Tag Archives: velodrome

Track Cycling World Championship gold for Laura Trott, Dani King and Elinor Barker

Olympic hero Trott at full pelt to lead Britain to their first gold of World Championships

By
Sam Cunningham

PUBLISHED:

17:45 GMT, 21 February 2013

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UPDATED:

02:58 GMT, 22 February 2013

Great Britain's women brought golden memories of last summer’s Olympic Games flooding back by successfully defending their world team pursuit title.

Laura Trott and Dani King, who won Olympic gold with Joanna Rowsell, teamed up with A-level student Elinor Barker to clinch gold in the Track Cycling world championships in Minsk.

They completed the 3km race in 3min 18.140sec to beat Australia’s Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Melissa Hoskins by 1.773sec.

Wheely good: Laura Trott, Dani King and Elinor Barker won women's team pursuit gold in Minsk

Wheely good: Laura Trott, Dani King and Elinor Barker won women's team pursuit gold in Minsk

This is the last time the women’s
team pursuit will feature in its current format. It is set to be
extended to four kilometres and an extra rider added.

Trott said: ‘It seemed to flow nicely
and we changed a few things from qualifying and it came off. If someone
thought they couldn’t cope on the front they came off. It tops it off
for us. To win the race the last time it will be as a 3km is amazing.’

Barker added: ‘I feel really
overwhelmed. I thought I was just riding round the Manchester Velodrome
in a training ride and then we won. I just feel shocked. It is above and
beyond what I’ve dreamed of.’

King said: ‘It means everything.
We’ve worked so hard since the Olympic Games and although Jo Rowsell
will come back, it’s great to have Elinor on the team.’

Wheely good: Laura Trott, Dani King and Elinor Barker won women's team pursuit gold in Minsk

Wheely good: Laura Trott, Dani King and Elinor Barker won women's team pursuit gold in Minsk

Wheely good: Laura Trott, Dani King and Elinor Barker won women's team pursuit gold in Minsk

Becky James, who is one of
Sportsmail’s Magnificent Seven who we are tracking to the Rio Olympics,
won her second bronze of the championships in the 500m time trial.

Martyn Irvine became the first
Irishman to win a medal at the championships in 117 years when he won
gold and silver within an hour of each other.

‘I’m not sure it’s hit me yet,’ said Irvine. ‘I just can’t believe I’m standing here with a rainbow jersey.’

Irvine came second in the individual
pursuit, beaten by reigning champion Michael Hepburn, and won gold in
the 15km scratch race.

Gold standard: The girls celebrate with their hard-fought medals

Gold standard: The girls celebrate with their hard-fought medals

In a dramatic finish, Irvine accelerated away with 10 laps to go and managed to hold off his rivals.

He added: ‘I just stuck to what I know, just committed 100 per cent and it paid off.

‘I just stayed near the front, stayed out of trouble. Once I went, it was all or nothing. I didn’t look back. It was full gas.’

London 2012 Olympics ticket farce exposed

Just ONE ticket made available to paying public as Team GB stars win silver during Olympics

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UPDATED:

17:37 GMT, 19 December 2012

The full extent of the ticketing farce at the London Olympics has been exposed by the publication of a full review of the ticketing programme.

The dense 976-page document highlights the gross number of tickets available to the 'Olympic family' compared to the relatively few available to the paying public for the most popular events and sessions.

Extraordinarily, there was a sailing finals day on August 9 – the day Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell won silver in the men's 470 – where 851 tickets went to sponsors and only one single ticket was available to the public.

Farce: Despite demand for tickets there were empty seats at the Olympic Games

Farce: Despite demand for tickets there were empty seats at the Olympic Games

Furthermore, for Danny Boyle's iconic opening ceremony – one of the most in-demand tickets of the fortnight – only 44 per cent of the tickets were available to the public while 66 per cent went to the Olympic family.

On the day in the velodrome when Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Phillip Hindes won the men's sprint final, only 43 per cent of tickets were available to the public.

During Novak Djokovic's opening Olympic match on Centre Court at Wimbledon, 97 per cent of the available seats on court were given to the Olympic family.

Empty seats were one of the few negatives of a successful Olympics, with atmospheres at too many venues dented by swathes of empty seats allocated by the IOC but not taken up by sponsors.

New balls: Ninety-seven per cent of seats during Djokovic's match were given to the Olympic family

New balls: Ninety-seven per cent of seats during Djokovic's match were given to the Olympic family

In total 10.99 million tickets were sold out of a total 11.3 million tickets available. 8.21 million of these tickets were Olympic Games tickets and 2.78 million were Paralympic tickets.

A total of 659 million was raised for LOCOG's operating budget to stage the Games. 319,000 tickets (263,000 Olympic and 55,000 Paralympic) were unsold, the majority of these being early rounds for Olympic Football.

76.3 per cent of all Olympic and 91 per cent of all Paralympic tickets were sold through the UK application process against a target of 75 per cent. This amounted to an unprecedented 8.8 million tickets sold.

Joey Barton makes debut for Marseille

About time! Barton finally makes league debut for Marseille and helps French side move level with PSG at summit

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UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 26 November 2012

QPR loanee Joey Barton finally made his league debut for French outfit Marseille on Sunday, helping his side move level on points with leaders Paris Saint-Germain in the process.

