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Ghent bans cyclists dismount signs; Rooligan: Australian cyclist headbutted by a kangaroo; Your thoughts on Boris Johnson breaking lockdown accusations; FOI request suggests ambulances aren't slowed down by LTNs; Peter Sagan's plan + more on the live blog

It's Tuesday and Dan Alexander will be taking you through the day on the live blog...
12 January 2021, 16:53
Miguel Ángel López tests positive for Covid
12 January 2021, 15:19
Ghent bans cyclists dismount signs
Cyclists dismount sign (CC licensed by Marcin Wichary via Flickr).jpg

'Cyclists dismount' signs will soon be banned in the Belgian city of Ghent. The new rule will be presented to the Ghent City Council this month and will prevent contractors and utility companies using the signs. Belgian politician Filip Watteeuw says it is necessary to intervene as roadworks have become a problem for cyclists and businesses. He said: "Works are started at peak times, signage is inadequate, sidewalks are broken up without safe passage, cyclists are pushed onto the road, traders see access to their shops blocked."

Het Nieuwsblad reports the Ghent Cyclists' Association are pleased by the development and the Fietsersbond, a cycling union that lobbies the government on cycling issues suggests that 'cyclists dismount' signs have no legal value and that instead bike riders should simply slow to walking pace and use common sense.

“There is a new generation of cyclists for which fast is the norm. Pedestrians are allowed to react if cyclists go too fast. But a cyclist who cycles at walking pace simply takes up less space than a cyclist walking with a bicycle" said Yves De Bruyckere, a Fietsersbond representative.

12 January 2021, 16:44
Lizzie Deignan: "Women's cycling has grown so much. I do feel like I'm part of a new sport"
Lizzie Deignan wins La Course 2020 (picture Alex Whitehead for SWPix.com)

Lizzie Deignan says the standard of women's cycling is higher than ever and that it keeps her motivated to stay at the top of the sport in 2021. Deignan won four races in 2020 and is targeting the Olympics, World Championships and the inaugural women's Paris-Roubaix in 2021.  

"[Paris-Roubaix is] really exciting, but there's also just the fact that women's cycling has grown so much," Deignan told Sky Sports. "I do feel like I'm part of a new sport. It's harder to win races and that is still motivating. Winning as many races as I did in 2016 is way harder now. It's not easy and that keeps me motivated.

"Things that won me races back then, being able to attack at the bottom of a steep climb and pull away won't work now. Now the speed into the bottom of the climbs, because of the depth of the peloton, doesn't allow my jump to get me as big of a gap as it used to."

Deignan signed a new contract with Trek-Segafredo until 2022 having previously contemplated retirement. Last year, she won La Course and Liège–Bastogne–Liège.

12 January 2021, 14:15
Durham bike thief caught after fingerprints found at crime scene
Durham South Street (Google Street View)

A bike thief who stole two children's bikes from a cellar in South Street in Durham was caught after fingerprints found at the scene matched his. John Davison and an accomplice snuck into the property at 7.45pm on July 15, taking two of the three children's bikes in the cellar. A neighbour's CCTV footage showed two men riding away on the bikes, which were Christmas presents from the children's grandmother.

The Northern Echo reports that forensic checks at the scene found fingerprints on the cellar door which matched with Davison.The 36-year-old was arrested and admitted a charge of burglary. He was handed a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 150-days unpaid work.

12 January 2021, 13:41
Peter Sagan sets out plans for 2021 — will decide on Tour de France and Olympics after the Classics
Peter Sagan's Paris-Roubaix-winning Specialized s-Works Roubaix (picture credit Specialized and Brakethrough Media)

Despite a report in Slovakian newspaper Prvada, Peter Sagan says the Classics are currently the only races on his calendar. Bora-Hansgrohe director Jan Valach told the paper that Sagan will race the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Olympics in 2021. That may well turn out to be the case but the seven-time green jersey winner wants to focus on returning to the form that saw him win the Tour of Flanders in 2016 and Paris-Roubaix in 2018.

Sagan told TuttoBici: "At present, nothing is to be considered certain. As I said, after the Classics we will see what happens. Already many races have been cancelled and no one is able to say if there will be further changes to the calendars. I think it will take some time to plan everything.

"If I had to decide right now, I would certainly try to win the green jersey of the Tour again, but nobody knows what will happen. We may have to be forced to arrive in Japan two weeks earlier, but now there is a vaccine and things may change and there may be different rules, no one is able to say what will happen and how we should prepare, we need to see what will happen in the next five months."

Sagan's director Valach had told Prvada: "We start with the spring classics, followed by the Giro, the Tour, the Olympics. Peter is the type of rider who can withstand more load, benefit from it, it doesn't tire him and he gets better and better."

Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Emanuel Buchmann has decided to ride the Giro d'Italia after seeing the Tour de France's time trial heavy route and hopes to compete for a place on the podium having recovered from the back injury that hindered his 2020 Tour.

"The current plan is for me to focus on the Giro. We decided that the Tour with the many flat stages, the time trials and the few mountain finishes wasn't made for me. At the Giro, I have a better chance of finishing on the podium or finishing right at the front," Buchmann said in an interview with Radsport.

