Well, that didn’t take long.
Within minutes of Active Travel England posting a photo of Cameron Norrie – currently battling back against David Goffin in the fourth set of his quarter final, at the time of writing – riding his bike to work at Wimbledon, the usual suspects flocked to Twitter to berate the latest British tennis hope for not wearing a helmet.
Of course, a few others were on hand with a series of snarky – and sometimes serious – retorts:
I don't think tennis balls are all THAT dangerous.
— Matt Downham (@MattDownham) July 5, 2022
Mandatory tennis helmets now!
— UK Garage Fan (@ukgaragefan) July 5, 2022
No, he can carry on deciding for himself like an adult whether the benefits and risks make it worthwhile or not.
— Andrew Craig (@GoodClearTweets) July 5, 2022
It would look ridiculous with tennis whites.
— Bobbleoff (@tristramc) July 5, 2022
— Stolt Distributor (@StoltDistribut1) July 5, 2022
— Simon Häring (@_shaering) July 5, 2022
Spare a thought for poor Jasper Philipsen who, not quite noticing the bright yellow machine storming to victory 200 metres down the road, thought he had won his maiden Tour de France stage – and celebrated accordingly. Oops.
Luckily, the 24-year-old Alpecin-Deceuninck sprinter – who, it has to be said, put in a solid burst to the line to take second today – was able to laugh off his faux-pas, though he admits he was disappointed not to win.
“I thought I had won but then I saw Van Aert in front and I never knew he was in front, so yeah,” he said at the finish. “I felt good but at the moment I’m just a bit disappointed.
“Yeah, for four or five seconds I honestly thought I won. It will make funny images in the end.
“I didn’t want this though so it’s a bit s**t also. I just didn’t know he was in front. I also never heard on the radio, so yeah that’s a shame and why I sprinted for the win.”
Also love that from Philipsen. Normalise celebrating whenever you like. You go, Jasper!
— The TT Podcast 🚴♂️ (@ttpdcst) July 5, 2022
Laporte putting Philipsen right...😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/beT90y4tWp
— Nugget48 🆖🇳🇱🏴🇪🇺🇬🇧🇺🇦 (@Nugget48) July 5, 2022
Clearly nobody has been paying attention - second place gets to wear the yellow jersey after a road stage this tour, that is what has happened so far so Philipsen knows what he’s doing
— Nick Huget 🇫🇷 (@iamnickjh) July 5, 2022
Even other teams and riders (including fellow premature celebrator Alberto Bettiol) decided to join with some good-natured bantz:
— Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert (@IntermarcheWG) July 5, 2022
— Alberto Bettiol (@AlbertoBettiol) July 5, 2022
¿Es un pájaro? ¿Es un avión? 🐤🛫
— Eurosport.es (@Eurosport_ES) July 5, 2022
Now that’s how you end a run of second places.
After seeing three different riders pip him to the win on each of the Tour de France’s opening three stages, Wout van Aert made no mistake this time around – as the yellow jersey and his Jumbo-Visma team tore the race to shreds on the Côté du Cap Blanc-Nez, before the Belgian superstar soloed off into the distance to seal a stunning victory.
Wout van Aert's last six stage results at the Tour de France: 1-1-2-2-2-1
— Edward Pickering (@EdwardPickering) July 5, 2022
The punchy 900-metre climb, stationed just under 11 kilometres from the finish of stage four in Calais, was used as a springboard for a devastating attack by Jumbo-Visma who, under the impetus of Nathan Van Hooydonck and Tiesj Benoot, swiftly decimated the peloton, with only Ineos Grenadiers leaders Adam Yates, Dani Martínez and Geraint Thomas initially able to keep with the blistering pace.
Such was the ferocity of the attack that by the time Van Aert took up the mantle from Benoot, only his teammate Jonas Vingegaard and Yates could hold the wheel.
Behind, Thomas, Martínez and even Jumbo-Visma’s designated GC man Primož Roglič were beginning to suffer, while Tadej Pogačar, Romain Bardet and Aleksandr Vlasov were even further back, having failed to anticipate the initial attack.
One more acceleration towards the top and – in what turned out to be a tactical coup for Jumbo-Visma even as their leaders were scattered to the winds under their own pressure – Van Aert was on his own.
Spectacular from Van Aert. Attack like that when wearing yellow outside the high mountains? Very very rare. Merckx at Orleans 1974 is one. Hinault in Paris 1979 (a two man attack). But it’s beyond the “average” maillot jaune
— William Fotheringham (@willfoth) July 5, 2022
Then, the yellow jersey, after briefly surveying the lay of the land, simply put his head down and turned in a ride for the ages.
Even as the peloton and most of the sprinters’ teams regrouped on the descent into Calais, the imperious 27-year-old increased his advantage to almost half a minute.
While the gap started to come down in the final two kilometres, in truth Van Aert never really looked like being caught.
