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“He pays road tax, you don’t”: Motorists – and Ashley Neal – blast Jeremy Vine for black cab close pass video; Extinction Rebellion’s British Cycling protest’s mixed response; Local letter with a difference; Pidcock’s Worlds doubts + more on the live blog

It’s Monday, it’s cold, and Ryan Mallon is here with the first live blog of the week, where the only World Cup that matters is the one with knobbly tyres and muddy fields…
21 November 2022, 09:09
“He pays road tax, you don’t”: Motorists – and Ashley Neal – blast Jeremy Vine for black cab close pass video

Jeremy Vine’s live blog season ticket hasn’t seen much action in recent months (apart from the odd impatient Bentley driver), but it’s safe to say that over on Twitter – it’s still around, hooray! – the two-wheeled presenter is continuing his successful streak of upsetting angry, entitled motorists with his daily commute videos. 

Vine’s latest ‘controversial’ clip, posted yesterday morning, shows a Kensington taxi driver go full MGIF (Must Get in Front) by close passing the broadcaster, despite the cyclist’s hand signal to indicate that he was staying in the outside lane.

Not only that, but the close pass was also accompanied by an obligatory blast of the horn and a shout of ‘What’s your problem?’ from the black cab driver.

As with almost all MGIF passes, of course, the manoeuvre comes to no avail, as Vine soon draws level with the cabbie for a rather testy debrief.

“Why did you close pass me?” Vine asks.

“You put your hand out and I thought you were going right,” comes the response.

“No, you didn’t, there’s no right turn.”

“You can do what you like, you know that. You put your hand out to go right, I’ve let you go…”

“No, you deliberately close passed me.”

“You should know better.”

Like the vast majority of Vine’s close encounters with London drivers, this clip attracted some classic anti-cycling responses:

Even YouTube driving instructor and live blog favourite Ashley Neal (a two for one deal on a Monday morning, aren’t you lucky?) got involved, sparking a somewhat heated exchange between the pair:

However, amidst all the righteous fury, one particular tweet stood out as worthy of at least a nomination to the anti-cycling bingo Hall of Fame:

21 November 2022, 16:58
Black cab close pass, Kensington (Twitter, Jeremy Vine)
Jeremy vs the Cabbie: Post-match analysis

Jeremy Vine’s run-in with a MGIF London taxi driver has sparked more in-depth analysis from our readers than a Jermaine Jenas commentary stint.

Here’s a selection of some of your thoughts:

I don’t tend to indicate to overtake parked vehicles. Neither do London cabbies for that matter. If Vine had been a cabbie, the cabbie behind wouldn’t have even so much as squeaked about that being a problem.

With the taxi being that close to JV and already indicating, I’d have been inclined to let it pass first and then take the lane. The other alternative would be to have taken the lane earlier, at the lights. However, the taxi driver should have aborted the overtake when they saw what JV was doing as there wasn’t the room there and of course it was totally unnecessary.

Too many motorists genuinely seem to think that cyclists will run up behind a parked car, disappear with a Star Trek sound effect, and then reappear beyond it.

I think Jeremy Vine is almost always bang on, but indicating so late certainly didn’t help that situation. The taxi overtook a slower moving vehicle, moving fully into a different lane and indicating well in advance of their manoeuvre. I wish all car drivers passed me with such consideration.

Vine on the other hand wanders slowly over into the other lane, sticking his hand out at the last minute when there is already an issue. Certainly not the best example of his usually pretty good roadcraft. I think the belligerence from both parties is uncalled for, but I guess that’s two red blooded humans on the streets of London.

It’s the responsibility of the taxi driver to assess what is happening ahead and not make the dangerous overtake, apportioning any blame to the cyclist for not signalling at a very specific time is wrong as the operation of steering and gear changing (and brakes) is done by the hand that would need to signal. Following vehicle operators must be mindful of this in this situation. HC mentions that cyclists may move unpredictable due road imperfections etc.

Also, Vine lets the taxi that was in the outer lane past then shoulder-checks three times as he starts to change lane approaching the parked taxi.

Quite obviously where the two Brompton riders were going, but idiot taxi driver is a dangerous impatient bully who wants to stop at the next queue sooner and doesn’t care if he endangers vulnerable road users to do so.

