Category Archives: Sport

Tennis equality

Caution – minefield ahead!

I know this is an explosive subject, but I’m afraid I’ll self-combust if I don’t add my fourpenny worth. Which is a whole lot less than any professional tennis player – male or female – gets for lacing up their highly sponsored shoes these days.

The hoary old argument about equal pay in tennis has been reignited by the crass comments from Raymond Moore, a 69 year-old South African and former player himself. As Chief Executive of Indian Wells, the most recent venue on the professional tour, he said: “the women’s game rides on the coat-tails of the men. Female players should get down on their knees every day in thanks to Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.”

He’s no longer the Chief Executive. But he has apologised.

The words he chose to express his opinion were really stupid. The point he was trying to make isn’t.

Serena Williams, the modern game’s most successful female player, and Martina Navratilova, an all-time great, piled in to cut off Mr Moore’s head and stick it on the umpire’s chair, in the midday heat. Martina said his comments were “extremely prejudiced”, and threatened that female players would boycott Indian Wells in future if Mr Moore didn’t resign.

But Novak Djokovic, the Serbian world number one mens player, came out fighting…as he always does.

Winner at Indian Wells again this year, he said: “male tennis players should earn more money than their female counterparts because more people watch them play.”

He also commented: “women fought for what they deserve and they got it”, but he claimed prize money should be “fairly distributed based on who attracts more attention, spectators and who sells more tickets”.

There has been equal prize money in all four Grand Slam events – the Australian Open, US Open, French Open and Wimbledon – since 2007, and combined Masters events such as Indian Wells and Miami pay the same to men and women.

But is that really appropriate…or just another example of political correctness winning out over common sense?

Let’s look at some facts:

  • the UK TV viewing numbers for the Wimbledon finals in 2015 were: mens’ 9.2 million; womens’ 4.3 million
  • in the 2014 Wimbledon finals, another epic battle between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic went the distance – 5 sets – and lasted 4 minutes short of 4 hours; in the ladies’ final, Petra Kvitova defeated Eugenie Bouchard 6-3 6-0 in 55 minutes
  • prices for resold tickets for the women’s match were less than 20% of the men’s
  • Djokovich & Kvitova each won £1.76m – £7,457 for each minute played by Novak, and a whopping £32,000 for every 60 seconds Petra was on court that day in SW19

Sure, I’m being selective with my statistics, but the key point remains: women play a maximum of 3 sets in Grand Slams, men play 5. If women also played 5, an equal job would clearly justify equal pay. Just like it does – rightly so – in the workplace, or any other arena of modern life.

Matthew Syed – the excellent Sunday Times journalist – lays bare the madness of equal tennis pay in his bravely worded article yesterday:

There is a “vast gulf in interest that exists between the men’s and women’s game. The latest WTA (womens’) media deal is worth £365 million over ten years; the ATP (mens’) is estimating £904 million revenues over the same period.”

“Every right-minded person would agree that a woman should earn the same as a man for doing the same job, say in an office. But top male players are effectively doing a different job. They are persuading more of the public to pay through the turnstiles and on TV. Why should they have to cede this income to female counterparts?”

“And what would this mean beyond tennis? Should top-flight female footballers, who secure gates of a few hundred, earn the same as men, who play in front of tens of thousands and have secured multibillion-pound TV deals? And let us look at the reverse perspective too. Would it not be absurd for Gisele Bündchen to give up her income to male models who earn less, just because they have the same formal job title?”

See, I told you it was dangerous ground.

(image courtesy of dreamstime.com).

Ultimately, market forces and common sense should surely prevail. But – in my humble opinion – in the sensitive area of equal pay for professional tennis players in major tournaments, they haven’t. Political correctness has won another game.

Ticket pricing

Australian Open 2016 Men’s final $395 for category 3 seating, Women’s final $195 for category 3 seating

French Open 2016 Men’s final from 130 euros, Women’s final from 85 euros

Wimbledon 2016 Men’s final from £160, Women’s final from £133

 

 

Tennis – and drugs

I love tennis.

Watching a close match between two top professionals at one of the Grand Slams is like seeing a gunslinging shoot-out in Dodge City. Or gladiators standing toe-to-toe in the Colosseum, until the death.

It’s raw, almost primeval, entertainment.

