With the 2022 road season now under way in earnest, we’re finally seeing all the shiny new kits and bikes in action, instead of the endless barrage of promotional material we were subjected to in January.
With that in mind, Pro Cycling Trumps – in its own inimitable style – has provided a handy guide for fans to get to grips with the new fashion trends in the peloton (as well as a generally accurate ranking system).
We can’t have anyone sitting down for Opening Weekend wondering why Cofidis are suddenly cool, and why Michael Matthews is wearing a jersey that looks like it was attacked by a massive blue felt tip…
2022 Men’s World Teams Kits and Bikes rated 😶➡️😍 pic.twitter.com/SoQU4036aj
— pro cycling trumps (@procycletrumps) February 4, 2022
So, who do you reckon is rocking the hottest threads this season? I’ll have another think over the weekend, so stay tuned for road.cc’s definitive, super official ‘best of 2022’ kit list… Or not, we’ll see how it goes.
With the Manchester velodrome currently undergoing renovation work, Team GB has upped sticks and moved 63 miles to the Derby Arena, the squad’s home for the next seven months as it prepares for the Commonwealth Games.
The squad will also use facilities at the University of Derby while it is based in the city.
"We are really excited to be setting up home in Derby for the coming months. For us there is a huge opportunity to supercharge the sport in the city and to put down some roots which leave a real legacy to be built upon,” said Tom Stanton, head of performance pathways at Team GB.
"The velodrome is a fantastic facility and we are hoping to enhance this further through upgrades of timing systems and further development of the arena's staff."
The Derby Arena opened in March 2015 and hosted its first major track event, the Revolution Series, in August that year.
Cycling writer and time trial specialist Michael Hutchinson had some ‘deep thoughts’ about the move:
The GB cycling team are moving to Derby for the next few months while Manchester Velodrome is refurbished. Always enjoyed the resemblance between Derby Velodrome and Deep Thought. pic.twitter.com/a1wQK5KJLO
— Michael Hutchinson (@Doctor_Hutch) February 4, 2022
Someone was telling me yesterday that the changes to the highway code are crazy and will lead to more cyclist deaths.
I'm quite hopeful that the opposite will be true. Cyclists do their best to stay alive anyway - now drivers have been told to keep them alive too.
— 🚲 That woman on the bike (@cyclingjudy) February 4, 2022
Apologies for that headline, but I couldn’t resist…
Anyone who thought that Remco Evenepoel’s struggles on the sterrati at last year’s Giro were a one-off may start to reconsider after today’s frenetic finish at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, won by Bora-Hansgrohe’s Aleksander Vlasov.
To be fair to the prodigious Belgian, who looked so convincing riding into yellow on Wednesday’s stage, Evenepoel held his own after a wobbly start on the gravel section of the final climb to Antenas del Maigmó. However, his efforts on the dirt roads soon appeared to take their toll as he quickly looked laboured and over geared during the frighteningly steep (but tarmacked) final kilometre to the finish.
There were no such problems for Vlasov, who finished 14 seconds ahead of Ineos Grenadiers’ Carlos Rodriquez and over 40 ahead of Evenepoel in eighth, ceding the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl rider of the yellow jersey in the process.
As the first true summit finish of 2022, today’s exhilarating and unpredictable finale bodes well for this season’s stage races.
Today’s stage also bodes well for the grand old man of the World Tour, Alejandro Valverde. The 41-year-old looked strong while riding over the gravel in support of Movistar teammate Enric Mas, proving that there’s still life left in the old dog yet.
While the grizzled Spaniard insists he will retire at the end of this season, I’m convinced he’s trying to outdo 50-year-old can’t-believe-he’s-still-racing Davide Rebellin. But sure, that’s what cycling needs more of, riders who were knocking about the peloton in 2005. Right?
If you’re a fan of ‘The Triplets of Belleville’ (or maybe even Billy from the Saw films), then you’re in luck.
Tobias Fouracre, the animator behind Corpse Bride, Fantastic Mr Fox, and Isle of Dogs, has lent his considerable stop motion skills to e-bike company VanMoof, creating an ad which highlights the anti-theft technology incorporated into the brand’s bikes.
The commercial shows an international art thief, master lockpicker and cyber security hacker all struggling to break the seemingly impenetrable fortress of a VanMoof, a bike which includes rider recognition software, an alarm and tracking system, and an in-built lock contained within the frame.
Maybe this ad will open the floodgates for more cartoon bike commercials – Shrek on a Specialized anyone? Or maybe an ad where Postman Pat swaps the van for a Pinarello?
Proviz, a brand known for producing enhanced-visibility sportswear, has been struggling on the marketing front lately.
In November, the company received a lot of flak on social media for this provocative Facebook post:
A post that's captured plenty of attention on social media today is this one from @ProvizSports.
The company have now deleted it but you can read some of the reaction they received to it, and their subsequent response to the post, right here 👉 https://t.co/uTOygiZlmR#cycling pic.twitter.com/HVCz2hlBdc
— road.cc (@roadcc) November 20, 2021
While Proviz apologised for that particular blunder, they’ve come in for some more light-hearted ribbing after announcing a partnership with Peloton, the exercise equipment business.
