A group of residents opposed to Toronto’s dedicated cycling infrastructure, which they believe endangers pedestrians and cyclists as well as increasing congestion, have come up with a new way of voicing their displeasure: by blocking one of the Canadian city’s protected bike lane and forcing cyclists out into traffic.
There’s a group of bike lane protesters pushing cyclists into traffic at Yonge & Roxborough. pic.twitter.com/3JD6yD1iEG
— Deborah Reid (@dreid63) June 1, 2023
This clip, filmed on Yonge Street – the site of a controversial protected cycle lane – shows protesters standing on the entrance to the segregated portion of the lane, while others hold up signs saying ‘Move the bike lanes’ and ‘Yonge 4 All should include us too’, a reference to a residents’ group which aims to make the street “welcoming, safe, and accessible for people of all ages and abilities” by encouraging more locals to walk, cycle, and visit the area.
The protest, unsurprisingly, was heavily criticised on Twitter, with a number of cyclists noting the “entitlement” of those blocking the cycle lane, while another wrote: “Of all the things to protest… bike lanes?”
Nevertheless, the Yonge Street bike lane has become a focal point for protesters, especially in the lead up to this month’s Toronto mayoral by-election, sparked by the resignation of John Tory, who prioritised adding 100km of bike lanes in and around the city by the end of 2024.
A group called Keep Toronto Moving claims that “a significant proportion of Toronto residents report being negatively affected by the increase in dedicated bike lanes”, a claim debunked by data released by the city which shows that bike lane usage has increased dramatically, with little effect on congestion in the city.
Another similar group, the snappily titled BeRationalTO, opposed the city’s decision to make the Yonge Street bike lane permanent, and claimed that it was hindering emergency services.
“Ill-conceived bike lanes endanger cyclists and pedestrians. They hurt retailers and restaurants. They transform once-quiet residential streets into congested feeder routes between major thoroughfares, which themselves become gridlocked no-go zones,” the group says on its website.
— Ben Wedge (@benwedge) April 26, 2023
However, Toronto-based cycling advocate Robin Richardson reckons the furious opposition to the city’s bike lanes is merely a symbol for some locals who are “uncomfortable with change”.
“Toronto has spent decades prioritizing motor vehicle travel, and as a result most people think of driving as the default and believe ‘roads should be for cars.’ But as the city grows, with more people living close to downtown, many residents do not own cars,” he told the Canadian Cycling Magazine.
“That means choosing instead to walk, cycle, or take transit to get where they need to go. Everyone should be proud of the progress Toronto has made in its bike lane expansion initiatives.”
Despite Richardson’s argument that everyone should be proud of the city’s new infrastructure, one mayoral candidate, Anthony Furey, has even made removing all bike lanes on Toronto’s major roads a key part of his campaign.
Today I announced that if I’m elected Mayor of Toronto there will be no more bike lanes on major roads and we will tear up the dedicated lanes on University Avenue to not slow down access to hospitals.https://t.co/PkCrbBHePX pic.twitter.com/qbiJNAvwsj
— Anthony Furey (@anthonyfurey) April 20, 2023
Furey’s claims about blocking access to hospitals were again criticised by local cyclists, with one writing: “With hundreds of health care workers (from nurses to technicians to doctors to medical students plus patients) utilizing the protected cycling infrastructure… this is why, on top a number of other reasons, that you will not be elected the Mayor of Toronto.”
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, our very own CyclingMikey was on hand with an altogether more succinct summary of the prospective mayor’s approach to bike lanes: ““I’m from the Netherlands and you’re as dumb as a rock.”
Well, it wouldn’t be a live blog post without mentioning Mikey, would it?
What do you mean? That makes perfect sense…
Anyway, that’s us for another sunny week on the live blog. Enjoy the weekend everyone, I’ll be back on Monday (depending on the FA Cup final result, of course).
