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Grant Shapps’ dangerous cycling law “the wrong answer to a rare problem”, says Cycling UK; USADA catch another big fish – oh, wait: Amateur racer receives lifetime ban; Protection vs Paint; Astana pro tests positive; MTB Pidcock + more on the live blog

Is it the weekend yet? As we count down the hours until 5pm tomorrow, Ryan Mallon is here – hiding in the shade – with all the latest cycling news on Thursday’s live blog
11 August 2022, 17:18
“99.99 percent of the danger on UK roads stems from drivers, not cyclists”: Readers react to ‘dangerous cycling’ law

There’s been plenty of – how shall I put this? – boisterous discussion in the comments section today concerning the merits (or political expediency) of Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ latest attempt to raise the ‘dangerous cycling’ issue.

Martin73 was one of the few readers who disagreed with Cycling UK’s stance, writing: “‘This is a 'rare problem’ is a stupid argument. Terrorist incidents are rarer than incidents where cyclists kill or seriously injure pedestrians. Should we not have terrorism offences either then?

“Cyclists killing pedestrians shouldn't be a rare event. It should be non-existent given the relative speed and weight of a bicycle vs a motorised vehicle.

“The numbers are far too high. This law is needed. It should not worry anyone who rides with consideration for more vulnerable road users.”

HarrogateSpa, on the other hand, reckons that “the problem is government failure to tackle the big issue of deaths and injuries caused by drivers, but focusing instead on cyclists because it is politically expedient.

“This leads to days of headlines about ‘killer cyclists’, validating the hatred some people already have, and making us less safe.

“It isn't true that there are no existing laws against killing someone while riding a bike.”

S13SFC said: “I doubt very many road.cc users are bothered by the new law as I'd suggest the vast majority of us know how to ride sensibly.

“We are, however, mightily pissed off that far too many drivers are simply getting away with killing people.”

BalladOfStruth concurred: “I (and I'm sure most cyclists) have no problem with the existence of dangerous cyclist laws.

“What we have a problem with is creating them for purely populist political reasons, drumming up more anti-cyclist bile in the media, and ignoring the fact that 99.99 percent of the danger on UK roads stems from drivers, not cyclists.”

11 August 2022, 16:36
Brooksby’s 10,000th road.cc post

It was a landmark day on the live blog, as road.cc regular brooksby reached that iconic internet milestone: the 10,000th comment.

So, how was this grand occasion marked, I hear you ask? Well, with all the gravitas it deserves:

Now, I just need to make sure that it's a serious and memorable comment, not just fluff.

(edit:) Dammit!

Here’s to the next 10,000! Although, maybe a hobby could come in handy...

11 August 2022, 16:13
‘But, but, I need my car. How could I possibly get a sofa home on a bike?’

Last year, ebiketips spoke to Farr Out Deliveries' founders, who revealed that, as well as sofas, they’re pretty handy at transporting life-size plastic gorillas…

11 August 2022, 15:59
Chris Boardman, tackling fake news, one petition at a time

The 20mph saga goes on…

It appears Lynn didn’t pay too much attention to our article on this story last month:

> Wales set to reduce default speed limit to 20mph in residential areas

11 August 2022, 15:40
remco evenepoel - via Volta ao Algarve
Remco Evenepoel: Tadej Pogačar is “still the best rider in the world”

The reports of Tadej Pogačar’s demise are greatly exaggerated, says another would-be Eddy Merckx, Remco Evenepoel.

Evenepoel, who watched the Slovenian’s unsuccessful defence of his Tour de France title from an Italian training camp, believes that Pogačar remains the rider to beat, despite Jonas Vingegaard’s game-changing July.

“In my eyes, he is still the best rider in the world,” the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl rider told the media ahead of his debut at the Vuelta a España next month, the grand tour where Pogačar shot to fame with three stage wins and a podium place in 2019.

“We cannot talk about a ‘loss’ or a ‘crack’ with Tadej, and we should still show our respect because what he did is also phenomenal.

“The day that Jumbo-Visma attacked him on the Galibier was one of the hardest days of his life. If you can handle it like that and still try to make the best out of it, then you only earn respect from all the riders and everyone inside and out of cycling. We should not talk in a negative way about Tadej.

“He really didn’t crack, he just lost time two times, which can happen to anybody. I don’t think you can talk about a bad Tour. He won three stages, and was second on GC, won the white jersey.

“For sure, he is the guy that won the Tour twice in a row and also knowing that Jumbo-Visma is stronger and more stable than UAE. What Tadej did is still incredible. He did a lot of things alone in the last week.”

Evenepoel – who has long been touted as a potential rival to Pogačar at the grand tours – has prepared for the Vuelta (arguably his first true tilt at a three-week stage race following last year’s ill-fated, post-Lombardia crash Giro d’Italia) with a high-altitude training camp in Spain alongside Mathieu van der Poel.

