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Bizarre bike bollard leaves bicyclists bewildered; UCI president insists Pogacar's Tour de France tests are clean; Naked cyclist cheerfully greeting walkers spotted; Film crew blocks Hyde Park cycle lane; Ineos end Castelli deal + more on the live blog

It's Tuesday and Dan Alexander is here for another scorching day on the live blog...
20 July 2021, 16:33
Bollards and bikes, together at last... but we have questions

The very important World Bollard Association has attempted to shore up its relationship with cyclists by sharing this image of a bollard that doubles up as a bike stand/lock of some sort. Even so, the design looks to be a bit questionable... 

"How do you fit a lock? How do you secure the frame?" asks Finlay Knops-Mckim, while Gabriel Bienzobas said: "It does look nice, but it is useless." Matthew in North London simply added: "Bollard off"

For more examples of alliteration using the letter B on, see this article

20 July 2021, 13:40
Tadej Pogacar's drug tests and bike x-rays are clean, says UCI president David Lappartient
Tadej Pogacar, Stage 19 of 2021 (picture credit Tour de France A.S.O./Pauline Ballet)

UCI president David Lappartient today insisted that Tadej Pogacar's drug tests and bike x-rays during his Tour de France defence were clean. Lappartient said he has "no reason to have doubts" about the 22-year-old's performance. Speaking to the Guardian, Lappartient said: "I have the pictures of Pogacar’s bike and everything is clean, regarding the results of the X-ray machine. As UCI president I trust the international [anti-doping] testing agency in Lausanne.

"The only limit is the capacity of the lab themselves to detect – in all sports – some substances. We have a very solid and robust testing programme in cycling for both anti-doping and technological fraud and there is no reason to have doubts. However, zero risk doesn’t exist."

Pogacar faced repeated questions about his performance levels as he stormed to a second Tour de France title in under a year, winning three stages on the way. He revealed he had been tested as many as three times a day during the Tour.

"I’m not angry," Pogacar said when asked about those who doubt him. "They are uncomfortable questions because the history of cycling was really bad. I totally understand why there are all of these questions. I didn’t prepare anything for those kind of questions. I just like to ride my bike and what comes with it comes with it, I’ll deal with it. I’m a good kid with a good education, I’m not one to take shortcuts."

20 July 2021, 15:51
First look at the Tour of Britain route
20 July 2021, 15:04
Dylan Groenewegen wins first race since returning to professional cycling

Dylan Groenewegen has won his first race since returning to the sport following a nine-month suspension for his role in Fabio Jakobsen's crash at the Tour of Poland just over a year ago. The Dutchman beat Hugo Hofstetter on stage one of Tour de Wallonie to take his first win since February 2020. Groenewegen returned to the sport at the Giro d'Italia but despite four top tens left the race before the second rest day without a win. Jakobsen is also competing at the race in Belgium this week but did not challenge for the stage.

20 July 2021, 14:27
Cav undecided on 2022 Tour de France participation
Mark Cavendish and Eddy Merckx (picture credit A.S.O./Pauline Ballet)

Now, we're pretty sure these are the thoughts of a man just finished with a gruelling three week trip around France and that in a couple of months he'll have the Tour bug again...however, Mark Cavendish has told Sky Sports he is still undecided on whether he'll compete at the race in 2022.

"We'll have to see," Cavendish told Sky Sports News on Monday. "I just finished the race yesterday, and normally after the Tour de France every year that I've done it I've been like 'I don't know if I can do that again' but a few days later you miss the buzz of it.

"It's different to any other bike race and you look forward to the next year but we'll have to see at the minute. I just want to spend some time with my family, I'm racing in a few weeks so I'd like to take a few days off and we'll see what the future holds."

With Sam Bennett set to leave the team and Fabio Jakobsen still taking small steps on his comeback, you might expect Cav to be a sure thing for 2022. However, the Manxman is also out of contract at the end of the year and is yet to sign an extension with the team, something Patrick Lefevere has admitted will be much more costly than his current deal.

Will it be 34 and done for Cav? Will he break the record? Will he still be at Quick-Step in 2022? A lot of questions we'd like to ask...just not to Cav's face...

20 July 2021, 14:19
Good vibes commuter thread
20 July 2021, 13:24
Tokyo mugshots...someone get Geraint Thomas to his hotel room ASAP

How many of these were taken after a 12-hour flight? Most of them by the looks of things...

Ah well, at least we can rely on Tadej to look fresh-faced at all times...

20 July 2021, 12:37
Naked man cheerfully greeting walkers spotted cycling along Liverpool & Leeds Canal
Leeds & Liverpool canal near Chestnut Walk in Melling (via Google Street View)

A naked cyclist, who is apparently a regular sight during spells of hot weather, was spotted riding his bike along the Liverpool & Leeds Canal near Melling in Merseyside. Police confirmed they received a reported sighting on July 18 after a member of the public said they had seen the man at around 7.20pm.

According to the Liverpool Echo the sighting was shared in a local Facebook group where one walker posted: "Please tell me I'm not the only one who saw this....a man in his late 50s-ish riding his bike along the canal this morning completely naked!"

Many other locals then commented to say the man is a regular fixture during hot weather...One said the man, thought to be around the age of 70, is "well known", while another said he'd been seen a few times.

