Robert Hayes

Five talking points from stage one of the 2016 Vuelta a España

A great day for Sky, Contador on the back foot and a Brit in red

Team Sky means business

Five Talking Points From Stage One Of The 2016 Vuelta A España

The Vuelta a Espa a1 has not been a race that Team Sky2 have excelled at the same way they have dominated the Tour de France;3 they ve yet to win the race in six attempts, with Chris Froome coming closest with second overall in 2011 and 2014. But this time around they re off the a flyer, managing to win the stage4 with a time that was just fractions of a second quicker than Movistar, despite a disorganised run-in to the line that saw a gap open up between the third and fourth rider in-line after the final bend. The Vuelta has started with a team time trial in each of the most recent editions, and this is the first time Sky has managed to win.

That s a huge improvement from their last two rides in 2014 and 2015, where they only managed 11th and 20th respectively (although in the case of the latter, Sky were taking it easy after times had been neutralised). The improvement suggests that significant preparation has gone into this year s Vuelta, and that the team is united and focussed with the goal of landing Froome s his second successive Grand Tour overall victory.5

Peter Kennaugh in red

Five Talking Points From Stage One Of The 2016 Vuelta A España

It s always an honour to lead your team in over the line in a team time trial, and today Sky handed that honour to Peter Kennaugh. With Sky winning the stage, Kennaugh becomes the first overall leader of the 2016 Vuelta, a fitting reward for a rider who performed selflessly in his duties as a domestique.

Having missed out on selection for the Tour de France, and then sacrificing his position on the Olympics team6 to allow room Steve Cummings to join, the result is a welcome return to the limelight for the 27-year old Briton. Earlier in the season he held the overall lead at the Herald Sun Tour7 in February, before teammate Froome took over on the final stage could this Vuelta follow a similar trajectory?

Contador loses time

Five Talking Points From Stage One Of The 2016 Vuelta A España

Alberto Contador press conference Dauphine 2016

However good a rider s shape is going into a Grand Tour, they can t account for how the rest of their team will perform in a team time trial.

Alberto Contador8 went into the race as the bookies favourite for overall victory, but he s already lost time to most of his major rivals after a lacklustre effort from Tinkoff that saw the team finish down in ninth.

>>> Five things to look out for at the Vuelta a Espa a9

That puts him 52 seconds down on Sky s Chris Froome and Movistar s Nairo Quintana, 46 seconds down on Orica-BikeExchange s Esteban Chaves and 25 seconds down on LottoNL-Jumbo s Steven Kruijswijk deficits that could prove fatal. The underwhelming ride could also be a sign that the Tinkoff team lack the kind of first-rate support Contador will need to sustain a challenge for the overall.

Mechanical disrupts Astana ride

Five Talking Points From Stage One Of The 2016 Vuelta A España

Miguel Angel Lopez on stage 8 of the 2016 Tour de Suisse

Team time trials are usually a discipline that Astana excel in (they won the opening stage of the 2013 Vuelta, for instance), but today they only managed to finish 11th on the overall standings. Most of their time was lost when Miguel Angel Lopez dropped a chain, forcing the rest of his teammates to stop and wait for the situation to be resolved. If the mechanical had occurred to another rider instead the team would no doubt have continued riding, but young Colombian Lopez appears to be a protected rider for this race.

The fact the whole team was willing to stop confirms their faith in his ability to register a high place on GC.

Specialists miss out on victory

Five Talking Points From Stage One Of The 2016 Vuelta A España

Over the years, two teams have emerged as specialists of the team time trial discipline BMC and Orica-BikeExchange. The former has been victorious in both the last two world titles and also won the opening stage last year, while the latter are twice silver medalists at the Worlds and have won a couple of stages stages at the Giro

>>> WorldTour teams set to skip Team Time Trial World Championships in protest10

Both teams may have been lacking some of their biggest engines, at the expense of riders more likely to do well in the climbs and on GC, but were nevertheless still clearly targeting stage victory. Ultimately neither could quite keep up with Sky and Movistar s pace, and had to settle for fourth and third respectively.