The mid-season sponsor merry-go-round continue apace, as French squad Arkéa Samsic, the home of Warren Barguil, Dan McLay, and Nacer Bouhanni, today confirmed the arrival of new title sponsor, B&B Hotels, for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
As regular readers of the blog will know, B&B Hotel’s involvement in pro cycling came to an abrupt halt at the end of last year, when their eponymous team collapsed following manager Jérôme Pineau’s prolonged and ill-fated attempt to secure more substantial backing from other sources.
Despite the budget hotel chain making it clear that it was happy to continue investing in the squad, which had provisionally added Mark Cavendish and Audrey Cordon-Ragot to its books, Pineau allegedly refused to meet with the sponsor as his unwieldy house of cards unceremoniously collapsed.
Warren Barguil climbs Monte Lussari during stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d’Italia (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)
“We are extremely proud to embark on this new sporting adventure, which is obvious to us,” B&B Hotel’s manager for western Europe Vincent Quandalle, said in a statement today.
“At the end of last year, we were saddened by the unexpected end of the cycling team we sponsored. The team did not find the additional sponsors it was hoping for to finance its ambitions, and we could not assume them alone.
“But this experience convinced us of all that cycling, a very popular sport, can bring us in terms of notoriety, image, and emotions. It was therefore obvious for us to embark on a new adventure.”
Arkéa’s general manager Emmanuel Hubert added: “The signing of our new title partner with B&B Hotels, from January 1, 2024, until the end of 2025, allows us to take an additional step with the objective of placing ourselves among the elite of professional cycling for men and women in the long term.
“Today, the best teams leave their mark on men’s and women’s cycling just as much. This is why the arrival of B&B Hotels, an already recognised partner of cycling and whose ties are Breton, will offer the opportunity to our sportsmen and women to progress with the aim of bringing them even more to the top level, which I always wanted.”
Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda here, channelling his inner Vincenzo Nibali and Caleb Ewan with a very aero, and perfectly UCI-legal, tuck during his recce of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 1, 2023
And, before you ask, yes, I know F1 drivers are now banned from riding their bikes during track walks, but it appears that Tsunoda took his Basso for a spin outside of the regulated hours set by the FIA (I think. To be fair, it’s Formula One, I don’t really care enough to check if I’m honest…).
Anyway, it looks like cycling enthusiast and occasional motor racer Valtteri Bottas was also enjoying a few laps of the circuit last night, before focusing on the boring old day job in his car…
Bernard Rohloff, the legendary bike gearbox inventor and innovator, has sadly passed away at the age of 73.
The German pioneer, who had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease, died peacefully and unexpectedly on Friday 19 May.
Bernard and Barbara Rohloff established Rohloff GmbH in 1986, along with patenting the S-L-T 99 chain, used by Greg LeMond four years later during his third and final Tour de France win. A decade later, he invented the ground-breaking 14 speed Rohloff Speedhub 500/14 planetary gear hub, eventually released in 1998.
“I will miss Bernie, he was such a humble and pleasant person,” Lloyd Townsend, MD of Ison Distribution, Rohloff’s UK Distributor, said.
“His engineering genius produced the World’s most respected internal gear hub. We are proud to have worked with Bernie for more than two decades and send our sincere condolences to all of the family and great folks at Rohloff who will continue Bernie’s great engineering legacy.”
Speaking of Primož Roglič, the leading American epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding (featured on yesterday’s blog), who erroneously and rather bafflingly tweeted that the Slovenian had bludgeoned his way to victory on Monte Lussari last weekend while wearing a mask, has finally admitted that he may have been wrong to make such a sweeping claim based on a few pre- and post-race photographs:
2) I stand corrected on a post yesterday. Though he did wear a mask just before the start of many races. pic.twitter.com/Ow63ZeJibM
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) June 1, 2023
World champion Remco Evenepoel will return to racing next weekend at the Tour de Suisse, less than a month after pulling out of the Giro d’Italia while wearing the pink jersey due to a positive Covid-19 test.
