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He's behind you! Pro cyclist in disbelief after thinking he'd won... only for chasing rider to snatch victory on the line; Telegraph anti-cycling bingo; 5km stage race even we could finish; Stairway to heaven? Nope, just a cycleway + more on the live blog

One more day 'til we can all ride off into the weekend! Dan Alexander is on live blog duty for you this Friday...

SUMMARY

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16 February 2024, 17:23
Wout van Aert notches first road win of 2024

He left it late, but Wout van Aert is off the mark for 2024 (on the road, of course).

The Belgian stressed throughout his cyclo-cross campaign that he was aiming to peak for the Classics, hoping to claim a maiden Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. Ominous he's picking off reduced sprints already, the lumpy route to Tavira helping put fatigue in the legs and shelling some of the faster sprinters at the race.

Anyone interested in some weekend bike race watching, tomorrow is the race's ITT before Sunday looks a cracker — hill-top finish up a 2.5km climb averaging 9.6 per cent? That'll do! Let's see how those legs are, Wout.

Elsewhere today, Marlen Reusser took the second stage of the women's Volta Femenina de la Comunitat Valenciana, building a commanding lead on GC in the process. If you thought the Algarve climb was tasty, the women's peloton will tackle a 3.9km ascent averaging 11.2 per cent tomorrow. Sunday's stage into Valencia could be anything, with a fair bit of climbing before a downhill run into town. Sprint? Breakaway? 

It's good to have bike racing back, isn't it?

16 February 2024, 15:36
He's behind you! Pro cyclist in disbelief after thinking he'd won... only for chasing rider to snatch victory on the line

It was at this moment Tobias Johannessen knew, he bleeped up...

Lenny Martinez pips Tobias Johannessen on the line (Eurosport)

One metre from victory, one bike length, one bike throw, and Lenny Martinez had pulled off an improbable comeback (admittedly, mainly due to the Norwegian's leisurely stroll towards the finish line thinking he had it in the bag).

Here's the painful moment in all its glory...

 The Uno-X climber joins an elite club of professional riders to have committed the finish line cock-up, perhaps most famously à la Erik Zabel at Milan-San Remo in 2004. Then there was Julian Alaphilippe at Liège–Bastogne–Liège in 2020, made even worse (or better depending on your perspective) by the fact the world champ was then relegated to fifth for cutting across Marc Hirschi in the sprint. Like a misfiring striker grateful to see the offside flag after slicing one wide...

LBL 2020 photo finish

For pure style points alone, amateur duo Rémi Arsac and Charly Merle took the top prize at a race in France's Rhône department last summer. C'est magnifique.

Rémi Arsac and Charly Merle lose to Simon Ruet after celebrating too early at the Critérium de Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise in eastern France (credit – Mont Actus)

And who could forget Vincenzo Nibali's teammate Luka Pibernik, going a whole lap too early at the Giro?

Luka Pibernik celebrates in Messina ... a lap too early.JPG

 

16 February 2024, 17:20
"Where are the cyclists?" Councillor questions "low numbers" on cycle superhighway – but Chris Boardman praises "exemplar" of cycling infrastructure

"The infrastructure has to be there for the journeys people are going to make. In Holland it took decades to create the cycling culture it has now..."

CityConnect (via Twitter).jpg

> "Where are the cyclists?" Councillor questions "low numbers" on cycle superhighway – but Chris Boardman praises "exemplar" of cycling infrastructure

16 February 2024, 14:39
Merida calls Ruta del Sol debacle "beyond farcical and unacceptable", as Maxim Van Gils wins race with TT victory

No holding back from the admin on Merida's Twitter account, the bike brand that supplies Bahrain Victorious' riders...

Just the one reply on that so far...

Ouch. Yep, that's winter signing Anotnio Tiberi of San Marino cat-killing fame... you know, the Italian cyclist who was suspended and ultimately let go by Trek-Segafredo because he shot dead a pet cat cat belonging to San Marino's former head of state... no, really...

> Trek-Segafredo pro fined for shooting and killing cat belonging to San Marino's former head of state

One of the weirder, and more sickening, pro cycling stories of 2023 that one. Anyway, he came third on today's stage, on the same time as Juan Ayuso, ten seconds behind stage winner (and victor of the whole race overall) Maxim Van Gils.

