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LA ROSIERE, June 10, 2018 (News Wires) - Team Sky's Welsh rider Geraint Thomas cemented his control of the Criterium du Dauphine after finishing second and penultimate stage won by Spaniard Pello Bilbao.

Bilbao made his move late on during the gruelling stage that is almost the same as stage 11 in the Tour de France next month, with four major climbs and a summit finish at la Rosiere. Thomas came in second, managing to put further valuable seconds between himself and his rivals for the yellow leader.

Briton Adam Yates, riding for Mitchelton, is second overall, 1min 29sec behind Thomas. France's Romain Bardet, of AG2R, jumped to third from seventh overnight and is at 2min 01sec.

"It wasn't ideal but AG2R rode really well, they really took the race on and put us under pressure," Thomas said.

"Fortunately we've got such a strong team that if one guy's not so good, another guy steps up. Tao and Castro (teammates Tao Geoghegan Hart and Jonathan Castroviejo) were really good and fortunately we were always just in control. We never panicked - but fair play to AG2R for taking the race on."

Thomas added to ITV: "I always felt in control, I always felt pretty good, but I didn't want to get too carried away (on the final climb). It's easy to underestimate how far there is to go and I didn't want to go too early, die off, and lose time.

"Obviously there's a big day as well, so I tried to do the minimum and then at the end, I just thought 'I'll go for it and see what happens'. I managed to get a few more bonus seconds which is good."

FRANCE, June 7, 2018 (News Wires) - Sky dominated the team time trial on the third stage of the Dauphine du Criterium, rolling at a record average of 57kmh with a tailwind over the flat 35km course.

Sky's Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski, victim of a crash on Tuesday, regained the race leader's yellow jersey and now leads three teammates in the overall standings: Italian Gianni Moscon (at 3sec), Spaniard Jonathan Castroviejo (9) and Welshman Geraint Thomas (21).

Celebrations on Wednesday were a far cry from the end of the previous day which saw Kwiatkowski crash in the closing kilometres and the race leader was pleased he suffered no ill effects.

"It's a wonderful feeling to win as a team. We rode a perfect stage, technically and tactically, on the entire course," the Pole said.

"I'm so happy that I got no major issues after the crash yesterday. If I could have picked up one stage win in the Dauphine, I'd like it to be the TTT.

"It's a wonderful feeling to win as a team. We rode a perfect stage, technically and tactically, on the entire course."

The Sky outfit finished a whopping 37sec ahead of second-placed BMC, with Lotto in third, at 52sec, and Australian team Mitchelton in fourth (56).

Thomas called Team Sky's effort "fluid and fast".

"It's probably one of Team Sky's best time trials ever," he said.

"Now we have four hard stages ahead of us and we'll see how it goes. But we'll defend the jersey. We've got several cards to play but it'll still be difficult to win, that's for sure."

Thursday's 181km fourth stage runs from Chazey-sur-Ain to Lans-en-Vercors and features a gruelling climb of the Col du Mont Noir and steep ascent into Vercors.

FRANCE, June 6, 2018 (News Wires) - South African Daryl Impey took the leader's yellow jersey off crash-victim Michal Kwiatkowski as Germany's Pascal Ackermann of the Bora team sprinted to victory on Tuesday's second stage of the Criterium du Dauphine.

Kwiatkowski, Sky's Polish rider who won Sunday's opening time trial prologue, came off his bike after lashing rain left slick patches in the final two kilometres of the 181km stage between Montbrison and Belleville, but managed to finish.

Impey, winner of Monday's first stage and second overall ahead of this stage, rolled over the line for the Australian Mitchelton team in third behind Ackermann and Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen to take yellow.

Wednesday's third stage is a 35km team time-trial between Pont-de-Vaux and Louhans-Châteaurenaud and is expected to blow the standings apart.

The final four days are for the pure climbers with a summit finish every day on some of the most fearsome climbs in the Alps.

By: Salwa Samir

The “Cairo Cycling Geckos” are using the gecko as a symbol for their team, because of their skill at negotiating narrow alleyways, dodging zig-zagging tok-toks, piles of garbage and herds of sheep as they ride here and there on their colourful bicycles, doing their charity work.

The Cairo Cycling Geckos (CCG) is an initiative that started in Ramadan, 2016, with the aim of providing Iftar (a sunset meal that breaks the fast) for those in need and for refugees living in the country. The food is delivered by young Egyptian women on their bikes.  

Noran Salah, the founder of the initiative, said that the story began when she was encouraged to take up cycling as a hobby.

“I noticed some people were astonished to see me riding a bike and there was some verbal harassment.  This made me determined to encourage other girls to go cycling and that is how I started my initiative,” Salah told the Egyptian Mail.

Her initiative is special because, not only does it encourage women to ride bikes, it encourages them to do charity work.  On different occasions throughout the year, the cycling team roams the alleyways of poor neighbourhoods in Cairo, to help the people living in the area.

In Ramadan, for example, the women cyclists provide Iftar meals to those in need. On mothers’ day, they give presents to mothers, at feast-time they give toys to children and in winter they distribute blankets.

Salah needed to provide the volunteer women with several bikes, so they could carry out the charity work. In the beginning, she looked for people who had bikes she could borrow, but she could not find any.
She asked for help on her Facebook page.

“A young woman introduced me to Bescletta, a company that sells the most prestigious brands of bikes. I sent them a formal proposal, and they quickly replied that they were ready to support me when they knew that I would use the bikes for charity,” she said.

