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“I kinda think I won”: Caleb Ewan rues another dubious (and grainy) photo finish defeat; Pidcock’s masterpiece; Newly installed ‘murder strip’ blasted by Dublin cyclists; James May: e-bikes are world-changing; Women’s Freedom Ride + more on the live blog

It’s Monday, Paris-Nice is on, and Ryan Mallon’s back with your daily dose of cycling news and views on the live blog. Just don’t mention the football…
06 March 2023, 09:11
2023 GP Monseré photo finish (Benji Naesen)
“I’ve seen proof of the Yeti with more pixels”: Caleb Ewan rues another dubious sprint defeat – decided by extremely low-res finish photo

I think it’s fair to say that Caleb Ewan hasn’t been the biggest fan of photo finishes this year.

Two weeks ago, the Australian sprinter found himself on the wrong end of an impossibly tight call at the UAE Tour, as cycling’s version of VAR eventually ruled in favour of Soudal Quick-Step’s Belgian champion Tim Merlier following what most observers regarded as a “dead heat”.

And then yesterday, Ewan – to his disbelief – saw lightning strike twice in as many weeks at the GP Jean-Pierre Monseré.

The Flemish one-day race – held in memory of the 1970 world road race champion and Tour of Lombardy winner (who was killed just months after his rainbow jersey win in Leicester when a motorist strayed onto a race course and hit him head-on) – came down once again to a bunch gallop, with Ewan’s Lotto Dstny team putting him in the perfect position in the final few hundred metres.

However, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty’s Gerben Thijssen, the winner of a Tour of Poland stage last year, managed to draw himself alongside Ewan right at the death, with both riders lunging at the line in another achingly close finish.

To add insult to eventual injury, the race organisers initially provided Ewan with at least some redemption for his UAE reverse by initially awarding him the win – only, after some closer inspection of the finish photo (which we’ll get to later), to later hand the victory to 24-year-old Thijssen.

“Of course, it’s never nice to lose on a photo finish,” Ewan said after the race. “This is disappointing but we keep on working to get that victory. I’ve been close a couple of times this season and I’m sure that the win is coming soon.”

While the 28-year-old was quite gracious in defeat at the finish in Roeselare, when he got back home last night, put his feet up on the sofa, and took a look at the images of the race, Ewan wasn’t quite so convinced that he lost this one:

Sharing two photos of the finish that appear to show the Lotto Dstny rider pipping his Belgian rival by the faintest of margins (though, to play Devil’s Advocate, the overhead shot would appear to rule – slightly – in Thissen’s favour), the Australian wrote on Twitter: “I kinda think I won. If anyone’s got photo of big G clearly beating me it would actually make me feel a bit better to be honest.”

To make matters worse, a photo of the finish line image used to decide the winner was also shared on Twitter. And let’s just say it’s a bit grainy…

The way things are going, it might take a Nessie sighting for Ewan to break his spell of bad luck this season.

Maybe he needs to have a chat with Tom Pidcock about bouncing back from dodgy photo finish defeats…

06 March 2023, 16:32
Paris-Nice fans, swot up for tomorrow

This should be interesting… 

06 March 2023, 15:35
Mads Pedersen wins chaotic bunch sprint – and takes yellow jersey – at Paris-Nice

Paris-Nice is the best week-long stage race in the world. You can argue with me all you want, but that’s a fact.

However, those opening few flat days as the peloton winds its way south from France’s capital can drag a bit, I’ll admit. Unless of course the wind blows, ripping the field to shreds – then it’s the best racing of the entire year.

Today, dear reader, was one of the quieter days, unfortunately.

For most of the stage, the peloton tapped along with the apparent ease of a French aristocrat on the way to Fontainebleau’s opulent palace, a faint crosswind causing untold amounts of stress in the bunch, if not necessarily any action.

