Geraint Thomas

3.4008313539142 (1684)
Posted by sonny 03/12/2009 @ 06:07

Tags : geraint thomas, riders, cycling, sports

News headlines
Cycling: Thomas omitted for Giro d'Italia test - WalesOnline
OLYMPIC gold medallist Geraint Thomas has been left out of the Barloworld starting line-up for next month's Giro d'Italia. Welsh ace Thomas, the track team pursuit Olympic and world champion, had hoped to race against the legendary Lance Armstrong in...
Barloworld's British contingent - Cycling Weekly
At Team Barloworld, Mario, the team's friendliest soigneur calls Steve Cummings, Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome 'il trio Brittanico', the British trio. All 16 riders in the team get along pretty well, whatever language they speak, but the three...
Cycling: Leading lights for night race - Edinburgh Evening News
Geraint Thomas and Steve Cummings from the UCI ProTour team Barloworld will join a host of top riders for the Edinburgh Nocturne, the night-time race which will take place in the city centre on May 30. Thomas, a 22-year-old Welshman, was part of the...
Olympic hero says pedal up for charity - Rhyl Journal
CYCLIST and Beijing Olympics gold medallist Geraint Thomas is urging people across North Wales to get on their bikes for Barnardo's Cymru. The first On Your Bike for Barnardo's event in North Wales will take place on Sunday, June, 7 and Geraint is keen...
HALFORDS TEAMS UP WITH WELSH CYCLING TO RE-INSTATE THE NATIONAL ... - PPOLNews (press release)
Past winners of the Welsh Championships including World Team Pursuit (Track) Champion and Olympic Champion competitor Geraint Thomas, plus Olympic Games and World Cup Champion Nicole Cooke. Nicole Cooke said, “It is great that the Welsh Champions are...
Olympic stars in National field - BBC Sport
Mark Cavendish is to go head-to-head with Olympic gold medallists Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas at the National Road Race Championships. Four-times Tour de France stage winner Cavendish is the latest big-name cyclist to sign up for the 110-mile...
Olympic heroes Ed Clancy and Geriant Thomas set for Lincoln Grand Prix - Sportsecho.co.uk
A field including former Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt, Olympic gold medalists Ed Clancy and Geraint Thomas, bronze medalist Chris Newton and several former winners including Russell Downing, Dean Downing and Malcolm Elliott will get on their...
New Cycle Sport on sale this week - Cycling Weekly
Cavendish is part of a strong British cycling community in Quarrata and CS goes for a ride and hangs out with Cavendish, Ian Stannard, Steve Cummings, Geraint Thomas and Jonny Bellis. Is Levi better than Lance? All the media attention is on Lance...
Tredegar off to a flyer – Thomas, Carroll Conference cricket round-up - South Wales Argus
St Fagans III were put in by visitors Pontnewynydd and then dismissed for just 56 as Geraint Jones took 4-19, Joseph Matthews 3-7 and Owen Price 3-9. Hywel Evans got 17 not out as Pontnewynydd replied with 57-2 while Huw Evans took 2-19 for St Fagans...
Somerset easily defeat poor Kent - BBC Sport
In reply, Kent were shot out for 181 in the 34th over, only Joe Denly (43) and Geraint Jones (43 not out) providing any real resistance. Omari Banks and Alfonso Thomas both picked up three wickets for Somerset. Having being asked to bat, the home side...

Geraint Thomas

Thomas on stage at the 2007 Tour de France Presentation.Photo by Elyob of Flickr

1 Team names given are those prevailing at time of rider beginning association with that team.

Geraint Howell Thomas, MBE (born 25 May 1986) is a Welsh professional racing cyclist who rides for the UCI Professional Continental team Barloworld. He is a multiple track cycling world champion and Olympic gold medalist in the team pursuit.

Thomas, from Whitchurch, Cardiff, attended Whitchurch High School. He began cycling with the Maindy Flyers Cycling Club at Maindy Stadium at the age of 10, before going on to ride for other local clubs, Cycling Club Cardiff and Cardiff Just in Front. Following some successes in under 14 and under 16 events, including National Championships, but it was not until he won a silver medal in the points race at the European Championships that he started to realise his potential. Thomas then became a member of British Cyclings Olympic Academy. He won the Carwyn James Junior Award at the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year ceremony. Thomas competed at World Cup events around the world, and was training in Sydney, Australia in February 2005 when he crashed after the rider in front of him hit a piece of metal in the road which was flicked up into Thomas' wheel. He suffered internal bleeding after the piece of metal entered his body during the fall, he ruptured his spleen which subsequently had to be removed.

He rode most of his races of 2006 for Recycling.co.uk, but towards the end of 2006 joined Saunier Duval-Prodir as a stagiare. He also rode a few races, such as the Tour of Britain, for the Great Britain squad.

Thomas was the youngest rider in the 2007 Tour de France as Team Barloworld picked up one of the three wildcard spots allocated for the race. The first Welsh rider to compete in the race since Colin Lewis in 1967, Thomas received great support from Welsh fans at the opening of the race, with several following the entire race.

He was nominated for the BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year award in 2007, the winners were announced on 2 December, Thomas was third in the public vote.

On 17 August, Thomas was a member of the Olympic team pursuit squad which broke the world record in the heats with a time of 3:55:202, beating their Russian opponents comfortably to go through to the final ride-off for silver and gold. The following day, on their way to winning the gold medal, the British Team pursuit broke their own world record in a time of 3:53:314, beating their Danish competitors by 6.7 seconds. Thomas had been a possible contender in the individual pursuit, but opted not to ride both events as he did not want to compromise the efforts of his team. He had also been considered to compete in the Madison with Bradley Wiggins but it was Mark Cavendish who was selected to do so; Chris Boardman stated that "Geraint keeps surpassing people's expectations".

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.

Thomas crashed a few days before his senior road race debut in Sydney and had to have surgery to remove his spleen. He therefore could not compete much in 2005.

To the top



Revolution (cycling series)

A Revolution Keirin Race

Revolution is a series of track cycling events held at the Manchester Velodrome in the north west of England. It is held annually, in the winter, during the track cycling season. The series is comprised of 4 meetings each year, held between October and February, on Saturday evenings. The series showcases various top cyclists, both British and other international riders, reguarly attracting a large number of spectators. The recent success of the British team, including Chris Hoy's triple Gold medal winning performance at the 2008 Summer Olympics, has meant that the events now sell out in advance.

The series was founded in 2003, with the main aim of providing regular track cycling events for fans to attend in Manchester. Previously, track cycling fans were generally only able to attend one international event in Manchester each year, usually a round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classics series, or as in 2000, the UCI Track Cycling World Championships. The only other events held regularly at the velodrome were events such as the British National Track Championships, which have a lower profile and therefore attracted smaller crowds.

An organisation management company, Face Partnership, was brought in to attempt to create a series providing regular top level events at the velodrome. The aim was to provide racing for existing fans and attract new fans to the sport, raising its profile as a sport in United Kingdom. It was decided that the series would consist of four events throughout the season. Admission costs were fixed at an affordable level, originally £8 for an adult ticket, in order to enable families to attend. Family tickets were available for around £20, making the Revolution a considerably more affordable event to attend in comparison to other sports, such as football.

The first event was held in October 2003 and was attended by a good sized crowd. The event featured big British names like Bradley Wiggins, Rob Hayles, Chris Newton and David Millar. The event continued to grow in stature and profile from this solid start, exceeding expected attendance targets along the way. Revolution 7 in early 2005 saw the series achieve its first near capacity crowd, the start of the event had to be delayed to allow the crowds into the venue. Revolution 14 was the series' first complete sell out, with some ticketless fans turned away. From early 2008 onwards the events began to sell out in advance.

The Revolution is also expanding into a global series, CotterPin has licensed the concept in Australia. The first Revolution Australia event was held in the Darebin International Sports Centre, Melbourne on 24 November 2007. There were over 3,000 spectators present at Australia's Revolution 1.

In July 2008, the Aftermarket company signed a deal with Face Partnership to create an expo area in the track centre at each event. This takes advantage of the captive audience and precise target consumers present at each Revolution.

Each Revolution meeting consists of a fast paced, packed programme of races. The evening lasts for between 3 hours and 3 hours 45 minutes and typically involves around 20 events. Each event has three categories of racing including sprint and endurance, and the "Future Stars" series. Live PA duties at the events are carried out by the BBC commentator and cycling legend, Hugh Porter.

Each meeting features a main Revolution Sprint competition, alongside other various events including the Keirin and Team sprint. The sprint competition is usually a straight knock out event, typically with a first round, Semi Final and Final. For some events an sprint ominium has taken place, with all riders facing each other at some point during the evening and the most successful winning overall. A male sprinting competition usually takes place at each event, with Women's sprinting generally appearing for one event each year also.

The events featured alongside the main sprint competition are tailored to the card of sprinters appearing and has included various challenges and revenge matches over the years. They regularly attract major British names and a host of international challenges. The list of World and Olympic Champions to have appeared include Chris Hoy, Theo Bos, Arnaud Tournant, Jason Kenny, Victoria Pendleton, Jamie Staff, Jens Fiedler, Gregory Bauge, Ross Edgar, Craig MacLean, Jason Queally, René Wolff, Jan Van Eijden, Florian Rousseau, Teun Mulder and Mickaël Bourgain.

