On the subject of extortionate MLS parking fees (see below), road.cc reader Steve reminded everyone in the comments that during the 2016/17 football season he cycled to every single Crystal Palace match, home and away.
Those rides, and the harrowing 90 minutes that almost certainly followed, included trips to Sunderland and Middlesborough – in the same month.
And what was Steve’s reward for his otherworldly devotion to the cause? A fourteenth-place finish, with 21 defeats from 38 games, and only 12 wins, including a six-game run of losses in October and November (though one of those included the remarkable 5-4 defeat away to Swansea, so at the very least it was entertaining).
As one reader responded: “There's a man who knows how to suffer.”
The Tour of Britain today announced that World Bicycle Relief has joined the race as an official charity partner.
World Bicycle Relief delivers specially designed, locally assembled, rugged bicycles to students, healthcare workers, and entrepreneurs in rural low-income regions.
The charity says it is “committed to helping people conquer the challenge of distance, achieve independence, and thrive.”
Before and during the race, which takes place between 4-11 September (further route details are set to be unveiled on Wednesday), fans will be encouraged to raise funds to provide “life-changing” Buffalo Bicycles.
Buffalo Bicycles are designed and engineered for distance and durability, and are easy to maintain and repair, making them perfect for use in low-income regions around the world.
Miles Rose, Commercial Director of Tour of Britain organisers SweetSpot, said in a statement: “We are delighted to be partnering with World Bicycle Relief and supporting their work by spreading their message about the Power of Bicycles across Britain this year.
“Through the Tour of Britain, we are committed to encouraging and inspiring more people in the UK to get on their bikes. If we can also play a part in changing lives for the better through the power of the bicycle in low-income regions, we will have achieved something significant.”
Never one to be upstaged, Primož Roglič reminded the cycling world that there’s more than one Slovenian at the top of the sport (or even two, eh Matej?) with a dominant win on the opening time trial stage of the Tour of the Basque Country.
Aiming for his third overall win at the relentlessly tough six-day stage race, Roglič blasted along the tough, technical and picturesque 7.5-kilometre course in the coastal town of Hondarribia to take the stage, finishing five seconds ahead of GC rival Remco Evenepoel and 16 in front of Rémi Cavagna.
Ineos Grenadiers’ British riders Geraint Thomas ad Adam Yates were both 18 seconds slower than the Slovenian, in fourth and fifth respectively, while 20-year-old Ben Tulett was impressive in tenth, 21 seconds down.
Fans thronged the tight cobbled streets of Hondarribia, which lies on the French border, also reminding everyone that it isn’t just the Flandrians who can lay claim to coming from one of cycling’s great heartlands.
— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) April 4, 2022
Viewers on GCN were treated to the dulcet tones of everyone’s favourite dancing cyclist Nicolas Roche, who took his place in the commentary box alongside Matt Stephens.
Fresh from his spell as the battling underdog in the Irish version of Dancing with the Stars, Roche appears to be once again following in the footsteps of father Stephen, who used to share mic duties with David Duffield for Eurosport back in the 1990s – once famously castigating Marco Pantani for taking his time over a jacket change during the Italian’s legendary attack to Les Deux Alpes at the 1998 Tour de France.
Let’s just say that Nico is already proving more reliable in his analysis than his dad…
The truth about a place’s aspirations isn’t found in its vision. It’s found in its budget.
So I'm delighted we now have £254m over 5 years to enable active travel here in WM.
It's a game-changing investment to make cycling & walking the natural first choice for short journeys. pic.twitter.com/ByGISHd5LS
— Adam Tranter (@adamtranter) April 4, 2022
The Department for Transport has today confirmed that £254 million will be set aside over the next five years to fund schemes which enable active travel in the West Midlands.
The funding forms part of a £1.05 billion grant to transform road, bus, rail, tram, cycling and walking infrastructure across the region.
West Midlands cycling and walking commissioner Adam Tranter says the grant is a “game-changing investment to make cycling and walking the natural first choice for short journeys”.
“This is the largest single investment in our transport infrastructure and will deliver a wide range of projects across our region including bus priority routes, railway stations, safe cycle routes and electric vehicle charging facilities,” said Transport for West Midlands executive director Anne Shaw in a statement today.
