Drivers who kill will face life prison sentence under new laws

Those who cause road deaths due to dangerous or careless driving in England, Scotland and Wales will now face life in prison after a review of sentencing
– Need for ‘causing death by dangerous cycling’ law still being reviewed

Drivers who kill as a result of dangerous or careless driving will now face life imprisonment after ministers agreed on plans for a shake-up of British road laws.

Several road safety groups have welcomed the proposed changes to sentencing guidelines, which many campaigners have felt are long overdue.

Causing death by dangerous driving or careless driving will carry a life sentence in England, Wales and Scotland if the guilty party was over the drink-drive limit or under the influence of drugs.

Deaths caused by drivers using a mobile phone, racing or speeding will also carry a prison term in line with that for manslaughter, raised from a maximum of 14 years to a life sentence.

>>> The media coverage of the Charlie Alliston case should be disturbing for cyclists everywhere

A new category of offence has also been introduced of causing serious injury through careless driving.

The review included a public consultation in December 2016, which received 9,000 responses. The full consultation is due to be published on Monday (October 16).

Justice minister Dominic Raab said: “We will introduce a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, punishable by imprisonment, to fill a gap in the law and reflect the seriousness of some of the injuries suffered by victims in this category of case”.

The legislation regarding changes in the offences and sentencing must be passed by parliament.

In a statement announcing the changes, the Ministry of Justice said that the review was “part of government action to make roads safer for all and stop devastation caused by dangerous drivers and cyclists”.

No new offences have been introduced relating to causing death or injury by cycling. The Ministry of Justice says that the Department for Transport is “separately reviewing cycling safety and seeking views on whether a new offence of causing death by dangerous cycling is needed, further details are due shortly.”

The government called for a review into causing death by cycling after the widely-publicised Charlie Alliston case. Alliston was jailed for 18 months after being found guilty of causing the death of pedestrian Kim Briggs in London in February 2016. He was riding a fixed gear bike with no front brake, illegal in the UK.

>>> Cycling could be included in dangerous driving laws as Charlie Alliston case prompts government action

Recently released government figures show that there were 1792 reported road deaths in 2016, a four per cent increase on 2015. A total of 24,101 were serious injured. Included in those figures are 102 fatalities and 3397 serious injuries among cyclists.

Road safety charity Brake said that the announcement of rules changes was a ‘major victory’ for the victims of road crime.

“Today’s announcement is a major victory for the families of victims and charities, including Brake, who have tirelessly campaigned for punishments which better fit road crimes that kill and seriously injure people,” said Brake’s director of campaigns Jason Wakeford.

“We applaud the Government for at last recognising that the statute books have been weighed against thousands of families who have had their lives torn apart through the actions of drivers who have flagrantly broken the law.”


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ACC Weekly Recap: Virginia Tech Dominant in Durham

Virginia Tech’s Klaudia Nazieblo — Photo Courtesy: Sara D. Davis, the ACC.com

Among the highlights this weekend in ACC swimming and diving was a three-team tri-meet in Durham, N.C., where Virginia Tech’s men and women took down both Florida State and Duke, while the Blue Devils and Seminoles split their pair of dual meets.

Women’s Scores
Virginia Tech 223.5, Florida State 129.5
Virginia Tech 214, Duke 139
Duke 192.5, Florida State 160.5

Virginia Tech freshman Reka Gyorgy was the star of the meet, as she finished with wins in four different events: the 200 IM (1:59.87), 200 back (1:58.35), 200 free (1:50.45) and 400 IM (4:18.41). The Hokie women also finished on top of both the 200 and 400 free relays over the two-day meet.

Florida State’s stars performers included breaststroker Natalie Pierce, who won both the 100 (1:02.79) and 200 (2:17.62), and diver Ayla Bonniwell, who won the one-meter (284.40) and three-meter events (320.35).

Duke’s Verity Abel won both the 500 (4:53.41) and 1000 free (10:03.00), and teammate Alyssa Marsh took first twice on day two of the meet, in the 50 free (22.91) and 100 fly (54.52).

Men’s Scores
Virginia Tech 209, Duke 144
Virginia Tech 194.5, Florida State 158.50
Florida State 208, Duke 145

The Duke men won both medley relays and the Florida State men took first in both sprint free relays, but the Hokie men lost only four other swimming events all day.

Virginia Tech freshman Lane Stone swept the 200 (1:38.78), 500 (4:27.24) and 1000 free (9:20.51) events, and teammate Norbert Szabo took first in both the 200 IM (1:50.61) and 200 fly (1:50.04). Justin Edwards won the 100 breast Friday in 55.93 and on Saturday added a win in the 200 breast (2:02.19).

