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Can disc brakes claim first Tour de France victory? Pogacar wins on rim brakes again; Bahrain Victorious defiant after raid; LTDA 'help members dodge charges'; Hammersmith Bridge to reopen; Cyclist's selfie snaps lightning strike + more on the live blog

Dan Alexander is in the hot seat for all your live blog needs this Thursday
15 July 2021, 17:42
Is the Tour de France still waiting for its first disc brake-equipped winner? All three of Pogacar's stage wins on rim brakes
pogacar rim brake bike - via aso.PNG

As noted in our rolling article charting every bike that has won a Tour de France stage this year, the race leader Tadej Pogacar opted for a rim brake Colnago V3Rs for yesterday's mountainous stage... and he did so again today for his stage 18 victory. As the Colnago K-One time trial bikes run rim brakes too, that means that despite Pogacar using a disc brake bike for most of the race, all three stages he has won have been on rim brakes. It's led to some social media debate as to whether it can be said that Pogacar is the first disc brake-equipped winner of the Tour de France... 

Really it's got to be a no, as Pogacar has mixed and matched - but it's likely he'll roll into Paris on the disc-equipped bike (and it's also looking increasingly likely that it'll be a yellow one) because stage 21 is pan flat. 

We've theorised that Pogacar opts for rim brakes in the mountains for a slight weight advantage - although some top-end disc brake road bikes are now down to the UCI weight limit, so there's a chance this might not be the only reason. As we reported earlier this week, Chris Froome swapped his Shimano disc brake callipers out for what we think were Magura versions for the mountain stages, possibly in an attempt to stop rubbing on descents. 

So, is Pogacar switching to rim brakes for advantages going up, down or both? We'll do some digging and hopefully have some answers soon... 

15 July 2021, 16:03
Pic of the day starring Emmanuel Macron...and a Cav update
Emmanuel Macron Tour de France S18 (credit ASO/Charly Lopez)

Here's your daily Cav update...he made it. No time cut worries from here on in, barring major misfortune Cav will be in Paris...

15 July 2021, 15:07
Taxi drivers association advertises how it can help members dodge dangerous driving and road rage assault charges

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association hastily deleted this campaign after it received the wrong type of publicity online. Titled 'Who's got your back?' the advert encouraging drivers to join suggested its expertise could help defend members of "all alleged offences anytime, anywhere".

Charged with jumping a red light? Careless driving? Dangerous driving? Or road rage assault? The LTDA said it could help turn you into the one smiling man pictured representing a member who has got off scot-free.

One reply to the campaign called it a "massive self-own", while another suggested it just had to be a parody...

15 July 2021, 14:27
Tour de Tietema videos blocked by ASO

We featured one of Tour de Tietema's videos on the live blog on Tuesday when they organised the Tour de France wheelie contest in Andorra. Unfortunately, the YouTubers' videos have been blocked by ASO.

In a statement, Bas, Josse and Devin said: "We have had a phone call with ASO, in which we were told they have filed a claim to YouTube for violating regulations regarding (race) image rights. They don't see a possibility to solve this in any way, which means that the blocked videos containing any footage we shot during the race will no longer be visible.

"ASO apologised for taking the videos offline unannounced, as well as for wrongfully taking the videos without race footage offline. In addition, a gesture was made to discuss how we can work together in the future. We appreciate this."

The group's videos have earned them 100,000 subscribers...This year's now-blocked episodes included the wheelie contest, riding a city bike up Mont Ventoux and creating a bar for riders to grab an alcohol-free beer mid-stage.

15 July 2021, 13:24
Hammersmith Bridge to reopen to cyclists and pedestrians this weekend
Hammersmith Bridge (copyright Simon MacMichael)

Hammersmith Bridge is to reopen to pedestrians and cyclists this weekend. The river crossing has been closed entirely since August last year when cracks in pedestals worsened during a heatwave. Following a safety investigation, engineers have given the go-ahead for pedestrians and cyclists to resume using the route. 

A report handed to Hammersmith Council said checks on the four pedestals and supporting chains showed the risk of further cracking to be sufficiently low.

"The risk of further cracking is now known to be very low, and any that may occur are very unlikely to prompt rapid crack growth due to the now demonstrably stable condition of the bridge structure.

