Tag Archives: fiddle

Georgie Thompson makes F1 return just two races after quitting Sky Sports

Presenter Thompson makes Formula One return just months after quitting Sky Sports

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

14:29 GMT, 8 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:00 GMT, 8 April 2013

Georgie Thompson has returned to Formula One just two races after turning her back on the sport.

The pint-sized presenter, who left Sky Sports' coverage after only one season, is the new face of Lotus sponsor Suremen.

Scroll down for video of Georgie presenting Sky Sports' F1 coverage last season

GEORGIE THOMPSON

Back in the fast lane: Georgie Thompson has returned to Formula One as an ambassador for Sure

GEORGIE THOMPSON

GEORGIE THOMPSON

'It's great to be involved in a
campaign focused on F1 and Suremen is such an exciting brand to be
involved with, especially given the strong early season form of the
Lotus, with Kimi Raikkonen winning the first race,' Thompson said.

'It's a brand that fits really well with the fast-paced and exhilarating F1 lifestyle – I'm really looking forward to being a part of such an exciting project.'

Thompson ended her 11-year stint as the face of Sky Sports News to join the corporation's F1 presenting team for their inaugural foray into the sport.

Georgie Thompson

Glamour race: Georgie was disillusioned with her second-fiddle role in Sky Sports' F1 coverage

Glamour Race: Georgie was disappointed at her second-fiddle role in Sky Sports' F1 coverage

Georgie Thompson

Georgie Thompson

But the 35-year-old host turned her back on F1 after becoming disillusioned with playing second fiddle to main presenter Simon Lazenby.

Thompson informed Sky of her decision in the build-up to this season's first F1 show, which aired on February 15. Her profile has since been airbrushed out of the team shot on the Sky Sports F1 website.

VIDEO Georgie Thompson on Sky Sports' F1 coverage

Kimi Raikkonen on Red Bull radar with Mark Webber"s future in balance after Sebastian Vettel row

Raikkonen on Red Bull radar as Webber's future hangs in balance after Vettel row

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

15:11 GMT, 2 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:14 GMT, 2 April 2013

Kimi Raikkonen is on Red Bull's shortlist to replace Mark Webber should the veteran Australian decide to retire at the end of the current Formula One campaign.

Webber could not hide his fury at losing out on victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix after team-mate Sebastian Vettel chose to ignore team orders to hold station in second place.

Vettel subsequently escaped sanction for his insubordination, a situation which appears to have backed up Webber's post-race claim that the triple world champion enjoys 'protection' at Red Bull.

In demand: Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen could race at Red Bull next season if Mark Webber leaves

In demand: Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen could race at Red Bull next season if Mark Webber leaves

In demand: Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen could race at Red Bull next season if Mark Webber leaves

And should Webber decide he has had enough of playing second fiddle, then Red Bull's billionaire owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, admitted Raikkonen would be a strong candidate to partner Vettel next season

'Kimi is cool and fast and always a candidate,' said Mateschitz of the 2007 world champion who drives for Lotus and enjoys a close relationship with Vettel.

Civil war: Mark Webber's relationship with Sebastian Vettel is in tatters following the fall-out from Sepang

Civil war: Mark Webber's relationship with Sebastian Vettel is in tatters following the fall-out from Sepang

The same certainly cannot be said for Webber, but discussing the 36-year-old's future, Mateschitz appeared to suggest he would have the final say on whether he continued to drive for Red Bull.

'Whether he retires, only he will choose,' Mateschitz told Speed Week. 'Mark is definitely a candidate for 2014.'

Victor Valdes is refusing to sign a new contract at Barcelona

Valdes refusing to sign new contract fuelling rumours he will join Guardiola at Bayern

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

23:21 GMT, 17 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:13 GMT, 18 January 2013

Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes is planning to leave the Spanish giants after he had turned down the chance to sign a new deal.

Valdes, who has spent his entire professional career at the Nou Camp, is contracted to Barcelona until the end of the 2013/14 season.

His representatives – Gines Carvajal is his principal agent – confirmed in a statement to Spanish national news agency Efe that Valdes intends to depart.

