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"Staggering": Police superintendent says "risk is too great" for officers to carry out close pass op; British everesting record smashed; Urán doesn't use a power meter; Locals report few changes after Wandsworth LTN reversal + more on the live blog

Welcome to Monday's live blog, with Jack Sexty providing your updates throughout the day...

SUMMARY

14 September 2020, 14:50
Hundreds ask West Mercia police superintendent for clarification over comments on cancellation of Close Pass Op

Supt Brighton has said her short statement was taken out of context; but many are struggling to see how the comments could be be perceived in another way, other than taking it as an admission that officers wil be put in unnecessary danger if they carry out a Close Pass Operation by cycling on the roads. 

Supt Brighton reiterated: "I would rather explain in person as the H & S rationale is too lengthy for social media."

14 September 2020, 13:44
"I cannot deliberately put officers at risk": West Mercia Police superintendent gives shocking reason for calling off close pass operation

Supt Steph Brighton, a policing commander based in South Worcestershire, gave the remarkable reason for calling off her force's Operation Close Pass, in which plain-clothes police officers on bikes attempt to catch drivers who are passing too close to them. 

She said: "Officer safety is my priority and a health and safety assessment by a specialist who has spoken to other forces has determined the risk is too great. I cannot deliberately put officers at risk."

Although the tweet has been taken to mean that Supt Brighton has deemed the roads too unsafe for her officers to cycle on, she now claims that her words have been "taken out of context". She added: "This is exactly why I have suggested a meeting rather than attempt to explain using very few words on Twitter. The roads are not unsafe... the proposed operation was when there are other ways to tackle it for the safety and benefit of all."

It's unclear if this means the operation will go ahead when changes have been made, or if nothing of the sort will happen at all. West Mercia's neighbouring force West Midlands Police is often praised for their award-winning Operation Close Pass scheme, that has since been adopted by other forces across the UK. 

After road.cc and other organisations requested more clarification, Supt Brighton says she is willing to explain in more detail via a telephone meeting and won't be publishing a statement - we'll update as and when we get more details. 

14 September 2020, 16:19
Simon Yates wins Tirreno–Adriatico

It's been a good day for GB overall, with Lizzy Banks also winning stage 4 of the Giro Rosa. 

14 September 2020, 14:58
45-year-old sets new British everesting record, which is also the fifth-fastest attempt of all time
british everesting record - via facebook.PNG

Training around work and family life, Phil Stonelake has now had his attempt ratified by Hells 500 and is the new British record holder for the everesting challenge. His time was a staggering 7hrs 44 mins, which is also the fifth-fastest in the world and the fastest ever time for a veteran. The overall record is held by Irishman Ronan Mc Laughlin, who took over 20 minutes off Alberto Contador's previous mark to finish in 7:04:41 back in July. 

Crowcombe on Monday 7 September. A big day on the hill rep production line. New British Everesting and world veteran’s...

Posted by Phil Stonelake on Sunday, September 13, 2020

Mr Stonelake completed the required 8,848m on Crowcombe Hill in Somerset, using a modified Focus Izalco with the big chainring removed.

He added: "I’m just an amateur with a full time job and family life, but it shows if you use your head as well as your body normal people can achieve things that are up there with the professionals. If it hadn’t started raining at the halfway mark it would have been nudging up to Lachlan Morton’s time." 

Chapeau, Phil!

14 September 2020, 14:36
Footage captures moment attempted robbery of a cyclist is foiled in South Africa

Using a car as a weapon is never a good thing, but some on social media are saying that this is one of the few examples where it could be justified. At the beginning of the clip, the cyclist is knocked off his bike by one of the three people in the road, in an attack that looks like a robbery. He then runs towards the attacker, before a white 4x4 drives at one of the other attackers at speed, who then flees. 

Some thought the attack didn't look like a robbery, with one commenting: "Doesn't look like an attempted robbery, more like punks who are assholes being punks. The cyclist didn't stand for that crap good for him, and thanks to those who stopped."

14 September 2020, 14:25
The Tour de France rest day couldn't come soon enough

There are some sore legs, arms, bones and everything else within the peloton today, none more so than those belonging to Sunweb's Nicholas Roche. 

14 September 2020, 12:43
Rigoberto Urán doesn't use a power meter or heart rate monitor, according to manager Jonathan Vaughters

While his teammate and Colombian compatriot Sergio Higuita has crashed out, Urán rides on fuelled by nothing other than "bananas and an old skool hurt rate monitor” according to Vaughters. 

