Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Racing) will head to Plzen in the Czech Republic this Sunday for the opening cyclocross World Cup race of the season with the goal of continuing her remarkable winning streak after taking the opening Superprestige round.
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Her recent trip to the United States brought her six victories in as many races, and the long-haul flight back to Europe couldn’t stop her from making it seven in Ruddervoorde last weekend.
“I’m a bit lethargic still from the jet-lag,” she explained, “but I’m really excited about heading to Plzen. It’s going to be really good.”
The race represents the first opportunity for the best women’s ‘cross riders to race head to head this season, and it offers the winner the chance to lay down a benchmark before the European Championships in Lucca on November 6.
As the likes of Hanka Kupfernagel and Daphny van den Brand return to action, the quality of the field will make it a tough race to win.
But this isn’t something that phases Wyman.
“I’m most looking forward to meeting all the competition together. Nobody’s met properly yet this year,” she added.
Wyman in action last year
Domestiques are usually the unsung heroes of the sport, putting in the hard miles on the front of bunches before fading to the rear when the denouement begins.
However, Portuguese-based British rider Tomás Swift-Metcalfe (Tavira-Prio) has gained recognition from his peers this season, after being voted domestique of the year by the Association of Portuguese Professional Cyclists.
The classification is updated every month, when riders vote for who they thought was the hardest worker.
Originally a duathlete representing Great Britain, Metcalfe moved to Portugal in 2005 with his family and became a professional cyclist.
After enduring a life-threatening crash that left him in a coma for five days, he’s just finished his fourth season with UCI Continental team Tavira-Prio.
Metcalfe has enjoyed a strong year, supporting captain Ricardo Mestre to Tour of Portugal victory and contributing to the team classification win.
In the immediate aftermath, the team was feted as heroes, touring the town of Tavira in an open-top bus and getting plenty of airtime on national television.
As we went to press, the 26-year-old has received no offers for the 2012 season yet, with his team unsure about continuing.
Read Tomás Swift-Metcalfe’s blog here.
A brand-new Trigon bike worth over £2,000 is the big prize on offer in this year’s Dave Rayner Fund prize draw.
With less than a month before the Fund’s annual dinner, tickets for the draw are available to anyone who donates a minimum of £5 to the cause.
Along with the SRAM-equipped bike, another lucky winner will win tickets to next year’s fund-raising dinner, where they will get to sit at the top table alongside a host of stars from the sport.
The closing date for donations for the prize draw is November 4, and all money should be sent to The Dave Rayner Fund, c/o Bill Holmes, 6 Brookfield Drive, Littleborough, Lancashire OL15 8RH. (Names and addresses should be written on the back of the cheques).
Wiggins at last year’s Rayner dinner
The Fund exists to support young cyclists who are racing on the continent, and has raised over £500,000 since its creation 15 years ago.
Recipients have included David Millar (Garmin-Cervélo), Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins and Matt Brammeier, who will ride for the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team in 2012.
Riders can now sign up for the ever-popular Team Midland 24-hour Trackathon, which will take place at the Calshot Activities Centre on November 5-6.
This year’s event, which is raising money for the UK Youth charity, will see each teams’ mileage added together to make a cumulative mileage – so the slowest rider’s distance counts just as much as the fastest.
Organisers are hoping to reach – if not surpass – a target of 5,600 miles in the 24 hours.
There will still be a competitive side, however, as there will also be a flying 10-lap challenge between the teams.
This year’s Trackathon will also be fully interactive, with a webcam covering the whole event live, as well as Twitter (@calshot24) and hourly total mileage updates.
Entry costs £30, and riders are encourage to raise as much money as possible for the charity. Anyone is free to join in, and track bikes are available for hire at the track.
For more information, visit the Team Midland website (external link) or contact Graham on 07917 133453
Evans Cycles’ Liverpool One store opened its doors to the public on Monday – just two weeks after the chain’s specialist outlet at Manchester’s National Cycle Centre began trading.
Ed Clancy opened their uniquely-placed facility at the home of British Cycling last month – the company’s third store in Manchester – while the Hannover Street-based shop in Liverpool brings Evans’ tally of shops to 45 nationwide.
Mike Rice, MD of Evans Cycles, said: “The growth in cycling across the UK and beyond our strong-hold within the South East is extremely positive and the demand for a third store in Manchester shows how high popularity is.
“We had been looking for premises in Liverpool for some time but it had to be right for both us and our customers. The Liverpool One site was perfect for our requirements and it’s really exciting to be opening a new store, in a new area.
“We look forward to serving Liverpool’s cyclists and continuing to meet the growing needs in the Manchester region.”
Team Sky’s Sports Director Sean Yates and former elite rider Jon Sharples have teamed up to form TrainSharp, a new cycle coaching partnership.
The initiative, designed to help people of all abilities throughout the UK and internationally, aims to provide riders with support and pass on the vast knowledge Sharples and Yates have gained from their time in the sport.
Sharples says the coaching – which is open to all disciplines – combines a scientific approach while considering each person’s goals.
Sean Yates at the 2011 Tour de France
“It is vital to know how you are able to perform during a competition, irrespective of the outcome; we can then see what you did right, or where we need to make changes,” he said.
TrainSharp is based in East Sussex but is already helping riders as far a field as Australia and Oman.
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