Rebecca Romero changes focus to Olympic time trial
ROMERO CHANGES FOCUS TO TIME TRIALLING
Rebecca Romero will change her focus from track cycling to the time trial on the road at the 2012 London Olympics.
Vocally upset over the loss of the individual pursuit in the Olympic shake-up meant Romero was on the lookout for a new individual event in which she could control the controllable.
"Switching to the time trial is still a controllable event, I won't be doing road racing," Romero told Cycling Weekly.
Though not an entirely different sport, it could be a third medal in as many disciplines for the Londoner who already has Olympic medals in rowing and the individual pursuit.
"I think the standard of time trialling will definitely go up with fewer individual events for endurance riders on the track.
"I've done well domestically, but having a target in something that I haven't excelled in internationally will be something that will push me on and it will be interesting to see what I can do."
Targets this year include the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and the World Championships in Melbourne.
See next week's Cycling Weekly for more on Rebecca Romero.
Above: Romero in time-trialling action on the road
NEXT STOP BELGIUM FOR GLOBETROTTER SPRAGG
It's little surprise that James Spragg is an unknown to many British fans. "I've only ridden four or five races in England in the last five years," Spragg, who is a Dave Rayner Fund rider, says.
"There's a few places I can call home." He is now well accustomed to being a continental traveller, ever since riding for French teams Tarbes Pyrenees Cyclisme and UC Castalsarrasin in 2006 and 2007.
Not that he's complaining either. From his base in Maastricht, Holland, the Devonian rode all over the world in 2009, after securing a ride with well-known UCI Continental outfit Trek-Marco Polo last winter. "I've seen the places, but did some really good races too: the Giro del Capo, the Tours of Thailand and Malaysia, even the Ras," he enthuses.
His best result came in Thailand, where he poached an opportunistic stage win. Spragg takes up the story: "I punctured at a bad time on the first day, which gave me a free hand. I'd been trying for a few days, and got in a big break of fifteen or so, which stayed away."
"Myself and another guy hit them with 2 kilometres to go, I countered his move and won it - by about an inch!"
True to globe-trotting form, Spragg is currently in Perth, where he's been working on his condition - and tan - by riding with the likes of Graeme Brown and the Meyer brothers in their chaingang Down Under.
He returns to Europe in early February to link up with his new squad, Qin Cycling Team, in Belgium. It will be the realisation of a dream and the beginning of a new challenge for the 22-year-old.
Run by former Classics star Eric Vanderaerden, the team will be on the start line of several prestigious Belgian races. "I got the provisional race programme yesterday, and we're doing races like Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Brabantse Pijl and Le Samyn," Spragg says.
And though he feels better suited to punchier climbs than the brutal kermesse circuits, Spragg has no qualms about mixing it with the Belgian speed merchants on their home turf: "Kermesses a bit crazy, but I really enjoy them." His aim for the future is simple - to be noticed by a bigger team and move up to Pro Continental or ProTour level.
200 CHARITY ENTRIES LEFT FOR ETAPE CALEDONIA
Thanks to its partnership with MacMillan Cancer Support, the Etape Caledonia is offering 200 hundred entries to the event with the pledge to raise at least £150 for the charity.
The event has already sold out on 5000 entries - 1000 more than last year - but is offering an extra 200 slots for those raising money for the charity.
The only closed-road sportive event in the country, the Etape Caledonia encompasses 80 miles of gruelling terrain, featuring almost 2000 metres of climbing.
There are also training days on February 6 and April 10 riding 40 miles of the course. To book a place, see www.skinnytyres.com/sportives/etape-caledonia-training-rides
See www.etapecaledonia.co.uk for more details.
CHARITY RIDE THROUGH LONDON...BY NIGHT
NIGHTRIDERT is a one-day charity cycle ride with a difference; it's not one day, it's one night.
On Saturday June 19, up to 300 cyclists will embark on a 100km moonlit ride through London.
Each participant will raise sponsorship funds for the charity of their choice. While the capital sleeps, it is hoped that over £25,000 will be raised for dozens of good causes.
Cyclists will set off at 23.00 and follow a circular itinerary past over fifty of London's most famous landmarks including: Tower Bridge, a deserted City of London, Canary Wharf, Hampstead Heath, London Zoo, Piccadilly Circus, British Museum, London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Albert Hall and Battersea Power Station. The ride starts and finishes at Crystal Palace.
The route is entirely on-road for ease of access and quality of lighting. It will be clearly sign-posted so participants can cycle at their own pace. Full support and back up will be provided by the organisers.
A registration fee of £25 is required to sign up and the minimum sponsorship target of £175 is required.
Alternatively, participants can pay £80 and raise as much sponsorship as possible for the charity of their choice. Places are limited.
ENTRIES OPEN FOR TOUR OF CYPRUS
Entries are now open for the Tour of Cyprus sportive, a unique four-day event taking in some of Cyprus' most scenic and picturesque spots and encompassing some of its finest cuisine.
The fully-supported ride will be divided into two groups for elite and more leisurely-paced riders, the ride heads into the Troodos Massif as well as a number of coastal roads.
The 2010 event runs from March 25-28.
For more details, please see www.tourofcyprus.com