REMCO EVENEPOEL GRANDIOSE ! Le Belge remporte ce chrono en assumant son statut de grandissime favori, en 55,7 km/h. Il conserve sa tunique de leader en mettant 48" à Primoz Roglic. #LaVuelta22 pic.twitter.com/d3ofuvx4Ae
— Le Gruppetto (@LeGruppetto) August 30, 2022
I know there’s a long way to go in this Vuelta, and that he’s not proven over three weeks, that an undercooked Primož Roglič may come good in the final week, bla, bla, bla…
But, boy, is Remco Evenepoel making winning a grand tour look easy.
The 22-year-old Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl star seemed impossibly cool in the sweltering Alicante heat this afternoon, storming his way around the only individual time trial of this Vuelta a España, a 31km pan-flat specialist’s course, to win the stage and put a further 48 seconds into closest rival Roglič and over a minute into everyone else.
That was extremely impressive from Remco Evenepoel. He's the first Belgium to win a time trial at the Vuelta since Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke in 1987
And that was a prologue. The last Belgium to win a full-length TT at the Vuelta was Fons de Wolf in 1979#LaVuelta22
— Cillian Kelly (@irishpeloton) August 30, 2022
Your occasional reminder that if Remco completes this Vuelta, he'll be the first Belgian to win a Grand Tour for 44 years. Which makes NO sense, but happens to be true.
— Ned 🚲 Boulting (@nedboulting) August 30, 2022
Ineos Grenadiers’ Carlos Rodríguez – over a year younger than Evenepoel – also proved that the Belgian isn’t the only staggeringly talented kid on the block, finishing fourth to cement his hold on the same place on GC.
Solid performances against the clock by Simon Yates (who now sits fifth overall) and Tao Geoghegen Hart will prove a timely confidence boost ahead of another tough week (though the less said about João Almeida’s confidence, after the UAE Team Emirates rider’s wrong turn down the team car deviation, the better…).
💪 ¡Otra celebración más de @EvenepoelRemco!
— La Vuelta (@lavuelta) August 30, 2022
All eyes, however, remain fixed on the former footballer from Aalst.
While the Vingegaard- Pogačar duel at last month’s Tour de France was reminiscent of the swashbuckling, all-out attacking racing of the 1980s, Evenepoel’s dominance (so far) of this year’s Vuelta evokes the all-conquering rider of the following decade: Miguel Induráin.
Just like Big Mig, Evenepoel deals with his opponents on the climbs with a steady but asphyxiating pace, before blowing them away in the time trials.
Whether he can emulate the Spanish star on Spanish roads for a whole three weeks, however, remains to be seen.
But, judging by today’s TT, I wouldn’t bet against it…
— Cycling out of context (@OutOfCycling) August 30, 2022
— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) August 30, 2022
That’s what they call in the business a Longo Borghini…
Ah, ‘exceptional hardship’, the loophole exploited by more than 8,000 law-breaking motorists a year to escape a driving ban.
According to figures made public by the DVLA at the end of last year, more than one in five motorists guilty of ‘totting up’ 12-plus penalty points in a three-year period were allowed to continue to drive by the courts after pleading mitigating circumstances.
Unfortunately for Benjamin Brown, who according to the Daily Echo hit the 12-point mark after driving at 44mph in a 30mph zone (sure, what’s an extra 50 percent between friends?) in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire, last August, the magistrates in Aldershot weren’t as willing as many of their colleagues to accept his plea that a driving ban would cause “exceptional hardship”.
Instead, they banned him from driving for six months and imposed a £660 fine.
The rather surprising news that actions can have consequences was welcomed by cyclists on Twitter, who called for “more of this please” from the courts:
More of this pleasehttps://t.co/f96BcnATsJ
— Berkshire Cyclist (@BerkshireCyc) August 30, 2022
I've never really got my head around the get-out-clause of "12 points and you're banned...unless it's going to make your life a little difficult, in which case you'll be let off." 🤔
— 🏴 𝐀𝐧𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐰 𝐉𝐞𝐧𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐬 🌱 (@adjenkins) August 30, 2022
Charity work has been used in the past, a football chairman said he couldn't use a chauffeur, as he held confidential talks with players in his car - license granted!
