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“If cyclists have an accident what exactly do they lose?”: Anti-cycling bingo full house; Daily Record says cyclists could be fined “for riding next to cars on roads”; Tour Femmes pro taken out by own team car; Leo Hayter to Ineos? + more on the live blog

Bring on the gravel! As the Tour peloton takes to the dirt today, Ryan Mallon is hoping he can stay in contention on Wednesday’s live blog
27 July 2022, 16:43
“She saw seven cyclists and not one of them was devouring a live baby or pillaging a nun? I simply don't believe her”: Readers react to Argus and Daily Record cycling takes

Following this morning’s post about the Brighton Argus reader who spent her free time before an appointment at the dentist filling in her anti-cycling bingo card, some of our regulars in the comments were a touch suspicious about Christine’s story:

Mungecrundle said: “She saw seven cyclists and not one of them was devouring a live baby or pillaging a nun? I simply don't believe her.”

Rapha Nadal was more forensic in his analysis, pointing out that “there aren't any bus stops in Fiveways which are so close to the traffic lights that "Christine" could've witnessed all that. Of the ones at the Fivways crossroads, three of them are on an incline so these casual cyclists must've been going some to come shooting past her (allegedly).”

wycombewheeler also had a few questions: “Luckily as it was (checks notes) "such a hot day", they should have been very easy to see, as it was neither poor light or night

“I think the main reasons for cyclists wearing black, is it shows the dirt so much less, dirt typically resulting from tyre wear, brake dust or particulate emissions - all of which coming from motor vehicles.

“Aside from the use of language to imply the cyclists rode through the lights when they shouldn't. Why not "I saw seven cyclists ride past"? Why the mention of the lights, which were obviously green for these six since she specifically mentions the seventh going through on red?”

“Repeated mention of "Road Fund Licence" so she's over 60 years out of date before she starts,” said Karlt. “I bet she thinks the Road Fund is where her VED goes and it's what all the road repairs and building come out of.”

HoarseMann said: “I do hope Christine was wearing a day-glo shellsuit. It would be terribly irresponsible not to do so; not only so she is clearly visible to drivers when crossing the road, but also so that the bus driver can clearly see her waiting at the stop.

“Perhaps now she has been to the dentist, she should consider a trip to the opticians, since she is having difficulty seeing cyclists in broad daylight.”

Clem Fandango replied: “Yes so difficult that she still saw six of the swines... Paging Erwin Schrodinger.”

Our readers were also less than impressed with the Daily Record’s frankly head scratching headline that cyclists could be fined “for riding next to cars on roads”, which – much to the confusion of those in the comments – appeared to be simply describing the act of road cycling, rather than any specific misdemeanour.

A bit like describing a bank robbery as: ‘Man arrested for entering a branch of Santander’…

“My favourite comment on the Daily Record article is the guy who claims that "cyclists don't ever read the Highway Code" before stating that the 1.5m overtaking distance applies to filtering, thus proving that he hasn't ever read the Highway Code,” noted BalladOfStruth.

“Possibly the most blatant of click baits,” said eburtthebike. Us or the Daily Record? On second thought, don’t answer that…

27 July 2022, 14:40
Marlen Reusser solos to convincing win after chaotic day on the gravel at Tour Femmes

European time trial champion Marlen Reusser used all her expertise racing against the clock to solo to a convincing win on a day of punctures, crashes and indecision at the Tour de France Femmes.

The Swiss SD Worx rider attacked a cautious front group with around 23 kilometres to go, just before the last of the day’s much-anticipated gravel sections.

Despite a late counterattack by Veronica Ewers, Alena Amialiusik, and Évita Muzic (who, like her teammate Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig yesterday, made up for a disappointing stage two by taking second today), Reusser never looked like being caught, and crossed the line 1.24 ahead of the chasing trio and 1.40 in front of the favourites group, led home – almost inevitably – by Marianne Vos.

While Reusser was able to serenely glide across the gravel roads of France’s champagne country, others were less fortunate.

