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Watch: Women's Tour Down Under: Stage 3 | EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS | 1/18/2023 | Cycling on NBC Sports
Relive the best moments from the third stage of the 2023 Women's Tour Down Under, where Grace Brown led the way with a time of 2:37:11.
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How to watch the Tour Down Under 2023 | Global options for live TV, streaming and highlights
Stages, start times and viewing options for the men's and women's WorldTour racing opener
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By Paul Norman
Published: January 22, 2023 at 9:00 pm
The Tour Down Under is back for 2023, and here’s how you can catch all of the action live on TV, streaming online or on catch-up.
After two years in which the traditional season-opener for pro road racing was cancelled due to Covid-related travel restrictions, the racing starts on Saturday 14 January 2023 and continues throughout the following week, culminating on Sunday 22 January 2023.
This year, both the men’s and women’s races are UCI WorldTour accredited, the latter for the first time.
How can I watch the Tour Down Under 2023 live in the UK?
Eurosport will once again be showing live coverage of the Tour Down Under. As usual with racing in Australia, it’s one for the insomniacs if you want to watch live in the UK, with coverage starting either at midnight for the women’s racing or 1am for the men’s stages . Early risers can catch the men’s prologue at a more sociable 7.30am though.
As usual, there’s an on-demand option if you value your shuteye.
Eurosport is being subsumed into Discovery+ , with a subscription costing £6.99 per month or £59.99 per year. It’s available on a range of platforms including tablets, mobile, TV with Chromecast or AirPlay, Android TV and Apple TV.
You can also watch the Tour Down Under on GCN+ . A monthly subscription to GCN+ costs £6.99, the same as Discovery+; an annual subscription to GCN+ costs £39.99.
How can I watch the Tour Down Under 2023 live in the US?
According to the Tour Down Under website, NBC Sports should be showing live coverage of the Tour Down Under, although there are no cycling events currently showing as scheduled on the NBC Sports site.
You can also watch the Tour Down Under on FloBikes , with subscription options costing from $12.49 a month.
Both offer on-demand replays, although US live racing times are a bit more user-friendly than in Europe, with typical stage starts at 8pm Eastern, 5pm Pacific.
How can I watch the Tour Down Under 2023 live in Australia?
Seven West Media will be broadcasting the Tour Down Under in Australia, accessed via the 7plus streaming service . You can find the full list of broadcast times for each stage online.
There’s a full list of broadcasters in other countries on the Tour Down Under website.
How can I follow the Tour Down Under 2023 if I can’t watch live coverage?
The Tour Down Under YouTube channel is a good option for highlights and race background, including route overviews.
Here’s a run-down of the racing schedule and stages.
2023 Schwalbe Classic schedule and stage profile
Both the women’s and men’s racing starts with the Schwalbe Classic crit on Saturday 14 January, with a 5.30pm local time start in the centre of Adelaide for the women’s race and a 7pm start for the men’s race.
Both races take in a flat 1.35km loop around central Adelaide and each lasts for one hour, plus a final lap. There are sprint primes 15, 30 and 45 minutes into the races. Expect fast-paced racing, hopefully without any crashes to take riders out for the rest of the week.
2023 Women’s Tour Down Under schedule and stage profiles
This year, the women’s Tour Down Under is UCI WorldTour accredited for the first time, The three stages are designed for different types of rider, with Stage One likely a sprint finish, Stage Two a stage for the puncheurs and Stage Three a climbing stage. The organisers reckon the ochre leader’s jersey may change shoulders each day.
Ziptrak Women’s Stage 1: Glenelg to Aldinga
- Start: Sunday 15 January 2023, 11.30am local time
- Distance: 110km
Singapore Airlines Women’s Stage 2: Birdwood to Uraidla
- Start: Monday 16 January 2023, 11.30am local time
- Distance: 90km
Let’s Go Motorhomes Women’s Stage 3: Adelaide to Campbelltown
- Start: Tuesday 17 January 2023, 11.30am local time
- Distance: 93km
2023 Men’s Tour Down Under schedule and stage profiles
The men’s race starts with a time trial prologue over 5.5km – a first for the Tour Down Under – which will be ridden on road bikes rather than specialist time trial bikes.
The five subsequent stages feature a mix of longer circuits and some big climbs, with a final-day summit finish on Mount Lofty – the first time it’s been on a Tour Down Under route and climbed five times over the course of the final stage.
- Start: Tuesday 17 January 2023, 6pm local time
- Distance: 5.5km
Ziptrak Men’s Stage 1: Tanunda to Tanunda
- Start: Wednesday 18 January 2023, 11.30am local time
- Distance: 150km
Oakley Men’s Stage 2: Brighton to Victor Harbor
- Start: Thursday 19 January 2023, 11.30am local time
- Distance: 155km
Hahn Men’s Stage 3: Norwood to Campbelltown
- Start: Friday 20 January 2023, 11.30am local time
- Distance: 117km
THINK! Road Safety Men’s Stage 4: Port Willunga to Willunga Township
- Start: Saturday 21 January 2023, 11.30am local time
- Distance: 133km
Schwalbe Men’s Stage 5: Unley to Mount Lofty
- Start: Sunday 22 January 2023, 11.30am local time
- Distance: 112.5km
Paul has been writing about bike tech and reviewing all things cycling for almost a decade. He had a five-year stint at Cycling Weekly and has also written for titles including CyclingNews, Cyclist and BikePerfect, as well as being a regular contributor to BikeRadar. Tech-wise, he’s covered everything from rim width to the latest cycling computers. He reviewed some of the first electric bikes for Cycling Weekly and has covered their development into the sophisticated machines they are today, on the way becoming an expert on all things electric. Paul was into gravel before it was even invented, riding a cyclocross bike across the South Downs and along muddy paths through the Chilterns. He dabbled in cross-country mountain biking too. He’s most proud of having covered the length of the South Downs Way on a crosser and fulfilling his long-time ambition to climb Monte Grappa on a road bike
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Men’s Santos Tour Down Under’23 Stage 3: Vine Leads, Stage for Bilbao!
Race Report: Hahn Men’s Stage 3: Pello Bilbao’s super cool downhill bike handling skills handed the Spaniard a debut Santos Tour Down Under stage win on Friday. Bahrain Victorious’ Giro D’Italia stage winner beat Australia’s hot GC favourite Jay Vine (UAE Emirates) and Vuelta a España champion Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla) to the Maryvale Road, Athelstone finish line in the Stage 3 Norwood to Campbelltown.
* Race report and quotes courtesy of the Santos Tour Down Under . *
Watch the Tour Down Under on GCN+ Starting on Saturday (January 14-22) You can watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free coverage of Tour Down Under on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream original and exclusive cycling documentaries. Watch it all with GCN+ on any device .
“We really came in a good mood to this race,” Bilbao, 32, said. “(Team sports director) Neil Stephens was super enthusiastic about this race it’s been six months preparing for his home race. In the end, we came here early, on January 4, to train and to adapt to the heat and the time zone and to check all the stages.”
With Bilbao claiming his first stage win at the Australian WorldTour race, Vine became the third ochre jersey leader after South Australia’s Rohan Dennis was forced to concede the GC a day after Italian Alberto Bettilol cramped up before the Victor Harbor finish line where he threw his bidon in disgust.
Dennis had a mechanical close to Kersbrook and was forced to change his bike. Dennis is 1min:25 sec behind Vine with two stages to go. Bilbao is just 15 seconds off pole position while Yates is sitting third, 16 seconds adrift of Vine, the reigning Australian time trial champion.
After leaving the picturesque The Parade, Norwood the race didn’t get off to a frenetic start. The first attack arrived when EF Education-Easypost’s Mikkel Honore was chasing Fabio Felline from Astana Qazakstan. The pair didn’t pose a threat to the GC contenders until the second efex King of the Mountain where the favourites were positioning themselves for the Corkscrew Road summit.
In a bizarre incident, Astana Qazakstan teammates Gianni Moscon and Leonardo Basso crashed into each other just before the second efex king of the mountain at Checker Hill. Moscon abandoned the race with what appeared to be a serious injury to his upper left arm. Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas from INEOS Grenadiers went to the front of the peloton before Vine decided to take control at Kangaroo Creek reservoir before the final KOM. Dennis was still at the back end of the main peloton at the bottom of Corkscrew Road.
The showdown to the Maryvale Road, Athlestone finish: efex King of the Mountain No. 1- Ashton 9.6km: Average gradient 4.8 per cent. Mikkel Honore from EF Education-Easy Post claimed the maximum points ahead of Fabio Felline from Astana Qazakstan. The pair opened a 2min;13sec gap before Ineos Grenadiers’ Luke Plapp came in third and Tim van Dijke from Jumbo Visma came in fourth. At that stage, the virtual KOM was still headed by Jay Vine from UAE Emirates.
Ziptrak Sprint 1 – Lobethal – 29km Felline claimed the first Ziptrak sprint 1 at Lobethal at 29km followed by Honore and Australia’s Kaden Groves from Alpelcin-Deceuninck.
Ziptrak sprint 1 – Williamstown 64km Felline also claimed the second sprint while Honore and Groves stood firm. Felline at that point of the race owned the points classification jersey.
Efex King of the Mountain Kersbrook 82.2km – Average gradient 9.4 per cent Honore was first atop the summit as the peloton closed in on Felline, Jai Hindley from Bora-hansgrohe came in third at Checker Hill. Honore at that point of the race was the virtual KOM before the Corkscrew Road was expected to rip the race apart. Vuelta a Espana winner Simon Yates from Jayco AlUla was fourth as Felline was caught by the peloton.
Efex King of the Mountain, Montacute, Corkscrew Road – Average gradient 9.2 percent This is the summit which cracked the race. Jay Vine was just too good and far too strong along a climb which had decimated some of the best WorldTour riders on the planet. Simon Yates from Jayco AlULa and Pello Bilbao Bahrain Victorious followed the Australian’s wheel all the way to the summit before the huge descent to Maryvale Road, Athelstone.
SANTOS OCHRE JERSEY WINNER and EFEX KING OF THE MOUNTAIN – JAY VINE, UAE TEAM EMIRATES: Maybe disappointment Prologue in stage one with the weather but I think it sort of came out status quo with the sprinting guys, the faster guys and myself and we just played the race as if nothing had ever happened in the world. We’ll see what happens all the way to Sunday but two more days, not that I’m counting.
It’s been quite an amazing journey for me I guess the way you throw rates for everything the last couple of years. What do you see this year? Is your professional career going? What’s the goal after I guess after the Tour Down Under? Well, hopefully 10 more years of career, that’s for sure. And yeah, a bunch of exotic cars hopefully in the game.
A lot of talk about the climb. You had to be a good descender as well today, not just at the final but also down the gorge. Was there any moment of a little bit of, let’s say, fear. Oh, absolutely. I mean, if you’re not scared, I think you don’t have a brain to be nice. It was yeah, pretty hectic all the way down the gorge. The Corckscrew descent was probably the safest part because there’s only three of us. But I think I went into the Corkscrew Corner sixth or seventh wheel.
STAGE WINNER – PELLO BILBAO LOPEZ, BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS Neil was telling me that you’ve done the reconnaissance four times up three times down your first time in Australia?. Yeah, I really came in a good mood to this race. Neil was super enthusiastic with his race six months already that he’s been preparing this race and thinking in his home race. And in the end, he throws me this to us with the rider so we can be early ready. Fourth of January, we came here to train to adapt to the heat, to adapt to the time, to check all the all the stages and from all the stages, this was my favorite one. I was doing some efforts in the climb and making the decision several times believing that I could maybe do a solo in the descent. Finally, I had to do really hard effort to say in the wheel with Vine and Yates. I find it really strong effort in the steepest part of the climb, but they just go on my own rhythm, believing that in the in the last part, in the flattest part, in the last few 100 meters I could join both of them and then I will just focus on winning. I wasn’t thinking in the overall Yates take the responsibility because he knew that was a good opportunity for him to win the race. And in the end, I did my best to sprint I tried to find my distance. In one point I saw that Yates was coming from behind and was not going to be easy but just 50 meters boy made the last effort to go for the victory.
You had a bit of bad luck on Tuesday night and the prologue obviously when he came out it was really wet and maybe that’s affected GC too yeah? That was a crazy idea also from me that we were preparing the Prologue in a special way. We did testing, we prepared a special bike for this so that shows the intention we had in the team to prepare this race and go for it. In the end we worked so hard I trained so hard. I’d come to try to prepare this special bike and to gain maybe six, seven seconds and in the end, I lost more than 10 seconds for sure with a with a rain condition so but anyway maybe the six to seven seconds can be important in the in the end of the race. This is a way we work in Bahrain. We like to do things in this way, trying to do our best, go to the small details and it’s a big pleasure to work with him. I really enjoy the races with him and especially big enough it is.
What convinced you to come to Australia for the first time was it Neil? For sure Neil convinced me. Also the German guys convinced me because there were big motivation to come here. I think we have a really great team combination between the sprinter group and and also me and all that usually race also with them like last year in Poland in Germany. So we have good relation. We like to go for all the stages in the races and join the spring the stage or it is mountain stage. We are always motivated. We train also in the same mood. We were in a training camp working as a group, already making big efforts, making races between us, enjoying every day and that’s how we arrived here with such good feelings and such good form.
