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“These children have every right to be on our roads”: More videos of kids cycling (and more motorists getting angry); Tadej Pogačar shoots some hoops; Bike cop works overtime; Cycling insurance searches up 600% since Panorama doc + more on the live blog

Happy Monday everyone! Ryan Mallon’s here to guide you through the first live blog of the week, where he promises there’ll be no mention of Cristiano Ronaldo or Matt Hancock…
14 November 2022, 09:22
“These children have every right to be on our roads”: More videos of kids cycling (and more motorists getting angry)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week – or trying desperately to reality TV-wash your failed political career in an Australian jungle – you’re bound to have formed an opinion on that viral video of the five-year-old cyclist and the close passing driver.

The contentious clip, which is approaching three million views on Twitter, has been featured on Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 show, several Tory WhatsApp groups, and even an Ashley Neal YouTube video (more on that soon).

> Police mic-drop reply to those (including Sajid Javid) claiming five-year-old cyclist shouldn't be on the road

Since that particular video has attracted quite the online backlash, I thought I’d kick off this week’s live blog with a few wholesome clips of children enjoying riding their bikes safely on the road:

On Friday morning, Cycling Scotland joined the Shawlands Primary School bike bus. Launched last year in the south-east of Glasgow, the Shawlands Bike Bus is believed to be the first such initiative to trial new ground-breaking technology which allows its members to control traffic lights so every child can safely pass through a busy junction.

> “Game changing” device allows cyclists to control traffic lights so children stay safe

“It’s amazing to see how they’ve grown in just over a year!” Cycling Scotland said of the popular bike bus on Facebook.

“Until we have more dedicated cycle lanes separate from traffic, bike buses like this are a brilliant way of supporting and encouraging primary-school children to cycle to school, giving them the experience of cycling on roads with the safety of being directed by adults and surrounded by others.”

Meanwhile in London over the weekend, children were out on their bikes as part of a Kidical Mass-organised ride through the city’s streets, cycle lanes, LTNs and parks:

However, after last week’s seemingly endless ‘child versus car’ debate, it’s perhaps no surprise that it didn’t take long for the usual suspects to have their say:

14 November 2022, 17:18
“Cycling all over the road!”: Meanwhile, in the Netherlands…

With the internet all ablaze over the thought of children cycling on the road, reader hirsute has flagged another example of “terrible” parenting, this time from the Netherlands:

14 November 2022, 17:05
But can he still do it on a wet, windy Sunday in Flanders? Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert ‘announce’ Ronaldo signing

Intermarché’s social media admin strikes again… though I’m not sure Biniam Girmay will be too pleased with this vanity signing:

14 November 2022, 16:46
Ex-Isle of Man rider jailed for dealing cocaine

Chris Whorrall, a British Cycling Academy graduate who trained and raced with Mark Cavendish in the early 2010s, has been jailed for four years for dealing cocaine.

The 31-year-old, who raced alongside Cavendish for the Isle of Man at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and was even once touted by the Italian press as the former world champion’s ‘pupil’, was found with £12,000 worth of cocaine stashed in a red rucksack in Douglas on 22 July, the BBC reports.

A search of his car found six “dealer amounts”, along with £513 in cash, while police uncovered a further £1,390 along with tick lists and other drug paraphernalia at Whorrall’s home.

The former Team IG-Sigma Sport rider was serving two suspended sentences for cannabis offences at the time of his arrest.

After pleading guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply, Whorrall’s defence advocate said that he had turned to alcohol and drugs after the collapse of his fledgling pro career due to injury.

He said he had found himself in “way over his head” after becoming trapped in a “vicious circle of drug dependence, debt and, in turn, drug dealing. Today represents his rock-bottom.”

Whorrall was sentenced to 42 months in prison for the cocaine offence and another six months following the activation of his suspended sentence for cannabis dealing last year.

14 November 2022, 16:00
Jumbo-Visma cross the line on the Champs-Élysées at the 2022 Tour de France (Zac Williams, SWpix.com)
How to deal with Ronaldo and Roglič: Jumbo-Visma head coach talks tactics and benching star names with Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

Another pro cycling crossover story for you this afternoon on the live blog, and a fairly topical one at that (I know, even I’m shocked)…

Just as the footballing world begins to gear up for the great month-long sportswashing exercise in Qatar – sorry, I mean World Cup – its attention has been briefly diverted by, of all people, Piers Morgan.

