Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Essex Police blasted for telling cyclist to mind language after shocking near miss; Motorists jam up Boscombe bike lanes – 2 months after Mail asked, “is there any room left for cars?”; Vos the GOAT; Longo Borghini wrong turn memes + more on the live blog

It’s Friday at last, and Ryan Mallon is here to help you freewheel into the weekend with the final live blog of the week… and July (gulp)
29 July 2022, 15:43
Essex Police’s war on swearing update: Close pass driver now given choice of safety course or conditional offer

A bit of an update on this morning’s story about the close passing driver, the sweary cyclist, and the priority-missing police force… reader Tony, the subject of a recklessly overtaking driver while cycling near Grays, Essex, has informed us that Essex Police – who yesterday told Tony that they would only engage with him if he cut out the curse words on Twitter, thank you very much – have upgraded the motorist’s punishment from a warning letter to the choice of a driving safety course or a conditional offer.

Tony said he received an email today telling him that the case had been reviewed, with the Essex Extra Eyes portal now informing him of the new outcome.

Maybe swearing does pay off after all.

Effin’ brilliant news.

29 July 2022, 09:33
Reckless close pass receives warning letter (YouTube, CykelTony)
“Once you remove the offensive language we will engage with you”: Essex Police blasted for telling cyclist to mind their language after shocking near miss

Essex Police have been criticised for appearing to dismiss a cyclist’s concerns about a shocking close pass – because he swore at them on Twitter.

Cyclist Tony was left “absolutely fuming” after a driver only received a warning letter for committing a reckless close pass which forced him to swerve towards the grass verge to avoid being hit.

“I had just exited a roundabout and was reasonably far out from the kerb, when the Range Rover driver decides to overtake ignoring the oncoming traffic,” Tony told of the incident, which occurred near Grays in Essex.

“They then drive closer to me, squeezing between myself and an oncoming vehicle, forcing me to swerve hard to my left to avoid being hit.

“You'd think this was a clear cut ‘send out a NIP’ for the police, but nope, their response was to send a warning letter.”

After hearing the news, a clearly disgruntled Tony took to Twitter to complain about the rather questionable outcome.

“How the hell this only warranted a warning letter from Essex Police I don't know,” he wrote.

Then, tweeting Essex Police, as well as their Roads Policing Unit directly, Tony said: “Anyone care to comment on how this dangerous driving, with driver purposely getting closer as they are alongside, only warrants a warning letter.

“Do you just not give a fuck about the safety of cyclists?”

The response? Well, let’s just say Essex’s Road Policing unit got to the heart of the matter:

That rather taciturn reply didn’t, surprisingly, help matters, with Tony and a number of other Twitter users sharply criticising the police’s dismissive response:

Tony tells that he intends to appeal the outcome of the case.

“I can usually brush off close passes quite easily, but this one actually left me quite shaken for several hours,” he says.

“I fully intend to raise an official complaint regarding the outcome and then appeal to the PCC when they brush it off.”

29 July 2022, 16:05
Be afraid, be very afraid…

If Annemiek van Vleuten has fully recovered from the stomach infection that plagued her opening few stages of the Tour de France Femmes, her rivals may be in for a rude awakening when the race hits the mountains tomorrow…

Make sure to set your recorders, it’s going to be a good one!

29 July 2022, 14:44
Long Time Coming: Marianne Vos wins in yellow at the Tour de France Femmes

Cometh the hour, cometh the greatest cyclist of them all.

Marianne Vos, the dominant cyclist of her or indeed any generation, has been one of the leading voices calling for the creation of a proper women’s Tour de France throughout her sixteen years in the peloton.

By the time ASO finally relented, and a company like Zwift came along with the funds, Vos had turned 35, her days of unrelenting dominance behind her, despite her continued strength and impressive win rate.

Had Vos’ opportunity to make her mark at the most famous bike race in the world passed, a victim of stubborn traditionalists and cautious naysayers?