“We have, with our local authority partners and backed by Government, developed an investment programme which will support our targets of delivering a green transport revolution, to better connect our communities and support new jobs and housing.”
Well played Cofidis, who have kitted out Spanish TT champion and new signing Ion Izagirre in some pretty sick threads (I’m down with the kids, move along now) this season.
— Katy M (@writebikerepeat) April 4, 2022
He certainly never got that treatment when he was at Astana or Movistar…
Izagirre was riding the first time trial stage of the Tour of the Basque Country, where Geraint Thomas currently leads with big hitters Primož Roglič and Remco Evenepoel still to come.
The Spanish champion’s teammate Victor Lafay must have been listening to Chris Froome’s thoughts on the safety of time trial bikes, opting for a road bike (complete with disc wheel) on the lumpy, technical course.
A cycling club in Berwick-upon-Tweed is raising money to install and maintain defibrillators in the town, after one saved a member’s life.
65-year-old Guy Rowland was on his way to the weekly outing of the Monday Morning Cycle Club last October.
Recently retired, Rowland had previously spoken to a doctor about experiencing exercise-induced asthma while out on the bike.
As he arrived at the meeting point after cycling a mile and a half from his home, he collapsed, suffering a cardiac arrest.
“I'd just said 'Morning, Guy,' and seconds later I heard the crash of the bike going over,” says retired policeman John Hare, one of the two club members who arrived at the meeting point before Guy, and rushed to his assistance.
“I'm thinking, come on Guy, you've got to unclip your feet when you stop. That was very quickly followed by a shout. Guy was lay astride the bike on the ground. We got the bike out of the way then put him on his back, opened his airway and realised he wasn't breathing.”
Fortunately, Guy collapsed right next to a defibrillator.
John said: “Everything apart from the incident happening fell into light, it was one of those strange coincidences. We were ten paces from the community defibrillator at East Ord. The week before, myself and Ray (who was also present) had done a first aid refresher course.
“It's a strange thing, you don't have to do an awful lot but if you do the right thing, there's a good chance of saving someone's life. You shouldn't be afraid to get involved with the defibrillators because they do talk you through it.”
John and Ray’s quick thinking gave enough time for a community paramedic to arrive to treat Guy. The 65-year-old was then airlifted to the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, where he was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), the same device fitted to Italian pro Sonny Colbrelli after his collapse last month, which regulates abnormal heart rhythms.
Since Guy’s incident, Monday Morning Cycling Club have been working with Ord Parish Council to raise over £200 to maintain defibrillators in the area, as well as installing a new one in a more rural location. The club is hoping to raise more money through a charity sportive later in the year.
Only five months since his cardiac arrest, Guy is back out with the club, riding on his electric bike.
“I just feel incredibly lucky and very humbled really,” he told the Chronicle. “The number of people who went to so much trouble to keep me alive, it's still quite moving when I think about it.
“It was very strange, I just kind of let myself go along with whatever was happening. I thought, they know what they're doing and if I die, I die, and if I live, I live.
“There's no point getting too upset about it. You just have to stay calm, really.”
But if you took one look at the Paterberg yesterday and reckoned you could keep up with one of the most talented bike riders of his generation – albeit as he recovers from a 270km monument and the night of celebration that no doubt followed – then here’s your chance to prove it, as the Alpecin-Fenix rider is taking to Zwift for his post-Ronde recovery spin.
The 60-minute ride (available at this link) starts today at 3pm BST and is open for anyone to join – so you too can rub (virtual) shoulders with the current Lion of Flanders.
Let’s just hope Van Baarle and Madouas don’t box you in…
— Ronde Van Vlaanderen (@RondeVlaanderen) April 3, 2022
Look at him, slicing through the entire Tour of Flanders like a hot knife through butter.
Hang that video in the Louvre, as the internet people say…
His HR stats look similar to mine on any given ride. He's just pushing out twice the power for each beat. https://t.co/f46TB3UZl2
— LukeB_MTB (@LukeB_MTB) April 4, 2022
And spare a thought for Wout van Aert, the red-hot favourite ruled out due to Covid, who had to give up not only his chance of glory in Flanders, but also his KOM crown:
Can you imagine sitting out the crown jewel of your classics season as the favorite, and then getting this Strava email? pic.twitter.com/aiHUfTRytd
— Greg (@gregonabicycle) April 3, 2022
On Thursday evening, we reported that a motorist pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention after failing to slow down while driving his Land Rover Defender towards a group of cyclists on a single track country lane.
