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by Mark Zalewski
February 22, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Jules wins Tour de la Provence opener; Cycling Australia appoints former Victorian premier Steve Bracks to head board; One step at a time: Teenage phenom Adrien Costa looks to build on breakthrough season; Stig Broeckx continuing to make progress in recovery; Hearing delayed for doctor at centre of UK Anti-Doping investigation; Boardman: Froome is a statesman of the sport; Liège-Bastogne-Liège announces wildcard teams, route changes; First year team Aqua Blue Sport racking up wildcard invites; Pay to watch cycling from the roadside?; Emirates joins as sponsor of Team UAE Abu Dhabi; NASCAR champions ride for cyclist safety; 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour – Marianne Vos; Space Horse Disc – Loaded Touring.
In its third year, Scott Lagasse Jr.’s Champions Ride for Bicycle Safety brought together a collection of NASCAR Sprint Cup auto racing drivers, Olympians and cyclists to promote safety and motorist awareness for cyclists on the roads. Seven-time Monster Energy Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, a noted cyclist and triathlete, was joined by fellow Cup drivers Matt Kenseth, Chase Elliott, Jamie McMurray and Aric Almirola on the Sunday morning ride in Florida.
NASCAR drivers Aric Almirola and Jimmie Johnson (right).
“It was started as a grassroots movement to merge the cyclist and automotive safety issues,” said Lagasse Jr. “To see the level of people that have stepped up and help make this happen — guys like Jimmie and Matt, Aric and Chase, as well as these other champions, to see those guys show up, is amazing.
“It’s a small movement, but we hope to be making big moves in getting the message out to keep an eye out for cyclists. When you have guys like Jimmie and Chase out riding bikes, hopefully it helps humanize the cyclist and help some motorists sit back and realize the safety element, it’s on both our shoulders.”
“I’ve been familiar with the cycling world over the years,” said Chase Elliott who has the pole position for next weekend’s Daytona 500. “My dad had an interest in it; I remember him growing up and riding a lot. Certainly as I’ve been around Jimmie the last few years, racing against him, he’s introduced me to it. There’s days he’s rough on me; he’ll pedal me into the ground any day of the week!
“There’s a lot of traffic on the roads here, and I think not many of those motorists are exposed to cyclists,” said 2012 Ironman world champion Leanda Cave. “These NASCAR drivers with a massive following and level of exposure, knowing someone in their realm seeing that cyclist could be him, that message reaches a lot of people.”