British News Round-up: Hertfordshire & Essex host Women’s Tour and other British stories

Hertfordshire and Essex to host Women’s Tour stages

Cycling fans in Hertfordshire can enjoy a Laura Trott themed day at The Women’s Tour next year as details for stages three and four are announced.

Stage Four on Saturday May 10 will start in Trott’s hometown of Cheshunt before finishing in Welwyn Garden City, where the double Olympic champion started her cycling career.

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The day before sees the race run through Essex during Stage Three and will be based around Clacton-on-Sea and the Tendring District.

“Having a UCI Women’s Tour in the UK is brilliant, but to have a stage starting in my hometown and finishing where I started racing makes it even better,” said Trott.

“I think this will be a very special day for me, I just hope the other girls let me win.”

The Women’s Tour, created by SweetSpot, will run from May 7 to May 11 next year and it set to be the highlight of the women’s global cycling calendar.

Oundle will host the Grand Depart as the race heads through Northampton, Hinckley and Bedford in the first two days before heading to Essex.

Peter Halliday, leader of Tendring District Council was delighted that talks to bring the race to Essex had ended positively.

“We are honoured to be involved and look forward to welcoming the competitors and spectators who will descend on Tendring,” said Halliday.

“It will be fantastic for our residents to see the Tour up close and a major boost for the District.”

Alex Dowsett heads campaign for cyclist friendly roads

Giro d’Italia stage winner Alex Dowsett has started working on a campaign to make Essex roads safer for cyclists.

The ‘Let’s Look Out’ campaign was launched in response to the public’s concern about the safety of cyclists after the rise in popularity of cycling over recent years.

The Movistar cyclist was approached by Essex Police to head the campaign, following recent accidents involving cyclists on the roads.

Dowsett and his mother Jan, who was involved in a serious accident on her bike in 2010, attended a press conference organised by Essex Police, to discuss the campaign at their HQ.

Afterwards, journalists and cyclists were invited to join him in a cycle ride around South Essex to show how he deals with the difficulties cyclists face.

“It’s all about mutual respect on the road,” Dowsett said. “When Essex Police approached me to be a face for the campaign I felt eager to work with them as it’s something I feel quite passionate about.”

Dowsett feels that he has a good perspective, as a cyclist and a car driver, and can understand the frustrations and tension between cyclists and drivers on the road

Froome refocusing on second Tour title

Chris Froome may be taking a break but the Tour de France champion is certainly not resting on his laurels as he sets his sights on second yellow jersey assault.

The 28-year-old has sought sanctuary on safari in Kenya’s Masai Mara reserve, but knows he cant allow himself to get distracted by the multiple demands that being reigning champion entails.

Read the full interview with Chris Froome in this week’s Cycling Weekly

Beano Chopper released by Raleigh

Despite producing top end racing bikes, as well being headline sponsors of a pro cycling team, Raleigh have nonetheless made time to join forces with publishers DC Thomson to produce the limited edition ‘Raleigh Beano Chopper’.

‘The opportunity arose to do something to mark the Beano’s 75th anniversary and it seemed absolutely fitting to celebrate the anniversary of one British cultural icon with a special version of another,’ said Raleigh product manager Jayne Bakes of the quintessentially British partnership.

Raleigh graphic designer Alistair Dixon added that, ‘the bike is full of personality and I like to think it’s the bike Dennis himself would have created, had we let him loose in our design department!”

But would it be quick enough for Billy Whizz?

Post-PhD, Pooley is back in the saddle full time

Emma Pooley, the 2010 world time trial champion, took a step
back from the pro peloton this year as she worked on completing her PhD
in geotechnical engineering, but now she’s now refocussing on racing.
Read more in this week’s Cycling Weekly.

British Cycling Four-Year Strategy

Wednesday (Novemeber 13) marked British Cycling’s launch of their ‘Four-Year Strategy’. The news came during Bob Howden’s first week as their new President, and according to British Cycling themselves, ‘sets out the future vision and direction for the sports governing body and builds on the strong foundations that have already been laid over the past four years.’

Ian Drake, Chief Executive of British Cycling, stated: “British Cycling is now well-established as the leading sports governing body in this country, thanks to an astonishing range of successes across the Olympic and Paralympic Games, world championships and the creation and successes of Team Sky. More people than ever before, in every walk of life, now know more about cycling and want to get involved. We are determined to welcome them, encourage them and work with them to move our sport forward.”