For the Blue Devils, Yusuke Legard won the 100 free in 44.52, Max St. George won the 100 back (47.95), and Evan Moretti picked up a win in three-meter diving (390.65).

Florida State individual winners included Chad Mylin in the 50 free (20.12), Kanoa Kaleoaloha in the 100 fly (47.53) and Joshua Davidson in one-meter diving (390.65).

Full results

Texas A&M & Michigan State at Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish faced Texas A&M in a two-day meet in South Bend, Ind., with Michigan State also participating in Friday’s action). Texas A&M swept the meets, winning the women’s competition 211-136 and earning a 193.5-159.5 for the men.

Zach Yeadon was the top performer of the weekend for the Irish, taking first in the 200 (1:38.37), 500 (4:26.91) and 1000 free (9:03.25), and teammate Justin Plaschka also won two events: the 100 fly (48.03) and 50 free (20.22).

Robby Whitacre won the 100 back for Notre Dame in 48.59, and Tabahn Afrik joined Plaschka, Aaron Schultz and Daniel Speers to win the 400 free relay in 2:58.29.

Meanwhile, Molly Treble’s win in the 500 free (4:49.60) was the only Notre Dame winner on the first day of the meet.

On day two, impressive sophomore Abbie Dolan won the 200 free in 1:46.58, Lindsay Stone won the 1000 free in 9:51.07 and Claire Andrews won one-meter diving (285.90). In the final women’s event of the meet, Dolan, Rachel Wittmer, Lauren Heller and Sofia Revilak Fonseca touched out A&M to win the 400 free relay, 3:19.82 to 3:19.89.

Full results

Penn State at Virginia

Todd DeSorbo’s debut meet as head coach of the Cavaliers went according to plan as Virginia’s women and men each defeated Penn State. The women dominated the Nittany Lions, 184 to 104, while the men had to dig deep to earn a 151-149 triumph.

The Virginia women dominated the meet, and three different athletes picked up multiple individual wins. Caitlin Cooper won the 50 (23.11) and 100 free (50.85), while Emma Seiberlich won both the 200 back (1:57.68) and 100 fly (55.20).

Kylie Towbin won one-meter (286.95) and three-meter diving (329.03). Senior Jen Marrkand picked up a 200 fly victory with her time of 1:57.89.

Virginia’s men saw Brendan Casey win the 1000 free (9:21.77) and 200 back (1:47.69), while Sam Magnan took second in the 1000 free before edging Casey for a UVA 1-2 in the 500 free. Magnan posted a time of 4:30.25 in the 20-lap race.

But Virginia needed a huge effort at meet’s end to clinch the victory. Joe Clark, Ted Schubert, Bryce Keblish and Ryan Baker won the 400 free relay in 2:59.91, almost three seconds ahead of Penn State’s top team. A five-point advantage from that event was enough to clinch a two-point victory.

Full results

Louisville at SMU Classic

The Louisville women sent nine to the SMU Classic in Dallas and led by Mallory Comerford’s three wins, the team finished second by just a half-point. Read full recaps of day one and day two of the meet, plus full analysis.

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10 bike goodies to brighten up the winter nights

Ever increasing darkness getting you down? Here are a few that will get you smiling…

With winter drawing ever closer, and the darkness falling just that little bit earlier by the day, it’s easy to lose a little bit of the love you have for your bicycle.

A solid winter bike, warm clothing and bike lights you can rely on are of course all important pieces of kit which can help to improve your off-season riding experience.

However, if you want something cheap and cheerful (and sometimes a little bit less practical) to help put a smile on your face, we’ve got a few suggestions…

Handlebar coffee cup holder

Bookman Cup Holder

Bookman Cup Holder. Image: Bookman

Cyclists and caffeine are intrinsically linked, right? Enjoy the two together with a product like the Bookman Cup Holder (available in lots of colours so you can even match it to your frame..).

Keep your bike happy, too

Happy People 79260 Bicycle Cover

Happy People Bicycle Cover

An actual tent for your bicycle. If you’re not able to keep it indoors, at least store your beloved within a proper home from home over the winter months.

Protect your bum in style

Raleigh Ass Saver

Raleigh Ass Saver

Combine functionality with a little design flare with a well designed Ass Saver mudguard.

