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Sagan snow vid; Bernal on back injury; Great vid showing difference LTNs make; TdF/Olympic double “impossible”; Virgil van Dijk back on bike; Geoghegan Hart on University Challenge; Downing bros on lockdown boost to coaching business + more on live blog

Our penultimate live blog of 2020, with Simon MacMichael
30 December 2020, 20:00
Peter Sagan vs the snow (video)

Three-time world champion Peter Sagan has been taking on the snow today, posting a video to Instagram from a training ride near Monaco.

“Hey there,” the Bora-Hansgrohe rider said.

“I never saw this in my life in Monaco. It’s a beautiful day. We did today five hours, and we cannot get home because of a lot of snow.

“Just the last two kilometres to Monaco (ha, ha). It’s OK.”


A post shared by Peter Sagan (@petosagan)

Clearly he handles a bike about 100 times better than even the best of us here at, but may we just point him towards our perennial piece giving tips on how to ride on ice and snow ... ?

30 December 2020, 19:43
Proper cyclo-cross

If you love the history of cycling, and don't already follow David Guénel on Twitter, you really should.

30 December 2020, 19:38
Fantastic video from London shows what a difference LTNs make

We've seen a lot of kickback on cycle lanes in the past few years, and on low traffic areas (LTNs) in the past few months ... but this video from London shows very clearly the difference they make to helping people get around by bike.

30 December 2020, 16:36
Egan Bernal at the 2020 Tour de France (picture credit Alex Whitehead,
Egan Bernal: “Some days I pedal without pain”

Egan Bernal has said “some days I pedal without pain,” referring to the back injury – subsequently diagnosed as scoliosis – that forced him to abandon his defence of the Tour de France in September, reports Spanish sports daily Marca.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider plans to ride the race next year, but said: “I will have to train very hard. The truth is that we are preparing for the Tour de France, it is the most important race in the world.

Aiming to start his season with the Colombian national championships in February, he said: “Llittle by little the inflammation is going down, I am pedalling for a few days without pain, but I think recovery will take a little time.”

30 December 2020, 16:23
Team GB in the men's road race at Rio 2016 (copyright
Tour de France-Olympic double “impossible” due to Tokyo quarantine rules

It will be impossible for the world’s top male road cyclists to attempt a Tour de France-Olympic Games double due to quarantine conditions in Tokyo, the doctor to Belgium’s national Olympic committee has warned.

The two-week quarantine that will be required for riders after entry to Japan also means that leading female riders face a stark choice between going for gold in Tokyo, or racing the Giro Rosa beforehand.

Dr Johan Bellemans, quoted in Sporza, said: “Two weeks ago we received the latest version of the rules from the organisation in Tokyo. It states that they will stick to the 14 days quarantine after their arrival in Japan.

“Logistically, this quarantine period is not easy for athletes in terms of training accommodation and training modalities. But there will also be overlap with other competitions. Just think of the Tour de France, Wimbledon and the NBA.

“If it depends on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the quarantine period would be much shorter. It is mainly the Japanese authorities who are sticking to the two weeks’ quarantine.”

Asked why Japan was standing its ground on imposing the quarantine period, he said: “The Japanese authorities have recommendations for their citizens and for foreigners entering their country. In addition, the Covid figures in Japan have been on the rise in recent weeks. I do not suspect they will relax those regulations.”

With more than seven months to go, however, Dr Bellemans is hopeful that the situation may change.

“We are now in winter, I expect that the situation will be under control in a few months,” he said.

“Moreover, the vaccines are coming. Although the Japanese do not believe that vaccines will stop the transmission of the coronavirus.

“I expect and hope that that quarantine period and other Covid measures will gradually be tempered.”

He added: “The IOC is putting pressure on the Japanese authorities to quickly reduce the quarantine period from 14 to 5 days. That would create a lot more opportunities for cyclists, for example.”

