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Tack attack on Tour de France climb; Pogačar takes third Tour stage win – but can’t shake Vingegaard; New Highway Code going well… Turning driver takes out cyclist at junction; Crypto-badgers: Bernard Hinault joins the NFT game + more on the live blog

With Paris looming on the horizon, Ryan Mallon is steeling himself for two tough and dramatic days in the Pyrenees… while keeping you up to date on Wednesday’s live blog, of course

SUMMARY

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20 July 2022, 17:12
“The infrastructure almost guaranteed such an incident”: Left turn driver reaction

There have been a few interesting takes (that’s what we’re here for!) on this morning’s clip, which showed a left turning van driver colliding with a cyclist who had been riding in the adjacent bike lane.

Not everyone, for instance, believed that the motorist was entirely to blame for the incident.

ShutTheFrontDawes wrote: “I realise this will come across as victim blaming, and of course the van driver was predominantly at fault in that clip, but did the cyclist have their eyes shut or something? Reacting to the indicator on and slowing down a bit would have prevented that collision. We can't go around expecting other humans to be infallible superheroes and must all take responsibility for our own safety.”

Though not everybody was as generous to the van driver.

“So, looking in mirrors etc and obeying the Highway Code is being an infallible superhero?” brooksby asked. “That is a really low bar you've set...”

AidanR agreed: “I think that it's obvious to us, as we are viewing the video knowing what's going to happen. But the van only indicated for about two seconds before turning. I'd like to think I'd have avoided that collision, but if I'd been looking anywhere other than the van's indicators then maybe I'd have been knocked off too.”

road.cc’s Simon, meanwhile, noted that drivers around his neck of the woods in west London “seem to have gone from 'mirror-signal-manoeuvre' to 'mirror-start manoeuvre-and oh, better signal while I'm at it'” – though some even thought that was being too kind!

Others pointed out that while the van driver may have been “going through the motions”, and questioned how the cyclist could have ridden defensively to prevent the incident, the rider could also have been in the motorist’s blind spot for an extended period of time – and therefore could have been more aware of this situation and dealt with it earlier by either speeding up or slowing down.

While most of our readers spent the day debating the driver’s actions and the cyclist’s positioning, IanMSpencer agued that the collision was a result of poor infrastructure rather than mere human error.

“The reality is that the infrastructure almost guaranteed such an incident,” they wrote. “A cyclist is in a protected zone, which actually is not protecting them much because cycling in a straight line on a straight road is pretty low risk, it is not just a lane but separated by large chunks of kerbs which encourages riding in a way where traffic can be ignored and then at the point where the risk increases massively the infrastructure disappears – vanishes, no road markings at all. There is no give way marking, no continued unprotected cycle lane, just an implicit merge.

“The cycle lane makes it worse, because the ideal cycling position though that junction is primary, inserted within the line of traffic, which you would do well before the junction, where there is a veritable brick wall.

“So, the designer of that cycling infrastructure has caused that incident, rather than protected the cyclist.”

Owd Bid ‘Ead was even blunter, writing: “Let's not beat around the bush. Another example of shite infrastructure.

“White lines along with the odd central refuge or two and according to whichever politician you listen to is world leading infrastructure.

“Utter horseshit!

“It's not difficult, our European neighbours manage it, build proper, segregated infrastructure that anyone, from a lycra-clad Bradley Wiggins wannabe through to octogenarian Doris on her sit up and beg bike can use.”

20 July 2022, 16:35
LEJOG on a Brompton
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Albion (@albion.cycling)

Watch out Mikkel Bjerg, your ‘ride of the day’ crown may be slipping…

20 July 2022, 16:28
The other side of the Tour

While Jonas and Tadej continue to awe us, half an hour behind the battle for yellow another race rages on.

Let’s face it, this year’s race hasn’t been a great Tour for the sprinters.

Left with little to fight for except the promise of a cobbled road to sprint immortality on Sunday, the last thing the fast men needed today, after climbing four Pyrenean mountains, was a whacking great 16 percent ramp to the finish.

Fabio Jakobsen, cheered on by his teammates, summed up the pain and misery of life as a Tour sprinter in the early 2020s as he winched his way to the finish, just 17 seconds inside the time limit.

