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Team Ineos boss Jim Ratcliffe scraps plan to build Grenadier car in the UK; Everesting just got 86cm harder; MailOnline brags that cars have reclaimed Kensington High Street; So near yet sofa-r; Cops find rare Colnago Ferrari + more on the live blog

It's Tuesday and Dan Alexander is in the saddle for another day on the live blog...
08 December 2020, 20:56
Kensington High Street van-gate: it's allegedly a different van

Apparantly this isn't the Caffe Concerto Van, but an imposter that could be attempting to break the reported 78 hour record that the notorious original van managed to stay there without picking up a fine. How about a cycle lane instead?

08 December 2020, 16:32
Team Ineos boss Sir Jim Ratcliffe scraps plan to build Grenadier 4x4 in the UK

Not only is cycling's biggest team now named after a 4x4... but production of said car is now being moved to France. Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the boss of the Ineos chemical company who are title sponsors of the team formerly known as Sky, had said the Grenadier would be produced in Bridgend, Wales; however, today the economics editor at the BBC, Faisal Islam, reported that the 'billionare Brexit backer' will move the car's production to Hambach, at a facility the company recently bought from Mercedes-Benz.

An Ineos Grenadier tweet said: "Building the vehicle in Britain was always our intention and the plan was fully costed and deliverable. Of course, we understand there will be disappointment in the UK. But the business case for Hambach was overwhelming."

Ratcliffe said: "Hambach presented us with a unique opportunity that we simply could not ignore: to buy a modern automotive manufacturing facility with a world-class workforce. Ineos Automotive set out a vision to build the world’s best utilitarian 4x4, and at our new home in Hambach, we will do just that."

In September, Ineos Grenadiers were criticised for their relentless 4x4 promotion after riders were interviewed in front of the car. 

08 December 2020, 15:52
Rod Ellingworth rejoins Ineos Grenadiers
Rod Ellingworth (picture copyright Russell Ellis via

Rod Ellingworth has rejoined Ineos Grenadiers as the new Director of Racing. Last week, Ellingworth stepped down from his role at Bahrain McLaren, the job he left Ineos for. Cyclingnews reports Dan Hunt will move into the position of Director of Performance.

A spokesperson for the team said: "We can confirm the appointments of Rod Ellingworth as Director of Racing and Dan Hunt as Director of Performance. Both Rod and Dan rejoin the team to help cement a new approach to racing and build upon the foundation laid on the road at the end of 2020. Rod will be taking the lead on the racing programme, including talent identification, development and recruitment, while Dan will focus on the development of our performance strategy and systems."

*Update, in light of news further up the page: having been in the job a couple of days already, Ellingworth has already lasted longer than the UK manufacturing plant for the Ineos Grenadier 4x4...

08 December 2020, 14:57
Kensington High Street van

I'm sure we'll get the officially verified sighting from the 'Is the van on Kensington High Street still there?' Twitter account soon, but for now you'll just have to take our word for it. We think this is the Caffe Concerto van but perhaps it's just another driver who had to wait for all the other parked cars to move...

08 December 2020, 14:01
Tear up the record books...Everest is higher than first thought

Too bad for any Everesting attempts that stopped at 8,848m of elevation. It turns out the world's highest mountain is 0.86m taller than first thought. The BBC says that officials from China and Nepal have agreed to co-ordinate on a new height of 8,848.86m for the peak that stands on the border of the two countries. Chinese authorities had previously measured Everest to its rock height, while Nepalese authorities wanted the snow on top of the summit to be included.

Everesting in the cycling world has garnered interest in a year when conventional racing was put on hold. Several pros broke the record for fastest Everesting, while in November a Fife ultracyclist rode a virtual Everest every day for two weeks. Try again people, you've got another 86cm to climb...

08 December 2020, 13:09
Bike Trossachs to launch Gravelfoyle in 2021
Gravel riding in the Black Forest.jpg

If you watched the video we shared earlier of Rab Wardell's West Highland Way ride and have been inspired to take a trip to discover Scotland by two wheels, Bike Trossachs think they have your must-visit destination. Cycling Industry News reports the local community interest group plans to launch Gravelfoyle next spring with the aim of promoting Aberfoyle as Scotland's premier gravel cycling destination.

There are 200km of off-road trails within a 12km radius of the village on the edge of Loch Lomond and the spring launch will see three new routes, ranging between 10km and 30km, opened.

Enda McLoughlin of Bike Trossachs said: "With the growing success of Aberfoyle as a cycling destination and gravel riding in particular we want to harness the success and incredible offering that this area offers cyclists and create a collective vision for the future of our hometown."

08 December 2020, 12:10
'Cars RECLAIM Kensington High Street': MailOnline brags that 'Traffic returns to loathed west London bike route'
MailOnline Kensington High Street headline

MailOnline reported the removal of the Kensington High Street cycle lane with this headline suggesting cars have 'RECLAIMED' the road as 'Traffic returns to loathed west London bike route'. The article claimed that the bollards were removed after a backlash from drivers and local businesses and that the cycle lane became an 'unlikely battleground in the row between cycling zealots and drivers angry about congestion.'

The story also included quotes from the CEO of Pimlico Plumbers, Charlie Mullins, who said: "What a great thing they've done. It was a total mess-up from day one. It cost thousands to install and caused more congestion and pollution. Traffic has been at a standstill, it's been a disaster. It's about time that businesses stood up for ourselves because things can't continue like this. The Kensington cycle lane has been causing big delays for our drivers."

