Olympic24: Wiggins shines in Qatar and Danson hits winner

11 February 2015 / 07:55

London 2012 gold medallist claims third in the Tour of Qatar time trial while Great Britain’s women get off to an ideal start in their three-game series with Spain. Here's our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Sir Bradley Wiggins debuts his new rainbow jersey in stage three of the Tour of Qatar and the reigning world champion finished the time trial in third.
  • Superb rides from fellow Team Sky riders Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe see them jump into the top five overall.
  • Alex Danson hits the only goal of the game as Great Britain women win in Valencia
  • London 2012 swimmer Sophie Allen announces her retirement
  • Chris and Gabby Adcock handed tough draw for next month’s All England Open Badminton Championships
  • Double Olympic bronze medallist Max Whitlock turns his attentions towards next month’s British Championships in Liverpool

British trio shine as Wiggins, Stannard and Rowe all impress in stage three of the Tour of Qatar

Sir Bradley Wiggins claimed third in the Tour of Qatar time trial stage three while big rides from fellow Team Sky cyclists Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe saw them jump into the top five overall.

World time trial champion Wiggins gave his new rainbow jersey its debut on stage three and tore around the 10-kilometre course in 14 minutes and 12 seconds.

That put the Brit into the lead briefly but the benchmark was moved on by Fabian Cancellara and a storming time from eventual stage winner Niki Terpstra.

However Wiggins wasn’t the only impressive Brit in stage three as Stannard moved himself into the general classification mix as he finished just ten seconds behind Terpstra and only one off Wiggins.

It means Stannard now sits third overall, 12 seconds back on the gold jersey of Terpstra, while a gutsy ride from Rowe pushed the Welshman into fifth place.

The 24-year-old is now 33 seconds back and has pulled on the Young Rider’s jersey, all of which made for a day to remember according to sport director Servais Knaven.

“There were some good rides from the guys," Knaven told TeamSky.com after the stage.

"Brad and Ian finishing third and fifth, Luke in 15th and Christian [Knees] in 22nd. They did a good job and we’ve obviously got a couple of good GC positions now with Ian and Luke. We can be really happy with that.

“It’s great to see Ian back up there at a really good level after his crashes last year. It was really windy – probably more windy than the last few days – so it was a really tough time trial.

“We’ve got some good positions now but we’re also looking at how we can move up. Bodnar is just one second ahead of Ian and Terpstra is only 12 seconds away. Quick-Step have a strong team but our guys are strong too.

“Anything can happen. But at the same time there are strong guys behind us too who are fast finishers. It’s not finished yet but we’re in a good position.”

Danson gets GB women off to perfect start against Spain

Captain Alex Danson led by example as she grabbed what proved to be the winner as Great Britain narrowly took the spoils in the first of three encounters against Spain in Valencia.

Danson scored the only goal of the game from the top of the circle in the 37th minute as Spain were downed 1-0 in front of their home fans.

The goal was Danson’s 48th in an international shirt but Great Britain had to hold on as Spain pressed for a leveller in the closing stages.

Newcomer to the centralised training squad, 24-year-old-Holly Payne, made her international debut as did Scottish duo goalkeeper Amy Gibson, who was subbed on for Maddie Hinch at half-time, and Sarah Robertson. Robertson’s Holcombe teammate Lucy Wood also pulled on a Great Britain shirt for the first time.

“It wasn’t a great performance from us, Spain could have easily won and we rode our luck at times,” said head coach Danny Kerry.

“Credit to Spain, they are a much improved side from the last time I saw them play and they deserved to get something out of the game.

“We were very much reliant on the experience of Kate Richardson-Walsh and Laura Unsworth in our defence as they covered up a lot of our play.

“These test matches are so important for us to develop the squad and ensure the less experienced players get to play at the very top level before we go into major tournaments. I’m confident we’ll get better over the next two games.”




Sophie Allen announced her retirement from swimming following her second hip surgery.

Allen represented Team GB at London 2012 in the 200m individual medley and won silver in the same event in that year’s European Championships.

Allen wrote on Twitter: "After a huge change in circumstance; I’ve made the decision to leave competitive swimming. Having had my second lot of hip surgery my road to recovery has led me down a different path.

"I've competed at a home Olympics, in a world champs final, and a Commonwealth Games; and am now excited to carry all these memories into my next chapter.

"To everyone who helped me achieve my childhood dreams and goals - you truly were invaluable, I couldn't have done it without you! Thank you!"


Adocks handed tough draw for All England Open Badminton Championships

Chris and Gabby Adcock will have to be at their imperious best to make finals' weekend of the All England Open Badminton Championships after Tuesday's draw was announced for the sport's oldest event.

The Adcocks, seeded sixth, open their home tournament against Indonesia's Markis Kido and Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth when the action gets underway in Birmingham next month.

However, a highly-anticipated Friday night quarter-final meeting against Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, the Indonesian pair who have won the last three All England mixed doubles titles, is in the offing for the English national champions.

The Adcocks are attempting to become the first home winners of the All England since Athens 2004 silver medallists Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms in 2005.

In the men's singles, England men’s number one Rajiv Ouseph will face Korean third seed Son Wan Ho, the third seed, while his female counterpart Fontaine Champman faces fourth-seed Sabrina Jaquet of Switzerland.

Matthew Nottingham and Harley Towler have been pitted against China’s Fu Haifeng and the experienced Zhang Nan while Andrew Ellis and Peter Mills are seeded second in the qualifying draw.

Sophie Brown and Kate Robertshaw also face Chinese opponents in the form of number eight seeds Bao Yixin and Tang Yuanting, while Heather Olver and Lauren Smith take on Audrey Fontaine and Jaquet.


Whitlock turns attentions to 2015 British Championships

Max Whitlock is determined to defend his title when the British Gymnastics Championships return to Liverpool's Echo Arena next month as he aims to start his 2015 with a bang.

Whitlock enjoyed a 2014 to remember as he claimed the British title, European pommel horse gold, three Commonwealth Games golds and the World Championship all-around silver medal.

It was Japan's London 2012 all-around gold medallist Kohei Uchimura that got the better of Whitlock at last year's World Championships.

But with another World Championships taking place this year in Glasgow, Whitlock is determined to finish top of the pile with the 2016 Rio Olympics fast approaching.

The Road to Rio starts with the 2015 British Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool from March 27-29, and Whitlock is eager to get off to the best possible start.

"The British Championships is hugely important to me and a competition I take very seriously," said Whitlock, who won pommel horse and team bronze at London 2012.

"It's vital to start the season off with a good performance and set a marker for the year. Winning the title in 2014 was very special for me, the event is always a lot of fun, the crowd are fantastic and all of the gymnasts are determined to fight for the titles.

"2015 is going to be massive year ending, we hope, with a British team medal at the World Championships in Glasgow and sealing our place in Rio.”




Katie Summerhayes finished seventh in the women's ski slopestyle final, a discipline that made its Olympic debut in Sochi.

Andrew Musgrave became the first British cross country skier to reach an Olympic sprint quarter-final

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