Even Longer Ago in Conquista's Beautiful World . . .

DAN MONAGHAN - BRITISH CYCLING NATIONAL ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS, 2016: TIME TRIAL
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Dan Monaghan, star photographer and provider of the cover image for Conquista issue 11, was in Stockton-on-Tees yesterday to see Alex Dowsett of Movistar became British National Time Trial Champion for the fifth time in six years. It took no less a rider than Sir Bradley Wiggins to beat him in 2014.
 
An extraordinary achievement: we only hope he isn't in it for the money.
  
Find out why we say this, and see Dan's images, here.
 
POLEMIC - ON THE DESIRABILITY OF A WOMEN'S TOUR DE FRANCE
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Following the great success of the Aviva Women's Tour, our friends at Rouleur magazine called for ASO to organise a Women's Tour de France "worthy of these athletes' talents".
We're not sure this is such a great idea - but not because the women aren't worthy. Au contraire . . .
To find out more, check out our latest Polemic here.
CHRIS WILLIAMS - IN THEORY . . .
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When we saw him last, Chris Williams of Team Novo Nordisk was wrestling with the effects of incessant intercontinental travel. Now arrived in the Far East for the Tour of Korea, Chris is faced with the impenetrable logic of Asian road racing.
Read the latest entry in his blog, The Williams Way, here.
 Image: ©Kim Daebong
AVIVA WOMEN'S TOUR, STAGE 1
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The 2016 Aviva Women’s Tour got underway yesterday, with the peloton tackling a fast flat stage that ran from the seafront in sunny Southwold to the centre of Norwich.
The race forms part of the UCI Women's WorldTour – the very highest level of the women’s sport. So it was no surprise to see it draw an extremely strong field, including UCI Road World Champion Lizzie Armistead, the legendary Marianne Vos, 2015 winner Lisa Brennauer, Team GB’s Emma Pooley, and a string of national champions.
And once again the UK demonstrated its insatiable appetite for bicycle racing, with thousands turning out at the roadside to enjoy the sunshine, the atmosphere and the action, as Luxembourg’s Christine Majerus outsprinted an exasperated Vos to take the yellow jersey.
Take a look at our gallery from Stage 1 here.
TOUR SERIES, CROYDON
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Last night the Pearl Izumi Tour Series brought criterium racing to the centre of Croydon. Large crowds saw Jon Mould of JLT Condor win the men’s race – for the sixth time this season – though it was Madison Genesis who took the team prize. In the women’s race it was Grace Garner of Podium Ambition who prevailed in the final sprint, after her spirited attempt at a solo breakaway had been reeled in by the pack.
Take a look at our galleries from the men’s and women’s races here.
CHRIS WILLIAMS - TIME TRAVEL . . .
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Azerbaijan, California, Estonia, and now Korea, each time via home in Spain . . . After changing time zones seven times in three weeks, Chris Williams of Team Novo Nordisk is struggling for some shut-eye.
Manfully resisting the Shame of Decaf, he stops Crushing Candy and counting sheep long enough to provide another entry in his blog - The Williams Way. Read it here.
Team Novo Nordisk: the world’s first all diabetes pro cycling team
Image: © Kim Daebong
 
DAN MONAGHAN - NWRR
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The 2016 North West Regional Road Race Championships returned to the hills of the Trough of Bowland on the 4th June using the 10.5 mile (7 Laps) Oakenclough circuit. The weather was hot and the 2016 edition saw the first ever standalone women's championship race.
 
Dan Monaghan, who has provided a stunning gallery of images from Paris-Roubaix for Conquista issue 11 (including our cover) went right back to the grass roots of the sport to cover this unique event.
 
Check out his gallery here.
 
CHRIS AULD - TOUR SERIES, STOKE-ON-TRENT
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Last Thursday the UK's Pearl Izumi Tour Series moved to Stoke-on-Trent, where Chris Lawless of JLT Condor took the win, ahead of Rory Townsend of Pedal Heaven in second place and JLT Condor teammate Ali Slater in third.
 
 Check out the latest in Chris Auld's series of Tour Series galleries here.   
 
HOLLY BLADES - CRITÉRIUM DU DAUPHINÉ
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"The Critérium du Dauphiné takes place in the mountainous South East part of France, and is therefore perfect training ground for the Tour de France, which takes place usually about a month later, as riders can test their legs on mountain passes that they may be using in four weeks time, such as the Col du Galibier, the Col d'Izoard, the Col de la Madeleine, and the big daddy, Mont Ventoux - which at 7.5% over 21.8km, can essentially give all the other climbs a wedgie and steal their lunch money if it wants to."
 
As this is the week of the Critérium du Dauphiné, we asked Holly Blades to provide us with a brief history of the race. She has obliged . . . as only she knows how. Take a look here.
 
You can read more from Holly in Conquista issue 10 - available now.
 
