Brabantse Pijl - Mayors may force police to work Amstel Gold - Amstel presentation and start to be broadcast live, available online - Boonen won't race Amstel - Martine Bras hopes for late April return - Viviani injury less serious than thought - Cameron Meyer turns down Olympics to concentrate on road racing - The Badger to ride in Tour of Conamara - Kuna, Idaho welcomes Exergy Tour - London's best bike shops - British Government launches ride planner website, allocates £11m for Bikeability scheme - Trail Rage in New Zealand
The 52nd edition of the Brabantse Pijl takes place over 196km near Brussels today. It starts off at Leuven before passing through Overijse, then heading west to Halle before doubling back to Overijse for a nasty little circuit made up of five ascents of four tough hills ans it's a tough race, even by the standards of the hilly Classics, with an incredible 28 climbs in total to be tackled along the way - some of them with gradients surpassing 14%. For those who enjoy competitive cycling for the scenery, it takes in some of the most historic locations in Belgium, including a town with 12,000 years of history and the site of the Battle of Waterloo.
Live coverage should be available online from around 14:00 BST (15:00 local time/CEST). Parcours guide, local sites, maps, profile, weather etc. available here. Definitive start list here.
Local mayors could force police to work at Amstel Gold
the story yesterday that striking police officers had threatened this year's Amstel Gold Race comes news that mayors along the route could use court action to force them to work at the event if they believe that the peloton or public are likely to be in any danger. Since the race is one of the most popular in cycling-mad Belgium and draws huge crowds along the 256.5km parcours, it seems likely that magistrates would automatically rule in favour of the mayors, allowing the 47th edition of the race to go ahead as planned this Sunday. (More from Cycling News)
However, it seems that in Belgium even angry police officers don't wish to cause too much disruption to cycling. Speaking to BNR Politiek, police spokesperson Jan Willem van der Pol said, "We are in consultation with the organisers [as to] what we can do and to find a way which will allow them to have a beautiful Amstel Gold Race yet still allow us to perform our action."
Amstel start to be broadcast live
Regional sports TV station Limburg1 (L1) will be broadcasting the team presentation and start of the race live online from 08:30BST (09:30 local time/CEST), the first time that the either has been televised. It looks as though the footage will be available via a legal stream at the station's official website, which has some videos of the race organisers and parcours already up; if not, there are various websites offering access to the channel, including this one -
Team Sky confirmed for Road Cycling Show
British-based ProTour Team Sky will make an appearance at the all new IPC Road Cycling Show at Sandown Park on the 21st and 22nd of April this year where riders and managers from the squad will conduct talks and a coaching seminar (the latter open only to those with an invitation to attend.) More details at the Show's website.
Other Racing News
(image credit: Dolmans-Boels)
Martine Bras will stay away from competition until at least the end of April, Dolmans-Boels have announced. The rider was in a serious crash during a training ride in march, suffering concussion, cuts to her face and a severe contusion to the shoulder. She had returned to training but experienced headaches after riding, causing doctors to advise her to take an extended break rather than risk permanent problems and now hopes to be recovered in time for Luxembourg's GP Elsy Jacobs and GP Nicolas Frantz. (More on the team website)
Elia Viviani's pelvic injury - sustained during a crash with Chinese rider Liu Hao during the Omnium at the UCI World Track Championships in Melbourne last week - is not as serious as initially feared. Team doctor Roberto Corsetti describes the injury as the "smallest fracture" and a "small subcutaneous haematoma" and has given the go-ahead for the Italian rider to resume training in ten days' time.
