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Two abreast advice does TikTok; Shut lanes that aren't being used!; Police search Bahrain Victorious Tour de France hotel; Giro Donne TT fail; EF's crocs; Triathlete reunited with bike lost at Heathrow; Cav's at the Tour (kind of) + more on the live blog

It’s Tour de France eve, babe, on Thursday’s live blog… and Ryan Mallon is back in the hotseat for all the latest cycling developments from Copenhagen and beyond
30 June 2022, 18:07
“The usual mish mash of anti-cycling bingo with some real gems”: Reaction to TikTok two abreast video causes a stir

It seems that Sgt Messenger’s TikTok video extolling the virtues of riding two abreast has wound up a few of the usual anti-cycling brigade.

Here’s what our readers had to make of some of those pro-single filers…

Yep, the comments on the TikTok video doing the rounds on Twitter are completely depressing.

It's the usual mish mash of anti-cycling bingo with some real gems appearing and this one is my favourite so far...

“That's bullshit. If I come around a blind bend [and] there are cyclist [sic] side by side there is no chance to avoid them if car going other way.”

Somehow it’s the cyclists’ fault that they are being overtaken on a blind bend.

So does that mean it's fine to plough in to people because you're going too fast round a blind bend, just so long as they're going single file?

Apart from cyclists this is exactly how dozens of horses are killed on our roads every year.

I've recently made the mistake of getting sucked into anti-cycling discussions on that Next Door app and I had someone make exactly that point. What would they do if there was a tractor or other slow moving traffic? Posts like that should lead to automatic confiscation of driving licences as the posters clearly are not safe to be on the road.

Police officer: If it is safe to overtake one cyclist, it is also safe to overtake two, if it is not safe to overtake two cyclists side by side, it is not safe to overtake two in single file or a lone cyclist.

Drivers on Twitter: Yeah, I understand that, I am perfect in every way....However...., if I want to squeeze dangerously and illegally through a small gap to save almost no time and put others’ lives at risk you are making that slightly more difficult... Please don't inconvenience me like that.

I saw that video shared on Facebook last night, it had 1.8k comments and pretty much every one of them was either disagreeing with the advice, "rOaD taX", or just generally shitting on cyclists.

My favourite one was something along the lines of "our roads aren't for cyclists anymore, they're too congested already". Completley beyond her comprehension that an average sized car takes up the same space as six cyclists or ten predestrians, and that the roads are congested because we're a nation of lazy, selfish pricks who would drive to our own fridges if we could.

Came across this via the RantyHighwayman:

"But if the cyclists are riding 2 abreast in a national speed limit, it is impossible to give them the 2m gap required by the Highway Code. Please offer further advice on overtaking in this situation."

Gets HC wrong as it does not mention 2m for cyclists. Thinks the road speed determines the gap.

And they are a driving instructor.

But cyclists haven't passed a test!

Comment of the day, however - and quite possibly comment of the year - goes to mdavidford for this astute analysis of tomorrow’s Teletubby-shaped time trial at the Tour de France:

I suppose including Tinky Winky makes up for Pau not featuring this year.

Boom. Mic drop.

30 June 2022, 17:03
Bahrain Victorious team bus (licenced CC BY-SA 4.0 by Marianne Casamanceon on Wikimedia Commons))
“No more questions”: Bahrain Victorious abruptly ends pre-Tour press conference – after only eight minutes

If you were a leading cycling team under investigation for doping, how would you react? By refusing to answer any questions on the subject and shutting down a pre-Tour press conference in less than ten minutes? Yeah, sounds fair enough.

Bahrain Victorious, fresh (or not so fresh) from a 5.30am visit from the police this morning, turned in a press conference this afternoon so quick that even Filippo Ganna would struggle to keep up, fielding only three questions after the team’s performance manager Vladimir Miholjević opened with a short statement on the ongoing Europol investigation.

“We would like to share more information about the investigation but we have nothing more to say than was already said in our press release,” Miholjević announced.

“We’d like to have more details from the investigators so we can understand such action. At this moment the team is fully focused on the biggest cycling race in front of us and on achieving our goals over the next three weeks.”