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

A.S.O./Thomas Maheux

But this is Marianne Vos we’re dealing with, remember, and the Dutch superstar wasn’t going to let the chance of a lifetime pass her by.

The three-time world road champion’s Tour has been nothing short of remarkable: after finishing second on the opening day in Paris, she didn’t take long to secure that long-awaited first win – 15 years in the making – and went into the yellow jersey. Since then, she’s placed second, fifth, and third.

And today in Rosheim, Vos added yet another line to her glittering palmares, one she may underscore a few times when she’s retired – winning a stage in the yellow jersey.

And it’s only fitting that Vos – the standard bearer of women’s cycling for so long – would become the first rider in this new era of the women’s Tour de France to cross the line in yellow with her arms aloft.

Sometimes in cycling, riders get what they deserve.

After the day’s large breakaway splintered to pieces on the finishing circuit, leaving only Uno-X’s Joss Lowden, Jumbo-Visma’s Anna Henderson (who showcased her daredevil descending skills on the fast descent towards the finish, which caught out two-time stage winner Lorena Wiebes) and FDJ’s last-rider-standing Marie Le Net out in front, Team DSM and then Trek-Segafredo’s Ellen van Dijk (who else?) brought the race together for a final bunch kick before the weekend’s decisive mountains.

The Trek trident of van Dijk, Elisa Longo Borghini and Elisa Balsamo yet again failed to find its target, however, despite the two Italians’ successful if desperate attempt to enter the eye of a needle on the final left hander.

While Trek huffed and puffed in the final kilometre, yellow jersey Vos remained ice cool, drifting from van Dijk’s wheel to Longo Borghini’s, before outjumping the lethargic Balsamo.

The world champion had nothing to answer; Marta Bastianelli and Lotte Kopecky were simply chasing shadows.

Vos, meanwhile, had just taken the 244th victory of her career.

After years of fighting for the right for women to win stages and wear the yellow jersey at the Tour, this win in Rosheim may be remembered as one of the most special.

29 July 2022, 14:03
Ouch: Lorena Wiebes out of contention after heavy crash

There’ll be no hat-trick at the Tour de France Femmes for Lorena Wiebes, who crashed heavily on a fast, twisting descent with 23km to go, leaving her bloodied and bruised.

With a Cat 4 towards the finish, Wiebes’ DSM team are currently working hard to bring it all back together for Liane Lippert.

45 seconds ahead of the peloton, Jumbo-Visma’s Anna Henderson is forcing the pace, and – if the break stays away – must fancy her chance for the stage.

Henderson’s fellow Brit, Uno-X’s former hour record holder Joss Lowden, has also looked strong in the day’s breakaway, and remains in contention for the stage, as well as sweeping up a number of mountain classification points.

It’s been a decent day in the Lowden-Bigham household – Lowden’s fiancé and aero guru Dan Bigham has helped the England team to the gold medal match in the team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games. Now, that’s a power couple…

29 July 2022, 13:26
Ronaldo and David Beckham compete at the Commonwealth Games, in the – checks notes – Team Sprint for India

After Erik ten Hag performed his tactical magic (however indirectly) for Jumbo-Visma at the Tour de France, Manchester United stars past and present can’t seem to get enough of bike racing.

At the Commonwealth Games today – and this is completely true, I wouldn’t make this stuff up – both David Beckham Elkatohchoongo and Ronaldo Laitonjam lined up in the team sprint event for India, managing sixth, 0.6 seconds shy of the medal runoff:

Apparently, Bryan Robson was injured during the warmup, so couldn’t make the start…

For the sake of pedantry, Ronaldo Laitonjam was born in July 2002, a full year before an 18-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo signed for the red half of Manchester.

His parents, then, may have been fans of a different Ronaldo, the Real Madrid forward who that summer was ripping up the World Cup for Brazil…

And while we’re at it, David Beckham Elkatohchoongo was born in September 2003, two months after Mr Posh Spice signed for Madrid, after being chased out of Manchester by Alex Ferguson for spending too much time at the hairdressers.

