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Queue behind cyclist sparks debate about letting drivers past; Sir Chris Hoy's "very private" wasp sting; UK Grand Depart; Hi-vis handouts part of road safety campaign; Close pass op; Steep climbs; Tour of Britain summit finish + more on the live blog

It's Wednesday and Dan Alexander is here for your midweek dose of the live blog...
08 September 2021, 16:07
How to make a 20 per cent climb look easy...Chris Blevins wheelies his way up Great Orme

Not everyone found that last climb so hard. Trinity Racing's Chris Blevins made light work of the steepest slopes...deciding he doesn't need a front wheel anyway. Perhaps he was inspired by the opening stage hero. No, not Wout van Aert. That kid spotted popping a wheelie to get on TV. 

08 September 2021, 16:01
08 September 2021, 15:38
King's Cup Gravel Festival

Billed as the ultimate gravel festival, the inaugural King's Cup Gravel Festival will see thousands of riders descend on the King's Forest, Suffolk, to take part in a Gravel Fondo and Gravel Race for the British Gravel Championships. Beyond the competitive stuff, there'll also be live music and camping to celebrate all things gravel. It is in the calendar for the weekend of the 18th to 19th September...

08 September 2021, 15:22
London Cycling Campaign protest ride against inaction on dangerous junctions
08 September 2021, 14:55
Wout van Aert wins Tour of Britain stage four after epic Great Orme summit finish battle with world champion Julian Alaphilippe - Ethan Hayter loses race lead

How good was that? The final climb didn't disappoint, leaving Wout van Aert and Julian Alaphilippe, two of the world's best, slumped by the roadside in visible physical pain. Way to make us feel better about our own fitness, guys...

Michael Woods lit up the stage with a big attack on the steepest 20 per cent slopes of the final climb to Great Orme. Race leader Ethan Hayter slipped backwards, riding conservatively at his own pace. Near the top, Alaphilippe hit out trying desperately to drop Van Aert before the flatter final section.

The Belgian stood firm and Hayter somehow managed to claw his way back to the front group, but was quickly distanced by the next surge in pace. With the finish line looming, Alaphilippe took flight at 200m to go. Van Aert pulled level at 100m and clawed his way past in the final metres. Incredible drama. What. A. Stage.

How hard was that, lads?

08 September 2021, 14:03
Queue behind cyclist sparks debate about letting drivers past

Here we go. It's the latest 'how cyclists should use the road' debate on social media. This photo came from a guy saying he sometimes pulls over to let backed up traffic through. 'Rush' posed the question: why, even if you don't have to, you wouldn't move off the road to let the queued traffic pass?

Some questioned the accuracy of the situation...had he really been sat behind the cyclist for two miles on what looks a reasonably wide road? Others asked if the lorry driver should also pull over to let the car drivers through?

When pressed, Rush said: "Periodically, yes [cyclists should pull over to let traffic past]. The Highway Code does not compel, but it wouldn’t hurt. It’s good road craft, that’s all. The chap was cycling along slowly, creating a needless tailback." And in reply to another question...

"The rider didn’t have to, but should have used road-sense and should have simply pulled over and would have received many friendly toots of cordial appreciation. Now what’s so difficult about that?

"Being a thoughtful and courteous rider isn't a completely selfless act, riding etiquette can cheer up those around us and generally create a more enjoyable, harmonious and stress-free relationship with road users."

Here's some of the discussion and reaction...

08 September 2021, 12:56
Tour of Britain summit finish
08 September 2021, 12:46
British Cycling targets hosting another Tour de France Grand Depart before 2030
2014 Tour de France (3).JPG

Yesterday we briefly mentioned British Cycling's strategy for growing the sport during the upcoming Olympic campaign, off the back of yet more success in Tokyo. Hosting flagship events was one area highlighted by CEO Brian Facer. He said: "Absolutely, I would like to see that come back again and I'm fairly sure that ASO and the Tour de France would like to see it come back again. We're a great cycling nation now and there's a real appetite for us. We’d be supportive if there were conversations going on."

The UK hosted the 2014 Grand Depart and turned down the opportunity to host it in 2017. Next year's race will begin from Copenhagen, and Bilbao is already in the books as the start point for 2023. 2024 is reportedly likely to be back in France, but could 2025 be our year?

