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Dan Walker gets back on his bike – and is berated for not wearing hi-vis; “Surprised he knows how to turn right”: Ed Clancy tests Salford’s magic cycling roundabout; Is British road racing “likely to die out”?; eBay bike disasters + more on the live blog

Another day, another live blog… and a clearly energised Ryan Mallon is back at the keyboard to bring you Tuesday’s roundup of the latest cycling news and views
21 March 2023, 11:17
Look who’s back on his bike… and getting shouted at on Twitter for not wearing hi-vis

A month after his collision with a driver in Sheffield (and the seemingly endless debate which followed that terrifying spill) the Channel 5 presenter is back cycling – and riding a new, rather snazzy, Gocycle e-bike.

So, how did Twitter react to Mr Walker’s much-anticipated return to the saddle? By reprimanding him for not wearing hi-vis, of course:

Well, at least it’s not another discussion about helmets, I suppose…

> Why is Dan Walker’s claim that a bike helmet saved his life so controversial?

21 March 2023, 15:32
“For those of you asking/shouting”: Dan Walker confirms that, yes, he has bought some hi-vis

Dan’s confirmation – after dozens of tweets screaming ‘Why no hi-vis?’ – that he has indeed invested in some new yellow gear prompted one motorist to scramble to find yet another item to add to the former Strictly contestant’s shopping list… and came up with, wait for it, motorbike helmets…

The broadcaster’s purchase of a bike camera has also struck fear into a certain section of Twitter, wary that Walker will suddenly morph into one of his Channel 5 colleagues:

If anything, today’s hi-vis and bike camera furore proves that little lessons have been truly learned from Dan Walker-helmetgate.

Not that we should be surprised, of course…

21 March 2023, 16:54
‘But, but, but… can you transport a few hundred beef carcasses by bike?’

These things are just getting weirder and weirder…

21 March 2023, 16:09
Giulio Ciccone outsprints Evenepoel and Roglič to give Trek-Segafredo a much-needed boost at Volta a Catalunya

It’s safe to say that, right up until the closing metres of today’s summit finish at Vallter 2000, the Volta a Catalunya had been something of an unmitigated disaster for Trek-Segafredo.

Yesterday, the team’s veteran Italian Dario Cataldo suffered horrendous injuries following a high-speed crash, while another spill – this time with 19km left of today’s stage – forced Kenny Elissonde to abandon the race with a suspected broken wrist.

So, it was left to the in-form Giulio Ciccone to lift the mood and raise some smiles at tonight’s dinner table – and the Italian climber did just that, hanging on to the race’s star riders, Primož Roglič and Remco Evenepoel, during a frenetic final few kilometres before outsprinting the pair for a morale-boosting win.

The leading trio’s late surge snuffed out the chance of a popular victory for lone attacker Esteban Chaves, the Colombian champion launching his own move after his EF-Education teammate Simon Carr was the last to be caught from the day’s breakaway.

But Chaves’ 30 second gap looked in constant danger once Mikel Landa darted out from pack with just over two kilometres left – but only after adding another image to the meme collection further down the climb:

(Who says we don’t cover the most important racing moments?)

That move from Landa poked world champion Evenepoel into one of his trademark, constant ‘drill it from the front’ efforts, which only Roglič and Ciccone could follow.

But with the Slovenian poised for back-to-back sprint wins, Ciccone upset the odds in a thrilling finish to take one of the most impressive victories of his career – and right at the time his team needed it the most.  

21 March 2023, 14:57
Is this budget electronic groupset a Shimano and SRAM killer?
21 March 2023, 14:13
Can MVDP make history?

Well I definitely wouldn’t bet against him anyway…

21 March 2023, 13:48
More cyclists jumping more red lights… oh wait
21 March 2023, 12:54
2022 Wally Gimber Trophy (Dulwich Paragon/YouTube)
Reader’s opinion: Is British road racing “likely to die out”?

It’s been a rough few months for the British road racing scene.

