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Cyclists warned about ‘dooring’ drivers – while staging protest calling for protected bike lanes; Harry Styles cycling in one direction; Pro cyclists in civvies; Tour of Turkey monster climb; 47-year-old ex-doper wins stage race + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday and Ryan Mallon is back with your daily dose of cycling news and views on the live blog, as we all prepare to gawp at today’s monstrous Tour of Turkey climb
10 October 2023, 08:05
Cyclists stage protest calling for protected bike lanes in Chicago (Better Streets Chicago)
“That’s a dooring waiting to happen”: Cyclists warned about ‘dooring’ drivers – while staging protest calling for protected bike lanes

Grab your deep-dish pizza ovens and Smashing Pumpkins records, because we’re heading over to Chicago, where a group of cyclists staged a protest at the weekend calling on the Department of Transportation to install more segregated infrastructure along the city’s bike lanes – by forming their own “people-protected bike lane”.

The safety of cyclists in the Illinois city has come under scrutiny in recent months, especially following the death last June of three-year-old cyclist Lily Shambrook, who was killed by a lorry driver after moving out onto the road due to a truck being illegally parked in the bike lane at a traffic light.

> Family sues lorry companies and city after toddler killed when parents moved into road to avoid truck parked in bike lane

While Chicago’s Department of Transport says that “more miles of protected lanes and low-stress bikeways [are being] installed than ever before”, cyclists in the city maintain that not enough is being done to properly protect people on bikes.

Utilising the oft-repeated cycling mantra, ‘Paint is not protection’, the impressive display was organised by several cycling activist groups on Halsted Street, a major north-south road in Chicago, to demonstrate to the local authority that cycling in Chicago “should be this safe every single day”.

However, eagle-eyed viewers will notice that the lack of physical protection on the Halsted bike lane – apart from the temporary line of humans, obviously – isn’t the only thing questionable about that particular lane’s design.

In fact, it seems as if Trafford Council – the implementers of the now-infamous contraflow ‘dooring’ lane/car park in Altrincham – may have been taking notes from across the Atlantic.

> Council warned about danger of drivers ‘dooring’ cyclists before installing “accident waiting to happen” contraflow cycle lane

And the lack of protection on both sides of Halsted’s painted bike lane wasn’t lost on cyclists on Ex-Twitter.

“Awesome! (Though I’m worried about doors)”, wrote Chris, prompting Better Streets Chicago, one of the groups organising the protest, to respond: “No need to be! We were very conscious of any drivers entering or exiting vehicles.”

However, another user pointed out that, even with the utmost caution exercised by cyclists using it, the lane’s design is inherently flawed.

“Sadly that narrow bike lane directly adjacent to parked vehicles is not safe for any cyclist. “That’s a dooring waiting to happen,” they said.

I suppose it’s reassuring to know that terrible bike lane design isn’t just a UK phenomenon, eh?

10 October 2023, 15:24
Enjoy your local canal – just not on a bike, of course

Last night’s story on Worcester’s “non-inclusive, shambles” kissing gate has inspired some cyclists on social media to post their own examples of not-quite-bike-friendly entrances to shared-use paths, including this cracker from Derbyshire’s Erewash Canal, complete with ironic welcome sign: 

10 October 2023, 15:50
Cyclists at traffic lights, London © Simon MacMichael
“If mandatory safety measures are acceptable for car drivers, they should surely be acceptable for cyclists”: Ah, the helmet debate, how I’ve missed you…

Despite repeated opposition to the idea of mandatory helmet laws for cyclists from his own party's government, one Conservative MP has penned an opinion piece explaining why he believes such legislation should be introduced.

Just last December the Department for Transport insisted that the government has "no intention" to make wearing a helmet while cycling a legal requirement.

However, Mark Pawsey, MP for Rugby in the West Midlands, has said he will "continue to call for change" having first raised the issue in Parliament in June.

Read more: > Conservative MP cites “safety” and attempts to reignite cyclist helmet debate

10 October 2023, 14:56
15-minute cities, anyone?

And before the conspiracy theories jump up and start shouting, Carlton continued: “15-minute cities DO NOT involve permits to visit shops etc The urban design concept provides amenities nearby so residents don't need to drive places, but can do so when needs must.

“Expect local councils to get more powers and more cash to create Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, although they definitely won't be called that. Tory antipathy to people-friendly streets — a recent, misguided policy — will fade to grey before disappearing as if it never happened.

“LTNs and 15-minute cities etc will disappear, but in name only. When shown the reality, most people will prefer to live in, you know, liveable communities. The byword will be ‘walkability’ — places where it's easy to walk to everything you need. Why do some hate this concept?”

