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Cav blocked by UAE lead-out in Oman; Two-thirds of drivers experience road rage, says new study; Residents oppose reopening of 'rat run'; £5.4 million for cycling and walking schemes in Bury and Salford; MVDP's back on his bike + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday on the live blog! Ryan Mallon is here for another trip around the weird and wonderful world of cycling before Dan takes over for the rest of the week
15 February 2022, 18:12
When infrastructure doesn’t work...
15 February 2022, 17:30
Comic Relief: Tom’s daily bike ride… I’ll get my coat
15 February 2022, 17:11
Richeze disqualified for shutting the door on Cavendish

Hours after his teammate Fernando Gaviria took the win on today’s final stage of the Tour of Oman, UAE Team Emirates’ veteran lead-out man Max Richeze was disqualified for illegally impeding Mark Cavendish during the sprint to the line.

The commissaires’ decision to disqualify Richeze for his drift to the right, which effectively closed the door on the Manxman, has ensured that the intense debate over the controversial sprint will continue to rumble on.

Groupama–FDJ’s Jacopo Guarnieri wasn’t convinced that Richeze should have been DQ’d, prompting an exhange of views with GCN commentator and former British champion Brian Smith, who believed the Argentine sprinter’s actions were intentional:

 For stage winner Gaviria, it’s all part of the game of sprinting.

"I don't speak with Mark because it isn't like that. Max just started to the right side from the guy from BikeExchange and then you if you won't pass, you need to move," the Colombian said after the stage.

"Sometimes it's the wrong way. The day Mark won, the guy from Arkéa-Samsic [Amaury Capiot] passed me then closed me to the barrier and then nothing happened.

“That is cycling. It's not like fighting every day and it goes like this. Max tried to go in front and then didn't really look behind and didn't really go to the barrier.

"When Mark said something, I saw the video and Max went a little bit to the left. Max is not a bad guy to do something like that. It's not new in cycling but it's like that. Sometimes in the sprint, you take the sprint the wrong way and then you need to brake."

15 February 2022, 16:27
Yew Tree Road closure - Ormskirk (via Lancashire Live)
“If somebody gets killed, what happens then?” Ormskirk residents oppose reopening of ‘rat run’

Residents on the Yew Tree Road in Ormskirk have criticised Lancashire County Council’s decision to reopen a ‘rat run’ which has been closed since 2020.

The council installed a temporary road closure on the Yew Tree Road, limiting it to cyclists and pedestrians, to stop vehicles using it as a through route at the height of the initial lockdown period, and to encourage locals to walk or cycle to shops and businesses.

In August 2021 the council voted to extend the road closure even as lockdown restrictions were eased, as part of a decision to maintain schemes which were deemed to have had ‘a positive impact overall’.

However, following a consultation with residents, it was announced this week that the Yew Tree Road closure will end in the coming weeks, with planters and signage to be removed as soon as possible.

While 62% of those consulted opposed extending the closure, particularly those on surrounding streets, the council’s decision has been met with criticism from people who live on the road.

One resident, Gareth Blacoe, told Lancashire Live that almost all of the residents who lived on the road were in favour of keeping the scheme. He also expressed concerns about speeding on what he described as a ‘rat run’.

“The cars thunder up and down here when it is open as it is a straight road,” Gareth said. “When does the rat run just become the way? The deliveries come to the retail park, and the HGVs come down here, and it’s a residential area.

“90% of the residents on this road are against the road reopening. On a street like this, there are children playing out, and there are elderly people. It’s a straight road and the traffic zooms through.

“Most people drive responsibly - but it’s the 10 percent who don’t that cause accidents. If somebody gets killed, what happens then?

“It’s 20mph on here, but not many people do that. There has to be either speed bumps, which nobody wants, speed cameras, or chicanes, to slow the traffic down, which I think would be a good idea.”

The Yew Tree Road will reopen fully to all traffic on 6 March.

15 February 2022, 15:13
Salford LTN (via Sustrans)
Bury and Salford receive £5.4 million for cycling and walking schemes

On Friday, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority confirmed that two cycling and walking schemes in Bury and Salford will share £5.4 million in funding from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund.

The Bury Fishpool scheme, which will receive over £1 million, aims to increase the number of walking and cycling trips in the area by improving active travel connections between Bury town centre and the residential areas of Fishpool and Gigg. Phase one of the scheme will include the construction of a new bridge crossing over the Richer Roch.

