As inclusive traffic free days in Italy increase – will we see them in the UK?

Dolomites Bike Day saw a 36 mile loop closed to traffic over the weekend – will we ever see this initiative rolled out in the UK?

Closed roads for cyclists are usually reserved for high profile races or relatively expensive sportives, but in Northern Italy they’re being rolled out for free in an attempt to increase cycle tourism.

Over the weekend Dolomites Bike Day saw a 58km (36 mile) loop closed to motor vehicles and around 5,000 cyclists enjoyed the event in its inaugural year.

Roads were closed from 10am until 3pm, and cyclists could join or leave the route at any point – for free.

The route swooped up and over three stunning passes: the Campolongo, Flazarego and Valparola and comprised 1390 metres (4500ft) of climbing. The arrival of each pass was marked with a banner, giving the total distance, percentage incline and Giro d’Italia KOM time.

Cycling Weekly was invited to take part in the day. Along the way, we were passed by the gentle hum of e-bikes, and took time to cheer the impressive efficiency of a mother chugging her way up the 10.6km slopes of Passo Flazarego with a tag-along attached to a hybrid bike.

It’s not the only such event in the calendar. Next weekend, on June 25, the Sellaronda Bike Day takes place.

Now in its 12th year, the Dolomite event routinely draws around 20,000 riders eager to celebrate the 30 mile closed road loop. The following weekend will also be given over to cyclists, with the Maratona Dles Dolomites Gran Fondo taking place on Sunday, July 2.

The area is also experimenting with more regular closures – such as the decision to close the Pordoi Pass to riders every Wednesday over the course of the summer.

Commenting on the success of the first Dolomites Bike Day, Nicole Dorigo, who works at Alta Badia’s tourism office which was involved in the organisation told us: “The organizers are very happy about this first edition… It was a day full of peace and calm among the nature with a very nice non-competitive spirit.”

She added that there was no resistance to the event from local businesses: “they recognized the importance of initiatives like this… cycling tourism is very useful for the area to extend the summer season and fill out quite empty periods of the year.”

The closest example of such an event in the UK is the HSBC UK City Ride initiative (formerly Sky Ride) run by British Cycling, which sees roads closed in major centres for traffic free, family friendly rides.

Outside of these city events, Box Hill in Surrey recently experimented with the idea of making the climb one way over the Easter weekend to improve the experience for cyclists, but closed roads free of charge seem an unlikely addition to the local calendar.

Commenting at the time Countryside manager Andrew Wright commented: “We’ll see how it goes, but might do it again for the May bank holiday weekends if successful”.


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Mountainous 2017 Tour de l’Avenir set to reveal future Grand Tour talent

The 2017 Tour de l’Avenir will again reveal future Grand Tour contenders, with this year’s route starting in Brittany and heading south through central France for three consecutive and selective mountain stages in the Alps.

The nine-day race will start on August 18 and end on August 27, with the introduction of a rest day to give the Under 23 riders a chance to recover before the tough finale. 

Some of the biggest names in the sport won the Tour de l’Avenir before going on to success in Grand Tours. Greg LeMond won it in 1982, Miguel Indurain in 1986, Laurent Fignon in 1988 and, more recently, Nairo Quintana won in 2010. Other recent winners include Esteban Chaves, Warren Barguil, Ruben Fernandez and Miguel Angel Lopez. French climbing talent David Gaudu won the race in 2016 and is now riding for FDJ.

The Tour de l’Avenir was created in 1961 by Jacques Marchand, the then editor-in-chief of L’Equipe. It has changed name and format over the years but is now part of the UCI Europe Tour and the UCI U23 Nations Cup. The four classification jerseys replicate those of the Tour de France, with the winner awarded a yellow jersey.

Expected contenders in 2017 include the USA’s Adrien Costa, recent Giro d’Italia Under 23 winner Pavel Sivakov, Australia’s Lucas Hamilton, and Colombian climber Egan Bernal, who is already a professional with Androni Giocattoli.

The 2017 race route was unveiled on Monday evening in France, confirming the Brittany start and the testing finale in the Alps, with summit finishes in Hauteluce Les Saisies, Sainte-Foy Tarentaise and Albiez-Montrond.

