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Runner blasts drivers parking on footpath – to go mountain biking; Cyclists react to viral forgetful road rage driver and his runaway car; Mark Cavendish spotted again… at the football? Paddy McGuinness gets an e-bike; New TT rules + more on the live blog

Happy Monday everyone! Ryan Mallon’s here with all the latest cycling news and views on the first wintery live blog of the week
16 January 2023, 09:18
Drivers park on pavement outside popular mountain bike park (Twitter, Mark Atkinson)
“These people aren’t cyclists, they’re motorists who drive out for exercise on bikes”: Runner blasts drivers parking on footpath – to go mountain biking

We’re kicking things off on this cold, icy Monday morning with a live blog favourite to warm the cockles – pavement parking.

Poor and inconsiderate parking by motorists – whether it’s on cycle lanes or pavements – crops up with alarming regularity on the blog, it must be said.

> Cyclist leaves homemade parking tickets on cars parked in bike lane opposite school

In November we featured some of the most blatant bike lane blocking we’ve ever seen, while at the start of this very month, Dan alerted us to a veritable “forest” of bollards deemed necessary by Birmingham City Council to prevent dangerous parking outside a primary school.

So, naturally, our fingers stopped scrolling when we came across the following tweet, posted by runner Mark Atkinson, whose Sunday training session was interrupted by a half-mile-long line of cars blocking the footpath… so their owners can go mountain biking:

More than a few Twitter users quickly questioned Atkinson’s sweeping claim that every parked car along the road belongs to a cyclist, though the photo was taken close to the popular Woburn mountain bike trails in Bedfordshire, which favourite VecchioJo reliably informs me has loads of cool jumps and other MTB goodies.

In any case, the rest of the responses seemed to be divided between those using the post as an excuse to ‘give those know-it-all cyclists a taste of their own medicine, innit’…

… While others questioned whether the pavement parkers should even be referred to as cyclists:

> Near Miss of the Day 845: Cyclist close passed... by driver with bike racks on their car

Some, meanwhile, couldn’t fail to notice the other spot of ‘irony’ evident in Mark’s tweet:

16 January 2023, 16:36
“Are we really in such fixed tribes that we can’t call out bad behaviour, whoever it is that is doing it?” readers react to mountain bike pavement parkers

So, what have people been saying in the comments about today’s mountain bike-enjoying pavement parkers?

Well, I’m glad you asked…

Geomannie 531: “I was recently car-doored whilst running on the pavement past a vehicle parked on the pavement. I wasn't much hurt but the sheer entitlement of the driver to a) think it ok to park on the pavement and b) not consider that folk may be on the pavement shows the really poor state of driving culture.”

JustTryingToGetFromAtoB: “In fairness, the picture posted does appear to contain a dude with a bike. And the man on the Clapham omnibus would make the assumption that the dude arrived in one of the vehicles parked in a selfish manner.

“It does seem weird to entirely blame cyclists though. Every one of those parked like shit vehicles was parked by a motorist. Some of whom may occasionally ride a bike... and are probably a complete prick on two wheels as well.

“I live for the day when a d***head motorist deals with the 'but there is nowhere to park' by actually parking somewhere appropriate rather than deciding it is someone else's problem.”

Patrick9-32: “Matt Jones rides at Woburn often in his YouTube videos and occasionally shows the area where he parks. It appears that the park has no parking facility at all. Considering its obvious popularity, you would think the local council would want to make it easier to safely access and sort out some kind of parking for it.”

IanMK: “There's loads of parking nearby. Woburn Sands is less than a mile away. Plenty of parking on the other side of the main road in the direction of Aspley Heath (I recently used the church car park in Bow Brickhill at the back of the golf course). There's even a huge "free" car park in Woburn about two miles away.

“The trouble is these morons have no idea how they would transport their bikes a couple of miles to the trails that they actually want to ride. That's why I would not consider them to be cyclists.”

Aidan R: “I love how people are jumping on the runner with:

“a) Whataboutery; b) How do you know they're cyclists (when he has local knowledge and presumably has run by then before); and, c) They're drivers who are going to "exercise on a bike".

“Are we really in such fixed tribes that we can't call out bad behaviour, whoever it is that is doing it?”

16 January 2023, 15:49
The drama continues: Cavendish spotted wearing Isle of Man jersey at Astana training camp

Could today finally – finally – be the day? 

