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CYCLING

Frank maintains overall Tour of Switzerland lead

Frenchman Arnaud Demare of FDJ was the surprise winner of the fourth stage of the Tour of Switzerland cycling race on Tuesday as Swiss Mathias Frank held on to the overall lead.

Frank kept hold of the leader's yellow jersey after finishing the 161-kilometre stage from Innertkirchen to Buochs safely in the peloton.

Sprint favourites Peter Sagan, the winner of Monday's third stage, and Tom Boonen were boxed in on a 90-degree bend 200-metres from the end and Demare surged through to take the victory from Australia's Matthew Goss with American Tyler Farrar in third.

"The whole team did great work for me even though it wasn't easy all day long with this hilly route," said the winner.

"In the last 25km I told myself I needed to recoup (energy) ahead of the sprint, knowing that there was great competition.

"I really am very happy to have succeeded against such good sprinters."
   
A three-man breakaway early in the day had got close to surviving right to 
the end of the lumpy stage that was made for a sprint finish, but the final escapee, veteran German break specialist Jens Voigt was caught inside the final five kilometres.

He had gone it alone after his companions Olivier Kaisen and Robert Vrecer fell by the wayside as their maximum lead of just over four minutes proved insufficient.

Sagan's Cannondale team and Boonen's Omega Pharma-QuickStep outfit led the chase towards the end of stage, ensuring the escapees were reeled in and trying to set up their punchy finishers.

However, no-one managed to control the run-in to the finish and the 90-degree bend 200 metres from home helped cause chaos that saw both Sagan and Boonen lose valuable yards as they were squeezed off the racing line and forced to slow down.

Demare timed his burst perfectly and took the bend at speed, acting as a slingshot into the final straight.

He had understood that the first man into the corner would be at a significant advantage and he charged down the inside line and emerged into the final straight with daylight between himself and the chasers.

Goss had the faster finish and ate into the gap but just ran out of tarmac before he could overhaul the Frenchman.

With the favourites and leaders all coming home safely in the bunch, Frank leads Roman Kreuziger by 23 seconds overall with last year's winner Rui Da Costa 35 seconds behind in third.

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CYCLING

VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021

Demand for bicycles has soared in Europe during the coronavirus pandemic, but conversely the global supply is at record low levels, with consumers having to wait months or over a year for their bike of choice.

VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021
Photo: Stocksnap/Pixabay

Bikes are projected to outsell cars in Europe by two to one by 2030.   

But 2021 will not be an easy year to buy a bike in many European countries, especially if you have a particular model in mind. 

Firstly, there's been a huge surge in demand for bikes during the pandemic, as Europeans looked for ways to stay fit and move around more freely without having to worry about being exposed to Covid-19 on public transport.

On the flip side, bike production in China, which supplies almost the entire global market, has practically ground to a halt.

The same can be said for bicycle accessories and components, which are either not being produced in Chinese factories currently or held up for months in ports in Asia due to the reduction of capacity in shipping.

 

In this short report, video producer Alex Dunham explores the issue of Europe's bike shortage in 2021.

 

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