Both Barguil and Gaudu come from Brittany and the 2017 Grand Départ will celebrate their success, even if the opening stages in Loudéac, Lochrist and Chateaubriant are more suited to sprinters and rouleurs. Three other stages in the Loire area will take the race across central France. There are no time trial stages but a rest day on August 24 will help the riders recover and transfer to the Alps.

Stage 7 is from Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc to the Olympic venue of Les Saisies, with the 15km climb to the finish topping out at 1650m. Stage 8 from Albertville to Ste-Foy Tarentaise includes the 19km climb to Comet de Roselend, the climb to Les Arcs, and a final 6.5km climb to the finish. The final stage includes the massive Col de la Madeleine, with the 11km, 7.5 per cent climb to the finish in Albiez-Montrond set to crown the final overall winner.

Tour de l’Avenir 2017 stages

August 18: stage 1: Loudéac (Côtes d’Armor) – Loudéac 134km
August 19: stage 2: Inzinzac-Lochrist (Morbihan) – Bignan (Morbihan) 132.4km
August 20: stage 3: Missillac (Loire-Atlantique) – Châteaubriant (Loire-Atlantique) 125.7 m
August 21: stage 4: Derval (Loire-Atlantique) – Saumur (Maine-et-Loire) 166.6km
August 22: stage 5: Montreuil-Bellay (Maine-et-Loire) – Amboise (Indre-et-Loire) 157.1km
August 23: stage 6: Montrichard (Loir-et-Cher) – Saint-Amand-Montrond (Cher) 139.1km
August 24: rest day in Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc (Haute-Savoie)
August 25: stage 7: Saint-Gervais-Mont-Blanc (Haute-Savoie) – Hauteluce Les Saisies (Savoie) 118.4km
August 26: stage 8: Albertville (Savoie) – Sainte-Foy-Tarentaise (Savoie) 120.5km
August 27: stage 9: Bourg-Saint-Maurice (Savoie) – Albiez-Montrond (Savoie) 107.4km

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Brian Cookson faces challenge for UCI presidency

Current vice-president David Lappartient puts his name forward for top job

Brian Cookson will face a challenge for the presidency of the UCI when elections take place in September.

Cookson, who has been president of cycling’s world governing body since 2013, will be challenged by David Lappartient, one of three current UCI vice-presidents and president of the European Cycling Union (UEC).

Setting out why he had decided to run for the role, Lappartient said that he wanted to provide cycling with “real leadership” and help to modernise the sport.

>>> Brian Cookson should not be re-elected as UCI president following British Cycling revelations, MP claims

“I want to make UCI a strong and well-respected federation by improving its governance and regain its capacity of influence in the Olympic movement,” Lappartient said in a statement.

“The UCI must be at the service of the national federations. It is its primary vocation! And I will endeavour to develop the mission of the World Cycling Centre and to strengthen solidarity programs. Together we will make cycling the sport of the 21st century. It is up to us to develop this sport with such an enormous potential.”

Lappartient also criticised recent reforms of professional cycling, and said that more needed to be done to combat cheating to guarantee the integrity of cycling.

>>> Brian Cookson: ‘I’ve got work to do and I’m up for it’

“Professional road cycling is the highlight of our sport,” he continued. “However, the recent reforms have unfortunately failed to meet the challenges we are facing with, in this discipline. In collaboration with the different stakeholders, I will put in place fundamental and ambitious changes to improve road cycling.

“Finally, I will be relentless when it comes to guaranteeing the credibility and accuracy of race results! We must be unshakable when dealing with technological fraud, doping or the potential manipulation of results related to sports betting. It is the mission of UCI to guarantee these core values. I will be strongly committed to my role as your leader and will make the changes we need in cycling.”

The election of the UCI president will take place on September 21 at the World Championships in Bergen, Norway. Voting is done by secret ballots by 45 delegates from the different Continental Confederations.


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The best cycling clothing deals: 12 great deals on riding kit

Here we take a look at some of the best clothing deals in cycling, including the likes of Specialized, Castelli and Altura

If your cycling wardrobe is looking a bit tired before a long season ahead, then today is the day to replenish it.

We’ve brought together our picks of the best cycling clothing deals that the internet has to offer this month. Keep checking this page for updates if you’re on the hunt!