Morgan’s “explosive” interview with Manchester United’s prodigal son-turned-moping ornament Cristiano Ronaldo – set to be aired later this week – has dominated today’s sports pages, and centres on Ronnie’s disgruntlement that he no longer commands an automatic starting place in United manager Erik ten Hag’s team, despite (at 37 years of age) possessing the speed and mobility of a local authority obliged to introduce safe cycling infrastructure.

So, in short, the toys are well and truly out of the £500,000 a week pram.

(‘Well, that’s all well and good, but what’s any of this got to do with cycling?’, I hear you cry. Hold on, I’m getting there…)

> From Carrington to the Col du Galibier: Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag inspired Jumbo-Visma’s ‘total cycling’ tactics at Tour de France

As Dutch coach Erik ten Hag – who joined United in the summer with a sparkling reputation as Ajax manager in the Netherlands – deals, rather successfully, with a temperamental former star, another of the great Dutch teams, Jumbo-Visma, is looking on with keen interest.

Jumbo-Visma won this year’s Tour de France by perfecting a delicate balancing act of egos and individual ambition, as Jonas Vingegaard and Wout van Aert shared the yellow, polka dot and green jerseys between them while the injured Primož Roglič – a three-time grand tour winner – gave his all for the cause.

This balancing act will get even tougher next year, as Wilco Kelderman and Dylan van Baarle join to add even more grand tour and classics depth to the yellow and black ranks.

Jonas Vingegaard, stage 18, 2022 Tour de France (A.S.O., Pauline Ballet)

A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

So who did Jumbo-Visma’s Merijn Zeeman call for advice on dealing with controversial and delicate team selection choices and managing a squad full of talent and egos? Why, Erik ten Hag of course.

Zeeman told the Dutch magazine Helden that he has travelled to the north-west of England to discuss these issues with ten Hag, who has been widely praised by United fans for dropping Ronaldo after an earlier show of dissent and appearing to put the team’s progress first ahead of any individual’s own ambitions and personality.

A lot like managing a successful cycling team, then.

“He’s someone from a completely different sport, but I wanted to understand from him: how do you come up with tactics? What is the essence of your sport for you? Before you make a game plan, what’s behind it? I had the opportunity to talk to him about that a few times,” Zeeman, who has identified ten Hag as an influence on previous occasions, told Helden Magazine.

On the subject of dealing with unruly stars and tough calls, the Jumbo-Visma coach said: “Because Erik ten Hag also had to deal with that at Ajax and now he also has that at United, I talked to him about this.

“As a coach, how do you deal with players who have won everything and suddenly find themselves on the bench? In the past, athletes had to accept that. There was also less for the human approach, I think that is not just in this time.”

14 November 2022, 15:15
Running Up That Hill (with a bike on my shoulder)
14 November 2022, 14:49
Nicolas Roche's custom FiftyOne (credit - FiftyOne bikes)
Nicolas Roche hits back at criticism of gravel worlds participation, which he says “didn’t cost Cycling Ireland a penny”

Retired pro Nicolas Roche has hit back at critics of his participation in last month’s gravel world championships, which he insists “didn’t cost Cycling Ireland a penny”.

The finances and priorities of the governing body for cycling on the island of Ireland have come under scrutiny in recent months, particularly after the controversial decision to decline to send a team to the road world championships in Wollongong, Australia in September (despite high hopes for, among others, Jumbo-Visma’s new sensation Archie Ryan, who finished fourth at the Tour de l’Avenir in August and won a stage of the Tour of Slovakia a week before the worlds).

> “This decision has not been taken lightly”: No Irish teams for road world championships in Australia

Presumably some of the frustration directed at Cycling Ireland has also been aimed towards Roche and his brother Alexis, who lined up in Irish colours at the inaugural UCI gravel world championships in the Veneto region of Italy at the start of October.

However, the former Team Sky and BMC rider – who retired from professional cycling at the end of 2021 – insisted this morning that he travelled to and raced the gravel worlds using a combination of his own money and funds from private sponsors.

> “Remind me what worlds is it tomorrow again?”: Nicolas Roche criticises UCI for inaugural Gravel World Championships start line order

“After spending the weekend in Ireland, some comments came to my ears regarding the gravel worlds,” the 38-year-old, who also criticised the UCI’s decision to place non-gravel riders at the head of the pack on the start line, ahead of specialists such as Adam Blazevic, tweeted this morning.