12 January 2021, 13:35
FOI request suggests ambulances aren't slowed down by LTNs
12 January 2021, 12:04
Brompton Bike Hire tells NHS staff who want a bike to get in touch

Brompton Bike Hire has a limited number of its Wheels for Heroes bikes for NHS staff to use for free. Their campaign in the spring used crowdfunding to help expand their existing fleet so that more NHS key workers could get to hospitals safely during the pandemic.

12 January 2021, 11:08
Geraint Thomas launches new podcast - and he's told road.cc all about it

Following on from his popular 'Watt's Occurring' pod, G is back with the Geraint Thomas Cycling Club. Jointly hosted with journalist Tom Fordyce, the podcast aims to "give fans an unprecedented insight into the world of elite cycling", featuring special guests while also charting Thomas' mission to build his own cycling club. To become a 'member' of the Geraint Thomas Cycling Club (GTCC), you simply have to listen to the podcasts so we're told. 

The podcasts will be weekly, and are available on iTunes and Spotify. What's more, we've interviewed G about it and asked him a few bonus questions too... so look out for that on the site around teatime. 

12 January 2021, 10:38
More Tour de France final stage options
Champs Elysees (CC licensed by Andrew Sides via Flickr)

Fair point from Global Nomad in the comments about the difference between the Tour de France final stage finishing with a Paris procession and it finishing in Paris with a competitive race. How can the Tour keep its traditional finish on the Champs-Élysées and also make the final day of racing competitive? A time trial would be the obvious suggestion. Think 1989 and Greg LeMond overhauling Laurent Fignon to win by eight seconds.

The sprint stage on the Champs-Élysées is a bit more difficult... It's an easy stage for the sprinters' teams to control and even strong riders struggle to build a significant lead over the bunch. Imagining the GC changing on the final day without someone puncturing or crashing at an awkward moment seems unlikely. Anyone got any ideas? Or is it simply a case of saving the champagne glasses for after the finish line and treating it like any other sprint stage?

12 January 2021, 10:23
Deceuninck-Quickstep team manager Patrick Lefevere says athletes should have to wait for coronavirus vaccine like everyone else
patrick lefevere wikimedia commons.PNG

Patrick Lefevere wasn't impressed by UAE Team Emirates riders getting vaccinated at their winter training camp due to their team's connection with the UAE. The country has offered the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine to all its citizens. Speaking to Sporza, Lefevere stated that he does not think cyclists should get preferential treatment.

"Athletes have to queue up, just like everyone else," he said. "It doesn't make me jealous. That means they are more efficient than us. I think it mainly has to do with the country. I don't think a squad can get a vaccine right now unless they do it in a devious way. I suspect the Emirates had good connections with China and that they will have paid for it."

Last week, former pro rider Riccardo Riccò said that he didn't want to be injected with a "who knows what shit" vaccine. Riccò is currently serving a lifetime ban from cycling handed to him by anti-doping authorities...

12 January 2021, 09:47
Rooligan: Australian cyclist headbutted by a kangaroo

Thankfully this incident is less serious than some of the other videos we've seen of cyclists hitting kangaroos. The video was posted on YouTube by cycling camera company Cycliq. As the cyclist rolls past, the animal jumps out and goes straight for the front wheel.

Posting alongside the video, Cycliq said: "Kangaroos really, really can't change direction well... Animal encounters are an important factor in identifying cycling safety hotspots."

Our archives are, unfortunately, full of kangaroo/cyclist incidents more serious than this one...

In 2018, this video did the rounds of a group ride getting taken down by a roo bouncing across the road. Two years earlier, four cyclists were hospitalised after crashing when they hit the carcass of a dead kangaroo while riding in Victoria.

12 January 2021, 09:27
Monday's poll results
Live blog poll results 11/1/2021

With the Champs-Élysées to undergo a £225 million makeover that will turn the famous avenue into an "extraordinary garden", we asked you if the Tour de France should change up its finale... 

The majority of you want to see the Tour keep the traditional final stage on the Champs-Élysées, while 30% wanting to see something new.

12 January 2021, 08:54
Your thoughts on Boris Johnson being accused of breaking lockdown with Olympic Park bike ride
Boris Johnson lockdown comments

Yesterday Boris Johnson was accused of breaking lockdown, even though he didn't appear to break the law, by travelling to the Olympic Park in Stratford to go for a bike ride. In the Evening Standard's exclusive story, they said that the government guidance on exercise during lockdown in England is that you can only exercise once a day and "you should not travel outside your local area." The Standard made no reference to the regulations, which unlike the guidance, are enforceable by law. So it seems the PM did not break the law.

However, he has been criticised for breaking or stretching the limits of the guidance which states: "This [outdoor exercise] should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)."

In our cycling dos and don'ts in a time of pandemic – how to be a responsible cyclist piece, we cite the Government's Covid-19 Travel Guidance in advising not to drive somewhere to ride if possible as only essential travel is permitted. Travelling a short distance within your area to exercise is mentioned as an essential reason for travel, however some would say that while it is legal it probably isn't a sensible or desirable thing for people to do.

Boris Johnson lockdown comments

 

Dan joined road.cc as live blog editor last year. He has previously written 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 a keen cyclist ever since and spends his weekends exploring the south of England on two wheels. 

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