Olympic24: Fowler suffers rare loss, Thomas on the charge

Olympic24: Fowler suffers rare loss, Thomas on the charge

13 March 2015 / 07:57

Anthony Fowler’s hopes of qualifying for Rio hit a stumbling block with World Series of Boxing (WSB) loss while Geraint Thomas puts himself in contention in Paris-Nice. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Previously unbeaten Anthony Fowler loses out to Hurshidbek Normatov at York Hall as British Lionhearts suffer 4-1 loss to Ukraine Otamans
  • Second-place finish on stage four leaves Brit Geraint Thomas just three seconds off overall lead in Paris-Nice
  • Not such luck for Mark Cavendish in Tirreno-Adriatico as mechanical problem rules him out of contention for victory on stage one.
  • Lizzie Armistead dreaming of Olympic gold as she prepares for World Cup opener this weekend
  • Great Britain’s short track speed skaters gear up for World Championships in Russia
  • Two additional home matches announced for Great Britain’s hockey teams this summer

Rio 2016 blow after Fowler suffers first defeat of season

Anthony Fowler insists he will bounce back strongly after seeing his hopes of qualifying for Rio 2016 take a hit with defeat to Hurshidbek Normatov in the World Series of Boxing (WSL) on Thursday night.

The 24-year-old had been unbeaten going into the clash against the Ukraine Otamans at York Hall but came up short against the international pick from Uzbekistan as the British Lionhearts lost out 4-1 overall.

Fowler’s defeat means the Commonwealth champion sits joint fifth in the WSB’s middleweight rankings and will need to win his next two contests against Algeria and Cuba to have a chance of finishing the season in one of the top two places required to seal qualification for Rio.

“I can’t complain about the result,” said Fowler.  “His southpaw style was very difficult and I need to have more practice against that type of boxer. 

“The better man won on the night and I will learn from the experience and come back stronger.”

Sam Maxwell's light-welterweight victory over Mger Oganisian was the only high point of the evening, which also saw defeats for Qais Ashfaq and Ionut-Mirel Jitaru while Ashley Williams withdrew on medical grounds.

Thomas lifts himself right into Paris-Nice contention

Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas put himself right into contention in this year’s Paris-Nice after storming to a 1-2 behind fellow Team Sky cyclist Richie Porte on stage four.

The teammates rode clear of their rivals in the final two kilometres of the 208km stage from Varennes-sur-Allier to the summit of Croix de Chaubouret.

Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski was eight seconds behind in third but reclaimed the yellow jersey from overnight leader Michael Matthews.

But crucially Porte is just one second behind with Thomas a further two seconds off in third ahead of Friday’s fifth stage.

Former Tour de France champion Sir Bradley Wiggins, who is riding in support of Thomas and Porte, slipped to 128th overall after finishing 23 seconds behind the stage winner.

Cavendish hopes dashed in stage one of Tirreno-Adriatico

Mark Cavendish was unable to claim his seventh win of the season as a late mechanical failure saw him caught up in a crash at the end of stage one of Tirreno-Adriatrico.

The Manx rider had looked perfectly placed with 300m to go but his chain came off as he launched his sprint, forcing him to the right and into the path of Alia Viviani.

Viviani fell heavily and brought down several other riders, and while Cavendish managed to stay upright, he could only coast to the line with Belgium’s Jens Debusschere sprinting to victory and Adriano Malori retaining the race lead.

The race continues on Friday with a 203km second stage from Cascina to Arezzo.

Armitstead determined to upgrade Olympic silver

Lizzie Armitstead admits Rio 2016 is never far from her mind as she bids to finally get her hands on gold in Brazil.

The 26-year-old cyclist is the current Commonwealth Games road race champion although she had to settle for Olympic silver at London 2012 behind Dutch rider Marianne Vos.

Armitstead kicks off the defence of her World Cup title this Saturday in the Ronde van Drenthe in the Netherlands.

But she admits Olympic gold, as well as a World Championship medal, is what is driving her on currently.

"I think about Rio every day. Every day in training it's something that drives me forward. I want to be Olympic champion," she said.

"I've got a lot of silvers. Second seems to be something I end up being. I don't want to be the bridesmaid forever.”

Horsepool backs skaters to shine at season finale

Great Britain Short Track performance director Stuart Horsepool admits he is looking for his athletes to finish an encouraging season with a flourish when they take to the ice for the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships.

A seven-strong Great Britain team, including European champion Elise Christie, have travelled to Russia for the season-ending Championships in Moscow this weekend.

Sochi 2014 Olympian Christie has been Britain's shining light this season with four medals during the ISU World Cup series as well as her European title, although Horsepool had been impressed with the entire squad to date.

“We have more skaters performing at a higher level now; we have had 30 top ten finishes from the squad at the World Cups and European Championships this season, which just shows the depth of talent we have going into the World's and beyond,” he said.

“The quality of the performance programme has meant that we have become progressively better over the course of the season, which has given the squad the experience and confidence they need to skate well this weekend.”

Two more matches added to summer hockey programme at Olympic Park

Great Britain’s women’s hockey team will play together for the first time on home soil since claiming Olympic bronze when they take on Japan on April 26.

The match is one of two further matches announced to take place at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this summer.

The other game sees Great Britain’s men’s team play Australia on June 13 as preparations continue for the 2015 EuroHockey Championships in August.

© Sportsbeat 2015