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Man refused Giant bike because of his weight; Vincenzo Nibali calls on pros to bin power data during races; Update on THAT cycle lane; Paris-Nice déjà vu as local authorities say final stage must be moved; A very Dutch problem + more on the live blog

It's Thursday and Dan Alexander is in the hot seat for all your live blog needs...
11 March 2021, 16:11
The look says it all...Julian gets his revenge for Strade Bianche
11 March 2021, 14:55
Man refused bike because of his weight: reader's experiences...

It's disappointing to see the man in the Giant story say he's been discouraged from taking up cycling by being refused the bike he'd saved up for. We got a similar tale from one of our readers, TallTim, who gives the other angle of the story, as someone who has had frames snap after asking if they'd be safe for a larger rider.

It's a tricky one but another reader asked if the shop could have sorted a bike for the short term that was suitable to the man's build until he could ride the one he wanted? Also worth noting some sympathy for the bike shop too. If the man had bought the bike and it had caused a crash, they'd be held accountable. Sebastien Barsetti added the owner of Giant Halifax offered to sell him the bike if he signed a waiver but he refused, as he didn't think it was right to need to sign it to get his bike. 

11 March 2021, 16:31
Sam Bennett wins stage five of Paris-Nice

Sam Bennett got his second win of the week at Paris-Nice in what looks likely to be the final sprint stage of the race. A dominant Deceuninck-Quick-Step leadout set the Irishman up perfectly to win ahead of Nacer Bouhanni and Pascal Ackermann. Phil Bauhaus and Giacomo Nizzolo rounded out the top five. 

A strong headwind neutralised much of the action with the peloton rolling along at speeds some of our readers would have probably felt comfortable tagging along at the back. 31.8km/h was the average speed for the first hour of racing...Yesterday it was Jumbo-Visma winning at both Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice, today it was Quick-Step who doubled up. 

11 March 2021, 11:36
Man refused Giant bike because of his weight

A man from Nova Scotia in Canada was left discouraged and crying by his experience of trying to buy a Giant bike from their Halifax branch. Sebastien Barsetti wanted to buy a bike to help him lose weight but was refused because of his weight. Barsetti weighs just over 300lbs (136kg) and the owner of the shop Barry Misener said it wouldn't have been safe to sell the bike to someone over the maximum rider weight of the model.

Barsetti had saved for the bike for several months and was refused, even after saying he didn't intend to use it until he was under the maximum limit. "Honestly, I spent my afternoon hiding and crying because I was really upset about it and it really affected my self-esteem," he told Global News. "I told them my weight, my height and shortly after they told me they wouldn’t sell it to me because of my weight. Because I was a little over the max weight. I knew I was over the max weight a little bit but I wasn’t even intending on using it until I was under."

Barsetti received a refund from Giant Group Canada and the shop's owner has given his side of the story, saying he was only concerned about the rider's safety and feared he could sustain life-threatening injuries by ignoring the weight limit. "I told him the maximum rider weight is 300 pounds. I said, ‘You cannot ride the bike safely,'” Misener explained. "I will not compromise anybody’s health. I just can’t do that, I can’t live with that."

In a statement, Giant Group Canada stood by the decision, emphasising they'd rather disappoint a customer than risk their health. The brand has also written to Barsetti to offer the option of holding a bicycle ready for him once he's under the weight limit.

11 March 2021, 15:59
Julian Alaphilippe wins stage two of Tirreno-Adriatico as the Holy Trinity go head to head

In the earlier post about Tirreno we asked if it would be Mathieu van der Poel vs Wout van Aert vs Julian Alaphilippe on today's uphill finish?...And that's exactly how it turned out. This predicting thing's easy when you choose the three favourites...After Van der Poel and Van Aert got their hands in the air on Saturday at Strade Bianche and yesterday's opening stage respectively, Julian Alaphilippe joined the party on stage two, winning the sprint after his teammate João Almeida, the last man standing from a late breakaway with Mikel Landa, Pavel Sivakov and Simon Yates, was caught in the final few hundred metres. Van der Poel finished quickly and looked the fastest coming from further back but couldn't overhaul Alaphilippe's advantage, taking second — Van Aert was third and keeps the leader's jersey by four seconds.

11 March 2021, 15:30
Ex-footballer Geoff Thomas talks the Tour 21 Challenge 2021

Our presenter Rebecca sat down with the ex-England, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers player to talk about the challenge, which will see 25 amateur cyclists take on the full Tour de France route a week ahead of the pros. 

