Archive for the ‘cycling’ tag
Tour de France 2014 | Why cycling is challenging to become Britain’s most popular sport and Cavendish threatens to sue
British sport is so often a roller coaster of highs and lows. From winning and losing the Ashes, to Champions League triumphs for Manchester United and Chelsea, to the latest disastrous showing by Roy Hodgson’s England at the 2014 World Cup.
Two years ago at London 2012 we hit so many highs across the board it was almost unbelievable. At the weekend Mark Cavendish, who for so long was recognised around the world as “the fastest man on two wheels” crashed out of the Tour de France when he was the great British hope to win the first leg from Leeds to Harrogate. It was another devastating disappointment for the Manxman who failed to claim his anticipated Olympic road race gold two years ago.
But single out one sport that has gone from strength to strength over the past decade and you have to pick cycling. While Cavendish is now embroiled in a bitter exchange with Norwegian rider Alexander Kristoff who has accused him of “crashing on purpose” at the climax of Saturday’s stage one of the Tour de France, his sport and his own profile in the UK has sky rocketed.
Cavendish, anonymous not so long ago in public consciousness in the UK, has become one of our most recognised sportsmen with huge earning capacity. That’s why he must defend his reputation and his image, responding to the slur from Kristoff by insisting: “I would normally say it’s best just to let some things go, but this is libellous and we are considering legal action.”
Meantime, cycling continues to grow in popularity with ever increasing numbers taking to the streets the length and bredth of the British Isles. The last time the TDF took place on English soil was 2007 when membership of British Cycling was hovering around the 20,000 mark. Seven years later that figure has soared to 93,000, with 3,000 new members signing up every month.
It is a surge in popularity inspired by unprecedented success for Team GB at successive Olympic Games and beyond. For the last two years the world’s most gruelling cycling race has been dominated by the Brits with back to back wins of the TDF by Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome. Both have been well supported by the impressive Team Sky, the professional outfit Cavendish also used to race for that is managed by Sir Dave Brailsford, the brains behind much of our cycling success.
In Sir Chris Hoy – who won a sixth Olympic gold medal in London – we boast the the most successful British Olympian of all time.
It is a success story that extends from the track to the road and now to staging the first three legs of the world’s most famous cycling event. Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme has pledged that the race will return.
Prudhomme said pleas had already been made for a fifth visit of cycling’s most prestigious race – previously hosted here in 1974, 1994 and 2007.“The question is not if but when, although I don’t have the answer for the second part,” he said. “We have many requests to host the Tour from Holland, Belgium, Italy and Spain.”
‘Do you realise who you’ve just knocked off his bike madam?’ even Wiggo will laugh when he gets over pain of bruised ribs
Fact as they say is often stranger than fiction, and it was truely sureal to hear that one of Britain’s greatest ever cyclists Bradley Wiggins was knocked off his bike by a woman driver on the eve of the launch of his book ‘My Time.’
The Olympic champion and Tour de France winner was left with a few bruised ribs when he was hit by a Vauxhall Astra van while on a training ride near his home in Lancashire.
Picture the scene when the shell-shocked woman driver was asked by police: ‘Do you realise who you’ve just knocked off his bike madam?’
For comedians around the world it is a priceless punchline for a million jokes. Happily, Wiggo – who was today well enough to be sent home after spending the night in hospital – will surely see the funny side when he gets over the pain. Doctors have confirmed he will make a full recovery.
But in all seriousness, it is time that more was done to protect cyclists. British Cycling is calling on the government “to put cycling at the heart of transport policy to ensure that cycle safety is built into the design of all new roads, junctions and transport projects, rather than being an afterthought.”
Just how serious this issue is has been underlined by the news that Wiggo’s Team GB head coach Shane Sutton has also been knocked off his bike and “suffered bruising and bleeding on the brain.”
Sutton was involved in a collision with a Peugot 206 on the A6 near Levenshulme in Manchester and is expected to spend several days in hospital.
In 2005, during the bidding process for the 2012 Olympics, Lord Coe proclaimed: “London’s vision is to reach young people all around the world. To connect them with the inspirational power of the Games. So they are inspired to choose sport.”
Seven years later, as we bask in the glory of arguably the greatest Games ever, and the nation considers what the legacy will be for London 2012, there has never been a better time for all sports to promote themselves and get the public taking part.