Victor Valdes will always be a favourite of Barcelona fans

Solid: Victor Valdes will always be a favourite of Barcelona fans

The statement read: 'The agents of Victor Valdes have communicated to Barcelona in a meeting held this afternoon the irrevocable decision of the player to not renew his contract.'

The 30-year-old has recently suggested he would consider a move to another league. With former Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola heading to Bayern Munich next season, Valdes may become an early target of his old boss.

Valdes has been Barcelona's number one throughout the last decade, winning a host of trophies and earning recognition with Spain, however Real Madrid's Iker Casillas has remained the regular international goalkeeper.

Valdes has had to play second fiddle for Spain behind Iker Casillas

Too much quality: Valdes has played second fiddle for Spain behind Iker Casillas

Darts at Alexandra Palace – why everyone loves it

Why even the Queen loves darts at Christmas in the madhouse of the Palace (that's Ally Pally, of course…)

|

UPDATED:

10:35 GMT, 26 December 2012

Friday night at the Palace. Her Majesty the Queen sweeps into the room, with Philip, Charles and Camilla in tow. All in her presence greet her with curtsies and cheers before spontaneously bursting into a hearty rendition of the national anthem.

But Her Majesty suddenly stumbles in her heels, loses her stately poise and crashes into Charles. The four-pint pitcher of Carlsberg she was balancing on her handbag sloshes down Camilla’s dress.

A great mocking cheer goes up from those nearby – from Mario and Luigi, from the six traffic cones and from Captain America.

Then the thudding beat kicks in, the lights go up and a party like nothing ever before seen at the Palace starts. The guests at the back start doing the Poznan, Spiderman is dancing Gangnam style on a table with a Christmas tree and the Royals spill more lager as they chant ‘Oi Oi Oi’ in chorus.

Festive fun: The Ladbrokes girls warm the crowd up at Alexandra Palace before Christmas

Festive fun: The Ladbrokes girls warm the crowd up at Alexandra Palace before Christmas

Playing second fiddle: The action on the oche is often competing for the limelight

Playing second fiddle: The action on the oche is often competing for the limelight

The Queen is in most nights, they all are. How could they stay away It’s brash, bombastic and brilliant. It’s fancy dress, froth and frolics. It can only be darts.

For six years now, sportsmen with a build closer to Henry VIII than Adonis have congregated at the Alexandra Palace just before Christmas to chance their arm at the Ladbrokes PDC World Championships.

And while the thousands in the sell-out crowd let off steam, 72 players from around the globe compete on the oche for a 200,000 jackpot and the honour of being crowned the first world champion of the sporting year.

A very British sport played in every pub from Penzance to Penrith feels snuggly at home at a place christened by its Victorian benefactors as the “Palace of the People” – but behind-the-scenes and away from the glare of the Sky cameras, the tournament has the feel of a travelling show.

Just a couple of days before the first darts were thrown, the great auditorium in which darts legends such as Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis and Raymond van Barneveld perform was full of nervous students sitting accountancy exams.

Stand-out dress: Pals enjoy a beer in their Where's Wally outfits

Stand-out dress: Pals enjoy a beer in their Where's Wally outfits

Sealed with a Kiss: This rock 'n roll fan didn't hold back with his fancy dress gear

Sealed with a Kiss: This rock 'n roll fan didn't hold back with his fancy dress gear

The stands and the 120ft stage were assembled through the night. The rigs, jibs and cameras are painstakingly positioned by an army of Sky Sports technicians within hours of the start. The “best seat in the house” studio from which Dave Clark fronts broadcasts to every continent of the world is a precarious Meccano set of steel scaffolding, perspex and black drapes.

Underneath the 200ft tall ceilings of the Palace’s great function rooms, underneath the iconic classical frescoes, the Sky trailers, screens and endless miles of cables are wheeled in alongside the incalculable gallons of ale and the well-stocked pantries of pie and mash.

This fleeting feel to what is the annual highlight of the sport only adds to the earthy, all-embracing and all-round enjoyable nature of darts. It’s a formula that the sport’s head honcho, Barry Hearn, has got nailed down.

‘99.9 per cent of fans who come to the Ally Pally are there to have a good time,’ he says. ‘There’s a lot of worry in people’s lives at the moment – they’re worried about their job, about paying the bills, about affording things for Christmas.

