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“This is what happens when you ‘other’ cyclists”: Facebook users engage in “depressing” anti-cycling rant under post about child struck in hit-and-run; BBC blasted for bike lane debate; Ferrand-Prévot joins Ineos; Sprint argy bargy + more on the live blog

It’s Wednesday, really? Anyway, a perturbed Ryan Mallon’s here for your daily dose of the live blog before Dan returns tomorrow to take you blissfully into the weekend
12 October 2022, 08:49
“This is what happens when you ‘other’ cyclists”: Facebook users engage in “depressing” anti-cycling rant… under post about child struck by hit-and-run motorcyclist while cycling to school

Last week on the live blog, you may recall, we focused quite a bit on Cycle to School Week, including a selection of the sometimes questionable (or, to be uncharitable, “victim blaming”) bike safety tips and advice dolled out as part of the festivities, alongside the often harsh realities for children riding their bikes to school in a car-dominated world.

> Protected bike lanes on school routes must be urgent government priority, says Sustrans

Unfortunately, this morning’s blog will be focusing on the latter, as road safety campaigner Adam Bronkhorst reported on Twitter last night that a child cycling to a nearby school earlier that morning was struck by a motorbike rider – who failed to stop following the collision:

According to the person who posted the original news on a local Facebook group, thankfully the child did not appear to be seriously injured in the collision, and the police were called to the scene.

“I think there were some witnesses,” Bronkhorst, who has long campaigned for increased safety measures on the road in question, added this morning. “It was a person on a motorbike with someone else riding on the back who knocked the high school kid off. They knew they had done it as the person on the back was seen to be looking back at the kid.”

“Before anyone starts blaming anyone I just want to ask, do we have to wait until someone dies to make the roads safer for the most vulnerable?” the original Facebook poster asked.

> Green Party: Government’s “anti-cycling narrative” creates danger for cyclists

However, that rather pertinent question was blatantly ignored by several other Facebook users in the comments, who decided to use a hit-and-run incident involving a child to score off a few numbers on their anti-cycling bingo card.

One victim-blamer-in-chief commented: “Was it one of the stupid kids mucking about again?”

“Should walk to school so we can get to work without trying to dodge all the stupid cyclists on the road. If you want to cycle, cycle up the Downs and get out of my way. Thanks,” wrote another particularly charming motorist.

I wonder if this lot are the “stupid cyclists” to which the commenter was referring?

Another wrote: “Well the Highway Code now says that cyclists can ride side by side on a non-busy road, I wish they’d listen, how many points do I get for knocking off two Tour de Shoreham muppets?”

Very classy.

Worryingly, Bronkhorst says that those comments weren’t even the worst examples, with some apparently even more distasteful remarks swiftly removed by the group’s moderators.

Thoughtless and repugnant comments aren’t solely the domain of Facebook, of course, evidenced by this baffling response to road safety campaigner Bronkhorst’s tweet:

And this one:

The lack of empathy shown towards a child struck in a hit-and-run incident – simply because, I assume, the kid can be simply and crudely pigeonholed as a “cyclist” – has been described as “depressing” by other Twitter users:

12 October 2022, 16:38
Geraint Thomas at 2022 Tour de France (Copyright A.S.O., Charly Lopez)
So, what’s the plans for 2023 lads? Geraint Thomas unsure of Tour de France return – and future in cycling – while UAE boss rules out Pogačar Giro-Tour double attempt and Evenepoel eyes Italian success

The season may still be alive and kicking for the likes of Matteo Trentin, who took a routine win at the Giro del Veneto this afternoon, but for others, plans for 2023 are already being pencilled into the diary.

In an interview with Cyclingnews and Velo News, 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas admitted that he may not make a return to the race he finished on the podium of earlier this summer, in what could be his final season as a pro bike racer.

“I don’t even know if I will do the Tour, to be honest,” the 36-year-old Welshman said. “Maybe the Giro. I don’t know. It’s all up in the air, really.

“We have to sit down and work out what I want to do. It could be my last year as well. I want to make the most of it.

“In the winter, I will sit down with my wife and decide what I want to do,” Thomas continued. “She’s keen for me to carry on. It’s more about how I feel. It’s a lot of time away all the time. It would be nice to do something new, but I am not also wishing it to go away quicker. I will decide what I will do.”