  1. ^ Vuelta a Espa a (
  2. ^ Team Sky (
  3. ^ Tour de France; (
  4. ^ managing to win the stage (
  5. ^ his second successive Grand Tour overall victory. (
  6. ^ then sacrificing his position on the Olympics team (
  7. ^ held the overall lead at the Herald Sun Tour (
  8. ^ Alberto Contador (
  9. ^ >>> Five things to look out for at the Vuelta a Espa a (
  10. ^ >>> WorldTour teams set to skip Team Time Trial World Championships in protest (

Team Sky leader Mikel Landa says a Giro d’Italia win ‘is for Great Britain’

Spaniard Mikel Landa says that if he wins the Giro d’Italia for Team Sky, it will be a victory for Great Britain

Team Sky Leader Mikel Landa Says A Giro D’Italia Win ‘is For Great Britain’

Mikel Landa

Spain s Mikel Landa will line up for the 2016 Giro d Italia1 on Friday as one of the favourites after placing third and winning two mountain stages in 2015. However, he has not forgotten who he is racing for over the next three weeks. He says a win in the race would be one for Team Sky2, which is lining up without any British riders3 in its nine-man team, and for Great Britain. Landa looked stronger at times last year than his team Astana leader Fabio Aru4. The team had to pull him in to keep Aru in the fight with Alberto Contador5, but it did let him free to win stages to Madonna di Campiglio and Aprica. He also placed third overall behind winner Contador and Aru.

Sky, so impressed, signed him to be its leader and hope to win the Italian grand tour finally after winning the Tour de France over the border three times already. The race starts in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn on Friday6, where the British super-team relies not on one British rider, but on 26-year-old Landa to carry its flag.

>>> Giro d Italia 2016: Latest news, reports and info7

It s not the same without a British team-mate because we are riding in a British team, but it s the way it is, Landa told Cycling Weekly.

A win here is for Great Britain, for Sky. The team is British, it s not only the riders, it s the staff and the helpers. It s a national project, not just one rider. Landa looks to Ian Boswell, Philip Deignan, Christian Knees, Sebastian Henao, David L pez, Nicolas Roche and Elia Viviani for support. At the last minute, Sky called in Mikel Nieve to support him in the mountains after it pulled Sergio Henao over biological passport issues8.

Team Sky Leader Mikel Landa Says A Giro D’Italia Win ‘is For Great Britain’

Giro d Italia rivals Mikel Landa and Vincenzo Nibali during the 2016 Giro del Trentino

General Manager David Brailsford9 aimed over the winter to make a serious effort for the Giro d Italia this May. After winning the Tour three times, first with Bradley Wiggins and then twice with Chris Froome, he explained that he wants to send a true A-team to take the Italian title. With the Irish to Spanish mix, the team would be doing so strictly on foreign power.

We won our first monument, Li ge-Bastogne-Li ge last month10, it s time to win the first Giro d Italia, said Italian Sports Director Dario Cioni, who was born to an Italian father and British mother in England. It would be a British win, many of the staff are British. The team is British, that s the first thing.

>>> Team Sky confirms 2016 Giro d Italia squad: Mikel Landa to lead11

The goal was to win the Tour with a British rider in the first five years, but we didn t ever set off with the goal of just having a 100 per cent British team. There was always a foreign element in the team with Colombians, Australians, Italians, Spaniards The structure is British, but the team is not completely British. We are just trying to take the best team possible to the races, sometimes that means with a Brit, but sometimes there isn t one.

Team Sky Leader Mikel Landa Says A Giro D’Italia Win ‘is For Great Britain’

Mikel Landa after winning stage two of the 2016 Giro del Trentino

We have Brits in the team, but their calendar is more concentrated on the Tour de France. So with that and the Tour of California12 this month, we didn t have the possibility to have one here. We were thinking about bringing Pete Kennaugh along at the start of the season, but he decided early on to concentrate on the shorter stage races and the Tour of California became a better opportunity for him.

>>> No British riders at the Giro d Italia for the second year running13

Not just Sky, but the other teams left their Brits to concentrate on other things. Alex Dowsett was due to support Alejandro Valverde in Spanish team Movistar, but he needed time to recover after having a plate removed from his collarbone at the last minute14. Mark Cavendish is focused on the Tour de France with team Dimension Data and making the British track team for the Olympic Games he will race in the Tour of California.

It is the second year in a row there are no British riders in the Giro s 198-man line up. The 2015 edition was the first in 16 years, since 1999, that a Brit did not participate. Landa should make the British WorldTour team proud.

He just raced and won the Giro del Trentino15 against his number one Giro adversary Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

>>> Mikel Landa wary of time loss in Giro d Italia opening time trial16

I had a chance to get the know the riders around me since signing for Sky, to know the riders who would come with me to the Giro d Italia, but not much more than that has change to be honest, Landa said in the press conference later.

The rest has just been the same, making sure I am in form for the appointment.


