Adam Hansen completes record 18th consecutive Grand Tour despite ‘golf-ball size sore’

Australian has been ever present in Grand Tours for the past seven years

Lotto-Soudal domestique and Grand Tour stalwart Adam Hansen has described how a large sore almost brought an end to his growing legend of consecutive Grand Tours, which now stands at 18 after this year’s Tour de France.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald before stage 20 Hansen was candid in his description of the sore. “It’s not as big as a tennis ball but as big as a golf ball … It puts my other two things to shame,” the Australian joked.

The antipodean has come to be known for his growing Grand Tour record but that could’ve all come to an end on stage 19 when he suffered.

“It was really tough for me. I just couldn’t sit in the right position.

“You pedal and sit on your thigh. You pedal and you ride on your other thigh. It’s not very nice,” he explained after riding 222.5km in support of Andre Greipel. The German had an eye for winning that stage but came up short as Edvald Boasson Hagen won with a late break.

Hansen’s dedication to the team is paramount though as the domestique described his relationship to his sprinter colleague.

“I have been on every single team with [André Greipel] since 2011, so we are almost family. I want to be there for him

“I want to try to do everything I can.”

Unfortunately, the team came away from the Tour de France empty handed with Greipel not recording a single stage victory. There was also controversy after the team’s breakaway expert Thomas De Gendt failed to win the Super Combatif award despite spending 1280km in breakaways in the race.

With the Vuelta a Espana less than four weeks away Adam Hansen is expected to recover and be ready to continue onto a 19th consecutive Grand Tour.


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Claudia Cretti starts long recovery from Giro Rosa crash after waking from coma

The young Italian rider is awake after a horror crash in this year’s Giro Rosa

Claudia Cretti has started on her long road of recovery from her horror crash at this year’s Giro Rosa after her mother has confirmed that she is awake.

The Valcar-PBM rider had to be airlifted to hospital after crashing at 90kph, leaving her in a critical condition. She was placed into a medically-induced coma after it was feared she would suffer from permanent brain damage due to the injuries that she received to her head.

Originally the doctors reported that she as in a “critical but stable neurological condition” but in a recent Facebook post her mother, Laura Bianchi, confirmed that she was awake and interacting.

“Claudia is moving very well and observes everything with curiosity. She’s listening to audio messages. Looks at photos on her cellphone” she said. “Doctors say it’s going well.”

The Italian star will soon be moved to a rehabilitation centre that will be closer to her home. There’s no set return date as the rider is still in the early days of her recovery but these are encouraging signs for someone who was initially feared to have been on the end of permanent brain damage.


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Seven toughest climbs of the 2017 Vuelta a España

From 30km in length to 30 per cent gradients

Ermita St Lucia – stage five

The first summit finish of the 2017 Vuelta a España will come on stage five with a short, sharp climb out of the seaside town of Alcossebre to Ermita St Lucia.

Only 3.5km, the climb averages more than 10 percent, with three sections ramping up to more than 20 per cent, meaning a hard explosive effort in the middle of the first week

Xorret del Cati – stage eight

Not quite a summit finish (there’s a short, two kilometre descent from the top to the finish) the Xorret de Cati climbs nearly 400m in around four kilometres with a double digit average gradient.

>>> Vuelta a España route 2017: key climbs and what to expect

Hidden in there are a few sections at more than 20 per cent, which will warm the riders up nicely for more of the same the following day…

Cumbre del Sol – stage nine

Another day, another stage ending in a steep three kilometre climb that could really shake up the general classification at the end of the third week.

Cumbre del Sol has become a Vuelta regular, with Tom Dumoulin beating Chris Froome to the summit here in 2015, with its wide road and steady but steep gradient taking no prisoners from riders who attack too early.

Sierra de la Pandera – stage 14

The lesser of the two Sierras at the end of the second week, the Sierra de la Pandera is likely to be overshadowed by the Sierra Nevada (see below) but shouldn’t be underestimated.

>>> Who will be riding the 2017 Vuelta a España?

The 7.6km climb averages nine per cent, but hides a two kilometre section midway up that stays steadfastly and 12-14 per cent and will surely be the launching pad for attacks.

Sierra Nevada – stage 15

The second shortest road stage of the 2017 Vuelta a España also includes it longest climb and its highest summit finish, with the stage finishing at 2,490m at Sierra Nevada after a 30km climb from the outskirts of Grenada.

Romain Bardet currently holds the KOM on the Strava segment with a time of more than an hour and a half while on an altitude camp in 2014, but might have to beat that if he’s to take the stage win.

