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Alliance of British Drivers schooled for suggesting cyclists take test to use roads; Have you ever seen a more worn chainring?; Could you steal Pogačar's KOM?; Vaughters talks cheese; Kristoff 1-0 iPhone; CAR BACK!; Headwind hell + more on the live blog

Happy Thursday! Alan Partridge, sorry, Dan Alexander is here for another day behind the Norfolk Nights mic, sorry, live blog
17 February 2022, 16:37
Guess who's back?

A post shared by MVDP (@mathieuvanderpoel)

I can't lie...when I heard the unmistakable piano beat and Snoop's voice accompanied by the visual of Mathieu van der Poel walking through a hotel lobby — I feared the worst.

Surely not another pro cycling rap, please, anything but 'Still M.V.D.P (feat. Canyon)'. Thankfully, the great showman knows to stick to his craft and it's just an envy-inducing montage from the prodigious talent's winter training camp in the south of Spain.

No "Astana is my team and we're going to win" today. Just MvdP making riding a bike look effortless. The all-conquering star has had a significant time away from the bike after abandoning his 'cross season early due to injury. But unlike you or I after a few too many weeks off, Van der Poel looks like he never left...

They want to know if he still got it
They say cycling's changed
They wanna know how I feel about it
(If you ain't up on thangs)
MvdP is the name
I'm ahead of my game

Sorry, I won't do that again...

17 February 2022, 16:27
Catch Simon talking Highway Code changes the Legal Thinking Podcast

The first episode of the Legal Thinking Podcast is online now, and features a Highway Code discussion with Simon. During the half-hour episode the group talk about what has changed, how it has been communicated and the implications for road safety.

Simon is joined by Alan Hiscox from the British Horse Society and contributor Mark Hambleton, a partner at Royds Withy King law firm and a specialist in cycling accident claims.

If you're not already all Highway Coded out then check it out...

17 February 2022, 15:12
Strade Bianche + Tom Pidcock = a match made in heaven — cyclocross world champ eyes Italian gravel as first big goal of 2022 road season
Tom Pidcock GP Sven Nys (CorVos:SWpix)

Tom Pidcock has named Strade Bianche as his first big goal of 2022 during a packed spring campaign which will see the cyclocross world champion race Milan-San Remo, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold, Brabantse Pijl, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, if all goes to plan.

Last year, Pidcock was fifth at Strade Bianche, before going on to almost/win Amstel Gold (depending on who you ask) and Branantse Pijl. The Giro d'Italia will then be the 22-year-old's early summer goal before a switch back to the knobbly tyres for the Mountain Bike World Championships in Les Gets.

If the Ineos Grenadiers star has two rainbow jerseys in the bag at this point, watch the hype for the punchy road worlds in Australia go through the roof...

17 February 2022, 14:39
What. A. Photo. Cycling nostalgia galore in this Pantani x Alpe d'Huez shot
17 February 2022, 14:19
Oxford vigil for cyclist killed in crash
Oxford vigil (Cyclox)

This one slipped through our net earlier in the week, but still worth a mention two days late. More than 100 people gathered for a vigil in memory of a cyclist who was killed in a crash involving a lorry being driven last week. The woman in her 40s died at the scene near the junction of Oxford Road and the station. Nobody has been arrested in connection with the incident.

The vigil was organised by Cyclox who have repeatedly called for safer routes for cyclists in the city. The council accepted "bold and radical" changes were needed.

Chair Alison Hill told BBC Radio Oxford the city needed to see a reduction in traffic and more segregated cycle lanes.

"We can't have another death on Oxford roads. It is just too awful for words."

17 February 2022, 13:50
Bike lane delivery
17 February 2022, 13:42
Galway councillors vote for U-turn on Salthill cycleway, prompting "disgust and disappointment"

 Galway City Council has voted 13-4 to reverse plans for a 3km cycle route. In September, the same councillors voted unanimously for its "urgent" rollout.

StickyBottle reports the response to the news has been furious within local cycling communities, with Galway Cycling Campaign spokesperson Martina Callanan saying she was "disgusted and disappointed".

"Galway City Councillors are big and brave when it comes to talking the talk, but when it comes to action; they go limp, they shrivel, they’re ineffective," she said.

The proposed plans would have seen a protected two-way cycle lane built along the water between Barna Road and Seapoint-D'Arcy roundabout.

The decision comes following a public consultation which saw more than 60 per cent of responses against the plans, and complaints from business owners that the lane would have caused "havoc".

