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More Surrey traffic cops truth bombs...this time about riding two abreast; Promising pro rider killed while training; 10,000 RideLondon entries on sale; How to overtake a cyclist; Ok, vroomer; Pro rider of 2021; Nature fights back + more on the live blog

It's Wednesday and Dan Alexander is in the hot seat to take you through the middle of the week...
10 November 2021, 17:08
Well, well, well...
10 November 2021, 16:57
"I'm tired of having pills in cycling, I think it's grotesque": 21-year-old retiring pro rider calls out use of legal painkillers in the peloton

Retiring Danish prospect Ludvig Wacker has called out the use of legal pills, such as painkillers, by riders in the pro peloton. The 21-year-old rode for WorldTour outfit Sunweb's development team (now Team DSM) for two years between 2019 and 2020, but said the use of pills by riders is "grotesque" and "ridiculous".

Speaking to Danish news outlet, Wacker did not name specific teams or athletes but said the use of legal medication was one of the reasons for his retirement.

"I'm tired of pills in the sport. It may be legal pills, but I'm tired of having pills in cycling, and I think it's grotesque, it should be so clear," he said.

"It simply came to our notice then. In the big races, people ride around with small containers in their pockets with pills and so on. I have never wanted to take something myself, and then you know that in all the finals, the others take something you do not take yourself. These include painkillers and caffeine, among other things. It's completely ridiculous the amount of people taking, because you do not know what it can mean for the rider's body in 20 years.

"I often think it is the young riders who do it themselves. It is not necessarily the team that is responsible for it. The riders can get it themselves. It is very easy to access."

Many painkillers remain legal to use during competition or can be accessed via a TUE (therapeutic use exemption).

10 November 2021, 08:44
More Surrey traffic cops truth bombs...this time about riding two abreast

 Saying unpleasant or inaccurate things about cyclists online? You'll have the Surrey Roads Policing Unit's Twitter admin to answer to, probably within the hour...

Today's subject is two abreast cycling, something 'Mad Max' was very keen to argue shouldn't be happening (according to his interpretation of the Highway Code). Unfortunately for him, the Surrey traffic cops were only too happy to advise...

"Not legally required to do so, and HC [Highway Code] is being re-written currently where we expect that advice to be changed as it’s easier to overtake a bunched group (peloton) than a long string of single file riders."

> Surrey traffic cops tell driver spouting Highway Code whataboutery to return licence

The exchange stemmed from someone digging up the force's 'how to safely overtake a cyclist' video from 2017, featuring patience, a clear view of the road ahead, indicating and keeping at least 1.5m distance as you pass. The force was widely praised for the clip, but four years on Deborah Wylde found the time to take issue..."I'd be more patient if those cyclists who hogged the bendy road offered to replace the money I'd lost due to being late for work!"

> Surrey Road Cops slide into DMs to educate angry driver

Again, the traffic cops were on hand..."It would be appreciated if you left earlier and anticipated some delays to your journey whilst others make theirs. What about all the selfish drivers you sit behind in queues of motor vehicle traffic, all whilst polluting the planet?"

This was when 'Mad Max' got involved, I wonder if he'll be back for a second go?

10 November 2021, 15:48
But I thought nobody cycles when the weather's bad

There's always plenty of these 'commuting in the rain' scenes from the Netherlands to share on the live blog. Here's one closer to home. In fairness, if you only cycled in Cumbria when the weather's nice, you'd be pretty unfit...

Shame there's no cover for the bike racks here. That's gonna be a damp journey home. 

10 November 2021, 14:54
Best of Twitter...

There's a few funny things off Twitter worth a shout out so I've bundled them together...

Meanwhile, at COP26...

10 November 2021, 14:19
Black employees challenge Peloton over pay inequality
Peloton bike (via YouTube)

Black employees have challenged Peloton executives over allegations of inequal pay. The home trainer company committed to spending $100 million fighting systematic racism as part of its 'Peloton Pledge' last year.

However, the brand's vice president Michael Gettlin unexpectedly attended a Zoom call for employees to address concerns that some employees were being paid less than industry standard for their positions and experience.

Gettlin said that pay hadn't dropped below the market rate, but some employees have since told Business Insider the explanation did not address their concerns. One employee spoke about Peloton's pledge to fighting systematic racism, saying "none of it is genuine".

It is the latest challenge for the company. Last week, shares in the at-home connected fitness brand plunged by a third...leading to numerous jokes about Peloton being the first to crash a stationary bike...

10 November 2021, 14:05
Poll results: Tadej Pogačar is your pro cyclist of the year (by two votes)
Live blog poll results 10/11/2021

Two votes was all that separated Cav and Pog in yesterday's live blog poll, one of which was me picking a random name to see the result... it all came down to whoever cast that deciding vote. The Slovenian's double Monument-winning season (and the small matter of a second Tour de France) was enough to swing it over Cav's comeback.

Poor Julian Alaphilippe won a second rainbow jersey, a stage of the Tour, wore the yellow jersey, but that was only enough for 23 per cent of your vote. Anyway, Vélo magazine's panel will decide who the actual Vélo d'Or is...we'll have to wait and see if they agree with 36 per cent of you...

10 November 2021, 12:29
Who's doing RideLondon?

Most people seem happy with the new staggered RideLondon entry. Rather than straight to a ballot, the first 10,000 people can simply book their place. Then the rest of entries will be decided by a ballot.

A couple of people in the comments have said they're signed up. Steve K was, like many I'm sure, put off by the £89 entry (Oh, and the small matter of it being on the same day as his wedding anniversary). That could be a hard sell.