Australian Cameron Meyer has deselected himself from his national Olympic program because he'd prefer to concentrate on developing his road racing career. The 24-year-old has been a successful track rider, forming part of the winning Team Pursuit squad at the World Championships in 2010, but feels his future is on the road with GreenEDGE. "It was a very hard decision to make but ultimately my passion for the team pursuit isn't 100 percent," he says. With many fans feeling a certain sense of resentment every time a rider drops out of the Tour de France, which is seen by cycling fans as the greatest event in sport, his decision may prove popular. (More from Yahoo)
Ever wanted to ride with Bernard Hinault? Whatever for? He's a miserable, foul-tempered old bugger. Nevertheless, you now can - and since he's now 57 and has returned to the good old days when cyclists carried a spare tyre (in this case, around his waist) you might even beat him. The Badger is taking part in the Tour of Conamara, part of a four-race Celtic sportive series that includes the Tour of Pembrokeshire in Wales, the Scottish Graeme Obree Ayrshire Sportive and the Tro Bro Leon in Hinault's native Brittany (or Breizh, as the Celtic Bretons would have it). The event begins on the 26th of May with a fun ride suitable for children, then gets on to the proper racing on the 27th with a choice of an 80km and 140km parcours. (More details from the race website)
which offers what is believed to be the biggest prize fund in the history of women's competitive cycling, $100,000) with local caterers especially welcoming of the event. "Oh, it means a lot to us because we are going to have a lot more business," says local restaurateur Enrique Contreras. "Hopefully they come here to see the race, and they get hungry come here and eat, and have a drink too." Cycling races always bring a huge injection of funds into local economies, but local residents are also supportive of the race simply for the spectacle. "[This] is a pretty big honor for Kuna, should be a lot of fun, and I know Kuna will make them all feel really welcome. Sometimes you can still see horses ridden on the road and to have the world class athletes riding their really fancy bicycles will be quite a contrast, won't it?" says Vern Cornish. (More from KVTB.com)
The days when bike shops were dark caves where few women dared tread - and were made to feel unwelcome if they did by rude and chauvinistic staff - are, thankfully, long gone (well, mostly. You know who you are, Mr. Ken Willis, and Mrs. Cyclopunk had a big wad of cash to spend on a bike that day you were so rude to her she walked out of your horrible little shop). Writing for the Daily Telegraph, a British Toryrag that would be utterly avoidable were it not for the surprisingly good cycling coverage, somebody called Nemone who is, apparently, famous has come up with a list of what she believes to be the best examples in London. It's especially good to see Condor Cycles on there, because they've been one of the best for six decades. You can see the list here.
They may have closed down Cycling England, but the government in Britain are still trying to promote cycling (presumably so long as it doesn't cost anything, which Cycling England did) - and the Department for Transport has just launched a new online cycle journey planner. "Our route planner helps people wanting to get out and about and enjoy cycling, as well as those who want to map the best bike route to work," says Minister for Local Transport Norman Baker, LibDem MP for Lewes (Baker has been campaigning since 2005 for full disclosure of MPs' expenses and was largely responsible for the Dark Lord Mandelson's second resignation, so he's one of the good guys). At present, it's only much use for plotting fairly sedate recreational rides as options are limited to "quietest," "quickest" and "most recreational" and it' seriously hamstrung by an inability to search out routes of more than 50km; but it has data on every road in the country and is likely to be a valuable resource for many cyclists, especially those new to the sport. Here's a review of it.
The Department has also announced the allocation of a further £11million for the Bikeability scheme, which will train 300,000 schoolchildren to cycle safely and confidently. Another £24million will be provided to the scheme in the coming two years
We've pretty much all be subjected to a barrage of foul-mouthed abuse from a driver at some point in our lives - cars bring out the worst in people, after all. Bikes, meanwhile, generally do not; which is why New Zealand mountain biker Jordan Brizzell was shocked when he found himself on the receiving end of a verbal and physical assault courtesy of a fellow cyclist on Christchurch's Flying Nun trail. Fortunately, Brizzel was wearing a helmet-mounted camera at the time and the footage has been handed over to the police who are now looking for the man.
You might want to turn the sound right down if you're at work - there's some no-holds-barred language!
Christopher Keiser @CKeiser
My Roubaix video has only 19k views. Mountain biker hit by antelope has 13.5M. Guess who's gonna bring an antelope to Roubaix next year.