Uno-X’s Jonas Gregaard made it two days from two in the break, but as is the case of many of these flat, seemingly endless days, he was sacrificed by the peloton to the TV gods, and left to toil alone up front for over 100km.

With Gregaard reeled in with 50km to go – the mountains jersey fitting recompense for his solitary effort – TotalEnergies’ GC hopeful Pierre Latour suffered a scare after a road furniture-induced collision, but he was able to make his way back to the increasingly nervy bunch.

But like any boring Paris-Nice stage, the race eventually exploded into life with 13km to go, as the sport’s arch disrupter, Tadej Pogačar, continued his quest for bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint. This time, yesterday’s shadow Jonas Vingegaard failed to follow, the ever-ready Slovenian slotting another useful half dozen seconds into the bank, says before the rain begins to flirt with his favoured terrain.

A fast, and messy, run-in prompted a potentially decisive crash right at the front of the peloton, perhaps fatally hindering the chances of the half of the bunch caught on what turned out to be the wrong side of a central reservation.

As the sprint began to unwind in Fontainebleau, yesterday’s stage winner Tim Merlier was caught out of position. Sam Bennett, meanwhile, was in position, but failed to follow his lead out man Danny van Poppel at a roundabout, the Irishman ruing another missed opportunity.

Former world champion Mads Pedersen, however, had no such troubles following his Trek-Segafredo team, upgrading yesterday’s podium place to a win, and with it the yellow jersey – Denmark’s first at Paris-Nice since Ole Ritter in 1970.

Olav Kooij continues to knock on the door in second, while Magnus Cort and Dan McLay finished third and fourth respectively.

While Pedersen’s win saw him move into the overall lead, a certain Tadej Pogačar sits ominously in second, just two seconds behind him, ahead of tomorrow’s innovative take on a team time trial.

And who says Paris-Nice stages can be boring?

06 March 2023, 15:18
Filippo Ganna, doing Filippo Ganna things

The apocalyptic weather conditions that engulfed the Italian coastal town of Lido di Camaiore this afternoon threw up more than a few surprises during the opening 11.5km time trial stage of Tirreno-Adriatico.

(Pouring rain and a time trial? Ugh.)

Wout van Aert, cowed by the prospect of going flat out into hail, didn’t really bother, and finished 44th, though his Jumbo-Visma teammate Primož Roglič looked somewhat more promising just outside the top ten in 12th.

Ineos’ young American Magnus Sheffield perhaps surprisingly spent a good deal of the day warming the hot seat, before eventually settling for third, before German national TT champion Lennard Kämna underlined his credentials against the clock by taking the lead as the conditions eased and the light dimmed later in the afternoon.

While most of the top 20 represented a curious mix of GC riders, TT specialists, chancers, and surprisingly quick Aussie climbers (both Jai Hindley and Ben O’Connor finished in the top 17), the winner was as predictable as they come.

Filippo Ganna – who else? – made the most of the improving weather to storm to the win on the flat out-and-back course, beating Kämna by a whopping 28 seconds.

To put that into perspective, just 31 seconds separated the rest of the top 20. Flipping ‘ell. 

“We did an amazing performance today,” the Italian phenom said after his win. “I’m really happy for me and the team. After Strade with Tom, we continue in a good shape altogether. It’s good for the morale.

“I just think to ride as fast as possible. Two days ago I didn’t know what my performance today could be, but I wanted to do the maximum possible for me and for the Italian people.”

06 March 2023, 14:54
“There’s a cycle lane there, you p***k”: Pedestrian confronts cyclist on shared use path

Just days after a pedestrian was jailed for three years for confronting a 77-year-old cyclist on the pavement, causing her to be killed when she fell into the path of a vehicle, road safety campaigner Adam Bronkhorst found himself today at the centre of this rather grim episode on a shared use path in Lancing, West Sussex:

> Three years in jail for pedestrian convicted of manslaughter after cyclist’s death

Bronkhorst, who was strongly informed by the pedestrian that he should have been using the painted cycle lane on the road (despite travelling in the opposite direction), sparking the altercation, wrote on Twitter: “Behaviour spills over from social media into the real world.

