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Met Office slammed for "consider not cycling" graphic; Council claims salting cycle lanes is impractical; Trentin unimpressed by complaints; Your thoughts on MP asking cyclists to slow down; Cancer diagnosis inspires LEJOG + more on the live blog

It's Thursday and Dan Alexander is in the hot seat for all your live blog needs...
11 February 2021, 17:06
Met Office graphic featuring crashing cyclist asks bike riders to consider not riding but just tells drivers to take care

The Met Office have been accused of singling out cycling as a particularly dangerous activity, using a graphic to depict a cyclist crashing due to icy roads. In the graphic, which was shared to their 832,000 Twitter followers, a car driver also momentarily slips but stays in control. The message says cyclists should consider not riding their bikes, but drivers should just take care.

Critics have said the post doesn't address the dangers of driving, while jumping to the worst conclusion about cycling. One reply asked whether it would not be better to encourage people to not drive two ton vehicles during dangerous weather? Another shared a video of a Tesla rolling out of control down a steep hill and crashing into another vehicle, while another said: "Why single out cycling not to do? I would guess that far more injuries are occurring from people slipping while walking and far more damage and injury is caused by out of control cars in these conditions. So blinkered."

11 February 2021, 17:22
Icicles close tunnels on the Monsal Trail
11 February 2021, 16:19
Dress like a World Champion...or don't

Fresh off the back of winning the opening stage of Tour de la Provence with the help of Julian Alaphilippe, Deceuninck-Quick-Step have announced you can pre-order a World Champion replica jersey from their webshop. The debate on whether you should earn it has been done to death, so i'm not saying anything. The collection includes a replica jersey, vintage T-shirt, hoodie and navy blue T-shirts...

Talking of iconic jerseys, here's Quick-Step rider Davide Ballerini on the podium at Tour de la Provence in a colourful number...

11 February 2021, 15:41
Davide Ballerini wins opening stage of Tour de la Provence

Deceuninck-Quick-Step's Davide Ballerini won the opening stage of Tour de la Provence with a last gasp effort to overhaul Arnaud Démare as the finish line loomed. Ballerini came around Démare in the final 50 metres to take victory after his teammate Julian Alaphilippe, who had been in the breakaway for most of the day, was reeled in with 2km to go. The World Champion managed to set up Ballerini's sprint with one last effort. Nacer Bouhanni was third. 

11 February 2021, 15:11
Council claims salting cycle lanes and footways is impractical and roads should be prioritised

Medway Council has been criticised for saying that salting roads is their priority during the cold weather and to also salt bike lanes and footways would be "impractical and financially draining." The council was responding to requests asking them to start salting footways. Medway Council tweeted: "We've received a lot of requests to salt footways. It would be impractical & financially draining to salt them, as roads are our priority. Post salting of footways & cycleways will be carried out on a priority basis during severe weather, as resources permit."

On Monday, Transport for London shared pictures of their new bike lane gritter, named after Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty. Chris Gritty has been out salting the capital's bike lanes this week.

11 February 2021, 11:45
Matteo Trentin tells peloton to "spend less time on TikTok and be more proactive" if they don't like the UCI's new rule changes

UAE Team Emirates' Matteo Trentin has launched an extraordinary rant at his fellow professionals, saying they should "spend less time on TikTok and be proactive when it comes to making cycling safer." Trentin was one of the only pro riders, alongside Philippe Gilbert, who attended the UCI meetings this winter where new rule changes were discussed. The Italian said that over 800 professional riders were notified by email in November of the potential changes but less than 20 have opened the email and downloaded the documents.

"No one this time can say that they weren’t informed," Trentin told Cyclingnews. "I’m sorry to say that they need to check their emails and download the new rules. To tweet that they were not informed is easy but emails were sent to over 800 riders and I can tell you that only 16 riders downloaded the information. If someone wanted to disagree when the proposals were made, they had many chances but there was very little response.

"I’m quite angry about what is now being said. I don’t know who they want to blame but it can’t be me, Phil (Gilbert) or the CPA. Not this time. Maybe riders should spend less time on TikTok and be more proactive when it comes to making their workplace a safer place."

The UCI has formally banned the super-tuck position for descending on the top tube as well as the TT position in road races. There will be a period of education up until April 1 during which riders will receive warnings. However, beyond that date systematic punishments will come into effect with riders potentially being suspended from competition for breaches. The sport's governing body also announced new regulations on the disposal of rubbish during races and a standardisation of race barriers.

