Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker is going to DJ the UCI World Championships


Joe Robinson

11 Sep 2019

Live music to accompany racing at World Championships to bring 'carnival atmosphere'

What do Jarvis Cocker and The Pigeon Detectives have in common? Both had varied success in or as indie bands, both are from Yorkshire and both will be performing at the UCI World Championships later this month.

Alongside soft-pop band The Feeling (who are from West Sussex and not Yorkshire), all will be performing at the World Championships Fan Zone in Harrogate alongside the week of racing.

All the gigs will be absolutely free to attend and help bring a toe-tapping end to days of spectacular bike racing with the Fan Zone being open throughout the entire Worlds week, opening its doors on Saturday 21st September.

Don’t hold your breath for cult classics ‘Common People’ or ‘Disco 2000’ as Cocker will be performing solo rather than with 1990s Britpop band Pulp, although the man who once gatecrashed Michael Jackson’s Brits performance with a pineapple on his head will be spinning some of the biggest tunes in his DJ set.

Located at The Stray, Cocker will be on stage at 20:30 on Friday 27th September after the men’s U23 road race earlier in the day, a perfect after-party for the young racers who would have certainly earned themselves a beer and a boogie.

Joining the elite women’s road race on Saturday will be the UK’s leading Foo Fighters tribute band followed by local solo female artist Litany before The Pigeon Detectives close out proceedings with some classic noughties guitar bangers.

The final live music will come from The Feeling, taking to the stage at 18:30 on Sunday 29th September, straight after the conclusion of the elite men’s road race. Pop along, who knows, you may see Peter Sagan giving it a two-step to ‘Never be Lonely’.

CEO of Yorkshire 2019, Andy Hindley, spoke of how the live music will help bring a festival atmosphere to proceedings.

‘We’re delighted to have booked these amazing musicians and they will definitely add to the carnival atmosphere inside the Fan Zone. Their performances will be worth waiting for once the racing has concluded and I’m sure they’ll appeal to cycling and non-cycling fans alike,’ said Hindley.

‘Our Fan Zone is for everyone and we’re proud to be offering this calibre of entertainment completely free of charge. We’re looking forward to seeing thousands of people enjoying over the nine days of action and sincerely hope this will be a Championships to remember.’

Dennis calls Tour de France mystery exit as ‘toughest period’ of his career


Joe Robinson

11 Sep 2019

Australian hoping to defend time trial World title in Yorkshire despite lack of racing

Rohan Dennis has spoken for the first time since his mysterious exit from the Tour de France this summer calling it the ‘toughest period’ of his career.

The Australian abandoned the Tour on Stage 12 to Bagneres-de-Bigorre mid-stage without a clear reason 80km into the stage.

The time trial World Champion then travelled back to the race finish in a team car before leaving the race that evening without confirming why he had abandoned.

Rumours immediately circulated that the time trial specialist left the race due to an ongoing dispute with his Bahrain-Merida team regarding the bike, wheels and kit he was set to use on Stage 13’s individual TT in Pau.

However, talking to Australian newspaper The Advertiser, Dennis spoke of how incorrect speculation around his abandonment saw him ‘slammed for being everything under the sun’ and that his decision to step off during the stage was not pre-meditated.

‘It wasn’t pre-planned, it wasn’t a stunt, I was talking to my manager before the start and we agreed on finishing the stage and deal with everything else after but I knew that by pulling out in the short term I’d have to deal with some shit, some backlash — I didn’t expect it to be this big because it’s a bike race — but long term it was the best thing for me to do,’ Dennis told The Advertiser.

‘The whole stage I was thinking about everything and it was a battle in my own head for a fair chunk of the day. And if someone is not in the right headspace in a team environment, if someone is not happy, maybe it’s also the best thing for the team, and I spoke to the guys at the hotel that night and there were no hard feelings.’

After speaking to his teammates, Dennis left the Tour with sports psychologist David Spindler, driving back to Andorra.

Once there, Dennis took four days off the bike, ‘to get my head around everything’ he said, before flying out to inspect the time trial course at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

Dennis did fall short of stating whether issues surrounding kit contributed to the incident but it was confirmed that the Australian national team will provide Dennis with an unmarked bike when he sets out to defend his World title in Yorkshire in two weeks’ time.

While the 29-year-old has yet to race since the Tour, he is confident that he will be able to defend his rainbow jersey in Yorkshire later this month.

He spoke of how he produced the ‘best numbers I’ve done ever’ in a recent test and that he is in the same physical shape as this time last year. Dennis will now head to Yorkshire for a recon of the technical Yorkshire course before competing on Thursday 26th September.

Whether Dennis will continue with Bahrain-Merida, however, is still unclear. The Australian has yet to race for the team since the Tour and had hoped to race the ongoing Vuelta a Espana as pre-Worlds prep but was not selected.

He is unsure as to whether he will turn out in team colours again in 2019 but did state that he has ‘only tried to improve the team’ and that, at this moment in time, will be racing there in 2020.