2022 Tour de France Femmes, stage 4 (A.S.O. Fabien Boukla)

A.S.O. /Fabien Boukla

The dirt tracks through the vineyards outside the ancient finish town of Bar-Sur-Aube, while resembling the white roads of the Strade Bianche spring classic, were much less compact than their Italian cousins, and featured lots of loose gravel and large stones, kicking up a whirlwind of white, almost opaque dust as the peloton and race convoy passed.

The dusty, treacherous conditions prompted former pro Iris Slappendel, now reporting from the back of a motorbike for GCN, to describe Paris-Roubaix as a “walk in the park” in comparison.

They also took their fair share of prisoners among the GC favourites: Uttrup Ludwig punctured and was forced to swap wheels with a teammate, their car far behind in the dust; Annemiek van Vleuten clipped out after a touch of wheels on one section, and punctured on another; Kasia Niewiadoma punctured, and Elisa Longo Borghini finished the stage aboard her teammate and world champion Elisa Balsamo’s bike.

2022 Tour de France Femmes, stage 4, Mavi Garcia (A.S.O. Thomas Maheux)

A.S.O./Thomas Maheux

Worst affected, however, was Spanish champion Mavi García, who was sitting sixth overall at the start of the day. Despite looking strong all day, the 38-year-old, a podium finisher at Strade Bianche last year, punctured not once, but twice, on the gravel roads.

On the second occasion, she quickly dropped her bike in the middle of the road in order to swap with a teammate, causing BikeExchange’s Alex Manly, who was making her way back through the convoy, to hit the stony deck.

With just over 13 kilometres to go, García proved once and for all that the cycling gods were against her, as her own UAE ADQ team car clipped her back wheel as she chased back on to the group, causing her to hit the road hard.

While García definitively lost the gravel lottery, all of the others affected by the almost inevitable bad luck of a stage like this were able to make their way back to a favourites group that appeared more than happy to tick off such a hazardous stage than race for any significant time on GC.

2022 Tour de France Femmes, stage 4 (A.S.O. Thomas Maheux)

A.S.O./Thomas Maheux

Despite a brief attack by Niewiadoma and Vos with eighteen kilometres to go, the stage was punctuated by an overabundance of caution among the yellow jersey contenders (supported, perhaps, by the bad luck suffered by García, who was the only rider to drop out of the top ten on GC today).

The gravel offered the riders their fair share of mishaps and misfortune, but it failed to deliver – for a race that has done nothing but deliver exciting racing so far – the expected and much-anticipated drama.

Will today, rather than shaping the GC battle, simply add further weight to the argument that dangerous stages over the cobbles and gravel roads don’t belong in big stage races?

27 July 2022, 14:15
Mavi García taken out by own team car

It’s been a disastrous day on the gravel for UAE Team ADQ’s Spanish champion Mavi García. Despite looking strong on the dirt roads – García has finished second at Strade Bianche after all – she has suffered the kind of bad luck which has led many fans to question the purpose of gravel or cobble sections in stage races.

García punctured twice on the rough gravel roads, and then, as she once again chased back onto the main group of favourites, she was taken out by her own team car in a freak incident, the DS clipping her back wheel and sending her to the ground.

García got back on her bike, bloodied and torn, but her hopes of overall victory at the Tour Femmes are now almost certainly lost in the dust of France’s vineyards.

27 July 2022, 14:08
Brompton hire for £1 during rail strikes
Free Brompton bikes for hire in Birmingham during Commonwealth Games

With the Commonwealth Games kicking off tomorrow in Birmingham, Brompton is offering free bike hire so those attending the games can get about the city centre.

The Brompton Bike Hire lockers are situated at Birmingham New Street, Birmingham Moor Street and Birmingham Snow Hill Station, alongside Brindley Place and Birmingham Aston University. 

To hire a bike, you have to download the Brompton Bike Hire app and enter the promo code B2022.

The West Midlands Cycle Hire scheme, run by Transport for West Midlands, is also offering everyone in the region two free bike rides each day during the upcoming games. The offer allows everyone to have two 30-minute rides each day for free.

