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Decathlon CEO apologises for bike shortages; More talk that Froome is to leave Ineos; UK’s first competitive BAME cycling team; Lachlan Morton's everesting non-record; Chris Boardman takes MP to task for cycle helmet tweet; Schrodinger's car driver + more

Today's live blog with Alex Bowden (daytime) and Simon MacMichael (evening)...
18 June 2020, 15:32
Trailer: The Racer (an Irish pro cycling film)

Set in summer 1998, The Racer follows ageing domestique, Dom Chabol, who wants to wear the yellow jersey before he retires.

Looks like he faces challenges and temptation and whatnot.

The film was due to premiere at SXSW in March before the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s due to be shown at next week’s Cannes online Marché du Film.

18 June 2020, 15:23
Cycling levels up by around 70% compared to early March
18 June 2020, 15:15
Triban RC520 Women's Disc Road Bike - riding 4.jpg
Decathlon CEO apologises for bike shortages

Eric Mazilier, the Decathlon UK CEO, has apologised for bike shortages and says the firm is working hard to find a solution.

“The enthusiasm for the unique price/quality ratio of our bikes has been incredible. I want to thank you for your trust,” he said.

“In relation to this, I have to admit we are experiencing difficulties to face this very high demand for our bikes and some of you were disappointed that you couldn't find a bike quickly. I personally apologise for this and assure you that our teams are working hard to find solutions and meet your needs to the best of their ability.

“Thank you for your patience, continued support and loyalty during this time. I am extremely grateful to see that you are so passionate about sport and it inspires me to dream of a better lifestyle, more active for all of us and healthier for our planet.”

Decathlon aren't the only cycling retailer struggling to meet demand.

Evans Cycles have been enduring a bit of a kicking on social media from customers complaining of delays, while Winstanleys Bikes received a flurry of negative reviews on TrustPilot for similar issues.

18 June 2020, 14:15
GreenEdge have gone back to being Mitchelton-Scott after that weird sponsorship deal fell through

Last week we reported how Mitchelton-Scott were to become Team Manuela Fundación for the remainder of 2020 season.

At the time it seemed one of the more curious pro sponsorship deals of recent times. The Manuela Fundacion is a pretty small Spanish non-profit funded by husband and wife team Francisco Huertas and Maria Angustias González.

The statement announcing that the deal has fallen through doesn’t really clear things up at all.

 “We felt a strong initial connection with Mr Francisco Huertas, the Manuela Fundación and their noble aims,” said team founder and principal Gerry Ryan.

“However, as the negotiations have evolved after the initial announcement on Friday, we have concluded that the relationship will not proceed. We wish Mr Francisco Huertas and the Manuela Fundación all of the best for the future."

The GreenEDGE Cycling men’s and women’s teams will return to racing next month under the Mitchelton-Scott name, with a fully supported financial and technical structure provided by Ryan.

Ryan added: “The COVID-19 global crisis has thrown up many new challenges, but our primary focus remains on our world-class athletes and support staff.

“This will include a return to full wages for all riders and staff once WorldTour racing commences in August, and a commitment to the year 2021 as we search for a suitable sponsorship.

“We believe in this team, and the people and culture that have made it so successful these past eight years. 

“Our riders have been inspiring in their commitment and motivation in what has been an uncertain season, and our staff loyal and determined to provide the best service possible in what will be a busy and challenging end to the year. 

“We can’t wait to get back on the road and start winning more races.”

18 June 2020, 13:49
British Cycling has announced the next phase of how it plans to reintroduce all sanctioned cycling activities in England.
18 June 2020, 13:31
Dunwich Dynamo bikes on beach
Cyclists urged to give Dunwich Dynamo a miss this year

Traditionally held on the Saturday night/Sunday morning nearest to the full moon in July, Dunwich Dynamo involves riding 115 miles from London Fields in Hackney to Dunwich beach on the Suffolk coast.

It tends to attract around 1,500 participants.

Patrick Field, one of the founders, told the BBC that it is not officially happening this year - although there are no official organisers.

"It happens because people do it,” he said. “It's a tradition."

Southwark Cyclists have however cancelled return coaches from Dunwich, while Dunwich Parish Meeting said it was discouraging people from undertaking the trip.

"There's no infrastructure for them waiting for when they get here," said chairman Rod Smith.

18 June 2020, 12:45
Chris Froome in Ineos Zwift special edition jersey
Froome departure rumours rumble on

These sorts of rumours have been bouncing around for a few weeks now.

Chris Froome’s contract with Team Ineos expires at the end of the year and he has not signed an extension yet.

The Times reports that he is considering an offer from Israel Start-Up Nation that could see him bought out of the remainder of his contract and competing against Ineos at this year’s Tour de France.

Bahrain-McLaren were previously believed to be the favourites to sign him.

18 June 2020, 12:43
There’s another home exercise bike/fitness class thing

Ooh look, it’s another one of those indoor bikes associated with a series of at-home fitness classes.

You know, kind of like Peloton. (Only hopefully not too much like it, what with that firm’s famously litigious recent track record.)

Apex from Apex Rides on Vimeo.

The Apex website says the bike’s going to be on sale in John Lewis before too long.

Last month Peloton said that a cheaper version of its exercise bike – which retails for $2,245 in the US – was on its way with the firm looking to target the mass market.

Peloton can be pretty robust in its dealings with rivals.

In October 2019, the firm sued rival brand Echelon, accusing them of selling "cheap, copycat products" and patent infringement.

USA Herald reports that it’s also suing NordicTrack for its iFit leaderboard that it believes infringes on one of its patents.

They also threatened a YouTuber in 2018 because he was using the word “peloton”.

