Almanack: The hell riders deliver

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THE Tour de France is ancient history, the Tour of Britain braked to a halt on Friday, but we're not through with large-scale cycling events yet. This afternoon cycle messengers convene at the Royal Victoria Docks in London to compete in their second world championship.

The riders on the mainstream tours faced their fair share of unplanned hazards: unfortunate French policemen and a stubborn British car. The competing messengers' hazards are those that they face in their every-day careers: not knowing where the next package is coming from or going to, and having to cycle with four cases of beer perched on the back of the bike.

Undeterred, 400 pedal lers from all over the world have shown up. 'It's absolutely crazy,' the organiser Richard Guard revealed. 'They're making my life hell.'