Let the (hopefully) conspiracy-free rebranding of LTNs and 15-minute cities commence…

10 October 2023, 14:27
Riding a bike > Driving a car

To be fair, there may have been more than a few sprinters at the back pulling that same manoeuvre as they struggled to the finish today… 

10 October 2023, 13:54
Alexey Lutsenko grinds away from Ben Zwiehoff to take stage win and race lead at Tour of Turkey, as riders scattered all over brutal Babadag climb

Well, Mount Babadag certainly lived up to its billing, scattering riders all over its 10 percent-plus gradients and weird clinker-based road, as out front Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko continued his late-season tour of redemption by coming out on top against Bora-Hansgrohe’s Ben Zwiehoff in an attritional battle at the summit of the savage, picturesque climb.

Lutsenko, who has followed up an underwhelming Tour de France with wins at the Circuito de Getxo, Memorial Marco Pantani, and the Asian Games time trial, grimly rode away from the impressive Zwiehoff – who had pushed the pace for most of the final section of the 18km climb – in the final kilometre, eventually putting 12 seconds into the German after a carefully calculated ride on the hour-plus test.

The finale proved to be head-to-head battle between Astana and Bora, who decimated the field over halfway up the climb, with Lutsenko’s teammate Harold Tejada finishing third, 27 seconds down, and 23-year-old Czech Tour winner Florian Lipowitz holding on for fourth, ahead of Q36.5’s Matteo Badilatti and Green Project-Bardiani’s Giulio Pellizzari.

Behind that front six, separated by less than a minute and a half, the gaps turned into chasms, with UAE Team Emirates’ pre-stage favourite Jay Vine the highest profile casualty on a climb where there was simply no place to hide.

Though, with only 16 seconds separating Lutsenko and Zwiehoff at the top of the GC, the Tour of Turkey’s organisers will be relieved that their experimental leg-breaker of a summit finish – one that could perhaps eventually forge its own identity as one of the sport’s toughest tests – did not also turn out to be a race killer.

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

10 October 2023, 13:23
‘Yep, just pave the whole way to the garage at the top, it’ll look great’

For an 18km driveway, the team cars seem to be struggling as much as the riders themselves – the Astana car almost rolled back down the mountain just now…

10 October 2023, 12:55
La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, one of Africa’s biggest stage races, postponed following coup d’état in Gabon

The African racing scene has suffered a blow this week with the news that La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, a week-long stage race which usually takes place in January, has been postponed for the foreseeable future amidst the uncertain political situation in Gabon.

The race, won by TotalEnergies’ Vuelta stage winner Geoffrey Soupe earlier this year and a launching pad for the careers of the likes of Biniam Girmay, Natnael Berhane, and Daniel Teklehaimanot, is named in honour of Albertine Amissa Bongo, the daughter of former Gabon president Omar Bongo, who led the country from 1967 to his death in 2009, and the sister of recent deposed president Ali Bongo.

Bongo has been under house arrest since late August, following a military coup which brought an end to the 56-year-long rule of his controversial family in Gabon.

And yesterday, as the new regime promised free elections sometime in 2024, Rwandan journalist Kayishema Tity Thierry confirmed that the race, set to take place between 22 and 28 January, which bears the Bongo name will not go ahead.

“The 17th edition of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo will not take place next January,” he posted on social media.

“This decision, in agreement with the authorities, is dictated by a rethinking of the priorities for the coming months, in the context of the renewal of the institutions of the Republic of Gabon.”

10 October 2023, 12:21
“I believe he will”: Chris Froome confident “special” Mark Cavendish will break Tour de France stage wins record

Speaking of old timers hoping for one last shot at glory, Chris Froome has backed former teammate Mark Cavendish to secure the 35th, record-breaking, Tour de France stage win of his career next year, urging the “special” sprinter to “make even more history” in 2024.

Meanwhile Froome, speaking at the Tour of Hainan – where he finished 63rd, over 34 minutes down on 47-year-old winner Óscar Sevilla – also asserted his ambition to return to the Tour next July (when he will be 39), and that he is “really looking forward to seeing where I can get to”, having overcome bike position issues and back pain by reverting to his Team Sky Pinarello position on his team-issue Factor.

Is a Cavendish stage win and Froome GC challenge double on the cards for next year’s Tour? If I’m honest, one of those comeback stories is more likely to happen than the other…

Chris Froome, Alpe d’Huez, 2022 Tour de France (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

Read more: > “I believe he will”: Chris Froome confident “special” Mark Cavendish will break Tour de France stage wins record

10 October 2023, 11:58
It’s almost time: The hardest climb in pro cycling approaches at the Tour of Turkey

We’re fewer than 20 kilometres away from the foot of Mount Babadag, the 18km, 10.3 percent average monster that serves as the frankly savage finale to stage three of the Tour of Turkey this afternoon.

