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Coronavirus: Four teams still confined in UAE hotel; Strade Bianche to go ahead; “Why don’t drivers pay road tax?"; Cyclist-turned-boxer Waeytens has say on Moscon; Tinkov's £20 million bail; Froome recovery 'on track' + more on live blog

Welcome to Monday's live blog. Jack Sexty is your blogger-in-chief today, with Simon MacMichael taking over later this evening. ...
02 March 2020, 19:43
Coronavirus: Four teams remain confined in UAE hotel

Riders and staff from four teams – Cofidis, FDJ, UAE Team Emirates and Gazprom – remain confined in a hotel in the United Arab Emirates following two suspected cases of coronavirus.

The suspected cases related to two Italian staff members of UAE Team Emirates, who are housed on the same floor of the Yas Island Crowne Plaza as the other three teams.

FDJ’s Arnaud Demare said: “The others from the other floors were allowed home Sunday but everybody was eating and mixing together in the same place on Friday and Saturday.

“We're all stuck in our rooms, there was cycling on the TV this weekend and we've been working out and watching Netflix.”

He and his team-mates will also be able to do a bit of pedalling too, with a picture on social media showing a consignment of Elite turbo trainers being delivered to the team.

Elite turbo trainers for FDJ.PNG

Meanwhile, this video from Cofidis rider Nathan Haas and team mate Attilio Viviani shows how they are managing to keep fit using a variety of props.

02 March 2020, 15:42
Transport for London's 20mph limit comes into force

From this morning, all roads operated by TfL within the central London Congestion Charging Zone now have a 20mph limit. On their web page entitled 'Safe Speeds' TfL say: "Speed is a factor in at least 37% of collisions where a person is killed or is seriously injured on London's streets. This is why we're lowering speed limits across London." 

Some of the roads already had a 20mph limit enforced, but as of this morning 19 of the 37 roads will have a new lower limit. TfL also plan to expand 20mph limits out to a further 140 kilometres of their road network in inner and outer London, focussing on roads that pose a higher risk of a collision occurring according to data. 

02 March 2020, 14:57
Jonathan Vaughters says he's happy to see "business as usual" with big Italian races going ahead

Not everyone agrees with the EF Pro Cycling manager, with some of the opinion that everything surrounding bike races (plane travel, large congregations of people) aren't the best things for containing what could turn into a pandemic... what do you think? 

02 March 2020, 14:42
Coronavirus: RCS Sport confirm Strade Bianche, Tirreno–Adriatico and Milan–San Remo will go ahead as planned
Jakob Fuglsang (right) with Julian Alaphilippe at 2019 Strade Bianche (picture credit RCS Sport).JPG

The company that organise the three prestigious races have told all participating teams via email that they will go ahead as planned despite growing concerns about coronavirus threatening the cycling calendar, reports Sporza

It was thought Italian sporting events would be in a particularly precarious position, because of an outbreak in the north of the country and two Italians reportedly testing positive at the UAE Tour last week; however organisers have gave their assurances that the races would go ahead. The 2020 edition of the Strade Bianche takes place on Saturday 7th March, Tirreno–Adriatico is between Wednesday 11th - Tuesday 17th March and Milan–San Remo is on Saturday 21st March.

02 March 2020, 14:16
Froome pickin' up good sensations amid coronavirus chaos

The UAE Tour 'not finishing as he expected' is perhaps an understatement, but the four-time Tour de France champ says that on the plus side, his own personal battle back from the horror crash that ruled him out of action last summer appears to be going well. Odds on a podium at Le Tour 2020? 

02 March 2020, 13:57
Bradley Wiggins' motorhome: dealer says £50k price tag is "appropriate market price"
bradley wiggins motorhome 2

If you followed the saga of Bradley Wiggins' former motorhome on Friday's live blog, you'll have been patiently waiting for a response we said we'd get from Frost Commercials on the pricing for the luxury converted Mercedes van as used by the Tour de France winner. The dealership put the motorhome up for sale at £49,999, despite it selling for £47,000 at auction in 2017. 

Frost Commercials told "This is correct as well publicised online. This special vehicle sold for £47,000 + fees at an unspecialised trade van auction in 2017, regarded a steal on the day for the winning bidder. 

"Today it is being marketed in a retail setting, with warranties, finance/part exchange options and full retail sales preparation at its appropriate market price. We regard this exquisite offering, with its provenance and heritage as an appreciating asset of Great British sporting history, which we are simply delighted to have the fortune to offer for sale"

So there you have it... got loadsa money and fancy making it yours? The listing is here

02 March 2020, 12:39
"Why don't motorists pay road tax?": London drivers' VED won't contribute ANYTHING towards cost of road upkeep from 2021, claim TfL
London traffic + Big Ben

That old nugget that cyclists are less worthy road users because they don't pay 'road tax' (no one does, it was abolished by Winston Churchill in 1937) is somewhat even more ironic in the capital as we get closer to 2021... the date from when absolutely none of the £500m a year in Vehicle Excise Duty collected from London's drivers will actually go towards upkeep of the roads.