11 February 2021, 14:14
Zwift story follow up from one of the dads whose child had their Zwift account deleted

Quick follow up to the Zwift story. We've had another message from a father of a child whose account got deleted as the virtual cycling platform requires guardians to update consent details or children's accounts would be deleted. Tom said: "Zwift has played a significant part in our children's cycling progress - I couldn't have let my 12-year-old ride 250 miles in a day, on the road, last summer! Especially given the paucity of safe places for them to ride in our community, especially on their own, Zwift gives kids an opportunity to ride in safety, in all weathers.

"The ‘gamification’ of riding appeals particularly to their sense of fun, and riding virtually has taught them a heck of a lot about the sport, and about their own abilities. As busy parents, we don’t get to ride as often as we’d like, resources are finite and most of the value we get from Zwift, is from their visionary (and no doubt commercially astute) support for a member’s children being able to access the platform as part of Mum or Dad’s subscription.

"We only wish that the administration of it could be a little easier (children losing their 'drops' is a traumatic event!) and that other platforms, known for deleting accounts set up for youngsters, would make a similar effort to find ways to support and encourage the next generation with provision of their own.

"One day, a cut-down incarnation of Zwift, with a low-cost, easily adjusted kids indoor bike, could transform the contribution of bike racing and other sports to younger kids’ PE curriculum. Imagine, a whole class of little people riding in the school hall, with their ride projected onto a screen!"

11 February 2021, 13:09
Richmond Cycling Campaign and Merton Cycling Campaign react to Sarah Olney's comments
11 February 2021, 12:13
Vuelta a España route announced

The route for the Vuelta a España has been announced with the usual steep climbs, new mountains and...even some stages for the sprinters. The race starts in Burgos with a short ITT and ends away from Madrid for the first time in seven years, with another race against the clock in Santiago de Compostela. There looks to be a few opportunities for the sprinters early on before the peloton reaches the high mountains on stage nine with the summit finish to Alto de Velefique. Stage 17 takes the riders up the famous Lagos de Covadonga via a new climb at Collada Llomena. On the next day comes the stage with the most climbing as the pros slog their way over 5,000m of elevation. Stage 18 finishes up Altu d’El Gamoniteiru, the highest paved road in Asturias, averaging 9% for around 15km...

11 February 2021, 11:15
I shouldn't laugh...
11 February 2021, 10:43
Cancer diagnosis inspires cycling fundraising

Gaz Emmerson was first diagnosed with a rare form of bone and tissue cancer at the age of 21 and has beaten it three times. However, a fourth diagnosis that the cancer had now spread to his lungs, lymph nodes and brain has inspired Gaz to tick off some bucket list challenges including cycling Land's End to John O'Groats. The Shropshire Star reports that incredibly, Gaz is training for the challenge while having chemotherapy and still plans to complete the ride in June. So far, his JustGiving page has raised over £17,000 to help Sarcoma UK research his illness.

Gaz is hoping to complete the route in 13 days and will be joined by his dad Andy, wife-to-be Zoe and three best mates. "This is currently a hugely underfunded area," Gaz explained. "The charity gets no government funding whatsoever and because of that treatments and survival rates are not moving forward quickly enough. The first line drugs used to treat Sarcomas were developed 40 years ago.

"I want to get my story out there and raise awareness, and for people to get checked. If I'd gone to a doctor a bit sooner I might be in a better situation."

11 February 2021, 09:53
Not too cold for cycling

Good to see cyclists still getting out and about even during this cold snap. On Tuesday's live blog,  Lorenzo Barone gave tips on how to keep riding even in -50°C...Or for something closer to home check out our winter cycling survival guide... 

11 February 2021, 08:45
Social media replies to MP who asked cyclists to slow down in Richmond Park...but does she have a point?

On Tuesday, Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney urged cyclists to take more care when riding in Richmond Park, stressing "it's not a sports venue." Olney is a cyclist and is often pictured on social media taking her children to school by bike, and rode to Westminster to take part in a Parliamentary vote last June. However, she pointed out in an interview with Radio Jackie that she believes people are put off riding their bikes in Richmond Park by the behaviour of some cyclists...

"I would just implore cyclists, especially if they're in the park – which is a national nature reserve, it's not a sports venue – to be thoughtful. They need to observe the Highway Code, speed limits and they need to think about the impact of their behaviour on others," she said. Fair enough?

Since publishing our story on Tuesday we've seen plenty of comments saying cars are the real problem in Richmond Park because they cause congestion (seen in the story below) and that Olney hasn't asked drivers to follow speed limits and the Highway Code.

Jeremy Vine even had his say...

On Twitter, Martynhopping said: "I’d rather moan about the dog off leads near the deer, walkers trying to get as close to the deer for selfies or the overpriced tasteless coffee from Colicci’s." And, Ben Aston asked: "Why are motor vehicles permitted in Richmond Park nature reserve?"

However, for balance, there have also been plenty of comments to the contrary...

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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