The Rangers exile had a lengthy wait for his first domestic match for the Ligue 1 team, and could only play in the Europa League while he served his 12-match ban.

But Barton was handed a start at Stade Velodrome in front of the home crowd as Marseille beat Lille 1-0.

Back with a bang: Joey Barton was inches away from marking his Ligue 1 debut with a goal

Back with a bang: Joey Barton was inches away from marking his Ligue 1 debut with a goal

Up for the fight: Barton (left) picked up a yellow card within the first 30 minutes of the match

Up for the fight: Barton (left) picked up a yellow card within the first 30 minutes of the match

Marseille took their time to get a foothold in the game, as Nolan Roux and Marvin Martin went close in the early stages.

But the hosts would have been in front after 13 minutes if it weren't for a splendid triple save from Mickael Landreau as he denied Andre Ayew, then Mathieu Valbuena and then Benoit Cheyrou.

Barton wasted little time in picking up his first caution in French football, as the QPR midfielder was booked after 22 minutes for a strong challenge on Florent Balmont.

But the Englishman settled well into the match, and so too did Marseille.

Balmont was red-carded before the break after chopping down Valbuena when the Frenchman was through on Landreau's goal

Need a hand Barton helped his side join Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the table

Need a hand Barton helped his side join Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the table

Goal threat: Jordan Ayew (right) scored the only goal of the game

Goal threat: Jordan Ayew (right) scored the only goal of the game

It went from bad to worse for Eden Hazard's former club as Lille went a goal down through a Jordan Ayew header just after half-time.

Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda was called upon on a number of occasions by the visitors, but proved himself more than up to the challenge with a couple of competent stops.

Barton, who also had stints with Manchester City and Newcastle, was inches away from marking his league debut with a peach of a goal.

The 30-year-old blasted an rasping drive from 25 yards, but it whistled past the stranded Landreau's post.

Marseille joined PSG at the top of the table on 26 points, having played one game less, but sit in second place with an inferior goal difference.

Off: Florent Balmont (left) saw red for a foul on Mathieu Valbuena (right)

Off: Florent Balmont (left) saw red for a foul on Mathieu Valbuena (right)

Grateful: Barton applauded the home crowd for their support

Grateful: Barton applauded the home crowd for their support

Parker leaves British cycling to join England rugby staff

EXCLUSIVE: England poach British cycling guru to spearhead World Cup push

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UPDATED:

10:36 GMT, 20 November 2012


Joined up: Matt Parker's appointment will be viewed as a stunning coup

Joined up: Matt Parker's appointment will be viewed as a stunning coup

Stuart Lancaster has made a bold move to enhance England’s back-room staff ahead of the next World Cup by recruiting a central figure from the all-conquering British cycling team.

Matt Parker was one of the sports scientists whose pioneering work helped paved the way for a gold rush in the velodrome at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

He has been recruited by Lancaster to fill the role of ‘head of athletic performance’, with responsibility for fitness and medical care, and his appointment is regarded by the RFU as a stunning coup.

An RFU spokesman told Sportsmail: ‘We are looking for someone of that calibre but nothing has been agreed.

‘This person will play a key role in the development of the England team through to 2015.’

However, it is understood that the deal has been done and Parker is due to take up his new post at Twickenham early in the new year.

He joined British Cycling as endurance coach in 2006 and went on to coach Bradley Wiggins to two gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.

Helping hand: Parker was part of the team which enabled Sir Chris Hoy and Co to perform so well

Helping hand: Parker was part of the team which enabled Sir Chris Hoy and Co to perform so well

Parker also masterminded the team pursuit squad’s world record ride at the 2008 Games, having introduced a completely new way of tackling the event.

More recently, as ‘head of marginal gains’, Parker has been one of those responsible for implementing Dave Brailsford’s fabled philosophy at British Cycling and Team Sky.

Track World Cup nightmare for Jason Kenny

Kenny crashes spectacularly as hosts' Track World Cup campaign falters

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UPDATED:

00:00 GMT, 18 November 2012

Three-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny crashed at high speed on day two of the Track World Cup in Glasgow as the hosts missed out on gold on another eventful day at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

Jess Varnish and Becky James, who combined to win team sprint gold on day one, won individual sprint silver and bronze, respectively, but Kenny's bid for the keirin title ended when he hit the Siberian pine at 75 kilometres per hour.

The 24-year-old from Bolton was able to ride around to show there was no significant damage and is scheduled to compete in the sprint on Sunday.

Taking a tumble: Home favourite Jason Kenny crashed out of the keirin final

Taking a tumble: Home favourite Jason Kenny crashed out of the keirin final

Taking a tumble: Home favourite Jason Kenny crashed out of the keirin final

British Cycling sprint coach Iain Dyer said: 'He looks a bit second hand and he feels a little bit second hand. Nothing's broken. He's taken a lot of skin off. That skinsuit's already in the bin.'

The Olympic sprint champion was supreme in the early rounds, but had to wait for his chance in the final due to a temperamental motor-paced Derny bike.

When the race did get under way at the third attempt, Kenny was well positioned with one lap to go and was making his move on the back straight when he lost his balance and tumbled to the track.