2022 tdf Pogacar stage 11 yellow colnago SW Pix Zac Willimas lead

Meanwhile, UAE Team Emirates’ sport manager Joxean Fernández Matxín has ruled out a possible – and tantalising – crack at the elusive Giro-Tour double in 2023 for recent Tour of Lombardy winner Tadej Pogačar.

“The Tour de France is the priority,” Fernández Matxín told Slovenian newspaper Siol. “Next year’s Giro ends just about three weeks before the start of the Tour. Competing in two such races in such a short space of time is a big thing.”

Nevertheless, the UAE Team Emirates manager did not dismiss the possibility of the Slovenian star one day attempting to become only the eighth rider in history – and the first since Marco Pantani in 1998 – to win cycling’s two biggest grand tours in the same year.

Remco Evenepoel wins 2022 World Championships in Wollongong (@cauldphoto/Specialized)

cauldphoto/Specialized

For the other man of the moment, Remco Evenepoel, the Giro seems to be the priority for 2023, as he continues the methodical approach to his career trajectory that has so far paid dividends and may well yet lead him to a yellow jersey in the next few years.

However, the 2022 Vuelta winner, intriguingly, hasn’t set his plans in stone for the moment, though he is adamant that he will only target one grand tour next year.

“Mission Tour de France will be the priority from now on,” the world champion told Het Laatste Nieuws. “One day I want to win there too, that’s the ultimate dream, but that does not exclude an intermediate station in 2023.

“So far, the Giro d'Italia looks very nice.

“Then it will be the Clásica San Sebastián, World Championship and the Tour of Lombardy in the autumn. In the spring I will again ride a limited programme and work on my climbing and time trial.

“Actually, I can copy and paste my Vuelta preparation every year from now on. Because that has worked well.”

12 October 2022, 15:47
Shell makes its British Cycling debut at Track World Championships

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

GBR kit October 2022 (copyright SWpix.com, Alex Whitehead).JPG

Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

I don’t know about you but I’m getting strong 1980s nostalgia vibes – and not just because of the sartorial references to Robert Millar-era Peugeot…

robert millar peugeot shell michelin jersey - via flickr creative commons
12 October 2022, 14:55
Sustrans criticises Jim Allister, Stephen Nolan and BBC Radio Ulster for “lazy” anti-cycling bingo debate on bike lanes

Northern Ireland’s Minister for Infrastructure, John O’Dowd, has received quite a bit of stick lately for his apparent unwillingness to promote and invest in much-needed cycling infrastructure.

Last month, we reported on the live blog that Cycling UK had criticised the Sinn Féin MLA for rejecting his pre-election promise to delver an Active Travel Act, with the charity claiming that – by ignoring cycling and walking – O'Dowd was "neglecting Northern Ireland's future as he locks us all into a fossil-fuelled dark age”.

> Sinn Féin minister “neglecting Northern Ireland’s future” and “locking us all into a fossil-fuelled dark age”, says Cycling UK

This week, however, the Minister came under fire from the other side of the debate as the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) leader Jim Allister slammed O’Dowd for “prioritising the luxury of cycle lanes” while road maintenance expenditure was being cut.

(For those of you not familiar with the minutiae of Northern Irish politics, Jim’s ‘party’ is largely a one-man show which sits politically to the right of the DUP as a kind of pressure group. Think Farage-era UKIP, but with a leader actually able to win an election.)

In an interview with everyone’s favourite shock jock (it’s a crowded field these days, to be fair) Stephen Nolan, Allister said that “there is nothing wrong with cycle lanes. But what’s wrong is the overfunding of cycle lanes to the detriment of road maintenance.”

The interview (which can be listened to here) then descended into a mammoth game of anti-cycling bingo, which included assertions from the TUV MLA that cycle lanes are underused, that no-one cycles in the winter or in bad weather, that cyclists use the roads rather than available bike lanes, that funding should prioritise “the majority” (i.e. car users), along with some classic allusions to discomfort, lycra and so-called “road tax”.

