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Dauphiné rider DQ’d for punching rival at 70kph; Cyclist causes havoc on anti-LTN group; ITV Highway Code episode annoys drivers; Battle of the cycling GKs; Longo Borghini conquers Black Mountain; More Ineos marginal clothing gains + more on the live blog

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the weekend (almost) and Ryan Mallon is here to give you that Friday feeling with the last live blog of the week…
10 June 2022, 18:10
Bicycle races are coming your way…

Pub quiz question: Who won the eighteenth stage of the 1978 Tour de France which passed through Montreux, inspiring Freddie Mercury – in town with Queen to record the Jazz album – to write the single Bicycle Race?

(Scroll down for the answer)

Freddie Mercury - cycling meme

A: Gerrie Knetemann – the Dutchman, who would win the world championships later that summer, took the first of his two Tour stage wins that year (his TI-Raleigh team also won the stage four TTT).

It’s never been confirmed if the sight of Roger Taylor on the side of the road inspired Knetemann to victory in Lausanne…

Happy Friday everyone!

10 June 2022, 17:46
Cyclist causes havoc on anti-LTN ‘One Chiswick’ Facebook group

Ah, One Chiswick, we hardly knew ye.

As the anti-LTN and cycle lane group passes into the great traffic jam in the sky – along with some confidential security info and almost £50,000 of its supporters’ money – cyclists everywhere have paid their respects:

(For the uninitiated: Jeremy Vine accused of 'bullying' Anti Low Traffic Neighbourhood group)

One Chiswick is dead, long live the One Chiswick Facebook group!

With the zombified corpse limping on (no doubt screaming at children to “get off your bikes or I’ll eat your brains”), one cyclist has managed to sneak into the inner circle, causing havoc in the comments:

Terrific stuff. 

10 June 2022, 16:23
When cyclists attack: A short history of fighting in the peloton

As shocking as it was, Juan Sebastián Molano’s powerful right hook at the Dauphiné today wasn’t the first time that pro bike riders – famous, of course, for their punching power – have come to blows in the middle of the peloton or after the finish line.

(Though Molano does now hold the distinction of doing both on the same afternoon…)

On a scorching hot day at the 2010 Tour de France, it was a case of handbags and spokes, as future world champion Rui Costa and a wheel-waving Carlos Barredo gave the crowd at the finish a bonus WWF feature, after tempers had flared with 20km to go on the stage.

Barredo later called Costa to apologise, and presumably paid his Quick Step team back for the wheel he had brandished as a weapon.

While Barredo and Costa both got away with fines and time penalties, Tony Martin and Luke Rowe weren’t so lucky at the 2019 Tour, as the two men – key domestiques for their Jumbo-Visma and Ineos teams respectively – were disqualified for an altercation on the road to Gap (what is it with Gap, eh?), which saw Rowe shove the German time triallist after Martin appeared to force the Welshman off the road.

And as it was 2019, we were treated to a team-organised social media video apology as Rowe and Martin pleaded forgiveness (their appeal to be reinstated was, unsurprisingly, rejected):

Speaking of Ineos, the rider every cycling fan loves to hate, Paris-Roubaix almost winner Gianni Moscon, had his fair share of mid-peloton scrapes while riding for the British team:

> Gianni Moscon disqualified from Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne for throwing bike at another rider

> Team Sky's Gianni Moscon thrown out of Tour de France for hitting another rider

But it’s alright, those “suspensions” imposed by the team (which always happened to coincide with training periods, funny enough) really helped the Italian learn his lesson, eh?

And, finally, a retro one to round things up, as Banesto’s Ramon Gonzalez Arrieta and Carrera’s Leonardo Sierra duked it out, round after round, at the 1995 Vuelta:

Last word, naturally, to former world champion and cycling fanatic, Mike Tyson:

10 June 2022, 14:41
Dauphine - Molano hits Page 2
“I’d had it up to here with him”: Argy bargy at the Dauphiné, as Molano disqualified for punching Page

In a bid to liven things up on what was a relatively quiet day at the Dauphiné, UAE Team Emirates sprinter Juan Sebastián Molano decided to engage in a spot of fisticuffs with French neo-pro Hugo Page, resulting in his disqualification from the race.

The incident, which happened with just over nine kilometres to go, saw Molano (in the bottom left corner of the video) grab hold of green jersey wearer Page or his bike after the 20-year-old Intermarché rider drifted across the Colombian’s path.

Molano then gave the Frenchman an earful before landing what appeared to be a pretty heavy punch to Page’s head, after which his UAE teammates pleaded with their sprinter to calm.

