This year’s Giro d’Italia is shaping up to be a cracker, isn’t it?
While Primož Roglič showed little sign of winter rustiness at Tirreno-Adriatico last week, winning just the three stages in a row and the overall title (no big deal), his big rival for the pink jersey in May, Remco Evenepoel, has been busy enjoying the sunny weather in Tenerife.
But according to the world champion’s Strava account, the 23-year-old Belgian certainly isn’t spending too much time lounging by the pool.
Yesterday, Evenepoel – who already has a GC victory at the UAE Tour under his belt for 2023 – shared on Strava the details of a whopping 165.2km training ride on the Canary Island, packing in 4,335m of elevation in just under five and a half hours.
As part of that monster session, the 2022 Vuelta a España champion also destroyed one of the most sought after KOMs in Tenerife – the Chio to Teide segment on the island’s famous volcano.
The Soudal-Quick Step rider covered the 24.6km climb, which featured a 5.5 percent average gradient and came 100km into the training session, in a staggering 56:25…
That works out at an average speed of 26.1km/h, in case you fancy heading to Tenerife this spring to see how long you can match Remco’s pace (just don’t try to ride behind him for too long, as one amateur cycling videographer found out in January).
Evenepoel’s storming session saw the previous record, held by former Bahrain Cycling Academy prospect Jonas Hjorth, dismantled by almost two minutes, while Chris Froome’s time on Teide – set a few months before his almost career-ending crash at the 2019 Dauphiné – now sits almost three minutes down on Remco.
Other famous names, such as Miguel Ángel López, Dylan van Baarle, and Pavel Sivakov, now all have at least four minutes to make up on cycling’s boy king.
— Cycling Times (@cycling_times) March 11, 2023
And yesterday’s ride wasn’t the only KOM-busting session during Remco’s recent stint at altitude. Earlier on the same day, he beat Romain Bardet’s time on another 6.3km climb by one minute, while on Saturday, he tackled the popular 27.2km climb of El Portillo, on the northern side of Teide, in 1.08:42.
That 23.8km effort beat Giro podium finisher Damiano Caruso’s previous KOM by FIVE and a half minutes, Tour contender David Gaudu’s time by almost seven minutes, and Thibaut Pinot by almost eight minutes.
Like I said, the Giro’s going to be very good.
And, in case you were wondering, Remco and his teammates are still remembering to get in that all-important TT practice:
Training everywhere we can ‼️🤣🚀 pic.twitter.com/N197Y0bgBM
— Remco Evenepoel (@EvenepoelRemco) March 8, 2023
Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner has come under fire from road safety campaigners after claiming that many 20mph signs are merely “advisory”, making it “extremely difficult” for the police to prosecute speeding drivers.
Conservative commissioner Giles Orpen-Smellie made the claim – dismissed by campaigners as “absolute nonsense” – at a meeting of Norfolk County Council last week, the Eastern Daily Press reports.
Responding to a member of the public’s concerns over why, according to recently published data, no motorists have been prosecuted for speeding in Norfolk’s growing number of 20mph zones, Orpen-Smellie responded that the issue was “more complicated than it seems”.
“The minimum speed limit in law is 30mph. I appreciate there are lots of 20mph signs displayed. They are usually advisory, unless they are backed by specific law,” the police and crime commissioner said.
“It’s therefore extremely difficult for the police to prosecute because, despite the 20mph sign, despite it being written inside a red circle – which normally indicates it has legal force – if it goes in front of magistrates they will throw it out, because there is no basis in law to prosecute.
“I am hoping for a change in the law because I get asked the question almost weekly: ‘There are 20mph signs about, why doesn’t the constabulary enforce them?’ They would love to.”
Despite Orpen-Smellie’s call for a change in how the 20mph zones are handled in Norfolk, local road safety campaigners have said they are “amazed” at the claim that the zones are mrely “advisory”.
“Given the regular enforcement that takes place in other parts of the country, I will be very keen to hear more about the advice he has received from officers on the issue,” Liam Calvert, from Norwich Living Streets, told the Eastern Daily Press.
“20mph limits are there to improve safety and, just as importantly, increase the feeling of safety for vulnerable road users.”
Rod King, director of 20’s Plenty For Us, also branded Orpen-Smellie's comments as “absolute nonsense”.
