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“Hero” cyclist saves dogwalker from bear attack; Top races of 2020; The “cycling mafia … a powerful, financially supported organisation” ... really?; Pidcock named Yorkshire Post's Sports Hero; + more on the live blog

Our final live blog of an extraordinary year, with Simon MacMichael
31 December 2020, 19:20
Cyclist saves dogwalker from bear attack (+ link to video)

A woman in Florida who was attacked by a bear while walking her dogs has hailed a cyclist who intervened and managed to distract the animal as a "hero."

WSVN has posted video of the moment Kathy Boyle met cyclist Joe Schmidt to thank him for saving her and her pups.

She said: “Thank you so much. The only reason I’m standing is because you came around that corner and we were able to distract the bear.”

Schmidt said: “Actually, just kinda getting towards the end of the ride and I heard some screaming.

“All I could think about was, you know, it’s a matter of split second,” he continued. “‘OK, I got to get down there.’ I thought you were being attacked. I mean, I thought you were going to be dead.”

He managed to chase the bear away by shouting, with the help of Boyle, who said: “There are only a few people out there early in the morning, and I just was trying to hold on long enough that someone would be walking,”

But Schmidt added: “I didn’t really do as much as she thinks I did. She went full martial arts.”

WSVN reported that Boyle's two dogs were injured in the attack but are both expected to make a full recovery.

31 December 2020, 18:55
Top races of 2020 - Alaphilippe blows first race in rainbow jersey ... big time

Fresh from winning the world championship at Monza, Julian Alaphilippe quickly laid to rest the so-called 'curse of the rainbow jersey' by winning his first race in it, at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Never mind the early celebration that saw Primoz Roglic pip him to the actual finish line ... the Deceuninck-Quick Step man was also relegated from the sprint for veering across the line of his rivals.

Zut, and indeed, alors.

31 December 2020, 18:52
2020 has been an awful year ... but bikes have made it better
31 December 2020, 16:32
Top races of 2020: Wout Van Aert wins Milano-San Remo

We had to wait a long time for the first Monument of the year, with Milan-San Remo - nicknamed La Primavera due to its usual springtime slot - taking place in early August, but what a race it was.

Julian Alaphilippe followed a move from past winner Vincenzo Nibali on the Poggio, and only Wout Van Aert was able to stay with the Frenchman as they crested the climb, ahead of a touch-and-go finish on Via Roma with the bunch closing in.

31 December 2020, 12:33
Top races of 2020: Pogacar blows Roglic away to win the Tour de France

It wasn’t the first time the leadership of the Tour de France had changed late on – who can forget the narrowest ever race in 1989 when Greg Lemond overhauled Laurent Fignon on the final day, or 2011 when uniquely three men, Thomas Voeckler, Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans each held the yellow jersey on the final three days – but Stage 20 of this year’s race, ahead of the procession into Paris, saw a stunning change of fortunes for Slovenian riders Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar.

Roglic’s Junbo-Visma team had controlled the race throughout and he led his younger compatriot – two days shy of his 22nd birthday – by 57 seconds going into the time trial from Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles.

Pogacar, the penultimate man on the course, ate into Roglic’s lead on the flatter part of the course and blew him apart on the climb, the race leader’s team mates Wout van Aert and Tom Dumoulin watching incredulously as the UAE Team Emirates rider put two minutes into his friend and rival to take the yellow jersey by 59 seconds.

 

31 December 2020, 11:35
Video: Cyclist picks up bike from factory in China ... and rides it home to Newcastle

If you follow cycling journalist and author Carlton Reid on Twitter, you'll probably know that his son Josh last year picked up a bike he had ordered from Giant's factory in Shanghai, China ... and rode it all the way home to Newcastle.

His four-month trip back to the UK took him across China and through countries including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Hungary, Germany and the Netherlands, from where he took a ferry across the North Sea to Newcastle.

You can follow Josh’s adventures through this 30-minute video he compiled of the trip – and he’s also been speaking about his experience in this Daily Mail article (where some of the commenters haven’t quite grasped that the journey took place in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic broke out).

31 December 2020, 10:54
Tom Pidcock wins Superprestige Gavere 2020 (via Twitter).PNG
Tom Pidcock wins Yorkshire Post's Sports Hero award

Tom Pidcock has ended 2020 by being named Yorkshire Post's Sports Hero of the year.

The 21-year-old from Leeds, who will be racing for Ineos Grenadiers next year, has had a stellar season across a number of disciplines.

On the road, he won the under-23 Giro d'Italia, while in mountain biking he added two more rainbow jerseys to a growing collection, winning the E-MTB Cross Country and Under-23 Cross Country titles at the World Championships in Austria.

Earlier this month, at the Superprestige Gaver, he also took his first top-level international cyclo-cross victory, beating world champion Mathieu van der Poel.

Other names on the Yorkshire Post's shortlist included  from the Yorkshire sporting world, including rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield, Leeds United manager Marco Bielsa and wheelchair athlete Hannah Cockroft - although surprisingly, despite victories including La Course by Le Tour de France (see below), there was no place for Lizzie Deignan.

31 December 2020, 10:37
Top races of 2020 - Lizzie Deignan wins La Course

Today we'll be highlighting a few of our favourite races from a shortened and action-packed 2020 season, starting with Lizzie Deignan's stunning win at La Course by Le Tour de France in Nice, with the race bursting into life through an attack by Annemiek van Vleuten that only the strongest could go with, and Elisa Longo Borghini playing a huge role in team-mate Deignan's eventual victory ...

 

 

31 December 2020, 10:26
The “cycling mafia … a powerful, financially supported organisation”

Step aside, the Bicycle Lobby – there’s a new gang in town, the “Cycling Mafia,” and it’s “powerful, financially supported organisation” – or at least, that’s what anti-bike lane and low traffic neighbourhood Twitter account OneTowerHamlets would have you believe.

Unsurprisingly, the monicker has attracted a fair bit of derision on Twitter.

Though joking apart, there is a serious point in play here, with accounts such as this and others helping stoke anti-cyclist hatred ...

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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