Our pick of the best cycling clothing deals this month

Look Cool Sleeveless Baselayer £34.99 £27.99

It might sound strange but we honestly believe you’ll be far more comfortable in a baselayer, even in the height of summer. It can keep you cool and comfortable by adding a well ventilated buffer between you and your jersey.

Buy now: Look Cool Sleeveless Baselayer at ProBikeKit for £27.99

Altura Podium Progel Mitts £27.99 £18.19

Protect your hands on long rides from cramp and blisters with some mitts. Trust us when we say the extra cushioning can go a long way to increasing how much you’ll enjoy the ride.

Buy now: Altura Podium Progel Mitts at Cyclestore for £18.19

Endura Equipe Classics jersey £139.99 £52

The Endura Equipe is actually a short sleeve jersey with separate arm warmers, but that doesn’t stop it offering pro level weather protection.

In fact, it’s the jersey of choice for Team Movistar when it comes to riding in inclement weather.

Buy now: Endura Equipe Classics jersey at Tweeks Cycles for £52

Castelli Womens Velo Vest £65.99 £31.99

Castelli Velo Vest

Read more: Castelli Velo Vest review

The Castelli Velo Vest is a great addition to a spring and summer wardrobe. It’s so lightweight and packable that it’s perfect for a back pocket. Whether you know it’s going to rain or you’ve just got some big, chilly descents its windproof material will keep you warm.

Buy now: Castelli Womens Velo Vest at Chain Reaction Cycles for £31.99

Castelli Womens Trasparente 3 wind jersey £145 £59

Almost £100 off this great bit of kit is a massive opportunity to prep your autumn wardrobe – after all, summer won’t last forever!

Its sleek, and cut close to the body to stop it flapping all over the place when the wind picks up, plus it uses Gore Windstopper Lite material, so you know you won’t get chilly in it.

Buy now: Castelli Womens Trasparente 3 at Chain Reaction Cycles for £59.99

Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm sunglasses £175 £104

We reckon these are some of the finest sunnies on the market; and there are plenty of great things to love about them.

For starters, their lenses are great and there’s a broad selection of them, too. Next up, they fit your face well thanks to the built up rubber nose piece and arms. Finally, they’re robust, so you don’t have to worry should you be continually dropping your glasses.

Buy now: Oakley Jawbreaker Prizm sunglasses at Wiggle for £104

Bontrager Solstice bib short £49.99 £29.99

The Bontrager Solstice bib short single density foamed chamois should make a plush cushion to sit on when putting long hours in the saddle. Other great features include the silicone grippers on the legs that keep them in place and wide, supportive back panel for added comfort.

Buy now: Bontrager Solstice bib short from Evans Cycles for £29.99

Specialized RBX Sport Women’s short sleeve jersey £50 £14.99

Best cycling clothing deals: Specialized RBX Sport Jersey

Not everyone wants a super slim race fit but at the same time you reserve the right to stand out, and the RBX jersey from Specialized should do the trick.

Its relaxed fit is great for anyone who may want a bit more room in their kit while the snazzy Hydrofit finish should keep your body try. There are protective elements included, too. For example you get a reflective strip on the back to keep you visible and the jersey itself is UV50 protected, meaning you can wear it abroad.

Buy now: Specialized RBX Sport Women’s jersey at Evans Cycles for £14.99 

Castelli Perfetto long sleeve jersey £174.99 £122.49

Best cycling clothing deals: Castelli Perfetto Long Sleeve Jersey

The Castelli Perfetto is essentially the re-working of the Castelli Gabba long sleeve jersey (one of our favourite ever).

This makes it ideal for Spring riding – which as us Brits know only too well – can throw up its own weather hiccups with unpredictable showers and seemingly random gusts of wind.

Having a piece of kit such as the Castelli Perfetto that can deal with them is vital.

Buy now: Castelli Perfetto at Evans Cycles for £104

Castelli Women’s Velo jacket £75 £37.49Best cycling clothing deals: Castelli women's Velo jacket

A packable jacket like the Women’s Velo Jacket from Castelli is just the ingredient if you like to ride with layers.

The jacket is light, stuffing in half a jersey pocket and provides a good level of wind and rain protection without flapping about in the wind. There’s really no excuse not to take it out with you when you ride.

