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All today's news from the site and beyond...

Welcome to Thursday's LiveBlog with Liam Cahill, Jack Sexty and the rest of the road.cc team.

Live blog: 

16/01/2020, 19:55

Halfords lifts retail gloom with cycling sales lift

Halfords barrier logo 3x2 (copyright Simon MacMichael)

On a day when we reported that Cycle Surgery’s owners are closing down the chain, Halfords has lifted the bike retail industry’s gloom with news that its cycling sales are up 5.9 per cent in the 14 weeks to 3 January, including the crucial Christmas trading period.

That’s on a like-for-like basis – a measure used in the City to assess retailers’ performance since it strips out the impact of new or expanded stores opened during the period.

The company said that growth was “broadly based across the bike categories. Our work to optimise the cycling space in our retail stores together with a more innovative and differentiated range has created a better shopping experience for our customers during the peak holiday period. This in turn has delivered strong sales growth as well as better margins and reduced working capital levels.”

CEO Graham Stapleton said: "I am pleased with our overall performance in Q3, with total revenue growing nearly 5 per cent in the quarter. 

“Our results reflect the positive actions we have taken across the Group to deliver on our strategy, particularly Motoring Services, which grew strongly.

“Within Retail, Cycling performed particularly well, as customers responded to our innovative product ranges and differentiated proposition. 

“Approximately 85 per cent of our bike range is unique to Halfords, including our successful partnership with Disney and the development of an innovative range with Trunki, both of which helped to sell a record number of Kids bikes in the period.

“In addition, our ability to provide customers with a unique, free, build and storage offer was met with strong demand, as we built 86,000 bikes in the week before Christmas," he added.

16/01/2020, 19:43

The Dutch have it sorted but of course they do

16/01/2020, 19:16

Matching underpants optional

Spotted this morning on the Fulham Palace Road ...

Calvin Klein

16/01/2020, 17:39

Brailsford outlines Ineos' Grand Tour leadership roles

New signing Carapaz will head back to the Giro in an attempt to defend the Maglia Rosa that he won last year.

Bernal and Thomas will share co-leadership at the Tour in a similar plan to last year. Brailsford sounded cautious when speaking about Froome's recovery and while the 4-time winner of the world's biggest bike race will be keen to get back to challenge for a fifth title, there are some that doubt if he can get back to the same level.

16/01/2020, 17:23

Paris-Roubaix and chill

perfect_Val_2000x

Honest Valentines Day cards from Band of Climbers are back and they've made us giggle just as much as last year.

Want to express your love to your significant other? Want to remind them that you love cycling more?

Well, now you can. Head over to Band of Climbers for more

16/01/2020, 16:59

Explore commits to carbon-neutral travel

cycle-sri-lanka-explore

Adventure travel company Explore, who offer package cycling holidays, has announced that it will offset the carbon generated by trips booked through them.

The changes came into effect on January 1st 2020 with the aim of reducing the travel industry's current 8% contribution to the world's carbon footprint. 

Customers will see a small price increase when booking, but as Explore are keen to point out "an average trip with flights, this equates to less than £10 per person". That seems like a pretty small price to pay in our eyes.

For more, visit www.explore.co.uk

16/01/2020, 16:48

Will the super-talent conquer the cobbles?

Mathieu Van der Poel's team, Alpecin Fenix has just been granted spots at Strade Bianche and Milan SanRemo and their move to join the MPCC could be just the thing they need to get invited to Paris-Roubaix.

We wouldn't put it past Van der Poel winning them all. What's certain is that his presence is great for the races as he's always keen for an attack.

16/01/2020, 13:07

Well, that's enforceable...

There's so much going on here.

We just saw this over on the forum and it's a bike getting a parking ticket. 

It seems to be lent up against railings at a cafe and not obstructing a public right of way at all. But this traffic warden still issued a ticket, which won't be enforceable as there's no registration plate anyway.

Can anyone give us a reason why this happened? Answers in the comments below, please.

16/01/2020, 15:56

TfL trialling AI to collect data about cycling in the capital

London's Cycling and Walking Commissioner Will Norman praised the UK-first trial that will see artificial intelligence technology from Vivacity Labs implemented to understand more about how cyclists and pedestrians use London's road network. 

