Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Bianchi 'Air Deflector' cockpit sends cycling world into meltdown; "Totally unnecessary": Giro d’Italia route and THAT 750km transfer to Rome confirmed; Is the Giro being unfairly singled out for criticism?; Tractors and cyclists + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday, it’s cold, and Ryan Mallon is back for your daily dose of the live blog
18 October 2022, 16:21
Bianchi 'Air Deflector' cockpit sends cycling world into meltdown

Right, Ryan's popped off to catch a flight so Dan's here (oh, it's weird talking in the third person) to tell you how much you all love the new Bianchi...

Our diplomatic take is it's the "most un-Bianchi Bianchi ever"... you lot have been slightly less diplomatic...and pointed out how Cervélo-y it looks...

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC  - 4 (1).jpeg
2023 Bianchi Oltre RC  - 5 (1).jpeg

For balance (we'd add more positive ones if there were any)...

Go on then... tell us what you think... but maybe have a proper look first.

18 October 2022, 13:04
Speaking of questionable decisions made by venerable Italian institutions…
2023 Bianchi Oltre RC head tube - 1 (1).jpeg
2023 Bianchi Oltre RC Air Deflector - 3
2023 Bianchi Oltre RC  - 2 (1).jpeg

 > Bianchi unveils radical new Oltre road bike with ‘Air Deflector’ aero tech

18 October 2022, 12:07
Women cycling in London (picture credit TfL)
Transport for London to resume work on active travel schemes paused due to funding crisis

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that it will restart work on active travel schemes in the city – paused due to the body’s ongoing financial crisis and reliance on short-term government bailouts – after an agreement was reached with the government in August to secure funding until March 2024.

TfL says that it will now resume spending on “vital projects”, with £80m per year to be spent directly on walking and cycling schemes as part of its Healthy Streets Programme.

> Sadiq Khan admits Transport for London funding crunch means it is “extremely difficult” to make Holborn Gyratory safer for cyclists 

The projects include the start of construction on safer junction schemes at Holloway Road/Drayton Park and Battersea Bridge (subject to consultation), and pedestrian and cycling improvements at Streatham High Road and Manor Circus.

TfL will continue lowering speed limits across London, with plans to introduce a 20mph speed limit on a further 17.5 miles of roads in the boroughs of Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Haringey by March 2023.

As part of the next stage of the Healthy Streets programme, TfL will also complete cycleways currently under construction and begin work on up to 14km of additional sections, including on:

  • C9 East, from Brentford to Kensington Olympia
  • C23, from Lea Bridge to Dalston
  • C34, from North Acton to Shepherds Bush
  • C37, from Hackney to Westferry
  • C50, from Finsbury Park to Camden Town

The body will also continue the design of a further 16km of cycleways, including sections of C9 West, from Hounslow to Brentford, the C4 Extension from Greenwich to Charlton, and further sections of the C50, from Finsbury Park to Camden Town, along with a new cycle route from Wembley to Wood Lane.

“In the last two years we’ve seen more Londoners than ever choosing to walk and cycle around the capital, but successive short-term funding agreements from Government forced TfL and boroughs to pause spending on some permanent walking and cycling schemes. London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, said in a statement.

“With the funding now agreed, I’m delighted that we can now restart work on these vital schemes – as well as beginning the design work for the next generation of new projects.

“The Mayor and I are determined to continue building a cleaner, safer and more prosperous London for everyone and encouraging more people to pick up greener and more sustainable transport options is a vital part of that.”

18 October 2022, 11:35
Tractors and cyclists: the truth

You’ll never guess what those damned cyclists want to do now.

They are campaigning to – wait for it – ban tractors from country roads on Sundays.

Can you believe it?

Well I suggest you don’t.

Because it’s a lie.

Now, that’s one way to start an article and grab our attention.

The piece in question, published yesterday in the Swindon Advertiser, tackles online conspiracy theories seemingly designed to simply increase the ire felt by some motorists towards cyclists on the road.

“For some reason that I cannot fathom,” the Advertiser’s Graham Carter writes, “Facebook thought I would be interested in joining a group that exists mainly to help speeding drivers dodge cameras, although they also spend time swapping the kind of ‘humour’ that most of us stopped giggling at when we grew out of short trousers.

“And just lately they have taken to spreading the ridiculous notion that cyclists are so arrogant that we think we have more right to the roads than everybody else, especially farmers.”

