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"Cycling saved my life", says Queen's Brian May; Bernal loses time on brutal Giro summit finish; Fed up community builds pop-up bike lane; Fail to stop driver with bike rack hit cyclist; Highland Trail record smashed on singlespeed + more on the live blog

It's Wednesday and Dan Alexander is taking you through the middle of the week on the live blog...
26 May 2021, 18:36
Daniel Felipe Martinez' excellent high mountain support is fast becoming cycling's new meme

Going way above and beyond what was expected of him as a domestique, Martinez pumped his fist and willed a fading Bernal on all while riding up a brutal gradient to ensure as little time was lost as possible. The never not amusing Cycling out of context Twitter account was quick to turn it into something with plenty of meme potential, if not doing a slightly underwhelming job of cropping Martinez into this supermarket scene... 

26 May 2021, 14:46
Queen's Brian May: Cycling saved my life
Brian May (wikimedia commons)

The legendary guitarist clearly likes to ride his bicycle, saying cycling saved his life after a heart attack.

May needed surgery last year, but believes cycling has given him a new lease of life after the operation: "It really saved me," he told Kerry Ellis on her Keep Calm and Kerry On podcast.

"When I’m in pain, which I was a lot, getting on the bike makes you feel human again. I’m finding life hard right now, this whole lockdown thing – I find the physical stuff is what gets me through." 

May also revealed that he thinks his heart attack could have been brought on by COVID-19, believing that he likely caught the virus while Queen were touring in early 2020, and that gardening was another pastime that helped him through lockdown: 

“I’m so lucky to have greenery around me – without it I think my brain would explode. It helps me balance", said May. 

“I’m naturally a depressive, gardening is such a help, it’s one of life’s great therapies.”

May isn't the only rock star who likes bikes - the Talking Heads' David Byrne loves cycling so much he wrote a book about it, and last year ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons was spotted cruising the Las Vegas Strip on his e-bike. The late Ginger Baker was also a keen racing cyclist in his youth, and said that Cream's second album 'Disraeli Gears' was named so because of a roadie mistakenly thinking that this was the correct term for derailleur gears during a discussion about a racing bicycle. 

What kind of bike do we reckon Brian May rides, something reddish brown with plenty of feedback perhaps? Your suggestions in the comments as always! 

26 May 2021, 15:46
Bordeaux-Paris race to return from 2022 as an ultra-distance event

Bordeaux-Paris is making a comeback, more than 25 years on from the last edition. One of the oldest races on the calendar, the race was first held in 1891 but disappeared in 1988. Next year will be the first edition since and will be redesigned as an ultra-endurance event, L'Équipe reports.

It will now be opened up to 'amateurs'...or at least anyone able to cover the 600km distance and 5,600m of climbing in 40 hours or less...The first edition back is provisionally pencilled in the calendar for 22 May 2022 and registrations are invited from June 7. That gives you a year to get in 'riding the length of France' shape if it takes your fancy.

26 May 2021, 15:14
Dan Martin wins stage 17...Simon Yates cracks Egan Bernal to reclaim one minute on maglia rosa

Well, well, well...the Giro is not done just yet. Egan Bernal cracked on today's summit finish as Simon Yates and João Almeida easily danced away from the Colombian, recovering around a minute on the maglia rosa. Dan Martin will be a very popular stage winner from the breakaway. The Irishman dropped out of the GC fight on the gravel stage, saying cycling "isn't worth the risk". Now a week on, Dan's back!

In the GC fight, Bernal finished 53 seconds behind Yates and three seconds behind Damiano Caruso. Hugh Carthy struggled, shipping 2:32 to drop to fifth in the overall standings...could we be in for a few more twists before Sunday?  

26 May 2021, 14:15
Big crash on the descent takes down Remco Evenepoel and Giulio Ciccone

Mikel Nieve came down on a fast corner on the descent moments ago...Remco Evenepoel and Giulio Ciccone were the two biggest name riders to be taken out. The Belgian collided with the roadside barrier but is now back on the bike. There was a nice moment too as Nieve came over to check on Evenepoel, the 21-year-old in his first race back since a shocking crash at Il Lombardia saw him fall into a ravine. 

Up the road, Dan Martin has a shot at a stage victory...he is in the breakaway with Gianni Moscon, Antonio Pedrero and Geoffrey Bouchard. The group has a 2:25 advantage heading towards the brutal final climb.

26 May 2021, 14:00
La Vuelta goes Dutch for 2022 opening weekend in Breda and Utrecht

La Vuelta a España will finally get its Dutch opening weekend next year, the race's organiser has announced. The Netherlands was meant to host the start of the 2020 race, however due to COVID-19 restrictions it was decided the event would be held entirely in Spain. The exact date is to be confirmed but it will somewhere in mid to late August 2022.

The provinces of Noord-Brabant and Utrecht and the cities of Breda and Utrecht are confirmed to be hosting stages. Vuelta director Javier Guillén was delighted to be able to announce his race's first return to the Netherlands since 2009. "It has been a long-cherished wish to start in the cycling country of the Netherlands," he said. "The Netherlands is known for its organisational strength and I am sure that, also given the current situation, we can succeed in organising the event in a good and above all safe way."

