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Toughest climb in the world? Phil Gaimon smashes KOM up 90km monster; "Watch and learn, my fellow motorists": How to safely overtake a cyclist; "Unacceptable to attack our private life": Marion Rousse hits back at Patrick Lefevere + more on the live blog

We're back for another day of live blog action, Dan Alexander in the hot seat again for Wednesday's round-up of everything happening in the world of cycling...
21 February 2024, 10:50
Phil Gaimon smashes KOM for monster 90km climb
Phil Gaimon Hawaii KOM (Phil Gaimon/Strava)

Hawaii is hill-climbing heaven (or hell, depending on your perspective)...

 

4:52:55. That's hours, minutes and seconds... the new Strava KOM for the monstrous Waikoloa beach to Mauna Kea summit segment set by pro rider-turned-KOM hunter Phil Gaimon. Ascending a quite ridiculous 4,195 m, the 89.46km climb averages 4.7 per cent. That's like Box Hill... 41 times.

Phil Gaimon Hawaii KOM (Strava)

Poor Decathlon–AG2R La Mondiale pro Larry Warbasse, all that effort and your KOM's gone like that. More concerningly is Gaimon battling his way to the top over nearly five hours of exhausting climbing, only to not ride back down and enjoy the descent?! Psychopath behaviour... or maybe just someone strapped for time...

Where to next, Phil?

Steepest cycling climbs lead image (images Steve Thomas and Richard Peploe

> The steepest and hardest cycling climbs in the world — fearsome road gradients to put on your bike trip bucket list

21 February 2024, 18:19
Mike Ashley set to take over Wiggle Chain Reaction as administrators "close the shutters" amid mass redundancies, sources suggest
21 February 2024, 16:36
UAE Team Emirates confirm Adam Yates suffered concussion in UAE Tour crash

The team of Adam Yates has now confirmed their rider suffered a concussion in the hard crash that ended his race, medical director Dr. Adrian Rotunno explaining...

 Unfortunately Adam Yates has been diagnosed with a concussion after his crash today at the UAE Tour. He is stable with other superficial injuries. For the sake of Adam's health, and as per concussion protocols, he was withdrawn from racing. He will need recovery, and the medical team will continue with neurological monitoring and rehab going forward

21 February 2024, 16:29
Cycle lanes grow in popularity once they are installed, study finds – but policymakers warned that "paternalistic" promotion of active travel schemes heightens opposition
21 February 2024, 15:23
Slow news day?
21 February 2024, 15:10
Kinesis Tripster AT gets a revamp, unreleased FFWD wheels, Santini launches unisex clothing range, a 'Super Extreme' Abus bike lock + more cool things from COREbike
21 February 2024, 14:36
"Unacceptable to attack our private life": Marion Rousse hits back at Patrick Lefevere, and says she never drinks
Marion Rousse (ASO/Clara Langlois Lablatinière)

[ASO/Clara Langlois Lablatinière]

Not exactly the most shocking revelation of 2024, Patrick Lefevere opening his mouth and being made to look more than a bit silly. Marion Rousse, the former professional rider who has forged a successful post-racing career as a television pundit and director of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, has responded to Lefevere's comments published in the Belgian press this morning about her and her partner Julian Alaphilippe.

Scroll a bit further back on the live blog to see those in full, but the short recap is the Soudal Quick-Step team boss accusing Alaphilippe of too much partying and drinking, and claiming "Julian is seriously under the spell of Marion. Maybe too much".

Cue social media statement from Rousse...

"Whatever Mr Lefevere's feelings towards me, it is unacceptable to attack our private lives as he does," she wrote, before proceeding to drop the mic-drop line... "So no, I don't drink alcohol, never even."

"Missed for the holidays also because with a three-year-old we prefer to be in shape in the morning. You will also not succeed, as you have already mentioned to me, in preventing me from working to keep me busy and stay with Julian for the time of his career.

"I am passionate about the missions I carry out and know that I have a lot of projects. But I tell you, under no circumstances do I allow you to talk about my private life. Thank you now for stopping talking wrongly and showing more respect and... class."