While Green Party councillor Brian Smyth offered a compelling counterargument on air that Northern Ireland has, for decades, lagged behind the rest of the UK in terms of active travel funding, the NI branch of Sustrans also felt the need to dispel some of the myths perpetuated by Allister’s spot on Nolan’s show:

12 October 2022, 14:14
Update: Juan Sebastián Molano relegated for “irregular sprinting” at Tour de Langkawi

It may have taken five hours, but the commissaires at the Tour de Langkawi finally made up their minds to relegate the UAE Team Emirates rider for his erratic and dangerous riding during today’s bunch sprint:

Better late than never, I suppose.

So, for anyone at home keeping score, Molano’s record for 2022 currently stands as: Race wins 2-2 DSQs.

An entertaining draw then, with a surprise last-minute equaliser worthy of Troy Deeney and the 2013 Championship play-off semi-final…

12 October 2022, 13:44
Jumbo-Visma Tour de France Jonas Vingegaard Wout van Aert Sepp Kuss Tiesj Benoot Christophe Laporte (A.S.O. / Pauline Ballet)
Jumbo-Visma reportedly set to race on SRAM in 2023

While Dutch star Bauke Mollema has had a turbulent, on-again, off-again relationship with SRAM (or, to paraphrase Bauke, ‘effing SRAM!’), the biggest Dutch team, Jumbo-Visma, is reportedly set to switch over to the American component manufacturer for 2023.

While Shimano has supplied components and equipment for the team since its inception as Rabobank in 1996, Wielerflits reports that SRAM made an offer that the Japanese manufacturer was unwilling to match.

Though Jumbo-Visma are yet to confirm the reports, if Shimano – which has a European headquarters in Eindhoven – does step aside, the Dutch Tour de France-winning squad will be free to negotiate with other clothing and equipment suppliers (apart from helmet supplier Lazer, which has an ongoing contract).

If SRAM have agreed a deal, Jumbo-Visma will become the third WorldTour team to use the American company’s components, after Trek-Segafredo and Movistar.

Shimano, however, would remain the most popular component supplier, counting the Ineos Grenadiers and Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl among their 14 top-tier squads.

12 October 2022, 12:59
Compare and contrast

road.cc’s Simon posted this nugget from a Warwickshire Police press release yesterday, which claims that “most people don’t speed” and that only a “few” do.

Simon then usefully shared a screenshot from the Department for Transport’s stats for 2020, which showed that – despite Warwickshire Police’s claims – over half of UK drivers failed to comply with the speed limit on motorways and on 30mph roads (you know, the ones where people are).

Live blog regular Rendel was, as ever, helpfully on hand to explain where the police force may have gone wrong:

12 October 2022, 12:04
Flanders Classics announce dates for 2023 races

I know, I know, it’s only October. But surely I’m not the only one about to spend their lunch hour researching accommodation in Oudenaarde?

‘A week in Flanders’: Now there’s a feature idea I should pitch to the editor…

12 October 2022, 11:31
More mayhem from Molano in chaotic Tour de Langkawi sprint

UAE Team Emirates’ Juan Sebastián Molano may have won stage two of the Tour de Langkawi earlier today (yep, that’s right, there’s still some bike racing on), but the Colombian sprinter is once again making headlines for all the wrong reasons after yet another spot of mid-bunch argy bargy.

In the final 300 metres of a messy bunch gallop in Raub, a boxed-in Molano appears to have taken one hand off the handlebars to push Team UKYO’s Dutchman Raymond Kreder, an infringement spotted by Eurosport-GCN commentator Brian Smith when viewing a replay of the sprint.

The 27-year-old, who won the final stage of this year’s Vuelta a a España in Madrid, then ducks and dives his way through the melee – seemingly impeding Movistar’s Max Kanter in the process, forcing the German to pull the pin on his sprint – before emerging victorious.

Molano’s rather eventful final few hundred metres in Raub isn’t the first time this year that the Colombian has reacted rather too aggressively in the bunch.

> “I’d had it up to here with him”: Argy bargy at the Dauphiné, as Molano disqualified for punching Page

Back in June, the UAE Team Emirates rider was disqualified from the Criterium du Dauphiné after engaging in a spot of fisticuffs with French neo-pro Hugo Page.

