Australia’s track cyclists ‘quicker than ever’ but Olympic expectations remain unclear | Kieran Pender

Athletes are gearing up for Tokyo after recent disappointments and a racing-free calendar over the past 15 months

It was a combative tweet. Four days after Australia had left the 2020 UCI Track World Championships in Berlin with just three medals (and not a single gold), Simon Jones – AusCycling’s performance director – sent a message to the world. “To all those key board experts out there – fuck you,” he wrote. “We got a great team of riders, coaches, support and sponsors. Bring on Tokyo team.”

The tweet, and Jones’ Twitter account, were soon deleted. But the incident underscored the fraught politics in the shadows of elite cycling. If Jones’s riders succeed at the 2021 Olympics, the Englishman will be vindicated. If Australia fails to perform on the track and road, he might be out of a job. The legacy of his four-year rebuilding project hangs in the balance, to be determined by millisecond margins in the Olympic velodrome.

Related: Richie Porte wins Criterium du Dauphine with Geraint Thomas third

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Richie Porte wins Criterium du Dauphine with Geraint Thomas third

  • Porte the first Australian winner for 36 years
  • Thomas recovers from fall during final stage

Richie Porte claimed his first Criterium du Dauphine victory while Ineos Grenadiers teammate Geraint Thomas was able to recover from a fall to claim a spot on the podium.

The two-time runner-up Porte became the first Australian to win the race in 36 years after a controlled 147-kilometre final stage through the Haute-Savoie Alps to Les Getts.

Related: Egan Bernal seals Giro d’Italia title after final time trial stage in Milan

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Richie Porte takes lead in Critérium du Dauphiné with one stage to go

  • Stage seven goes to Mark Padun after mountain test
  • Geraint Thomas into third behind Alexey Lutsenko

Mark Padun won stage seven of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Saturday as Richie Porte moved into the overall lead and Ineos Grenadiers teammate Geraint Thomas rose to third.

A fine finish by Padun (Bahrain Victorious) saw the Ukrainian move to the front with around five kilometres of the 171.5km mountain stage from Saint-Martin-Le-Venoux to La Plagne to go. He crossed the line 34 seconds ahead of Australia’s Porte, while Miguel Ángel López (Movistar) and Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) were third and fourth respectively, a further nine seconds back.

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