Every Revolution event has included elite endurance field of riders, racing over a number of events throughout the night. Events feautured include the Points race, Scratch race, Madison, Individual pursuit, Team pursuit, Motor Paced Scratch race and Devil Elimination Scratch race. Typically the blue ribbon Madison feature race takes place once a year and is named the Isaac Galvez Memorial Madison. This is in memory of the Spanish rider who died during the Ghent Six Day meeting in 2006 while he was World Madison Champion. This was one week before he was due to appear at Revolution 15.

The endurance racing attracts both major track riders and stars of the road, throwing up a number of unique contests over the years. The list of major names (on the track or the road) to have appeared include Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas, Ed Clancy, Joan Llaneras, Paul Manning, Bradley McGee, Chris Newton, Rob Hayles, Sergi Escobar, Steve Cummings, Stuart O'Grady, Iljo Keisse, Matthew Gilmore, Franco Marvulli, Bruno Risi, David Millar, Peter Schep, Robert Slippens, Nicole Cooke, Rebecca Romero and Graeme Obree.

As well including the major events from the World Championships and Olympics, the Revolution series also tries to feature some unique and exclusive races at its events. The Madison 1km Time Trial is one such exclusive event. This event is a major crowd pleaser and takes place at each event. This is run over 1 km, four laps of the track, and consists of two riders running 2 laps each. After the first rider has completed their laps they do a Madison hand sling with their partner and they then complete the final two laps. While this by nature is an endurance riders event, its 1 kilometre distance has also meant that sprinters have also tasted success.

An early record for this event was set by Mark Cavendish and Ed Clancy at 58.5 Seconds at Revolution 7 in January 2005. This record stood for some time and was only beaten by the unique combination of sprinters Craig MacLean and Arnaud Tournant, who set a new record of 55.1 seconds at Revolution 16 in January 2007. This was then further bettered when Tournant teamed up with Chris Hoy at Revolution 20 in February 2008. Tournant had a shoulder injury which prevented the duo doing a proper hand sling change over, however they still posted a record time of 54.4 seconds. This record still stands today, despite Ed Clancy and Steven Burke going very close with a time of 54.5 at Revolution 22 in December 2008.

A new challenge event added to the programme in 2008 was the sprinters v pursuiters challenge. The first of these races took place at Revolution 21. This saw members of the GB Team sprint squad, Jamie Staff, Jason Kenny and Ross Edgar, face off against members of the GB Team Pursuit squad, Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas and Steven Burke. The race took place over three laps with a flying start, so very much was a mix between the sprint and endurance disciplines. Due to the three lap length of the race, the same as the Team Sprint event, it was expected by its nature to favour the sprint squad. However it was noted that the endurance squad regularly carry out similar short drills during training, so the playing field was quite level going into the event. The endurance squad were able to turn the flying start to their advantage and took a clean victory over the sprinters.

A rematch took place at Revolution 22, with the race extended to four laps with a standing start on this occasion. Matthew Crampton joined the sprint squad and Rob Hayles joined the endurance squad. The fast start of Jamie Staff allowed the sprint squad to take revenge and level the series. It is expected that this unique challenge event may return at future events.

Other special events have included the Geoff Thomas Charity Challenge Race at Revolution 20. This involved Geoff captaining a team of riders against England Rugby World Cup winning Captain, now England coach, the 6ft 7 inches tall Martin Johnson. This was a 5 lap team sprint style challenge race, with each team including star riders like Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Arnaud Tournant and Peter Schep. The teams were drawn at the start of the evening, equally sharing out the riders. Team Thomas won by 0.1 seconds and raised a good sum of money for the Geoff Thomas Charity Foundation.

Alongside the senior racing, the Future Stars competition also runs at each Revolution event. This series involves young riders, usually 14-16 year olds. They are put through a number of races each night to test both their sprint and endurance skills. Points are scored in each race and count towards the overall leader board. The winner is crowned at the end of the 4 meeting series.

The importance of this series to British Cycling cannot be underestimated. It provides the youngesters with the chance to race in front of big crowds from a early age and often provides very close racing. The winners and front runners of this series have included a number of now established senior stars. Jason Kenny, the Olympic Gold and Silver medalist in 2008, competed in the series in 2004/2005. Others include Steven Burke, a bronze medal winner in the Pursuit at the 2008 Olympics.

The young riders often develop very quickly from the Future Stars series into world class riders. A number of Great Britain's current up and coming riders, including Lizzie Armitstead, Anna Blyth, Peter Kennaugh and Jess Varnish, all of whom have already tasted medal success, have come through the Future Stars competition. The majority of riders who are coming up through the senior ranks at present are well known to Revolution fans as the majority of them competed in the Future Stars. It is expected that yet more will come through the series and go on to challenge for senior places come the 2012 Olympics.

To the top



Revolution (cycling series) - Season 6

Chris Hoy returns to a standing ovation at Revolution 22

Season 6 of the Revolution cycling series was held during the winter track cycling season of 2008/2009.

Following Great Britain's success at the World Championships and Olympic Games, the British team dominated Season 6 of the Revolution series.

The season opening Revolution 21 event saw an all British sprint competition. Returning Olympic medalists Jason Kenny, Jamie Staff and Ross Edgar were joined by Matthew Crampton, David Daniell, Christian Lyte, Pete Mitchell and Steven Hill. In the semi finals Crampton defeated Staff while Edgar edged Kenny after a photo finish on the line. Crampton then went on to defeat Edgar in the final and then take victory in Keirin race later in the evening. Crampton's early season form was impressive, having taken victory in the International Keirin race at the World Cup Meeting in Manchester earlier in the month.

Revolution 22 saw the return of triple Olympic gold medalist Chris Hoy, to a standing ovation from the crowd. He took on all his team mates and international visitors Teun Mulder, Roberto Chiappa and Itmar Estoban. Despite his relative lack of training since the Olympic Games, Hoy still managed to overpower on form team mate Crampton in the semi finals. The other semi final saw an impressive performance from David Daniell, out dragging senior team mate Ross Edgar to the line. Daniell faced the toughest test of all against the legend Hoy in the final but was not put off and produced a strong performance, losing out to Hoy at the end. A very strong line up appeared for the Keirin race later in the evening, with Hoy again powering to victory and destroying the field.

In the new GB sprint v endurance challenge events, the score is equal after two races. The endurance team took the first race, a 3 laps flying team sprint at Revolution 21. The sprint squad then tied the scores by taking victory in the 4 lap standing start team sprint at Revolution 22.

Women's sprinting took centre stage at Revolution 23, with an omnimum of events taking place. 'The Queen of the track' Victoria Pendleton took on a field, mostly made up of her team mates, over a series of events including the Sprint, 500m TT and Keirin. She took victory in each event to win the competition.

Revolution 24 had a strong French favour with legend Arnaud Tournant choosing the event to retire from racing. He brought with him team mates Gregory Bauge, Francois Pervis and Michael D'Almeida. The British challenge was made up of Jason Kenny, Jamie Staff, Ross Edgar, Matt Crampton, David Daniell, Christian Lyte, Pete Mitchell and Steven Hill. Chris Hoy was due to compete at the event but was recovering from a big crash suffered at the World Cup Classics Meeting in Denmark a week earlier. The first event of the evening was the 200m time trial competition, the traditional qualifying event for the main sprint competition at major events. A number of fast and personal best times were set before Crampton finished top of the board with a blistering time of 10.131. Kenny finished second with 10.166 and Staff third with 10.246. The first round of the sprint then got underway, with four packed heats of three riders each. The first heat saw the awesome Crampton out class D'Almeida and Hill to take an easy victory. Heat 2 was a closer affair, with Pervis declared the winner over Edgar after the photo finish showed the winning margin to be 1 centimetre. Tournant's lack of competition in recent months then showed as he was unable to keep up with Staff and Lyte in heat 3, as Staff came over the top on the line to progress. The final heat was a very strong affair with Bauge, Kenny and Daniell doing battle. The young Daniell took an impressive win on the line from Bauge, after Kenny left it too late to challenge.

The first semi final saw Crampton take on the experienced Staff in a very tactical race, including some impressive track stands. Crampton was able to hit the front of the race in the final lap and turned on the power to prevent Staff getting around him. The other semi saw the young Daniell send out another strong message to his rivals by defeating the more experienced Frenchman Pervis. A keirin race then took place for the losers from the earlier rounds of the sprint. The three French riders, Tournant, Bauge and D'Almeida, locked out the front positions in the race to allow D'Almeida to take the win from Bauge. In the minor sprint final for 3rd/4th place, Staff took on Pervis in physical contest. Staff had to back off to avoid a collision, which allowed Pervis to power home. The main final was then a clash of the young British riders, Crampton and Daniell. Daniell lead out the race, with Crampton holding back before making a big lunge from the top of the track. He was unable to get around Daniell however and the youngster took his first Revolution Sprint victory. The evenings sprint racing was then concluded by a Team Sprint show down between the French and GB squads. The team of Staff, Kenny and Edgar took victory from the French team of Bauge, D'Almeida and Pervis.