“It is not OK to just randomly start shouting and swearing at people and trying to have a fight with them, even if you think they shouldn't be on a shared path, especially in front of your young child.”

It’s all a bit depressing, isn’t it?

06 March 2023, 14:22
‘Lads, I really think we should launch a road safety campaign that focuses on the biggest threat to cyclists… Strava’
06 March 2023, 13:32
These aero gains are really starting to get out of hand(lebar)

Just when you thought Victor Campenaerts had perfected the (aesthetically awful) art of the extremely narrow handlebar, Denmark’s Rasmus Bøgh Wallin went and won the first stage of the Visit South Aegean Islands stage race in Rhodes at the weekend – using a set of bars seemingly stolen from a London fixie rider’s bike…

While Bøgh Wallin’s eye-catching bars generated a few jokes, as well some serious criticism, on social media since his win, it seems like the 27-year-old Dane is having none of it.

“Results make people shut up,” he said. Can’t argue with that…

06 March 2023, 12:56
james may - drivetribe screenshot.PNG
James May says e-bikes could “change the world”

While his old Top Gear mate Jezza Clarkson continues to spout the same old worn nonsense about cycling (and everything else) – to a deadline, for money, as Stewart Lee famously noted – James May has become a consistent advocate for two wheels and road safety in recent years.

> James May says 20mph is "plenty fast enough", and hopes "change in attitude" can help end road sectarianism

Which makes him a massive leftie luvvie in ‘What’s the next manufactured controversial thing I’m going to say?’ Jeremy’s eyes, of course.

In yesterday’s Sunday Times, Captain Slow extolled the virtues of the e-bike, which he believes “really could change the world”.

After a rather lengthy explanation for the Times’ readership of what an e-bike is, the Grand Tour presenter (and Drink at your Desk alumnus) defended the accusation – stemming from “proper cyclists” he’s encountered – that using one is “cheating”, and argued instead that e-bikes can play a key role in making cars and cities car-free.

He wrote: “In response to the accusation of cheating, I say this: you are still riding a bike, but for the same amount of effort you can go further or faster or a bit of both. More important, the bike can carry more stuff.

“The bicycle can now discharge many of the short-haul jobs we currently do in motor vehicles. And by empowering the idea of the bicycle, the pedelec may yet do much to save its great enemy, the car, since it can help remove the car from the areas where it is perceived as being problematic: towns and cities.

“In case you think e-biking is just something else that the south’s media luvvies have embraced, well, when Dan Walker (he of Strictly) was recently side-swiped by a car on his morning commute to Sheffield train station, he was riding an electrically assisted Gocycle. So it’s the north’s media luvvies as well.”

Should have known Mr Walker would make an appearance somewhere…

> James May: “I can’t stand road sectarianism – it’s all b*llocks”

“The rise of the pedelec will cause disquiet in some sectors of our fragmented and annoyingly sectarian road community (what about road tax, what about insurance and numberplates, too many bike lanes, blah blah bloody blah), but I don’t see how it can possibly be a bad thing,” James continues, almost like he’s applying for a job at (Dan and I are concerned…).

“Not all bikes will be like this, most probably don’t need to be. But this tech greatly broadens the efficacy of the humble bicycle, increases its appeal to many and makes it accessible to people who might have otherwise struggled with one.”

While acknowledging that most of his cycling around London is still carried out on his “lightweight regular bike”, May reckons that e-bikes can be “world-changing”.

As for cheating?

“I turned 60 a few weeks ago. The only thing I’m cheating is what the poet Larkin called ‘age, and then the only end of age’,” he says.

06 March 2023, 12:28
“Unlock cycling for women”: Over a thousand women ride their bikes around London to demand safe cycling

Over a thousand women took to the streets of central London yesterday on their bikes to call for cycling to be made safer and easier for women in the capital.