Same again tomorrow, eh Fabio?

20 July 2022, 14:57
Pogacar wins stage 17 of 2022 Tour de France (GCN)
Tour de France: Pogačar takes third stage win – but fails to dislodge yellow shadow Vingegaard

On the long, steep runway in Peyragudes, Tadej Pogačar did what Tadej Pogačar does best.

At the top of the kind of final kilometre tailor made for the Slovenian superstar, Pogačar took his third stage win of the 2022 Tour, and in doing so continued a remarkable run of securing a hattrick of stages in every grand tour he’s ever entered, stretching back to his debut Vuelta a España in 2019.

However, as Pogačar stretched his arms aloft at the summit this afternoon, a quick glance at his back wheel would have revealed the yellow shadow that has calmly followed him around France since spectacularly disappearing out of sight on the Col du Granon last week.

For all of the defending champion’s ferocity in those final few hundred metres, Jonas Vingegaard continues to barely flinch.

2022 Tour de France, stage 17 (A.S.O. Charly Lopez)

A.S.O., Charly Lopez

Not that UAE Team Emirates didn’t try. Reduced to just three domestiques following the disastrous loss of key lieutenants Marc Soler and Rafa Majka during the last 24 hours, and carrying a passenger in the under-par Marc Hirschi, Pogačar’s team – namely Mikkel Bjerg and Brandon McNulty – put in their finest performance of the Tour, blowing the race apart.

Bjerg, a time triallist formerly susceptible to nose bleeds on the high altitude passes of the Pyrenees, put in a revelatory ride on the Hourquette d’Ancizan, distancing the Ineos Grenadiers duo of Tom Pidcock and Adam Yates, while firmly putting Jumbo-Visma – the restored superpower of the 2022 Tour – firmly on the back foot.

McNulty, a confirmed climber compared to flat lander Bjerg, continued his teammate’s good work on the Cat One Val Louron-Azet, and in the process tore the Tour de France field to shreds. Gaudu, Quintana, and then Thomas – all dropped under the unflustered American’s relentless pressure.

Even more importantly, Wout van Aert and Sepp Kuss, Vingegaard’s hitherto machine-like domestiques, also slid out the back door.

By the top of the penultimate climb, the tables had turned at the Tour de France. And when Pogačar accelerated over the top of the Azet, the writing looked on the wall for a frantic showdown on the Peyresourde.

2022 Tour de France, stage 17 (A.S.O., Charly Lopez)

A.S.O., Charly Lopez

The expected attacks, however, never came.

Instead, Pogačar, mouth agape, his trademark tuft somehow more a symbol of ragged desperation than youthful exuberance on this occasion, appeared content to let McNulty maintain his steady, brutal pace. Or maybe that was all he could manage.

Vingegaard, on the other hand, looked completely unmoved by UAE’s 60 kilometres of aggression and sat serenely, as ever, on his closest rival’s wheel.

On that final, savage 16 percent slope up to the runway at Peyragudes, Pogačar made his move.

But it wasn’t the usual, violent acceleration we’ve come to expect from the Slovenian during the last three years, but a slow, almost lethargic upping of the pace.

Vingegaard, smelling blood, kicked hard. But Tadej Pogačar doesn’t go down that easily – the 23-year-old clawed his way back up to and past his Danish rival who, it seems, remains happy to play the Slovenian’s yellow shadow.

As ever with cycling, a sport where minute details are scrutinised for days, there are two schools of thought already circulating around that last 500 metres. First, David Millar, commentating for ITV4, argued that Pogačar’s sluggish acceleration at the foot of the final slope was a bluff – the UAE Team Emirates rider, claimed Millar, was all in for the stage and tactically outwitted Vingegaard to win it.

GCN’s Dan Lloyd on the other hand argued that Pogačar was indeed on the edge – which would explain his unwillingness to attack for time up to Peyragudes – but his racing instinct and finishing kick enabled him to overhaul the Dane at the line.