While I haven’t been able to find the exact post in question – I’m not exactly a frequenter of motoring groups or Facebook in general, quite frankly – I imagine it went something along the lines of this satirical post from the ‘comedy’ page, ‘The world is not PC enough’:

Tractors and cyclists Facebook satire ('The world is not PC enough', Facebook)

The same account, incidentally, posted a similar ‘joke’ this morning, from the apparent point of view of a ‘cyclist’:

Tractors and cyclists Facebook satire 2 ('The world is not PC enough', Facebook)

Unfortunately for poor Graham, he decided to venture into the comments. Which, as we know full well on this blog, is a recipe for disaster.

“I was curious to find out more,” he writes, “so I made the mistake – and, trust me, this is always a mistake – of seeing what the public had to say on the matter.

“Boy, were they angry with cyclists.

“Absolutely fuming.

“What few of them had thought to do, however, was to check whether this apparent war between cyclists and farmers was actually a thing.”


According to Graham’s article, these posts – whether jokes or conspiracy theories – are “designed to demonise a minority, in this case cyclists, although these days any minority will do.

“Some of us would say it is a deliberate attempt to distract us from the real problems we are all now facing.

“And with some people it is working… It’s tough being a cyclist. I am not talking about battling the wind and the rain and the hills. I am talking about constantly having to counter the pathetic idea that because some people on two wheels aren’t perfect, we are all the enemy.”

In a shock twist at the end of the article, Graham admitted that he “did find one petition proposing to ban tractors from certain roads.

“But it wasn’t from cyclists. It was from impatient motorists.

“So please don’t believe all the drivel you see on social media, and if you really must have enemies, make sure you choose the right ones.”

18 October 2022, 10:59
Some wholesome bike bus content to brighten up your Tuesday
18 October 2022, 10:47
Slightly off-topic, but despite being sponsored by BP, Esso and Shell down the years, that Peugeot kit still slaps…
18 October 2022, 10:38
“One rule for them and one rule for the Tour”: Is the Giro being unfairly singled out for criticism?

While the 2023 Giro’s controversial eight-hour transfer to Rome for the race’s penultimate stage has led to plenty of criticism online for RCS Sport – who have been accused of prioritising their event over the climate crisis – in the live blog comments section this morning, reader Rendel Harris pondered whether the Corsa Rosa is being singled out for criticism for a sin committed by every other grand tour (or indeed stage race) organiser.

As I noted in the original article on the then-rumoured Rome finale, long transfers (not to mention foreign grand departs) are becoming an increasing staple of the three grand tours.

The Vuelta a España has long been known for its frequent and extensive mid-race transfers, while – at least since Mont Ventoux featured on the race’s penultimate stage in 2009 – the Tour de France has favoured increasingly late stages in the Alps or Pyrenees, requiring a late night slog up to Paris for the final-day party on the Champs-Élysées.

Here’s what Rendel had to say about the controversy surrounding the Giro’s excursion to Rome:

The carbon footprint of Grand Tours is of course a major concern, but the Giro organisers must be wondering if there is one rule for them and one for the Tour.

This year the Tour transferred 534km to hold the final stage in Paris, in 2021 it was 586km. I don’t recall anyone raising much of an eyebrow about that?

Similarly, this year's Vuelta not only made the 1,400km transfer from the Netherlands to Spain, but then the massive 894km mid-race transfer from Les Praeres to Alicante.

I remember people complaining about the stress it put on the riders, but nobody seemed to be making too much fuss about the carbon footprint.

Numerous wrongs don’t add up to a right, of course, but not quite sure why the Giro is being so heavily criticised for something that happens in every GT.

What do you think? Is the Giro being unfairly singled out? Or is this just the start of cycling fans putting pressure on race organisers to create responsible routes?

18 October 2022, 10:11
Some Halloween decoration ideas…
18 October 2022, 09:24
So, what about the actual Giro route?

Now, as the Eurosport commentators used to say in 2008, moments after announcing the latest positive test or doping scandal (ah, those were the days), ‘Anyway, back to the racing…’

2023 Giro d'Italia route

So, what’s the 2023 Giro route like, and who does it suit?

Well, Remco Evenepoel, that’s who.

Nevertheless, RCS Sport’s charm offensive towards the world champion perhaps isn’t as overt as one may have expected.

There are three individual time trials totalling 71km, of course – a relative rarity in the modern era – but the quantity and nature of the kilometres against the clock can hardly be compared to the Tours de France of the Jean-Marie Leblanc era.

The race kicks off with a surprisingly long 18.4km TT, with a slight drag to the line, in the Abruzzo region. The next siren song for Vuelta winner Evenepoel – who has yet to confirm his participation in the Giro, but will almost certainly be spending next May in the bel paese – is stage nine, a pan-flat 34km time trial to Cesena, seemingly tailormade for the powerful, super-aero Belgian.