The endurance racing at Revolution 21 a celebration homecoming for Olympic medalists Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Chris Newton and Steven Burke. It also a retirement party for the Australian Bradley McGee, who was making his last appearance on the bike before taking up a senior management position with his team CSC Saxo Bank. In the opening Motor Paced Scratch race Thomas stormed home, beating Johnny McEvoy and Ed Clancy on the line. McGee then celebrated by winning the Scratch race and receiving his retirement presentation from the field of riders and PA Hugh Porter. The evening was concluded by Chris Newton putting in a dominating performance in the feature 20k Points race, continuing his world class early season form.

Revolution 22 opened with a Devil Scratch race, with a number of top names being eliminated in the Devil section of the race. Peter Kennaugh came out on top at the end, after a bunch sprint to the line. A very close Points race then took place, with Australian Luke Roberts taking victory in the race from Newton and Thomas after winning the final sprint. A frantic Scratch race closed the evening, with a number of break-aways attempting to gain a lap on the field. A group of six broke clear towards the end of the race, including Newton, Kennaugh and Steve Cummings. These were caught by the field with a few laps remaining. A another group of seven then broke clear, with Rob Hayles taking a popular victory on the line.

A Devil Scratch race opened Revolution 23, with again a number of big names eliminated from the bunch early on. Geraint Thomas narrowly escaped being the last rider eliminated and then broke clear and took a crowd pleasing victory. Chris Newton continued his fine form in Points race, battling with Peter Kennaugh for the victory. The Scratch race then saw solo attacks from Alex Dowsett and Tony Gibb. However the bunch all came together for the final sprint, with the victory taken by Ed Clancy after a powerful break for home in the final lap.

In the season ending Revolution 24 event Madison racing was the theme throughout, with all events contested in Madison teams. All the regular British big names were present, including the first racing appearance of the season at Revolution for Bradley Wiggins. The international competition was provided by two Spanish teams, David Muntaner and Unai Elorriaga and Carlos Torrent and Toni Tauler. The first event contested was a Team Devil Scratch Race. This was a team version of the regular Devil Scratch Race, with the last team across the line elimination in the first section of the race before the main scratch race begins. The final sprint was contested by the teams of Wiggins and Thomas and Rob Hayles and Peter Kennaugh. Wiggins set up Thomas for the sprint with a powerful burst from the front, allowing him to hold off the charging Kennaugh. The next event was a 1 lap flying team time trial. This involved one half of the team providing the lead out for the opening lap, before hand slinging his team mate into the action for the timed flying lap. An early top time was posted by Tony Gibb and Tom Murray early in the first half of the competition. This was later been by 3 teams in the second half, with Ed Clancy and Steven Burke topping the leaderboard with a time of 13.243.

A Team Points Race was then contested, with one member of the team contesting the first half of the 50 lap race before changing over with their team mate. Britian's top Points Race rider Chris Newton, paired with 18 year old Welsh rider Luke Rowe, went on the offensive early on and built up a strong points lead in the sprints. They completed the victory with a points tally of 21 points, with Wiggins and Thomas taking second place with 18 points after a late attack. The annual Isaac Galvez Memorial Madison ended off the season racing and was contested at a frantic pace. The Spanish pairing of Muntaner and Elorriaga lifted the pace from the start with a number of strong attacks from the front of the pack. They were then joined by the teams Newton and Rowe, Wiggins and Thomas, Clancy and Burke and Alex Dowsett and Russell Hampton in gaining points in the sprints, which took place in the second half of the race. Going into the final sprint, a number of teams could still snatch the victory. Wiggins and Thomas made an early break for home and were able to open up a clear advantage of half a lap on the field. However they could not take the race overall on points and the battle for the overall victory would come behind them. Newton and Rowe rounded off a fine evening racing for them with a perfectly timed attack to cross the line second and take the race victory.

The Madison Time Trial event saw some impressive times posted in this season. The team of Steven Burke and Ed Clancy dominated the competition, coming close to the record each time. At the second meeting of the season, Revolution 22, they clocked a time only 0.1 seconds off the record time of Chris Hoy and Arnaud Tournant. At Revolution 23 they went even closer and finished only 0.002 off the record. It looked like their dominance may be broken at the final event of the season, as sprinters Jason Kenny and David Daniell were within the record time in the first half of their attempt. However a failed changeover saw Kenny go crashing to the deck in the home straight and the victory once again went to Clancy and Burke. The record of Hoy and Tournant still stands and the event will be hotly contested when the next season gets under way later in 2009.

The girls competition saw a dominate performance from Ruby Miller of Wales, who took a clear victory overall in the series. She took a number of race wins during the season, including one at Revolution 24 after crashing earlier in the race and remounting to continue. The second place went to Laura Trott and third place was taken by Harriet Owen.

The boys series was certainly a competition of two halves. In the first two meetings the impressive Sam Harrison dominated and took a strong lead in the standings. However he then missed Revolution 23 due to Cyclo Cross commitments and in Revolution 24 he actually competed in the senior Madison ranks, after competing in the National Madison Championship before the meeting. So the overall winner of the boys competition was Simon Yates, followed by his brother Adam in second place and Chris Nicholson in third place.

To the top



Revolution - Cycling Series - Season 6

Chris Hoy returns to racing to a standing ovation at Revolution 22 after his Triple Gold Medal winning performance at the Olympics.

Following Great Britain's success at the World Championships and Olympic Games, the British team have so far dominated Season 6 of the Revolution series.

The season opening Revolution 21 event saw an all British sprint competition. Returning Olympic medalists Jason Kenny, Jamie Staff and Ross Edgar were joined by Matthew Crampton, David Daniell, Christian Lyte, Pete Mitchell and Steven Hill. In the semi finals Crampton defeated Staff while Edgar edged Kenny after a photo finish on the line. Crampton then went on to defeat Edgar in the final and then take victory in Keirin race later in the evening. Crampton's early season form was impressive, having taken victory in the International Keirin race at the World Cup Meeting in Manchester earlier in the month.

Revolution 22 saw the return of triple Olympic gold medalist Chris Hoy, to a standing ovation from the crowd. He took on all his team mates and international visitors Teun Mulder, Roberto Chiappa and Itmar Estoban. Despite his relative lack of training since the Olympic Games, Hoy still managed to overpower on form team mate Crampton in the semi finals. The other semi final saw an impressive performance from David Daniell, out dragging senior team mate Ross Edgar to the line. Daniell faced the toughest test of all against the legend Hoy in the final but was not put off and produced a strong performance, losing out to Hoy at the end. A very strong line up appeared for the Keirin race later in the evening, with Hoy again powering to victory and destroying the field.

Women's sprinting took centre stage at Revolution 23, with an omnimum of events taking place. 'The Queen of the track' Victoria Pendleton took on a field, mostly made up of her team mates, over a series of events including the Sprint, 500m TT and Keirin. She took victory in each event to win the competition.

In the new GB sprint v endurance challenge events, the score is equal after two races. The endurance team took the first race, a 3 laps flying team sprint at Revolution 21. The sprint squad then tied the scores by taking victory in the 4 lap standing start team sprint at Revolution 22.

The endurance racing at Revolution 21 a celebration homecoming for Olympic medalists Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Chris Newton and Steven Burke. It also a retirement party for the Australian Bradley McGee, who was making his last appearance on the bike before taking up a senior management position with his team CSC Saxo Bank. In the opening Motor Paced Scratch race Thomas stormed home, beating Johnny McEvoy and Ed Clancy on the line. McGee then celebrated by winning the Scratch race and receiving his retirement presentation from the field of riders and PA Hugh Porter. The evening was concluded by Chris Newton putting in a dominating performance in the feature 20k Points race, continuing his world class early season form.

Revolution 22 opened with a Devil Scratch race, with a number of top names being eliminated in the Devil section of the race. Peter Kennaugh came out on top at the end, after a bunch sprint to the line. A very close Points race then took place, with Australian Luke Roberts taking victory in the race from Newton and Thomas after winning the final sprint. A frantic Scratch race closed the evening, with a number of break-aways attempting to gain a lap on the field. A group of six broke clear towards the end of the race, including Newton, Kennaugh, Tony Gibb and Steve Cummings. These were caught by the field with a few laps remaining. A another group of seven then broke clear, with Rob Hayles taking a popular victory on the line.

A Devil Scratch race opened Revolution 23, with again a number of big names eliminated from the bunch early on. Geraint Thomas narrowly escaped being the last rider eliminated and then broke clear and took a crowd pleasing victory. Chris Newton continued his fine form in Points race, battling with Peter Kennaugh for the victory. The Scratch race then saw solo attacks from Alex Dowsett and Tony Gibb. However the bunch all came together for the final sprint, with the victory taken by Ed Clancy after a powerful break for home in the final lap.

The Madison Time Trial event has seen some impressive times posted so far this season. The team of Steven Burke and Ed Clancy have taken all three victories so far. At the second meeting of the season, Revolution 22, they clocked a time only 0.1 seconds off the record time of Chris Hoy and Arnaud Tournant. At Revolution 23 they went even closer and finished only 0.002 off the record. All eyes will be on this competiton in the final meeting of the season as the current record holders are expected to be in attendance.

