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Transport minister Grant Shapps hospitalised (and thanks his helmet) after cycling crash; Giro d'Italia stages revealed; Homemade e-bike; Bernal denies Ineos rift; Insane climbing; Dear Deidre: Strava edition; Sagan looks to future + more on the live blog

It's Monday, the weekend's over, get yourselves through Monday by joining Dan Alexander for the first live blog of the week...
08 November 2021, 16:46
Not another helmet debate...Grant Shapps reaction

Okay, just a few quick helmet-related comments...

And while a few people were put off by Shapps' comment about the helmet helping him out, especially considering how few details have been released about the incident, everything we know about the weekend's events is in the earlier blog post.

On Facebook, Tony IIes commented: "Glad he's not badly injured. Hoping this will focus his mind on a much better network of segregated cycle lanes."

We really don't want another helmet debate. Not everyone else did either...some just wanted to point out Shapps must be used to helmets, working so closely with them on a daily to whoever dropped that zinger earlier (it has now mysteriously vanished). Step forward to take the applause...

08 November 2021, 16:31
Two men face seven years in prison over Italy's stolen track bikes and €400k of damage
Romanian police recover stolen Italy track team bikes (Image: Politia Romana)

Two men arrested by Romanian police face up to seven years in prison for their part in the Italian track cycling team having their bikes stolen while they competed at the UCI World Track Cycling World Championships in Roubaix. Police in Vrancea County located 21 of the 22 bikes, including Filippo Ganna's gold Pinarello, along with mobile phones, drugs and around £5,000 worth of cash.

Cycling Weekly reports two of the four men arrested, an 18-year-old Frenchman of Bosnian descent and a 20-year-old Bosnian, will appear before courts in Lille and face up to seven years in prison. Both men have admitted to the theft but have not given details about other possible perpatrators. 

The men are in pre-trial detention awaiting their hearing on December 10.

08 November 2021, 16:25
Beethoven Strava art

Our Strava art archive is a bit of a rabbit hole...

08 November 2021, 14:43
Get well soon messages for Grant Shapps

 Labour's shadow transport team were among the well-wishers hoping for a speedy recovery, tweeting: "Hope you're OK Grant Shapps. Wishing you a speedy recovery."

Labour MP Karl Turner added: "Hope you recover speedily."

08 November 2021, 13:53
Dear Deidre, my cycling pals don't give me Strava kudos...what should I do?
2021 Strava app

The Sun's problem page has taken a break from affairs and office romances today...and it's cycling on the agenda.

One cyclist wrote in to say his riding pals stopped sharing their updates on Instagram and Strava, to the point where there are just three of them left. Now, however, the admin only comments on the other two riders' posts.

"It got me down so I blocked him and left the group. Why would he keep slighting me like that?"

Deidre's advice..."It could be that algorithms meant he rarely saw your updates – and so was not ignoring you. What a shame. It sounds like you really enjoyed the camaraderie of this group. Could you join another group and all go out cycling together?"

Is Strava good for your mental health? A 2020 university study found the app can create “obsessive tendencies which need to be avoided".

08 November 2021, 12:21
Is no bike lane safe?

Even on the trails you'll find someone in your way... 

08 November 2021, 11:50
Peter Sagan: Part of the beauty of cycling has been lost because of Covid

A post shared by Peter Sagan (@petosagan)

 It's not just Egan Bernal who spoke to Marca over the weekend. Peter Sagan shared the podium with the Colombian at the Giro d'Italia Criterium in Dubai this weekend and spoke to the Spanish outlet about his future in the sport. The three-time world champion will join TotalEnergies in the new year.

"I have new motivations, it will be good for me. Seeing new faces always makes you have to have a different mentality. I'm looking forward to it starting. the season, to start strong, and that is a good sign," Sagan explained.

The 31-year-old also spoke about the impact of Covid on the sport..."The only thing that the virus has done is to make everything difficult, I think that now it is much worse in this sense. I do not think that now the races are more fun, on the contrary, part of the beauty of cycling has been lost. It is difficult to travel, to meet, the emotion that people transmit, the fans that follow the races are lacking. Without people, cycling is different and worse."