Often a draining experience for spectators, for the players it must be as physically – and mentally – exhausting as running a marathon. Or being Boris Johnson’s barber.

In a Grand Slam tournament, spread over two weeks, you should get a free day before your next match. But for Davis Cup ties, and regular tournaments, you could well be out on court the day after a gruelling gun fight.

So the ability of your creaking body to recover becomes critical.

Meldonium is used to treat ischaemia, a lack of blood flow to parts of the body. Particularly in cases of angina or heart failure. It carries more oxygen to blood tissue. It increases exercise capacity for athletes, and improves their recovery time.

Unless you’ve been shacked up at a Nick Bollettieri training camp all week, you’ll know that Maria Sharapova came clean, as it were, on Monday that she had tested positive for Meldonium at the Australian Open in January.

As a result, she has been provisionally suspended from the sport and is likely to receive a potentially career-ending ban.

But in a bravura media performance – worthy of an early nomination for next year’s Oscars? – she pleaded her innocence:

  • It was prescribed to me by my family doctor, and I’ve been taking it for 10 years. Really, Maria? Was that for your lifelong heart problem? Oh no, perhaps it was the family diabetes history. My, you’ve done well in the circumstances…
  • I knew it as mildronate, not meldonium. Oh, come on. You have a highly paid team of medics, nutritionists, physios and sports scientists on your Kremlin-sized payroll. They must have known that WADA had pre-warned in September 2015 it would be added to the banned substance list from 1st January 2016

Excuse my cynicism. It is possible that this has all been a terrible, innocent oversight. But Maria Sharapova has been the world’s highest paid female athlete – not just tennis player – for 10 years. She has a PR team that would devour Donald Trump’s…and he’s on the verge of becoming leader of the free world. She controls every aspect of her sweet Sugarpova life. Monday’s performance smacked of damage limitation, from the sombre black outfit, to the subdued lighting, and the mea culpa before the tennis authority’s own outing of her transgression.

Tennis is under pressure. At the Australian Open this year, a report from the BBC and Buzzfeed alleged that widespread match-fixing has been taking place. And that the authorities have been covering it up.

In the wake of the Sharapova Meldonium scandal, Rafa Nadal has had to deny ever taking performance-enhancing drugs. And people have drawn attention to the genteel nature of the sport 20 years ago – all wooden rackets and gentle rallies – compared with the modern game’s full-on, snarling, physical brutality.

I’m afraid I doubt Maria’s innocence. She should – and will – receive a ban. 4 years for confirmed abuse, 2 years if the independent review believes her back-story.

The game will miss her.

The real question is how much wider is performance-enhancing drug abuse.

And how can we now really know if Novak Djokovic’s 5-set victory over Andy Murray at the 2016 US Open Final in September – saving 4 match points in the 4th set before winning in a gruelling, gladiatorial match lasting almost 5 hours – is clean, or substance-enhanced?

 

Tottenham Hotspur – a long and painful love affair

I’ve supported Tottenham Hotspur Football Club for nigh on 60 years.

That’s a long time to remain faithful.

We lived in south east London in the 1960s, so if I’m honest my youthful commitment to the north London club probably had more to do with their recent success, than with geography.

Crystal Palace would have been the obvious choice, but they hadn’t won the famous Double – the gruelling old First Division championship and the still magical FA Cup – as Spurs had in 1960-61.

Besides, Palace were rubbish, only ascending to English football’s top table in 1969-70, and then only for a few seasons, before yo-yoing back down to the lower divisions.

No, I had pledged my young footballing soul to the Cockerel of White Hart Lane, and there was no turning back.

Unfortunately, the last 50 years for Spurs fans have been as frustrating as waiting for a politician to speak the unvarnished truth: they did once, but don’t hold your breath waiting for the next time….

Sure, we’ve had some sporadic success since those heady 1960s Glory Days:

  • League Cup wins in 1970-71 and 1972-73. But it was only the League Cup….
  • winning the inaugural UEFA Cup in 1972 at least gave me some temporary bragging rights in the school playground
  • back-to-back FA Cup wins in 1980-81 and 1981-82. Argentinian Ricky Villa won the first of those with a dazzling solo effort, before opting out of the 1982 final because of the ongoing Falklands War

A couple more isolated Cup wins followed, but it’s largely been a fallow harvest throughout my adult life. And completely barren as far as The Big One is concerned…..

