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BELGIUM, August 16, 2018 (News Wires) - Taco van der Hoorn launched a late break to burst free of his fellow escapees and win the third stage of the BinckBank Tour in Antwerp.

The Dutch rider hit the accelerator a kilometre from the end of the 174.9km ride from Aalter to distance Maxime Vantomme, Sean De Bie and Matej Mohoric.

Slovenia's Mohoric took over the leader's jersey from Swiss Stefan Kung, who was the victor in Tuesday's time trial.

The seven-day race, won last year by 2017 Giro d'Italia and world time trial champion Tom Dumoulin, concludes on Sunday.

IPOH, July 30, 2018 (News Wires) - The restoration work on Velodrome Rakyat has been finally completed and receives a positive feedback from the International Cycling Union (UCI)

The refurbished track was inspected by UCI Track Manager Gilles Peruzzi upon the completion of all renovation works for the process of homologation.

Malaysian National Cycling Federation vice-president Datuk Amarjit Singh Gill, who was present during the inspection, said that Gilles had given favourable remarks on the standard of the track, venue and the facilities.

“I will be travelling to the UCI Headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland on Wednesday and with the positive and favourable comments by Gilles on the overall facility, I look forward to getting the Certificate of Homologation for Velodrome Rakyat,” he said.

Amarjit, who is also the President of the Perak Cycling Association, said that the venue had fulfilled all conditions required and is now ready for use.

With this, all the cycling events could be back on schedule for the Malaysian Games (Sukma) 2018, pending the official homologation certificate.

On June 7, in a report carried by Malay Mail, the State Youth, Sports and Human Capital Development committee chairman Howard Lee Chuan How said that the decision whether to continue the six out of 12 Sukma cycling events would onle be known in August after the homologation testing.

FRANCE, July 27, 2018 (News Wires) - Yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas is "expecting the worst", but warned ambitious rivals that going too deep on the final day in the mountains could end their Tour de France podium chances.

Thomas moved a step closer to becoming Wales's first Tour champion when he came through the 18th stage to Pau unhindered and with his lead of 1min 59sec on Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) intact.

Thomas had been lucky to escape being hauled off his bike by an "overexuberant" fan as he raced to third place at Saint-Lary-Soulan on Wednesday.

After avoiding such mishaps Thursday, the 32-year-old now only has to keep focus over a hilly 19th stage that features Pyrenean classics like the Col d'Aspin, the Col du Tourmalet and the Col d'Aubisque. And hope Team Sky do the rest.

"I think we're expecting the worst, hoping for the best," said Thomas.

"It will be a big test. I think it's one more for the team to control most of the day."

Yet Thomas has the race route in his favour as he bids to bring home Team Sky's sixth yellow jersey from the last seven editions, four of which have been won by teammate Chris Froome.

The finish line is 20km from the summit of the Col d'Aubisque, meaning any time his rivals may have gleaned over the stage's final, rolling 16.6 km ascent could, theoretically, be lost on the descent.

And efforts rivals spend trying to loosen his grip on a yellow jersey gained following back-to-back stage wins in the Alps could, he believes, be paid for in the penultimate-stage time trial over 31 km.

"It's the last mountain stage and I think guys are going to take any opportunity they can. But at the same time, in the back of their minds they still have to do the time trial," added Thomas.

"They could do a big, big move tomorrow (Friday) and maybe gain two, three minutes or whatever, and then quite easily lose a chuunk of time in the time trial.

"It's interesting, but we've been riding really well all race, and hopefully we can keep that going for one more day."

The biggest threat to Thomas comes from Dumoulin, who said: "If I see an opportunity, I'll take it."

But at nearly two minutes down, the Dutchman conceded: "My victory chances are slim... I would have to take something like two minutes off him, so it's complicated."

Former Sky rider Mikel Landa, now a rival with Movistar and hoping to lift teammate Nairo Quintana from fifth, warned: "Friday will be our day. It will be difficult, but tomorrow we hope to turn the race around."

Making Friday's stage more intriguing is the fact that Froome, who had been aiming for his fourth consecutive Grand Tour win, is now fighting for a podium place.

Third overall at 2:31 after losing second place to Dumoulin on Wednesday, the Kenyan-born Briton is in danger of losing his Paris podium place to those in his wake.

Slovenian Primoz Roglic, an ex-ski jumper who rides for Lotto-Jumbo, is 16secs behind him while Colombian climbing specialist Quintana is at 3:30.

"Having Froomey at my disposal, so to speak, is just, like, phenomenal," said Thomas.

"But hopefully, he won't have to do much anyway. I think the last final (climb) will be down to the legs.

"It would be good to just keep on doing what we've been doing."

FRANCE, July 26, 2018 (News Wires) - Geraint Thomas strengthened his grip on the yellow jersey after Sky team-mate Chris Froome struggled on the Tour’s first ever ascent of the unforgiving Col du Portet, where Colombian Nairo Quintana marked a return to form by soloing clear to secure his first stage victory in five years.

At just 65 kilometres long and boasting three climbs and 48 kilometres of ascent, the shortest but sharpest stage in modern Tour history always promised to pack a punch – and it delivered in buckets, including perhaps a knock-out blow for Froome’s hopes of a record-equalling fifth Tour win.

If Movistar climber Quintana bounced back with a welcome return to form and an impressive Stage 17 win ahead of a chasing Dan Martin of Ireland, it was Thomas who stole the show by responding to all the attacks levelled against him – and then riding clear of his rivals in the closing moments.

