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"Try listening to those who take bikes on trains": Vertical cycle storage design concept criticised; How bikes on trains should be done; Virgin Galactic admits Branson's pre-flight bike ride didn't happen; Expensive fan; Sir Cav? + more on the live blog

It's Wednesday and Dan Alexander will be taking you through the middle of the week on the live blog...
14 July 2021, 16:00
Another stage ticked off...Mark Cavendish makes the time cut

One more big mountain stage tomorrow, a flat (ish) stage that could be a sprint or a breakaway day and a TT are all that stands between Mark Cavendish and Paris. The green jersey came home with his Deceuninck-Quick-Step teammates, Michal Kwiatkowski and Greg van Avermaet in the grupetto. 

Tomorrow the peloton takes on the legendary Pyrenean double: Tourmalet and Luz Ardiden...

14 July 2021, 15:27
Sneaky Richie Carapaz

I bet sneaky Richie Carapaz is a good poker player...and to think Jonas Vingegaard only got his place on Jumbo-Visma's Tour de France team when Tom Dumoulin stepped away from the all about stage 17 in our stage report.  

14 July 2021, 14:51
How bikes on trains should be done: Scot Rail's new Highland Explorer Carriages

These new carriages have space for 20 bikes and are available for riders to book. They also have seating areas adjacent plus Wi-Fi and power sockets.

Scot Rail Highland Explorer (via Scot Rail)


14 July 2021, 14:36
Time for the climb

Anthony Perez and Dorian Godon are waving the French flag on Bastille Day. They've got three minutes advantage as we start the final climb. Will it be enough? UAE Team Emirates are chasing hard to set up Tadej Pogačar for a famous stage win...13km to go.

14 July 2021, 13:46
Reader comments: The problem of taking your bike on a train

Some of your comments about today's big live blog story...

eburtthebike wrote: "Just like transport itself, designing for bicycles has a multitude of people with no knowledge, experience or qualifications coming up with genius ideas which fall at the first hurdle.  All the comments on that Proteus cycle parking are accurate, and the design has so many drawbacks that it would instantly be discarded in any country where cycling is mainstream."

OnYerBike added: "There's a lot of advice out there on what makes good bike parking. Bike spaces on a train should follow the exact same principals - just inside a carriage rather than inside (or outside) a building. I guess this goes without saying, but another major obstacle to taking a bike on a train is the booking process. Every different operator has their own system, and (as far as I can tell) none of those systems are at all good."

Over on Facebook, Peter Burgess commented: "Not much good if your bike has mudguards (as my commuter bike does). Really time that train companies put two and two together and encouraged journeys by bike and train. It's more or less possible to get anywhere in the UK quite easily if a combination of the two is used."

14 July 2021, 13:17
How does cycling affect core body temperature? Bora-Hansgrohe's stage 16 data
Patrick Konrad core body temperature data

This mysteriously unnamed Bora-Hansgrohe rider's core body temperature data has been sent to us and shows they spent almost three hours in the range 38-38.5ºC, the level normally associated with fever. We're assuming it's Patrick Konrad as he won the stage but are awaiting confirmation. According to Core Body Temp, high-intensity sports like cycling are healthier as the core body temperature increase triggers the body's defence mechanism where the heat wards of bacteria.

The graph shows how the rider's core body temperature plummeted at the top of each of the mountain passes as the exertion eased off, combined with cooling effect of descending and altitude. However, Core Body Temp notes that the decline was managed carefully through the rider being given extra layers for the descents and shows Bora-Hansgrohe nailed their support.

14 July 2021, 13:05
Michael Matthews beats Mark Cavendish to minor places at stage 17 intermediate sprint...Cav's lead still 36 points

Michael Matthews took back one point on green jersey Mark Cavendish at today's intermediate sprint. Led out by teammate Luka Mezgec, Matthews got the kick on Cav and held on to the line. With tomorrow's intermediate points coming after a Category 4 climb and Friday's at the top of an unclassified climb, Deceuninck-Quick-Step might start looking nervously over their shoulder at their Aussie rival. With 20 points available at both of those, the fight for the green jersey looks likely to be decided in Paris...

14 July 2021, 11:35
Pass of the Day
14 July 2021, 11:27
La Passione raises €7 million investment
La Passione windproof jackets

Italian clothing brand La Passione has raised €7 million from a group of investors, to be funded over four years. "We have climbed many positions in the market in terms of sales, becoming a relevant brand in the industry. Now we want to increase our brand awareness, exploring new territories where online and offline marketing are integrated. The round will grant the development of these new projects," said company co-founder and CEO Giuliano Ragazzi.

Former pro rider Andrea Tonti is one of the investors in the brand, which expects revenues exceeding €10 million in 2021 with 35 per cent of custom coming from the US and UK.

