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Lance Armstrong snaps back at poll asking cycling fans if he should have wins reinstated; Bilbao wins stage three of Tour Down Under, Jay Vine takes race lead; Irish minister to get cycling bodyguard + more on the live blog

The weekend is in sight! Dan Alexander is on live blog duty for the final one of the week
20 January 2023, 08:50
Lance Armstrong snaps back at poll asking cycling fans if he should have victories reinstated

Yesterday was the 10-year anniversary of Lance Armstrong's confession — what did you do to mark the occasion? Take your cycling buddies out for a fancy meal? Ride to the spot where you first heard the news? Slice up an Oprah cake? Or go about your day blissfully unaware until someone in the cycling media inevitably mentioned he who cannot be named...

Lance Armstrong and Oprah Winfrey Photo by Maryse Alberti, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Reporting anything Armstrong does these days is normally met with the same barrage of 'who cares?', 'stop giving this guy air time' etc. etc. but if I have three Lance tokens a year (to mention what one of the most famous cyclists ever is doing with his life) I'm using one of them up on today's live blog.

Procyclingstats put out a Twitter poll asking whether Armstrong should have his wins reinstated. Perhaps unsurprisingly the results were fairly clear — 69 per cent said no — but more importantly the call to the people landed a big fish...

Baited by what he'd seen, Procyclingstats reeled in the big one...

You can say what you want about Lance, but asking every single professional cyclist he ever raced against is commitment to democracy personified. All in four hours after the poll was posted too... 

20 January 2023, 16:42
Pothole pain — a reader's tale

A reader has been in touch with their experience of the danger poor road surfaces can cause road users, in this case cyclists...

On January 2nd, while cycling home from the City to Twickenham, I encountered a pothole on Upper Richmond Road and attempted to avoid it. However, I ended up flying over the handlebars and landing on my head, causing severe pain and screaming.

I feared that something serious had occurred, such as a skull injury, and screamed for help. Passersby came to assist me and a doctor happened to be present and began to assess my condition. I attempted to sit up but my left arm was immobile and I realised it was injured. I was unable to determine the extent of my other injuries.

Someone called for an ambulance, however, due to the backlog it was estimated that it would take two to three hours for the ambulance to arrive. The doctor checked my spine and neck and determined that they were not injured, but the pain in my upper body was severe and I was unable to identify the source of the pain. He advised that due to the wet and cold conditions and the long wait for an ambulance, it would be best for me to try to get off the road. However, I was physically unable to move and scared about my condition, unsure of what to do next.

After about 15 minutes, I attempted to stand up with the help of others, but the pain was so intense that I was screaming. I still didn't know what was wrong with me. Across the road, there was a bike shop, and I was carried over there to warm up. I was in shock and couldn't believe what had happened.

The next day, we found out that the pothole had already been reported and filled. We were unsure of how the council had been informed but I remember one of the passersby saying that they had reported it a week earlier and couldn't believe it hadn't been fixed yet. It is possible that one of the passersby contacted them after my accident and reported an injury caused by the pothole, leading to it being fixed quickly.

I was given some strong painkillers and water. My wife was contacted and she decided to come and collect me instead of waiting for the ambulance to take me to the hospital. She arrived in 20 minutes and took me back home at 7:30.

My experience at the A&E department was extremely difficult. I had to wait for over 5 hours without receiving any attention from medical staff, which caused my wife and family to leave. I was in a wheelchair and had to navigate my way around the department while not knowing the extent of my injury.

During the night, I underwent several scans, during which I nearly passed out due to the severe pain. Unfortunately, there was no pain relief provided by the NHS and I was told that if I did not undergo the scans, my injury would not be treated properly. Despite feeling faint from the pain, I pushed through and eventually received a scan, after which a cast was put on my arm.

I was recently assessed and it was discovered that I had suffered multiple injuries, including broken ribs on my left side, a fracture in my elbow and damage to my neck. To ensure that my internal organs were not damaged, a CT scan was performed. The uncertainty of not knowing the extent of my injuries made the experience quite challenging

When the cast was put on my arm, I did not experience much pain relief. The medical staff did not inform me that they were going to attempt to reposition my bone. This caused me to experience the most excruciating pain of my life. After the cast was finally put on, about an hour later, I had to go back for another scan. The pain was so severe that I passed out during the procedure. It was a very difficult and traumatic experience.