In Salford, a £4 million project will include the installation of a new continuous footway and a terraced cycle path separated from traffic on Chapel Street. New crossing facilities will also be installed, along with new paving and street furniture.

Established in 2018, the Mayor’s Challenge Fund has pledged £160 million of funding to active travel schemes, as part of a ten-year plan to create 1,800 miles of routes and 2,400 new crossings connecting every neighbourhood, school, high street and public transport hub in Greater Manchester.

The Mayor for Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said in a statement: “Our ambition is to create the largest cycling and walking network in the UK, right here in Greater Manchester.

“To do that - and to make active travel the number one choice for travelling to work to school or to the shops – we’re investing in cycling and walking routes that are safe and accessible for all, exactly like these two schemes in Bury and Salford.”

15 February 2022, 14:57
Mad cycling prizes, #345

The Clásica Jaén, with its 40 kilometres of gravel roads, steep climbs, and hill-top cobbled finish, already looks set to join the ranks of cycling’s one-day ‘classics’.

Yesterday’s inaugural edition, won in dominant fashion by Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko, also featured a classic of the ‘mad cycling prizes’ genre: a giant golden olive, awarded in honour of the thousands of square kilometres of olive groves which dominate the Andalusian landscape.

Gravel, scenery, massive gold olives, and the opportunity for a Harry Potter reference: what more could you want from a race?

15 February 2022, 14:17
Cycling in the rain: who needs cars?
15 February 2022, 13:18
MVDP’s back on his bike – but he’s “just cycling around”

Following the back injury which derailed his cyclocross season, Mathieu van der Poel is slowly starting to rack up the miles as he aims to recover in time for the spring classics. Or maybe not that slowly…

The 27-year-old Dutch superstar was forced to miss the world cyclocross championships last month due to a recurring back injury. During his time off the bike, he also underwent knee surgery to remove scar tissue stemming from a previous crash.

Van der Poel is now finally back on his bike, and is currently going for rides in Spain with his father Adrie, who told Wielerrevue: “He is not training yet, but cycling. There is a big difference.

“He will not train again until the injury is over and that is not the case yet. It will soon be time for the Classics. I hope he will start again in April, but if it doesn't go well, he may have to skip the spring.

“First, that back has to be perfectly in order. In any case, it is going in the right direction."

Alpecin-Fenix manager Christoph Roodhooft also confirmed that his star rider is yet to return to full training.

“Mathieu is just cycling around as part of his rehabilitation,” said Roodhooft. “For a professional cyclist, such short trips fall under the heading of cycling around. It is not a resumption of training."

Well, if his Strava profile is anything to go by, van der Poel’s definition of ‘cycling around’ – yesterday’s spin saw him cover 100 miles at an average speed of over 20mph – is still beyond the reach of us mere mortals, dodgy back and all.

I wish I could ‘ride around’ like that…

15 February 2022, 12:45
Road markings, before and after - Winchester (photo credit - Mike Warner)
Road markings return to crossroads where cyclist was killed

A junction near the village of Sparsholt in Hampshire has been repainted after a cyclist was killed in a collision with a motorist last year.

As you can see in the photos above, the road markings at the junction of Woodman Lane and Farley Road were practically invisible when David Davenport was killed after being hit by a motorist at the crossroads on 8 June 2021.

The 59-year-old cyclist was taken to Southampton General Hospital after the crash but died of his injuries eight days later.

Michael Warner, who took the photos, told the Hampshire Chronicle that he had become increasingly concerned about the lack of clear markings at the crossroads.

“In sharp contrast, the road markings at the junction of Sarum Road/Chilbolton Avenue are very clear, indicating a priority may have been given to safety on city roads over rural roads,” Warner said. 

15 February 2022, 11:32
Apidura innovation lab bottle cage adapter on bike
Apidura launches new bottle cage adapter

Here’s something that might come in useful on your latest cycling adventure holiday. Bikepacking brand Apidura has launched its aluminium bottle cage relocator to help improve water bottle clearance when using a frame pack.

The Innovation Lab Bottle Cage Adapter (£21) makes two-bolt mounts (such as downtube and fork mounts) compatible with three-bolt mounts, allowing cargo cages to be used for greater carrying capacity.