Tomorrow’s Willunga, Sunday’s obviously Mount Lofty. I think the overall is going to be a bit difficult but at least now it’s realistic objective. To me tomorrow is going to be again a good opportunity with Phil. Show that they are super strong. He’s super convinced he has a good team to make a good result tomorrow and I suppose the last day we will do an all in.
ZIPTRAK SPRINT JERSEY WINNER – MICHAEL MATTHEWS, JAYCO-ALULA A better day today. You got a good chance? I think obviously no disruptions in the final there today. So now it was a good day, Yatesy obviously, in great shape. This climb suited him really well. So we’re basically just stuck to the same plan as we had yesterday what we would have done today even if I didn’t have any mechanical yesterday. So I think Yatesy is second on the stage, moved up to somewhere higher on GC now, and also me fourth, and then now in the points share so there was a good day for us.
How hard was it to bounce back from obviously what happened yesterday? I was very frustrated after the stage. Just so much preparation went into this, getting this opportunity to lead the Australian team at our home race, after a lot of years of not having the race. So it was a big build up and obviously massive frustration when that happened. But, today it was back to business and going on like we had planned as if nothing happened yesterday.
How did you bounce back? Was there anything you had to do different? No, not really. I mean, I’ve been pro for long enough now that if something like this happens, as long as I have all my skin and no broken bones, I can continue to fight. I think it’s not how far you fall, it’s how fast to get back up. So yeah, today, it was a nice way to bounce back.
You spoke immediately post stage about lack of perspective in the peloton. We know you had some words with another rider on the stage. And a lot of the older guys are talking about how there is this problem that the etiquette that was there a few years ago is disappearing, if not has disappeared. What can be done and how you know, how bad is it getting in your mind? I think it’s coming from a lot of different sides. I think the DSs in the radio are telling teams to get to the front all the time, so it’s just constant stress. We all have stress on us, we live pressure, we all want to win. As long as I think we all stay on the road and just give each other a bit more space. But I think moving up on the dirt yesterday, when we were going super fast at the bottom of the climb and we’re already in good position anyway, I think it was really unnecessary. But obviously we covered what happened yesterday. I spoke to him after the stage today, we cleared the air and we move on. He admitted he made a mistake, he was very sorry and I think we move on from here and hopefully others can see that it’s just not okay to move to do moves like this. I said to him, I’m the first one to give other guys space if their team’s trying to move up or anything. Just a little bit more space in the peloton, a little more respect and I think we can have a great race and the strongest man could win.
ZWIFT BEST YOUNG RIDER – MAGNUS SHEFFIELD, INEOS GRENADIERS The young rider, yours to keep? Yeah still along week. Today, it was quite a hard day and I’d say it was kind of the real first test of the week. We still have the Mount Lofty stage tomorrow, it looks like likely to be a sprint. But I can say that and it could be echelons and crazy from the start, so who knows with racing these days? But, I felt better today than I did yesterday and I think that was good, good effort. The team rode super strong into the gully and into the Corkscrew and set us up quite well. Ethan didn’t quite have the legs to go over the top. But Ethan was able to stay in that second group. And I was just off the back of that.
We spoke to Michael Matthews, and he said the air thankfully cleared between you two. We know that there was some words spoken after yesterday stage. Do you feel that things are okay, between you two guys? Super respect to Matthew and everything he’s accomplished. He’s a rider that I looked up to, since I was there, just getting into the sport. And I felt that it was already kind of settled between us yesterday. But I we just confirmed that again today. I think we can look forward to the rest of the week racing.
What exactly happened yesterday, you’re saying that you are moving up on the side of the gravel pits is that? I think what you saw is if you rewatched it, there was some bumping that happened. I think it was Matthew, I think it was another rider. And then I didn’t actually go off the road, but I was trying to avoid going into the gravel and that’s when you saw another rider come in contact. So I think it was kind of something that happened indirectly from what happened. But this is part of racing, he understands that. I said, I immediately apologized. It’s really a shame what happens like this when you drop a chain, because unfortunately, he’s put so much into this, his teammates. We talked about that after the day just like how much this race means to them. In some ways. It’s like the Tour with the local team. It would be like, Tour California or US pro challenge to me. So I feel really bad. But unfortunately, this is part of racing.
What do you think this classification means? I’d say it’s the beginning of the chapter for me. I’m still quite young so I think it’s nice being up there in the general classification, but also to wear white. Any jerseys always nice in a race like this, especially at the World Tour level. It’s kind of progression so hopefully I can later on try go for a yellow jersey or I think it’s the red jersey here. But it’s nice to be able to at least start with the white jersey.
What do you take away from the race? With it being the first race of the season, it’s really just kind of coming back with intensity. I had a really good preseason in New York with the team, but it’s a lot different riding in the peloton, especially at the speeds we’re now doing. Everyone’s writing massive chain rings, we’re going faster and faster. It’s hard to simulate this in the training so it’s really nice to get some speed in the legs before the classic season starts in Belgium.
Stage winner – Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) Santos leader’s jersey – Jay Vine (UAE Emirates) Ziptrak sprint jersey – Michael Matthews (Jayco UlULa) Efex king of the mountain – Jay Vine (UAE Emirates) Zwift young rider’s jersey – Magnus Sheffield (INEOS Grenadiers) Yamaha most competitive rider – Mikkel Honore (EF Education-Easypost)
Santos Tour Down Under Men – Stage 3 Result: 1. Pello BILBAO TBV ESP in 2:48:10 2. Simon YATES JAY GBR 3. Jay VINE UAD AUS 4. Michael MATTHEWS JAY AUS at 0:28 5. Sven Erik BYSTROM ICW NOR 6. Natnael TESFAZION TFS ERI 7. Antonio TIBERI* TFS ITA 8. Milan VADER TJV NED 9. Ben O’CONNOR ACT AUS 10. 92 Ethan HAYTER IGD GBR.
Santos Tour Down Under Men – Overall After Stage 3: 1. Jay VINE UAD AUS in 10:32:50 2. Pello BILBAO TBV ESP at 0:15 3. Simon YATES JAY GBR at 0:16 4. Magnus SHEFFIELD* IGD USA at 0:45 5. Mauro SCHMID SOQ SUI at 0:46 6. Ethan HAYTER IGD GBR at 0:50 7. Sven Erik BYSTROM ICW NOR at 0:54 8. Antonio TIBERI* TFS ITA at 0:58 9. Ben O’CONNOR ACT AUS at 1:00 10. Gorka IZAGIRRE MOV ESP at 1:01.
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Men’s Santos Tour Down Under’23 Stage 2: Dennis Takes Stage and Overall Lead
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Tour Down Under 2023: Route, stages, and startlist guide
Taking a look at all the stages for both the men's and women's Australian race
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Where: Adelaide, South Australia
When: 14 January (Schwalbe Classic men's and women's)
Women's TDU , 15-17 January Men's TDU , 17-22 January
Rank: UCI WorldTour (men's and women's)
Distance: 672 kilometres (men's) 293 kilometres (women's)
Returning to the WorldTour after a two-year absence, the Tour Down Under lifts the curtain on the WorldTour season once more. Multiple big name riders in both the men’s and women’s peloton will be heading to Australia for the stage-race including the recently crowned Australian national road champion Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) and Grace Brown (FDJ Suez).
Both the men’s and women’s action will begin with the Schwalbe Classic, an evening criterium on Saturday 14 January. However the criterium will have no say in the overall general classification battle.
The men’s race will get underway on Tuesday 17 January with a 5.5 kilometre prologue, whereas the women’s race will begin the day after the criterium on Sunday 15 January with a flat 110.4 kilometre stage between Glenelg and Aldinga.
Men's Tour Down Under: Stages, 17-22 January
Luke Plapp will be flying the flag for Australia at this years race
The route for the 2023 men's Tour Down Under has something for everyone. There will be plenty of action in the depths of the Adelaide hills as well as other fast and furious sprint stages which should make for an excellent opener to the WorldTour season. Bringing the race back without its famous Willunga Hill climb was always going to be a brave decision, although race director Stuart O'Grady explained when presenting the 2023 route that he believes it was important to bring some "fresh faces" into the Australian stage race.
"I think it's important to bring some new, fresh places into the Tour Down Under,” O'Grady said. "I was brought in to bring in some new innovations, some new exciting parcours and also didn't want just the same old kind of stages where everybody knows exactly what's going to happen. The new final stage brings in a lot of excitement. It's a short stage, it's aggressive, it's more central to Adelaide, so I'm guessing more and more people will get there.”
Prologue: Adelaide - Adelaide, 5.5 km
The evening prologue on Tuesday 17 January follows a 5.5 kilometre course through the Adelaide Parks and past the Adelaide Oval cricket ground in what promises to be a fast and furious affair. Unusually, the riders will have to use their road race bikes due to logistical issues with bringing all of their equipment over to Australia for the race. It's also the first time a prologue has been incorporated into the race, with race organisers clearly hoping that Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma), home favourite and time trial expert, can pull off the win and the early race lead.
Stage One: Tanunda - Tanunda, 149.9 km, Hilly
The first road stage of the 2023 men's race covers a 149.9 kilometre circuit around the city of Tanunda and and the Barossa wine area. It also features four smaller circuits which involve the Menglers Hill climb, making for a total of 2,050 metres of elevation gain. Menglers Hill isn't so challenging that the best sprinters in the world won't get over it, meaning that the likes of Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Dstny) could still be in contention towards the stage finale.
Otherwise, a rider of the likes of Plapp could look to use the final climb with just 10 kilometres to go as a launch pad for a solo move to the finish.
Stage Two: Brighton - Victor Harbour, 154.8 km, Hilly
The longest stage of this year's edition, stage two from Brighton to Victor Harbour is all about the coast. Riders will get to enjoy the spectacular coastline for the first portion of the route before things ramp up in the stage climax.
The final 60 kilometres involve two challenging, categorised ascents although the flat run in could also mean a day for the sprinters once more. In 2020, Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel-Premier Tech) grabbed the victory. Ewan will be another name to watch or a rider like EF Education-EasyPost's Alberto Bettiol. The Italian can more than hold his own on short, punchy climbs and packs a devilish fast finish.
Stage Three: Norwood - Campbell Town, 116.8 km, Hilly
Stage three to Campbelltown is short but will pack a mean punch with three of Adelaide's toughest hills roped into the equation. Norton Summit, Checkers Hill and Corkscrew Road are all on the menu, providing plenty of staging posts for the high profile overall contenders to make their moves. Corkscrew Road features challenging pitches of 6.8% average gradient, with one section ramping up to more than 9%. Perhaps homegrown hero and Giro d'Italia winner Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) will look to test his early season form on the hills of Adelaide.
Stage Four: Port Willunga - Willunga Township, 133.2 km, Flat
Normally on a stage in and around Willunga, you would expect the infamous Willunga Hill to feature somewhere in the route but this year's race misses out the legendary climb. Stage four gets underway overlooking the beach and ends in Willunga Township after 133 kilometres of mainly rolling, undulating roads. Stage four is definitely a day for the sprinters once more before the race reaches its finale on Mount Lofty the day after.
Stage Five: Unley - Mount Lofty, 122.5 km, Hilly
Stage five to Mount Lofty will make for a spectacular finish to the 2023 edition of the race. The stage is just 112.5 kilometres long but features five ascents of Mount Lofty, which is almost certainly going to provide drama on the races final day in the heart of the Adelaide Hills. All four ascents of the devilish climb will make for more than 3,000 metres of climbing. The whole climb is 2.6 kilometres long with an average gradient of 7%. At two and then one kilometre to go there are two much more severe, steeper sections which is where the GC favourites will be expected to attack. Many talented climbers feature on the expected start list which should make for a thrilling and aggressive stage five to end the race.
WOMEN'S TOUR DOWN UNDER: STAGES, 15-17 JANUARY
FDJ-Suez's Grace Brown will be a strong favourite for the women's race
Stage One: Glenelg - Aldinga, 110.4 km, Flat
The opening day of the women's race is a relatively flat affair along the South Australian coastline.
With just one categorised climb on the menu, the category four Chaffey's climb, it promises to be a fast run into the finish which could provide an opportunity for the likes of Grace Brown (FDJ-Suez) to start as they mean to go on, with an opening day stage victory.
Stage Two: Birdwood to Uraidla, 90 km, Hilly
Stage two will be a punchy affair through the Adelaide hills, a reverse of the route taken in stage five of the men's race. The women will ascend the back of the Mount Lofty climb which is certainly set to cause some major splits in the bunch.
If after day one Brown has taken an early lead in the GC, she will have to be well on her guard to prevent climbing experts like Brodie Chapman (Trek-Segafredo) from wrestling the overall lead from her grasp.
Stage Three: Adelaide - Campbelltown, 93.2 km, Hilly
The grand finale for this year's women's Tour Down Under will be one for the climbers with more than 1,500 metres of elevation on offer.
Corkscrew Road - one of the toughest climbs in the Adelaide hills - will play a starring role on the races final day and will more than likely cause some major splits.
With sections of up to 24.4% gradients, the Corkscrew will provide a menacing test and potentially the perfect setting for the overall leader to launch an attack, and claim a final day stage win to cement their advantage.