  1. ^ 2016 Giro d Italia (
  2. ^ Team Sky (
  3. ^ without any British riders (
  4. ^ Fabio Aru (
  5. ^ Alberto Contador (
  6. ^ race starts in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn on Friday (
  7. ^ >>> Giro d Italia 2016: Latest news, reports and info (
  8. ^ pulled Sergio Henao over biological passport issues (
  9. ^ David Brailsford (
  10. ^ Li ge-Bastogne-Li ge last month (
  11. ^ >>> Team Sky confirms 2016 Giro d Italia squad: Mikel Landa to lead (
  12. ^ Tour of California (
  13. ^ >>> No British riders at the Giro d Italia for the second year running (
  14. ^ needed time to recover after having a plate removed from his collarbone at the last minute (
  15. ^ won the Giro del Trentino (
  16. ^ >>> Mikel Landa wary of time loss in Giro d Italia opening time trial (

Northeast Comic Con & Collectibles Extravaganza Coming To Town …

WILMINGTON, MA Pop culture fans will be converging at one of the largest celebrations of popular culture in New England, the Northeast Comic Con and Collectibles Extravaganza1. This Discount Holidays © holiday event takes place December 5th and 6th, 2015 at the Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington, Mass. (99 Fordham Road, 01887). Show hours are 10a-6p on Saturday and 10a-5p on Sunday. This year s event highlights include a Discount Holidays © holiday shopping experience for nerds and the people who love them, voice actor workshops and script readings, free-play video game arcade and tournaments, children s activities, celebrity autograph signings, panel sessions, plus 150 vendors of vintage and modern toys, comic books, collectibles, art, jewelry, fashion and popular cultural artifacts. In between Discount Holidays © holiday shopping, guests of all ages will enjoy live music and entertainment.

This year s celebrity guests range from local heroes to international superstars, including NECC panelist and guest John Wesley Shipp2, best known for his role as Barry Allen on CBS The Flash (1990-91) and then as Barry Allen s father Henry in the new The Flash TV series on the CW Network. Shipp s other memorable roles include Dawson s father Mitch Leery on the drama Dawson s Creek (1998-2001), and roles in daytime soap operas including Kelly Nelson on Guiding Light and Douglas Cummings on As the World Turns, which earned him his first Daytime Emmy. Families will love meeting the cast members of the classic A Christmas Story film, including original cast members Zach Ward ( Scut Farkus ), Scott Schwartz ( Flick ), Ian Petrella ( Randy ), and Yano Anaya ( Grover Dill ), along with Caseen Gaines, the author of the definitive book on the film. In addition, Santa Claus will be appearing with the cast for a photo opportunity the perfect Discount Holidays © holiday card.

Lost in Space is celebrating its 50th anniversary at NECC, featuring original cast members Marta Kristen ( Judy ) and Mark Goddard ( Don West ) along with full-size replicas of Robot and the family s Chariot vehicle. Comic Guest of Honor George P rez3 is a Marvel and DC comic legend.

He is a writer and illustrator of legendary comic book titles, such as The Avengers, Teen Titans, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Wonder Woman and Superman reboots. George will be signing comics he worked on at no charge, with a limit of six at a time, and doing quick sketches for fans for $40. Other great comic and animation artists at NECC include Zombie King Arthur Suydam, Disney legend Philo Barnhart ( Little Mermaid , Beauty and the Beast ), Joe St. Pierre (Spiderman), Joe Carmagna (Guardians of the Galaxy), Alex Simmons (Archie) and Rusty Gilligan (Heavy Metal) among many others. Comic book collectors will want to arrive early to get a limited edition Marvel Lucasfilm Star Wars Force Awakens comic book with a unique-to-NECC variant cover art.

New to NECC and for the first time at a fan convention: Andrew WK, a musician, philosopher, writer and performer will greet fans on Saturday December 5th only. Andrew WK will participate in a panel on Careers in the Creative Arts and will sign autographs at no charge before performing at the convention s official After Party at Shriners Auditorium. (See website for tickets to the afterparty and details.)

Other celebrity guests include Nakia Burrise and Catherine Sutherland of the Power Rangers, Kadrolsha Ona, the Queen of the Paranormal, puppeteers Bill Diamond (Fraggle Rock, Little Shop of Horrors ) and Noel MacNeal ( The Muppets, Bear in the Big Blue House ) and the voice actors of Sonic The Hedgehog and Sonic Boom, Mike Pollock, Cindy Robinson and Bill Freiberger.