16 February 2024, 14:33
OPINION: Changes to the Highway Code mean very little if they are not known or followed by motorists
16 February 2024, 14:17
Introducing Finland's new president, the EF Education-EasyPost supporter

Finland went to the polls on Sunday, conservative former prime minister Alexander Stubb winning the presidential election (don't ask me why there's a president and prime minister, that's what Google is for).

He took 51.6 per cent of the vote, narrowly defeating Green Party candidate Pekka Haavisto, the National Coalition Party leader's cycling hobby being given a shout-out today by EF Education-EasyPost team boss Jonathan Vaughters...

16 February 2024, 13:41
"Waste of money" cycle lane branded an "annoyance and inconvenience" for adding 570 metres to motorists' journeys, as council approves extension plans
16 February 2024, 12:40
Five-stage Ruta del Sol reduced to... five kilometre time trial, due to protests and police shortages

Finally, a professional race that even we could finish...

It was meant to be five stages, 595km and nearly 13,000m of climbing... instead it's now just 4.95km and 186m of elevation gain. Yep, the uphill TT that is already underway will decide the entire race. The weekend stages have, like the opening two days, been scrapped due to farming protests in Spain, which has had a knock-on effect with police numbers. 

The organisation of the 70th edition of the Ruta del Sol Vuelta Ciclista Andalucía announces that it is forced to suspend the Saturday and Sunday stages due to extra-sports events that are happening in Andalusia.

After endless negotiations, despite having all the permits and meeting the requirements of the regulations, the government authorities have not been able to guarantee the assistance of the necessary law enforcement agencies to organise the event and to keep all participants safe for the next two stages.

The organisation would like to thank the titanic efforts of each of the various municipalities, councils, associations, Junta de Andalucia, teams and riders, UCI, the local cycling association, the Spanish Cycling Federation, commercial companies, members of the organisation and the technical team for their efforts, as well as the Agrupación de Trafico and other state security services and bodies, the Government Delegation and other institutions for their help and cooperation to reverse this totally exceptional situation to which we in Andalusia, Spain and Europe have fallen victim.

16 February 2024, 12:08
Chris Froome to return to racing at Tour of Rwanda
Chris Froome (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

[Zac Williams/SWpix.com]

Chris Froome will make his return to racing in 2024 at the Tour of Rwanda, the scene of one of his 2023 meltdowns over disc brakes...

Chris Froome disc brake wheel change screenshot 1 - via Instagram Reels

> Fed up Froome denounces disc brake wheels on Instagram Reel

The eight-day stage race begins on Sunday, the four-time Tour de France champion saying he is looking forward to returning.

"I love any opportunity to get back to Africa, it feels like home," he said. "Everyone is always so warm and welcoming, it's a great feeling.

"Seeing the Field of Dreams was the highlight [of last year's visit to Rwanada] for me. It was a project we had raised funds for at the Tour de France in 2022 so being able to go there and see it for myself was a wonderful experience."

The Field of Dreams is a cycling centre in Bugesera, "a game-changing project that has already helped countless local children discover the joy of cycling" that was set up by Israel-Premier Tech at last year's race.

16 February 2024, 11:20
Police investigate as Pinarello and Trek Madone stolen in break-in
Stolen bike (GMP)

Greater Manchester Police have appealed for information after a Trek Madone and Pinarello Prince were taken during a burglary at a property near Buile Hill Park in Salford at around 2.35am on Monday.

"On Monday, February 12, 2024 at approximately 2.35am an unknown offender took two bikes from an address close to Buile Hill Park, Salford.

"Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or GMP live chat https://orlo.uk/6slrF or email Sgt Atherton on 13490 [at] gmp.police.uk quoting CRI/06FF/0004137/24."

Stolen bike (GMP)

.

16 February 2024, 11:29
COBBLES

A week to go until Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, there's something to look forward to. What we'd do for those cobbles of Roubaix to look like this in roughly two months time.

16 February 2024, 11:06
Stairway to heaven? Nah, just a cycleway

 And it keeps on going...

