Winifred Phillips

Dr Hutch previews the stage 18 Tour de France time trial

Bernard Hinault may have mellowed, but his hill is still an utter bastard

Predicting race winners is a dark art. Sometimes it s a hunch. Sometimes it s a nugget of inside information. Sometimes you just discover that someone has just written FROOME!! on the road every ten metres for a kilometre and you think, Yeah. Fair enough. The 17km individual test between Sallanches and Meg ve1 requires a rider with the technical and pacing ability of a time triallist, combined with the physiology of a climber and if that s not Chris Froome2 I don t know who is.

He ll love it. I, on the other hand, had rather mixed feelings. I rode the course the morning after tackling the monster mountains of stage 173 to Finhaut-Emosson. That had been over 2,000m of grinding uphill on a gear that had been chosen for Cambridgeshire and unthinkingly brought to the Alps, so I was feeling a little sore. I didn t have to walk backwards downstairs to breakfast, but only because there was a lift.

Dr Hutch Previews The Stage 18 Tour De France Time Trial

The first 4km were flat and boring. They re there to tempt you into a nice fast rhythm. You turn right, then left, and it suddenly steepens to over 10 per cent. My creaky legs really didn t appreciate the change. This hill is the reason the stage is here in the first place it s to honour Bernard Hinault, who retires from the Tour s organisation this year, and who won the notoriously tough 1980 World Championships on this climb. Hinault has mellowed to a twinking elder statesman on the Tour. His hill, on the other hand, is still a real tough bastard.

Up through the orchards and timberyards it went. The woods stopped it from being boiling hot, which was a blessing. The campers on the verges were just clearing up their breakfast and settling in for another day of waiting beside a road for a race to come by. I ground my way past them. I got a couple of cheers, but I put that down to them not having very much else to do.

>>> Chris Froome: I m getting used to the yellow jersey 4

It was a hard climb, but at 2km, not exactly an Alpine epic. It would be simpler if it was. Instead of letting you settle into a real climbing rhythm, it levels out to something more moderate. Critically, it s now fast enough that aerodynamics comes back in to the time trial picture.

Watch: Tom Dumoulin and Chris Froome smash the first individual time trial

I just flannelled along the way I d been going, but to race it you d need to get into a good riding position, and that means picking the right bike set-up. My guess is that most of the riders will use a road bike with tribars on it and deep-rim wheels, because no one will want a bike that s over minimum weight. That s especially the case in view of the route s special surprise. Just after 11km, when I turned off the main road onto a back-road loop that makes up the distance into Meg ve, I found the road went up an entirely unadvertised cliff. Whoever prepares the route profiles clearly relishes the chance to spring the occasional surprise, because while the profile says this bit is 8 per cent, it was actually something like 17 per cent.

It wasn t a long ramp, but it was a shock to the system. It could have been no better calculated to be the kick in the teeth you didn t want if you d pushed a bit too hard on Mount Hinault, failed to recover on the less steep section, and arrived at 11km already deep in contemplation of your imminent arrival in the afterlife.

>>> Movistar perplexed as Nairo Quintana struggles again5

After the hills, the final 2km was straight down the hill into town. It s not long enough to justify a bike change, if that s what you re thinking. The gain might be 10-15 seconds, but that s a break even at best. The finish arrived almost before I d recovered from the climb. It s a nice stage.

It s harder than it looks, which is exactly how you want these things. And it s a nice tribute to Hinault. He d have loved it too.


  1. ^ 17km individual test between Sallanches and Meg ve (
  2. ^ Chris Froome (
  3. ^ tackling the monster mountains of stage 17 (
  4. ^ >>> Chris Froome: I m getting used to the yellow jersey (
  5. ^ >>> Movistar perplexed as Nairo Quintana struggles again (

Hayley Simmonds questions British Cycling’s ‘unprofessional’ lack of communication over Rio selection

Two-time national time trial champion hits out at British Cycling for their failure to notify her personally of non-selection for the Rio Olympics.

Hayley Simmonds Questions British Cycling’s ‘unprofessional’ Lack Of Communication Over Rio Selection

Hayley Simmonds, British time trial national championships 2015

British time trial champion Hayley Simmonds has blasted British Cycling over their handling of the Rio Olympics selection, describing their failure to notify her personally of her omission from the squad as unprofessional and disrespectful . Simmonds won her second successive national time trial title in Stockton1 on Thursday but won t be competing at Rio, with Emma Pooley instead chosen to ride Britain s sole time trial spot2. Simmonds who left UnitedHealthcare this month3 was not prepared to discuss the merits of being selected, but in a Facebook post4 hit out at the governing body over their handling of the issue.