According to a statement released by his Soudal-Quick Step team this morning, the 23-year-old – who also won two time trial stages of the Giro before his untimely abandon – will make his comeback at the prestigious Swiss stage race, which is bookended by two Remco-favouring efforts against the clock, before defending his Belgian national time trial title three days later.
Evenepoel will also aim to add a national road race title to his growing collection, before heading to a two-week altitude camp at Val di Fassa, which will provide the base for his defence of his rainbow bands in Glasgow in August.
“It has been quite the challenge to see a pathway through the rest of my season. We know that my main goal of this year was the Giro d’Italia and what happened was really unfortunate, so it was important to plan the right path with the team management. I think to begin in Suisse is the perfect start, and it allows me to revisit a race where I have good memories from my time trial win last year,” the 2022 Vuelta winner said.
“Hopefully I can take some good legs from there to the Belgian Championships, to defend my TT title and to see what I can do in the road race. And then I can spend some weeks at altitude in the beautiful area around Val di Fassa. I have really enjoyed training there before and it is a stunning place to visit, with the advantages that being at altitude give, and it’s a great place to start looking forwards to the World Championships.”
While Evenepoel and Soudal-Quick Step are busy finalising their plans for the next few months, one rider due a break is the Belgian’s brief Giro rival Primož Roglič, following his dramatic snatching of the pink jersey off the shoulders of Geraint Thomas last weekend.
While earlier this week the Slovenian himself was coy about his prospects of lining up in Bilbao at the start of next month’s Tour de France, ostensibly in support of 2022 winner Jonas Vingegaard, Jumbo-Visma DS Merijn Zeeman has ruled out the prospect of the Giro champion being deployed as a super domestique on the roads of France.
“We have other plans,” Zeeman told Dutch talkshow OP1. “But in the end, one thing in cycling is very important to know: he has been on the road with the team for four months non-stop, with a few days at home now and then.
“That is the basis for a top performance, but you also need the same period [of preparation] for the Tour. It is very tempting to think that he can now also be the same in the Tour, but the level at the top of the sport is very hard. This is the result of a very long process, but you also need such a process for a good Tour or Vuelta.”
road.cc editor Jack sat down with pedalling DJ Dom Whiting as he prepares for another takeover of London’s roads this weekend. Just don’t tell Tony Blackburn…
It’s been a rough year for the struggling British domestic racing scene, with teams folding, big events such as the Women’s Tour forced into postponements, and GB’s much-vaunted U23 programme now subject to substantial cuts.
However, despite all the doom and gloom surrounding the sport at the moment, reports are beginning to emerge that the biggest race of them all could be set for a return to the UK in the next few years.
According to Radio Cycling, the new podcast hosted by Jeremy Whittle, Chris Marshall-Bell, and Peter Cossins, the team behind the UK’s bid – which was formally launched back in early 2022 – is “confident” that the 2026 Tour de France will get underway in Britain, in what would be the country’s third Grand Départ in two decades.
In October 2021, we reported that then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak set aside £30 million to support plans to stage the start of cycling’s biggest race, though it’s all gone fairly quiet on the bid front since then.
The Yorkshire crowds were out in force for the 2014 race
The proposed 2026 Tour de France visit to the UK would include stages in England, Scotland, and Wales, and feature an Edinburgh Grand Départ and, Radio Cycling says, a “showstopping, blockbuster” stage in Wales, which ASO chief Christian Prudhomme has reportedly visited.
The podcast also reports that, while there were initial concerns over the logistics of focusing the stages away from the southeast of England, Prudhomme has apparently been convinced that a return to France from Cardiff would be suitable, following the similar distances travelled after last year’s Grand Départ in Denmark.
Radio Cycling also claimed that there have been “very positive” discussions between ASO and the UK bid, with Prudhomme continuing to herald the 2014 start in Yorkshire as a “benchmark” for Tour opening weekends.
