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“Victim blaming” road sign tells cyclists to “consider other road users”; ‘Would you let your child cycle to school in that bike lane?’ Cycle to School safety advice slammed; Ineos to set up women’s team?; Ganna’s 3D-printed bike + more on the live blog

It’s Monday, the pro road racing season is finally drawing to a close, and Ryan Mallon is back in the hot seat for the first live blog of October
03 October 2022, 16:51
It’s a typo!

It seems as if road.cc reader Sriracha has solved the mystery of the head-scratching ‘Cycle Safely’ road sign:

It's a typo! They were intending to remind motorists to consider their obligations to the safety of other, more vulnerable, road users under the recent changes to the Highway Code:

Cycle Safety

Please consider other road users

OK, maybe not.

03 October 2022, 16:16
“The UCI don’t care about our safety”: Riders and ex-pros criticise race organisers and governing body after tram lines, tight bends and road furniture plague recent finishes

While the CRO Race may have featured an exhilarating finale, with Matej Mohorič clinching the overall title from Jonas Vingegaard on bonus seconds in yesterday’s final sprint (as promising 19-year-old British rider Oscar Onley took a mightily impressive third place overall), the race’s organisers and the UCI have come under fire after the Croatian stage race was plagued by a series of dangerous finishes.

Three of the six stages featured sketchy run-ins with tight turns, prompting complaints from some of the riders, while the final stage’s finishing circuit in Zagreb included tram lines, a plethora of road furniture, spectators on the road, and a series of tricky corners.

Jumbo-Visma’s Jos van Emden told Velo News last night that the riders’ protests over safety throughout the CRO Race were simply waved away by the commissaires.

“The whole race was dangerous with the local circuits. Before the circuits it was OK but these circuits were too much,” the 37-year-old Dutch veteran said. “When I looked in the road book in the morning I had hoped that it would be OK but it was the opposite.

“It should be unacceptable but I don’t know what can be done. The UCI should do something, but I can’t take the UCI seriously anymore.

“There were tram lines, road furniture, and then small poles to prevent cars from parking. There were potholes on the descent that you could disappear in and it’s not just today. It was every day in that race on the local laps.

“We complained with some riders a few days ago because of rain in a ridiculous final. Even in the dry they’ve crashed there five years in a row, and then the UCI commissaires say that they don’t see any problems.

“To me the UCI lost all credibility. They showed that they don’t give a damn. They just don’t care about our safety. I’m 100 percent sure that they don’t check the finals.”

“This was my first time at the Cro Race, and it will be my last,” Van Emden said.

“I don’t think that Jumbo-Visma will go back. The chance of breaking something is just too big. Jonas [Vingegaard] didn’t like that he lost the race but he said he didn’t want to break his neck. That was the best decision, so we lost the race, but we stayed healthy and that’s the most important thing.”

While the riders were happy just to stay upright in Zagreb, Eurosport-GCN’s Brian Smith noted a similar trend at the Famenne Ardenne Classic, where hotshot young Belgian sprinter Arnaud De Lie crashed in the final kilometre – and still managed 15th on the day…

03 October 2022, 15:48
More Cycling on Netflix! Ellen van Dijk’s 2021 Paris-Roubaix set to feature on new ‘Human Playground’ series

And it’s narrated by Idris Elba – Although, I’m not going to lie, my brain initially thought the tweet was referring to Iris Slappendel, which would have been great too… 

03 October 2022, 15:14
Pinarello unveils ‘world-first’ 3D-printed Bolide for Filippo Ganna’s Hour Record attempt

Filippo Ganna is set to take on Dan Bigham’s Hour Record this Saturday this Saturday evening at the Grenchen velodrome in Switzerland.

And the Italian time trial machine will be doing so upon a “world-first” 3D printed Pinarello Bolide bike.

The new Bolide F HR 3D, unveiled today by the venerable Italian bike manufacturer, is claimed to be the first fully 3D-printed track bike – stepping up from the now relatively common custom-printed handlebars and saddles – and is made from a high strength scandium-aluminium-magnesium alloy used in aerospace material and specifically designed for 3D printing.

