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Ineos Grenadiers slammed for relentless 4x4 promotion; Chris Boardman clip on lockdown cycling descends into helmet row; West Mercia Police say Close Pass Op WILL go ahead; Tino Asprilla shares strange Rigo Uran pic + more on the live blog

Welcome to Tuesday's live blog, with Jack Sexty at the controls and Simon MacMichael taking over later this evening. ...
15 September 2020, 16:13
"It's just not a great look really": Debate over heavy promotion of Ineos Grenadier 4x4 continues

The Ineos Grenadiers have taken to featuring the vehicle in the background whenever they interview their riders, and some are uncomfortable with such heavy promotion of a 4x4 that isn't exactly environmentally-friendly and could be considered more dangerous than your regular runaround. 

Others have defended Ineos, saying it's drivers who are dangerous rather than the car they drive, and that the Grenadier is more intended for off-road use. Do you think the whole Ineos Grenadier thing is a wise PR move? It certainly doesn't seem to have brought the team any luck at the Tour so far...  

15 September 2020, 15:39
Tour de France: Ambulance driver who knocked over Bob Jungels on stage 15 has been removed

After appearing to take out Sergio Higuita, who was forced to abandon, Jungels was then hit by an ambulance driver further up the road. The UCI's communications department replied to the tweet above, saying: "Race officials have taken action. The driver of the ambulance who hit Bob Jungels has been sent off the Tour de France and fined."

15 September 2020, 15:35
Lennard Kämna wins Tour de France stage 16

The 24-year-old Bora-Hansgrohe man demolished the field today, with Richard Carapaz coming in over a minute behind - full stage report here.  

15 September 2020, 15:32
Things we didn't expect to see at the 2020 Tour de France: Egan Bernal dropped from the GC group with Greipel and Sam Bennett

It looks like Bernal is fully committed to going into the break tomorrow, as he chills behind the GC group with the sprinters. 

15 September 2020, 15:25
Chris Boardman helmet row rolls on

Some continue to say that Boardman should have been wearing a helmet while presenting the ITV segment, while others have defended him for choosing not to. We doubt Mr Boardman cares very much, and will continue doing excellent work as Manchester's Cycling and Walking Commissioner. 

15 September 2020, 13:57
Rennes steps in to host first ever French Naked Bike Ride following bans in Paris and Lyon

Rennes hosted the landmark clothes-less occasion on Sunday where Paris and Lyon couldn't, and some are hoping it could become an annual event to highlight environmental issues. Michèle Charles-Dominé from the French Naturist Federation (FFN) told RFI: “We’re delighted, we laughed a lot, had a great time.

“When you care about nature, it’s better to be naked, you show your fragility."

Riders had to wear masks for the 15km ride, with about 70 cyclists taking part. Charles-Dominé expressed his disappointment at Paris banning the ride suddenly, adding: "Didier Lallement (Paris' Police Chief) is simply playing for time. He waited until the last minute so we wouldn’t be able to contest the decision.” 

15 September 2020, 13:23
Aldi caught up in row over where to re-erect a popular bicycle mural, that stands where they will build a new store
milton keynes biycle mural - credit Derek Harper via geograph.PNG

Although heritage campaigners welcome the new supermarket, concerns have been raised about where Aldi have proposed the mural's 'forever site' should be, report MK Citizen.

The popular 'bicycle wall' in the Stantonbury district of Milton Keynes was created in 1978 by John Watson with the help of school pupils from the local area, and features 1,200 tiles. The building it is on was earmarked for demolition when Aldi moved in; but after a public outcry, the German grocery giants said they would place it in its original form off the supermarket site next to a redway (part of Milton Keynes' extensive cycling and walking network). 

This could be problematic according to local campaigners, with Tim Skelton of the Milton Keynes Forum saying: “The site they are proposing is only about one metre from the footpath, putting it at risk of damage and vandalism. You will be able to reach out and touch it.

“Although it would be visible from the road, there will be no visibility from the store, and we are concerned that it could be a case of out of sight, out of mind.”

Aldi rejected building the store around the mural because it wouldn't be "in keeping" with the design, and the council have demanded that they can't start building until the mural is safely erected elsewhere. Their planning expert Dan Templeton commented: "The overall strategy has been to ensure the mural is re-erected in a location that ensures it would be appreciated by the greatest number of local residents, and with an appropriate level of natural surveillance."

The council's website currently has the application for a discharge of the planning condition, and is allowing comments/suggestions on how the issue could be resolved. 

 

15 September 2020, 12:42
Coventry suspends e-scooter trial because of concerns about users riding them on the pavement
voi e-scooters 2020.PNG

Just five days after it launched, an e-scooter trial in Coventry has been suspended due to concerns about users riding on the pavement - full story over on eBikeTips

15 September 2020, 10:55
Chris Boardman's ITV segment on cycling during lockdown leads to complaints over his lack of helmet

It's time to dig out that archive pic again, and on this occasion it's because Chris Boardman dared not to wear a helmet while he was steadily pootling along in a short clip that featured during yesterday's Tour de France highlights coverage on ITV4. 