30 December 2020, 14:02
Yet more anti-LTN vandalism

It's the season of goodwill to all men, women and children ... except those who want to live on peaceful streets without having to worry about rat-running drivers and the associated air pollution, it seems, with a Twitter user flagging up another depressingly common instance of vandalism of bollards designed to shut off residential streets other than for access, this one in the London Borough of Hackney.

30 December 2020, 13:56
Virgil van Dijk back on (Watt)bike as rehab continues

Liverpool FC star Virgil van Dijk is back pedalling a Wattbike as part of his rehabilitation from the anterior cruciate ligament injury he sustained when he was tackled by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford at the Merseyside derby back in October.

The Dutch centre-back, who underwent surgery for his injury at the end of October, is expected to be out of action for between six and 12 months, but yesterday posted this picture of him on the stationary bike, used by top-flight athletes across a range of sports as part of their conditioning, at the club's AXA Training Centre in Kirkby.

30 December 2020, 13:02
Police tape (CC licensed by freefotouk on Flickr)
Driver abuses cyclist then knocks her off her bike

Thames Valley Police are appealing for information after a cyclist was sworn at by a driver who then deliberately knocked her from her bike.

The incident happened between 11.30 and 11.45pm on Sunday, as the cyclist, aged in her 50s, was riding along Southam Road in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Police say a motorist in an older model, dark coloured car began shouting abuse at her then followed her, knocking her from her bike as she turned towards Great Bourton. 

The driver then fled the scene, leaving the cyclist with a cut to here ankle which needed to have stitches inserted at hospital.

Investigating officer, PC Matthew Leney from Banbury police station, commented: “I am appealing for witnesses to this incident, which was frightening and distressing for the victim.

“An offender used foul and abusive language towards her while she was cycling, and continued to follow her, culminating in the vehicle being deliberately driven behind her causing her to fall.

“It is pure good fortune that the victim did not sustain more serious injuries as a result of this. I am thankful that she is now discharged from hospital, but this does not take away from how distressing it was for her.

“I would like to appeal to anyone who was in the vicinity of Southam Road, Bourton Road, and Great Bourton at the time this incident took place. If you saw this incident take place or have information relating to it, please call 101 and make a report.

“I’d also encourage any motorists who were on these roads during these hours to please review their dash-cam footage, in case anything significant was captured on there that can assist with this investigation.

“You can make a report by calling 101 and quoting reference number 43200441657 or you can also report online.

“Alternatively, if you wish to remain anonymous please call independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

30 December 2020, 11:15
Dean and Russ Downing TDF Paris (copyright Simon MacMichael)
Dean and Russ Downing explain how lockdown helped boost their coaching business

Dean and Russ Downing have explained how they managed to turn lockdown to their advantage by moving their coaching business to a virtual model with the help of online platforms such as Zwift.

The ex-pro cyclist brothers from Rotherham, launched Downing Cycling as their racing days came to an end.

Dean, the older of the two, told The Yorkshire Post: “We’d both been doing little different bits within the industry, both had our own little companies, but it was Russ’s idea to put our ideas together and have a brand.

“That happened in summer 2017. We didn’t really do much that first year until I was looking to have my own coaching brand.”

He had initially moved into team management as sports director of the Holdsworth Bikes team, but said: “The No 1 thing I’ve learned from a lot of great people down the years is just how hard work that job really is.

“Jon Herety was a massive help for both of us, but I saw how hard he had to work to keep British teams on the road and then experienced it first hand with Holdsworth – it’s a massive juggling act.

“You never felt like you were in control, because the person with the money is. If you want to do something radical it needs approval from above. If something goes wrong, it’s your fault.”

That experience helped him decide that coaching was where his future lay, but as races were cancelled in March this year as lockdown began, he became anxious about the future.

“Don’t get me wrong, I was panicking in February when races were getting cancelled. Would I lose clients due to races being cancelled?” he told the newspaper.