In the Future Stars competition the stand out performers so far have been Sam Harrison and Ruby Miller.

To the top



Wales

Flag of Wales

Wales /ˈweɪlz/ (help·info) (Welsh: Cymru; pronounced (help·info)) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom, bordered by England to its east, and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It is also an elective region of the European Union. Wales has a population estimated at three million and is officially bilingual, with both Welsh and English having equal status.

Originally (and traditionally) a Celtic land and one of the Celtic nations, a distinct Welsh national identity emerged in the early fifth century, after the Roman withdrawal from Britain. The 13th-century defeat of Llewelyn by Edward I completed the Anglo-Norman conquest of Wales and brought about centuries of English occupation. Wales was subsequently incorporated into England with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542, creating the legal entity known today as England and Wales. However, distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century, and in 1881 the Welsh Sunday Closing Act became the first legislation applied exclusively to Wales. In 1955 Cardiff was proclaimed as national capital and in 1999 the National Assembly for Wales was created, which holds responsibility for a range of devolved matters.

The capital Cardiff (Welsh: Caerdydd) is Wales's largest city with 317,500 people. For a period it was the biggest coal port in the world and, for a few years before World War One, handled a greater tonnage of cargo than either London or Liverpool. Two-thirds of the Welsh population live in South Wales, with another concentration in eastern North Wales. Many tourists have been drawn to Wales's "wild... and picturesque" landscapes. From the late 19th century onwards, Wales acquired its popular image as the "land of song", attributable in part to the revival of the eisteddfod tradition. Actors, singers and other artists are celebrated in Wales today, often achieving international success. Cardiff is the largest media centre in the UK outside of London.

Wales is sometimes referred to as a principality, although this has no constitutional basis. Llywelyn the Great founded the Principality of Wales in 1216. Just over a hundred years after the Edwardian Conquest, Owain Glyndŵr briefly restored independence in the early 15th century, to what was to become modern Wales. Traditionally the British Royal Family have bestowed the courtesy title of 'Prince of Wales' upon the heir apparent of the reigning monarch.

The English name "Wales" originates from the Germanic word Walh or Waelisc, which referred to foreigners who had been "Romanised". Waelisc also provides the source of English word Welsh. As the terms Walh or Waelisc were not used by Germanic speakers to describe their eastern neighbours, it would have had a meaning that was more than just "foreigner". Anglo-Saxons used their version of an Old Teutonic term to apply to speakers of Celtic languages as well as to speakers of Latin. The same etymology applies to walnuts (meaning—nut of the Roman lands) as well as to the "wall" of Cornwall in Britain and to Wallonia in Belgium. Old Church Slavonic also borrowed the term from the Germanic, and it served as the origin of the names of the Romanian region of Wallachia and its people, the Vlachs.

There is also a medieval legend found in the Historia Regum Britanniae of Sieffre o Fynwy (Geoffrey of Monmouth) that derives Cymru from the name Camber, son of Brutus and, according to the legend, the eponymous King of Cymru (Cambria in Latin); this, however, is considered largely the fruit of Geoffrey's vivid imagination.

Wales (Welsh: Cymru) has been inhabited by modern humans for at least 29,000 years. Although continuous human habitation dates from the end of the last ice age (between 12,000 and 10,000 Before Present (BP)), when mesolithic hunter-gatherers from Central Europe began to migrate to Great Britain. Wales was free of glaciers by about 10,250 BP and people would have been able to walk between Continental Europe and Great Britain until between about 7,000 and 6,000 BP, before the post glacial rise in sea level led to Great Britain becoming an island, and the Irish Sea forming to separate Wales and Ireland. John Davies has theorised that the story of Cantre'r Gwaelod's drowning and tales in the Mabinogion, of the waters between Wales and Ireland being narrower and shallower, may be distant folk memories of this time. The area became heavily wooded, restricting movement, and people also came to Great Britain by boat, from the Iberian Peninsula. These Neolithic colonists integrated with the indigenous people, gradually changing their lifestyles from a nomadic life of hunting and gathering, to become settled farmers—the Neolithic Revolution. They cleared the forests to establish pasture and to cultivate the land, developed new technologies such as ceramics and textile production, and they built cromlechs such as Pentre Ifan, Bryn Celli Ddu and Parc Cwm long cairn between about 5500 BP and 6000 BP, about 1,000 to 1,500 years before either Stonehenge or The Egyptian Great Pyramid of Giza was completed. In common with people living all over Great Britain, over the following centuries the people living in what was to become known as Wales assimilated immigrants and exchanged ideas of the Bronze Age and Iron Age Celtic cultures. By the time of the Roman invasion of Britain the area of modern Wales had been divided among the tribes of the Deceangli, Ordovices, Cornovii, Demetae and Silures for centuries.

The first documented history of the area that would become Wales was in AD 48. Following attacks by the Silures of south-east Wales, in AD 47 and 48, the Roman historian Tacitus recorded that the governor of the new Roman province of Britannia "... received the submission of the Deceangli" in north-east Wales.

A string of Roman forts was established across what is now the South Wales region, as far west as Carmarthen (Caerfyrddin; Latin: Maridunum), and gold was mined at Dolaucothi in Carmarthenshire. There is evidence that the Romans progressed even farther west. They also built the Roman legionary fortress at Caerleon (Latin: Isca Silurum), of which the magnificent amphitheatre is the best preserved in Britain.

The Romans were also busy in northern Wales, and the mediaeval Welsh tale Breuddwyd Macsen Wledig (dream of Macsen Wledig) claims that Magnus Maximus (Macsen Wledig), one of the last western Roman Emperors, married Elen or Helen, the daughter of a Welsh chieftain from Segontium, present-day Caernarfon. It was in the 4th century during the Roman occupation that Christianity was introduced to Wales.

After the Roman withdrawal from Britain in 410, much of the lowlands were overrun by various Germanic tribes. However, Gwynedd, Powys, Dyfed and Seisyllg, Morgannwg, and Gwent emerged as independent Welsh successor states. They endured, in part because of favourable geographical features such as uplands, mountains, and rivers and a resilient society that did not collapse with the end of the Roman civitas.

This tenacious survival by the Romano-Britons and their descendants in the western kingdoms was to become the foundation of what we now know as Wales. With the loss of the lowlands, England's kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria, and later Wessex, wrestled with Powys, Gwent, and Gwynedd to define the frontier between the two peoples.

In the planning of it, there was a degree of consultation with the kings of Powys and Gwent. On the Long Mountain near Trelystan, the dyke veers to the east, leaving the fertile slopes in the hands of the Welsh; near Rhiwabod, it was designed to ensure that Cadell ap Brochwel retained possession of the Fortress of Penygadden." And for Gwent Offa had the dyke built "on the eastern crest of the gorge, clearly with the intention of recognizing that the River Wye and its traffic belonged to the kingdom of Gwent.

However, Fox's interpretations of both the length and purpose of the Dyke have been questioned by more recent research. Offa's Dyke largely remained the frontier between the Welsh and English, though the Welsh would recover by the 12th century the area between the Dee and the Conwy known then as the Perfeddwlad. By the eighth century, the eastern borders with the Anglo-Saxons had broadly been set.

Following the successful examples of Cornwall in 722 and Brittany in 865, the Britons of Wales made their peace with the Vikings and asked the Norsemen to help the Britons fight the Anglo-Saxons of Mercia to prevent an Anglo-Saxon conquest of Wales. In 878 AD the Britons of Wales unified with the Vikings of Denmark to destroy an Anglo-Saxon army of Mercians. Like Cornwall in 722, this decisive defeating of the Saxons gave Wales some decades of peace from Anglo-Saxon attack. In 1063, the Welsh prince Gruffydd ap Llywelyn made an alliance with Norwegian Vikings against Mercia which, as in 878 AD was successful, and the Saxons of Mercia defeated. As with Cornwall and Brittany, Viking aggression towards the Saxons/Franks ended any chance of the Anglo-Saxons/Franks conquering their Celtic neighbours.

The southern and eastern lands lost to English settlement became known in Welsh as Lloegyr (Modern Welsh Lloegr), which may have referred to the kingdom of Mercia originally, and which came to refer to England as a whole. The Germanic tribes who now dominated these lands were invariably called Saeson, meaning "Saxons". The Anglo-Saxons called the Romano-British 'Walha', meaning 'Romanised foreigner' or 'stranger'. The Welsh continued to call themselves Brythoniaid (Brythons or Britons) well into the Middle Ages, though the first use of Cymru and y Cymry is found as early as 633 in the Gododdin of Aneirin. In Armes Prydain, written in about 930, the words Cymry and Cymro are used as often as 15 times. It was not until about the 12th century however, that Cymry began to overtake Brythoniaid in their writings.

