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“Look, we’re famous”: Tadej Pogačar’s rock, paper, scissors moment goes viral – and the internet misses the point; Motorists blast cyclist on Twitter… for praising lorry driver; ULEZ debate rumbles on; Pidcock’s “step forward” + more on the live blog

As Dan prepares to give his full attention to Transfer Deadline Day, Ryan Mallon’s back in the saddle for the last live blog of January
31 January 2023, 09:07
“Look, we’re famous”: Tadej Pogačar’s rock, scissors, paper moment goes viral – and the internet misses the point

It’s finally happened, folks – pro cycling has gone mainstream (and no, I’m not talking – again – about the upcoming Netflixification of the Tour de France).

Though it’s fair to say that not many of us cycling evangelicals would have suspected that the world would be awakened to the wonders, quirks, and complexities of road racing courtesy of a viral video…

The catchily-titled ‘Two cyclists leading the Tour of Slovenia decided to choose the winner with rock, paper, scissors’ – a clip of UAE Team Emirates buddies Tadej Pogačar and Rafał Majka sharing the spoils in typical Pog fashion after a dominant week at the pre-Tour warm up race last June – has been doing the rounds on social media the last few days, popping up on pages such as Historic Vids, The Archbishop of Banterbury, and so on.

And, hilariously, it’s been leaving a trail of confusion and anger in its wake, as Twitter and Instagram users were left baffled by the intricacies and conventions of cycling’s internal team politics.

Here are a few of my favourite responses – though I think it will be hard to top ‘This is everything that is wrong with the world today’…

Pogacar Rock, Scissors, Paper comments 1
Pogacar Rock, Scissors, Paper comments 2
Pogacar Rock, Scissors, Paper comments 3

While cycling fans around the world rushed to their keyboards, armed with their ‘Rules of the Peloton’ handbooks, others debated whether the confused response to one of the lighter racing moments of 2022 underlines the potential difficulties inherent in exposing the sport to casual viewers via a massive online streaming platform:

But what about one of the stars of the viral video sensation of late January 2023? Well, he’s just happy to finally be “famous”:

 Never change Pog- sorry, I mean ‘random cyclist’…

31 January 2023, 16:49
Netflix reveals story arc of upcoming Tour de France series (not really)

At this stage, and after all the belated publicity generated by the Tour of Slovenia (of all races) this week, who really knows? 

31 January 2023, 09:43
Not Near Miss of the Day II: The Comments

This ‘not near miss of the day’, posted on Twitter in praise of patient HGV drivers and featured on yesterday’s blog, seems to have coaxed – for whatever reason – the usual anti-cycling suspects on Twitter out of the woodwork:

 Some of the replies are truly baffling (now I know what the non-cycling fans watching the Pog and Majka video felt like).

“One day cyclists will have training like the HGV driver to use the roads,” wrote Peter B.

“Bullsh*t video,” says Chris. “You haven’t got a clue what the driver was doing and created a false proposition.”

“The fact you are in the middle of the road might have something to do with it,” suggested Mark.

And my personal favourite: “Classic case of the tail wagging the dog! We want, we demand, you will comply attitude from the minority. How many HGVs are there on the road v cycling lobbyists? Yet they still want their avocados, quinoa, out of season strawberries, bananas, oranges, delusional…”



31 January 2023, 16:33
Shades of Kittel as Jonathan Milan thunders to Saudi Tour stage win

He may have the name of an Italian American stereotype in a lazy cartoon series (‘Yeo, it’s Jonny Milan!’), but Olympic team pursuit gold medallist Jonathan Milan is certainly going places – and fast.

The 22-year-old Bahrain-Victorious sprinter launched early before managing to hold off the in-form Dylan Groenewegen to take just the third victory of his fledgling pro career on a windswept second stage of the Saudi Tour at Shalal Sijlyat Rocks.

“I finished last year with two victories in the CRO Race,” the Italian said after the stage. “My goal was to start the new season with victories here, not just for me but for the team.

“Yesterday we tried with Dušan [Rajović] and he finished second with nice teamwork. I had some problems in the last kilometre with my cassette and I couldn’t help my teammate in the final. Today they helped me and I’m super happy with this result. All the team supported me and I’m super happy and super thankful.

“It was super hard. The first 80km the wind was coming from the back, then we had crosswind, headwind and again crosswind in the final here.”

Watch out, the established sprint hierarchy, there’s a new powerhouse in town…

31 January 2023, 16:00
Leith Walk cycle lane (Allasan Seòras Buc, Twitter)
Edinburgh bus passengers play ‘spot the problem’ with infamous Leith Walk zig-zag cycle lane

It’s been over a month since we last heard from Edinburgh’s notorious Leith Walk cycle lane, so we thought we’d better take a trip up north to check in on its novelty zig-zagness – and it’s going just as well as you’d expect…

In December, we reported that an Edinburgh pensioner warned that the crooked, Pac-Man-style bike lane is a “disaster waiting to happen” after he suffered a suspected broken rib and other minor injuries after hitting a shallow kerb.

