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Tadej Pogačar crushes Côte de la Redoute Strava KOM during Liège–Bastogne–Liège domination; "A real shame" as Kona troubles come out; Low entries threaten race's future; Don't try this at home! Pro remounts chain on the fly + more on the live blog

Welcome to a new week on the road.cc live blog... it's still chilly but we're creeping (slowly) towards those sunny summer rides... Dan Alexander will stop daydreaming about ditching the winter kit to bring you all your news, reaction and more this Monday...
22 April 2024, 13:24
Tadej Pogačar crushes Côte de la Redoute Strava KOM during Liège–Bastogne–Liège domination

Having done the boring bit — obliterating a cycling monument (again), doing the victory salute, heading to the podium, and raising his trophy — Tadej Pogačar moved on to the most important part of his Liège–Bastogne–Liège Sunday... uploading to Strava, of course.

 

And while the prodigious Slovenian didn't need to smash some of the final lumps out of the way, the damage having already been done and the race-winning move just requiring a consistent keeping of things ticking over, Pogačar did chop a good seven seconds off the KOM up the famous Côte de la Redoute.

> Death, taxes, and Tadej Pogačar dominating a bike race: What we learnt as Pogačar and Grace Brown win Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Wouldn't it be nice to fly up a 1.5km climb averaging 10 per cent at 22.9km/h (14mph)? Pogačar went 10 seconds quicker than Remco Evenpoel's best time (in fact a joint PB between the Belgian's race-winning attack and an effort made during his recon ride two days earlier).

Redoute Strava leaderboard

Women's edition victor Grace Brown also uploaded her ride, her Wahoo ELEMNT BOLT giving some amusing dodgy data, such as the temperature in the Ardennes plummeting to -32°C. I'm sure a few riders reckon that reading was spot on, another grim day for the most part.

 

Such was the state of play in the women's race, the times on the Redoute weren't quite as sharp as in previous years, Annemiek van Vleuten's 5:01 safe for another year.

Likewise, Brown went 24 seconds slower than her best time up the final climb, Roche-aux-Faucons, but crucially was still there to lay down a third fastest Strava time on the 800m segment to the line, besting Demi Vollering, Elisa Longo Borghini and Co. having chased back on following near disaster on the run into town when she locked up and went off-road at a roundabout.

Grace Brown Liège–Bastogne–Liège incident (Eurosport/Discovery)

No power data for either, as is standard these days. Still no sign of Mathieu van der Poel or Tom Pidcock returning to Strava any time soon. Come back, guys, we miss you...

22 April 2024, 16:31
Cyclists slam report by "notorious anti-cycling group" claiming proposed bike lane on "one of the most dangerous junctions" will lead to more collisions and 800% increase in congestion
22 April 2024, 16:24
Ominous

How does Strade Bianche, Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, World Championships sound? 

22 April 2024, 15:32
Quick, tag Jeremy Vine, there are two Lime bikes left on the pavement

We'll leave the reply to Rory...

22 April 2024, 14:24
"Are there so many cyclists to warrant such disruption?" Locals blame new cycle lane for "horrendous" congestion and motorists driving on wrong side of the road – despite "being all in for vulnerable road users and a green planet"
22 April 2024, 10:25
"A real shame": Cycling community reacts to Kona Bicycles troubles as brand winds down
Kona Ouroboros gravel bike 2

The bike industry woes continued this weekend, Kona Bicycles put up for sale as its parent company abandons the struggling cycling market. The famous mountain and cyclocross bike manufacturer is winding down operations, staff last week seen removing the brand's stall at the major US expo, Sea Otter Classic in California.

There have been reports of extensive job cuts, Kent Outdoors (the parent company which says it wants to "direct its resources toward investment in its key water sports businesses") has been trying to sell the off-road bike manufacturer for some time, the North American-based outdoor goods conglomerate announcing the appointment of a new chief financial officer on Friday following a "strategic review" of the business.

There has been plenty of sympathy from across the cycling world, many expressing hope the brand can be saved and sharing memories of past rides on Kona's bikes.

Justin Bailey: "That's a real shame. We used to sell Kona. Great bikes."

 Reibl Hughes: "As the owner of two Kona bikes (which I love) I am saddened by this news."