“Do I stick my head in the sand and worry about it, or do I put my name out there to get more clients? That extra time of not being away at races, probably eight weeks, I used wisely and took on more riders.

“They started coming on board in April because people need to be training and needed help.

“It’s a full-time job, coaching every day, taking phone calls, setting bespoke training programmes. This year has been tough, but generally the client base has grown, whether they’re young or old, male or female, pro or amateur. That’s the enjoyment for me, the mix.”

Online platforms such as Zwift – the pair were ambassadors for the brand at last year’s UCI Road World Championships – have helped the business maintain its momentum, as Russ explained.

“I was one of the first guys to have a go with Zwift and I even remember getting a bit of ribbing about it”, the 2005 British road race champion recalls.

“A guy asked me to give it a bit of a nudge, this is back in 2014.

“And then lockdown came. Nobody was meeting up, your chain gang meets were no more than six people.

“So I came up with the idea to get together online. We were doing Saturday mornings as a coaching initiative under the Downing coaching arm, and from that Doncaster Chain Gang was formed. That’s been a big part of my involvement. We have people from all over the world coming online on Tuesday and Thursday nights, everyone knows it’s 
Russ, and we broadcast it on YouTube.”

“It’s been a crazy 2020 but this has provided a lot of good for a lot of people,” he added.

30 December 2020, 10:36
Tao Geoghegan Hart pops up as question on University Challenge

Giro d'Italia champion Tao Geoghegan Hart popped up as one of the questions on a celebrity edition of University Challenge over the festive period, with host Jeremy Paxman asking alumni of Durham University: “On October 26 2020 in Milan, Tao Geoghegan Hart from Hackney became just the second British man to win what major cycling event?”

The Ineos Grenadiers rider had a question himself when he first heard about his mention on the show ...

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment


eburtthebike | 3 years ago

"Driver abuses cyclist then knocks her off her bike"

Has anyone checked the whereabouts of Cristo the cretin?  Or perhaps rung in to his programme to point out that this is exactly the kind of thing that the people he's stirred up do?

Glad the injuries weren't too bad and best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

brooksby replied to eburtthebike | 3 years ago

Clearly the driver meant their abuse and violence to be taken humorously, cos then its all right...

SocrapiCyclist | 3 years ago

I'm getting my tiresome commentary in early on todays blog. Bit busy so I'll give you some general comments to cover all stories:

A. It was the cyclists fault.

B. You're wrong.

C. Labour supporting, green BLM snowflake activists are the real problem.

Anyway got to run, gammon for breakfast!

hawkinspeter replied to SocrapiCyclist | 3 years ago

You've missed out how cars are the perfect answer to mass transportation. Or was that electric cars?

eburtthebike replied to SocrapiCyclist | 3 years ago

SocrapiCyclist wrote:

Anyway got to run, gammon for breakfast!

.......lunch and dinner too.yes

Hirsute replied to SocrapiCyclist | 3 years ago

You need to be ruder to pull this one off.

David9694 replied to SocrapiCyclist | 3 years ago

D. LTNs are bad 

E. it was the cyclist's fault 

NZ Vegan Rider replied to David9694 | 3 years ago
1 like

Good to see the apostrophe has been added  3

efail replied to SocrapiCyclist | 3 years ago

There We Are Then.

captain_slog | 3 years ago

Geoghegan I have no difficulty with as I once worked with a chap called that. It's his first name I'm not sure about. Is it Tay-oh or does it rhyme with wow?

brooksby replied to captain_slog | 3 years ago
1 like

The BBC reckon it is Tay Oh.

PRSboy replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
1 like

I was standing next to another supporter at the roadside of the 2014 Tour of Britain when Tao rode past. She evidently knew him and yelled 'go on Tay-oh!' so I've run with that. 

Organon replied to captain_slog | 3 years ago

Tayo Gaygan Hart*^, I never had to struggle, I just heard Ned having to say it before I ever read it.

*Any relation to Tony?

^Hope to be taking the TGH in London soon. 

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