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Cycling group 'strongly oppose' making wearing a helmet mandatory; Brooks releases statement addressing 'misleading claims' about post-Brexit sales; Olympic Champion delivers Tesco shopping to the elderly; Driver rams LTN planter + more on the live blog

It's Wednesday and Dan Alexander is here to take you through the middle of the week on the live blog...
06 January 2021, 17:02
Cycling group 'strongly oppose' making wearing a helmet mandatory
Hyde Park Corner 2.JPG

Galway Cycling Campaign's deputy chair, Martina Callanan, told Newstalk Breakfast that they "strongly oppose mandatory laws for helmets for everyday cycling." The question was posed following the release of a new study that found only two of 26 patients with cycling-related head injuries transferred to Beaumont Hospital's national centre for treating traumatic brain injury were recorded as wearing a helmet at the time of the injury.

Callanan said: "We strongly oppose mandatory laws for helmets for every day cycling. For a person cycling, a camera is better for personal safety cause this can record road traffic offences and provide digital evidence to [the Gardaí].

"The solution to keeping people safe and feeling safe is two things: separate infrastructure for cycling - and this is being provided through the Programme for Government. And also we need to change our speed limits - we need to reduce the speed on our roads to 30 kilometers per hour in urban areas."

06 January 2021, 16:11
Cristiano Ronaldo's agent moves into cycling, will represent João Almeida and Ruben Guerreiro

Jorge Mendes, one of the most successful agents in football, has moved into cycling with his sports marketing company Polaris Sports. João Almeida and Ruben Guerreiro are two of his first clients. The Portugese super-agent can name Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and José Mourinho amongst his stable of footballing talent.

A press release from Polaris read: "Polaris Sports and Corso have just established a partnership agreement which aims to optimise the commercial perspectives of Portuguese athletes that work with [Corso] in an association that is expected to be fruitful and successful."

06 January 2021, 14:55
Brooks England releases statement addressing 'misleading claims' about UK sales post-Brexit

Brooks England has released a statement responding to 'misleading claims' that the saddle manufacturer is no longer selling products in the UK post-Brexit. On Sunday, Brooks suspended sales from orders made through the brand's website but confirmed on Monday that this would not affect products sold through their premium dealers. They cannot sell products in the UK through their website as the company is owned by Selle Italia and despite products being made in the UK, they are dispatched from Italy. Consequently, changes in the UK’s cross-border VAT rules, that coincided with Britain’s departure from the EU single market, led Brooks to temporarily suspend sales to the UK.

The iconic saddle brand reiterated this message this afternoon saying in a statement: "Recent news reports, stating that Brooks is no longer selling products in the United Kingdom post-Brexit, have given us the opportunity to respond to misleading claims and clarify the situation.

"Due to changes in the UK’s cross-border VAT rules, that coincided with Britain’s departure from the EU single market, we were forced, quite unfortunately, to temporarily suspend e-commerce sales to the UK as of 1 January to properly analyse the situation and react to the new changes and bureaucracy.

"Again, to avoid confusion, we would like to restate that this measure ONLY affects the owned ecommerce website, not our UK distributor, shops or online sellers. Passionate cyclists across the UK can rest assured that our products will remain available during this period, as we will continue serving the UK market offline through our Brooks Premium Dealers network and online through our best partners."

On Saturday, we reported that Dutch Bike Bits, a bike parts website, had stopped shipping to the UK beacuse of the same change in VAT rules, meaning that they now ship to every country in the world except the UK.

06 January 2021, 13:59
Reaction to 'stay local' lockdown cycling rules

This thread from human rights barrister Adam Wagner is quite interesting. He notes the distinction in the government communications between guidance and law, and suggests both should be clearer...

The report says: "There have been significant inconsistencies in public communication about the new regulations. There are a number of different sources of information, in particular: (i) the regulations which set out the law; (ii) Government guidance that is intended to try to explain the regulations, for example to give examples of what might be a 'reasonable excuse'; and (iii) Government advice that has no relation to the regulations."