Now, I think I need a lie-down before Gary Neville appears on the TV tonight…

21 November 2022, 16:07
Le Col Wahoo (press release)
Le Col step back from co-title sponsorship at Wahoo team, but will continue funding squad after prospective new title sponsor pulls out

Le Col will continue to sponsor and provide kit for the Wahoo women’s team, despite stepping back from its role as the squad’s co-title sponsor.

On Thursday we reported on the blog that the UK-based Le Col-Wahoo squad, which participated in this summer’s Tour de France Femmes, was facing an uncertain future after one of its title sponsors – now revealed to be kit manufacturer Le Col – stepped back, creating a €400,000 hole in the team’s budget for 2023.

A source has told that Le Col, which began sponsoring the women’s squad in 2021 before trebling its investment to take co-title sponsorship for this season, informed the team in September that it was standing aside as a title sponsor, but would continue as a kit supplier and backer.

With a larger partner required to enable the squad to reach its ultimate aim of competing in the Women’s World Tour, Le Col says that it has worked with the team since September to find a new sponsor alongside Wahoo.

However, according to the source, a potential deal fell away unexpectedly at the last minute, prompting sports director Tom Varney to tell riders and staff last week that they should begin seeking employment elsewhere for 2023.

21 November 2022, 15:28
Damn… No Dublin World Cup for Van der Poel

Four-time world cyclocross champion Mathieu van der Poel has released his race schedule for this winter, which the Dutch star hopes will ensure that he arrives at the world champs in Hoogerheide on 5 February 2023 in tip-top condition.

Unfortunately for fans in the UK and Ireland, however, the Dublin round of the World Cup in December (already pencilled in on archrival Wout van Aert’s calendar) is missing from the Alpecin-Deceuninck rider’s list of pre-worlds hit outs, at the expense of a sunny team training camp in Spain. Well for some, I suppose…

Mathieu van der Poel 2022-23 cyclocross race calendar

Well, what am I going to do with my massive orange MVDP flag now?

21 November 2022, 14:55
Sonny Colbrelli Merida Reacto Paris-Roubaix-3 (Credit Alex Broadway/
Sonny Colbrelli inspired by Christian Eriksen phone call after unstable cardiac arrhythmia diagnosis

Last football-related story for today, I promise!

2021 Paris-Roubaix winner Sonny Colbrelli, who was forced to retire from professional cycling last month after being diagnosed with an unstable cardiac arrhythmia, has praised Manchester United and Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen for helping him to recover mentally after his career-ending collapse at the Volta a Catalunya in March.

The former European road race champion was fitted with a subcutaneous defibrillator implant (ICD) following his scare in Spain – which happened moments after he finished second behind Michael Matthews in an uphill sprint – the same device Eriksen received after his frightening collapse at Euro 2020 last summer.

While the Danish playmaker has made a remarkable return to the top of his sport, and will lead his country at this winter’s World Cup, Colbrelli conceded in October that cycling “is a different sport” and that returning to racing is “a risk I cannot afford to take”.

Sonny Colbrelli Merida Reacto Paris-Roubaix (Credit A.S.O._Pauline Ballet)-2

A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

However, Eriksen’s story – and a morale-boosting phone call between the pair – has inspired the former Bahrain-Victorious pro in the uncertain few months since his career came to an abrupt and unexpected conclusion, just over five months after its crowning moment in the Roubaix velodrome.

“When I woke up at the hospital and they told me what had happened to me, the first thing I thought about was Eriksen,” Colbrelli told Eurosport Italy last week.

“This is because I also follow football, and who hasn’t seen his story on television?

“I looked up his phone number and after a few days I managed to get it. I wrote him a message, almost frightened but he immediately replied: ‘if you wait 10 minutes, I’ll finish training, I’ll go out of the locker room and I’ll call you back’.

“It didn’t seem real to me; I didn’t believe that a great champion had written to me after what happened to him. Now we see him at Manchester [United] and we will see him at the FIFA World Cup – for me it was a great joy.”