MEN'S START LIST
Michael Matthews (AUS) Simon Yates (GBR) Luke Durbridge (AUS) Lucas Hamilton (AUS) Michael Hepburn (AUS) Chris Harper (AUS) Campbell Stewart (NZA)
Ben O'Connor (AUS) Alex Baudin (FRA) Dorian Godon (FRA) Paul Lapeira (FRA) Nans Peters (FRA) Michael Schar (SWI) Damian Touze (FRA)
Ewen Costiou (FRA) Mathis Le Berre (FRA) Elie Gesbert (FRA) Hugo Hofstetter (FRA) Kevin Ledanois (FRA) Łukasz Owsian (POL) Alessandro Verre (ITA
Luis Leon Sanchez (SPA) Manuele Boaro (ITA) Leonardo Basso (ITA) Fabio Felline (ITA) Dmitriy Gruzdev (KAZ) Martin Laas (EST) Gianni Moscon (ITA)
Pello Bilbao (SPA) Nikias Arndt (GER) Kamil Gradek (POL) Hermann Pernsteiner (AU) Cameron Scott (AUS) Jasha Sutterlin (GER)
Tony Gallopin (FRA) Filippo Baroncini (ITA) Marc Brustenga (SPA) Asbjorn Hellemose (DEN) Emils Liepins (LAT) Natnael Tesfazion (ERI) Antonio Tiberi (ITA)
Bryan Coquard (FRA) Francois Bidard (FRA) Davide Cimolai (ITA) Wesley Kreder (NED) Victor Lafay (FRA) Alexis Renard (FRA) Harrison Wood (FRA)
Mattia Cattaneo (ITA) Josef Cerny (CZA) Dries Devenyns (BEL) James Knox (GBR) Mauro Schmid (SWI) Jannik Steimle (GER) Martin Svrcek (CZA)
Kaden Groves (AUS) Jenson Plowright (AUS) Robert Stannard (AUS) Samuel Gayze (NZA) Senne Leysen (BEL) Oscar Riesebeek (NED) Michael Gogl (AUS)
Michael Storer (AUS) Miles Scotson (AUS) Lorenzo Germani (ITA) Reuben Thompson (NZA) Laurence Pithie (NZA) Paul Penhoet (FRA) Rudy Molard (FRA)
Geraint Thomas (GBR) Ethan Hayter (GBR) Kim Heiduk (GER) Luke Plapp (AUS) Magnus Sheffield (USA) Ben Swift (GBR)
Sven Erik Bystøom (NOR) Julius Johansen (DEN) Hugo Page (FRA) Gerben Thijssen (BEL) Taco van der Hoorn (NED) Boy Van Poppel (NED) Dion Smith (NZA)
Rohan Dennis (AUS) Robert Gesink (NED) Lennard Hofstede (NED) Timo Roosen (NED) Milan Vader (NED) Timo van Dijke (NED) Jos van Emden (NED)
Gorka Izaguirre (SPA) Imanol Erviti (SPA) Johan Jacobs (SWI) Oscar Rodriguez (SPA) Ivan Romeo (SPA) Sergio Samitier (SPA) Luis Guillermo Mas (SPA)
Chris Hamilton (AUS) Matt Dinham (AUS) Patrick Bevin (NZA) Romain Combaud (FRA) Tim Naberman (NED) Marius Mayrhofer (GER) Martijn Tusveld (NED)
UAE Team Emirates
Jay Vine (AUS) George Bennett (NZA) Marc Hirschi (SWI) Sjoerd Bax (NED) Alessandro Covi (ITA) Michael Vink (NZA) Finn Fisher-Black (NZA)
EF Education-EasyPost Alberto Bettiol (ITA) Mikkel Honoré (DEN) Jens Keukeleire (BEL) Sean Quinn (USA) Jonas Rutsch (GER) Thomas Scully (NZA) Lukasz Wisniowski (POL)
Jai Hindley (AUS) Marco Haller (AUS) Shane Archbold (NZA) Luis-Joe Luhrs (GER) Jordi Meeus (BEL) Max Schachmann (GER) Giovanni Aleotti (ITA)
Chris Froome (GBR) Daryl Impey (RZA) Simon Clarke (AUS) Corbin Strong (NZA) Taj Jones (AUS) Sebastian Berwick (AUS) Derek Gee (CAN)
Australian National Team
Caleb Ewan (AUS) Jarrad Drizners (AUS) Graeme Frislie (AUS) Connor Leahy (AUS) Zac Marriage (AUS) James Moriarty (AUS) Liam Walsh (AUS)
WOMEN'S START LIST
Jayco- AIUla Ruby Roseman-Gannon (AUS) Alex Manly (AUS) Amber Pate (AUS) Georgia Baker (AUS) Georgia Howe (AUS) Jessica Allen (AUS)
Amanda Spratt (AUS) Lauretta Hanson (AUS) Brodie Chapman (AUS) Tayler Wiles (USA) Lisa Klein (GER) Ilaria Sanguineti (ITA)
Grace Brown (AUS) Loes Adegeest (NED) Clara Copponi (FRA) Eugenie Duval (FRA) Victorie Guilman (FRA) Gladys Verhulst (FRA)
Human Powered Health
Lily Williams (USA) Daria Pikulik (POL) Antri Christoforou (GRE) Kaia Schmid (USA) Henrietta Christie (NZA) Nina Buijsman (NED)
Israel Premier Tech Roland
Caroline Baur (SWI) Silvia Magri (ITA) Mia Griffin (IRE) Thi That N'Guyen (VIE) Claire Steels (GBR) Elena Pirrone (ITA)
Lauren Stephens (USA) Emma Langley (USA) Krista Doebel-Hickok (USA) Abigail Smith (GBR) Georgia Williams (NZA)
Mari Mohr (NOR) Josie Nelson (GBR) Tiril Jorgenson (NOR) Sylvia Swinkels (NED) Kerry Jonker (RZA) Georgia Danford (NZA)
Danielle De Francesco (AUS) Elizabeth Stannard (AUS) Nikola Noskova (CZA) Michaela Drummond (NZA) Debora Silvestri (ITA) Maggie Coles-Lyster (CAN)
ARA Skip Capital
Sophie Edwards (AUS) Chloe Moran (AUS) Isabelle Carnes (AUS) Alex Martin-Wallace (AUS) Georgia Whitehouse (AUS) Rachael Wales (AUS)
Emily Watts (AUS) Gina Ricardo (AUS) Jessica Pratt (AUS) Keely Bennett (AUS) Lillee Pollock (AUS) Mia Hayden (AUS)
Nicole Frain (AUS) Rachel Neylan (AUS) Josie Talbot (AUS) Anya Louw (AUS) Haylee Fuller (AUS) Alli Anderson (AUS)
New Zealand National Team
Ally Wollaston (NZA) Bryony Botha (NZA) Ella Wyllie (NZA) Prudence Fowler (NZA) Rylee McMullen (NZA) Annamarie Lipp (NZA)
St Michel - Mavic
Roxane Fournier (FRA) Coralie Demay (FRA) Simone Boilard (CAN) Dilyxine Miermont (FRA) Sandrine Bideau (FRA) Camille Fahy (FRA)
HOW TO WATCH
We've produced a full guide detailing how to watch all of the action from the first WorldTour races of the season. Depending on where you are in the world, you may want to consider downloading an ExpressVPN to ensure you can gain access to your home broadcaster.
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Tom is a News and Features Writer at Cycling Weekly and previously worked in communications at Oxford Brookes University. He has reported from a wide range of races and events across Europe including the Tour de France and World Championships.
‘I’m not at my limits yet’ says 23-year-old from Scotland after narrowly missing out on elite men’s title
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- EDITORS PICK // TOP TWO CYCLING LIGHTS FOR 2023
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WATCH 2023 TOUR DOWN UNDER PROLOGUE HIGHLIGHTS
Australia’s biggest cycling event returns for the first time since 2020. Organizer’s opted to get things going with a 3.4 mile time-trial but for most of the day rain kept the course slippery. EF’s Alberto Bettiol was able to get a go on dry roads and pulled off a 6:19 effort. It proved to be the fastest time of the day with America’s Magnus Sheffield on the podium 8 seconds behind and Julius Johansen 10 seconds back in third.
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BREAKING NEWS: CAVENDISH GETS HIS CHANCE TO BEAT MERCKX
NEW BIKE CHECKLIST
2023 TOUR DOWN UNDER STAGE 5 RESULTS
2023 TOUR DOWN UNDER STAGE 4 RESULTS
2023 TOUR DOWN UNDER STAGE 3 RESULTS
2023 TOUR DOWN UNDER STAGE 2 RESULTS
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TV Guide - When and Where to watch 2023 Tour Down Under
The 2023 season will, some say, begin at the Tour Down Under and both female and male pelotons will travel down to Australia for some early-year good weather and a prestigious race that distributes many points aswell.
The race will be available to watch on multiple online platforms such as GCN+, Eurosport Player and Discovery+. The race will also be broadcast by FloBikes and in Australia, it will be possible to keep up with the live action at NBC Sports and Seven West Media.
PREVIEW | Tour Down Under 2023 - World Tour returns to racing in Australia with star-studded field
The race will also be available in the following: SuperSport (Africa); SkySport, JSports and Zhibo.TV (Asia); RTVE, L'Équipe and TV2 (Europe); ESPN, RTV and Señal Colombia (Latin America) and Bein Sports (Middle East).
At CET (Central European Time), the following stages are expected to finish at the following times:
WE Tour Down Under stage 1 - 02:50CET
WE Tour Down Under stage 2 - 04:30CET
WE Tour Down Under stage 3 - 04:36CET
Tour Down Under Prologue - 11:00CET
Tour Down Under stage 1 - 05:50CET
Tour Down Under stage 2 - 06:05CET
Tour Down Under stage 3 - 05:05CET
Tour Down Under stage 4 - 05:20CET
Tour Down Under stage 5 - 05:05CET
Profiles & Route Tour Down Under 2023
Final startlist tour down under 2023 with froome, bilbao, matthews, s.yates, hindley, hayter and ewan, read more about:, place comments.
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Mon 06 Nov 2023
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A fast finish in willunga on stage 4 of the tour down under - live coverage.
The famous hill is gone but a test for the puncheurs and sprinters awaits
Tour Down Under results and news Tour Down Under preview How to watch the Tour Down Under – live streaming Pello Bilbao wins Tour Down Under stage 3 Rohan Dennis' Tour Down Under ochre dream disappears, uses his ‘one bullet’ on bike change chase
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 4 of the Tour Down Under in Willunga. The famous hill might not feature today but the riders still have an uphill finish to contend with.
Stage 4 of the Santos Tour Down Under is a go! The riders are just leaving the neutral zone in Port Willunga.
It's the first time ever the TDU has started in Port Willunga. Just a short neutral zone today, since the race proper has just set off. The peloton have 133.2km ahead.
On paper, it's a flat stage today. But the wind is going to play a huge factor today as they ride along Aldinga Beach.
No attacks as of yet, but the pace is high and the bunch looks nervous as they turn into the wind.
An EF Education Easypost rider makes the first attack, but the peloton is quick to shut down the solo attempt.
122km to go
The peloton has turned right on to Willunga Road and into a cross headwind.
It looks like we're getting some action off the front of the peloton. Three riders are off the front and some others trying to bridge.
There are a few teams keen to get riders up the road. The numbers are growing as more riders attempt to bridge in the crosswind.
It's strung out as the peloton pulls back this first danger move of the day.
UAE Team Emirates is at the front driving the pace in the wind. Today's the last chance for the sprinters today, but the elements are going to make things difficult for their teams to control.
We have two on the attack. Names to follow.
The peloton has eased off and is getting some fuel from one of the feed zones.
100km to go
It's Jonas Rutsch (EF Education Easypost) and Daryl Impey (Israel Premier Tech) who have escaped off the front. They have about 1'33" on the bunch with inside 100km to go.
The gap is up to 3 minutes for the two riders off the front. UAE is leading the peloton.
We're getting close to the first king of the mountain climb at Lower Willunga Hill. They'll reach the top at KM 51.
With 80km to go, the peloton has allowed the duo up the road almost four minutes. They've gone through the township of Willunga where large crowds are there to greet them at the first time through the finish line.
Jonas Rutsch is the first to get over the KOM at Lower Willunga Hill.
The wind is playing havoc out there in the peloton. Crosswinds have cause some splits in the bunch and Taj Jones and Leo Basso have crashed. It's the second crash in two days for Basso.
And we've gone through the first intermediate sprint, but the duo don't contest it. Daryl Impey gets across first, followed by Rutsch. Michael Matthews is third out of the peloton.
The gap has gone way down to just a minute with 65km to go. The peloton isn't playing around at this point.
A mix of sprinters teams are trading off at the front of the peloton. It won't be long before they track down the breakaway.
Another kangaroo sighting along the route! This roo was traveling right with the peloton getting a front row seat.
The riders off the front have been reabsorbed, but the peloton is still split into two groups on the road. The second group is a minute behind.
AG2R is keeping the speed up in the first group on the road.
Daryl Impey (Team Israel Premier Tech) and Jonas Rutsch (Team EF Education - Easypost) made up the early breakaway. They're back in the peloton now which is still split in two.