Urán currently sits in third on the general classification, with Vaughters adding: "Old man Uran in third overall. Man, this sport... It doesn’t let you stay happy for very long. You win, you’re high, and then you get slapped back down to the ground. And then old man Uran pulls off something you’d never expect. Highs and lows. Guess that’s why the race is 3 weeks."

A rather harsh nickname for the 33-year-old, but we're guessing it's all in jest... 

rigoberto uran drafted by local in colombia - via rigoberto uran on instagram.PNG

If you think Rigo's approach is old-fashioned, it's nothing compared to the farmer filmed drafting him during a training ride back in June. The man, wearing a backpack and dressed in baggy clothes and work boots, reportedly kept up with Urán at speeds of 45km/h, and the clip went viral. 

He was later identified as 54-year-old flower farmer Iván Dario, who was gifted a new Cannondale and cycling gear at Urán's bike shop for his efforts. After checking his power numbers on Zwift, Dario commented: "It was an honour to be able to talk to Rigo, and he even invited me to take part in a virtual race. He is very humble and says hello to everyone. I am a huge fan of him and his achievements."

14 September 2020, 12:39
Tour de France: Bob Jungels apologises for move that was blamed for Sergio Higuita's abandon

Higuita abandoned in tears yesterday following the crash, in which Jungels took out his front wheel while attempting to form a breakaway on stage 15. Higuita got back on his bike, only to crash again and leave the race with a suspected broken hand. 

Jungels said: "I sincerely want to apologize to Sergio Higuita and @EFprocycling for my move at the beginning of the race.

"It was not my intention to cause this crash but I am absolutely at fault and I hope that Sergio is okay given the circumstances."

EF Pro Cycling manager Jonathan Vaughters has now confirmed that Higuita's hand isn't broken, and thanked Jungels for the apology. 

14 September 2020, 12:29
Ridulous speeds and power numbers from Tirreno–Adriatico stage 8 time trial

Filippo Ganna has set the quickest time so far on the 10.1km course, completing it in 10mins 42secs at an average speed of around 56km/h. For the final 2km, he averaged 580 watts and 57km/h.

Currently the Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts is in 2nd, and Rohan Dennis is third. 

14 September 2020, 11:58
Government publish full details on 'Rule of Six', confirming that organised sporting events are unaffected
Cheshire Cat Sportive (picture credit britishcycling.org_.uk)

Although the government said that the new rules were created to "simplify and strengthen the rules on social gatherings", of course confusion arose over what they would mean in a number of circumstances, and what the exemptions were. One example we were unsure about - plus British Cycling and Cycling UK when we asked them - were if cycling events such as sportives would be affected, because such events involve gatherings of groups much larger than six.   

As the official document on the 'rule of six' is now published, it all but confirms that any sporting event organised in a certified 'Covid-secure' way still has the green light. Here is the relevant part of the guidance regarding the list of exemptions: 

"Organised sport or exercise classes or licensed outdoor physical activity. This does not include informal sport or fitness activity with family or friends - this must be limited to a group of six."

Elite sporting competition or training is also unaffected. What it does definitely mean is that informal rides where the group is larger than six are off. Those caught flouting the rules risk £100 fines, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200. 

On 11th September, British Cycling also said that all activities permitted in their Way Forward document could continue, "because of the measures in place to reduce the risk of Covid-19."

Happy riding... in groups of six or less and socially distanced of course!

14 September 2020, 10:26
Two CCC riders pull out of Tirreno–Adriatico due to "suspected positive" COVID-19 cases
CCC team - via twitter.PNG

With the threat of the virus continuing to hang over the professional peloton as racing resumes, CCC Team have been forced to withdraw Lukasz Wlsniowski and Szymon Sajnok from their Tirreno–Adriatico squad with suspected coronavirus cases. 

A statement said: "Wiśniowski withdrew from stage seven after developing mild symptoms during the stage and underwent a rapid test on Sunday evening which indicated a positive result. Wiśniowski will undergo a PCR test to confirm the result.

"As per CCC Team’s Covid-19 policy, Wiśniowski’s roommate Szymon Sajnok has automatically been withdrawn from racing and will also undergo a PCR test."

All other members of the team and staff underwent rapid testing twice on Sunday evening and Monday morning, with CCC reporting that all these tests came back negative. It means that five remaining CCC riders will line up for the eighth and final stage, a 10.1km individual time trial.    

Unlike the Tour de France, RCS Sport - the organisers of the Tirreno–Adriatico and Giro D'Italia - are not enforcing the "two strikes and you're out rule" with coronavirus cases like the Tour de France, instead just asking that those who test positive should immediately isolate. 

