CW Live: Mark Cavendish home intruder found guilty of robbery; Is Nairo Quintana about to retire?; 'Little weird semi-circle' bike lane sparks confusion; Toeless mountain biker targets African Games; Evenepoel slams 'unacceptable' San Juan finale

All the latest in the world of cycling

Sam Bennett wins Vuelta a San Juan stage one and punches the air

Sam Bennett wins the opening stage of the 2023 Vuelta a San Juan. 

(Image credit: Getty)

It's Monday, it's chilly and we're back with another Cycling Weekly live blog. 

The races feel like they're coming thick and fast now. The Tour Down Under finished over the weekend (Jay Vine won, in case you slept through it all), and now we're over to Argentina for the Vuelta a San Juan. 

Join me, Tom Davidson, as I round up all of today's news from the world of cycling. 

Latest updates: 

09:32 - Sam Bennett takes leader's jersey on Vuelta a San Juan stage one

10:33 - Remco Evenepoel slams Vuelta a San Juan finale as 'hectic and dangerous' 

10:56 - 'Little weird semi-circle' bike lane leaves local town confused

11:12 - Zoe Bäckstedt debuts British national bands in Benidorm cyclo-cross

11:40 - Hindsight launch new models of patented rear-view sunglasses

12:28 - Mark Cavendish shrugs off Tour de France record talk

13:27 - Mathieu van der Poel filmed on ride with Mario Cipollini

14:05 - Toeless mountain biker targets African Games

15:10 - Man found guilty of robbing Mark Cavendish's home

15:48 - Is Nairo Quintana about to retire? 

16:38 - Brexit led to 25% drop in sales, says bike storage company founder


Sam Bennett prevails on day one of Vuelta a San Juan

Bora Hansgrohe's Sam Bennett opened his 2023 season account last night, sprinting to victory on stage one of the seven-day Vuelta a San Juan. 

"It feels like I’ve returned to my old self now," the Irishman said after the race. "It was a fast and hectic finale and I really want to thank my team mates for their perfect work and lead out." 

The final kilometre of the 144km stage proved challenging for the pack to navigate, with road furniture splitting up Soudal-Quick Step's lead-out train and leaving their sprinter Fabio Jakobsen isolated. 

Bennett will wear the white leader's jersey on this evening's second stage, which begins around 17:00 GMT. 

Michael Mørkøv (Soudal-Quick Step) sits in second, with Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel-Premier Tech) in third. 

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Remco Evenepoel kicks out at 'hectic and dangerous' Vuelta a San Juan finale

Remco Evenepoel

(Image credit: Getty Images)

World champion Remco Evenepoel has criticised the final kilometre of stage one's Vuelta a San Juan, describing it as "hectic and dangerous". 

The Belgian and his team hoped to lead out Fabio Jakobsen for the sprint, but saw their train split by a traffic island in the centre of the road. 

"I was not panicked, but I was shocked by the crossing people," Evenepoel said. "I almost hit a woman, I think.

"It should not be allowed that there is still such an open stretch at 1.2km from the finish where you do not know where to drive and where people are still crossing."

"It's a pity, because we were perfect at the appointment and Fabio (Jakobsen) couldn't sprint due to miscommunication about left or right. It was perhaps an unacceptable final kilometre." 

'Little weird semi-circle' bike lane leaves locals perplexed

A semi-circle bike lane, around 8ft in size, has left local residents in a Yorkshire town confused and angry about the local council's spending. 

The bike lane, situated in Halifax, West Yorkshire, was built with funds from a £4.9 million package to better local transport links. 

Liberal Democracts council leader James Baker described the markings as "upsetting" and "dangerous". 

"They have created this little semi-circle," Baker said, "and it's left most local residents completely at a loss as to what it actually even means.

"It’s at a perpendicular right angle to the road. So it’s not even like you’re on a cycle lane and then suddenly enter it.

He added that spending the transport fund in this way "makes a mockery" of regional money, and that "confusion on the road is dangerous". 

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Zoe Bäckstedt debuts British bands at Benidorm Cyclo-cross

British cyclo-cross champion Zoe Bäckstedt wore her new national jersey for the first time yesterday at the UCI World Cup event in Benidorm, Spain. 

The 18-year-old, who won the national championships resoundingly in Milnthorpe, Cumbria earlier this month, finished seventh in Spain to mark her tenth elite top 10 of the season. 

Jumbo-Visma's Fem Van Empel won the race, with Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck) finishing a close second. 

Writing on Twitter after the race, Bäckstedt said: "Debuting the National Champ stripes today in Benidorm World Cup and wow it was fast! I'm happy with that one."

The kit, created by clothing brand Rapha and EF-Education-Tibco-SVB, is pictured below. Let us know your thoughts on the design over on our Twitter - @cyclingweekly.

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Hindsight launch new rear-view cycling sunglasses

Lady wearing sunglasses

(Image credit: Hindsight)

Eyewear brand Hindsight has today launched an updated version, 'V2', of its rear-view cycling sunglasses

The lenses, which the company has patented, allow those using them to see what's behind them, without needing to turn their head. 

The V2 release comes off the back of an extremely successful crowdfunding campaign that was backed at 1,100% of the original asking sum. As a result, Hindsight has been able to launch two new models, the square-framed 'Artemis' and round-framed 'Morpheus', which are both priced at £150 on the company's website

In a press statement released today, Hindsight wrote: "These new models have improved optical systems, coatings, and a significantly improved performance in the underlying technology - including the perfect lens angle for peak performance."