Shine on, in style

BTR Regenschutz Rucksack Reflective,

BTR Regenschutz Rucksack Reflective

There are tons of waterproof reflective backpack covers out there, all able to help draw attention to your presence on the road – but we like how BTR has added in a grey version, which becomes a beacon in the dark (obviously you’ll need a good set of bike lights, too).

Drinks on the ride, anyone?

Fyxation Leather Bicycle Wine Carrier. Image Fyxation

Fyxation Leather Bicycle Wine Carrier

Brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘pub bike’… (please do drink responsibly).

Amusing diagrams of everyday life

The Cycling Cartoonist by Dave Walker

The Cycling Cartoonist by Dave Walker

We love following Dave Walker on Twitter for his amusing cartons – and if enjoy them too, then the book could provide entertainment for days.

Jazzy bar tape

KINGOU Camouflage Handlebar Tape

KINGOU Camouflage Handlebar Tape

If the dark nights are getting you down, brighten them right back up again with a party on your handlebars (more excellent bar tape options here).

Lighten up with spoke lights

The wheels on the bike go round-and-round – so why not make them dance?

Top off a good day with a cycling cap

Cinelli Eye of the Storm cycling cap

Cinelli Eye of the Storm cycling cap

A good cycling cap adds a splash of colour to your ride home – and keeps the rain out of your eyes on a bad day.

Warm up with a bicycle mug

I Want To Ride My Bicycle Ceramic Gift Boxed Mug

I Want To Ride My Bicycle Ceramic Gift Boxed Mug

Remind yourself how much you love cycling, as you warm up those chilly fingers on a good mug of post-ride-tea.
Seen any cool cycling inspired accessories? Let us know in the comments…


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Could Aqua Blue Sport be set for a ride at the Giro d’Italia in 2018?

Sources say the Irish team will ride their second Grand Tour at the Giro 2018 with Italian teams left out

Team Aqua Blue Sport, after their Grand Tour debut in the Vuelta a España that included a stage win, are said to be aiming for the 2018 Giro d’Italia and Tour de France next season, say sources close to teams.

For the Giro, the Italian teams are already worried for their wildcard invitations with insiders saying team Bardiani-CSF could be overlooked for Androni and Wilier-Selle Italia.

>>> Aqua Blue Sport to ride ‘innovative’ 3T Strada aero bike in 2018

Team Israel Academy should take the fourth of four wildcard spots on offer with the Giro starting in Jerusalem next May. The WorldTour teams including Team Sky and Sunweb with 2017 winner Tom Dumoulin take the other 18 spots automatically.

A selection by organiser RCS Sport could come as early as December.

“We would be honoured to get an invitation for the Giro d’Italia next year,” a team Aqua Blue Sport spokesperson said.

“We would hope, given our results in our debut season that we would be considered a good addition to the start list. Of course, we respect any decision made by RCS.”

Wilier could be set for a Giro return in 2018 (Sunada)

The invitations, leaving out two Italian professional continental teams, would send huge quakes through the cycling heartland.

“It’s a huge thing for our team if we are left out of the Giro d’Italia,” said Bardiani-CSF sports director Roberto Reverberi. “It’s fundamental for an Italian team to race it. It’s like 90 per cent of our programme is based around the Giro.”

Irish team Aqua Blue Sport have a strong case after racing the Vuelta a España in their debut season and winning a stage with Stefan Denifl. The team includes Adam Blythe, Matthew Brammeier and Larry Warbasse.

Sources contacted by Cycling Weekly say that the team are making a big push for both the Giro and Tour in 2018. Their relationship with Tour and Vuelta organisers ASO and Unipublic stands strongly already and is improving with Italian organiser RCS Sport.

RCS Sport would likely invite the growing Israel Cycling Academy team with the race starting in Jerusalem. It is the first time a Grand Tour will begin outside of Europe.

After three stages, it should re-enter Italy via Sicily, travel north through the country and finish in Rome. The organiser will reveal the full route at a presentation in November.

The sections would only leave two free spots for four hungry home teams. Androni, after missing two editions of the race, are nearly a certainty due to their win in the Italian Cup classification. Insiders contacted say that Wilier will return with Bardiani-CSF and Nippo left at home.

“To race the Giro for an Italian team means securing sponsors for the next year and also for the current year. To have more security,” Wilier sports director Luca Scinto said.

Doping positives ahead of the 2017 Giro could cost Bardiani a place at next year’s race (Sunada)

“As professional continental team it’s everything for us. Then if you go and win a stage, it’s even better!”

The teams seldom win one of the 21 stages, but animate the race with early attacks prior to the stars taking over. They do sometimes succeed in the unthinkable as with Aqua Blue Sport in the Vuelta a España, or Gazprom in the 2016 Giro.