Cllr Peter Keane said: "In hindsight it is not the way you should do business politically. You should never vote on the hoof or vote on the blind as it pays no dividend. When we voted on this in September, we had no detailed design in front of us."

17 February 2022, 12:24
You can't park there, mate!
17 February 2022, 12:09
Headwind hell

Makes the Dutch Headwind Champs look like a gentle Sunday spin by the seaside...

What's the top tip in our cycling in the wind guide? Yep, stay at home and hit the indoor trainer...I'm already getting flashbacks to THAT 40mph headwind commute home. It may have been two winters ago, but it still hurts...

17 February 2022, 12:05
Free speed? New Spoked training app guarantees more speed or your money back

Former Australian professional cyclist Richard Lang has created the Spoked training app that’s designed to bring together personal feedback and smart technology to provide simple, adaptive training plans for cyclists.

Spoked explains that each individual rider’s plan adapts via smart technology in response to five main variables; time in zones, the perceived difficulty, sleep, physical and mental freshness. "It is this unique blend of hard cycling data and the ‘human touch’ of personal feedback that creates a holistic experience for the riders," claims the brand.


It has been built on the collective expertise of Dr Nic Berger, who has a Masters in Exercise Physiology and Chris Newton, an Olympic medallist and Great Britain Cycling coach.

You can trial the platform for 14 days for free before signing up to a flexible plan at £11.99/month. Promising "guaranteed results", if you don’t improve over 30 days using the app, Spoked says it’ll give you your money back.

17 February 2022, 11:47
Riding hand signals - obstruction in road.jpg

Turns out there's an even more British language debate than lunch/dinner/tea/supper...

Is it car up/car back, car front/car back, nose/tail? I've always been a car up/car back kind of rider, it never seemed confusing...until I read the comments on our 'Know your group riding signals and calls' feature.

Best comment award goes to 'dodgy': "In our club, at the start of every ride, each rider is given a 10 by 10 matrix on paper, a bit like a BS bingo card that some of you may have played. Along the side are letters and up top are numbers. If a hazard is encountered, the ride leader simply shouts "A7", the riders only need to pull their matrix card from their back pocket to look up the inference and act accordingly. Easy.

"We've always done it this way, why change? So far only three major incidents in three years of riding. Not bad!"


> Know your group riding signals and calls: Whether you're riding a sportive, on a club run or just out with a bunch of friends, here's how to communicate in a group to keep everyone safe

Apparently nose/tail is a Scottish thing?

Whatever you do it's probably best to say something (although preferably the right thing) if you want to make yourself welcome riding in a group. Popping a finger behind your back for a parked car gesture (you know the one I mean) to the stranger drafting you is always strangely's the full-on 'I know you're there, but I'm a nice guy' tactic. And who doesn't love channelling their inner cricket umpire for some loose gravel? Just me? Okay...

Anyway, if you need a lunchtime rabbit hole head over to the comments section on that feature. it'll have you questioning every word you've ever said on a ride...

17 February 2022, 11:09
Throwback to when Liam stole Pog's KOM?
Liam steals Tadej Pogacar's KOM

Of course, it's not just Victor Campenaerts who knows how to steal Pog's Liam, who you'll know if you're a regular over on our YouTube channel, flew up the final section of Luz Ardiden last summer to top a leaderboard including the Tour de France champ, as well as Olympic champ and Tour podium finisher Richard Carapaz...

Maybe should send a team to the Tour? Spoiler alert: we definitely shouldn't...has an entire team missed the time cut on the opening stage?

17 February 2022, 10:57
How to steal Tadej Pogačar's KOM: a simple guide...

Step one: be one of the best time triallists/cyclists in the world (if not, don't bother with step two).

Step two: ride as hard as you can.

Step three: hope Pog was taking it easy that day.

Victor Campenaerts made it his training camp mission to nab a KOM from Tadej Pogačar. As you can see from this clip, he unsurprisingly had to go quite deep to get it. The Lotto Soudal rider knocked 13 seconds off the double Tour champ's record, setting a new best of 24:37 for the popular 9.71km winter training climb in south east Spain.

So how many watts do you need to beat Pog? 413 if you're Victor C whose heart rate averaged 192bpm during the 23.7km/h ascent...they're built differently, these pro riders...

"During the climb I went full throttle. When I got to the top, our doctor said I looked more tired than after my world Hour Record," Campenaerts told Het laatste Nieuws.

"I absolutely do not want to think or say that I am a good climber, let alone a stage racer. I analysed Tadej's effort well and he lost a lot of time on a gravel strip, which he probably didn't know well. There I made the difference and on the steep sections uphill I held up well. I am sure that if Tadej wants, he can certainly take that KOM back, but for a good junior or newbie this will be impossible.