Questionable sponsor-mandated celebration aside (your mileage may vary), by blowing the biggest race in the world apart, the yellow jersey – described as “half human, half motor” by Roglič after the stage – once again submitted his claim to being the best bike rider on the planet.
And I doubt many would argue against him.
Remember the ‘cyclist tally’ decal that was popping up around London at the turn of the year?
Well, for those frantically scribbling notes at the back, in December a road.cc reader spotted an “offensive and inappropriate” decal on a Capita highway maintenance van.
The decal depicted a ‘cyclist tally’ similar to the markings, denoting enemy planes shot down, that pilots would display on the side of their aircraft during World War Two.
After Capita apologised for the sticker and opened disciplinary proceedings against the driver in question, in January another road.cc reader spotted a similar bumper sticker on a passing BMW (shocked, I know) in north London.
Well, over five months later, it seems that the flippant attitude to vulnerable road users (and the need to display it on your car) made it across the Atlantic, as another decal – apparently denoting the number of motorbike riders, cyclists, elderly pedestrians, wheelchair users and other drivers the motorists has killed over the years – has popped up in Hamilton, Ontario (just down the road from the Canadian London, incidentally).
— Madeleine Bonsma-Fisher (@mbonsma) July 5, 2022
The Twitter user who posted the photo wrote: “What a sign of our twisted and toxic relationship with cars that people using mobility aids are seen as targets for violence.
“If the driver of this vehicle hits someone, this sticker should be taken as evidence that it was premeditated. Can you imagine the reaction if this kind of violent threat was made with any device other than a car?”
It’s a Dodge. Because of course it is.
— David Gouldin (@dgouldin) July 5, 2022
LA DOPPIETTA DI ELISA 🇮🇹
— Eurosport IT (@Eurosport_IT) July 5, 2022
After a hectic stage for the ages around Cesena yesterday, which completely upended the general classification, the Giro Donne settled back into a more familiar groove today on stage five into Reggio Emilia, as world champion Elisa Balsamo took her second win of the race with a perfectly timed sprint.
Balsamo dived into the crucial final corner with 150 metres to go ahead of DSM’s Charlotte Kool, and the Italian Trek-Segafredo rider had enough in the tank to narrowly hold off the frustrated Dutch sprinter, with Marianne Vos taking third.
“We started the final kilometres really well,” Balsamo said at the finish.
“We knew I had to be first into the last corner, I tried to do my best and the team did a great job so I’m really happy. It was a hard sprint, but nice.”
Pink jersey Annemiek van Vleuten emerged unscathed from the hazardous final kilometres – which saw a mass pile up just under the flame rouge – to keep hold of her commanding race lead.
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 5, 2022
Today’s cobbled climb, the Côte de Cassel, may be as smooth as silk compared to the misshapen monsters awaiting the peloton on the road to Arenberg tomorrow, but its stones did at least send Anthony Perez’s bottle flying out of its cage…
Magnus Cort had to fight a bit harder for his KOM point this time around, but in doing so – according to the La Vuelta Stats Twitter account – he became the first rider since Federico Bahamontes in 1958 to win the first seven classified climbs of a Tour de France.
And by the next hill, Cort had surpassed the Eagle of Toledo’s 64-year-old record.
Mind you, the mighty climbs Bahamontes (a six-time king of the mountains at the Tour) had to conquer at the start of the '58 Tour were somewhat harder than the Cat 4s in Denmark…
Telita esos 7 primeros puertos que coronó 1º Bahamontes 🇪🇸 en 1958:
Col de Peyresourde
Col des Ares
Col de Portet d'Aspet
Col du Vent
Col de Roque
— La Vuelta Stats (@lavuelta_stats) July 3, 2022
But still, fair play Magnus!
We all know that Sir Bradley Wiggins, knighted for his services to shouting at cyclists while riding on the back of a motorbike around France (oh, and a Tour de France win and a handful of Olympic baubles, before I forget), is extremely passionate about his bike racing.
He’s so passionate, in fact, that he sometimes gets carried away.
During the rollout, Brad on a Bike spotted the “resplendent” race leader Wout van Aert making his way to the back of the peloton, prompting the following sweary exchange:
We all agree though, Wout does look effin’ class.
My favourite part of the whole thing was Wiggins’ sincere belief that he had caught himself in time before dropping an f-bomb live on Eurosport-GCN.
“I nearly swore there, I’m live on TV… Sorry about that. I mean it’s hard to say what I feel about Wout without swearing, but I managed to just pull the reins back on that one.”
Whatever you say, Brad…
It’s certainly been a colourful start to GCN’s coverage of stage four of the Tour de France today.
A few minutes before Brad turned the air blue, everybody’s favourite commentator Carlton Kirby – who to the best of my knowledge has never made a noticeable gaffe on air – pointed out Bora-Hansgrohe’s Nils Politt, sitting towards the back of the pack in Dunkirk, with a geographically relevant but probably unnecessary historical reference:
“The German champion’s here. The Germans had a presence here in this part of the world, for an uncomfortable period in the 1940s. Welcomed back now of course…”
Nobody ever said broadcasting was easy.