The Vivacity sensors gather data around the clock, which TfL say "provides a significantly more detailed picture of how London’s roads are being used by everyone 24/7." Video captured is processed and then discarded in a few seconds, so no personal data is ever stored.

TfL is in the process of introducing 43 more Vivacity sensors at 20 central London locations to gather data and further test to understand the full range of capabilities the technology has to offer.

16/01/2020, 13:03

Ear Miss of the Day

Screen Shot 2020-01-16 at 13.03.15

The offending employee has been sentenced to eight hours on the turbo wearing the road.cc dunce's cap - read the typo-free story here

16/01/2020, 12:42

Jeroboam Gravel Series goes global in 2020

jeroboam-gravel

With 7 races planned for 2020 in 6 different countries, the Jeroboam series continues to expand.

In 2017, the Jeroboam Bike Festival Franciacorta was held for the first time and in 2019, Jeroboam landed in three new countries. This year it will continue to expand, including events in Central America (Costa Rica) to open the calendar and one in Asia (Japan).

The full Jeroboam schedule:

Costa Rica - 13/15 March
Greece - 8/10 May
Japan - 6/7 June
Italy Dolomites - 19/21 June
Italy Franciacorta - 18/20 September
Spain - 2/4 October
Austria - 2/4 October

jeroboam-food-drink-extra

Across the series, the 300, 150 and 75 km routes (matching the Jeroboam, Magnum and Standard wine bottle sizes) will be joined by a short Demi Family Ride which sounds perfect to us as it includes 'tasting stops' where you can sample local foods and drinks.

If you're interested, head to jeroboam.bike for more info.

16/01/2020, 10:04

Cycle Surgery set to cease trading this year, according to anonymous insider

CycleSurgery logo

After the fiasco with the appearance of a Make Evans Great Again Instagram account levelling some damning accusations against Evans' senior management last week, today road.cc has been contacted again to say another major UK bike shop chain is set to close in 2020. 

A source who says they work for the chain claimed that employees were told yesterday of the closure plans. The London stores in Victoria and Waterloo have apparently already been closed; although some stores will continue to trade until May, and the online business should remain trading until June, according to our source. 

They continued: "It's quite sad news but the truth is that there is no willingness to keep the company up and the market did change a lot. Companies did not follow the trends properly I guess." 

We've now got a full story on this with further updates here

16/01/2020, 09:09

Wahoo launches gravel racing team

Wahoo gravel racing

Wahoo has launched its first gravel racing team, headed up by former World Tour pro Ian Boswell.

Boswell retired from road racing due to ongoing problems caused by a concussion and is one of the many former World Tour pros making the jump over to gravel racing.

He joins the likes of Ted King, Laurens Ten Dam and Peter Stetina who will be lining up at some of the world's biggest gravel races throughout the year.

Peter Stetina's Custom Trek Checkpoint Gravel Bike

16/01/2020, 08:24

Sitting comfortably, Chris? Wout is.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I forgot how uncomfortable the seat on my TT bike is #trainingcamp

A post shared by Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) on

I guess when you've been away from a certain bike for so long, it's bound to feel a little weird.

Then again, Wout's been having no such problems. Both had huge, career-threatening crashes on their TT bikes last year, so it's great to see them back in the TT bars.

16/01/2020, 08:18

Spot on, or a bit harsh?

What's your take on this one?

Cars that park in bike lanes in Frankfurt are being towed or even lifted out and taken away, probably to the naughty-step-for-cars.

16/01/2020, 08:13

Retiring pro re-joins is local team for his final season

Struggling to find a contract, Bagdonas has gone back to his local team for one last year before he hangs up his race wheels for good.

That's like me going back to Somer Valley CC. Apart from I'm not a multiple National Champion...or very good...

16/01/2020, 08:10

Van der Poel - the most frustrating rider to watch?

Watching this guy ride is great but it can also be incredibly frustrating.

If we tried half of this, we'd be on our backsides pretty quickly! We feel your pain, Rebecca.

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.