— Richard Peake (@CJrpeake) August 30, 2022
I sat on the licensing committee in council and was regularly asked to consider the hardship if speeding taxi drivers lost their licenses for driving over 40 in a 30 limit like this. For some reason I was expected to have greater responsibility for their income than them… harsh? https://t.co/EMot2kbLBe
— Paula (@PaulaCoyscot) August 30, 2022
Very much more of this, please.
If losing your driving license is going to cause you exceptional hardship, you should drive exceptionally carefully, to make sure you don't lose it.
This driver lost his for hitting 12 points, ie multiple offences. I have no sympathy for him.
— Ken Murray (@Ken_J_Murray) August 30, 2022
If you can afford to speed you can afford an electric bike. https://t.co/5o2z60YraW
— Richard, the one who knows the pandemic isn't over (@masqueRichard) August 30, 2022
You’d think getting close to 12 points from previous recent offences would concentrate the mind a bit.
— MarkFitz90 (@Fitz90MARK) August 30, 2022
Miracles do happen after all.
— Gary James Ⓥ (@Tradescant) August 30, 2022
Ahh consequences, love it.
— lovelysofa🇺🇦 (@LovelysofaHuw) August 30, 2022
Of course, some motorists were quick to weigh in… ‘But look, number plates!’:
Exactly the reason why plates for cycles are a great idea. Then dangerous cyclists could also be identified and removed from the road . 👏👏👏
(I’m a cyclist by the way)
— SureshMChadda (@SureshChadda2_0) August 30, 2022
You give cyclists a bad name, most of them aren’t pathetic conniving little rats like you celebrating when someone gets banned... He did nothing to you. he’s just unlucky where he lives I blast 30s at crazy speed all the time with cyclists eating my dust and have never been fined
— Xavier 🇬🇧 (@MrSuggaLand) August 30, 2022
Last year, Cycling UK published a report highlighting cases in which vulnerable road users were killed by motorists who had earlier managed to avoid being disqualified from driving after claiming that they would face “exceptional hardship” if they were banned.
One was that of 48-year-old father of two Lee Martin, who was killed in August 2015 by van driver Christopher Gard while riding his bike on the A31 in Hampshire in August 2015.
Gard, who was driving at 65mph and texting at the wheel, had escaped a driving ban just six weeks beforehand after amassing 12 penalty points in the space of 12 months, all related to using a mobile phone at the wheel.
The driver, who had other convictions for mobile phone use but had repeatedly been allowed to keep his licence, was jailed for nine years for causing the death of Mr Martin by dangerous driving.
Following Dan’s rummage through the big road.cc bag of letters earlier, I thought I’d share another piece of fan mail we received recently.
This one’s from a motorist who described to us, in great detail, an encounter with a so-called “militant cyclist”.
From what I gather, the driver has taken umbrage to a cyclist adopting the primary position on the road, rather than allowing him to squeeze between her and an oncoming lorry at 60mph.
Have I got that right? To be honest, the whole email makes my head hurt.
Anyway, you can make your own minds up…
I have had an encounter with a militant cyclist and as a result I have some understanding of what goes on in the minds of these strange beasts.
I was on my way to Findhorn, a new age community on the Moray Firth (North of Scotland).
I was travelling in my car on a fast A road, and making good progress. In the distance I see a bright yellow workman's jacket - it's a cyclist! I believe a vulnerable young lady making slow but steady progress. Good luck to her on this fast road. I am doing about 70 mph. I am not quite sure what the speed limit is.
The next thing I notice coming down the hill is a bright blue lorry, which totally takes up the lane going in the opposite direction.
The young lady anticipates a problem. If I continue past her, I will have to navigate the gap between her and the lorry, while going around 60 mph for the sake of argument.
On reflection, she is not happy with this scenario.
What does she do?