With nine kilometres of the final climb averaging over 12 percent, sections that hit ludicrous numbers, a rough surface, and even a cobbled section for good measure, the Babadag has the potential on paper to make the Angliru and Zoncolan look like measly bumps on the road in comparison.

Tour of Turkey climb (Strava)

Just to underline how tough this summit finish is going to be, Carlton Kirby has already uttered the phrase ‘coping strategy’ three times in the first two minutes of the live coverage.

Get the popcorn out, we could be in for a lunchtime cracker. Or at least an hour of pro cyclists struggling to ride their bikes in a straight line, anyway…

10 October 2023, 11:13
Nothing to see here, just 47-year-old former doper Óscar Sevilla winning the Tour of Hainan, move along now…

In news that will come as a welcome boost for those of you starting to feel your age on the bike – or anyone currently serving a suspension of any kind – 47-year-old Óscar Sevilla clinched the five-day Tour of Hainan stage race in China yesterday, beating relative whippersnappers Ben Hermans (37) and James Piccoli (32), as well as actual young gun, Israel-Premier Tech’s 23-year-old Sebastian Berwick, by just one second on GC.

To put Sevilla’s victory – his seventh of the season and the 49th of his 25-year-long career – into perspective, the Spanish rider turned pro for Kelme in 1998, nine months before Tadej Pogačar was born, and finished second at the 2001 Vuelta a España, as well as seventh at that year’s Tour de France, a full year before Juan Ayuso was born.

Like many pro riders of his vintage, Sevilla’s past is somewhat chequered. After T-Mobile gave him the boot in 2006 when his name popped up during Operación Puerto, he eventually ended up at style icons/doper’s refuge Rock Racing (ah, Rock Racing, those were the days), where he picked up a ban after testing positive for blood plasma expander Hydroxyethyl starch.

Returning to racing in 2011 at the age of 34, Sevilla has since forged a successful second career in Colombia, continuing to win against decent opposition as he approaches the end of his fifth decade and after a quarter of a century racing his bike as a pro.

It makes you wonder why he even bothered with the drugs in the first place. Or…

10 October 2023, 10:48
Tim Declercq, 2021 Tour of Britain (SWpix.com)
Lidl-branded tractor, coming to the front of a peloton near you soon: Lidl-Trek confirm signing of Tim Declercq from Soudal Quick-Step

There have been murmurings about this signing for a while – in fact, we reported it on the blog almost a month ago, before all that Visma-Soudal merger nonsense even kicked off – but the news was finally made official this morning: ‘El Tractor’ Tim Declercq has signed for Lidl-Trek after seven seasons with Soudal Quick-Step.

The 34-year-old Flemish rider has been an almost constant presence on the front of the peloton in the classics and sprint stages – controlling things for his teammates and killing breaks at will – since joining Patrick Lefevere’s squad from Topsport Vlaanderen in 2017.

Tim Declercq, 2021 Tour of Britain (SWpix.com)

The tractor, pulling everyone along at the front, as usual… (SWpix.com)

And while the merger rumours have finally been quashed, Declercq’s departure to Lidl-Trek – where he has signed a deal that runs until the end of 2025 – signals another move away from Soudal Quick-Step’s traditional classics-oriented approach to a more stage racing-focused lineup in the service of Remco Evenepoel.

El Tractor, meanwhile, may be in different colours next year, but it is unlikely his role in the bunch will change, as he aims to keep things nicely under control for Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven in the spring classics.

“I think Lidl-Trek is a growing team with great values,” Declercq said. “They ride attractively and are stepping up their game every year. I’m super excited to join them.

“It seems a bit like the Lidl logo is chasing me during my career! But, I think it’s great for cycling that such a big firm wants to invest in cycling. That they chose the Lidl-Trek team to sponsor only shows that it’s a super professional team with great values.

“Of course it will be very strange to leave Quick Step after all those years. Some people of the staff and riders really became friends after all this time, and I’ve got some great moments together. On the other hand, the last few years the team has also not been the same anymore and I really look forward to a new challenge.

“I know most of the Belgians quite well, and I think we will have a lot of fun during training camps. I also look forward to working for every rider the team wants me to, but for sure I hope to be of value to Mads Pedersen in the classics and the Grand Tours.”

On a more important note – that is definitely my favourite of the jazzy retro Lidl-Trek transfer t-shirts (and to be fair, the quality has been high). Could you send a medium over to the road.cc office, Lidl? Cheers.