From the year 800 onwards, a series of dynastic marriages led to Rhodri Mawr's (r. 844-877) inheritance of Gwynedd and Powys. His sons in turn would found three principal dynasties (Aberffraw for Gwynedd, Dinefwr for Deheubarth, and Mathrafal for Powys), each competing for hegemony over the others. Rhodri's grandson Hywel Dda (r.900-950) founded Deheubarth out of his maternal and paternal inheritances of Dyfed and Seisyllwg, ousted the Aberffraw dynasty from Gwynedd and Powys, and codified Welsh law in 930, finally going on a pilgrimage to Rome (and allegedly having the Law Codes blessed by the Pope). Maredudd ab Owain (r.986-999) of Deheubarth (Hywel's grandson) would, (again) temporarily oust the Aberffraw line from control of Gwynedd and Powys. Maredudd's great-grandson (through his daughter Princess Angharad) Gruffydd ap Llywelyn (r.1039-1063) would conquer his cousins' realms from his base in Powys, and even extend his authority into England. Historian John Davies states that Gruffydd was "the only Welsh king ever to rule over the entire territory of Wales... Thus, from about 1057 until his death in 1063, the whole of Wales recognised the kingship of Gruffudd ap Llywelyn. For about seven brief years, Wales was one, under one ruler, a feat with neither precedent nor successor." Owain Gwynedd (1100-1170) of the Aberffraw line was the first Welsh ruler to use the title princeps Wallensium (prince of the Welsh), a title of substance given his victory on the Berwyn Mountains, according to John Davies.

The Aberffraw dynasty would surge to pre-eminence with Owain Gwynedd's grandson Llywelyn Fawr (the Great) (b.1173-1240), wrestling concessions out of the Magna Carta in 1215 and receiving the fealty of other Welsh lords in 1216 at the council at Aberdyfi, becoming the first Prince of Wales. His grandson Llywelyn II also secured the recognition of the title Prince of Wales from Henry III with the Treaty of Montgomery in 1267. Later however, a succession of disputes, including the imprisonment of Llywelyn's wife Eleanor, daughter of Simon de Montfort, culminated in the first invasion by Edward I. As a result of military defeat, the Treaty of Aberconwy exacted Llywelyn's fealty to England in 1277. Peace was short lived and with the 1282 Edwardian conquest the rule of the Welsh princes permanently ended. With Llywelyn's death and his brother prince Dafydd's execution, the few remaining Welsh lords did homage for their lands to Edward I. Llywelyn's head was then carried through London on a spear; his baby daughter Gwenllian was locked in the priory at Sempringham, where she remained until her death fifty four years later.

To help maintain his dominance, Edward constructed a series of great stone castles. Beaumaris, Caernarfon, and Conwy were built mainly to overshadow the Welsh royal home and headquarters Garth Celyn, Aber Garth Celyn, on the north coast of Gwynedd.

After the failed revolt in 1294-5 of Madog ap Llywelyn - who styled himself prince of Wales in the so-called Penmachno Document - there was no major uprising until that led by Owain Glyndŵr a century later, against Henry IV of England. In 1404 Owain was reputedly crowned Prince of Wales in the presence of emissaries from France, Spain and Scotland; he went on to hold parliamentary assemblies at several Welsh towns, including Machynlleth. The rebellion was ultimately to founder, however, and Owain went into hiding in 1412, with peace being more or less restored in Wales by 1415.

Although the English conquest of Wales took place under the 1284 Statute of Rhuddlan, a formal Union did not occur until 1536, shortly after which Welsh law, which continued to be used in Wales after the conquest, was fully replaced by English law under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542.

In the 20th century, Wales saw a revival in its national status. Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925, seeking greater autonomy or independence from the rest of the UK. In 1955, the term England and Wales became common for describing the area to which English law applied, and Cardiff was proclaimed as capital city. In 1962 the Welsh Language Society (Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg) was formed in response to fears that the language might soon die out. Nationalism grew, particularly following the flooding of the Tryweryn valley in 1965 to create a reservoir supplying water to the English city of Liverpool. Despite 35 of the 36 Welsh Members of Parliament (MPs) voting against the bill, with the other abstaining, Parliament still passed the bill and the village of Capel Celyn was drowned, highlighting Wales's powerlessness in her own affairs in the face of the numerical superiority of English MPs in the London Parliament. In 1966 the Carmarthen Parliamentary seat was won by Gwynfor Evans at a by-election, Plaid Cymru's first Parliamentary seat.

Both the Free Wales Army and Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (MAC) (English: Welsh Defence Movement) were formed as a direct result of the Tryweryn destruction, conducting campaigns from 1963. In the years leading up to the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in 1969, these groups were responsible for a number of bomb blasts—destroying water pipes, tax and other offices, and part of a dam being built for a new English backed project in Clywedog, Montgomeryshire. In 1967, the Wales and Berwick Act 1746 was repealed for Wales, and a legal definition of Wales, and of the boundary with England was stated.

A referendum on the creation of an assembly for Wales in 1979 (see Wales referendum, 1979) led to a large majority for the "no" vote. However, in 1997 a referendum on the same issue secured a "yes", although by a very narrow majority. The National Assembly for Wales (Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru) was set up in 1999 (as a consequence of the Government of Wales Act 1998) and possesses the power to determine how the central government budget for Wales is spent and administered (although the UK parliament reserves the right to set limits on the powers of the Welsh Assembly). The 1998 Act was amended by the Government of Wales Act 2006 which enhanced the Assembly's powers, giving it legislative powers akin to the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly. Following the 2007 Assembly election, the One Wales Government was formed under a coalition agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Labour Party, under that agreement, a convention is due to be established to discuss further enhancing Wales's legislative and financial autonomy. A referendum on giving the Welsh assembly full law-making powers is promised "as soon as practicable, at or before the end of the assembly term (in 2011)" and both parties have agreed "in good faith to campaign for a successful outcome to such a referendum".

The head of state in Wales, a constituent part of the United Kingdom, is the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, (since 1952). Executive power is vested in the Queen, and exercised by Her Majesty's Government at Westminster, with some powers devolved to the Welsh Assembly Government in Cardiff. The United Kingdom Parliament retains responsibility for passing primary legislation in Wales, but since the Government of Wales Act 2006 came into effect in 2007, the National Assembly for Wales can request powers to pass primary legislation as Assembly Measures on specific issues. The National Assembly is not a sovereign authority, and the UK Parliament could, in theory, overrule or even abolish it at any time.

The National Assembly was first established in 1998 under the Government of Wales Act. There are 60 members of the Assembly, known as "Assembly Members (AM)". Forty of the AMs are elected under the First Past the Post system, with the other 20 elected via the Additional Member System via regional lists in 5 different regions. The largest party elects the First Minister of Wales, who acts as the head of government. The Welsh Assembly Government is the executive arm, and the Assembly has delegated most of its powers to the Assembly Government. The new Assembly Building designed by Lord Rogers was opened by The Queen on St David's Day (1 March) 2006.

The First Minister of Wales is Rhodri Morgan (since 2000), of the Welsh Labour party, with 26 of 60 seats. After the National Assembly for Wales election, 2007 Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru; The Party of Wales, which favours Welsh independence from the rest of the United Kingdom entered into a coalition partnership to form a stable government with the "historic" One Wales agreement. As the second largest party in the Assembly with 15 out of 60 seats, Plaid Cymru is led by Ieuan Wyn Jones, now the Deputy First Minister of Wales. The presiding officer of the Assembly is Plaid Cymru member Lord Elis-Thomas. Other parties include the Conservative Party, currently the loyal opposition with 12 seats, and the Liberal Democrats with six seats. The "LibDems" had previously formed part of a coalition government with Labour in the first Assembly. There is one independent member.

In the British House of Commons, Wales is represented by 40 MPs (out of a total of 646) from Welsh constituencies. Welsh Labour represents 29 of the 40 seats, the Liberal Democrats hold four seats, Plaid Cymru three and the Conservatives three. A Secretary of State for Wales sits in the UK cabinet and is responsible for representing matters that pertain to Wales. The Wales Office is a department of the United Kingdom government, responsible for Wales. The Secretary of State for Wales is Paul Murphy, who replaced Peter Hain on 24 January 2008 over an investigation on undeclared donations.

For the purposes of local government, Wales was divided into 22 council areas in 1996. These "unitary authorities" are responsible for the provision of all local government services.

Areas are Counties, unless marked * (for Cities) or † (for County Boroughs). Welsh language forms are given in parentheses, where they differ from the English..

Note that there are five cities in total in Wales: in addition to Cardiff, Newport and Swansea, the communities of Bangor and St David's also have city status.

English law is regarded as a common law system, with no major codification of the law, and legal precedents are binding as opposed to persuasive. The court system is headed by the House of Lords which is the highest court of appeal in the land for criminal and civil cases (although this is due to be replaced by a Supreme Court of the United Kingdom). The Supreme Court of Judicature of England and Wales is the highest court of first instance as well as an appellate court. The three divisions are the Court of Appeal; the High Court of Justice and the Crown Court. Minor cases are heard by the Magistrates' Courts or the County Court.

Since devolution in 2006, the Welsh Assembly has had the authority to draft and approve some laws outside of the UK Parliamentary system to meet the specific needs of Wales. Under powers conferred by Legislative Competency Orders agreed by all parliamentary stakeholders, it is able to pass laws known as Assembly Measures in relation to specific fields, such as health and education. As such, Assembly Measures are a subordinate form of primary legislation, lacking the scope of UK-wide Acts of Parliament, but able to be passed without the approval of the UK parliament or Royal Assent for each 'act'. Through this primary legislation, the Welsh Assembly Government can then also draft more specific secondary legislation. With devolution, the ancient and historic Wales and Chester court circuit was also disbanded and a separate Welsh court circuit was created to allow for any Measures passed by the Assembly.

