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Why you shouldn't blame 'empty cycle lanes' for congestion; Mathieu van der Poel ramps up post-injury training with 205km ride climbing 4,000m...averaging 29kph; Jakobsen: No Cav rivalry; Cycling opinions; Ian Stannard's famous win + more on the live blog

It's Opening Weekend eve, one of the best Fridays of the year in our book...just 24 hours until the Classics return to our TV screens...Dan Alexander will be taking you through to a cycling-packed weekend on the live blog...
25 February 2022, 17:17
Happy Friday

Let's finish the week with some positivity...

Pass of the day...or, if you prefere the usual bad fare, here's Near Miss of the Day 722...

25 February 2022, 16:50
Tour Series returns to London in 2022 with round in Barking
Tour Series Matt Gibson (SWpix/Press release)

Barking will host London's Tour Series round on Saturday 21 May as part of the inaugural Barking BikeFest. Another change for this year's domestic crit series is the men's and women's races will be alternated by round, sharing who gets the main event slot...

The 1.2-kilometre (0.7-mile) Barking circuit will run anti-clockwise around the perimeter of the Abbey Grounds. Featuring only four corners, two of which are sweeping, it is expected to be one of the quickest courses in the series’ 13-year history.

"I know cycling fans have been clamouring for the Tour Series to return to London," race director Mick Bennett said. "So I hope they start making plans to come to Barking on Saturday 21 May. We’re excited to be a part of the first-ever Barking BikeFest, which promises to be a fantastic community event, and I can only thank everybody involved behind-the-scenes for all of their efforts so far. It’s going to be great."

25 February 2022, 16:19
Evans Cycles opens UK's biggest bike shop — Sir Chris Hoy part of opening event for 17,500ft Manchester superstore
Evans Cycles Cheetham Hill

Evans Cycles is opening the UK's biggest bike shop, with an event at the Cheetham Hill store tomorrow. Sir Chris Hoy will be at the opening of the 17,500ft facility, which the brand says signalls "the growing strength of cycling in the UK, as well as Evans Cycles' confidence in the future of bricks and mortar retail".

The new Evans Cycles  store is located in Cheetham Hill Retail Park, just a few miles outside of Manchester city centre. Covering 17,554 square feet, the UK’s biggest bike shop will stock over 400 bikes covering road, MTB hybrid, electric and kids bikes, from well renowned brands such as Specialized, Cannondale, Trek, Brompton, HOY and Raleigh.

Clothing and accessories are also available from brands such as Endura, Giro, KALAS and Shimano. The store will also serve the local community with a fully equipped workshop where customers can get their bikes serviced or repaired by a mechanic. It will be open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm, Saturday 9am - 6pm, Sunday 11am to 5pm.

On Saturday 26th February, Evans Cycles will hold a launch event at the store, attended by six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy from 1pm to 4pm. As well as getting the opportunity to meet cycling royalty, the first one hundred visitors to meet Sir Chris Hoy will also receive a signed copy of his bestselling book 'How to Ride a Bike'.

In-store customers will also get a one-off 10 per cent discount on bikes, have the opportunity to book a free 'Bronze' bike service, as well as the chance to win a Brompton Electric worth over £2,800.

Commenting on the opening of the new store, Sir Chris Hoy said: "The last few years have been extremely challenging for so many up and down the country, but one silver lining has been the rise of families who have taken to two wheels.

"As the key retailer for HOY bikes, I understand the knowledge and expertise that is passed on through physical bike shops like Evans Cycles. Access to stores like this play an important part in developing the next generation of riders, and I look forward to meeting some of these on Saturday!"

Matthew Atkinson, Head of Cycling Strategy at Evans Cycles, added: "We are thrilled to announce the opening of the UK’s biggest bike shop in our new Cheetham Hill store. Manchester is a very important location for us and this will be our third store in the city.