A few of our readers were quick to question why a brand with a USP of visible, outdoor clothing would associate itself with an indoor fitness firm.
One reader wrote: “Zwift would have been a stretch but vaguely logical.... but Peloton? Has anyone who owns a Peloton ever even exercised outside? (Snark obvs).”
Another said: “They are definitely trying to position themselves as a sort of Rapha-lite brand for trendies and I agree it's a poor strategy (I speak as one who loves his ProViz jacket). They have a USP and do it really well, but as far as I can see their latest offerings don't really offer anything anyone else isn't providing and they are pretty ambitiously priced as well.
“As for a special jersey for Peloton, give me strength! One of the relaxing things about going on Zwift is that one can sling anything on, I wouldn't want to do indoor training that made me feel I had to dress up for it.”
But perhaps we’re all missing the point and Proviz are actually staying loyal to their raison d'être, as one reader observed: “Given the propensity for drivers to hit buildings, maybe the hi-viz will protect you?”
— Mathew Mitchell (@MatMitchell30) February 4, 2022
Speaking of monster climbs, check out those eye-watering gradients at the Saudi Tour today, on what’s been touted all week as the ‘Saudi Angliru’.
Little wonder – while ‘only’ three kilometres long, those 17 and 18 percent stretches certainly rival its Asturian namesake (though I suspect there may be a few of you in the comments eager to point out that your local hill is tougher…).
Lotto Soudal’s Maxim Van Gils continued his team’s blistering start to the season, riding away on the double-digit gradients to secure his squad’s fourth win of 2022. Considering they only won 12 times during the entirety of last year, things are already looking rosy for Lotto Soudal.
Tim Declercq also proved tractors can handle steep inclines, taking a popular third place on the stage with a strong finish in the select group that trailed Van Gils by 40 seconds.
The start of the road racing season may herald the return of normality for many of us, but it seems the ‘new normal’ will continue to have an effect on races and teams throughout 2022.
Cyclingnews reported today that the Australian BikeExchange-Jayco team has withdrawn from the Tour of Valencia after two members of the squad returned positive Covid-19 tests.
“As a precautionary measure, in accordance with strict team policy, and having already had to withdraw one rider due to injury, the decision was made to withdraw from the event, with the health of riders, staff and all those involved in the race being the priority. The race organisation was informed of the situation immediately,” the team said in a press release.
“Team BikeExchange-Jayco’s medical team are now working to move riders and staff safely to areas of quarantine where necessary, and to continue further testing.”
Two Movistar riders, Juri Hollmann and Einer Rubio, have also tested positive for Covid and have been sent home, though the Spanish team confirmed that they will stay in the race.
Despite the positive tests, the Tour of Valencia continues today with a potentially decisive summit finish on the Alto Antenas del Maigmó Tibi, featuring a steep 1.8 kilometre off-road section.
Earlier in the week, race leader Remco Evenepoel criticised the poor state of the gravel portion of the climb, which the QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl rider said was littered with sizeable rocks.
The race organisers countered Evenepoel’s concerns by insisting that improvements had been made to the climb on Tuesday to make it passable.
Judging by the photos taken by the cycling journalist Laura Meseguer, however, I would’ve loved to have seen the climb before it was spruced up…
— Laura Meseguer (@Laura_Meseguer) February 4, 2022
Either way, it’s fair to say that we can expect some fireworks on today’s stage!
— (((Colin))) 🏴 🇪🇺 (@baroncols) February 4, 2022
The title might need some workshopping, but I think the idea has legs...
— Mikkel Condé v2.0 (@mrconde) February 3, 2022
If that ramp to the finish wasn’t tough enough for the sprinters at the Étoile de Bessèges yesterday (chapeau Bryan Coquard, by the way), the organisers decided to throw a few other obstacles in the peloton’s way. Namely, a massive truck parked right on the exit of a roundabout.
In the organiser’s defence, the lorry driver found his way onto the course by accident, and the local gendarmerie did their best to keep everything under control and the riders aware of the impending danger.
Or maybe the whole episode is all part of a new era of race design.
I can imagine the meeting now: “The fans have had enough of cobble and gravel stages – how about a stage that mimics cycling in a British city? I have a lorry ready to go…”
While we’re at it, let’s marvel again at that extremely looooonng sprint finish yesterday. Cracking stuff from Le Coq, his first win since the 2020 Route d’Occitanie and immediately repaying the faith of his new Cofidis team.
Le Coq enfin! 🐓 Bryan Coquard takes the victory in stage 2 of Etoile de Besseges, his first since August 2020. It was another agonizing uphill sprint and he beat Mads Pedersen and Tobias Johannessen to the line. #EDB2022
— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) February 3, 2022
Some tech news for all you nerds out there. Peak Design has launched its new mobile smartphone mounting line which consists of an Everyday Case (£27.46), available for a range of iPhone and Samsung mobile models, along with a whole family of mounts, chargers and accessories that are designed to connect seamlessly to the case using a built-in magnetic locking technology called SlimLink for easy, one-handed attachment and removal.
