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Author Archive for Kieran Pender

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Richie Porte: another year, another mishap for cycling’s unluckiest man | Kieran Pender

The Australian is 33 and the march of time will soon pose an insurmountable obstacle to his Tour de France aspirationsIn 2014, it was pneumonia. In 2016, it was an untimely puncture. In 2017, it was a horror crash at 70kph on a steep descent. On Sunday…

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Richie Porte eyes redemption a year on from Tour de France horror crash | Kieran Pender

The Australian has his sights on yellow while Mitchelton-Scott’s omission of Caleb Ewan has raised eyebrowsTour de France 2018: full team-by-team guideWhen the 105th Tour de France begins on Saturday – a delayed start to minimise cross-over with the Wo…

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Diplomats hard at work during Australian invasion of Russia | Kieran Pender

From lost passports to a terrorist scare, the embassy in Moscow is prepared to deal with anythingBarring a major incident, the thousands of Socceroos fans presently in Russia will never appreciate the time and resources that have been expended by the A…

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Jo Fernandes: the Australian woman making World Cup history | Kieran Pender

The Socceroos and their fans will not be the only ones flying the Australian flag at the tournament• Who are you supporting – and how will your team fare?The World Cup in Russia will be a tournament of firsts. It will be the first held in eastern Europ…

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Australian cycling eyes redemption on Gold Coast after Olympic calamity | Kieran Pender

Rebranded and refocused team hoping Commonwealth Games are happier hunting groundChange is in the air at Cycling Australia’s High Performance Unit, nestled in a leafy suburb near the Adelaide hills. Australia’s track cyclists went to Rio de Janeiro in …

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Day of reckoning arrives for Socceroos in Honduras World Cup play-off | Kieran Pender

A fractured Australian football landscape will momentarily unite for the national team’s most important game in a decadeAs the qualification process for Russia 2018 has amply demonstrated, no nation has a divine right to be at the World Cup. Not Italy,…

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Postecoglou owes it to Australian football to finish job he started

The farcical ‘will he, won’t he’ debate has detracted from the task at hand – to beat Honduras and advance to the World CupWinston Churchill once described Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”. If only Ange Postecoglou was so si…

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Australia v New Zealand: third Bledisloe Cup Test – live!

Live updates as the Wallabies take on the All Blacks in BrisbaneGet in touch with Kieran on email or via Twitter @KieranPender 10.33am BST 22 min: Wallabies building pressure with several tackles around the 22 metre mark. The ball ends up on the ground…

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Pressure peaks on Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos in era-defining Syria clash | Kieran Pender

A dozen years since the Socceroos made it to their first World Cup in three decades, the momentum that has sustained the game is at risk of dissipating

It is remarkable, given the Socceroos’ long history of not qualifying for the World Cup, that the prospect of defeat to Syria on Tuesday evening seems so unfathomable. Australia have participated in only four of the 20 World Cups held since the tournament’s inception; until 2006, the Socceroos had qualified just once.

Yet since joining the Asian Football Confederation, qualification has swiftly become the expected norm. The Socceroos were a class above distant Tajikistan and tiny Bhutan, so it was thought, and a ticket to Fifa’s biggest quadrennial event was now a formality. Even regional heavyweights, like Japan and Saudi Arabia, could be no match for Tim Cahill and company.

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Argentina v Wallabies: Rugby Championship – live!

  • Updates from Australia’s final game in Mendoza
  • Get in touch with Kieran on email or via Twitter @KieranPender

11.40pm BST

1 min: Peeep! French referee Mathieu Raynal commences proceedings and we are underway in Mendoza. Stay tuned for live minute-by-minute coverage.

11.36pm BST

The Wallabies train ahead of today’s clash with Argentina in Mendoza.

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Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar: A-League season opener – live!