Kenny took Quentin Lafargue with him and both riders were quickly on their feet nursing skin abrasions, with the Frenchman undergoing assessment by medical staff.

Stefan Boetticher of Germany avoided the incident to win ahead of Peter Lewis (Jayco) and Takashi Sakamoto (Japan).

Dyer added: 'He (Kenny) got caught in a bit of a drag race with Stefan Boetticher, the German guy, which he didn't really want to take on at that point on the race.

'He was looking for the wheel, looking to get into the slipstream again and he was keeping an eye on Lafargue behind him.

'I think both Boetticher and Jason were looking behind at exactly the same time, both moved in the same direction and Jason never saw it coming, he just smelt it and heard it.'

Partisan crowd: Jessica Varnish and Rebecca James went against each other in sprint semi-final

Partisan crowd: Jessica Varnish and Rebecca James went against each other in sprint semi-final

Partisan crowd: Jessica Varnish and Rebecca James went against each other in sprint semi-final

Kenny was not the only Briton to crash out of the keirin.

Lewis Oliva, competing for Wales-Team USN, crashed on the final corner of his semi-final heat and was taken away on a stretcher. He was diagnosed with mild concussion and will be monitored by team medical staff overnight.

There was a happier conclusion to the day for Varnish.

The 21-year-old focused on the specialist starting role for the team sprint for the Olympics, but her 2012 Games ended in disappointed following a takeover infringement.

Following the retirement of Victoria Pendleton, Varnish is diversifying and riding all four sprint events in Glasgow.

She qualified second fastest and negotiated the early rounds successfully before edging to a 2-1 semi-final win over James.

Varnish was then beaten 2-0 by Kristina Vogel of Germany in the final.

'It was good,' Varnish said. 'It's nice to be actually in a final. I just want to be able to step it up another level now. I'm not in the best shape, so I've not played all my cards.

'It's really nice to gain experience at the moment and build on to the worlds (in Minsk in February).'

James, who like Varnish is to ride the keirin on the final day, responded from her semi-final defeat to beat Hong Kong's Lee Wai Sze in the ride-off for bronze.

The 20-year-old Commonwealth medallist said: 'It's been such a hard day, getting three rides up against Jess was really tough and then missing out on the gold/silver ride-off was hard.

'I had to get my head round it and I did not want to come away with no medal, so I'm really happy.'

Jonathan Dibben placed fifth in the men's omnium as Germany's Lucas Liss won by one point from world champion Glenn O'Shea of Australia.

Dibben was third in the final event, the one-kilometre time-trial, which Liss won to secure gold.

The men's individual pursuit was won by Denmark's Lasse Hansen in four minutes 20.875 seconds, with Ireland's Martyn Irvine second in 4mins 22.745secs, a significant personal best.

Olympic and world champion Laura Trott was in fourth place at the halfway stage of the women's omnium.

The 20-year-old was fourth in the flying lap, ninth in the points race and won the elimination race, an event she appears to have mastered.

Australia's Ashlee Ankudinoff was in first place, but just a point better off than Trott with three events to go.

Revealed: The first trailer of London 2012 Olympics official film, First

Revealed: Trailer of London 2012 Games official film which tracks progress of 12 first-time Olympians

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UPDATED:

20:59 GMT, 14 November 2012

The official London 2012 Olympics film, First, has released its trailer ahead of the documentary's debut cinema screening later this month.

The film follows 12 first-time Olympians and their bids to take gold in the capital this summer.

Team GB's double gold medal-winning cyclist Laura Trott is among those featured in the documentary.

Scroll down to watch the trailer of First

Featured: The progress of double gold medal-winning Team GB cyclist Laura Trott (centre) is followed in the film, First

Featured: The progress of double gold medal-winning Team GB cyclist Laura Trott (centre) is followed in the film, First

Featured: The progress of double gold medal-winning Team GB cyclist Laura Trott is followed in the film, First

Featured: The progress of double gold medal-winning Team GB cyclist Laura Trott is followed in the film, First

Trott was a revelation in the velodrome as she won the women's Omnium and was a member of Britain's successful team pursuit outfit along with Dani King and Joanna Rowsell.

Other athletes who appear in the film include USA swimmer Missy Franklin and Kenyan 800m runner David Rudisha, tracking their triumphs at the London Games.

Exceptional: The film tracks the likes of Kenyan David Rudisha, and eleven other first-time Olympians

Exceptional: The film tracks the likes of Kenyan David Rudisha, and eleven other first-time Olympians

Golden girl: The USA's Missy Franklin won four gold medals at the 2012 Games

Golden girl: The USA's Missy Franklin won four gold medals at the 2012 Games

Franklin, 17, dominated the swimming events in her first Olympics and won four gold medals and a bronze in the water.

Rudisha ran a near-perfect sprint in the final of the 800m. He broke the world record in a pulsating race and became the first ever man to run his event in under 1min 41secs.

The film will screen in cinemas on Friday November 23 before becoming available on DVD and Blu-ray and digital download on November 26.

VIDEO: Official trailer of First

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Bradley Wiggins deserves Sports Personality award, says Laura Trott

Forget my Olympic golds, Wiggo deserves Sports Personality award, says Trott

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UPDATED:

13:02 GMT, 10 November 2012

Laura Trott does not need long to think when asked to name a trio of contenders for Sports Personality of the Year.

