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Police use undercover cyclist to tackle close passes; Nibali injury update; Jonathan Vaughters slammed for supporting European Super League; But cyclists; Richmond Park driver squeezes through no cars shortcut; Vini Zabù banned + more on the live blog

It's Tuesday, the sun is shining and Dan Alexander has another day of the live blog coming up...
20 April 2021, 15:37
Panaracer's limited edition Gravelking Colour tyres

Panaracer has livened up its tyres for 2021 with some limited edition colours. They are certainly bold and will add a touch of flare to your gravel ride. All their tyres are tubeless compatible and have all the good stuff associated with the Gravelking, just with some added brightness. The "Pansy" blue and "Flamingo Pink" are limited to 700x32 or 700x38 and are expected to sell out like the Japanese brand's previous mustard yellow, purple, sandstone and ivory offerings.

"These limited edition tyres have garnered a bit of a cult following in the bike scene," Panaracer's Jeff Zell said. "It’s a fun challenge to come out with something different every year. For 2021, we choose Pansy, because it’s a really beautiful and rich colour that’s also rather unique, and pink because it has been the number one requested colour by Panaracer fans for a while now."

20 April 2021, 15:12
Bad driving: Down Under edition

Some bad driving from Australia for you. It seems like a good time to share this tweet from the Department of Transport and Main Roads Queensland and some reaction to it...

20 April 2021, 14:42
Vincenzo Nibali injury update: Giro d'Italia still a possibility

Trek-Segafredo hopes Vincenzo Nibali will still be able to race the Giro d'Italia despite fracturing his wrist in a training accident last week. Nibali has been fitted with a brace for his injury that has been specially designed to allow him to resume training next week. Team doctor Emilio Magni said his rider will meet the surgeon who operated on him on Thursday to remove the stitches and check the two-time Giro winner's progress.

 "After Thursday's visit we will be able to think about the next step, which is to allow Vincenzo to train consistently on his home trainer and then on the road. It will be a gradual process that, in addition to the medical indication, will take into high consideration the feelings of the rider," Magni said.

"I think it is still premature to hypothesise a timing for the decision on Vincenzo's presence at the Giro. We continue to have hope and to do the impossible to succeed, but the road is still uphill."

20 April 2021, 14:04
Simon Yates wins stage two of the Tour of the Alps

Speaking of the Giro, what chance does Simon Yates have of avenging that 2018 heartache? A very good one on the basis of this performance. Yates was dominant on the summit finish second stage to win solo by 41 seconds. Ineos Grenadiers' Pavel Sivakov took second while Dan Martin headed a trio including Aleksandr Vlasov and Giro bound Androni climber Jefferson Cepeda who were 58 seconds behind Yates. Initial results have Chris Froome 106th, 14 minutes behind the Team BikeExchange leader.

20 April 2021, 13:27
Italian UCI Pro level team Vini Zabù suspended for 30 days after two failed drugs tests in 12 months

We already knew that Vini Zabù had forfeited their place at the Giro d'Italia next month out of "love for the sport". That decision has now been taken out of their hands. The UCI has banned the team from racing for 30 days, backdated to April 7 and lasting until May 6. With the Giro starting a day before that suspension expires, on May 5 in Turin, there is no way they will be taking in their home Grand Tour, even if they hadn't jumped before they were pushed...Fans of excessive sponsor logos will be glad to see Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec take their place.

During last year's Giro, Matteo Spreafico failed two tests for banned steroid ostarine, while Matteo de Bonis tested positive for EPO last month. A UCI statement said: "The UCI Anti-Doping Rules provide for the suspension of a team when two of its riders receive notice of an Adverse Analytical Finding for a non-specified substance in samples collected during the same 12-month period."

20 April 2021, 12:40
SunGod adds the 8KO lens to lifestyle range
SunGod lifestyle range 8KO lenses

SunGod has made its 8KO lens available in their lifestyle range following the success of the lens in its performance Pace Series. Why is it so good? SunGod says it's down to the construction technique combined with its nylon based material, which is a higher grade lens material than standard polycarbonate. Fancy. Owners of the lifestyle range probably care less about grams and watts but the 8KO lenses do also come in lighter than the 4KOs.

The 8KO lifestyle lenses will be customisable, like all SunGod's other products, and come with the option of polarised or non-polarised and with seven refined lens tints. However, they're not binning the 4KOs just yet and promise they'll be sticking around due to high demand. Prices range from £45 to £110, depending on which of the 1,792 unique versions SunGod glasses you go for. Now that is what you call spoilt for choice...

