More magpie misery for the pro riders hanging out near Wollongong's splendid sandy beaches ahead of this weekend's elite UCI Road World Championships road races, with Remco Evenepoel and Grace Brown both reporting being attacked.
Last week, a vet in Australia sounded the warning over potential attacks on riders and spectators by magpies defending their territory during the spring nesting season, similar to many incidents we have covered here on road.cc over the years.
Now, speaking to the Guardian Australia, home rider and silver medallist in Sunday's elite women's time trial, Grace Brown, said she had been "swooped twice" in her first few days in the city.
"I've been swooped twice already since being here," the FDJ - Suez - Futuroscope rider told the newspaper. "So it's not just the international athletes that are worried about it. I get pretty scared by magpies."
Signs in the city — like the one below spotted near the finish line — warn of 'birds swooping' and recommend that those travelling by bicycle 'dismount and walk your bike through this area' as 'magpies are nesting.'
Magpies are a real concern at #Wollongong2022. Grace Brown told me she’d been swooped twice during training rides. @UCI_cycling obviously didn’t get this memo - posted just near the finish-line. pic.twitter.com/qdxT0GOyot
— Kieran Pender (@KieranPender) September 18, 2022
Belgium's Vuelta a España hero Remco Evenepoel, his nation's first Grand Tour winner since 1978, also reported unwanted interest.
"A fairly large bird came very close and it just kept following me," he told CyclingNews. "It was terrifying. But that's Australia, apparently. I hope it's the only time it happens, but I am afraid of it."
Last year a rider from Brisbane thought he had found a solution to keep the territorial magpies at bay – attaching bird scarer tape to his helmet, advice the silver medallist in the men's time trial, Stefan Küng, joked about after an unnamed teammate was attacked last week.
"Some guys said you have to mount some antenna on your helmet to scare them away, but that's not so good for aerodynamics," Küng suggested.
The Swiss powerhouse finished three seconds behind shock winner Tobias Foss in the men's elite time trial on Sunday, saying afterwards he "could cry" with disappointment, his second Worlds podium in three years.
Evenepoel was third, with his baffled reaction to being told who won the rainbow bands going viral soon after...
— Cycling out of context (@OutOfCycling) September 18, 2022
Dan joined road.cc 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 road.cc, 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.