Buy now: Castelli Women’s Velo jacket at Chain Reaction Cycle for £37.49

De Marchi Chevron socks £14.99 £6.99

Best cycling clothing deals: De Marchi Chevron Socks

Any sock that minimises how much your feet smell at the end of a ride is a success in our book. Plus, it’s stylish to boot – What’s not to like!

Buy now: DeMarchi Chevron sock at Chain Reaction Cycles for £6.99

Sportful Fiandre extreme jacket £249.99 £149.99

Best cycling clothing deals: Sportful Extreme Jacket

Buy now: Sportful Fiandre Extreme jacket at Evans Cycles from £149.99

Ok, so Spring and Summer probably (hopefully) aren’t going to throw the worst weather at us, but this is a great piece of kit to have to hand, or sitting at the back of the wardrobe anyway. Sportful boast that this is fully waterproof, windproof but still highly breathable.


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Lance Armstrong tries to block LeMond, Andreu and USADA report from upcoming $100m trial

Armstrong’s lawyers try and block critics from testifying

Lance Armstrong‘s lawyers are pushing to block Greg LeMond, Betsy Andreu and the USADA report from an upcoming $100 million federal trial in November.

The Texan rider, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping, is battling the US Justice Department. The government says he and the team defrauded taxpayers using US Postal Service sponsorship money, $32.3 million from 1996 to 2004, to dope and win races.

Lawyers for both sides filed a list of potential witnesses they could call in the upcoming trial. And they are arguing with the judge which ones can testify. Armstrong does not want to see three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond, the wife of his former team Frankie Andreu, Betsy Andreu, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report that uncovered his doping, and evidence from a 2014 Aspen car incident.

>>> Expert witnesses branded ‘not competent to testify’ in $100m Lance Armstrong lawsuit

USA Today printed some of the documents filed with the judge by the lawyers.

“While LeMond is well-versed in the prevalence of doping throughout the sport during the relevant time period (1997-2004) and still owns the record for the fastest time trial in Tour de France history, he has no personal knowledge regarding Armstrong, the USPS sponsorship agreement, or invoices submitted for sponsorship payments,” Armstrong’s lawyers said.

“[Betsy Andreu] has been and remains a long-time vocal critic of Armstrong, appearing on television whenever possible to criticise him. She has no relevant testimony to offer and she should not be permitted to testify in this case, or use it as a soapbox for impugning Armstrong’s character.”

Under the False Claims Act, penalties can reach three-times the amount defrauded, meaning the government could win $96.8 million.

Former U.S. Postal Service team-mate Floyd Landis blew the whistle on Armstrong in 2010. His testimony led to the FDA and USADA cases.

>>> Lance Armstrong to face trial in $100m lawsuit in November

USADA’s Reasoned Decision uncovered years of doping and led to Armstrong losing the Tour titles he had won from 1999 to 2005.

Armstrong’s lawyers want the judge to exclude the Reasoned Decision as evidence. The report said that Armstrong’s team “ran the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen.”

Armstrong’s lawyers continued: “This prejudicial overstatement reflects the attitude of the report’s authors, and the aggressive agenda to take down Armstrong that the report was written to fulfil, and hence the prejudicial bias which saturates the report.”

And Armstrong does not want evidence of an incident in 2014, when he ran his SUV into two parked cars and let his girlfriend Anna Hansen take the blame. Government lawyers previously said that Armstrong’s “credibility is a central issue.”

“All other attacks on Armstrong’s character including his personal relationships with women, whether or not he used PEDs during his comeback in 2009 and 2010 [Armstrong insists he didn’t], responses to the USADA’s investigation and ultimate ban of Armstrong, and his encounter with cyclist Tyler Hamilton in 2011 at the Aspen Restaurant Cache Cache, should be excluded,” his lawyers said.

>>> Lance Armstrong: ‘I admire those people who didn’t dope’

Judge Christopher Cooper will decide what to exclude and what to allow before the trial in Washington, D.C. this November.

Lawyers for the government and Landis are pushing to exclude evidence about Landis’ past. He lost his 2006 Tour title and confessed to doping, but first raised donations for a legal case to contest his doping ban. In a federal case for wire fraud, he avoided conviction in 2012 by agreeing to repay the 1500 donors their money.