Despite the raising of a rather uncouth finger outside a hospital this week, the 20-year-old’s choice is simple – and solitary.

'I haven't got a top three but I’ve got a top one,' she laughs. 'Bradley Wiggins.

On your bike: Laura Trott with young cyclist Georgie Savory at the Manchester Velodrome. Trott gave a group of aspiring athletes a masterclass in the sport

On your bike: Laura Trott with young cyclist Georgie Savory at the Manchester Velodrome. Trott gave a group of aspiring athletes a masterclass in the sport

'It’s just amazing what he’s done. Obviously winning the Tour de France and the Olympics within how many days – 10 days of each other

'No British rider has ever won the Tour de France so for him to do that was amazing. For him to win the Olympics straight after is just the best.'

Trott has her own claim to a mention on the annual list – having won two gold medals on her Olympic debut. She held a key role in the victorious team pursuit side which smashed the world record, and then pulled off a stunning solo win in the omnium.

'I don’t think I will be nominated – but I would like to,' she confesses. Given the remarkable success of female athletes this summer it seems impossible there will be a repeat of last year's male-only shortlist, though.

And Trott feels two names should definitely feature.

'I think Jess Ennis is another woman who should be nominated, and Ellie Simmonds as well.’

After a trip to Dubai with her boyfriend Jason Kenny in September, Trott took part in her first track session since the Games a couple of weeks ago.

'A bit of a shock to the system,’ she says, speaking at the Manchester Velodrome as part of a London 2012 legacy day.

Twenty-four hours earlier she had experienced a different kind of jolt – meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace. It was an encounter Trott labels her strangest amid a whirlwind of post-Olympics appearances.

'It was a bit random and a bit surreal almost,' she says. 'It was really nice. You never actually think that you're going to be able to meet her.

Golden girls: Dani King, Trott, and Joanna Rowsell after winning the team pursuit event in London

Golden girls: Dani King, Trott, and Joanna Rowsell after winning the team pursuit event in London

Golden girls: Dani King, Trott, and Joanna Rowsell after winning the team pursuit event in London

'She grabbed my medals and everything! All she said was, “What event did you compete in” So I said, “Track cycling”.

'She said she had found it really interesting at the Olympics because she hadn’t seen it before. She said she couldn't imagine how much the medals weighed and that’s when she took them.'

Trott makes her competitive return to the velodrome next weekend for the World Cup in Glasgow. She will be reunited with Dani King and Joanna Rowsell for the team pursuit, as well as riding the omnium.

She admits it will be peculiar to race in the venue named after her friend Sir Chris Hoy and is curiously reluctant to make any statements which could be interpreted as confident.

'What comes comes. We can’t guarantee that we’re going to win or anything.'

Of more certainty is Trott's move to the road for part of the 2013 season. She, King and Rowsell have all signed up to the DTPC Honda Pro Cycling team, which is being backed by Wiggins.

Flying the flag: Trott will not focus on road racing until after Rio 2016

Flying the flag: Trott will not focus on road racing until after Rio 2016

She has fond memories of past road experience and says she will 'pick and choose' which races to compete in – mindful of a desire to enter the Under 23 European Championships.

'It will be different because it's on the road but it will be with people that I know,' she says. 'I'd like to go back to the Czech Republic as that was my first major race when I was a junior.

'I really enjoyed it. It’s quite hilly and there’s a mix. There’s a time trial, there's a prologue. It’s like a tour but only a little one.

'I'll probably do Under 23 Euros during the year to get a few more qualification points. I’m not going to focus on the road until maybe after Rio.’

The Lance Armstrong case arrived not long after Britain's beautiful summer of cycling to display the ugly side of the sport’s recent history. The Glasgow World Cup will be the first time the country has hosted a major gathering since the revelations.

But Trott feels the saga, which shows no signs of ending soon, has failed to take away from all that was achieved cleanly in the Tour de France and London this year.

'That story’s completely different to the success and everything that’s happened over the summer,’ Trott says passionately. ‘I don’t think it is detracting from it.'

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Lance Armstrong cheating means Britain"s cycling boom feels rotten – Martin Samuel

Armstrong's cheating means great British cycling boom feels rotten

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 14 October 2012

The Gordian knot was the hardest to untie, according to legend. Alexander the Great sliced through it with his sword. There is no such easy solution for cycling and Lance Armstrong.

He cannot simply be excised from the record books, without leaving page after page empty having taken a raft of contemporaries with him. Last week, Christian Prudhomme, head of ASO, the Tour de France organiser, proposed rewriting history to have no winner of the race from 1999 to 2005. Why not just erase Armstrong and promote the next best, some say. Impossible.

If Armstrong goes, all cheats must follow, and for the Tour to remove every name associated with doping would make it seem ridiculous and damage its credibility for ever.

Built on a lie: Lance Armstrong has tainted his whole sport with his use of performance enhancing drugs

Built on a lie: Lance Armstrong has tainted his whole sport with his use of performance enhancing drugs

For British cycling, the timing of this crisis could not be worse. At the very time when the sport is at last making its great leap forward, 1,000 pages of the most damning criticism land on the doorstep.