Last week, UCI Continental outfit AT85, formerly known as WiV SunGod, collapsed due to sponsorship issues, just months after Ribble Weldtite shut its doors, leaving Saint Piran and Trinity Racing as the only UK-based Continental teams.

Earlier in the week, the organisers of the elite-level Women’s Tour – a race won by Marianne Vos, Lizzie Deignan, and Elisa Longo Borghini – launched a crowdfunding campaign, in a bid to ensure that this year’s race goes ahead despite the event’s current sponsorship crisis.

> "Continuing as we are remains unsafe": Calls for British Cycling action as rider airlifted to hospital after collision with car during race

Things haven’t been much rosier at grassroots level, either – yesterday, we reported that a rider was airlifted to hospital with a serious neck injury after he crashed through the rear windscreen of a stopped car during a National B race in East Sussex.

That terrifying incident has prompted a widespread debate about the dangers of racing in the UK at the moment, what British Cycling can do to help support clubs and organisers, and the future of British road racing in general.

In response to yesterday’s story, reader Martin, a 75-year-old cyclist, ex-racer, and longstanding club member, got in touch to share his views on the current climate within British cycling.

Here’s what he had to say:

The cover/marshalling etc needed nowadays on our busy roads is probably unsustainable for most clubs.

Many younger club members are sadly reluctant at best to help run any event, and time trials too suffer from this malady. Many riders just want to ride, or play at racing on club runs it seems.

The off-road and cyclocross events, away from the traffic, seem to be the way forward, with parents of youngsters happy, being away from traffic risks. Huge fields in CX events prove their popularity.

Circuit races, where circuits can be found, help, but sadly, open road events are likely to die out – not due to British Cycling’s failings, but due to the change in traditional cycling clubs.

Race teams, instead of multi-generational membership clubs, cannot offer the depth of experience and support to help organisers.

The organisers, as a consequence, fearing blame if disaster strikes, give up the unequal struggle. More risk assessments won’t always help. They just make the already onerous job more difficult.

What do you think? Do you agree with Martin?

Is British road racing “likely to die out”?

Are off-road events, away from our increasingly busy roads, the future of the British racing scene?

And is the decline of the traditional club structure, with its emphasis on volunteering, to blame for the current crisis?

Let us know in the comments…

21 March 2023, 12:23
“Imagine having an ‘ethical issue’ with Astana and it’s ‘they allowed one favoured rider to retain his personal sponsorship’”

Ah, ethics and pro cycling, those two well-known bedfellows…

‘Unrepentant doper Vino’s the manager? That’s fine. Wait, Cav isn’t wearing our glasses? Tear up the contract!’

Regardless of those rather legitimate concerns over where cycling brands decide to draw their ethical lines, Scicon’s CEO certainly wasn’t holding back when he confirmed this morning that the Italian brand had scrapped their deal with Astana in the wake of the whole Mark Cavendish-Oakley glasses saga.

You can read Dan’s full story here:

> Scicon questions Astana Qazaqstan's ethics as sponsor walks out over Mark Cavendish Oakley dispute

21 March 2023, 11:49
“UnBELLievable”: Lap bell stolen from Peaks Two Day stage race

Over the years on, we’ve reported on dozens of robberies and attempted robberies at bike races, as thieves target the shiny, expensive equipment usually on show.

However, I can’t say I remember a lap bell ever being nicked at a race before…

But that’s exactly what happened at the Peaks Two Day, a National B-level stage race for men and women in, you guessed it, the Peak District at the weekend.

“A definite first. Somebody has stolen our brass bell off the lap board. Left for less than 40 minutes, laid down behind a wall. Staggering,” Marc Etches, one of the race organisers, posted on Twitter.

Etches said he left the lap board and bell hidden in a grassy ditch “in the middle of nowhere” between stages, and that the race cars were parked only a few hundred metres away when the campanology-loving thieves struck.

Thankfully, the organisers were able to pluck a spare bell from the boot, so the riders could still hear that sweetest of sounds as they neared the finish.

Apparently, no bell hunt will take place for the piece of equipment – which Etches himself dismissed as a “bit tinny” – though I’m sure locals will keep their eyes ‘pealed’ for it around the countryside (I’ll get my coat…).