Anyone tempted by the new route? 

10 November 2021, 12:24
When nature fights back...

Death wish squirrels get my vote for the most dangerous British wildlife for cyclists. If you can hear laughing, that'll be our American and Australian readers...

I'm talking about those pesky squirrels that wait by the road (or in it) and then run towards the danger at the last minute. At least most other wildlife runs away from trouble. They always scamper off happy as Larry while you're left with your heart in your mouth, clenching the brakes. 

10 November 2021, 12:15
What we've all been waiting for: Cycling out Context's 2021 highlights

You can forget who actually won the Tour, Roubaix, Olympics and San Remo...this is what it's all about.

Nairo the chameleon, robots delivering medals, drunken debauchery, bumper cars, chainsaw-wielding fans, Van der Poel being Van der Poel, Higuita's hiccup, bottle throwing, podium dancing and everything else in between. What a year. 

10 November 2021, 11:51
EF Education-Nippo backtrack on Sergio Higuita sacking — have accepted rider's apology for riding new Specialized bike in viral clip
Sergio Higuita on specialized s-works - via País do Ciclismo.PNG

EF Education-Nippo have said the team will not terminate Sergio Higuita's contract after the rider apologised for riding a non-team issue bike at a sportive. The Colombian rider was spotted smashing it uphill at the Giro del Rigo event on a Specialized S-Works SL7, the bike of his team for 2022 — Bora-Hansgrohe.

His current employer had said they would be terminating the rider's contract for disrespecting Cannondale and not using their bike sponsor's equipment. However, in a statement released to Cyclingnews late last night, EF Education-Nippo backtracked...

The team has come to a mutual agreement with Sergio Higuita regarding the recent issue at Giro de Rigo and will not end his contract early. He has been a steadfast teammate and positive presence, both on the roads and off. We wish Sergio the best in his future endeavours

Higuita also apologised to the team and Cannondale for his actions, saying: "I made a mistake in riding the wrong bicycle at a public event, but this is not how I want to leave this team or remember my time here."

It had been suggested that EF riders were required to return their team bikes on November 1st, meaning Higuita would not have a team-issue Cannondale available to ride. These rumours have not yet been commented on by the team or rider.

Regardless, Higuita will not be an EF Education-Nippo rider next year. He's off to Bora-Hansgrohe on a three-year contract as part of the German team's post-Peter Sagan recruitment drive. Along with Higuita, Sam Bennett and Aleksandr Vlasov have also been tied down for next season.

10 November 2021, 11:33
Promising Eritrean pro rider Desiet Kidane Tekeste killed while training

Desiet Kidane Tekeste, a 21-year-old pro cyclist from Eritrea, has died after being hit by a driver while she trained in the country's capital Asmara. The UCI broke the news, saying: "With her constant smile, kindness, respect and deep passion for cycling, Desiet Kidane Tekeste was a rising young talent who will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and WCC team-mates and coaches during this tragic time."

Deputy general at the UCI, Amina Lanaya, added: "Such a tragic loss. On behalf of everyone at the UCI and WCC Cycling, our hearts go out to Desiet's family and close ones during this tragic moment in time. Her passion, kindness and immense talent are major losses to the whole cycling community."

Kidane won her country's national time trial championships in 2019, aged 18, and had been racing in Europe this season, including at the World Championships in Leuven.

10 November 2021, 10:17
Ok, vroomer
10 November 2021, 10:11
"The world's best performance fabrics": Albion's new Zoa collection
Albion Zoa collection

Zoa is Albion’s new on/off the bike range that’s suitable for multiple riding disciplines and thanks to a partnership with technical fabrics brand Pertex, Albion says the collection uses “the world’s best performance fabrics.”

Zoa includes the first cycling products to use Pertex Shield Air, according to Albion, which is a new highly breathable 3-Layer waterproof fabric designed for intense activity.

The full line-up consists of a hooded insulated jacket (£185), a hooded rain shell (£260), and an insulated scarf (£35), and has been designed as a system that can be used together, or as standalone products, depending on the conditions and intensity. 

Albion also recently launched its Autumn/Winter products, continuing its sustainability drive the full range is now PFC free, and inclusivity-wise, Albion has introduced its first cold weather products for women. 

Albion Zoa collection

The Three Season Tights (£150) are new; created with the British weather firmly in mind, it consists of a panelled construction using a mid-weight thermal recycled fabric in the waist and thigh area, windproof front knee panels, and a lighter weight fleece-backed recycled fabric for the lower and back of the legs, all coated with a C0 DWR treatment.

Find out more about the other new products...

10 November 2021, 09:30
How to overtake a cyclist

The Surrey traffic cops would have no issues with this one...the Cormar Carpets HGV driver waits, indicates and passes wide. As one reply pointed out, it's not really that hard is it? Just needs a little bit of patience... 

10 November 2021, 09:21
First 10,000 places on RideLondon-Essex 100 available from 10am

RideLondon is back in 2022 with a new route heading out into Essex. The popular 100-mile sportive is on Sunday 29 May, but the ballot opens today at 10am. According to the event's website the first 10,000 places will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, costing a hefty £89. International entries will open later in the year.

> RideLondon: Essex urged to focus on road safety ahead of revamped sportive

The full route will be announced early next year but will include traffic-free roads out of London and into Essex, where riders will face 60 miles of rolling roads through some of the county's "most beautiful countryside and villages" before the turn back into London.

If you're interested you can sign up on RideLondon's website (after 10am)...

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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