Welshman Thomas took third place on the stage ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) after Froome was distanced inside the final couple of kilometres following a medley of attacks from the Dutch and Slovenian time trial specialists.

Froome, who had started the final climb bullishly with an attack which momentarily distanced his rivals, suffered the ignominy of being distanced by his 21-year-old team-mate Egan Bernal – the youngest rider in the race – after the Colombian pulled his leader towards the line some 48 seconds behind Thomas.

To add insult to temporal injury, the boos rained down on the four-time Tour champion as he struggled to limit his losses on the highest peak of this year’s Tour, which was being used for the first time in the race’s history. On this showing, it won't be the last appearance.

Froome, the reigning Giro d’Italia champion and winner of the previous three Grand Tours, dropped to third place in the general classification and now trails team-mate Thomas by 2’31” as Dumoulin emerged as the major obstacle to what would be an unlikely maiden Tour win for Thomas.

Team Sunweb’s Dumoulin is 1’59” down on the yellow jersey with one final mountain stage and the decisive penultimate day time trial the two major remaining tests ahead of the Tour finale in Paris on Sunday.

Froome may now find himself carrying out a domestique role for Team Sky for the first time since begrudgingly guiding Bradley Wiggins to yellow in 2012. While doing so, he will have to defend his place on the final podium from the impressive Roglic, who lies just 16 seconds behind in fourth place.

After his second win of the season – and his first on the Tour since his Stage 20 triumph at Le Semnoz in 2013 – Quintana rises into the top five at 3’30” at the expense of Frenchman Romain Bardet, who cracked with 6km remaining.

FRANCE, July 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe turned on the style to secure his maiden Tour de France 10th stage win on Tuesday as Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet stubbornly held on to the yellow jersey.

Alaphilippe, of the Quick Step team, launched an audacious lone attack on the third and penultimate climb and went on to solo over the finish several minutes ahead of the main peloton after a first day in the Alps marked by Van Avermaet outfoxing Team Sky in the yellow jersey stakes.

Days after France's World Cup victory, Alaphilippe handed the hosts their maiden win of the race -- and soothed the personal pain of two frustrating years hoping to bag his maiden Tour stage win.

"I can't describe it. Going for a win like this was a big dream for me," said Alaphilippe, who twice came close to winning a stage on his debut in 2016 before being sidelined by injury in 2017.

"I've worked really hard for this. Not everyone realises how important it is for a cyclist to take part in the Tour.

"For a Frenchman it's simply unavoidable.

"I'm happy the last 10 km was downhill because it gave me the chance to understand what was happening to me."

Expected to challenge overnight leader Van Avermaet for the right to wear the race's fabled tunic into the 11th stage, the Sky team of champion Chris Froome failed to muster a challenge despite their best-placed rider, Geraint Thomas, sitting only 43secs behind the Belgian in the overall standings.

Van Avermaet, who is not a specialist climber, appeared under threat at the beginning of the 158.5 km race from Annecy featuring four categorised climbs and with a downhill finish into Le Grand Bornand.

But the wily BMC rider outfoxed Sky by joining an early breakaway that went on to build a healthy lead on the main peloton and stymie whatever plans Sky may have had of taking control of the race.

As Alaphilippe surged towards his memorable first win, Van Avermaet produced a fantastic performance to finish just 1min 44secs behind, with Thomas, Froome and Team Sky crossing the line over three minutes behind the stage winner.

In the overall standings Van Avermaet now leads Thomas, in second, by 2min 22secs, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) now up to third overall at 3:10.

FRANCE, July 11, 2018 (News Wires) - Colombian ace Fernando Gaviria edged a breathtaking bunch sprint to win the fourth stage of the Tour de France, his second stage success after also winning the opening ride.

The 23-year-old Quick Step rider timed his sprint to perfection to overtake German Andre Greipel and hold off a fast-finishing Peter Sagan, who just got second, in a photo finish.

Team Sky leader Chris Froome, seeking a record-equalling fifth Tour de France victory, and all the key contenders to top the overall standings finished safely in the main pack.

One rider who will take no further part in the race is AG2R's Axel Domont who broke his collarbone after being brought down avoiding a spectator who had strayed into the road to take a photo.

Gaviria won Saturday's first stage on his Tour debut and looks to be the man to beat in the sprints this year.

"Everyone in Colombia is watching the Tour de France and I feel like my nation's representative," said Gaviria.

"The team had to work really hard to catch the escape, nobody else was helping," he added.

The frenetic finish was so close, the riders all watched the replay on a giant screen to see how the shares had been spoiled.

"I took Greiple's wheel, so it could have been better," Sagan joked afterwards.

"Second is better than third," he added.

Asked what he needed to beat Gaviria, Sagan was again quick with a quip.

"Better legs!" he said. "He's faster than me and that's okay. Lets see tomorrow how he does where there's a bit of climbing."

Despite the late fall in the peloton, overnight leader Greg van Avermaet of BMC held on to the race leader's yellow jersey.

"We are happy to have kept the yellow," said Belgian Van Avermaet.

"I hope it brings us luck in the semifinal," he added in reference to the World Cup semifinal later Tuesday which pitches Belgium against France.

Van Avermaet would normally be one of the favourites to clinch Wednesday's hilly run to Quimper, but will face a stiff challenge for the jersey.

"It's the first big stage of this kind and we are going to see time difference in the overall standings, it just depends who wants to go for it," he said.

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