One woman said the mystery man "wishes you a cheery ‘hello’ like it’s perfectly normal." The post prompted a discussion, with some seeing no harm in the man's actions, whereas others were alarmed and pointed out the route is popular with families...

One woman commented: "Hang on, if you walked along the canal and exposed yourself to people it would be an offence, what's the difference?"

Another added: "I certainly would feel intimidated and uncomfortable if I seen him and if I had young kids even more so. Old man naked! All jokes aside, this is not right it’s indecent exposure."

Yesterday on the live blog, after the Tour de France peloton got flashed by a speed camera in Paris...we took a trip down memory lane to the time a cyclist in Germany was flashed flashing a speed camera, as he rode past stark naked at 46km/h...It's a weird world...

20 July 2021, 11:07
Ineos Grenadiers move on from Castelli: All team kit to be supplied by Bioracer

Ineos Grenadiers and Castelli are to part ways at the end of 2021 after five years working together. The team has won three Tour de France titles and three Giro d'Italia in that time. Castelli thanked the team, saying nearly every product in its pro range has improved thanks to the team's research and feedback, becoming more aerodynamic, lighter and more protective.

The manufacturer also boasts the highlight of the partnership was making a TT suit so fast it forced the UCI to change its rules...Ineos are moving on to Bioracer, a Belgian company that specialises in custom-fit kit and has worked with Dimension Data and Team DSM.

20 July 2021, 10:07
Mark Cavendish congratulated on Tour de France wins by Gareth Southgate and Jordan Henderson

It's coming home was only ever about the green jersey, right? England manager Gareth Southgate and Jordan Henderson were two of the famous faces to pop up in this video celebrating Cav's Tour de France comeback. At the end of the vid, Southgate says: "I just wanted to send congratulations on behalf of myself and all of the England team. Phenomenal achievement. I'm a big fan of everything you've done and loved watching you ride over the years. Congratulations."

Jordan Henderson's a fan too and from the sounds of his message he's even done a bit of training with the Manx Missile...

"Huge congratulations, mate. I'm so happy for you, you deserve everything you get. You're a top person and to see you making history was an unbelievable achievement. Enjoy it with your family and it's nice to know I've played a very small part with them tough sessions on the bike during lockdown..."

20 July 2021, 08:57
The Royal Parks addresses the Royal Car Park
Hyde Park film crew blocks cycle lane (via George Morgan/ Twitter)

The Royal Parks were quick to give an explanation for the blocked cycle lane in Hyde Park yesterday. Replying to our Tweet, they said it was the film unit's fault for ignoring instructions...

20 July 2021, 08:41
Jakob Fuglsang blames second Covid vaccine for anonymous Tour de France performance

Jakob Fuglsang suggested his second Covid vaccine could be the reason for his poor form at the Tour de France. The Dane was largely missing from the action in France and didn't break the top 20 once. However, Fuglsang believes his second jab might be the reason. Having finished third at Tour de Suisse behind Richard Carapaz and Rigoberto Uran, Fuglsang had his second vaccine and saw his training numbers drop to where they were in December.

"The only explanation that we can find is that I had my second COVID vaccination after the Tour de Suisse and that it’s limiting me and my body is still working on it. I got my first shot after the Classics and I did tests at a Tenerife training camp and I had high lactate for my power and in Switzerland I was good," Fuglsang told Cyclingnews.

"Then I got the second shot and a second test in the race showed the same results that I had in Tenerife, that my numbers are basically where they are in December or even worse.  That’s just how it is but at some point, it will go away and that’s what we’re waiting for.

"“My general feeling is okay. I don’t feel that bad but I can’t push myself to my limit. I feel limited that I’m not able to push my body like I normally I can. That’s meant that I’ve not destroyed myself and I don’t feel as tired.”

The Astana rider is in the final year of his contract with the Kazakh team and says he hopes his body may show signs of improvement before the Olympic Games road race on Saturday.

Did any of you lot feel worse on the bike after your vaccination? If so, what happened and how long did it last? 

20 July 2021, 08:21
What's it like to ride the Tour? Hectic, dangerous and fast...Velon releases the best of its on-bike footage from the Tour de France

Lots of crashes, shouts, questionable manoeuvers, barging and speed. And that's just the sprint stages...Velon's cameras picked up plenty of unseen moments from the Tour de France, including Cav's determination to stick to leadout man Michael Mørkøv's wheel. You wouldn't want to get between the Manx Missile and Mørkøv - that's for sure. 

20 July 2021, 07:43
The Royal Car Parks: Hyde Park cycle lane blocked by film crew

Commuters and other riders going about their business in Hyde Park yesterday were met with a peculiar scene in the North Carriage Drive cycle lane. Had it quietly been turned into a car park? 

The Royal Parks got in touch to say it is for one day only and the bike lane blockers are filming in the park so needed somewhere to leave their vehicles. One Twitter user has questioned why, if it is for one day only, he saw the crew parked there on Sunday too. Another claimed they had been there all last week...

Others simply wanted to know why the cycle lane is the first choice spot when they could have used, I don't know, Hyde Park's car park instead? The London Cycling Campaign also pointed out we could all use the picture to answer the minority of angry people who demand to know why cyclists can't 'just use the park'...

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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