A blood cancer survivor, Thomas and his team hope to raise over £1 million for the national charity Cure Leukaemia, and are already over halfway there with £515,000 raised at the time of writing. To find out more and donate, check out the Tour 21 website and JustGiving page.  

11 March 2021, 14:21
Electric vehicles are the biggest problem for promoting cycling and walking, according to Chris Boardman

Chris Boardman told the Commons Transport Select Committee that electric vehicles are potentially the "biggest problem for boosting active travel". Boardman, who is now Greater Manchester's walking and cycling commissioner, said the technology gives people a reason not to change their habits and that a car-led recovery from the pandemic can only be avoided if more is done to create safe space for people to travel differently.

"Electric vehicles are potentially our biggest problem, because they give us a reason to not change," Boardman told the Select Committee. "And that means that we won’t get any more space back. It doesn’t touch our health. It doesn’t touch most of the problems. It impacts one tiny small amount of very localised pollution. We’re having to fight, as is happening in London, for every bit of space to allow people to travel differently. The bigger-picture reality is we have to. We are facing, it’s not hyperbole to say, a species-level crisis."

11 March 2021, 13:30
Local authorities refusing to let Paris-Nice final stage finish on Promenade des Anglais in Nice

Meetings are underway between ASO and state services to find a new finish for the final stage for Paris-Nice after Alpes-Maritimes authorities decided the race cannot finish on the Promenade des Anglais as planned. Yesterday, the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi asked for the stage to be moved and the route to be adapted. In a statement, the prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes coast said "In any case, these stages can only take place outside the confined area and behind closed doors." Ruling out the Promenade des Anglais.

11 March 2021, 12:43
Vincenzo Nibali calls on pros to bin power data during races

 Vincenzo Nibali thinks his fellow pros should ignore their bike computers during races after Mathieu van der Poel's performance at Strade Bianche last Saturday. The four-time Grand Tour winner told Gazzetta dello Sport there's little need to be glued to your power data during a race. "[Power meters] can be useful in training, but not in racing. The data isn’t useful unless you have a point of reference. We’re better off switching our bike computers off in races or not looking at it."

On Van der Poel's performance, the Shark of Messina said he was stunned just like the rest of us by the TV pictures coming through from Siena on Saturday afternoon. "It was crazy. I switched on the television for the last 60km and I saw what Mathieu did…mamma mia."

11 March 2021, 10:43
A very Dutch problem
11 March 2021, 10:26
Update on THAT cycle lane
Oxford cycle lane Parks Road - via Oxfordshire Cycling on Twitter.PNG

We've got some clarification on that cycle lane photo...It turns out that as part of the University of Oxford's refurbishment of a library, the 60m stretch of cycleway has been suspended until December 2021. The University's website says that cyclists will be directed to join the carriageway by additional signage and that the barriers have been built to segregate cyclists and pedestrians, who can use the temporary walkway between the orange barriers in the background of the photo.

Because the work is on a basement under the cycle lane, it has been suspended and the footpath diverted to the new line on the grass verge. We're guessing the signs telling cyclists to join the carriageway are behind the person taking the photo, but that's not entirely clear either. In short, the cycle lane is now a walkway and cyclists should ride on the road until the works are complete and the cycle lane will reopen.

Oxfordshire County Council has now responded to our questions over the arrangement, saying: “We are aware of the measure outlined to the county council by road.c at Parks Road and are currently looking at this situation.”

11 March 2021, 09:41
Paris-Nice déjà vu

We've been here before. A year ago this week a shortened Paris-Nice ended at La Colmiane before the finale in Nice as bike racing was put on hold for the next five months... The mayor of Nice has asked for Sunday's final stage in Nice to be cancelled "as it is currently planned". One to keep an eye on in the coming days...

As for the racing, today we've got a sprint on the cards in France, while over at Tirreno-Adriatico it's a long day, backloaded with climbs including an uphill finish. Mathieu van der Poel vs Wout van Aert vs Julian Alaphilippe?

11 March 2021, 08:50
Your thoughts on THAT terrible cycle lane

We've asked Oxfordshire County Council to comment on this and we'll likely have a full story coming later today on this cycle lane. It reminded us of this other dubious piece of infrastructure that appeared on the blog last month from Dublin...  

On Facebook, Baron Bianchi commented: "According to the signs as you enter it, Oxford is a 'cycling city'. Typical Oxford, talking the talk but as for walking the walk..." To which Pete Smyth suggested walking the cycle would be more accurate...

Chris Dale told us that "Apart from the whole thing being a nonsense of discouraging clutter, I do like the short essay 'Cyclists please dismount at this point'." Always nice to remember your manners I guess...

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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