Road Cycling

Live blog: Will Fotheringham asks if pro cycling is “worth it” after Bjorg Lambrecht tragedy; floods no match for hardy Edinburgh cyclist who ploughs through wheels-deep; pro cyclists and politicians condemn Velolife cafe debacle + more –

All today’s news from the site and beyond…..

Welcome to Thursday’s live blog, with Jack Sexty, Simon MacMichael and the rest of the team. 


live blog live blog

Live blog: 

Less of this …

… and more of this please

It’s on the south side of the river close to the Thames Barrier

Until now, the only time you’d see this many cyclists here was on the final stage of the Tour de France

In the future, everyone will be famous … on Google StreetView

This is the road where Kensington & Chelsea has blocked safe cycling infrastructure

Vincenzo Nibali at the 2019 Giro d'Italia (picture RCS Sport, LaPresse)

Vincenzo Nibali confirmed to Trek-Segafredo

Vincenzo Nibali has signed a two-year contract with Trek-Segafredo, with his brother Antonio also making the widely-expected move from Bahrain-Merida.

Aged 34, Nibali is one of just seven riders ever to have won all three Grand Tours, and last month took the penultimate stage of the Tour de France after a solo attack.

He said: “I followed my heart and chose for this team, knowing that their project is very serious and competitive.

“The great confidence Trek and Segafredo and all the other sponsors are showing in me is very motivating. I am really happy to continue my cycling career at Trek-Segafredo and look forward to 2020.”

Luca Guercilena, general manager of Trek-Segafredo, commented: “Vincenzo is obviously a great champion and like always, having such riders on the team gives a lot of opportunities to the other riders, to learn from his experience and excel themselves as well.

We are all very excited to have him with us as of next year, and we are confident he will battle again for an overall victory in a Grand Tours.

“ Vincenzo’s younger brother, Antonio, 26, will join the team as well. He’s a solid rider that still has quite some margin for progression, so we hope to see him develop into a strong helper in the years to come.”

“Cycle to Work”, says noughties pop singer

If you’re in need of some persuasion to cycle to work on this, Cycle to Work day of all days, then heed these wise words from 2002 Fame Academy graduate Lemar. The singer, who now cycle commutes to host his Magic Soul Radio show at their London studio, says: “I cycle mainly for exercise and to clear the mind. Doing Magic Soul gives me the perfect excuse to jump on the bike whenever I can and roll through central London. Cycling is great for fitness and lifts the spirits. Anyone thinking about joining in, I would hugely encourage, even if you’re just starting your cycling journey, Cycle to Work Day is the perfect day to start. You’ll be amazed at the benefits it brings your body, mind and soul.”

These quotes are part of a promotional campaign from Cyclescheme, who say that currently over a third of workers want to cycle to work, but only six per cent do. Reasons for not cycling include time, distance and danger. Cyclescheme also say commuters like Lemar here can save on average over £100 a month by cycling, and as he will testify, those that cycle say happiness, fitness and convenience are all good reasons to cycle. 

Also… that’s a tasty bike Lemar, chapeau! 

Remco Evenepoel wins European Time Trial Championships in the Netherlands

The 19-year-old Belgian has continued his winning streak, completing the course in a time of 24:55. His Quick-Step teammate Kasper Asgreen was 2nd, finishing 18 seconds behind Evanpoel. 

What’s it like to ride Canyon’s new 6kg Ultimate?

David has been riding Canyon’s brand new Ultimate CF Evo Disc, which at 6kg is possibly the lightest production disc brake road bike you can buy right now. You can read his first ride impressions right here and even watch a video below. 

Repente launch new Magnet TT/Tri saddle, weighing in at just 135g

The new saddle is made almost entirely out of carbon, with EVA medium density padding and a PU cover with a special grip layer on the seat tip for maintaining an ideal position. RRP is 249 euros, so get saving…

Our #CycletoWorkDay Facebook sock compo is live

If you’re not on social media feel free to post pics from your commute here, we’ll be checking both channels to find our winners.

“We have a problem”: Janez Brajkovič writes heartfelt article on his website about eating disorders and mental health issues in the pro peloton

The Slovenian was given a 10 month doping ban for the use of methylhexaneamine last season, but says the reason for this is due to the stimulant being an ingredient in a meal replacement product he took while battling bulimia. He says on his website: “The whole reason I took that meal replacement was, because it was the only thing I could keep in. In that period there wasn’t a day I wouldn’t cry before going out for a ride. I was desperate, and everything was dark to me. The thing I loved, I dedicated whole life to, was being taken away from me.

