Minister Announces ₤15 mln Boost For Station Cycling Facilities; Unveils New Hub Before Tour de France

Minister of transport Baroness Kramer on Friday announced an additional investment of ₤15 mln as she inaugurated a flagship ₤850,000 cycling hub, which that offers space for around 400 bikes at the railway station in Sheffield.

Kramer said the fund would be utilised for improving facilities for cycling at railway stations across the country to reduce pollution and lower congestion. Companies that wish to bid for the cash can do it through Cycle Rail Working Group. Launched on the eve of Tour de France in Yorkshire, the hub also includes changing rooms for females, showering facilities and a cycle shop.

During the occasion, Kramer said if bike and rail could be used together, it would not only help minimize carbon and overcrowding, but also deliver economic and environmental advantages. She added that the cycle hub at Sheffield was an example of the principle accomplished and said she hoped it provided an example to be followed by others. Kramer went on to say that the government was renovating facilities for cycling at stations across the country for the ease of commuters to choose cycles for the travel to stations.

Welcoming the news, Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield said with cyclists’ count increasing in the area, the hub would be put well into use and added that this was a wonderful way to begin a fun filled weekend of cycling.

Bomfield said he was delighted to the opening of the new hub, almost after five years of announcing the first funding by the previous government. He congratulated the Network Rail, Midlands Trains and others who have built the hub and helped improve facilities for bikers at Sheffield station. Commenting on the occasion, Councillor Ian Auckland said the hub would help travelers commute from door to door in a lot more healthier and greener way.

Ill-health forces Cavendish out from Brit National Road Championships

Much to the dismay of Cavendish’s fans, the British cycling star has withdrawn from the 2014 Brit National Road Championships. It is his recent bronchitis bouts that prevent from riding at the esteemed Wales race.

The Omega Pharma man was undoubtedly a top favorite in the ongoing Brit National Road Championships and the Monmouthshire course was just perfect for the elite sprinter. But his team recently declared about his non-participation in the champion owing to sickness issues. Cavendish is presently recovering in Italy  and preparing for the soon to commence Tour France championship.

“I am really sad. As the defending champion this year I was eager to defend the honored title”, remarked the 2013 Brit National Road Championships hero. “I was looking forward to honor this prestigious race & this very jersey which I donned throughout this year as it enabled me to proudly represent my nation.”

“However, I think it would be wiser not to take any kind of risk now & focus on 100 percent absolute recovery so that I can carry on with my training for Tour France”, Mark continued. “I had discussions with my race organizers & they understood the situation completely. I wish all the best for them & also great luck to every participating rider who would be striving hard to achieve this coveted jersey- that I have been immensely proud to don.”

Mark’s withdrawal has opened up opportunities for local cyclist Geraint Thomas, letting him chance to make positive impact on the home roads & reclaim back the title that he achieved in 2010. Thursday’s time-trial & Sunday’s race offer a very rare scope for this Cardiff-born sprinter to race at home soil once again after he shifted to Monaco.

“I am really eager to race around on my home soil once again”, Thomas stressed.

Voeckler To Participate In Tour Down Under

Tour Down Under 2014 will see a French stalwart this season as Thomas Voeckler has decided to participate in this tournament for the first time. The French who is renowned for his famous achievements got the license to participate in this tournament from UCI Pro Team and he immediately grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

It has been quite some time that the cycling fans got a glimpse of this man. 2011 was the best season so far for Thomas when he came in the fourth position in Tour de France, the most prestigious championship in cycling. The Tour Down Under will be like a small comeback for him as he was on and off the tracks in the last 2 3 years. His team GreenEdge has high hopes from him considering his previous achievements. Since this will be his first race in a long time he has been preparing for it for quite some time. When asked about how he feels about participating in Tour Down Under for the first time he said that he is really excited and is confident to perform well. He also added that this time the Australians would be doing well and have the ability to dominate the race.

There have been some changes recently in the team with Matt White being reappointed as the team director again after 8 long months. The team director has enough faith on his team and hopes that they would perform very well this season. He was also excited about the return of  Simon Gerrans. Gerrans has the ability to create a positive atmosphere whenever he is around. So the director is confident that he will have the same impact on the team and the team will benefit from his return. The team will also have some other popular names such as Richie Porte, Cadel Evans, Andre Griepel and Marcel Kittel.

Evans All Set To Start Racing This Sunday

Cadel Evans will be seen cycling his way out and trying to win the Australian road championship which will start this Sunday. This is will Cadel’s first appearance after a gap of 9 years and he hopes that even at the age of 36 he will be able to win the championship. the race will start from Buninyong which is located near Ballarat in Victoria.

There were speculations that the 36 year old will make a comeback in this race and the rumors were proved to be true when the confirmation came from the man himself on Wednesday. Jason Bakker, his manager also confirmed that he will be participating in the 183.6 kilometre men’s elite road race this year. The decision was quite a late one but the manager said that he was busy training for this and when the day comes he will definitely not let the fans down and will come out victorious.

The manager also said to the reporters that Cadel is all prepared and ready for the race. His spirits are sky high at this point and he had had some great training in the last few days that has helped him to prepare for the upcoming race. Cadel is looking forward to this race and he hopes that it will be a good way to start the season of 2014.

Cadel who has previously won the Tour de France in 2011 said that he would not be competing for this championship this year. Instead the Australian is strongly focused on the Giro d Italia that will start from the 9th of May and will end on the 1st of June. Cadel will be looking to win that championship since he has already declared that he won’t participate in the Tour de France.

Contador Hopeful About Tour France 2014 Route

Alberto Contador might have missed the 2013 Tour France race this year but he is hopeful about his chances in the 2014 edition of the prestigious race. The Saxo-Tinkoff rider is especially positive after the declaration of a suitable parcours for the France Tour.

As per the Tour organizers’ declaration, the 2014 France Tour will start off with a flat terrain in the 1st week and would feature 9 cobbled sections for stage 5, including summit finishes & a lengthy 54 km time trial starting from Bergerac till Perigueux at the penultimate stage. Contador is undoubtedly one among the finest riders uphill & also displays a fabulous performance against the time while he is in form. Thus, it’s not surprising that the Saxo-Tinkoff cyclist would be happy with the upcoming Tour France route.

“It’s well balanced”, stated Contador, weighing up varied attributes of Tour France 101. “It would be highly significant to witness how each of the rider emerges post 1st 9 flat stages, specifically the 5th, given the cobblestones.” The 5th stage of 2014 Tour France route comprises of 9 cobblestone sections, stretches of harsh terrains that would test the nerve and skill of every rider in peloton & could derail ambitions of any GC favorites instantly. The risk is more is the weather gets all wet as a wet path is always treacherous for the riders.

In spite of the risky terrain, Contador is not losing his cool. “Albeit there is the risk of mechanical problems and fails yet it’s going to be a fantastic stage for spectators- though very uneasy for riders. I am hoping to ride through it pretty well. 2010 had me losing out on few seconds given some mechanical issues but the main key this time is to stay focused”, Alberto sounded quite confident.