Miholjević then told reporters that Jack Haig and Matej Mohorič would only be answering questions about the race itself (the team’s other leader, Damiano Caruso, was not present, but confirmed to Cyclingnews earlier today that he was one of the team’s riders who received a home visit from the police on Monday).

However, a question from a Belgian journalist about how this morning’s 5.30am start would affect the squad’s preparation was batted away. VeloNews’ Daniel Benson then asked via Zoom if the team was confident about the outcome of the investigation.

“As we just said the guys won’t be answering any questions about the investigation. If you have any questions about the race, please go ahead,” a spokesperson said.

Benson then asked if the riders felt sure that they would even start the Tour tomorrow.

Mohorič laughed at this line of questioning, while Haig turned to those around him and said: “You can answer that”.

“Look, we have no reason to doubt on that,” Miholjević said. With no more questions forthcoming, the event was quickly wrapped up, less than eight minutes after it started.

30 June 2022, 16:29
Objects in the rear-view mirror

Aurélien Paret Peintre’s ominous-looking start time tomorrow is giving me flashbacks to my own time trialling days.

Nice show of faith from his team too...

30 June 2022, 15:50
The Tour de Covid? Virus hangs over grand depart as cases mount, while Van Aert talks dodgy knees

It seems as if the 2022 Tour de France may prove the edition most affected by Covid-19, as Bryan Coquard and Daryl Impey were added to the growing list of riders forced to pull out of the race after positive tests.

Cofidis have lined up Pierre-Luc Périchon to replace Coquard – who was aiming for his first ever Tour stage – while the in-form Impey will be replaced on the Israel Premier Tech squad by Guy Niv.

Impey is the second Israel Premier Tech rider to pull out before tomorrow’s grand depart, after  Omer Goldstein came into close contact with a positive case, with Guillaume Boivin taking his place.

Tim Declercq, Matteo Trentin and Jumbo-Visma DS Merijn Zeeman have also tested positive for Covid in recent days, with Zeeman planning to work remotely before joining the race at a later date.

AG2R-Citroën’s Bob Jungels also produced a positive Covid test yesterday, but has been given the green light to start in Copenhagen under the UCI’s relaxed rules, after a PCR test taken today revealed that the Luxembourg rider was “not contagious”.

Meanwhile, Wout van Aert has only increased speculation about the knee injury that kept the Belgian superstar out of the national championships and off his bike for a few days.

“I missed one hard training block, and I missed some training, but I had to listen to my body,” he said.

“I don’t feel any pain, but we have to be careful every day. It’s not ideal. I just hope on Friday on a short effort like this that all the training from the previous months has not completely disappeared. I go in with full motivation, mentally it’s not the easiest way to approach the Tour, but I want to give 100 percent like I always do.

“Everything related to pedalling is not really good. Standing on the pedals is less tension because the angle of my knee is less.

“The most friction I have is with the deep squat, on top of the kneecap when I had the impact on the handlebar on the wrong place.

“It’s more painful on the TT bike. On the other hand the most pain I will have is with the really long rides. The longer I have to pedal the more stress I have on the knee, so the short TT is not a disadvantage for me.”

Of course, when Van Aert has won five stages by this time next week, all this speculation about his knee will be a distant memory…

30 June 2022, 14:54
“sHUt LAnES THat ArEn"T BeInG UsED”, Part 593

Cue 5,000 replies – mostly from people who regularly post photographs of unoccupied cycle lanes – along the lines of: “But a ten second clip doesn’t tell the fully story…”

And a classic anti-cycling bingo line here from this absolute 'legend':  

30 June 2022, 14:40
Police on e-bikes “more visible to communities”, says Cornwall officer

Riding e-bikes, instead of patrolling in cars, has helped increase the visibility and engagement of police officers in Cornwall, as well helping cut the force’s carbon emissions.

Supt Ian Thompson, of Devon and Cornwall Police, says public feedback on a recent scheme which encourages officers to use e-bikes when on patrol has been “absolutely superb”.