“I knew I had to give my body at least something, to function. And that was that meal replacement, oats, animal protein, natural flavours….and undisclosed methylhexaneamine unfortunately.

“The UCI promised their medical department would contact me. IT NEVER HAPPENED.

“They knew we have a problem, the problem that is ruining people’s lives, careers, but they don’t want to do anything about it…nada, zero

Well, the sock height seems to be more important, right?”

He goes on to say cycling has a serious problem with eating disorders and mental health: “Right, this shouldn’t be just about me, It should be about others as well. I didn’t write this piece to get attention, or others feeling sorry for me. I’m doing ok, most of the time, not great, but still, good enough.

“I wrote this to let everybody know, from hypocrites to people working in cycling, we have a problem. Whether you like it or not, it shouldn’t be such a taboo topic. Someone who fractures a bone and carries on, is seen as a hero, but somebody struggling for months, years, with mental issues, eating disorders, addiction, is WEAK?

“Here, I exposed myself, and even now, writing this, it bring tears on my eyes. It shouldn’t be like this. This is fixable. I’m not the right person for help, but just a talk with someone who’s been through it will help immensely. The load that comes off your chest is indescribable.”

American football star takes kid’s bike for a ride, breaks it, buys him a new one

J.J. Watt was joining in with an annual tradition for the Green Bay packers where players borrow young fans’ bikes and ride them from the lockers to the practice field… as you can see it didn’t go so well for Watt, as he rendered the seatpost unusable and was forced to carry it the rest of the way. 

All was well for the poor kid whose bike was broken though, as according to USA today Watt simply bought him a brand new bike instead. 

Have you cycled to work on #cycletoworkday?

Perhaps it’s just same old same old for most of you, but hopefully plenty of folk have been inspired to ditch two four wheels for two on Cycle to Work Day. 

We’ll be running a celebratory sock competition over on our Facebook page shortly, do send us your pics to be in with a chance to win! 

Confirmed transfers for Donovan and Mas

Over in the land of football, it’s transfer deadline day.

While cycling hasn’t got the huge buzz of the football transfers, there are some notable moves taking place.

Young Brit Mark Donovan will make the step up to World Tour racing with Sunweb. The 20-year-old from Penrith had a stagaire period with Team Sky at the end of a very successful 2018. 

Enric Mas is also on the move. He’s headed to Movistar, who have quite a gap to fill after the departure of Landa and Quintana. Giro winner Carapaz is also rumoured to be leaving.

Lovely day for it…

Extreme flooding didn’t stop this hardy fella from riding to where he needed to get to yesterday evening. Bystander Kris Lukis, who also captured the footage, told the Edinburgh Evening News that there were five cars stranded in the floodwater but the cyclist was “wheels deep” and showed some “true Scottish spirit” to get through.

Will Fotheringham asks if pro cycling is “worth it” after the tragic death of Bjorg Lambrecht

In a column for the Guardian, Fotheringham highlights that eight pro cyclists have died while racing in the last three years, a mortality rate far higher than the majority of professional sports. While there is no conclusive evidence to prove why it is, Fotheringham notes that unlike motor racing, cycling has retained its roots on open roads with “all the danger that entails”: 

“For any road race organiser, professional or amateur, – and I have been one of the latter for four years – the feeling that you are enabling athletes to participate in a potentially fatal activity is a daunting responsibility. It is the same feeling for a coach, a manager, a parent or a family member of any road cyclist. Somehow, you retain your belief that the game is worth the candle, that the things that road racing brings an athlete are worth the dangers, while praying that everyone stays safe. This week’s tragedy, as with that of 1995, (when Fabio Casartelli died at the Tour de France) shakes that faith and makes those prayers all the more fervent.” 

Possible explanations cited for cycling’s high mortality rate even as health and safety has increased include increasing complexities of organising races on open roads, constant construction of road furniture and stretched resources among organisers. 

Team Ineos rideout to Velolife cafe?

It’s the story that keeps on giving, and now Chris Lawless of Team Ineos has branded a council’s decision to stop cyclists ‘meeting’ at a cafe in Berkshire “a joke”. A response is also brewing from Chris Boardman himself, and of course we’ll have a full story to follow later on the most recent developments.