Pinarello Bolide F HR 3D

The seat tube and seat post incorporate a tooth-shaped design that Pinarello calls ‘Airstream technology’, which is said to minimise drag.

The fearsome looking bike, a prototype of which was ridden by Bigham on his way to the record in August, also takes advantage of the UCI’s removal of the 3:1 tube profile rule, resulting in narrower wheel hubs and bottom bracket and the development of new, extreme AirFoil sections and shapes.

This whole process has led to a bike featuring “millimetre-perfect sizing” and boundary-pushing design.

“This is such a unique project,” Pinarello marketing chief Federico Sabrissa said in a statement. “We believe it’s the beginning of a new manufacturing era.”

The brand’s chairman Fausto Pinarello said: “Constant innovation and research are the foundations of success if you want to build the fastest time trial bike for the track. From Miguel Indurain’s World Hour record to the recent gold medals in the team pursuit in Tokyo, Pinarello has always set the gold standard in this segment.

“Working closely with Filippo Ganna and the Ineos Grenadiers team to develop this revolutionary product is part of our company DNA. And the result of that extreme research, the spirit of innovation it engenders, and the technology it produces is then spread through the whole range of Pinarello products.”

Under the UCI’s regulations for Hour Record bikes, the Bolide will be made available to the general public. But due to the 3D printing technique and on-demand build, expect it to very, very pricey.

Nevertheless, Sabrissa said: “The next step will be to make it more affordable by finding ways to scan riders with more affordable equipment and automatically design each unique bike. From a world champion, to every World Tour rider, and eventually to each and every cyclist out there.”

03 October 2022, 14:40
King Remco greets his subjects… and performs an impromptu DJ set

World champion Remco Evenepoel received a hero’s welcome in Brussels yesterday, as thousands of Belgian cycling fans packed the Grand Place, or Grote Markt, to celebrate their latest star’s coming of age.

Long touted as a future star, the 22-year-old, who will debut the rainbow stripes – to yet more fanfare – at Binche-Chimay-Binche tomorrow, has now cemented his place as the new king of Belgium after soloing to victory at Liège–Bastogne–Liège in the spring and later becoming his country’s first grand tour winner in 44 years at the Vuelta a España, before his crowning moment in Wollongong last week.

After a ceremony in the morning Dilbeek, where he grew up, Evenepoel dashed off to Brussels’ Grand Place, where the massive crowds bore more than a striking resemblance to those which greeted Eddy Merckx after the first of his five Tour wins in July 1969 (of course, the Merckxian comparisons don’t end there for Evenepoel).

However, the less said about his DJing and singing skills, the better…

The Belgian fans and press, of course, lapped it all up, as Het Nieuwsblad reported that their new two-wheeled king “played the crowd like an accomplished entertainer”.

“What can’t that boy do?”

Sing, I reckon...

03 October 2022, 13:51
Mathieu van der Poel at start of road race at Wollongong 2022 (copyright Simon Wilkinson, SWpix.com).JPG
“We are witing a bit of history”: Mathieu van der Poel set to race inaugural gravel world championships – after one session on gravel bike

Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel will aim to put a difficult few weeks behind him by lining up at the start of the inaugural UCI-recognised gravel world championships in Veneto, Italy, this Sunday.

The weekend’s race – the first of its kind to be sanctioned by the UCI – will also mark the 27-year-old’s first appearance since being fined A$1,500 for assaulting two teenage girls in his hotel on the eve of the world road race championships in Wollongong eight days ago.

Van der Poel has told the media that he regrets his handling of the situation, but has denied pushing or attempting to intentionally harm the girls.

> Mathieu van der Poel fined A$1,500 after pleading guilty to assault after hotel incident 

Van der Poel will be joined on the white roads of the Veneto region by his Alpecin-Fenix teammate Gianni Vermeersch, and a host of other top road pros, including Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet, Zdenek Stybar and Daniel Oss.

The routes will start in Vicenza and finish in the medieval walled city of Cittadella, taking in the classic Italian gravel sections familiar to fans of Strade Bianche and some cobbled stretches, which together will account for more then three-quarters of the route.

In a press release from his Alpecin-Fenix team today, Van der Poel said that he and his fellow riders are “writing a bit of history on Sunday” – though the double Tour of Flanders winner did admit that he’d only trained on his gravel bike once before confirming his participation at the worlds.