Introduced after the Tour of Britain visited Penzance last September, the scheme is operated in conjunction with Cornwall Council and funded by the Department for Transport.

 police and police community support officers are now using e-bikes to engage with residents and curb anti-social behaviour across the county, Bodmin, Camborne, Hayle, Falmouth, Liskeard, Newquay, St Ives, Torpoint and Truro, as well as the Isles of Scilly.

“Riders are coming back and saying that they are enjoying using the bikes, and the engagement with the community is far stronger than it would be in a vehicle,” Supt Thompson told the BBC

“People are stopping them in the street to talk to them and they can get into areas they wouldn't get otherwise if they were in a vehicle."

30 June 2022, 13:58
“Hey look, that’s me at a traffic light”: Giro Donne rider falls off prologue start ramp

A less than auspicious start to the Giro d’Italia Donne for 22-year-old Czech rider Markéta Hájková, who managed to fall off the start ramp of today’s 4.7km prologue around Cagliari…

It didn’t take long for the young Chris Froome comparisons to come rolling in:

Chris Froome TT crash, U23 Worlds Time Trial 2006 (credit - Nicolas Borras)

For those of you who can’t quite remember the U23 time trial at the 2006 world championships in Salzburg (what do you mean, you don't have it on tape?), here's a clip of Froomey’s close encounter with a race official in all its gangly glory:

While some on Twitter have speculated that Hájková's start ramp fail may be the worst ever beginning to a grand tour, it still falls far short (sorry!) of Pedro Delgado's tardy start to his Tour de France defence in 1989...

30 June 2022, 13:38
‘Good job I was wearing a helmet…’

Looks like Lotto Soudal’s Mieke Docx is due some good luck during today’s final stage of the Belgium Tour…

30 June 2022, 11:55
Croc ‘n’ roll (and dragons) for EF Education-EasyPost

Speaking of EF Education’s fabulous fashion sense – which 61 percent of our live blog readers aren’t too keen on, apparently – eagle-eyed viewers spotted the two-wheeled crazy gang’s riders wearing some rather fetching footwear during yesterday’s team presentation in the Tivoli Gardens...

While crocs have become the must-have style accessory of the 2020s (or so I’ve been told), EF’s new shoes are certainly statement pieces, in more ways than one.

Not sure I would have fancied riding my racing bike with them on, mind you…

30 June 2022, 11:18
Ironman athlete loses bike in Heathrow (credit - Sian Hurley)
Triathlete reunited with bike and gear lost in Heathrow Airport for a week

A triathlete who had travelled from Australia to compete in an Ironman event in Bolton of all places, only to find that her gear had been lost in transit at Heathrow Airport, has finally been reunited with her bike – a week after it went missing.

Sian Hurley, originally from Morpeth, flew last week from Brisbane to Newcastle with her family to take part in this Sunday’s Ironman UK race in Bolton.

However, while the family’s luggage made the connecting flight from London, Hurley’s bike and gear did not.

Though officials insisted that the bike was on board the Newcastle flight, according to the triathlete’s tracking device the equipment remained in Terminal 2 at Heathrow, where a technical malfunction had resulted in a mass luggage pile up.

> Triathlete’s bike and gear lost in Heathrow airport

After over a week of stress and frantic phone calls to apathetic airlines, the 40-year-old intensive care nurse was finally reunited with her bike on Tuesday.

“It's brilliant to have my bike returned, I've been out this morning and being back on it was like putting on my shoes,” she told the BBC.

“The staff at Newcastle Airport were lovely, I got reassurances that BA were sorting it and while it's very disappointing it took so long to get it back I'm very glad to have it.”

Hurley, who has raced six Ironman events in the past, including the 2014 Worlds, added that she feels “fresh and good ahead of the event but the stress hasn't helped.

“A friend loaned me a bike to train on while I was staying in Morpeth and although I'm grateful, it wasn't the same as my bike, which was specially fitted for me. But now I've got it back I'm feeling positive and relieved.”

The triathlete says she only discovered that airport staff had found her bike when it was on its way to Morpeth.

“That was the most frustrating part – I couldn't get to talk to anyone at Heathrow's baggage hall, every time I called I got put through to a customer centre which was miles away from the airport.