Los Machucos – stage 17

Most of my information about this climb, which is the summit finish on stage 17, came from a website called dangerousroads.com, which tells you everything you need to know about the severity of the ascent.

>>> Chris Froome confirmed for Vuelta a España on back of Tour de France victory

A highly irregular climb, some sections in the middle hit gradients as high as 31 per cent, with a concrete road surface with strips across it to stop cars slipping down in wet or icy condition, and to make it even harder for the riders.

Alto de l’Angliru – stage 20

The Angliru has only been used six times in professional racing, but has already earned a fearsome reputation in the peloton with its 13.2km length and average gradient of nine per cent.

Hidden in that average gradient is the fearsome Cueña les Cabres stretch of the climb, which rears up to more than 20 per cent for long sections before a flat and slightly downhill run to the line.


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Clasica San Sebastian start list

Full list of riders taking part in the 2017 Clasica San Sebastian in Spain on Saturday, July 29

Tour de France 2017 white jersey winner, Simon Yates (Orica-Scott), will join up with Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) as they both take on the 2017 Clasica San Sebastian in Spain on Saturday, July 29.

Yates goes into the race after an exceptional outing at the Tour de France, where he finished seventh overall and took the best young rider category.

Dumoulin will start to ramp up his World Championship preparation having chosen to miss the Tour de France in favour of the Giro d’Italia.

The pair will come up against a strong field, including Tour top 10 riders last year’s winner Bauke Mollema. The Dutchman will go into the race with a Tour de France stage victory under his belt.

Dan Martin is also expected to race after a strong Tour where he emerged as a strong GC contender but a crash on the descent of Mont du Chat scuppered his chances.

British climber Hugh Carthy is expected to be part of Cannondale-Drapac’s roster.

Trek – Segafredo

1 ZUBELDIA Haimar (Esp)
2 MOLLEMA Bauke (Ned)
3 ALAFACI Eugenio (Ita)
5 PANTANO Jarlinson (Col)
6 FELLINE Fabio (Ita)
7 GOGL Michael (Aut)
8 IRIZAR Markel (Esp)

AG2R La Mondiale

11 BAKELANTS Jan (Bel)
12 CHEVRIER Clément (Fra)
13 DOMONT Axel (Fra)
14 FRANK Mathias (Sui)
15 GAUTIER Cyril (Fra)
16 GASTAUER Ben (Ned)
17 LATOUR Pierre (Fra)
18 VUILLERMOZ Alexis (Fra)

Astana Pro Team

21 FUGLSANG Jakob (Den)
22 BILBAO Pello (Esp)
23 CHERNETCKII Sergei (Rus)
24 HANSEN Jesper (Den)
25 LÓPEZ Miguel Ángel (Esp)
26 LUTSENKO Alexey (Kaz)
27 SANCHEZ Luis Leon (Esp)
28 STALNOV Nikita (Kaz)

Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team

31 GASPAROTTO Enrico (Ita)
32 ARASHIRO Yukiya (Jap)
33 BRAJKOVIČ Janez (Svn)
34 GARCIA CORTINA Ivan (Esp)
35 GRMAY Tsgabu (Eti)
36 INSAUSTI Jon Ander (Esp)
37 MORENO Javier (Esp)
38 PIBERNIK Luka (Svn)

BMC Racing Team

41 VAN AVERMAET Greg (Bel)
42 CARUSO Damiano (Ita)
43 DE MARCHI Alessandro (Ita)
44 MOINARD Amaël (Fra)
45 ROCHE Nicolas (Ire)
46 SCHAR Michael (Sui)
47 VENTOSO Francisco (Esp)
48 WYSS Danilo (Sui)

BORA – hansgrohe

52 BUCHMANN Emanuel (Ger)
53 MCCARTHY Jay (Aus)
54 MENDES José (Por)
55 PFINGSTEN Christoph (Ger)
56 PÖSTLBERGER Lukas (Aut)
57 POLJANSKI Pawel (Pol)
58 SAGAN Juraj (Svk)

Caja Rural – Seguros RGA

61 PARDILLA Sergio (Esp)
62 ARROYO David (Esp)
63 FERRARI Fabricio (Arg)
64 MAS Lluís Guillermo (Esp)
65 PRADES Eduard (Esp)
66 REIS Rafael (Por)
67 ROSON Jaime (Es)
68 SCHULTZ Nick (Aus)

Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team

71 URAN Rigoberto (Col)
72 BEVIN Patrick (Nzl)
73 BROWN Nathan (USA)
74 CANTY Brendan (Aus)
75 CARTHY Hugh (GBr)
76 CLARKE Simon (Aus)
77 ROLLAND Pierre (Fra)
78 TALANSKY Andrew (USA)

