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Mathieu van der Poel breaks bars on cobbles, throws away damaged drop...still helps teammate win; School cycle bus; Should we wear masks while cycling?; Tao hits back at Zlatan Ibrahimovic; Wild boar collision; Hot or not? + more on the live blog

It's Tuesday and Dan Alexander is in the saddle for another day on the live blog...
02 March 2021, 21:05
What happened with Van der Poel's bars?

The speculation is rife, with some blaming the bars themselves, and others such as our friends at Cycling Tips suggesting that there's nothing wrong with the bars, and the issue was instead caused by Van der Poel's STI levers being fitted with a different clamp band than the stock titanium clamp. We'll hopefully have more on this tomorrow when our tech team have made some enquiries... 

02 March 2021, 17:34
Even the pros were shocked...
02 March 2021, 17:13
Van der Poel has his say

Mathieu van der Poel has spoken to Wielerflits after that bizarre ending to Le Samyn...On the incident everyone's talking about, he said: "I was still very good myself, but I couldn't put in any force because my steering wheel broke on that long cobblestone strip. I couldn't do my thing with that. I did everything I could to paralyse the group and I am very happy that Tim finishes it.

"I'm very content. I was still very good at the end, so that was a shame. But I no longer had any braces to sprint, so it made no sense to drive to the finish with that group. It was a very difficult race. I am happy with the feeling, even if I was not as good as in Kuurne. But when they started racing, I had a good feeling. So I can go to Italy (Strade Bianche) satisfied."

02 March 2021, 17:07
Reaction to Mathieu van der Poel ripping off his snapped drop before helping Tim Merlier win

Well, I can't say I've ever seen anything like that happen before...

Yes Nicho, yes you did... 

02 March 2021, 16:12
Mathieu van der Poel breaks bars on cobbles, throws away damaged drop...still helps teammate win

Mathieu van der Poel had to lead out his teammate Tim Merlier with his hands on the tops after his shifter got knocked on the final cobbled sector of Le Samyn. In typically ruthless fashion, Van der Poel chucked his now damaged drop to the side of the road and still managed to set up his teammate to win the race...The right side shifter of Van der Poel's 2021 Canyon Aeroad CFR Dura Ace Di2's could be seen flapping about freely as he laid down some watts on the tops...

Good luck beating the scrum of Belgian children to the souvenir of a discarded drop...

Race winner and Van der Poel's teammate Tim Merlier explained the situation: "Mathieu went with a group on the last cobbles but he said straight away he couldn’t sprint because his handlebars were broken, so he asked the team to ride again. I’m happy I could do it for the team."

Is there anything this guy can't do?

02 March 2021, 15:24
School cycle bus back in action

Great to see the Limerick School Cycle Bus back on the roads this morning...Formed by a group of parents and kids who wanted to cycle into Limerick city centre safely. It has stops with the same timetable everyday, like any school bus, and has become extremely popular as seen in the video above.

02 March 2021, 14:35
Odd looking bars on display at Le Samyn
Jan-Willem van Schip bars (GCN/Eurosport)

They're not quite the Speeco Aero Breakaway Bars which caused a stir before Christmas with their extreme aero optimised position, but Jan-Willem van Schip has a pair of his own crazy looking narrow bars on display in the break over in Belgium this afternoon...

Jan-Willem van Schip bars (GCN/Eurosport)


02 March 2021, 12:53
British Cycling CEO Brian Facer reflects on his first 50 days in the role

British Cycling's new CEO, Brian Facer, has reflected on his first 50 days in the role and is looking forward to the return of activities and events in the coming months. Facer, who has previously worked for London Irish, said he has renewed optimism following the recent announcements from the government that the cycling community can look ahead to spring with hope that group rides and events aren't too far away.

"I think it’s right to be excited and it’s nice to see that we’ve finally got a road to normality coming back," he said. "If you look back at it all the way to the grassroots, we’ve actually lost over 4,000 events over the last year, and that’s really significant to us, so we want to get events back as soon as we can, but we need to do it in a safe way and in a way that they can be sustained as well. 

"Like you I miss riding with groups, I miss riding with my club, and I miss riding with my friends more than anything else. While I’ve ridden with a plus one every now and then it’s not quite the same as riding with a group of people where you can have some fun at the front and some struggles at the back. I’m looking forward to that normality of going and having a really good weekend either racing, riding or just having fun with friends." 