2022 Tour de France, stage 17 (A.S.O. Pauline Ballet)

A.S.O., Pauline Ballet

It’s hard to believe that Pogačar has already given up hope in the yellow jersey race and is instead targeting stages, though it’s equally difficult to understand why he didn’t even give Vingegaard – who could have been on the brink of collapsing for all we know – even the slightest nudge before the final sprint.

Or maybe he’s just supremely confident of turning the race on its head tomorrow, after Bjerg and McNulty softened up Jumbo-Visma today.

Sure, it’s not like Pogačar to leave anything to the last minute, is it?

20 July 2022, 14:25
Councillor’s claim that cars are treated “as the enemy” dismissed as “gibberish”

A Conservative councillor who called on Bradford Council to “stop seeing cars as the enemy” and to adopt a car-centric approach when planning new road schemes has been criticised for speaking “incomprehensible gibberish” by an opponent.

The Telegraph and Argus reports that, at a council meeting last week, Debbie Davies claimed that plans to reduce traffic in the city, including pedestrianisation, cycle lane and public transport schemes, were being made at the expense of motorists.

 “For many people, car ownership is an aspiration or a necessity,” Davies said.

"However good public transport can be, it will never take you from door to door and you cannot use it to transport more equipment, shopping etc. than you can carry.

“People can’t rely on trains and buses due to strike action, unreliable services or cuts to services. Not everybody is confident about riding a bike on the roads or in all weathers and it’s difficult or impossible to carry children and pets.”

She then urged the council to “stop seeing cars as the enemy” and “instead think of all road users”.

“Car ownership is not going to go away,” she added. “People like the flexibility it provides. Cycling isn’t going to suit everyone.

“I propose we look at the way funding is allocated.”

Davies’ motion was – unsurprisingly – heavily criticised by her political opponents.

“The main problem motorists face is other motorists,” said Green Party councillor Kevin Warnes.

“We try and cram too many vehicles onto our roads. I’d also point out that a lot of car owners are also cyclists, and use public transport.”

The council’s executive for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, Alex Ross Shaw was even more scathing.

“When I saw the Conservative motion I thought it was a lot of gibberish,” he said. “After that presentation I’ll now update that to incomprehensible gibberish.

“This way of thinking is not even supported by your Conservative government. The Highway Code, hardly a leftist political document, gives pedestrians and cyclists top priority because they are the most vulnerable road users.

“You can’t talk about the highway network without acknowledging the huge impact of road safety.

“If you give all road space to cars you push off other users, and this flies in the face of what your own Government are looking for.”

20 July 2022, 13:47
Pinot GP

Fresh from stealing his teammate Sébastien Reichenbach’s Strava KOM on the Hourquette d’Ancizan, a rejuvenated Thibaut Pinot reminded us all about his occasionally less-than-confident descending skills with this Valentino Rossi-esque manoeuvre:

PS. Bjerg’s still going…

20 July 2022, 13:31
The Bjerg-inator

While his team may be cut in half due to illness and injury, UAE Team Emirates’ Mikkel Bjerg is certainly stepping up for his leader Tadej Pogačar.

The Danish time trial specialist is currently pulling his best Fabian Cancellara impersonation, laying down a ferocious pace on the second climb of the day, the Hourquette d’Ancizan. His heroic turn on the front has thinned out the group of GC favourites, dropping – with 50km to go – Adam Yates and Tom Pidcock, while putting David Gaudu in serious difficulty.

And he’s made a few fans along the way:

20 July 2022, 13:01
‘If you’re going to install cycling infrastructure, at least make it easy to spot’

This video, filmed in Hyde Park last week, manages to cover a few of road.cc’s favourite issues in one handy 50 second clip: the need for accessible and clearly marked cycling infrastructure, the (paradoxical, in some eyes) view that cyclists are not obliged to ride in available bike lanes, and the urge to always avoid angry taxi drivers.

In the clip, sent to us by road.cc reader Tim, a cyclist attempts to ride past a queue of vehicles as a taxi driver approaches in the other lane. The motorist, unhappy that the bike rider briefly nipped over the white line, then berates Tim, pointing out “the cycle lane over there. They spent millions of pounds on that. That takes you anywhere you want.”

“I should have [BLEEP] knocked him down,” the sweary driver continued. Classy.