20 April 2021, 12:19
From the editor: Has West Midlands Police now found its way again?
Passing distance (West Midlands Police).jpg

Just over a month ago, contributor Laura Laker asked if WMP had lost its way on cycling... and ever since, it seems like the force has been back in full swing educating and prosecuting drivers who commit offences against cyclists. 

Just three days after the article was published, the WMP Traffic Twitter account posted two 'close pass op' updates, plus the informed comments from the officer in our earlier post gives us even more reasons to praise WMP. Will it rub off on other forces? Hopefully, and Derbyshire would be a good place to start...

20 April 2021, 10:55
Mips launches new website to inform cyclists in the market for a new lid
2020 Giro Agilis MIPS helmet - MIPS logo.jpg

Mips has launched its new website to better educate cyclists, making helmet safety "more transparent and easily understandable". It has resources for riders looking to find the right helmet as well as a search engine for scanning over 120 helmet brands that use the Mips system.

CEO Max Strandwitz said: "As of late last year, more than 20 million helmets equipped with the Mips system have been sold. This never ceases to amaze us and we could not be more happy with our success. But in terms of consumer education on helmets and head safety, there’s still a long road ahead for our industry.

"Many consumers are not equipped to make the best decision when purchasing a helmet. This new website may seem small, but to us, it’s a critical step on our mission to improve helmet safety around the world."

20 April 2021, 10:39
Richmond Park driver squeezes through no cars shortcut

 Royal Parks Police moved swiftly, saying they will be paying this motorist a visit. Sadly, the Royal Parks, some of London's most popular destinations for cyclists in the capital, have been popping up a lot on this live blog recently due to instances of bad driving and calls to ban through traffic.

Just last week a shocking video emerged of a motorist in Regent's Park speeding into a group of cyclists following an altercation with another driver. Back in February, a cyclist was taken to hospital after a collision with a driver whose wrecked car was found off the road nearby...

20 April 2021, 09:50
Chris Froome testing form ahead of "bigger goals" later in the year

 Chris Froome's Tour of the Alps did not go to plan yesterday. Or maybe it did? So far this year the four-time Tour de France winner has repeatedly distanced himself from pressure to get results in early season races, saying it is all part of the bigger picture to get back to his best. 

Froome finished more than five minutes behind stage winner and former teammate Gianni Moscon on stage one but said the week is just about finding out "exactly where I’m at" for "bigger goals in the season."

"I feel good. I’m continuing to see progression, which is the main thing for me at the moment. I’ve just come down after another altitude block in Tenerife. My feelings are getting better and I’m looking forward to racing this week and seeing any progressions," he explained.

Elsewhere on stage one, Froome's teammate Alessandro De Marchi voiced his displeasure at being called back from the breakaway to explain himself...

20 April 2021, 09:32
But cyclists
20 April 2021, 09:05
Jonathan Vaughters slammed for supporting European Super League

EF Education-Nippo team boss Jonathan Vaughters has outed himself as a supporter of the proposal for 12 of football's richest clubs to break off and form their own extremely lucrative 'Super League'...The plans have been almost universally condemned by match-going supporters of English football clubs, however Vaughters claimed it was both a good idea and one that cycling should take inspiration from...

The American put the backlash down to a poor PR roll out and perhaps sarcastically said "team owners are always the enemy. Evil. Evil. Evil." Eurosport commentator Rob Hatch was just one of the many vocal critics...

20 April 2021, 07:53
Police use undercover cyclist to tackle close passes

West Midlands Police took 'Operation Close Pass' to the streets to educate drivers. Officers got in the saddle, some in uniform while others rode in plain clothes, to look out for drivers failing to pass at a safe distance. A total of 36 dangerous drivers were flagged down, two received penalty tickets and 17 given the roadside education seen in the video above.

The force said it used plain-clothed officers to highlight it does not matter if cyclists wear high visibility clothing or not, impatient drivers will still close pass you. Roadside education involved being explained the need to keep a minimum 1.5m gap when travelling at 30mph or less.

West Midlands Police attribute their five-year-old close pass operation for helping to cut cycling road casualties from 124 in 2017 to the still worryingly high figure of 88 last year...

Sgt Jon Butler, from the Road Harm Prevention team, said: "Our primary aim is to maintain the safety of vulnerable road users, while promoting sustainable travel and shared space road use. Operation Close Pass is a vital approach in helping us to do that.

"We were the first force in the country to proactively target road user behaviour in this way, and we're proud to see others are now following the example. It has enabled us to educate road users on the dangers of overtaking too close, prosecute those who risk lives, and ultimately see fewer vulnerable road users killed or seriously injured on our roads."

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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