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Prosecutors claim cyclist deliberately kneed five-year-old girl; RBKC councillor says segregated cycle lanes will get "jammed"; Geraint Thomas leads Ineos at the Tour; Free Lime ride to your vaccination + more on the live blog

It's Thursday and Dan Alexander is in the hot seat for all your live blog needs...
04 February 2021, 16:43
RBKC councillor says segregated cycle lanes are "short-sighted" because they get "jammed"

This is a new one from Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council...At first segregated cycle lanes weren't being used enough, now they'll get used too much. That's what Councillor Alison Jackson told a council Environment Select Committee. Explaining why she's against the introduction of segregated cycling infrastructure, the councillor said they're "short-sighted as lanes will get jammed and outdated pretty quickly. Which is expensive and means putting residents at risk."

She also said cycle lanes are dangerous because they are "mixing slow and fast [traffic] and different directions". Some have suggested this may be a better description of the current layout than how it was with the segregated cycle lane on Kensington High Street. Earlier in the meeting Jackson had also claimed that e-scooters are dangerous to cars...No, really...

04 February 2021, 16:17
Criticism for race organisers after roundabout at 500m to go causes big crash on stage 2 of Étoile de Bessèges

Having a roundabout at 500m to go during a bunch sprint wasn't the smartest idea...There was a major pile up on day two of Étoile de Bessèges with several riders hitting the deck. Former World Champion Mads Pedersen somehow managed to stay upright as he skated across the road before unfortunately clipping a Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles rider. After the chaos, Timothy Dupont of Bingoal came out on top, winning the sprint ahead of Pierre Barbier and Giacomo Nizzolo.

04 February 2021, 15:51
Lime and PedalMe to offer Londoners free bike rides to their vaccination appointment
Lime-E bike in Ealing (copyright Simon MacMichael)

Lime and PedalMe have teamed up to launch Ride to Recovery, which will see Londoners offered the chance to travel to their vaccination appointment by bike for free. You can choose whether to use the code to cycle independently to their local centre via a Lime e-bike, or use Pedal Me’s passenger bike service. The code will be provided to all existing Lime and Pedal Me users via email, with all Londoners able to download either app to access the free rides too. As part of Ride to Recovery, Lime is also in talks to deploy bikes directly at London’s key vaccine centres for patients and staff to use free of charge.

04 February 2021, 13:06
Belgian prosecutors claim cyclist kneed five-year-old girl on purpose

Cyclist knees a young child to get her out of his way from r/ActualPublicFreakouts

The Brussels Times reports that Belgian prosecutors have accused this cyclist of deliberately kneeing a five-year-old girl. The man, appearing at Verviers Criminal Court, insists it was accidental and happened while he was "rebalancing himself". The incident was filmed on Christmas Day and quickly went viral, and after a call for witnesses the cyclist voluntarily went to the police.

The 60-year-old was questioned and is now in court facing charges of intentional assault and battery to a minor. A video of the incident has been widely shared on social media. The prosecution claims the cyclist was fatigued and frustrated that he had to slow down.

During his hearing, the cyclist insisted he had no intention of hurting the girl. "When I left my home and set off, there was hardly anyone there. There was one stretch of the route of about 1 km, near Baraque Michel, where there were a lot of pedestrians," he said.

"I braked, I adapted my speed and I activated my 120-decibel horn. I felt that I had touched the little girl but I did not immediately realise that she had fallen. Her father grabbed me by the shoulders and shouted. I apologised and told him I hadn’t seen her. As he was threatening me, I continued on my way when I saw that the little one had got up and that she was not injured."

The judge’s ruling is expected on 3 March.

04 February 2021, 15:15
Bicycle-riding thieves make off with high-value items from Cheshire store
Moody's Nantwich (Google Street View)

A pair of jewellery thieves fled a raid on Moody's in Nantwich on bicycles having taken a number of high-value items. The thieves broke into the jewellers between 11pm and 6am on January 31. Officers from Cheshire Constabulary are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen the raiders flee on bicycles. Cheshire Live reports that both suspects were described as wearing all dark clothing, but one was also wearing a high visibility vest and work gloves. Anyone with information should contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting IML 907926.

04 February 2021, 14:44
Tirreno-Adriatico route announced

The route for the 56th edition of the Race of the Two Seas has been released and includes the usual mix of lumpy, unpredictable stages and some old favourites. The highlight of the route is the stage four summit finish at Prati di Tivo where Chris Froome was victorious the last time the race visited the climb. There should be several opportunities for the sprinters as well as a few tough finishes for the puncheurs. As usual the week-long stage race finishes with a short individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto. Geraint Thomas, Julian Alaphilippe, Wout van Aert, Peter Sagan and last year's winner Simon Yates are all on the provisional startlist for the race.

