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Biniam Girmay makes cycling history at the Giro... ruined by painful prosecco incident; Snake Pass drivers at it again; Chris Hoy reflects on Richard Moore; Dara Ó Briain caught with helmet on; RideLondon backtracks + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday, the Giro is back, and Ryan Mallon is behind the keyboard for the second live blog of the week
17 May 2022, 16:58
Never stop De Gendt-ing, Thomas
17 May 2022, 16:13
From the sublime to the painful: Girmay injures eye in prosecco podium incident

One minute you’re winning at one of the sport’s biggest races, breaking down decades-old barriers, and inspiring cycling fans across the world… the next you’re being thumped in the eye by a prosecco cork on the podium.


As they always say, cycling gives, and it also takes away (just ask Mathieu van der Poel, who suffered a similar, if slightly less painful, fate on stage one of this year’s Giro).

According to reports, Girmay has gone to hospital to have his eye checked out. Let’s just hope his injuries aren’t too severe, and that he can carry on making history in Italy.

17 May 2022, 15:57
Girmay wins stage 10 of the 2022 Giro (GCN)
Bini, Vidi, Vici: Girmay takes historic Giro d’Italia stage win

Biniam Girmay made cycling history this afternoon, becoming the first black African rider to win a grand tour stage, beating Mathieu van der Poel in a thrilling finish to stage ten of the Giro d’Italia.

The 22-year-old Eritrean has burst onto the scene this season, his debut year in the pro ranks, winning Gent-Wevelgem in March to add to his silver medal at the 2021 U23 world road championships.

The Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux rider raised a few eyebrows when he turned down the chance to ride the Tour of Flanders in order to prepare for his first grand tour – a decision that has been vindicated (and then some) at the Giro, where he was knocking on the door throughout the first week and a half, before today’s sensational win.

And it’s only fitting that Girmay’s historic victory was taken after a thrilling head-to-head duel with Van der Poel, with whom the Eritrean has struck up a fierce but friendly rivalry (to the extent that Girmay misjudged a corner in the closing kilometres while glued to the Alpecin-Fenix rider’s wheel).

After being led out by the incongruously slight frame of Domenico Pozzovivo in the final kilometre, Girmay’s stunning 270 metre sprint – into a headwind, on a slight drag – was enough to see off Van der Poel, despite the Dutchman looking like he was gaining until the dying metres.

The image of Van der Poel – a bona fide superstar of the sport – giving Girmay the thumbs up as the pair crossed the line will be written into not only cycling folklore, but that of Eritrean and African sport.

It’s also fitting that Girmay – a symbol of a new generation of cycling stars – won a stage that characterised the sport’s modern, attacking nature, as big names like Carapaz, Carthy, Nibali and even Van der Poel persistently peeled off the front in one of the most entertaining final ten kilometres of the season so far, before that soon-to-be-iconic sprint.

More important than merely being a symbol of a new era of racing, Girmay represents a world of new possibilities for professional cycling, which for over a century – with some, though very few, notable exceptions – has remained an almost exclusively Euro-centric, white, and insular sport.

At 22 years of age, and with compatriot Natnael Tesfatsion also impressing at this year’s Giro for Drone Hopper, today’s victory certainly won’t be the last time Biniam Girmay – and Eritrean and African cycling – make history.

17 May 2022, 16:45
Ford launches ‘Park the Car’ initiative

In an unexpected turn of events, American automobile manufacturer Ford has launched its ‘Park the Car’ initiative, which aims to encourage motorists to swap the car for active travel for short journeys of up to five kilometres.  

In a statement released last week, Ford of Europe’s President Stuart Rowley announced that the company will be supporting and investing in active travel schemes, and has set a target of one million urban “journey swaps” over the next 12 months.

Rowley says that encouraging active travel is essential for both “securing a greener future for everyone” and helping people “live a healthier, longer life”.

While the West Midlands Cycling and Walking Commissioner Adam Tranter is prepared to give Ford the benefit of the doubt, others were dubious about the car maker’s motives:

17 May 2022, 14:36
Is my bike missing something?
17 May 2022, 14:15
Boscombe bike markings (via Daily Echo).JPG
Large bike symbols painted on middle of Bournemouth lanes to encourage cyclists to ride in primary position – and motorists aren’t happy

Large bike symbols have been painted in the middle of lanes in the Bournemouth suburb of Boscombe, as part of recent resurfacing works carried out by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.

The council says that the new road markings on the A35 Christchurch Road and between Browning Avenue and the Christchurch Road roundabout were added to encourage cyclists to take a “prominent” position on the road.

