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Police give Ukrainian boy new bike – and receive a flood of anti-cycling and racist replies; “Genius” Lotus bike designer Mike Burrows dies; Dumoulin retires; Viviani’s busy day at Euros; Roglič returns for Vuelta; Bottas on gravel + more on the live blog

It’s Monday! It’s raining! It’s not scorching hot (in some parts of the UK)! And, most importantly, Ryan Mallon’s back for the first live blog of the week… What, no exclamation mark this time?
15 August 2022, 16:46
Tom Dumoulin retires from professional cycling with immediate effect

This evening marks the end of an era, as 2017 Giro d’Italia winner, former world time trial champion, Tour de France podium finisher and double Olympic medallist Tom Dumoulin has decided to call time on his illustrious career with immediate effect.

The 31-year-old Dutchman, who has suffered with injuries and burn out in recent years (despite securing his second time trial silver medal at the Olympics last year), had originally planned to retire at the end of the season.

But following a training crash in September, and with the tank seemingly “empty” as he built towards one last push at another rainbow jersey in Australia, the Jumbo-Visma rider has decided that now is the right time to draw the curtain on a stellar career.

“I decided to quit professional cycling with immediate effect,” Dumoulin said in a statement released today. “About two months ago I announced that I would retire as a professional cyclist at the end of the year.

“During last spring, despite my love for the bike, I noticed that things weren’t going how I wanted. I felt that I was ready for a new phase in my life.

“But, I still had one project on my wishlist to end my career with a bang; the World Championship in Australia. I wanted to tackle that road to the World Championship the way I tackled the road to the Tokyo Olympics. With a sense of freedom, on my terms, with the support of the team and with my intrinsic motivation as the main fuel. That’s what brought me back the joy of cycling back then.

“But I notice that I can’t do it anymore. The tank is empty, the legs feel heavy and the training sessions are not working out as I hoped and I also need to do a good performance and have a good feeling at the World Championship.

“Since my hard crash in training last September, something has broken again. I had to interrupt my efforts to return to my old shape yet again and deal with another disappointment. It was one too many.

Tom Dumoulin wins 2017 Giro d'Italia (picture credit LaPresse, RCS Sport)

LaPresse/RCS Sport

“Even though the farewell didn’t turn out the way I hoped, I look back on my career with incredible pride. I worked hard for it, took a lot of passion and pleasure from it for many years, and delivered brilliant performances. I will never forget that.

“Now it’s time to enjoy other things and be there for the people I love. A big thank you to my team and everyone who supported me during my fantastic career. And a special thank you to my wife, who had my back all these years.”

15 August 2022, 16:25
“Just waiting for Tadej Pogačar to troll”

That stem…

15 August 2022, 15:59
Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas takes on gravel race

It’s currently Formula One’s summer break (well that’s what it says here, I don’t know), but Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas – the partner of Canyon-Sram pro Tiffany Cromwell – couldn’t wait until the end of the month to scratch his racing itch.

The 32-year-old Finn raced over the weekend at the SBT GRVL race in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, finishing an impressive fourth on the 60-mile blue course and taking the win in his age group, just four minutes behind the overall winner.

Not to be outdone by a car driver, Cromwell duly won the women’s race on the 100-mile blue course.

The weekend race in Colorado wasn’t Bottas’ first experience on the gravel or with SBT GRVL. In May, he announced that he was teaming up the race organisers to create a new gravel event in Lahti, Finland, called FNLD GRVL, planned for June 2023.

The new gravel race event will offer two distances with a €20,000 pro prize purse and is expected to attract more than 1500 gravel riders from around the world.

“I’ve been riding gravel around my hometown of Lahti, Finland for years, and discovered SBT GRVL in Steamboat Springs, CO in 2021,” said Bottas. “I was impressed with such a world-class event. When Amy Charity and Chris Lyman reached out to me about partnering on a race in Finland, I saw it as a tremendous opportunity to build something similarly special in Lahti.”

15 August 2022, 15:32
Scottish racer Finn Crockett uses Commonwealth Games bronze medal… to blag some free beer

Now, that’s how you celebrate a Commonwealth Games medal.

Finn Crockett, the 23-year-old Scot who sprinted to third place behind Aaron Gate and Daryl Impey at last weekend’s Commonwealth Games road race, graduated from the University of Stirling just weeks before the race, so celebrated his surprise result in the way only a true student can – by scrounging as many free pints as he possible could.

“It seemed that having one of these gongs around your neck in Birmingham qualified you for free drinks,” the promising Ribble Weldtite rider told the Daily Record.

“I wasn’t saying no and I do confess to a few days of partying at the closing party and the Scotland team party after that.

“It was a brilliant experience for me and I’m still letting it all sink in. In the sprint, I knew I would stand a chance even though the calibre of the opposition was crazy. Half of the Ineos team were in the field and a lot of major professionals.”