The city’s council responded to 69-year-old’s John’s complaint by noting that the lane is currently closed, with barriers and signage in place notifying the public, and will not be complete until early this year – though the pensioner reckons that it won’t be any safer when it’s officially open.

> "Moronic" much-ridiculed zig-zag cycle lane now blamed as cyclist injured by shallow kerb crash

And earlier this month, Edinburgh local Lauren tweeted a photo of several people queuing across the cycle lane as they waited for a bus, with the caption: “Spot the problem with this section of Leith Walk cycle path”.

“A dedicated cycle path is a positive development as many people, including me, aren’t confident cycling in traffic,” Lauren told EdinburghLive.

“Unfortunately, the Leith Walk cycle lane design reduces pedestrian space and puts cyclists and pedestrians into conflict. It’s common to see people walking in the bike lane without realising.”

Edinburgh City Council’s transport and environment convenor Scott Arthur says he recognises the “genuine concerns” of residents concerning the much-criticised layout, and will monitor the situation when the lane is fully open.

> Edinburgh Council to make changes to bizarre zig-zag cycle lane after social media backlash

“The current layout on Leith Walk complies with the Edinburgh Street Design Guidance (ESDG), which recognises that flexibility is required to accommodate a variety of modes in the design of existing streets,” Arthur said.

“The Council’s project team worked hard to engage closely with the public from the project’s inception, and the design was developed in close consultation with the community and stakeholders during 2018 to allow residents, businesses, pedestrians, and cyclists to co-exist with buses and trams.

“The cycle lane is currently closed, with diversions in place. However, I do acknowledge that there are genuine concerns regarding this scheme and I will ensure it is closely monitored once it is fully open to the public.”

31 January 2023, 15:31
Oh, the irony…
31 January 2023, 14:59
sportive breaks WeRideFlanders
Waves of Fear: Where do you stand on the whole waving debate?

Forget road safety, doping, helmets… the one discussion point guaranteed to provoke an animated argument between cyclists concerns the simple act of waving.

Our resident controversialist Jo’s latest opinion piece, on the inherent contentiousness that revolves around how cyclists greet each other on the roads, had us all reaching for the popcorn and the comments section.

> No, I don't wave at other cyclists when I'm out for a ride... isn't a simple nod of acknowledgement enough?

(For the record, and I believe I’ve mentioned this on the live blog previously, I’m the kind of enthusiastic children’s TV presenter-style waver much derided by Jo in his article. My brother, on the other hand, is more ‘an almost imperceptible nod of the head’ guy. We’ve agreed to disagree on the subject.)

Surprisingly, perhaps miraculously, the comments section under Jo’s piece didn’t descend into fisticuffs – though it did bring up a varied and interesting range of viewpoints.

Here are some of the best comments:

Hawkinspeter: “I’d rather be the asshole waving and being ignored than the asshole doing the ignoring.”

Adamrice: “I generally wave when I see a fellow cyclist on the road, unless I’m in a death grip on a descent. When someone does not return a wave, I don't get the tiniest fraction as worked up as Jo seems to imagine. I do judge them though.”

Freddy56: “A nod is plenty, any acknowledgement that they are part of your tribe. To ignore another cyclist is just being a dick.”

IanMSpencer: “It depends. I would always acknowledge another rider unless Stuff Was Going On. I am more likely to be more effusive to pottering couples, off-roaders and obviously casual cyclists than heads down, teeth gritted TTers.

“I save conversation for the poor female partners who have been lumbered with a 20kg Halfords hybrid struggling away while sonny boy is scooting up the hill at great speed on his brand new Colnago with Super Record pretending not to be pissed off that the other half is neither keeping up nor enjoying the easy ride out. E-bikers are always worth a friendly heckle.”

Cyclists waving at RAB - Tass Whitby.JPG

Which one are you?

Calc: “I wave at drivers who show courtesy to me. If they're at a side street and don't shoot out nearly killing me, then they get a wave. Or just obeying the law when they could save 1/2 second by killing me. That gets a wave.

“I've seen other cyclists in my area doing it too. This is worthwhile waving because it rewards good driving and may save lives and change attitudes. You wouldn't squash a cockroach if he always waved and said hello to you.”

Andystow: “I don't always wave, but in really terrible weather I'll wave at any other cyclist, or even pedestrian, who's out braving it. I've also made people laugh out loud by saying ‘wow, I thought I was the only idiot’ as I passed them.”

