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Bike lane cyclo-cross training or proof active travel is stuck in the mud?; Jeremy Vine & MGIF taxi driver; Going for a run? Remember you helmet; 10/10 new cycle lane; Vuelta route; Bollard brilliance; Pro rider retirement + more on the live blog

It's Friday and Dan Alexander will be taking you through to the weekend with the final live blog of the week...
17 December 2021, 15:16
"Eddy Merckx was unique and only Tadej Pogačar can perhaps equal his success": Ernesto Colnago talks up Tour champ's chances of becoming GOAT
2021 Tour de France ITT Tadej Pogacar Colnago - 1

Ernesto Colnago had some very nice things to say about Tadej Pogačar, notably that the double Tour champ is the only rider to have a shot at matching Eddy Merckx's legacy. Call me cynical, but it probably helps that Pogačar promotes Colnago bikes in the best way possible — dominating the Tour de France on one.

> Tadej Pogacar’s Tour de France-winning bike: a closer look at the Campagnolo parts that propelled him to victory

But we reckon Tadej's talent has more to do with the praise than just the fact he rides Ernesto's bikes. "Eddy Merckx was unique and only Tadej Pogačar can perhaps equal his success," Colnago told Gazzetta. "That’s because we don’t yet know  real limits and his real ability. He’s talented but also humble, with his feet on the ground and a good guy. I love him like a son and he wins on a Colnago too!"

17 December 2021, 14:52
"I don’t want to have to wait for an accident before measures are taken to make it safer": Dad calls for change over speeding drivers
Gloucester Road Bath (Google Street View)

A father warned Somerset Live about drivers clocking "terrifying" speeds on roads close to a school in Bath. Jim Edmunds told the news website his sons use the Gloucester Road to cycle to school, and despite the 40mph limit, some drivers exceed it.

"It used to be the old main road into Bath so lots of people use it as a rat run and the pavements are quite narrow. You've got around 60 people, including parents and children, cycling or walking up there every day and coming back down again.

"When I take my own boys up there, I have to ride in the middle of the lane so everyone can see us. There are always a few wobbles when they're going up the hill and it terrifies me that I keep seeing all these cars whizzing past."

Jim said a cycle lane would help and wishes the area had been selected under the liveable neighbourhood scheme.

"It’s an ideal road to turn into a cycle lane as it’s very wide with plenty of space for pavement as well. If you had a 20mph limit and a cycle lane on the uphill stretch, it would improve a lot. This is one of the best ways out of the north of Bath because it’s not as steep as the others, so it could help leisure cyclists access the countryside."

17 December 2021, 14:28
Returning sons Vincenzo Nibali and Miguel Ángel López to ride Giro-Tour double for Astana
Vincenzo Nibali after winning 2016 Giro d'Italia (PHOTO CREDIT ANSA - PERI - DI MEO - ZENNARO).jpg

Both Vincenzo Nibali and Miguel Ángel López will ride the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France next season on their return to the team where both arguably achieved their greatest success.

Nibali won two Giro crowns and the Tour de France while with Astana between 2013 and 2016, while Lopez raced with the team for six years before his year at Movistar ended in tears.

The Shark of Messina will begin his campaign in Spain before returning to his homeland for Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. López will lead the team at the Italian Grand Tour, but will also be on the start line for the Tour de France in an undefined role.

Alexey Lutsenko is set to be the team leader in France, aiming for a podium place having achieved a career-best seventh place this year.

17 December 2021, 13:32
Cycling past a traffic jam
17 December 2021, 11:07
Coroner rules injuries sustained in a bicycle crash 30 years ago contributed to Pennsylvania man's death

A coroner in Pennsylvania has ruled injuries sustained in a cycling crash in 1986 contributed to the death of a man decades later.

WFMZ reports Leath Hixon Jr, 71, died on Thursday morning at Lehigh Valley Hospice from complications to a traumatic brain injury suffered more than 30 years ago.