For a full calendar of when group rides, racing and other cycling activities may be allowed again, check out our breakdown of what Boris Johnson's roadmap means for cyclists...

02 March 2021, 12:29
Deceuninck-Quick-Step wear 'Don't drink and drive' jerseys at Le Samyn
02 March 2021, 11:11
Should we be wearing masks while cycling?

The question about wearing masks while exercising has re-emerged this morning on Good Morning Britain. Professor Trisha Greenhalgh, a Professor of Primary Care at the University of Oxford, made the case for wearing face coverings while exercising outside. She said: "There is no doubt the virus is in the air, there is no doubt you can catch it if you inhale air that someone else has exhaled. The exercising jogger, the puffing and panting jogger, you can feel their breath come and you can sometimes feel yourself inhaling."

The debate was framed around jogging, but has also been linked to cyclists in the past, especially in the context of one person riding directly behind another. "There is no doubt that there is a danger there," Professor Greenhalgh continued. "I do agree that wet, soggy masks are not a good idea. But the fact that they get contaminated is not a reason for not wearing them. It's not that you're going to do anything with that mask apart from washing it."

When the issue has been raised previously, the consensus in the comments among our readers generally seems to be either to wear a mask in very busy areas or that you should be fine riding without one...Thoughts? Should we be wearing masks out on the road?

02 March 2021, 11:02
Wild boar collides with cyclist

Here's something you don't expect to have to avoid on your bike ride...This video from Punggol in Singapore shows a wild boar colliding with a cyclist waiting for the lights to change. The Independent SG reports that wild boar attacks have made headlines in the city recently after two women were injured in an area nearby to this latest incident. One woman was bitten on her leg and dragged for about one metre before the wild boar was caught and euthanised. 

02 March 2021, 10:05
Adidas cycling shoes: hot or not?
2021 Adidas Velosamba 01

Yesterday we got the news about Adidas' next foray into the cycling shoe market, for the the full rundown check out our story... They've been going down well with our readers and on social media so far...

Adidas Velosamba comments

Can you see yourself picking up a pair of Velosambas? 

02 March 2021, 09:47
Tadej Pogačar extends UAE Team Emirates stay until 2026
Tadej Pogacar UAE Tour

Tour de France and recently crowned UAE Tour champion, Tadej Pogačar, has extended his contract with UAE Team Emirates for another four years. It's a length of contract rarely seen in professional cycling and suggests the team's keenness to tie down their biggest asset for the foreseeable future. Pogačar will still only be 27 when the new deal expires at the end of the 2025 season.

"I feel at home in this team," the 22-year-old said. "There is a special atmosphere between the management, riders and staff and it’s a good environment to be in. The team shows a lot of trust and confidence in me which I am thankful for, and I work hard to show that when I’m racing alongside my teammates. I hope we can have many more successful seasons together in the years ahead."

02 March 2021, 08:50
Tao Geoghegan Hart hits back at Zlatan Ibrahimovic's criticism of athletes talking about politics
Tao Geoghegan Hart with the Giro d'Italia trophy (picture LaPresse, RCS Sport)

Tao Geoghegan Hart hit back at footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic's comments about LeBron James, with the Ineos Grenadiers rider saying "everything is political" and that he doesn't agree with the AC Milan striker's view that athletes should avoid talking about politics. Ibrahimovic said in an interview last week that he wished James and other people with status would "do what you're good at doing".

Speaking to The Guardian, Geoghegan Hart dismissed Ibrahimovic's point and said it isn't as simplistic as he had made out. "First and foremost, everything is political. We are all in this together. Secondly, there are many who simply do not have the choice whether they are political or not, because these issues so directly impact their lives and the lives of their friends, families and loved ones," Geoghegan Hart said.

"If we don’t want opinions and characters in sport, let’s just watch robots compete. As a fan I don’t cheer for the best rider, runner or player. I back the one I relate most to, the one who inspires me. There is more to sport than simply athletic ability. And championing a positive cause, that you believe in, is a huge part of that, of trying to leave the world a better place than you found it."

Before his first race of the season the 2020 Giro d'Italia champion announced he would be sponsoring an U23 rider to ride for his former team, Hagens Berman Axeon, in a bid to increase diversity in cycling. He has also spoken about a number of cycling-related issues including championing cycling infrastructure in London and criticising the "financial arms race and costs associated with kids' racing."

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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