Cofidis, Solutions Crédits

81 NAVARRO Daniel (Esp)
82 BAGOT Yoann (Fra)
83 COUSIN Jérôme (Fra)
84 EDET Nicolas (Fra)
85 LE TURNIER Matthias (Fra)
86 MATÉ Luis Ángel (Esp)
87 PEREZ Anthony (Fra)
88 ROSSETTO Stephane (Fra)

FDJ

91 PINOT Thibaut (Fra)
92 BONNET William (Fra)
93 CIMOLAI Davide (Ita)
94 LADAGNOUS Matthieu (Fra)
95 MOLARD Rudy (Fra)
96 PINEAU Cédric (Fra)
97 ROUX Anthony (Fra)
98 VICHOT Arthur (Fra)

Lotto Soudal

101 GALLOPIN Tony (Fra)
102 BENOOT Tiesj (Bel)
103 DE BIE Sean (Bel)
104 HANSEN Adam (Aus)
105 MERTZ Remy (Bel)
106 VAN DER SANDE Tosh (Bel)
107 VANENDERT Jelle (Bel)
108 WELLENS Tim (Bel)

Movistar Team

111 BETANCUR Carlos (Col)
112 AMADOR Andrey (CRi)
113 FERNÁNDEZ Rubén (Esp)
114 MORENO Daniel (Esp)
115 PEDRERO Antonio (Esp)
116 QUINTANA Dayer (Col)
117 SOLER Marc (Esp)
118 SUTHERLAND Rory (Aus)

ORICA-Scott

121 YATES Simon (GBr)
122 ALBASINI Michael (Sui)
123 GERRANS Simon (Aus)
124 KEUKELEIRE Jens (Bel)
125 KREUZIGER Roman (Cze)
126 JUUL-JENSEN Christopher (Den)
127 TUFT Svein (Can)
128 VERONA Carlos (Esp)

Quick-Step Floors

131 GILBERT Philippe (Bel)
132 ALAPHILIPPE Julian (Fra)
133 BRAMBILLA Gianluca (Ita)
134 DE LA CRUZ David (Esp)
135 DEVENYNS Dries (Bel)
136 MARTIN Daniel (Ire)
137 SERRY Pieter (Bel)
138 STYBAR Zdenek (Cze)

Dimension Data

141 CUMMINGS Stephen (GBr)
142 ANTON Igor (Esp)
143 FRAILE Omar (Esp)
144 KUDUS Merhawi (Eri)
145 MORTON Lachlan (Aus)
146 O’CONNOR Ben (Aus)
147 PAUWELS Serge (Bel)
148 JANSE VAN RENSBURG Jacques (RSA)

Team Katusha-Alpecin

151 KUZNETSOV Viacheslav (Rus)
152 BIERMANS Jenthe (Bel)
153 KIŠERLOVSKI Robert (Cro)
154 LAMMERTINK Maurits (Ned)
155 MATHIS Marco (Ger)
156 MACHADO Tiago (Por)
157 TAARAMÄE Rein (Est)
158 VICIOSO Ángel (Esp)

Team LottoNL-Jumbo

161 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen (Bel)
162 BENNETT George (NZl)
163 LAMMERTINK Steven (Ned)
164 LOBATO Juan José (Esp)
165 ROGLIC Primoz (Svn)
166 ROOSEN Timo (Ned)
167 TANKINK Bram (Ned)
168 VERMEULEN Alexey (USA)

Team Sky

171 LANDA Mikel (Esp)
172 DEIGNAN Philip (Ire)
173 ELISSONDE Kenny (Fra)
174 GEOGHEGAN HART Tao (GBr)
175 HENAO Sergio Luis (Col)
176 LOPEZ David (Esp)
177 MOSCON Gianni (Ita)
178 NIEVE Mikel (Esp)

Team Sunweb

181 DUMOULIN Tom (Ned)
182 BARGUIL Warren (Fra)
183 GESCHKE Simon (Ger)
184 HAMILTON Chris (Aus)
185 HOFSTEDE Lennard (Ned)
186 PREIDLER Georg (Ned)
187 TEN DAM Laurens (Ned)
188 WAEYTENS Zico (Bel)

UAE Team Emirates

191 ULISSI Diego (Ita)
192 MEINTJES Louis (RSA)
193 BONO Matteo (Ita)
194 DURASEK Kristijan (Cro)
195 MIRZA Yousef Mohamed (UAE)
196 PETILLI Simone (Ita)
197 POLANC Jan (Svn)
198 RAVASI Edward (Ita)


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Best hybrid bikes 2017: a buyer’s guide

How to find the best hybrid bike for the riding that you’re doing

A hybrid bike is an excellent option if you’re mainly using your bike for commuting to and from work, maybe with the odd bit of recreational riding at the weekend. Hybrid bikes are ideal for riders just getting in to cycling: the best hybrid bikes will be good enough to cope with all sorts of terrain without fuss, hopefully helping you to enjoy your cycling and get more involved in this great sport.