26 May 2021, 13:32
Paraguayan cyclist adopts abandoned puppy he found during training ride

 Pablo Villamayor and his wife were cycling in Paraguay when they saw a driver pull over and dump a small bag by the side of the road. Thinking it was probably rubbish they rode on but were then met by visibly upset puppy instead...

Securing the pup to his handlebars, Pablo took the abandoned animal home where it now lives with the family. "We realised that it was a dog," he told The Dodo. "He emerged from the bag and came running towards us, crying. We stopped and decided to adopt him. We named him Lorenzo and he is now at home with us. He’s happy. I felt sick seeing the cruelty of people. But we were lucky to have found him. Fate wanted Lorenzo to be here with us."

26 May 2021, 11:43
Throwback to when visited the roads of the Giro d'Italia

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 Stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia is underway with the riders rolling out of Canazei this morning. Familiar territory for as a few lucky members of our team visited last year to film the Basso Diamante. While out there we got some extra filming done, including this video with our top tips for cycling in the hills and mountains...check it out...

And to see Liam's Dolomites route head over to his Strava. You could even drop him some kudos...if you think he earned it...

26 May 2021, 10:50
Fed up Wellington community builds pop-up bike lane

I'm sure a few of our readers can relate to this community in Wellington, New Zealand, who were so fed up with having inadequate cycling infrastructure...they built it themselves. Volunteers from Cycle Wellington built the pop-up segregated lane on the Adelaide Road, a busy route for cycle commuters. 

However, pictures shared on social media by Cycling Action Network spokesperson Patrick Morgan showed their new lane being disassembled by the council who blocked the route with the wooden planters installed to separate cyclists from traffic. Cycle Wellington then hit back by simply moved them back before taking the boxes away with the promise of more new lanes coming soon. Morgan told RNZ they plan to keep their activism going.

"We're fed up with the council talking for years and years about improving cycling and doing so little," he explained. "We can build these pop-up bike lanes anywhere, today we're back in Berhampore, next week who knows where we'll be. This is going to keep happening until the council commits to delivering safe streets.

"Last week was road safety week, unfortunately two cyclists died last week because we've been too slow to build safe streets. Our message to the council is pull your finger out, do what you say you're going to do and deliver a safe cycling network within 10 years."

Council spokesperson Richard MacLean said that while the group's cause was understandable, the segregation was dangerous. "We just want to have an adult conversation and say 'look, we know what you're frustrations are all about', but as an organisation that's in charge of keeping the roads safe, we can't let this keep going on," he said.

26 May 2021, 10:00
Things we like to hear...
26 May 2021, 09:40
Highland Trail 550: Liam Glen breaks course record... on a singlespeed
highland trail 550

Our pals at have been dotwatching the brutal Hightrail Trail 550 bikepacking mtb race this week... and last night, former reviewer and blogger Liam Glen stormed to victory in a provisional time of 3 days, 10 hours and 55 mins. Not only that, but we're told Liam did it on a singlespeed bike, netting him the fastest HT550 on a singlespeed by a whole 11 hours, and also the overall course record - incredible stuff. 

The podium was completed in the small hours, with Andrew Hutcheson in 2nd and Transcontinental winner James Hayden in third according to the results on will have more on Liam's incredible feat soon in article and video form, so check back for that in the coming days when Mr Glen has had a pint and a lie down... 

26 May 2021, 09:21
Giro organiser wants conversation on "where cycling is going" after queen stage route change

Giro d'Italia race organiser Mauro Vegni says a conversation about "where cycling is going" is needed after the Grand Tour is finished. His comments come after stage 16, the queen stage, was shortened due to riders' concerns over bad weather at high altitude. Instead of the three planned ascents over 2,000m, the peloton only climbed Passo Giau as the forecasted snow stayed away, leading to some suggesting the route change was unnecessary. 

Vegni remained fairly calm about the situation..."everything is okay," he told Italian broadcaster RAI. "Let's end this Giro, then let's open a debate on where cycling is going nowadays. I am happy to take part in it. The UCI, the wrong rules, cycling needs to be changed. I'll stop here."

He did admit some frustration at the indecision from the riders..."[riders] change their idea every five minutes," Vegni explained. Rumours ahead of the stage suggested that many of the teams, including EF Education-Nippo and Team BikeExchange were keen to ride the full, original route.

26 May 2021, 09:11
How many people live in households without access to a car

Here's an interesting map showing car access data. The numbers are from the 2011 census so hopefully we'll see a 2021 map soon too...

26 May 2021, 07:51
Police appeal for information to trace fail to stop driver with cycle rack who hit cyclist

Avon and Somerset Police are trying to trace the driver of a Ford Mondeo fitted with a cycle rack after a cyclist was hit by a driver in a collision near Bath last Thursday. The Collision happened at the Bathford roundabout, at the junction of the A4 and A363 at around 12pm on Thursday 20 May.

The driver failed to stop after hitting the cyclist, so the force has released a picture of the vehicle, believed to be a Ford Mondeo...including the cycle rack that was fitted to the roof. The cyclist suffered minor injuries.

Anyone with dash cam footage or information can contact Avon and Somerset Police by calling 101 and giving the call handler the log number 395 of 20 May.

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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