While there has been plenty of chatter about Ineos’ position at the top of the sport in this Pog and Rog-dominated, post-marginal gains era of cycling (we’ll leave the pub debate about marginal gains to another day, shall we?), the appointment of Dan Bigham as ‘race engineer’ at the team represents a serious attempt to bridge the ever-growing gap to UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma.
Aero guru Bigham, who worked with the superfast Danish track team at the Tokyo Olympics last year, has joined the British squad to act as a link between the athletic and engineering aspects of the sport.
“I can speak in rider terminology because I race a bike, but I can also speak in aerodynamic and engineering terminology and can be the person to bridge the two,” the 30-year-old said in a team statement.
“Following Ineos’ investment in the Mercedes F1 team… the team were already starting to learn how F1 did things and it made them realise there were a few potential gaps around the race engineering, the application of knowledge, and also gearing that towards the athlete - explaining to them why they should do things.”
Bigham, who is the current British hour record holder after surpassing Bradley Wiggins’ distance in October 2021, will continue to race time trials this season (just not for Ineos) and is even gearing up for another crack at the hour.
“Whenever I’m on camps, I can train with the squad and everyone on the team wants that because it means I can also be the test rider and drive the development that helps the squad”, he said. “It all works in harmony. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be supported to ride my bike within the team because instead of having two separate streams, pulling and pushing against each other, it meant we were all aligned and going in the same direction.”
From the end of January fitness brand Peloton will charge an extra £200 for its Bike and £250 for its treadmill, due to what the company cites as rising inflation and heightened supply chain costs.
These additional costs are to pay for delivery and set up, which up to now were inclusive of the total price. By the end of the month a Peloton bike will cost £1,550. The newer Bike+ model will remain the same price.
In August 2021 Peloton dropped the price of its core exercise bike by 20 percent after posting worsening losses for the fourth quarter of its 2020/21 financial year.
After a surge in demand from customers looking to exercise at home during the pandemic, Peloton had a much slower 2021, with shares falling by 76 percent after rising more than 440 percent the year before.
“Peloton is being impacted by global economic and supply chain challenges that are affecting the majority, if not all, businesses worldwide,” a spokesperson for the company said.
Quebec saw the TfL ‘See their side’ advert and said “hold my beer”. https://t.co/npcH5mODES
— Josh Stringfellow (@JDStringfellow) January 17, 2022
Montréal may be regarded as one of North America’s best cycling cities, but this eyebrow-raising advert produced by the Québec government – as part of a campaign to curb ‘jaywalking’ – is hardly a ringing endorsement of active travel in the province.
Astonishingly, the campaign (described by one Twitter user as the “literal embodiment of ‘I bought a car, get out of my way’”) makes Transport for London’s ill-fated See Their Side ad look like a stroke of genius in comparison.
After Rohan Dennis fired a parting shot at Ineos by claiming that the British outfit were “copying” his new team Jumbo-Visma, this week it’s Chris Froome’s turn to weigh in on the battle for supremacy between cycling’s super teams.
Speaking at Israel-Premier Tech’s team presentation, Froome – who won seven grand tours during his decade-long stint at Sky/Ineos – said: “Team Sky were setting the benchmark, if you like, but in previous years other teams have caught up.
"At the moment there are certainly two or three of the bigger teams who are on a very similar level, especially when it comes to riding Grand Tours and controlling the Grand Tours, in terms of the general classification. So it does seem to be much more of an even playing field in that sense."
While offering a more taciturn assessment of Ineos’ current fortunes than Dennis (nothing surprising there then), Froome’s comments nevertheless provide a stark reminder of the challenges ahead if the British team is to regain its spot as cycling’s dominant squad, ahead of the likes of Jumbo-Visma and UAE.
Like his old team, Froome has also faced a number of challenges over the last few years. After spending two years struggling to return to race fitness after his horrific crash at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné, Froome has suffered another setback ahead of the 2022 season: at the start of January the British climber revealed that he suffered a knee injury as a result of overtraining.
The 36-year-old was, however, deemed fit to join Israel-Premier Tech’s training camp in Girona this week, though he confirmed that his start to the season would be delayed due to the injury.
Even in my short time at road.cc, I’ve become accustomed to what I call the ‘responsibility pedants’ among the site’s readers.
We all know the type – the ones who jump into the comments section of a news story to point out (and rightly so) that it wasn’t a car that struck the cyclist, but the motorist driving the car.
Well, on tonight’s Panorama it seems that the responsibility has shifted from the car to the roads.
The trailer for tonight’s programme, titled ‘Britain’s Killer Roads?’, states that “Britain’s roads are getting more dangerous”, with fatalities rising by five percent in 2020 – the first significant rise in four decades.
In a particularly heart-breaking case highlighted in the clip, one woman – who tragically lost four members of her family including her son and two grandchildren after a crash on the A82 outside Fort William – blamed the road for the accident.
The police watchdog attributed the increase in deaths to the “negligible presence” of police officers on the roads, due to the "low priority” given to road safety. A community speed watch volunteer interviewed for the programme also said that “safety comes down to money”.
