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Cycling in the heat: Do slower speeds result in more aggressive overtakes?; “This one is for my brother”: Hugo the victor; Police boss caught speeding 5 times in 12 weeks; Cyclists and pedestrians; ‘Evil Cycle Lobby’ strikes again + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday and Ryan Mallon is back, fresh from visiting Leith Walk’s infamous zig-zag cycle path, with your daily dose of the live blog
19 July 2022, 08:41
Cycling in the heat: Do slower speeds result in more aggressive overtakes?

As we wake, sleep-deprived and sweaty, to another day of scorching temperatures, those of us forced or choosing to cycle in this week’s stifling conditions have probably noticed a drop in speed (at least I did, when I went out for ‘relaxing’ rest day spin in the – slightly – more benign clime of Northern Ireland. Probably shouldn’t have gone near any hills, mind you).

Guardian journalist Peter Walker was one of the many cyclists easing off in the heat on their commute to and from work yesterday.

However, the political correspondent noted on Twitter that his slower speed appeared to attract a greater number of aggressive, Must Get in Front drivers:

Walker’s argument was supported by most of Cycling Twitter, with some noting the correlation between segregated infrastructure and cyclists riding their bikes at a comfortable pace:

Though others were less appreciative of the need for speed when it comes to dealing with close passing motorists:

What do you think? Do slower speeds lead to more close passes and aggressive overtakes, potentially limiting the kind of cyclists who can safely commute in busy areas?

19 July 2022, 16:26
Close passes: the result of slow cycling speeds or “sleep-deprived, over-heated, agitated and angry” drivers?

Before we all ride off into the searing white heat that now passes as a summer evening, here are a few of your thoughts on the correlation between slower cycling speeds (brought on by the temperatures or just purely through choice) and more aggressive, MGIF-style close passes.

PRSboy agreed with Guardian journalist Peter Walker’s suggestion that a drop in pace on the bike can result in a more frightening cycling experience, though one that may be influenced by the relative speed of the passing cars.

“I cycled one of my regular loops with a friend a while ago, who very much likes to trundle along and chat,” they wrote. “The result was that we were doing 20-25kmh than my usual 30-40kmh along a flat A-road section, and I felt genuinely scared in comparison. 

“Passes did feel more close, possibly, but more than that I think I noticed the relative speeds as cars doing the same speed were effectively passing 10-15 mph quicker.”

vthejk criticised the pigeon-holing’ description of faster cycle commuters as “lycra-clad”, writing: “One of the reasons I hate the 'lycra-clad' narrative is that it's ALWAYS eventually weaponised to pigeonhole all people who chose to wear active clothing when cycling. Someone wearing lycra is immediately the more confident, or the more fit, or the more recreational or casual.

“In reality, the only reason I wear lycra is because I sweat a lot on even a moderately paced commute and it dries easier.

“I wonder if this pigeonholing has resulted in the sentiments expressed above - people starting cycling in civvies, then are forced to ride faster to feel safer near fast-moving motor traffic, then find that civvies are uncomfortable and sweaty, then end up riding in lycra, then get abused for being 'lycra-clad'?

“Perhaps this is just conjecture, but it certainly doesn't seem like an unreasonable narrative.”

Fursty Ferret, meanwhile, pondered whether there was another reason behind instances of aggressive driving on the roads: “The aggressive overtakes are little to do with lower speeds and all related to the anger that builds in someone who's in a metal box in 40 degree temperatures with no air conditioning.

“Same aggression obvious on the motorway yesterday.”

BalladOfStruth, who also noticed an uptick in the number of close passes at a slower pace yesterday, agreed: “I'm also one of the types that just goes as hard as I can when commuting to try and keep up with traffic. My commute is only a little over five miles and hovers around 5 percent gradient most of the way home. I sit at around 22mph the whole way and I generally don't get overtaken that much.

“I took it a bit easier yesterday did notice a lot more shitty overtakes – though… I'm not sure how much of this is due to me going a bit slower and how much is because all of the drivers are sleep-deprived, over-heated, agitated and angry before you put them in their car and make them deal with all of the frustrations of day-to-day urban driving.”

19 July 2022, 16:35
‘Marc Soler, you’re my hero’

Setting to one side – very briefly – concerns about the rider’s health, Soler’s unwavering (and somewhat unnecessary) dedication to the cause at this year’s Tour de France has surely put to bed memories of that infamous earpiece-removing, car ceiling punching incident at Movistar… 

But in all seriousness – what were UAE thinking letting him continue to the finish?