Whether they visit to explore future careers or just enjoy imaginative play, kids are welcome in the NECC K!DZ area, with creative events, education and attractions just for young fans. Learn how to sketch or show off your skills, and all about puppetry. Learn how video games are created and careers in technology with ITT Technical Institute. Enjoy free video game play and tournaments with prizes in the Game Underground gaming area. The Starship Horizons Bridge Simulator gives everyone an opportunity to act as crew on an interplanetary spaceship with play included in admission. For Doctor Who fans, a full-size TARDIS replica offers photo opportunities for Whovians. A professional parade/theater and cosplay mask maker Eric Bornstein will conduct workshops and stage presentations, and young actors can meet A Christmas Story cast and learn about their experience as child actors in the entertainment industry. According to seasoned show producer Gary Sohmers, This Discount Holidays © holiday Comic Con features the largest selection of quality vintage pop culture collectibles and memorabilia, along with unique celebrity experiences in a more personal, intimate setting than larger, overcrowded conventions.

Sohmers continued, Whether you attend to explore careers in the creative arts, meet celebrities and experience panels and workshops, or just stroll and Discount Holidays © holiday shop, Northeast Comic Con has something for everyone: the collector, video gamer, cosplayer, illustrator, anime fan, or sci-fi geek. Sohmers is CEO of Image Meet and Greet, a seasoned pop culture expert and producer of fan events and conventions is also known for his 13-season role as an appraiser of pop culture, collectibles and toys on the PBS TV program Antiques Roadshow and appearances on WBZ radio and his Calling All Collectors radio programs. It isn t a Comic Con without cosplay, and Northeast Comic Con invites costumed guests to the Cosplay Stage to show off their imaginative attire in a variety of fun contests and games. NECC s signature cosplay events are focused on creativity, with prizes and bragging rights in three categories: Create-A-Hero, Create-A-Villain and Create-A-Character contests each day for creative cosplay with a back story. A complete list of safety guidelines for cosplay and prop weapons is online:

For budding actors seeking a career as a voice in cartoons, video games, film, anime, and TV/radio, the Voice Actors Workshop4 is a unique opportunity to learn from three successful voice actors. The workshops are only open to ten people each day (Saturday and Sunday) to enable a quality learning experience, and will feature the talent of the Sonic Boom TV program and the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise: Mike Pollock, Cindy Robins, and Bill Freiberger. These seasoned actors will talk about the process, technology, and industry tips, and then participants may interact with the talent in a lively Script Read on stage at Northeast Comic Con. This separately ticketed career workshop includes early admission to NECC, front row seats for the script read, a special badge, and autographs for only $99 per day. For guests seeking a Discount Holidays © holiday photo with Santa in cosplay attire but don t want to go to the mall dressed to impress, NECC offers a Santa photo station with a green screen offering a wide range of imaginative photos for purchase just in time for the 2016 Discount Holidays © holiday season, or just as a keepsake.

The Shriner s Auditorium Fez Room restaurant/bar will feature food and beverages, live entertainment, and pop culture trivia contests. On Saturday night, December 5th, the Fez Room will be transformed into the 7th Annual Rock & Soul after party, a separate ticketed ($35) event starting at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday Dec.

5th that includes free NECC admission on Sunday Dec.

6th. The party will feature comedians and food and beverage, and a concert from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m.; only 200 tickets are available. Featured performers include Andrew WK in a special solo show, Charlie Farren (Farrenheit, Joe Perry Project), Barrance Whitfield, Tsunami of Sound and others to be announced.

With free parking and hotel packages, Northeast Comic Con ticket prices are among the lowest in the industry. Saturday adult advance tickets are $25 on Saturday ($30 at the door) and Sunday adult advance tickets are $18 ($25 at the door). Adult weekend passes are only $30 in advance ($40 at the door). Children under age 7 are free with a paid adult, and kids ages 7-13 are only $10 in advance or $15 for a weekend pass ($15 and $20 at the door). Advance Superfan VIP tickets are $300 and include early bird entry on both days, priority seating and front of line for autographs, many photo opps and autographs, along with one of the limited edition exclusive Marvel Lucasfilm Star Wars Phantom Variant Comic Book and admission to the Rock & Soul After Party ($35 value). Bring a gently used coat to donate to the Caring Partners Coats for Kids Drive and save $5 off your ticket if purchased at the box office. For VIP packages and tickets:

Northeast Comic Con & Collectibles Extravaganza Coming To Town ...

(NOTE: The above press release is from Dennehy Public Relations.)

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  1. ^ Northeast Comic Con and Collectibles Extravaganza (
  2. ^ John Wesley Shipp (
  3. ^ George P rez (
  4. ^ Voice Actors Workshop (
  5. ^ (
  6. ^ Facebook (
  7. ^ Twitter (
  8. ^ HERE (