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Centres of attention

Ex-IBD and World Masters cyclo-cross champ Mick Ives has helped the CTC to make Llanwrtyd Wells the CTCs first Cycle Centre. Five more towns will get the same label within the next six months. Cycle Centres will have classic road and dirt cycle routes radiating out from them

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PortalPower#4: BIKEmagic.com

This is the best funded of the UK bicycle portals, backed with $1.4m of seed capital. It has eschewed commerce but offers plenty of community and content. Its also got an excellent chopped-down database of 900 IBDs, many with websites for consumers to link in to.

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Portal Power #3: Madforsport.com

Its billed as the ultimate network for active outdoor sports. It has received funding of £4m (one of the last start-up sport dot.coms to benefit from venture capital over-optimism?) and it will create the UKs biggest web-based network of destination sites for active outdoor sport enthusiasts, including mountain bikers. How many portals will still be around in two years? The low-budget, non-enthusiast ones will survive, what about the big spenders?

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Wal-Mart comes out of the closet

According to a report in yesterdays Guardian, the American owner of Asda is to open four standalone Wal-Marts this year. Unlike Asda, US Wal-Marts major on non-grocery items. Wal-Mart is Americas biggest retailer of bicycles (including quality mid-market bikes from Mongoose)

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