18 June 2020, 11:27
Rapha ChooseCycling
Rapha to highlight inspirational new cyclists as part of British Cycling’s #ChooseCycling campaign

British Cycling has said that if towns and cities follow Department for Transport (DfT) guidance and quickly implement new temporary infrastructure, up to 14 million UK adults are ready to start cycling.

To help people understand how the simple act of riding can positively influence the future of city life, Rapha is to showcase the most inspirational and remarkable people who turned to cycling in the last two months.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer Simon Mottram said: “Rapha was founded with the vision to make cycling the most popular sport in the world and there has never been such an opportunity – or urgency – to promote riding in our cities.

“We have always believed cycling has the power to transform lives – it is just about the most uplifting thing someone can do with their time – and we’re excited to bring all our efforts to bear on showing people just how inspiring cycling in the city can be.”

18 June 2020, 10:43
Lachlan Morton’s everesting attempt no longer the record after checks on Strava segment data

On Sunday we reported that Lachlan Morton of EF Pro Cycling had become the latest man to claim the everesting world record after appearing to take 7 hours, 32 minutes, 54 seconds to make an altitude gain of 8,848 metres.

The Australian, who is based in Boulder, Colorado, climbed Rist Canyon, near Fort Collins, Colorado, 42 times.

Unfortunately for him, Morton’s effort was checked by Hells 500 — the organisation behind the concept of everesting – and they concluded he didn’t achieve the necessary elevation gain.

Writing on Facebook, they said: “As painful as it is, we stand by our community’s decision to recategorise this as a (very large) Everesting Basecamp listing, which means Keegan Swenson is restored at the top of the Everesting leaderboard.”

So how did this happen?

Hells 500 reckon they see under- or over-reporting of data from devices in about 10 per cent of all submissions, “and this is why we will check the elevation gain from repeats of a verified Strava segment over what the head unit will show.”

However, they also check the Strava segment itself, looking for ‘saw-toothing’ in the profile which tends to suggest a poorly formed segment, and one that could give an artificially inflated figure.”

This seems to be what happened with Morton’s effort.

Hells 500 went on to say that while the concept of everesting wasn’t initially about racing, they accept that this has become a part of it.

“One thing we never anticipated when creating this challenge for our crew was that it would one day be raced by riders at the top level of the sport. In fact, ironically, this challenge was set up as the antithesis of racing!

“That said, we appreciate and respect that whilst completion is the driving factor for the vast majority of participants, the appeal of setting new records for Everesting has clearly taken hold - and so we’ll need to adapt to that.”

As for how they’ll do this, they say that they’re going to have to approve segments for record attempts in advance.

“As mapping data varies in accuracy from country to country (and indeed the exact height of Everest itself is still a matter of some debate!) we will – to the best of our ability with the resources to hand – agree on a set elevation gain prior to an attempt.”

18 June 2020, 09:12
BCN press pic
BCN announces formation of UK’s first competitive BAME cycling team

London based cycling club BCN (The Black Cyclists Network) was established in 2018 to address the lack of diversity and representation in UK cycling across all levels, grassroots to professional. It currently boasts over 100 members.

BCN yesterday announced its intention to create the first amateur British domestic racing team for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) riders with a view to competing in the 2021 season.

The team currently comprises nine riders – an Elite rider, four cat 2 and four cat 3 athletes – and is looking to build a team of 10 riders.

BCN founder Mani Arthur said “BCN is more than a club. We are a community built to address the lack of representation in the cycling world.

“There are a lot of cyclists from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in the UK and around the world yet very few resources cater for our communities.

“With the launch of the BCN team we aim to give much needed visibility to people of colour in the sport to inspire and engage a new audience to the physical, mental and social benefits of cycling.”

BCN is actively seeking partners for the project and has set up a Go Fund Me page.

18 June 2020, 08:50
How garden villages are locking-in car dependency

Government plans to develop 50 ‘Garden Villages’ and ‘Garden Towns’ across England will result in 200,000 households becoming car-dependent, says a new report we reported on yesterday.

18 June 2020, 08:42
Schrodinger's car driver

Not sure the Schrodinger reference quite passes, but you get the idea all the same.

18 June 2020, 08:35
Key worker? You can borrow a bike for free
18 June 2020, 08:33
Chris Boardman takes MP to task for cycle helmet tweet

Margaret Greenwood, the MP for Wirral West, yesterday tweeted that there has been an increase in the number of children with head injuries because more are cycling.

Greater Manchester’s cycling commissioner, Chris Boardman, who famously once said that the helmet issue is “a red herring” and “not even in the top 10 of things you need to do to keep cycling safe,” swiftly responded.

We *think* Greenwood’s tweet may have arisen from comments made by the Major Trauma Co-ordinator at the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC) in Glasgow.

The Extra reports that the RHC has seen 18 children admitted with moderate trauma related to bikes in the three months of lockdown compared to 13 in the whole of 2019.

Reflecting on this, Mark Lilley said: “Fortunately, the vast majority of children are able to go home following assessment and treatment but for some children head injuries can be serious enough to require admission and can often go on to develop symptoms of concussion.

“This can lead to headaches, fatigue, poor concentration, poor balance or co-ordination, sensitivity to light or noise, changes in mood and nausea.

“I am asking that parents and carers to please continue to encourage their children to keep using their bikes.

“If they have a helmet, please check it is the right size for them. If they do not have a helmet, then many shops have online guidance on how to measure your child’s head correctly to make sure they can get an appropriate sized helmet. Or check out ROSPA for more information on safe cycling.

“We really want to encourage people to keep cycling but to do it safely.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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