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“According to cyclists, cyclists don’t jump red lights”: Ashley Neal’s ‘straw man’ red lights claim blasted; “Bike fetish leads to traffic misconduct” says psychologist; Anti-cycling ‘comedy’; From Busby Babes to Brailsford’s Boys? + more on the live blog

It’s Monday and Ryan Mallon’s back in the live blog hotseat, ready to relentlessly attack the week like Tadej Pogačar attacks his rivals. Or maybe not…
13 March 2023, 09:11
Ashley Neal on red light jumping e-bike user (Ashley Neal, YouTube)
“According to cyclists, cyclists don’t jump red lights”: Ashley Neal’s ‘straw man’ red lights claim blasted

The live blog’s favourite driving instructor/YouTuber/son of a four-time European Cup-winning full back, Ashley Neal, has been a bit like the proverbial bus on this winter – very little sign of him for a few months, then bam, he’s brightening up your Monday two weeks in a row.

Last Monday, you may recall, the great online road safety grudge match between Neal and camera cyclist CyclingMikey continued, as the Liverpool-based driving instructor aimed a quick jab to the chin by informing his 134,000 subscribers of his concerns that Mikey’s own large following would inspire others to “copy some of his behaviour”.

With a swift duck to the left and a powerful counterpunch, Mikey retorted that he wishes Neal would “leave me alone” – but also cheekily noted that he’s “mildly amused by him having to use me to create content, perhaps he doesn’t have enough of his own creativity”.

> CyclingMikey wishes Ashley Neal would "leave me alone" as YouTube driving instructor uploads another video criticising his approach

And less than a week after Neal-Van Erp II, one of the driving instructor’s YouTube videos has attracted the attention of another live blog stalwart, Jeremy Vine, as well as half of Cycling Twitter.

Or more specifically, one particular claim made in the video has…

In the video, a compilation of Neal’s “February driving fails”, at around 11:45, he spots an illegally modified e-bike travelling behind him towards a set of traffic lights.

“Will they skip them, or will they wait?” Neal asks his camera. The e-bike user then allows the driving instructor a moment of smugness by sailing through the red light.

“But according to cyclists, cyclists don’t jump red lights,” Neal concludes.

> “He pays road tax, you don’t”: Motorists – and Ashley Neal – blast Jeremy Vine for black cab close pass video

(It must be noted that he acknowledged that the e-bike user stopped at the next set of lights – “fair play” – and, in the following clip, emphasised that cyclists jumping red lights are “nowhere near as dangerous as this Audi driver doing it”.)

However, it was Neal’s assertion that cyclists claim that they never jump red lights, as well as categorising the non-pedalling, illegally modified e-bike user as a cyclist, that angered a certain section of the internet late last week:

I was going to leave the last word, naturally, to Jeremy – but I thought I’d end this one on an upbeat, conciliatory note: 

13 March 2023, 16:42
“People jump red lights all the time, sometimes they happen to be on bikes and other times in cars”

Ashley Neal’s claim that “according to cyclists, cyclists don’t jump red lights” has, rather unbelievably, generated some discussion in the comments.

“What planet is AN on?” says reader HLaB. “People jump red lights all the time, sometimes they happen to be on bikes and other times in cars. I’ve never heard anyone say otherwise.”

HoarseMann added: “Someone riding a wheeled vehicle with a motor of power greater than 250W or that can assist beyond 16mph is a MOTORIST! To be fair, we can’t really tell if this is an illegal e-bike. However, Ashley seems to have instantly decided it’s illegal, but then calls the rider a cyclist!”

However, PRSboy offered up an interesting take on the whole thing: “Sometimes I think cyclists spend too much time getting offended over very little and this makes ‘us’ seem petulant.

“Ashley Neal has commented regularly in videos on driving safely around cyclists (and driving safely generally), yet here we are taking issue on semantics.”

Meanwhile, the reviews are in for Elliot Steel’s new show:

Live blog comments Elliot Steel

Not sure I’ll go and see it at the Fringe, if I’m honest…

13 March 2023, 17:30
Cold War Steve strikes again

Time for one last football/cycling crossover (sort of) before I send you off into the evening…

13 March 2023, 16:04
“Amsterdam bicycle fetish leads to traffic misconduct,” says Dutch traffic psychologist

Just when you thought attitudes towards cyclists were a whole lot rosier in the Netherlands, the country’s largest daily newspaper De Telegraaf has published an article critical of Amsterdam’s so-called “bicycle fetish” (does that lead you to sites like this one?) and the apparent traffic misdemeanours stemming from it.

So what is a bike fetish, I hear you cry?

“It is a kind of superiority feeling: my bike and I are completely in charge here,” says traffic psychologist Gerard Tertoolen.

“I’ve got it all under control. I can easily cycle through a red light and otherwise you just stop. You put yourself above the others. That is not a desirable situation.”

Sounds like a comment under a Daily Mail article, if I’m honest.