She moves into the 'primary position'.
If I am to avoid hitting her, I have to brake from 60 mph to 10 or 20 mph.
Generally speaking, and the Highway Code will back me up, it is not a good idea to cause other road users to brake heavily.
Anyway, I did, and I passed her safely. I also gave her a long blast of my horn.
She could have been so easily killed.
Like a lot of traffic situations, there are no easy answers.
Regardless of how self-important she might be and how certain of her rights, she remains a vulnerable road user.
This is the first time I have come across this particular situation. Fortunately I saw her from some way off and I was able to anticipate a dangerous situation.
The road conditions were excellent, my car was roadworthy, I was awake and not distracted, and everything was as it should be.
While there won’t be any Irish riders in Wollongong at the end of September, every Australian cyclist’s worst nightmare – an aggressive magpie during nesting season – has been spotted swooping on riders on the upcoming world championships road race circuit:
Just a typical bike ride in Australia this time of year. 🚲🦅🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/hxsaBUf5TP
— Shane Miller 🦙 (@gplama) August 29, 2022
Was laughing about this yesterday. Got swooped 9 times by the same bird, on the actual Worlds course.
TV coverage might be interesting 😆😆
— D R (@imdonncha) August 30, 2022
Unfortunately for the riders aiming for the rainbow jersey, springtime in Australia coincides with the magpies’ nesting season, though thankfully for cyclists only nine percent of the birds, which generally populate urban and suburban areas, become aggressive.
Almost all attacking birds (around 99 percent) are male, and they are generally known to attack pedestrians at around 50m from their nest, and cyclists at around 100m.
Attacks – which tend to happen from behind, so many cyclists only become aware of them when they hear the bird’s wings or the sharp ‘clack’ of a beak near their ear – begin as the eggs hatch, increase in frequency and severity as the chicks grow, and tail off as the chicks leave the nest.
Long-time road.cc contributor John Stevenson, who lived in Sydney for a number of years, said last year: “From the Northern hemisphere being swooped by a magpie sounds faintly comical, but the Australian magpie Gymnorhina tibicen is quite a bit bigger than the Eurasian magpie Pica pica — the two are only very distantly related — and has a considerably beefier beak.
“The first you know of being swooped is when you hear a loud cracking noise by your ear. It’s startling as all hell, and it’s not unusual for the strike to draw blood. I had to change my route to work one year because it felt likely that the magpie that kept swooping me was sooner or later going to make me swerve under a truck.”
Well, that’s one theory as to why some riders and organisations are giving the worlds a miss this year…
— Jens Dekker (@jens_dekker) August 30, 2022
Sam Bennett the latest Vuelta DNS today. Should have been out on the course right now.
— Hola Chennaoui 🇪🇸 🚲 (@SportsOrla) August 30, 2022
What exactly did Mullen put in that parsley sauce?
UPDATE: It turns out it was Covid, of course, that’s prematurely ended Bennett’s green jersey campaign at the Vuelta, with what must have been a very last-minute lateral flow test.
“Unfortunately, Covid has caught up to him,” lead-out man and chef Ryan Mullen said after finishing his TT effort in provisional second place.
“It’s a massive shame. Sam is going to be disappointed. He deserves to be here, he’s put the work in and he’s showed he’s back to his best. I’m sure he would have won the green jersey.”
Cycling Ireland has taken the difficult decision to forgo attendance at the 2022 UCI Road World Championships in Australia.
Read the rationale behind the decision here 👇https://t.co/6iG8fQ3MNA
— Cycling Ireland (@CyclingIreland) August 29, 2022
While Sam Bennett and Ryan Mullen are busy in the kitchen (and winning stages of the Vuelta of course), Cycling Ireland confirmed last night that there will be no Irish representation, in any category, at next month’s UCI road world championships in Wollongong, Australia.
Explaining the decision to end Ireland’s 46-year-streak competing for the rainbow jersey – as Sticky Bottle has noted, 1976 was the last year the green jersey was absent at a road worlds – the governing body’s High Performance director Iain Dyer said in a statement: “In the face of hugely increased costs for targeted High-Performance events already completed and planned for the remainder of 2022, competing in Australia will stretch our resources far beyond what has been anticipated this year.