The incident, which happened with just over nine kilometres to go, saw Molano grab hold of either green jersey wearer Page or his bike – while travelling at roughly 70kph – after the 20-year-old Intermarché rider drifted across the Colombian’s path.

Molano then gave the Frenchman an earful before landing what appeared to be a pretty heavy punch to Page’s head, after which his teammates pleaded with their sprinter to calm.

The two riders – who both then sprinted to places in the top 15, Molano even brazenly leading the bunch home – continued their argument after the finish line in Gap, with a clearly furious Molano hitting Page again at least once as Danish TV cameraman filmed the off-bike altercation.

Unsurprisingly, the commissaires decided to disqualify the UAE Team Emirates man, who naturally blamed Page for the whole sorry debacle, from the Dauphiné.

At the time of writing, Molano seems to have escaped the same fate at the Tour de Langkawi, with his third victory of the season remaining in the record books.

“This first win for me in Malaysia is very nice for the team,” the Colombian told reporters at the finish lined. “They’ve worked hard for me. It’s important to finish the season well and win again after the last stage of La Vuelta.

“I made it to the front with 2km to go then it was about velocity.”

And maybe a few other things, eh?

12 October 2022, 10:57
‘No KOMs? Poor show’: Harry Tanfield uploads...*checks notes*... “Mad water park sesh” to Strava
 

Now this is the kind of Strava activity I can get behind…

12 October 2022, 10:27
“Don’t threaten me with a good time”

Since we’re on the subject of cycling to school…

12 October 2022, 09:38
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot joins Ineos Grenadiers’ off-road line-up as British squad’s first female rider

Newly crowned gravel world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot has signed a two-year deal with the Ineos Grenadiers, becoming the British squad’s first ever female rider.

The 30-year-old French superstar – whose win in Citadella on Saturday marked her fourth world title in the space of two months after a dominant performance at the mountain bike world championships earlier this summer – will be supported by Ineos as she builds up to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Ferrand-Prévot is one of the most decorated all-round cyclists of the past decade, winning 13 elite rainbow jerseys across four disciplines, including mountain biking, road, cyclocross and most recently on the gravel, and the 30-year-old has now firmly set her sights on winning that illusive gold in the mountain bike race at her home Olympics.

> Multi-discipline stars dominate inaugural gravel world championships

“Signing with the Ineos Grenadiers is a dream for me,” the Frenchwoman said in a statement this morning. “I’m super excited to be joining the off road team and becoming part of a wider group of riders and the Ineos family of athletes. The Ineos Grenadiers’ professionalism is world-renowned and I have always admired the team’s ethos and spirit.

“To have the 2024 Olympics in Paris is huge for me. I want to be the best rider I can be in front of a home crowd and that will be my main goal over the next two years.

“An Olympic gold medal is the only one missing from my palmares so it’s the one I want the most. It was a key reason to join this adventure with the Ineos Grenadiers. I still have a lot of things to learn and it is the best team to help me reach my goal.”

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, 2022 UCI MTB World Championships (Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)

Alex Broadway/SWpix.com

Ferrand-Prévot will also add another string to the Ineos Grenadiers’ off-road bow, with the British squad already supporting Tom Pidcock’s cyclocross and mountain bike ambitions, as well as his fledgling career on the road.

“Signing a world-class rider like Pauline is a huge boost as we grow the number of multi-disciplinary athletes racing as Grenadiers,” says the team’s deputy principal Rod Ellingworth.

“Pauline is a unique talent. Her palmares speaks for itself, especially after just winning four world titles in the space of two months. But what sets her apart and makes her a great addition to the Grenadiers is her drive and grit. She loves the sport and is a natural born racer and that comes through in the way she rides.

“Pauline is on her own journey to try and win gold at her home Olympics and this is an area where we thrive and have proven success. We are excited to support that ambition and help her achieve her goals over the coming years.”

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, 2022 UCI MTB World Championships (Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)

Alex Broadway/SWpix.com

Ferrand-Prévot’s first major target in Ineos colours will be the 2023 cyclocross world championships in Hoogerheide at the start of February, where she will be looking to secure her second elite world title in the discipline – and her 14th career rainbow jersey.

12 October 2022, 09:11
Some potent symbolism for our modern times…

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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