‘But they can come here on their Christmas party or with their family, forget about all those things for a while and have a good time while not breaking the bank.

Girls night out: But most of the crowd are guys enjoying a beer with their mates

Girls night out: But most of the crowd are guys enjoying a beer with their mates

Making their point: Fans are encouraged to write their signs for the cameras

Making their point: Fans are encouraged to write their signs for the cameras

‘It’s a sport for the people because the players are just like them, just normal blokes. It’s not like football, where they jump in to a Ferrari, speed off, have a crash and then jump into their second Ferrari. I remember when Phil Taylor – the 15-time champion of the world – was earning 75 a week as a lathe operator in Stoke-on-Trent.

‘It’s that kind of game that’s open to anyone, it’s a classless sport which is enjoyed by everyone from the bloke down the pub to the Royal family.’

It’s funny that Hearn should mention the Royals – and I don’t mean those in fancy dress. Sat up in the Sky studio, surveying the magnificent arena below, Dave Clark beams as he recalls the moment last year when Adrian Lewis, caught up in the euphoria of winning a second successive title, unwittingly planted a wet celebratory kiss on the forehead of Prince Harry, who had come backstage to congratulate him.

‘That’s the beauty of this sport,’ says Clark, who has fronted Sky’s annual 100 hours of live coverage for a decade now. ‘You never know what’s going to happen. It’s unscripted drama and entertainment the entire time, both up on the oche and up here in the studio. We never prepare anything, it’s all spontaneous and based on the strength of character of these players.’

The excitement on this occasion is about the 23-year-old Dutchman Michael van Gerwen, just one of a good 10 players who have a feasible chance of winning the Sid Waddell Trophy in an incredibly open field.

The dark and claustrophobic commentary booth underneath the studio is a quieter place this year in the absence of Waddell, the “Voice of Darts” for 40 years who passed away in August. The trophy is a fitting tribute to him and the description of it – “made from the same Eritrean marble as used by Michelangelo in the Sistine chapel” – almost passable as one of his inimitable soundbites.

Where's Darth Vader Fans queue up to see the darts stars walk up to the stage

Where's Darth Vader Fans queue up to see the darts stars walk up to the stage

The future's darts, the future's orange: Dressing up is part of the fun

The future's darts, the future's orange: Dressing up is part of the fun

While the coverage may not be scripted,
Clark and the commentators can fall back on a 75-strong team who produce
the polished final product screened around the world. The Sky trailers
are like NASA mission control, with the producers able to see about four
dozen different feeds and every conceivable angle.

Throwing up on the oche, even when there’s nobody in the audience, is like a daunting experience – like being caught up in the glare of a great eye. It’s no wonder the players sweat under the heat of the lights, while every expression is captured by a bank of camera lenses trained at every part of your body.

For the semi-finals and finals, eight additional cameras for Sky’s 3D coverage will further magnify the scrutiny. There’s going to be a camera directly above the board, to create the effect that the darts are being flung straight through your TV screen.

The feeds are stitched together by a team who sit and control in a tiny trailer for five or six hours without pause, every second committed to industrial-sized hard drives (no tapes any more) linked by giant fibre optic snakes of wires. Replays are captured in a split-second and on air before you can yell ‘One hundred aaaannnddd eighty..’

‘Everywhere around the world, from the USA to New Zealand, people are watching the darts,’ says Hearn. ‘Watching darts take off over these last few years have been one of the most satisfying moments in my life and my career.

Leading the way: Top players like Phil Taylor are adored by the Alexandra Palace masses

Leading the way: Top players like Phil Taylor are adored by the Alexandra Palace masses

‘In some countries like Germany, we
started off playing tournament in front of 50 people. Now we get 3,000
or more. Over a million watch every night in Holland (the Dutch TV
companies have started bringing their own equipment and have colonised
part of the press tent).

‘Where next The Middle East and Japan – we’ll take the superstars there, go global!’

Back in the auditorium, the 'jimmy jib' boom camera makes another sweep over the audience as ‘Chase the Sun’ – the song by Italian electronica outfit Planet Funk discovered entirely by chance by a Sky producer to become a metaphor for darts – kicks in again.