Vincenzo Nibali wins stage two of the 2014 Tour in Sheffield
As we reported last year, a cross-border bid from Ireland, following Belfast’s hosting of the Giro back in 2014, is also hoping to stage the race either in 2026 or 2027, though apparently the Irish and Northern Irish team says that it “wouldn’t see ourselves competing directly with them [the UK bid] at all”.
That cross-border bid to host the Tour in Ireland, however, has been criticised by groups such as Cycling UK, who called the attempt to stage the race as “baffling” when everyday road safety policy in Northern Ireland is still putting cyclists “at risk” and omits recent Highway Code changes.
Similarly, Transport for London (TfL) pulled the plug at the last minute on its bid to host the start of the 2017 edition of the race, following the success of London in 2007 and Yorkshire in 2014, on the orders of then Mayor Boris Johnson, who said the £35 million cost would be better spent on cycling infrastructure in the capital.
Nevertheless, it seems that the UK team is confident that the 2026 Tour de France will grace British shores, though we’ll have to wait until early next year before we can start searching in the roof space for that yellow bunting…
Six days to go… until we can all start complaining about what was left out, what wasn’t explained right, and why cycling was so much cooler before all the Netflix Johnny-come-latelys joined the fun…
Here’s your trailer for Tour de France: Unchained – from the producers of Drive to Survive – coming 8 June! pic.twitter.com/S7F7szGP8m
— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) June 2, 2023
Or, before we watch one episode and then get distracted by all the, you know, actual racing going on next week:
— Belinda (@reallyspoketome) June 2, 2023
In any case, nothing will ever beat Movistar’s three-series soap opera The Least Expected Day in my book. Pure poetry…
Just days after Lidl announced that it will be taking over as title sponsor of Trek-Segafredo in time for next month’s Tour de France, one of its main competitors, Jumbo, has confirmed that it is ending its involvement in sport, in the midst of an investigation into money laundering and fraud at the Dutch supermarket chain.
The decision means that the company’s sponsorship of the Jumbo-Visma men’s and women’s cycling teams, fresh from Primož Roglič’s Giro d’Italia triumph at the weekend, as well as its skating squad, will not be renewed beyond the end of its current contract, which runs until the end of 2024.
However, according to AD, Jumbo has indicated that they will be happy to step aside a year earlier than planned if a new title sponsor can be found in time for next season.
Jumbo’s decade-long partnership with double F1 world champion Max Verstappen will also come to an end this year, as part of new CEO Ton van Veen’s aim to withdraw from sports sponsorship altogether, as a criminal investigation into the company’s role in motorsport continues.
Last September, we reported that the house of Jumbo’s CEO, Frits van Eerd, was raided by Dutch police and the Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD) as part of an investigation into money laundering and fraud, revolving around, among other things, sponsorship contracts in motorsport.
Van Eerd, whose father Karel van Eerd – Jumbo’s founder – died in December, stepped down from his role as CEO soon after his arrest and remains under investigation.
In March, Jumbo – whose famous yellow and black colours have graced the peloton since 2014, when the chain stepped into sponsor the disgraced team formerly known as Rabobank – confirmed that it had launched a review into its investment into sport.
In his first interview since his appointment, new CEO Van Veen told AD today: “We want nothing to do with motorsport and the allegations. With Max Verstappen and Jumbo-Visma we are stopping for a completely different reason. That sponsorship has brought us a lot of brand awareness, but we have now won everything there is to win.”
🤯 WHO WANTS ONE?!!! 😍 IT’S GRASS CUTTING SEASON!!! ✂️👏🙌🤣🤣
TAG a friend that would definitely do this?! 🤔
Who’s going to make one now?! 🙋♂️🙋♀️
— TotalMTB CIC - Mental Health💚 (@TotalMTB_) June 1, 2023
Well, that’s one way of getting the miles in while ticking off some jobs around the house. Which reminds me, I’m a bit behind on both of those things…
Ryan joined road.cc 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.