The 22-year-old added to his maiden monument win at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in April with another spectacular long-range attack to take his second Clásica San Sebastián at the end of July.

While the precocious Belgian says it would be a “dream” to one day challenge Vingegaard and Pogačar at the Tour, stage wins – in theory – remain the goal at the Vuelta, which starts next Friday in Utrecht.

“If I can go out of the Vuelta with a stage win or two, then you can speak about a good Vuelta,” he says.

“The main goal is to win a stage, and everything GC-wise that will come will be extra. The start of the Vuelta is mainly with the focus on stage wins, especially stage 10 in the time trial and the team time trial in stage one.

“GC-wise, I cannot say anything, because it can go wrong on any day. Stage wins are the main goals.”

11 August 2022, 14:57
£500,000 Bikeability funding boost to teach children to cycle during the summer holidays

A £500,000 funding boost for Bikeability, Department for Transport’s flagship national cycle training programme, will enable teachers to provide cycling training during the summer holidays to thousands of children who receive free school meals.

The charity, as part of the government’s holiday activities and food programme, is supplying additional funding to its providers to help deliver courses that teach children how to cycle for the very first time, help them gain the confidence and skills needed to ride on the road, and how to maintain and fix their bikes.

The money will also be used to loan or buy bikes for children whose families can’t afford to buy one, with training providers given discounts to ensure that every child using the scheme has a bike to ride.

“The ability to ride a bike is a ticket to freedom,” says Active Travel England’s Chris Boardman.

“It’s a skill we believe all children should have. Cycling to the local park with friends is what the summer holidays should be all about, the kind of healthy cheap transport and independence that we want for everyone, but especially kids.

“That bikes can also be loaned to families who can’t afford them is wonderful. Well done to the Bikeability Trust for making it possible.”

Alongside cycle training during the summer, the extra funding will support Bikeability projects during the holidays throughout the academic year.

11 August 2022, 14:34
“I’m never washing this bike again!”
11 August 2022, 13:57
“If you thought the cycleway through the Northern Quarter was s**t…”

You may remember, way, way, way back at the end of July, the live blog took a look at some of the criticisms surrounding the new cycling and pedestrian zone in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, with feedback ranging from “not ideal” to “absurd”, “awful” and “mind-boggling”…

Not to mention, that a few taxi drivers kept having to reverse out of the no-car area once they realised where they were…

Well, thanks to demolition works, things aren’t any better this week:

11 August 2022, 13:11
Cheating like it’s 2007: ANOTHER doping story as Astana rider popped for stimulant

What is this? Two doping stories in one day? And one involving a team managed by Alexander Vinokourov? Have the Doc and I just travelled in the DeLorean back to the late 2000s?

(“It’s the neo-pros, Marty. Something’s gotta be done about the neo-pros!”)

Well, Astana’s Michele Gazzoli has allowed cycling fans to bathe in the murky glow of doping nostalgia, after the UCI slapped the 23-year-old Italian with a one-year ban for testing positive for Tuaminoheptane, which can be used as a stimulant.

Gazzoli, who signed for Astana at the start of the year after finishing fourth at last year’s U23 road world championships (behind winner and fellow Italian Filippo Baroncini, Biniam Girmay and Olav Kooij), submitted his positive test following the second stage of the Volta ao Algarve in February, a day after he placed fourth on the opening stage to Lagos.

Since then, he raced the spring classics for Astana, where he failed to finish Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche, Gent-Wevelgem, Dwars door Vlaanderen, and the Tour of Flanders, before taking on a diet of stage races, scoring two top 20s at last week’s Tour of Poland.

Before joining Vino’s boys, he raced for Team Colpack Ballan (alongside UAE Team Emirate’s 19-year-old sensation Juan Ayuso) and Kometa Cycling Team, the forerunner of Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso-led ProTeam Eolo-Kometa.

Michele Gazzoli, 2017 Junior road world championships (Christopher Lanaway/SWpix.com)

Gazzoli (right) poses with his bronze medal after the 2017 world championships junior road race in Bergen (Christopher Lanaway/SWpix.com)

In a statement released today, Astana said that the drug “entered the body unintentionally from the ingestion of a medication named Rhinofluimucil (a nasal spray for the treatment of rhinitis), purchased at a pharmacy independently without any implication of the medical staff of Astana Qazaqstan Team.”

According to the UCI, Gazzoli’s ban commenced yesterday, and he will be ineligible to race until 10 August 2023. His results at the Volta ao Algarve have also been annulled. According to the Kazakh team, the “unintentional” nature of the case saw Gazzoli escape a more severe ban.