So, maybe the parents of the India track team aren’t United fans after all. That’s disappointing…

29 July 2022, 12:16
Bournemouth bike lane (via Daily Telegraph)
“It feels like a token gesture”: Bournemouth resident notes number of motorists parked in cycle lanes – two months after the Mail asked, “is there any room left for cars?”

You may remember back in May we reported on the meltdown that occurred in sections of the national press after Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council scandalously – scandalously, I tell ya – painted bicycle symbols in the middle of lanes in Boscombe, as part of resurfacing works in the Bournemouth suburb.

The council said at the time that the new road markings on the A35 Christchurch Road and between Browning Avenue and the Christchurch Road roundabout were added to encourage cyclists to take a “prominent” position on the road, to “make them more visible to other motorists”.

While bike symbols in shared use lanes have been used in the UK since 1975, the installation of a decades-old road marking in Bournemouth resulted in both the MailOnline and Daily Telegraph, in between bouts of frothing no doubt, penning articles claiming that the symbols encourage cyclists to “ignore” the town’s dedicated bike lane.

> Bike lane meltdown: New road markings prompt Mail to ask, “is there any room left for cars?”

“Cyclists are being encouraged by council officials to ignore a dedicated cycle path and use a busy main road instead in an attempt to force traffic in the town centre to slow down,” the Mail said.

“Although cyclists have the use of the 7ft wide bike lane alongside the A35 in Bournemouth, Dorset, large bike symbols have been painted on the main road as well.”

The Mail then described the markings as the “latest move by the authorities to drive cars off the road” and included in their headline the question: “Is there any room left for cars?”

Those pesky, lycra-clad cyclists, always ignoring those lovely, narrow bits of paint we kindly offer them…

So, how are Boscombe’s cycle lanes doing, two months after the press extolled their virtues so lovingly?

Well, one Bournemouth resident has been taking note of the bike lanes in question on the Christchurch Road as he drives to work every morning… and, you guessed it, they’re full of parked cars:

Dean Hawthorne has told the Bournemouth Daily Echo that he will record the constant parking in bike lanes – which he describes as an “accident waiting to happen” – until “something is done”.

“They're obviously not monitored at all because I drive down that road regularly and they always have people parked in them. To be fair the whole area around Boscombe doesn't seem to be monitored,” he said.

“Having cars parked in the cycle lane pushes cyclists into the main flow of traffic which is a danger because cyclists are potentially vulnerable to vehicles. There are a number of school runs in the area as well, it's an accident waiting to happen.

“There was a report recently about the air quality and Christchurch Road is particularly bad.

“If you want people to start cycling, you need to offer good cycling infrastructure and what they've offered isn't. It's just some lines on a road and if it's not being monitored, if one person parks there, you get 20 people parking there.

“There is a parking issue in the area because every summer we have the same issue, it's no surprise, it's just going to get worse if nothing is done about it.”

Dean continued: “I believe you need segregated cycle lanes, even if it's the bollards. All around the world there are much busier places than Bournemouth who have successfully integrated cycle lanes, so it needs to be looked at properly by people who know what they're doing.

“The cycle lanes that are there are broken up anyway, they're not continuous so it does feel a bit like a token gesture.

“A white line on the floor is not suitable really, there needs to be more and it needs to be monitored, I've never seen anyone with a ticket round there.

“I will keep filming it as long as it goes on because it's just not good enough.”

> Large bike symbols painted on middle of Bournemouth lanes to encourage cyclists to ride in primary position – and motorists aren’t happy

Councillor for Boscombe East and Pokesdown, Andy Jones, agreed with Dean, telling the Echo: “The last however many times, I've walked and driven along that particular part of the road, there's frequently cars parked in there and it’s clearly marked with ‘no waiting, no stopping’ restrictions so vehicles shouldn’t be in there for any length of time.

“Having civil enforcement officers patrol is obviously an important aspect but they can’t be there all the time.

“One of the things that I've asked our portfolio holder for transportation Mike Greene to look at is the possibility of using camera enforcement, so he's going to go away and look at that, speak to the relevant officers and come back to me.