Patrick Lefevere (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

[Zac Williams/SWpix.com]

This is far from the first time Lefevere has come under fire for his words in the press. It's almost a year to the day since he was heavily criticised after claiming that women’s cycling is "being pushed artificially" and that many pros "are not worth" the current minimum wage set by the UCI.

> "I wish he'd just shut up forever": Patrick Lefevere blasted for claiming that women's cycling is "being pushed artificially"

Last year too Lefevere accused Alaphilippe of "hiding" behind crashes and illness, while Remco Evenepoel said his boss, as well as his father, would be "better off keeping quiet" following contract speculation and rumours in the press.

Some of Lefevere's most grimmest claims came in the form of his 2021 verbals against Sam Bennett, whose Tour de France absence saw Mark Cavendish step in and win four stages to match Eddy Merckx's record, and included saying the Irishman had "played with his balls" by returning to competition with the Irish national team.

And it was in his Het Nieuwsblad column too where he compared Bennett's return to Bora-Hansgrohe to a "woman who still returns home after domestic abuse". Nice boss to work for...

21 February 2024, 12:30
Adam Yates out of UAE Tour after heavy crash, Ben O'Connor wins stage three as Jay Vine takes race lead

Pre-race favourite Adam Yates is out of the UAE Tour. Yates' abandon came after a heavy crash [below] during stage three, the British climber continuing for a short while before stepping off during the ascent to the finish at Jebel Jais.

It appeared Yates was back on his bike very quickly after the fall, prompting some to question if the appropriate concussion checks were made, concerns not yet addressed by the 31-year-old's team or the race itself...

With Yates out, the door was opened to his teammates and rivals who sensed opportunity in the absence of the race's leading climbing talent. UAE Team Emirates set the pace, a monstrous shift seen by Mikkel Bjerg at the head of the peloton, but it was Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale who earned the day's victory with some clever teamwork and a perfectly timed two-up attack at one kilometre to go, setting up Ben O'Connor for solo victory.

The Australian climber was followed home by compatriot Jay Vine, who takes the race lead from teammate Brandon McNulty.

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

21 February 2024, 12:16
Emily Bridges accuses Rishi Sunak of "normalising violence against trans people", as she prepares for British Cycling legal challenge
21 February 2024, 10:34
Patrick Lefevere accuses Julian Alaphilippe of "too much partying and alcohol", says he threatened to fire two-time world champion "on the spot" if "you mess up one more time"
Julian Alaphilippe (Zac Williams/SWpix)

[Zac Williams/SWpix]

Soudal Quick-Step team boss Patrick Lefevere making headlines with eye-catching comments about his own riders? Never...

Speaking to Flemish newspaper Humo ahead of the start of the classics this weekend, Lefevere accused two-time world champion Julian Alaphilippe of "too much partying" and "too much alcohol", adding that in November he told one of his star riders that "if you mess up one more time, I'll fire you on the spot".

Patrick Lefevere (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

[Zac Williams/SWpix.com]

Addressing the Frenchman's lack of results in 2023, Lefevere said he believed the explanation is Alaphilippe's partying, and suggested "Julian is seriously under the spell of Marion [Rousse, his partner]".

"Maybe too much. Julian is a young dog full of energy — you should let him cross in the yard every now and then. And you must also say: this far and no further. There is still a bad boy inside him," Lefevere said.

"I spoke to him in November last year, in the presence of Marion and his manager Dries Smets. I said: 'It cannot continue like this. If you mess up one more time, I'll fire you on the spot.' The message has arrived. He is getting back together." 

Coincidentally, the team's own podcast aired today, a new episode with Alaphilippe featuring his admission that he has "lost that feeling" of "competing for victory" over the last two seasons.

"I want to become the best version of myself again, I believe that is possible. Now I just lack some self-confidence," the 31-year-old, who has just begun the final year of his contract with the team, said.

