Before we all head off for a final spot of rest day recuperation before tomorrow’s assault on Mount Etna, here are some of your thoughts on Richmond Park’s sunny day traffic jams:
Like, Bute Park makes it a bit inconvenient to get from east to west in Cardiff in the car, but I think I speak for the entire city when I say we'd much rather have the park not spoilt.
— Josh Owen Morris (@JoshOwenMorris) May 9, 2022
That tweeted photo – Richmond Park – is just so depressing...
Cars have no business being in Richmond Park... just ban them.
Surely a glance at Google Maps would show a solid red line on the routes in question? I guess people know the way, so they aren't using Google Maps to get there, and don't pause to think.
Or maybe they just enjoy the experience Safari-style, looking at the wildlife from their stationary vehicle? Beggars belief.
And taking pot-shots at herds of passing cyclists?
They really need to get on and build a dual carriageway in Richmond Park.
The tweet from the Royal Parks Police neatly sums up their attitude to cycling, by what it omits rather than what it says.
“Please avoid the area and consider public transport or walking to the park.”
Short ride this morning.
Bumped into neighbour walking the 1.5 miles home from night shift, because he fell asleep driving home & wrote car off a few days earlier
Said he needs a bike, but he's gonna start driving again once he replaces car.
It's 5 minutes or so by bike on paths
— Real Gaz on a proper bike #fbpe (@gazza_d) May 9, 2022
Leicestershire Police have appealed for help after eight Santander electric hire bikes were stolen from a Leicester leisure centre.
The bikes, which were secured to a stand at Braunstone Leisure Centre, were taken in the early hours of Friday morning.
Officers discovered one of the bikes hidden in a nearby park.
Anyone with information has been asked to call 101 and quote crime reference 22*257272.
The e-bike hire scheme is run by Leicester City Council, in partnership with Santander UK and operator Ride On.
According to Leicestershire Live, the bikes have been used by more than 19,000 people since the lifting of lockdown restrictions in April 2021, with almost 47,000 e-bike trips made during that period.
Forget the fight for pink, the daily struggle to win a stage, or even the organisers’ weird Twitter combativity/popularity contest; the real highlight of this Giro d’Italia will be the battle to be crowned best De Gendt, a contest which will surely rage on until Verona…
— Thomas De Gendt (@DeGendtThomas) May 8, 2022
Glad i‘m not there doing a gc battle for best Simon with Simon Yates.
— Simon Geschke (@simongeschke) May 8, 2022
As the southern Ukraine city of Mykolayiv is bombarded by Russian missiles – with one person killed and 27 injured over the weekend – a group of volunteer cyclists has formed to deliver essentials to vulnerable elderly people in the area.
Mykolayiv is the first major city behind the front line of the conflict and has seen its water supplies disrupted in recent weeks.
The Red Cross called on the help of local cyclists due to fuel shortages.
“A friend of mine used to deliver food here,” said Volodymyr, one of the volunteers. “He said that they were creating a short-range delivery service. It’s small packages for senior citizens who live alone and can’t walk much.”
Twenty cyclists have joined the group, riding up to 50 miles a day to deliver essentials.
He may be the current pink jersey wearer and one of the best riders in the world, capable of doing extraordinary things on a bike, but Mathieu van der Poel has a long way to go if he wants to win over the tifosi.
Especially once they’ve seen this video of the Alpecin-Fenix rider committing what Italians everywhere will regard as a cardinal sin, by pouring red sauce all over his spaghetti:
How to destroy your good name in one single move! https://t.co/qTtHg9Cegc
— Matteo Trentin (@MATTEOTRENTIN) May 7, 2022
As Paris-Roubaix winner Elisa Longo Borghini would say any time someone insults her home cuisine: “After that, I don’t know what there is. Probably only death”.
They might not let him into Italy for tomorrow’s stage…
Mark Cavendish's first and most recent Giro stage wins are 14 years apart (2008-2022).
Only two riders have bridged a longer stage winning gap in Giro history:
— Cillian Kelly (@irishpeloton) May 9, 2022
Over the last fifteen years, we’ve all got used to Mark Cavendish pugnaciously sprinting his way into the pantheon of cycling greats.