21 November 2022, 14:16
World Cup v World Cup: More cyclists ‘playing’ football

As the second half of England v Iran gets underway, sit back and appreciate the tekkers on display at the other World Cup going on in Overijse yesterday:

Highlights include Tom Pidcock channelling his inner Peter Kay (he must have secured tickets to next year’s shows), while 20-year-old European champion Fem van Empel must surely be waiting by the phone for her call-up to the Dutch squad. Is there anything she can’t do?

Footballer-cyclist Remco Evenepoel, eat your heart out…

21 November 2022, 13:21
“The road season is so much more important to me”: Pidcock casts doubt on cyclocross worlds defence after dramatic debut weekend in rainbow jersey

It’s fair to say that Tom Pidcock’s first weekend racing in the rainbow jersey of world cyclocross champion was rather dramatic.

After a steady seventh place in his first ‘cross race of the season on Saturday, at the Superprestige event in Merksplas, the 23-year-old put on a sensational display at the World Cup in Overijse the following day, with only a plethora of mechanicals, crashes, and sheer bad luck standing between him and a debut win in the rainbow bands.

A jammed chain almost ruined the Ineos Grenadiers rider’s race before it even started yesterday (what is going on with Pinarello’s ‘cross bikes this winter?), forcing him into a dramatic – and impressive – chase to regain his place at the front of the pack.

“My gears were jammed. I don’t know why, it’s a bit strange,” the Olympic mountain bike champion said at the finish.

“I had to get my chain out, then I looked up. We’d done five seconds of racing and I’m already last, so I was thinking, ‘ah … this is gonna be a hard day’.”

But, just as the versatile Yorkshireman began to blast clear of his nearest rival, European champion Michael Vanthourenhout, on the penultimate lap, disaster struck – at the bottom of a treacherous, muddy descent onto cobblestones, the world champion crashed, allowing Vanthourenhout to slip away.

Despite the spill – which, to add insult to injury, damaged his shoe, hindering him on the mud-strewn course’s plentiful running sections – Pidcock gained slowly on his Belgian rival during the final two laps. But it just wasn’t enough, as an early win in the rainbow jersey cruelly eluded him by just three seconds.

“I came off the dirt onto cobbles, my wheel slipped, and I fell on the cobbles. I think I’m going to be pretty sore in the morning,” Pidcock said.

“My shoe also broke, so I was struggling with running. It was coming off every time I stood in the mud. It was a difficult two laps but I thought, ‘I can’t give up, I’ve got to try and get a win in this jersey’.

“I can be pleased,” he added. “After Saturday I’m much more used to race pace and technical parts. I can be pleased, but it would have been nice to get my hands in the air.”

While he rated his early-winter performance in the rainbow jersey on the fields of northern Europe a solid 8/10, doubts remain over whether Pidcock will even defend his world title in February 2023.

Speaking to Het Nieuwsblad ahead of his return to action, the Ineos Grenadiers rider – who struggled with illness during the roads classics season after prioritising his tilt at the ‘cross worlds in Arkansas – said he “can’t answer” if a title defence is on the cards.

“The World Championship is very late this time, isn't it?” he told the Belgian newspaper. “If you peak for this Championship and then you have to prepare for the Classics…”

2022 TdF stage 12 pidcock ineos Zac Williams/

Zac Williams/

While Pidcock’s 2022 classics season failed to live up to his admittedly lofty expectations – he did go on to win on Alpe d’Huez at the Tour de France later that summer, of course – the 23-year-old is not prepared to sacrifice his chances of winning one of the sport’s monuments next spring.

“The road season is so much more important to me. That's how I feel this year too,” he said.

“In 2023 I especially want to perform consistently in those spring Monuments. If I succeed, the results will follow. If you’re up front with everything, you get more options.

“Last year I did play an important role in the victories of the team. Those victories lifted me a little bit, even if things didn’t go the way I wanted for myself.

“Compared to Jumbo-Visma and Quick-Step, we have a young team, with less experience, but we can race. Let the great powers fight it out among themselves, we will attack them.”

Not that Pidcock doesn’t want to fully rep the rainbow bands this winter.

“I finished the road season early. I already had enough free time,” he said of his early return to Flanders’ fields. “That rainbow jersey is also an incentive to get started. I want to honour that jersey as much as possible.”