19 July 2022, 15:56
Should cyclists leave the same passing distance for pedestrians as they expect from motorists?

Over on the forum, there’s been a bit of a debate about the oft-discussed relationship between cyclists and pedestrians, after a 69-year-old walker asked for our readers’ views on how bike riders treat pedestrians.

The post reads:

First of all, I want everyone to understand I have no gripe against cyclists.

However, locally there is a pedestrian/cycle path. The cyclists take delight in zooming past pedestrians as close and as fast as possible. So, weeks ago a cyclist ran into me, bruised my back, swore at me and accused me of ‘being all over the place’. I asked why he did not warn me by using his bell. Instead of replying, he rode off.

I have asked the local council to consider having demarcation lines: one side for pedestrians, one side for cyclists. So far there has been no response.

What is your view on this? I feel there will be more accidents, maybe even a fatality.

Car drivers have to give cyclists a metre and a half passing room, how about the same for cyclists to give pedestrians?

What do you think? Are some cyclists guilty of treating pedestrians on shared use paths in the same manner that they deplore when it comes to motorists? Is it, again, down to infrastructure, and the lack of proper segregated walking and cycling spaces?

Let us know by leaving your thoughts on the forum.

19 July 2022, 14:53
Hugo Houle celebrates winning stage 16 of the 2022 Tour de France (GCN)
“This one is for my brother”: Emotional Hugo the victor, as Pogačar attacks on first day in the Pyrenees

Hugo Houle took a poignant victory on stage 16 of the Tour de France in Foix, the first Canadian win at the race for 34 years.

The Israel-Premier Tech rider soloed away with around 40 kilometres of the stage remaining, and held off a chase on the Mur de Péguère from Movistar’s Matteo Jorgenson, who had Houle’s teammate and fellow Canadian Michael Woods attached to his back wheel like an anchor.

Jorgenson’s crash on the descent into Foix ultimately sealed the deal, but in the end the 31-year-old – riding to the first road race victory of his career – was just too strong and deserved every inch of his win.

As he crossed the line in Foix, Houle pointed to the sky in memory of his late brother Pierrick, who was killed ten years ago by a drunk driver while out running.

Hugo, who went in search of Pierrick after the 19-year-old failed to return home from his run, found his brother at the side of the road. The drunk driver, who according to cycling journalist Thijs Zonneveld was tracked down by Hugo himself, was sentenced to eleven months in prison.

As he was swarmed by photographers and well-wishers at the finish, an emotional Houle grabbed the cross around his neck and told the cameras: “This one is for my brother”.

Hugo Houle wins stage 16 of the 2022 Tour de France (GCN)

While the unheralded Houle’s victory, the second of the Tour for his equally unfancied Israel-Premier Tech team, will undoubtedly go down as one of the stories of the 2022 race, behind we were treated to an amuse bouche of GC action before the two main courses to come on Wednesday and Thursday.

Following Tadej Pogačar’s pyrotechnics on the Port de Lers, UAE Team Emirates’ plan for the Péguère was derailed by an untimely mechanical for pace setter Rafał Majka, who almost took out his team leader when his chain snapped, lurching him sideways across the road.

Jumbo-Visma’s Sepp Kuss then stepped up to resume order – which in the American’s case means blowing almost all of the GC favourites out of the water. Apart from the top two, Pogačar and Vingegaard, as well as an impressive Nairo Quintana, all of the other overall contenders suffered on the final climb, though Geraint Thomas and David Gaudu managed to regain contact on the descent into town.

The big loser of the day, however, was Romain Bardet, who confirmed his shaky legs in Mende by losing over three and a half minutes after twice being dropped, slipping from fourth to ninth on GC.

While the top ten saw something of a shake up, the story of stage 16 of the 2022 Tour de France will forever belong to Hugo Houle.

19 July 2022, 14:14
Extreme journalistic protocol enforced

With the race heating up on the road, temperatures are also high in the press room, where the Tour’s journalists have resorted to working outside:

Who’d write about cycling, eh? (He says, happy for the only time this July that he’s watching the Tour from his spare room/office.)

19 July 2022, 14:10
Pogacar and Vingegaard, stage 16 2022 Tour de France (GCN)
It’s happening… Pogačar attacks on penultimate climb

He said he would attack on every climb, didn’t he?