10 October 2023, 10:16
Two live blogs Jeremy?!

Ah, it’s that time of the year again (or month, because it seems as if Amazon are holding these bloody things every few weeks now), when there are two live blogs on the homepage, and we duck for cover to avoid flying accusations from readers claiming we’re supporting naked consumerism and the crushing hegemony and greed of an international retail giant with a questionable approach to its workforce…

Prime Day Garmin watches

> Best Amazon Prime Day cycling deals live blog

But I know you’ll probably have a quick look anyway – on your way to supporting your local bike shop…

10 October 2023, 09:33
Pro cyclists in their civvies: Geraint Thomas and Ineos enjoy some post-season relaxation

Yes, yes, I know Cav and co. are still racing in Turkey, but for cycling traditionalists like myself, the weekend of the Tour of Lombardy and Paris-Tours means only one thing: the road racing season is over!

And for Geraint Thomas, Filippo Ganna, Thymen Arensman, Ben Swift, Pavel Sivakov, Laurens De Plus, and the rest of the Ineos Grenadiers Giro d’Italia squad, that apparently also means sampling the high life in Monaco – from chilling on a yacht (I wonder if it’s Sir Jim’s?)…

… to hitting the night club (Monte Carlo’s white shirt shops won’t go out of business anytime soon, by the looks of things).

Hashtag bantz from G and the lads, lads, lads…

Of course, the October holiday season has also ushered in another round of every cycling fan’s favourite – and toughest – game: Name the pro cyclist in their civvies…

Now, be honest – would you recognise De Plus if he were standing beside you in Tesco?

10 October 2023, 09:21
Riding in One Direction: Harry Styles spotted on Lime bike in London with James Corden

Cycling in one direction, geddit? Ah, I’ll get my coat…

Though bonus points go to road.cc editor Jack who, after seeing the celebs on a bike post, quipped: “Good to see Harry riding with a helmet”.

Savage…

Ryan joined road.cc 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 road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’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.

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11 comments

Avatar
Hirsute | 9 months ago
2 likes

Bullies win.
World Bollards Association deeply disappointed.

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/23844898.exchange-street-norwich-re-open-cl...
" a U-turn by council leaders who said it was proving too hard to enforce drivers ignoring the rules"

Avatar
marmotte27 | 9 months ago
3 likes

No Amazon as a rule.
There are very exceptional circumstances where I'll flout that, but bargains certainly aren't one.

Avatar
MattieKempy replied to marmotte27 | 9 months ago
3 likes

That's pretty much my philosophy. Jeff certainly doesn't need my money, and the world needs less Amazon.

Avatar
andystow | 9 months ago
1 like

I sometimes have trouble recognising people I cycle with regularly when I see them without their helmets and sunglasses on.

Avatar
Backladder replied to andystow | 9 months ago
4 likes

andystow wrote:

I sometimes have trouble recognising people I cycle with regularly when I see them without their helmets and sunglasses on.

Sounds like another vote for pedestrian helmets to me  3

Avatar
brooksby | 9 months ago
2 likes

Cancelling a road race just 'cause there's been a coup d'etat?  Huh - the youth of today, eh?  3

Avatar
eburtthebike | 9 months ago
4 likes

"I suppose it’s reassuring to know that terrible bike lane design isn’t just a UK phenomenon, eh?"

No, but we can take pride in being world leaders.

Avatar
Cugel replied to eburtthebike | 9 months ago
5 likes

eburtthebike wrote:

"I suppose it’s reassuring to know that terrible bike lane design isn’t just a UK phenomenon, eh?"

No, but we can take pride in being world leaders.

Sadly, Grate Bwitain is world leader in just about crap everything. We seem to be heading for 3rd-world status, probably via the middle-world status of, "A banana republic run by some sort of fascist oligarchy". In truth we already have that latter status.

Will the Bwitish electoral system rescue us in a year's time? One hopes ... but feels pessimistic nevertheless.

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
5 likes

Cugel wrote:

Will the Bwitish electoral system rescue us in a year's time? One hopes ... but feels pessimistic nevertheless.

If Starmer committed to proportional representation, then I'd grit my teeth and vote for him.

Avatar
Backladder replied to eburtthebike | 9 months ago
4 likes

eburtthebike wrote:

If Starmer committed to proportional representation, then I'd grit my teeth and vote for him.

If Seven bins Sunak gets in we're all going to blame you!

Avatar
brooksby replied to Cugel | 9 months ago
1 like

Cugel wrote:

eburtthebike wrote:

"I suppose it’s reassuring to know that terrible bike lane design isn’t just a UK phenomenon, eh?"

No, but we can take pride in being world leaders.

Sadly, Grate Bwitain is world leader in just about crap everything. We seem to be heading for 3rd-world status, probably via the middle-world status of, "A banana republic run by some sort of fascist oligarchy". In truth we already have that latter status.

Will the Bwitish electoral system rescue us in a year's time? One hopes ... but feels pessimistic nevertheless.

I think we've had the 'fascist oligarchy' thing for a long time... 

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