As we outlined further down the page, Boardman was explaining how cycling during lockdown boomed, and how councils quickly moved to reallocate space to cyclists and pedestrians in an era of social distancing. Wise as his words were, as you can see from some of the comments above some believe that Boardman's lack of helmet is a sin that can't be atoned for. 

Others disagree, and Boardman himself has addressed the negative comments by linking to Cycling UK's policy on helmets, which suggests that he is strongly opposed to their mandatory use. In the headline message, the policy says: 

"Cycling UK is opposed to both cycle helmet laws and to helmet promotion campaigns because these are almost certainly detrimental to public health. Evidence shows that the health benefits of cycling are so much greater than the relatively low risks involved, that even if these measures caused only a very small reduction in cycle use, this would still almost certainly mean far more lives being lost through physical inactivity than helmets could possibly save, however effective.

"In any case, there are serious doubts about the effectiveness of helmets. They are, and can only be, designed to withstand minor knocks and falls, not serious traffic collisions. Some evidence suggests they may in fact increase the risk of cyclists having falls or collisions in the first place, or suffering neck injuries"

In 2014, Boardman also claimed that helmets were "not even in top 10 of things that keep cycling safe."

15 September 2020, 10:01
"Breakdown in communications": Superintendent Steph Brighton apologises for saying close pass operation was called off in South Worcestershire, and West Mercia Police issue statement

Further to the update from West Mercia Police to say that they would be taking part in Operation Close Pass, Supt Brighton added: "I have removed an earlier Tweet that incorrectly stated that South Worcestershire officers would not be taking part in Op Close Pass. This was simply a breakdown in communications and I’m sorry."

Supt Brighton said a start date would be announced by West Mercia Police. The force also responded to a request for a statement from road.cc, with Deputy Chief Constable Julian Moss saying: “We’d like to apologise for any confusion around our participation in Operation Close Pass; whilst we always take into consideration health and safety matters we can confirm that we will be taking part. We will keep our communities up to date with our Operation Close Pass activities.

“There was was a breakdown in internal communication around the decision-making process for our participation but this has now been resolved – and we have apologised for the confusion.”

15 September 2020, 09:50
"No regrets": Egan Bernal on his unravelling yellow jersey defence so far, in totally on-brand interview

With his Dogma F12 rested against an Ineos Grenadier 4x4 in the background, the 23-year-old has reflected on his Tour so far, saying that he has given everything but can't change what happened on stage 15, where he lost over seven minutes to race leader Primoz Roglic. 

"Firstly I would like to recover a little bit", said Bernal.

"Try to help the guys. Maybe take some bidons to them, try to do this kind of work that I have never done.

"It's something that I want to do. Just try to help the guys, enjoy the race... and then, I don't know, maybe try to go in some breakaways."

The fact that Ineos appear to be shoehorning their massive off-road vehicle into everything they can hasn't gone unnoticed on social media...

15 September 2020, 09:25
Breking: Tour de France confirm all latest coronavirus tests came back negative

Of all the 785 riders, staff and organisers who remain involved in the Tour, none of the tests came back positive according to the statement. 

The entire "race bubble" was tested between 13th-14th to coincide with yesterday's rest day. The statement concluded: "The organisers of the Tour de France and the UCI would like to thank all of the teams for their collaboration and for the vigilance that they have shown and will continue to show up until the finish in Paris." 

15 September 2020, 08:55
Just Rigoberto Urán taking a ribbing from Tino Asprilla on Twitter

When legendary 90's footballers and embarrassing old photos of professional cyclists collide... somehow ex-Newcastle and Colombian national team footballer Faustino Asprilla has come into the possession of this pic, which shows a very young Rigo appearing to get blanked by a 'podium girl' as he moves in for a kiss. 

Luckily cycling's archaic tradition of placing female hostesses on the podium looks like it will soon be consigned to history, so there's less chance of eccentric footballers from 2020 posting compromising old photos of cyclists on social media by 2040...  

15 September 2020, 09:13
Chris Boardman on cycling during and after lockdown

With his Cycling and Walking Commissioner hat on, Boardman looks at how cycling boomed during the pandemic, and what needs to happen to ensure it continues - well worth four minutes of your time. 

15 September 2020, 08:27
Hasty backtracking, or a genuine misunderstanding? West Mercia Police say they will be running a Close Pass Operation, despite a superintendent saying "risk is too great" for her officers

A few hundred comments from angry social media users and celebrities plus numerous FOI requests later, the official Twitter account for West Mercia Police stepped in last night to say they will be taking part in Operation Close Pass after all. 

The problem arose when Supt Steph Brighton said her force wouldn't be taking part in a close pass operation, suggesting that it couldn't be allowed after carrying out a health and safety assessment. Naturally people took this to mean that Supt Brighton thought sending police officers out on bikes to catch close-passing drivers was too dangerous, but she says her words were taken out of context. 

Some have doubted West Mercia's intentions, accusing them of backtracking after the hugely negative reaction. Cycling campaign group Bike Worcester appear to be suggesting that the force are yet to set a date to actually start their close pass operation.

road.cc have asked West Mercia Police for a statement. 

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake. 

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