A lot of rival sports have dreamed of such progression. Cricket has been vulnerable as the primary summer sport for some time. Parts of the island do not play it, participation is time consuming and costly, land is at a premium.

Football has the winter tied up, we know that. England were rugby union world champions in 2003, but nobody seriously believed inroads could be made on football’s territory.

With cricket, it is different. England rose to be the No 1 Test team in the world but it had little impact on the grass roots. Cricket is dying in state schools, the county game is dwindling in significance. Football has been steadily encroaching on the summer, too.

Then came Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France and Great Britain’s magnificent performance in the Velodrome at a home Olympics. Suddenly, we were a nation of cyclists. Every kid has a bike and road to ride it on, and in Wiggins the sport has a bona fide, David Beckham-style hero.

He has the talent, he has the look. He
captures young imaginations. Look around, there are more cyclists on the
road than ever before. Not just commuters in cities, either. There are
races, there are clubs, there are grown men pedalling while wearing
Team Sky kit, as they might the shirt of Manchester United.

A lot of history: (left-right, top to bottom) Armstrong celebrates after winning the Tour de France in 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999

A lot of history: (left-right, top to bottom) Armstrong celebrates after winning the Tour de France in 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999

And now this. Page after page of cheats, cheats, cheats. No wonder Wiggins is furious that his first task as cycling’s unofficial ambassador in Britain is to try to convince the parents of the next generation that his sport will not turn their children into EPO-fuelled monsters.

Trying to unpick Armstrong and his era from cycling is akin to unknotting that tangled ball of old computer leads, mobile-phone chargers and television cables that lurks in a dark corner of a kitchen drawer, except one hundred times worse.

For instance, reassessing two of Armstrong’s victories, 2000 and 2002, and removing every rider who has been caught doping or been significantly implicated in a scandal — one must remember here that many known cheats have not failed a test, including Armstrong — would mean promoting two 10th-placed athletes to first: Daniele Nardello in 2000 and Carlos Sastre in 2002.

The clean winners of the Tour de France in the Armstrong years would be: Abraham Olano (1999, sixth), Nardello (2000, 10th), Andrei Kivilev (2001, fourth), Sastre (2002, 10th), Haimar Zubeldia (2003, fifth), Sastre (2004, eighth) and Cadel Evans (2005, seventh). Throughout those years only two untainted athletes made the top five.

It cuts deeper. L’Alpe d’Huez is arguably the most famous mountain climb in the Tour de France. It is an average 7.9 per cent gradient with 21 hairpin bends. In 1986, the great French rider Bernard Hinault — ‘as long as I breathe, I attack’ — rode the ascent in 48 minutes. His now stands as the 36th fastest time. The record is held by the late Marco Pantani from 1997: it is 10 minutes and 25 seconds faster.

Yellow jersey: Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France this summer

Golden boy: Bradley Wiggins has inspired a generation of British cyclists with his double success in the Tour de France and the London Olympic Games

Golden boy: Wiggins celebrates winning the men's individual time trial at the London Olympic Games

Sometimes, the numbers simply do not add up. There was huge controversy over Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen at the London Olympics, and many thought it unfair that she was immediately suspected, without evidence.

Yet it wasn’t just laymen or journalists questioning Ye. Respected coaches, looking at the figures in detail, were first to raise the alarm.

So, analysing Pantani, even allowing for improvements in equipment and training techniques, to take 10 minutes off a 48-minute event is close to impossible. Some of L’Alpe d’Huez’s fastest times have been set as part of a time trial, when the athlete hasn’t already cycled 100 miles to get there. To shave three minutes off Hinault in those circumstances might be explicable. But 10 No way. And cycling, in the years cited by Prudhomme, is full of these freaks’ roll calls.

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To erase Armstrong, the sport would as good as erase itself for a decade or more. The year before Armstrong’s 1999 win, the top 10 in the Tour included three riders who tested positive (including the first and second finishers) and another imprisoned for violating anti-doping laws. Of the six remaining, two more have been implicated in scandals. The two successive winners after Armstrong’s last victory in 2005, Floyd Landis and Alberto Contador, were subsequently disqualified.

The problem for cycling in Britain is that its status as a profile sport first began to take shape through Armstrong. From there, home-grown heroes such as Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton took cycling to a place in public life that previous generations could never have imagined.

So, with the condemnation of Armstrong, it is the very foundation of the British cycling boom that appears to be rotten. Unlike the French or Belgians, we have no prior history or culture to cling to, no glorious golden era free of EPO and clandestine blood transfusions.

Instead of promoting a sport full of fresh air and fitness, Wiggins and his colleagues are now on the defensive. It is hardly a surprise that he has been known to snap at questions about doping. It is the last topic that should be regularly tossed at him as a clean rider, the last conversation his sport needs to be having right now; yet if cycling is to fulfil its potential it must first find a way of removing its links to Armstrong on page after page.

It will take a lot more than Tipp-Ex, or a visit to the printers.

Lord help us – just go away

Clearly, former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman, who left his job in embarrassing circumstances involving a female friend and a pack of wild accusations he could not substantiate, now thinks sufficient time has passed for him to re-enter the public arena.