Alaphilippe finished sixth on GC at the Santos Tour Down Under and will line up for Soudal-Quick Step at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad this Saturday.

21 February 2024, 09:16
Bike @ Bedtime (if you were on the night shift): Check out Burls' eye-catching new titanium road bike
21 February 2024, 08:49
"Watch and learn, my fellow motorists": How to safely overtake a cyclist (and get a thank you for it)

Let's get Wednesday underway with some more footage from PassPixi, the cyclist behind the range of magnetic warning patches to tell drivers it might be best to be safe, considerate and smile, because you're on camera...

PassPixi

Of course, none of the above would be necessary if everyone out there showed as much competency as this Dinsdale Contracts lorry driver.

"Watch and learn, my fellow motorists… great stuff from this Dinsdale Contracts driver. I got a cheery pip-pip too for slowing up and holding left," PassPixi said.

Refreshing. As was the reaction, a couple of attention-seeking replies aside, everyone getting involved to think about how much safer the roads could be if this was the norm.

Road User 101: "Nice example of why there doesn't need to be so much grief on our roads. Helping large vehicles to pass is easy and rarely time consuming. Passing safely is essential and rarely holds you up much, anyway."

Andy Fallon: "It doesn't take a lot does it? [I've] Done similar, flat road approaching a bend, nothing coming so slowed down so lorry could out, passed and in with no issues. Cost me about five seconds."

Here's another positive one...

Worth highlighting the good ones that should set the standard when we get a chance, after all we've got more than enough in the archives at the other end of the scale.

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.

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27 comments

Avatar
Hirsute | 1 month ago
2 likes

Good old Scottish justice.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-68347674

Twice the limit and 140 mph but can't be jailed.

What is wrong with the system and is anyone going to fix it ?

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chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
3 likes

Hirsute wrote:

Good old Scottish justice. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-68347674 Twice the limit and 140 mph but can't be jailed. What is wrong with the system and is anyone going to fix it ?

Dire.  Some here will not wish to raise their blood pressure with this one.

BBC wrote:

Sheriff Steven Borthwick KC said: "It has just been pure good fortune that you didn't end up killing someone or killing yourself.

Clearly (to paraphrase Napoleon) we don't want good drivers, we want lucky drivers. no

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
3 likes

Quote:

The sheriff said he had to consider a prison sentence, but stopped short of sending Alexander [23] to jail because of his age and lack of previous convictions.

Because if you get hit by somebody who is plastered aged forty-five with a previous conviction at 140 mph you will somehow be less dead?

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eburtthebike replied to Hirsute | 1 month ago
2 likes

Not only not jailed, but only banned for 16 months!

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Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
1 like

Quote:

Ascending a quite ridiculous 4,195 m, the 89.46km climb averages 4.7 per cent. That's like Box Hill... 41 times.

Bit diminishing to dear old Box, even the shortest segment on Strava, from the bottom of ZigZag Road to the NT cafe, is 125 metres height gain, making Mauna Kea equivalent to 33 Box Hills; what I regard as the "proper" climb, from the roundabout up to the highest road point, is 167 metres, so "only" 25 times.

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Steve K replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
1 like

Rendel Harris wrote:

Quote:

Ascending a quite ridiculous 4,195 m, the 89.46km climb averages 4.7 per cent. That's like Box Hill... 41 times.

Bit diminishing to dear old Box, even the shortest segment on Strava, from the bottom of ZigZag Road to the NT cafe, is 125 metres height gain, making Mauna Kea equivalent to 33 Box Hills; what I regard as the "proper" climb, from the roundabout up to the highest road point, is 167 metres, so "only" 25 times.

Does that mean if I approach Zig Zag road from the other side (as I often do) I haven't 'done' Box Hill.  (I agree about the top end, though - that drag after the cafe always catches me out!)

