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All I want for Christmas is this beautiful bike lane; WorldTour pro handed four-year doping ban; Qhubeka-NextHash ends sponsorship hunt — team set to fold; 'But cyclists' Xmas special; Only two sleeps until WVA v MVDP v Pidcock + more on the live blog

Welcome to the infamous Christmas Eve live blog...Dan Alexander will be typing up some stories before slowly sinking into a beer, mince pie and mulled wine-induced slump as the day goes on...
24 December 2021, 15:12
Feeling festive?
24 December 2021, 14:45
All I want for Christmas is this beautiful bike lane

Don't worry, I haven't passed out in a pool of mulled wine just yet... I got distracted by a best of the live blog 2021 feature which will be coming to your screens soon...keep your eyes peeled...

Back to the main order of business...Andrew Pendleton got what he asked for this Christmas — a segregated bike lane with all the trimmings.

Jeremy Vine is a fan of this one too, calling it: "Wonderful. It will make the street better for everyone."

The reindeer must have worked hard to drag all that white paint and wands down from the North Pole...maybe we'll have to include proper infra in our '2022 Christmas gift ideas for cyclists who have family members in government'...niche, I know. 

I reckon it's about time for a beverage...

24 December 2021, 11:31
The sequel we all needed to see

Remember this 'but cyclists' special from yesterday? Well, here's the full incident... 

24 December 2021, 09:51
World Tour pro handed four-year ban for doping

 Two-time Mexican national champion and former EF Pro Cycling rider Luis Villalobos has been banned for four years by the UCI. Villalobos, who rode for EF Pro Cycling for one year between 2019 and 2020, tested positive for a presence of GHRP-6, a prohibited growth hormone-releasing substance, from a sample provided while he rode for the US-based Aevolo team in 2019.

The 23-year-old was provisionally suspended in May last year and was suspended by EF Pro Cycling too. "The Tribunal found the rider guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (presence of GHRP-6) and imposed a four-year period of ineligibility on the rider,”  the UCI said in a statement.

"If we’d have known, we would not have signed Luis," EF Education-Nippo CEO Jonathan Vaughters said last year. "The burden of this is on the UCI because there is no internal testing program that has access to the level of equipment needed to screen for GHRP-6."

24 December 2021, 09:24
Only two sleeps until Wout van Aert v Mathieu van der Poel v Tom Pidock

This is all anyone cares about this weekend, right? The trident of terror going head to head in the Dendermonde mud. 2pm GMT, GCN Race Pass...grab yourself some leftovers and try not to fall asleep before it gets underway...

24 December 2021, 09:04
Qhubeka-NextHash ends sponsorship hunt — team set to fold
2021 Tour de France Team Qhubeka NextHash Burberry - 2

Let's get the serious news out of the way early before the mulled wine turns the blog into a sloppy minefield of bad grammar and silly stories (no change from usual then...)

Qhubeka-NextHash have given up the hunt for a sponsor, ending hopes of keeping the team running beyond 2021. Earlier in the month the team was refused a UCI licence for 2022, signalling the beginning of the end for 'Africa's Team', which helped get 30,000 people bikes through Qhubeka's charity work.

Yesterday, a statement sent out to riders was leaked, in which team boss Doug Ryder told riders and staff, "I am very sad to send this message. We have tried everything to find sponsors for our team for next season, right up until the last few days, but nothing has materialised in time."

The team faced a similar last-minute scramble for a sponsor last off-season but survived thanks to Assos' intervention. The team was rewarded at the Giro where Victor Campenaerts, Giacomo Nizzolo and Mauro Schmid won stages. All three have already confirmed moves to new teams for 2022.

24 December 2021, 09:17
What day is it, Alex?

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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