He has been pontificating on John Terry’s punishment, saying little that has not been said, offering nothing in the way of insight or enlightenment. Never just go away, do they

Lecturing: Arsenal chief Ivan Gazidis

Lecturing: Arsenal chief Ivan Gazidis

Gazidis lecturing on high-earners… that’s rich

Garry Cook, the former chief executive of Manchester City, was at the Leaders in Football conference last week, so too Ivan Gazidis of Arsenal.
Would they be able to justify their 2million salaries for running football clubs, it was asked Cook more than Gazidis, one thinks. He put in place a regime that won the title, albeit after he departed.

All Gazidis has achieved is the continuation of limited success under Arsene Wenger.

Even Arsenal’s pre-tax profit of 36.6m in 2011-12 is largely due to the sale of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Cook helped build an elite club and company almost from scratch — City did not even have a Human Resources department when he arrived — while Gazidis exists on Wenger’s coat-tails yet lectures football on the evils of high-earning.

‘There are issues in terms of how our fans are able to feel connected with those players earning enormous amounts of money,’ Gazidis opined.
He even kept a straight face while he said it, apparently. Now that was an achievement.

What legacy

So it was all a waste of time. There will be no attempt to supply a Great Britain football team to future Olympic events, according to the FA, and British Handball are not backing their men’s team at the European Championship. Team GB handball players will pay for their own flights for a qualifier against Greece.

Ultimately, elements of Team GB became little more than a publicity stunt and ego trip for the British Olympic Association.

If an Under 21 football team from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland had qualified for a future Olympic tournament, it could still have competed under the Great Britan umbrella, but all the governing body was interested in was the 2012 show.

As for handball, while funding is bound so closely to elite performance, novices in a sport played in other countries at a serious level for almost a century were never going to stand a chance.

Britain simply took up a place that should have been left to more deserving qualifiers, because as hosts, Britain could. There is no legacy, and little interest in creating one; it was just another box that had to be ticked.

Spain's dominance proves a TV turn-off

UEFA’s belief that the 2016 European Championship qualifying campaign will be one huge televised cash cow appears to have taken another hit with the news that no Iberian TV station would buy the rights for Spain’s World Cup qualifier in Belarus at the weekend.

Is anyone watching anymore Spain celebrate yet another win in Belarus

Is anyone watching anymore Spain celebrate yet another win in Belarus

Sportfive, the German rights holder, wanted 1.3million to see the world champions but the major networks in Spain have been hit hard by recession. Even the radio stations baulked and broadcast from hotel bedrooms in Minsk instead, watching the action on television.

This is the first time since 1983 that the national team has not been shown live in Spain, but all that superiority is getting boring and fans will not pay to watch a game in which the result is so easily predicted. Spain beat Belarus 4-0.

This situation will only worsen with almost half the entrants for Euro 2016 progressing to the finals. When even the best team in the world cannot generate interest, there truly is a problem.

Time's up, Audley

Audley Harrison lasted just 82 seconds against David Price on Saturday. His career as a professional heavyweight fighter, such as it ever really existed, is over.

Before the fight the consistently disappointing and deluded Harrison said he was in the Last Chance Saloon.

Sadly, time was called on him in that particular establishment long ago. Harrison then adjourned to the Last Chance Restaurant, the Last Chance Nightclub, the Last Chance Chill-Out Room, the Last Chance Breakfast Bar and Grill and the Last Chance All You Can Eat Mongolian Buffet before ending up at the Last Chance Set Dinner For One, three courses, 12.99 with a complimentary glass of wine.

He’s had enough last chances. Now he’s had his chips. It’s time to go home.

Down and out: David Price KO's Audley Harrison in Liverpool on Saturday

Down and out: David Price KO's Audley Harrison in Liverpool on Saturday

Ajax happy to clean out football fans, too

Further to last week’s note about the exorbitant cost of watching Barcelona play Real Madrid, it has now been revealed that tickets for Manchester City fans at their next Champions League match with Ajax in Amsterdam will be 65. That is 3 more than the cost of the cheapest seat for Arsenal’s game with Chelsea recently, which caused such fuss.

Nobody is saying Premier League football is cheap; more that the game in many European countries is run no more benevolently than here.

Adds up

Wonga’s controversial sponsorship of Newcastle could not happen in France or Germany. Not because financial institutions are not allowed involvement, but because there is no such thing as a legal 4,212 per cent interest rate. The ceiling in France is 21.64 per cent, and in Germany 16.4 per cent.

That is how a nation regulates its financial services industry: not by appealing to Mike Ashley’s better nature.

Roberto Mancini visits cycling velodrome in Manchester

Gold standard: City look to emulate success of cycling as Mancini meets Brailsford

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UPDATED:

22:09 GMT, 4 October 2012

Manchester City will be champions of the Barclays Premier League for the next eight months, at least. Interestingly, though, they are not even the most successful sporting team in their own postcode.

Six hundred yards or so across a dual carriageway from City’s Etihad Stadium stands the National Cycling Centre. Home to the team that delivered eight Olympic gold medals and, of course, a Tour de France winner in the last three months, Manchester’s velodrome really is the classic centre of excellence.

Years ago — when he was still plotting British Cycling’s route to the top of the world — performance director Dave Brailsford met Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to ask his advice on building a successful team.