“The UCI Road World Championships is also an event where success is far from assured. For the road riders, attending the European Championships in all categories this year was a significant commitment and one we felt we could manage effectively. The World Championships in Australia is a different proposition altogether.”
Possibly referring to British Cycling’s decision to not send a road team to the recent European Championships, Dyer continued: “We have already seen this year several nations make strategic decisions on attending events based on available resources and budgets, so clearly, we are not alone in this respect, and are managing it in a similar manner.
“It’s important we don’t turn the taps off in other areas of the high-performance activity and focus solely on the senior elites. It has been an essential part of our year to support Junior and U23 riders in events such as the Tour L’Avenir, the Rás and upcoming Rás na mBan or the Junior Track World Championships, where Irish athlete have shown great promise. That is where our next champions might come from.
“Equally, there may be other times where we dial up our activity in other disciplines or categories because strategy dictates it is a more appropriate use of resources.”
Archie Ryan left it all out there today at @tourdelavenir
What a performance to finish 2nd on todays stage 💪
— Cycling Ireland (@CyclingIreland) August 27, 2022
Cycling Ireland’s chief executive Matt McKerrow echoed Dyer’s aim to prioritise the organisation’s expenditure, adding that “This decision has not been taken lightly – and reflects the need to be certain we can stand over the value and benefit of expenditure right across the sport.
“With the exponential cost increases in attending events post Covid, including some we’ve experienced already this year where flights and accommodation have escalated by some 70-80 percent on previous editions, we’ve taken the decision to prioritise resources to other high-performance event and development activities at this time.”
The announcement comes hot on the heels of Ireland’s best ever showing at the Tour de l’Avenir, the prestigious U23 stage race traditionally viewed as a glimpse into the future of pro cycling, where Archie Ryan took fourth place overall after securing three top ten stage placings in the high mountains.
It’s safe to say that the decision hasn’t gone down too well with Irish cycling fans:
Terrible news. Costs are no doubt huge but surely there are good arguments for sending a small number of young riders?
— Full Gas! (@Full_Gassss) August 29, 2022
Did ye not know it was in Australia and I dunno, maybe budget accordingly? If cost is a factor surely there are ways to mitigate like sharing costs/support staff with other countries in a similar position. Was that even explored? What is CI even for anymore?
— @edenglish (@edenglish_) August 30, 2022
@jackfchambers how is this allowed to happen? From beginner cyclists to the elite level, cycling is chronically underfunded yet a key way to address our climate targets. My kids can’t even cycle 2km to school in Dublin due to underinvestment @EamonRyan
— Stephen (@mcgeebers) August 30, 2022
It’s only the world champs. Disgraceful and disrespectful to all Irish riders and supporters. Was looking forward to cheering on the team In Wollongong as were a huge number of diasporas. 😞 😠 shortsighted
— Siobhan Ni Bhriain (@lifeNcraicNhr) August 30, 2022
A fresh contender for ‘weirdest things sponsors make pro cyclists do’ here, though I doubt anything will ever beat the time Tom Boonen was forced to sit in a bath full of baked beans (don’t look it up, it’ll put you off your lunch):
A dreamteam on & off the bike!
— BORA cooking systems (@BORAGmbH) August 29, 2022
Classic sprinter, Bennett, popping up at the end when all the hard work is done…
Fair Fuel UK’s ‘go-slowers’, take note – this is how you do a motorway protest:
Auf der A66 bei Höchst pic.twitter.com/t0hFfNn9tV
— ADFC BadHomburg (@ADFC_BadHomburg) August 28, 2022
On Sunday, on the autobahn between the German cities of Frankfurt and Wiesbaden, there were bikes as far as the eyes could see, as thousands of two-wheeled protesters took to the motorway to call for improved cycling infrastructure.