Vinokourov potentially looking at six-month prison sentence for Liege-Bastogne-Liege corruption case


Joe Robinson

10 Sep 2019

Prosecutors request prison sentence and large fine for role in Liege-Bastogne-Liege corruption case

Alexandre Vinokourov and Alexander Kolobonev are looking at being handed six-month prison sentences for corruption if both are found guilty of fixing the 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

The case is currently being heard at the Liege Criminal Court in Belgium and the prosecution has requested that both be handed a six-month jail sentence for passive and active corruption in which Vinokourov is alleged to have paid Kolobnev in order to win the one-day race.

The prosecutor’s office is also requesting that Vinokourov be handed a €100,000 fine and Kolobonev a €50,000 penalty.

It is alleged that Vinokourov, who was riding for Astana at the time, retrospectively paid Kolobonev €150,000 for letting him win the 2010 edition of Liege.

These claims first came to light in 2011 when Swiss newspaper L’Illustre claimed Vinokourov had offered Kolobnev €100,000 for the victory. Both strenuously denied the allegation.

During a separate investigation into doping doctor Michele Ferrari, an email was uncovered which appeared to confirm that the Kazakh had transferred the sum to his Russian counterpart.

Following this discovery, in 2015, investigators from the Belgian court recommended the case go to trial with the original date being set for May 2017. 

Vinokourov – who was recently crowned age-group Ironman 70.3 champion – defended the payment by claiming the fee had been transferred due to his investment into a property company owned by Kolobonev.

The defence claims the allegations are based on stolen and fabricated documents and have requested acquittal. The case has now reached its conclusion and the judge is expected to rule on 8th October.

No room for world number one Lorena Wiebes in Dutch Worlds squad


George Smith

10 Sep 2019

Even with the notable absence of Ellen van Dijk, the Dutch squad is still packed with talent

Ellen van Dijk has been ruled out of the upcoming UCI World Championships after a crash at the Boels Ladies Tour left her with a broken humerus and fractured pelvis – but even that wasn’t enough for the UCI women’s highest-ranked rider, Lorena Wiebes, to secure a spot in Yorkshire.

Van Dijk, the Trek-Segafredo rider, will be out for a sustained period of time in a big blow to Dutch hopes of glory. Her impressive list of victories spans across road and track, and she is currently ITT European Champion.

‘Not so lucky in my second crash of the week,’ she said on Twitter. ‘Will stay in hospital for a couple of days where they will do surgery later this week on my humerus. Six weeks no walking because of fractures in the pelvis (front and rear).’

The crash in which she sustained her injuries was the second of the race, as she references, having already done minor damage when she came off in the prologue of the Netherlands’ premier women’s stage race.

Though the Dutch national federation had not announced their squad at the time of her crash, it was widely recognised the important role that Van Dijk was going to play in both the road race and time trial.

However, in what has been a more dramatic shock, Wiebes has been omitted – meaning the ranked number one rider on the UCI’s women’s racing circuit will not be competing at the World Championships.

Making the decision even more puzzling is the form which Wiebes is currently in. Just last week the Parkhotel-Valkenburg rider took two stage wins and a podium place at the Boels Ladies Tour that Van Dijk was unable to finish.

The 20-year-old also took victory in cycling’s most lucrative one-day race, Prudential RideLondon Classique, having also become Dutch National Champion in July.

With that said, the Dutch team is still packed full of big names in a clear showcase of the nation’s cycling talent.

High-end cycling experience ‘The Service Course’ expands to UK


Joe Robinson

10 Sep 2019

Lavish bike rental, tour company and cafe run by former pro Christian Meier to extend from base in Girona. Photo: The Service Course

Leading cycling experience company ‘The Service Course’ is to expand across Europe including a new site in the UK. With a funding round led by former professional rider Simon Gerrans and current professionals Kasia Niewiadoma, Michael Woods and Edvald Boasson Hagen, ‘The Service Course’ facilities will be opened in Tuscany and Oslo alongside Wilmslow, Cheshire in the coming months.

Each site will offer a travel service, guided tours and indoor training facilities while also acting as a retailer for custom bike brands such as Argonaut and Bastion.

All three of the new sites will also feature a La Fabrica cafe, offering speciality coffee and food developed by Henrik Orre, former Team Sky chef and new executive of the brand’s cafe operations.

 

Run by retired professional rider Christian Meier and wife Amber, with its original base being Girona, Spain, ‘The Service Course’ has gained a reputation as an experience that allows amateurs to truly feel like pros. 

The high-end company offers everything from the daily rental of £12,000 superbikes and post-ride massages to fully supported guided tours and in-house roasted coffee in its La Fabrica cafe.

For example, at its current Girona store, ‘The Service Course’ offers the opportunity for regular punters to rent bikes from brands like Speedvagen and Argonaut from €85 a day while also offering wheel upgrades and power meter rental for your own bike while using the service.

The level of detail even extends to the option of renting a professional photographer to accompany you on your ride and the option of partaking in a lactate test and body composition report.

Talking about the expansion, Meier spoke on how ‘The Service Course’ will further its offering of the professional experience beyond Girona.

‘Our heritage in professional cycling inspires everything that goes on at TSC, so bringing on other professionals is a natural progression,’ says Meier.

‘Joining our organisation also allows them to begin thinking about life after cycling and gives our community of recreational cyclists an opportunity to get one step closer to the professional cycling world.

‘The pros who’ve joined us are as passionate about cycling as we are and that excitement extends beyond professional racing – Kasia, for example, is committed to getting more women on bikes.’