40km to go and they just heard the bell for one more lap.
They're back into the crosswind section and its desperate moments for the chase group.
Ineos is happy to make this a tough race today. They're driving hard at the front with a gap to the second bunch of 20 seconds.
Full results of the KOM on Lower Willunga Hill:
1. Mikkel Honore - 3
2. Marc Hirschi - 2
3. Ben Swift - 1
The second bunch is now 37 seconds behind. They may not come back before the end of this stage as they continue to lose time to the first group.
It's tense today as the winds continue to play a huge factor in the outcome. There are still two groups on the road with less than 30km to go.
Hugo Page (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty) won the intermediate sprint, putting him in third place in the best young rider competition and 9th overall.
Second over the line was Gradek and third was Yates, but the judges may take a look at the bit of argy bargy the Bahrain Victorious rider did to push Yates off his teammates' wheel.
The gap in between groups is 37 seconds. This is Ewan's last chance to get that elusive win, and he's in a good position to do so.
At this point ,the white flag is up for the chasing bunch. It's going to be a sprint amongst the riders in the first group.
They've been flying along today. The average speed has been about 47 kph.
In fact, they're 15 minutes ahead of the fastest schedule today, despite the wind!
Jay Vine is sitting comfortably in the front group with the entire UAE team around him.
Just 6km left in the stage. Ag2R has also been a big presence at the front as well.
Not long now before the sprint! The noted sprinters are vying for position.
UAE Team Emirates is leading the peloton.
Now EF Education is pulling through to the front as is Ag2R again.
Now Intermarche is comes up to the front.
Ewan might have come to the front a bit early, he's drifting farther back but is still behind Michael Matthews and a bit boxed in.
Now there's an uphill drag before they reach the final kilometre.
Matthews is in about 7th wheel, and Ewan is too far back.
But it's Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) who wins stage 4! He left them all behind with a tremendous burst of power.
So Coquard wins, Alberto Bettiol (EF Education Easypost) takes second and Hugo Page (Intermarche) was third. What a sprint.
“I love the sprint, it’s a perfect day. A lot of stress today because we have a lot of crosswind … but I was in good position for all the day. For me it was a perfect situation. I am very happy to win my first WorldTour race.” ~ Bryan Coquard
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Video of Beyoncé fans after Renaissance tour show highlights major problem with concerts: ‘It felt like we were on Survivor’
A viral Instagram video shows the chaos faced by stranded Beyoncé fans who waited hours to get home after the Kansas leg of her Renaissance tour.
Traffic jams stretched for miles on the roads leading into and out of Kansas’s Arrowhead Stadium, in a stark demonstration of the travel disruptions major concerts can trigger.
With limited public transport to whisk fans away and backed-up roads limiting access for taxis, many were left with little other option than to walk along the interstate.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kristina Knowles (@bloomingwithkk)
Instagram user Kristina Knowles (@bloomingwithkk) describes the mayhem she fielded alongside thousands of other concertgoers.
She and her friends waited until 12:54 a.m. to leave the stadium, hoping that the crowds would have dispersed, but hordes of Beyoncé fans were still scattered about the roads.
At 1:51 a.m., we see her wading through grass and hopping a fence to reach a gas station further away, where she hoped to hitch a ride more easily. Instead, she found more of the same. Ultimately, she reached home at 3 a.m. after splitting a $100 ride with a carpool.
“It felt like we were all on Survivor or the Hunger Games,” said Knowles. “I started to believe I was about to watch the sunset out there as I shivered on the sidewalk.”
A rare double event that day had swelled the number of cars parking in the complex — before the Beyoncé concert was set to kick off at 8 p.m., a Kansas City Royals game was underway at the neighboring Kauffman Stadium.
Fans reported traffic jams so bad on the way into the stadium that many abandoned their cars and walked.
A reported fee surge on Uber only worsened matters, pricing many out of using the app on the way home.
At the moment, only one bus route runs daily nearby. One commenter in the Kansas Star has highlighted the need for greater investment in express services around specific events, like concerts and sports events.
This would help to ease pressure on the roads when thousands are traveling and also reduce the air pollution caused by audience travel — currently the biggest contributor to live events’ carbon pollution.
“It was horrible,” one Beyoncé fan commented on the video. “I was there and jumped on a random charter bus that dropped us off downtown. Then I had to take a Bird scooter to my hotel from there at 3am.”
“Took Uber to the concert, but when I checked the rate and prices during her last song, I immediately B-Lined to the train which was right across the street from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta,” said another. “People were all over the place, the lines were crazy.”
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NASCAR results, highlights: Ryan Blaney takes 2023 Cup Series Championship as Ross Chastain wins at Phoenix
Blaney held off kyle larson and william byron for the cup after christopher bell's brakes exploded, nascar cup series championship race results.
Ross Chastain (1), Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet
Ryan Blaney (12), Team Penske Ford
Kyle Larson (5), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
William Byron (24), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Chris Buescher (17), RFK Racing Ford
Martin Truex Jr. (19), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Kevin Harvick (4), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Denny Hamlin (11), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Michael McDowell (34), Front Row Motorsports Ford
Bubba Wallace (23), 23XI Racing Toyota
Daniel Suárez (99), Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet
Austin Dillon (3), Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Aric Almirola (10), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Ryan Preece (41), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Brad Keselowski (6), RFK Racing Ford
Chase Elliott (9), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Alex Bowman (48), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Joey Logano (22), Team Penske Ford
Carson Hocevar (42), Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet
Erik Jones (43), Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet
Ty Gibbs (54), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Tyler Reddick (45), 23XI Racing Toyota
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (47), JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
Chase Briscoe (14), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Kyle Busch (8), Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
Harrison Burton (21), Wood Brothers Racing Ford
J.J. Yeley (15), Rick Ware Racing Ford
Ty Dillon (77), Spire Motorsports Chevrolet
Justin Haley (31), Kaulig Racing Chevrolet
Todd Gilliland (38), Front Row Motorsports Ford
Corey LaJoie (7), Spire Motorsports Chevrolet
A.J. Allmendinger (16), Kaulig Racing Chevrolet
BJ McLeod (78), Live Fast Motorsports Ford
Ryan Newman (51), Rick Ware Racing Ford
Austin Cindric (2), Team Penske Ford
Christopher Bell (20), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Buescher wins Stage 2 as Bell retires
Chris Buescher won Stage 2 at Phoenix, passing Ross Chastain for the lead with 14 laps to go in the stage. William Byron finished fourth, best of the Championship 4, followed by Ryan Blaney in sixth and Kyle Larson in seventh. Christopher Bell’s day and championship chances are done.
Bell’s right front brake rotor exploded on lap 109 causing him to smack the wall and ending his day and bringing out the first non-competition yellow flag. Up until that point Byron had been in control and leading most of the way.
Byron claims Stage 1
William Byron is ⅓ of the way to his first career NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Byron, who started the championship race at Phoenix from the pole, got a clean launch at the green flag and drove away for most of the 60-lap opening stage. Byron’s championship Hendrick Motorsports teammate and championship rival Kyle Larson lost a spot during the stage, finishing fourth. Christopher Bell and Ryan Blaney initially were stymied in traffic, but eventually made some gains late in the stage to finish ninth and tenth, respectively.
The NASCAR Cup Series will crown its 2023 champion on Sunday at Phoenix Raceway.
Christopher Bell, Ryan Blaney, William Byron and 2021 series champion Kyle Larson will vie for the championship at the unique, dog-leg oval. Bell , Blaney and Larson all won in the Round of 8 to advance, while Byron, who with six victories is the winningest driver in the series this year , had to sweat it out at Martinsville last week to point his way into the finale.
But points don’t matter Sunday — the driver who finishes best among those four will hoist the Cup.
Here’s what to know ahead of the championship race:
NASCAR Cup Series Championship starting grid
Cole Custer (6), RFK Racing Ford
NASCAR Cup Series Championship TV/streaming schedule
All times Eastern
Friday 8-9 p.m.: Practice (USA, NBC Sports app)
Saturday 4:30-5:30 p.m.: Qualifying (USA, NBC Sports app)
Sunday 3-6:30 p.m.: NASCAR Cup Series Championship (NBC, Peacock, NBC Sports app)
NASCAR Cup Series Championship details
Track: Phoenix Raceway | 1-mile, low-banked dog-leg oval in Avondale, Arizona Banking: Frontstretch dog-leg – 0-11 degrees | Turns 1-2 – 8-9 degrees | Backstretch – 3 degrees | Turns 3-4 – 10-11 degrees Race length: 312 laps Stage lengths : Stage 1 – 60 laps | Stage 2 – 125 laps | Stage 3 – 127 laps 2022 winner: Joey Logano (22), Team Penske Ford
Top drivers and best bets for the NASCAR Cup Series Championship
The championship quartet are the four drivers with the best odds to win the race, according to BetMGM . In all nine years under the current playoff format, the champion has won the finale, which includes Kyle Larson’s 2021 crown. Larson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, William Byron, took the first of his six victories this season in the spring race at Phoenix.
Best odds to win • Kyle Larson +175 • Ryan Blaney +275 • William Byron +325 • Christopher Bell +450
Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg broke down the title race odds earlier in the week, and in addition to backing the favorites, he likes recently eliminated Denny Hamlin (+2000), who has the third-best average finish of any driver in the field at Phoenix. If you’re looking at the long shots, Kyle Busch (+5000) sports an even better average finish at Phoenix than Hamlin at 10.6.
Kevin Harvick’s final ride
Sunday will mark Kevin Harvick’s final race in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Harvick announced his retirement back in January. He will step away after 23 seasons in which he made 826 starts and scored 443 top-10s, 251 top-5s and 60 wins so far. Harvick has 30 top-10s, including 20 top-5s and nine wins, in 41 career starts at Phoenix, so adding to one or all of those totals is a distinct possibility as he bids farewell.
The Bakersfield, California, native’s career began under tragic circumstances, as he stepped into the legendary Dale Earnhardt’s car after the seven-time champion was tragically killed at the 2001 Daytona 500. Harvick famously won in just his third start that season and has not looked back.
NASCAR Cup Series Championship entry list
Ross Chastain (1), Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet Austin Cindric (2), Team Penske Ford Austin Dillon (3), Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Kevin Harvick (4), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Kyle Larson (5), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet C ole Custer (6), RFK Racing Ford Corey LaJoie (7), Spire Motorsports Chevrolet Kyle Busch (8), Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Chase Elliott (9), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Aric Almirola (10), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Denny Hamlin (11), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Ryan Blaney (12), Team Penske Ford Chase Briscoe (14), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford J.J. Yeley (15), Rick Ware Racing Ford A.J. Allmendinger (16), Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Chris Buescher (17), RFK Racing Ford Martin Truex Jr. (19), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Christopher Bell (20), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Harrison Burton (21), Wood Brothers Racing Ford Joey Logano (22), Team Penske Ford Bubba Wallace (23), 23XI Racing Toyota William Byron (24), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Justin Haley (31), Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Michael McDowell (34), Front Row Motorsports Ford Todd Gilliland (38), Front Row Motorsports Ford Ryan Preece (41), Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Carson Hocevar (42), Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet Erik Jones (43), Legacy Motor Club Chevrolet Tyler Reddick (45), 23XI Racing Toyota Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (47), JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet Alex Bowman (48), Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Ryan Newman (51), Rick Ware Racing Ford Ty Gibbs (54), Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Ty Dillon (77), Spire Motorsports Chevrolet BJ McLeod (78), Live Fast Motorsports Ford Daniel Suárez (99), Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet
NASCAR Cup Series Championship weather
The forecast calls for daytime high temperatures in the high 80s, with little-to-no cloud cover . That puts things squarely in the hands of the drivers — particularly the Championship 4 — as the track will be slick and evolve as the day goes on.
Ryan blaney wins 2023 nascar cup series championship.
Ross Chastain won the final race of the season as Blaney finished second ahead of Kyle Larson and William Byron.
NASCAR Cup Series results, highlights: Ryan Blaney wins at Martinsville, clinches spot in Championship Race
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'meant to be': erik van rooyen wins 2023 world wide technology championship for terminally-ill friend, share this article.
LOS CABOS, Mexico – As soon as Erik van Rooyen struck his 2-iron into the fairway at the par-5 finishing hole, he turned to his caddie Alex Gaugert and said, “One more of those,” implying he planned to use the same club again for his next shot.
Van Rooyen was tied for the lead on Sunday at El Cardonal at Diamante and when he heard he had 272 yards to the front and 304 yards to the hole, he said, “Perfect for the 2-iron.”
Gaugert had another idea.
“I’m like, Dude, I don’t mind something landing front edge and getting back there,” he said.
He started to run through a series of reasons why van Rooyen would be better off using a 17-degree 3-hybrid. He reminded him of the beauty he hit with the same club at 14 just a few holes earlier and the one at the first hole on Friday that set up an eagle.
“Oh, hell yeah,” van Rooyen said with a glint in his eye.
“Clear and committed,” Gaugert said.
Then as he had done on every shot all day, van Rooyen thought of their college teammate at Minnesota, Jon Trasamar, who had texted them on Tuesday with the news that he had about six weeks to live due to stage 4 melanoma.
“Then I flushed it,” van Rooyen said.
