Off-Road Team

(Image credit: Orange Seal)

Tubeless sealant brand Orange Seal today announced the launch of an all-new athlete support and development program for athletes at every level.

The Orange Seal Academy is part of the brand's commitment to increase its presence at events and races in 2023 to better support the cycling community.

"We are very stoked to begin a new chapter at Orange Seal - Orange Seal Academy. This grew out of a mindset and passion of Dennis (Performance Director) and I giving athletes the tools and training they need to be successful and have fun with it," said Academy Director, John Vargus.

"By taking todays technology and coupling that with great athletes we will develop the next generation of athletes, on and off the bike."

With the Academy, founders John Vargus and Dennis van Winden aim to invest in, and support, racers as they grow and find their way in their respective cycling disciplines. 

To do so, the program offers detailed training, nutrition and recovery plans, on-the-bike training and testing, mental training as well as marketing and social media education to help athletes to build a brand identity in a way that may open doors for opportunities. 

The Orange Seal Academy roster is led by pro off-road endurance cyclist and Life Time Grand Prix contestant Payson McElveen, national xc champion Savilia Blunk, former rower and Life Time Grand Prix contestant Brennan Wertz and professional xc mountain biker Cole Paton

Complete 2023 Orange Seal Academy Roster:  

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1