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Rochelle Gilmore's countertop pose recreated; Council say park cycling ban is because cyclists using it "as a race track"; Irish Deputy panned for demanding helmet law; Driver overtakes on wrong side of refuge island twice + more on the live blog

Welcome to your midweek live blog, with Jack Sexty providing your lead coverage and Simon MacMichael chipping in this evening
17 June 2020, 15:41
Rochelle Gilmore strikes a pose... and the challenge is accepted

In a definitely-not-in-any-way-contrived snap, we see the former pro cyclist and former Wiggle High5 team owner Rochelle Gilmore spread across her kitchen worktop with 12 grands' worth of Pinarello in the foreground, plus a handy link to her clothing brand of choice Santini in the accompanying text. 

Not to be outdone, our new favourite fashion icon who goes by the name Polka Dot Rob steps up (or lays down) to recreate the pose. We think you've nailed it Rob, although best move that fork out of the way...  

17 June 2020, 12:44
Anger over City Council saying that park cycling ban is due to "some" cyclists using it "as a race track"

Responding to an enquiry as to when cyclists would be allowed back in Wallace Park in the city of Lisburn, Northern Ireland, the City Council said that the reason for a ban on cycling is that some were using the park as "a race track", which they say was compromising the safety of pedestrians. Adding that they won't reopen the park to cyclists until the situation changes is also a rather curious remark, as if cycling is banned, it would appear there is no opportunity for the situation to change. 

Plenty were unhappy with the stance, with some citing that there is rarely - if ever - similar cases of roads being closed to cars due to a minority of dangerous drivers. Lisburn City Council are yet to respond beyond their initial reply to the query. 

A similar situation caused controversy in London, with The Royal Parks banning cycling in Richmond Park back in March due to "congestion" and claims that social distancing rules were being ignored. A phased re-opening to cyclists began earlier this month, with cycling currently allowed before 10am and after 4pm on Mondays to Fridays; commuting NHS staff and children under 12 are exempt. 

17 June 2020, 15:13
Eddy Merckx is 75 today

Arguably the most successful cyclist of all time, and also successful at launching the careers of world-renowned cycling photographers. Here's a slightly less good shot we took of him, surrounded by an entourage in a bar prior to the 2018 Tour de France depart... 

eddy merckx tour de farance 2018
17 June 2020, 14:33
New consumer research suggests British public narrowly in favour of legalising e-scooters
Bird e-scooters at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (copyright Simon MacMichael).JPEG

The research, conducted by Findoutnow on behalf of the e-scooter and e-bike retailer Pure Electric, found that there is support for a law change on electric scooters, but only if they were continued to be banned on pavements. 

Of 2,500 people polled, 53% supported making e-scooters legal; but when asked if they would support a rule change if there was also an additional pavement ban enforced, 63% said they would be in favour. By occupation, the demographics who were most supportive of legislation changes were commuters, students, homemakers and jobseekers, while retirees were the least supportive.

75% also said that they would prefer to buy their own e-scooter rather than use hire schemes; however government trial schemes, which are set to begin in August after a consultation on legalising e-scooters concluded earlier this month, will only allow for rentals to be used on public highways. To get around this, Pure Electric are developing a long lease model where customers would 'rent' the scooter for an up-front sum, and then be allowed to keep it at the end of the 'lease'; they claim this would be legal under the Department for Transport's trial regulations. 

Pure Electric's Tom McPhail commented: “Given current concerns about any form of shared transport and Covid-19 infection risks, combined with the freedom to use an e-scooter from your front door, it’s hardly surprising people prefer to own their own scooter rather than rent one off the street.”

17 June 2020, 14:21
Paralympic champion Sophie Thornhill retires aged just 24 to focus on studies
sophie thornhill - via instagram.PNG

The vision impaired track cyclist - who won gold in the tandem B kilo at the 2016 Olympic Games and 13 world titles - has announced her retirement to focus on a history degree she will start at Manchester Metropolitan University in September. 

She said in a statement: "Cycling has been a huge part of my life for the last twelve years and has provided me with some of the biggest highlights in my life, including becoming Paralympic Champion in 2016 and setting world records at the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

“I have met and worked with amazing people along the journey, the most important of which is Scottie (pilot, Helen Scott). I cannot thank her enough for the amazing memories we have made together.

“I have also worked with the most amazing support team, many of whom have gone above and beyond for me and they have been unbelievable in their support. I’d like to thank everyone in the Great Britain Cycling Team for everything they have done for me and my career, and I’d like to wish them the absolute best of luck for Tokyo next year.”

17 June 2020, 12:17
World Bollard Association-approved modal filter goes live in Hackney

This style of filter is designed to close the road to motor vehicles and allow cycles through to create low-traffic neighbourhoods, and it's caught the attention of our new favourite Twitter account, the World Bollard Association.

Appreciating everything bollard-related from classic concrete numbers to neat bollard-laden boulevards, the WBA claims to be giving away a bollard worth £174.23 in a competition, and its 'Life President' is none other than Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. 

