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"This is why we can't have nice things": Spacer-heavy stem set-up stresses cycling Twitter; Peter Sagan to retire from road cycling at the end of 2023 (+ a look back at Sagan's good, bad and ugly moments); Toilet talk + more on the live blog

We're under the Flamme Rouge, the finish line is in sight, Dan Alexander will be launching one more big sprint to the line on your Friday live blog...
27 January 2023, 10:07
"This is why we can't have nice things": Spacer-heavy stem set-up stresses cyclists

Disclaimer: we've all done stupid things with our bikes over the years and cycling certainly doesn't need more snobby looking down of noses...

But does CycleSystemsOnline have a point about things like this happening when "brands go direct sale" and a helpful professional mechanic is removed from the buying process? To be fair, we've definitely seen worse from a certain large bike retailer and service provider...(I'm sure you can guess)...

Anyway, there was of course the obligatory subsequent speculation about the reasoning behind the high-rise spacer tower...

27 January 2023, 16:44
Roubaix or Richmond? Your favourite Sagan win...
Sagan poll

With that we'll leave you until Monday when Ryan will be back on live blog duty. Have a great weekend everyone!

27 January 2023, 16:14
Kit of the year?

Perhaps just not the best colour for cyclocross... 

27 January 2023, 16:06
Police release details of man wanted over suspected hit-and-run that killed father and son cycling in Yorkshire
Paul Yates (South Yorkshire Police)

South Yorkshire Police have released an image of a second man wanted in connection with the suspected hit-and-run which killed father and son Dean Jones and 16-year-old Lewis Daines.

> Father and son named as cyclists killed in suspected hit-and-run

Paul Yates, also known as "Bane" or "Pip" Yates, who is 35, has been named as a person of interest. A spokesperson said: "Police want to hear from anyone who has seen or spoken to Yates recently, or knows where he may be staying. If you see Yates, please do not approach him but instead call 999."

27 January 2023, 14:54
Puddle pain
27 January 2023, 14:18
Salty handlebars, double cleats and rubber-robbed tyres... when your mechanical mishaps hit the live blog

We love to laugh together on the blog at our mechanical mishaps. We're not getting all high and mighty about our own perfection as home 'mechanics', I've done more stupid things than I'd care to admit as a cycling journalist...

Anyway, here are a few classics from the archives...

Cleat disaster (Image credit: @trench_tales/Instagram)

> Can it be real? Mechanic shares double cleat horror set up

In the words of the mechanic who sent it to us... ​"I say 'alright, let me see your shoes', at which point he takes them off and hands them to me. I must have stared for two minutes straight — not uttering a word — fully expecting cosmic black holes to open up on the bottoms of those kicks."

Cleat nightmare (@scherritk/Twitter)

> Flippin' clip-in nightmare: Bike fitter's disbelief at client's upside down AND backwards cleats

And no, as someone asked, they aren't cleats set up the Australian way...

Handlebar nightmare (Credit: Stevil Kinevil/Twitter)

> "This needs an exorcist, not a mechanic": You'll never train indoors without a towel again

Who could forget these... last but most certainly not least...

Worn tyre (@trench_tales/Instagram)

> Is there any rubber left? The impossibly worn tyre that earned bike shop visitor a standing ovation from mechanics... after he only came in "for a tube"

27 January 2023, 13:16
About that Amsterdam underwater bike garage... opened yesterday, for those who didn't know! I have a sneaky trip booked to Amsterdam in June and will be checking this out. 

27 January 2023, 12:46
Great-granddaughter of Marshall Walter 'Major' Taylor, once the world's fastest cyclist and the first black 'superstar athlete', calls for national recognition

There are probably more people who haven't heard of Marshall 'Major' Taylor than have, even amongst cyclists; but his great-granddaughter Karen Brown-Donovan wants to change that by calling for Taylor - once named the world's fastest cyclist and arguably the first superstar black athlete in the western hemisphere - to be awarded a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal in the US. 

"He went through things that people today can never even imagine," said Brown-Donovan, who has also called for a monument to be erected in her great-grandfather's honour. 

After working in a bike shop then turning pro in 1896, Taylor's palmares included numerous world records and six-day victories, gold in the 1-mile sprint at the 1899 World Track Championships and two national sprint victories, all in the face of a great deal of racial prejudice he endured along the way. He died penniless in 1932 after suffering a heart attack. 

We reported in 2021 that singer John Legend was producing a film about Taylor that was to be named 'The Black Cyclone', however to our knowledge the film is yet to come to fruition. You can watch this short ESPN doc about him instead though, enjoy! 

27 January 2023, 12:11
Would you live in this car-free utopia? Plans for Utrecht district with space for 10,000 people and 21,000 bicycles (and 0 cars) begin to take shape
Merwede district artists impression - Bura Okra
Image via Bura

For pure two-wheeled ambitiousness, this perhaps tops even the 7,000-bike capacity underwater cycle garage in Amsterdam we reported on last week... and you won't be surprised to know that this plan for one of the largest car-free inner-city neighbourhoods is also located in the Netherlands.

The new Merwede district in Utrecht, ten minutes from Utrecht Central Station, will have 6,000 homes, roughly 10,000 residents and 21,500 spaces for bikes within its buildings and none at all for cars, reports nrc

Supermarkets will be on the edge of the city so they can get deliveries, there will be plenty of parcel collection points so vehicles don't have to enter the district and bulky items will be delivered to residents' doors via e-carts. There will be no traffic lights, no motorways or car parking spaces, just paths for cycling and walking. 