Liverpool dominated the First Division league in the 1970s and 1980s, Manchester United the Premier League in the 1990s and 2000s, with recent success also for Chelsea, Manchester City, and – the hardest of all to bear – was north London rivals Arsenal winning the Premier League three times in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

And through all those long, lean years, Spurs’ highest league position was 2nd in 1962-63. A few 3rds flattered to deceive, but for long spells we were condemned to mid-table mediocrity, the Final Score teleprinter churning out details of yet another humbling defeat at 4:45 on a Saturday afternoon.

But could that all be about to change….?

In a wondrously unpredictable season, and with only 12 games left, Leicester City stand – unbelievably – on the summit and Spurs are 2nd, a mere 2 points further back, after a dramatic away win against Manchester City on Sunday. And we have a much better goal difference than all the other contenders.

Could it really happen? Could my beloved Tottenham finally win the Premier League?

I hope so.

It would be a good morality tale. Commitment, love and loyalty are not always easy bedfellows, but if you remain faithful you will reap rewards over the long-term. The journey may sometimes be hard, but you will learn much about yourself and about the object of your passion during the adventure.

But if Spurs blow it this time, that’s it. It’s over.

I’ll support Leicester next season. I went there once. And blue has always been my favourite colour.

 

Run, Andrew, Run

Forrest Gump is one of those engaging films that unpeels another layer every time you watch it.

One of the most memorable scenes is where Forrest feels he just has to run, sad after his sweetheart Jenny has moved on. So Forrest runs. And runs. And runs. For 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours, covering 19,000 miles across the USA several times. And then he stops.

 

I’ve never had quite that strong an urge to run, but just occasionally a jog near where we live, a session on the treadmill in the gym, or even a competitive 10k or 5k run gets the old competitive juices flowing.

A few years ago, I squeaked under a 10k tape in 44 minutes and 58 seconds, beating my target for that year by the tiniest margin. Much longer ago, before Forrest was even a character in a screenwriter’s imagination, I ran a few 10ks in the Bermuda International event.

And today, I ran the Charterhouse Club Trail Run for the first time, aged 58 1/2. Out of the three distance options – 5k, 10k or 15k – I was really glad I had chosen the shortest distance, after spending most of the week ill or entertaining….but certainly not training.

I breasted the tape – wheezing like a 70 year-old smoker with lung cancer, thighs and hamstrings as taut as Robin of Sherwood’s bow – in 26 minutes and a handful of seconds. Not too bad, considering my training-free week and the vicious, hilly course….but no need for Mo or Jess to feel threatened just yet.

Running is one of those things in life that you know is essentially pretty dull, but which at least gets the ageing limbs on the move again. The nervous anticipation before, and the pain during, an event is just about cancelled out by the satisfaction of completing a target, and by a few minutes of post finishing line endorphins.

Watching Forrest Gump run across the USA again is a whole lot more enjoyable…..

Murray v Kyrgios – endurance v brilliance

Nick Kyrgios announced himself on the world stage over the last 12 months, reaching the quarter finals of Wimbledon in 2014 and the Australian Open in 2015.

Watching the young Aussie play Andy Murray in the first round of the US Open earlier this week was a real treat for tennis fans.

Kyrgios is a precocious talent, making the former US Open & Wimbledon champion look ordinary at times. Combined with his youth – he’s just 20 – and a reckless attitude, the Aussie is a breath of fresh air for spectators and tournament organisers. He puts bums on seats, as they say, like Nastase or McEnroe did, back in the day.

But that same approach that won him some incredible rallies, and the third set, also meant he would inevitably lose the match. If he works out that it is possible to entertain and grind out points, games, sets and matches, I believe he has the ability and potential to become a top 5 player at some stage.

But if he doesn’t learn quickly – and also curb some of his off-court antics – that potential may never be reached.

After the Murray defeat, Kyrgios  took a chewing gum wad straight out of his mouth and handed it to a female assistant, when asked to do a court-side interview with a journalist. And recently he abused Stan Wawrinka on court, saying that another professional player had “banged his girlfriend”.

You know he’s creating a stir when Shane Warne, a renowned Aussie larrikin himself, was moved to write an open letter this week to the troubled young tennis player .