Wales is located on a peninsula in central-west Great Britain. Its area, the size of Wales, is about 20,779 km² (8,023 square miles - about the same size as Massachusetts, Slovenia or El Salvador and about a quarter of the size of Scotland). It is about 274 km (170 miles) north-south and 97 km (60 miles) east-west. Wales is bordered by England to the east and by sea in the other three directions: the Môr Hafren (Bristol Channel) to the south, St. George's Channel to the west, and the Irish Sea to the north. Altogether, Wales has over 1,200 km (750 miles) of coastline. There are several islands off the Welsh mainland, the largest being Ynys Môn (Anglesey) in the northwest.

The main population and industrial areas are in South Wales, consisting of the cities of Cardiff (Caerdydd), Swansea (Abertawe) and Newport (Casnewydd) and surrounding areas, with another significant population in the north-east around Wrexham (Wrecsam).

Much of Wales's diverse landscape is mountainous, particularly in the north and central regions. The mountains were shaped during the last ice age, the Devensian glaciation. The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia (Eryri), and include Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), which, at 1085 m (3,560 ft) is the highest peak in Wales. The 14 (or possibly 15) Welsh mountains over 3,000 feet (914 m) high are known collectively as the Welsh 3000s, and are located in a small area in the north-west. The Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) are in the south (highest point Pen-y-Fan 886 m (2,907 ft)), and are joined by the Cambrian Mountains in Mid Wales, the latter name being given to the earliest geological period of the Paleozoic era, the Cambrian.

In the mid 19th century, two prominent geologists, Roderick Murchison and Adam Sedgwick, used their studies of the geology of Wales to establish certain principles of stratigraphy and palaeontology. After much dispute, the next two periods of the Paleozoic era, the Ordovician and Silurian, were named after ancient Celtic tribes from this area. The older rocks underlying the Cambrian rocks were referred to as Pre-cambrian.

Wales has three National Parks: Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons and Pembrokeshire Coast. It also has four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These areas include Anglesey, the Clwydian Range, the Gower peninsula and the Wye Valley. The Gower peninsula was the first area in the whole of the United Kingdom to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in 1956.

Much of the coastline of South and West Wales is designated as Heritage Coast. The coastline of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, the Gower peninsula, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, and Ceredigion is particularly wild and impressive. Gower, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay all have clean blue water, white sand beaches and impressive marine life. Despite this scenic splendour the coast of Wales has a dark side; the south and west coasts of Wales, along with the Irish and Cornish coasts, are frequently blasted by huge Atlantic westerlies/south westerlies that, over the years, have sunk and wrecked many vessels. On the night of 25 October 1859, 114 ships were destroyed off the coast of Wales when a hurricane blew in from the Atlantic; Cornwall and Ireland also had a huge number of fatalities on its coastline from shipwrecks that night. Wales has the somewhat unenviable reputation, along with Cornwall, Ireland and Brittany, of having per square mile, some of the highest shipwreck rates in Europe. The shipwreck situation was particularly bad during the industrial era when ships bound for Cardiff got caught up in Atlantic gales and were decimated by "the cruel sea".

Like Cornwall, Brittany and Ireland, the clean, clear waters of South-west Wales of Gower, Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay attract marine visitors including basking sharks, Atlantic grey seals, leatherback turtles, dolphins, porpoises, jellyfish, crabs and lobsters. Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion in particular are recognised as an area of international importance for Bottlenose dolphins, and New Quay in the middle of Cardigan Bay has the only summer residence of bottle nosed dolphins in the whole of the U.K.

The modern border between Wales and England was largely defined in the 16th century, based on medieval feudal boundaries. The boundary line (which very roughly follows Offa's Dyke up to 40 miles (64 km) of the northern coast) separates Knighton from its railway station, virtually cuts off Church Stoke from the rest of Wales, and slices straight through the village of Llanymynech (where a pub actually straddles the line).

Parts of Wales have been heavily industrialised since the 18th century and the early Industrial Revolution. Coal, copper, iron, silver, lead, and gold have been extensively mined in Wales, and slate has been quarried. By the second half of the 19th century, mining and metallurgy had come to dominate the Welsh economy, transforming the landscape and society in the industrial districts of south and north-east Wales.

From the middle of the nineteenth century until the mid 1980s, the mining and export of coal was a major part of the Welsh economy. Cardiff was once the largest coal exporting port in the world and, for a few years before World War One, handled a greater tonnage of cargo than either London or Liverpool.

From the early 1970s, the Welsh economy faced massive restructuring with large numbers of jobs in traditional heavy industry disappearing and being replaced eventually by new ones in light industry and in services. Over this period Wales was successful in attracting an above average share of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the UK. However, much of the new industry has essentially been of a 'branch factory' type, often routine assembly employing low skilled workers.

Wales has struggled to develop or attract high value-added employment in sectors such as finance and research and development, attributable in part to a comparative lack of economic mass (i.e. population) - Wales lacks a large metropolitan centre and most of the country, except south east Wales, is sparsely populated. The lack of high value-added employment is reflected in lower economic output per head relative to other regions of the UK - in 2002 it stood at 90% of the EU25 average and around 80% of the UK average. However, care is needed in interpreting these data, which do not take account of regional differences in the cost of living. The gap in real living standards between Wales and more prosperous parts of the UK is not pronounced.

In 2002, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Wales was just over £26 billion ($48 billion), giving a per capita GDP of £12,651 ($19,546). As of 2006, the unemployment rate in Wales stood at 5.7% - above the UK average, but lower than in the majority of EU countries.

As with the rest of the United Kingdom, the currency used in Wales is the pound sterling, represented by the symbol £. The Bank of England, created as the central bank for the Kingdom of England (which included Wales), is responsible for the currency of the entire United Kingdom. Banks in Wales, unlike those in Scotland and Northern Ireland, do not have the right to issue banknotes. The Royal Mint, who issue the coinage circulated over the whole of the UK, have been based at a single site in Llantrisant, south Wales since 1980, having been progressively transferring operations from their Tower Hill, London site since 1968. Since decimalisation, in 1971, at least one of the coins in UK circulation has depicted a Welsh design, e.g. the 1995 and 2000 one Pound coin (shown left). However, Wales is not represented on any of the coins being minted.

Due to poor-quality soil, much of Wales is unsuitable for crop-growing, and livestock farming has traditionally been the focus of agriculture. The Welsh landscape (protected by three National Parks) and 42 Blue Flag beaches, as well as the unique culture of Wales, attract large numbers of tourists, who play an especially vital role in the economy of rural areas. See Tourism in Wales.

Public healthcare in Wales is provided by NHS Wales (Welsh: GIG Cymru), which was originally formed as part of the NHS structure for England and Wales created by the National Health Service Act 1946, but with powers over the NHS in Wales coming under the Secretary of State for Wales in 1969. In turn, responsibility for NHS Wales was passed to the Welsh Assembly and Executive under devolution in 1999. NHS Wales provides public healthcare in Wales and employs some 90,000 staff, making it Wales’ biggest employer.The Minister for Health and Social Services is the person within the Welsh Assembly Government who holds cabinet responsibilities for both health and social care in Wales.

The population of Wales in the United Kingdom Census 2001 was 2,903,085, which has risen to 2,958,876 according to 2005 estimates. This would make Wales the 136th largest country by population if it were a sovereign state.

According to the 2001 census, 96% of the population was White British, and 2.1% non-white (mainly of Asian origin). Most non-white groups were concentrated in the southern port cities of Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. Welsh Asian communities developed mainly through immigration since World War II. More recently, parts of Wales have seen an increased number of immigrants settle from recent EU accession countries such as Poland - although some Poles also settled in Wales in the immediate aftermath of World War II.

In the 2001 Labour Force Survey, 72% of adults in Wales considered their national identity as wholly Welsh and another 7% considered themselves to be partly Welsh (Welsh and British were the most common combination). A recent study estimated that 35% of the Welsh population have surnames of Welsh origin (5.4% of the English population and 1.6% of the Scottish also bore 'Welsh' names). However, some names identified as English (such as 'Greenaway') may be corruptions of Welsh ('Goronwy'). Other names common in Wales, such as 'Richards', may have originated simultaneously in other parts of Britain.

In 2001 a quarter of the Welsh population were born outside Wales, mainly in England; about 3% were born outside the UK. The proportion of people who were born in Wales differs across the country, with the highest percentages in the South Wales Valleys, and the lowest in Mid Wales and parts of the north-east. In both Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil 92% were Welsh-born, compared to only 51% in Flintshire and 56% in Powys. One of the reasons for this is that the locations of the most convenient hospitals in which to give birth are over the border in England.

The Welsh Language Act 1993 and the Government of Wales Act 1998 provide that the Welsh and English languages be treated on a basis of equality. However, even English has only de facto official status in the UK (see Languages of the United Kingdom) and this has led political groups like Plaid Cymru to question whether such legislation is sufficient to ensure the survival of the Welsh language.

