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We're in Brussels ahead of the Tour de France departe, here are some of our highlights so far.....

Welcome to Friday's live blog with Simon MacMichael, Jack Sexty and the rest of the team ...

Live blog: 

05/07/2019, 10:32

Geraint Thomas gets new bike

(Not) Geraint Thomas gets a new bike just in time for the Tour

Geraint Thomas is an Olympic Medallist, World Champion and Tour de France winner.

Meanwhile, @GeraintThomas has just become a cyclist. 

https://twitter.com/EvansCycles/status/1146856384614547457

 

04/07/2019, 19:40

Team Ineos under fire for unveiling "gas guzzling " Ford Ranger Raptor as new recon car

The team are taking flak for using the (not exactly environmentally-friendly) Ford Ranger Raptor for their Tour de France course recons this year. Some of the replies to this post aren't exactly positive...

04/07/2019, 19:27

Tour de France team presentation: Richie Porte not best pleased at being asked if it's "now or never", Geraint Thomas says we should know who's going to win by the end of week two

tour de france ineos team pres.JPG

A fairly uneventful Team Presentation took place in the Grand Place this evening, with arguably the most controversial moment coming during Richie Porte's mini-interview on stage - the compere put it to Porte: another Australian won the Tour when he was 35, you're 34, is it now or never?"

As well as pointing out that Evans was in fact also 34 when he won in 2011, Porte didn't seem best pleased about his age being scrutinised: "I don't really know what to say to that. Maybe best I just say nothing." 

Later on Team Ineos took to the stage, with Geraint Thomas saying that he thinks we'll have a "pretty good idea" of who will take the GC by the end of the second week. 

04/07/2019, 19:22

Bora-Hansgrohe unveil new jersey for Tour de France

Perhaps to make their star man feel a little more exclusive despite not donning a world champs jersey for the first time at the tour in a few years, Bora Hansgrohe have unveiled this new jersey for the race. What d'ya reckon? 

04/07/2019, 19:14

The 'Manneken Pis' finally gets some appropriate clothing

tour de france pissy boy yellow jersey 2

The famous Brussels statue, that literally translates to "Little Pisser" according to Google, was dressed with a yellow jersey by a quick-thinking member of the public. It was eventually removed by security unfortunately, but we think the outfit was a significant upgrade if not protecting all of the lad's modesty...

04/07/2019, 15:27

SKILLZ

04/07/2019, 14:37

Bostik TdF

The Tour de France news you've been waiting for

Bike manufacturers have been working on bikes. Riders on their fitness. And, erm, Bostik on sticky numbers. We think.

"Bostik has developed a hot melt adhesive solution (or hot melt glue) sprayed on the back of the bibs", it gushes. "Its formulation, based on industrial technologies and with an accurate dosing of 60 grams, has been tested in its laboratories to assess its adhesion rate and flexibility in extreme conditions (wind and rain resistance, perspiration ...). Solvent-free formulated and made up with 10% of bio-sourced materials derived from pine resin, the company is also committed to act as a responsible industrial company"

"The result is an amazing simplicity: adhesive bibs that are easy to apply on the jerseys by pressing strongly and slowly on the palm of the hand. They provide both more comfort and lightness for optimal performance while being able to be removed without damaging the shirt and without leaving marks."

We're assuming it's talking about the self-adhesive bib numbers, rather than bib shorts. It doesn't actually say so in the press release, ever. Unless self-adhesive bib shorts are a thing now, and no-one told us.

04/07/2019, 13:50

Tour de France tat part 1

tdf fragrance 3

We're not just out here looking for news and bikes, we're also on the hunt for tat... and what could be more tenuous than a Tour de France eu de toilette? Luckily it smells quite citrussy rather than like sweat and chamois cream. 

04/07/2019, 13:44

What do you think of this paint job?

trek madone ltd paint job.JPG

We reckon this is a new limited edition colourway of Trek's Madone, as it's not one we've seen before and the Trek Segafredo mechanics were pretty quick to hide it when they saw us snapping. Insert 'what brand is it?' joke here... 

04/07/2019, 13:41

Custom stems from the Bora-Hansgrohe camp

peter sagan stem why so serious.JPG

Peter Sagan has his signature 'why so serious?' catchprase accompanied by The Joker on his stem...

daniel oss bora fuck oss stem.JPG

...while Daniel Oss has gone for this pun that doesn't really work or rhyme, but is unique all the same. 

04/07/2019, 13:36

More spots from the Team Ineos camp: new number plate needed and a prototype chainring for G

team ineos sky plate.JPG

While the team vehicles have all been fully transformed to their new team colours, we couldn't help bt notice the personalised plate could do with updating...

geraint thomas 38t proto chainring.JPG

Meanwhile, we managed to take a closer look at Geraint Thomas' Dogma F12 and were intrigued to spot a prototype 38t inner chainring. With an 11-30t cassette and 53t big ring this will presumably give a slightly better spread for hilly stages without resorting to grinding on steep inclines. 

04/07/2019, 13:31

Big Dave's on disc

dave brailsford dogma disc brake.JPG

While the rest of Team Ineos are sticking with rim brake bikes for the Tour, Sir Dave Brailsford's own bike is a disc brake version of the Dogma F12. The Ineos boss is looking fit as a fiddle and could have passed for a member of his team as he headed out for a ride this morning, here he is looking really pleased to be papped in the photo below. 

dave brailsford ineos kit.JPG

 

04/07/2019, 13:23

Greetings from Brussels

brussels square.JPG

We're here to nose around the team hotels, shoot some cool bikes and generally soak up the atmosphere ahead of the Tour de France departe on Saturday. Here's a shot of Grand Place we took last night where the team presentation will take place from 4.25pm today. If you're planning a visit yourself, we can confirm the beer in Belgium is indeed reassuringly strong... 

04/07/2019, 13:05

Velo north logo

Vélo North cancelled

The closed-road Vélo North sportive, which has caused some controversy (as usual, with closed-road events) has been cancelled two months out from its inaugural run, which was due to take place on 1 September.

On the event website the organisers say that "Despite our best efforts, we were unable to attract sufficient riders to justify the event going ahead. We apologise to everyone who had signed up and was looking forward to taking part – we hope you understand our reasoning and appreciate that this was not a decision we took lightly."

The email to entrants paints it slightly differently: "Despite our best efforts, we were unable to attract sufficient riders to justify the level of disruption the event would have had on residents, businesses and communities throughout the region as a result of the road closures."

More on this one soon...

04/07/2019, 11:09

Does aero kit make you go faster?

We made Dave ride round and round in circles for an hour to try and find out!

 

04/07/2019, 10:57

Renshaw to Retire

Mark Cavendish's lead-out man Mark Renshaw is set to retire at the end of this season.

The Australian sprinter formed an unstoppable partnership with Cavendish at HTC Highroad, helping the British sprinter to the majority of his 30 Tour de France stage victories.

Renshaw briefly joined Blanco Pro Cycling to try for his own victories but returned to lead-out man duties with Etixx Quick-Step before moving to Dimension Data with Cavendish.

Our favourite moment that the pair produced was this fabulous victory on the Champ Elysees back in 2009.

04/07/2019, 10:29

Holborn

This is why you should get up early in the summer

5.30 this morning, Holborn ... no motor traffic, just a bicycle gloriously lit up by the morning sun.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.