21 November 2022, 12:27
Move over, David Guetta…

Come for the fourth round of the Cyclocross National Trophy Series in Torbay, stay for former Team Sky rider Pete Kennaugh spreading the Big Beat Manifesto…

21 November 2022, 11:40
oxon travel cycle lane picture 2 - via twitter.PNG
‘All cyclists hear from vulgar motorists is, “blah, blah, woosh”!’ Local paper letter with a difference

The ‘surprisingly pro-cycling letter in the local paper’ has emerged as one of my favourite live blog subgenres in recent months.

Usually the domain of angry ‘car is king’ motorists whittering on about ‘road tax’, lycra, red light jumping, and… errr, “muscular cyclists”, it’s always refreshing to see a local letters page offer some space to those on the real-life receiving end of online anti-cycling discourse.

This morning’s Craven Herald and Pioneer features an excellent letter (though let’s face it, it’s probably an email these days) from pensioner Ray Duffy, who hits the nail on the head about cycling’s health and environmental benefits, and the futility of a passing driver’s vitriol:  

I have an unblemished 50-year-old car and motorcycle licence, have been cycling for 68 years and yet other road users seem to think they have the right to tell me where I should be on the road by shouting at me, as I ride along on my bike, minding my own business.

If any of these vulgar people had ever ridden a bike then they’d know that such comments are totally wasted as all a cyclist hears is: ‘blah, blah, woosh’!

I’ve often wanted to have a conversation about vehicle excise duty (not car tax) and how I’d be exempt as I don’t emit any exhaust, the Highway Code information for cyclists and vehicle driver compliance with the rules of the road.

However, although they are willing to shout, they are never willing to listen that my car is at home, I’m keeping fit and not wasting the NHS time, not polluting the world, not wasting natural oil reserves, not wearing out the roads and taking up much less room than I would in my car, all of which I feel are all positives for them, their children and the planet.

Brilliant stuff.

Now, I’m off for a quick look at’s inbox. Oh, dear God…

21 November 2022, 11:10
Brian Smith for I’m A Celebrity 2023?

I’ll get to work on the letter to ITV… 

21 November 2022, 10:24
“Here we go! Fireworks outside a shed full of wood”: Extinction Rebellion’s British Cycling protest receives mixed response

With sportswashing very much in vogue at the moment (is there a football match on today?), Extinction Rebellion’s decision to protest British Cycling’s partnership with oil and gas giant Shell yesterday may get lost in the whole, you know… *gestures at everything*

However – while the rest of the world focuses on suspiciously dodgy VAR decisions, Gianni Infantino’s increasingly David Brent-like public pronouncements (and you thought David Lappartient was bad), and Morgan Freeman and David Beckham proving that money is indeed everything – our little cycling bubble spared a few moments at half-time before Qatar’s national team lethargically ambled back out in front of a half-empty stadium to give their take on the environmental campaigners’ latest demonstration.

> Extinction Rebellion protest British Cycling's Shell deal at National Cycling Centre

ER’s protest, which saw a few flare and pun-wielding activists climb on top of the entrance to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, making it look like a Galatasaray home match, while others took part in a Critical Mass Ride, was widely praised on Twitter.

“The Shell British Cycling debacle has not gone away,” wrote prominent road safety campaigner Dr Robert Davis.

“A particular shame is that there are LOADS of cycle sport coaches/officials who have to be members because it’s the official sport’s governing body.”

One climate activist said, “Great teamwork today, highlighting British Cycling's collusion in Shell’s climate crimes,” while another Twitter user asked, “Why on earth would anyone allow these climate criminals to sponsor British Cycling, ruining its good name to greenwash and cleanse their murderous history?”

“Brilliant! Disgusting that an oil company would have anything to do with cycling,” said activist Shannon Galpin. “We are fighting for our planet and bikes are an important tool in the fight AGAINST fossil fuels.

“British Cycling legitimising or normalising Shell is a gross betrayal of cyclists.”

However, some cyclists who have ridden on the Manchester velodrome’s boards, such as Alistair Rutherford, weren’t as convinced:

While former racer-turned-commentator Tony Gibb tactfully described the protesters as “f***ing morons”…

Meanwhile, members of the anti-cycling brigade demonstrated their impeccable online debating skills by using the protest to complain about cycle lanes:

Never waste an excuse to bash cycling infrastructure, eh? 

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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