Sky Group set to end partnership with British cycling, continuing with Team Sky
Sky Sports announced they have agreed to end their partnership with British Cycling at the end of 2016. The two joined forces in 2008 with the aim to transform Britain into a cycling nation while inspiring the next generation of cycling stars. Sky Group plans to help identify new partners by 2017. Meanwhile, their commitment to cycling continues through Team Sky, WIGGINS, and Sky Academy initiatives.
British Cycling has not revealed if or how it will replace Sky's sponsorship.
"The last 10 years have been brilliant for our sport," Ian Drake said, British Cycling’s chief executive. "The partnership with Sky since 2008 is an important part of that story. Sky gave British Cycling the platform from which to communicate the best of the sport and, through British Cycling, Sky has delivered lasting and positive change. Successes for British riders at London 2012 transformed the country's sporting expectations but winning medals was never an end in itself – we have harnessed those achievements to inspire unprecedented growth in participation.
"Sky gave British Cycling the platform from which to communicate the best of the sport, through British Cycling, Sky has delivered lasting and positive change," Drake added.
Sky Group Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch explained his pride in what Sky have managed to achieve with British Cycling in the seven years since joining forces.
We're immensely proud of our great partnership with the whole team at British Cycling. Together we have helped to transform the sport at all levels including over 1.7m more people cycling regularly and unprecedented medal success," Darroch said. "This is a lasting legacy and we will give everything to make the final 18 months of our relationship just as successful. Our long-term commitment to cycling continues and we will work with British Cycling to identify a new partner who can help bring even more success in the future."
Basso ready for domestique role in perhaps his last Tour de France
Ivan Basso secured a place in the Tinkoff-Saxo team thanks to leader Alberto Contador, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, with the Italian ready to ride as a domestique in what is likely to be his last ever Tour de France.
"It's going to be special helping a great rider like Alberto go for the Giro-Tour double, while putting myself on the line in new role," Basso told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I wasn't great at the Giro but I'll have a new role at the Tour. I'll be doing the hard work rather than finalising things for Alberto. We've got [Rafal] Majka, [Roman] Kreuziger for the climbs. We've got a balanced team. [Daniele] Bennati will be important, while Peter Sagan can do the work of five riders in the echelons."
Basso revealed that the Tinkoff-Saxo team will study the cobbled fourth stage to Cambrai today before heading to Utrecht. He refused to confirm this will be the last Tour de France of his career.
"When we get to Paris we'll draw a line under the race and decide what’s best for the future," he concluded.
During the peak of his career Basso fought with Lance Armstrong for victory at the Tour de France. He was forced to miss the 2006 race after his links to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes' blood doping programme emerged but he returned after a ban and resurrected his career, finishing seventh overall in 2011.
Jaguar F-PACE for Team Sky in Utrecht
Team Sky will have prototype Jaguar F-PACE crossover's as its team support car for the Tour de France grand depart in Utrecht. The 'performance crossover' is due for release later this year with final testing of the car but makes it debut in the 13.8km time trial this Saturday.
Jaguar tested the new vehicle on a training camp with Chris Froome in La Pierre-Saint-Martin in the lateset collaboration between the British team and car company in the last 12-months including the development and engonering of the Pinarello DOGMA F8 and DOGMA K8-S bikes.
“The F-PACE is awesome. It has all of the same high performance road dynamics and support package the team gets from its Jaguar's vehicles, only this time in a performance crossover. It's going to create a huge impression in Utrecht," Froome said.
The F-PACE Prototype features a telescopic clamp for the quick release of the Bolide time trial bikes from the cars roof while an increased boot space ensures adequate space for bidons, energy gels, wheels, clothing and spares for the riders.
Team Sky will revert to Jaguar F-Type vehicles after the opening time trial.
Fuglsang aiming for Tour de France stage win
Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang was a key domestique for Vincenzo Nibali at the 2014 Tour de France, helping his teammate to overall victory. Having finished seventh overall the year before, Fuglsang rode a selfless race in 2014 to arrive in Paris sitting 36th overall.
In 2015, 30-year-old will again be riding in support of Nibali but is looking to claim his first individual grand tour stage win. Fuglsang has won two team time trial stages at the Vuelta a España, wearing the leader’s jersey in 2011, but wants his first win since the 2012 Tour of Austria on his fifth Tour appearance.
"I’d like to try and win a stage. I came second on a stage in 2013,I came second in a stage in 2014 so I hope that 2015 will be the year for me to win a stage,” Fuglsang said. “I’d also like to do a good GC but the main goal for me and the team is to win the Tour again with Vincenzo."