“Be as good as you look,” Gaugert barked at the ball and it more than obliged.
It stopped 20 feet past the hole and van Rooyen removed any doubt by rolling in his third straight putt of that length for a birdie-birdie-eagle finish.
“There’s nothing quite like it in life,” Van Rooyen said of his clutch 3-hybrid to the 18th green. “Yeah, that shot will be with me forever.”
Van Rooyen stormed home in 8-under 28 at the course Tiger Woods designed and erased a two-stroke deficit with three holes to play to win the World Wide Technology Championship.
How did he pull off an improbable two-stroke victory over Matt Kuchar and Camilo Villegas? To Gaugert it was simply meant to be.
“That should be the headline of every news article that’s written because there’s no reason he should have won this golf tournament. There’s no way to describe it other than it was it was meant to be,” Gaugert said.
It was meant to be even after van Rooyen opened with a bogey on a par 5 after dumping his approach in the front bunker and failing to extricate himself on his first attempt.
“The start we got off to today made you want to puke,” Gaugert said.
But then van Rooyen rolled in a 35-foot birdie at the second and thought to himself, “this is a silly game so just keep playing.”
But by the seventh hole, van Rooyen turned to Gaugert in the fairway and said it was time to press. Gaugert, who remains a good enough player that he was a Monday qualifier for the 3M Open in July , talked him out of it and advised him to stay patient, “let it happen,” as he put it, and stay disciplined. Van Rooyen listened, agreeing it was too soon to hit the panic button.
“And then I sprayed (my next shot) right of the green. So it’s funny how that works. Hit a really good chip,” he said.
Meanwhile, Villegas made birdies on four of the first six holes and Kuchar reeled off five in his first 12 holes to assume the lead.
This was a big week for van Rooyen. The 33-year-old South African native entered the week ranked No. 131 in the FedEx Cup standings and his two-year exemption for winning the 2021 Barracuda Championship was expiring in a few weeks if he didn’t have a good finish. He suffered through a stretch of seven missed cuts in a row from early May to early June and in 27 previous starts on the season had more missed cuts (14) than he had made (13). He began working with instructor Sean Foley, who helped him more with the mental game than the golf swing during their hour-long conversations. Van Rooyen’s final-round 63 marked his 13th consecutive round of par or better. Gaugert went so far as to send Foley a text six weeks ago thanking him for his efforts.
Foley’s response speaks volumes: “He used to play to not get embarrassed, and it’s gonna take a little bit to let the predator out,” Gaugert recalled Foley wrote.
The predator came out on Sunday. Van Rooyen birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine and then came to the difficult par-4 15 th , where one day earlier Kuchar had a five-stroke lead before making a quadruple-bogey 8 there.
Van Rooyen aimed his 9-iron about 10 yards right of the flag and tugged it five yards left of it. “It was a putrid shot,” Gaugert said. Yet it defied gravity and stayed on the fringe.
“I have no clue how other than our buddy Jon was with us,” Gaugert said. “Erik’s ball should have never ever stayed up there.”
“We both kind of looked at the sky and we were like, maybe it’s written in the stars,” van Rooyen said. “When that happened, I was like, ooh, we might have a chance.”
That wasn’t Gaugert’s only thought. He told van Rooyen that etiquette be damned, they needed to play their next shot before the ball rolled down the slope. Van Rooyen sheepishly asked Kuchar if he could play out of turn.
“He was very nervous to do so. And I go, ‘Ask him now.’ The wind was picking up, if the wind gives us any sort of gust his ball is going down,” Gaugert said.
They left the green with a par and then van Rooyen rolled in back-to-back 20-foot birdie putts to tie for the lead. On his ball, van Rooyen had written the initials “JT,” for Trasamar, the first person he met when he arrived from South Africa to attend Minnesota, his roommate of three years and his best man at his wedding nine years ago. Despite job security for next season being shaky at best coming into this week, van Rooyen and Gaugert had booked a flight on Saturday afternoon to fly home to Minnesota on Monday morning to go see their ill friend Tuesday. Depending on how the final round played out, they had a reservation to Bermuda that would arrive at 11pm on Wednesday and they would tee it up on Thursday without seeing the course in advance.
“We ain’t playing Bermuda now,” said Gaugert.
It was meant to be that the win will allow them to spend more precious time with JT.
After van Rooyen sank the winning eagle putt for a 72-hole aggregate of 27-under 261, he and Gaugert embraced in one of the longest bro-hugs ever on the 18 th green. Van Rooyen said that Gaugert, usually the stoic one who keeps the more volatile van Rooyen in line and helps balance him out, simply cried. But Gaugert also had a memory flash through his head. During his senior season in 2013, their pal Trasamar earned Big Ten Golfer of the week honors after placing second at the Barnabas Health Intercollegiate. It included a career-low 66 in the second round.
“He beat me by a stroke with a back-nine 28, just like Erik,” Gaugert said.
It turned out Gaugert’s memory was off by a stroke. Trasamar had shot a back-nine 29, but that only made Gaugert smile.
“He just wanted to give Erik an extra stroke,” he joked.
Sometimes it’s just meant to be.
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2023 - Weekly Highlights from the Asheville Field Office, Asheville, North Carolina
Bats and Brews – Bat week was marked in Western North Carolina with Bats and Brews, an educational event hosted by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Mills River, N.C. More than 100 people turned out for the evening event, which featured a documentary showing, guest speakers, and information tables. Asheville Field Office biologist Sue Cameron joined biologists and staff from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, and National Park Service in providing information to the public.
Spruce restoration annual meeting – The fall meeting of the Southern Appalachian Spruce Restoration initiative was recently held at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with Asheville Field Office staff Gary Peeples and Sue Cameron rolling out of leadership positions, and Mark Endries continuing the partnership’s steering committee. The annual in-person meeting focused on efforts to expand restoration work on National Forests and to expand the partnership’s capacity via a dedicated coordinator.
Learning to use and analyze geographic data – Kurt Snider, of the Tennessee Field Office, and Mark Endries, of the Asheville Field Office, took their Introduction to ArcGIS Pro class on the road again, providing it to staff of Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. ArcGIS Pro has become the Service’s standard geographic information system, allowing users to analyze and display data with a geographic component. The pair previously offered the class in Asheville, NC; Athens, GA; Charleston, SC; and Cookeville, TN.
Roanoke logperch release – Endangered Roanoke logperch were reintroduced to the Mayo River, in Rockingham County, N.C. The rare fish were spawned by Conservation Fisheries, Inc., a Knoxville-based non-profit specialized in propagating rare fishes, grown out in a state hatchery, then released at a site owned by the Piedmont Land Conservancy. Asheville Field Office staff Jason Mays and Janet Mizzi turned out for the release, which was facilitated by an agreement they helped develop with the state of North Carolina to pave the way for increased aquatic species conservation across the state.
Updated ranges maps for three Cumberland mussels – Asheville Field Office biologists completed work defining the OneRange of the Tennessee Pigtoe, Tennessee clubshell, and Cumberland moccasinshell – three mussels that have been proposed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The OneRange is what the Service considers the official range of a species and is based on ecological features – a departure from the past when the Service would categorize a plant or animal’s range by county boundaries.
Pollinator teacher workshop – Twenty-three Buncombe County, N.C. science teachers turned out for a pollinator workshop hosted by the school district and Asheville Field Office biologist Bryan Tompkins. The workshop merged Tompkins’s creation of a pollinator conservation outreach program with public schools that includes the installation of pollinator gardens at area schools with the development of a K-12 pollinator curriculum by the school system and local non-profit Champions for Wildlife. The curriculum is developed to meet NC Department of Education standards and contains art education components. Four county schools are slated to install pollinator gardens this fall, with another seven slated for spring installation.
Project review summary – Under the Endangered Species Act, federal agencies review projects they fund, authorize, or implement for impacts to threatened and endangered species, and if they find such species may be affected, they consult with the Service to reduce or eliminate those impacts, with the Asheville Field Office reviewing projects in the western half of North Carolina. Numbers are in for the 2023 federal fiscal year, which ended on September 30, and the Asheville Field Office reviewed 14 projects found to adversely affect listed species, 440 projects which aren’t likely to adversely affect listed species, and provided input and guidance on an additional 346 projects. The presence of a threatened or endangered species did not stop any project, the case in Western North Carolina since the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973.
Gray bats confirmed on bridge – Asheville Field Office biologist Holland Youngman joined staff from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and N.C. Department of Transportation at a bridge on the edge of Old Fort, North Carolina, where they confirmed the use of the bridge as a roost for endangered gray bats. The bridge is slated for maintenance work, so with confirmation of the bat’s presence, attention turns to avoiding impacts to the bats from the maintenance work by excluding them from their roosting nooks while the work is happening.
Gray bat good news – Endangered gray bats were confirmed to be using a roosting structure structure Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head. Learn more about structure installed on a bridge over the French Broad River in Western North Carolina. Gray bats use the French Broad River as a migration and foraging route and the structure was installed by the North Carolina
Climate data collection – Temperature and humidity data collection continued in North Carolina’s Black Mountains, home to Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, and the endangered Carolina northern flying squirrel and spruce-fir moss spider. The mountain range is one of a handful of Southern Appalachian “sky islands,” the highest peaks in Southern Appalachia where the cold, moist climate supports Fraser fir and red spruce forests. For ten years, Cameron has worked with N.C. State Parks to collect data in the Black Mountains using automated sensors from which data is downloaded twice a year.
Pollinator Field Day – The North Carolina Pollinator Conservation Alliance hosted their sixth annual Pollinator Field Day at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, North Carolina. Asheville Field Office biologist Bryan Tompkins helped organize and staff an information table at the event. Over 300 native pollinator friendly plants were provided by Duke Gardens and the USFWS/Asheville Greenworks Native Plant Bank to attendees, free-of-charge.
Speaking with Western Carolina University students – Asheville Field Office biologists Sue Cameron and Laura Fogo joined Western Carolina University students in Dr. Aimee Rockhill’s Wildlife Ecology and Management class in the Great Balsam Mountains to talk about high-elevation Appalachian forests and red spruce restoration efforts in the area. Decimated by early twentieth century industrial logging and subsequent forest fires, red spruce is an important tree for the endangered Carolina northern flying squirrel, which dens in cavities and in drey nests in its branches and feeds on a fungus that grows amidst its roots.
Toes in the Toe educational event – Each year, fifth-grade students in Yancey and Mitchell counties, N.C. come out to a stream in their community and rotate through several stations, learning about rivers and river life. Asheville Field Office staff Mark Endries, Byron Hamstead, Andrew Henderson, Jay Mays, Gary Peeples, and Jeff Quast staffed stations focused on fish and aquatic invertebrates, with students getting wet in each station as they collected and identified animals. The two Western North Carolina counties are home to the endangered Appalachian elktoe mussel and aquatic hellbender salamander.
Working with geographic information – Kurt Snider, of the Tennessee Field Office, and Mark Endries, of the Asheville Field Office took their ArcGIS Pro training on the road, traveling to Athens, Georgia, to provide it to staff of the Georgia ES office. Geographic information systems allow users to analyze and display data with a geographic component and ArcGIS Pro, now the Service standard, is the latest GIS program from software developer ESRI. The duo previously offered the class in Asheville, NC, and Cookeville, TN, and Charleston, SC.
Helping other offices – As the end of the fiscal year approaches, Asheville Field Office administrative officer Karla Quast has assisted several field offices as they work to reconcile their budgets. Quast has worked with counterparts in the Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, South Carlina, and Arkansas field offices to help ensure their budget, as displayed in the Service’s budget tracking system, accurately reflects their actual budget. In some cases, this has meant helping new staff learn the budget tracking system, while in other cases it has meant helping them track down glitches in in the tracking system.
Chimney Rock State Park plant conservation – Asheville Field Office biologists Dr. Natali Ramirez-Bullon and Rebekah Reid joined staff from North Carolina’s Chimney Rock State Park to go over the alignment for a new sewage pipe. The park sits amidst a landscape that is home to one of the greatest known concentrations of endangered white irisette and the biologists were working with park staff to eliminate impacts to the plant from the new sewer line. Chimney Rock State Park is one of the newest parks in the North Carolina system and a key partner for white irisette conservation.
Mountain golden heather monitoring – Pisgah National Forest is the only place in the world where the endangered mountain golden heather is known to live. Asheville Field Office biologist Rebekah Reid recently joined U.S. Forest Service staff in the field to support monitoring of the plant. The team was joined by a Duke University scientist researching the plant’s demography.
Motorboat operation education – Fish and Wildlife Service are required to go through training to operate a motorboat for the agency, but training requiring trainers. Asheville Field Office biologist Jason Mays recently went through the Motorboat Operator Instructor Certification course at the Service National Conservation Training Center. Mays is an aquatic biologist involved in mussel and fish conservation in Southern Appalachia.
Kids in the Creek, Haywood County – It is said Western North Carolina’s Pigeon River was named for the passenger pigeon, and though the pigeon is now extinct, the river is home to the endangered Appalachian elktoe mussel, triggering the Service’s long-standing support of the local Kids in the Creek event that bring area eight-grade students to the river to learn about aquatic life and water quality. Service staff Byon Hamstead, Jeff Quast, and Gary Peeples recently led dozens of students in their effort to find and identify aquatic invertebrates in the Pigeon River, using that information to draw a conclusion about stream health.