“20mph limits are as enforceable as any other limit,” he said. “In 2021, Avon and Somerset Police issued 23,338 notices of intended prosecution on roads with a 20mph limit.”
A spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs’ Council back up Calvert and King’s claims, noting that “enforcement is a matter for individual forces based on their consideration of risk and harm, but all speed limits are technically enforceable, including 20mph limits.”
However, a spokesperson for Norfolk Constabulary told the local newspaper that there is a difference between 20mph ‘limits’ and 20mph ‘zones’.
“A zone can be introduced by a local authority without any permissions being sought. However, this can create a significant issue for enforcement,” the spokesperson said.
“If a zone is introduced without a traffic order then the speed limit applicable will be 30mph, as it will fall within the remit of a restricted road, despite the advisory 20mph signs.”
Norfolk Constabulary added that the Department for Transport advises that 20mph zones should be “generally self-enforcing”, thanks to road conditions as well as the use of signs and traffic-calming measures.
“Police enforcement in 20mph limits and zones will not routinely take place but may be appropriate if there is clear evidence of significant non-compliance or injury collision history supports such action,” the spokesperson said.
“Where drivers are regularly and wilfully breaking the law, officers will enforce the limit and seek to prosecute offenders.”
An interesting letter dropped into the road.cc pigeonhole last night from personal injury specialists Cycle SOS, who are currently urging employers to consider flexitime for employees who cycle to work – in a bid to reduce the number of collisions involving cyclists on the roads.
“The peak time for pedal cyclists to be killed or seriously injured differs between the weekday and the weekend,” says Lena Farnell, Legal Team Leader at Cycle SOS, a cycling accident claims specialist.
“During the weekday, the peak time for collisions is between 7am and 10am and from 4pm to 7pm – in other words, typical commuting hours.
“Offering flexitime to employees would help cyclists to avoid travelling between conventional peak hours, where the risks of a collision are higher.
“[Flexitime] may allow cyclists to take a longer but safer journey to work, where they can avoid any particularly risky areas. It will also allow drivers to concentrate on safer driving rather than rushing into work, which will benefit all road users.”
Not sure how lowering the number of cyclists on the roads would prevent drivers from “rushing into work”, but okay…
Farnell continued: “The most common contributory factor allocated to pedal cyclists in fatal or serious injury collisions with another vehicle was the ‘driver or rider failed to look properly’.
“This could be the case during peak traffic conditions, where there are significantly more hazards for both riders and drivers to look out for on the roads, which could lead to fatigue. Offering flexitime to employees could help cyclists to avoid travelling during peak traffic hours, which will subsequently reduce their risk of being in a road accident.”
But it’s not just motorists who pose a danger to cyclists during rush hour, according to Cycle SOS. It’s the cyclists themselves…
“Flexitime should also help to reduce the numbers of collisions caused by cyclists in a hurry, which was cited as the third highest contributing factor, as well as cyclists riding too fast for conditions, which was cited as the eighth highest contributing factor, as it will help to alleviate the time pressure of arriving to work on time,” Farnell says.
“It’s clear to see that, during the week, mid-morning and late afternoon are the most dangerous times for cyclists to be on the roads, which is understandable given the numbers commuting to work during conventional hours. Commonly cited reasons for collisions with a pedal cyclist include riders and drivers not looking properly or being in a hurry.
“We would encourage employers to implement a flexitime policy as it has the potential to reduce the number of cyclists involved in accidents on the roads. Not only will cyclists be able to take their time to assess hazards properly, but they will also be able to take a more considered route to work, eliminating any risky shortcuts.
“Ultimately, travelling outside of peak hours will vastly reduce the number of dangers posed by other road users and reduce the risk of accidents for cyclists.”
What do you think? Leaving aside some of the odder comments about cyclists impacting whether drivers are fatigued or in a rush and the one about ‘cyclists in a hurry’, is it a good idea?
Do you think introducing flexitime for cyclists would create a quieter and safer commute for people on bikes?
Personal injury specialists Cycle SOS’s call for bosses to grand their cycling employees flexitime so they can have a quieter, and potentially safer, commute to work has led to an interesting debate in the comments section (there’s a first time for everything, I know).
Here’s a selection of some of your thoughts:
Kil0ran: “When I was commuting (New Forest to central Southampton) I made use of flexitime, to the point I don't think I would have cycled if I had to do 9 to 5.