The two riders - who both then sprinted to places in the top 15, Molano even brazenly leading the bunch home - continued to argue after the finish line in Gap, with a clearly furious Molano hitting Page again at least once, as captured on Danish TV:

The pair weren’t holding back in their post-race interviews either (using just their words thankfully, this time):

Unsurprisingly, the commissaires have since disqualified the Colombian for his spot of on-bike UFC, though he may still pick up a prize at the end of the day:

10 June 2022, 15:55
Decent Pass of the Day
10 June 2022, 14:01
Race updates: Longo Borghini conquers Black Mountain, as Ferron foils the break

There are a few Black Mountains in Wales (and one in Belfast too), but the one climbed today at the Women’s Tour, in the west of the Brecon Beacons near Llangadog, belongs to Italy.

On what was only the second hilltop finish in the race’s history, Italian champion Elisa Longo Borghini proved the strongest of a select group after a flurry of attacks on the windswept 7.2 kilometre climb which decided this year’s queen stage.

The Trek-Segafredo rider beat Kasia Niewiadoma (who managed to overcome what appeared to be a late mechanical problem in the closing kilometres) and race leader Grace Brown in a reshuffle of yesterday’s stage to draw level with the Australian at the top of the GC, setting things up nicely for an intriguing final run-in to Oxford tomorrow.

As a number of riders, including Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, Riejanne Markus, Joss Lowden and Longo Borghini herself, attacked relentlessly on the final climb, the in-form Brown looked in control.

But when American BikeExchange-Jayco rider Kristen Faulkner surged within the final kilometre, cracks began to show in the seemingly impenetrable Australian’s armour.

However, despite being slightly baulked by Faulkner as Longo Borghini launched her sprint, Brown dug deep to retain the overall lead.

But with only two seconds separating Brown, Longo Borghini and Niewiadoma, there’s still all to play for on the roads around Oxford. Which I’m sure will make the organisers, if not the riders, rub their hands with glee.

Meanwhile at the Critérium du Dauphiné, Valentin Ferron gave the slip to his dithering breakaway companions with a perfectly timed attack within the closing 1.5 kilometres to win into Gap, one of the Tour de France’s iconic finish towns (and one of the most infuriating, if you’re a journalist stuck in one of its famous traffic jams).

24-year-old Ferron – perhaps the least heralded of the strong six-man group that included Pierre Rolland, Warren Barguil and Andrea Bagioli – showcased both strength and an impressive tactical acumen to take the first win of his young career and the second of the race for his TotalEnergies team after Alexis Vuillermoz’s breakaway win on stage two.

Thirty seconds behind, yellow jersey Wout van Aert cruised home in twelfth, his joint-third lowest result of 2022. Tut tut.

10 June 2022, 13:38
One bike for three tanks of petrol, thanks...
10 June 2022, 11:59
Ilnur Zakarin wins Giro 2015 Stage 11 in Imola (pciture ANSA, Dal Zennaro)
Ilnur Zakarin retires following Gazprom-RusVelo suspension

It’s a fittingly inauspicious end to the career of one of this generation’s most mercurial riders, as Ilnur Zakarin confirms that he will retire from professional cycling after his Gazprom-RusVelo squad ceased activities in the wake of the UCI’s ban on Russian-backed teams.

After originally planning to retire at the end of 2022, the 32-year-old, who enjoyed his best years while leading his home Katusha team in the mid-2010s, announced this week on Instagram that he was calling an end to his decade-long career in the middle of the season to concentrate on Inex Club, a Cyprus-based training company for amateurs and pros.

“I officially announce my retirement from [my] cycle sport career,” he wrote.

“I’ve had more than 20 years of different competitions, success and obstacles, achievements and failures. Now I'm ready to move on. This is a new stage and a new start.

“I'm starting a new chapter of my life, and it’s still tied to sports.

“Inex Club is a club for cycling lovers, that provides lots of opportunities. This is what I really like doing, and something I'm going to give myself into.”

The Tatarstan-born rider’s career was perhaps marked from the outset by a two-year doping ban for an anabolic steroid in 2009, when Zakarin was just 19.

He eventually made his way to the top of the sport in 2015 after signing for Katusha, where he established himself as a gifted if fragile stage racer.

GC success at the Tour de Romandie and a Giro d’Italia stage win during his debut season at the Russian WorldTour outfit were followed a year later by victory in the mountains at the Tour de France.

His win at the Tour came less than two months after breaking his collarbone in a horrific crash at the Giro, on the same descent of the Colle dell'Agnello which dramatically dashed the hopes of pink jersey Steven Kruijswijk.

Firmly cemented as Russia’s best grand tour hope, in 2017 Zakarin finished fifth at the Giro and third overall at the Vuelta a España behind winner Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali, before adding a top ten at the Tour in 2018 and another Giro mountain stage in 2019.