Cherokee Long Man event – The Long Man is a Cherokee reference to the river, a long man whose head lays in the mountains and feet in the sea. Asheville Field Office biologist Bryan Tompkins joined the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in an educational event celebrating the Long Man. During the event, Cherokee students rotated through several stations staffed by area organizations, with Tompkins leading the students through a game he developed that tracks the challenges facing the migration of the sicklefin redhorse, a rare fish that undertakes a breeding migration in several western North Carolina streams.
Lichen monitoring – Rock gnome lichen is one of two lichens on the federal threatened and endangered species list. Growing in some of the most rugged areas of the Southern Appalachians, monitoring this species has proved to be a challenge. Asheville Field Office biologists Dr. Natali Ramirez-Bullon and Mark Endries recently visited a rock gnome lichen site in North Carolina’s Transylvania County to set the first photographic monitoring transect in a step toward implementing a new photo monitoring technique for the lichen using deep learning tools in ArcGIS Pro and spectral biology principals.
Virginia highlands spider search – As part of a six-year effort to monitor the endangered spruce-fir moss spider, Asheville Field Office biologist Sue Cameron led a team that spent two days searching for the spider in the highlands of southwest Virginia, at the northern extent of the spider’s range. Cameron brought in staff from the U.S. Forest Service and a biologist from North Carolina State Parks to assist. The team found two spiders, each with an egg sac, after an intense survey of three monitoring plots.
Painters Greenhouse donation – Painters Greenhouse, a nursery in Old Fort, North Carolina, donated 500 plants to support the installation of pollinator gardens. Asheville Field Office biologist Bryan Tompkins recently picked up the plants, incorporating them into the pollinator plant bank operated by the Service and local non-profit Asheville Greenworks. As the office’s point-person on pollinators, Tompkins has played a role in the installation of numerous pollinator gardens in public spaces in the greater Asheville area, with several more on tap this fall.
Red spruce release – Efforts to advancered spruce restoration in North Carolina’s Black Mountains moved forward as Asheville Field Office biologist Sue Cameron led a team of biologist and foresters in releasing red spruce trees whose growth was being limited by yellow birch. Red spruce grows on the highest peaks in Southern Appalachian, helping provide habitat for the endangered spruce-fir moss spider and Carolina northern flying squirrel. The extent of red spruce in Southern Appalachian was greatly curtailed a century ago due to intense and extensive logging followed by wildfire.
Shelby By-pass preconstruction – After years of project planning, construction of the Shelby, North Carolina by-pass by the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is on the horizon. Asheville Field Office biologist Holland Youngman recently attended this project’s pre-construction meeting, an opportunity to remind all involved of the environmental considerations to be taken during construction, and a chance to answer any last-minute questions or concerns about the project’s environmental impacts. In anticipation of the project, NCDOT took several steps during ESA section 7 consultation to permanently protect populations of dwarf-flowered heartleaf, a federally listed plant that will be impacted by the project.
Pitcher plant meeting – Asheville Field Office botanist Dr. Natali Ramirez-Bullon convened a meeting of key botanists and land managers to discuss recent evidence pointing to the hybridization of some southern Appalachian pitcher plants. The meeting was the first time all the key stakeholders had come together to discuss the discovery and what it means for land managers and efforts to conserve pitcher plants in the area.
Assessment of Service pollinator conservation – Sharon Dorsey, a Directorate Fellows Program fellow with the Asheville Field Office, presented on her recent project - an assessment of Service pollinator conservation efforts across the southeast - to southeastern Fish and Wildlife Service staff. With the increasing imperilment of pollinator species, the Service is increasingly engaged in pollinator conservation, however no one had taken a broad assessment of those efforts across the southeast, which would enable coordination, cooperation, and a more efficient approach. Sharon’s work filled that gap. She’s a graduate student at Virginia Tech University, graduating this December.
Spruce-fir moss spider surveys – Asheville Field Office biologist Sue Cameron continued an ongoing project to monitor the endangered spruce fir moss spider to provide a more accurate picture of its well-being as a species, an effort that includes teaching biologists from other organizations how to monitor the spider using a method developed at Clemson University.She recently joined North Carolina State Parks staff in visiting discrete, randomly selected sites in the spider’s habitat at Mount Mitchell and Grandfather Mountain state parks in Western North Carolina. While they didn’t find any spiders on their visit to Mount Mitchell State Park, at Grandfather Mountain they found eight, a banner number for a single-day’s monitoring effort.
Northern Peaks Trail – The Northern Peaks Trail is a proposed hiking trail in the northwest corner of North Carolina. Trampling from outdoor recreation is a threat to some rare western North Carolina plant species, so Asheville Field Office biologists Byron Hamstead, Dr. Natali Ramirez-Bullon, and Rebekah Reid recently joined trail planners at the Three Top Mountain portion of the proposed trail to discuss the trail’s route, hopefully heading off potential trampling problems.
Intro to ArcGIS Pro – Fish and Wildlife Service staff in the South Carolina low country learned how to use ArcGIS Pro, the geographic information system used by the Fish and Wildlife Service, thanks to a workshop offered by Mark Endries of the Asheville Field Office, and Kurt Snider of the Tennessee Field Office.Geographic information systems allow users to analyze data with a geographic component.The duo have already offered the class in Asheville, NC, and Cookeville, TN, with Athens, GA on the horizon.
Norwood Park – Norwood Park, a historic neighborhood in Asheville, North Carolina, is on track to install more than 40 residential pollinator gardens as part of an effort to cover the neighborhood with a network of pollinator-friendly gardens. Asheville Field Office biologist Bryan Tompkins has worked with the Norwood Park Neighborhood Association to assist the effort. Thus far, 27 gardens are installed or being installed and a pollinator survey and monitoring effort is in the works using the popular app iNaturalist.
Old Fort bridge bat survey – Endangered gray bats were found roosting in a McDowell County, North Carolina bridge slated for repairs. The bridge recently caught the eye of Asheville Field Office biologist Holland Youngman as a possible bat roosting site, so Youngman and fellow Service biologist Sue Cameron joined NC Wildlife Resources Commission bat biologists and NCDOT staff at the bridge, where the team found gray bats in the last bridge expansion joint they checked before a looming thunderstorm brought an end to the outing. Knowing the endangered bats use the bridge means steps can be taken to exclude them when the bridge is being repaired, keeping them out of harm’s way.
Rainbow Springs Marsh visit – Asheville Field Office biologist Laura Fogo met with restoration biologists and staff from Mainspring Conservation Trust at the Rainbow Springs Marsh Natural Heritage Site in Macon County, North Carolina. Rainbow Springs is part of a string of wetlands in the Nantahala River Valley, and the group met to plan wetland restoration, supported by the Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, providing technical and financial support to habitat management on non-federal lands.
Botanical 2023 conference – Asheville Field Office biologist Dr. Natali Ramirez-Bullon recently attended the Botany 2023 conference in Boise, Idaho, where she presented on “Fire management after farming can recover phylogenetic structure of former longleaf grassland.” She also served as a panelist at the careers in botany luncheon, helping students learn about career in botany. The conference was the combined gathering of the Botanical Society of America, American Bryological and Lichenology Society, American Fern Society, American Society of Plant Taxonomists, International Association for Plant Taxonomy, and the Society for Herbarium Curators.
Native plant bank expansion – A native plant bank, developed by the Asheville Field Office’s Bryan Tompkins with local NGO Asheville Greenworks, with support from Carolina Native Nursery, has provided plants to numerous pollinator gardens in western North Carolina. About 1,800 native plants have circulated through the plant bank and been used on pollinator garden projects over the past year. A resounding success, the plant bank recently underwent an expansion with Tompkins helping install a new 100' x 16' hoophouse and a 50'x16' expansion of the existing hoop house coming soon.
SASRI steering committee meeting – The Southern Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative held its summer steering committee meeting, with Asheville Field Office staff Sue Cameron, Mark Endries, and Gary Peeples attending. The partnership is focused on restoring red spruce, which helps provide food and shelter for the endangered Carolina northern flying squirrel, on the highest peaks in Southern Appalachia. The meeting focused on developing restoration monitoring protocols and completing environmental compliance for restoration activities among other topics.
Investigating bats – Asheville Field Office staff recently assisted N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission biologists with bat surveys at two Western North Carolina locations. Both were newer survey sites selected because acoustic recordings indicated the possible presence of high conservation species such as Indiana and northern long-eared bats. Despite these preliminary indications, on the nights of the surveys, no federally protected bats were found.
Checking up on bridges and bats in Madison County – The North Carolina Department of Transportation is set to demolish a bridge over Big Laurel Creek in Madison County, making way for construction of a new bridge. Gray bats are known to roost on the bridge and Service biologists have worked with the DOT to exclude the bats in the run-up to demolition. Asheville Field Office biologist Holland Youngman joined DOT staff at the bridge for a pre-demolition visit to ensure the measures put in place to exclude bats remained in place and that the bridge is free of roosting bats.
Spotfin chub in the Cheoah River – Asheville Field Office biologist Jason Mays joined biologists from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in a survey of threatened spotfin chub in Western North Carolina’s Cheoah River. The spotfin chub will soon be due for a status review under the Endangered Species Act, and the Cheoah River population is the result of a state reintroduction effort begun in 2010.
Appalachian elktoe in the French Broad River – Asheville Field Office staff translocated Endangered Appalachian elktoe mussels within Western North Carolina’s French Broad River watershed, from the Little River – considered a mussel refuge in the watershed – to an area in the mainstem of the French Broad River where the Service is working with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to establish a diverse and vibrant mussel bed.
Assistance to the Natural Resources Conservation Service – Asheville Field Office biologist Byron Hamstead recently completed a 120-day detail with the Caribbean area office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). As a member of the Asheville Field Office staff, Byron reviews NRCS projects under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act; during his time in Puerto Rico, he sat on the other side of the desk, helping get 375 NRCS projects – mostly hurricane recovery projects – reviewed. Beyond reviewing projects, he also worked to provide the NRCS office with tools they could use to expedite future project review and improve conservation outcomes.
Speaking with students from Highlands Biological Station – Asheville Field Office biologist Sue Cameron spoke to students from the Forest Ecosystems of the Southern Appalachians class being held by the Highlands Biological Station. She met the students at Black Balsam Knob, one of the highest areas of the Southern Appalachians, to discuss high elevation Appalachian forests, rare animals found in those forests, and red spruce restoration efforts.
Klondyke pollinator garden installed – Asheville Field Office staff Bryan Tompkins and Jeff Quast recently helped put down the final layer of mulch, concluding the installation of a 6,000-square-foot pollinator garden at the Klondyke public housing community in Asheville, North Carolina. The installation effort began in the spring and included members of the community, volunteers from Temple University, volunteers and staff from local NGO Asheville Greenworks, staff of the Asheville Housing Authority, and Asheville Field Office staff.
White irisette survey – Dr. Natali Ramirez-Bullon and Gary Peeples of the Asheville Field Office joined staff from the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program and North Carolina State Parks in surveying for endangered white irisette at Chimney Rock State Park. The plant will soon be due for a status review under the Endangered Species act, and the outing was in support of efforts by North Carolina State Parks staff to increase monitoring of rare plants on park lands.
Lauren Wilson departs – Lauren Wilson recently transitioned to a position with the U.S. Forest Service after nearly three years as a transportation liaison with the Asheville Field Office. She is one of the wildlife biologists with the National Forests of North Carolina, and will continue interacting with the Asheville Field Office on listed species recovery and ESA Sec. 7 consultations.
Endangered mussel and a highway widening – Asheville Field Office biologist Holland Youngman completed a formal Endangered Species Act review of a highway widening project along a stretch of N.C. 191 in Mills River, NC that will impact the endangered Appalachian elktoe. To help minimize impacts to the freshwater mussel, the North Carolina Department of Transportation offered several measures, including elements of bridge design to eliminate stormwater runoff from the bridge directly into the river, erosion control measures with regular audits, and a mussel survey and relocation immediately prior to construction.
Tracking rare spiders – The spruce-fir moss spider is one of only six U.S. spiders on the threatened and endangered species list. Historically, this spider has lacked consistent, thorough monitoring, however a new monitoring protocol was recently developed by Dr. Cathy Jachowski at Clemson University. Asheville Field Office biologist Sue Cameron continued implementing the new protocol, recently searching for spiders at a pre-selected site off the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina’s Plott Balsam mountain range.
Measuring diversity remotely – Asheville Field Office biologist Dr. Natali Ramirez-Bullon recently published as paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research:Biogeosciences. The paper, Effects of Spatial Resolution, Mapping Window Size, and Spectral Species Clustering on Remote Sensing of Plant Beta Diversity Using biodivMapR and Hyperspectral Imagery, was a product of her doctoral research. The work looked at how mapping window size and number of pixels affect the ability to remotely map plant diversity at the community level and was done in support of NASA’s Surface Biology and Geology (SBG) satellite remote sensing mission.