Page 32 of Transport for London's Business Plan published in 2017 says: "We have to, for the first time, address the critical issues of London’s road network, including congestion, road danger, maintenance and air quality, without any Government operating grant. Furthermore, from 2021, the £500m raised every year from Londoners paying Vehicle Excise Duty will be collected by central Government and only invested in roads outside the Capital.

"This means the net operating costs of London’s roads, currently almost £200m each year, and the cost of renewing these roads, between £100m to £150m each year, are effectively being cross subsidised from fare-paying public transport users. This is neither sustainable nor equitable. As a result, in the short to medium term we will have to significantly reduce our programme of proactive capital renewals on the road network, although we will ensure safety of the network is maintained."

George Osborne announced reforms to VED back in his 2015 budget by earmarking the funds for road network improvements; but he was criticised by Cycling UK's Roger Geffen and others for essentially raising money to build on the road network, when "councils are struggling to maintain the ones we’ve got." TfL maintain that they want there to be a link between VED and road funding in London, and would use some of the cash to modernise the road network to "support more walking and cycling journeys across the Capital."

Will the next budget and/or new transport strategies amend this schedule so London drivers are paying at least something towards the roads they drive on? Until then, at least the 'road tax' argument is particularly untrue in London... 

02 March 2020, 11:29
Cyclists in coronavirus quarantine: the latest news

Alex Dowsett is finally home from the cancelled UAE Tour, presumably COVID-19-free, and Arnaud Demare is not happy that he's still in quarantine. Nathan Haas has even made a video showing us how he's staying fit in quarantine... 

Meanwhile, in breaking coronavirus news completely unrelated to cycling, apparently we're all to stay away from 90's pop sensation Peter Andre... 

peter andre coronavirus.JPG


02 March 2020, 10:38
Gianni Moscon should be counting his lucky stars that Zico Waeytens has retired from cycling

That's because Waeytens retired from cycling to take up... boxing of all things, and appears to be laying down the law for the Italian in this tweet. While his English ain't perfect what we can gather is that the Belgian says if Moscon throws a bike at one of his pals again, he will wrap him around a bike frame and do it all in six seconds flat. Now that's fighting talk... 

02 March 2020, 09:57
Oleg Tinkov pays £20 million bail to British court to avoid US extradition for tax fraud
oleg tinkov at giro 2015 - wikimedia commons

The Russian entrepreneur, who was in charge of the Tinkoff cycling team in its many forms, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday and paid £20 million to avoid US extradition. The 52-year-old billionaire is accused of making a false tax return and under-reporting tax from his income in 2013, and has had a strict curfew imposed until his next court appearance; Tinkov will need to wear an electronic tag and has to stay at his Holland Park home from 7pm to 7am every day, and has had to surrender his passport. ​ 

His umbrella company TCS Group Holding PLC told the Daily Express: "Mr Tinkov is confident that it will be resolved as swiftly as possible.

"It is a private matter that does not affect any of the operating companies in Tinkoff Group."


02 March 2020, 08:20
Gianni Moscon appears to have deleted his Instagram account
Moscon insta.PNG

Nothing shown up for the 25-year-old on Twitter either, which we presume is something to do with landing himself in hot water again after being disqualified from Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne for throwing bike at another rider. Team Ineos (then Tean Sky) said after Moscon hit Fortuneo-Samsic rider Elie Gesbert at the 2018 Tour de France that he would be sacked for any more misconduct; however they are yet to release a statement about this latest incident. 

02 March 2020, 08:29
Former pro Osar Pujol appearing on Spanish version of first dates

Confirmó que fuimos a First Dates... ¿hace falta ronda de ruegos y preguntas? 😂😂

A post shared by Oscar Pujol (@oscar_pujol) on

The 36-year-old - who last rode for Team Ukyo and now presents on the Spanish version of the GCN cycling YouTube channel - has confirmed that he will be appearing on an upcoming episode of First Dates in his native country. Will he be riding off into the sunset with the love of his life? We're on the edge of our seats... 

02 March 2020, 08:12
Cycling vs driving

A cynical soul in the comments noted: "That can't be real, there are no cars blocking the bike lane"... well that's because this footage was taken in the Netherlands, where doing so is frowned upon considerably more so than here if reports are to be believed. Is your  bike commute quicker than driving? 

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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