But what should you be looking for to make sure you get the best hybrid bike for your money?

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What is a hybrid bike?

The clue’s in the name really. A hybrid bike is a hybrid of a standard road bike and a mountain bike, taking the best bits of both types of bike to create a machine that is comfortable over all terrains and surfaces.

Hybrid bikes do vary – some take more influence from the road genre whilst others sit closer to the mountain bike end. Where a bike sits on that scale will influence how well it copes with uneven off-road terrain or how speedy it will be on the tarmac.

>>> How to get into cycling for less than £500

The frame of a hybrid bike will generally have a fairly relaxed geometry. This means a short top tube and tall head tube to give a relaxed and upright riding position that should be nice and comfortable, not placing any strain on your neck and shoulders. Many hybrid bikes also feature a top tube that is sloped downwards from the front of the bike towards the back, which should make it a little bit easier to get on and off whatever you are wearing.

Commute 1 best hybrid bikes

Hybrid bikes usually give a comfortable, upright position

Another feature common to all of the best hybrid bikes is that they come with flat handlebars rather than the dropped bars found on normal road bikes. This will again mean a more upright riding position, and means that the bikes will normally use mountain bike-style shifting and braking, with the levers also being easier to reach for less experienced riders.

>>> 10 best ways to make your bike more comfortable

Compared to road bikes, the best hybrid bikes will come with wider tyres. The width will vary, but it will generally be something between 28mm and 42mm. Not only will this help to improve comfort, ironing out any rough surfaces, but will also add to the level of grip when the roads are wet.

Our pick of the best hybrid bikes

B’twin Triban 520 flat bar – 10/10

Read more: B’Twin Triban 520 Flat Bar review

We’ve been singing the praises of B’twin’s flat bar packages for a while now, and happily the B’twin Triban 520 is no different. For starters , B’twin has done a great job with the 6061 frame, and it’s paired to an even better carbon fork, which at £429 is phenomenal value and adds an enormous amount of comfort to the ride. Plus, it comes with a triple up front which’ll make winching your way up anything a total cinch.  Thanks to the tidy ride quality and great spread of gears, the B’twin Triban 520 flat bar actually punches well above its weight in terms of rideable distance.

Canyon Urban 7.0 – 9/10

Canyon Urban 7.0 2016 hybrid bike-1

Canyon Urban 7.0 2016 hybrid bike

Read more: Canyon Urban 7.0 hybrid bike review 

German based manufacturers Canyon are best known for their high end, race ready road machines – but with the ‘Urban’ range, they’ve gone for something very different. At the 7.0 level, retailing over £1k, you get a neat belt drive to cut down on maintenance and potential mess, eight hub gears and a comfort inducing VCLS seat post designed to disperse road buzz. An innovative wheel axle and seatpost clamp design helps to ensure the oft stolen components stay attached and disc brakes make stopping almost instant. A good choice for someone after a low maintenance machine for flat city rides.

Spec Sirrus hybrid bike – 7/10

specialized sirrus 2016 hybrid bike (1)

Specialized Sirrus hybrid bike

Read more: Specialized Sirrus hybrid bike review 

We reviewed an entry level model from this highly popular hybrid range. The frame is made from high quality aluminium, with a steel fork and effective Shimano Altus groupset. Pannier and mudguard mounts are provided, making for a handy commuter. The frame was let down by its very upright position, for us – but that might be a plus if you’re after a very relaxed stance on the bike.

Carrera Crossfire 2 – 7/10

Carrera Crossfire 2 hybrid bike

Carrera Crossfire 2 hybrid bike

Road more: Carrera Crossfire 2 hybrid bike review 

Complete with front end suspension, this is a hybrid bike designed for a rider who wants to experiment with gentle off-roading such as excursions down country bridleways. The fork offers 75mm of travel, and can be adjusted to provide a stiffer ride on the tarmac. However, coupled with the very wide 42mm Kenda tyres, the extra spring does take some of the joy out of road riding. This is an all-rounder that can do a little bit of everything, but doesn’t shine like a dedicated road or off-road bike would in its area of expertise.