He continued: “Competing in the Games and representing Scotland was living the dream but I’m taking it in my stride. I’m just going to try and build on it. My degree would definitely come in handy if I managed to get a move to a big pro team.

“Anyone in my position would probably be dreaming of the Tour de France so who knows what might happen?”

Hopefully Crockett’s bronze medal can score him more than a few gin and tonics…

15 August 2022, 15:04
Lovely weather for ducks: Belgian women’s race cancelled due to flooded roads and stormy conditions

I know, I know, we’ve all been hoping for a drop of rain these past few weeks – though I don’t think the women’s peloton at the GP Yvonne Reynders in Belgium were counting on this much rain:

The race, quite understandably, has been cancelled.

15 August 2022, 14:27
Mike Burrows
Mike Burrows, designer of the Lotus bike and “godfather of modern bicycle design”, dies

Mike Burrows, the legendary frame builder and bike designer famed for the groundbreaking Lotus carbon bike that propelled Chris Boardman to victory at the 1992 Olympic Games, has died, aged 79.

Burrows’ iconic collaboration with Lotus not only helped secure Boardman his individual pursuit gold medal, its low-slung one-piece frame – designed in an era when bikes were still almost entirely built from metal tubes welded together – was a revelation, and influenced a whole host of imitators in the 1990s.

Lotus Sport 110: The road version of Chris Boardman's Barcelona track superbike, this ground-breaking 1994 carbon was designed by Mike Burrows and Lotus. It's the apex of a period of design innovation eventually squashed by the UCI's Lugano Charter.

In the mid-nineties, Burrows once again revolutionised the world of frame design with his Total Compact Road (TCR) for Giant, with its sloping top tube inspired by the mountain bike world, and which paved the way for all modern road bikes.

Boardman has paid tribute to the man he described as “the godfather of modern bicycle design”:

 Others, such as TT specialist and writer Michael Hutchinson and transport journalist Carlton Reid have shared their own stories:

15 August 2022, 13:56
Ineos, Jumbo-Visma announce Vuelta squads, as Hayter and Turner make grand tour debuts

After an impressive 2022 season, Ethan Hayter and Ben Turner are set to make their grand tour debuts after being names in the Ineos Grenadiers squad for the upcoming Vuelta a España.

The British pair will likely target stage wins while supporting Richard Carapaz’s GC bid, in what will be the Ecuadorian’s final grand tour for Ineos after team principal Rod Ellingworth confirmed his departure in a press release today.

2020 Giro d’Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart will also be lining up in Utrecht on Friday, with Luke Plapp, Carlos Rodríguez, Pavel Sivakov and Dylan van Baarle rounding out a strong Ineos team.

Eddie Dunbar – once again – missed out on an Ineos grand tour berth (but at least he’ll finally get his chance at BikeExchange next year, right?).

“Our team for the Vuelta is a really exciting one; a great mix of experience and youth, which we believe will produce some outstanding racing,” Ellingworth said in a statement.

“To have four Grand Tour debutants in Carlos, Luke, Ethan and Ben reinforces the belief we have in the quality of our young riders and we know that they’ll provide fantastic support for Richie in his last Grand Tour with us. All four have impressed in 2022 and this will be the next big step in their development at the very highest level.

“As a previous winner, and having placed second in 2020, we’re looking forward to Richie drawing on that experience and leading the team as the race heads for Madrid, in what undoubtedly will be a very exciting edition of the Vuelta.

“Dylan, Pavel and Tao provide invaluable experience to complete a group we believe can deliver some incredible moments in the final Grand Tour of a brilliant season.

"I know that the riders and the staff will be going all out to finish this part of our campaign on a high, and we look forward to a successful race together.” 

Jumbo-Visma also announced their Vuelta squad today, after confirming that Primož Roglič will once again lead the Dutch team in Spain as he looks to emulate Roberto Heras as a four-time Vuelta winner.

“Primož has of course not had a great preparation, and is not yet completely pain-free,” admitted Jumbo-Visma’s sporting director Merijn Zeeman today. “We have a lot of confidence in him, but we don't know exactly what he is capable of.”

15 August 2022, 13:45
“This is a killer”: Matt Page’s London Edinburgh London ride

15 August 2022, 11:50
A niche pro cycling joke for all the German (and Spanish) speakers out there… because, why not?
15 August 2022, 10:55
“I hope he has a helmet”: Police give Ukrainian boy new bike – and receive a flood of anti-cycling and racist replies

A heart-warming piece of news here, on how bikes can inspire children and help foster community spirit – until, that is, you read the comments on Facebook…

Last week, police in Ribble Valley, Lancashire, shared a post on social media about the work done by the Longridge Neighbourhood Policing Team, who have secured funding to promote sustainable transport in the area.

