Friday 13 April 2012

Cycling News from around the World 13.04.12

No surgery for Tony Martin - Urgent call to female cyclists: Save the Balfron Open! - Bak back for Romandie  - British cycling fatality map - LAPD doubt road rage incident - Oxford to host Halford's Tour - Belize race solution not entirely satisfactory - 2012 Le Tour de Filipinas - Mexico City hands Sunday to cyclists

Tony Martin describes his injuries
Tony Martin, now with Omega Pharma
Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Tony Martin, the current World Time Trial Champion, has given more details of the accident which, in his own words, left the left half of his face "totally smashed." In addition to the broken cheekbone reported yesterday, he has a fractured eye socket and lower mandible (jaw) as well as pain in his arm and ribs.

"All I know is that I was going about 35 to 40 km/h on a slightly descending bike path when probably a woman in a car crossed the path. Then the lights went out," says the 26-year-old, who was unconscious for around 15 minutes after the crash. He remains upbeat, however - "Actually I am doing quite well. My girlfriend is taking care of me here. My mother and brother have arrived from Frankfurt. I am being taken care of in the best way."

Omega Pharma-Lotto have since confirmed that the rider will not require surgery. "My first objective now is to take all the time necessary to heal well. I thank all those who with their messages gave me a support in these difficult days. I really appreciate them," the rider says on the team's website.

Urgent: Calling all British female cyclists
The Balfron Women's Open Road Race is in danger of being cancelled due to low numbers of riders signing up - and it's open to all female cyclists (provided they either hold a British Cycling racing licence or purchase a day licence), not only those eligible to race in Scottish Championships - details on eligibility here.

The race is due to take place on the 20th of May in the Stirlingshire town (56° 4'18.56"N 4°20'14.29"W) and consists of six laps of an 11km circuit beginning at 09:30. The official race website is here and entry details are here.

Bak back for Romandie
32-year-old Lars Bak, who sustained a broken wrist at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, will make his comeback at the Tour de Romandie; say Lotto-Belisol. The Danish rider underwent medical tests on Thursday and was discovered to be recovering well.

Cyclist/pedestrian fatality map
See Me, Save Me - an organisation that aims to increase driver awareness of pedestrians and cyclists and cut deaths - has published a new interactive map created by ITO World that shows the site of every pedestrian/cyclist fatality involving a vehicle of more than 3,500kg gross weight between the 1st of January 2000 and the 31st of December 2010. London, quite frankly, is terrifying. See the map here.

LAPD doubt cyclist's accident claims
Los Angeles police have revealed their doubts over the version of events supplied to them by Susanna Schick, known as "Pinkyracer," a cyclist who claimed to have been chased down and deliberately hit by the driver of a white Lexus on a cycle lane in the city a few days ago. The incident has sparked widespread anger among local cyclists, many of whom have accused police and the law of not doing enough to prevent road rage and drivers of endangering cyclist's lives. Schick remains in hospital with three broken ribs, a broken collarbone and a triple fracture to the pelvis.

However, having viewed CCTV footage, police have announced that they're not quite sure Schick's explanation of the incident matches what actually happens. The footage shows that the Lexus did pull in front of her, though whether it was in the bike lane is unclear, but does not drive in a manner that could be described as aggressive - Schick becomes infuriated at this point, says LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon, and begins slapping or punching the car as she passes it and the car then follows her as a police vehicle pulls up behind. "The Lexus never hits her, never touches her, by the officers' account, but one of the officers notices that the front tire starts wobbling, and she falls over after going through the intersection," Vernon says.

The case is still being investigated, but serves as a reminder that we as cyclists must be above reproach. If we lie in an attempt to highlight dangers faced on the roads, we're likely in these days when there are CCTV cameras on every street to be exposed. If that makes the public think we're all a load of liars, embellishing accidents to paint drivers in a bad light or to chase compensation claims, it won't do any of us any favours.

Other News
Oxford to host Halford's Tour
Oxford has been announced as host of one round of the Halfords Tour Series, to take place on the 22nd of May this year. Like most university cities, Oxford is well-known for its cycling scene but has seen little in the way of races over the years - local bike shop manager Jon Harris says, "It seems like an exciting thing. I would say it was quite unusual to have top cyclists come to Oxford. (Wow, he sounds like he can hardly contain his excitement, eh folks?) In keeping with the successful format used last year, riders will race around several laps of a 1km city centre circuit, allowing spectators to see them pass by several times. There will be a women's race at 7pm. (More from the Oxford Mail)

Belize race solution not entirely satisfactory
After a long period in which their domestic racing scene has been dominated by foreign riders, the Belize Cycling Association was facing problems with few companies interested in sponsoring races. So they came up with a novel solution: at the nation's biggest cycling event, the 84th Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic, they offered $5,000 as the top prize if a foreigner won and $15,000 if a Belizean won. It worked, sort of. Belizean Giovanni Choto escaped with a small group early in the race and eventually won (in the words of El Guardian, "He rode bravely and lifted the spirit of an entire nation"), but with local riders unwilling to assist big-name foreigners in chasing down the group the race became boring. (More from El Guardian)

2012 Le Tour de Filipinas
80 cyclists set off from Manila this morning at the start of the 2012 Le Tour de Filipinas. Stage 1 is short at 159km, but with temperatures expected to reach 35C the eleven international and five local teams are likely to find it challenging. (More from the Manila Bulletin)

Mexico City hands Sunday to cyclists
Mexico City is changing for the better
Mexico City is not generally considered to be one of the world's great cycling cities - it's better known for streets blocked with motorised traffic belching out the choking fumes that then hang in the air above as a poisonous smog. Things are changing, however, under the leadership of Marcelo Ebrard. Five years ago he launched Bicycle Sunday,  which every week sees several of the city's main thoroughfares are closed to motorised transport and bikes, pedestrians and skaters given automatic right of way on many others. His rivals were sure it would be doomed to failure and dismissed it as a publicity stunt, but it very rapidly became more successful than even supporters hoped and now as many as 80,000 cyclists make the city look more like Amsterdam on a sunny Sunday. "We shattered a myth that a megalopolis like Mexico City is not capable of considering the bike as a means of transport,” says Environment Secretary Martha Delgado. (More from the Washington Post)

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