With so many role-models among Team GB’s medal winners there is no lack of sports men and women to be inspired by. And the early signs are encouraging that success at the Games will result in increased participation of sport across the board.
Here at VISIONSPORT.TV we are aiming to do our bit by producing inspirational sports videos and documentaries. And we hope to hear from sporting bodies across Britain who want us to help them by producing dynamic content to promote their sport.
To get the ball rolling we have produced a short promotional film featuring some of Team GB’s brilliant medal winners.
Hopefully watching this video will not only inspire people of all ages to take part in sport, but encourage administrators who can build on the success of London 2012 to get in touch and hire our winning team.
LOOK OUT FOR MORE INSPIRATIONAL VIDEOS FROM VISIONSPORT.TV
40 YEARS ON – AND ARSENAL’S DOUBLE WINNER BOB WILSON IS A HERO TO BE PROUD OF AFTER HIS BRAVE CHARITY CYCLE
It is a little known fact that Bob Wilson became the first English-born footballer to play for Scotland in 1971 – the year Arsenal won the double for the first time. Much has changed in the 40 years since Bob was in goal for the Gunners as they claimed the League and Cup double. Footballers today are paid a king’s ransom for playing just one season at the top level. Many can earn in a week the £250,000 Bob set off trying to raise for charity when he cycled 500 miles in 11 days. But don’t let that overshadow what a great achievement it has been for the former Arsenal keeper in this his 70th year.
” I have been lucky to have enjoyed many football triumphs, most notably my greatest year in 1970/71 when Arsenal won ‘The Double’,” says the great man who wanted to do something special to mark the 40th anniversary of his finest hour as a footballer. “So how should I celebrate this my 70th/71st year? By following my heart and doing something challenging to support the Willow Foundation, the national charity I set up with my wife, Megs, in memory of our daughter, Anna.”
The 500 mile cycle from London to Newcastle took Bob to every Premier League football club in the UK followed by a visit to Hampden Park, where he made his international debut. You can donate here
CYCLING WORLD UNITES TO SUPPORT PREGNANT GIRLFRIEND OF WOUTER WEYLANDT, WHO DIED IN TRAGIC RACE CRASH
It is heart-warming to see the way the cycling community has pulled together following the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt when he crashed during the third stage of the Giro d’Italia on Monday.
Thousands of well-wishers have supported the foundation set up by Weylandt’s team Leopard Trek to provide financial support for the Belgian rider’s family, and donations can be made by following this Facebook link
The International Cycling Union has given its full support and invites the whole cycling family to participate in honour of the memory of the 26-year-old rider who died in such tragic circumstances, leaving behind his pregnant girlfriend Sophie Anne, who is due to give birth in September.
Weylandt fell and suffered fatal head injuries with 25 kilometres remaining of the 173-kilometre third stage of the Giro d’Italia, from Reggio Emilia to Rapallo. He was knocked unconscious and even though medics were instantly on the scene to give him cardiac massage at the scene they were unable to revive him.
1992 Olympic Gold medal cyclist Chris Boardman spoke for everyone who loves the sport when he he said he was shocked by such a ‘tragic’ accident. But Boardman, who was watching the event live when the incident happened and described the footage as ‘incredibly graphic’ and ‘horrific’ reflected the thoughts of many when he said he does not believe safety in professional cycling needs addressing.
UCI president Pat McQuaid says cycling’s governing body will investigate bike safety and “discuss with the industry the rigidity and safety aspects of bikes.”
But he conceded when “racing against nature all of the time” there was very little that could be improved. “We will make sure we are not making bikes which cause problems themselves. But they [the teams] understand there is a limit to what you can do to a bike.”
Weylandt was the first rider killed in a crash in one of cycling’s three main tours since Italian rider Fabio Casartelli in the 1995 Tour de France. He is the fourth cyclist to die during the Giro and the first in 25 years. Orfeo Ponsin died in 1952, Juan Manuel Santisteban in 1976 and Emilio Ravasio in 1986.
McQuaid said: “Cycling is touched by a lot of controversy but one tends to forget that they go out everyday and risk their lives, going down the mountains at the speeds they go down.
“We see a lot of crashes in cycling and a lot of injuries but very rarely do we see a fatality and here we did. It’s such a sad situation for a 26-year-old, so so tragic.”
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