16 January 2023, 15:20
Hi, Bini!

Biniam Girmay is not only several pundits’ choice for a big classics win in 2023 (and maybe a rainbow jersey in Glasgow, who knows?), he’s also the most popular man in Alicante right now:

16 January 2023, 14:44
Days of the marginal draft are Ganna for good: UCI extends minimum follow car distance for time trials again

It’s bad news for Filippo Ganna, the Ineos Grenadiers, and other exponents of the not-at-all-obvious ‘marginal gain’ of stacking a team car with bikes and driving right behind your rider during a time trial, as the UCI has moved to extend even further the minimum distance permitted for following cars during the race of truth.

As we noted on the live blog after Ganna’s controversial win at last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné, the position and shape of team cars – aided by an unnecessary raft of bikes strapped to the roof – has become an all-important consideration for squads willing to push the limit during individual time trials.

Although we usually associate aerodynamics with the airflow over the cyclist from the front, effectively, teams can get a push effect by stacking the car in that rather incongruous way and following their rider at close proximity.

Back in November we reported that, along with a raft of other rule changes related to equipment and rider positions, the UCI had moved to counteract this aero benefit by stipulating that from 1 January all team drivers would be required to remain 15 metres behind their charges during races against the clock.

> UCI clamps down on narrow handlebars, pin-less number pockets and support car trickery

Now, following further consultation, the sport’s governing body has decided to increase this minimum distance even further to 25 metres – in order, the UCI says, to “ensure that the presence of vehicles does not have an effect on the performance of the cyclist”.

“Furthermore, the 25m distance aims to increase rider safety by providing the driver of the vehicle with longer reaction times in the case of an unexpected mishap or incident,” the UCI added in a statement released today.

Race convoy vehicles, such as TV motorbikes, photographers, and those belonging to commissaires, will still be permitted to drive closer to carry out their roles, but must stay out of the direct slipstream of a rider to mitigate any potential aero gains.

UCI study on time trials and follow cars, 2023

So, why 25 metres?

Well, the UCI said that according to a study carried out by the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, the presence of a car 10 metres behind a rider gives them an advantage of 0.05 seconds per kilometre at a speed of 46.8 km/h – equating to one second in a 20km time trial.

Increasing the distance to 15m and beyond, the study found, renders that advantage insignificant.

UCI study on time trials and follow cars, 2023

“This new rule aims to ensure that the results of time trials are not influenced by the proximity of the rider to the following vehicle and thus to guarantee the sporting fairness of the competition and increase rider safety,” says the UCI.

Sorry, Pippo.

16 January 2023, 14:12
Let the Recommends Awards commence!

First up, it’s the turn of the best e-bikes of 2022…

> Recommends Bikes of the Year 2022/23: the best electric bikes

16 January 2023, 13:40
Road Rage Driver and the Runaway Car: Director’s Cut

This longer version of everyone’s favourite (or at least most recent) viral road rage clip – posted by Northfield cyclist this afternoon – should silence those conspiracy theorists adamant that something must have happened before the overtake to set the motorist into such a handbrake-forgetting frenzy:

16 January 2023, 12:56
Cycling world pays respects to Lieuwe Westra

The cycling world has paid tribute to Lieuwe Westra, the retired Dutch pro who died at the weekend aged 40 following a long battle with depression.

A strong time trialist and rouleur, Westra raced for Astana and Vacansoleil during his career, picking up stage wins at Paris-Nice, the Critérium du Dauphiné, and the Volta a Catalunya. In 2012, he finished second on GC, behind Bradley Wiggins, at Paris-Nice, and two years later helped guide Vincenzo Nibali to Tour de France victory for Astana.

In a post-retirement book, ‘The Beast’, Westra claimed that he faked injuries to gain access to banned substances through the use of therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs). “If you wanted to ride with the top, you have to push the line,” he wrote.

Announcing Westra’s death on Sunday morning, the Dutchman’s biographer Thomas Sijtsma wrote: “Lieuwe Westra passed away on Saturday afternoon. The former cyclist fought with himself in recent years and lost. Rest in peace, beast.”

Former teammates Thomas De Gendt and Johnny Hoogerland were among the first to pay tribute to Westra on social media:

“Lieuwe my friend. What happened to you all the last years. We are so terribly sad that your life ended already today,” Hoogerland wrote.

“I’m very sorry that we could not help you more. Will never forget what you did for me when we were teammates. Find your rest above us.”

16 January 2023, 12:17
2023 Tour Down Under (Zac Williams/
Road racing’s back! Alex Manly sprints to GC lead at Tour Down Under

Now, I’m a massive cyclocross fan (have I made that clear on the live blog? Oh, I have…), but it feels good to have some road racing back on the telly, even if it is at an ungodly hour.