Bardiani built their reputation as the ‘green team’ not just for its colours but because it is a breeding ground for young Italian talent. Riders like Sonny Colbrelli, who is now with Bahrain-Merida, develop within the team before signing for top WorldTour teams.

However, RCS Sport’s invitation to Bardiani, according to sources, will not arrive due to its two positive doping tests ahead of the 2017 Giro. Niccola Ruffoni and Stefano Pirazzi failed controls for a human growth hormone.

“Clearly we want to race and have it be our principle objective of the season but we’re not going to hide that we are slightly worried given what happened at the start last year,” added Reverberi.

“The organisation should take into consideration the 30 years of our team, and that these things happen very seldom and that our team has nothing to do with it at all. Even in the big teams, it happens. There’s no need to throw away the team given what has happened.”


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The Giant of Provence: The magic and mystique of Mont Ventoux

With the 2018 Tour de France possibly going up Mont Ventoux, we look at the magic of the mountain

Let’s not beat about the bush (you’ll struggle to find one on its wind-scarred summit): whenever the Tour de France heads up Mont Ventoux, the riders tackle the most fearsome climb in cycling.

Ventoux has it challengers for severity (Angliru, Mortirolo), prominence (Mount Etna, Puy de Dôme), otherworldliness (Col d’Izoard), altitude (anything over 1,911m) and legend (Alpe d’Huez, Col du Tourmalet) but the Giant of Provence rolls all these characteristics into one, making it a Tour icon and a bucket-list tick box for cyclists the world over.

For British followers of the sport especially, it will also forever be associated with the story of one of the country’s best riders.

For it was close to the summit of the standalone beast in the south-east of France where Tom Simpson fatally collapsed from his bike in the 1967 Tour.

As William Fotheringham writes in Put me Back on my Bike — an insightful biography of Simpson titled from an embellishment of the former world champion’s very last utterances on the Ventoux verge-side — the mountain was a “defining factor” in his story.

“Had Britain’s greatest ever cyclist happened to collapse in a coma by some anonymous roadside in, say, Berry or Calvados,” Fotheringham writes, “his death would not have had the same lasting impact.”

‘Defining’ is in fact too passive a word. Although alcohol, amphetamines and stomach illness all played a part, the horror — and perhaps the morbid fascination of it — is that the nature of Mont Ventoux itself was surely a contributing factor in Simpson’s death.

It was stiflingly hot on the mountain that day and its bleak desolate crown offers no forgiveness. In all likeliness, had the Tour been in the relative flatlands of Berry or Calvados, or possibly even on any other climb in France, Simpson might not have collapsed and died.

Riding past the memorial near where he fell, a painful sadness might wash over you. Not simply that a man collapsed and died too young in this most inhospitable of locations, but that he was so close to the respite the summit offers.

Philosopher’s stone

The Tom Simpson memorial on Mont Ventoux. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

The Tom Simpson memorial on Mont Ventoux. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

It’s customary when writing about Mont Ventoux (it’s probably inspired more literature than any other mountain in cycling) to quote 14th century poets and post-structuralist philosophers.

Petrarch produced the first account of climbing the mountain in 1336, drawing parallels between the struggle of the climb and the challenges of life.

French philosopher Roland Barthes touched on its nature when he described it as “a god of evil to whom sacrifice must be paid”.

It is “a true Molach, a despot of cyclists,” he added. “It never pardons the weak and exacts an unjust tribute of suffering.”

While Barthes’s soundbites make for handy — if hyperbolic — quotes, if you get the right weather and pace yourself well, climbing Mont Ventoux is not intrinsically any more difficult than riding any other 20km, high mountain ascent.

Of course, riding the climb and racing it are two very different things but “at the end of the day,” says BMC Racing’s Nicolas Roche, “I reckon that a climb like the Giro’s Colle della Lombarda is as hard as the Ventoux, it’s just not as famous.

“It’s funny how we always talk about how hard some of the prestigious climbs are, but the truth is, when you are going full gas, every climb is pretty hard.”

Chris Froome on Mont Ventoux, stage 15 of the 2013 Tour de France. Photo: Graham Watson

Chris Froome on Mont Ventoux, stage 15 of the 2013 Tour de France. Photo: Graham Watson

But what does make Ventoux particularly stand out in the imagination and history books — not to mention on the landscape — is its geography.

Comprising rolling vineyards and the odd rocky outcrop, the neighbouring countryside is not flat. But you’re not in a mountain range either and this mighty mountain towers over everything.