“We recently undertook carriageway resurfacing in Christchurch Road at Boscombe and we have widened the cycle lanes in line with current standards and made them mandatory where possible,” a council spokesperson told the Daily Echo

“The road markings highlighted are there to encourage cyclists to take a prominent position in the lane so therefore make them more visible to other motorists.”

The new markings haven’t gone down well with everyone, if the comments section under the Echo’s article is anything to go by (though it probably shouldn’t be).

Here’s a selection of the some of the more… shall we say, interesting… comments:

The demented BCP councillors go on about traffic congestion and air pollution and now with these markings have invited cyclists to ride down the middle of the road causing traffic to go slower, more congestion, more pollution. I seriously think the councillors need a mental health check.

If a law said cyclists had to wear a reflective waistcoat, or lose their bike, it could save painting anything on the roads if it is because they are not always seen clearly.

So if someone (walker, children) is crossing a road, you hit them and say "they didn't wear high viz"?

As someone who both drives and cycles these new Highway Code laws are nuts. Also don’t be a knob and cycle in the middle of the road for no reason, this is likely to risk more harm.

It's not the cycling we are condemning, it's prats we are condemning. Just because the majority of prats ride bikes is just a coincidence.

Though I refuse to believe that the below comment is the work of an actual, living person, and not a parody account:

I will take absolutely no notice of this symbol. There is no way I will stop using my old Jag.

We got Brexit done because of this silliness.

For balance, some cyclists aren’t head over heels with the markings either:

17 May 2022, 13:23
17 May 2022, 12:29
“Life’s not fair”: Chris Hoy reflects on loss of Richard Moore on The Breakdown podcast

Sir Chris Hoy has reflected on grief and the loss of his friend, journalist and author Richard Moore, on the latest episode of Eurosport’s new podcast The Breakdown.

The Breakdown, launched earlier this month and hosted by GCN cycling presenter and style icon Orla Chennaoui and long jump Super Saturday veteran Greg Rutherford, aims to “break down the components of success” and “the battles common to us all”.

The series has already featured interviews with Mark Cavendish (who you may have heard of) and W Series rider Jamie Chadwick.

In the podcast’s latest episode, Sir Chris Hoy reflects on the grief he experienced following the death of cycling journalist, and fellow Scot, Richard Moore, who passed away in March at the age of 48.

Hoy, one of Britain’s most decorated Olympians, knew Moore for over 25 years, first as a teammate and later as a journalist at races, where he became known for his insightful articles, essential books on cycling history and beyond (including, but not limited to In Search of Robert Millar, Étape, and Slaying the Badger), and his key role on The Cycling Podcast, where he worked alongside Chennaoui.

> Cycling writer and podcaster Richard Moore dies at the age of 48 

“It’s just really difficult,” a clearly emotional Hoy says in the podcast, which can be viewed on Eurosport’s website

“You can’t get your head around the fact that you’re never going to see him again. That is the real kicker, isn’t it?

“You’re in shock, and you think maybe it’s a mistake. You go through this denial phase, thinking it must be someone else… it’s not for us. Someone’s got it wrong.

“And then it slowly dawns on you that it is actually happening, it is horrendous. And then your heart breaks for his wife Virginie and his son Maxime – you just think: ‘It’s just not fair’.

“One of the first things that [psychiatrist and former British Cycling medical director] Steve Peters ever said to me was: ‘Life’s not fair. Why do you expect it to be fair?’

“It isn’t fair is it? It’s so kind of unreal at this stage. He was 48 and he passed away in his sleep. For him, he would have known nothing about it, which is sort of the one mercy of it all. But for those left behind, there are so many questions.

“And the worst thing about it, for me, is I wish I had told him how much he had meant to me.

“I just have so much respect and love for the guy. He was just an amazing individual, an amazing human being. We had so many fun times, racing trips, he was there for all the big races, one of the first people you saw after you finish a race.

“You come down to the track centre, all the journalists are there, and he’s the one you go to speak to first, because he’s the one who’s been with you from day one.”

17 May 2022, 11:45
Giro Bantz: Dumoulin’s revenge

Just former Giro winner Tom Dumoulin here, (jokingly) getting his own back on current pink jersey Juan Pedro López, after the Trek-Segafredo rider apologised for aiming a bottle at Dumoulin’s Jumbo-Visma teammate Sam Oomen during a tetchy moment on the way to Sunday’s summit finish at Blockhaus.

Top level bantz.

Dumo at the Giro – he never disappoints with the content, does he?

17 May 2022, 11:19
All dressed up with nowhere to go: Dara Ó Briain’s Tour de France cosplay

Naturally, the Irish comedian’s tale of delayed cycling gratification inspired others to relive the times when they’ve been caught with their helmet on:

I’m pretty sure I’ve cut the grass in my cycling shorts a few times (both before and after training rides)...