08 November 2021, 11:39 Recommends Episode 8: All this month's top tested kit, a Salisbury Plain gravel ride + a cyclist-approved cafe stop

Want to know what's been top of the pile on in the last month? Becca and Liam are back with the products that have made it into recommends this month. We'll be picking our product of the month, and there's also a route around Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, and a recommended cafe stop in Sussex too.

And for the full list of bikes, kit and tech, head over to the Recommends section of the site...

08 November 2021, 11:16
The next Egan Bernal? How far would you get?

Egan Bernal may be happy at Ineos, but how long until this young lad's a teammate...

08 November 2021, 10:58
"There is no problem. I never spoke to Israel Start-Up Nation": Egan Bernal denies Ineos Grenadiers rift
2020 Vuelta - Egan Bernal (© ASO, Cxcling Creative Agency)

Egan Bernal has poured cold water on the rumours he is unhappy at Ineos Grenadiers and is looking for a move away from the team. Speaking to Spanish newspaper Marca, the Colombian said he has no issue with the team, nor Adam Yates, and has not spoken to Israel Start-Up Nation. It had been rumoured Bernal was posturing for a move to the team to ride alongside his former teammate Chris Froome.

"I never spoke to Israel," Bernal denied. "Obviously many things are said, there is news. But I didn't want to get into that game of saying 'I'm not leaving'. Nothing ever happened."

When asked if there had been a problem at the Vuelta, where Bernal finished sixth and teammate Yates fourth, the 24-year-old said: "No, no, no, no. But it is not, really. With Yates I got along super well. He seems like a super calm person to me. A classy cyclist. I really liked him. I think it was the first race I did with him and it was all great. There is no problem, really."

Looking ahead to 2022, the Giro champion said he would like another shot at the Tour de France, but admitted he is not yet back to 100 per cent after a back injury. "We have to wait a little longer to know the plans for everything," Bernal continued. "My idea is to go to the Tour and I don't know if to the Giro. If it is not in 2022, I will return to the Giro very soon because it is one of the races that I like the most."

08 November 2021, 10:33
The Monowheel: Making the strangest e-bike

08 November 2021, 10:09
Giro d'Italia sprint stages announced

The Giro is doing its route announcement slightly differently this year. No big buffet announcement. Instead, it's more like a starter, dessert, main course approach. Unconventional, but worth a try?

Today the 'flat' stages have all been released in one block. Stages 5, 6, 11, 13, 18. That's your starter.

There'll also be a sprint stage on the third stage of the race, the final day in Hungary. That was announced as part of the Grande Partenza reveal last week. Tomorrow, for dessert you'll be getting the medium mountain stages, before the main course of the high mountain stages on Wednesday. The final stage, expected to be a TT in Verona, will be revealed on Thursday, if you've got any space for a post-dinner coffee... 

08 November 2021, 08:38
Transport minister Grant Shapps hospitalised after cycling crash

Boris Johnson's transport minister Grant Shapps was in hospital this weekend after "coming off" his bike. Shapps said he was treated at the QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City and the Lister Hospital, where he was "patched up" on Saturday before "a minor op on my lip today [Sunday]".

  The MP for Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire took a moment to thank his bike helmet, "without which it could have been worse".

Perhaps inevitably, some of the reaction has been people pointing out that Shapps is in as good a position as anyone to influence people wearing "public transport campaigner" replied: "Please publicise this more grant. Lots of people on pushbikes this weekend valued at £5k and yet won’t pay £20 for a helmet. Glad you are safe and recovering."

Despite the government repeatedly saying it will not mandate compulsory helmets, the issue has been raised on a couple occasions times by the party's MPs. In 2019, former Tory MP for Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, Bill Grant, said the government should intervene to protect cyclists by making helmet-wearing mandatory.

Back in 2015, David Cameron's transport minister Robert Goodwill said he doesn't wear a helmet while cycling in London, but does when cycling "furiously" in Yorkshire. Goodwill pointed out mandatory helmet-wearing can deter people from cycling, and "the health benefits of cycling in terms of heart disease and obesity and everything else far outweigh the number of people killed and injured using cycles."

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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