Organised by the London Cycling Campaign’s Women’s Network, with help from the Joyriders women’s cycling organisation and the Londra Bisiklet Kulubu (a group run by members of the city’s Turkish/Kurdish community), the group ride saw cyclists riding all sorts of cycles in all sorts of gear – including, you guessed it, fancy dress – make their way past Buckingham Palace, Whitehall, Marble Arch, and Trafalgar Square.

According to the London Cycling Campaign, the Women’s Freedom Ride, organised ahead of International Women’s Day on Wednesday, sought to highlight that transport is a feminist issue, and that structural, societal, and cultural barriers remain which prevent more women from cycling in the UK.

Less than one in three cycle trips in London are currently undertaken by women (compared to over 50 percent in the Netherlands), a figure pitted on a lack of adequate cycling infrastructure, a fear of abuse and violence aimed at female cyclists, a lack of safe networks for local journeys, and the apparent higher rate of near misses experienced by women.

“As women from a range of backgrounds, we know being able to travel cheaply and independently by bike can bring us confidence, health, and freedom,” Eilidh Murray, of the LCC Women’s Network steering group, said yesterday.

“But we’re being put off cycling by a lack of safe routes, dangerous driving, harassment and more. We need the mayor to make using a bike a safe, everyday choice.”

Responding to calls for him to address the physical and social safety of female cyclists in London, mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I want women to feel safe wherever they are in London, and that includes on our roads.

“We must continue to break down the barriers to cycling faced by women and girls and I’m doing all I can to make active travel around the city as accessible and safe as possible.”

London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman praised the event and hoped that it could inspire change in the capital.

“Women are the most successful and influential campaigners. It was mums and women who changed Amsterdam into the best cycling city in the world, and the same thing is happening in London,” he said.

06 March 2023, 11:54
Riders at Tirreno-Adriatico face important equipment decision – TT bike or rowing boat?

By the looks of things, today’s opening individual time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico – an 11.5km jaunt around Lido di Camaiore – may prove less about power and aerodynamics, and more about each rider’s swimming abilities:

I’m getting terrible flashbacks to the world TT championships in Harrogate (and those pesky puddles), as well as the time I slogged through a time trial in torrential rain during a stage race – while almost all of my teammates decided to stay in bed and record a rather sensible DNS.

Not sure Ganna, Roglič, Pidcock and co will be given the same choice, however…

06 March 2023, 11:27
Looks like Ford’s sponsorship of RideLondon is still going down well within the cycling community…

But at least the broom wagon will be nice and spacious, eh? 

06 March 2023, 10:49
“Going to show this to Dutch people to induce spontaneous heart attacks”: New Dublin murder strip blasted by cyclists

Our regular ‘Why don’t cyclists use the cycle lanes’ series crosses the Irish Sea today, to the coastal Dublin suburb of Dún Laoghaire, where a new, ahem, “bike lane” has caused consternation amongst local cyclists:

Yep, that looks fun…

Unsurprisingly, the recently installed cycling ‘infrastructure’ on Wyattville Road has been roundly condemned on social media as a “murderdrone”, “extremely disappointing”, and, with a certain degree of understatement, “rubbish”.

According to local cyclist Michael, who posted the video on Twitter, prior to the road layout being changed, “we had lovely wide footpaths segregated from the Autobahn by a couple of metres of grass and trees. It was very comfortably safe to cycle on with kids.

“The council's answer is: Sure can’t you continue to use the footpath. Zero safety. Zero usability.”

He continued: “They even ripped out the existing cycle lane and chicaned it to force cyclists onto this crap design.

“We’re going to continue to break the law and use the footpath. [The Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council] engineer also mooted getting  ‘one way’ arrows painted on the cycle lane to force users to cross through the lethal junction rather than continue safely on the cycle path.

“I’m at a loss, feeling very frustrated.”