“If Armstrong were allowed to offer evidence of [Landis’] character or motivation in bringing this case, the jury may focus on this evidence when determining liability and damages rather than the relevant evidence of Armstrong’s misconduct,” said government lawyers.

“Putting [Landis] in a bad light by exposing the jury to irrelevant suggestions that the [Landis] stands to gain financially, was of bad character, or had a personal vendetta against Armstrong may cause the jury to award lower damages or find no liability.”

As part of the False Claims Act, a whistleblower could take 25% of the penalties. In this case, Landis is looking at nearly $25 million


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Tour de France 2017: Who are the bookmakers backing for victory?

Plenty of riders in contention for the yellow jersey

The Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de Suisse out of the way, all eyes can now turn to the Tour de France, the best three weeks of any cycling fan’s year.

The 2017 Tour de France route features the fewest time trial kilometres for many years, with just 36.5km against the clock with two individual time trials on the first and penultimate stages.

Despite this lack of time trial kilometres, the bookies still have Chris Froome, who has built each of his three Tour victories on dominant time trial performances, as the favourite.

However he’s far from the overwhelming favourite that he has been in previous years, with the bookies having a number of riders in with a chance of dethroning the Brit.

Chris Froome: 13/8 at Paddy Power

Chris Froome at the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné (Credit: ASO/Broadway)

For the first time since he became a GC contender, Chris Froome will head in to the Tour de France without a victory to his name so far in the season.

Add that to the fact that each of Froome’s Tour wins have come on the back of dominant performances at the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he finished a disappointing fourth this year, and you can see why Froome is not quite the odds-on favourite that he was a few months ago.

Richie Porte: 2/1 at Betway

Richie Porte in yellow at the Critérium du Dauphiné (Credit: ASO/Broadway)

Essentially still unproven over the three weeks of a Grand Tour, the early part of Richie Porte’s season seemed to confirm the fact that he was susceptible to having off days that would lose him significant time, as was the case in Paris-Nice where his chances of victory were scuppered in the rain and crosswinds of the opening stages.

However since then the Australian has been very good, winning the Tour de Romandie on the back of strong climbing and time trialling performances, and coming very close at the Dauphiné. If he can avoid bad luck and losing time on innocuous-looking flat stages then he will be Froome’s main challenger.

Nairo Quintana: 15/2 at Stan James

Nairo Quintana attacks on stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia (Credit: Sunada)

At the start of the year Quintana was aiming to do what no rider had done since 1998 and win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same year.

Unfortunately for the Colombian he missed out by 31 seconds to Tom Dumoulin, and now faces a fight against fatigue to be in good shape for the Tour. He has not raced since the Giro, so his form is unknown, but the tough final few days in the Alps should suit him.

Alberto Contador: 16/1 at various

Alberto Contador on the attack on the final stage of Paris-Nice 2017 (Credit: Sunada)

Ten years on from his first Tour de France triumph, Alberto Contador looked in great form in the early season, finishing second in the Ruta del Sol, Paris-Nice, the Volta a Catalunya, and the Tour of the Basque Country.

For the first time in a number of years Contador was beginning to look like a bona fide Tour contender, but that form seemed to slip by the Dauphiné, where he finished in a distant 11th place, even if he was able to beat Froome in the time trial.

Jakob Fuglsang: 18/1 at Betway

Jakob Fuglsang wins the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné (Credit: Sunada)

Perhaps not even Jakob Fuglsang would have put Jakob Fuglsang’s name forward as a Tour contender three weeks ago, but the Dane pulled off a courageous and unexpected victory at the Dauphiné to put himself firmly in the mix.

Fuglsang is clearly in excellent form, and the other contenders would be advised to keep a close eye on him. However he only has one previous top 10 in a Grand Tour, and may be called into super-domestique duty for Fabio Aru if he finds himself behind the Italian early in the race.

Fabio Aru: 22/1 at various

Fabio Aru at the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné (Credit: ASO/Broadway)

After being forced to miss the Giro d’Italia with a knee injury, Fabio Aru will head to the Tour as part of a two-pronged Astana attack with Fuglsang.