"With over 400 bikes on display, the new store comes equipped with a TRI UK area showcasing time trial bikes plus swim and run zones, a dedicated e-bike area, a fitting studio from, plus a dedicated colleague training hub where all full-time colleagues will be trained to Shimano Service Centre standards."

25 February 2022, 15:23
Ineos Grenadiers hoping to peak early at Opening Weekend...

By order of Tommy Pidcock and the gang...

Razor blades in the helmet for a cheeky puncture of Van Aert's tyre up the Muur? 

25 February 2022, 14:23
"This victory put a smile on Padun’s face which is the most important part of the day": Ukranian Mark Padun makes EF Pro Cycling debut on a day racing seems insignificant

Bike racing seems a bit irrelevant this week...

Yesterday was the opening stage of the inaugural Gran Camiño 2.1 race. Hardly box-office viewing, even for the most committed pro cycling fan.

However, one of the narratives on the day won by EF Pro Cycling's Magnus Cort, seems particularly timely and newsworthy. Cort's teammate Mark Padun was making his debut for the team as, thousands of miles away, Russian forces invaded his home country.

Afterwards, sports director, Juanma Garate, said: "It's a great way to start the season. And this victory put a smile on Padun’s face which is the most important part of the day."

When he joined the team Padun did an in-depth interview with the team, detailing his journey to the WorldTour. From growing up in Donetsk, to his family moving to a small town near Kyiv as violence spread in 2014.

"Thanks to my parents, I hardly saw any of the war," Padun recalled. "As soon as the army came to Donetsk, they sent me away almost immediately. I saw soldiers for a few days and I understood this was something serious.

"My parents understood what my dreams and goals were. They understood that to train in an area with a war was a bad idea. I left thinking, ‘Ok, this is for a few weeks and then I’m going to come back.’ And then it turned out I never went back there to live. I cannot say these were easy times.

"Where could they move to? There were millions of people trying to escape the war."

Padun's parents and siblings stayed in Donetsk before being able to move within the country and eventually to Seattle in the United States.

Elsewhere in the pro cycling world today, Ukranian rider Antoliy Budyak won stage six of Tour du Rwanda.

25 February 2022, 13:48
It's those pesky cyclists at it again...*checks notes* stopping the army fight Russia...

When you manage to say something so stupid it seems like a joke, even when shared by an account dedicated to laughing at the "stupid shit people say on Facebook about cycling", you know you've done something special...

25 February 2022, 12:26
Breakaway breaks sprinters' hearts on final flat stage of UAE Tour

Czech rider Mathias Vacek won the breakaway sprint to win stage six for...yep, Gazprom RusVelo... 

25 February 2022, 12:14
Policy makers: Why are so few people cycling?
25 February 2022, 11:42
Fabio Jakobsen: "If I’m not in shape Cav can go. I think we all said the same thing, but I guess you want to end up with a rivalry"
Mark Cavendish and Fabio Jakobsen (Mark Cavendish/Instagram)

Fabio Jakobsen shut down talk of a rivalry between himself and teammate Mark Cavendish after both Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sprinters started 2022 in fine form, but with only one of them likely to be selected for the Tour de France.

Speaking ahead of Kuure-Brussels-Kuurne, the second half of Belgium's Opening Weekend, Jakobsen said any idea of a rivalry was purely the invention of the media. Although the 25-year-old did seem to backtrack slightly on his January comments that he was the team's Tour sprinter.

Jakobsen repeated the line said by Patrick Lefevere earlier this week — the best will go.

"I think we all said the same thing, but I guess you want to end up with a rivalry," he said. "I’ve been in this team for four, five years, I started at the bottom so I’m kind of used to this. My planning goes towards there. But as Patrick said, if I’m not in shape Cav can go and Cav also has a plan. 

"In the end, it’s always the best that goes. We don’t hand out selections in December, it’s just the plan. We are winning races, and that’s what we are bike riders for. The best will go… as everybody in the team will say. I guess we will see who that is."