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Rendel Harris replied to Steve K | 1 month ago
0 likes

Fair point, I only meant "proper" as in the full extent of ZigZag Road side climb; I too nearly always approach it from the other side and then descend ZigZag, turn at the roundabout and climb back up and I would say that the long drag up from Langley Vale through Headley Common is actually harder work, generally shallower gradients (though with a couple of stinging ramps) but the sheer length of it takes more out of the legs than the few minutes (alright, the nine or ten minutes) ZigZag entails.

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Steve K replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
1 like

Rendel Harris wrote:

Fair point, I only meant "proper" as in the full extent of ZigZag Road side climb; I too nearly always approach it from the other side and then descend ZigZag, turn at the roundabout and climb back up and I would say that the long drag up from Langley Vale through Headley Common is actually harder work, generally shallower gradients (though with a couple of stinging ramps) but the sheer length of it takes more out of the legs than the few minutes (alright, the nine or ten minutes) ZigZag entails.

I was only joshing.  Though I meant approach Zig Zag road from Mickleham side (rather than from the Burford Bridge roundabout).  I very rarely approach Box Hill from the other side in the way you describe.  Actually, given how close it is to where I live, I actually rarely do Box Hill at all.

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Rendel Harris replied to Steve K | 1 month ago
0 likes

Steve K wrote:

Actually, given how close it is to where I live, I actually rarely do Box Hill at all.

I probably wouldn't if I lived close, there are plenty of less crowded climbs in the Surrey Hills that I like better, but coming from central London it makes a nice turnaround point for a 75 km ride - and the flapjacks at the NT café are particularly good…

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Jem PT | 1 month ago
1 like

Did Gaimon wear those brown sandals for his 90k KOM?? Now I know where I'm going wrong! yes

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ktache | 1 month ago
0 likes
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Paul J | 1 month ago
0 likes

Good old Levefre.

Worth noting that Dutch attitudes to women's lib things differ slightly to anglo-attitudes. Some ways better, some ways behind.

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mark1a replied to Paul J | 1 month ago
0 likes

Paul J wrote:

Good old Levefre. Worth noting that Dutch attitudes to women's lib things differ slightly to anglo-attitudes. Some ways better, some ways behind.

Isn't he Belgian?

Avatar
Paul J replied to mark1a | 1 month ago
2 likes

From the Dutch side of Belgium, yes. Culturally no difference, within the gamut of cultures of the provinces of the old Netherlands. The Flemish are more dutch than Netherlanders in some respects (e.g., they speak "better" Dutch  3 ).

The main reason Belgium exists, catholicism v reform and certain other ancient history political things are mostly irrelevant today (indeed, were never relevant to the average person in the case of some of the latter stuff).

Nation state != cultures.

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Paul J replied to Paul J | 1 month ago
2 likes

As background, the modern nation state of The Netherlands" and "Vlaanderen" in Belgium were once considered part of one "Netherlands" - before we had modern nation states.

Various political things - some of which aligned with religious differences (whether out of political convience, or actual strong belief) - led to a split where a large chunk of the northern portion became its own state, no longer ruled by rulers allied with the pope. That chunk is now the modern nation state we call the Netherlands. Those same politics also affected the United Kingdom.  3

Culturally though, Flemish and (the state) dutch are all Netherlanders (in the old sense) and culturally dutch.

Note that most Flemish(that I know anyway) have a distinct identity as Flemish, very different to Hollanders. But then, so do many Friesians. And Fries (the Netherlandish dialect there) is a *lot* more different from Hollands dutch than Flemish dutch is to Hollands dutch.

I am butchering the history and the identities a lot, no doubt. There are many differences within the various people who speak (some dialect of) Dutch, but the commonalities are much stronger.

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levestane | 1 month ago
3 likes

Jacob pointing out that, unlike the poor, you cannot milk a cashew nut.

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Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
3 likes

Quote:

More concerningly is Gaimon battling his way to the top over nearly five hours of exhausting climbing, only to not ride back down and enjoy the descent?! Psychopath behaviour... or maybe just someone strapped for time

I read in someone else's account of doing that climb that is strongly recommended that you engage a support vehicle both for food and water on the climb and to take you back down, it's really not recommended to do such a long descent, some of it 20% on gravel, just after such an absurd climb and at an altitude high enough to create the mental effects of altitude sickness.