“It’s one of the spectacular and original climbs because most of the other climbs that we do, have other climbs around them,” notes Roche. “But this one just sticks out in the middle.”

On a clear day you might see Ventoux from over 100km away. Approaching it in a race, it literally looms on the horizon. There’s no avoiding the fact you have to climb over it.

But the additional challenge its isolated location in the south of France might present is not just psychological, but meteorological too — especially during the midsummer heat of the Tour.

“Above all, it’s a hot climb if it’s ridden in the Tour de France,” says Eros Poli, the 6ft 4in Italian who took an unlikely solo win on a stage that passed over the Ventoux in the 1994 Tour.

“Not being among other mountains can make Ventoux harder. The Col de la Bonette, for example, is long and hard, but it’s cooler because it’s in the middle of a valley and among other Alps. Ventoux is in the middle of Provence. If it’s hot, it becomes worse.”

Although the steepest part of the climb spends kilometre after kilometre trundling through dense forest, Poli acknowledges even that part is exposed: “From start to end, there’s not shade. I remember that I looked for shade, but I couldn’t find it! The road is not that narrow, there are trees, but the sun is high at the hour the Tour passes.”

And then you climb out of the trees onto the bare blanched moonscape that makes the top part of the Ventoux so instantly recognisable.

In anything but the most benign weather, the challenge intensifies. Hugging the bare scree mountainside, the road slants up towards the beacon at the summit. To your left, Provence stretches out below until it meets the Mediterranean Sea. Nothing stands between here and North Africa.

The name Ventoux is thought to be the corruption of a Gaulish misnomer meaning snowy peak (that’s how its limestone top looks from afar) but it could readily be a reference to the wind (in French venteux means windy).

Gusts have been known to reach 250kph on the mountain and have blown cars off the road. Often the mountain is shrouded in fog — or buffeted by clouds that are slammed into its side and shoved up over the ridge to create a terrifying turbulent, low-vis summit menace.

In high summer, the sun bounces off the mountain’s white stone and heat can become trapped in the folds of the upper slope that the road runs in and out of.

“It can be overbearing,” says Orica-Scott DS Matt White. “You can feel it coming off the road.” On the day Simpson died, the mercury was estimated to be touching 55°C in these thermal pockets.

In the shadows

Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong on Mont Ventoux at the 2000 Tour de France. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

Marco Pantani and Lance Armstrong on Mont Ventoux at the 2000 Tour de France. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

The Tour first climbed Mont Ventoux in 1951 and — although this year will only see the Tour’s 16th visit — has been making legend there ever since. As well as Simpson’s death in 1967, it’s where Eddy Merckx required oxygen in 1970 and is the mountain that effectively ended the career of Swiss climber Ferdi Kübler in 1955.

Although in the last 20 years it has always marked a summit finish in the Tour, earlier visits and the stage that Poli won also descended the mountain to conclude in nearby towns.

Perhaps the cruellest stages up Ventoux, though, are the time trials. Charly Gaul won the first one in 1958 while Jean-François Bernard won another in 1987 with a masterful ride that involved switching from a low-profile time trial machine to a lightweight climbing bike on the lower slopes.

The Critérium du Dauphiné has also had a couple of time trials there, won by Jonathan Vaughters in 1999 and Iban Mayo in 2004 — although it’s worth noting that both riders were subsequently implicated in doping scandals.

It’s perhaps testament to Ventoux’s challenging character that what happens there is often overshadowed by the spectre of doping.

Simpson’s death was a catalyst for the introduction of more stringent anti-doping controls while Jean Malléjac blamed his collapse there in 1955 on someone drugging him.

Richard Virenque’s win in 2002 and Marco Pantani’s legendary ‘gift’ win from Lance Armstrong in 2000 also leave their taint while a video purporting to show Chris Froome’s power data during his 2013 Tour de France clash with Nairo Quintana was published on YouTube and used by some to question his credibility.

Pilgrimage site

The famous communications mast hides from view. Photo: Daniel Gould

The famous communications mast hides from view. Photo: Daniel Gould

But to lose oneself in the stats is to miss out on the mystique that Mont Ventoux musters. Although the road is typically shut between November and May, on any day it is open, a steady stream of cycling pilgrims can be found riding its slopes.

A typical southern French town of shady trees, gravelly plazas, wrought iron gates, beige walls and terracotta roofs, Bédoin at the foot of the mountain would perhaps be sleepier were it not for its growing status as a kind of Ventoux resort town catering to the flow of cyclists who pass through.