Paul Nigel Miley was fine £1,000 in connection with the incident, which led to one of the cyclists falling off their bike.
PC Mo Allsopp-Clarke of Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team said: “On this occasion, the correct thing to do would have been to come to a stop to allow the cyclists to pass safely. It takes a couple of seconds and then everyone can continue their journey in safety.”
The video of the incident, which Allsopp-Clarke says “clearly showed that Miley had no consideration for the cyclists on that day”, has been shared online by Northamptonshire Police, prompting a – somewhat inevitable – mixed response.
While many viewers agreed with the fine, some motorists have defended the driver, with one Twitter user writing: “I think he could have slowed a little bit more but I wouldn’t have blamed him for her falling off! This world has gone mad! That poor driver!”
Another wrote: “Can’t see what he did wrong. Looks like she just fell over cos her feet were attached to her pedals. Maybe she just needs to learn how to get off her bike!”
However, one user’s response to the incident was ever so slightly blunter:
Cyclist at fault, hit her next time x https://t.co/Xp4dUYPeLO
— clara ♈️ (@larafrancescaaa) April 2, 2022
Well, at least she left a kiss at the end.
That particular tweet has – understandably – been heavily criticised on Twitter:
Not "I don't agree with the court" or "I don't think there is anything wrong with the driving" or "I hate cyclists".
"hit her next time"
When your solution is to publicly state you want to drive your car into people, the problem is with you. https://t.co/I2hF3DGYIv
— Cybergibbons (@cybergibbons) April 4, 2022
How is the person on the bike responsible for the actions of the person in control of a two-tonne weapon on wheels?
— London by bike (@LDNbybike) April 2, 2022
Dear Clara, the term you’re looking for is “premeditated” and might carry a prison term. Perhaps refresh your Highway Code knowledge, eh?
— Phil H (@Gulfie) April 4, 2022
Could I suggest joining @IAMRoadSmart The training is excellent about being courteous to other road users, especially those more vulnerable. I am a member...
— Dr Jonathan Leach (@jonathanleach13) April 4, 2022
If Carlsberg (or should that be Leffe) did Sundays…
The Tour of Flanders was something else, wasn’t it? We were treated to two phenomenal winners in Mathieu van der Poel and Lotte Kopecky, aggressive, attacking and tactical racing, the long-awaited return of thousands of screaming (and probably drunk) Belgians at the side of the road, and – before I forget – one of the most dramatic final kilometres you’re ever likely to see.
So as most of Belgium wakes up bleary eyed and hungover after possibly one of the best days of racing ever, here’s a little roundup of some of the post-Flanders talking points.
Or should that be Ronde-up? I’ll get my coat…
I don't know what feels worse:
waking up after a Tour of Flanders party, or waking up after having raced the @RondeVlaanderen. 🥴
— Mieke Docx (@MiekeDocx) April 4, 2022
Celebrations for Lotte Kopecky 😍🍾 pic.twitter.com/MK8o3Y0z7i
— Robyn (@robynjournalist) April 3, 2022
It surely doesn’t get much better than winning the Tour of Flanders in the Belgian champion’s jersey, does it?
What made Lotte Kopecky’s win, which saw her become the first woman to take the Ronde in the Belgian tricolour, even more special was the return of the fans to the roadside and the finish, especially after two eerily silent Covid editions in 2020 and 2021.
And boy, did the fans make up for lost time, celebrating Kopecky’s win in the proper manner, beer cups to the sky (we’ll gloss over the fact that Lotte revealed in her post-race interview that she doesn’t like beer…).
Also struggling with her drink was Annemiek van Vleuten, who at least proved to us mere mortals that she can’t do everything:
— UCI_WWT (@UCI_WWT) April 3, 2022
In the men’s race, the boy-king Tadej Pogačar suffered his own Stephen Roche at Liège 1987 moment, coming fourth in a two-horse race after a game of cat-and-mouse gone awry in that scarcely believable final kilometre.