I was later informed that my bone would never heal properly. To fix this, I had to undergo surgery on the weekend. After the surgery, I thought the worst was over, but soon after the doctors came back in and informed me that the cast had been applied incorrectly, so I had to go through another round of scans and have a new cast put on. This caused me to experience the same level of pain again and it was a very difficult and frustrating experience. I couldn't believe that I was going through this again and I was disappointed that I was not provided with adequate pain relief during my entire time in the hospital.

After the initial diagnosis, I had to wait several days before I could get the surgery on the weekend. Again, I was not provided with much pain relief, and the morphine that was given to me was not sufficient. My entire experience with the NHS was terrible, from the long wait times, to the lack of pain management. Even though I am now on the road to recovery, the whole experience has left me feeling scared and unsure about getting back on my bike. I hope that the situation in the NHS can improve soon, so that others don't have to go through a similar experience. contacted the NHS Foundation Trust which runs the hospital the reader was treated at but has not received a reply.

The last thing we want this blog post to be is an attack on the hard work of healthcare professionals, especially during such difficult times, but it is hard to ignore the fact our reader's account makes for a worrying read.

Have you been treated in hospital for cycling-related injuries this winter? What was your experience?

20 January 2023, 16:12
Banned hit-and-run driver who killed cyclist then torched car jailed + a new petition

> Banned hit-and-run driver who killed cyclist then torched car jailed

As Simon explains at the end of the story...

The sentencing coincides with ITV News highlighting a petition calling for lifetime bans for those convicted of causing death by dangerous driving – although, of course, in this case he was driving the vehicle despite already being disqualified.

The petition, hosted on the UK Parliament's website, was started by Angela Burke, whose 14-year-old daughter Courtney Ellis was killed in 2020 by speeding driver Brandon Turton.

The 21-year-old driver was subsequently jailed for six years and nine months after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving, and banned from driving for seven years.

In the petition, Ms Bourke wrote:

I would like to change the law on 'if you are convicted for causing death by dangerous driving then a lifetime driving ban should be imposed', they should never be allowed to drive again.

My child was killed by a speeding driver, who was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. My child suffered horrific instant death injuries, the driver was driving at speeds of 73-93mph when he hit her on a 30mph road, he was sentenced to 9 years minus 25 per cent reduction for going guilty also given a 7 year driving ban to start immediately, when he’s released he will have 4 years ban left. Driving is a luxury and it should be taken away if convicted of this crime. I've lost my child forever.

At the time of writing the petition, which remains open until 4 April, has attracted more than 5,200 signatures.

Should it reach 10,000 signatures, the government will be required to provide a response, and in the event it gathers 100,000 signatures, the issue will be considered for a House of Commons debate by the Backbench Business Committee.

20 January 2023, 14:41
So what did happen 10 years ago? Let's take a trip down memory lan(c)e

As we're 'celebrating' the tenth anniversary this week...

As ever Simon was on news duty, ready to catch all the action from Oprah's bombshell interview with Armstrong.

Lance Armstrong and Oprah Winfrey Photo by Maryse Alberti, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Such big news, in fact, it was split into two stories...

> Oprah interview Part 1: Lance Armstrong admits doping, but leaves many questions unanswered + reaction

"Did you ever take banned substances to enhance cycling performance?”" "Yes." Thus replied Lance Armstrong to the very first question put by Oprah Winfrey in part one of her interview with him that aired at 9pm Eastern Time in the United States yesterday evening. Admissions to using EPO, cortisone, testosterone and having illegal blood transfusions swiftly followed as he admitted he had doped his way to all seven of his Tour de France victories from 1999 to 2005. However, he strongly denied doping following his comeback in 2009.

From the outset, it was clear that Winfrey would not be giving Armstrong an easy ride. Her research had been meticulous, the questions were uncompromising, and each was preceded by a short montage that set the scene.