The Manx Missile was the first British monument winner and male road world champion since Tom Simpson, and is currently two wins away from overhauling Rik Van Looy (as well as Mario Cipollini and Roger de Vlaeminck) as the second ‘winningest’ male pro of all time.
And – who could forget? – he currently sits level with another little-known Belgian rider (Eddy somebody…) at the top of the Tour de France’s list of stage winners, with 34.
Cav’s stunning sprint yesterday to win stage three of the Giro d’Italia has put another two greats of the sport in his sights – Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali.
Those two gods of Italian cycling won their first and last stages at the Giro 15 years apart (after their illustrious and intertwined careers were affected by the second world war).
Cavendish’s win, meanwhile, bridges a 14-year gap from his first victory at the Corsa Rosa, when he beat Robert Forster and Daniele Bennati into Catanzaro-Lungomare for the first of two breakout wins in Italy (the then-High Road man could have nabbed a third late on in the race, but instead allowed lead out man and future rival André Greipel to take a maiden grand tour stage).
He's since won 16 stages at the Giro, as well as the points jersey classification in 2013 - the last time he rode the race before his winning return this week.
This Cavendish, he’s not bad…
Officers at #RichmondPark have now closed the road to Broomfield Hill car park at the request of @theroyalparks There is currently a long tailback of all vehicles. Please avoid the area and consider public transport or walking to the park. pic.twitter.com/V2Bvymdop1
— Royal Parks Police (@MPSRoyal_Parks) May 8, 2022
Ah, it’s a lovely sunny Sunday – let’s spend it sitting in our cars at Richmond Park then, shall we?
Let’s just say that this rather striking image, posted by the Royal Parks yesterday as it announced that police officers had closed the road to Broomfield Hill car park due to heavy congestion, didn’t go down too well with those who believe that cars are ruining London’s green spaces…
It was so lovely this morning before the cars turned up
— Stefan Velo 🚲🥷 (@velostefan) May 8, 2022
Cyclists have to cycle on the grass as cars take all the road… Richmond park roads are actually busier than around it. Makes no sense, people should walk, take a bus, cycle and stop this obsession of driving everywhere.
— GHY (@Guihemery) May 8, 2022
There is another way 🤷🏻♂️ https://t.co/VyxN7iejVl
— 𝔅𝔞𝔡𝔤𝔢𝔯 RPR 🔱 🄹🄰🄼🄴🅂 (@badgercyclist) May 8, 2022
Please, please just ban cars (excepting blue badge holders) from all internal roads. Let them come into the gate carparks if you must, but outside that, no.
— Rendel Harris (@Rendel_Harris) May 8, 2022
Too many cars try to use a car park > Builds bigger car park > More people drive to use the bigger car park > Too many cars try to use the bigger car park > Builds even bigger car park. Repeat. Bigger car parks are not the answer. Reducing vehicles numbers in the park is.
— Ollie (@ohbee07) May 8, 2022
A beautiful park absolutely ruined by cars
— Keith’s Gone AWOL 🌻 (@eirestudio) May 8, 2022
Anyone else wake up feeling like this?
Giro d’Italia rest day. pic.twitter.com/2PlxfQLgo0
— giro(byn) d’italia (@robynjournalist) May 9, 2022
Dan Martin – who has proven a prolific and insightful tweeter since his retirement – seems jealous of those Giro riders enjoying the first of their three rest days…
A travel rest day is never fun. Thinking back to @LeTour 2013 when we raced 3 days on Corsica, flew the same night as stage 3 and raced the TTT the following day. Short flight yes but still a Late night. 19 grand tours and never had a 3rd rest day.
— Dan Martin (@DanMartin86) May 9, 2022
Three rest days? What is this, a holiday camp? Bernard Hinault would have ridden from Hungary to Sicily back in the day. Modern pampered riders, eh?
Old Garmin teammate Nathan Haas was on hand, however, to remind Dan that he missed out on that elusive third rest day back in 2014 after crashing out on a cold, rainy night in Belfast…
I was going to say it’s still too soon. But that made me laugh so guess it isn’t.
— Dan Martin (@DanMartin86) May 9, 2022
TTs also count as rest days of course. I forgot those.