“After the death of a colleague I paid particular attention to avoiding low sun (my commute was west to east in the morning) which actually meant at some times of the year it was safer to cycle to/from work in the dark. In the peak of summer I'd cycle in very early, leave at 4 (the earliest we could finish), and get an extended ride done on the way home.
“The other big benefit of flexi was making efficient use of what were excellent but still limited shower facilities. I think there were about 50 regular cyclists and nine showers. Staggered start times meant I rarely waited more than a few minutes for a cubicle.
“Most of these changes were mandated by the council as part of planning permission for the new office (built 2007/8) and so were quite ahead of the times in some regards. It undoubtedly encouraged cycling to the point when I left I think they were considering extending the bike park and putting in repair stations.”
EddyBerckx: “Riding outside of those 'flexi-time' hours would mean getting in ridiculously early or pretty late (and leaving early /late). I'm lucky that my last couple of companies have been good with flexi-time but not quite to that extent… and I wouldn't want to work those hours.
“Going into London from the burbs, there is a big difference between peak rush hour and quieter rush hour however – miss the 8-9am rush in central London and you're onto a winner.
“These days I often ride in lunchtimes to get the exercise more than anything due to the WFH thing most people do during the week. Much less traffic for me at least on my route.”
Awavey: “When I commute, I’m on the road post 9am and usually after 6pm back, specifically past the rush hour peaks and school runs, and whilst the roads are maybe a bit quieter, I actually am at more risk of close passes/bad driving because the vehicles aren’t stuck in congestion anymore, plus you hit a different driver mentality.
“In the morning they’re all switched off non-commuters and delivery vans, the evening all rushing home because they’re late or doing after work/school activities.
“My work colleagues who ride a similar route to mine ,but at peak rush hour, actually say it’s much easier for them because traffic is always queuing or more likely stationary, so there’s less risk of close passes or pushing through pinch points. Yes, you have to watch out more for drivers not paying attention in queuing traffic, but on the whole they say it’s better.”
Rendel Harris: “It may have some merit for some circumstances but can only be a sticking plaster over the primary issue of inadequate infrastructure and dangerous drivers.
“Additionally, many of the roads I use in central London for commuting are actually safer at rush-hour because they are so crowded and traffic speed is reduced; Finborough Road and Redcliffe Gardens in Chelsea, going north and south respectively, are prime cases in point. They are both double lane one-way roads: during rush hour the traffic is often jammed or moving at a crawl and it's quite easy and safe to make good progress by filtering.
“Out of rush-hour the long, straight nature of the roads means there's a lot of speeding and close passing. Of course if they removed the on-street parking there would be plenty of space for a two-way cycle lane, but given RKBC's well-known antipathy to anything to do with cycling one can't see that happening any time soon.
“If employers gave cyclists Flexitime, wouldn't they also be obliged to offer it to motorists? If motorists then started using it to take advantage of quieter times on the roads as well then the status quo would surely be swiftly restored.”
Brooksby: “On the 'flexitime' story, can't they see that all they are really doing is saying ‘Get the cyclists out of the way during the rush hour because you're annoying the Real Commuters’?”
JustTryingToGetFromAtoB: “Flexitime would make cyclists commutes easier but it's not just about cycling, it would make everyone's lives easier.
“Vote with your feet. If your employer is an arse about your hours and your presence go somewhere that is less draconian. I work with a lot of clients and invariably see that the employers that treat colleagues like adults get more shit done. Those that are controlling are a nightmare to work with and have unhappy staff.”
And finally, brooksby spoke for all of us by reacting very maturely to this afternoon’s story on Norfolk’s “advisory” 20mph limits…
Have a good evening, everyone!
I am now running close-pass analysis tech on my drone to ensure police have exact angles & measurements when the law is broken by drivers.
Hoping my @MotdBBC friends approve #VAR #CARVAR @alanshearer @GaryLineker @MicahRichards https://t.co/jOHA3RZlug pic.twitter.com/HekZFqXGIB
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) March 14, 2023
I for one can’t wait until the new blue and red close pass offside lines come into play – they’ll really help speed up the near miss game…
While I go into mourning for the demise of the distinctive, if divisive, Campag thumb lever (say it ain’t so, Campagnolo, say it ain’t so), you can check out the full wireless scoop here:
The Herd Group, the parent company of British apparel brand Stolen Goat, has this week launched the public phase of a crowdfunding campaign which it hopes will bring the company and its brands “to the next level”.