The Giro's race director Mauro Vegni told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “I’ll test them, I'll check them, but I won’t send the team home. I think that’s correct and respectful towards people who don’t have anything to hide in such a situation.

"Those who test positive certainly aren't bandits. Obviously I will try to protect them from a health point of view, but I’m not going to invalidate the work of a team that has been preparing for a year for a big event.”

14 September 2020, 09:53
AG2R La Mondiale will ride BMC bikes when they become AG2R Citroën Team next year
2021 bmc ag2r switzerland announcement.PNG

AG2R are currently riding Eddy Merckx bikes, but will be supplied by the Swiss brand BMC in 2021 through to 2023. BMC's CEO David Zurcher said: “We are delighted to announce that the riders of the AG2R Citroën Team will be riding our bikes from 2021 onwards.

“We strongly believe that with the Teammachine SLR01 and the Timemachine Road, we have the best bikes to help the team reach their high goals.” 

The team's big new signing Greg Van Avermaet also said the chance to ride BMC again was part of his decision to transfer, commenting: “I’ve won Paris-Roubaix, the Rio Olympics and all my major victories on the BMC Teammachine SLR01 and I have such fond memories of my time on BMC bikes. The AG2R Citroën Team project was very attractive to me for various reasons and the chance to ride BMC again eventually made my decision an easy one to take.”

14 September 2020, 10:55
road.cc Towers is currently a 1930's French film set

It's not every day the BBC's blockbuster Christmas drama is filmed outside your office, but that's what we're working alongside today. Unfortunately one scene had to be retaken because road.cc Liam was wheeling a Merida Reacto past the set in the background... 

14 September 2020, 09:35
Look launch their first ever flat pedals, including one with integrated lighting
2020 Look Geocity flat pedals.PNG

As the creators of the original clipless pedal, it's taken Look nearly 40 years to go back to basics and make their first flats. Aimed more at commuting and light trail pootling, they've been made in partnership with Vibram to offer plenty of grip, and are available in numerous funky colours. 

2020 Look Geocity vision flat pedals.PNG

The models available are the Geo City Grip Vision (€119.90), the Geo City Grip (€59.90) the Trail Grip (€59.90) and the Geo City (€29.90). The Geo City Grip Vision also comes equipped with four adjustable LED lights, that are USB rechargeable and last up to 20 hours at a time. 

They should be available to buy via UK retailers soon, and you can find out more over on Look's website

14 September 2020, 09:20
Christina Murray, who was attempting the LEJOG record, has been forced to abandon with "niggling injury"

Time trial specialist Christina Murray, who is in the British Army Cycling union, had covered over 400 miles in 24 hours before being forced to abandon this morning. An update on the Twitter account for the attempt said: "Good morning all. Unfortunately, it’s with heavy hearts that we have to report that Christina has abandoned her attempt due to a niggling injury that just wouldn’t go away. A valiant and inspirational effort I’m sure you’ll all agree. Thank you all for your overwhelming support."

It means the current records of 52hrs, 45mins, 11secs set by Lynne Taylor in 2002 and 43hrs, 25mins, 13secs by Michael Broadwith in 2018 still stand. 

14 September 2020, 08:53
Amazingly, Tooting's roads still appear to be heaving after the removal of LTNs

In an incredibly twist, it seems that it's the traffic that is causing the traffic in the London Borough of Wandsworth, even after the removal of some controversial planters and cycle lanes in the area that resulted in protests over the weekend. 

Those who campaigned for their removal don't appear to have commented on the scenes, but some are reporting better traffic flow on Trinity Road in Tooting. 

14 September 2020, 08:47
"No excuses": Egan Bernal at a loss to explain under par Tour de France performance so far

It looks like the Colombian's defence of the yellow jersey is already far out of his reach, as he lost huge chunks of time to overall leader Primoz Roglic and stage 15 winner Tadej Pogacar. 

Bernal commented after the stage: “I was not going well from the first climb to be honest, I was almost dropped there, I was suffering from the first climb. I told the team I was not good, but then I was trying to fight until the final and give my best. 

“It’s difficult to say how I felt, the feeling was that I was empty - I had no power. When the other riders did a big acceleration, I couldn’t go too hard to follow, but then I recovered really quickly, but my body couldn’t react as normal.

“I’m the number one and I tried to give my best, but finally there were riders who were stronger than me.

"Even if I start the last climb with the other GC riders I felt I would be dropped, I wanted to give my best, not just for me, but for the team and for the respect I have for the race. 

“Theres no excuses, I tried to fuel my body in the best way possible, but I don’t know, I didn’t have the legs. The other riders have been stronger than me and we have to accept that.”

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake. 

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