It captures the fans dancing on their chairs and waving their red signs with long-mulled over messages scrawled on them in black marker pen, it captured the dodgy dress sense and the dodgier dance moves. It even captures the bouncers turfing people out seemingly at random for getting a bit too involved in it all.

From the pub to the Palace, this travelling, sporting show of darts is genuinely unlike anything else.

The Ladbrokes World Championship is live on Sky Sports HD including the semi-finals and final in 3D. Join the conversation at #Ladbrokesdarts.

Bradley Wiggins wants to defend next Tour de France despite Chris Froome being Team Sky"s lead man

Wiggins wants to defend Tour de France title despite Team Sky claiming Froome would be lead man

|

UPDATED:

11:29 GMT, 13 December 2012

Bradley Wiggins has revealed he wants to retain his Tour de France title next year – despite Team Sky suggesting Chris Froome will lead the British team in 2013.

The 2012 winner said Team Sky will have to ‘service both mouths’ and could even have two leaders.

Team Sky director Dave Brailsford said last month that Froome would focus on the Tour de France with Wiggins focussing on the Tour of Italy, although the plan had not been ‘completely signed off’.

Taking the lead again: Bradley Wiggins said he wants to win the Tour de France

Taking the lead again: Bradley Wiggins said he wants to win the Tour de France

Froome, 27, rode in support of
Wiggins as the 32-year-old became Britain’s first winner of Tour de
France, but it had been expected the roles would be reversed next year.

Wiggins told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘I
don’t know what the situation is in terms of leadership. As it stands
I’m probably going to try and win a second Tour de France.

‘Maybe we’ll have two leaders, which
is more unlikely I guess. How that will work with the team I don’t know.
That’s more Dave Brailsford’s problem to worry about that, really.

Second fiddle Chris Froome had been touted as the lead man for Team Sky

Second fiddle Chris Froome had been touted as the lead man for Team Sky

Olympic stars: Wiggins (centre) and Froome both enjoyed a fantastic London Games

Olympic stars: Wiggins (centre) and Froome both enjoyed a fantastic London Games

‘It’s just how we service both
mouths. That’s more the problem for Dave to figure out. My goal is to
win the Tour next year, whether that’s realised or not I don’t know.’

Wiggins, however, said he would
accept the team’s decision if the team decide Froome has a better chance
at glory. The 100th edition of the Tour de France, which will take place
from June 29 to July 21 next year, is likely to favour climbers such as
Froome, who impressed in the mountainous stages this year.

Wiggins, speaking from a training
camp in Mallorca today, continued: ‘Whatever the team strategy is, we’ll
support that, because you don’t take the start line (if that’s not the
case).

‘There’ll be someone else that’s
willing to fulfil that job, so you do what is asked of you on the day
really, whatever that decision is.’

Duo: Wiggins with his team-mate Froome

Duo: Wiggins with his team-mate Froome

Reflecting on a remarkable year,
Wiggins said it would be difficult to top riding into Hampton Court last
summer to win his seventh Olympic medal with gold in the men’s time
trial.

The cyclist, the favourite to win the
BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday night, said: ‘That
was the highlight of my career and I don’t think it will get any better
than that. I can probably achieve other things but most of us, as
British Olympians, will never experience anything like that again. It
was a phenomenal day.

‘We reset the goals, try and do other
things, maybe try and win a second Tour de France, but you’re never
going to replicate those circumstances in your home Olympics.

‘It will probably never be topped,
but I accept that and I’m happy with that really, because you can’t have
too many occasions like that in your career.’

Mark Cavendish on Team Sky exit and Bradley Wiggins

Cavendish: Playing second-fiddle to Wiggins and broken promises forced me to quit Sky

|

UPDATED:

10:44 GMT, 2 November 2012

Mark Cavendish has claimed broken promises ahead of this year's Tour de France forced him to quit Team Sky.

The 27-year-old said he was left feeling like a 'back-up rider' as Bradley Wiggins went on to claim a historic yellow-jersey success.

Cavendish, who moved to Omega Pharma-Quickstep last month, believes he could have also have captured the sprinters' green jersey and fulfil an ambition he thought Sky had held when he signed.

Walking away: Mark Cavendish quit Team Sky over broken promises

Walking away: Mark Cavendish quit Team Sky over broken promises

But the Manxman believes dreams of a Tour double were put on hold in the lead-up to the race as Sky instead focused on Wiggins.