Despite not having raced since March, the Italian rider looked strong at the Critérium du Dauphiné riding himself to fifth overall with aggressive racing, even while playing a supporting role for Fuglsang. The lack of time trial kilometres will also suit him.

Alejandro Valverde: 22/1 at Bet365

Alejandro Valverde wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2017 (Credit: Sunada)

The evergreen Spaniard looked in as impressive form as ever through the spring, winning the Ruta del Sol, Volta a Catalunya and Tour of the Basque Country, before heading to the Ardennes to win his fourth successive Flèche Wallonne plus Liège-Bastogne-Liège for good measure.

He looked slightly off his best at the Dauphiné but still put in a good show with third in the time trial. At 38 Valverde still has the ability to challenge for the top five in Grand Tours, but may only find opportunities to ride for himself if Quintana struggles from a Giro hangover.

Romain Bardet: 25/1 at various

Romain Bardet at the 2017 Volta a Catalunya (Credit: Sunada)

Runner up in the 2016 Tour, Romain Bardet looks like a very attractive option with odds as long as 25/1, especially considering the lack of time trialling kilometres in this year’s route.

The Frenchman had a quiet start to the year before a sixth place at the Dauphiné, and certainly seems to be coming into form at the right time. An excellent descender as well as a climber, Bardet is sure to also enjoy the challenging descents that come near the end of stages nine and 17.

Others

Geraint Thomas at the 2017 Giro d’Italia (Credit: Sunada)

Among the rest of the riders, Geraint Thomas, Esteban Chaves, and Louis Meintjes are all sitting at around 80/1. Thomas will likely only get a chance if bad luck befalls Froome, while Chaves’ form is unknown after an anonymous Dauphiné which was his first race since February.

Rafal Majka, fresh from winning the Tour de Slovénie, is at 100/1, while Dan Martin, Simon Yates, and Mikel Landa are all at 150/1.

Odds correct as of June 20.


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Nairo Quintana heads to Alps to preview key Tour de France climbs

Quintana recces Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier, and Col d’Izoard

With the Tour de France now less than two weeks away, Nairo Quintana has been getting in some last minute miles in the Alps, previewing a few of the Tour’s key climbs.

Quintana spent the tail end of last week taking a look at a number of key stages, including stage 17 from La Mure to Serre Chevalier, going over the Col du Télégraphe and the Col du Galibier, and stage 18 from Briançon to the Col d’Izoard.


Watch: Climbing the Col du Galibier


The Colombian was previewing the climbs just a few days after Chris Froome and a number of his Team Sky team-mates had also visited the area, paying particular attention to the crucial stage 18 with its summit finish on the Izoard.

Neither Froome nor Quintana will have raced the Izoard in the Tour, with Quintana not starting and Froome abandoning the 2014 race when it made its last appearance. The Galibier is part of the race for the first time since 2011, meaning Quintana has never faced it, although Froome tackled it in 2008 Tour where he finished 30th on stage 17 to Alpe d’Huez.


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Moscon moves on after racism ban: 'My conscience is clear, I accepted the punishment'

Team Sky’s Gianni Moscon was back in action at the recent Route du Sud race after serving his six-week suspension for racist comments to FDJ’s Kevin Reza at home in Italy. He is not due to ride the Tour de France but will target this weekend’s Italian national championships and then make his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana in August.

The 23-year-old Italian finished second behind Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) on Saturday’s tough mountain stage to Gavarnie Gedre that included the climb of the Tourmalet. He finished seventh overall at the Route du Sud, 5:38 down on overall winner Silvan Dillier (BMC).

Moscon impressed during the cobbled Classics in April, finished fifth overall at Paris-Roubaix. The racist incident with Reza occurred at the Tour de Romandie with video footage showing the two arguing after teammate Elia Viviani won the third stage to Payerne. Team Sky kept Moscon in the Swiss race, but he then travelled to Manchester for a disciplinary hearing.

Moscon was given a formal written warning and suspended from racing for six weeks, and was due to attend a “diversity awareness course, according to a statement from Team Sky.

“He apologised to Kevin Reza after the stage and again to him and his team the following morning, and this apology was accepted,” Team Sky explained at the time.

“Gianni knows that there is no excuse for his behaviour and that any repeat will result in termination of his contract.”