The first weekend since the lane was removed saw queues of cars backed up along the High Street as well as vehicles parked where the lane used to be. One van was seen parked in the same spot for more than 72 hours without receiving a parking ticket. The van got its own hashtag and had an account called 'Is the van on Kensington High Street still there?' providing updates.

In July, Pimlico Plumbers toned down a blog post that talked of "cycle fascists" who were "taking f**king liberties." The photos were removed and the title changed to "It's illogical to expect businesses to thrive on scraps of roadway when the blue bike-lanes are empty."

08 December 2020, 11:38
Rab Wardell's West Highland Way record

Yesterday we brought you the news that Rab Wardell had set a new record for cycling the West Highland Way. Wahoo have released this video covering the ride, all nine hours, 14 minutes and 32 seconds of it to be exact. Rab beat the previous record for riding the 96-mile trail, set by Scottish cyclo-cross champion Gary Macdonald, by just over 14 minutes.

08 December 2020, 10:50
Inaugural Esports World Championships
Zwift World Championships

The first-ever Esports World Championships will take place tomorrow with competitors racing on Zwift. Both the men's and women's race will cover the same 50km course on the Watopia Figure 8 Reverse, finishing at the top of the Hilly Q/KOM. The course has 483m of elevation and the finish climb is 900 metres at 5.5%. In the UK, the event will be broadcast on Eurosport. For the inaugural edition, Team GB have selected a strong squad including: Dame Sarah Storey, Elinor Barker, Tom Pidcock and Ed Clancy.

"An Esport title would be very bizarre - and very 2020 - but also quite special," Barker told BBC Sport.

"It's been really hard this year making the sacrifices that you need to do in order to prepare for events and then see them cancelled, so I'll never take anything for granted again. Even though it's virtual and you won't have people racing side-by-side it should be an exciting event. You have road world champions, track world champions and Paralympic champions, all sorts of people on the start line with all different backgrounds so it'll be interesting to see who comes out on top on the day."

From the other nations competing, the big name riders include Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten as well as 2019 Tour of Flanders winner Alberto Bettiol and Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts in the men's race.

08 December 2020, 10:15
UAE Team Emirates to be vaccinated against Covid-19 at winter training camp
UAE Pogacar and Philipsen.jpg

The team of Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar will be vaccinated against Covid-19 at their January training camp, with all riders and staff offered the vaccination. The team's main sprinter, Fernando Gaviria, tested positive for the disease twice this year and was forced to spend a month in quarantine, while Pogačar was also forced to quarantine in the UAE.

Team manager Mauro Gianetti was involved in phase 3 trials of the Sinopharm vaccine that the team hopes to give their riders in January. "I was one of 30,000 volunteers in Abu Dhabi who tested the new Sinopharm vaccine. It was in two doses and I didn’t have any side-effects,” Gianetti explained to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"It’s currently in phase 3 testing, it’s still not been authorised but there’s not far to go and they expect to distribute a billion doses in 2021. In January we intend to vaccinate all the riders and staff."

08 December 2020, 09:28
So near yet sofa-r: Brave bike courier takes on steep climb...carrying a sofa

Just a little something I took up Park Street the other day 🚲 from r/bristol

The Strava segment for Park Street in Bristol says it's 300 metres at 7% and hits double figures for the final 200 metres... and staffers based in the South West can confirm it's far steeper than it looks in the picture above.

It took some effort for this bike courier to get up it with a sofa. He said: "I was actually going to the top of Charlotte Street and I had to take a little breather before I took the turn as the gradient ramps up quite a bit (and I need to do more cardio I think). Didn't get off to push though which is what I was aiming for."

The Velocious Cycle Couriers' rider took the acclaim of the locals with one commenter pointing out how tough the climb is, even when you don't have a sofa strapped to the front of your bike. 

Another said: "To this day I don't understand Park Street, you look at pictures like that and you're like "oh that's a slight hill" but when you're walking up it on a hot day it's basically a vertical wall."

To which our courier hero confirmed: "I'll tell ya, that effect is very much heightened when it includes pushing a sofa."

08 December 2020, 08:52
Cops bust bike thieves and find stash of expensive bikes including a rare Colnago Ferrari with a five-figure price tag

Thames Valley Police found this stash of stolen bikes in Oxfordshire when they went to arrest a man on suspicion of handling stolen goods. One other suspect was arrested on suspicion of burglary. The haul of bikes includes a rare Colnago Ferrari which has a price tag in excess of £10,000. Some of the other bikes pictured include a Wilier,  De Rosa and Scott model. 

Thankfully it seems one person who saw the photo may be able to help reunite some of the bikes with their owners. AW Cycles in Reading have offered to trace the shops the bikes were sold, through their links to suppliers, to hopefully find the owners.

Geoff Armstrong commented: "You can probably count on one hand, if not one finger, the number of those in the country. Hope you find the owner."

Pete Garlick added: "Colnago only made 199 worldwide to celebrate Ferrari’s 60th anniversary in 2008, someone must be looking for it! The thieves had very good taste, Colnago, Wilier and De Rosa!"

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 enjoying life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends exploring the south of England.

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