Stairway to heaven cycleway (@GiveMeSpace3/Twitter)

At best bloody annoying mid-winter getting up there with all the fallen leaves on a cold, dark morning. At worst a major barrier to many people getting around by bike, particularly those using adapted cycles.

We've been here before, unfortunately...

Cycling staircase, Plymouth (Brian Taylor, Facebook)

> Cyclists blast new cycling "stairway to A&E"... seemingly "commissioned by Danny MacAskill"

Elsewhere, back in 2021 users of a Nottingham canal towpath dubbed a temporary bridge over the water the "Stairway to Hell" due to the steep slopes of the temporary structure, near impossible for many riders to scale.

"Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to a cycleway
There's a cyclists dismount sign on the wall, but she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
In a tree by the brook, there's a shared-use path that sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven
Ooh, it makes me wonder
Ooh, makes me wonder..."

16 February 2024, 08:54
"2014 just rang, asking for their comment piece back": Telegraph columnist completes anti-cycling bingo with "nonsense" piece "whipping up hatred"

Anti-cycling bingo is finished. Rowan Pelling from the Telegraph newspaper has completed it. There is nowhere left to go...

Telegraph column

Yes. On the day after the Office for National Statistics announced that the UK was in recession, the Telegraph's columnists tackled the big issues of our time — "idle Britons are taking hard-working taxpayers for fools", "the EU is in an even worse state than Britain, but Rejoiners couldn't care less", and of course cyclists apparently being "the rudest, most entitled people in the UK today". What a spread...

Telegraph columns 16/2/2024

Anyway, time to focus on the one we're most interested, you can take in the rest on your lunch break...

Anti-cycling bingo refers to the game that can be played while reading online comments about cyclists, or in this case a column published in one of the UK's biggest newspapers. The aim? To cross off all the tired, often heard, boring things that people who don't like cyclists tend to say about cyclists. For example, if it were a points-based game, red-light jumping, riding on pavements and not using cycle lanes would be the low-scoring bankers. 

Why do I say all this? Well, Rowan Pelling might just have completed it...

"Lycra-clad boors give off an almost palpable air of smug self-satisfaction even as they make life miserable for fellow road users," she begins, and what a start that is. No dilly-dallying, no prefacing the topic with context or an anecdote or two. Nope, just straight on in with the bashing.

Thankfully, we get that anecdote or two in the intro, as Pelling ticks off the obligatory 'keen cyclist' qualifier, justifying all future anti-cycling bingoing, in the form of explaining how 30 years ago she used to use a bike to get around in Cambridge.

What follows is a whistle-stop tour through: that video on our live blog yesterday of a cyclist and lorry driver in a countryside stand-off, "mightily virtuous" cyclists, "obnoxious road etiquette", "Lycra-clad road hogs" riding two-abreast "while a queue of motor traffic forms behind them", "shooting red lights", "ignoring one-way systems" and, SAY THE LINE... "nipping onto pavements"...

We're not done there, I'm afraid...

On to the "wholesome mummies on their big cargo bikes" apparently "hurtling down a footpath", the "push-bike Puritans" who "believe they're a form of citizen police", the "GoPro brigade who live for recording motorists' tiniest infractions", "snitching on drivers for minor infractions".

Pelling concludes: "It all reminds me of the curtain twitchers who reported neighbours to the police over lockdown because granny came visiting – a sort of jealous appeal to authority to stop people having fun. It’s the absolute worst of modern Britain, and nowhere is it better embodied than in our miserable, obnoxious, moralising cyclists."

BINGO!!! 

Peter Walker, the Guardian's deputy political editor did a breakdown of the piece on his social media, with the amusing statement...

"Seriously, who still writes or commissions this sort of stuff? The article itself actually manages to cram in even more cliches than the astonishingly banal headline suggests, which is an achievement of sorts," he said.

Stuart Johnson, the Chair of the Colchester Cycling Campaign added: "Great job by the Telegraph. Whipping up hatred for cyclists yet again with more nonsense."

And breathe. Think I might head back to bed for a lie down in a dark room...

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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77 comments

Avatar
mctrials23 replied to mitsky | 3 months ago
4 likes

I love the way cyclists are portrayed. Like they see someone forget to indicate and suddenly they rush home to upload it and get some poor downtrodden driver banned. Life ruined. Oh the horror. Oh the shame. 