LONDON NOCTURNE 2016
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The MR PORTER London Nocturne took over the Square Mile last night, moving to a new 1.6km circuit around St. Paul's Cathedral. 
 
In the MR PORTER Elite Criterium, after several laps of cat and mouse ahead of the pack, JLT Condor's Chris Lawless just edged out Owain Doull of Team Wiggins.
 
In a contrasting JLT Elite Criterium, Alice Barnes of Drops Cycling Team produced a breathtakingly decisive kick with a full ten minutes to go, finishing a minute ahead of the field. Nikki Juniper of Team Ford Ecoboost won the sprint for second place over Claire Rose of Podium Ambition.
 
The action was no less intense elsewhere - notably in the Penny Farthing Race, and especially the hipster-heavy, fixed-gear, no-brakes Mango Bikes Criterium.  
 
Take a look at our gallery here
 
CHRIS AULD - PEARL IZUMI TOUR SERIES, DURHAM
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There was high drama as the UK’s Pearl Izumi Tour Series reached Durham earlier this week. After a storming ride, and with just a lap and a half to go, Tom Stewart of Madison Genesis had a commanding lead when he suffered a dropped chain, allowing Jon Mould of JLT-Condor to slip through for the win. Raleigh GAC took the team prize on the night with four riders in the top ten.
Photographer Chris Auld was on hand to capture all the atmosphere and action for Conquista. Check out his gallery here.
THE WILLIAMS WAY - CHARACTER BUILDING . . .
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In his last blog entry, Chris Williams of Team Novo Nordisk had just been called up to ride in the Amgen Tour of California. His initial excitement wore off as he eyed the stage profiles with some dismay. This week, he describes the experience of actually riding the race as . . . character building.
Read the latest entry in his blog, The Williams Way, here.
CHRIS AULD - PEARL IZUMI TOUR SERIES, EDINBURGH
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The Pearl Izumi Tour Series will bring circuit racing to ten town and city centres around the UK before finishing in Portsmouth on June 9th. Chris Auld, one of our favourite photographers, was in Edinburgh to capture the action and atmosphere from Round 3 – despite the wet weather. Check out his gallery here.
 
THE WILLIAMS WAY: "YEAH . . . NAH"
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While racing at the Tour d’Azerbaijan for Team Novo Nordisk, Conquista blogger Chris Williams got the call-up for this week’s Amgen Tour of California. He was excited . . . until he saw the stage profiles. The Aussies have a saying for this sort of thing: “Yeah . . . Nah”.
Find out more in his new blog here.
TRIXI WORRACK ON HER COMEBACK PLANS
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After undergoing emergency surgery on her left kidney in March, CANYON//SRAM rider Trixi Worrack is back on the bike and making steady progress in her comeback. The current German national road champion is aiming to make a return to racing and still holds racing at the Rio Olympics as her next big goal. 
Find out more here.
 
CLIFFORD & NIGEL DISCUSS . . . THE TOUR DE YORKSHIRE
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Originally we were planning a trip report to go with our Tour de Yorkshire galleries. Well, we can do better than that. While hanging out on Sutton Bank, we bumped into our old friends Clifford & Nigel, and listened in on their conversation about this great event.
See what they made of God's Own Race here. Oh, and if you haven’t met the lads before, you can find out more about them here.
TOUR DE YORKSHIRE - DAY 3
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Huge numbers turned out in Scarborough to see Tommy Voeckler of Direct Énergie take the stage and the overall victory, just ahead of Nico Roche of Team Sky - who wasn't too disappointed to remember to check his Garmin as he crossed the finish line.
 
Friend of Conquista Nathan Haas of Dimension Data was delighted, and surprised, to win the KOM jersey. We capture the "moment" he realized his triumph.
  
Rather fewer spectators turned out at the feed zone - but they still outnumbered the solitary soigneur and tea wallah from Orica Greenedge.   
  
Take a look at our gallery of stage 3 here
TOUR DE YORKSHIRE - DAY 2
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We were at the start in Otley . . . we were there to see the peloton flash past at Conisbrough Castle . . . and we were there for the rain-soaked climax in Doncaster, where Danny van Poppel of Team Sky emerged victorious after a photo finish.
 
You can enjoy our gallery from Day 2 here.
TOUR DE YORKSHIRE - WOMEN'S RACE
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Today the women's peloton graced God's Own County as they took on the route from Otley to Doncaster. Kirsten Wild of Hitec-Products powered to an impressive win.
The TV cameras missed it, but we didn't. Check out our gallery here.
POLEMIC - WHO WILL MANAGE THE MANAGERS?
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"You're very talented, but . . . what is talent? TALENT IS BULLSHIT!"
 
We may not have reached the highest levels of the sport of cycling, but we do have some experience of working in high-pressure, high-performance environments. See what we make of the latest allegations about sexism and bullying at British Cycling here.
 