The brand's first sunglasses release came in February 2021. Here's a link to our review of the 'Edge Sport' model

Mark Cavendish plays down Tour de France record

Mark Cavendish on his Astana Wilier Filante SLR

(Image credit: Wilier)

In an interview with French publication L'Équipe, Mark Cavendish shrugged off talk of him breaking the Tour de France stage win record, saying he just hopes to be at the race this July. 

The British road champion, who signed for Astana-Qazaqstan earlier this month, is currently tied on 34 stage wins with Eddy Merckx. 

Asked about the coming year, Cavendish said his ambition is to return the Tour, where he last competed in 2021. 

"I based my whole career on the Tour, it gave me the magnificent career that I have," he said. "I love racing it so if I can be there again..." 

The record, however, is not on his mind. "All these stories about the record, they're not mine," Cavendish said. "It's outside speculation. I've had a long career, for which I'm very lucky.

"I grew a lot as a person in that time, I had children, and with all that, I realised that my goal was to inspire."

The Brit's first race with his new team will be at next month's Tour of Oman. He is then scheduled to line up at the UAE Tour. 

Mathieu van der Poel enjoys training ride with Mario Cippollini

Mathieu van der Poel

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel, winner of last weekends UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup round in Benidorm, Spain was pictured over the weekend on a training ride with Mario Cipollini.

According to Wielerflits, 55-year-old Cipollini met up with Van der Poel near to Calpe on the Costa Blanca after a recent Alpecin-Deceuninck training camp which took place nearby. 

Cipollini shared footage of their ride together on Instagram in which Van der Poel also speaks to the camera. The Italian wrote under one post: “You leave on your bike and meet Mathieu van der Poel . He is warming up for the World Cup in Benidorm."

The Italian added the song "We are the Champions" by Queen to the video, an homage to his own road world championship success as well as Van der Poel's many cyclo-cross world titles.

Last October, Cipollini was sentenced to three years in an Italian prison for abusing his ex-wife Sabrina Landucci and her new partner, Silvio Gusti.

It is not yet clear whether the Italian will spend hard time in prison as part of the sentence.

Cyclist born without toes targets 2023 African games

Toeless mountain bike cyclist Pressmore Musundi has set his sights on this August's African Games in Ghana. 

The Zimbabwean is considered one of the best off-road riders in South Africa, where he lives, having enjoyed strong results in recent years, including winning the WTF MTN Challenge and coming third at Route 66 MTB Experience. 

Speaking to Zimbabwean newspaper The Chronicle, Musundi said it would be an "honour" to qualify for the African Games. 

"I was born with no toes on both feet," he said. "Cycling has always been my passion since I was five years old. I used to use Buffalo bikes to travel to school but had no idea it would end up becoming my career.

Looking forward to this summer's Games, Musundi added: "I'd love to help inspire others and help them realise that their dreams are worth chasing, no matter where they come from."

Man found guilty of robbing Mark Cavendish's home

Mark Cavendish waves and smirks

(Image credit: Getty)

A 31-year-old man has today been found guilty of robbing the family home of Mark Cavendish.

Romario Henry was declared to have been amongst those that broke into the British road champion's Essex house in November 2021, stealing two watches worth £400,000 and £300,000 respectively and threatening the cyclist at knifepoint. 

Henry had previously denied his involvement in the break-in, but was found guilty by a majority jury verdict of 10 to two at Chelmsford crown court. Another man, 28-year-old Oludewa Okorosobo, was cleared by the jury. 

Last September, 28-year-old Ali Sesay pleaded guilty to robbing Cavendish's home. The judge chose to adjourn Sesay's sentencing until the trial of the other two defendants had been completed. 

Details of the sentence are currently unknown. 

Is Nairo Quintana about to retire?

Nairo Quintana

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nairo Quintana might be set to announce his retirement this week, according to reports in Colombia. 

The 32-year-old left Arkéa-Samsic in October - six weeks after he agreed a new three-year contract - following a positive test for the banned painkiller tramadol. 

The Colombian was subsequently stripped of his 2022 Tour de France results. He went on to appeal the disqualification at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but had his case dismissed.

Now, according to Colombian Youtube channel Ciclismo en Grande, Quintana is set to retire from professional cycling, having failed to find a team for the new season. It is rumoured that a press conference has been scheduled for this Wednesday.

Brexit led to 25% drop in sales, says bike storage company founder

Cycloc Endo Bike Storage

(Image credit: Merlin cycles)

The founder of bicycle storage company Cycloc has said that the impact of Brexit on his business led to a 25% drop in sales. 

The company, which has designed custom wall-mounted storage solutions for customers including Mark Cavendish, has witnessed a £100,000 drop in revenues since new rules were put in place in January 2021. 

In an interview published today in The Guardian, founder Andrew Lang said half of the company’s business previously came from the EU, but with declining sales, he’s finding it “very difficult to be positive”.

Read the full story on our website here

That's all for today's live blog. I'll leave you to enjoy stage two of the Vuelta a San Juan, which has just gotten underway in Valle Fértil, Argentina. 

The 201km-long stage starts with a category-one lump, but it's likely to finish in a sprint to the line. Expect a Sam Bennet - Fabio Jakobsen showdown. 

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