Considering the police ignore half the super dangerous driving they see on dash cam footage, I don't think they are punishing every minor infraction. 

Avatar
stonojnr | 3 months ago
4 likes

The thing is most Telegraph readers already agree with opinion pieces like Rowan Pellings, istr it's not the first she's written on the subject either, she's just preaching to the choir, people already hate cyclists for all the tickbox items she covers, they won't suddenly convert to the idea.

Kind of daft to pretend it's any different.

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Shake | 3 months ago
13 likes

Talking about GoPro users "recording motorists' tiniest infractions" which I assume she means using mobile phones, or in simpler terms, breaking the law. To then go on and compare it to "a sort of jealous appeal to authority to stop people having fun" seemed very strange.

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bikes replied to Shake | 3 months ago
10 likes

Her idea of fun is close passing cyclists maybe?

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Patrick9-32 replied to Shake | 3 months ago
5 likes

Let me have fun in a way that offers me no benefit or enjoyment whatsoever and puts the lives of others at risk you lycra clad weirdos!!

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brooksby | 3 months ago
7 likes

I posted this on the 'paying attention' news item, and it's not about cycling, but still 

Make sure you're paying attention, riiight… 

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/you...

Quote:

Christopher Hardy, 65, hit Maria Clayton as he turned left at a junction in Mossley, Tameside. Ms Clayton, 85, had been shopping and was walking across the road when Hardy failed to ‘look in the direction he was travelling’ and had his view blocked by a ‘soft toy and an air freshener’ hanging from his rear view mirror.

Hardy was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years. [He] must also complete 150 hours unpaid work. He was banned from driving for two years.

Avatar
Safety | 3 months ago
12 likes

It's time we were given some legal protection from this type of hatred. If she spouted of like this about Muslims or Gays she'd rightly be in prison before the end of the day. But it's OK to generate animosity even hate in people driving a few tons of metal that we have to share the roads with.

Avatar
mctrials23 replied to Safety | 3 months ago
8 likes

Yeah, I have never understood the acceptance of it. If people down the pub said "I fucking hate muslims" people would think "what a racist POS" but say that about cyclists and you get mumours of agreement. 

I can't think of any other group that people are as free to hate. 

Avatar
bensynnock replied to mctrials23 | 3 months ago
11 likes

A while ago I was walking near my house when a car went straight through a red light at a pedestrian crossing. A gentleman walking nearby looked at me and said 'must be a cyclist'.

When a driver breaks the rules it's a minor infraction. When a cyclist does it they're a lout.

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mctrials23 replied to bensynnock | 3 months ago
4 likes

I mean, thats just some drivers in a microcosm. I'm amazed cyclists aren't be blamed for global warming at this point. 

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Clem Fandango replied to mctrials23 | 3 months ago
4 likes

Oh but we are.  Cycle lanes & LTNs cause congestion (apparently).  Cyclists also "hold drivers up" (when not riding at reckless speeds and constantly maiming pedestrians and damaging wankpanzers) which means that the poor drivist has their engine running for longer & so the damage is greater than if the bloddy cyclist just didn't exist.  It's simple culture war scienceology.

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Surreyrider replied to Clem Fandango | 3 months ago
4 likes

Yeah, always amuses me (not in a good way) how drivers moan in the local Facebook groups about being stuck in traffic/long queues without for one moment considering they are causing it.

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mitsky replied to bensynnock | 3 months ago
0 likes

"... when a driver went straight through a red..."

http://rc-rg.com

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Surreyrider replied to bensynnock | 3 months ago
0 likes

And that "minor infraction" can have major, catastrophic consequences.

Why don't the police consider this sort of stuff inciting hatred?

Ah yes...

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kinderje replied to bensynnock | 3 months ago
4 likes

It annoys my wife immensely but that's what I say every time I see a car driver going through a red light but I always follow it with "because apparently only cyclists go through red lights!!!"

If anyone starts off with "you cyclists going through red lights" I ask them to pay attention at the next set of lights they are stuck at and count how many cars go through on amber or red. They tend to be very quiet after that.