 In the open letter on his Facebook page the Cricket great said Kyrgios had 'a lot to learn'

If Kyrgios learns to add the endurance and focus of Murray and Djokovich to his undoubted talent, he’ll zoom up the rankings. But if he continues to show a lack of respect to the sport, spectators, female assistants and his fellow players, he’s in danger of exhausting everyone’s patience and diluting his own potential.

And that would be a waste.

Golf

Is there something in your life that you dip into, and out of, over the years? Like embroidery, or jigsaw-puzzle puzzling? Or an attempt to learn a foreign language?

I’ve had bursts of golfing enthusiasm at different times in my 58 years. And over the last couple of months, it’s been a veritable feast of hooked drives, double bogies and missed short putts after years of swinging famine.

I’ve been lucky enough to play locally in Surrey, with my brother (club captain in 2014) and nephews at the beautiful Hankley Common GC , and at our local West Surrey course with neighbour Steve. In the USA with old friend Michael Warren at Richter Park in Connecticut. And, most spectacularly, at Bermuda’s coast-hugging Mid Ocean Club with friend and MOC member Phil Barnes. And, just last week, with all the Anderson boys at the somewhat unloved Kent & Surrey Club at Edenbridge in rural Kent.

We’ve watched  frankly unhealthy amounts of the game on TV, especially the closing stages of the golfing Majors, staying up late to see the epic closing rounds of the Masters and US Open, and the unscheduled Monday finish to this year’s Open at soggy St. Andrews.

And just last week, I wandered up the road to the practice day of the Senior Open at glorious and historic Sunningdale, getting up close and personal with the game’s legends, and enjoying a free lesson from the R&A coaching gurus.

A veritable golfing overdose, after years of cold turkey away from the game.

And what have I learnt?

That golf is a metaphor for life.

One day you can play a single stroke, or hole or – if the game’s gods are smiling on you – a back nine almost as well as a professional. Or way better than your handicap, anyway. But mostly, you’re likely to blow a decent round with a bad drive, a triple bogey and a mindset that means you’ll lurch from crisis to crisis after that single error.

In life, you’ll think you’re on a roll after passing an exam, or getting lucky with that nurse you always fancied in A&E. Or finding a pound coin left in the gym locker.

But then…..BANG. The door of optimism will be slammed in your face, as surely as Tiger Woods will – allegedly – whip out his fairway wood at the first sight of a blonde cocktail waitress.

You’ll fail your physics paper by 1 mark; the nurse will dump you in favour of a single handicapper; the gym sub will be increased by £10 a month.

You’re a flick of a sand wedge and a single putt away from a birdie, but moments later you’ve under-clubbed, taking 3 to get out of a steep bunker and the birdie has slipped from your grasp as quickly as Europe have snatched victory from the jaws of a Ryder Cup defeat.

Call me pessimistic, but life in the long run is more likely to be a 3 putt rather than a chip-in from off the green.

Although there’s always been the ring of truth in Gary Player’s well-worn quotation:  “the more I practice, the luckier I get.”

Time to hit the driving range, then. Until a new jigsaw puzzle distracts me. Or the next Italian lesson.

Melbourne – a sporting finale

Day 19 – Monday, February 02

Our last day in Melbourne and it all seems to be about sport…..

The post mortem of the mens final of the Australian Open continues. Was Novak Djokovich faking injury? Why did Andy Murray collapse, again, so comprehensively….was it physical or mental weakness? And what was that demonstration all about, not covered on air but suspending play for quite a few minutes while the security guys ejected the culprits?

No matter. It’s no wonder the players call it The Friendly Slam, the Aussie Open is a fantastic tournament – for players and spectators alike – and having now completed my own personal Grand Slam, I can wholeheartedly recommend it to any tennis fan.

The Socceroos won the Asian Cup and all the newspapers are full of admiration for their boys.

And Cadel Evans, that Aussie cycling legend and only Aussie winner of the Tour de France, competed in his final pro race yesterday – The Great Ocean Road Race – and has now hung up his bicycle clips at the grand old age of 37.

A split party for Gill and me today. Gill has ventured out to the laundry and to explore the Botanic Gardens. I’m making another sporting pilgrimage to the magnificent Melbourne Cricket Ground, home to 100,000 spectators and scene of many more English defeats.

The Adelaide Oval tour was probably more enjoyable, the sheer scale of the MCG is overwhelming. But it’s hugely impressive, especially as it’s gearing up for the ICC World Cup in 10 days time. There are over 250 TV screens dotted around the stadium….the usual maker’s logo has to be covered up and replaced by the World Cup TV sponsor. Similar attention to detail is in evidence everywhere.