Astana has also confirmed that they have terminated the 23-year-old’s contract with immediate effect, as a result of the squad’s apparent “zero tolerance policy” (which evidently doesn’t stretch to the team’s management), and emphasised that they had “nothing to do with this unfortunate violation of the anti-doping rules”.

Maybe it was simply all that rapping at the team's pre-season training camp that turned the youngster to a life of doping...

11 August 2022, 11:47
‘Those snobby, urban, elitist cyclists with their – checks notes – cacti…’
11 August 2022, 11:30
2021 tom pidcock bmc fourstroke cover
Tom Pidcock back on the mountain bike for European Championships

Olympic mountain bike champion, world cyclocross champion, Tour de France stage winner on Alpe d’Huez…

Tom Pidcock has certainly proved over the past year that he can do almost anything on almost any kind of bike.

Well, next week, fresh from a few weeks of R&R following his spectacularly successful debut Grande Boucle, the 23-year-old will dust off the old MTB as he aims to add a European Champion’s jersey to that rapidly filling trophy room.

Pidcock will be joined in the mountain bike cross country event at the European Championships in Munich, where the track and BMX events get underway today, by national champion Cameron Orr, while Isla Short will compete in the women’s race.

2021 tom pidcock gold medal team gb great britain mountain bike tokyo 2020 olympics

Alex Broadway/SWPix.com

After a few weeks off since the Tour – and a birthday in between for good measure – it’s little wonder the Ineos man was taking every opportunity he could get, whatever the weather, to train on his mountain bike for next Friday’s race...

“Coming off the back of an incredibly successful Commonwealth Games, our athletes are ready and raring to go once again as they build towards their respective world championships later in the year,” said GB’s Cycling Team Performance Director, Stephen Park.

“Across the track, mountain bike and BMX freestyle park disciplines we have a fantastic depth of talent and I’m pleased to see a number of riders stepping up to the senior squads to make their debuts.”

11 August 2022, 10:57
“Cycle lanes aren’t just for cyclists”

Wait for it... 

Top-notch reply here (it’s what we were all thinking, wasn’t it?):

11 August 2022, 10:47
USADA catch another big fish – oh, wait… - Lifetime ban for weekend racer

Believe it or not, but it’s been ten long years since the Lance Armstrong empire was toppled by the “Reasoned Decision”; a watershed moment for professional cycling that resulted in that interview with Oprah, a plethora of (mostly decent) books and (mostly shoddy) films, and Brad Wiggins’ head scratching ‘Santa tripping on his sleigh’ analogy (or something along those lines).

In the decade following the long-awaited demise of “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”, the United States Anti-Doping Agency has – quite understandably – focused its mighty attention on the most illustrious dopers, cheaters and scoundrels of the American Cat 4 peloton.

The latest of these weekend warriors to be crushed by Travis Tygart’s long arm is crit botherer Jackson ‘Huntley’ Nash, who has received a lifetime ban from USADA for multiple anti-doping violations.

Nash, who came to the attention of the anti-doping agency in December 2021 after a tip from a whistleblower, has been found guilty of seven different violations, including possessing and using, or attempting to use, the banned substances testosterone, clenbuterol, oxandrolone, and anastrozole.

He was also deemed to have trafficked and administered banned substances to another athlete, including human growth hormone and clenbuterol, and encouraged another athlete to take banned drugs. According to USADA, Nash retaliated against the investigation by “filing a meritless petition for a protective order against an individual based in part on the individual’s report to USADA of Nash’s anti-doping rule violations”.

Nash, a former pro motorbike racer whose best results in recent years include wins at a Cat 1-3 criterium in Dahlonega, Georgia, in 2019 and two ‘Spin the District’ Cat 2-3 crits in 2018, has been banned for life from cycling, backdated to 30 June 2022, while all of his results since 15 December 2021 – the day evidence was first collected for the investigation – have been stripped.

For most of last year, he raced for Aminorip Factory Racing, a team sponsored by a nutritional supplement company distributing products to help amateur athletes “aim higher and push their limits.”

“This is yet another case that demonstrates the power of investigations in the shared fight to protect sport and athletes’ rights,” said USADA’s CEO Travis Tygart in a statement.

“As always, we will thoroughly investigate and act on evidence of doping violations, and greatly appreciate the assistance of those who come forward on behalf of clean sport.”

> New Zealand national road race champion Olivia Ray admits to using banned substances

Weekend racer Nash’s case does have implications, however, for the world of professional cycling. Last month, his former partner, New Zealand national road race champion Olivia Ray, admitted to taking banned substances, which she claimed owed to pressure from Nash.

2022 Olivia Ray nat champs victory

PhotosportNZ/SWpix.com

Ray was dropped by Women’s World Tour team Human Powered Health earlier this year and is waiting for USADA’s final decision on a ban, which if imposed will last for four years.

“I took stuff from about November to December, just the month of November,” Ray told the New Zealand Herald.

“I wasn't racing. I wasn't going to have anything in me for when I raced. I thought in a way it was acceptable because I wasn't affecting the race, I wasn't cheating. I was doing it in a safe space on my own to see what it was like.

“In my head it was, I didn't hurt anyone and I did it when I wasn't racing, I wasn't tested, I've never tested positive, I will have it out of my system before I get tested again.”

11 August 2022, 09:18
Protection versus Paint: a tale of two videos

Let’s play a game of ‘spot the difference’ while we’re all having our mid-morning cup of tea…

First, we have this charming example of the Dutch school run:

Followed by the American model, which feels decidedly less welcoming, for some strange reason I can't quite put my finger on:

Lest we forget, of course, the infamous murder str- sorry, school road cycle lane, installed by Hull City Council earlier this year:

They’re all exactly the same, aren’t they?

11 August 2022, 08:49
Grant Shapps’ dangerous cycling law “the wrong answer to a rare problem”, says Cycling UK

Over the weekend, we were greeted with the news – via the Daily Mail’s typically bombastic front page – that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps plans to introduce a new ‘causing death by dangerous cycling’ law, as part of his Transport Bill which will begin its passage through Parliament later this year.

The new law would see bike riders who are found guilty of the offence face the same punishment as drivers convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Currently, cyclists involved in crashes in which a pedestrian is killed or injured can face prosecution, under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, for causing bodily harm through wanton or furious driving, which carries a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment, a legal situation Shapps described as “archaic” and a “relic of the horse-drawn era”.

> Government to crack down on “reckless” riders with causing death by dangerous cycling law

Of course, the campaign for a new law concerning dangerous cycling is not new. In 2016, 44-year-old mother Kim Briggs was killed after being hit by London cycle courier Charlie Alliston, who was riding a fixed wheel track bike with no front brake at the time of the fatal collision.

After being prosecuted for manslaughter and wanton and furious driving (and being found guilty of the latter), Alliston was sentenced to 18 months in a young offenders institution out of a possible maximum two-year sentence.

Since the cyclist’s conviction, Briggs’ husband Matthew has campaigned for new legislation and told the Today programme this week: “It's never been about the degree of punishment… it's been about the complication, the chaos and the hurt and the confusion that comes along with the fact that there are no (specific) laws which apply to cyclists.

“It is rare, but it keeps happening. And it needs to be sorted. It is a very simple clarification, a tidying up of the law.”

> "Where is the effort being put into dangerous driving which kills, maims and destroys lives?": All the reaction to government plan to introduce death by dangerous cycling law

However, charity Cycling UK has said this week that, while parity between motoring and cycling offences can be achieved, it must be done through a much wider review of road traffic offences and penalties, and that “you cannot have the former without the latter”.

“We made it clear that we have no objection in principle to seeking greater parity between cycling and motoring offences,” says Cycling UK’s Policy director Roger Geffen.

“But the Government's proposed solution – namely to copy-and-paste the existing offence of ‘causing death by dangerous driving’ to create an equivalent cycling offence – was the wrong solution to a problem that only arises a couple or so times per decade.

“The right solution, by contrast, would involve tackling a much wider problem which causes terrible distress to hundreds of seriously injured or bereaved road crash victims every year.”

He continued: “Specifically, Cycling UK has long argued for new laws to clarify or revise the distinction between 'dangerous' and 'careless' road traffic offences, including their variants involving causing death, causing serious injury, driving under the influence, driving without a licence or insurance, or driving while disqualified.

“Road crash victims still regularly face the double injustice of absurdly lenient sentencing – try Googling ‘driver spared jail’, and you’ll see what I mean.

“This is often because the driving which caused their injuries or death has been dismissed by prosecutors or the courts as being merely 'careless', despite having caused 'danger' that surely ought to have been ‘obvious to a competent and careful driver’.

“Cycling UK has always been clear though that its desire to clarify the distinction between 'careless' and dangerous' driving is NOT because we want to see more drivers locked up for causing death or serious injury – even though that is evidently what Shapps wants to happen to cyclists.

“On the contrary, we have long argued for less reliance on custodial sentences, and greater use of driving bans. Most (though not all) drivers who kill or maim through 'dangerous' driving are not dangerous people, who need to be locked up for public protection. A much fairer and more effective remedy is to ban them from driving for a suitable time-period, and only allow them to resume driving once they have passed an extended re-test.

“Long prison sentences, by contrast, should be reserved for those who have driven so obviously recklessly, or who have already flouted past driving bans, so that imposing (or re-imposing) a ban would NOT provide sufficient public protection.”

Cycling UK’s full statement can be read here.

Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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