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wtjs replied to kinderje | 3 months ago
4 likes

pay attention at the next set of lights they are stuck at and count how many cars go through on amber or red

I can't resist an outing for one of my extensive collection of offences ignored by Lancashire Bent Idlers 'because everybody does it'

https://upride.cc/incident/dl66xgz_lcctraffic_redlightpass/

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brooksby replied to mctrials23 | 3 months ago
8 likes

mctrials23 wrote:

I can't think of any other group that people are as free to hate. 

Gypsy/Roma/Travellers?

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ktache replied to brooksby | 3 months ago
3 likes

Not if you are Pontins.

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brooksby replied to ktache | 3 months ago
2 likes

ktache wrote:

Not if you are Pontins.

Yeah, I read about that 

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hawkinspeter replied to mctrials23 | 3 months ago
9 likes

mctrials23 wrote:

Yeah, I have never understood the acceptance of it. If people down the pub said "I fucking hate muslims" people would think "what a racist POS" but say that about cyclists and you get mumours of agreement. 

I can't think of any other group that people are as free to hate. 

Tories?

Avatar
Tacheonabike replied to mctrials23 | 3 months ago
5 likes

Being a cyclist or ginger , i think would be comparable in the derision stakes  .As i'm both can qualify on the ammout of abuse suffered over all 50/50.

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ROOTminus1 replied to Safety | 3 months ago
14 likes
Safety wrote:

It's time we were given some legal protection from this type of hatred. If she spouted of like this about Muslims or Gays she'd rightly be in prison before the end of the day. But it's OK to generate animosity even hate in people driving a few tons of metal that we have to share the roads with.

If I die on my bike at the hands of a motorist, I've given explict instructions to my wife that my case should be treated as a hate crime unde the same framework as the Sophie Lancaster case, unless there is conclusive evidence to the contrary.

Rowan Pelling should be treated with the same contempt as Stephen 'Tommy Robinson' Yaxley-Lennon, or Abu Hamza al-Masri.

Avatar
wtjs replied to ROOTminus1 | 3 months ago
3 likes

Rowan Pelling should be treated with the same contempt as Stephen 'Tommy Robinson' Yaxley-Lennon, or Abu Hamza al-Masri

You've forgotten the haggard waste-of-space fashion-journo who said she'd like to kill all cyclists, who also worked for the Telegraph, if I remember rightly

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Kendalred replied to Safety | 3 months ago
17 likes

It does seem that the wider 'general public' have a societal need to 'hate' at least one 'outgroup' that exists around them, and given that the hatred of outgroups on the basis of colour, religion, gender and sexual preferance is now (thankfully) frowned upon, and in most cases illegal, then we seem to be, as cyclists, the ones in the crosshairs - an easy target.  

And also Vegans. And I'm both. I must just enjoy vitriol I suppose!

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OldRidgeback replied to Safety | 3 months ago
7 likes

Bigots be bigots basically - she knows he's not allowed to write that sort of vitriol about anyone black or Jewish or Muslim or gay, but she can get away with being bigoted against cyclists. I'm sure if you asked her she'd respond "Some of my best friends are black/Jewish/Muslim/gay." She's a bigot's bigot. 

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Hirsute replied to Safety | 3 months ago
6 likes

IT'S ALL CYCLINGMIKEY'S FAULT WHY THEY HATE US

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theJewishcyclist replied to Safety | 3 months ago
2 likes

if she said it about Jews she wouldn't be in prison either

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ROOTminus1 replied to theJewishcyclist | 3 months ago
1 like

The worst backlash she'd get if she said similar about followers of the Jewish faith I'd expect would be her colleagues guffawing that she'd stand as a Labour MP.

It's utterly disgusting that these people are paid to have a platform from which to spout their bile, and equally depressing that these so-called journalists are so predictable.

Avatar
Clem Fandango | 3 months ago
11 likes

Ah the Torygraph.  Just another culture war propganda pamphlet.  

I get better opinions & news from Viz

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Clem Fandango | 3 months ago
5 likes

Clem Fandango wrote:

Ah the Torygraph.  Just another culture war propganda pamphlet.  

I get better opinions & news from Viz

Well, they don't want to be promoting relevant news articles as that wouldn't put the Tories in a good light would it?

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