According to local police, who authorised the event, 8,500 cyclists, wheelchair users, inline skaters and penny-farthing enthusiasts rode for 36 kilometres on the A648 and A66.
The mass protest was organised by Verkehrswende Hessen, a group which aims to improve road safety and protect the climate through an expanded active travel and public transport network in the German state of Hesse.
Along with the autobahn protest, prompted by the recent planned expansion of the A3, A5, A66 and A661 motorways, the group has submitted a petition containing 70,232 signatures to the state parliament calling for new legislation to combat climate change and create more space for cycling and walking.
The proposals include the creation of a Hesse-wide cycle network, expanded and widened bike and footpaths, quicker and safer crossings on wide streets, safe school routes and an expanded public transport service.
Die Kolleg*innen der @VerkehrswendeHE haben am Sonntag 70.232 Unterschriften überreicht! Wir gratulieren und übernehmen als Radentscheid Bayern symbolisch den Staffelstab für den #RadentscheidBY pic.twitter.com/gu7fSh4o8Z
— Radentscheid Bayern (@radentscheid_by) August 29, 2022
According to Hessenschau, if Verkehrswende Hessen’s proposals are deemed feasible by the state’s returning officer and a further petition attracts over 200,000 signatures, Hesse’s parliament must consider the draft law.
Now, that’s a protest. Though I’m sure we won’t have to wait too long for someone to point out that they weren’t using the available cycle lanes…
It’s safe to say that Louis Meintjes thoroughly deserved a day of rest and recuperation – and this rather unusual recovery method – after his storming solo win on Les Praeres on Sunday…
— Cicloestadio (@cicloestadio) August 29, 2022
It was an altogether more stressful rest day for Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko, who missed out on his scheduled massage to be there for the birth of his son:
— Astana Qazaqstan Team (@AstanaQazTeam) August 29, 2022
Now that’s the kind of timing that can only be honed by years in the breakaway…
While everyone was out enjoying the fading remnants of summer, before autumn’s golden glow forces us to dig out the mudguards, there was plenty going on news-wise here at road.cc over the bank holiday weekend.
Everyone’s favourite confused Transport Secretary Grant Shapps popped up on the homepage again, insisting that cyclists won’t need number plates (again, for the talkers at the back… cyclists WON’T need them), and that he’s a very keen and enthusiastic cyclist himself, thank you very much. Just don’t call him a MAMIL…
In Italy, the CEO of confectionary company and former Giro d’Italia sponsor Balocco, Albert Balocco, was tragically killed after being struck by lightning while out mountain biking.
Thanks to the help of the brilliant cycling community, Katie Archibald was able to track down the photographer who took a series of photos at the Berlin Six Day in 2020 of her and partner Rab Wardell, who sadly died last week after suffering a fatal cardiac arrest in bed, just 48 hours after winning the Scottish MTB XC Championship.
We had more from Surrey Police’s law-breaking driver-catching Brompton bike, while Liz Truss followed Tory leadership rival Rishi Sunak’s lead by claiming that she was “looking forward to working with the cycling community” to build new infrastructure.
On the pro scene, former Sky and Movistar, and current Israel Premier Tech rider Alex Dowsett decided to call time on his 12-year-long elite cycling career, which has included (among other things) an hour record, two Giro stage wins and six British TT champs. Not too shabby. GB’s current star, Tom Pidcock, however, was unable to add to his rapidly growing collection of baubles at the world mountain bike championships, where he finished fourth after crashing.
Seven months after her own potentially career-threatening crash – which saw her break her radius and patella after being struck head-on by an overtaking motorist – former Irish champion Imogen Cotter made her comeback to the peloton at a kermesse in Belgium. Onwards and upwards, Imogen.
Finally, it didn’t turn out the most pleasant bank holiday Monday for some unlucky riders, who fell victim to a nefarious motorist’s attempt to ruin everyone’s day off by scattering hundreds of drawing pins along an Essex cycle lane – the scene of another tack-related attack earlier this year. One poor tubeless cyclist was even forced to take a taxi home after coming unstuck thanks to the downright dangerous anti-cycling sabotage.