  • Updates from the first game of the new campaign at AAMI Park
  • Get in touch with Kieran on email or via Twitter @KieranPender

9.24am BST

Lucky 13? The latest season of the A-League begins tonight with Australian football on the brink of crisis. The enigmatic Socceroos are in very real danger of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, while the brawl between Football Federation Australia and other stakeholders (A-League clubs among them) shows no sign of detente. Amid the gloom, will the domestic league emerge as a ray of hope?

Player recruitment has been sensible, if not splashy, and administrators have revamped the competition’s marketing. The likes of Xavi Torres (Perth Glory) or Tom Hiariej (Central Coast Mariners) might not improve gate receipts, but they do bring European quality to the pitch. With little to separate the top six or seven sides, fans could be in for a riveting season. As the off-field drama inevitably continues, perhaps some actual football could do everyone a world of good.

4.09am BST

Kieran will be here shortly. In the meantime, have a read of Jonathan Howcroft’s season preview.

Related: A-League: off-season recruitment augurs well for new season

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Syria v Australia: World Cup 2018 qualifying play-off – live!

1.48pm BST

16 min: A beautifully-placed lob from Aaron Mooy found Robbie Kruse on the run, but he couldn’t make anything of it.

1.47pm BST

Adrian Lane emails in: “No idea what is going to happen today, but left disheartened and frustrated by Australia being in this position. Is there any sign of hope?”

Well, Adrian, early signs have been mixed. The Socceroos have not looked uncomfortable, but Syria are not shaping up to be a walk-over either. If I had to cast an early prediction, I’d say we might see a scoreless first-half followed by a late flurry in the second stanza: 2-1 Australia. Now I have said that, expect Syria to score five.

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Wallabies v All Blacks: Bledisloe Cup/Rugby Championship opener – live!

  • Live updates as old foes Australia and New Zealand clash in Sydney
  • Get in touch with Kieran on email or via Twitter @KieranPender

10.42am BST

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has offered some words of wisdom to Australian broadcaster Fox Sports in a pre-match interview. “The game will be won by scoring tries,” offered the gruff 58-year-old. “So we will have to score more then them.” Sagely indeed.

10.36am BST

Crisis is an oft-used word in Australian rugby right now. The Wallabies are at a low ebb, the Western Force have been removed from the Super Rugby competition after a chaotic few months and Australian Rugby Union (ARU) boss Bill Pulver has resigned. The prospect of an another embarrassing defeat to arch rivals New Zealand tonight threatens to compound a month of misery.

It is not all bad news for our Australian readers though. Kurtley Beale is back, the pack is full of potential and the Foley-Beale-Folau trio provide a potent attacking threat. The surprise selection of debutant winger Curtis Rona, a rugby league convert, could prove an inspired choice.

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Gold medal-winning Stephen Wooldridge leaves cycling a rich legacy

The death of the much-admired former track cyclist has left the Australian cycling community in shock and questioning why

“We are all looking for answers.” Those are the words of the legendary Australian cycling coach Gary Sutton, but they represent the sentiment of the entire Australian cycling community. Cyclists, coaches and fans are in shock after the death of the much-loved former track cyclist Stephen Wooldridge.

In a sport often riven with division, no one ever had a bad word to say about Wooldridge. The 39-year-old won gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and claimed four world titles, all in the team pursuit discipline, during an illustrious career that concluded almost a decade ago.

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Gold medal-winning Stephen Wooldridge leaves cycling a rich legacy

The death of the much-admired former track cyclist has left the Australian cycling community in shock and questioning why

“We are all looking for answers.” Those are the words of the legendary Australian cycling coach Gary Sutton, but they represent the sentiment of the entire Australian cycling community. Cyclists, coaches and fans are in shock after the death of the much-loved former track cyclist Stephen Wooldridge.

In a sport often riven with division, no one ever had a bad word to say about Wooldridge. The 39-year-old won gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and claimed four world titles, all in the team pursuit discipline, during an illustrious career that concluded almost a decade ago.