Vitus Mach 3 Disc – 8/10

Vitus Mach 3 Disc hybrid bike

Road more: Vitus Mach 3 Disc hybrid bike review 

Coming from Chain Reaction Cycle’s own brand range, the Mach 3 offers fast stopping thanks to hydraulic brakes and can be fitted with mudguards and pannier racks. Made with the same materials as the brand’s ‘Razor’ road bikes, you get a quality Mechanical formed 6061-T6 Alloy frame and carbon fork which improves handling and reduces road buzz. Kinda Kwest 28mm tyres are comfortable and resilient, though we felt the bars were a bit wide for congested roads.

Cannondale Bad Boy 4 – 8/10

cannondale bad boy 4

Cannondale Bad Boy 4 Hybrid Bike

Read more: Cannondale Bad Boy 4 hybrid bike review

A nippy machine that for 2017 sees some radical upgrades – including a Lefty fork. Our 2016 model featured slick 28mm Schwalbe tyres that make for quick journeys around town, though we felt the wide bars could become cumbersome in traffic. A good choice for a first hybrid bike, or someone after a commuter ideal for road-centric journeys. The 2017 Lefty update may giveaway to a very different experience.

BMC Alpenchallenge AC01 Sora – 9/10

BMC Alpenchallenge AC01 Sora 2017 hybrid bike

BMC Alpenchallenge AC01 Sora 2017 hybrid bike

Read more: BMC Alpenchallenge AC01 Sora hybrid bike review

Designed to be fast on the road, this creation from the Swiss engineers at BMC features a lightweight and racy frame design. The chassis is fitted with a Shimano Sora groupset, wide ratio 11-32 cassette to make the hills a breeze and fast rolling but comfortable 32c Continental tyres. Whilst we found this hybrid from BMC to be super speedy on the road, it’s not built for even light off-roading, so isn’t ideal if your idea of versatility includes grass or gravel.

Are there different types of hybrid bike?

The best hybrid bike for someone else might not be the best hybrid bike for you. Depending on what sort of riding you’re going to be doing, it is worth considering whether you’d be better suited buying a hybrid bike that is more similar to a road bike, or one that is more similar to a mountain bike.

>>> 15 tips for commuting to work by bike

If you’re doing most of your riding on roads and cycles paths, then the best option is to go for a more road-orientated hybrid bike. Quite often, these bikes will feature the same frame and fork as found on the manufacturer’s sportive road bike, but with a flat bar handlebar for a more upright position. The tyres will also be slick, and not super wide, allowing you to ride fast and keep up with traffic.


Watch: Buyer’s guide to road bikes under £500


This type of hybrid bike will normally also come with gearing that reflects its road origins, mainly designed for relatively fast riding over flat roads. At its bottom end, the gearing should also be easy enough to tackle some pretty fierce hills, although if you’re carrying extra pounds in your panniers (or on your belly) then you might struggle a little.

>>> Are you using your bike’s gears efficiently?

However, if you are going to be riding your hybrid bike on rough cycle paths and bridleways, then it’s better to go for one that will be able to cope with a terrain. The main difference with this type of hybrid bike is that it will come with a suspension fork, which will improve comfort when riding over rough, rutted surfaces. These bikes will also come with slightly wider tyres, usually with a bit of tread on too to give a little more grip.

>>> Nine ways to make your commute more like the Tour de France

With regards to gearing, this type of hybrid bike will genearlly have slightly easier gearing than its more road-orientated bretheren. This means that although you won’t be able to hit quite the same top speeds, having a big sprocket at the back and a tiny ring at the front, you should be able to get over that steep climb at the end of your commute with ease, even on a Friday evening at the end of a long, tiring week.

Women’s hybrid bikes and men’s hybrid bikes

Women's hybrid bikes will have female specific components 

Women’s hybrid bikes will have female specific components

Many brands offer hybrid bikes specifically designed for women, whilst those models not ‘women’s specific’ are considered unisex. The differences applied to a women’s version will depend upon the brand.

In some cases, the frame may have a slightly shorter top tube, and taller head tube – this allows a slightly more relaxed position and will come down to personal preference but a shorter rider may find this more comfortable.

Any good women’s specific hybrid bike will come available in smaller sizes than unisex versions, with narrower handlebars to mirror women’s narrower shoulders, and a female specific saddle. Though it’s not at all essential for female cyclists to ride women’s specific hybrid bikes, going for this option can save cash otherwise spent on replacing a men’s saddle and wider handlebars typically fitted to unisex bikes.

