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Councillor resigns over anti-cyclist 'w*nking off the Dutch' tweet; Jeremy Vine tours Kensington High Street congestion; Coroner records air pollution cause of death; Sir Chris Hoy: Cyclists and drivers should be 'less tribal' + more on the live blog

It's Wednesday and Dan Alexander is here to take you through the middle of the week on the live blog...
16 December 2020, 16:59
Councillor resigns over anti-cyclist 'w*nking off the Dutch' tweet

Councillor Liam Walker found himself in hot water after replying to a tweet which suggested cyclists should "f*ck off over" to the Netherlands and that cyclists are "constantly w*nking off the Dutch." The councillor apologised after criticism from cycling groups and politicians, however a panel concluded he breached Oxfordshire County Council's code of conduct. He announced his resignation this afternoon on Twitter.

In a statement he said: "I have apologised to those who were genuinely offended by the tweet. It is regrettable that the process has taken up valuable staff time and that taxpayers' money has been used to investigate; at times, aspects of the response have felt disproportionate."

Councillor Walker tweet
16 December 2020, 16:20
Tadej Pogačar explains mixed emotions about beating Primož Roglič in Tour de France
Tadej Pogacar beats Primoz Roglic to the line in Stage 15 of 2020 Tour de France (picture credit Cor Vos/SWpix.com)

Tadej Pogačar spoke to L'Équipe this week and explained his mixed emotions about beating Primož Roglič in such a brutal fashion on the final TT stage of the Tour de France. Pogačar claimed the Yellow Jersey from his compatriot on Stage 20 with a devastating performance in the individual time trial stage to La Planche des Belles Filles. "At the time, I didn’t really know what to feel. Everything was tangled up in my chest, I had conflicting emotions," he said.

"I had been a Roglič fan since his first results. Between the ages of 15 and 20, I was shouting in front of my television for him to win, and now I was the one who had beaten him, who had denied him from achieving what he had been dreaming of for years… It was really strange. I kept telling myself: 'That’s racing, that’s sport, it’s normal that I want to win.'

"A few minutes after he finished, I was in the television tent and he came to find me and give me a hug. I’ll never forget that moment. It’s as though he was giving me permission to enjoy it and telling me it wasn’t my fault."

16 December 2020, 13:30
Landmark case as coroner says air pollution contributed to death of nine-year-old girl

In a landmark case, exposure to air pollution has been recorded as the medical cause of death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah. It is the first time exposure to air pollution has been recorded as the medical cause of death in the UK. A coroner ruled that dangerous levels of air pollution "made a material contribution" to the child's death in 2013.

At the end of the two-week inquest at Southwark Coroner's Court, assistant coroner Philip Barlow stated: "I will conclude that Ella died of asthma, contributed to by exposure to excessive air pollution." The recorded medical cause of death was acute respiratory failure, severe asthma and air pollution exposure.

Ella and her family lived 25 metres from the South Circular Road in Lewisham, south east London. Professor Sir Stephen Holgate told the inquest that Ella's condition, combined with the air pollution she experienced on a daily basis had put her at "exquisite" risk. He added that he was "almost certain" her asthma would have been "substantially less severe" if the level of pollution in the area had been within lawful EU limits.

16 December 2020, 14:10
Belgian group buys majority stake in Canyon
canyon factory boxes - via canyon

Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) has acquired a majority stake in Canyon Bicycles.  Founder Roman Arnold will retain a 40% stake in the company and reinvest a substantial amount of the proceeds from the sale. He will also stay on as the chairperson.

The investment comes after Arnold's decison to step down as CEO following a record year which saw €400 million of sales. GBL already controls a majority stake in Adidas and their investment signals the end of TSG Consumer Partners relationship with Canyon.

16 December 2020, 12:15
Egan Bernal's younger brother already attracting interest from Gianni Savio
Egan Bernal and Dave Brailsford (via ITV Cycling on Twitter)

Egan Bernal's 15-year-old brother, Ronald, is on the radar of Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec manager Gianni Savio, who is interested in signing him once he turns 18. Savio confirmed to Cyclingnews that he would be happy to help Ronald develop — similar to how he aided Egan's trajectory up until 2018 when the 2019 Tour de France winner moved to Team Sky.