06 January 2021, 12:56
Consultation on traffic in London's parks closes soon
06 January 2021, 11:36
Olympic gold medallist Callum Skinner delivered shopping for Tesco to help vulnerable customers shield during lockdown
Revolution 2013 round 2 - Callum Skinner

Rio Olympics gold medallist Callum Skinner helped deliver food to the elderly and vulnerable during lockdown last year by taking a job as a Tesco delivery driver. Skinner said that like many he found opportunities hard to find due to the pandemic but made the best of a bad situation to help those less fortunate. He originally planned to use his time to volunteer with the NHS but found opportunities scarce.

Skinner said: "I started to see if I could volunteer, seeking work with the NHS or Trussell Trust to help those most affected by COVID. Opportunities were slim. In the end, I took an opportunity working for Tesco as a delivery driver. The proposition didn't appear as satisfying as volunteering, but I found taking up a role as a key worker immensely gratifying.

"I met many elderly, vulnerable or shielding customers for whom the Tesco driver was their only face to face contact sometimes for weeks at a time. The efficiency of a large grocer meant we helped a lot of people in the day. Perhaps more than if I had loaded up my car with food parcels?"

The Scot also used the shutdown to expand his 5 Rings coffee business that he co-owns alongside fellow Olympic Champions from the track Owain Doull and Philip Hindes. In 2021, Skinner will start a new chapter at The Hut Group Ingenuity as a sales development lead having retired from cycling in 2019.

06 January 2021, 10:56
Paris-Nice route announced

The Race to the Sun, Paris-Nice, will take the riders on a traditional looking route this year with a couple of windy sprint stages in northern France, one individual time trial, a summit finish at Valdeblore La Colmiane and the usual final stage in Nice. Last year's edition was shortened due to the pandemic but Nairo Quintana won at Valdeblore La Colmiane as Max Schachmann hung on to the overall lead.

This year will also see the addition of a new punchy finish on stage four. Following a day with 3,500m of climbing, the peloton will take on the ascent to Chiroubles which has two kilometres north of 10%.

06 January 2021, 10:18
Pictures from some of the other LTN planters in Levenshulme that were moved last night
06 January 2021, 10:03
Marc Hirschi to UAE Emirates?
2021 TdF Marc Hirschi Sunweb - 1

The usually reliable Dutch website Wielerflits reports that Marc Hirschi is close to joining UAE Emirates following his departure from Team DSM yesterday. The 22-year-old is supposedly in contact with UAE team manager Mauro Gianetti and, according to sources close to the team, a deal is close. 

A move to the team would see Hirschi join forces with Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar. The pair shared some exciting battles on the road in 2020, including on stage 9 of the Tour when Pogačar pipped Hirschi in the sprint after the Swiss rider had been in the breakaway all day. 

06 January 2021, 09:32
Community comes together to repair vandalised planters

It seems this story has a happy ending, for now. Last night, residents and the Streets for People community campaign group came together to restore the planters in Levenshulme. They also fixed the filters in other parts of the area after they were reportedly pushed off the road by a large truck. Streets for People said: "The community won't stand for vandalism, and it does your cause no good. These filters are public property, supported by the vast majority of residents. Well done to all who got these plant boxes back standing proud in a couple of hours."

06 January 2021, 08:47
Driver filmed ramming LTN planter off the road

These planters in Levenshulme, Manchester, were only installed on Monday but have already featured on the live blog twice. Two days ago it was a video of drivers mounting the pavement to get round and today it's a driver ramming the planter off the road...This video was originally posted in a Facebook group for the area by a man claiming to be the perpetrator. It was shared with the title 'Fucking plants' and in a second post he suggests the planters on nearby Gordon Avenue are next.

Dan joined as live blog editor last year. He has previously written 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 a keen cyclist ever since and spends his weekends exploring the south of England on two wheels. 

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