Maybe Pog was just trying to emulate Tottenham Hotspur’s 2016 league campaign?
Pogacar the ultimate competitor: cheering on MvdP as he crosses the line. 😶 pic.twitter.com/3GO1BPcMNk
— Colin Lynch PLY (@FormerTTchamp) April 3, 2022
Despite his sulk at the finish line, the 23-year-old Slovenian’s performance was extraordinary, bending the Tour of Flanders – a race Tour de France winners don’t ride, a race that you apparently need years of experience to excel at – to his will, on his debut, only three days after his first proper cobbled classic. You get the picture.
He was the strongest rider in the race, no doubt, just not the smartest in the finale. But that prolonged show of strength, beginning with his bullet-like assault up the Oude Kwaremont with 55km to go, proves that he can do – and win – just about anything on a bike.
Just maybe not the Grand National, eh Carlton?
The Grand National
— Carlton Kirby (@carltonkirby) April 4, 2022
But, unfortunately for his opponents, the 23-year-old could soon have another cobbled monument on his to-do list:
— Tadej Pogačar (@TamauPogi) April 3, 2022
Well he has to make up for Sunday’s disappointment some way, doesn’t he?
In the aftermath of the race, Pogačar’s name was even trending on UK Twitter for a brief period (we’ve made it folks!):
Pogacar is trending as an 'event' in the UK. Don't know what to make of that?! #RVV22
— Katy M (@writebikerepeat) April 3, 2022
While most pundits were busy comparing Tadej to a certain Belgian legend (who could it be?), Brian Smith linked the Slovenian’s sartorial style to another – albeit Scottish – icon:
— Brian Smith 𝕆𝕃𝕐 (@BriSmithy) April 3, 2022
Lest we forget yesterday’s winner Mathieu van der Poel, who must have had a sense of déjà vu as he once again entered the final kilometre of the Tour of Flanders in a two-rider group.
While the Dutchman has often let his strength get in the way of success, this time he used all his tactical smarts, calmly playing Pog like a fiddle in the final kilometre, before seeing off Madouas and Van Baarle’s last ditch challenge with his explosive kick.
The Alpecin-Fenix rider made just as light work of his well-deserved post-race burger:
— Cycling out of context (@OutOfCycling) April 3, 2022
As well as his podium champagne, a moment that was weirdly captured by this bottle-mounted GoPro (not sure if the GoPro was included as a prize):
— Ronde Van Vlaanderen (@RondeVlaanderen) April 3, 2022
While most of the post-race talk centred on Pogačar’s once-in-a-generation-or-two range of talent, Van der Poel - who was a massive doubt for the classics just two weeks ago, remember, after a back injury dogged his winter - is also proving that when it comes to the classics not much is beyond him either:
Mathieu van der Poel's career monument results:
— Daniel Lloyd (@daniellloyd1) April 3, 2022
15 days ago, Mathieu van der Poel hadn't raced this season. Now he's won one monument and come 3rd in the other. Not too shabby. #RVV22
— Daniel Lloyd (@daniellloyd1) April 3, 2022
He’ll also be pretty pleased, I imagine, to have overtaken his dad Adri (who won the race himself in 1986 ahead of Sean Kelly) on the list of Ronde winners…
Finally, big props to Fred Wright. The 22-year-old Brit, riding for Bahrain-Victorious, rode a superb, tactically flawless race to take seventh, even hanging on to Pog and MVDP until the final time up the Oude Kwaremont.
Gave it everything today!
— Fred Wright (@fred_wright0) April 3, 2022
That ‘boy’ @fred_wright0 has done it yet again: Blown my flippin’ mind! It was the Tour of Flanders for Gawd’s sake!! (Thanks Max Capamagian for the terrific pictures of me getting rather excited) #RondeVlaanderen pic.twitter.com/b4pcQpWoD8
— Phil Wright (@philinhernehill) April 4, 2022
With Wright, Tom Pidcock and Ben Turner coming to the fore this spring, Britain’s future in the cobbled classics is looking very bright indeed…
What do you mean, you were watching the boat race?
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.