The tour gives a fascinating trip into the bowels of the stadium – the physio room, the players’s changing rooms, the press area, the dining facilities, the members’ Long Room and Committee Room, and much more.

And also in the MCG is the National Sports Museum.  For a relatively small country – in population rather than geographic terms – Australia punches way above its collective weight.

 The Museum houses impressive memorabilia about its wide-ranging sporting success through the years, and much film reel about the MCG hosting the Olympics of 1956 and the Commonwealth Games in 2006.

My favourite parts of the extensive Museum exhibits were Ian Thorpe’s trainers – roughly twice the size of my own pathetically delicate feet – and the hologram of Shane Warne, talking about his career from the very MCG changing room that we had just explored.

If you love sport, Australia in January and early February is a pretty special place to be…although I suspect that’s the same for the rest of the year.

We’re off out now for our final supper in Melbourne, as glorious evening sunshine bounces off the Yarra river through our hotel room.

Not sure about connectivity in the Tasmanian wilderness for the next couple of weeks, so daily blogging might not be possible. And spending time in a camper van will be a far cry from luxury hotels in Adelaide and Melbourne……see you on the other side.

 

 

 

Melbourne – all strung out

Day 16 – Friday, January 30

Midnight in Melbourne and just back from an epic day at the Australian Open tennis tournament.

 We were there for the twilight session as part of our package today, compared with the night session yesterday when we saw Andy Murray edge past Tomas Berdych to reach his 4th AO Open final.

The afternoon part of today’s order of play gave us a mixed doubles semi final and the ladies doubles final, both on the Rod Laver Arena main show court. Good tennis in both matches, but lacking in atmosphere with a huge number of empty seats….which did at least allow us to creep down to the posh seats just a few rows back from the court.

The main event was the 2nd mens semi final between defending champion, Stan Wawrinka, and the current world no. 1 Novak Djokovich. True to recent form between these two, they served up a 5 set epic. It somehow epitomised the ebb and flow of life….one moment you think you have life figured out and with your goal in sight, but if you take your eye off the ball for a brief moment – BAM – you’re behind the curve again, have to re-energise, refocus and steel your nerves for another monumental effort to reach the winning post.

As I saw it, Novak would win in the end thanks to his remarkable consistency, and defensive retrieving ability. I haven’t seen the stats, but I can’t imagine he made that many unforced errors. Stan, conversely, has a backhand as pure as unrefined silk and can fire off outrageous winners at will. But he is prone to making too many errors.

Another classic.

Just maybe Novak has lost some of the gas from his legs as a result of tonight’s long and emotionally draining match, but I still fear he’ll have the edge over Andy Murray in the final on Sunday. And he’s already beaten him in two AO finals.

But I’d like to be wrong………

 

Melbourne – life and love

Day 15 – Thursday, January 29

Two of the enduring passions of my long life have been sport and travel. I’ve fallen painfully out of love with some things and a few people, but those two addictions have remained remarkably constant.

To be in Melbourne today to see the Australian Open mens’ semi final between Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych  combines both sport and travel in an intoxicating alchemy. Walking from the city along the Yarra river, leaving the shiny skyscrapers behind and approaching one of the world’s greatest sporting arenas is a rare privilege.

Thanks to our Sportsnet package, we’ve got excellent seats about 12 rows from the front, on one corner of the court. We’re in position about half an hour before the 7:30 pm start, chatting to the elderly US couple next to us…he’s surprised her with a trip to Australia and to the Open, and then on to New Zealand, to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Passion.

The Rod Laver Arena is gladiatorial. The retractable roof slides effortlessly closed as the appointed hour approaches, presumably to accentuate the drama through lighting and music…because as the players warm up, they open it up again to reveal the still bright Melbourne sunshine, and to let in the surprisingly lively and cool wind.

Andy starts the first set as though he doesn’t want to be there. Tomas is hitting the ball much more cleanly, and producing searing winners. Andy is fiddling with a dodgy left ankle, and then a right thigh or knee, casting anxious glances towards his entourage and struggling to stay in the set.

Slowly, alongside his renowned defensive qualities, his confidence and momentum seem to improve. But not enough to save the first set, which he does well to take to a tie-break.