“I believe there is legislation there to allow that enforcement but he's going to look into it and advise.

“I think we need to look at a smarter way of tackling this, we can use camera enforcement, and have tickets sent through the post that way and clearly that's going to be a far more effective way of dealing with it than what we've got at the moment.

“Residents have been contacting me about it so clearly what's happening at the moment isn't satisfactory and at the end of the day it is a cycle lane and people should be able to cycle through it without coming across parked cars.”

29 July 2022, 11:25
Wiebes’ whopping power

No wonder DSM’s Lorena Wiebes is the current fastest sprinter in the world…

During yesterday’s sprint at the Tour Femmes – which, remember, was stalled slightly in the final 400 metres after Elisa Longo Borghini’s slight detour – the Dutch star averaged over 1,000 watts during her 15-second burst to the line, maxing out at 1,304 watts and a cool 41mph.

Pure power.

29 July 2022, 10:52
“If your city or town doesn’t make you feel confident enough to cycle round looking this cool, it’s failed you”
29 July 2022, 10:15
Shit cycling shots

This may be my new favourite Twitter account (though good luck saying its name after a few pints).

And yes, there is a TT rider hiding somewhere in that photo…

29 July 2022, 08:58
Emma Norsgaard update: No broken bones for Movistar rider forced to abandon after dramatic mass pile-up

Yesterday’s horrific-looking mass crash at the Tour de France Femmes left a number of riders bloodied, battered and sore – and saw the Tour’s medical team working overtime to patch up them up before the sprint finish in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges.

While the likes of Chantal van den Broek-Blaak and Marta Bastianelli were able to carry on despite their injuries, Movistar’s Emma Norsgaard was less fortunate. The Danish sprinter was forced to abandon the race after looking in some discomfort while being checked out by the doctor.

Fortunately, Movistar confirmed this morning that Norsgaard did not suffer any broken bones in the fall but will remain under medical observation for any potential aftereffects of the crash, before travelling home to Girona.

29 July 2022, 08:24
‘To the bus!’: Elisa Longo Borghini’s wrong turn at Tour Femmes strikes meme gold

It was all going so well for Trek-Segafredo during the final kilometres of yesterday’s stage five of the Tour de France Femmes into Saint-Dié-des-Vosges.

First, the team’s world time trial champion Ellen van Dijk thundered along at the front of the peloton, setting a ferocious pace for her sprinter – and world champion – Elisa Balsamo. So far, so good.

In the final kilometre, Elisa Longo Borghini – this year’s Paris-Roubaix winner and one of the hot favourites to take the yellow jersey on Sunday – took over from van Dijk and accelerated hard, hoping to tee up Balsamo, who had spent much of the previous three days working for Longo Borghini’s GC bid.

But then, disaster struck. As Marianne Vos, Lorena Wiebes and the rest got ready to jink to the right through a chicane with 400 metres to go, Longo Borghini instead decided that she would prefer taking a 90-degree left hander, diving through a (frankly far too large) gap in the barriers designated as an exit point for support vehicles.

While the former Italian champion’s mistake probably left her slightly red-faced and also more worryingly, I’d imagine, lost her nine seconds in the battle for the overall win, at least her team were able to poke fun at her unfortunate mishap, sparking some gentle amusement on the internet in the process (which is what we’re all here for, right?):

Have to say, I feel personally attacked by Cycling Out Of Context there…

Others were quick to come to the conclusion that someone, somewhere must have been committing a culinary crime on Italian food, setting Longo Borghini’s infamous foodie senses tingling: 

Even van Dijk got involved:

While the internet gathered to rib Longo Borghini (all in jest of course), European champion van Dijk was also keen to point out the finger at race organisers ASO for allowing such an aching chasm to exist between the barriers at a sprint finish:

Or maybe Longo Borghini really did hear that the team chef was putting salad in that evening’s risotto, and someone had to stop them…

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.

Latest Comments