Armstrong expresses concern over Tour attack

On November 20, 2008 by

Lance Armstrong, the American cyclist who is currently making a shock comeback after three years in retirement, has spoken out about his fears of being attacked by angry spectators during the Tour de France next year.

For many years, Armstrong was a dominant force in the world of cycling and he managed to win the Tour de France seven times during his career. However, certain fans of the cyclist lost faith in him after it was claimed that he had used performance enhancing drugs.

Although an independent investigation, which was set up after the French magazine, L’Equipe, revealed that Armstrong’s urine samples had shown traces of the substance called EPO, found the cyclist to be innocent, doubts still remain over the validity of his previous numerous successes.

The cyclist, who is thirty-seven years of age, believes that some people in France remain “aggressive [and] angry” and he is worried that his safety “could be in jeopardy” as a result of such strong feelings. Armstrong has revealed that he understands why people remain uncertain about his past but believes that he has been victimised by the media and the anti-drugs authorities.

Armstrong’s fears are actually based on something which happened during the Tour de France during the 1970s. The Belgian legend, Eddy Merckx, was punched by a French spectator who was unhappy that the cyclist was threatening the record held by the Frenchman, Jacques Anquetil.

Whilst Merckx was cycling along an important part of the route, a spectator broke through the crowd and hit him, an event which denied him a record-breaking victory.

Hamilton and Hoy to go head to head

On November 18, 2008 by

Fans of both cycling and motorsport have been given reason to celebrate after it was announced that Chris Hoy and Lewis Hamilton will race head to head at Wembley.

Chris Hoy, who is a legend in the world of cycling after winning numerous Olympic medals, will race against Lewis Hamilton, the young British Formula One champion, in a man versus machine event in the middle of December.

The Race of Champions event will see Lewis Hamilton drive a road car manufactured by Mercedes whilst Chris Hoy will race his bicycle around the same circuit.

The Formula One champion, who has barely left the sporting headlines since his famous victory, has revealed his excitement at seeing thousands of fans "for the first time since becoming world champion”. Hamilton believes that the Race of Champions will be a fitting end to his extremely successful year.

Chris Hoy is similarly excited about the prospect of the Wembley event. He believes that although he will struggle to match the car in terms of acceleration, the twisty nature of the circuit may work to his advantage. Hoy thinks that the race will be “close” and is keen to give “absolutely everything” in his attempt to overcome the challenge of Hamilton.

Although the race between Hamilton and Hoy will be the highlight of the evening, the Race of Champions event will also see other legends in the world of motorsport competing against each other. Individuals including Michael Schumacher, Andy Priaulx, and Troy Bayliss will be appearing at Wembley.

British cyclists excel in Manchester

On November 4, 2008 by

A stunning performance by Great Britain’s track cycling squad during the World Cup meeting in Manchester this weekend has left British fans of the sport truly ecstatic. Dave Brailsford’s impressive squad were attempting to accumulate the maximum amount of qualifying points available ahead of next year’s World Championships, scheduled to be hosted by Poland.

The squad managed to win all six finals held on Saturday and the competition was extremely tough. Lizzie Armitstead needed to perform well in order to win the women’s scratch competition and she did not disappoint. She finished the race very strongly, using her outstanding ability to accelerate quickly and unexpectedly to maximum effect.

Armitstead was also in action in the women’s team pursuit on Sunday. Armitstead, Katie Colcough and Joanna Rowsell managed to please the home crowd by beating Germany with a time of just over 3 minutes and 26 seconds.

Lizzie Armitstead, who was making her World Cup debut at the age of 19, was keen to thank her female team mates for providing support: “they’re really friendly, they’re not above us or anything, really kind and make you feel welcome”.

The men’s team pursuit squad, made up of Rob Hayles, Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas and Stephen Burke, managed to overtake Denmark and claim the win. Saturday also saw a good result in the men’s team sprint, with Jamie Staff, Jason Kenny and Ross Edgar performing well to beat Poland.

Chris Newton provided the Manchester crowd with even more excitement. Newton won the points race and then continued to triumph in the 120-lap race. He stated that he had been inspired by the performance of Armitstead and wanted to become part of the British success story of the weekend.

Victoria Pendleton, who had also impressed during Friday’s events, won the time trial in impressive style on Saturday. Sunday saw further fantastic performances from the British squad. A further four gold medals were achieved and Pendleton was once again involved in the success.

She managed to win her third gold in the women’s keirin, overcoming tough competition from Dina Maria Garcia Orrego and Gong Jinjie. Pendleton was pleased with the performance of the female cyclists in Manchester, stating that “it’s so good to see so many girls up here who are very driven and ambitious and they want to be as good as the boys”.

The only real disappointment of the weekend came in the madison event. Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas were unable to beat the German duo of Olaf Pollack and Roger Kluge, and could only manage to finish fifth.

Wiggins had previously spoken of his desire to be successful in this event with new partner Thomas, especially after his disappointment in the madison during the Olympic Games. He believed that the pair had a good chance at winning the event but sadly the competition proved to be too tough.

Fans of cycling will now be looking forward to the next World Cup Classics series, which will be held in Melbourne, Australia, later this month.