TOUR DE YORKSHIRE - DAY 1
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Conquista is at the Tour de Yorkshire this weekend. Day 1 saw Dylan Groenewegen of LottoNL-Jumbo take victory in a sprint finish in Settle, in front of a packed crowd of fans and cycling celebs. Take a look at our gallery here.   
PETROS GKOTSIS - UCI GRAN FONDO, RHODES
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The UCI Grand Fondo Series is a new reincarnation of an old idea. Have the weekend warriors of the world try their luck at events designed specifically for them. Regular contributor and ace photographer Petros Gkotsis was in Rhodes to capture the sun, scenery and all the fun for Conquista.

We know how much you all enjoy Petros's work, so this time we've created a huge gallery of his pictures - and what's more, we've given them the widescreen treatment. For the full effect, click here.
DREAM SEEKER RACING TEAM
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Yudai Nitta, Keirin GP 2015 finalist, 2012 London Olympian and star interviewee of Conquista issue 10 has announced the launch of Dream Seeker Racing Team, a completely new concept in team track cycling. 
 
Dream Seeker’s concept of cooperation, mutual support, youth development and global promotion is completely original in track cycling, and Conquista applauds it unreservedly (though we think the suits may need some work.)
Read more about it, with pictures from the launch, here.
LIÈGE-BASTOGNE-LIÈGE CHALLENGE RIDE 2015
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Sunday sees the last and greatest of the Ardennes Classics, and the oldest Monument of all – Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Sometimes known as “La Doyenne”, sometimes as “The Queen of the Classics”, intrepid Conquista Editor Trevor Gornall had some other words for it after he completed the 170 miles of 2015’s LBL Challenge Ride. Don’t miss his unique account of a day of Ricecakes, Rain & Ratios – an all-time Conquista classic.
CHRIS WILLIAMS - THE WILLIAMS WAY
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Chris Williams is one of the more unusual riders in the pro peloton. For one thing, he started out as a triathlete. For another, he didn't even take up triathlon until he was a student. For yet another, he actually finished his studies, and has a college degree. And finally, like all the riders from Team Novo Nordisk, he is living proof that diabetes is no obstacle to a career at the highest level of professional sport.

Perhaps not surprisingly then, Chris has a unique perspective on life in pro cycling. He'll be sharing his adventures with us this season in a regular blog, The Williams Way. By way of introduction, Chris has written a short account of his unconventional path into the peloton. Check it out here.
MARK McNALLY - THEIR ANGEL WAS WITH THEM
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We have written extensively about our admiration for Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert. So Conquista was delighted to see them enjoy their biggest ever race victory at Amstel Gold, courtesy of team leader Enrico Gasparotto. Conquista star blogger Mark McNally was on hand to do a sterling job for his captain . . . even though less than 48 hours earlier he was a thousand kilometres away, in deepest, darkest Brittany, expecting to take part in the wonderful, if slightly less exalted, Tour du Finistère and Tro Bro Léon. Read Macca's account of the team’s triumph, and his own travels, in his latest blog here.
PETROS GKOTSIS - ATTICA RACE
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The Greek Veteran Cyclists' Union (PEPA) organizes the annual Attica Race, which runs from the Parthenon in Athens to the Poseidon Temple at Sounion. There are no elite athletes involved - just a lot of committed cyclists, many of them newcomers to racing, all having a great time. The scenery isn’t bad either. 

Petros Gkotsis was there for Conquista: take a look at our gallery of his shots here, complete with commentary from top Greek TT star Neofytos Sakellaridis-Mangouras.  You can find more of Petros's work at his website petrosgkotsis.gr.
DAN MONAGHAN - PARIS-ROUBAIX
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2016's edition of Paris-Roubaix was one of the great races of recent times.  Orica-Greenedge's Matt Hayman used all his experience and roadcraft to take the win from a final group that included the more heavily favoured Sep VanmarckeIan Stannard, Edvald Boasson-Hagen and Tom Boonen, who was aiming for a record-breaking fifth victory.
 
Photographer Dan Monaghan was there to capture all the atmosphere and action for Conquista.  We'll have a lot more of Dan's fantastic pictures to share, both online and in a feature we're planning for Conquista issue 11, but you can find our first gallery of his shots here
CANYON//SRAM RACING
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CANYON//SRAM Racing is home to some of the most exciting riders in the women's peloton, including Lisa Brennauer, Elena Cecchini and Tiffany Cromwell.  You can follow their progress this season via their team blog here at Conquista, accompanied by some great photos courtesy of Velofocus.   
 
You can also keep up with the team at their website wmncycling.com and via Twitter @WMNcycling.
 