I’m not surprised…

06 March 2023, 09:42
Tom Pidcock wins the 2023 edition of Strade Bianche (Zac Williams/
Tom Pidcock’s masterpiece

Speaking of a certain Mr Pidcock…

I don’t know about Tom, but I’m not sure I’ve even fully recovered from that desperate, heart-stopping last 20 kilometres into Siena on Saturday.

Tom Pidcock wins the 2023 edition of Strade Bianche (Zac Williams/

Me too, Tom, me too… (Zac Williams/

So, now that the dust has settled (excuse the pun), where do you reckon Pidcock’s 50km Strade spectacular ranks on the list of all-time great British rides in major one-day classics?

> Flying Tom Pidcock wins Strade Bianche with audacious 50km attack

For pure sporting drama, it certainly came close to Cavendish’s last-gasp San Remo win in 2009, while the Yorkshireman’s epic solo escape on Saturday also harked back to Lizzie Deignan’s barnstorming 2021 ride over the Roubaix cobbles and Tom Simpson’s rainbow jersey-clad procession at the Tour of Lombardy in 1965.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

But you know what’s the scariest thing? Pidcock’s sensational win over the Tuscan gravel may prove just the beginning for the Ineos rider (who starts a week-long battle with his prospective classics rivals at Tirreno-Adriatico today) this spring…

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

Add new comment


The Maso | 1 year ago

Re: “There’s a cycle lane there, you p***k”

What's almost as depressing as the altercation itself is the comments on the Twatter feed. More than half of the "contributors" are blindly in support of the parents who are "f"ing and "c"ing their heads off in front of their poor kid with no justification I can see other than their normalised hatred of what they don't understand. Both "parents" look like they could do with some exercise anyway. As ever, education is the key and that poor child has an immediate disadvantage.

Awavey replied to The Maso | 1 year ago

I find it interesting that the main focus is purely on the moral outrage, swearing in front of a child, maybe he didnt realise it was her turn  3

Because if Mr pedestrian had simply said hey old chap do you awfully mind not doing that and giving us some more room, we'd be having a different conversation.

One that went cycling past pedestrians on a shared path that narrow, at any speed, let alone that speed, is not only a bad look its actually pretty lousy level of riding.

A shared path does not give you free reign to pass people like that.And I wouldn't be at all pleased with myself on reflection reviewing that encounter if I'd ridden past a group of pedestrians like that.

But then my cynicism is off the scale with how this kind of thing comes about.

A somehow experienced cyclist on a path barely wide enough to ride on next to a road like that is shocked when a guy with tattoos doesnt mind his ps and qs when you close pass him like that. And what do you think that guy is going to do the next time he passes a cyclist in a car ?

JustTryingToGet... | 1 year ago

I reckon the people who have no problem with speeding in a motor are exactly the same people who think a bike at any speed is screeching past or zooming or other hyperbolic term for speed.

Simon E replied to JustTryingToGetFromAtoB | 1 year ago

"the cyclist came out of nowhere"

"selfish cyclists taking up all the road"

"shouldn't be on the road because you don't pay Road Tax"

They are all from the same anti-cyclist bingo card. But how could so many people independently spout the same ill-informed comments/rants to hand? It's almost as if they've had it drummed into them. Speed cameras are like the Stasi, motorists are "persecuted" or "hard-pressed" (like the accelerator pedal too much of the time). It's a complete joke, the reverse of reality.

Meanwhile James May's comments surely won't make headlines beyond, far too sensible.

And the #WomensFreedomRide is only necessary because cyclists - especially female cyclists - are particularly vulnerable road users.

Rendel Harris replied to JustTryingToGetFromAtoB | 1 year ago

JustTryingToGetFromAtoB wrote:

I reckon the people who have no problem with speeding in a motor are exactly the same people who think a bike at any speed is screeching past or zooming or other hyperbolic term for speed.

