CW Live: Quinn Simmons wins stage three of San Juan; Egan Bernal reflects year after crash; Cardiff velodrome set for demolition; UAE Tour routes announced; Cavendish family hope to make robbery ‘distant memory’

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Credit Agricole Italy

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The one-day Classics run by Italian organizers RCS are to have Crédit Agricole Italia as title sponsors until at least 2025, it was announced on Tuesday.

This means Milan-San Remo, Strade Bianche and Il Lombardia will now have the banking group in their name. It’s a return to the sport for the French banking group, which once upon a time sponsored a team which Thor Hushovd, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Boardman all rode for.

The chairman of RCS, Urbano Cairo, said: “Our classics are an important part of the history of world cycling. When an international banking group like Crédit Agricole joins them, it shows how relevant and growing they are in recent years.”

Greenwich Foot Tunnel

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Cycling through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel in east London has become a “major problem” according to a Conservative councilor in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

Peter Golds told a council meeting last week: “The Greenwich Foot Tunnel is a major issue and major problem. The issue here is the growth of illegal cycling in the foot tunnel which is increasingly dangerous.

“We constantly get issues of parents and children and families having to go through the foot tunnel and suddenly find people coming towards them, shooting through at speed on bicycles frequently blowing whistles and expect people to get out of the way.”

Cycling is not allowed in the tunnel, or the equivalent Woolwich Foot Tunnel, yet it is regularly done. However, there is no safe north-south cycle route in the area, with the nearest bridge being Tower Bridge, miles upstream.

The Green Party’s Councillor Nathalie Bienfait said that Golds had given “unhelpful airtime” to a negative idea of ​​cyclists, according to the News Shoppers (opens in new tab).

She said: “I feel this motion gives unhelpful airtime to the false narrative that cyclists are fundamentally irresponsible and lawless.

“There is no safe north-south route for cyclists or pedestrians east of Tower Bridge. The Greenwich and Woolwich foot tunnels are used daily by hundreds of commuters who are for the most respectable part of the safety of pedestrians. The protection of a quick and convenient route is something I would like to support.”

Mark Cavendish and Peta Todd: “Nothing can erase what our family went through”

Mark Cavendish

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Mark Cavendish and his wife, Peta Todd, have said that “no family should ever have to go through” what they experienced during the robbery of their home 18 months ago.

In a statement issued through the Essex Police following the conviction of Romario Henry, earlier this week, the pair said that it “terrified” their children

Henry was declared to have been amongst those that broke into the British road champion’s Essex house in November 2021, stealing two watches worth £400,000 and £300,000 respectively and threatening the cyclist at knifepoint.

“Reliving our family’s experience from that night in November 2021 has been an incredibly difficult experience. What happened that night is something that no family should ever have to go through,” the statement read.

“Although nothing can ever erase what our family went through, there is now some comfort that two men who broke into our family home and stole from us, assaulted Mark, and terrified our children are now convicted and will be facing what we hope will be an appropriate sentence for their actions and we hope moves some steps in preventing this horror happening to another innocent family.

“We have worked and continue to work incredibly hard as a family to move on from that night as best we can, to make it a distant memory. It has been immensely difficult, and in fact, there have been times when it has felt impossible, but we will not let this event and these men’s actions define our family.”

Henry is awaiting sentencing.

UAE Tour women’s race route announced

UAE Tours

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The inaugural women’s UAE Tour’s route was announced on Tuesday, with four stages taking place between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The race’s opening stage will be held in Dubai on 9 February, running from Port Rashid on a 109km course to the base of Palm Jumeirah, an archipelago of lavished hotels and stores. Finishing on a wide avenue, the day favors the sprinters, with the first red leader’s jersey up for grabs.

Stage two is also one for the speedsters and brings the race’s longest parcours, at 133km. The peloton will traverse the desert, riding from Al Dhafra Castle to the coastal city of Al Mirfa. There, a flat, open finish will await. Day three will bear the race’s first and only summit finish – the mountain of Jebel Hafeet. Pitched at an average 6.6% over 11km, the climb winds up through the Martian landscape, peaking out at 11%. To get there, the peloton will ride 107km from the Hazza bin Zayed stadium, home of top-tier football team Al Ain FC.