"The application of a permanent solution remains a priority. Without a funded plan for repair, the limited current use must cease eventually. It is not acceptable in managing safety risk to rely upon interim measures indefinitely."

The bridge will continue to be closed to motor traffic, as it has since April 2019 when "critical faults" in the cast-iron casing were found. Hammersmith Council had been exploring the possibility of a passenger ferry service in case the bridge had to remain shut into the autumn.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council Leader Stephen Cowan expressed his delight at the news: "I am very pleased to confirm the latest advice from safety engineers is that we can safely re-open Hammersmith Bridge. We have instructed the team to do that. It will open this weekend.

"I know how difficult the last eleven months have been for people, particularly children needing to cross the river to get to school and those who need to attend medical appointments or get to work."

15 July 2021, 12:55
Bahrain Victorious have "nothing to hide" according to Matej Mohoric
Matej Mohoric on his way to winning Stage 7 of the 2021 Tour de France (picture credit ASO, Pauline Ballet)

Stage seven winner Matej Mohoric says Bahrain Victorious have "nothing to hide" after the team's hotel was raided by French police last night. Riders rooms were searched and training files handed over to the authorities. The Slovenian spoke to the press before the start of stage 18...

"I don’t feel uncomfortable because they went through all my stuff because I have nothing to hide, I don’t care," Mohoric said. "They went through all the phones and messages, they took some riders’ phones and computers.

"I still find it a little bit weird that at this time in this year they still believe we are doing something illegal. We are more determined than ever to go out there to do as well as we did up to this point, to take control of the race, the team classification. We are more focused than ever to do this mountain stage."

Italian champion Sonny Colbrelli added: "They searched all the rooms, the gendarmes were good and were just doing their job. They put everything back the way they found it in an orderly fashion. We’re good, a bit nervous because these aren’t great things for cycling. These are the last days of the Tour, yesterday was a hard stage and we could not sleep until 2:30 or 3:00 am, and then this morning we were up again early."

Mohoric is in currently in the five-man breakaway alongside Julian Alaphilippe, Sean Bennett, Christopher Juul-Jensen and Pierre-Luc Périchon.

15 July 2021, 11:10
Tour de France stage 18: Final day in the mountains includes famous ascent of Col du Tourmalet before summit finish at Luz Ardiden
TdF 2021 Stage 18 profile.jpg

I almost forgot there is a stage today with all that morning drama...It's the final day in the mountains and we have a second HC summit finish in a row. There are a couple of early lumps where you can be sure Michael Matthews will be gunning for the breakaway to nab intermediate sprint points in Pouzac.

The meat of the stage comes in the final 50km, starting with Col du Tourmalet, the Souvenir Jacques Goddet. Luz Ardiden is the site of the finale and is 13.3km @ 7.4 per cent. It's the final chance for Jonas Vingegaard to try and crack Tadej Pogačar and the final chance for many riders to claim a stage win, so expect fireworks.

15 July 2021, 11:02
Reuters journalist Julien Prétot reports French prosecutor has opened preliminary investigation into doping allegations at Bahrain Victorious
15 July 2021, 10:55
Bahrain Victorious statement on hotel raid

Bahrain Victorious has released a statement confirming that riders' rooms were searched and training files handed over as part of the raid on the hotel that the team was staying at in Pau last night. 

Vladimir Miholjević commented: "Following stage 17, we were greeted by several French police officers. We were not given a warrant to read through, but the team complied with all the officers’ requests.

"We are committed to highest level of professionalism and adherence to all regulatory requirements and will always be cooperating in a professional manner. The process had impacted our riders recovery and meal planning and as a professional team, the well being of our team is a key priority."

15 July 2021, 10:12
Welsh rugby legend Shane Williams launches cycling clothing range

Shane Williams has taken up endurance sports since retiring from rugby with 87 caps and his country's try-scoring record. He has completed Ironman events and continued to rack up the records, including the rather niche Guinness World Record for 'Most castles visited in one week by bicycle'...It was 50 castles, all in Wales, and 736.71 miles covered...if you were wondering.