But cyclists, eh?
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) August 30, 2022
The British stripes will be missing from today’s time trial at the Vuelta a España, as national TT champion Ethan Hayter has been forced to abandon the Spanish grand tour after testing positive for Covid.
The 23-year-old Ineos Grenadiers rider, who secured the overall win at the Tour of Poland earlier this month after a strong performance against the clock, had enjoyed a decent start to his debut grand tour, taking a top ten on the uphill sprint to Laguardia on stage four, as well as wearing the white young rider’s jersey for four days.
Hayter is one of four riders, all from different teams, who won’t start today’s 30.9km time trial from Elche to Alicante, a test the promising young British rider would have certainly marked on his calendar before the race.
Movistar’s Danish TT champion Mathias Norsgaard, Jumbo-Visma’s Edoardo Affini (another time trial aficionado), and Jarrad Drizners (Lotto-Soudal) all returned positive Covid tests over the rest day and will be making their way home as the Vuelta’s second week gets under way.
The cycling world was in mourning over the weekend after the news broke that leading Kenyan professional cyclist Suleiman ‘Sule’ Kangangi died after a heavy crash during a gravel race in the United States on Saturday.
33-year-old Kangangi, a pioneering figure in Kenyan gravel racing after a decade of success on the road, was racing the Vermont Overland race as part of the newly formed Team Amani, a squad of off-road racers from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
Kagangi was one of the driving forces behind both the Team Amani project and the growth of gravel racing in Kenya, spearheading the Migration Gravel Series, which has attracted the likes of Laurens ten Dam and Ian Boswell to the country’s off-road events, as well as mentoring and developing the talents of Kenya’s new generation of aspiring racers.
— Mbithi Masya (@mbithi) August 28, 2022
Before turning his attention to the dirt, Kangangi raced for UCI Continental squad Bike Aid on the road and finished on the podium of the 2017 Tour of Rwanda.
“I’ve always had a dream of going to the Tour de France,” he told VeloNews last year. “When I started cycling, that was the dream. But now I’m 32, that dream is fading quickly.
“But I realized, I’m used to these gravel roads, this is part of me. I don’t have to go find them. If I want to go training, I just take my gravel bike and I’m already there. It shows, you can always change your dreams. You start imagining yourself winning. Why not change my dream and go for something which is realistic for me?”
Our heartfelt condolences to the family and #Kenya for Suleiman Kangangi who died in crash in USA.
Sule raced Tour du Rwanda for the 1st time in 2011, the last was 2020.
He is the 5th all time with most starts.
— 𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗱𝘂 𝗥𝘄𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗮 🇷🇼🚴🏾 (@tour_du_Rwanda) August 29, 2022
Team Amani yesterday paid tribute to their “giant” Kangangi following his tragic death.
“Sule is our captain, friend, brother. He is also a father, husband and son. Gaping holes are left when giants fall. Sule was a giant.
“Instead of leading us at the front of the pack, he will now lead us as our guiding pole star as we press forward in the realisation of his dream.”
It is with shock that I have received the sad news that @sulekangangi passed away after a tragic crash in the United States. My heartfelt condolences to his family, and the entire cycling community, that has lost a talented cyclist, a mentor and a friend. pic.twitter.com/hZTtetdINR
— Mama Rachel Ruto, EGH (@MamaRachelRuto) August 28, 2022
Rachel Ruto, wife of Kenya’s president-elect William Ruto, tweeted: “My heartfelt condolences to his family, and the entire cycling community, that has lost a talented cyclist, a mentor and a friend. We will all miss him as an individual. Kenya has lost a champion. Rest in peace Sule.”
Leading pros, such as Kenyan-born Chris Froome and off-road star Lachlan Morton, who raced with Kangangi in multiple gravel and mountain bike events, also paid tribute:
Heartbreaking. My thoughts are with Sule’s friends and family. RIP Sule Kangangi https://t.co/yw4uq1ygaC
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) August 28, 2022
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.