"What's the point of this KOM? Not much. My trainer told me to do 20 kilometres 'all out' twice and then I chose that climb for the second part of the exercise. I had a good time and know that I am in good shape for the opening weekend. And the most important thing is that tonight I will go to sleep with a blissful feeling. The mental front is excellent."

17 February 2022, 09:51
Have you ever seen a more worn chainring?

Sorry to go all Clarkson on you, but this might just be the most worn the world...

As Performance Cycles said in their post, it's almost impressive how worn it is. It certainly makes me feel better about pushing my chainrings through another winter...I mean, you'd rather have nice shiny new ones for summer, right?

No word where this rider lives, but from the lack of little ring use we're thinking the Netherlands or somewhere similarly pancake-like.

At least we all know what a well-worn chainring looks like...forget changing them when they look like shark's teeth, just wait until there is literally nothing left for the chain to sit on...

Another reply joked they've got at least another year left on that, while someone else suggested they save some weight and take off the little ring while they're at it...

Cue everyone tagging their riding pals who take a more Laissez-faire approach to bike maintenance...

17 February 2022, 09:37
Alexander Kristoff 1-0 iPhone

Ignorant spectators' phones getting smashed is one of the more underrated aspects of the sport we love... 

Clever from Nibali, slyly drop the shoulder sending her flying. The sort of dark arts I'm sure we'll be seeing from Diego Simeone's Atletico side in the Champions League next week. Less subtle from Kristoff, although during a full sprint it is definitely harder, and more dangerous, to change your course...

I can't think of many riders who you'd like to ride into your outstretched arm less than the big Norwegian. I imagine it's not dissimilar to having a fridge smash into you...

At the finish the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert hardman was angry, but not with the fan. Instead, Bora-hansgrohe sprinter Jordi Meeus was the recipient of the former Flanders winner's wrath...

"At the finish I asked him ‘why the fuck did you change line?’ He said he had to go there but I don’t agree. He moved me into the barriers and I hit a lot of spectators with my shoulder, so I’m not very happy about it."

17 February 2022, 09:34
Jonathan Vaughters asks the big question...

It's got to be a cheesestring...(my views do not reflect the opinions of my employer, these words are entirely my own and do not reflect the values of anyone who works at

17 February 2022, 08:54
Alliance of British Drivers schooled for suggesting cyclists take test to use roads

The Alliance of British Drivers claims to be a voluntary organisation promoting the interests and concerns of Britain's drivers. On Tuesday, the Daily Express quoted Paul Biggs from the Alliance as part of their 'Highway Code fury' special, which also included TalkRadio ranter Mike Graham, of course.

> Highway Code 'fury': Calls for cyclists' driving test as Mike Graham and Daily Express continue attacking changes

In the story, Biggs said it was "bizarre untrained cyclists are still allowed on the roads", and as a "keen leisure cyclist" himself, he thinks "it seems crazy to allow cyclists on the roads with no requirement to have at least passed a cycling proficiency test or to have even read the Highway Code."

Now, the Alliance proudly shared the Express story on Facebook to the monumental 2,012 people who like the page, we assume expecting a triumphant response of support from motorists everywhere...instead it turned into a very one-sided lesson...

Rob Devey started the debate fairly sensibly, pointing out how many more cars would be on the road if you start building barriers to alternative forms of transport like, I don't know, cycling? Christopher Hirst questioned if the Alliance wants all kids to have to pass a test before whacking the stabilisers off? 

Danny Angus asked if, by the same logic, pedestrians should need a test to cross the road too...wait until the chicken finds out.

Andrew Ballard added: "What 'problem' would this solve? Let's look at how effective driving tests have been for drivers, in terms of road and street harm: five people killed per day, every day on our roads, around 70 more seriously injured. Some of those aren't even on the roads. So mandatory tests and licencing of drivers doesn't prevent road harm or property destruction. So I ask again, what 'problem' would licencing cyclists solve?" The Alliance opted against replying to that particular comment...

Bob Carter reckoned "drivists" doing a Bikeability course would be a better use of everybody's time, while Kas Graham suggested a retest for motorists every ten years too.

Of course, some agreed with the Alliance's calls, we've covered these sorts of replies before, just copy and paste from any previous anti-cyclist bingo...road tax, insurance, accountability, 'you wear dark clothing', red lights...sorry if you've just fallen asleep at your desk...

Dan joined 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, 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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