“Not quite a close pass of the day, but [the incident] highlights that cyclists have no obligation to use cycle paths or lanes,” Tim told us.

“In this case, as I'd not been down that road on a bike before, it wasn't immediately obvious that there was a cycle path there, as there were no signs, no road markings, and no safe way to actually get onto it due to the raised kerb and oncoming traffic.

“If TfL or the Royal Parks are going to install cycling infrastructure, at least make it easy to spot, and easy to get on and off.

“Either way, never flip off a taxi driver.”

20 July 2022, 11:29
Another blow for Pogačar as Rafał Majka drops out with injury following chain snap incident

Tadej Pogačar’s bid to win the Tour de France has been dealt a further blow after his key mountain lieutenant, Polish climber Rafał Majka, was forced to abandon the race after sustaining muscle damage on the final climb of yesterday’s stage.

As he set the pace for Pogačar on the Mur de Péguère, Majka’s chain snapped, lurching his sideways and tearing his right quadricep.

“Majka sustained a strain injury to his thigh after some mechanical trouble on stage 16 when his chain broke,” said UAE Team Emirates’ doctor Adrian Rotunno.

“This resulted in a high-grade partial thickness tear of his right quadriceps muscle, and unfortunately due to the muscle damage is unable to ride.”

Majka’s withdrawal compounds UAE’s misery at this year’s Tour and leaves Pogačar with only three teammates – Mikkel Bjerg, Brandon McNulty and Marc Hirschi – ahead of two decisive days in the Pyrenees.

Vegard Stake Laengen and George Bennett were forced to abandon after testing positive for Covid earlier in the race, while an ill Marc Soler finished outside the time limit yesterday after vomiting and riding just ahead of the broom wagon for most of the stage to Foix.

20 July 2022, 10:38
Crytpo-Badgers: Peter Sagan and – checks notes – Bernard Hinault join the NFT game
Peter Sagan NFT

Deep down, we all knew it wouldn’t be long until three-time world champion Peter Sagan joined the blockchain with his own personal NFT collection.

After all, this is a man who has spent years trying to flog ski goggles to cycling fans.

So it was no surprise when Project Fuerza – the brainchild of cycling coach Hunter Allen, currently selling non-fungible power files from the likes of Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas – announced earlier this week that the Slovakian star would be the latest pro cyclist to ignore the cycling community’s general antipathy towards the environmentally damaging effects of the blockchain by becoming the latest face of the group’s “power and biometric data-inspired NFT art programme”.

Apparently, these digital images will incorporate both Sagan’s power data from key moments in his career and a number of styles, including pop-art and modern impressionism, as well as Batman-style graphics (“Pow!”). I wouldn’t expect anything less, really.

“I love how my Fuerza NFTs have each been able to capture not only some of my passions outside of cycling, but also blow me away with the creativity of taking my power data and turning it into art,” says Sagan of the pieces, the originals of which start from around $5,000.

“So many of my pieces are just so beautiful and I am excited to share these with my fans.”

While Sagan’s foray into NFTs is a no-brainer, Bernard Hinault’s venture into the crypto world is more of a head scratcher.

Nevertheless, the Badger – undoubtedly an expert in all things blockchain – has launched his own NFT collection based on his five Tour de France victories, designed by his friend and mononym artist Greg (presumably not LeMond, though it would be interesting to imagine what the American – who famously defecated in a box of postcards featuring Hinault’s face at the 1986 Tour – could do with the Badger’s NFTs…).

But the famously taciturn Hinault isn’t just selling cool drawings of his younger self – the lucky/well-heeled/foolish [delete as appropriate] fan who forks out £10,000 for the 1982 edition NFT also gets to spend a day with the feisty Breton, including a spin on the bike with one of the greatest cyclists of all time (you’ll have to make it to his house yourself, but that’s another matter).

The 1978 NFT gets you 15 minutes of Le Blaireau’s valuable time on Zoom, while 1979 comes with an autograph, for the princely sum of £600. Bargain.

It’s almost enough to make you ride headfirst into a line of striking shipyard workers and start throwing wild punches…

20 July 2022, 10:14
The Tour is the Tour…

If those were the rules, the Yates twins would never see Paris…

20 July 2022, 09:44
Tacks found near summit of Col d’Aubisque

Carpet tacks have been discovered near the summit of the Col d’Aubisque, set to be climbed by the Tour de France peloton tomorrow, in what appears to be an attempt to sabotage the race.