Two of the mounts are designed for use when cycling. The streamlined Out Front Bike Mount (£45.79) has been designed to hold your phone in front of your handlebars for optimised viewing, while the Universal Bar mount (below, £33.29) uses a silicone band to attach to a wide range of standard bar diameters.
Your phone can be removed instantly with the press of a button, and other features include an accessory mount (for the Out Front mount) which lets you attach a bike light or action camera.
How sturdy and smooth is this system, I hear you cry? Well don't worry, as we'll be soon getting the case and mount in to put it to the test!
For now, I think I'll just stick to my 2008 CatEye computer...
It takes a lot to shock us over here at road.cc. But this video, taken a few weeks ago in Los Angeles, is on another level entirely.
— LAPDCTD (@LAPDCTD24) February 2, 2022
The footage shows the driver of a Hyundai appearing to deliberately ram a cyclist from behind before speeding off into the distance.
The bike rider, thankfully and perhaps miraculously, only suffered minor injuries, though his bike was destroyed under the driver’s wheels. He also reacted remarkably to avoid oncoming traffic.
Judging by the missing hubcap and dent on the front of the car, it wasn’t this particular motorist’s first rodeo.
The LAPD have offered a $5,000 reward for anyone who can identify the perpetrator.
Perhaps even more bizarrely, the LAPD also claimed that if the driver had stuck around, they could have avoided charges.
“The car could’ve gone to the left and avoided the collision, but the driver didn’t stick around to tell us their story of why they rear ended them,” detective Juan Campos said, as if the motorist could easily have spun a compelling enough tale to exonerate themselves.
“It only became a crime when the driver fled the scene without rendering aid and identifying themselves.”
That might actually be more shocking than the footage itself.
Most of Twitter has disagreed with the detective, with many describing the incident as a clear example of attempted murder. A handful, of course, pointed the finger of blame at the cyclist, largely along the lines of the old chestnuts: ‘mumble, mumble, something about helmets, mumble, mumble, shouldn’t have been in the car’s way, mumble, edited footage…”
So why would any person think of committing such an act on another human being? One Twitter user, Taylor Scheinuk, came up with a possible answer:
100 years of lobbying and policymaking to make American drivers some of the most selfish and entitled people on the face of the planet. In their head the narrative was probably "this fucking cyclist is gonna make me late, they shouldn't be in the lane, I should buzz them"
— Taylor Scheinuk (@MiataDragon) February 2, 2022
Really disappointed about that lunchbox, Rudi Selig. pic.twitter.com/Qdb4thIaGB
— Katy M (@writebikerepeat) February 3, 2022
Get battered by echelons, lose a lot of skin and bruise some ribs in a crash, then eat your lunch out of a cardboard box by the back of a van in a desert…
Just a normal day on the Saudi Tour for Lotto Soudal’s Rudi Selig – whoever said being a professional cyclist was a glamorous job?
Back in August, you may remember, we reported on the blog that Ealing Council pledged to remove almost all of the area’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.
This decision was made after a consultation which essentially amounted to a simple referendum on each of the existing schemes.
The consultation – described by Adam Tranter, the Bicycle Mayor for Coventry, as “the blueprint for how NOT to make decisions on transport policy” – received 22,000 responses, or 6.47 percent of Ealing’s residents.
These respondents, described as the 'most vocal and engaged' of Ealing's population, voted for seven of the nine LTNs under discussion to be scrapped.
The success of the anti-LTN agenda in Ealing, according to Tranter, was down to the persuasive narrative that LTNs cause congestion to boundary roads, increase traffic times and worsen the air quality of main road residents (though the council itself denied that these fears had materialised since the schemes were implemented).
Yesterday, the 'Better Ealing Streets' Twitter accounted posted images of an area where the LTNs had been removed. Instead of empty streets and cleaner air, there are now – you guessed it – lots of cars stuck in traffic:
Ealing's LTNs gone.
Those that got them removed promised it would sort the traffic.
The motor traffic is still here, jamming up main roads AND back streets, rendering entire areas an anathema for walking wheeling or cycling AND breathing
We ask them again, what next? pic.twitter.com/a401aQthAj
— Better Ealing Streets (@BetterEaling) February 3, 2022
The account wrote: “Ealing's LTNs gone. Those that got them removed promised it would sort the traffic. The motor traffic is still here, jamming up main roads AND back streets, rendering entire areas an anathema for walking wheeling or cycling AND breathing. We ask them again, what next?”
Meanwhile, on a Healthy School Street in Newham:
Cycling, walking peacefully and chatting on the school run in our #healthyschoolstreet. I love how normal this is now. (If an errant car comes along the street it has to crawl along and everyone gives it some side eye in a very British way.) pic.twitter.com/NkA3cy4oA2
— Rachel Tripp (@rectripp) February 3, 2022
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.