Fleeman’s CiCLE Classic ambitions

Raleigh’s Dan Fleeman says he’s ready for next Sunday’s CiCLE Classic if the call to race comes.




Fleeman finished seventh in 2010, having never previously ridden the race, but was initially scheduled to ride this year’s Tour of Mexico instead.



Owing to the cancellation of the North American event, the double national hill-climb champion wants another shot at Britain’s iconic one-day classic.




“I wasn’t really looking forward to it last year, as I didn’t think it would suit me. However, I really enjoyed it and I’m hopeful to be on the start line next weekend,” Fleeman told CW.



The Raleigh rider admitted that last year’s race was a real learning curve for him, owing to the unique route the race takes in.




“The gravel sectors were not like I was expecting, and they broke up the rhythm far more than I thought they would.




”I was always too far back going onto the off-road sections, which wasn’t ideal. At least I know that I need to be in the first four or five at the start of those parts, and not near the back of the front group.




”I also used up a lot of energy having to chase through the feed-zone having punctured immediately before it,” Fleeman continued.



A common mistake also ended his hopes of taking the victory, something that he will not do again if he rides the race next Sunday.



“I came round the final corner far too slowly. I completely eased off as it looked really tight.


It’s actually a lot wider than I anticipated, and I know not to do the same if I’m in contention to win this year’s race.”



Dan Fleeman, Lincoln Grand Prix 2010

Fleeman corners at last year’s Lincoln GP



Herety: Domestic teams must earn Tour of Britain places

Rapha-Condor-Sharp team manager John Herety heralded meritocracy as the most important of deciding Tour of Britain places for domestic teams.



“You have to justify your place in the Tour of Britain; I don’t think it should be a given right, you have to earn it,” he told Cycling Weekly.



“You do that by having a team that is at a certain level that competes on the UCI calendar. You can’t just compete domestically in the UK and expect to ride – I’d love it if the British scene was at that level, but in reality, it’s not.”





Several domestic teams will be sweating over their spot in this year’s Tour of Britain. The
race’s proximity to the world championships in Copenhagen will ensure
popularity, alongside the new UCI ruling that means the top three Pro
Continental teams must be invited.




Tour of Britain organiser Mick Bennett hinted that there would be fewer places for British teams in January.



“Last year we had six Continental teams competing, five of which were British, and while we would obviously want those teams to return again in 2011, we must also now take into account that the leading three Continental teams from the UCI Europe Tour have to be invited, plus the additional interest from some of the world’s biggest teams, such as Leopard Trek,” he said.
 




Rapha’s undeniable quality – the squad won five of the eight Premier Calendar races last year – arguably makes them frontrunners for a Tour of Britain place, but it also brings about its own dilemma on the domestic front. 





“It’s debatable whether a team with a standard like ours is actually putting people off Premier Calendars. I’d like to think not, I’d like to think it makes people aspire to either put a team together on the same level, riders to ride to get into our team or race to beat us.”





”I can see both sides of it. In my day, as a rider, if a top team turned up, I’d have seen it as motivating,” the 1982 national champion added.



Rapha-Condor-Sharp is currently racing at the Cinturon Tour in Majorca. It will field a team in both the Tour of Korea (April 15-24) and Rutland CiCLE Classic (April 17), before heading off to the Tour DoonHame (April 23-25).



Andrew Griffiths wins Tour of Malta prologue


Briton Andrew Griffiths (Twenty3c-Orbea) won the prologue time trial in the Tour of Malta on Thursday.



He won the 25-kilometre test in 34-05, finishing 1-23 ahead of compatriot Matthew Higgins (Virgin Active), and held his overall lead in the race’s first stage today, finishing third.



Griffiths is riding for a composite team called Team Greens. The U23 British time trial champion is in a strong position to win the four-stage race, as there is another time trial to come.





”He should hopefully be able to hold onto the lead,” his Twenty3c-Orbea team manager, James Whatling, said. “He’s in good form at the moment and it was only a matter of time before he got a result.”
 




Griffiths, though English born, is of Maltese descent, and The Times of Malta reported that the nation’s cycling federation are hoping that he will represent them in the Games of the Small States of Europe, to be held in Liechtenstein from May 30-June 4. 




Brian Phillips memorial service

Following the recent death of
Brian Phillips while on a racing trip in Italy, Brian’s wife, Claire,
and family would like to invite Brian’s cycling friends to a memorial
service on Tuesday 12 April.



The memorial will be an informal celebration of Brian’s life
starting immediately after the crematorium service which will be for
family and close friends only.



It will be held at The Apex centre in Bury St Edmunds from 12 noon to 3.00pm. www.theapex.co.uk



London Nocturne and IG Markets join forces

The London Nocturne
has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with IG Markets that will see
the financial betting company become the race’s main partner.



For the first time, a highlights package will also be shown on Sky Sports, who inked a one-year deal.



Held
at Smithfield Market, the popular men’s and women’s criterium races will take
place on June 11, and will feature several supporting events for the
public alongside the main event.



The IG Markets Team Challenge
will give businesses the chance to compete against each other, while
there will also be both a folding bike and penny farthing race.



Chief
Executive of IG Group Tim Howkins said: “Cycling is currently going
through a renaissance and we believe it has a specific appeal to our
target audiences.”



The deal strengthens IG Markets’ commitment to cycling, as they recently became a partner of Team Sky.




Tanner’s Moroccan adventure

The UCI-rated Tour of Morocco was a baptism of fire for Jake Tanner in particular. 





The son of five-time Premier Calendar winner John, the 19 year old was racing not only his first race of the season but his first ever senior level stage race.

 “I was crapping myself beforehand,” he admitted.





He went to the African race as part of a young North East composite team, which also consisted of Michael Dales, Joshua Cole, Joe Skipper, Dominic Schils and Daniel Smith.




Over the course of the ten-day race, the teenager emerged as the best of the team, taking twelfth as part of a breakaway on stage six and ultimately finishing 44th overall. 





“I got through it all right,” Tanner said. “The toughest day was over a 40-kilometre climb in the Atlas mountains: I were all right in the front group till a kilometre to go, then everyone went crazy, attacking.”



“As for the roads; some days were good, others… in the Atlas mountains, we had to cross a stream and navigate loads of potholes; it were basically off-road, awful,” he added.





The heat was also a factor. “It was 30 degrees every day, but luckily the race was sponsored by a water company so we never had to pay for it.”



“I should have had the red jersey competition; you had to be top forty every stage, and I was, but they only gave it to me once. 

There were thirty Moroccans on one team too; I’d go on the attack and they’d chase me down.”



Despite finishing at the bottom of the team standings, the North East team acquitted themselves well, as Joe Skipper also enjoyed two top-twenty finishes.



Mouhssine Lahsaini became the first ever home winner in the event’s history, beating former RadioShack rider Daryl Impey by a second.


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