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Swiss rider quits Tour to focus on Olympics

Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara quit the Tour de France on Wednesday at the end of the 17th stage to concentrate on his bid for an Olympic Games gold medal.

Swiss rider quits Tour to focus on Olympics
Fabian Cancellara wants to focus on the Olympics. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP

The 35-year-old, nicknamed 'Spartacus', is the second high-profile rider to pull out of the Tour in two days after British sprinter Mark Cavendish withdrew on Tuesday to focus on his bid for a first Olympic medal.
   
“This was not an easy decision to take, but I feel it is the right one,” said Cancellara in a statement released by his Trek team.
   
“I don't like withdrawing from a race, especially not when our GC leader (Bauke Mollema) is in second place at four days from Paris.
   
“With some really hard stages ahead of us my support would naturally be more limited so we took the decision together to withdraw. It was a hard Tour for me — a lot of stress and I feel tired. If I want to be good at the Olympics I need rest.”
   
It was a sad end for Cancellara who was riding in his last Tour de France, especially since it visited his homeland this year, with stage 16 on Monday finishing just a few miles from his home.
   
“The Tour has given me a lot in the last 12 years and I don't say this lightly,” he added.
   
“I gave a lot of thought to this decision to withdraw from the race. Today was very emotional for me – more than I expected it to be.
   
“Right now knowing that these were my last kilometers in the Tour de France is hard.”

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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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