Savio said: "I spoke to Vladimir Chiuminatto, who runs the Bernal fan club in Colombia and we spoke about Ronald. They say he has some of the talent of his brother and I’d be happy to help him just as I did with Egan but not until he’s 18.

"Everyone knows how I helped Egan develop and I’d be happy to do the same with Ronald but it’s far too early to think he’d automatically follow in Egan’s footsteps. Egan rightly wants to protect his younger brother and so do I, so let’s give him time to develop."

Egan is currently facing months of rehabilitation to recover from the spinal problem that hindered him in 2020.

16 December 2020, 11:40
A flooded bike lane isn't going to stop them
16 December 2020, 11:25
Brought By Bike: a new directory of companies and tradespeople who deliver by bike

Brought By Bike is a searchable directory of companies and tradespeople who deliver by bike. It was created to make it simple for anyone across the UK to find plumbers, bakers, electricians and anything else you can think of that will travel or can be delivered by more sustainable means. So far they have 180 listings (and the list appears to be growing as we type), including 19 bakeries, 11 gardeners, 10 breweries and 10 plumbers.

16 December 2020, 10:52
Hill & Ellis release new limited edition saddle and handlebar bag
Hill & Ellis saddle/handlebar bag

This stylish Hill & Ellis bag is designed to be 'perfect for the day ride, or a short commute' and can be attached to your saddle or handlebars. Handcrafted from leather in the UK, the bag is made from materials sourced as close to Hill & Ellis's London workshop as possible. It is available in seven colourways and costs £80.

16 December 2020, 09:30
Pork 'N Pine: Cycling Santa delivers Christmas trees and pork sandwiches

This is a unique business idea I can can get behind. Pork 'N Pine in Baltimore delivers Christmas trees and pork sandwiches via bike couriers dressed as Santa Claus... A tree delivered on a bike would be impressive enough but to get a pulled pork sandwich too... Someone in the UK needs to take notes. The service is so popular it has completely sold out for 2020.

16 December 2020, 10:19
Sir Chris Hoy: Cyclists and drivers should be 'less tribal'
Sir Chris Hoy podium London 2012 (copyright britishcycling.org.uk)

Speaking to The Herald, six-time Olympic gold medallist called on cyclists and drivers to be "less tribal." Hoy was speaking about how the UK can follow countries like The Netherlands and Germany in achieving a culture of active travel. He said: "My dream is, that in 20 years time we can look back and see the same thing that happened in Holland or Denmark or Germany where you aren't a cyclist, you are just someone getting around.

"People need to be less tribal about it. People see themselves as cyclists or drivers when in my opinion we are just people trying to get around. I think because the boom in cycling has come off sport, like the Tour de France, people buy all the gear but in other countries they don't cycle in lycra, a lot of people don't wear helmets."

Hoy believes the biggest barrier to people wanting to cycle to work or school is safety and that normalising cycling is crucial in encouraging more people to travel by bike.

"Holland wasn't always a cycling country, the big push came in the 1970s," he explained. "I do think it is the answer and it is achievable but it won't happen overnight and it won't be an easy process. Any change comes up against resistance. 

"If you are absolutely determined never to ride a bike and all you want to do is drive a car then fair enough but if there are more people on bikes then there are less cars and drivers are going to benefit too. The biggest barrier to people cycling to work or school is safety. If there is a collision between a cyclist and a car, it's the cyclist who is going to come off worst.

"We are all someone's husband, wife, son or daughter, we should be looking out for one another. You don't see the cyclist stopping at the red light, you only remember the ones that jump the lights in the same way that you only remember the white van that was aggressive."

16 December 2020, 08:46
Jeremy Vine takes you on a tour of Kensington High Street now the bike lane has been replaced with...congestion

One of the key reasons for the Kensington High Street cycle lane being removed was that it was causing congestion...This video, shared by Jeremy Vine, shows what it is like to cycle down the High Street now the wands have been removed for a few weeks.

The broadcaster followed up the video by saying: "Someone will die on that street. But many will simply not brave it on a bicycle. They'll use cars, and the congestion will get worse. The irony is that the council acted after being attacked in the Daily Mail by Nigel Havers, who said the cycle lane had ruined his Sunday walk."

However, the message that some took from this is not how little change removing the bike lane has made to congestion but rather that the cyclist in the video is riding dangerously...

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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