Vincenzo Nibali is also planning on tuning his Giro d'Italia form at Tirreno. "It is an unmissable event in the early stages of my racing calendar, it’s an important test of form that I don’t think I could do without. It’s a race where I have had a lot of joy," he explained.

04 February 2021, 14:32
Eurosport Cycling Show: Cherie Pridham talks about being the first female WorldTour sports director and the season ahead

Cherie Pridham is the first female sports director in the men's WorldTour. When it was announced that she'd be joining Israel Start-Up Nation we took you back to the days of (the cycling team we sponsored back in 2010). Cherie was the team's director but has clearly moved up in the world since those days. This year she'll be one of the sports directors in charge of a much improved Israel Start-Up Nation squad, including star signing Chris Froome. Here she speaks to Eurosport about women in cycling, the season ahead and the challenges of the role.

04 February 2021, 12:36
Lunchtime laugh
04 February 2021, 12:07
Giro d'Italia Grande Partenza

The Giro d'Italia will start with three stages in the Piemonte region, in the north west of the country. An opening day 9km individual time trial in Turin is followed by two road stages with opportunities for the sprinters and puncheurs. The race will return to the region in the third week for stage 19 which finishes at Alpe di Mera in Valsesia. 

04 February 2021, 11:29
Geraint Thomas to lead Ineos Grenadiers at the Tour de France
Geraint Thomas 2021

Geraint Thomas will get another shot at Tour de France yellow, according to team principal Sir Dave Brailsford. Thomas, who won the race in 2018, will be supported by Richard Carapaz and Giro d'Italia champion Tao Geoghegan Hart. The Guardian reports that Egan Bernal is to race the Giro following a winter of rehabilitation on a back injury that forced him to withdraw from the Tour last year. Brailsford suggested that the time trial-heavy route at this year's Tour is "really suited to Geraint's attributes".

"He is very motivated for it. Given the time-trialling, the nature of the climbing, the first week and the cross winds, that element lends itself well to his skills and attributes. On paper it’s a great Tour for Geraint," Brailsford said.

Aside from Thomas' leadership one of the big talking points from the announcement is Tao racing the Tour. It had been thought that a defence of his Giro crown would be the logical next step for the 25-year-old's development, however he'll take to the start line in Brittany instead.

"He could have gone back to Italy and there was a lot of chat about him going back to defend his Giro title," Brailsford continued. "On the other hand, he could step up and focus on trying to ride the Tour. In terms of his progression and development, it felt like riding the Tour was the next step.

"It is a great opportunity for him. He had a fantastic adventure, unbelievable experience and an inspiring experience for all of us who were in and around that. It feels like he can carry on that adventure, step up while he is in such a great place. Go and take on a new challenge, a different challenge, and see how we can get on."

Ineos' other British GC rider, Adam Yates, has been pencilled in for the Vuelta a España alongside fellow new signing Tom Pidcock. A few weeks back we caught up with Geraint to chat about his new podcast the Geraint Thomas Cycling Club and all things cycling. Have a read here.

04 February 2021, 10:49
First bike ride eight months after back-breaking fall
04 February 2021, 09:49
Ian Stannard joins Trinity racing as directeur sportif

Ian Stannard is back in cycling, now from behind the wheel of the team car. Trinity Racing announced this morning that the popular former rider will join their team as a directeur sportif as they step up to UCI Continental level this season. Trinity has also registered as a UCI MTB team for the upcoming season. Stannard was forced to retire prematurely due to rheumatoid arthritis in November.

"I have been very impressed with the progression of Trinity Racing since the team’s inception in 2018. They have quickly become one of the leading development teams in Europe and I look forward to starting my new role for the coming season," Stannard said on the move.

"I am also very excited about getting stuck into the other sections of Trinity's calendar during the year, particularly gravel and MTB. As a WorldTour pro for so long, I only ever got to enjoy a small bit of mountain biking in the winter, but I have seen how the off road side of the sport has grown, how riders these days really benefit from mixing disciplines, and I look forward to immersing myself in these worlds to learn, and help our roster in the process."

04 February 2021, 08:51
GoFundMe for NHS worker whose bike was stolen while she volunteered on Covid ICU

Humayra is the second NHS worker at University College London (UCLH) to have their bike stolen as they worked on a Covid ICU ward in the past week. On Tuesday, we brought you the news that the first theft victim's bike had been returned. Now, Humayra's friends and colleagues have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for a new bike. Shockingly, hers was stolen while she was working voluntary extra shifts on weekends to help the ICU look after Covid patients. During the first wave she volunteered to help at London's Nightingale Hospital too.

The hospital security didn't get any identifiable footage of the thieves so the police have said there isn't much they can do. However, the thieves apparently spent several minutes cutting through her lock before taking the Trek Domane AL3 with frame number Trek-047-RD. Yesterday the London Cycling Campaign found several cut locks scattered outside UCLH's bike parking area. The GoFundMe page has already raised £974 of the £1,000 target.

NHS stolen bike

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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