Indeed, despite the intended continuation of elite level success, other elements of the strategy are clearly weighted towards grass-roots development, and Minister for Sport Helen Grant welcomes the mass participation ethos. “This ambitious four-year plan shows that British Cycling has no intention of standing still. I welcome the focus on increased participation, closing the gender gap by getting more women riding bikes and continued elite success.”

President Howden added: “We are certainly riding high and it’s now my job to ensure that we build on this over the next four year cycle. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.”

Four-year Strategy outline:
* A push for greater sustainability with an increased volunteer workforce, who can drive participation, supported by an increased membership base.
* Continuing to grow the membership to provide a strong voice on behalf of all cyclists, actively promoting their needs and protecting their rights.
* Ambitious targets for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games to support the aspiration to maintain or even increase the medal tally of the British team’s performance in London – a feat not achieved by a host nation to date in the history of the Games.
* By 2017, increasing once a week participation by 125,000. That will only be achieved through our continued partnership with Sky and a significant expansion of British Cycling’s delivery model with local authorities and other stakeholders.
* Significant strides in addressing the gender gap in cycling with an ambitious target of getting one million more women cycling by 2020.

Wilkinson makes Belgian inroads.

Birmingham University student Chris Wilkinson has been quietly adding another string to his bow this year while racing in Belgium for the Oudenaarde-based Asfra Flanders Team.

20 year old Wilkinson, who hails from Shropshire, rides for Paramount Performance Cycles while in the UK, and admits, ‘I went to Belgium not expecting a lot as I hadn’t managed to do much training, but I was really pleased with my results.’

With two top tens and a string of top twenties to his name, Wilkinson can indeed be pleased. What’s more, is the fact he was also able to ride ‘Omloop Van der Grennstreek’ with the Asfra team, an Interclub that took in multiple ascents of the infamous Kemmelberg.

“I was only told I was riding it three hours before the race started. It was very hard, and I’d not had time to get ready,” Chris said. “I only ate a couple of bananas before hand so it was pretty terrible in terms of preparation, but it was a great opportunity and I wasn’t going to turn it down.”

Wilkinson hopes to put his foreign experiences into practice closer to home next year though, as he returns to the UK to ride for Paramount Performance Cycles. “I’m looking forward to a good season with Paramount as I enjoyed it a lot last year. Most of the races went pretty well for the team and it’s great fun to be a part of that.”

Omagh Cycling Club scoops Club of the Year gong

Omagh Cycling Club were named Club of the Year at the Cycling Ireland awards in Dublin earlier this month.

On a successful night for the club, chairman Stephen McKenna also walked away with the Volunteer of the Year prize at the O’Callaghan Alexandra Hotel.

The club, which was formed in 1999, promoted 41 events this year including their flagship event the McCann Cup, which consistently attracts over 100 entrants from the Ulster area.

National Clarion members cycle across Spain

Eight members of the National Clarion Cycling Club have cycled from Bilbao to Barcelona, in memory of Clarion members who fought in the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

In particular, the riders honoured three young members, Ray Cox, Tom Oldershaw and Roy Watts, who died in the war and whose bodies still lie in Spanish soil.

Cox was the secretary of the London and Southern Counties Union of National Clarion Cycling Clubs. He was killed at the defence of Madrid in December 1936 age just 22.

The Clarion riders were joined on their ride by a number of local Spanish road clubs, before attending a public reception in the City Hall of Barcelona.

Events this week

Women’s only bike maintenance workshop, November 17
Sky Ride – London Embankment, November 16
Manchester Regional Track League Premier Division, November 19

Appeal for recovery of stolen bikes

Former GB rider Rhiannon Allport had six bikes stolen on the night of November 2 from a secure outhouse in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

A Cannondale road bike was recovered but the following bikes are still missing.

Colnago CLX 3.0 (frame size 45cm),
Lapierre Zesty (medium frame),
Scott Scale 30,
Front Marzocchi,
Principia road bike (50cm frame)

If you see any adverts for these bikes, you are urged to call 07792 655161 or 01422 847648.

Other British news

London Cycling in crisis
Laws and Barnes join UnitedHealthCare for 2014
Cycling Weekly 2014 sportive series