The vultures have begun to circle, road.cc reader Ryan Soulier offering to take one of the new Ouroboros gravel bikes "for cost, to get the inventory off their hands". That's the other quirk to the story, Kona on Wednesday unveiled the new gravel bike line, to be shown off at Sea Otter Classic to the industry. Just 24 hours later and the stall was deconstructed, the brand pulling out amid talk of company meetings...

Kona Ouroboros

Shaun Coleman said there are "too many players in an overcrowded market", while Thomas Crawford reckons "sadly from having such great bikes they just didn't evolve as time passed".

James Williams: "Shame, but the brand hasn't got the allure it once had, same for Marin, you wouldn't buy one over a Scott/Specialized anymore, whereas years ago they were a credible alternative."

Others saved their thoughts for parent company Kent Outdoors, who only bought Kona in 2022 but has reportedly been trying to ship it off for some time and wants to ditch the bike market in favour of its existing watersports brands.

"In connection with the investment of capital and the management team coming onboard, the company performed a strategic review of its operating units and determined that it would continue to seek a buyer for its bike business, Kona," a Kent Outdoors press release said.

Kona Ouroboros gravel bike 1

"This move allows the company to direct its resources toward investment in its key water sports businesses. The bike industry has faced very significant challenges in the post-Covid world and Kona has not been immune to these headwinds."

Rob Walker: "Another sad example of investment firms buying a long-standing firm from its owners and driving it into the dust (or gravel if you prefer) when it doesn't make them the quick bucks they were hoping for."

don simon fbpe: "Got to love capitalism."

brooksby: "If Kent Outdoors wants to focus on its key watersports business, then why did they buy a bicycle company less than two years ago?"

To which jaymack replied: "Because they're capitalists and they want to make a profit rather than them being cycling enthusiasts wanting to make a living."

22 April 2024, 10:05
"Things are looking a little better": Bec Road Race organiser says social media action has doubled entries and "with a bit of luck" event should go ahead

We've been in contact with Bec Road Race organiser James Hughes this morning who has told us entry numbers have almost doubled to 29 over the weekend.

"Things are looking a little better as we're now up to 29 riders registered, which is a big increase," he explained. "Goes to show that social media does have some impact. With a bit of luck we will get up to decent numbers this week to make it a goer."

That's all a bit more positive...
 

22 April 2024, 09:43
Don't try this at home! The glamorous life of a pro cyclist (continued) — trying to get your chain back on mid-race
22 April 2024, 09:21
The glamorous life of a pro cyclist
Toms Skujiņš post-Liège–Bastogne–Liège (Instagram)

A glamorous end to Toms Skujiņš' classics season, eating chips while sat on the floor in an airport hotel hallway "somewhere in Belgium".

22 April 2024, 08:45
Kona struggles; Ferry fiasco; London Marathon bike lane-blocking complaints; A novel close pass approach; Liège–Bastogne–Liège + more on the weekend round-up

Some weekend of news, reviews and features on the site, here's what you might have missed...

> Are endurance bikes actually slower than road race bikes in the real world? We did a speed test to find out

The big bike industry news of the weekend was the Kona story going the way many feared following the brand's staff hastily removing its presence from the major US industry expo, Sea Otter. Yesterday, we reported the famous mountain bike and cyclocross brand is winding down and up for sale as its parent company abandons the struggling bike market. More on that one shortly...

Kona Ouroboros gravel bike 2

Yesterday was London Marathon day, some cyclists in the English capital left disappointed by the build-up to the event proving a little less accommodating for those on two wheels than those who ran the 26 miles of closed roads.

Cycleway 4, Tooley Street during London Marathon preparations (Rich, Twitter)

On the reviews side of things, off-road.cc editor Aaron has been putting Fulcrum's Speed 42 wheelset through its paces.