Assistance to the Georgia Field Office – Karla Quast, administrative officer for the Asheville Field Office, recently concluded a 120 day detail as the administrative officer for the Georgia Field Office, during which time she helped them get their reimbursable agreements set-up and meet the deadline for processing grants. The Georgia AO position was recently filled by Charlie Pilkington who comes from the US Army and recently completed internship with through the SkillBridge program, helping out the Alabama Field Office and the Regional Office with budget and administrative duties
Reducing bird window strikes - Asheville Field Office staff recently installed measures to decrease window bird strikes at their office. The effort to reduce bird strikes follows the installation of a pollinator garden as the office works to serve as a model for wildlife-friendly building management.
Giving bog turtles a head start - Asheville Field Office biologist Sue Cameron joined staff from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in a search for bog turtle nests at a Southern Appalachian bog. The search was part of an effort to collect eggs to be hatched at Zoo Knoxville as part of an ongoing head-starting program for bog turtles. Bog turtles have long been protected as threatened due to similarity of appearance, but the Service was recently petitioned to fully list them.
ICOET meeting – Asheville Field Office biologist Lauren Wilson attended the 2023 International Conference on Ecology and Transportation, in Burlington, Vermont. Wilson’s work focuses on reviewing transportation projects for impacts to imperiled species and working to minimize or eliminate those impacts. The ICOET conference occurs every two years and is one of the foremost conferences looking at ecological issues as they relate to transportation systems.
Golden-winged warbler – Asheville Field Office staff recently completed their annual monitoring commitment for golden-winged warblers, a bird currently under consideration for Endangered Species Act protection. They ran three routes, each consisting of five distinct points in Graham County, NC., listening and watching for the bird for 17 minutes at each point. Asheville Field Office staff have helped monitor the warblers for 13 years, with the data feeding Cornell University’s Golden-Winged Warbler Atlas Project.
Bog turtle hatchling – The latest round of head starting North Carolina bog turtles has concluded, with 47 turtles returned to their home wetland after hatching and experiencing their first few months within the safe confines of Zoo Knoxville. Southern bog turtles currently receive limited protection under the Endangered Species Act and are being considered for full protection. Asheville biologist Sue Cameron prepared the turtles for release into the wild by helping mark and collect data on them.
Blue heron rookery – Responding to a report from a concerned member of the public, Asheville Field Office biologist Sue Cameron visited a Western North Carolina blue heron rookery immediately adjacent to a development project. The site visit follows a conversation Cameron had with an engineer for the construction project, bringing the rookery to their attention and beginning the discussion of how to avoid directly impacting the nests.
Trail assistance – Asheville Field Office biologist Rebekah Reid assisted planners for the Wolfpen Trail, a portion of which will cross Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge. Reid joined planners in the field to go over previously recommended siting realignments in advance of archeological work required by trail installation. The alterations were recommended to ensure the trail stayed within National Wildlife Refuge System guidance.
Red spruce planting – 327 red spruce trees were recently planted at Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina, as part of an ongoing effort to restore high-elevation conifer forests in southern Appalachia. The planting was coordinated by Asheville Field Office biologist Sue Cameron, with several field office staff turning out to help with the planting. These forests are home to the endangered Carolina northern flying squirrel and spruce-fir moss spider.
Electrofishing course – This spring the National Conservation Training Center unveiled an updated electrofishing course, developed by a team of biologists, including Jay Mays of the Asheville Field Office. Electrofishing – running a current through a body of water to temporarily stun fish – is a standard field technique in fish management, and the updated course brings a renewed focus on the practical application of electrofishing in the field. Sixteen students were enrolled in the class, offered at NCTC’s Maryland campus on the Potomac River, where they will gain experience in several different electrofishing arrangements, both backpack and boat-mounted.
Invasive species clearing – Marsh dayflower, Murdania keisak , is a non-native invasive plant discovered at a Henderson County, NC bog. Asheville Field Office biologist Sue Cameron joined biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to help eradicate the plant from the site before it becomes well established. Thus far the strategy is based on periodic visits to the site to pull the plant and cover areas with tarps to block sunlight.
Henderson County habitat restoration visit – Asheville Field Office supervisor Janet Mizzi joined biologist Laura Fogo for a visit to the Pleasant Grove restoration project, on the banks of Western North Carolina’s French Broad River. The site was once slated to be the Seven Falls Golf and River Club development; however the development failed, the site was acquired by local land conservancy Conserving Carolina, and the Service provided technical and financial assistance to restoring the land through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program. While on the site, Mizzi and Fogo helped plant live stakes - cuttings from larger trees that will sprout roots and grow into new trees when planted.
Sicklefin redhorse field work – The sicklefin redhorse, the focus of conservation efforts under a candidate conservation agreement, has concluded its spring migration, ending the burst of field work that accompanies the migration. Asheville Field Office biologist Jay Mays joined staff from Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery, the Tennessee Valley Authority, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Duke Energy to collect sperm and eggs for captive propagation, and tagged several fish to help discern migratory movements and population size.
Kondyke community pollinator garden workday – Asheville Field Office biologist Bryan Tompkins organized a community planting day at the Asheville Housing Authority’s Klondyke Community pollinator garden. The event, which brought out volunteers from the Klondyke community and local non-profit Asheville Greenworks, was the latest in a string of events to install the pollinator garden. More than 500 plants are now in the ground at the site, which awaits a final layer of mulch for the year.
Ela Dam funding – The proposed removal of Ela Dam, on Western North Carolina’s Oconaluftee River, received a boost recently, as the Service committed $4 million toward the anticipated $10 million removal and restoration cost. The funds are from the Service’s National Fish Passage Program, with Ela Dam removal one of 39 projects across the nation to receive funding this year.
Klondyke office workday – Several staff from the Asheville Field Office spent an afternoon helping install a pollinator garden at the Klondyke Housing Community, a community of the Asheville Housing Authority near the field office. 100 pollinator-friendly plants were installed in the garden, all coming from a pollinator plant bank established by Asheville Field Office biologist Bryan Tompkins, local non-profit Asheville Greenworks, with support from Carolina Native Nursery. The workday was the latest in a series for the site, which has seen college students on an alternative spring break prepare the site and will culminate with community members installing the final plants in the garden.
Box Creek Wolfpen Trail – Asheville Field Office biologists Rebekah Reid and Mark Endries walked the route of the proposed Wolfpen Loop Trail, which will cross a portion of Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge easement lands in McDowell County, N.C. The two walked the five-mile route with a contractor working on the trail’s design, with the outing resulting in requested reroutes to avoid rare plants and crossing onto adjacent property.
Stevens Creek mussels – In the wake of partnering with Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation on a stream restoration, the Service continues working with the county to help establish mussels in the restored reach. Asheville staff Jason Mays and Jeff Quast and South Carolina Field Office biologist Morgan Wolf recently joined Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation staff for the latest round of stocking common mussels in the restored reach in the hope that one day endangered Carolina heelsplitters can be established here. The Stevens Creek Nature Center and Preserve straddles Stevens Creek, which flows into Goose Creek, one of the last known places where you can find endangered Carolina heelsplitter mussels in North Carolina.
Visiting the Oconaluftee River reservoir – As momentum builds to remove Ela Dam on western North Carolina’s Oconaluftee River, engineers are in the process of developing the dam removal/site restoration plan. Asheville Field Office biologist Bryan Tompkins joined consultants, staff from natural resource agencies, and staff from Mainspring Conservation Trust for a tour of the reservoir to identify and discuss potential engineering and restoration challenges to removal.
Roan Mountain boars – Roan Mountain, a U.S. Forest Service site on the North Carolina/Tennessee state line, is home to four federally-protected plants and lichens – Roan Mountain bluet, spreading avens, Blue Ridge goldenrod, and rock gnome lichen. Asheville Field Office biologists Dr. Natali Ramirez-Bullon, who is the lead recovery biologist for all those listed plants, recently joined staff from the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, and other organizations to discuss wild boar management at Roan Mountain. Boars are not native to Southern Appalachian, and their rooting behavior disturbs soil and can directly harm listed plants.
New garden at the western North Carolina Nature Center – The Western North Carolina Nature Center, in Asheville, N.C. is installing a new pollinator and songbird garden. Asheville Field Office biologist Bryan Tompkins helped their effort by providing 83 plants from a native pollinator bank he helped establish with local non-profit Asheville GreenWorks.
Noonday globe snail – The threatened noonday globe snail is only found on the north-facing side of the Nantahala River Gorge. Asheville Field Office staff recently took advantage of the snail’s narrow survey window – early spring when snails are out but the foliage that would complicate finding them is still thin – to search for the rare snail. Many rare species are studied or tracked by university researchers, state biologists, or others, but the survey effort led by biologist Jay Mays represents the only tracking and data collection effort for this imperiled snail and has resulted in an expansion of the snail’s known range within the gorge.
Checking in on I-26 widening – The widening of I-26 on the southside of Asheville is a massive infrastructure undertaking, much of it running near or along the French Broad River, home to endangered Appalachian elktoe mussels, and used by endangered gray bats, while endangered northern long-eared bats use the adjacent forest. Asheville Field Office biologist Holland Youngman joined staff from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, other natural resource agencies, and project contractors for a periodic environmental check-in meeting to address any issues that may have arisen during the course of construction.
Assisting NRCS – Asheville Field Office biologist Byron Hamstead has begun a detail with the Caribbean Natural Resources Conservation Service office. As an Asheville Field Office biologist, Hamstead consults on NRCS projects for impacts to threatened and endangered species, working with them to minimize or eliminate those impacts. While on his detail, he’ll be helping the Caribbean NRCS office with a backlog of several hundred consultations associated with emergency response activities, hopefully developing an approach that can help expedite the process and that could be repeated in a similar fashion, in North Carolina.
Improving infrastructure while protecting species on Roan Mountain – Roan Mountain, on the North Carolina/Tennessee line and traversed by the Appalachian Trail, is home to numerous protected species including Carolina northern flying squirrel, Roan Mountain bluet, spreading avens, and the spruce-fir moss spider. Though not heavily developed, it is heavily visited, and Asheville Field Office biologists Rebekah Reid recently joined Forest Service staff on site to discuss how to update a main water line at the site while minimizing any impacts to listed species.
Office garden workday – Staff from the Asheville Field Office kicked off the spring season with a morning cleaning the office’s pollinator garden to clear the way for the new growing season. Entering its third year, not only does the garden provide a showcase pollinator habitat, it has also become a source for plants used at several other pollinator gardens around Asheville.
French Broad fish translocation – Jay Mays, biologist in the Asheville Field Office, joined biologists from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to help translocate an array of sucker fish species, including host fish for the endangered Appalachian elktoe, from the Tennessee portion of the French Broad, upstream and around two dams to a North Carolina portion of the French Broad River.
Live stake planting – A stream restoration project on Possum Trot Creek, a tributary to Yancey County, North Carolina’s Cane River, approached its conclusion, as the Asheville Field office’s Laura Fogo delivered and helped local non-profit Blue Ridge RC&D plant live stakes along the streambank at the site. Live stakes are cuttings from larger trees that will sprout roots and grow into new trees when planted. The Cane River is home to the endangered Appalachian elktoe mussel, making it a priority habitat for the Service, which provided funding for the project through its Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, with Fogo providing technical assistance.
Pinks Beds visit – The Pink Beds, on Pisgah National Forests, are one of the largest and most accessible of southern Appalachian bogs, and home to the threatened swamp pink lily. Asheville Field Office biologist Rebekah Reid joined U.S. Forest Service staff on site prior to a prescribed burn prescribed burn A prescribed burn is the controlled use of fire to restore wildlife habitat, reduce wildfire risk, or achieve other habitat management goals. We have been using prescribed burn techniques to improve species habitat since the 1930s. Learn more about prescribed burn at the Pink Beds to ensure those working the fire were aware of the swamp pink and how to minimize potential negative impacts during the prescribed burn.
Tricolored bat hibernation site discovered - Asheville Field Office biologist Lauren Wilson discovered a new tricolored bat hibernation site on Pisgah National Forest during a site visit for a planned road improvement project by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Several subsequent surveys by the Service and partner resource agencies documented at least nineteen tricolored bats in six culverts made of metal, concrete, or even stone, which were closed at one end, mimicking cave conditions. The culverts are among the smallest in the state to host the species so far.
Bog site visits – Asheville Field Office staff met with Jake Tuttle and Carolyn Johnson, manager and deputy manager of Piedmont, Bond Swamp, and Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuges, for site visits and refuge planning. Janet Mizzi and Rebekah Reid joined the refuge leadership and refuge archeologist Rick Kanaski for a discussion on the potential installation of the Wilderness Gateway Trail across a portion of the refuge where the Service holds a conservation easement conservation easement A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a government agency or qualified conservation organization that restricts the type and amount of development that may take place on a property in the future. Conservation easements aim to protect habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife by limiting residential, industrial or commercial development. Contracts may prohibit alteration of the natural topography, conversion of native grassland to cropland, drainage of wetland and establishment of game farms. Easement land remains in private ownership. Learn more about conservation easement ; while Mizzi, Sue Cameron, and Gary Peeples joined Tuttle and Johnson for discussion and site visits focused on potential future parcel donations to the refuge.