“I was disappointed by those trolls who disrespected me! For information I fully paid for my expenses and those of my brother and was supported by my sponsors with staff and equipment.

“Didn’t cost Cycling Ireland a penny. I have absolutely nothing to do with the fed not sending a team to road worlds and definitely didn’t take any of the fed’s racing budget for my gravel racing at worlds.

“Got a jersey to race. I believe I can have that! No?”

14 November 2022, 14:26
“Something to stop those pesky cyclists filtering”
14 November 2022, 13:19
Mario Kart x Zwift: Now there’s an idea…
14 November 2022, 12:34
Grace Brown wins stage four of the Women's Tour (Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com)
Welsh government signs four-year deal with Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour organisers

The 2023 Tour of Britain will finish in Wales as part of a new long-term agreement between organisers SweetSpot and the Welsh government.

The four-year deal will also see the stage race set off from Wales for the first time in seven years in 2025, while the Women’s Tour (also organised by SweetSpot) will feature its first ever Welsh start in 2024. The agreement will conclude with Wales hosting the final stage of the Women’s Tour in 2026.

The Women's Tour climbs Black Mountain in 2022 (SWpix.com)

Credit: SWpix.com

This year’s Women’s Tour ventured to Wales for two stages, with Grace Brown taking a small group sprint in Welshpool, before Elisa Longo Borghini won atop Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons on her way to a thrillingly tight one-second victory over the Australian Brown on GC.

In 2021, the men’s peloton witnessed similar drama in Wales, as eventual overall winner Wout van Aert beat world champion Julian Alaphilippe in an epic, wheel to wheel duel on Great Orme.

More of the same over the next four years would be great, thanks.

In a statement released this morning, Mick Bennett, race director of the Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour, said: “We are delighted to be extending our partnership with the Welsh Government and to be bringing the final stage of the 2023 Tour of Britain to Wales.

“The long-term support of the Welsh Government is invaluable in allowing us to plan for future stages of the races in Wales. Together we are working to reach as many parts of Wales as possible with both races over the next few years in order to give as many fans as possible the chance to see the Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour.”

“We’re looking forward to welcoming the Tour of Britain back again next year, and to our longer-term partnership with the Tour,” the Welsh government’s economy minister Vaughan Gething said.  “Wales’ credentials for hosting cycling events is now well-established. The Tour of Britain and Women’s Tour are the perfect showcase for our landscape and the welcome we provide to the competitors and spectators and we look forward to working with our Local Authority partners as the Tour of Britain continues to reach all points of Wales.”

Anne Adams-King, Welsh Cycling’s CEO, added: “It’s great news that the Tour of Britain will visit Wales again for 2023 and that the race and the Women’s Tour have secured a longer-term partnership with Welsh Government. We hope this news will help boost the popularity of cycling in Wales and help inspire the younger generation to take up their bikes.”

14 November 2022, 11:58
BBC Panorama
Searches for cycling insurance up 600 percent since BBC Panorama’s ‘Road Rage: Car v Bikes’ episode aired

With all the furore surrounding that viral video of the close passing driver and the five-year-old cyclist, we’ve almost completely forgotten about the previous week’s big news story: BBC Panorama’s ‘Road Rage: Cars v Bikes’ episode.

But, according to data from Google Trends, online searches for ‘cycling insurance’ increased by 582 percent compared to the week before in the seven days since the controversial episode aired on 2 November.

The number of searches related to terms such as ‘Highway Code for cyclists’ also rose by 185 percent, while searches for ‘cycling road safety’ increased by 95 percent.

> ‘Road rage’ on BBC Panorama: fuelling the fire or raising awareness? We interview the presenter on the road.cc Podcast

Paul Williams, the CEO of bike insurance company Cycleplan (who, understandably, has a vested interest in this recent jump in insurance-related Google searches) said in a statement: “The BBC documentary was probably a real eye-opener for most people and it’s no surprise to see reaction since. Every road user has a duty to ensure they’re doing everything they can to keep the road safe for others, regardless of vehicle.

“Of course, like drivers, cyclists also have responsibilities on the road. We all know how they’re often perceived – things like jumping lights, weaving through traffic, and disobeying the general rules of the road can often fuel the feud with drivers but ultimately, everyone has a responsibility to respect each other to make the roads safer.