2024 Fulcrum Speed 42 Hero.JPG

Also this weekend:

  •  Tadej Pogačar won a major bike race, no surprises there. Also no surprises the women's edition was a much more entertaining watch, Grace Brown finally getting that big win after two previous Liège–Bastogne–Liège seconds.
  • A few months after a councillor in Orkney urged the police to clamp down on tourists cycling "anti-socially" on the islands, 50 miles to the north-east, in Shetland, locals are up in arms over "long lines" of cyclists arriving on cruise ships, allegedly causing havoc and frustration on the archipelago's roads.
  • And finally, a cyclist in West Yorkshire came up with a novel way to keep the close passes at bay — riding for a month with a giant "Don't drive so close to me" poster attached to his bike. However, once the poster was removed, the cyclist says "everything went back to normal" and he received "lots of close passes".
22 April 2024, 07:54
"If events like this die you can be sure they won't come back": Cycling club warns road race may be cancelled... with just 15 riders entered so far

Bec Cycling Club, based in south London and who run the infamous Bec Hill Climb and other events throughout the year, have warned that the National B Bec Road Race may be scrapped this year due to a lack of entries. With just a week to go until entries for the Ashdown Forest race close, the organisers said there had been just 15 riders sign up, well down on the 50 they'd had at this time last year.

Lidl-Trek professional rider Tao Geoghegan Hart even weighed in on the situation, warning that "if events like this die you can be sure they won't come back" and urging people to "support cycling in the UK".

"Yes it's expensive but you can be sure nobody in this club is making money from the event," he added.

While the race's organiser, James Hughes (who we've contacted for an update on entry numbers post-Tao's pep talk and the public statement) admitted there is a trend for riders to enter events later, but it is still "the worst year we've had".

"Rider numbers have been down year on year since the pandemic, and riders are certainly entering later and later but this is the worst year we've had. This time last year we had almost 50 riders registered," he explained.

"Pre-pandemic we had a long period of full fields, but over the last few years like most promoting clubs we've struggled to get the numbers back up. Last year's race started with 70, including a lot of the best Elite and 1st Cat riders in the country. It was an exciting race.

"With three weeks to go before the race, there's lots of organising to be done. As well as most of the club who drive in the race convoy, marshal or run the HQ, there are 10 AMS, 4 NEG and various BC officials who work on the event. Pre-race notices go out on the course next week, and race signs/equipment need to be collected. On top of that, there's always the worry around road works and last-minute changes. But without a lot more riders we just don't have a viable race."

The cycling club's captain, Shaun, added: "Costs are certainly an issue with races these days. This year's race will set riders back £35, and probably much more when petrol and equipment are factored in. This is a massive increase over the years our club has been promoting this race. Other event costs go up year on year and these days the race needs 70+ riders to break even, once overheads are taken into consideration. But the Bec Cycling Club are committed to local events, and we can take a small hit to get through the difficult years if need be."

The warning the race may be cancelled is the latest blow in the seemingly never-ending negative news cycle for the British domestic scene. While British Cycling has been widely praised for stepping in, and now setting dates and towns, to save the Tour of Britain, putting on a men's and women's race this year following SweetSpot entering liquidation, on the whole the domestic racing scene is struggling.

> "I can't think of any British bike race that would run at a profit": Another organiser cancels cycle race amid spiralling costs

At the start of the year, the governing body published the recommendations of its elite road racing task force who suggested ideas for "reinvigorating" racing in the UK.

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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15 comments

Avatar
Hirsute | 1 month ago
8 likes

Ebike conversion - Colchester Bike Kitchen

" Today we had a customer bring in an electric bike conversion kit, which we’d usually be absolutely happy to help fit. ebike conversions can be a great affordable way to make cycling accessible to more people. But. And there’s a Big But coming…

This ebike conversion kit was 48v and 1000w. ONE. THOUSAND. WATTS. For the uninitiated that is illegal to a factor of four. The UK and EU limit to power output for electric pedal assist cycles is 250w. Anything outside that spec and we won’t touch it with a barge pole.

On top of that, it had a throttle control, effectively turning into a motorbike both in practical terms and in the eyes of the law (due to power output). On top of THAT; it was a no-name product from a sketchy Amazon seller. These are THE culprits in ebike battery fires

We had to explain all of this to the customer who was totally unaware of the implications (legal and otherwise) of fitting the kit. He fairly assumed that because it was for sale on a reputable seller (Amazon) it was all safe and legal. That’s the fundamental problem.

We’ve helped customers to install SwytchBike kits on several occasions and they’ve always been great. Their after sales support is excellent too. They have a warranty. They’re legal. Other legal kits are available of course. "
 

Avatar
lesterama replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
5 likes

I really hope they were able to send it back to Amazon.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
3 likes

As far as I can see this is per government policy - they're totally uninterested, even less bothered to address this than tackling bike theft (item 24922 on their list).  Even at the level of kW power scooters (no pedals at all) on sale in reputable high-street stores.