English is spoken by almost all people in Wales and is therefore the de facto main language (see Welsh English). However, northern and western Wales retain many areas where Welsh is spoken as a first language by the majority of the population and English is learnt as a second language. 21.7% of the Welsh population is able to speak or read Welsh to some degree (based on the 2001 census), although only 16% claim to be able to speak, read and write it, which may be related to the stark differences between colloquial and literary Welsh. According to a language survey conducted in 2004, a larger proportion than 21.7% claim to have some knowledge of the language. Today there are very few truly monoglot Welsh speakers, other than small children, but individuals still exist who may be considered less than fluent in English and rarely speak it. There were still many monoglots as recently as the middle of the 20th century. Road signs in Wales are generally in both English and Welsh; where place names differ in the two languages, both versions are used (e.g. "Cardiff" and "Caerdydd"), the decision as to which is placed first being that of the local authority.

During the 20th century a number of small communities of speakers of languages other than English or Welsh, such as Bengali or Cantonese, have established themselves in Wales as a result of immigration. This phenomenon is almost exclusive to urban Wales. The Italian Government funds the teaching of Italian to Welsh residents of Italian ancestry. These other languages do not have legal equality with English and Welsh, although public services may produce information leaflets in minority ethnic languages where there is a specific need, as happens elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Code-switching is common in all parts of Wales, and the result is known by various names, such as "Wenglish" or (in Caernarfon) "Cofi".

The largest religion in Wales is Christianity, with 72% of the population describing themselves as Christian in the 2001 census. The Presbyterian Church of Wales is the largest denomination and was born out of the Welsh Methodist revival in the 18th century and seceded from the Church of England in 1811. The Church in Wales is the next largest denomination, and forms part of the Anglican Communion. It too was part of the Church of England, and was disestablished by the British Government under the Welsh Church Act 1914 (the act did not take effect until 1920). The Roman Catholic Church makes up the next largest denomination at 3% of the population. Non-Christian religions are small in Wales, making up approximately 1.5% of the population. 18% of people declare no religion. The Apostolic Church holds its annual Apostolic Conference in Swansea each year, usually in August.

The patron saint of Wales is Saint David (Welsh: Dewi Sant), with St David's Day (Welsh: Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant) celebrated annually on 1 March.

In 1904, there was a religious revival (known by some as the 1904-1905 Welsh Revival or simply The 1904 Revival) which started through the evangelism of Evan Roberts and took many parts of Wales by storm with massive numbers of people voluntarily converting to Nonconformist and Anglican Christianity, sometimes whole communities. Many of the present-day Pentecostal churches in Wales claim to have originated in this revival.

Islam is the largest non-Christian religion in Wales, with over 30,000 reported Muslims in the 2001 census. There are also communities of Hindus and Sikhs mainly in the South Wales cities of Newport, Cardiff and Swansea, while curiously the largest concentration of Buddhists is in the western rural county of Ceredigion. Judaism was the first non-Christian faith (excluding pre-Roman animism) to be established in Wales, however as of the year 2001 the community has declined to approximately 2,000.

Wales has a distinctive culture including its own language, customs, holidays and music.

Wales is primarily represented by the symbol of the red Welsh Dragon, but other national emblems include the leek and daffodil. The Welsh words for leeks (cennin) and daffodils (cennin Pedr, lit. "(Saint) Peter's Leeks") are closely related and it is likely that one of the symbols came to be used due to a misunderstanding for the other one, though it is less clear which came first.

In June 2008, Wales made history by becoming the first nation in the world to be awarded Fairtrade Status.

The most popular sports in Wales are rugby union and football. Wales, like other constituent nations, enjoys independent representation in major world sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and in the Commonwealth Games (however as Great Britain in the Olympics). As in New Zealand, rugby is a core part of the national identity, although football has traditionally been more popular sport in the North Wales, possibly due to its close proximity to England's north-west. Wales has its own governing bodies in rugby, the Welsh Rugby Union and in football, the Football Association of Wales (the third oldest in the world) and most other sports. Many of Wales's top athletes, sportsmen and sportswomen train at the Welsh Institute of Sport and National Indoor Athletics Centre in Cardiff, the Wales National Velodrome in Newport and the Wales National Pool in Swansea.

The Welsh national rugby union team takes part in the annual Six Nations Championship and is the current (2008) holder of that Championship. Wales has also competed in every Rugby World Cup, hosting the tournament in 1999, with a best result of third place in the inaugural competition. Welsh teams also play in the European Heineken Cup and Magners League (rugby union) alongside teams from Ireland and Scotland, the EDF Energy Cup and the European Heineken Cup. The traditional club sides, were replaced in major competitions with four regional sides in 2003 replaced by the four professional regions (Scarlets, Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons and Ospreys) in 2004. The former club sides now operate as semi-professional clubs in their own league, linked to the four regional sides. Wales has produced ten members of the International Rugby Hall of Fame including Gareth Edwards, JPR Williams and Gerald Davies. Newport Rugby Club also achieved a historic win over the 'invincible' New Zealand Rugby team of 1963. A similar feat was achieved by Llanelli Rugby Club in October 1972.

Rugby league is now developing in Wales. The Wales national rugby league team was formed in 1907, making them the third oldest national side. Before 1975 and in the 1980s they have been represented by the Great Britain national rugby league team in the World Cup. They have however competed in the 1975, 1995 and 2000 competitions. In the latter two they reached the Semi-Finals. But they didn't qualify for the 2008 tournament, having failed to beat Scotland over two matches. Bridgend based Celtic Crusaders joined National League Two in 2006, were promoted to National League One in 2008, and will play in Super League Europe in 2009. The Crusaders Colts, also based in Bridgend, play in the Rugby League Conference National division. Eight teams compete in the Rugby League Conference Welsh Premier division, which began in 2003. The most successful teams have been the Bridgend Blue Bulls and Cardiff Demons.

In international cricket, England and Wales field a single representative team which is administered by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). There is a separate Wales team that occasionally participates in limited-overs domestic competition. Glamorgan County Cricket Club is the only Welsh participant in the England and Wales County Championship. A Wales team also plays in the English Minor Counties competition. However there has been recent debate as to whether Welsh players (such as Simon Jones) should play for an England team, and not an England and Wales team.

Wales's other bat-and-ball sport is British Baseball, which is chiefly confined to Cardiff and Newport, two cities with very long baseball traditions. The sport is governed by the Welsh Baseball Union.

The Isle of Anglesey/Ynys Môn is a member island of the International Island Games Association. The next Island Games will be held in 2007 on Rhodes (Greece). In the 2005 Games, held on the Shetland Islands, the Isle of Anglesey/Ynys Môn came 11th on the medal table with 4 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals.

Wales has produced several world class snooker players such as Ray Reardon, Terry Griffiths, Mark Williams, Matthew Stevens and Ryan Day. Amateur participation in the sport is very high. The rugged terrain of the country also gives opportunities for rally driving and Wales hosts the finale of the World Rally Championship. Glamorgan compete in county cricket competitions and the Cardiff Devils were once a strong force in British ice hockey. Wales has also produced a number of athletes who have made a mark on the world stage, including the 110 m hurdler Colin Jackson who is a former world record holder and the winner of numerous Olympic, World and European medals as well as Tanni Grey-Thompson who has won Paralympic gold medals and Marathon victories.

Wales has produced several world class boxers. Joe Calzaghe the half-Welsh, half-Italian boxer has been WBO World Super-Middleweight Champion since 1997 and recently won the WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super middleweight and Ring Magazine Light-Heavy Weight titles. Former World champions include Enzo Maccarinelli, Gavin Rees, Colin Jones, Howard Winstone, Percy Jones, Jimmy Wilde, Steve Robinson and Robbie Regan.

Two Welsh drivers have competed in the Formula One championship: the first was Alan Rees at the 1967 British Grand Prix, who finished in ninth position, four laps behind the winner, Jim Clark. Tom Pryce was the more notable of the two drivers, as he finished on the podium twice and, at the 1975 British Grand Prix, qualified in pole position. Pryce's career was cut short after he collided with volunteer marshal, Jansen Van Vuuren, killing both instantly. As well as Formula One, Wales have had some notability in the World Rally Championship, producing two championship winning Co-Drivers, those being Nicky Grist, who helped Colin McRae to victory in 1995 and Phil Mills who helped Petter Solberg win the 2003 title. Wales hosts the British and final leg of the World Rally Championship.

Freddie Williams was World Motorcycle speedway champion twice - in 1950 and 1953 - and the country has a professional speedway team, Newport Wasps. The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff hosts the annual British Speedway Grand Prix, the United Kingdom's round of the World Championship.

Other notable Welsh sports people include 11 times gold medal winning paralympic athlete Tanni Grey-Thompson, footballer Ryan Giggs who is playing for Manchester United in the English Premiership and is recognised as the most successful player in English football history, BDO world darts champions Richie Burnett and Mark Webster, Beijing 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists and international champion cyclists Nicole Cooke (Road Race), who also won the 2006 and 2007 Grande Boucle - the women's Tour de France, and Geraint Thomas (Team Pursuit), who also rode in the 2007 Tour de France, Commonwealth Games gold and bronze medallist in shooting Dave Phelps and Beijing 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist (10 km marathon) and Athens 2004 Olympic Bronze Medalist (1500 m freestyle), swimmer David Davies, Cyclist Simon Richardson - double gold medallist at the 2008 Summer Paralympics (1 km and 3 km time trial).