> Comedian Dara Ó Briain gets stolen bike back in eBay sting

Anyone else been distracted while kitted out for a bike ride? If so, get your stories in the comments!

There are also rumours that I sit at my desk, constantly in my cycling gear, just waiting for a free moment where I can head out for a spin. But, as I say, they’re just rumours…

17 May 2022, 11:10
Michele Scarponi on an ascent during the Giro d'Italia (picture credit ANSA).jpg
The Giro remembers Michele Scarponi

Today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia, which has just got under way, will pay tribute to Michele Scarponi, the belated winner of the race’s 2011 edition, who was killed just over five years ago after being struck by a van driver while training close to his home.

The stage will finish in Scarponi’s birthplace, Jesi, and will feature an intermediate sprint in Filottrano, where the former Astana and Lampre rider lived with his wife and two sons, and where he was tragically killed at the age of 37.

Scarponi, who also rode for Liberty Seguros and Androni during his hugely successful if chequered 15-year pro career, finished second at the 2011 Giro d’Italia, but was retroactively awarded the pink jersey after Alberto Contador’s doping suspension was backdated to include the Corsa Rosa.

He later proved an invaluable domestique during his stint with Astana, who he was riding for at the time of his death, and was a key lieutenant for Vincenzo Nibali during the Sicilian’s improbable comeback victory at the 2016 Giro.

Astana’s riders will use bottles bearing Scarponi’s name during the stage, as well as an image of his training partner parrot, Frankje, who accompanied the Italian on his rides.

Scarponi was training for the Giro, where he was set to lead the Astana team, in April 2017 when he was struck by a van driver at a junction.

The driver, 58-year-old Giuseppe Giacconi, claimed that he didn’t see the rider and reportedly admitted to prosecutors that he had been watching a video on his mobile phone at the time of the incident.

Giacconi, a local carpenter known to Scarponi’s family, was consumed by grief following the rider’s death, and died of cancer less than a year later, in February 2018.

17 May 2022, 10:16
Sportive Bantz

As RideLondon defends its controversial decision to implement a safety car at the head of the race, which will travel at the stately pace of 22mph, other mass ride events have been getting involved in the debate.

The organisers of the Tour of Cambridgeshire, which has itself been on the receiving end of complaints (this time from miffed locals) about the event’s road closures, went all T-Swift on us in their reply to our story:

Ah, sportive banter – the best kind of banter…

17 May 2022, 09:26
Heading into the second week of the Giro like…

Can the super strong Eritrean finally crack the code on today’s lumpy, classics style finish to stage 10?

17 May 2022, 09:19
Wilco’s Discs: You almost had me there for a second…

Breathe a little easier, all you diehard disc brake advocates – it’s only a parody account…

> "They just collapsed because of the pressure": Giro d'Italia hopeful blames disc brakes overheating for ending GC challenge 

Although, by the looks of things, some of you are convinced Wilco himself is engaging in a spot of satire:

17 May 2022, 08:30
“We definitely preferred it closed”: Drivers are at it again on Snake Pass

Derbyshire’s infamous Snake Pass – after weeks of landslide repairs, road closures and pedalling protests which, if I’m honest, gave the live blog plenty of material over the spring – has been reopened to motorists and cyclists for the last month and a half.

And, I regret to inform you dear reader, the drivers are at it again.

This video, shot over the weekend and uploaded to Twitter, features a rather impatient Audi driver – perhaps they’re also not happy the A57 is so busy again? – attempting to overtake a long line of cars and almost striking an oncoming cyclist in the process, who was forced to take evasive action.

To cyclists on Twitter, this terrifying near miss only served to highlight the absurdity of Derbyshire County Council’s decision to ban cyclists and walkers from the pass while the landslide repairs were being carried out, apparently “because of concerns over safety”.

For a brief period in February (just in case you were hiding under a rock or avoiding the live blog at that time) Snake Pass became a car-free “cycling utopia” after it was closed to motorists due to the storm-induced road works on a small portion of the road.

> Snake Pass now “belongs to cyclists” as Peak District climb closed to motorists for at least a month  

However, the council also soon closed the infamously dangerous section of the A57, which runs for 12 miles from Ladybower Reservoir to Glossop, to cyclists and walkers, except for local access, sparking complaints and even organised mass ride protests from active travel advocates who viewed the ban as an anti-cycling decision “dressed up as health and safety”.

> Cycling UK urges council to publish evidence justifying Snake Pass cycling ban

The council claimed that the road was closed due to fears that “there will be an accident involving a vehicle and a cyclist because of the large numbers of cyclists that have taken the opportunity to go out and ride the road.”