Hixon was riding a bike when he was hit by a driver, his death was ruled an accident.

17 December 2021, 10:09
Jeremy Vine and a MGIF taxi driver
17 December 2021, 10:02
Cross-city protected cycleways

What do the people of Bolton have to do to get one of these on Chorley New Road? 

News editor Simon tells me the video starts at the bit of C9 opened a year ago and finishes outside the Lyric Theatre, where the route opened from today. It means excluding Kensington High Street there is a protected cycleway from Turnham Green in the west to Tower Hill in the east, 8 miles away according to Strava.

17 December 2021, 08:45
Welsh rider Scott Davies retires from professional cycling at 26

After a year hindered by a hip injury, Scott Davies has not been offered a contract extension by Bahrain Victorious. Instead, the 26-year-old has decided to retire from professional cycling. 

"After a challenging 18 months with injury, surgery, and rehab, I've had to come to the difficult decision to retire early from professional cycling," Davies said in a statement shared on social media. "A decision I'd hoped wouldn't come so soon, but one that comes at the end of a journey I'll be forever grateful for."

Davies came through the British domestic scene with Madison Genesis and Team Wiggins before earning a WorldTour contract at Dimension Data in 2018. At the start of 2020 he moved to Bahrain Victorious, riding the Vuelta at the end of his first season, however the Welsh rider was only able to compete twice this year due to his injury problems.

17 December 2021, 08:42
Bollard brilliance + but cyclists rolled into one...

Clearly what happened here is that nasty bike jumped a red light, forcing the car to hit a bollard instead...

17 December 2021, 08:23
2022 Vuelta a España route: summit finish at 2,500m + lots of TT kilometres

An interesting, intriguing Vuelta a España route has been announced for 2022. As we already knew, the race will begin in Utrecht in the Netherlands, and the team time trial is back on the menu. The teams will face a pan flat 23km test against the clock to get things underway before two easy looking sprint stages.

An early rest day after stage three will allow the race back into Spain ahead of a series of hilly stages, culminating with the first summit finish of the race on stage six. Back-to-back summit finishes follow on stages eight and nine.

After the rest day we have the second TT of the race, a long and very flat 31km individual effort. The second week alternates between summit finishes and some flatter days for either a breakaway or any of the fast men brave enough to rack up the demanding late season miles.

Stage 16 is the most eye-catching day on paper — a summit finish at Sierra Nevada, 2,500m above sea level. For context, that's only 100m below the Galibier, or 200m off the Stelvio.

The final week features a series of hilly and medium mountain days, likely designed to set up a late ambush for position by anyone willing to risk it all. The race returns to Madrid for the stage 21 finale, where we should see a sprint between whoever's left by this point in the season.

17 December 2021, 08:16
Going for a run? Remember your helmet

If you don't go for a run you never have this problem... 

17 December 2021, 07:49
Stuck in the mud cyclo-cross bike lane (+ a quick history lesson about Chorley New Road)

Back in March the orcas creating a somewhat segregated cycle lane on the Chorley New Road near Bolton were removed. Then, in September, it was confirmed they would not be reinstated, with councillors claiming people disliked the look of them (it's a conservation area don't you know) "but also because of the congestion they caused."

One of the reported benefits, according to Mr Happy Cyclist (his name, not mine) above, was apparently the council claiming it would mean the cycle lane could be better cleaned. Or maybe they're being considerate and giving the commuters of Bolton a chance to practice their cyclo-cross skills en route to the office...

In July, the council decided not to reinstate the wand orcas, which were removed ahead of an IRONMAN event, until the end of its Active Travel Consultation. The council said, "This is to avoid any unnecessary expenditure should the council decide not to make them a permanent fixture."

This all followed information from Transport for Greater Manchester's on-street sensor technology showing that cycle journeys on Chorley New Road increased by 167 per cent during lockdown. You could say some councils are stuck in the mud when it comes to active travel...

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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