14 July 2021, 10:48
Col du Portet: Today's summit finish returns to the scene of Nairo Quintana's 2018 win when Geraint Thomas extended GC lead

The road may now be paved but it's still an epic climb to finish stage 17. Chris Froome is one rider who will have bad memories of Col du Portet. This was the climb where, in 2018, he dropped 48 seconds to teammate Geraint Thomas, fell to third on GC and pledged his support to G. Nairo Quintana was the winner that day, while Dan Martin took second.

Today's stage got underway half an hour ago...Lukas Pöstlberger, Anthony Perez, Danny van Poppel and Dorian Godon are at the head of the race. As it's Bastille Day and with the words of their sports directors probably still ringing in their ears, Anthony Turgis, Maxime Chevalier and Julien Bernard are giving chase behind.

14 July 2021, 10:28
Does Cav deserve a knighthood? Poll results
MArk Cavendish after equalling Eddy Merckx's record - picture credit A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

Over on our forum there was a fair bit of debate about Mark Cavendish and whether the Manxman deserves a knighthood? We brought it to you guys, the good people of the live blog, for a classic bit of democracy...79 per cent agree Cav's done enough for an honour, while nine per cent agreed but think it should be something other than a knighthood. Only 12 per cent thought he shouldn't...

That's as scientific as it gets...go on Queen 'Liz, make it Sir Cav.

14 July 2021, 10:02
Virgin Galactic admits Richard Branson's pre-flight bike ride didn't happen

Virgin Galactic has admitted Richard Branson's pre-flight spin to the space flight launch site, which was shown in a widely-shared video on the company's stream of the event, didn't happen. The video showed Branson riding a bike to the Spaceport America launch site, taking off his helmet on arrival before greeting crewmates.

Virgin Galactic yesterday admitted to Reuters that the video was actually filmed on Monday 5 July and that Branson did not ride his bike to the launch. "The footage of Sir Richard Branson shown during the event on Sunday was prerecorded and misidentified in the broadcast. We regret the error and any confusion it may have caused," a Virgin Galactic official confirmed to Reuters.

Trek Bicycles claimed Branson rode one of its custom-made bikes on launch day, but it turns out the clip, which Branson shared to Twitter and was published by Virgin with the line 'earlier today', was actually from a week earlier. After the flight, Branson said, "It's so awesome to arrive on a bicycle, across this beautiful New Mexico countryside."

14 July 2021, 09:26
The most expensive fan in cycling?

Does the price include someone to wave it or is that extra? 

14 July 2021, 09:07
Tour de France stage 17: The first of a Pyrenean mountain double-header with a summit finish at 2,200m
TdF 2021 Stage 17 profile.jpg

The next two stages are the final days of this year's Tour de France in the mountains and the race organisers might just have saved the best until last. Stage 17 takes the peloton from Muret to the Hors Catégorie Col du Portet via two 1st Category mountains - the Peyresourde and Col de Val Louron-Azet.

The first 110km are flat and easy as the riders ease their way towards the high mountains. Kilometre 113 is going to be key as the intermediate sprint comes before the main climbs in Bagnères-de-Luchon, so Cav should not be dropped and will hope to re-establish his lead in the green jersey competition which has been cut in recent days. Michael Matthews' superior climbing has allowed the Aussie to rack up the points while Cav has been in the grupetto, reducing the deficit to 38 points.

After the sprint it's time for the Peyresourde, a stalwart of the Tour de France route. A short descent leads to Col de Val Louron-Azet, before another short descent takes the peloton to the foot of the final climb - Col du Portet.

At 2,200m, it is huge by the Pyrenees' usually shorter, steeper standards. It's an Alpine-sized climb with Pyrenean roughness and averages 8.7 per cent for 16km, rarely dropping below 10 per cent for the first six...Can anyone crack Tadej Pogačar?

14 July 2021, 07:47
"Try listening to those who take bikes on trains": Vertical cycle storage design concept doesn't go down well

 The government is currently investing £9 million in projects to improve rail journeys by running a competition where winning designs receive funding to continue to develop their plans. One such winner is PriestmanGoode whose 'Proteus' scheme provides a flexible seating layout that can be rearranged quickly to react to demand. That is how we come to this bike storage 'solution', which is one part of the design...

Unsurprisingly the reaction has been coming thick and fast...

Lockdown Cyclist said: "Who wants to lift up my dirty single speed bike and have it drip filth all over the seat for the next person to sit on? And imagine how pleased the next person will be who sits on a filthy seat. What happens when a passenger wants a seat and there’s a bike in the way. Garbage."

Speaking about the winning projects, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps commented: "These winners will hopefully play a role in putting passengers at the centre of our railways as we build back better from COVID-19. The competition always throws up surprises and the ideas shown today could transform how we travel in future." Right, Grant...You might want to listen to some of the reaction first... 

Back in 2019, Cycling UK slammed the "awful" cycle storage on GWR's high-speed trains...And we've had our own terrible train experiences editor Jack took to the live blog to detail exactly what it's like trying to take a very expensive bike across the country by train. Spoiler alert: it's not fun...

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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