What do you think? Are dangerous roads, reductions in police numbers, and a lack of speed cameras really to blame for fatalities on our roads? Perhaps tonight’s full investigation will shed light on some other causes…
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) January 17, 2022
While the row over Covid vaccinations in sport has tended to focus on footballers and a certain Serbian tennis star, the news that France’s controversial vaccine pass law will apply to professional sportspeople could have a serious impact on some of cycling’s biggest races.
By the time Paris-Nice rolls around in early March, we might have a clear idea of where the vax/anti-vax dividing line is drawn in the peloton…
We’re really moving…
And this is a movement!
Sound up for Florence + the Machine!
Riders- can you spot yourselves…?
— Carla Francome (@carlafrancome) January 16, 2022
There was a brilliant turnout yesterday for the Winter Wonder Ride, a family-friendly women’s group ride organised by Westminster Women on Wheels with help from the Westminster Cycling Campaign.
The ride, which was organised to promote safe cycling for women in central London, took in most of the capital’s iconic sights before finishing by the statue of suffragette Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, and was attended by cyclists from across the UK. Oh, and the dress code? "Warm and Fabulous".
Only protected bike lanes or low-traffic roads were used during the ride, in a bid to both celebrate the installation of safe, segregated cycling infrastructure and to call for further expansion of London’s protected bike network, which the group claims is key to encouraging more women to cycle.
What a beautiful ride, blue skies, sunshine, lovely people and loads of cycle lane. Great to see so many women out cycling today. Thank you @Westminster_LCC #winterwonderride pic.twitter.com/xweZCTzSvy
— Twig (@Twigletcycles) January 16, 2022
One of the event’s organisers, Helen Jones, said, “Leading rides in London for women made me realise how important it is, especially for women, to feel safe cycling on city streets. Protected lanes give this sense of safety, but lanes shared with motor vehicles, even Westminster’s ‘quietways’, do not.”
Judging by all the photos and videos shared yesterday, the ride was a roaring success and hopefully a harbinger of things to come – with many of those taking part saying it was the first time they had ever ridden their bikes in central London.
— Let’s get cracking 🏴💚 (@eilidhmurray3) January 16, 2022
Held four days after the murder of Ashling Murphy in Co. Offaly – a tragedy which highlighted the inherent dangers for women exercising outdoors – the Winter Wonder Ride’s aim to make women feel safe while cycling in London has never been timelier.
— anna holligan 🎙 (@annaholligan) January 17, 2022
Over the past year BBC News foreign correspondent Anna Holligan has amassed quite the online following for her daily dose of ‘Dutch News from the Cycle Path’.
Her bike lane bulletins even caught on with journalists and politicians around the world, which prompted Radio Norfolk’s Richard Hancock to praise the “soft power” of the Beeb. Can’t think which recent news story he could be referring to…
Mike van Erp, better known on social media as CyclingMikey, has been getting about a bit this week.
Last week on the live blog we covered his alleged run-in with an enraged texter, while it was confirmed on Friday that a charge against ex-footballer Frank Lampard had been dropped despite footage – filmed by CyclingMikey – showing the former Chelsea and England player holding a phone and a cup of coffee behind the wheel.
Things took a slightly weird turn yesterday when Mike revealed that he had filmed a distracted driver… who was reading an article on his phone about CyclingMikey himself. Very meta.
Just caught a Tesla driver on the phone, he was reading a Dutch newspaper article about me. Probably not sufficient evidence, but am still going to put online. Also the black cabbie behind me then swerved at me intentionally. He will be reported.
— CyclingMikey tired of road crime. 🇪🇺🇳🇱🇿🇼 (@MikeyCycling) January 16, 2022
TOURISTS. Many of you will come to London as the UK reopens in 2022, and you'll use hired bicycles to get around. The London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is one of the most dangerous places to cycle in Britain, so I have marked out a map to show you which areas to avoid. pic.twitter.com/ptgZes1Sh5
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) January 16, 2022
As regular readers of the live blog will know, Jeremy Vine has long been an advocate for safe cycling in London.
Vine frequently uses his Twitter account to highlight the plethora of dangerous drivers he encounters on his daily commute in the capital, a habit which has led to him being accused by Fair Fuel UK founder Howard Cox of “fuelling a war between drivers and cyclists”.
Lately the broadcaster has seemed keen to move beyond the simple world of Twitter video sharing by producing his own line of bike safety-related accessories and merchandise.
Last month we had the handlebar-mounted, window shattering gas horn, perfect for repelling careless motorists (and at some point, your own friends).
Next to hit the shelves of your local newsagents, Vine has produced a handy map for London’s cyclo-tourists who wish (or dare) to venture into the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which the presenter has helpfully labelled “one of the most dangerous places to cycle in Britain”. I can hear the British Tourist Board on the phone already.
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) January 16, 2022
So how many maps can I put you down for? I’ll probably just stick to my air horn…
UPDATE: The maps which Jeremy Vine posted are the work of Valencia-based cartographer Mike Hall. Hs work can be found at https://www.thisismikehall.com/.
Ryan joined road.cc 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.