CHRIS AULD - MATRIX PRO CYCLING TEAM LAUNCH
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Matrix Pro Cycling plays host to a number of star riders, including UCI World & Olympic Champion Laura Trott, fellow UCI World Champion Elinor Barker, and double UCI World Paracycling Champions Corrine Hall and Lora Turnham.  
 
Matrix used its recent team launch party not only to introduce its 2016 line-up but also to raise funds for Team Rwanda and especially their remarkable female star Jeanne d'Arc. 
    
Photographer Chris Auld was there for Conquista and did his usual brilliant job of capturing the evening’s events and the team’s characters. Check out his gallery, and learn more about Matrix Pro Cycling, here.
TOUR OF FLANDERS 2016
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The 2016 Tour of Flanders stood out for a number of reasons.  Peter Sagan won his first Monument with a display of athletic and tactical brilliance, putting the lie to both the "curse of the rainbow jersey" and his own image as the new "eternal second".
 
Of course, there is another wearer of the famous jersey who has been making a mockery of the "curse" since the start of the season.  Women's UCI Road World Champion Lizzie Armitstead followed victories in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche and Trofeo Binda by edging out Emma Johannsen for the victory in Flanders, completing an extraordinary rainbow-striped double on the day.
 
Conquista got the inside track on this year's race from CANYON//SRAM Racing, home to some of the biggest stars in the women's peloton.  Check out our report here.
 
ANTOINE DEMOITIÉ 1990-2016
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It was with great sorrow that Conquista learned earlier today of the death of Antoine Demoitié of Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert following a crash in yesterday's edition of Gent-Wevelgem.  Earlier this year Conquista was invited to attend the team's preseason training camp, and we have also been lucky enough to host the blog of Team WGG's Mark McNally.  Through these and other experiences we have come to respect and admire Team WGG very much.  Along with the rest of the cycling community, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to Antoine's family, friends and teammates. 
 
To see what Conquista made of yesterday's tragic events, see our Polemic here.
TEAM NOVO NORDISK
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Regular readers will be aware that we have a lot of love for Team Novo Nordisk and all they do for diabetes awareness. We featured this unique collection of individuals in Issue 5 - with a 20-page piece 'Hungry for Sweet Success', which you can now read in the Archive section of our website. We also caught-up with the team at the Tour of Britain last year - which you can see in our online feature Return to Tour of Britain in the News section of our website.
 
For the duration of this season we will be bringing you regular updates from within the TNN camp. We kick-off with some insight to their approach and performance at the first monument of the 2016 season, the great Milan-Sanremo.
 
Conquista spoke to the team before the action started to understand their goals & strategy for the race and beyond. You can see the interviews here: Milan-Sanremo Pre Race Interviews.
 
We also conducted a post-race review which you can see here: Milan-Sanremo Race Report.
TIRRENO-ADRIATICO - HOLLY BLADES
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Today sees the start of the 51st Edition of Tirreno-Adriatico.  To celebrate, Conquista asked Holly Blades to run the slide rule over the various incarnations of this wonderful event.  Oh, and did we mention it features the most kick-ass trophy in world sport?  Take a look here.
UCI TRACK WORLDS 2016 - CHRIS AULD
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2016's UCI Track Worlds at the Lee Valley Velopark ended in triumph for Team GB, who topped the medal table.  Dominant performances from Laura Trott and Jason Kenny bode well for the Olympics, and a superb gold for Jon Dibben in the points race may put him in pole position to take the Omnium berth in Rio.  However, nothing could quite compare with the sight of Cav & Wiggo rolling back the years to win the madison, almost bringing the roof off the Olympic velodrome in the process.  Chris Auld was there for Conquista: check out his gallery of Team GB's Triumphs here
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Successful though they were, the team went through plenty of stresses and strains on the way.  The men's pursuit team were beaten in the final by arch-rivals Australia, their female counterparts put in a ragged performance early on before redeeming themselves by taking bronze with the fastest performance of the week, and Mark Cavendish finished outside the medals in the omnium.  Even Team GB's medal winners felt the pressure at times.  Have a look at Chris's second gallery here
UCI TRACK WORLDS 2016
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On the morning of Friday 4th March Conquista was at the Lee Valley Velopark to see the action in the early rounds of the Men's Individual Pursuit, where a sockless Owain Doull made an impressive catch in his heat, and the Men's Match Sprint, where Olympic gold medallist Jason Kenny featured alongside France's Grégory Baugé.  Have a look at our gallery here.
KEIRIN GALLERIES - BRIAN HODES
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Issue 10 of Conquista contains a huge feature on the fascinating phenomenon of keirin racing, with stunning pictures of 2015’s Keirin Grand Prix from Brian Hodes. Never before has a foreign photographer been granted such unrestricted access to this huge event; we’ve created a series of galleries showcasing Brian’s pictures, which are available exclusively at Conquista.  
Appetite whetted?  Baffled?  To make sense of it all, see Conquista issue 10.
 

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