Last month, we reported that Stolen Goat’s founder Tim Bland had launched the Herd Group parent company, a move which coincided with the acquisition of women’s cycling clothing company VeloVixen and bikepacking brand Wildcat.
According to a statement issued by The Herd Group Holdings, a private live phase of the crowdfunding campaign has resulted in the company’s initial fundraising target of £200,000 exceeded by almost 50 percent.
The campaign, the company says, will allow it to further develop its Stolen Goat range, expand its international marketing efforts, produce a new VeloVixen cycling kit range, with international shipping, and to expand Wildcat’s offerings to include bags and accessories for a wider range of activities, including hiking and camping.
“We’ve been blown away by the support so far,” Herd Group CEO Bland said in a statement. “We know that our communities have been, and will continue to be, a vital part of our success – so it’s fantastic to have this opportunity to integrate them deeper into our business.
“It’s a really exciting time for us, and we’re so grateful that so many people have already chosen to join The Herd. We can’t wait to see what we can achieve on this next stage of our adventure which such a strong community behind us. There’s still time to get involved, so if you’re interested in coming along for the ride we’d love for you to join us.”
The crowdfunding campaign is now live to the public on Seedrs, and will remain open until 12 April 2023.
Gazing out the window of my warm office today at the periodic flurries of heavy snow, I think it’s safe to say that the very last thing I would want to be doing this weekend is riding my bike for seven hours in wintry, freezing conditions.
But for Lotto Dstny’s Arnaud De Lie, that’s the dream scenario as he prepares for his Milan-San Remo debut on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Belgian wunderkind, who has built on his impressive 2022 season with strong performances in the early season classics, heads into La Primavera as part of a two-pronged sprint-heavy attack for Lotto Dstny, alongside perennial San Remo contender Caleb Ewan.
“I think there’s little chance that two of us will arrive on the Via Roma in a group that would be fighting for victory,” De Lie told La Dèrnière Heure of his and Ewan’s chances of success at the first monument of the season.
“We can both be well placed at the foot of the Cipressa and then we will take stock. Above, we will have an idea of who is good or not. And if we’re still both there at the top the Poggio, it will be up to the sports directors to do their job.
“We won’t have time to talk, but with the headset, they can tell us what to do. But I want us to both be there, it will multiply our chances that it stays together and in addition, we are lucky to both be very fast.”
Despite attacking on the cobbles at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne at the end of February, the 20-year-old accepts that a sprint contested by a relatively large group represents his best chance of success at San Remo, a race increasingly decided by late attacks in recent years.
However, De Lie’s first memory of Milan-San Remo – when Gerald Ciolek won the shortened, freezing, and snow-affected 2013 edition (which, would you believe, took place the day after the Belgian’s 11th birthday) – could prove the inspiration for an unlikely route to victory for a rider who, like Ciolek, is more than just an out-and-out sprinter.
Ciolek wins through the rain, through the snow in 2013
Asked if he would prefer a race played out in terrible conditions similar to those faced by the riders in 2013, De Lie said: ”The team wouldn’t like it, but I would much prefer the weather to be rough and even if it rains, I’m often better in the rain.
“Yes, rain and snow on Saturday would be good for me…”
If Saturday’s race is half as exciting as the 2013 edition longed for by De Lie, I don’t think too many fans would begrudge the young Belgian sprinter his wish.
Oh, and the last debutant to win Milan-San Remo? A certain Mr Cavendish, way back when Arnaud had just turned seven…
Now I feel old.
Good news for cyclists in Hammersmith and Fulham, as the local authority this week has made the section of Cycleway 9 along King Street – previously the subject of an experimental traffic order – permanent.
In its report, the council noted that medium and long-term improvements to the road – such as increasing the visibility of the cycle path through additional surface markings and signs, as well as introducing a new zebra crossing – will be investigated further and “progressed wherever possible”.
The news was welcomed this morning on Twitter by London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman:
🥳🎉🚲💥Cycleway 9 on King Street has been made permanent! 🥳🎉🚲💥
— Will Norman (@willnorman) March 14, 2023
Most importantly, of course, Norman’s tweet prompted this unintentionally funny stock reply from Transport for London’s Twitter account:
Hello. Thank you for your kind words. We appreciate your feedback as it helps us to improve our services and meet standards that you rightly expect. Have a great day! ^GG
— TfL (@TfL) March 14, 2023
— m̶a̶i̶d̶s̶t̶o̶n̶e̶onbike (@maidstoneonbike) March 14, 2023
I suppose it’s nice to know that your feedback is appreciated…
— Team Jayco AlUla (@GreenEDGEteam) March 14, 2023
“The team and rider take full responsibility for this situation and apologise for this unfortunate outcome,” the Australian squad said in a statement.