08 September 2021, 11:22
Sir Chris Hoy complains of swelling from "very private" wasp sting...Twitter does its worst

Poor Chris Hoy. Wasps don't respect knighthoods... no matter how many Olympic golds you've won. Sir Chris found out the hard way, taking a prick to his...well, prick...thankfully he hasn't provided us with a picture of this particular misfortune.

The retired track star did share a pic of what happened to his ankle the last time he got stung...leaving little to the imagination about the 'discomfort' little Chris might be feeling this sunny Wednesday lunchtime...

Of course, as you'd expect, the good people of Twitter were sympathetic and understanding in their responses...

08 September 2021, 10:44
Close pass operation stops dangerous drivers

Here's the results of some more unmarked cyclist operations, this time by Road Policing Scotland. Back in April we covered West Midlands Police's Operation Close Pass, which also used 'undercover' cyclists to spot dangerous drivers making unsafe passes.

In that case, 36 drivers were stopped, two received penalty tickets and 17 given roadside education. Road Policing Scotland says six drivers were stopped by the North East team in Elgin and that all their departments will be carrying out similar operations.

08 September 2021, 10:13
Safe pass of the day: Textbook safe pass

Here's how it's done. A bit of patience and a nice wide pass when the road ahead is clear. By contrast, yesterday's 'Near Miss of the Day 633' is how not to do an absolute shocker, if Daily Mail comments sections are to be believed, a cyclist waiting at a red light spots an impatient van driver behind go through it himself...

08 September 2021, 09:32
Cyclist airlifted to hospital with multiple injuries after mountain biking crash at BikePark Wales
BikePark Wales incident (Image: Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team)

A cyclist was airlifted to hospital at around midday on Monday after suffering injuries in a mountain biking crash at BikePark Wales in Merthyr Tydfil. Wales Online reports the man was flown to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff with head and chest injuries, a displaced clavicle and an increased respiratory rate. Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team said the man was drifting in and out of consciousness.

In a statement, Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team said: "Working in conjunction with the BikePark Wales staff, the helicopters winchman paramedic and the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust Hazardous Area Response Team the casualty was packaged and loaded on to the aircraft for onwards transfer to hospital. With our thanks to everyone present who helped, we wish the gentleman a speedy recovery."

08 September 2021, 08:52
Silly steep climbs

If you're in the Peak District and fancy some pain, go check it out...although it doesn't look fun...

And...your obligatory Strava segment...grim.

Bamford Clough Strava

Talking of steep climbs, the Tour of Britain stage four finishes up one. We're talking just under two kilometres at nine per cent, maxing out at this heat as well.

08 September 2021, 07:55
Warwickshire Police launches road safety campaign by handing out hi-vis clothing

Warwickshire Police this week launched its #ShareTheSpace campaign as part of the wider national NPCC campaign between 6-19 September aiming to increase safety for all road users.

The force says it will be handing out hi-vis tabards and other hi-vis items carrying the 'Let's Share The Space' branding...

In other cases they'll be sending Community Speed Watch groups out to monitor speeds in local communities, as well as "asking the public to be aware of less protected road users."

However, that's just "part of the picture" they say, and advice will also be offered to cyclists, walkers, horse riders and bikers about how they can stay safe too. One likely positive from this is increased emphasis on reporting and submitting digital footage of dangerous driving via Operation Snap.

PS Shaun Bridle said “Pedestrians, cyclists, bikers and horse riders do not have a metal shell around them like a driver does sitting in a vehicle and even relatively minor contact can seriously injure them.  That’s why they need vehicles to ‘ShareTheSpace’ on the roads and pass pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders wide and slow.

“September is a peak month for motorcycle collisions and that’s why the campaign is happening now.  The campaign also coincides with children returning to school after the summer break.”

Looking into the autumn, Chair and Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire Philip Seccombe says the emphasis will be developing their 'Strategy to 2030' by encouraging cyclists, and other road users, to respond to the public consultation.

The spotlight will then turn to the upcoming Highway Code changes, which Warwickshire Police says it welcomes. The changes include a new hierarchy of road users that ensures those who can do greatest harm hold greatest responsibility. The force says it is also expecting guidance on safe passing distances and speeds, as well as ensuring cyclists have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead. 

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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