Since 2006, Wales has had its own professional golf tour, the Dragon Tour. Notable Welsh golfers include Brian Huggett, Ian Woosnam, Bradley Dredge and Phillip Price. The Celtic Manor in Newport will host the 2010 Ryder Cup.

Cardiff is home to the Welsh national media. BBC Wales is based in Llandaff, Cardiff and produces Welsh-oriented output for BBC One and BBC Two channels. BBC 2W is the Welsh digital version of BBC Two, and broadcasts between 8.30pm and 10pm each week night for specific Wales based programming. ITV the UK's main commercial broadcaster has a Welsh-oriented service branded as ITV Wales, whose studios are in Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff. S4C, based in Llanishen, Cardiff, broadcasts mostly Welsh-language programming at peak hours, but shares English-language content with Channel 4 at other times. S4C Digidol (S4C Digital), on the other hand, broadcasts mostly in Welsh. Channel 4 and Channel 5 are now available in most parts of the country via digital television and satellite.

BBC Radio Wales is Wales's only national English-language radio station, while BBC Radio Cymru broadcasts throughout Wales in Welsh. There are also a number of independent radio stations across Wales including 103.2 & 97.4 Red Dragon, 96.4 The Wave, Swansea Sound, Marcher Sound, Nation Radio, Coast FM, 102.5 Radio Pembrokeshire, 97.1 Radio Carmarthenshire, Champion 103, Radio Ceredigion and Real Radio.

Most of the newspapers sold and read in Wales are national newspapers sold and read throughout Britain, unlike in Scotland where many newspapers have rebranded into Scottish based titles. Wales-based newspapers include: South Wales Echo, South Wales Argus, South Wales Evening Post, Liverpool Daily Post (Welsh edition) and Y Cymro, a Welsh language publication. The Western Mail is the main indigenous daily newspaper in South Wales and includes a Sunday edition Wales on Sunday. Both are published by the UK's largest newspaper corporation, Trinity Mirror. The Western Mail and South Wales Echo have their offices in Thomson House, Cardiff city centre.

The first Welsh language daily, Y Byd, was due to commence on 3 March 2008. However, on 15 February 2008, it was announced that plans for Y Byd had been abandoned because of funding problems..

In addition to English-language magazines, a number of weekly and monthly Welsh-language magazines are published. Wales has some 20 publishing companies, publishing mostly English titles. However, some 500-600 titles are published each year in Welsh.

Notably, the recent hit revival of cult classic series Doctor Who was and is conceived in Wales (BBC Wales), with many episodes set in Cardiff. Most of the filming and production takes place in locations all over Wales and attracts staggering audiences worldwide. Its adult spin-off Torchwood, fronted by John Barrowman, is also set in Cardiff, with many links to Doctor Who.

About 80% of the land surface of Wales is given over to agricultural use. However, very little of this is arable land; the vast majority consists of permanent grass pasture or rough grazing for herd animals such as sheep and cows. Although both beef and dairy cattle are raised widely, especially in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, Wales is more well-known for its sheep farming, and thus lamb is the meat traditionally associated with Welsh cooking.

Some traditional dishes include laverbread (made from seaweed), bara brith (fruit bread), Cawl a lamb stew and cawl cennin (leek soup), Welsh cakes, and Welsh lamb. Cockles are sometimes served with breakfast bacon.

In 2005 the Welsh National Culinary Teams returned from the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg with eight gold, 15 silver and seven bronze medals, and were placed 7th in the world.

The principal Welsh festival of music and poetry is the National Eisteddfod. This takes place annually in a different town or city. The Llangollen International Eisteddfod echoes the National Eisteddfod but provides an opportunity for the singers and musicians of the world to perform.

Wales is often referred to as "the land of song", being particularly famous for harpists, male voice choirs, and solo artists including Sir Geraint Evans, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Dame Anne Evans, Dame Margaret Price, Ivor Novello, John Cale, Sir Tom Jones, Charlotte Church, Bonnie Tyler, Bryn Terfel, Donna Lewis, Mary Hopkin, Katherine Jenkins, Meic Stevens, Dame Shirley Bassey, Duffy and Aled Jones.

Indie bands like the Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia, Stereophonics (formerly Tragic Love Company), Feeder, Super Furry Animals, and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, in the 1990s, and later Goldie Lookin' Chain, mclusky, The Automatic, Steveless and Los Campesinos! have emerged from Wales. Other, less mainstream bands have emerged from Wales, such as Skindred, The Blackout, Lostprophets, Kids In Glass Houses, Bullet For My Valentine, Funeral for a Friend and were preceded by Man in the 1970s. The Beatles-nurtured power pop group Badfinger also has its roots in Wales (both the founder Peter Ham and drummer Mike Gibbins from Swansea). Another famous Welsh singer is pop icon Jem who has recorded songs for/performed on TV programmes such as Las Vegas and The OC, and movies such as Eragon. The popular New Wave/synthpop group Scritti Politti was a vehicle for singer/songwriter and Cardiff native Green Gartside.

The Welsh traditional and folk music scene is in resurgence with performers and bands such as Crasdant, Carreg Lafar, Fernhill, Siân James, Robin Huw Bowen, Llio Rhydderch, KilBride and The Hennessys. Traditional music and dance in Wales is supported by a myriad of societies. Welsh Folk Song Society (Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru) has published a number of collections of songs and tunes. The Welsh Folk Dance Society (Cymdeithas Ddawns Werin Cymru) supports a network of national amateur dance teams and publishes support material. Clear (Traditional instruments society) runs workshops to promote the harp, telyn deires (triple harp), fiddle, crwth, pibgorn (hornpipe) and other instruments. The Cerdd Dant Society promotes its specific singing art primarily through an annual one-day festival. The traditional music development agency, trac, runs projects in communities throughout Wales and advocates on behalf of traditional music. There are also societies for Welsh hymnology, oral history, small eisteddfodau, oral history, and poetry.

The 'Sîn Roc Gymraeg' (Welsh language Rock Scene) in Wales is thriving, with acts ranging from rock to hip-hop. Dolgellau, in the heart of Snowdonia has held the annual Sesiwn Fawr (mighty session) festival since 1992. The festival has grown to be Wales's largest Welsh-Language Music Festival.

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales performs in Wales and internationally. The world-renowned Welsh National Opera now has a permanent home at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, while the National Youth Orchestra of Wales was the first of its type in the world.

The main road artery linking cities and other settlements along the South Wales coast is the M4 motorway which also provides a link with England and eventually London. The Welsh section of the motorway, managed by the Welsh Assembly Government, runs from the Second Severn Crossing to Pont Abraham in West Wales, connecting cities such as Cardiff, Newport and Swansea.

In North Wales the A55 expressway performs a similar role along the north Wales coast providing connections for places such as Holyhead and Bangor with Wrexham and Flintshire and also with England, principally Chester. The main north-south Wales link is the A470 which runs from Cardiff to Llandudno.

Cardiff International Airport is the only large and international airport in Wales, offering links domestically and to European and North American destinations, located some 12 miles (19 km) south-west of Cardiff city centre, in the Vale of Glamorgan. Since May 2007 Highland Airways, a Scottish Company, has run internal flights between Anglesey (Valley) and Cardiff.

The country also has a significant railway network managed by the Welsh Assembly Government which has a programme of reopening old railway lines and extending rail usage. Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen Street are the busiest and the major hubs on the internal and national network. Beeching cuts in the 1960s mean that most of the remaining network is geared toward east-west travel to or from England. Services from North to South Wales operate through the English towns of Chester and Shrewsbury. Valley Lines services operate in Cardiff, the South Wales Valleys and surrounding area and are heavily used as commuter lines.

Arriva Trains Wales is the major operator of rail services within Wales. It also operates routes from within Wales to Crewe, Manchester, Birmingham and Cheltenham. Virgin Trains operate services from North Wales to London as part of the West Coast Main Line. First Great Western operate services from London to Cardiff and Newport every half hour with an hourly continuation to Swansea. It also runs services from Cardiff and Newport to southern England. CrossCountry offer services from Cardiff to Nottingham and Newcastle upon Tyne via the West Midlands, East Midlands and Yorkshire.

Regular ferry services operate from Holyhead and Fishguard to Ireland.

The Flag of Wales incorporates the red dragon (Y Ddraig Goch) of Prince Cadwalader along with the Tudor colours of green and white. It was used by Henry VII at the battle of Bosworth in 1485 after which it was carried in state to St. Paul's Cathedral. The red dragon was then included in the Tudor royal arms to signify their Welsh descent. It was officially recognised as the Welsh national flag in 1959. The British Union Flag incorporates the flags of Scotland, Ireland and England but does not have any Welsh representation. Technically, however, it is represented by the flag of England due to the Laws in Wales act of 1535 which annexed Wales following the 13th century conquest.

Llanddwyn Island old lighthouse with Gwynedd in background.

Part of the Brecon Beacons, looking from the highest point Pen y Fan.

To the top



Source : Wikipedia