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levestane replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
0 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

... strongly recommended that you engage a support vehicle both for food and water on the climb and to take you back down...

Doesn't seem quite 'cricket', carry all you need or just ride up in the car/helicopter smiley

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to levestane | 1 month ago
2 likes

levestane wrote:

Rendel Harris wrote:

... strongly recommended that you engage a support vehicle both for food and water on the climb and to take you back down...

Doesn't seem quite 'cricket', carry all you need or just ride up in the car/helicopter smiley

I'd say it's probably virtually impossible to carry all the supplies you need for such a climb (mere mortals tend to do it in somewhere around nine or ten hours), remembering that even in February, Hawaii's coolest month, the temperature is around 26°C and most of the route is in direct sunlight. Is it not cricket on a ride to stop and buy a bottle of water or a slice of cake to keep going? That's an Henri Desgrange level of harshness!

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levestane replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
0 likes

No worries buying from roadside shops, it's the extra resource use of a dedicated support vehicle that jars.

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Rendel Harris replied to levestane | 1 month ago
0 likes

levestane wrote:

No worries buying from roadside shops, it's the extra resource use of a dedicated support vehicle that jars.

Well there is a case against to be made, but given that, as above, for safety reasons it is strongly recommend than anyone who has ridden up doesn't do the descent (only about 10% of those on Strava who've done the climb appear to have also done the descent) so the car is going anyway...the fact that he's flown to Hawaii to do it is going to be a lot more resource-heavy than having a support car.

Avatar
Steve K | 1 month ago
9 likes

It's always the woman's fault, isn't it?  Lefevre's misogyny shining through again.

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Rendel Harris replied to Steve K | 1 month ago
5 likes

Steve K wrote:

It's always the woman's fault, isn't it?  Lefevre's misogyny shining through again.

Beat me to it, I'm a big fan of Alaphilippe but he's a grown man for goodness' sake and Lefevre is a cockwomble. Carrying on in a long historic tradition, Helen caused the fall of Troy, Cleopatra destroyed Marc Anthony, right the way up to Yoko broke up the Beatles, if there's a woman involved, even peripherally, people like him will always know where to pin the blame.

Avatar
Steve K replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
2 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

Steve K wrote:

It's always the woman's fault, isn't it?  Lefevre's misogyny shining through again.

Beat me to it, I'm a big fan of Alaphilippe but he's a grown man for goodness' sake and Lefevre is a cockwomble. Carrying on in a long historic tradition, Helen caused the fall of Troy, Cleopatra destroyed Marc Anthony, right the way up to Yoko broke up the Beatles, if there's a woman involved, even peripherally, people like him will always know where to pin the blame.

I think you missed out the original - Eve getting Adam to eat the apple.

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adamrice replied to Steve K | 1 month ago
2 likes

I've always liked apples. Never waited for a woman to offer me one.

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john_smith replied to Steve K | 1 month ago
1 like

Or maybe he knows them better than you do, and he has reason to believe the gentleman in question is not good at saying "no" to his lady.

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Rendel Harris replied to john_smith | 1 month ago
12 likes

john_smith wrote:

Or maybe he knows them better than you do, and he has reason to believe the gentleman in question is not good at saying "no" to his lady.

Or maybe he's a notorious misogynist, responsible for such gems as "The reason there is more sexual harassment these days is because more women go out drinking" and "I'm not going to add a female team to Quickstep, I'm not a welfare centre."

PS It's perfectly clear what Lefevre is up to as he has done this with multiple riders in the past, he is now putting all his faith in Remco and doesn't want to be distracted by having to support and particularly having to pay the wages of JA, so he starts sniping in the press until he pisses them off enough that they go elsewhere. It's his standard MO. I would bet a pound to a penny that there is no substance to his claim that JA has been partying too hard or that he is under the influence of his wife, it's just a way of insulting him in public in order to make him leave.

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