Thankfully, Utrecht-based planning engineer Lennart Nout restored some perspective to proceedings during a discussion about the article on Twitter.

“If the alternative is a car fetish, then we can count ourselves lucky,” he wrote.


13 March 2023, 15:19
Mathieu van der Poel, 2023 Tirreno Adriatico Stage 6 (Zac Williams/
Mathieu van der Poel: “If I had to map out the perfect winter now, it would be one without cyclocross”

Jasper Philipsen may disagree, but it’s been a relatively slow start to the road season for Mathieu van der Poel.

Despite piloting Alpecin-Deceuninck teammate Philipsen to two sprint victories at Tirreno-Adriatico last week, Van der Poel failed to contest for any wins himself at the Race of the Two Seas, despite a number of stages suiting his strength and explosivity.

The story was much the same the week before at Strade Bianche, his season debut, where the 28-year-old was forced to settle for 15th, almost two minutes down on ‘cross rival Tom Pidcock – who, notably, cut short his winter in the rainbow bands to properly prepare for the classics season on the road.

And Van der Poel reckons that his busy winter, culminating in a fifth world cyclocross title in front of his home fans in Hoogerheide, counted against him at Tirreno.

“I had hoped to be a bit better,” he told reporters yesterday. "The cyclocross world title was something unique but I only had a short rest after the worlds and then went to training camp for two weeks in Spain, not enough to be in top form.

Mathieu van der Poel outsprints Wout van Aert to win 2023 cyclocross world title (Alex Whitehead/

(Alex Whitehead/

“When I don’t do cyclocross I have a good build-up [for the road season]. That’s the problem – it’s so busy.

“I didn’t want to miss the worlds in Hoogerheide for all the money in the world. But if I had to map out the perfect winter now, it would be one without cyclocross.”

Nevertheless, the Dutchman believes there is plenty of time to come good ahead of the classics, where he hopes to capture a maiden Milan-San Remo title this Saturday, while a third Tour of Flanders victory will see him equal the record for wins at the Ronde.

“It’s very difficult to make choices, but nothing is lost yet either,” he noted. “If [my form] comes in Milan-San Remo next week everyone will say it was the right approach. It’s always like that.

“I don’t think I can do very much with extra training this week. The main thing for me is to recover well from Tirreno-Adriatico. And if there’s one race where you don’t have to be the best to still win, it’s Milan-San Remo.”

As all cycling fans know by now, you can never write off Mathieu van der Poel…

13 March 2023, 14:49
When Pog and Urska met Lando, Lily, and Alex

Maybe they’re all at a test screening for the next series of Superstars…

13 March 2023, 14:00
Food to feel good about… if you arrive by Range Rover
13 March 2023, 13:15
This is very cool…
13 March 2023, 12:39
“The organisers need to get a grip”: More Paris-Nice safety concerns as motorist makes way onto course

Let’s just hope that by the time the Tour de France rocks up to Nice in 2024 that ASO has worked out how to keep the local roads safe.

After Thursday’s spot of final kilometre ‘dodge the cycling infra’, the Paris-Nice peloton was then forced to take evasive action mid-way through yesterday’s final stage when an unsuspecting motorist terrifyingly made their way onto the descent of the Côte de Berre-les-Alpes, prompting an angry Rob Hatch in comms to tell the race organisers to “get a grip”.

Despite giving everyone with long enough memories horrible flashbacks to Marco Pantani’s horrific collision with a course-crashing motorist at the 1995 Milano-Torino, thankfully no rider was reported to have been hurt during yesterday’s dubiously organised descent.

Though, as Dan will tell you in a forthcoming story, the array of safety concerns at Paris-Nice, as well as at the concurrent Tirreno-Adriatico, have certainly not gone down too well in the peloton…

13 March 2023, 11:56
2024 Tour de France Nice “dream finale” to feature summit finish and hilly time trial

The details of the final two stages of the 2024 Tour de France – the first edition in the race’s history to finish outside Paris – have been announced by organisers ASO today… and they look pretty tasty.

The 2024 Tour, which will also include a first-ever Grand Départ in Italy, will end with a potentially dramatic and race-defining final weekend on the French Riviera in Nice, as Paris gears up to host the Olympic Games days after the race ends.

The move to accommodate the Olympics has allowed ASO to think outside the almost-50-year-old procession and sprint on the Champs-Élysées box – and it’s safe to say, they haven’t disappointed.

Announced today, the penultimate stage is a short and super sharp 132km loop around the Côte d'Azur’s iconic training roads, taking in the Col de Braus, Col de Turini, and Col de La Colmiane, before a summit finish on the 15.7km Col de la Couillole, the scene of Tadej Pogačar’s victory over David Gaudu on Saturday at Paris-Nice.

I’m sure ASO and all of France will be hoping for a reverse in 16 months’ time…

The final day will then feature – for the first time since 1989, Greg, Laurent, and all that – a time trial, on the last day, at the Tour de bleeping France.