From the first day of Ramadan, Salah has been asking for donations in her posts on her Facebook page. She keeps the page followers updated as to where the team will go and where they will meet before setting out, so anyone who wants to, can join them.  

Salah has other charitable ideas that she has implemented. At suhour time, she prepares sandwiches with various fillings such as cheese, egg, foul and other delicious ingredients and sells each sandwich for LE10 in classy areas. She tells people that the proceeds will go to charity.  

"Some people pay LE100 for a sandwich just to support us,” Salah, who works as an interior designer, said happily.

Salah uses the proceeds and the donations she collects through her Facebook page to buy food boxes from Syrian, Sudanese and Eritrean women refugees.
“We then distribute these boxes as Iftar meals to poor people,” she said.

Noha Hesham joined the initiative as a volunteer. Before hearing of the bike team, she had never ridden a bike, but she wanted to learn, in order to join in the charity work.

She joined the initiative last year.

“When we go to a shanty town, we find out where the old people and the neediest people live. Sometimes we go to the area more than once, if that is what is needed,” she told the Mail.

She does not face any harassment by the people in these poor areas, so she assures girls that it is safe to join the team.

«When people know that we are coming to distribute food and other essentials, they help us find the neediest people in their neighbourhood and even pray for us,” Hesham said.

“I believe that when people see you doing something good, they will do their best to support you,” she said.

ROME, May 25, 2018 (News Wires) - Giro d'Italia leader Simon Yates buckled then rallied as his rivals took turns to attack him on the final steep climb to a summit finish on stage 18, which was won by Germany's Max Schachmann after a long breakaway.

As the main contenders came up the final 18km climb, long after the 24-year-old Schachmann had finished, defending champion Tom Dumoulin made the first bid to drop Yates, who initially stuck to his wheel with about 1.5km to go.

Then, on a gravelly surface devoid of tarmac, pre-race favourite Chris Froome launched a spectacular assault and was followed by Dumoulin and third placed Domenico Pozzovivo while Yates was unable to answer.

A haggard looking Yates dug deep however and limited the damage, crossing the finish line 28 seconds adrift of Dumoulin and Froome thereby maintaining half his advantage. Yates holds a 28-second lead over the Dutchman in the overall standings with two brutal mountain stages still to contest.

Pozzovivo is third at 2min 43sec and Froome remains fourth at 3 min 22 sec.

Schachmann had been part of a ten rider escape group that opened a lead of over 14 minutes on the main contenders at the start of the final climb.

The Quick Step man won easily in the end, a fifth stage on this Giro for the Belgian team, as he outsprinted Spain's Ruben Plaza.

ROME, May 23, 2018 (News Wires) - Britain's Simon Yates retained the Giro d'Italia leader's pink jersey after Tuesday's 16th stage individual time-trial at Rovereto in northern Italy which was won by Australian Rohan Dennis.

Yates, 25, limited the damage on defending champion Tom Dumoulin, who remains 56sec behind the Briton going into the crucial, final week of racing.

Mitchelton–Scott rider Yates said he was satisfied with his day after finishing the 34.2km stage from Trento to Rovereto in 22nd position.

"I'm very happy even if I have to be careful in the stages to come," he added of the race which finishes in Rome in five days.

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome also had a good day in the saddle moving to up fourth overall after finishing fifth, 35sec behind the Australian.

And the Team Sky rider warned the final week could see some surprises despite being 3min 50sec off compatriot Yates who looks increasingly difficult to beat.

"I think it's all to race for. Simon has been untouchable so far, so it will be interesting to see how he goes after the time-trial and he goes in this last block, but I can't see anyone taking that jersey off his shoulders," said the 33-year-old.

"Still a lot could happen in this race. The parcours leads to some very aggressive racing, so let's see."

BMC rider Dennis is now sixth overall, five minutes behind Yates.

"This is a big day for me to jump back into the top ten," said the Australian.

"I really wanted to come here to win a stage.

"I just have to hold on for as long as possible. There's going to be guys trying to do crazy things in the last week."

Dennis, 27, finished 14sec ahead of Germany's Tony Martin of Katusha–Alpecin with Dumoulin of Team Sunweb third at 22sec off the pace.

It was the first Giro stage win for the rider from Adelaide who finished second in the opening stage time-trial in Jerusalem behind Dumoulin, and adds to his stage wins on the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana.

Overall leader Yates lost less time to second-placed defending champion Dumoulin than many observers had predicted.

"I felt good in the first half. I had a good rhythm," said Yates.

"I was trying to hold on to my position. But I died in the final 10 kilometres.

"Being in the lead after the time-trial changes my tactics for the remaining stages.

"Unfortunately for the fans, I might be more defensive. I'd like to have a bigger gap but I'm very satisfied with where I stand now."

Italian climber Fabio Aru, who had looked out of the race after losing 20 minutes on Sunday, created the big surprise of the day as he achieved the best time-trial of his career finishing just two seconds behind Froome.

But France's Thibaut Pinot lost more than three minutes on the stage winner to drop to fifth overall, 1min 8sec off Italy's Domenico Pozzovivo who occupies the final podium position.

"I wasn't good, I had no power. From the start I felt I wasn't great," said Pinot who posted the 66th best time.

Wednesday's 17th stage over 155km from Riva del Garda to Iseo, east of Milan, should suit the sprinters.

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