Today, Williams has also announced the launch of his own sportswear range, including a cyclewear line. "We know there’s a big focus on getting people out and active as we emerge from the pandemic," he said. "I’m doing what I can to inspire and encourage people of all ages to get on a bike and keep fit. My new AGILIS clothing venture reflects my latest passions of cycling and triathlon, with a range of high quality, stylish cyclewear and leisurewear."

The range includes female and male race cut jerseys, as well as a long sleeve option, bib shorts and gilets. To mark the launch, Williams will be hosting a Zwift ride at 2pm this afternoon.

15 July 2021, 09:49
Local media reports raid was ordered by Marseille public prosecutor who targeted Nairo Quintana and Arkéa–Samsic at last year's race

Local newspaper Sud Ouest is reporting the raid on Bahrain Victorious' hotel and team vehicles was ordered by the Marseille prosecutor's office, the same authority who targeted Nairo Quintana and Arkéa–Samsic at last year's Tour de France.

Back in September, at the 2020 edition, Nairo Quintana's hotel room was raided by authorities - also after stage 17. A team doctor and soigneur were taken into custody but quickly released and little has been heard of the incident since.

15 July 2021, 09:38
Lukas Pöstlberger bunny-hopping his way to cycling out of context fame

Ah, well. If you need some cheering up after the first two live blog posts then watch how much fun Lukas Pöstlberger had bunny-hopping speed bumps...

15 July 2021, 09:04
Bahrain Victorious hotel raided by police at Tour de France

 Bahrain Victorious' hotel was raided by police at the Tour de France on Wednesday evening, according to Cyclingnews. Reports suggest the team's bus was also searched by up to 50 police officers and that no arrests have been made. 

"Nothing special, we have a visit from the police, they ask for riders training files, they check bus and that’s it," team boss Milan Eržen told Cyclingnews. "They disturb riders for one hour and at the end, they said thank you. They didn’t tell us what’s the reason of visit, but we will found this out today through lawyers."

Movistar were also staying at the hotel in Pau but did not get a visit from the officers. Reuters reporter Julien Prétot says a police source told him they have been on the team's case since last year and were in the team's hotel until 2am. Reports in Le Parisien earlier in the season led general manager Milan Eržen to defend the team in light of anonymous doping accusation following the team's impressive Giro d'Italia and Critérium du Dauphiné. Both sources were off the record and had no proof to support the allegations.

At the time, Eržen said: "I don’t care what one sports director has to say. He can say whatever he wants. We’re doing our jobs and we’ve invested in this team, in our riders, coaches, training camps and nutrition. Everything. Sooner or later results need to come.

"I don’t know what kind of suspicions there are. We are following the work of last year and Rod Ellingworth, he taught us a lot and I can be 110 per cent sure that we’re working by the rules."

15 July 2021, 07:49
Cyclist's selfie snaps moment siblings were struck by lightning near Hampton Court during flash flooding
Cyclist struck by lightning (Image credit: Isobel Jobson)

 Three siblings from Berkshire were struck by lightning after sheltering under a tree close to Molesey Lock, near Hampton Court Palace, during Monday's flash flooding and thunderstorms. The selfie captures the moment the trio were struck. Rachel, Isobel and Andrew Jobson were taken to St George's Hospital in Tooting but discharged later in the day after receiving treatment for burns.

The incident happened while they were cycling to see their aunt at her home in Epsom, Surrey. PhD student Isobel, 23, told the BBC: "The picture of us at the moment the lightning strike happened was at 17:05. I took a picture of us smiling and we then wanted a sad picture in the rain. All of a sudden I was on the ground and couldn't hear anything apart from this high-pitched buzzing. My whole right arm was numb and I couldn't move it."

Siblings shelter before being struck by lightning (Image credit: Isobel Jobson)

Her sister, Rachel, added: "We were taking the picture with our phone and then the next thing, I was on the ground. I felt disjointed. My sister and I were screaming. I got burnt on my thigh and stomach and it's left lightning-like marks behind on me and my sister. I couldn't feel my arm."

The family were told the titanium plates in Isobel's arm from a cycling crash last year might have led to the lightning surge striking them.

"My sister's arm was very hot, because of the plate. Everyone was amazed at what had happened to us," Rachel said.

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 enjoying life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends exploring the south of England.

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