Does it matter what material the bike is made from?

The majority of hybrid bikes will be made from one of three materials: steel, aluminium, or carbon.

Probably the least used of the three is steel, which although it is able to give a comfortable ride,  generally makes quite a heavy bike which can be tough to haul over the hills. However the upside of steel is that it very aesthetically appealing, so can be a good choice if you’re looking for a bike to tootle down to the shops on summer days.

>>> Bike test: aluminium, steel, carbon, or titanium?

A much more popular choice is aluminium, which is used on the majority of hybrid bikes, everything from £200 budget options right up to more serious machines costing £1,500. The reason for it’s popularity is that, if used properly, it can provide a comfortable ride, is relatively light, and can stand up to plenty of abuse through years of use without giving up the ghost.

Finally carbon, a material more often used on expensive road bikes, is beginning to turn up on the very best hybrid bikes. This is a good choice of your looking to shave a bit of time off your commute, with carbon doing a better job of taking the power you put through the pedals and sending it through the rear wheel.

>>> Is this B’Twin the ultimate commuting bike?

There are also quite a few hybrid bikes on the market that combine an aluminium frame with a carbon fork. This helps to keep the cost down through the use of aluminium for the frame, while the carbon fork will do a better job of soaking up judder from rough roads.

What components should I expect?

It might be a bit of a cliché, but you will generally get what you pay when it comes to gearing. Pay more and the best hybrid bikes will come with higher quality groupsets, meaning better quality shifting and less effort needed to shift between gears.

>>> Buyer’s guide to road bike groupsets (video)

However, if you’re just using your hybrid bike to get to and from work and maybe the odd weekend ride, then shift quality might be a secondary concern to the range of gearing on offer. If you live in a hilly area, then it’s worth looking for a bike with a 32 tooth sprocket at the back to let you winch your way up steep gradients.

>>> Is it the end for the compact chainset?

There are also lots of hybrid bikes that offer a triple chainset. This is good if you want some seriously easy gears, but the gear range is often not that much more than if you just have two rings at the front, and it can be harder to find the perfect gear if you want to get into a rhythm on a long flat road or steady climb.

You’ll also find that there’s a pretty even split of rim brakes and disc brakes on all but the very cheapest hybrid bikes. The differences between the two are simple, with rim brakes using two pads to grip the rim of the wheel, while disc brakes grip a rotor attached to the hub of the wheel. Both have their benefits, so it’s best to choose depending on what you want from a hybrid bike.

>>> The best cheap bikes: ridden and rated

Rim brakes are the cheaper option and have been the preferred method of braking on road bikes since time immemorial. They’re also lighter than disc brakes, and are really easy to adjust and maintain, just requiring you to slide in a new pair of brake pads every few months or so.

Curved stays ooze quality

Disc brakes might be more expensive, but offer more consistent braking in all conditions

Although disc brakes have been used on mountain bikes for years, they have only recently made their way onto the road, and although traditional roadies have yet to fully embrace them, they’re a perfect match for hybrid bikes. They are a little more expensive than rim brakes, so you should only expect them on the best hybrid bikes, but offer better braking power and more consistent performance in both wet and dry conditions. They’re also a better option if your commute takes in potentially muddy bridleways and cycle paths, doing a good job of clearing mud and debris from the braking surface.

>>> Everything you need to know about disc brakes

Another thing to keep an eye on is the saddle that comes with the bike, and whether that suits the sort of riding that you’re going to be doing (and the clothing that you’re going to be doing it in). If you’re riding more than a couple of miles then a pair of padded cycling shorts are a shrewd investment and will vastly improve your comfort in the saddle. And once you’ve got a pair, then you shouldn’t be put off by skinny-looking road saddles, which despite they’re lack of padding will be more comfortable on your backside.

>>> How to dress like a cyclist (video)

However if you’re buying a hybrid bike just for popping round the corner to the shops at the weekend, then a more padded saddle might prove more comfortable, providing better support for an upright riding position.


Watch: How to fit and remove pedals


As is the case with most bikes, you’re likely to have your hybrid bike sold either without pedals, or with plasticky black flat pedals. The first thing you should do to your new hybrid bike is take these off and throw them in the bin, and invest in a more suitable pair.

>>> Buyer’s guide to the best clipless pedals

The best options for commuting and urban riding are off-road pedals such as Shimano’s SPD system. Not only are these easy to get in and out of so beginners shoudln’t be put off, but they feature a recessed cleat that means you can wear shoes that let you walk instead of waddling as you do with normal cycling shoes. They are also less susceptible to clogging up with mud if you’re taking your hybrid bike off-road.