The third and final time trial of the race, however, is something completely different – and could have the potential to upend the entire race right at the last moment.

2023 Giro d'Italia stage 20 finish

The first eleven kilometres of stage 20 may be gently rolling, but the final seven to Monte Lussari are anything but – averaging 12.1 percent to the summit (and over 15 percent for the first five kilometres). And all after three weeks and 3,500km of racing. Ouch.

Of course, the Giro – unless you’re Francesco Moser – is never just about time trialling. In many ways, the 2023 Corsa Rosa is a typical Giro, if a touch more backloaded than usual.

Week one takes on a varied, rolling and sometimes jagged tour of Italy’s east and west coasts, featuring the kind of in-between terrain favoured by a certain Wout van Aert, who is rumoured to be interested in making his Giro debut ahead of an earlier-than-usual world championships next year in Glasgow.

Following stage seven’s Apennine summit finish on the Gran Sasso d’Italia (a gentle slog with a sting in the tail) and the time trial two days later, week two will begin with some more classic breakaway fodder and possible sprint days, before the real mountains start.

2023 Giro d'Italia stage 13

Stage 13 to Crans Montana in the Swiss Alps – taking in, weather permitting, the 2,500m-high Col du Grand Saint-Bernard and the fearsome and almost as high Croix de Coeur – will no doubt rearrange the GC, while a Tour of Lombardy-style trek to Bergamo on stage 15 could produce some explosive racing.

Then we head into classic Giro territory. Stage 16 features a string of relatively low but tough climbs on the way to Monte Bondone, while the following stage offers a small bone to the remaining sprinters before three decisive days in the Dolomites.

The 19 percent gradients of the Coi climb on stage 18 could blow the GC group apart, ahead of a potentially myth-making stage 19 to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the scene of newly retired Vincenzo Nibali’s 2013 triumph and Eddy Merckx’s grand tour coming of age in 1968.

Giro d'Italia 2023 stage 19

While some legendary Giro climbs may be missing from the 2023 route, such as the Gavia, Stelvio, and Mortirolo, stage 19 more than makes up for their omission – packing in the mighty Valparola and Giau on the way to the Tre Cime.

And if that hasn’t wrapped things up in the battle for the pink jersey, race director Mauro Vegni will be crossing his fingers for a Planche des Belles Filles-style twist on the Monte Lussari.

Just don’t mention the transfer to Rome…

18 October 2022, 08:43
“Totally unnecessary”: 2023 Giro d’Italia route – and that 750km transfer to Rome – confirmed

The route of the 2023 Giro d’Italia was revealed in Milan yesterday, confirming two things that cycling fans had long since suspected: that Remco Evenepoel will win his second grand tour next May, and that, for race organisers, the climate crisis and environmental concerns come a distant second to spectacular finales in beautiful places.

Next year’s Corsa Rosa was initially expected to finish in the north-eastern port city of Trieste, following an absolutely brutal and potentially decisive mountain time trial on Monte Lussari the day before.

However, as we reported a few weeks ago (and confirmed in yesterday’s route presentation), that plan was shelved in favour of a scenic circuit race around Rome – and a mammoth 750-kilometre transfer from the Slovenian border.

> “Reinforcing the point that bike racing isn’t exactly green”: Giro d’Italia organisers criticised for rumoured Rome finale – and 700km transfer 

It will be the first time that the Giro has returned to the Italian capital since 2018’s controversial final stage – when the riders complained about the safety of the circuit, prompting the GC times to be neutralised – but, as cycling author Herbie Sykes pointed out on Twitter, this Roman holiday appears to be something of a spectacular send-off for race director Mauro Vegni, who is rumoured to be stepping down from his role at RCS Sport after ten years at the helm.

Nevertheless, as scenic and atmospheric as the final stage might well prove to be, a 750km transfer just for a few ceremonial laps of Rome hasn’t gone down too well with cycling’s more climate-conscious fans.

While the riders will surely fly from the penultimate stage in Tarvisio (possibly from Klagenfurt in Austria or Ljubljana in Slovenia, as the closest Italian airports are both over 140km away, though there is a NATO airbase relatively nearby too), team and race staff will have to endure an eight hour-plus slog by road. Fun.

The whole thing, as Twitter has pointed out, all feels a touch unnecessary:

(To be fair, they tried that before – in 2009, the year Denis Menchov won, despite falling off his TT bike in Rome – and it was deathly dull…) 

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.

Latest Comments