Using that funding, the team were able to donate a bike to ten-year-old Nikita, a refugee from war-torn Kharkiv, Ukraine, who is now living in Longridge.

“Nikita has already had lots of use of his new bicycle due to this lovely weather, and is very grateful for the opportunity to integrate with other children in the area who already have bicycles of their own,” Ribble Valley Police posted on Facebook.

While many users flocked to the post to applaud the police’s initiative, which one commenter praised for “bringing some joy” during a traumatic period, the more unsavoury elements of British society (rather predictably) reared their unfortunate heads in the comments.

For some reason, a number of Facebook users saw fit to use Nikita’s new bike as an opportunity to bash cyclists and fill out their anti-cycling bingo cards.

Helmets, oddly enough, were a continuous source of discussion in the comments (presumably because anyone who rides a bike must be pictured with their helmet on at all times?).

“Hope they are getting supplied with helmets at the same time,” wrote ‘Lauren Lauren’ (maybe just a massive fan of Arsenal's early noughties-era right back?), while Carol typed: “Well done. I hope he has a cycle helmet too.”

Alfie concurred: “Great to see but where is his helmet?”

“Wow, can't believe the police are letting a child ride a bike without a helmet, so irresponsible, shame on them!” wrote another, and Doug demanded that the child “absolutely should be wearing a helmet”.

After countless helmet-related comments, Ribble Valley Police replied that “the helmet was put to one side for the photograph, but the bicycles are distributed with one.”

> Eight-year-old cyclist rides round Richmond Park to raise thousands of pounds for Ukraine

Simon also decided to steer the conversation away from helmets, and onto hi-viz clothing: “Just a suggestion to Ribble Valley Police... It might be a better idea to use some of that fund to buy and give out HI VIZ tops to some of the silly cyclists, old enough to know better, riding around in black/generally dark clothing who are almost asking to be run into.”

As well as Simon's completely necessary anti-cycling remark (and more than a few sexist jibes aimed by others at the police officer in the photo), Longridge police’s good deed also attracted the ire of the country’s grammar-challenged racists.

“How about giving depraved kids that are British born a bike and a helmet I feel 4 the kid in the Ukraine but charity begins at home,” John wrote, in between spelling lessons.

“Looks deprived in his £80 plus PSG kit. Then gets a free bike too,” raged another commenter, while another claimed that the bike donation proved “the country is a shambles”.

“There isn’t any English children that are looking for their first bike then? This kid doesn’t look like he’s under privileged? More woke signalling by the police makes me so angry!” exclaimed Rob Green (presumably not the former England international goalkeeper, who I once saw in a pub in Manchester…).

Fortunately, not everyone was frothing with gammon-soaked anger at Nikita’s new bike, with many instead praising the initiative for what it is – helping a young lad in a traumatic situation, by giving him the best thing you can give a child, a bike.

15 August 2022, 10:23
“Couples who ride together stay together”: Congrats Mildred!

Big congrats to our very own Mildred Locke, who got married over the weekend… and in some style, I may add.

Now that's how you do it, folks.

Congratulations Mildred, and enjoy your honeymoon!

15 August 2022, 09:37
Driver mounts kerb during bizarre rant at CyclingMikey (CyclingMikey, YouTube)
Weekend Roundup: From ‘Posh Ronnie Pickerings’ to Roy Keane, Italian motor doping accusations, and North Yorkshire Police finally doing their job…

There was plenty of news on over the final – final! – scorching hot weekend before the sweet, blessed water begins to fall from the sky (the accuracy of this statement may depend on where you’re currently situated)…

First, we had a long-awaited update to the now infamous Near Miss of the Day 806 (you know, the one with the dog), as North Yorkshire Police has finally admitted that the force’s initial decision not to act on the staggering footage was “wrong” and that an investigation into the incident is now “required”. As someone said on Twitter, it only took some national outrage for them to act, but fair play anyway.

In more ‘killer motorists getting laughably lenient sentences’ news, a speeding lorry driver was sentenced to seven months in prison and banned from driving for a whole 27 months after killing a 71-year-old great-grandfather who was out riding his bike. According to the judge, the motorist, who had previous convictions for careless driving, “just didn’t see him”.

In Edinburgh, a 75-year-old cyclist was angry with the city’s council after they appeared to dismiss his complaint about a particularly dangerous pothole, which he says poses a concern for schoolchildren on their bikes.

And we all finally know what Roy Keane is doing when the absolute shambles that is the current Manchester United side concedes yet another goal away to Brentford… No, not foaming at the mouth uncontrollably like the cartoon character he’s morphed into in recent years, but out on his bike, away from all the manufactured stress and aggro of the Premier League (looking at you, Tuchel and Conte).