>>> Should you hire a bike or take your own when you go abroad?

In dusty car parks, riders assemble bikes from the boots of cars and local club riders roll through the streets.

A small service industry has grown here to serve the riders: a smattering of bike shops manned at the door by mannequins in official Ventoux attire along with a range of restaurants and pizzerias for refuelling.

Apparently there’s a waiter in one of the bars who entertains himself by warning cyclists about the wind at the summit. If the leaves are rustling in the square, he says, it will be blowing a gale at the top. It’s probably true.

>>> Majorca’s Sa Calobra, cycling’s perfect climb? (video)

From the town the climb respectively ascends through three distinct sections of farmland, woodland and then that blinding white limestone of the crown.

“The first six to seven kilometres are pretty climbable; you’re surrounded by vineyards,” notes Poli. “The second part is harder. After the forest starts, it’s 10 kilometres, more or less straight, with bits of up to 12 or 13 per cent.”

The mountain is protected as a biological reserve and there’s a sense of moving into a different realm as you progress up it.

The oak and coniferous woodland is dense and steamy, the road is lined with fantastically shaped hedges and the verges glow a radiant green; you could be on an ornamental driveway or in a botanical garden.

Cuckoos call from the trees and planes hum in the far-off distance. You’re in the world of the winged up here. Getting higher, large mossy patches and swirling mist create a fairytale landscape.

>>> Tour de France 2018 route: What we know so far

A cafe, ski-lift, huge car park, smattering of buildings and an option to take another route down off the mountain give the junction at Chalet Reynard a touch of civilisation. But from this point up it is Ventoux’s deserted moonscape to the summit.

The view here opens out and the lavender fields, vineyards and orchards far below offer a tapestry of colour that contrasts starkly with the overwhelming monotony of the immediate rocky surrounds.

The gradient eases but as Poli acknowledges: “The third part from Chalet Reynard to the top can be painful. You’ve already done 16 kilometres, so in those last six you are dead tired. In that sun, with the stones reflecting the heat, or if there’s wind, you’ll suffer.”

Poli’s old Gan team-mate Chris Boardman remembers the climb having him in tears — not when he was racing over it, but years after retiring when he found himself riding the Etape du Tour.

“I’d agreed to do it with Dave Brailsford when I got quite drunk, but he didn’t turn up,” Boardman recalls. “I was only riding two hours a day at that time. By the time we got to the top of Mont Ventoux, people were saying, ‘Look, there’s Boardman over there, crying!’”

But that’s Mont Ventoux for you. It’s a mountain that inspires awe and instils fear. That’s why on almost any given day at the summit (when open) you might find triumphant cyclists with grins as wide as their faces or shivering wrecks who’ll vow never to come back again.

And while the odd Tour rider may give it a nonchalant shrug and wheel off back down towards the team bus, they still know like the rest of us that the whole package of Mont Ventoux is a mountain like no other.


Conquering the Giant of Provence

Mont Ventoux from Bédoin


Eros Poli: Ventoux’s most unlikely hero

At 6ft 4in, Eros Poli would typically be found in the laughing group on any Tour de France climb. But in 1994, having gone out on a lone break on the flats before Mont Ventoux, the Italian Mercatone Uno rider hit the foot of the climb with a 25-minute solo lead.

It proved enough for him to survive at the head of the race and he came down the other side for a famous solo victory in the nearby town of Carpentras. Here, he recalls the day to Cycling Weekly.

“In 1994, there were numerous fans, and many Italians because Marco Pantani was going so well. The bad memory I take away is that I arrived at the base after riding around 100km in time trial mode to gain time.

“I thought if I was going to win the stage I’d need at least 25 minutes’ advantage on the group. I’d lose about a minute every kilometre. If I had three minutes [at the top], that’d be enough to last the descent and 20 remaining kilometres on the flat.

“The worst bit was when for the first time in my life I saw only a single digit on my computer. Normally in the gruppetto riding at the back, we’d be going 12, 13 or 15kph. At one point, I saw 8 or 9kph: that was a shock. To go up a climb at such a [slow] pace had never happened to me before.

“I’d been doing 100 or more kilometres at over 45kph — alone. That change of rhythm, starting the climb was terrible. At that curve, to start the second part, at Saint-Estève, I was afraid and in trouble.

“Now, I like Ventoux. I ride Ventoux three to four times a year with my InGamba tour group. Every time, I think, ‘How the hell did I manage to arrive first that day?’