Are there any other features that I should look for?

While the frame and components will govern how good the bike is to ride, it is a bike’s other features that will decide how good it is to use day to day.

If you’re having to carry large or heavy items into work, then it can be uncomfortable to carry a rucksack which can often stick into your back. A better option is to invest in a pair of panniers, which will mean the weight is taken by your bike rather than by you.

Commute, training, work, riding

Panniers can be preferable to a rucksack if you’re carrying heavy item

All of the best hybrid bikes should come with eyelets in the frame that will allow it to take a pannier rack. It is possible to buy adaptor clips that will let you use a pannier rack without having the eyelets, but these won’t hold the rack quite as securely as if the frame is specifically designed for the purpose.

>>> Do you really need mudguards?

You should also try and find a hybrid bike that has plenty of clearance between the frame and the tyre to enable you to fit mudguards, as well as eyelets so you can fit ones with better coverage, rather than flimsy clip on ones. It might seem a shame to spoil the look of your new bike in such a way, but you’ll certainly appreciate it when cycling on wet roads.

How we score

10 – Superb, best in its class and we couldn’t fault it
9 – Excellent, a slight change and it would be perfect
8 – Brilliant, we’d happily buy it
7 – Solid, but there’s better out there
6 – Pretty good, but not quite hitting the mark
5 – OK. Not much wrong with it, but nothing special
4 – A few niggles let this down
3 – Disappointing
2 – Poor, approach with caution
1 – Terrible, do not buy this product


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Petition to ban cyclists from dual carriageways launched after death of 91-year-old time triallist

A petition that aims to ban cyclists from riding on dual carriageways has been launched in the wake of a 91-year-old time triallist being killed in a collision with a vehicle in Buckinghamshire.

Ray Dare died after being hit by a van while competing in a time trial on the A41 near Aylesbury on July 19 while trying to set a new age-related time trial record.

Fellow Kingston Phoenix member John Beer, who had driven Dare to the event, said that he had “died doing what he loved”, but a petition on the Buckinghamshire County Council website started two days after the tragic incident aims to stop events such as the one Dare was competing in by banning cycling on dual carriageways.

The petition, which currently has 40 signatures, describes cycling on dual carriageways as a “very unsafe practice” and that because many dual carriageways do not have hard shoulders, cycling on them is “in effect more dangerous than [cycling on] a motorway.”


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Completely new look for Peter Sagan as he shaves his head

Shower manufacturer Hansgrohe might not be best pleased

In a move that could spell disaster for his sponsor’s future advertising campaigns, Peter Sagan has shaved off his long hair to go for a full skinhead look.

Team sponsor and shower manufacturer Hansgrohe has made extensive use of the two-time world champion’s luscious locks since the start of the year, but might have had a bit of a shock when the Slovak star turned up at the team’s post-Tour de France party in Paris.

Perhaps no longer enjoying having thick hair under helmet while riding in hot conditions, Sagan has gone back to the short hair that he had from when he first burst onto the scene in 2010 before starting to let it grow in 2015.

He’s also decided to pair the shaved head with some roughly trimmed facial hair, bringing himself alongside the likes of Dave Zabriskie and Mitchell Docker in the fine tradition of moustaches in the pro peloton.


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Chris Froome beaten into second in post-Tour criterium; still wins big hat and bigger beer

Froome leaves his sprint at home at post-Tour crit

Less than 24 hours after crossing the line on the Champs-Élysées to win his fourth Tour de France, Chris Froome was in the slightly less glamourous surroundings of Aalst, Belgium for the first of the traditional post-Tour criteriums.

Having enjoyed a victory party in Paris on Sunday night, hot-footed it to the UK for an interview with Sky Sports on Monday morning, then made it back across the Channel for the race on Monday evening, Froome might not have been at his best, but still, somehow, managed to make it into the winning break with Belgian champion Oliver Naesen and Thomas De Gendt.

>>> Chris Froome conformed for Vuelta a España on back of Tour de France victory

No doubt the organisers were very pleased to see three such high-profile riders at the front of their race, with Naesen defeating Froome, resplendent in his yellow jersey, in the final sprint for the line.

The good news for all three riders was that they all received the same fine prizes on the podium. Namely a giant hat courtesy of race sponsor Napoleon Games, and a good few litres of Malheur beer. Perfect preparation for the start of Froome’s assault on the Vuelta.