“I still haven't spoken to anyone at BA or Malaysia Airlines. The first I knew about it was returning to my family home in Morpeth after a few hours out and – seeing my mum crying – I knew then my bike had been found.”

30 June 2022, 10:30
Two abreast advice does TikTok

We’ve been banging on for years that riding two abreast is the safest and most sensible way of cycling in a group on the road.

Now, thanks to Devon and Cornwall Police’s Sgt Owen Messenger, the message has been passed on to Gen Z, on the bewildering – at least to me – world of TikTok:

And yes, I did just use a copy of the video posted on Twitter. I'm old, okay? Where's Dan when you need him? 

30 June 2022, 09:46
The ghost of green jerseys past

Well, that was awkward…

30 June 2022, 08:58
Tinky Winky or Tour de France time trial?

What is ASO trying to tell us?

After tomorrow’s TT and two pan-flat, exposed and potentially windy stages over the weekend in Denmark, this year’s almost constantly lumpy Tour route means that the sprinters will be in for a long few weeks before they’re ‘over the hills and far away’… (I’ll get my coat).

road.cc’s esteemed founder Tony Farrelly reckons the Copenhagen TT route looks more like Monkey… wearing one of his pyramid teabags on his head…

However, my all-time favourite piece of subliminal messaging from ASO has to be the 2009 Tour route, which seemed to depict a bear on its hind legs ready to attack:

30 June 2022, 08:35
2021 Tour de France Teuns copyright @Bettiniphoto @TeamBahrainVictorious - 1
Throwback Thursday: Dawn raids at the Tour de France return as Bahrain Victorious hotel searched by police this morning

I know Tour de France organisers ASO are always looking for ways to pay homage to the race’s history and heritage, but this seems an odd way of going about it…

The dawn police raid – a much-loved staple of the Tours of the late 1990s and 2000s – appears to be back in vogue this year, before a pedal has even been turned in anger.

Team Bahrain Victorious have confirmed that their Copenhagen hotel was searched at 5.30am this morning by Danish Police at the request of French prosecutors.

This latest raid follows a visit from police officers to several Bahrain Victorious riders and staff at their homes on Monday, which the team described as “intentionally damaging” their reputation before the biggest race of the year.

Bahrain Victorious’ Tour lineup includes Milan-San Remo winner (and dropper post salesman) Matej Mohorič, British classics rider Fred Wright, Dylan Teuns and Jack Haig, as well as Damiano Caruso - who served a backdated doping suspension in 2011 - and Luis León Sánchez, sacked by Belkin (now Jumbo-Visma) in 2013 over his links to the Operación Puerto doping case.

Matej Mohoric after winning 2022 Milan-San Remo photo credit @Sprintcycling @TeamBahrainVictorious

This week’s police searches form part of an ongoing investigation into doping allegations at Bahrain Victorious, which was opened during last year’s Tour de France and resulted in a raid at the team’s hotel in Pau (a classic of the genre) after stage 17.

Marseille's prosecutor's office said at the time that it was looking into the possible “acquisition, transportation, possession and importing of a prohibited substance or method for use by an athlete without justification by members of Team Bahrain Victorious.”

Nobody was placed under formal investigation following the night-time raid involving around 50 officers, although team boss Milan Eržen confirmed riders’ training files had been taken.

Two days later, the team’s Slovenian superstar Mohorič took his second win of the race into Libourne and celebrated by pulling an imaginary zip across his lips, a response which sparked some unfavourable comparisons with a certain Texan and could charitably be described as naïve, at best.

Possessing, selling or using doping products are all criminal offences in France, but nobody was arrested during the initial investigation last year and since the fallout over Mohorič’s controversial celebration, it largely slipped out of the spotlight until Monday’s raids.

In a statement released this morning, Bahrain Victorious confirmed that police officers had searched all team vehicles, staff and riders’ rooms, and that the team had “fully cooperated with all the officers’ requests”.

No items, the team says, were seized during the two-hour long search.

“Following the police search, the team is now looking forward to focusing on the world’s biggest and best cycling race, Tour de France,” the statement reads.

“The team will make no further comment on the subject.”

Maybe Matej will need to buy some more zippers for the next three weeks…

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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