JustTryingToGetFromAtoB: “Nod and/or smile. Though if I'm struggling up a hill don't expect more than a grimace. When I'm coming down said hills and I see someone doing sterling work the other way, they have in certain instances received a salute. Though clearly no reciprocal response is expected.”

HoarseMann: “I think this is simply a countryside/urban thing with a bit of northerner/southerner on top. Far more likely to say hello to a random stranger up north, especially if you're out in the sticks. I don't think it's something that's particular to cycling.”

Although Flintshire Boy might have summed up most of our feelings by the end of Jo’s manifesto: “Bladdy hell. That's a long (very long) article about a little thing.”

A little thing that can still spark a lot of discussion, of course…

31 January 2023, 14:29
Bargain Buys of the Year | 2023 Awards
31 January 2023, 13:35
Anna Kiesenhofer before the time trial at the 2022 road world championships, Wollongong (Simon Wilkinson/
Olympic road race champion Anna Kiesenhofer joins Israel-Premier Tech-Roland

In arguably the second-worst kept cycling transfer secret of the winter (looking at you, Cav), Olympic road race champion Anna Kiesenhofer has been unveiled as Israel-Premier Tech Roland’s latest signing for 2023.

The 31-year-old Austrian, who, following the completion of her PhD, spent a brief spell at Lotto-Soudal in 2017 before pursuing a career in mathematics, earned an improbable gold medal at the 2021 Tokyo Games against the leading pros, attacking early and building an unbridgeable gap to hold off Annemiek van Vleuten.

After continuing to race without a pro team in the wake of her Olympic success, Kiesenhofer joined the Soltec squad late last year for the Challenge by La Vuelta.

She was then set to join the proposed B&B Hotels women’s team for 2023, but found herself without a contract after the French squad collapsed in controversial and acrimonious circumstances just before Christmas.

While a move to Israel-Premier Tech Roland has been in the offing for weeks, Kiesenhofer was finally unveiled in the team’s colours this morning.

“I am very happy to join Israel-Premier Tech Roland,” she said in a statement. “The environment and equipment are ideal for me to perform at my best in some of the most important races of the WWT calendar. In particular, I want to target the Tour de France and other hard stage races.

“I’m excited about this new challenge. It won’t be easy, but I think we have a great team and will deliver some surprises this year.”

31 January 2023, 12:55
Stop ULEZ protest, London, 29 January 2023 (The Havering Daily)
Sadiq Khan is “treating Londoners with complete and utter contempt” over ULEZ expansion, says London Assembly member

London mayor Sadiq Khan has been accused of treating the city’s residents “with complete and utter contempt” over his attempt to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

The ULEZ – inside which motorists will be charged £12.50 day for driving non-compliant, high-polluting cars – will be extended to outer London from 29 August, a decision described by Khan as “not easy but necessary to reduce the capital's toxic air pollution”.

The Labour mayor is also launching a £110m scrappage scheme, which aims to provide low-income Londoners with grants of up to £2,000 to replace their high-polluting vehicles.

> Sadiq Khan encourages Londoners to give up cars

A recent report by the BBC, however, claims that Khan is facing “growing pressure” from local authorities to reconsider the expansion.

According to the report, eleven of the 19 outer London councils have expressed their apprehension – over issues such as the seven-month timescale of implementation, the scrappage scheme, and poor public transport links – with some even considering legal action.

Conservative-controlled councils Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Harrow, and Hillingdon have released a joint statement on the expansion, saying they would “do everything in our power to stop it from going ahead”.

On the ever-balanced Mike Graham’s TalkTV show today, Conservative London Assembly member Keith Prince said Khan was “insulting” anti-ULEZ activists by likening them to opponents of the smoking ban, and that he was “treating Londoners with complete and utter contempt”.

However, speaking to the BBC today, Khan argued that the opposition to the scheme was simply a political strategy by Tory councils who he says are “in the pocket of vested interests”.

The BBC was also told that the councils keen to instigate a judicial review accept that it would be unlikely to succeed, but that it would nevertheless act as a “delay tactic” to “tangle the mayor up in court and push a decision on the matter closer to the 2024 London mayoral election”.

While the extremely vocal opposition to the scheme has become a TalkTV staple, the extent to which it represents the average Londoner has been questioned by some on social media:

31 January 2023, 12:13
‘Dystopian nightmare’ or just children riding bikes?

Needless to say, David’s rather unique Orwellian take received a warm reception from other Twitter users:

31 January 2023, 11:31
Tom Pidcock, Dublin UCI Cyclocross World Cup 2022 (Alex Whitehead/
Tom Pidcock: “I wasn’t looking forward to the ‘cross season mentally… But this winter I really enjoyed it”

World cyclocross champion Tom Pidcock may not be defending his rainbow jersey this weekend in Hoogerheide, but the Ineos Grenadiers rider believes he “took a step forward” on the muddy fields of Belgium and the Netherlands this winter, firmly cementing himself within the sport’s so-called ‘Big Three’, alongside worlds favourites Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel.