>>> How Hayley Simmonds became Britain s top time triallist5

Following on from Dani King s comments about her not securing a spot6 in the women s road race team, Simmonds said that given my own experience and from what has been written in the press in the past weeks and months, I find it hard to believe that any athlete not on one of BC s programmes can have any faith in being given fair opportunity to utilise their talent at an international level, irrespective of how many National Championships they win, and by what margin. She said she knew about being on the longest for the Games since October 2015 and since then has had a lot of contact from auxiliary staff within the organisation covering a range of Olympic pre-requisites (ranging from logistics to extra anti-doping education).

But what has been sorely lacking has been any reliable contact with relevant members of British Cycling coaching or performance staff.

Never has this been more apparent than in the last two weeks (the period when we knew the selection would be made) and nobody at British Cycling has made any attempt to contact me officially, or otherwise, to inform me of my non-selection.

It is very hard to communicate just how heartbreaking it is to find out you are not going to the Olympics from a combination of leaked newspaper articles, conversations at the Nationals HQ and today s public announcement on the internet.

I can t think of any possible justification for an organisation to operate in such an unprofessional and disrespectful manner. Simmonds has dominated the British time trailing scene in the previous two years, winning the 10, 25 and 50 mile RTTC National Championships, to go alongside her British Cycling time trial crowns.

She also rode the time trial at the World Championships last October and in support of Lizzie Armitstead in her road race win.7


  1. ^ second successive national time trial title in Stockton (
  2. ^ Emma Pooley instead chosen to ride Britain s sole time trial spot (
  3. ^ who left UnitedHealthcare this month (
  4. ^ Facebook post (
  5. ^ >>> How Hayley Simmonds became Britain s top time triallist (
  6. ^ Dani King s comments about her not securing a spot (
  7. ^ Lizzie Armitstead in her road race win. (

Enrico Gasparotto dedicates Amstel Gold Race win to Antoine Demoitié

Amstel Gold Race winner Enrico Gasparotto dedicates his victory to Antoine Demoiti , who died after an accident at Ghent-Wevelgem

Enrico Gasparotto Dedicates Amstel Gold Race Win To Antoine Demoitié

Enrico Gasparotto wins the 2016 Amstel Gold Race

Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert won yesterday for Antoine Demoiti , the Belgian cyclist who died three weeks ago1 after a crash in Ghent-Wevelgem. As soon as Enrico Gasparotto crossed the line to claim his second Amstel Gold Race title2 he pointed to the sky and explained the victory was for his dead team-mate. The Italian won the WorldTour3 race on Sunday with an attack on the final Cauberg climb that was strong enough to hold off the bunch.

I had to wait for the good moment because there was a huge headwind in the last metres, Gasparotto said. This victory is for Antoine Demoiti s family. Today, I had an angel on my shoulder.

When I thought about Antoine, I went faster. The 25-year-old Wanty-Groupe Gobert cyclist crashed with three others in Ghent-Wevelgem on March 274 as the race went through northern France, near Sainte-Marie-Cappel. After falling, a race jury motorbike hit him. That night, doctors pronounced him dead. The second division Belgian team pulled out of the Three Days of De Panne5 stage race and said it would only re-start when it could properly do so in Demoiti s memory.

They came close in other races, Gasparotto placed second in the Brabantse Pijl6 last Wednesday, before they finally won one for Demoiti .

After the tragic event we hoped to win a race, sports director Hilaire Van Der Schueren said. This victory is a reward for the whole team. A WorldTour race for a Pro-Continental team is fantastic. I would like to thank the entire team.

After the tragic event of the last weeks, this victory will provide happiness and support to the whole team, added general manager Jean-Fran ois Bourlart. It is Wanty-Groupe Gobert s most beautiful victory since the creation of the team.

>>> Peter Sagan dedicates Flanders win to Antoine Demoiti and Daan Myngheer7

The win was also the team s first victory of 2016 and matched Gasparotto s 2012 win in the Amstel Gold Race, when he raced for team Astana.

I felt sick, I couldn t sleep the night I heard the news about Antoin , Gasparotto added yesterday. The team told me to continue to train in Tenerife, instead of making the trip to be at his funeral.

I felt a big responsibility ahead of these races. The day before Amstel Gold Antoine s wife came to see us and told us to Go for it. It s not easy on me. I m 34, I have a wife. I m thinking about Antoine s death every day.

It s so fresh.


  1. ^ Belgian cyclist who died three weeks ago (
  2. ^ claim his second Amstel Gold Race title (
  3. ^ WorldTour (
  4. ^ in Ghent-Wevelgem on March 27 (
  5. ^ pulled out of the Three Days of De Panne (
  6. ^ placed second in the Brabantse Pijl (
  7. ^ >>> Peter Sagan dedicates Flanders win to Antoine Demoiti and Daan Myngheer (