However, an ill-starred spell at the doomed CCC outfit in 2020 and the sporting repercussions of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have seen Zakarin’s career peter out, and with no takers in a crowded transfer market, the enigmatic 32-year-old’s career ends just as it started, in controversy and confusion.

10 June 2022, 10:55
Isle of Man
Cyclists cautioned by police for riding on Isle of Man TT course

Two groups of cyclists attending the Isle of Man TT have been cautioned for riding their bikes on the Mountain Road, a key part of the road race course which is shut to cyclists for the two-week duration of the event.

While cyclists are banned from the A18 that connects Douglas and Ramsey during the TT period, a temporary one-way system for motor traffic is also implemented to increase road safety.

The cyclists, comprised of two separate groups from Swindon and Leeds, were arrested for riding the wrong way up the one-way system at a time when the road was closed to all vehicles to allow emergency services to treat a motorbike rider who had been injured.

Police told the BBC that the cyclists’ “dangerous action” could have been worse if the road had been open.

“Had they been on it when we opened it again, we would have sent hundreds of bikes whizzing towards them", Sgt Andrew Reed said.

Reed also advised visitors to the TT to “do your research” concerning road closures and to adhere to the “clear warning signs” on the Mountain Road.

He added that police are “not persecuting cyclists, it is purely a safety factor that anything that is slow moving on that Mountain Road during TT, we don't want there for safety.”

10 June 2022, 10:35
Move over Ganna’s flaps, step forward Rowe’s parachute pockets

The Ineos Grenadiers, once again returning to the forefront of cycling innovation…

10 June 2022, 10:02
Juan Ayuso out of Dauphiné with fever and stomach issues

A blow for my fantasy league team here (and the rider himself, obviously), as 19-year-old Spanish sensation Juan Ayuso has been forced to withdraw from the Critérium du Dauphiné after coming down with a nasty illness.

The UAE Team Emirates rider, who has been consistently impressive during his first full year in the pro ranks and was sitting eighth on GC this morning, reportedly complained of discomfort and diarrhoea before yesterday’s stage.

For some reason – it certainly wasn’t to protect his or the peloton’s health – Ayuso was allowed to continue on stage five to Chaintré, which resulted in him developing a fever and mild dehydration (I’m shocked), leading to his withdrawal from the race this morning.

Needless to say, some weren’t impressed with UAE’s somewhat laissez-faire, 1960s-style approach to their rider’s health:

10 June 2022, 09:36
Foster versus Mignolet: the battle of the cycling goalkeepers

Is Ben Foster’s reign as the cycling goalkeeper under threat?

Well, according to Ineos rider Laurens De Plus, former Sunderland and Liverpool shot stopper Simon Mignolet is also no slouch on a bike, prompting team mate Tao Geoghegan Hart to challenge the pair to a race… 

England versus Belgium, ex-Man United versus ex-Liverpool, 60cm frame versus 60cm frame – forget the Dauphiné, this is the pre-Tour warm up the world needs.

I can see it now, live on YouTube, hashtags galore, first to the lighthouse on Mallorca's Cap de Formentor.

Although, by the sounds of things, big Ben needs a couple of spins up the Sa Calobra to get himself into race shape…

10 June 2022, 08:44
“Making my blood boil”: ITV’s Highway Code programme annoys motorists

The changes to the Highway Code, designed to protect vulnerable road users, were the centre of an investigation on ITV’s Tonight programme last night (I know, six months behind the times, but this TV business doesn’t happen overnight…).

Compared to the rather inflammatory cycling safety segment on Countryfile a few weeks ago, the programme itself – from what I gathered by switching between it and the Women’s Tour highlights on ITV4 – was quite a balanced one.

It considered the actual changes to the Highway Code themselves, the extent to which motorists have been made aware of the revisions introduced in January (with vox pops at a classic car show in Eastbourne underlining how little people actually read the code), and the experiences of cyclists on the roads.

> Highway Code changes: Department for Transport finally announces publicity campaign to increase awareness

A poll conducted by the show found that 25 percent of people still believe that a car driver has right of way when turning left, and that half of those surveyed think that cyclists should stay to the left of the lane when approaching junctions – results which confirm Cycling UK’s belief (despite the hundreds, maybe thousands, of road.cc articles on the subject…) that the new changes haven’t been publicised enough.

So not so bad then, as far as these things go. 

However, a quick glance at Twitter will tell you that not everything is well in car world, where the programme seemed to hit a nerve, judging by some of the tweets:

(Sounds like a pleasant chap...) 

Neither can I, neither can I.... 

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.

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