And not just any old TT either – the 2024 Tour could potentially be decided by a 35km hilly affair taking from Monaco to Nice, taking in La Turbie and the legendary Col d'Èze before that familiar descent and run-in down to the Promenade des Anglais before finishing on the Place Masséna.

Let’s just hope the race is still hanging in the balance when we hit Nice, because we could be in for an absolute cracker and maybe, just maybe, a Tour for the ages.

Reigning Tour champ Jonas Vingegaard and the pun-tastic Thomas De Gendt certainly think so anyway…

13 March 2023, 11:29
Pro cyclists, they’re just like us after all: Neilson Powless enjoys post-Paris-Nice McDonald’s… in full kit

After watching Tadej Pogačar storm up the Col d'Èze yesterday at Paris-Nice, putting almost a minute into some of the best riders in the world while nonchalantly texting his girlfriend and catching up on his homework, it’s nice to remember that many cyclists – such as EF Education’s Neilson Powless – are just like us, and can’t resist heading straight for a post-race Maccies, in full kit and everything:

I’m sure sixth on GC at Paris-Nice is worth at least a large Big Mac meal… 

13 March 2023, 10:42
“No one watched that routine and then drove at a cyclist because of it”: Cyclists condemn Mark Steel’s son’s “cyclists are all insane” stand-up routine and Nazi comparison

It’s a two-for-one ‘son of’ special on the live blog this morning, after Elliot Steel – the son of stand-up comedian Mark Steel – decided to prove that anti-cycling bingo callers are also capable of telling a few jokes during toilet breaks:

As an ‘edgy comedian’ – young Elliot has disavowed his father’s lefty leanings in the past – it’s perhaps no surprise that vague mutterings about cyclists, Jeremy Vine, and the Highway Code were plucked from the low-hanging joke tree when Steel Jr devised his set.

Or that he resorted to a lazy, and weird, ‘cyclists as Nazis’ trope when he was roundly condemned for his clip:

Or that he dug his heels in when Cycling Twitter pointed out that jokes about driving into cyclists may well lead to dangerous behaviour on the roads:

It’s a touch more disappointing, however, that Father Steel, with his socialist and green credentials, joined in on the ‘fun’ too:

What do you think? Can stand-up routines from little-known comedians actually affect real-life behaviour on the roads? Or was everyone all a bit too quick to jump on Steel for what was, he would argue, just a series of jokes?

Or, perhaps most pertinently, was the whole thing just a bit rubbish?

13 March 2023, 09:59
Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Dave Brailsford (copyright Simon Wilkinson,
From the Busby Babes and Fergie’s Fledglings to… Brailsford’s Boys? Manchester United could be on the verge of a marginal gains revolution + all the rest of the cycling news you may have missed on the weekend roundup

Years from now, football historians may well look back at Manchester United’s 7-0 thrashing at the hands of arch-rivals Liverpool last weekend and compare it to Team Sky’s humbling three weeks at the 2010 Tour de France – two chastening experiences which helped define and shape subsequent eras of domination.

And both, perhaps, if recent articles on are to be believed, led by a certain Dave Brailsford.

According to our story yesterday, Ineos supremo and fracking aficionado Sir Jim Ratcliffe – who has emerged as one of the front runners to buy United from the much-loved and astonishingly successful Glazer family – has tasked Dave B with overhauling the sporting side (a phrase that almost certainly prompted bemusement within United’s current board – ‘Sporting side’, what’s that?) “to make them the number one club in the world once again”.

> Jim Ratcliffe wants Dave Brailsford to overhaul Manchester United — billionaire behind Ineos sporting empire remains confident of successful bid

United supporters will be hoping if Brailsford – whose record restructuring football clubs, most recently at Ineos-backed OGC Nice, is somewhat chequered – does take the reins at Old Trafford, the team will be more closely based on mid-2010s Team Sky’s grand tour setup than its classics squad…

Geraint Thomas Ineos Grenadiers OGC Nice

‘Right Dave, who do you reckon for the No. 9 position? Geraint Thomas or Weghorst?’

It was all a bit football-crazy on the site this weekend – you’d have almost thought a major football-related news story had happened – as Dan channelled his inner Claudio Ranieri to tinker with his cycling footballers XI, in a bid to secure that all-important Top Four spot.

> Footballers who cycle XI — the Premier League stars who love life on two wheels

And apparently there were some cycling stories too…

> Active Travel England rates councils' capability to deliver infrastructure — 94% fall in lowest three categories

> Cyclist injured in crash with delivery driver seeks £50,000 compensation

> Tom Boonen apologises to Colnago for claiming Tadej Pogačar is on a slower bike than rivals

> Peak District or the Alps? Cyclist enjoys snow-covered Snake Pass

> Pothole crisis will only get worse as research suggests 85% of councils to cut road maintenance projects

> Near Miss of the Day 854: Taxi driver hits cyclist with wing mirror at pinch point... blames rider for swerving

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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