Mareczko: Late-season success important step ahead of Giro debut
Jakub Mareczko (Southeast) has enjoyed a brilliant end to his debut season as a professional with eight victories in 18 days of competition. The Italian sprinter laid claim to seven stage wins and the overall classification at the Tour of Taihu Lake plus another stage of the Tour of Hainan, performances that have given him huge confidence with a Grand Tour debut on the horizon.
"Coming here I had no idea I would win so much,” Mareczko told Cyclismactu. “From the start, I announced that the general was my goal, but I have led the way stage by stage. Between Tour of Hainan and the Tour of Taihu, I had eighteen days of racing, almost without interruption. I had never done this before.
“This is an important step in my career for my debut at the Giro d’Italia. I know now that I can go the distance, but I also know I will face other opponents and different routes. I would love to come back to Asia for the Tour de Langkawi which could well be my first goal in 2016. In any case, I enjoyed my first experience in China."
Thomas named Welsh cyclist of the year
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) was awarded the honour of Welsh cyclist of the year at this weekend’s USN Welsh Cycling Awards. Thomas had a largely successful season with victories at E3 Harelbeke and the Volta ao Algarve, and strong performance at the Tour de France.
After his strong season, Thomas’ teammate and leader Chris Froome said that the Welshman deserved a more protected role at next year’s Tour de France.
During the ceremony, Ciara Horne, Amy Roberts and Elinor Barker were all awarded outstanding performance of the year.
Caja Rural meet for training camp
Spanish Pro Continental outfit Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and their new recruits met for the first time ahead of the 2016 season. The team, who have been in existence since 1988 in various guises, came together in Tuedela, Navarra, Spain for two days of meetings to plan the up and coming season.
"These meetings were very important for the team," said sport director Eugenio Goikoetxea. "It was a nice opportunity to greet the new riders and introduce them into our family. We also had meetings with our sponsors to go in the same direction and develop the team and reach our goals. The 2015 season was an excellent one, so exceeding our win total in 2016 will be very difficult. Our principal goal is to ensure participation in the Vuelta a España. Getting there starts by working together day-by-day."
Caja Rural enjoyed a good 2015 season with the Vuelta a Espana’s mountains classification at the hands of Omar Fraile, two stage wins at the Tour of Turkey plus a run of good results in North America with Carlos Barbero and others. The team will lose Amets Txurruka and Fraile next season but will retain the core of their successful outfit. The 21-year-old Hugh Carthy will take on his second season at the team.
“It is a great opportunity to bond with the new riders on the team and meet our sponsors and test new products during the winter before the season begins," said Carthy. “This year the meetings were successful and enjoyed by everyone and we all hope to have a successful 2016 season."
Archibald aiming for Olympic Gold
Scottish track rider Katie Archibald has set her sights on her first Olympic medal in the team pursuit. Archibald is a former World Champion and reigning European champion in the event and she’s know putting all her efforts into making the next step.
"I feel good about training and how I've been performing at races so I hope it's going to pay off," Archibald told the BBC. “Everything I ever do will be to try to win that team pursuit medal.”
Archibald was part of the British women’s squad who took bronze on the team pursuit in Cali, Colombia last month after having to compete in the final with only three riders. The 21-year-old is one of five riders that are fighting for a place in the team pursuit squad. Britain’s team pursuit women have been hugely successful over the past four years, winning the first Olympic event at London 2012. Since then, the number of riders taking part has gone up from three to four but the competition is no less fierce.
"There are five of us and there are usually four spots, which seems like a recipe for disaster, but I think it just pushes you on,” said Archibald. "The ultimate target is against every other nation in the world, not against each other, so we're kind of held together by that.
"I'm more motivated by being in a team environment. This team has pushed me on to another level because there is that extra expectation. There are people to chase and people chasing you. It builds this really good ethos to get the best out of people."
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