“While it’s indeed great to see so many areas in the UK investing in cycling and encouraging people onto bikes, more awareness is needed of the dangers and associated safety precautions.

“Cycling is a healthy, sustainable, and environmentally friendly mode of transport. We should be encouraging more people to take it up – not scaring them off.”

14 November 2022, 11:15
“Luka climbing the mountains like he’s Tadej Pogačar”: Two-time Tour winner referenced in NBA commentary

In what I’m sure is one of the very few basketball-pro cycling crossovers to have graced our screens in recent years (did Bix Tex ever shoot some hoops back in the day?), Tadej Pogačar’s name cropped up in commentary during the Dallas Mavericks’ 117-112 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

Confused?

Well, not being the biggest NBA fan by any stretch of the imagination (it’s basically netball with fewer tactics, isn’t it?), so was I, until I learned that the two-time Tour de France winner’s fellow Slovenian Luka Dončić is currently tearing up the court across the Atlantic.

Dončić, who is just five months younger than the UAE Team Emirates sensation, already has three NBA All-Stars to his name, as well as the league’s Rookie of the Year award (the NBA’s equivalent to the white jersey) in 2019, and has been touted as the sport’s best offensive player and compared to LeBron James.

I’m not sure what they were putting in the water in Slovenia in the late 1990s, but it seems to be working…

Anyway, the 2.01m-tall Dončić’s latest points-scoring showing for the Mavericks prompted the commentator to exclaim, “Luka climbing the mountains like he’s Tadej Pogačar”… much to the bemusement of his colleagues in the box.

“I was broadcasting for a small audience there,” the man with the mic clarified, offending every cycling fan tuning in.

Not to be outdone, however, Pogačar abandoned his training ride yesterday to find the nearest rustic-looking basketball court, to prove that he too can “score baskets like Luka Dončić”:

Get me Disney+ on the phone, I have another Space Jam sequel ready to pitch to them…

14 November 2022, 10:36
‘The cup final? Sure, send the two bike cops down on their own, it’ll be grand…’
14 November 2022, 09:58
BMW i3 electric car (licensed CC BY 2.0 by Karlis Dambris on Flickr).JPG
Weekend round-up: Road tax, mud baths and cyclists ticketing the police

It was a busy weekend over at road.cc headquarters, so grab a coffee, sit back, and catch up with the latest two-wheeled news…

It turns out that ‘road tax’ – an imaginary tax used by fact-adjacent motorists to bash people on bikes – is coming… but not for cyclists.

Nope, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will reportedly use Thursday’s Budget to change the current Treasury rules and require owners of emission-free vehicles to pay vehicle excise duty (or VED, to give it its proper name) for the first time in a bid to plug a projected £7 billion shortfall.

The news comes as the Bank of England warned we could be facing a two-year recession, the longest on record, but is likely to be controversial as it will be a disincentive for motorists to switch to electric vehicles.

> 'Road tax' is coming... but not for cyclists

Meanwhile, two favourites from last week’s live blog continued their spell in the spotlight, as the outrage that erupted in Brighton over a cyclocross event – which left a local park “a dangerous mud bath”, drew the ire of local councillors and put the following weekend’s Park Run in jeopardy – was swiftly expunged, as the ground recovered thanks to the recent dry weather. Who knew grass could grow back, eh?

East Brighton Park (Giedrius Čeginskas/Facebook)

> Outrage silenced as park turned into "dangerous mud bath" by cyclocross race recovers in time for Parkrun

Sticking to Brighton, and just days after the council said it would investigate the placement of a new cycle hangar that parking permit holders claimed was “deliberately” blocking two car spaces, another resident told the local press that she did not want one of the “giant ugly objects” outside her house (apparently, she was talking about the hangar, and not a 4x4).

Brighton cycle hangar (credit - Brighton Active Travel)

I sense a theme emerging…

> NIMBY locals "concerned and distressed" by "giant ugly" bike hangar

Here’s what else you may have missed over the weekend:

> Cyclists ‘ticket’ police after officer doors bike rider (+ video)

> ​London Conservative group accused of scaremongering over anti-LTN video

> Round-the-world cyclist has bike stolen in Cambridge

> ​Near Miss of the Day 834: Punishment pass on cyclist lands driver in court

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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