Though the Irish legend is at pains to point out he’s “not Sean Kelly”, remember.

No, Sean is a much better pundit, after all…

On Sunday, live blog favourite CyclingMikey made the headlines again, after a hilariously posh, and ever so slightly unhinged, “ex-military” convertible driver took umbrage at Van Erp pointing out his blatant illegal texting behind the wheel.

I’m not sure he was “following the correct protocols” at all, but it did lead some Twitterer to compare our heroic, kerb-hitting friend to a “posh Ronnie Pickering”, which made my day.

Camden Council also said that new protected cycle lanes on Haverstock Hill will benefit both businesses and cyclists, after some local traders (predictably) complained, while over in Italy, a plucky amateur has been accused of motor doping after storming to victory at the Maratona dles Dolomites gran fondo, and doing some dodgy handlebar twitching on the way…

Finally, rugby union pro Ed Slater and author Davy Zyw, who both suffer from motor neurone disease, completed two epic rides to raise awareness and money for MND charities. Fair play, fellas.

15 August 2022, 09:01
2020 Vuelta Primoz Roglic in Madrid (© ASO, PHOTOGOMEZSPORT2020)
Return of the Rog: Primož Roglič to start Vuelta a España on Friday after recovering from Tour de France injuries

Just when other GC contenders thought it was safe to race in Spain…

After weeks of speculation and uncertainty surrounding his fitness following another horror crash at the Tour de France, three-time Vuelta a España winner Primož Roglič looks set to line up in Utrecht on Friday for the start of the Spanish grand tour, according to his Jumbo-Visma team.

Roglič has been the dominant force at the Vuelta in recent years, winning the last three editions on the trot as well as nine stages, but was a doubt for this month’s race after crashing hard into a stray haybale and dislocating his shoulder during the Tour’s cobbled stage five.

Primoz Roglic at 2022 Tour de France - Copyright A.S.O. Pauline Ballet

ASO/Pauline Ballet

Despite the severity of his injuries – with some reports, though unconfirmed, suggesting that Roglič had broken two vertebrae – the 32-year-old Slovenian martyred himself for the Jumbo-Visma cause, and proved integral to Jonas Vingegaard’s stunning dismantling of Tadej Pogačar on the Col du Granon, before eventually abandoning with back pain before the fifteenth stage.

Despite only returning to training on the road two weeks ago, Dutch cycling site WielerFlits reported this morning that Roglič would indeed be aiming for an unprecedented fourth straight Vuelta win, a claim that has since been verified by Jumbo-Visma.

According to VeloNews, a call between the Dutch team’s management and doctors this morning concluded with a final decision to back Roglič’s GC bid, after Sep Kuss was touted as a possible alternative in a ‘free role’ if the Slovenian wasn’t deemed fit enough.

Jumbo-Visma’s full Vuelta squad will be announced later this morning, with Kuss and Commonwealth Games time trial champion Rohan Dennis likely to feature.

Not a great morning for Remco, Jai, and Richard then…

15 August 2022, 08:33
Viviani’s busy day at the Euros: Italian wins elimination race – five hours after finishing seventh in the road race

The next time you wake up on a Sunday morning, your legs sore from the previous day’s heavy mileage, and think, ‘I can miss today’s group ride, it’ll be fine’, just take a deep breath and whisper to yourself: WWVD (What Would Viviani Do?).

Because Elia Viviani scoffs at the need for rest and recovery.

It’s safe to say that the 33-year-old Italian made the most of his busy schedule at the European Championships yesterday.

Between 10.30am and 3.00pm, the Ineos Grenadiers rider was representing his country in the 208km-long Euros road race, where he finished a very respectable seventh in the bunch sprint behind Dutch winner Fabio Jakobsen (wearing a sacrilegiously light orange skinsuit). In true Italian-team-at-a-major-championships fashion, Italy’s other designated sprinter, Alberto Dainese, was four places behind his team-mate in eleventh.

After the road race, Viviani tweeted that seventh was all “my legs could do, nothing more”. Turns out he was fibbing…

In the five hours following the conclusion of the over four and a half hours-long road race, Viviani had grabbed a bite to eat, put his feet up with a good book (I imagine), and then, by 8pm, donned the rainbow bands of world champion and took to the Munich boards for the Elimination Race… which he duly won, seeing off Germany’s Theo Reinhardt with a blistering acceleration.

Easy, eh?

Irish rider Sam Bennett, who finished fifth in the road race (so knew just how much it took out of the Italian) was one of the many in awe at Viviani’s powers of recovery:

So, when you’re next staring at the turbo trainer, contemplating whether you need that extra day of training, just say to yourself: ‘What would Viviani do?’

I’m sure there’s a market for half-rainbow stripes, half-Tricolore wristbands somewhere…

Ryan joined as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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