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"You can watch these 'tourists' in the Tour of Flanders": Pro women's team mistaken for fans as Van Aert climbs the Koppenberg; Hot Fuzz's Sandford Police look after cyclists (sort of); But cyclists... + more on the live blog

It's Flanders Friday! Just two days to go until the big one, Dan Alexander will be keeping you up-to-date with all the happenings in the cycling world on Friday's live blog...
31 March 2023, 09:08
"You can watch these 'tourists' in the Tour of Flanders": Pro women's team mistaken for fans as Van Aert climbs the Koppenberg

The year is 2023...

HLN coverage of Van Aert recon with 'tourists'

That's a nice photo, I hear you say... Wout van Aert getting some support from his 
CERATIZIT - WNT Pro Cycling counterparts just days before they all take to the Ronde van Vlaanderen course for their respective races. What isn't so nice however is the circled caption on the side, which has seen Het Laatste Nieuws land themselves in hot water online...

As per one translation: 'Toiling but also smiling among the cycling tourists on the Koppenberg.'

One exasperated fan (an actual fan, not a pro rider) wrote on social media: "Meanwhile, at the self-proclaimed Flemish #1 sports newspaper they still know f*** all about women's cycling, even when Kopecky is one of the biggest stars."

The team added: "Well, this is disappointing. The girls were told to 'get out of the way for the pros' by a photographer during their recon yesterday… think we found which one it was… You can watch these 'tourists' in the Ronde Van Vlaanderen this weekend."

Of course, those of you in the UK will probably remember something similar back in 2017 when Cycling Weekly apologised after publishing this caption...

Cycling Weekly caption

Editor Simon Richardson said the incident was an "appalling lack of judgement by an individual" and "not a reflection of the culture in the CW office".

"Unfortunately during the magazine's production process a member of the sub-editing tea decided to write an idiotic caption on a photo of one of the female members of the club," Richardson said. "The caption is neither funny nor representative of the way we feel or approach our work. Sadly in the rush to get the magazine finished it was missed by other members of the team and sent to print."

31 March 2023, 15:52
Cage fight: CarbonWorks founder claims Topeak bike bottle cage infringes copyright of brand's own design
31 March 2023, 15:45
31 March 2023, 14:48
Meanwhile on the Koppenberg, cycletourists struggle with the wet cobbles

Hope they didn't get in the way of any pro riders... 

31 March 2023, 14:27
Lincolnshire councillor says lowest Active Travel England capability to deliver infrastructure rating won't prevent county implementing schemes

Active Travel England recently scored all English local authorities outside of London's active travel credentials...

> Active Travel England rates councils' capability to deliver infrastructure — 94 per cent fall in lowest three categories

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the headline figures weren't positive... 94 per cent in the lowest three categories and more than half in level one. One of those level one authorities was Lincolnshire whose executive member for highways Cllr Richard Davies has insisted the poor rating "won't affect schemes we are working on or considering".

"We will still be able to bid for funding, although it should be noted that government has dramatically cut the amount of funding available to Active Travel England," he told the Grantham Journal.

31 March 2023, 13:58
Caption contest

'Chicken and mushroom? Yep, definitely chicken and mushroom...'

> Mr Pothole teams up with Pot Noodle to highlight the increasing damage on the UK's roads

31 March 2023, 11:48
"A sad indictment of the state of the professional sport away from the men's WorldTour": Your thoughts on the state of pro cycling in the UK
Grace Brown wins stage four of the Women's Tour (Simon Wilkinson/

You've been having your say on the dreary news about the Women's Tour this morning...

Matthew Acton-Varian said it is a "sad indictment of the state of the professional sport away from the men's WorldTour."

"Not enough investment, not enough sponsorship, and not enough opportunity for female cyclists to show their mettle from the bottom up. Whilst recent additions such as the Paris-Roubaix and TdF Femmes are great news, the fact that other women's calendar stalwarts are struggling is very sad indeed."

Awavey: "I'm not sure it's an indictment of the whole sport, just the sport in general in the UK, those London Olympics were over a decade ago now, I suspect the Tour of Britain's finances are equally perilous, given the piecemeal fashion the event is being announced,and has the same lack of sponsors and potentially lack of vehicle provision.

"That to me was the most shocking part that Skoda didn't want to be involved in the Women's Tour at all. You could tell just last year the Women's Tour was struggling, and struggling to engage people too, so I'm not the least surprised it's come to this."


Over on Twitter, Matt L asked if British Cycling is doing enough... "Last year Shell joined British Cycling as an official partner. For the Women's Tour to go ahead they needed to find £500,000. Why did I mention Shell? £500,000 is less than eight minutes of profit. Want to help British Cycling? Save our races!"

31 March 2023, 10:55
"The update we didn't want to read": Teams and fans react to Women's Tour cancellation
The Women's Tour climbs Black Mountain in 2022 (

> Women's Tour cancelled for 2023, organisers cite lack of financial backing

Eurosport presenter Orla Chennaoui called it "the update we didn't want to read"... "Make no mistake, The Women's Tour blazed a frickin trail for women's racing. It set a standard for professionalism, platform and prize money. I don't believe we'd have a Tour de France Femmes if it hadn't been for The Women's Tour."

The teams too expressed disappointment, Jayco AlUla saying they "love" the race and hope for its return in 2024, while Trek-Segafredo called the cancellation "very sad news".

31 March 2023, 10:19
"We appreciate mistakes happen but they still happen too often"
31 March 2023, 09:22
More bad news... Women's Tour cancelled for 2023, organisers cite lack of financial backing
Pfeiffer Georgi rides on the front on stage four of the 2022 Women's Tour (Alex Whitehead/

> Women's Tour cancelled for 2023, organisers cite lack of financial backing

British Cycling said it was "really sorry to hear this news" but "we're looking forward to your return to the calendar next year". More reaction to this one soon...

31 March 2023, 08:00
Hot Fuzz's Sandford Police look after cyclists (sort of)

A bit of fun to kick off the live blog this Friday...

Of course a few who presumably have never seen Hot Fuzz get caught out by the apparent English police force each time it puts something on social media. The clue is probably the bio (presented in its unedited original form)... "Englands smallest Police Farce, committed to catching crinimals & swans #TheGreaterGood" ... oh, and the "parody/satire" warning.

Anyway, there are always a few...

One reply asked: "You don't think the sign is actually blocking the bike lane and creating a hazard?" 

Others suggested it was the work of Peter Ian Staker (P.I.Staker) to better protect the village's swans (it's just the one swan, actually)... hopefully those reference land and you don't just assume I've lost the plot...

31 March 2023, 08:15
But cyclists...

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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