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Richie Porte’s horror crash prompts questions of Tour de France organisers | Kieran Pender

Rather than settling for a typical summit finale, ASO opted for the stage’s fourth technical descent and a finish in Chambéry

On Sunday morning European time, Gemma Porte tweeted: “Day of travel for me so only informative [Tour de France] messages/updates wanted. Nothing to spark the wifey nerves please!” She may have tempted fate. Several hours later, her husband Richie Porte ended his campaign for the 2017 Tour de France yellow jersey with a sickening crash on stage nine’s final descent.

Related: Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas crash out of Tour as Froome keeps yellow

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In career best form: Richie Porte a genuine Tour de France contender | Kieran Pender

The Australian enters the famous race in ominous form and better placed than ever before to wrest the yellow jersey from his main rival Chris Froome

It may be now or never for Richie Porte. If the cyclist is to join the exclusive club of Australians to have won the Tour de France – current membership: Cadel Evans – 2017 is his year. After faltering in recent attempts, Porte enters the 104th edition of the famous race in the best form of his life. When the action begins on 1 July with an individual time trial in Düsseldorf, the maillot jaune will be firmly within his reach.

BMC Racing Team have announced their intention to go “all in” for Porte this year, and will send a roster to match: Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet, climber Nicolas Roche and Italy’s Damiano Caruso are among the riders with a brief to assist their leader. Porte showed ominous pre-Tour form with a second-place finish at the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month, but was let down by tactical errors from his colleagues on the final stage. The additions of Van Avermaet and Caruso should ensure BMC can match the firepower of Chris Froome’s Team Sky.

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Shane Perkins on defecting to Russia: ‘I have a clean slate to prove myself’ | Kieran Pender

The Australian Olympian and former world champion is adamant his newly adopted country’s cycling program is doping-free as he focuses on Tokyo 2020

When the Australian squad takes to the velodrome in Hong Kong this week for the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Shane Perkins will be a notable absence. The Brisbane-based rider was once the country’s sprint king, with past successes including two world titles, gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and bronze at the London Olympics. But Perkins will never again pull on the Australian colours. In February, he defected to Russia.

“If you had told me at the beginning of last year that I would be Russian in 2017, I would have laughed you out of the room,” Perkins says. Measured and articulate, the 30-year-old openly recounts how casual locker-room chat led to a new nationality.

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Shane Perkins on defecting to Russia: ‘I have a clean slate to prove myself’ | Kieran Pender

The Australian Olympian and former world champion is adamant his newly adopted country’s cycling program is doping-free as he focuses on Tokyo 2020

When the Australian squad takes to the velodrome in Hong Kong this week for the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Shane Perkins will be a notable absence. The Brisbane-based rider was once the country’s sprint king, with past successes including two world titles, gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and bronze at the London Olympics. But Perkins will never again pull on the Australian colours. In February, he defected to Russia.

“If you had told me at the beginning of last year that I would be Russian in 2017, I would have laughed you out of the room,” Perkins says. Measured and articulate, the 30-year-old openly recounts how casual locker-room chat led to a new nationality.

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Richie Porte: ‘I pinch myself most days. It wasn’t long ago that I was working 9-5′ | Kieran Pender

Ahead of the Tour Down Under, Richie Porte opens up about a disappointing past season, Tour de France ambitions and his friendly rivalry with Chris Froome

At first glance, 2016 was an impressive year for road cyclist Richie Porte. After joining BMC Racing from Team Sky, the Australian finished second overall at the Tour Down Under, third at Paris-Nice, fourth at the Volta a Catalunya and fifth at the Tour De France – his best ever placing in the illustrious race.

Yet these respectable achievements do not linger in Porte’s memory. Instead, 2016 is remembered as a season of misfortune. He lost almost two minutes following a puncture during the Tour de France, costing him a place on the podium and a chance to tussle for the yellow jersey with former team-mate Chris Froome.

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