27 July 2022, 13:10
It’s gravel time!

The white roads of France’s champagne country are already taking prisoners with 50 kilometres to go on today’s stage of the Tour Femmes.

Lotte Kopecky – a Strade Bianche and Ronde winner this year – is one of the riders, rather surprisingly, struggling in the dust and dirt, as Trek-Segafredo’s Ellen van Dijk sets the tempo at the front of the bunch… 

27 July 2022, 12:38
Party on, Jonas: Danish bike fans out in force – again – to celebrate Vingegaard’s homecoming

It hasn’t been a bad month for Danish bike racing, has it?

From a boisterous Grand Départ and a second overall Tour win courtesy of Jonas Vingegaard, to stage wins for Magnus Cort, Mads Pedersen, and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig – it’s fair to say that Denmark is currently on top of the cycling world.

And today the people of Copenhagen, having dug out their flags and yellow t-shirts, are once again out in force, lining the streets to celebrate Vingegaard’s victory and to keep the Tour party going…

27 July 2022, 11:53
Ethan Hayter/Leo Hayter (SWPix)
Leo Hayter set for Ineos move?

After a barnstorming ride at the Baby Giro last month, during which he took two stage wins and the overall in a ruthlessly dominant display, Leo Hayter could be set to follow in the wheel tracks of older brother Ethan, who has also enjoyed a breakthrough 2022, by joining the Ineos Grenadiers as a stagiaire at the end of the season.

According to VeloNews, the younger Hayter – a winner of the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège last year – will race for Great Britain at next month’s Tour de l‘Avenir, widely regarded as one of the most important stage races for young riders, before joining up with the British World Tour outfit for the season-ending Italian one-day races.

20-year-old Leo, who currently rides for Axel Merckx’s Hagens Berman Axeon development squad, has attracted the interest of a number of top teams, including Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates, all aiming to secure the highly touted Brit for the 2023 season.

However, Hayter’s presence at a recent Ineos Grenadiers training camp in Andorra, combined with his upcoming apprenticeship, point to a likely link-up with Ethan at the British squad next year.

27 July 2022, 11:31
And then we put the hammer down!

Now that’s what I call cycling content… 

27 July 2022, 11:22
2022 tdf pogacar stage 11 yellow jersey colnago SW Pix Zac Williams
Tadej Pogačar to skip Vuelta a España

After one of the toughest Tours de France in recent memory, runner-up Tadej Pogačar’s UAE Team Emirates squad has confirmed that the two-time yellow jersey winner will not line up at next month’s Vuelta a España.

While the 23-year-old had hinted at a possible Tour-Vuelta double at the start of the season, Pogačar will now focus solely on one-day races until the end of the year, starting with Saturday’s Clásica San Sebastián.

The Slovenian will then race the GP Plouay before heading to Canada for the GPs Quebec and Montreal, as part of his build-up to the road world championships in Wollongong.

After the worlds, Pogačar will end his season in Italy, where he will aim to defend his Il Lombardia title and take the third monument win of his young career.

The double Tour champion’s absence at the Vuelta, and the current doubts hanging over Primož Roglič’s defence of his title due to injury, may result in the Spanish race becoming one of the most open grand tours in history, with Giro winner Jai Hindley, Richard Carapaz and Remco Evenepoel targeting success in the final three-weeker of the season.

Main image: SW Pix/Zac Williams

27 July 2022, 10:52
How Can I Help You Say Goodbye (at the end of a club run)?
27 July 2022, 10:39
Traffic congestion, Cycleway 3-style
27 July 2022, 10:23
Bottle duty for Bottas

During yesterday’s frenetic stage of the Tour de France Femmes, Canyon-SRAM’s Tiffany Cromwell enlisted her partner Valtteri Bottas (who’s pretty handy behind a steering wheel, I’m told) to help out with a different kind of pit stop refuelling job:

If the F1 gig doesn’t work out Valtteri, I’m sure Canyon-SRAM would take you on as an apprentice soigneur… 

27 July 2022, 09:21
Cyclists could be fined £2,500 “for riding next to cars on roads”, claims Daily Record’s baffling Highway Code headline

For the last segment of this morning’s newspaper roundup (I promise), we head to Scotland, where the Daily Record has published an article on this year’s revisions to the Highway Code and how they affect cyclists.