> Oprah interview Part 2: Lance Armstrong accepts little prospect of lifetime ban being lifted

Also on that day...

  • Heavy snowfall covered the United Kingdom, cancelling 395 flights at Heathrow.
  • News broadcasts included grim reports from the Syrian civil war.
  • A certain Mauricio Pochettino was appointed as Southampton's new manager.
  • Cardinal Antonios Naguib resigns as Patriarch of Alexandria and head of the Coptic Catholic Church.
  • NASA scientists beam a picture of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, to Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft orbiting the Moon
  • Scream & Shout by featuring Britney Spears was number one in the UK charts.

Wikipedia's good, isn't it...

20 January 2023, 12:47
Professional KOM hunting
20 January 2023, 12:05
But what do the fans think?

Lance might think he's got the support of the peloton and what supporters think is irrelevant, but we've got more than few of your thoughts on his latest comments...(for those of you who aren't feeling like Tom D)...


Andrew Mee in a rather lively Facebook comments section wrote: "I'll tell you one thing, you can't deny this guys determination and dedication to getting whatever the hell he wanted… Reminds me of other narcissists through history."

Garry Templeman: "Others were doping isn't an excuse. He'll probably be known as the biggest sports cheat in history, he will never get any of his titles back, not a chance. The fact he can't give up chasing this dream says it all about him."

 William Speed touched on a point made by many, that all the 'other stuff' beyond the doping riles many fans more than the actual doping...

The comments on social media roughly followed the pattern of Procyclingstats' poll, with some support for Armstrong (although mainly on Facebook, admittedly... make of that what you will)...

ShutTheFrontDawes had one of the more convincing tales (although did say they believe his punishment was fair) pointing to the inspiration the story (doped or not) brought many... "Everyone is probably going to hate me for saying this but... in my opinion Lance Armstrong is one of the most inspirational sportspersons in my memory. To do what he did despite his afflictions is, to me, amazing. Yes he doped — and I always suspected he did — but like everyone says, so did so many others. And he beat them all, despite his advanced and aggressive cancers.

"He inspired me to apply myself despite my own health conditions, and I was honoured to represent my university in rowing at BUCS championship level, despite having very active Crohn's disease.

"I think that the way he has been punished is fair and think that it is such a shame that he and so many athletes were able to dope to such an extent and for so long."

Anyway, get involved in the comments if you wish. We'll leave the reaction with this classic...

20 January 2023, 10:15
Live blog comment 20/01/2023

Me or Lance?

20 January 2023, 10:46
Irish minister to get cycling bodyguard

After the Gardaí announced that all cabinet ministers are to receive protection officers, often seen in ministerial cars, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has decided his should be a biking bodyguard.

The Irish Independent reports that Mr Ryan primarily cycles to his duties, with his new bodyguard to join him in riding around Dublin.

"There was a decision made by An Garda Síochána that we [cabinet ministers] will have protection officers," the politician explained.

"I suppose they will have to be flexible in my case because I will still be cycling. But that's something I have to work on with An Garda Síochána, to make sure it works for them as well as for me.

"I haven't seen as many of [Garda cycling units] as I used to, but yes, I'll be working with the guards to make sure it (cycling bodyguard support) works for them in whatever way, as well as for me."

20 January 2023, 09:34
Top 10 | BEST Road Bikes For 2023 Awards Show
20 January 2023, 09:21
Bilbao wins stage three of Tour Down Under, Jay Vine takes race lead

Jay Vine, Simon Yates and Pello Bilbao escaped the peloton on the third stage of Tour Down Under as the race crossed the brutal slopes of the Corkscrew on the now-familiar route to Campbelltown. Vine was happy to press on for GC time, leading out the wiry climbers behind in a repeat of stage 12 at the 2019 Tour de France when Yates pipped Bilbao for the first of two stage wins.

However, it was Bilbao who just about held on this morning, climbing to second on GC with his bonus seconds. Yates sits third, one second behind Bilbao who himself is 15 off Vine ahead of the final two stages this weekend.

Photo of the day?

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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