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport after his performance in the Pyrenees, Moscon insisted his conscience is clear, hinting that not all the accusations surrounding the case were true.

“I don’t have much to say. My conscience is clear, I accepted the punishment, I took my break,” he said.

Asked if he had any regrets about what happened, Moscon said: “I didn’t kill anyone and the accusations are not completely founded. But I’d prefer to not talk about it anymore.”

Moscon pushed back on the idea that the incident could have damaged his profile as a talented young rider, claiming he had a lot of support in the peloton.

“I’ve always had a lot of support from my colleagues; they knew it was something ridiculous. A lot of people cheered for me during the race,” he explained.

“I don’t think I need to rebuild my image. The people who support me have understood, those that don’t have used it to attack me.”

Targeting the Tricolore and then the Vuelta a Espana

Moscon served his six-week suspension at home with his family on their apple farm in the Trentino region. He is due to ride the Italian national championships in Ivrea with Team Sky teammates Elia Viviani, Salvatore Puccio and Diego Rosa at the weekend. He will then ride the Clásica San Sebastián, the Vuelta a Burgos and the Vuelta a España.

“I stayed at home in Livo with my family. A few times I also went to my parent’s farm. All in all, it wasn’t bad,” Moscon said of his suspension.
“I’m happy with my form. I lost the stage to Pierre Rolland, who is an impressive rider and we rode hard all day.”

“I’m perhaps on the best form for the Italian championships and the route suits me. It’s harder than last year where I finished fifth. I want to get a result; it’s a goal for me.”

“I’m curious to see what I can do in a Grand Tour; I want to see what’s its like to race for 21 days and work on my engine.”

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Pirelli PZero tyres: our first ride impressions and key details

Pirelli’s long absence from the world of cycling has come to an end, with the Italian tyre company releasing its new Pirelli PZero Velo tyre

Just last month, Pirelli teased us all with the prospect of a new tyre, jumping back into the game after an extended break and now it has formally released its Pirelli PZero Velo tyre.

Pirelli sees itself as a premium company, and its return to the market is marked by an increase in technology and knowledge of tyres and the simple fact that people are spending more on their bikes.

The Pirelli PZero Velo range

Riding at Pirelli's test centre

Pirelli’s test centre, usually used for Formula 1 tures

The new PZero Velo tyre comes in three series: PZero Velo, PZero Velo TT and PZero Velo 4S all of which will be available in 23mm, 25mm and 28mm sizes apart from the TT, which is only available in 23mm.

The PZero Velo TT, a more race specific tyre, will only be available in a 23mm size, although Pirelli assured us plans were afoot to extend this. The TT model is the fastest and lightest available Pirelli produce. 

Finally, the PZero 4S, an all year, dodgy weather option available from 23mm to 28mm or for those who want to go touring.

>>> Nine best summer road bike tyres 2017

The 25mm Pirello PZero Velo tyre

The 25mm Pirello PZero Velo tyre

Hawk-eyed motor fans amongst you will notice that the moniker is the same as that of its car tyre, and Pirelli has used it’s steep history in motor racing to create its new rubber. But how do you go forming a new tyre after a long break?

Well, Pirelli pulled out the five things that consumers wanted from tyres: low rolling resistance, good mileage, grip, handling and puncture protection, but of course recognising there will always be a trade off between them.

>>> Bike tyre pressure: everything you need to know

The Pirelli PZero Velo compound

Naturally, this is by far the most important aspect of the tyre, and in recognition, Pirelli has created a “new molecule patent” named “SmartNet Silica”. It’s a molecule whose shape differs from a traditional silicate – instead of being spherical, it’s now an elongated stick.

This longitudinal position is key, supposedly allowing increased directional performance. Its increased elasticity decrease heat generation as well as rolling resistance.

According to the Italian company the special silica is able to create a “genuine particular matrix” that binds other elements to it, which provides reliable performance and contributes to puncture protection.

Tread is more important than you think

The Pirelli PZero Velo 4S tyre

The four seasons version comes with more tread

Pirelli believes that not enough attention is paid to the tread of a tyre, and, if a company gets it right it can be hugely influential in how a tyre rides.