Well, Tadej Pogačar wasn’t bluffing, as the Slovenian launched his first stinging acceleration of the day two kilometres from the top of the Port de Lers, over 50 kilometres from the finish in Foix.

After tenth-placed Enric Mas went up the road earlier in the climb, Pogačar’s dig blew the GC group to pieces. While the defending champion’s attack immediately put Romain Bardet in trouble, with the French DSM rider crossing the summit over 30 seconds down, Jonas Vingegaard – as ever – remained glued to his rival’s back wheel.

Pogačar sprinted once again over the top of the Port de Lers, though Jumbo-Visma, aided by  Nathan Van Hooydonck dropping back from the break, appear to have regained control on the descent into the foot of the Mur de Péguère – where Pog will almost certainly attack again.

Get your popcorn at the ready…

19 July 2022, 13:32
Warnock’s warm weather cycling tips

Need some advice on how to stay cool while out on your bike during the heatwave?

Well, never fear, as everyone’s favourite pedalling football manager Neil Warnock (sorry, Roberto) is on hand to offer his own tried and trusted tips:

“Stay healthy”? Colin will be getting a job in the government at this rate…

19 July 2022, 12:58
Marc Soler, stage 16 2022 Tour de France (GCN)
Sick Soler suffers in the sun

Just when Tadej Pogačar thought that the tables had finally turned at this year’s Tour de France following Jumbo-Visma’s troubles on the road to Carcassonne on Sunday, his UAE Team Emirates squad is once again on the ropes today, before a single Pyrenean climb has been reached.

Netflix documentary star Marc Soler, who has looked very impressive riding in support of Pogačar, is currently suffering with a stomach bug.

After visiting the medical car, where he was seen vomiting on his bike, the Catalan climber is now riding alone just ahead of the broomwagon, over three and a half minutes behind the peloton, and is looking increasingly forlorn.

Reporting on the race from a motorbike for Eurosport, Alberto Contador said: “He’s really struggling today. He looks as though he’s completely spent. He’s totally isolated. I think he might abandon today as he’s struggling so much.

“But he’s such an important rider for Tadej Pogačar. It’s a bad day for UAE. But it just looks like he doesn’t have any energy.”

We’ll keep you posted on Soler’s lonely progress, or lack thereof, over the next 80 kilometres.

19 July 2022, 12:44
It’s back, back again… Unfortunately, we probably won’t see the dropper post deployed on the descent into Foix today, as Matej failed to make the break of the day
19 July 2022, 12:02
Mark Cavendish 2011 Specialized McLaren Venge
Is Mark Cavendish’s Tour stage winning bike for sale on eBay?

Got a spare fifteen grand and fancy a piece of Tour de France history? Well, you’re in luck (maybe).

Mark Cavendish’s Specialized S-Works McLaren Venge, ridden by the then-HTC sprinter to five stage wins and the green jersey at the 2011 Tour de France, appears to be for sale for that not so measly sum on eBay.

Cavendish 2011 bike - eBay

While the set up and colour scheme (not forgetting the ‘Mark Cavendish’ sticker on the top tube) certainly resemble Cav’s 2011 rig, it’s always hard to tell with these things.

I think I’ll just stick to the bottles I pinched from the feet of an old granny in Yorkshire in 2014…

19 July 2022, 11:45
Mountain bikers, look away now…

I wonder what our colleagues over at make of this?

19 July 2022, 11:37
30mph sign (licensed CC BY 2.0 on Flickr by Michael Coghlan)
Police and crime commissioner broke speed limit five times in 12 weeks – after pledging to crack down on speeding

As they say on the internet, life comes at you fast… especially if you’re speeding in a car.

Well, that certainly proved the case for Caroline Henry, Nottinghamshire’s Conservative police and crime commissioner, who pledged to crack down on speeding in the county but who has since been handed a six-month driving ban for driving over the 30mph speed limit five times in less than three months.

The BBC reports that Henry, who was elected to her role in May 2021, was caught speeding at four different locations between March and June 2021 (including twice near a primary school in Daybrook), while driving a Mercedes and a Lexus with a personalised number plate.

The 52-year-old – whose official PCC website pledges to ensure “an efficient and effective response” to “issues of greatest community concern, including anti-social behaviour, speeding and rural crime” – admitted to the offences at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court and was handed a £2,450 fine in addition to her ban.