Where have they been the last six months?

Anyway, the bulk of the article, a regurgitation of an old Express piece, simply lists the rules around cycling – from decades-old laws concerning ‘dangerous’ and ‘careless’ cycling to the need to stop at traffic lights and have working lights while riding at night.

The writer also points out that the Highway Code tells us that cyclists “can ride two abreast and it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders”. Fair enough, I suppose.

But, when scrolling through my Google news feed, it was the headline that grabbed my attention.

Daily Record Highway Code headline

“Cyclists could be fined £2,500 for riding next to cars on roads in Highway Code rule,” it read.


For a brief moment, I thought that the Highway Code ‘whataboutery’ merchants had finally had their way – ‘If you come within 1.5 metres of my wing mirror, that’s a grand!’

Things get even more confusing when you spot the site’s trending stories list. “Cyclists fined for riding next to cars,” the shortened headline reads.

The article’s introduction is just as baffling.

“It's not just motorists who have to stick to the Highway Code while on the roads – cyclists also have to stick by the rules,” the author diligently points out.

“While cycling can be a great way to get fit, it sometimes involves road riding which means that riders must abide by the Highway Code.

“A number of laws recently came into place to keep cyclists safe, however they are also to protect the drivers around them.”

While a cursory glance at the article itself reveals the rather bland truth, the 21st century tendency to only read headlines – and then spout off in the comments – reared its ill-informed head.

“If this is true, it’s not before time,” typed one avid Daily Record reader.

One user, thankfully, summed the whole thing up rather concisely: “The daftest clickbait headline I've ever seen.”

27 July 2022, 08:56
Private Eye does cycle lanes
Private Eye #1577 - cycle lanes


27 July 2022, 08:45
“If cyclists have an accident what exactly do they lose?”: Textbook anti-cycling bingo full house in local paper

Ah, the letters section of local newspapers – a platform for residents and readers to engage with and debate, in a studied, forensic manner, the great political, socio-economic, and philosophical questions of the day.

Or maybe they’re just used to regurgitate the same old worn-out tropes about cyclists. Yeah, maybe that’s it.

This morning’s ‘Letters to the Argus’, Brighton and Hove’s local news outlet (famous, of course, for including a massive portrait of Adolf Hitler on a front page story about cycle lanes in April), featured a potential all-time classic of the anti-cycling bingo genre.

So, eyes down, cards at the ready – Christine from Brighton, take it away:

“Most people, especially drivers, know that cyclists do have a law of their own,” she begins, getting us all off to a good start.

“They don’t have insurance, pay road fund licence nor do they seem to know that the Highway Code exists.”


“Two weeks ago I was early for my dental appointment at Fiveways, Ditchling Road. As it was such a hot day I sat at the bus stop until my appointment was due.

“I counted seven cyclists ride through the lights. Six of them were completely dressed in black and were riding black cycles. Very hard to see, especially in poor light or at night.”

Which one was it, Christine, poor light or night?

“Two of them were riding side by side having a chat.”

The scoundrels…

“Cyclist number seven was the only one dressed in high visibility clothing and was easy to see. However, he rode straight through the red light and shot past me at some considerable speed.”

My card’s filling up nicely now.

> ‘Crass and insensitive’ front page slammed after ‘Adolf Hitler’ signs bike lane petition

“According to the new edition of the Highway Code, we, the car drivers, are supposed to give cyclists all sorts of consideration when we are driving.

“We have to have road fund licence, insurance and MOT.

“If we have an accident we could lose our licence. If the cyclists have an accident what exactly do they lose?”

Yes, Christine, if a cyclist is hit by a two tonne metal box at speed, what could they possibly lose?

She concludes: “They use the roads, so they should abide by all the rules and regulations laid out for car drivers.”

Full house!

Bonus points also go to the Argus’ sub for captioning the image used above the letter with the profound “Drivers can lose their licence after an accident”.

Anti-cycling bingo? Completed it, mate.

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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