At the Tour Down Under, which kicked off in the early hours of Sunday morning, local hero Alex Manly stormed into the overall lead after winning today’s second stage in the Adelaide Hills.

As Trek-Segafredo’s Amanda Spratt, who had forged clear after an attack with 11km to go on Mount Lofty (which will serve as the finale for the men’s race this weekend), was eventually caught in the final 500 metres, the Jayco-AlUla rider surged into the last right-hand corner in Uraidla at the head of the depleted bunch.

Following that astute tactical move, Manly then proved she had more than enough on the slightly uphill finish to hold off EF Education’s Georgia Williams to take the stage win and the orange leader’s jersey.

Manly inherited the jersey from Human Powered Health’s Polish sprinter Daria Pikulik, who came out on top in a hectic, crosswind-affected first stage into Aldinga.

Of course, while it’s all sunshine and sprints down in South Australia, there was still plenty of mudtastic cyclocross action going on at the weekend, as the national champs were decided across Europe.

On a heavy course in Milnthorpe yesterday, 18-year-old Zoe Bäckstedt blew everyone away to take her first elite British cyclocross title (the first of many, I predict), while Cameron Mason underlined his own impressive progress on the continent by taking a convincing win in the men’s race.

16 January 2023, 11:42
Let the plug see the socket: Paddy McGuinness gets an e-bike

Chris Hoy was quick to jump in the comments, telling the Top Gear presenter that he has “no excuses now to not come out on another ride with me!”

> "The torture stopped": Puncture comes to the rescue to save Paddy McGuinness from riding with Chris Hoy

I’m not sure Paddy (or should that be Pad-e? I’ll get my coat) will be too buzzing about that offer, after the last time…

16 January 2023, 10:59
Mark Cavendish spotted again… at the football?

Now, I know the whole ‘Where’s Cav now?’ saga is beginning to wear thin these days – it feels like it’s been at least a decade since the Manx sprinter was dropped from Quick-Step’s Tour de France squad – and that the whole, protracted transfer saga (spoiler alert: he’s going to Astana) has descended into a weird Cycling Twitter version of an Agatha Christie novel…

> Mark Cavendish spotted with Astana Qazaqstan car at Alicante airport

But since we’re following the British champion’s every move, from grainy, inconclusive shots of someone who resembles Cav riding something that resembles a Wilier in Spain to the rather more conclusive images snapped at Alicante airport on Friday night, I thought I’d share another confidential document from the Cavendish files:

Date: Saturday 14 January 2023. Time: 4.15pm. Place: the Amex stadium, Brighton. Event: Liverpool getting trounced (again).

Alright, the chances that the former world champion, with a generous dashing of grey hair for good measure, would rock up to the football dressed in some of his retro HTC gear is slim, but it’s been a long, long winter…

16 January 2023, 09:55
Road rage incident (screenshot Twitter @Northfieldcycl1)
“Not sure I would have had the decency to tell him his car was rolling away”: Cyclists react to viral forgetful road rage driver and his runaway car

This weekend’s viral sensation – you know who I mean, the ranty motorist with the questionable facial hair and the runaway car – has certainly got everyone talking on the ol’ internet.

Featured on on Saturday, the clip, posted by the Twitter account ‘Northfield cyclist’, has been viewed over nine million times (nine million!) and captures the motorist overtaking an indicating cyclist before an apparent blind bend.

> Furious road rage motorist goes viral for confronting cyclist — as car rolls away because he forgot to apply handbrake

The driver then takes offence to the cyclist’s subsequent gesticulation, and slams on the brakes before jumping out to confront him… all the while forgetting to put on his handbrake, causing the car to begin rolling towards the bend – a comedy of errors only curtailed by the cyclist’s swift intervention.

And what did the goateed driver do to thank the cyclist? He simply carried on with his expletive-laden rant, of course…

Though a sad indictment of some of the attitudes towards cyclists on the roads, it’s a cracking clip, and one which has sparked quite a few, let’s say interesting, comments:

In the comments section under our article, reader Pablo provided some local knowledge: “I hate that corner know it well. Always hated it because I’m worried about getting hit from behind when turning right.

“It’s really tricky because the junction is on a hairpin bend and you can’t see the oncoming traffic until the last moment and neither can the twats behind who are desperate to get past because you've slowed them down. It’s one of those junctions where you just hope to get past it as fast as possible.”

 Of course, some were quick to leap to the road rage motorist’s defence:

Errr, okay...

Finally, even Sandford’s parody police force got involved:

I wonder if the driver is friends with Rhonda Pickering?

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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