At the team's January camp Jakobsen told reporters: "He [Cav] knows that the Tour is my goal and that he will ride the Giro himself."

This week, Lefevere responded to Jakobsen's claim in the aftermath of the Manx Missile's win at the UAE Tour, saying: "I do know that Fabio Jakobsen said at the media day in Calpe at the beginning of January that he is going, but I have a long list.

> Mark Cavendish will race Tour de France if he's better than Fabio Jakobsen, says Patrick Lefevere

"The best one goes to the Tour."

So, in summary, there may be no personal rivalry...just a four-month competitive window to prove who's best...

25 February 2022, 11:21
Omloop tomorrow...relive Ian Stannard's legendary win

'Twas the night before Omloop, which can mean only one thing...get the Ian Stannard vid...

The might of Etixx - Quick Step: Boonen, Terpstra, Vandenbergh vs Ian Stannard. You know what happened next...but why not watch it again?

25 February 2022, 11:15
Cycling opinions...

I'm saying nothing. Don't argue too hard, it is a Friday after all...

25 February 2022, 09:43
Mathieu van der Poel ramps up post-injury training with 205km ride climbing 4,000m... averaging 29kph

A post shared by MVDP (@mathieuvanderpoel)

Da da da da da it's the winter training MvdP...

Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van...Elzakker went for a mega ride as the Dutch star continues his return to training following a winter blighted by injury. The session in question?

204.99km (come on, Mathieu, surely wait another 10m to stop your Wahoo...) and 4,017m of climbing, completed in a not-too-casual seven hours, five minutes. That's a 28.9kph average...I wish I rode that quick after a few months on the bike, let alone after an injury-hit winter...

Van der Poel Strava

The Alpecin-Fenix rider is enjoying the popular training roads north of Calpe in south east Spain, and wasn't hanging about, pushing an estimated 2.8 watts/kg for a touch over seven hours. That's pretty good early prep for Flanders if you ask me...

Van der Poel Strava

There were no thermonuclear attacks quite like his thousand-watt Strade Bianche demolition...(only a max of 862w)...

Van der Poel Strava

> Mathieu van der Poel uploads stupendous 1,000-watt Strade Bianche attack to Strava

When you can win as many bike races as Van der Poel I doubt you care about Strava leaderboards, but if he does, the 27-year-old will be pleased to hear he landed a couple of top tens on the competitive segments fought over by pros on team training camps...

Van der Poel earned himself a 'massive relative effort' for his troubles and a training load of 331, burning 5,328 calories in the process. However, unlike the rest of us, something tells me the pedalling phenom didn't smash the bar and buffet when he got back to his hotel...

The Strava activity isn't the only thing Mathieu has caught our eye with this week...along with Jasper Philipsen, who is currently tearing up the UAE Tour and hoping for a third stage win of the week later today, the pair have been spotted using new Shimano shoes...

> Van der Poel and Philipsen spotted using new Shimano shoes - the RC903 perhaps?

Liam has been doing his best detective work on Instagram and Strava to see if it's the RC903...

25 February 2022, 08:50
Why you shouldn't blame 'empty cycle lanes' for congestion

You've probably heard the "empty cycle lane" comments before...usually heard from a motorist stuck in traffic, sometimes going by the name of Jeremy Clarkson...

> "Funny, because it's not congested for anyone who wants to cycle": Jeremy Clarkson blames cycle lanes for congestion

West Midlands Walking and Cycling Commissioner Adam Tranter decided to address the idea while visiting the capital, noticing, as he rode across Blackfriars Bridge, that at a surface-level glance you may see an empty(ish) bike lane lane running parallel to a congested carriageway.

However, he explained, "It’s easy to look at congestion and blame the adjacent cycle lane because 'it looks empty'. Then you realise that the data shows people cycling outnumber cars and taxis on this stretch. Really, it’s just about efficiency."

Any numbers to back that up? No problem...

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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