Jason Burke

Terror Attacks, Air Crashes Weaken Appetite for European Travel

A spate of terror attacks and airliner disasters across Europe and its periphery is starting to catch up with the region s travel industry. Tourism officials and airline executives typically brace for a sudden drop in flight and hotel bookings after a terror-related incident or headline-grabbing aircraft accident. Those bookings typically rebound quickly, though, often in just a matter of weeks.

This time, however, things were…

National 12-hour champion Robin Townsend handed four-year ban for doping offence

Robin Townsend tested positive for modafinil after the Burton and District Cycling Alliance 100-mile event on September 5, 2015

National 12-hour Champion Robin Townsend Handed Four-year Ban For Doping Offence

National 12-hour time trial champion1 Robin Townsend has been handed a four-year ban by UK Anti-Doping after testing positive for a banned stimulant in a September race.

The 46-year-old, riding for Team Swift, tested positive for modafinil at an in-competition test on September 5, having finished ninth at the Burton and District Cycling Alliance 100-mile event. Townsend accepted UKAD s findings but claimed he had not intentionally ingested the stimulant, saying his drink was spiked before the event. The ban runs from October 8, 2015 to midnight on October 7, 2019.

Graham Arthur, UKAD s Director of Legal said2: Under the World Anti-Doping Code all athletes, whether amateur or professional, must follow the principal of Strict Liability .

They are solely responsible for any banned substance which is found in their system, whether or not there is an intention to cheat.

This can be challenging for an athlete they need to be aware of the danger to their career at all times.


  1. ^ National 12-hour time trial champion (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ Graham Arthur, UKAD s Director of Legal said (www.ukad.org.uk)

Merckx: Froome will win the Tour again as he has no real rivals

Five-time Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx doesn’t believe Chris Froome has any real challengers for the 2016 yellow jersey

Merckx: Froome Will Win The Tour Again As He Has No Real Rivals

Chris Froome with Eddy Merckx at the 2013 Tour de France

Cycling great Eddy Merckx1 is backing Chris Froome2 to win his third Tour de France in four years next July, claiming the Team Sky rider has no real rivals for the crown. Froome blew the peloton away on stage 103 of the 2015 Tour, beating eventual runner-up Nairo Quintana4 by a decisive 64 seconds and defending his lead all the way to Paris. But Merckx says the Colombian s weaknesses in the time trials will be his downfall in 2016, while Froome other main rival, Alberto Contador5, will be too old to present a real challenge.

Of course he s going to win it again, five-time Tour winner Merckx said in an interview with L Equipe6. If it s not him, then who else?

He added: It won t be Quintana who will worry him, because he s too limited in time trials. Quintana climbs well, but he s a bit weighed down, too cautious. Waiting for the penultimate day and Alpe d Huez in the 2015 Tour to attack Froome revealed a lack of calibre.

As for the others: Nibali won t be there, Contador will be another year older, Aru I don t really know No, on paper, Froome hasn t really got any rivals.

With two individual time trials7, including a mountain test in the third week, Froome s dominance against the clock is likely to be a leading factor in him retaining his title.

Nibali, who came fourth in 2015, will not likely not have the chance to win his second Tour as he is targeting the Giro d Italia, leaving Fabio Aru to lead Astana8 in his debut Tour.

Alejandro Valverde9, third in 2015, will also not challenge Froome, with the Spaniard also racing the Giro and using the Tour to gain form for the Olympic Games. His acceptance of playing the domestique role could play into Quintana s hands, though, with Valverde providing a strong motor in the mountains. Contador, meanwhile, won t be coming into the Tour off the back of winning the Giro10 in 2016, but Merckx doesn t believe the 33-year-old will have the legs to hold off Froome s assault at another title.


  1. ^ Cycling great Eddy Merckx (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ Chris Froome (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  3. ^ blew the peloton away on stage 10 (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ Nairo Quintana (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ Alberto Contador (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ Merckx said in an interview with L Equipe (www.lequipe.fr)
  7. ^ With two individual time trials (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  8. ^ leaving Fabio Aru to lead Astana (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  9. ^ Alejandro Valverde (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  10. ^ off the back of winning the Giro (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)