Super Stevie’s Stunner Down Under


Super Stevie’s Stunner Down Under

Anyone fearing that Welsh cycling’s golden days are over has not been paying attention.

A week after track star Emma Finucane added a European title to her world title in Olympic year, Stevie Williams rode to glory on the other side of the world at the weekend.

The Aberystwyth-born rider won the Tour Down Under in Australia, and described his victory as “simply perfect”.

Williams won the last stage of the race in Adelaide to confirm his victory in the overall title.

“To kick off the season with the team’s first overall tour win, and our maiden victory in a top-tier stage race is nothing short of marvellous. It’s simply perfect,” said Williams, who rides for Israel-Premier Tech.

“To win here in Australia, the first world tour race of the season is fantastic.

“I am just really proud to come down here to start the season like this on the front foot and head back to Europe and continue on.”

It was Williams’ debut at the Santos Tour, and he is also the first European overall winner of the race since 2013.

Williams, 27, joined Israel Premier Tech a year ago after he had suffered a series of injury problems.

“We trusted him, and he was simply incredible,” said Sam Bewley, the New Zealand director of Israel Premier Tech.



Treble triumph for Wales

Wales trio Rupert Shipperley, Jacob Draper and Sarah Jones can start preparing for the Olympic Games this summer after Great Britain men’s and women’s teams secured their places in Paris.

Welsh star Jones was at the heart of the GB women’s effort – scoring first as the team beat Ireland in the FIH qualifiers bronze-medal match in Valencia.

Great Britain’s men – with Team Wales Commonwealth Games stalwarts Shipperley and Draper in their ranks – then overcame New Zealand, 3-1, in their qualifier in Oman to clinch their own spot in Paris.

After her win, Jones said: “Emotional is definitely the word. Absolutely thrilled to have qualified for the Olympics.

The 33-year-old midfielder, who helped GB win bronze at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, added: “I think we had a fantastic tournament.

“Today probably wasn’t the best hockey we played but I think we played some fantastic hockey throughout this tournament, and I know that’s something we will build on.

“Ireland are a fantastic opponent and commiserations to them.

For the GB men, Draper set up Phil Roper to put Britain in front against the Kiwis when he took down a lofted ball and lashed in a shot.

All three Welsh players were part of GB Hockey’s Olympic squads for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.



Adele and Kya’s Golden Run

Welsh pair Adele Nicoll and Kya Placide teamed-up to win British Bobsleigh’s first Europa Cup gold medal for seven seasons with success in St Moritz at the weekend.

They took top spot for the first time in their bobsleigh careers less than 24 hours after Nicoll secured silver in the monobob event at the same venue.

Despite the financial challenges facing the Welsh pairing and their relative inexperience in the sport, they are making names for themselves on the bobsleigh circuit.

British champion shot putter Nicoll, who was the reserve brakewoman for Team GB at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, only made the switch to the front seat in November of last season and had just four starts as a two-woman pilot to her name.

Sprinter Placide is even newer to the sport, having only joined the team this summer and experienced her first race day as recently as last December.

“I’m so happy with today,” said Nicoll following the duo’s victory in the iconic Swiss winter sports resort.

“And I’m not just happy with the win – I’m happy with the times we put down at the start and at the finish.

“We put together a really good push and a really good drive and, when you’ve got both those things together in this sport, you’re going to do well.

“We came here knowing that we were capable of this, and we showed that on the day. We feel like we’re now ready to go on to the World Cup circuit and compete against the best in the world.”

Despite being a relatively new partnership, 27-year-old Nicoll and 19-year-old Placide recorded the fastest starts in both heats and led at every single one of the 12 timing splits across two runs in Switzerland.

They finished more than six tenths of a second clear of the Belgian team in second, and a full second ahead of the Polish team in third.