Apidura innovation lab bottle cage adapter feature large bottle replacement

The adapter provides 55mm of vertical movement and Apidura says it is mounted using recessed bolts to keep stack minimal at just 4mm. With three bolt locations, further vertical adjustment can be achieved by using either the upper or lower pairing of bolts - Apidura explains that this has enabled it to keep the overall length to just 14cm and the weight low at 22g.

“Bottle cage relocators are a key, if underrated, part of many bikepacking setups - particularly for those riding smaller frames where frame bags and bottles compete for the same space,” Apidura notes.

15 February 2022, 11:27
Charlotte (Designer) and Fearghal (Smart Cities Project Lead) of See.Sense with Coca-Cola Zero Belfast Bikes.jpg
Drivers in Belfast, not Bristol, the worst for road rage, according to new study

Yesterday we reported that Bristol came out on top (or should that be bottom?) in a new study which surveyed motorists’ attitudes towards road rage. 

The study, undertaken by car finance company Zuto, found that 43 per cent of Bristolians surveyed admitted to having road rage occasionally when driving.

Well, the drivers of Bristol can silence their horns and lower their pointed fingers, as another new road rage study (there must have been a funding surplus somewhere) has found that Belfast is actually the road rage capital of the UK.

According to comparison site Compare the Market, and based on a survey of 2,154 UK drivers which took place in January 2022, a frightening 71% of motorists in Belfast experience anger while driving (way to play up to the stereotypes of Northern Irish people, thanks drivers!). 

Belfast was followed by Sheffield (68%), Birmingham and Nottingham (both 66%) in the table of shame, while Edinburgh and Newcastle are apparently the places where you’re least likely to encounter a driver frothing at the mouth.

According to the survey, almost two in three drivers experience road rage, with almost one in three (30%) reporting that they had experienced a face-to-face confrontation with another motorist.

Like the Zuto survey, Compare the Market focused on sources of road rage such as tailgating, lack of indicating, and witnessing another driver using their phone, with no reference to cyclists or other road users.

While these surveys didn’t mention cyclists specifically, it’s worth pointing out that Belfast (like Bristol) currently has a pitiful lack of decent cycling infrastructure.

Maybe the cure for road rage is – dare I say it – more cyclists?

15 February 2022, 10:53
Cav blocked by UAE lead-out in Oman – and he isn’t happy

Mark Cavendish lost out to Fernando Gaviria in the battle for sprinting supremacy at the Tour of Oman, as the UAE Team Emirates rider took his second win of the week in this morning’s final stage – with a little help from his friends.

Cavendish, who was briefly distanced from the front of the peloton on a short climb towards the end of the stage, was attempting to emulate the last-gasp surge to the line that won him stage two in Oman.

However, as the Manx Missile launched his sprint on the right-hand side of the road, Gaviria’s lead-out man Max Richeze began to ever so slightly and incrementally drift across into Cavendish’s lane, the 38-year-old Argentine drawing on all his years of experience to effectively shut the door and block his rival’s sprint.

While personally I don’t think the deviation was anything to worry the commissaires, Cavendish wasn’t happy, banging his bars and angrily remonstrating with a seemingly nonplussed Richeze before the pair had even crossed the line.

Good old Cav – and a welcome sight for any fan worried that the fire may have gone after the highs of last summer. He never really changes, does he?

Richeze’s deviation has already sparked quite the debate on Twitter:

What do you think about that sprint? Was Richeze’s move an illegal attempt to block his teammate’s most dangerous rival? Or is all fair in love and sprinting (within reason of course), and was the UAE man just being crafty?

15 February 2022, 09:34
Vino Attacks: The Next Generation

For well over a decade – give or take a few doping bans – cycling fans became accustomed to the sight of Alexander Vinokourov up the road, relentlessly attacking the bunch.

Well it seems as if the attacking gene runs in the family, as the very familiar name of Alexandre Vinokourov – the 19-year-old son, that is – is currently in the day’s breakaway at the Tour of Oman.

Vino Jnr rides for the Astana Qazaqstan development team, the continental feeder squad to the WorldTour outfit run by his dad, along with his identical twin brother Nicolas, who also made the break on stage five in Oman.

It’s the Vinokourov twins’ first race as pros, and though they don’t expect to light up the road for the time being in the same way their dad did throughout the 2000s, it already appears that the Kazakh national hero’s adventurous racing instincts have been passed on to his sons.

But a little less controversy this time around, eh fellas?

And hopefully not as much rapping either… 

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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