Pidcock, who has now turned his attention to the upcoming classics season on the road, enjoyed an impressive cyclocross season, taking two wins in the rainbow jersey at Kortrijk and Boom while also – perhaps even more importantly – going toe to toe with the dominant Van Aert and Van der Poel during a compelling and often exhilarating Christmas campaign.

However, the 23-year-old Yorkshireman also admitted to Het Nieuwsblad yesterday that, despite his victory at last year’s world championships victory in Fayetteville last year, he had fallen out of love with cyclocross in recent years and entered this winter “not looking forward” to the season ahead.

Tom Pidcock, Dublin UCI Cyclocross World Cup 2022 (Alex Whitehead/

A muddy Pidcock at the Dublin round of the UCI World Cup (Alex Whitehead/

“My coach Kurt Bogaerts and I had already decided that [I wouldn’t be riding the worlds] before we entered the winter,” he told the Belgian paper. “Also, because this year's world championships only falls on February 5 and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad [the traditional curtain raiser of the spring classics season] follows twenty days later. I was sad initially because I wasn’t riding. We waited a very long time to announce the decision. Just in case I changed my mind.”

“Honestly, in recent years I loved cyclocross less and less. Especially last winter I didn't enjoy it as much as usual. As a result, I was not really looking forward to this cross season mentally.

“But I understood that a number of races would serve me well in preparation for the road season. And see – this winter I really enjoyed it. I took a step forward. I won a few ‘crosses and was able to compete against Mathieu and Wout in almost every cyclocross race.

“Last year they already talked about the ‘Big Three’, but in reality it was different: you had the ‘Big Two’ and Pidcock. Now I am mentioned in the same breath. And in the rainbow jersey. I will take this positive evolution with me to next winter, which I am already looking forward to. I try to take another step and beat them once in a while.”

Pidcock on the way to second at the Diegem SuperPrestige (Cor Vos/SWpix)

Pidcock on the way to second at the Diegem SuperPrestige (Cor Vos/SWpix)

When asked if there was a moment during the ‘cross season that he fancied his chances of defending his rainbow jersey, Pidcock replied: “Yes. After the evening cross in Diegem [where he finished second to Van Aert but ahead of Van der Poel]. A nice course. I was really happy, even though I lost to Wout van Aert.

“I knew where I had made the mistake. With a little more experience I could have won Diegem. Loenhout wasn’t bad either. Last year was different. I was sick too much. Maybe due to Covid. My immune system was also a bit less.”

With the British rider establishing himself in cyclocross’ elite stratosphere this winter, many retired pros, such as former world champion Lars Boom, have questioned Pidcock’s decision to give the worlds a miss.

“Of course I understand why they say that, but it's my decision whether or not I race” he said. “I’ve never thought in terms of ‘I have to defend the rainbow jersey’. I started cyclocross with the big dream of becoming world champion with the big boys one day. And I won that title in America.

“Suppose I do start in 2024, then I will try to take a shot at gold. You don’t defend a title. In my mind you are trying to win a title. Fayetteville was not my last worlds. I can say that with great certainty.”

Pidcock - Gent-Wevelgem 2022 (Zac Williams/

Pidcock at the 2022 Gent-Wevelgem (Zac Williams/

So, before Pidcock turns his full attention to the road, where he hopes to hit the ground running at the Volta ao Algarve in two weeks before testing his cobbles legs at Omloop, who does he reckon has the legs to inherit his rainbow jersey this weekend?

“Wout,” he says, unequivocally. “The Big Racer. Wout is the best in terms of pure power, but in the end such a title is decided after one hour of ‘cross. It is not just about strength, but also about the tactics if you want to be world champion.”

31 January 2023, 10:50
‘The Community that Cares’… Not about pavement parking, obviously
31 January 2023, 10:10
Heads-up readers: a few changes happening in the background this week
welding - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 by Yasser mahmoud

Morning folks, the tech whizzes have been in touch to pass on the message that is currently switching over its ad serving, so you might notice a couple of inconsistencies with the pages over the next couple of days where ads are concerned. We've spotted a bug with our autoplay video on mobile whereby it can't currently be closed, but we're working on a fix. 

We've also noticed that ads are currently showing for some subscribers who shouldn't get ads, but we're hoping to have this resolved very soon. Public service message complete, back to cycling news, memes and general mischief!

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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