“It’s beautiful nowadays to take along friends and share my memories. Normally Ventoux is for climbers and champions. I was a passista so it was a dream coming first. Normally I’d be last.”


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‘You’re getting deported to Australia’: Adam Hansen describes airport drama as he travels to training camp

Lotto-Soudal rider avoids deportation after getting officials to Google him

Pro cyclists are very experienced travellers, but Lotto-Soudal‘s Adam Hansen had something of a nightmare as he tried to travel to a training camp in the United Arab Emirates from his home in the Czech Republic.

Hansen holds two passports – an Australian one and an Italian one – and had sent the Italian one off to the Chinese Embassy in Milan to get a visa for the upcoming Tour of Guangxi.

That left him with just his Australian passport to get him to a training camp in the UAE, which unfortunately did not contain a stamp to show when he had entered Europe.

>>> Adam Hansen thanks fans for inspiring him to take on 19th consecutive Grand Tour at Vuelta a España

Writing for Velon, Hansen described the exchange: “I said – ‘I entered on my Italian passport,’ and they said – ‘Well where is it?’ I said – ‘It’s in Milan at the Chinese embassy.’

“They said: ‘Well you’ve overstayed in Europe, so you get deported directly to Australia.’ They took me out the back and I was interviewed. They wanted to give me a €3,000 fine on top of deporting me.

Thankfully Hansen managed to avoid being deported, convincing officials that a quick internet search would confirm who he was.

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“It was a bit stressful,” he continued. “I didn’t like to use the line, but I said: ‘Google me, you’ll see I’m a cyclist and I’m going to race in China.’ They Googled me and let me go.”

Hansen completed his training camp in the UAE at the start of October, and is now back training in the Czech Republic before travelling out to the Tour of Guangxi, the final WorldTour race of the season, which starts on October 19.


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Tech of the week: New Zipp wheels, Shimano’s power meter and why you must have more than one bike

All the top tech from the last week, including new Humpback Whale wheels, a retail date for Shimano’s long awaited power meter and much more

New Zipp 858 NSW wheels

The Zipp 858 NSW wheels were launched this week and retain that Humpback Whale inspired look that made a splash late last year.

The depth varies from 77mm to 82mm and the Sawtooth design supposedly helps with the wheels aerodynamics, as well as stability in cross winds. The new wheels come in both rim brake guise (equipped with Zipp’s Showstopper braking technology), and disc versions too.

Finally, the wheels will dive into the market at the eye watering price of £3370. Deep breaths everyone…

Shimano’s power meter to hit the market

shimano dura-ace r9100 crankset with power meter

At long last, Shimano is sending its power meter to market, with the training tool hitting the shelves in November.

The power meter has +/- 2% accuracy, and is dual sided for more accurate left and right power readings.

Apparently, it’ll cost £1,299 for the crankset version, but it can also be bought as just the arms, but there’s no price for that as of yet. Either way, it’s starting to be an expensive week in tech town…

Why you must absolutely have multiple bikes

Raleigh Chopper: 1970 classic

It’s a matter of fact that we all need multiple bikes. Your best bike, your winter bike, your bike for when your winter bike is grubby, your track bike, cross bike… the list goes on.

Now though, we’ve created the perfect list of excuses for why you simply must have so many.

Winter cycling kit buying guide

We’ve put together the definitive list of winter kit, that’ll keep you snug and warm on the bike this winter.

It can be a bit bewildering, with so many layers doing various different things so check out our Winter cycling buyer’s guide for the best top tips. You can also see a list of the best winter cycling shoes, too.

Condor’s amazing custom paint jobs

Only two bikes like it

Condor has partnered with Blaze bike lights to create two custom painted bikes for the victors of the Rapha Nocturne.

Naturally, Condor wanted to involve London, and the results are two frames designed with staggering illustrations of famous sites around the capital city.


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Diane Diefenderfer – Elite Athlete Reformer (65 mins) – Level 2/3

Description

If you are an elite athlete or just want a challenging workout, then you will love this advanced Reformer workout with Diane Diefenderfer. She uses her years of experience of working with athletes to teach movements that will allow different types of movers to feel benefits they need from Pilates. She works on using your breath to create fluid movement while working your entire body with challenging exercises.

What You’ll Need: Reformer, Jump Board, Magic Circle

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Ohio HS Finalist Ashley Voelkerding Verbally Commits to Alabama

Photo Courtesy: Ashely Voelkerding

NEW COMMIT: Ashley Voelkerding, a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American from the Cincinnati Marlins, has verbally committed to take her talents to the University of Alabama beginning next fall. She’s a NISCA All-American at Saint Ursula Academy. Her Marlins teammate Justin Grender has given his verbal commitment to the University of Virginia.