On your bike! Dave Brailsford with Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini

On your bike! Dave Brailsford with Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini

‘Get rid of the b******s’, was Ferguson’s blunt — and not to mention pertinent — reply.

On Thursday afternoon it was City manager Roberto Mancini’s turn to drink tea and swap ideas with the man without whom Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins might still be searching for the vital ingredients that turn good athletes into gold medallists.

Having heard Mancini was coming, Wiggins hung around after training to meet him. Sadly, the Italian was slightly delayed and the Tour de France winner had somewhere else to be.

Mancini and Brailsford, however, spent two hours talking sport, physiology and man management as members of the successful GB team rode relentlessly around the indoor track that is their home.

‘Football can certainly learn from this sport,’ said Mancini.

‘Every time I watch the Tour de France on the television I say this is very difficult because only one gets the glory but the other 10 are part of the team but don’t get the yellow jersey. To manage that is not easy. In football we all get a medal if we win.

‘Every manager is human so I will try to change the attitude of a player if I feel it is not good for my club or the team.

Saddle up: A keen cyclist himself, Mancini was happy to talk with the team

Saddle up: A keen cyclist himself, Mancini was happy to talk with the team

Saddle up: A keen cyclist himself, Mancini was happy to talk with the team

‘But we need a contribution from everyone — this is the most important thing.

‘It doesn’t matter who scores the winning goal. Football should understand that sometimes.’

A keen cyclist since he was a child, Mancini regularly rides his sky blue 'Manchester City' bike the half-hour journey from his Cheshire home to the club’s training ground.

He declined the offer of a spin around the velodrome, perhaps not surprising given the elite nature of the company.

Looking rather more relaxed than he had during the tension of the previous night’s Champions League 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund, Mancini’s challenge this season is not too different to that which faced Brailsford after Team GB delivered eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics — namely how to do it all again next time.

Brailsford said: ‘In certain respects we’re in the same boat. They won the league and we won the Tour de France. That’s a bit more similar than the Olympics.

‘But pressure is only something in your mind. You can’t buy a tin of pressure. It’s not tangible, it’s not real, it’s only something you allow to exist in your mind if you entertain it.

‘I decided way before London that I wasn’t going to entertain pressure. Focus on the process and not the outcome. Pressure’s only going to come if you think the outcome’s going to go wrong. In each race, or in each match, you’re going to have the ups and downs and ebbs and flows of competition, which I think is different from the long, overall view.

Gold rush: Philip Hindes shows off his gold medal at the velodrome

Gold rush: Philip Hindes shows off his gold medal at the velodrome

Sign him up! Mancini poses with a Team Sky cycling jersey

Sign him up! Mancini poses with a Team Sky cycling jersey

‘If you let yourself think, “Holy Moly, what if we lose” then it’s going to compromise what you’re doing now.

‘If you keep focusing on making sure you’re getting the process right, the outcome will look after itself. You are going there, there will be a race, you will win or lose. Be the best you can be.’

Brailsford admits he looked on with interest as Mancini wrestled with the Carlos Tevez issue a year ago.

‘It soon became clear that there was one guy in charge and one guy only,’ he said. ‘He was the boss and he was the manager. It was impressive.’

For his part, Mancini watched and wondered how Brailsford motivates his athletes to complete circuit after circuit of often tedious riding when he sometimes finds it hard to keep Mario Balotelli occupied for more than 10 minutes.

Asked if Balotelli could benefit from the sports psychologists employed by cycling, Mancini smiled and said: 'Mario would need two.'

He also offered the opinion that football is still ‘too far behind’ other sports in the science of preparation. Overall, it was clear this was a valuable exercise for both men.

Mancini suggested Brailsford could one day work in football. ‘Why not’ the City boss said. ‘Things like this have happened before in Italian football.’

Brailsford, though, has other dreams to fulfil before he leaves a team that carries his personality and his stamp in every way.

‘I would not rule out switching sports,’ he said. ‘But I have unfinished business in cycling. I am still on a voyage of discovery.’

Joey Barton involved in row on home debut for Marseille

Barton's back in trouble: Row in home debut as Marseille hammer AEL Limassol

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UPDATED:

23:03 GMT, 4 October 2012

Joey Barton was in the thick of it on his home debut for French side Marseille. The QPR outcast was booked in a 5-1 Europa League win over AEL Limassol, and had a spat with visiting keeper Matias Degra.

The Queens Park Rangers loanee started the match at the Velodrome, and saw his side go a goal down to the minnows.

But Barton and Marseille battled back well, and in the end they cruised to an easy victory in Group C.

Remember me Joey Barton made his home debut for Marseille

Remember me Joey Barton made his home debut for Marseille

At it already: Barton argued with goalkeeper Matias Degra during the match

At it already: Barton argued with goalkeeper Matias Degra during the match

The Ligue 1 leaders returned to
form in emphatic fashion after the weekend's humiliating defeat to
Valenciennes as they beat the Cypriots.

Edwin Ouon put the visitors in front
but goals from Rod Fanni, Michel Mendes, Andre Gignac and two for Loic
Remy saw Marseille home.

There were six more goals in the other Group C tie as Fenerbahce won 4-2 at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Luuk De Jong put the hosts in front
but Cristian Baroni hit two and further goals were added by Raul
Meireles and Dirk Kuyt, with Igor De Camargo grabbing the Germans'
second.