Giving Appalachian elktoe a helping hand – Female Appalachian elktoe mussels, an endangered species, produce thousands of larval young each year, however only a tiny percentage of these survive to become reproducing adults. Asheville Field Office biologist Jay Mays recently joined biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to collect female mussels on the verge of releasing their larval young and bring them to North Carolina’s conservation aquaculture lab, in Marion, N.C., where the larval mussels will be raised in the safety of captivity before being returned to the wild.
Giving small animals a helping hand (and direction) – Asheville Field Office staff Laura Fogo and Sue Cameron joined biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission at a western North Carolina farm where small animals like reptiles, amphibians and small mammals were getting hit as they traverse between two wetland segments bisected by a road. Although there is a large culvert passing beneath the road that can provide safe passage, they weren’t always taking advantage of it, so the biologists installed fencing to guide the animals away from the roadway and toward the culvert, allowing them to safely move between the two sections of wetland.
Chainsaw refresher – Five Asheville Field Office staff members were recertified in chainsaw use in a class led by Asheville biologist and chainsaw instructor Jason Mays. Sue Cameron, Mark Endries, Laura Fogo, and Andrew Henderson were recertified during the day-long session that included an office session on chainsaw maintenance and a field session on chainsaw operation. Chainsawing is a skill Asheville Field Office biologists use to clear Southern Appalachian mountain bogs of unwanted woody vegetation and to clear competition that may be inhibiting the growth of red spruce trees, a key habitat component for endangered Carolina northern flying squirrels.
Pleasant Grove restoration – Work is now underway at the Pleasant Grove restoration project on the banks of the French Broad River in Henderson County, NC. With technical assistance from Asheville Field Office biologist Laura Fogo and funding from the Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, the project encompasses a suite of activities, including stream and wetland restoration, and planting of pollinator habitat. The site of the failed Seven Falls Golf and River Club development, the land, once slated to have 900 residential units and a golf course, is currently owned by local land conservancy Conserving Carolina, which is managing the restoration effort.
NCGIS conference honors – Asheville GIS analyst Mark Endries brought home third place honors for a poster he submitted to the 2023 North Carolina Geographic Information Systems Conference, hosted in Winton-Salem, NC by the N.C. Department of Information Technology. Mark’s poster focused on the development of a map that prioritized North Carolina stream reaches based on species richness and conservation importance.
Ray Mine – Asheville biologist Sue Cameron joined N.C. Wildlife Commission bat biologist Katherine Etchison and staff from the U.S. Forest Service at Ray Mine in Yancey County, N.C. to discuss options for managing public use and safety of the site while ensuring protection for bats that use the mine. The visit was part of a broader conversation between Cameron and the Forest Service regarding ensuring public safety at caves and mines while allowing use by bats.
Pollinator garden on the horizon – Asheville Field Office biologist Bryan Tompkins worked with the Asheville Housing Authority, Asheville GreenWorks and an alternative spring break group from Temple University to prepare a site of a pollinator garden in Asheville’s Klondyke Homes community. The effort lays the foundation for returning later this spring to plant the 6000-square foot garden, using plants provided by the Service and Carolina Native Nursery.
Electrofishing training – The Fish and Wildlife Service’s electrofishing course will take on a new look after Asheville Field Office biologist Jay Mays joined other Service biologists at the National Conservation Training Center to update to class, the new version of which will be rolled out this coming May. Electrofishing – running a current through a body of water to temporarily stun fish – is a standard field technique in fish management, and the updated course brings a renewed focus on the practical application of electrofishing in the field.
Touching base with Senator Ted Budd’s Office – Asheville Field Office supervisor Janet Mizzi met with Tyler Teresa from the office of Sen. Ted Budd. Budd is beginning his first term in the U.S. Senate and the meeting provided an introduction to the field office and the Service’s conservation efforts in western North Carolina.
March 3, 2023
Little River wetlands –Sue Cameron, Mark Endries, Laura Fogo, Natali Ramirez-Bullon, and Rebekah Reid of the Asheville Field Office joined staff from local land conservancy Conserving Carolina to examine an Appalachian wetland being considered for inclusion in Mountain Bogs NWR. The visit turned up quality wetlands with a spotted salamander and wood frog eggs discovered. The biologists also found Carolina hemlock, species the Service has been petitioned to add to the federal threatened and endangered species list.
Geographic information systems class – Tennessee Field Office cartographer Kurt Snider joined the Asheville Field Office’s Mark Endries in providing a class on geographic information system (GIS) software to staff from the Asheville Field Office, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The class focused on using ArcGIS Pro, the latest software from ESRI for analyzing and displaying geographic information, and touched on ArcGIS Online, enabling the use of cloud-based GIS technology from any device with an internet connection.
Intern moves on –Rebekah Ewing concluded her internship with the Asheville Field Office and is now an employee of Erwin National Fish Hatchery, in Erwin, TN. While an intern with the Service, Ewing was a graduate student at Appalachian State University researching host fish for native, freshwater mussels (native freshwater mussels go through a life stage when they are dependent on a host fish for nourishment). In addition to supporting fish production, Ewing will help the hatchery develop their mussel propagation capacity.
Science fair judging -Asheville field office biologist Dr. Natali Ramirez-Bullon recently served as a science fair judge for the North Carolina Student Academy of Science’s western North Carolina competition. The event was hosted by the University of North Carolina Asheville and included a series of presentations from area middle school students on research they conducted, feedback from judges, and concluded with an awards ceremony.
February 24, 2023
Planning sicklefin redhorse conservation – The sicklefin redhorse, a sucker fish found in far western North Carolina and a sliver of North Georgia, is the subject of a 2016 Candidate Conservation Agreement, under which several organizations pledged to work proactively to conserve the fish, an effort which has helped keep it off the federal threatened and endangered species list. Each February, biologists come together to plan the year’s management effort, typically centered on the fish’s spring spawning run. Asheville biologist Jay Mays helped organize this year’s meeting, the first in-person meeting since 2020, which was also attended by Asheville staff Andrew Henderson, Jeff Quast, and Bryan Tompkins.
Rights-of-way and bat conservation – Asheville Field Office biologist Bryan Tompkins recently completed a year-long effort with Duke Energy to develop measures for minimizing and avoiding impacts to tree-roosting threatened and endangered bats as they maintain thousands of miles of distribution line rights-of-way in western North Carolina each year. Measures include using trained Duke staff to assess roosting habitat and bat occurrence records to adjust maintenance timing to a period when bats wouldn’t be present; conducting bat acoustic and emergence surveys at hazard trees to ensure maintenance is done when imperiled bats aren’t present; whenever possible trimming hazard trees just enough to eliminate the hazard, leaving as much roosting habitat as possible; and conducting all aerial trimming outside of the roosting season. The measures are a voluntary, pro-active step by Duke as more bats receive Endangered Species Act protection in the wake of white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease often fatal to many bat species.
February 17, 2023
Tricolored bat good news – Asheville Field Office biologist Sue Cameron joined state biologists at a western North Carolina cave known to be one of North Carolina’s most important hibernation sites for tricolored bats, a species proposed for inclusion on the federal threatened and endangered species list. The team counted 102 tricolored bats, the first time in recent years more than 100 have been counted at a hibernation site in western North Carolina.
The year ahead in red spruce restoration – The Southern Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative’s steering committee had their inaugural 2023 meeting, with Sue Cameron, Mark Endries, and Gary Peeples from the Asheville Field Office in attendance. The group is charting restoration activities for the year and looking at ways to raise the attention of spruce restoration efforts on the heals of the Forest Service using a red spruce as the 2022 capitol Christmas tree. Red spruce is a key part of southern Appalachian high-elevation forests that are home to the endangered Carolina northern flying squirrel and spruce-fir moss spider.
Polk County, N.C. middle schoolers – Middle school students in North Carolina’s Polk County were virtually visited by the Asheville Field Office’s Gary Peeples. Gary dropped into the middle school class via Zoom for a question-and-answer session that ran the gamut from invasive species invasive species An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars. Learn more about invasive species to stream health, to how they could improve wildlife habitat on and around their school campus.
February 10, 2023
Siting renewable energy – Asheville Field Office biologist Bryan Tompkins recently joined a workshop on siting renewable energy in North Carolina to foster environmental resilience. The workshop, held in Raleigh, was organized by Defenders of Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission with the goal of fostering conversation about where best to site renewable energy facilities to minimize environmental impact and maximize the ease of environmental review and compliance. Tompkins reviews energy projects for the Asheville Field Office, working with energy companies to help address impacts to fish, wildlife, and plants.
Grandfather Mountain caves – Grandfather Mountain is the hibernation site for North Carolina’s only population of endangered Virginia big-eared bat. Asheville Field Office biologist Sue Cameron recently visited the site to assist with bat surveys in two of the mountain’s caves. Although weather was a challenge – precipitation just above freezing - the effort was fruitful, turning up 462 Virginia big-eared bats, the most ever counted at the site.
February 3, 2023
Blue Ridge Parkway vistas - The Blue Ridge Parkway, the National Park Service’s most visited unit, is known for the Appalachian Mountain views it provides as it runs its 469-mile course connecting Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Shenandoah National Park. In a constantly growing forest, keeping vistas open takes maintenance. Rebekah Reid of the Asheville Field Office recently completed review under the Endangered Species Act on the National Park Service’s maintenance plan for the North Carolina vistas, which included measures to minimize impacts to Carolina northern flying squirrel, spruce-fir moss spider, and several bat species.
Mine exploration – Asheville Field Office biologist Sue Cameron joined N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission biologists to survey bats in an abandoned mica mine in western North Carolina’s Haywood County. The mine was once considered the most important site in North Carolina for tri-colored bats – a species currently proposed for Endangered Species Act protection. Up to 3,000 tricolored bats have been seen in the mine at a time, but this year’s survey revealed 16.
A curious consultation – In 1983, A Cessna 414A plane crashed off the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina’s Plott Balsam Mountains. The plane’s wreckage has sat there ever since, and although there are no official trails to the site, it receives a lot of visitation, resulting in a heavily impacted area. Now the National Park Service plans to lift the wreckage out via helicopter, and Asheville Field Office biologist Rebekah Reid worked with them to minimize or eliminate any impacts to threatened or endangered species that might occur, especially considering the site is a high elevation area home to several imperiled species.
January 27, 2023
Working together for dwarf-flowered heartleaf - One of the largest populations of dwarf-flowered heartleaf, a threatened plant proposed for removal from the federal threatened and endangered species list, is found along the Broad River Greenway in Cleveland County, N.C. Greenway administrators are seeking a federal grant for trail maintenance for the greenway, including some trail relocations, and invited Asheville Field Office biologists Rebekah Reid and Holland Youngman to walk the site and assist with planning the updates so they wouldn’t impact the site’s heartleaf population.
Engaging schools on pollinator conservation – In working with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to engage high schools in pollinator conservation, Asheville Field Office biologist Bryan Tompkins visited Asheville High School to discuss the possibility of engaging students to raise pollinator-friendly plants on campus for use in pollinator-planting projects in the surrounding community. Asheville High School is one of dozens of schools across the state that have expressed an interest in incorporating pollinator conservation into programs such as science and agriculture.
January 20, 2023
Another step toward stream restoration – Asheville Field Office biologists Sue Cameron, Laura Fogo, and Jay Mays visited the site of a pending floodplain, riverbank, and stream restoration project, funded in part by the Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. The Henderson County, N.C. site sits on the French Broad River and is the location of a failed residential development subsequently acquired by local land conservancy Conserving Carolina. The biologists’ visit was a step toward wrapping up project compliance with environmental laws before restoration work begins this later this winter.
Coordinating on transportation - Project A-0009 is a transportation project that will improve the main highway corridor to Robbinsville, N.C., a town in far western North Carolina, improving the community’s connectivity with the rest of the state. Asheville Field Office biologist Holland Youngman joined her counterparts from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, N.C. Division of Water Resources, N.C. Department of Transportation, and project contractors for the first of what will be monthly on-site environmental meetings during project implementation. Cutting across National Forest, Tribal lands, the Appalachian Trail, and through golden-winged warbler habitat, the NCDOT was able to design the project by improving existing roadways rather than cutting a new alignment, with a new land bridge built for wildlife and Appalachian Trail hiker passage over the road, and habitat improvements for golden-winged warbler, a bird being considered for Endangered Species Act protection.
January 13, 2023
Bat discovery – While scouting the site of a future road widening project on Pisgah National Forest, Asheville Field Office biologist Lauren Wilson encountered a tricolored bat dormant in a stone culvert. The discovery is one of the few times a tricolored bat has been found in Caldwell County during the winter. In September of 2022, the tricolored bat was proposed for inclusion on the federal list of threatened and endangered species as endangered.
January 6, 2023
Bog restoration – Responding to a severely-eroding stream cutting across a western North Carolina bog, Asheville Field Office biologists Sue Cameron and Holland Youngman visited the site with state and private biologists to begin discussing how to move forward on restoration. The wetland is the focus of conservation efforts from myriad organizations, and a portion of it is likely to become part of Mountain Bogs National Wildlife Refuge.
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Tour Down Under 2023
Top 5 Tour Down Under 2023
1. Jay Vine 2. Simon Yates + 0.11 3. Pello Bilbao + 0.27 4. Magnus Sheffield + 0.57 5. Mauro Schmid + 0.58
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