The tacks were discovered by Spanish cycling fan Iban at the beginning of the descent from the Aubisque, one of the Tour’s legendary climbs, to the Col du Soulor.

A number of spectators, camping out on the climb before tomorrow’s stage, have since attempted to remove all of the tacks from the road.

This latest attempt to sabotage the race comes 10 years after tacks were strewn across the road on the descent of the Mur de Péguère, which was climbed during yesterday’s stage to Foix.

Bradley Wiggins, who went on to win the 2012 Tour a week later, and defending champion Cadel Evans were among the 30 riders from a GC group of 50 who suffered punctures thanks to the tacks.

Others came off much worse – Astana's Robert Kiserloviski broke his collarbone after crashing during the confusion, while Levi Leipheimer was treated for road rash after hitting the deck at the same point.

Sky’s then-manager Dave Brailsford said at the time that the attempted sabotage “smacks of cowardice.”

He continued: “If you want to say something, fair enough. Hold your hand up, stick your head up and say what you want to say, no problem at all. Everybody’s entitled to an opinion. It’s a free world, isn’t it? If people want to speak their mind, that’s fine. But why put people’s lives at risk?”

20 July 2022, 08:58
New Highway Code going well… Turning driver takes out cyclist in the kind of situation changes were meant to make safer

Popcorn at the ready, as it’s Highway Code time again, folks!

With the revisions approaching their six-month anniversary – time flies when you’re a vulnerable road user, eh? – we felt it was only right to check in and see how they’re getting on.

Judging by this video, filmed last week in Fallowfield, Manchester, it’s not great…

As you can see in the clip, the road.cc reader who sent us the footage was riding along in the cycle lane, when a van driver (rather belatedly) indicates to turn left, before driving straight into the path of the cyclist, knocking him off his bike.

According to Rule H3 of the Highway Code, drivers and motorcyclists “should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane, just as you would not turn across the path of another motor vehicle.

“This applies whether they are using a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road and you should give way to them.

“Do not turn at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist, horse rider or horse drawn vehicle going straight ahead to stop or swerve.

“You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary. This includes when cyclists are: approaching, passing or moving off from a junction, moving past or waiting alongside stationary or slow-moving traffic, or travelling around a roundabout.”

The cyclist, a paramedic who rides 15 miles to work every day, suffered cuts and bruises in the collision, as well as a buckled wheel and broken mirror.

The van driver also gave our reader a lift home after the incident, so he could then make it into work. The cyclist says that the motorist explained that “he was rushing to pick up his pregnant wife, so I feel bad for him.”

20 July 2022, 08:23
The Tour cools down, finally

After well over a week of sweltering, stifling conditions on the roads of France (and for those of us watching in the UK and Ireland), things have finally cooled down at the Tour.

This morning, those responsible for setting up the race infrastructure at the finish line at Peyragudes, the ski resort just beyond the Col de Peyresourde, were greeted by a healthy smattering of fog and a refreshing 12 degrees Celsius. Ahhh, bliss.

With temperatures unlikely to exceed the mid-20s, even in the foothills, the news bodes well for well-known lover of all things cold and damp, Tadej Pogačar. The Slovenian appeared to suffer in the oven-like heat of the Col du Granon last week, his yellow jersey flapping forlornly open as it was wrested from his shoulders by Jonas Vingegaard.

Perhaps today’s relative cool down will prove the catalyst for some red-hot action on the Peyresourde? (That’s the last of the temperature-based puns, I promise.)

Ryan joined road.cc 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 road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’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.

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Jenova20 replied to ShutTheFrontDawes | 2 years ago
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If the motorist had checked their mirror approaching the turn they'd have seen the cyclist getting close to and eventually possibly being in their blindspot. He didn't because he was "rushing to pick up his pregnant wife".

If you're rushing to the point that you're not driving safely then you should have left the house earlier so you have time to drive safely. Bad driving, but it sounds like the victim is okay with the end result and the lift home.

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