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Riders and directors pay tribute to ‘Tour de France great’ Chris Froome

Froome’s colleagues laud the praise on the four time Tour de France winner

Chris Froome‘s “cannibal instincts” are helping him to become one of cycling’s greats, if he is not already after four Tour de France wins.

The 32-year-old Brit confirmed his win in Paris, the most hotly contested of his four titles. Along with those titles, Froome counts seven stage wins, three Critérium du Dauphiné titles and two overall Tour de Romandie victories.

>>> Chris Froome: ‘I never dreamed of being named alongside Merckx, Anquetil, Hinault, and Indurain’

“He is normal off the bike, someone you can become friends with, but this guy has won the Tour de France four times and been on the podium in the Vuelta,” Team Sky sports director Nicolas Portal said.

Chris Froome on stage 18 of the 2017 Tour de France (Sunada)

“On the bike he has his strength and this cannibal instinct. He just wants to win and his team-mates have to keep him calm.

“When there’s a little bit of crosswinds he just wants to go. To be honest, that is strange because when you know, him he’s quite calm.”

Froome showed that drive with attacks downhill and in the wind in the 2016 Tour and when he and his Sky team helped split the group on the Romans-sur-Isere finish this year.

“He doesn’t get the respect for how much of an intelligent rider he is, sometimes he seems erratic or he just moves freely, but he’s intelligent and thinks things through,” team-mate Luke Rowe said.

“That’s what you want as a helper, someone with confidence.

Chris Froome and Team Sky attack in the crosswinds at the Tour de France (ASO)

“He’s learned and got used to the pressure of it all. The better you deal with that, the better you are. With years of experience, he’s dealt with that pressure and the hype that much better.”

Froome’s win puts him ahead of American Greg LeMond and two others with three wins. Only four, the greats, have gone on to win five times.

“If you win four editions of this race then you are one of cycling’s greats,” Dutch rider Laurens Ten Dam (Sunweb) said.

“The way he does it is may be different than how they did in the past with riders like Bernard Hinault but cycling’s changed. They would have attacked more and raced the Classics as well.

“You can admire Chris Froome’s focus. Look at the way he was going in the crosswinds this year or last year, or how he ran on Mont Ventoux.


Watch: The best of the 2017 Tour de France


“That shows this mentality and focus on winning, of thinking only about getting to the line as fast as possible.”

“Just look at what you saw in Romans-sur-Isere in the crosswinds, when he was there and fighting,” Bahrain-Merida sports director, Tristan Hoffman said.

“You have to remember that he began in a hard position from Africa and then Barloworld. It’s hard for many riders to make their way like that, but Froome did it.”

Froome nearly won the Vuelta a España already twice in 2011 and 2016, adding up to three second place finishes in the Spanish Grand Tour. He plans on racing the 2017 edition this year, and taking revenge.

“He’s a complete rider and a good example for the sport,” manager at LottoNL-Jumbo, Richard Plugge added.

“I would like him to do some more in other races like the Giro d’Italia, but you can understand why he just focuses on the Tour de France.”


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Chris Froome confirmed for Vuelta a España on back of Tour de France victory

Team Sky rider looks to improve on his three second places

Just days after winning his fourth Tour de France, Chris Froome has confirmed that he will compete in the 2017 Vuelta a España as he looks to complete a historic Tour/Vuelta double.

No rider has won the Tour and the Vuelta in the same year since the latter moved to its current August/September slot in 1995, with Froome finishing second on three occasions, including after winning the Tour in 2016.

>>> Vuelta a España route 2017: key climbs and what to expect

“The Vuelta is a race I love racing. It’s a vicious race but it’s three weeks that I enjoy,” Froome said in an interview with Sky Sports.

“I’ve come second three times now and I’d love to win the Vuelta. To win the Tour and the Vuelta in one year would be absolutely incredible. I’ve got that opportunity now and I’m certainly going to go for it.”

Froome will face many of the same riders who he beat to the yellow jersey in July, with Romain Bardet, Fabio Aru, and Alberto Contador all expected to be on the start line, as well as high calibre riders who skipped the Tour such as Vincenzo Nibali.

>>> Who will be riding the 2017 Vuelta a España?

The Team Sky rider has come close to winning the Vuelta on three occasions, his nearest miss coming in 2011 when he finished just 13 seconds behind Juan José Cobo after spending much of the race working for team-mate Bradley Wiggins. He also finished second to Alberto Contador in 2014 and Nairo Quintana in 2016.

The Vuelta a España starts in the French city of Nîmes on August 19, finishing three weeks later on September 10 in Madrid.


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