They also seem (unsurprisingly, given what appears to be their fairly limited mental acuity) unable to appreciate the irony of the fact that prior to the cyclist approaching them they were walking along the edge of a busy road inches away from motors coming past at 30 mph plus, and that statistically they are 50+ times more likely to be killed by one of those mounting the pavement than by a cyclist on the shared path. 

Owd Big 'Ead | 1 year ago

What on earth were they thinking in Dublin.
That is some of the worst "infrastructure" I've ever seen.
Whoever at the council signed that off should hang their head in shame.

lesterama replied to Owd Big 'Ead | 1 year ago
1 like


Owd Big 'Ead | 1 year ago

James May might be on to something regarding E-bikes. I've recently moved to the suburbs and it's noticeable how many people, especially oldies, who are running errands on their E-bikes.

JustTryingToGet... replied to Owd Big 'Ead | 1 year ago
Owd Big 'Ead wrote:

James May might be on to something regarding E-bikes. I've recently moved to the suburbs and it's noticeable how many people, especially oldies, who are running errands on their E-bikes.

Agree, seeing more here as well as school runs done on an e-cargo. The more the merrier, bring it on.

belugabob replied to Owd Big 'Ead | 1 year ago
Owd Big 'Ead wrote:

James May might be on to something regarding E-bikes. I've recently moved to the suburbs and it's noticeable how many people, especially oldies, who are running errands on their E-bikes.

The uptake of e-bikes has largely been spearheaded by 'more mature' folk, as they seem to get it and embrace it.

It definitely removes one item from the list of excuses that gets rolled out on a regular basis

Oldfatgit replied to Owd Big 'Ead | 1 year ago

If ebikes could be recognised as legitimate mobility vehicles, it would help 

wtjs replied to Oldfatgit | 1 year ago

Agreed! E-bikes are indeed vehicles for assisted mobility.

eburtthebike replied to Owd Big 'Ead | 1 year ago
1 like

He is indeed right, and kudos to the Times for an article featuring ebikes, but it was one drop in an ocean of electric cars stories, with the media firmly in the Nelson camp of "ebikes, I see no ebikes" holding the telescope to their blind eye.

Hardly surprising since we've had decades of a media either anti-cycling or indifferently ignoring it.  There has been a number of articles about obesity recently, and I've heard a few, BBC and LBC, but despite lengthy interviews and analysis, cycling is ignored, despite being the most effective way of tackling it according to NICE.  Almost all comments on the obesity crisis centres on food, and I remain baffled by this.

belugabob | 1 year ago

Captain Slow becomes Captain Sensible

(Without the aid of a beret or an Hawaiian shirt)

brooksby replied to belugabob | 1 year ago

belugabob wrote:

Captain Slow becomes Captain Sensible (Without the aid of a beret or an Hawaiian shirt)

Well, that's just happy talk, isn't it...?

perce replied to brooksby | 1 year ago

Well I'll be damned- you beat me to it.

mark1a replied to perce | 1 year ago

I said wot?

perce replied to mark1a | 1 year ago

Had to look that one up - sorry!

DonLogan | 1 year ago

I think using the phrase "...right at the death" whilst discussing the finish of a race dedicated to the memory of Jean-Pierre Monseré, killed whilst racing is in poor taste to be honest.

Clem Fandango | 1 year ago

For major one day classics, Tom Pidcock's win is definitely right up there.  Not at a "major classic" but Ian Stannard vs Quickstep at the (2015 I think) Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is still something to behold.

Wingguy | 1 year ago

The overhead looks like Ewan won as well, if you look at the bikes. Thijssen's head and shoulders may appear further forwards, but that's just a parallax error as a result of them being significantly higher up.

The photo-finish equipment does show Thijssen just ahead (despite the low quality) but it's surely miscalibrated to the physical line on the road. The problem is that the rules define the photo finish line as the finish line no matter what - which is a major problem if the visible line the riders are aiming at isn't quite in the same place or at the same angle.

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