There’s no denying that 2016 had more than its fair share of big news stories, with global events taking some unexpected twists and turns. That also translated to the cycling world too, with several strands of news generating interest throughout the past 12 months.
The year started with the Giant-Alpecin team being hit by a car during a training ride in Calpe, and continued with the tragic death of Antoine Demoitié; the furore surrounding allegations of bullying and sexism in Team GB; therapeutic use exemption certificates being hacked; Chris Froome winning a third Tour de France; and a mysterious package.
Surprisingly, none of those stories made it into the top 10 most-read news articles here on www.cyclingweekly.com, with the top spot being taken by a humble (and rather clever) piece of cardboard…
1. Bike manufacturer sees huge reduction in delivery damage by printing TV on the box
They say some of the best ideas are the most simple ones, and Dutch manufacturer Vanmoof came up with a novel solution to preventing its bikes being damaged in transit. They printed a picture of a television on the side of the cardboard shipping box. Instantly, the company reported a reduction in its bikes being damaged by 70-80 per cent.
2. Dutch rider Laurine van Riessen’s amazing crash escape on Rio track
MOZES! Van Riessen vliegt echt bijna de baan uit… dan ben je je leven dus echt niet zeker… pfff. pic.twitter.com/2iusWzBka1
— Mark Rijk (@MarkRijk) August 13, 2016
Dutch rider Laurine van Riessen peformed an amazing piece of riding during the women’s keirin at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, avoiding a crash to ride up the barrier beyond the top of the track. A video of the incident was watched tens of thousands of times, as we all couldn’t quite believe this gravity-defying show of skill.
3. Lance Armstrong causes Twitter storm after Fabian Cancellara jibe
He may have quit riding years ago and been banned for doping, but Lance Armstrong still has a big effect on the world of pro cycling. When Fabian Cancellara’s Trek team put out a tweet to celebrate the Swiss rider’s Olympic time trial victory, Armstrong replied with a one-word reply: ‘Luigi!!’. This just so happens to be a codename related to blood bags seized in the Operacion Puerto drugs bust – cue Twitter going into meltdown. In November, Thomas Dekker revealed that he was, in fact, Luigi.
4. ‘This is why we don’t need disc brakes’
The use of disc brakes in the professional peloton has been one of the most contentious issues of the year. An early-season trial of disc brakes saw them used in the Tour de San Luis in Argentina. Cannondale pro Andre Cardoso posted a photo of his injured leg after a crash during the race, claiming that his scraped thigh was as a result of coming into contact with a rotor.
5. Bike thief reveals tricks of the trade in this shockingly candid interview
A former bicycle thief revealed the tricks of the trade in this interview, which clearly and shockingly shows the extent that thieves will go to in order to steal a bike. He talked about the motivations behind the theft, the tools used to crack locks and how the bikes were moved around and sold for a significant sum. The contents of the article, written by stolenride.co.uk, caused quite a stir.
6. Where are Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen on ITV’s Tour de France coverage?
Long-running commentary duo Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen were absent from ITV4’s coverage of the 2016 Tour de France, so we reported on how and why they were replaced by Ned Boulting and former pro David Millar. Of course, Liggett and Sherwen hadn’t vanished – they were still commentating on the Tour on other channels.
7. Why didn’t the Mavic neutral service car help Geraint Thomas on Tour de France stage 15?
Geraint Thomas suffered an ill-timed mechanical problem during stage 15 of the Tour de France and the Welshman of Team Sky found himself with work to do to catch back up to the peloton. Despite having received mechanical help from the Mavic neutral service car, the vehicle would not draft him back up to the bunch – as is usually the unwritten custom. The result was that Thomas lost time, and slipped down the general classification.
8. Only 122kph? Some riders went even faster on the Tour de France stage nine
A long downhill section off the Côte de la Comella during stage nine of the Tour de France in July saw several riders hitting some quite dizzying speeds. With riders’ data displayed on Strava, it was easy to determine who went the quickest: and Marcus Burghardt (BMC) staked his claim with 130.7kmh (81.2mph).
9. Bradley Wiggins rocked up to his local 10mi time trial last night and smashed it
When riders turned up to take part in a 10-mile time trial in Bickerstaffe in June, little did they expect former TT world champion and Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins to be among the competitors. But Wiggo was there on the start line in full skinsuit and with his Pinarello TT machine as he used the event as part of his Rio Olympic preparations… much to the bemusement and amusement of the local riders.
10. Kristina Vogel on Team GB: ‘I don’t want to accuse anyone of anything but it is all very questionable’
German track sprinter Kristina Vogel questioned how Great Britain’s track sprint riders at the Rio Olympic Games had gone from winless ‘cannon fodder’ to claiming gold medals. The French team also expressed ‘concerns’ over GB’s performance, with sprint coach Laurent Gané saying “These are teams that do nothing extraordinary for four years and once they arrive at the Olympics they outclass the rest of the world”.