Strade Bianche 2020 “one of the hardest days of my career” – Van Avermaet.

Team CCCs Greg Van Avermaet has described the return to racing at Strade Bianche as “one of the hardest days of my career”

The Belgian who has ridden the race more times than any other professional rider, finished eighth in Siena, over four minutes behind winner Wout Van Aert.

Temperatures were in excess of 35°C throughout the race, with many riders struggling to stay hydrated.

The reigning Olympic champion said: “The heat and the first big effort of it took something out of me.

“I was quite sick after the finish, so you also notice how deep you went.”

Photo: Chris Auld

Van Avermaet will now likely turn his focus to Milan-San Remo, the first monument of the year, where he’ll join up with teammate Matteo Trentin .

Milan-San Remo takes place on the 8th August 2020, be sure to check the website for our previews and more!

European Road Championships Postponed Until 2021

The UEC have announced there will be no European Road Championships held in 2020 due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The championships were due to be held in Trentino in Italy in early September but will now take place in early September 2020

There has been no confirmation as yet as to if reigning champion Elia Viviani will continue to wear his jersey until the next championship or if there will simply be no European jersey worn.

With the current ongoing situation, the UEC have announced they are working hard on a resolution with the UCI in an attempt to ensure all other disciplines get to keep their 2020 European Championships.

A Lesson Cycling Needs To Learn…

Cycling is a sport loved the world over, and if you’re reading this, likely by you too. So why is it we see so many issues with the sport and why do we never learn.

The first thing I’ve always noticed about cycling is the blind arrogance we can see when it comes to younger riders and the equipment and training facilities now deemed “normal”. Anyone who tell you cycling is a free sport, doesn’t understand the true nature of racing in the sport, and the immense social pressure within the cycling community to have all the best gear.

To start, a race license will set you back a fair amount of money, but as a fair defence this is no more than a registration fee for plenty of other sports. If this was all it cost to race, cycling wouldn’t have the issues, but this isn’t all.

Beyond this, you then have: the cost of bikes, the cost of wheels, the need for multiple bikes for multiple disciplines, a smart trainer, a zwift subscription, winter kit, summer kit, rollers and the list goes on and on. Within cycling, particularly from the ages of 14-23, the vast majority of cyclists get all this on a plate from their parents and accept it to be the norm.

This is what creates such a drastic social pressure on people from lesser financially stable backgrounds to work harder just be on a level playing field.

In my experience, most riders with all this in front of them are so drastically spoilt they don’t even realise how lucky they are, and it truly is incredible to see.

Having spoken to one rider in particular, I know it actually really upsets those less well off to see the constant bragging of new kit and training software, particularly amongst those who work part-time jobs to pay for every last aspect of their career.

So please, cyclists, let’s open our eyes and look out for all those around us, and actually realise just how spoilt the vast majority of us are.

It’s not nice for everyone else, let’s stop being arrogant and make cycling a happier place for everyone.

INEOS begin delivery of hand sanitiser to NHS

INEOS have begun delivering hand sanitiser to hospitals across the UK in a move which will see up to a million bottles manufactured.

The decision to create and distribute the range of products has been supported by Dave Brailsford and Team INEOS.

Brailsford said: “Team INEOS is used to moving at speed but ten days from starrt to finish for three plants already was incredibly tight.

“We are all in this together and I am grateful to everyone in the entire INEOS family for their hands-on approach to getting the job done.”

Using the manufacturing and enterprise of Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS in compination with the racing team logistics lead by Brailsford, the group are hoping to make an important impact on the fight against the Coronavirus.

INEOS brought their production plant at Newton Aycliffe online within just ten days and will now begin deliveries nationwide.

The company have also set up plants in Germany and France and have announced plans for a second facility in the latter.

INEOS founder Jim Ratcliffe said: “We are not only planning to produce a million bottles of hand sanitiser a month in the UK but the same again at similar facilities in Germany and France.

“If we can find other ways to help in the Coronavirus battle, we will remain absolutely committed to playing our part.”

INEOS are set to increase distribution as soon as the facility reaches full capacity

In Conversation With… Libby Smithson

I’m a big supporter of other women and to stop my columns being very ‘me me me’, as I want to use this space as a place to promote and not as a narcissist power trip, I thought this time around and during such challenging times I’d give mine a positive twist.

My twist – it’s all about the promising young female talent that is Libby Smithson! Together we did a Q&A about the situation we are all facing and Libby as a cyclist. So sit back and enjoy!

Charlotte Broughton (CB)

Libby Smithson (LS)

CB: Little bit of background info about yourself?

LS: I used to swim but stopped about 2 years ago as I started to really hate it. Then to be honest didn’t do much for a few years. Then in June 2019 decided to do cycling as one of sports for gcse as my brother did it very competitively and was very good, not that I really realised, but he was National omnium champ and national series winner, and thought it couldn’t be that hard, I was wrong, but I really started to love it although I did ‘give up’ about 3 times in the first month.

I like track and road equally just depends what the weathers like to be honest on which I’d rather do. It’s been really hard at times to motivate myself as I feel at a disadvantage w my lack of experience and not really knowing what I’m doing half the time but when I stop I realise how much I miss it and with help from coaches, my team and my friends and family I feel like I’m learning all the time.

CB: How are you finding training during this quarantine and what sort of training have you been / are you doing?

LS: I’m actually quite enjoying it I feel like as I have a lot of time and don’t have school I can train when I want, how I want and how long I want to. It’s scary not knowing when we’re going to race and hard to find motivation at time’s but everyone’s in the same boat and I’m enjoying it and that’s what matters the most at the moment (it’s like my escape from everything) .

I’ve been mixing up indoor training and solo rides depending on the weather and what I want to do although at the moment ( never thought I’d say this) but I’m really enjoying the turbo.

CB: What are you doing to keep yourself occupied when you aren’t training during this quarantine?

LS: I’ve been on houseparty talking to my friends a lot, spending too much time on tik tok, baking, I’ve started doing some yoga by following online videos which I’m really enjoying, I’ve been baking, catching up on sleep and watching a lot of Netflix. Also been trying to sort / clear my room out which is quite a task .

CB: What are you doing to keep your mental health in a good place during this quarantine?

LS: It’s definitely hard at times but I try and think of all things I’ll do when we are out of it which make me happy like seeing friends, group rides, racing because as hard as it is there’s a reason we’re doing it we need to stop the spread so I also try to remind myself about that when I’m struggling.

Also making sure I’m fuelled well for training and still speaking to my friends on FaceTime etc. Yoga is really helpful too it helps me re set my mind set and forget about the anxieties and stresses like riding my bike also does.

CB: What advice would you like to give to other athletes in the same position as you right now?

LS: I’m probably not the person to ask but just keep going and keep it fun and enjoyable and if you want to have a day off do!

CB: When we do get racing again are you looking forward to the step up in category and what are you doing differently to ensure it’s a smooth transition?

LS: Well as I never raced as a youth it’s not really a transition it’s more of a first ever season. So I’m trying to make sure I’m physically as strong as I can be, trying not to overthink it as I can’t change the fact I haven’t raced a season before and I can’t change that I only started in June so I’m making the best of the situation.

I’m really lucky to be on the liv team who have really helped and doing all the racing I could before the lockdown really helped. I’m just looking forward to getting stuck in and seeing what I can do!

Follow Libby on Instagram: @libbysmithsonxo

Could the Current Hiatus In Cycling Lead To A Revolution In The Peloton?

The future of cycling is no doubt now shrouded in mystery, with races postponed and a very small window at the end of the season to fit them all in. This element leaves room for little debate beyond if races will go ahead. The more important question to discuss is how the cycling dynamic will change, if at all, with certain riders not allowed to ride outside if following the rules of their nation.

Before I get into this, I’d like to add that the most important thing in this time is, of course, everyone’s safety, and this article does not mean to overlook this in any way.

Starting with the riders most affected, I believe it is very possible we could see a drastic drop in performance in riders living in countries that have had large bans on outdoor riding. Whilst we may have indoor training methods and other ways to train, they don’t quite provide the same training as being out on the road, with core strength and bike handling playing a minimal role indoors. 

For these riders, it is possible they will end up struggling in the peloton, as one DS warned a few weeks ago, that the cycling world is in danger of a drastic divide between those training on the road and those who are unable to. Using this, we see the chance is fairly high that we may see a completely new dynamic at the top of our sport, with riders residing in Italy, Spain or any other country with tight restrictions, potentially falling largely behind. If this is to happen, would it provide a huge opportunity for riders from lesser affected nations, such as those in Africa?

Shining through this awful situation could, therefore, be the new opportunity for riders to make their break, and see continents yet to hit the top of cycling come to the fore. 

Alongside this, we also have the first time in living memory that cyclists will not race potentially for a season, meaning the riders heading towards the end of their career have potential to see a drastic fall-off in their performance levels, and as such could add to a huge shakeup in the peloton we saw racing last season.

However, all of this is simply speculation, and we will never truly know until it happens. For now, the most important thing is to keep each other safe, ride alone and follow government advice.

Follow Will Tyrer on Instagram : @WTyrer25

Like Will Tyrer on Facebook: WTyrerJournalist

Climbing the Isolation Mountain – How We Can Help Each Other Out

With the ongoing situation around the world still worsening, now is the time to express our views on how we can help each other out, at a time that will be hard for all.

For people suffering from mental health issues, this time could prove to be a huge test,  and we need to do our utmost to help each other out and keep pushing on.

Seeing Charlotte mention before how mental health issues can prominent amongst cyclists, it’s therefore vitally important for all of us to look out for each other, and here’s a few ways we can do it:

  • Drop your usual competitors a message – you may be rivals on raceday but you still socialise. Even if this is not a big deal under normal circumstances, it is now as everyone has lost all social interaction in person. Your message could keep someone going.

  • Make a new friend! – Go out and message someone new or someone you’ve briefly met a few times, you could put a smile on their face

  • If you’re not a racer, still message people – riders love to talk to fans and there’s no better time than now.

  • If you’re struggling, reach out to people – The Chain Gang will always reply on any social media and we’re happy to be there for those who need to talk, as will thousands of others online.

Let’s fight this battle together and make sure we make it out the other side as strong as we all can.

We can fight this adversity and make new friends in the process, message that cyclist you’ve followed for years.

On a personal note from me, I’ve never been a cyclist, yet now most of my best friends are cyclists, and I took the steps and have surrounded myself with a great web of support, now you can do the same.

Rating the Grand Tour and Monument Trophies

Once again, we’re back with some hard hitting journalism. The trophy the winner receives at the end of a race is carefully designed, and made to look nice, so just which one is best?

Giro D’Italia

10/10

This trophy is just so perfect, it’s so pleasing on the eye, it’s modern and it is so unique. I think this trophy’s beauty genuinely goes beyond any I have seen in any sport across the globe. What’s even better is that it comes with the best colour leaders jersey, and would just a complete honour for any rider to win.

Tour De France

7/10

Now, the Tour De France has a few trophies, but this is the one given to all the jersey winners. This is a fairly nice trophy, but it does bare quite a striking resemblance to the more modern football trophies. Also, a winner of this race would much rather show off their yellow jersey over this trophy.

La Vuelta

4/10

This is so underwhelming compared to the other two, it’s not particularly aesthetic and is very dull. It’s a massive shame that ASO don’t create a nicer more modern looking trophy for La Vuelta, rather than just an over-sized dinner plate.

Milan – San Remo

8/10

This trophy’s only flaw is the fact it does look slightly dated. I really enjoy the attempt to incorporate the logo into a trophy, and this does make it look extra unique. And, what’s more, you can easily go and enjoy a game of ring-toss to wind down after the race.

Ronde Van Vlaanderen

4/10

I mean, I guess this one will have its fans for people who appreciate the craftsmanship of the trophy. For me though, it is simply not up to scratch with a lot of the other trophies we see in cycling. Maybe they should look to modernise the design drastically to create a perfect harmony

Paris – Roubaix

6/10

Now, whilst I’m assuming the design for this trophy was a long a scientific process, I think it is really nice and simplistic. It also is perfectly traditional, and likely will not ever appear dated thanks to its extraordinary heritage.

Liege-Bastogne-Liege

5/10

This is a nice looking trophy, just a bit too generic for my liking. I feel a monument should have a really distinctive trophy, and whilst this trophy is aesthetic, it just feels like it’s straight off the shelf of your local trophy shop.

Il Lombardia

5/10

Just another average looking trophy to my eyes, nothing particularly special about it. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a bike wheel, but to me it just looks like a 1950s F1 steering wheel.

Paris-Nice Stage 2 Results

A rejuvenated Giacomo Nizzolo powered past Pascal Ackermann and his Bora teammates to take victory on Stage 2 of Paris-Nice.

The race was blown apart by crosswinds, leaving a group of 10 riders at the head of the race, with both Nairo Quintana and Julian Alaphilippe facing difficulties which left to lose yet more time as they crossed the line behind the favourites.

Stage Result

Giacomo Nizzolo

1st Place

GC – 2nd Place, +15′

Team NTT

Pascal Ackermann

2nd Place +00′

Bora Hansgrohe

Jasper Stuyven

3rd Place +00′

GC – 3rd +21′

Trek Segafredo

Jersey Leaders

General Classification

Max Schachmann

Bora Hansgrohe

Sprint Classification

Max Schachmann

(Will be worn by Giacomo Nizzolo)

Bora Hansgrohe

King Of The Mountains

Jonathan Hivert

Direct Energie

Youth Classification

Sergio Higuita

GC – 4th +23′

EF-Education First

Paris-Nice Stage One Results

Max Schachmann took victory on stage one of Paris Nice following a valiant effort from Julian Alaphilippe and Tiesj Benoot which saw the pair caught with just 2.5km to go.

Early on in the race a big crash split the field leaving many favourites to loose out on time, among them were Romain Bardet, Richie Porte and Roman Kreuziger.

Stage One Result

Max Schachmann

1st Place

Bora Hansgrohe

Tiesj Benoot

2nd Place +00′

Team Subweb

Dylan Teuns

3rd Place +00′

Bahrain Mclaren

Jersey Leaders After Stage One

General Classification

Max Schachmann

Bora Hansgrohe

Sprint Classification

Max Schachmann

Bora Hansgrohe

King Of The Mountains

Jonathan Hivert

Direct Energie

Youth Classification

Cees Bol

Team Sunweb