District judge Leo Pyle said Henry’s offences showed “that you are driving at consistent speeds above the speed limits.

“What I haven't been told is why. Whether that was due to work or during your private time, you must allow time to get to your destination safely.

“Speed limit [cameras] are sited... not at places where they can issue maximum amounts in fines, but for safety reasons.”

Pyle rejected the commissioner’s application to keep her driving licence due to “exceptional hardship”, after Henry claimed that she would not be able to visit her child in hospital in Salisbury by public transport.

The judge said that while it would be an “inconvenience”, Henry’s husband, Broxtowe MP Darren Henry, would be able to “facilitate” the visits.

Conservative politician Henry was named “Britain’s most expensive MP” earlier this year after topping the Westminster expenses list, with claims totalling over £280,000 in 2021.

Speaking outside court after being sentenced, Henry resisted calls to resign from her role as police and crime commissioner, saying: “I'm truly sorry for speeding.

“Quite properly I've been fined and banned from driving for six months.

“I remain committed to serving the people of Nottinghamshire as police and crime commissioner.”

19 July 2022, 10:39
Tour de France GC, Cann Table style

As the riders roll out from the start of stage 16 in Carcassonne, here’s a nice Twitter thread from’s Simon on the Tour de France GC visually represented in the style of the ‘Cann Table’.

The Cann Table, or Visual League Table, is a method of displaying data in which the distance between teams or riders is also presented, and was pioneered by Simon’s late friend and fellow Arsenal fan, Jenny Cann.

Cofidis sprinter Max Walscheid also failed to start today’s stage to Foix after contracting Covid, while perennial breakaway favourite Lennard Kämna due to a persistent cold.

19 July 2022, 10:14
AG2R Citroën confirms Cherel and Paret-Peintre out of Tour with Covid

They kept us waiting for a while – almost 24 hours, in fact, after it was announced that two anonymous riders had tested positive for Covid during the Tour’s rest day checks, but this morning AG2R Citroën confirmed that their riders, Mikaël Cherel and Aurélien Paret-Peintre, will not start today’s stage following discussions with the race’s medical team.

It’s a disappointing end to an underwhelming Tour for 26-year-old Paret-Peintre, who was targeting a decent GC result but slid down the standings after a torrid few days in the Alps.

The French team also confirmed that the rest of the team’s riding and support staff tested negative for the virus and will continue at the race.

19 July 2022, 09:46
Tour de France enters its final act: The Pyrenees beckon… and possible ambushes, and echelons…
2022 TdF Stage 16 profile

With the third rest day of the 2022 Tour de France in the bag – with enough images of pro cyclists frolicking in swimming pools and rivers to last a lifetime – the peloton sets out from Carcassonne this morning with the Pyrenees, the fifth and final mountain range of this year’s race, on the horizon.

While Wednesday and Thursday’s summit finishes on Peyragudes and Hautacam dominated the pre-Tour discussion, today’s stage to Foix, featuring the Cat One Port de Lers and Mur de Péguère (the scene of a tack-infested sabotage attempt at the 2012 race), provides ample scope for any GC favourites looking to take part in an ambush of their own.

With Jumbo-Visma severely depleted after a disastrous pre-rest day stage to Carcassonne, which saw Primož Roglič fail to start, Steven Kruijswijk crash out with a suspected broken collarbone, and Tiesj Benoot and yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard also hit the deck, defending champion Tadej Pogačar may look to immediately claw back some of his 2.22 deficit to the confident Dane before the race’s final two mountain show pieces.

The Slovenian has vowed to attack at every opportunity to dislodge Vingegaard – so why not on the steep slopes of the Péguère?

Geraint Thomas at 2022 Tour de France (Copyright A.S.O., Charly Lopez)

Perhaps the Ineos Grenadiers, still boasting three riders in the top ten, will join forces with UAE Team Emirates and take the race to a Jumbo-Visma team still licking their wounds? Some, however, aren’t convinced of the British team’s ability to spring a tactical surprise in the Pyrenees:

While all eyes are focused skywards on the daunting climbs to come, Pyrenean specialist, tactical ambusher extraordinaire, and perpetual optimist Dan Martin reckons the wind could play a part in shaping the start of today’s stage:

Or maybe the peloton will just take another rest day and let the breakaway fight it out for the stage? 

19 July 2022, 08:55
The ‘Evil Cycle Lobby’ strikes again

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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