Cycling: Sciandri and Boardman set for hard slog

The line between misery and triumph is a fine thread in major bike racing, and Sunday's British round of the World Cup, the Rochester International Classic in Kent, is sure to twang that thread.

Rochester's most celebrated resident, Charles Dickens, would have found several story-lines somewhere among a record line-up of 152 riders who endure a season stretching from February to October.

Max Sciandri, however, would rather not relate too much about last year in Leeds. With only Andrea Ferrigato to beat he made a hash of his opportunity for a second victory in the British round, and went missing when it was time to face the public on the podium.

As the embarrassment faded, Sciandri, British by birth and racing licence but still proudly Italian, could claim that a first and a second in consecutive years is hardly failure.

Similarly there was his Atlanta experience when faced with two to beat for Olympic gold in the road race, Sciandri was outflanked. It was still Britain's first Olympic road race medal for 40 years.

Winning is what matters, and Sciandri will be motivated for his one and only appearance before "home" crowds when the Classic leaves the shadow of Rochester Castle.

This year the Cup scene has switched from the Yorkshire moorlands to the Garden of England where point-pickers may find the flatter terrain yields more for faster finishers than hard sloggers.

Dickens campaigned in his novels against suffering and misery. He wrote Hard Times and Sunday will provide more as the 242.3 kilometre (150 mile) race unfolds on the roads of Kent, but Chris Boardman has had harder times, and they are still not over.

Rebuilding after injuring his neck and pulling out of the Tour de France, Boardman has been training in North Wales this week.

Two days after his Rochester appearance, Boardman starts the four-day Tour du Limousin in France then goes on to next weekend's World Cup round, the Grand Prix Suisse in Zurich.

His real goal is the world time trial championship in Spain in October, and before that three exacting weeks in the Tour of Spain.

It was in Spain last Sunday that Rolf Sorensen snatched back the Cup lead as he stepped up his hunt for points. "I am going all out in the August races. After that I will know what my chances are," said the Dane.

Apart from Sunday's race he has another August opportunity in the GP Suisse. He has taken points from all six rounds, and leads by 16 from Italy's Michele Bartoli, who nudged him from the top position in April.

Twice he has finished third overall, and in 1991 a Tour de France crash ended his hopes of retaining the Cup leader's jersey.

Sorensen's need to pile up the points is matched only by the desire of the world champion, Johan Museeuw, for victory. His dreams of a hat-trick in the series faded rapidly when the Belgian scored in only two of the earlier rounds.

Bjarne Riis, too, has endured the highs and lows. A year after he was hailed as Denmark's first Tour de France winner, the Dane suffered a stomach ailment that brought him close to quitting the 1997 Tour.

He comes to Rochester with a Cup victory in April's Amstel Gold race, but little hope of another 100 points maximum after an exhausting Tour.

There is a sad end, too, for the Classic organisers. After nine years Britain is losing its place on the Cup calendar to a German race.

ROCHESTER FACT FILE

City centre timetable

08.15 Signing on at race start, the Esplanade in Rochester city centre. 09.20 Riders assemble at start line. 09.30 RACE START. 10.30 Bollywood Band in concert. 10.22 Race re-enters finishing circuit. 10.50 Samba group and Brazilian dancers in concert. 11.15 Invicta Rig Show commences. 12.00 Signing on for Rochester City Centre Grand Prix. 12.30 City Centre Grand Prix starts. 13.30 City Centre Grand Prix finishes. 13.40 Samba Bangra Meltdown in concert. 14.00 Rochester International Classic live on giant screen. 14.12 Race Cavalcade arrives. 15.04 Rochester International Classic first passage through city centre. 15.15 Second passage. 15.25 Third passage. 15.36 Scheduled race finish. 15.45 Presentations. 16.00 Air Display by Royal Navy Swordfish and Sukhoi Aerobatic Duo.

Estimated times of

arrival on the course

(time given is for the main field; the cavalcade will arrive 20 minutes earlier)

9.50 High Halstow. 10.04 Station Road. 10.15 Brompton Farm Road. 10.22 Back into the Esplanade (sprint). 10.25 Shorts Way. 10.35 Burham Village. 10.45 Aylesford village. 10.53 Tonbridge Road (A26). 11.01 Ewell Lane (B2163). 11.14 Marlpit. 11.20 Sutton Vallance. 11.49 Tenterden. 12.04 Wittersham. 12.17 Appledore. 12.30 A2070. 12.36 St Mary in the Marsh. 12.46 Newchurch. 13.00 Lower Wall Road. 13.06 Lympne Hill (climb). 13.15 Sellindge. 13.34 Petham. 13.47 A28. 13.52 Bilting. 13.55 White Hill (climb). 14.07 Charing. 14.18 Harrietsham. 14.34 Boxley Hill (climb). 14.50 Capstone Road. 15.01 Borstal. 15.03 The Esplanade. 15.36 Race finish.

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat