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Police intend to prosecute helmet cam cyclist for holding up van driver – for nine seconds; British pro warns against Snake Pass trespass; Simmons goes Postal; Public Consultations: a waste of time?; Boulting's back + more on the live blog

It’s Friday on the live blog and Ryan Mallon is here to drag you into the weekend like half of the Paris-Nice peloton
11 March 2022, 18:02
Nine second hold-up – your reaction

Before I send you off into the weekend, here’s a selection of some of your (and Twitter's) thoughts about the curious case of cycling Tom and the delayed van driver…

Apart from the risible NIP, I feel that one of the biggest issues with this story is the fact that the police have just given the van driver the perfect defence when his driving through the red light gets to court. ‘I'm ever so sorry, your honour. But I missed the red because I was frustrated at the cyclist holding me up. Even the police agreed with me on that as they are on record doing so.’

On my commute yesterday a car had stopped in the middle of the road for no discernable reason, which held up traffic.

The day before a delivery driver had stopped in the middle of the road, holding up traffic, to make a delivery when there was a space to park 20 metres down the road.

This was annoying, but it wouldn't have crossed my mind that they should be prosecuted for this because I'm not batshit crazy.

Nine seconds might not sound a lot, but to be held up and stopped by a cyclist trying to do a holier than thou would annoy me too... it always feels like longer. Yes, the driver is in the wrong, but deliberately impeding their journey is also wrong.

Nine seconds is nine seconds. If it feels like longer, that's your issue and it excuses nothing by way of your subsequent reactions and behaviour.

Obviously it's all relevant. Nine seconds is a long time if you're running the Olympic 100m. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say this wasn't relevant in the case described.

Seriously, though, if your temperament is such that you get annoyed for a nine second delay, I'm not sure you should be allowed to be in charge of any form of heavy equipment.

Plenty of things annoy me - packaging that's impossible to open without industrial tools, Carlton Kirby's commentary 'style', grocers apostrophe's, use of the words 'snowflake' and 'gammon', shop assistants who jump on me to ask 'are you OK there?' as soon as I walk through the door...

I'd find it bizarre to suggest that the people responsible for all of those should be threatened with prosecution, though.

(Well, maybe the apostrophes...)

11 March 2022, 17:37
Twitter pokes fun at Remco’s detour

Remco Evenepoel’s off-route sojourn at Tirreno-Adriatico provoked quite the reaction on Twitter.

Yesterday we reported that the Belgian star has been banned from driving for three weeks after he was caught doing nearly 35mph over the speed limit in November 2020. The Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl rider claimed that he was speeding because he was late for a physio appointment, as part of his recovery from his horror crash at Lombardia earlier in the summer. 

That excuse, naturally, has provided plenty of fresh material for cycling Twitter:

 And a slightly more serious take on the subject:

With all the focus on his driving conviction, lest we forget Remco’s original and most stubborn nemesis – gravel

11 March 2022, 17:16
Weird cycling prizes, #178

In last week’s article about the – ahem – ‘goody bag’ presented to Ellen van Dijk by sponsors EasyToys following stage one of the Dutch Bloeizone Fryslân race, I mentioned how that particular prize could at least be considered an upgrade to the vacuum cleaner awarded to Jolien D’Hoore at the 2015 Ronde van Drenthe.

Well, at today’s Drentse Acht van Westerveld, the prequel to Drenthe which takes place tomorrow, the podium ceremony featured what could only be described as a Generation Game-style assortment of questionable prizes, including a hoover, a kettle and an air-fryer.

On the road itself, SD Worx’s Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus, one of the peloton’s most valued domestiques, beat Alison Jackson and Floortje Mackaij in the sprint.

It’s not yet been confirmed which prize Majerus drew out in the lucky dip…

11 March 2022, 16:48
Race roundup: Burgaudeau foils the fast men with great escape at Paris-Nice, while Pog, Remco and Jonas miss a turn (literally) at Tirreno-Adriatico

It was a dramatic day of racing at Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico, with French riders triumphing – with typical panache – in both races.

At the Race to the Sun, TotalEnergies’ Mathieu Burgaudeau held off a charging peloton with metres to spare to take his first ever professional victory.

Following strong moves from Britain’s Matthew Holmes and Team DSM’s Søren Kragh Andersen (with his by now customary doomed attack on every stage), Burgaudeau made his move over the short climb to the intermediate spring with nine kilometres remaining.

The 23-year-old, who took an impressive fifth place overall in last month’s Etoile de Bessèges, gave it his all on the following descent – taking a few risks along the way – to open up 20 seconds on the chasing bunch.

Despite the efforts of Jumbo-Visma and Trek-Segafredo behind, that gap was enough for Burgaudeau to take the win after a nerve-jangling finale, with Mads Pedersen and Wout van Aert taking second and third mere metres behind the strong and canny Frenchman.

If today’s exhilarating finale wasn’t enough, here are some more reasons to sign up for Burgaudeau’s fan club (which should be called, if there’s any justice, Burg’s Babes):

 At Tirreno-Adriatico, the climbing enigma Warren Barguil made it a clean sweep for France with a dominant solo victory in Fermo. The Arkea-Samsic rider looked the strongest of the day’s break on the short, steep ramps towards the end of the stage, and eventually broke clear on the double-digit gradients to take a comfortable win.

Behind, drama ensued as the big three of Tirreno (and quite possibly, stage racing over the next few years), Tadej Pogačar, Remco Evenepoel, and Jonas Vingegaard all strayed off course after Evenepoel overshot a corner with six kilometres to go.

At that stage, the trio had broken clear following an Evenepoel acceleration and looked set to hunt Barguil down. Despite a somewhat frustrated chase from the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl prodigy, all three ended up finishing together, only ceding two short seconds to a late attack from Ineos Grenadiers’ Richie Porte.

Despite the mishap, the sight of Pogačar, Evenepoel, and Vingegaard riding away from their rivals must be an ominous one for any rider with aspirations of grand tour success over the next decade. To paraphrase music critic Jon Landau, I have seen the future of stage racing (for a few kilometres at least), and its name is Pog, Remco and Jonas…

11 March 2022, 15:23
Boulting's back: Ned returns to the stage this autumn with nationwide tour of one-man cycling show

Ned Boulting may already be back in the commentary box this week for ITV4’s daily highlights of Paris-Nice, but he’s also planning a return to the stage, with his one-man cycling show set to tour the country this autumn.

Titled ‘Re-Tour de Ned’, the show sees Boulting – who has covered the Tour de France on TV for almost two decades and edits the mind-bogglingly comprehensive Road Book – launch a “fresh assault on your cycling senses” with what he describes as an “indispensable theatrical road map for anyone aspiring to wear the yellow jersey on the Champs Elysées: a really very rough guide to the tactics (pedal faster) and challenges (not pedalling fast enough) which will need to be deployed to win the biggest bike race in the world.”

The broadcaster, podcaster and author’s first foray on the stage since 2018 (what’s happened since then?), the 29-date tour begins at the Quad Theatre, Plymouth, Devon on 8th October, taking in no less than four stops in Yorkshire, before concluding at the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms on 13th November.

“My last stage show tour was in 2018 so I’m excited to be getting back out there,” Ned says. “Along the way, there will be time to call to mind the greatest racers of the age, and to do hopelessly bad impressions of them.

“There will be scope to celebrate all that is French about France, and all that is Tourish about the Tour: Stuff like ignoring 12th century cathedrals, peeing at the side of the road, pushing spectators over, punching demonstrators and generally behaving like a shaven-legged hooligan for a month while riding over entire mountain ranges!”

“Join me for another ride through the peaks and troughs of the silliest and the grandest month of the year. I’ll hand out copious, thoroughly unreliable, advice on How To Win The Tour de France. Or if not that, then at least How To Watch It On The Telly!”

The full list of dates, and information on how to purchase tickets, can be found here.

11 March 2022, 14:35
2022 Giro Donne route unveiled as organisers promise better coverage and more prize money

While most of the attention this summer will be paid to the inaugural Tour de France Femmes, women’s stage racing has received another boost with the news that the Giro d’Italia Donne – which returns to the World Tour for 2022 after being demoted last year due to issues with organising and broadcasting rights – will improve both its TV coverage and prize pot.

Race organisers Pulse Media Group (PMG Sport) and Starlight have promised two hours of daily live broadcast, distributed to 160 countries around the world through Discovery-Eurosport, and a €250,000 prize purse, which matches the money to be awarded by the French Tour.

Women’s cycling’s major grand tour, the Giro Donne has suffered in recent years due to poor organisation and limited race footage. The race was downgraded to the 2.Pro Series in 2020 after failing to supply the live television coverage required for World Tour status. While the organisers promised live TV for last year’s race, this was limited to the final 15 kilometres of every stage.

However, with the race turning to cycling’s top division this year, the organisers have promised significant improvements.

“Once ASO, this very big organisation, decided to introduce the Tour de France Femmes again, it is a strong sign that women's cycling is growing fast,” said Roberto Ruini, founder of PMG Sport and General Manager of the Giro Donne.

“I think there is no competition but it is a big opportunity to develop the race together and women's cycling movement together. The prize money that we set at €250,000 is a big sign of this growth.”

The ten-stage 2022 Giro Donne will begin on 30 June in Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital city, and will feature a mountain-top finish at Passo Maniva before finishing in Padova on July 10, two weeks before the first stage of the Tour de France Femmes.

11 March 2022, 13:04
Paint isn’t infrastructure, meme edition

For the Always Sunny fans: 

11 March 2022, 12:20
Sigur Jonas

Podium at the Tour de France, deliver brilliantly entertaining post-race interviews, play drums for a 2000s Icelandic post-rock band… 

Is there anything Jonas Vingegaard can’t do? Apart from remember Filippo Ganna’s name, of course.

11 March 2022, 12:02
Houle by himself

Poor Hugo Houle.

With illness devestating the Paris-Nice peloton like a Tadej Pogačar attack, the Canadian rider is the last man standing for his Israel-Premier Tech team.

The squad's other remaining riders, James Piccoli, Carl Fredrik Hagen (both due to a non-Covid virus), and Tom Van Asbroeck (respiratory infection), all pulled out before yesterday’s stage, leaving Houle to make it to Nice on his own.

The 31-year-old is riding pretty well too, and sits eleventh overall on the general classification.

As of this morning, only 113 riders remain at Paris-Nice, with a further eight – including sprinters Fabio Jakobsen and Jasper Philipsen – withdrawing before today’s stage six to Aubagne.

Even the journalists at the race are falling victim to the bug going around the peloton:

Time to rest the keyboard and get ready for the spring classics…

11 March 2022, 11:40
Public Consultations: a waste of time?

What do you think? Are public consultations a worthwhile exercise or an unnecessary evil when it comes to implementing cycling and active travel schemes? 

11 March 2022, 11:24
Simmons goes Postal: Controversial Trek-Segafredo rider compares latest crop of US talent to Lance, Floyd, Big George and co.

I bet Trek-Segafredo’s PR people just love Quinn Simmons.

After his compatriots Brandon McNulty and Matteo Jorgenson finished first and third on yesterday’s stage of Paris-Nice (with Simmons himself taking the KOM jersey at Tirreno-Adriatico), everyone’s favourite bike racing Trumper – sorry Chloé – compared the latest generation of American riders to… US Postal. 

“The last time we had Americans riding at this level was with Postal,” the 20-year-old said to Cyclingnews after stage four of Tirreno. 

“It’s good news about McNulty’s win, he’s had a great season so far, it's his third win. Magnus Sheffield has won too, Neilson (Powless) won San Sebastian last year, too.”

I’m sure those riders will be chuffed to be compared to the pioneering role models Lance, Tyler, Floyd and George…

Though, as a proud supporter of The Donald, perhaps picking role models isn’t Simmons’ strong suit.

Also – though I’m not saying Quinn has read the USADA report cover to cover – just like when George Bennett infamously described Chris Froome’s epic ride at the 2018 Giro as “doing a Landis”, any time a rider compares themselves or others to that murky era in the peloton, eyebrows will certainly be raised. 

Let’s spare a thought for that lost generation of American bike riders, trapped in limbo between the hedonistic Postal days and the current wave – including Transitions Lenses model (and Tour stage winner) Tyler Farrar and 2014 Dauphiné winner Andrew Talan-… actually, let’s just forget about him, shall we? 

11 March 2022, 10:15
Groupama-FDJ pro Jake Stewart warns against Snake Pass trespass – questions “how this will be conducive to finding harmony with motorists”

It’s been Snake Pass-mania this week.

The landslide-affected A57 – closed to motorists due to road works since the end of February – quickly captured the imagination, acting as a symbol of a car-free utopia as riders flocked to the pass to enjoy a temporary reprieve from motor traffic.

However, to many it has also served as a sign of how local authorities view cycling and active travel in general, after Derbyshire County Council barred bike riders and walkers from the road on Tuesday due to ‘safety concerns’.

As we saw earlier this week, many were appalled at the decision to extend the road closure, with one Twitter user describing it as an anti-cyclist move “dressed up cheaply as health and safety”.

To protest the decision, a group of cyclists have organised a ‘mass trespass’ on the hill tomorrow, invoking the 1932 mass trespass of nearby Kinder Scout, which helped galvanise the ‘right-to-roam’ movement for ramblers.

However, Saturday’s event has been criticised by Groupama-FDJ pro Jake Stewart, who has warned against the negative effects the protest may have on motorists' views of cyclists.

The Coventry-born rider, who came second in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last year but has been suffering from intestinal problems this season, tweeted last night: “Please, if you're a cyclist considering attending this mass trespass this weekend, consider again. 

“Take a thought to how we as cyclists are currently viewed in a number of people’s eyes and ask yourself how this will be conducive to finding harmony with motorists in the future...”

The 22-year-old, who says he rides Snake Pass regularly, also tried to cool enthusiasm for the climb, arguing that there are “plenty of other climbs in Derbyshire which are more stunning and nicer roads”.

The response to Stewart’s tweet has been mixed to say the least. While some agreed with the classics man that cyclists should avoid stoking up antagonism from motorists, others criticised the rider’s perspective, as a professional racing cyclist, of safety on the road:

It's not the first time that Stewart has had his say on the cyclists versus drivers debate. In January, he responded to drivers’ complaints about the Highway Code changes, which he claimed underlined why "cycling in the UK is doomed”. 

“Daily I have to make the decision to put my life in the hands of people like this...just to do my job,” he tweeted. “Too many have to make that decision to ride their bike for fun/get around. Society is broken.”

11 March 2022, 09:10
Police intend to prosecute helmet cam cyclist for holding up van driver – for nine seconds

This story, flagged in the comments on yesterday’s blog, is a bit of a weird one.

Tom Bugs, a cyclist in Bristol, tweeted earlier this week that he received a Notice of Intended Prosecution. His offence? Holding up a van driver for ‘around nine seconds’.

According to Tom, the lengthy hold-up occurred as he attempted (CyclingMikey-style) to capture useable footage on his helmet camera of an Audi driver using his phone behind the wheel (bonus points – the Audi’s MOT had also expired).

In doing so, a van driver behind was briefly held up. Tom said that he “acknowledged the van with a hand gesture and moved on in a matter of seconds.”

However, after submitting footage of the phone-using motorist Tom was issued with his notice, for riding his bike “without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other people using the road”.

To make matters worse, after his brief delay the van driver drove through a red light – which the representative from Avon and Somerset Police claimed owed to “his frustration”…

Tom tweeted his annoyance at what he thinks is a “negative and petty” decision, though he was also at pains to praise Avon and Somerset Police in general, which he described as “a leading UK force for dealing with constant road danger”. He later said the incident was “just a minor issue within a system that generally works well”.

In the words of one of our readers:

Drive into a cyclist, and you just get a warning letter. But a cyclist holds up traffic for nine seconds and they get prosecuted.

Yes, that makes sense.

Ryan joined 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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