One of the designers for the project, Marco Broekman, told nrc: "I give a lot of presentations about it, there is always discussion, and there are always people who do not believe in it.

"They say: it's wishful thinking, Utopia, it's not going to work. I need my own car. I have to take my son to football every weekend. Yes, as if that is not also possible with a shared car."

Sceptics have questioned whether the plans will work considering the population density of Merwede, and those involved in the project insist the elderly will be catered for, emergency vehicles will be able to get in and there will be exceptions for those who need cars for work or those with disabilities (these caveats are sounding quite familiar). 

What else would we expect from a city that already has the world's largest bicycle parking garage? We'll be following with intrigue... 

27 January 2023, 10:26
Comment of the day
Live blog comment 27 January 2023


27 January 2023, 09:58
The entertainer
27 January 2023, 09:53
POLL: What was your favourite Peter Sagan win?

For me it's got to be that first World Championship victory, but which win's your favourite? Extra marks for Milan-San Remo 2023...

Poll Maker

27 January 2023, 09:22
Peter Sagan — the good, the bad and the ugly of one of cycling's brightest stars

You can accuse Peter Sagan of many things, just not being boring...

Peter Sagan (via Team TotalEnergies on Twitter)

The good 

There's almost too much good to mention in a live blog post...

The wins, all 121 of them, including that imperious first world title, two subsequent, a 50km attack and sprint victory in Roubaix and a Cancellara-besting Flanders. He's almost won it all...


But it's also the antics away from the front of bike races that won Sagan the hearts of the cycling world — THAT Grease recreation, coming to the aid of a "flabbergasted" British cyclo-tourist in Gran Canaria, signing his autobiography for a fan mid-stage, joining Arnold Schwarzenegger in urging commuters to swap cars for bikes, the wheelies and the interviews...

> Peter Sagan: Cycling is "a boring sport" to watch on TV

The bad

After revealing all about his Roubaix win in his autobiography, Sagan was branded an "idiot" by Jelle Wallays for repeatedly bashing the rear wheel of the Belgian’s bike to try to straighten his handlebars. Not one to copy on the group ride...

Then, in 2020 Sagan was quick to take to social media to strenuously deny involvement in a bizarre get-rich-quick Bitcoin article. In the article, Sagan was said to have appeared on a Slovakian TV show and told the audience how the cryptocurrency platform can "make a millionaire out of anyone in 3 to 4 months", accompanied by a crudely edited photo of the three-time world champion and a TV host. 

"The truth is that a few minutes after the interview was completed, representatives of the Slovak National Bank called for the interview not to be broadcast, but it was too late", the article stated.

But Sagan was quick to insist he was not involved, saying: "​I categorically deny having any involvement, in any form, in what is mentioned in this article. I have never been in contact with any of the persons or companies mentioned and any allegation to the contrary is false." 

We'll take your word, Peter. One thing Sagan did apologise for was pinching a podium girl's bottom after finishing second at the Tour of Flanders in 2013...(good to see official race social accounts have moved on too)...

Sagan bum pinching

"I never should have done it. I am so sorry and I hope Maya and anyone else I have offended knows how sorry I am and accepts my apology. I promise to act more respectfully in future," the then-23-year-old Sagan said.

The ugly

That 2017 Tour de France disqualification after barging Mark Cavendish into the barriers during a sprint finish is perhaps the biggest professional blot on the copy book.

Sagan Cavendish TdF 2017 Stage 4 crash.JPG

> Videos: Peter Sagan says he accepts Tour de France disqualification — but disagrees with it

Then in November 2021 there was the fine for breaking Monaco lockdown curfew and injuring a police officer. 

What memories will the enigmatic entertainer make in his final season on the road?

27 January 2023, 09:09
Bike Accessories & Components Of The Year | 2023 Awards Show

27 January 2023, 08:32
Peter Sagan to retire from road cycling at the end of 2023

A post shared by Peter Sagan (@petosagan)

The big news from Vuelta a San Juan overnight was not the racing (no, for reasons unclear to all, the week-long stage race had a rest day) but instead an announcement from one of biggest stars in the sport of the past decade...

Peter Sagan's Paris-Roubaix-winning Specialized s-Works Roubaix (picture credit Specialized and Brakethrough Media)

Yep, Peter Sagan is retiring. The charismatic all-conquering king of 2010s cycling, who won the World Championship road race three years in a row between 2015 and 2017, has seven Tour de France green jerseys, 12 Tour stages, a Paris-Roubaix cobble and a Flanders win on his palmares, is entering his final season on the road.

Speaking at the season-opening race, Sagan explained he would end his career back on knobbly tyres, targeting the mountain bike event at the 2024 Paris Olympics...

"I've always said that I wanted to end my career on mountain biking because that's where I started. Being able to finish like this, it's going to be something nice. It's important for me to spending time with my son Marlon and seeing life from different perspectives and not just as a cyclist.


"I never dreamed of running or being a professional cyclist until I was 40 or 50. I think it's time now."

But the 33-year-old doesn't see his final year on the road as a procession and he "wants to be at my best". One final Tour stage and, with Wout seemingly uninterested, perhaps even a green jersey in Paris?

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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