17 June 2020, 11:21
Cycling sponsorship shenanigans: Bigla-Katusha announce fashion brand Paule Ka as new headline sponsor, while Rally rumoured to be stepping in at CCC

As many cycling teams have been plagued with financial problems and sponsors pulling out due to the pandemic, one that can breathe easier is Bigla-Katusha, as luxury French fashion house Paule KA have stepped in as their headline sponsor until 2024. The team's CEO Priska Doppmann Campana said: “We are very excited to welcome Paule Ka as the new main partner of our team. This will be the first time that a fashion house will enter into women’s cycling, and as such, this is a ground-breaking event." 

"We are seeking a WorldTour license, and will be developing a masterclass project, in which we will be able to keep furthering the potential of the athletes that have gone through our development program."

And as one fashion brand enters the sport, another is departing as it's been rumoured that American insurance firm Rally could be stepping in to save CCC Team,  which is currently named after the Polish shoe and bag retailer CCC. Belgian news site HLN reports that team manager Jim Ochowicz is looking for sponsors that can cover a 20 million euro budget annually, and has a few months remaining to strike the deals in time for the 2021c season. 

17 June 2020, 10:31
Social media backlash as Irish Deputy Alan Dillon calls for mandatory helmet law

Time to bust out that pic from our archives again as the Fine Gael politician, who is a former professional Gaelic footballer, is continuing to receive criticism over his calls for mandatory helmet laws in the Republic of Ireland. 

Dillon wrote on Twitter that "the amount of juveniles cycling without helmets nowadays" was "really concerning", and said in the Oireachtas last week that there was a "need" for mandatory cycling helmets in Ireland. He continued in his speech:

"Due to the recent Covid restrictions, more people have taken to cycling. I have been contacted by local bicycle shop owners highlighting the need to promote the wearing of cycle helmets and making it a mandatory legal requirement to do so. We have spoken much in recent months of effective public health policy. We also need to expand the conversation to include cycle helmets to reduce acquired head injuries.

"While not for discussion today, a similar argument can be made for introducing a mandatory need for helmets when using electric scooters. Will the Minister give serious consideration to this topic and raise it with his Department, as I will be raising this important topic again as soon as the new Government is formed?"

Brendan Griffin, Ireland's Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, responded:

"With regard to the compulsory wearing of helmets, any such decision would have to include widespread consultation with cycling clubs and people who regularly cycle throughout the country. That conversation would need to include the views of cyclists."

A number of the replies to Mr Dillon also note that there could possibly be some ulterior motive in bike shops recommending the mandatory purchase of cycle helmets.. 

17 June 2020, 09:50
Another everesting record: 20-year-old Tom Stephenson breaks British record with a time of 9:02:25
tom stephenson everesting - credit mike stephenson.PNG

It seems like everesting is becoming to cycling what the ironman is to triathlon and what the marathon is to running (although everesting on foot is rather popular too) as we've just been informed that yet another record fell over the weekend. Hells 500 have now officially recognised 20-year-old Tom Stephenson's time of 9 hours, 2 minutes and 25 seconds to complete the 8,848m of elevation. This is a little over 6 minutes quicker than Hannah Rhodes' time of 9:08:31 set less than two weeks ago, which made her not only the fastest female everester, but also the fastest Brit overall; the latter accolade now belongs to Stephenson, who completed his effort on Kirkstone Pass in Cumbria. The overall record was also broken again by EF First pro Lachlan Morton just days ago, who completed his everesting in 7:32:54 in Colorado. 

Stephenson, who rides for Lakes Road Club, dedicated the record to his late grandfather, and has raised over £1,300 for St Mary's Hospice; Tom's brother Sam also completed an everesting on the same day. The fundraising page is here and you can see the gory details on Tom's Strava here

17 June 2020, 08:29
Audi driver filmed overtaking on the wrong side of pedestrian island twice and shouts abuse at cyclist

The horrendous piece of driving was posted to Twitter last night, and reportedly took place on Barnsbury Road in Islington. Highbury Cyclist wrote: "This impatient moron then twice passed on the wrong side of the mandatory bollards to swear at me!", followed by their number plate. Many replies have recommended the cyclist report the incident to the police, including Superintendent Andy Cox who said he will "ensure our teams promptly review and take action."

At the end of the clip, the driver also failed to give way at a pedestrian crossing as they sped away. In fact, the list of offences is potentially quite large for when the police catch up with this particularly impatient individual...

17 June 2020, 08:16
Niki Terpstra in intensive care after training crash, with injuries not thought to be life-threatening
niki terpstra 2020 - via total direct energie website

The 36-year-old Total Direct Energie rider fell during a training ride in the Netherlands yesterday, and his wife Ramona confirmed that he has been taken to hospital with serious but non life-threatening injuries. The Dutch news website NOS reported that he is in intensive care and suffered a collapsed lung, a concussion and broken ribs. They also claim that he crashed swerving to avoid geese, and landed in a ditch after he fell. 

She wrote on Instagram: "Unfortunately, the rumours are true. Niki fell hard during a bike training today. He's in the hospital and will have to stay here for a few more days. He is not in mortal danger but will need time to recover from this. To be continued."

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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