2022 Canyon Aeroad CRF Van der Poel - 1.jpeg

“For me, my very first gravel race in my career. Although it is not completely new,” he said.

“I trained on the gravel bike for the first time today and it feels like something between road racing and cyclocross. The adaptation on the bike wasn’t too bad.

“It's mainly fun to be there. And if the feeling is okay on Sunday, we will obviously do our best to get the best possible result.”

“A World Championship is special anyway,” says the Belgian Vermeersch. “For me too, this is the very first race with the gravel bike. I don’t really know what to expect.

“I have already looked at the course on the internet and it seems relatively flat and not too technical. A bit like the gravel roads in Dwars door het Hageland [where Vermeersch finished second earlier this year]. In any case, I am looking forward to it. My first encounter with the bike was already pleasant.”

Following their gravel debut on Sunday, Van der Poel and Vermeersch will compete at the Serenissima Gravel race, also in Vento, five days later on 14 October. The Alpecin-Fenix duo will then take a break before commencing their cyclocross seasons this winter.

03 October 2022, 13:20
“Stay safe, keep cycling”: Cycle to School Week, take two
03 October 2022, 12:18
Meanwhile, in Belfast…

While the Northern Ireland government site is busy telling schoolchildren to be “bike smart”, the tweet below captures one of the many obstacles faced by a six-year-old cyclist on her way to a dance class in Belfast yesterday:

But yeah, be “bike smart”, that’s the solution…

03 October 2022, 11:56
Sharrow = Sheep Arrow?
03 October 2022, 11:21
‘Would you let your child cycle to school in a bike lane like that?’ Northern Ireland government site criticised for “victim blaming” Cycle to School Week tweet

It’s the victim blaming klaxon again!

For today’s second edition of ‘Local Authorities Putting The Onus For Safety On Vulnerable Road Users’ (I’ll try to think of a snappier title this afternoon), we’re hopping over the Irish Sea to Northern Ireland, where the Twitter account of the official government website, NI Direct, celebrated the start of Cycle to School Week by instructing schoolchildren to be “bike smart”…

…While using a photo of a narrow, painted cycle lane that could charitably be described as a death trap:

The tweet itself linked to the Highway Code for Northern Ireland’s ‘Rules for Cyclists’, which informs bike riders that they should wear helmets, appropriate fluorescent and reflective clothing, and fit their bike with a red rear reflector.

The guidelines also tell cyclists, among other things, to “be considerate of other road users”, to use cycle routes and lanes, bike boxes and toucan crossings when possible (though they do note that they’re not compulsory), to “be aware that drivers may not easily see you” on roundabouts, and to “leave plenty of room when passing parked vehicles and watch out for doors being opened”.

However, it was this morning’s unfortunate juxtaposition of message and image – telling young cyclists to be safe while depicting a particularly unsafe example of cycling infrastructure – that has especially angered local bike riders and parents on Twitter:

03 October 2022, 10:55
Simon Yates ruled out of Il Lombardia after training crash
03 October 2022, 10:10
Birthday boy Dowsett’s last hurrah

Former Hour Record holder, six-time British time trial champion and two-time Giro d’Italia stage winner Alex Dowsett is celebrating his 34th birthday today in style… by pinning on a number at a pro road race for the very last time.

The Israel-Premier Tech rider, who announced that he was stepping back from WorldTour racing at the end of August, isn’t too happy with his final race number at the Münsterland Giro, however.

Dowsett tweeted this morning that, after 12 years in the pro ranks, his last number before he rides off into the sunset (or more accurately, the gravel) only serves to remind him – if he needed a reminder on the day of his retirement – that he just ain’t as young as he used to be…

03 October 2022, 09:53
“Steady Sunday drive”: Driver reaches 191mph on UK roads

“The following media includes potentially sensitive content…”

Twitter was certainly right about that:

03 October 2022, 08:52
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, 2022 UCI MTB World Championships (Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)
Ineos to set up new women’s team? French star Pauline Ferrand-Prévot rumoured to lead new project

As the leaves begin to fall and the professional road racing seasons winds down (Il Lombardia is this Saturday, eeekkk!), there are still plenty of rumours flying around to keep cycling fans occupied in-between cyclocross races this autumn and winter.

