Archive for August, 2008

CYCLING- Sprint king Mark Cavendish added to his blue-chip reputation yesterday with a stunning success on the Waterford quays after a gripping first stage of  the Tour of Ireland. Teed up by his teammates in Team Columbia, the world’s top ranked outfit, Manxman Cavendish unleash his turbo-charged power to grab both stage honours and the golden fleece of race leader.

Incredibly, it was the 14th win of the season for Cavendish and his success illustrated the terrific teamwork and race cunning within the Team Columbia ranks.

After two hours racing, Cavendish and company were seven minutes adrift of a breakaway quartet of Martyn Irvine (Pezula Racing Team), Travis Meyer (South, David George (MTN South Africa) and Matt Wilson ((Team Type 1) who broke free at Annamoe.

But the revs were soon cranked up and when the pressure came, Irvine and then George were quickly gobbled up. The Aussie duo of Meyer and Wilson hit top speeds of 48kph as they worked in tandem to keep the chasers at bay but Team Columbia are past masters of the hunt.

Timing the pursuit to perfection, the peleton swept up Meyer and Wilson with 10 kilometres to go and the rest was up to Cavendish who hit top gear to leave his rivals gasping in his slipstream. Earlier, the first action of the day on the 192km stage saw Johan Coen (Topsport Vlaanderen) take the honours on the Sugar Loaf ahead of Mark Cassidy (An Post /Sean Kelly).

The first sprint of the day at Roundwood gave an indication of what was come with Alexander Kristoff (Joker Bianchi Team) taking the points but Cavendish was in third place as he lay down a marker that he meant
business. Best of the Irish was Ciaran Power of the Pezula outfit who came in with the main pack in 20th place ahead of the Irish Road Race Champion, Daniel Martin of team Garmin Chipotle H30 in 25th place.

Today the race continues with a stage from Thurles to Loughrea with a start time of 11.20am.

Tour of Ireland

stage one-Dublin/Waterford, 192kms
1 M. Cavendish (Team Columbia, 5hrs.0mins.20secs;
2 J. Dean (Garmin Chipotle), same time;
3 A. Kristoff (Joker Bianchi), st;
4 B. Van Poppel (Rabobank), st;
5 D. Downing (Rapha Condor, st;
6 K. de Schrooder (An Post/Sean Kelly), st;
7 R. Downing (Pinarello CandiTV), st;
8 N. Maes (Topsport Vlaanderen), st;
9 K. Hovelijnck (Topsport Vlaanderen),  st;
10 Z. Dempster ( AIS), st.

Overall (with time bonuses)

1 Cavendish, 5hrs.9secs;
2 Kristoff, @4;
3  Dean, @5;
4 Wilson, @8;
5 Van Poppel, @11.
6 D. Downing, st;
7 de Schrooder, st;
8 R. Downing, st;
9 Maes, st;
10 Hovelijnck, st.

Tour of Ireland 2008

CYCLING-Mark Cavendish, the fastest sprinter in world cycling, leads an all-star cast for the  Tour of Ireland supported by Failte Ireland which wheels into action from Dublin’s docklands today (Wednesday).

The Isle of Man speed merchant recently won four stages on the Tour de France and can add to his glowing reputation over the course of the five-stage 900km route. With punishing climbs on the final two stages, expect the Team Columbia rider to stamp his sprint brilliance on the stages to Waterford today, Loughrea tomorrow and Galway on Friday.

After that, the roads hit the skies with a punishing trek across the Dingle peninsula – breathtaking in every sense – before Sunday’s sting in the tail, four ascents of St Patrick’s Hill of horror in Cork which will leave the competitors on the limit.

This final stage over 155kms from Killarney will not be in the comfort zone for the race leader as he strives to keep his lead intact. (It is normally custom and practice for the yellow jersey to have it all his own way way on the final day!)  ‘The public and the sponsors want a classic event, and we aim to deliver,’ said race organiser Alan Rushton.

Other notable names competing are Britain’s David Millar of the Garmin-Chipotle squad, another Tour de France stage winner, and the 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt. Of the home guard, Daniel Martin, the 21-year old nephew of Stephen Roche and Route de Sud winner, is one to watch. In-form Martin is the Irish road race championship and can be expected to rattle the top guns. ‘I just can’t wait to get back to racing on Irish roads again. I know it’s a tough route but the team is really motivated to do well. There was a real fight to get into the team for this one but being Irish champion helped me get in,’ said the Garmin Chipotle rider.

The An Post/Sean Kelly team includes Stephen Gallagher, the FBD Ras winner, Mark Cassidy and Paidi O’Brien while David O’Loughlin and Ciaran Power spearhead the Pezula team. Teams from USA, Russia, South Africa, Australia and across Europe make this the biggest deal on wheels to hit Ireland since the Nissan Classic.
With so much firepower in the event! It would be prudent to  stick a pin on the entry list. But, for me, it has to be either South Africa’s David George or the Argentinean Max Richeze for the overall with the Italian Alberto Loddo to win at least one stage.

Tour of Ireland route:
Stage 1: Dublin to Waterford, 192km -today;
Stage 2: Thurles to Loughrea, 158km – Thursday;
Stage 3: Ballinrobe – Galway, 201km – Friday;
Stage 4: Limerick to Dingle, 186km – Saturday;
Stage 5: Killarney to Cork, 155km – Sunday.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has officially confirmed Australia has been awarded a second starting place in the men’s road time trial for the Olympic Games. Cycling Australia was notified earlier this week of the offer and after discussions with the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has officially accepted the position.

Australia had qualified only one place in the event with Cadel Evans originally listed as the rider to contest it. But on Tuesday Evans, considering the best interests of the team, withdrew from the time trial due to a knee injury and was replaced by three time World Champion, Michael Rogers.

“For the time trial there’s no hiding and every day that I miss training is seconds and therefore places in the result,” said Evans. “I wouldn’t want to deprive Mick (Rogers) of an opportunity to do what is our our best chance to get a result for the team.” Continue Reading »