While the British racing scene has come under increasing scrutiny lately, with team after team folding and safety concerns raised after horror crashes at races, Ed Clancy – making his second appearance on today’s blog – noted on Twitter at the weekend that grassroots events and races like the Peaks Two Day are pivotal for the future of the sport in the UK.

“There’s no denying that the sport of cycling in the UK has been struggling recently,” the Olympic champion wrote.

“The peloton has just been rocked by another major team folding, leaving many hard working and ambitious riders (and staff) without jobs and a platform to progress.

“I’ve just spent the day watching the Peaks Two Day (almost literally in my backyard) in Holmfirth. Got me thinking about how important these events are for both the sport of cycling and promoting health in general.

“Right now, I really think it is ‘the taking part that counts’! So well done to ALL the athletes, organisers and sponsors here and across the UK.

“The sport needs you more than ever.”

21 March 2023, 10:38
Dario Cataldo breaks femur and suffers two spinal fractures in horror Volta a Catalunya crash, as Adam Yates escapes serious injury

This week’s Volta a Catalunya got off to a less than promising start yesterday, after a horrific-looking crash in the final, fast kilometres of the opening stage around Sant Feliu de Guíxols brought several riders down and seriously injured Trek-Segafredo’s Dario Cataldo.

According to a statement issued by the team last night, the veteran Italian, who has also raced for Liquigas, Quick-Step, Team Sky, Astana, and Movistar during his 16-year pro career, suffered a fractured left femoral head and right hip fracture in the crash, along with two spinal fractures which fortunately did not have any neurological impact.

The 38-year-old also sustained multiple broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and a collapsed lung.

Trek-Segafredo also noted that the Giro and Vuelta stage winner is stable and conscious, and will undergo surgery to fix his broken femur at a hospital in Girona.

In happier news, Adam Yates – who was also caught up in the crash which brought down Cataldo – escaped with some heavy road rash and will be able to start today’s tough stage to Vallter, according to his UAE Team Emirates squad. By the looks of things, he might still be a bit sore though...

Team DSM’s Chris Hamilton, another casualty of the high-speed spill, will however not start in Mataró today.

Meanwhile, following yesterday’s crash-marred carnage, Primož Roglič and Remco Evenepoel set tongues wagging for May’s Giro d’Italia with a ferocious and hotly contested uphill sprint, which saw the Slovenian just about hold off the fast finishing and frustrated world champion at the line. And with a 2,000 metre-plus summit finish to come, expect more of the same this afternoon…

21 March 2023, 10:09
Spotted on eBay

Prepare to get angry in three, two, one…

What’s the worst and most irritating bike disaster you’ve spied for sale on eBay? (Other online marketplaces are of course available.) Let us know in the comments!

21 March 2023, 09:30
Ed Clancy tries out Salford's cycling roundabout (credit - Eve Holt, Twitter)
“Surprised he knows how to turn right”: Ed Clancy tests Salford’s magic cycling roundabout

It’s been a few months since we last paid a visit to Salford’s new cycling roundabout (or cycle-a-bout, if you prefer the technical term), an interesting bit of bike infra that it’s fair to say proved rather divisive within the cycling community for what some claimed to be its novelty “car-centric” design and plethora of rather unnecessary markings.

> Magic roundabout or tragic roundabout? New "novelty" cycling roundabout hasn't gone down well

Since the roundabout was unveiled to the public in December, it’s about time that it was put to the test by a man who made his career riding around in circles:

Yep, that’s right – triple Olympic gold medal winning team pursuiter Ed Clancy yesterday proved he’s lost none of his speed by flying around Britain’s smallest velodrome… and that he’s even learnt a new trick or two in retirement:

Clancy was visiting Greater Manchester’s recently-installed cycling infra as part of his new role as South Yorkshire’s active travel commissioner, replacing Dame Sarah Storey last month.

And, it must be noted, it looks like the much-derided magic roundabout was a hit…

However, I’m still not sure everyone’s convinced: 

Ryan joined as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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