Well, by the looks of things, Snake Pass is a lot safer now…

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

Add new comment


Gkam84 | 2 years ago
1 like

Reports from Italy that Girmay couldn't see directly after popping the cork and is now a doubt to start tomorrow. He's out of the hospital about an hour ago.

Global Nomad replied to Gkam84 | 2 years ago

I hope he's ok, would be a shame to do all the right training and development to win a tour stage but not get the training to open the champagne correctly - (hand on the cork) pointing away from you...

best wishes and congrats on the win...

Jetmans Dad replied to Gkam84 | 2 years ago

Sounds like a potential Hyphaema, the iris is pretty fragile and making it bleed is quite easy with a blow like that ... been there, done that (squash ball in my case). That would explain the inability to see. 

The fact he has been let out of hospital straight away indicates they don't think there is any permanent damage, but he will probably be advised to stay off the bike for a few days or so. 

Sorry ... didn't mean to go all medical there. 

oneillkf | 2 years ago

Bloody Nora! Now that's why I don't ride the road in the UK. Went down Ventoux at over 80kph, along with thousands of others, nobody ever sees that there. In France that car driver would be executed on the spot! Sod the UK. 

ErnieC replied to oneillkf | 2 years ago

oneillkf wrote:

Bloody Nora! Now that's why I don't ride the road in the UK. Went down Ventoux at over 80kph, along with thousands of others, nobody ever sees that there. In France that car driver would be executed on the spot! Sod the UK. 

not sure what is worse - drivers like that in the UK or gun owners in the US. 

brooksby | 2 years ago

Aren't those things in Bournemouth what the Americans call "sharrows"?  They're used in the US as the default for painted infrastructure, meant to remind motorists to share (sharrow, geddit?) the road with cyclists.

I'm glad to see that local-newspaper-BTL is irrational rational all around the UK and it's not just the Bristol Post which is full of - erm - irrational people...

(edited, some time later)

andystow replied to brooksby | 2 years ago

brooksby wrote:

Aren't those things in Bournemouth what the Americans call "sharrows"?  They're used in the US as the default for painted infrastructure, meant to remind motorists to share (sharrow, geddit?) the road with cyclists.

I'm glad to see that local-newspaper-BTL is rational all around the UK and it's not just the Bristol Post which is full of - erm - irrational people...

Yes, and they're worse than useless most of the time.


brooksby replied to andystow | 2 years ago

Yeah, I'd heard that they are as well thought of as eighteen inch wide painted lanes here in the UK!

zideriup replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
1 like

The Metro write-up was ridiculous, they reported it as the council 'telling' cyclists not to use cycle lanes. Contained interviews with the usual angry types, shoehorned some anti-public sector WFH in there and then the crown jewel right at the end:

'The [Highway Code] changes also allow cyclists to ride in the middle of quieter roads and ride two abreast'...

brooksby replied to zideriup | 2 years ago

The Sun has picked up this story too, and has lots of rants about cyclists thinking they own the road, etc etc.  Lots of comments about why should cyclists ride in the middle of the road when there's a cycle lane just for them.  All illustrated with photos of cyclists on the road and not a cycle lane to be seen...

Steve K | 2 years ago

I've been to a meeting with a government Minister (Lord Adonis) in full lycra.  I'd just arrived at work and got a message he wanted a word and I hadn't had chance to change.  He didn't bat an eyelid.  (I don't commute in lycra anymore - but that's unconnected.)

Secret_squirrel replied to Steve K | 2 years ago

Isnt Adonis known far and wide as one of our more sane overlords?

Steve K replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago

In my opinion, yes.  He was also one of the best Ministers I worked for in my 25 years in the civil service (and that is an apolitical comment - nothing to do with his political position).  Also unbelievably hard working.  We used to have an 8am meeting every Monday morning with him; part of my team's role was to get the papers round for that by last thing on Friday, but he'd do so much over the weekend that the papers were generally out of date by Monday!

lesterama replied to Steve K | 2 years ago
1 like

A colleague told me he kept his cycling shorts on at work because he was hung like a donkey and wanted his female colleagues to know

OldRidgeback replied to lesterama | 2 years ago
1 like

I'm sure they didn't want to know.

GMBasix | 2 years ago
brooksby | 2 years ago

Three Reasons Why Congestion Decreases When Cities ‘Delete’ Road Lanes

OldRidgeback | 2 years ago

That's very poor driving. I hope the police take action.

AlsoSomniloquism replied to OldRidgeback | 2 years ago

The Plod Twitter for the area asked for it to be submitted. Not neccesarily action would be taken but at least it shows some awareness from them. 

brooksby replied to OldRidgeback | 2 years ago

It was absolutely horrendous driving surprise

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