“Team Jayco-AlUla will work to education all team members, staff, and riders, to ensure such an issue does not occur in the future by analysing in detail the UCI regulations.”
Kristen Faulkner’s storming ride at Strade Bianche – which saw the American, who had crashed earlier in the race, attack solo with 40km to go, only to be caught by the SD Worx duo Demi Vollering and Lotte Kopecky on Siena’s famously steep streets – will now count for nothing, after the UCI today disqualified the Jayco AlUla rider for wearing a continuous glucose monitor during the race.
The 30-year-old could be seen wearing a disc-shaped blood sugar tracker (used by a growing number of pros as a training tool to track their glucose levels in real time but banned in-competition by cycling’s governing body) under the sleeve of her jersey during her Strade Bianche attack and on the podium after the race.
According to the UCI’s regulations, “devices which capture other physiological data, including any metabolic values such as but not limited to glucose or lactate are not authorised in competition”.
❌ | Kristen Faulkner qui a franchi la ligne d'arrivée des #StradeBianche en 3e position est désormais déclassée.
👮♂️ | L'Union Cycliste Internationale avait ouvert une enquête sur l'utilisation d'un lecteur de glycémie lors de la course italienne, ce qui n'est pas autorisé. pic.twitter.com/4hovyvVjRD
— velopack. (@velopack) March 14, 2023
Following ten days of speculation, the UCI has now disqualified Faulkner from her podium place at the Italian classic, with FDJ-Suez’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig now moving up to third spot.
“Kristen Faulkner has been disqualified from the 2023 Strade Bianche which took place on 4 March, for breach of article 1.3.006bis of the UCI regulations due to the wearing of a continuous glucose monitoring sensor throughout the event,” the UCI said in a statement today.
“No further sanction other than disqualification will be taken.”
Faulkner, who turned pro with Team TIBCO-SVB in 2020, has already amassed a considerable palmares during her three years in the peloton, taking two stages of the Giro Donne last year, while also winning a stage and finishing second overall at the Tour de Suisse – though her now stripped third place at Strade Bianche would have certainly gone down as the 30-year-old’s best classics result as a pro.
It turns out, shockingly, that a ‘cycle helmet seller wants people to buy cycle helmets’ story can prompt a pretty vociferous reaction from the cycling community:
Does this helmet sell… Helmets🤔
— Andre Gailee (@Gaitor62) March 13, 2023
“Personally I would rather agree with Chris Boardman’s take on helmet wearing rather than a commercial organisation that is hoping to make a great profit encouraging riders to strap overpriced polystyrene mouldings to your head,” says road.cc reader yupiteru.
“If you want to encourage more people to cycle, convincing them it is so dangerous that you have to wear safety equipment if you want pop down the butchers for half a kilo of dingos kidneys, is the wrong way to do it.
“If the helmet fanatics were really serious then why not encourage cyclists to wear full face motorbike helmets?”
Helmet manufacturer in buy more helmets shocker 🤔
— Rob Mathews (@RMCoaching2) March 13, 2023
Does he have a vested interest?
— Ant Bolding (@AntBolding) March 13, 2023
Meanwhile, Dogless asked: “Is this the same Endura who sponsor an athlete who rides his bike off buildings asking people to not take extra risks? Like their clothes but I’m disappointed with this nonsense (and ultimately attempt to shift product).”
Better to have car adverts featuring superimposed broken bodies on their bonnets.
— kinley faescotland (@Spurtle284) March 13, 2023
However, ChuckSneed also noted: “People probably won't like to hear this, but helmets prevent injuries, and that's just a fact. There's no need to get emotional about it. If you don't want to wear a helmet, that's fine, but it's your choice and you know the risks.
“This helmet helps illustrate what happens when you don't wear a helmet. And you can guarantee it wouldn't have been nearly as bad if they had been. Don't blame others for your injury when you could have prevented it yourself.”
And here was me thinking it was all just about Dan Walker…
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.