Positioning and shape are influential, and for this reason Pirelli has opted for a “functional groove design”, or Flash groove for short. Here, the shape is fundamental. At the centre of the tyre, its longitudinal, whereas when leaning the tyre over it becomes radial.

It’s also a shape that helps water drainage, increasing grip when the conditions are foul.

Testing the grip of the Pirelli PZero Velo tyres

Well, how else would you test a tyre’s grip?

>>> Continental Gatorskin tyres

It’s positioning is also key, though, and Pirelli has opted for alternate placing on either side, which they say should guarantee even stiffness across the tyre. Groove density has also been taken into consideration. The Pirelli PZelo Velo 4S actually gets more tread to help it through the messy stuff. 

There are far less grooves at the centre of the tyre, making it as slick as possible and a far higher groove density on the shoulder as that’s where you lean the bike when cornering – a contact patch that is now 20% larger when leaning the bike over according to Pirelli.


Watch: Tubulars vs clinchers vs tubeless – which are fastest?


 What, no tubeless?

In the current line up, there is the somewhat sizeable hole where a tubeless option should sit. We quizzed Pirelli on the absence and it confirmed it’s definitely in the pipeline, but they were making tyres depending on the market, and currently that means clinchers.

There is also the obvious absence of a tubular option, which is part due to the market and part due to the fact Pirelli aren’t currently sponsoring a professional team, and any moves in this area would be dictated by what the pros wanted.

Pirelli PZero Velo first ride

Pirelli's wet test track

Lapping Pirelli’s wet test track

A trip to Pirelli’s testing ground in Bicocca, Milan provided the opportunity to hop aboard the new PZero, in both the bone dry and the wet (courtesy of Pirelli sprinklered wet track).

We rode the 25mm Pirelli PZero Velo tyre and initial impressions are good. As Pirelli hoped, the tyres feel stable on long, fast straights and give assured grip in the corners. They also iron out any road nastiness well, even when we tried riding along Pirelli’s Pave sections.

The tyres never felt draggy, but it’s difficult to tell the exact rolling resistance as Pirelli didn’t give us figures, instead saying it can be tough to benchmark such data due to a lack of constants.

The Pirelli PZero Velo

The Pirelli PZero Velo tyres come in 3 ranges

Things like pressures, weights and temperatures are constantly different or always changing.

Of course, it’s difficult to judge a tyre’s performance on a new bike, in a totally different environment, so be sure to keep your eye out for our longer term test coming soon.

The details

Pirelli PZero Velo: Available in 23mm, 25mm and 28mm, clincher, and available at the end of August

Pirelli PZero Velo TT: Available in 23mm, clincher and at the end of August

Pirelli PZero Velo 4S: Available in 23mm, 25mm and 28mm, clincher and at the end of August

Currently, there is no fixed price but expect the tyres to cost around the €43 mark.


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Saudi diplomat set to escape prosecution after German cyclist killed in car-dooring incident

Diplomatic immunity means Saudi man probably won’t be prosecuted

Cyclists in Berlin have reacted with anger after a rider was killed by a Saudi driver who looks unlikely to be prosecuted after claiming diplomatic immunity.

The cyclist, who has been named only as Michael E, was knocked off his bike on Thursday after the driver of a parked Porsche had opened his door into his path. The 55-year-old cyclist was rushed to hospital after the collision but later died of his injuries.

>>> Taxi driver fined ‘inadequate’ £955 for ‘car-dooring’ incident which led to cyclist’s death

Michael E’s widow Marina was among 250 cyclists who joined a protest at the site of the incident in the Neukölln area after it was revealed that prosecutors had been forced to close the case as the Saudi driver had diplomatic immunity.

“I don’t care if he’s a diplomat or not,” she told the Bild newspaper. “He should get his just punishment.”

In a statement, the Saudi embassy in Berlin said: “We were very distressed by the tragic accident in Neukölln. “We are in close contact with the German foreign ministry. In the name of the Saudi Embassy, ​​we would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased.”

>>> Motorist charged with attempted murder after retired police officer knocked off bike

According to government figures, foreign diplomats were involved in 22,880 traffic violations in 2016. In such cases the German government can only write to embassies to ask them to waive diplomats’ immunities to enable prosecution or formally expel them.


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