'We didn't achieve what I thought we were setting out to achieve at the start of the season,' he told The Daily Telegraph.

'Sky should have taken both jerseys. We could have done that without any risk or detriment to the yellow jersey. It's frustrating.'

Cavendish, who won his only Tour green jersey last year, admitted Wiggins' success should always have been Sky's primary objective.

Second-fiddle: Cavendish admits he did not enjoy playing back-up to Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France

Second-fiddle: Cavendish admits he did not enjoy playing back-up to Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France

But while he was proud to be part of a famous summer for British cycling he suspected it would be his last with Sky after one of his support riders, Juan Antonio Flecha, was dropped from the Tour team.

'It was then, on the eve of the Tour, that I realised the promise I had signed to Sky on wasn't rally a promise,' he said.

'I was a back-up rider. At the end of the day we weren't going for the two jerseys at all.

'It wasn't a failure, and I was very proud to be part of a British yellow-jersey winning team with Brad, but it wasn't the ultimate either.'

Emmanuel Adebayor unhappy at Tottenham

Adebayor unhappy at Spurs but Freund insists he has key part to play

|

UPDATED:

23:47 GMT, 29 October 2012

Steffen Freund admits Emmanuel Adebayor is unhappy but the Tottenham assistant manager insists the striker still has a key part to play for the club this season.

Adebayor was a big hit on loan from Manchester City last season, but after signing a permanent deal at White Hart Lane in the summer he has failed to break back in to the starting XI this term thanks to the sharp form of Jermain Defoe.

Adebayor has not started a game for the Londoners under Andre Villas-Boas and there have been reports that he is disappointed at playing second fiddle to Defoe, who has scored seven goals for club and country this season.

Out of favour: Emmanuel Adebayor is not first choice

Out of favour: Emmanuel Adebayor is not first choice

Villas-Boas has cited back and hamstring injuries as part of the reason why Adebayor has not played as much this term, and he may miss out on Wednesday's Capital One Cup clash at Norwich as he is struggling with a stomach bug.

Freund insists the powerful hitman still has a big role to play for the team this year, however.

'Adebayor is sick today. We will have a look tomorrow (to see if he is fit for Norwich),' Tottenham's assistant head coach said.

'If you're not playing and you're injured then of course you are not happy.

'He's really sick but hopefully he will be back in time. He is one of the best strikers in the Premier League. We are happy to have him back here.

'We need every Tottenham Hotspur player. If Andre wants to rotate or change the position up front, it's good to have every player fit.'

Spurs head to Carrow Road after returning to winning ways with a 2-1 win at Southampton, where Gareth Bale was the architect of his former team's downfall.

Bale has challenged his team-mates to build on the momentum gained from Sunday's win by picking up back-to-back victories against Norwich and Wigan.

Marksman: Jermain Defoe (centre) has been in fine fettle

Marksman: Jermain Defoe (centre) has been in fine fettle

'We're enjoying our football now and we're on a good run so it is good times but we just need to keep our feet on the ground and move forward,' he said.

Few faces remain at Southampton from Bale's time there as, following his departure, they dropped down to third tier and at one point teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.

However, back-to-back promotions saw the club end a seven-year exile from the top flight and the Welshman was delighted to face his former club at long last.

Glad: Gareth Bale (right) likes seeing Southampton back in the top flight

Glad: Gareth Bale (right) likes seeing Southampton back in the top flight

'It was amazing to see them back in the Premier League,' Bale said.

'I was fully chuffed for them when they got promoted last season and I am sure if they keep playing football like they did in the second half that they will survive in the league and kick on from there.

'It was nice to come back. I've been waiting obviously about five-and-a-half years to do so.

'It was great to come back. I've got some old friends here but the most important thing was to come here and get the job done with three points.'

Andre Santos wanted by Galatasaray

Arsenal defender Santos set for return to Turkey as Galatasaray eye swoop

|

UPDATED:

06:32 GMT, 22 October 2012

Turkey return Santos

Turkey return Santos

Arsenal's Brazilian left back Andre Santos could be returning to Turkey after just 18 months in England.

The 29-year-old joined the Gunners in a 6.2million deal from Fenerbahce last summer but has had to play second fiddle for the most part behind first-choice Kieran Gibbs.