— Dan Martin (@DanMartin86) May 9, 2022
As you sat back and enjoyed what could be conservatively described as a promising opening Hungarian weekend to the Giro for its Team GB contingent, here’s a quick roundup of the weekend’s stories that you may have missed…
Mark Cavendish proved his spectacular return to the top of the sport at last year’s Tour de France was no late-career fluke, unleashing a monster 300 metre-long sprint (after yet another textbook lead out by the one and only Michael Mørkøv) to take his first Giro stage since 2013 and the sixteenth of his storied career.
“It was really nice. We wanted to get good in this first sprint, we did and I'm very happy,” the resurgent Manx Missile said after the finish in Balatonfüred.
“We've got half a team for the climbs and half a team for the sprints, but everybody committed. Ballerini, Van Lerberghe and Mørkøv, I've got an incredible final group there, and they delivered today.
“In the end I had to go long. I went at 300m to go. I had to hold a side and I'm just happy I could hold on for that long.”
While Fernando Gaviria and Arnaud Démare took second and third behind Cav, a boxed-in Biniam Girmay – second to Mathieu van der Poel on the opening stage’s uphill finish – was the only rival who looked like he had the speed to challenge the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl rider if given the chance. The next few stages will be interesting…
On Saturday, Simon Yates was as equally impressive in the 9.2 kilometre time trial around Budapest, beating pink jersey Van der Poel by three seconds and 2017 Giro winner Tom Dumoulin to win his first ever grand tour time trial and send an ominous warning to his GC rivals.
Can the man from Bury banish the memories of 2018 and ride into Verona in pink in three weeks’ time?
Simon Yates took a BIG surprise victory ahead of Mathieu Van der Poel in the Stage 2 ITT of the Giro d’Italia 👏
— Velon CC (@VelonCC) May 7, 2022
Perhaps Yates’ biggest GC challenge will come from the course-invading cat who ‘dropped’ Jumbo-Visma’s Edoardo Affini during the stage two TT – prompting a few playful digs from his teammates about Affini’s climbing ability…
As is tradition every time Mathieu van der Poel wins a stage, we also took a nosy at his insane power numbers – which peaked during his sprint against Girmay at 1,116 watts. Easy.
Away from the Giro, we reported that a bike thief was sentenced to 160 hours of unpaid work after bizarrely claiming that he took the bike simply so he could “get to his house”, while an angry motorist – distraught that cyclists were “taking up the road” – was fined £1,000 for careless driving after sounding his horn and shouting abuse at the riders.
At the local elections, anti-LTN candidate Lutfur Rahman was elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, despite being removed from the same post in 2015 after being found guilty of vote-rigging, buying votes and religious intimidation.
Finally, a study from injury compensation site Claims.co.uk found that Chelmsford was the safest city for cycling in the UK, while Birmingham came out top in the ‘most dangerous category’ – though as Dan explained in the article, the study’s methodology was shaky to say the least…
If there’s one thing that last week’s local elections showed, it’s that riding the coattails of a very small but aggressively loud group of activists, intent on restoring the car as the predominant feature of every street, isn’t the best path to political success.
But why, environmental psychology professor Ian Walker asks, did so many opposition councillors view the anti-LTN agenda as a sure-fire vote winner?
Interesting to ask why people are so unquestioning of pro-motoring messages. Have to presume the normative status of car-based mobility makes people assume pro-motoring reflects consensus, and also makes it harder to envisage change? https://t.co/2aGGwZ94VU
— Ian Walker (@ianwalker) May 9, 2022
oh definitely, it’s as much that people don’t care as they actively like them, but opposition parties should have thought about that before putting opposition to them at the heart of their campaigns
— Jon Stone (@joncstone) May 7, 2022
For those seeking nostalgia, we do still at least have @RBKC still proudly flying the flag for human-unfriendly streets, which doesn't look like it will change.
— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) May 7, 2022
However, as we reported over the weekend, not all voters rejected the anti-LTN brigade, and even elected some unsavoury candidates to prove their point…
other side to the coin though is that in councils where they’ve really gone for the policy Labour has only increased or consolidated its majorities - Lambeth, WF, Hackney, Islington, Camden, especially Southwark where huge noise was made about Dulwich LTN and Labour made gains
— Jon Stone (@joncstone) May 7, 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.