Voelkerding made her mark on the high school scene last year. At the Ohio Divison 1 Championships she recorded her lifetime best 200 freestyle time to finish fourth. She also touched fifth in the 100 fly. On relays, she split a 51.62 to lead off the team’s fourth place 400 free relay and split a 24.85 on the fly leg of the sixth place 200 medley relay.

Voelkerding’s best times are:

  • 50 Fly 24.84
  • 100 Fly 54.44
  • 200 Fly 2:02.05
  • 200 Free 1:49.21
  • 100 Free 51.00
  • 200 IM 2:04.64

After her junior year in high school Voelkerding was just four tenths shy of what it took to final in the 100 fly at the 2017 SEC Championships. In her first year that 100 fly group will still include Katie Coughlin who will be a senior. She’s also just a second off the cut for the 200 freestyle. Alabama had just one upperclassmen score in that final last year. Freshman Cameron Brown (1:48.74) was 28th and will be a junior when Voelkerding arrives in Tuscaloosa.

She told Swimming World,

“I am extremely proud and excited to have committed to The University of Alabama! Alabama’s coaching staff, team, and academic opportunities are incredible, and I am excited for the next four years! Roll Tide!”

Voelkerding joins a Class of 2022 for the Tide that includes Rhyan White,  Kensey McMahon, Cathryn Salladin, and Morgan Liberto.

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Analysis: SMU Classic was Epic Start to Season

Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey Photo Courtesy: Lon Horwedel

By Dan D’Addona.

The start of the college swimming season is always a little random. Some teams start earlier than others and it seems like there aren’t too many big meets early on.

After all, it is still the middle of football season and we haven’t reached the World Series yet, either.

But this weekend had a fantastic meet that should have people really ready for the college season, the SMU Classic. This annual meet has picked up steam over the past few years and this weekend, we saw a true classic.

The meet came down to the final couple of events with USC, Louisville and Michigan all within striking distance. These are three top-10 teams in the nation.

The USC women used a third-place finish in the final relay to win the SMU Women’s Classic on Saturday, edging Louisville by a half point.

A meet can’t get closer than a half a point unless there is a three-way tie for a particular place, which a team could win by a third of a point, or I suppose, a quarter of a point if there is a four-way tie.

But those rarely happen in any sort of meet, so it is pretty cool to say that this meet could not have been closer.

USC scored 331, while Louisville was runner-up with 330.5. Michigan was third with 322, followed by UCLA (239.5), Miami (230) and SMU (209).

This meet had everything: An extremely close team score and big performances by star swimmers.

There was even a pair of epic showdowns between national title contenders — yes two showdowns by the same swimmers, Louisville’s Mallory Comerford and Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey.

On Saturday, Comerford won the 100-yard freestyle in 47.00, narrowly edging Haughey (47.22) in another battle of two of the best collegiate swimmers in the world. The times are the top two in the country this year.

That followed another epic battle in the 200 freestyle on Friday when Comerford won the event in 1:41.70, ahead of Haughey’s 1:42.44.

These two swimmers are both going to be vying for national titles. Comerford had the epic NCAA finish, tying Katie Ledecky to win the 200 freestyle as the duo held off Simone Manuel and Haughey.

That 200 free is shaping up to be the event of the meet for the women once again, though the 100 free will likely see Comerford, Manuel and Haughey as well.

There were some other great performances for this early in the season, too.

Comerford won the 500 freestyle in 4:39.24, holding off Michigan All-American Rose Bi (4:40.37).

USC’s Riley Scott won both breaststroke events.

USC’s Louise Hansson won the 200 backstroke (1:52.26), edging Michigan’s Clara Smiddy (1:52.52). Hansson (1:55.80) also edged Smiddy (1:56.97) in the 200 IM.

USC’s MAddie Wright won the 200 butterfly (1:54.97).

In Friday’s final event, Michigan dominated the 800 free relay with a team of Gabby Deloof, Catie Deloof, Bi and Haughey. The quartet checked in at 7:00.71.

Louisville finished second in 7:06.36. Comerford led off in 1:43.33, a strong split.

Comerford became a star at last year’s NCAA meet, but Haughey is right on her heels. It was great to see them really race each other, especially in a 100 free that was just 22 hundredths of a second difference. Throw in a good taper and a couple of Stanford legends and the 100 and 200 freestyle events will be can-miss events at the NCAA championships, and all season leading up to an epic finale.

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