Now Fener's Istanbul rivals Galatasaray have expressed an interest in taking the international back to Turkey in January.

Chief executive Lutfi Aribogan revealed: 'A move is possible. Andre Santos is one of the names we have on our list.'

Santos, who has 22 caps for Brazil, has started just 17 Premier League games for Arsenal.

Vincent Kompany will not abandon Manchester City for Barcelona or Real Madrid

Play second fiddle to Ronaldo or Messi No thanks, says loyal City skipper Kompany

|

UPDATED:

07:43 GMT, 23 September 2012

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has pledged never to leave the club for Spanish giants Real Madrid or Barcelona.

The central defender says to move to either La Liga side would be to become overshadowed by the star men in either side, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Tussle: Vincent Kompany goes up against Cristiano Ronaldo

Tussle: Vincent Kompany goes up against Cristiano Ronaldo

Kompany told The Sun: 'It would take me
time at another club to reach the level I have achieved with City. Even
then there would be no guarantee I could do it.'

He continued: 'Besides, I am convinced that I can win just as many honours with City as I could with Barcelona or Real Madrid.

'Whoever goes to play for Real will be in Ronaldo’s shadow, and whoever joins Barca will be overshadowed by Messi. So I prefer to be captain of Manchester City.

'I feel very much at home here and am able to live a normal life. I get interest from paparazzi, but so long as you behave normally there is no problem.'

City are intent on bringing superstars of their own to the Ethihad Stadium and Roberto Mancini has insisted the club's high spending will continue.

'If we want to stay on top with all the other teams that spend a lot of money in the last 10 years we need to improve and buy top players,' said the City manager.

His club have spent almost 500million on new players since Sheik Mansour became the owner four years ago and, far from resting on his laurels after ending City's 44-year wait to become top dogs again, Mancini is gearing himself up for another spree in January if that is what it takes to retain their crown.

No worries: Roberto Mancini will not have to fear for his captain

No worries: Roberto Mancini will not have to fear for his captain

'It's usually more difficult to stay on top,' he observed. 'It can happen that you can win the title because you play well or because you are lucky. We deserved to win last year but the second year is always more difficult.

'There were a lot of teams in the past spending money for big players, including Arsenal. This is normal.

'For us it was difficult. We needed to buy good players if we wanted to improve. We had the chance to take good players and we did this.

'All the managers talk about the money we have all the time. We have 11 players like all the others.'

Mark Cavendish allowed to leave Team Sky – Dave Brailsford

Team Sky chief says Cavendish is allowed to leave if he wants

|

UPDATED:

23:09 GMT, 22 July 2012

Mark Cavendish will be allowed to leave Team Sky if that is his desire, confirmed chief Dave Brailsford.

The sprinter won stages two, 18 and 20 this year at the Tour de France and is on a three year deal signed last October.

But with Team Sky looking to claim titles across the board – not just in the sprint, which would suit Cavendish – he may look to leave.

First place: Mark Cavendish wins stage 20

First place: Mark Cavendish wins stage 20

'If he felt, or if it was felt, that he would like a dedicated team around him, then he is quite within his rights to want to do that,' said Brailsford.

His former team, HTC, helped him out a great deal by setting up finishes for him, but at Sky he may have to play second fiddle to Wiggins.

Brailsford continued: 'This team will keep its GC [general classification] ambitions and I am sure that we will sit down and discuss that with Mark and see how he feels about that.

'He is a prolific British winner and on the one hand we would love to have a prolific British winner on the team.'

Brailsford confirmed if Cavendish did want to leave, he would not sulk about it.

Chief: Dave Brailsford says Cav can leave

Chief: Dave Brailsford says Cav can leave

'We wouldn't fall out about it, there wouldn't be an issue about it, but we are very proud to have him on Team Sky, he is a fantastic champion and long may that continue.

'I can't see an issue at all, there's no problem and we will take the common-sense approach and sort it out like that.'

He added: 'If you're going to become the best cycling team the world's ever seen, you've got to win the biggest race in the world [the Tour de France] time and time again.

'I am quite driven by that: to see what it takes to be the best professional team this sport has ever seen. The components of that would be success over time.'