Fans favourite: Barton's side beat AEL Limassol 5-1 at the Velodrome

Fans favourite: Barton's side beat AEL Limassol 5-1 at the Velodrome

Philippe Coutinho's 10th minute strike set Inter Milan on their way to their first win in UEFA Europa League Group H with a 3-1 success against Neftchi in Azerbaijan.

Inter, who had been held at home in their opening group game by Rubin Kazan, built on their lead with further strikes from Joel Obi and Marko Livaja before half-time. Nicolas Canales scored a 53rd minute consolation for the hosts.

However, Rubin Kazan kept pace with the Italians with a 2-0 home win over Partizan Belgrade.

Gokdeniz Karadeniz opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time and Alexander Ryazantsev added a second just after the break.

Reigning champions Atletico Madrid
needed an injury time winner from Cristian Rodriguez to extend their run
of wins to eight with a 1-0 triumph over Viktoria Plzen in Spain.

Also in Group B, Omer Damari struck
an injury time equaliser for Hapoel Tel Aviv in a 1-1 draw at Portuguese
side Academica, who led through a Salim Cisse effort.

Over he goes: Coutinho (right) scored Inter Milan's first against Neftci PFK

Over he goes: Coutinho (right) scored Inter Milan's first against Neftci PFK

Hungarians Videoton pulled off an upset in Group G as they strolled to a 3-0 home win over Sporting Lisbon.

Paulo Vinicius, Filipe Oliveira and Nemanja Nikolic all scored before half-time for the home team, who had slumped to a 3-0 defeat of their own at Genk in their opening group game.

The Belgians had looked well on their way to another win in the other Group G game as they led Basel 2-0 in Switzerland through an early Benjamin De Ceulaer strike and a second from Jelle Vossen.

But the hosts hit bacredk to claim a point in a 2-2 draw thanks to a second half double from Marco Streller, the first of which came from the penalty spot.

Lazio nudged to their first win in Group J – Ederson hitting the only goal of the game in the 62nd minute against Maribor at the Stadio Olimpico. The visitors had Jovan Vidovic sent off late on.

In Group I, Gueida Fofana scored twice, including an injury-time winner, as Lyon earned their second straight win with a thrilling 4-3 triumph over Hapoel Kiryat Shmona in Israel.

Shimon Abuhatzira put the home side in front after just seven minutes before Fofana, Fabian Monzon and Anthony Reveillere put the Frenchmen well in control at the break.

Hapoel clawed back level through Lior Levi and Abuhatzira but when they thought they had done enough to take a point, Fofana struck two minutes into added time.

Tears of joy: Fenerbahce's Baroni Cristian has an unorthodox celebration after bagging a goal

Tears of joy: Fenerbahce's Baroni Cristian has an unorthodox celebration after bagging a goal

Last year's runners-up Athletic Bilbao slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Sprata Prague. Tomas Zapotocny, Bekim Balaj and Josef Husbauer scored for the home side, with Oscar De Marcos replying late for Bilbao.

In Group K, Edmar and Cleiton Xavier scored to give Metalist Kharkiv a 2-0 home win over Rapid Vienna, while Stefan Kiessling scored in the 76th minute to give Bayer Leverkusen a 1-0 win at Rosenborg.

Hannover shrugged off the ninth minute dismissal of Turkish defender Karim Haggui to beat Spaniards Levante 2-1 in Germany.

Michel had put Levante in front from the spot after Haggui's red card, but Szabolcs Huszti and Didier Ya Konan struck back to win it for the home side in Group L.

In the same group, two Nikola Durdic goals put Helsingborg 2-0 up against FC Twente but the Dutch side hit back to claim a 2-2 draw with goals from Rasmus Bengtsson and Douglas.

Easy does it: Lazio's Ederson scored their only goal over Maribor to get their first win of the campaign

Easy does it: Lazio's Ederson scored their only goal over Maribor to get their first win of the campaign

In an early kick-off in Group A, veteran striker Samuel Eto'o scored two late goals to give big-spending Russians Anzhi Makhachkala a 2-0 win over Young Boys.

Napoli's excellent start to the new season ran aground in Eindhoven where they were beaten 3-0 by PSV in Group F.

Walter Mazzarri's men went into the game unbeaten in seven but were behind after seven minutes from a Jeremain Lens strike, and Dries Mertens and Marcelo added further goals for the Dutch side.

Dnipro, who had beaten PSV in their opening game, claimed their second straight win as they came from behind twice to beat AIK 3-2 in Sweden.

Goals from Helgi Danielsson and Henok Goitom for the hosts were cancelled out by efforts from Nikola Kalinic and Vitaly Mandzyk before Evhen Seleznyov struck to seal the points seven minutes from time.

A late own goal from Ragnar Sigurdsson gave Steaua Bucharest a 1-0 win over FC Copenhagen in Group E, while Jo-Inge Berget and Daniel Chima scored in Molde's 2-0 home win over Stuttgart.

Shock of the night: Gelson Fernandes could not stop Sporting Lisbon losing 3-0 to Videoton

Shock of the night: Gelson Fernandes could not stop Sporting Lisbon losing 3-0 to Videoton