But thereafter he’s in the ascendancy, taking the next two sets 6-0 and 6-3. He’s in control of more rallies, moving his opponent around the baseline like a marionette and his puppets. Berdych’s energy is being sapped.

As with all sporting occasions, it’s as much about the peripheral incidents, people and smells around you that create a compelling occasion.

The 4 Andy Murrays stand up during end changes to belt out eulogies to their man, clearly well rehearsed over a few beers in one of their Scottish living rooms during the dark days of winter. A few other Brits closer to us chug pint after pint, are less rehearsed and become more and more abusive. The corporate suits immediately behind us discuss telecoms deals. Seagulls inhabit the night sky and float around the open roof, illuminated like dancers in a ballet. The smell of an Asian noodle dish tickles the nostrils.

The 4th set is closer but Andy takes it 7-5 and is into his 4th AO final…having lost the other three. In the immediate on-court interview, he pays tribute to his female coach Amelie Mauresmo and hints at the tension in the first set being due to his ex-trainer now coaching Tomas.

A great night. A great sporting – and travel – occasion. A great result.

And the perfect conclusion to a day in which we had earlier dub beneath Melbourne’s skin, after the previous day’s circular orientation tour.

We had enjoyed a brilliant brunch at Sally’s Kitchen,  spontaneously bought tockets for Baz Luhrmann’s musical production of Strictly Ballroom on Sunday afternoon, admired the architecture of the Royal Exhibition and Melbourne Museum in Carlton Gardens, stood in Ned Kelly’s cell during the moving tour of Melbourne Gaol, whizzed through the free Bohemia exhibition at the Melbourne Library, and enjoyed sundowner beers on the remarkable Ponyfish Island in the middle of the Yarra.

And then enjoyed a satisfying pre-tennis tapas supper at La Citta in the dingy Degraves Laneway, off Flinders Street. Crumbed eggplant chips with chipotle mayonnaise. Pork & beef meatballs with Napoli sauce. Lamb shank arancini. Smoked confit duck with croutons and cournichons.

Travel. Sport. Food. Beer. Wine.

So many passions in one short day.

Adelaide – an Oval city

Day 5 – Monday, January 19

You often hear of fusion cuisine, a perfect blend of different food sources enhanced as a whole, rather than diminished.

The Adelaide Oval is the sporting equivalent, controversially updated a year or so ago at a cost of more than A$500 million to be fit for the 21st century, but fortunately in a way that also retains its history from all the way back to 1871.

We did the official tour on a warm, sunny January morning, crossing the river from our city hotel to explore this iconic stadium.

The volunteer led a group of around 10 of us, Gill and I being the only Poms amongst Aussies and natural targets after decades of cricketing defeats.

We were given a brilliant insight into the history of the Oval, one of the world’s most picturesque sporting venues. Century old Morton Bay fig trees, the grassed northern mound (from earth dredged from the nearby Torrens River),  and the heritage scoreboard – very analogue in this digital age – all rightly still represent a proud past. But the high tech structure of the new stands, the quality of the hospitality facilities and the backstage facilities all scream “welcome to the present day”.

The tour was supposed to last for 90 minutes but extended to 2 hours as nobody wanted to curtail the experience. And then there’s also the Bradman Museum to explore…even an Englishman can only admire the Don’s achievements. He hung up his cricket bat with a career Test Match average of 99.94, and that after a 2nd ball duck in his final match. He was subsequently also a doughty performer with golf clubs and squash rackets in his hand.

Gill is not the world’s greatest cricket fan but she loved the whole Oval experience. Just a shame that we weren’t able to see a Big Bash game or a Test Match while we’re in South Australia. We’ll just have to come back….

Later, we enjoyed a leisurely and liquid lunch with John, Eileen and Dot at the Adelaide Hilton Hotel, home of the riders and press machine for the Tour Down Under. John & Eileen bumped into a young Australian rider they seemed to know well – Campbell Flakemore, a 22 year-old Tasmanian who recently won a gold medal at the world Under-23 world championships time trial.  He’s with the BMC team, led by Aussie cycling God Cadel Evans for this Tour Down Under. What a humble lad Campbell seemed, especially considering his achievements and his potential – Cadel himself is just about to retire and has anointed the lad as a superstar of the future. Remember….you heard it here first.