The race will conclude in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, on 12 February. The final stage will play out over 119km from the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy to the Abu Dhabi Breakwater, taking in the sights of the city. It’ll be another day for the sprinters, before the overall race winner is crowned.

Cardiff’s Maindy Park Velodrome set for closure

Geraint Thomas

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The Maindy Park Velodrome in Cardiff, once used by Geraint Thomas and Elinor Barker, is set for closure.

The track will be built on, as a result of the expansion of Cathays High School, due to a land swap between Maindy Park and Caedelyn Park, Rhiwbina.

The decision was made by the Maindy Park Trust Advisory Committee, but it needs to be approved by the Charity Commission. If the move goes ahead, the velodrome will be relocated to the International Sports Village in Cardiff Bay.

Thomas joined calls for the Maindy velodrome to be saved, backing a petition against the move.

“Cardiff already has less open space per capita than many other major UK cities and therefore cannot afford to lose any more,” Ian Vincent, on behalf of Cardiff Civic Society, told the BBC (opens in new tab).

“Caedelyn Park, the proposed substitute, is already a public recreation area and the proposed land swap offers no gains whatsoever for residents.”

Egan Bernal says he is ‘very lucky’ to be racing again, year on from training crash

Egan Bernal

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Egan Bernal has said that the anniversary of his horrific training crash feels like a “second birthday”.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider hit a bus while riding his time trial bike in Colombia last year, which left him requiring seven separate surgeries to treat the 20 broken bones and two collapsed lungs he suffered in the accident.

Speaking to Lean (opens in new tab) at the Vuelta a San Juan, which he is currently riding, Bernal said: “I admit that this is a day to reflect on what happened a little longer, to reflect and also celebrate in a sense. I’ve been very lucky, I realize that.

“Little by little I’m getting back to my old self. Physically I actually feel little or no difference. It’s mainly mental.”

“I still notice a bit of a lack of confidence. I train well and feel good, but what does that say about your feeling in the race? In the beginning I will probably also have some other tasks in the race and I will give the team more should help.”

“This internship [stage three, on which he finished 13th] itself isn’t one for me, but the day is one of reflection, you could put it that way,” Bernal explained to cycling news (opens in new tab). “I’m happy to be here in this position a year after the crash, and I’m enjoying this race, it’s important for me.”

Quinn Simmons powers to stage three wins at the Vuelta a San Juan

Quinn Simmons

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Trek-Segafredo’s Quinn Simmons surprised the peloton to win stage three of the Vuelta a San Juan, on what was supposed to be yet another day for the sprinters.

The American took his third professional win on the motor-racing track at Villicum, flying off the front of the bunch with 500m to go. It had all been set up for a predictable sprint finish before Simmons attacked with 500m to go, and just about kept his nose in front of the charging peloton.

Behind, Max Richeze (Argentina) clung on to take second place after the rampaging American, and then it was the expected sprint, which was claimed by Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), who took third.

The Vuelta a San Juan is Richeze’s last race as a professional, so he was more than a little disappointed at his inability to catch Simmons.

Bennett outsprinted Fernando Gaviria (Movistar), Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel-Premier Tech) and Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) to ensure that he continues in the race leader’s jersey for another day.

Tuesday’s stage two winner Fabio Jakobsen (Soudal Quick-Step) was a disappointing 34th.

“The first thing today when I woke up, my coach sent me a video from when this race was won the same way, and I told my roommate Mathias [Vacek]’if you bring me there to this point, I’ll win today,” Simmons told cycling news at the finish (opens in new tab).

“And then you saw the guys all the way from 30k to go, we were full always in position. To win like that is something special because for a rider like myself, there’s not a ton of opportunities because I don’t win in a sprint, I won’t win in the big mountains. You have to win on the hard days or you make your own attacks in the final like that.

“I made one promise to the team this year and that was to win more races, because last year I didn’t win any. Now I’ve gone 100 per cent better.”

Friday’s stage four will be the first to feature significant climbing, which could shake the race up.

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