While not hugely sympathetic to people getting these it does seem that you'd have to actually make a positive effort to go and research what you can and can't do - and clearly people don't.

Avatar
don simon fbpe replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
4 likes

The westminster gov position on this is that they believe people are smart enough to make their own decisions. Which piece of evidence would you like me to use that demostrates the contrary?

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to don simon fbpe | 1 month ago
0 likes

Er... that's a tricky one!  How about simply going for their own instincts on this one being contradictory, using their own recent policy on smoking?  You could then add irony by listing their drugs policies and the current stats though? *

* Even though I'd contradict myself by probably agreeing on balance with the smoking one while pointing out that overall the policies on some drugs don't seem to have delivered on reducing drug use, reducing criminality or reducing harm.  (I'm not even sure what that has done for reducing drug use amongst MPs - although for those we know of it was "all in the past"...)

Avatar
don simon fbpe replied to chrisonabike | 1 month ago
3 likes

Precisely, they pick and choose when it suits them. And yet people still vote for them, which is where they absolutely rely on the levels of stupidity dressing it up as "free thinking"...

Avatar
mitsky | 1 month ago
4 likes

So someone on Twitter has blamed cyclist A for cyclist B's behaviour?

Can we tag that same Twitter user (presumably a driver) whenever any other driver causes any (usually far more serious) issue on the road...?

Avatar
Hirsute | 1 month ago
4 likes

Just checked back on the radio programme Anti Social highlighted friday.

The guy did say that cyclists reporting driving to the police is very dangerous to the fabric of society. So there we have it: reporting about dangerous driving is worse than the actual dangerous driving.

Meanwhile on ruby dashcam driver on driver

 

 

Avatar
mitsky replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
2 likes

Didn't CyclingMikey say that the majority of reports of dangerous driving are from other drivers?

If the stats can be verified it would be usefull.

Avatar
Hirsute replied to mitsky | 1 month ago
6 likes

Essex

//pbs.twimg.com/media/GKLoPvuWUAAbcuJ?format=png&name=small)

Avatar
don simon fbpe | 1 month ago
2 likes

Quote:

James Williams: "Shame, but the brand hasn't got the allure it once had, same for Marin, you wouldn't buy one over a Scott/Specialized anymore, whereas years ago they were a credible alternative."

I would absolutely buy pretty much anything over Specialized, a brand I would not consciously give a single penny too.

Avatar
mark1a replied to don simon fbpe | 1 month ago
4 likes

don simon fbpe wrote:

Quote:

James Williams: "Shame, but the brand hasn't got the allure it once had, same for Marin, you wouldn't buy one over a Scott/Specialized anymore, whereas years ago they were a credible alternative."

I would absolutely buy pretty much anything over Specialized, a brand I would not consciously give a single penny too.

I'm sure Specialized are fine with this. I have more than enough of their bikes to make up for it anyway.

Avatar
SimoninSpalding replied to mark1a | 1 month ago
4 likes

My first proper bike, bought with my own money out of Uni was a 1993 Kona Hahana (steel framed mountain bike) which at the time had every magazine saying it blew the Specialized Rockhopper (its equivalent) into the weeds. It was great, but I stopped mountain biking when I moved to the fens (can't recall why now🤣) and I finally sold it in 2020.

My first road bike was a Kona Konakona (yes that really was its name), a 2003 frameset that was way ahead of its time (what would now be called Endurance geometry) with a tall head tube, plenty of clearance for bigger tyres, but was made from Columbus Airplane tubing so was incredibly light for alloy (with middle of the road Campag components and a 1600g wheelset it came in a 7.4kg).

As for why choose a Kona over a Specialized, the answer for me is simple, buy from an engineering/ performance led bike manufacturer or a marketing led production outsourcing business? Kona would win every time, they will be missed...

Avatar
don simon fbpe replied to mark1a | 1 month ago
3 likes

I'm probably too small for them to notice me. Until they think I'm infringing a trademark. You keep on supporting corporate bullies, I'm sure they're fine with that too. As indeed am I.

Avatar
Homebaker | 1 month ago
5 likes

Not sure that putting your chain back on whilst still riding is all that odd. I agree don't try it at home, makes a mess of the living room carpet.

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