One particularly interesting bit of gossip making its way around the bike racing world this morning surrounds the potential formation of a new women’s pro team backed by Ineos and led by French all-terrain superstar Pauline Ferrand-Prévot.

While Jim Ratcliffe has spent the last few weeks vainly pursuing Remco Evenepoel’s signature and renewing his calls for Ineos to undertake fracking in the UK (two things that will make him extremely popular amongst cyclists, I suspect), VeloNews has reported this morning that the chemical magnate’s next move will be into women’s cycling.

After 12 years of ignoring the women’s side of the sport, two sources have purportedly confirmed that the British squad has signed an agreement with Ferrand-Prévot, who has won world titles on the road and in cyclocross and mountain biking, for 2023, making her Ineos’ “first woman racer”.

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, 2022 UCI MTB World Championships (Alex Broadway/SWpix.com)

Alex Broadway/SWpix.com

The 30-year-old Frenchwoman took three mountain bike world titles this summer, in the short track, cross country, and marathon races, and is aiming to secure her fourth rainbow jersey of the year at the inaugural UCI Gravel World Championships in Veneto, Italy, this weekend.

It is unclear if Ferrand-Prévot’s partnership with Ineos will be an isolated one or if it spells the beginning of a larger project.

With the Absolute–Absalon–BMC rider mostly concerned with off-road duties these days, the deal could potentially see Ineos register a mountain bike team, that will of course include Tom Pidcock on the men’s side. Whether the women’s team will race on the road is also yet to be confirmed.

In any case, perhaps someone should ring Pinarello and tell them to finally get cracking on an off-road machine…

03 October 2022, 08:19
“I do consider them – I consider a substantial minority to be highly dangerous”: Victim blaming road sign tells cyclists to “consider other road users”

A few months on the live blog, you may recall, road.cc reported that Bedfordshire Police were widely ridiculed after tweeting a since-deleted bike safety message which appeared to equate the number of cycling fatalities in the county with “mistakes” made by cyclists.

Promoting the 2 Wheels initiative, Bedfordshire Police wrote: “Even if you’re an experienced cyclist, there are things everyone needs to remember when setting off on their journey. There were 33 cyclists killed or seriously injured on Bedfordshire roads last year. One mistake could be fatal.”

> “Victim blaming as policy”: Cyclists blast Bedfordshire Police’s “one mistake could be fatal” cycling safety campaign

Unsurprisingly, the tweet was heavily criticised by cyclists online, who accused the police of “victim blaming” and of shifting the onus for safety away from motorists’ behaviour and responsibilities on the road.

Well, over the border in Hertfordshire, it doesn’t seem that many lessons have been learned, at least by those in charge of road signage.

'Cycle Safely' road sign, A120 Hertfordshire (credit - Rob Surtees)

The above sign, urging people on bikes to “cycle safely” and to “please consider other road users” was spotted over the weekend on the busy A120 by road.cc reader Rob.

“Wasn’t sure if it was a sick joke or gallows humour for the few cyclists brave enough to venture on the A120 when I saw this message displayed on Hertfordshire traffic signs today,” Rob told road.cc.

“I do consider them – I consider a substantial minority to be highly dangerous,” he concluded.

Perhaps Hertfordshire Constabulary could have a chat with those responsible for the weekend’s message on the A120.

> ‘Dangerous cycling is not a priority,’ police force says

On Thursday, road.cc reported that the county’s police force has insisted that dangerous or anti-social cycling "is not a priority”, after a local paper questioned why the police had failed to charge a single cyclist for traffic offences in St Albans and Harpenden during the last two years.

“Anti-social or dangerous cycling has not been flagged as a priority in St Albans,” Hertfordshire Constabulary’s spokesperson told the (I imagine) incredulous local reporter.

“We do support national road safety campaigns, in conjunction with the Hertfordshire Road Safety Partnership, but as per the latest Highway Code cyclists are now considered vulnerable road users and as such the priority for these campaigns is to educate and inform other motorists about their responsibility to use roads safely, to ensure that they are safe for all users.”

Road signage folks, take note…

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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