Magnus attacks, sun rises.
— nyvelocity (@nyvelocity) July 5, 2022
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 5, 2022
Luckily for Magnus, Cofidis rider Anthony Perez has joined him today for the long morning shift up the road…
The 42-year-old was training with teammates in Alcantarilla near Murcia, when a motorist reportedly close passed the group at speed. After one of the Movistar trio remonstrated with the driver, the motorist then reversed into the cyclists (severely damaging Valverde’s bike in the process), before driving off.
Spanish cycling website Ciclismo a Fondo later reported that a 69-year-old man involved in the incident – who had been informed by another driver that he had been identified by his licence plate – subsequently went to La Alberca police station, where he was arrested and made available to national police.
While the former world champion suffered no serious injuries in the collision, he was dizzy afterwards and sent to a nearby hospital for observation.
It's a real honour to be able to celebrate my birthday in the biggest cycling race of them all. 💛
C'est un véritable honneur de pouvoir célébrer mon anniversaire dans la plus grande course cycliste du monde. 💛
Merci pour tous vos voeux d'anniversaire ! 🙏#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/a0vvWhVcOr
— Philippe Gilbert (@PhilippeGilbert) July 5, 2022
4⃣0⃣years of making amazing memories and we're honoured to be a part of it 🤗 pic.twitter.com/ljTJtkTds5
— Lotto Soudal (@Lotto_Soudal) July 5, 2022
A birthday attack on the final climb today wouldn’t go amiss, eh Phil?
Right, now you’re all done chuckling at my gilet I thought we could have some fun with it. I wanna see how much more of #TDF2022 it can see 👀
— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) July 4, 2022
Geraint Thomas’ gilet may have made an unwanted appearance during Friday’s opening time trial stage in Copenhagen, but now the 2018 Tour de France winner is hoping that the infamous piece of kit can make it all the way to Paris…
I’d love it to go to a different fan each day on its journey and once it makes it back to me in Paris, I’ll auction it off with proceeds going to the @GTCyclingTrust
— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) July 4, 2022
Once the gilet makes it back to the Welshman in Paris – after 18 different fans have carried it across France – Thomas then plans to auction it off in aid of his Cycling Trust, which aims to break down barriers that prevent young people from taking part in cycling through funding and support programmes.
The gilet lives on!
After all the wind hype in Denmark led to nothing but a 30kph stroll over a massive bridge, could we finally witness some proper echelons on the way to Calais today?
If its like this tomorrow, looks like we are in for a very interesting final 40km. pic.twitter.com/UXWuCPtEIO
— nicholas roche (@nicholasroche) July 4, 2022
I’d expect there is a lot of recon rides going on today. Would be easy to have a lazy day in the hotel but tomorrow could be a crucial day. I would be riding the last 50-60km today to get a feel for the course and where it is open along the coast. #IfiwasthereTour @LeTour
— Dan Martin (@DanMartin86) July 4, 2022
Then again, we should never get too excited when it comes to the prospect of crosswinds – it’s the hope that kills you, after all…
Stage 4: Dunkerque - Calais, 171km. Should be a sprinters’ stage, but there are a few short, steep climbs. I can confirm from the beaches of Dunkerque that the weather is beautiful and the wind is light
— Steve Cook (@Country_Steve) July 5, 2022
Work on the Hammersmith gyratory, one of London’s most notoriously hostile and intimidating junctions for cyclists, has been completed by Transport for London as part of its aim to make cycling and walking in the city “safer and easier”.
The work, which began in late November (after first being touted in 2016) and developed in conjunction with Hammersmith and Fulham Council, includes a protected two-way cycle lane on the north side of the gyratory, cyclist-specific signals at junctions to separate cyclists and motor vehicles, a new parallel crossing at the Butterwick junction to allow westbound cyclists to join the two-way bike track, and improvement for pedestrian safety, including raised level crossings and more footway space.
Transport for London hope the improvements will “open up safe and attractive cycling” across west London to Gunnersbury, Chiswick, East Acton, North Acton and Ravenscourt Park, and will benefit at least 3,000 cyclists every day on the gyratory.
TfL also announced that work has been completed on a further section of Cycleway 4. The latest section, on Creek Road in Deptford, features a mile-long two-way protected cycle track. Once complete, the route will connect neighbourhoods in southeast London to central London via a fully protected cycle route between Tower Bridge Road and Greenwich.
London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman said: “I’m delighted that work on the new and transformed Hammersmith gyratory has been completed. This delivers much needed protected cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings – making walking and cycling safer and easier at this busy junction.
“It’s also great news that the new section of Cycleway 4 is now open in Deptford – as we continue to roll out our cycle network across London.
“Enabling more Londoners to walk and cycle continues to be at the heart of the Mayor’s vision to build a safer, healthier, cleaner and more sustainable London for everyone. These crucial improvements across the city will help us to continue to build upon the boom in cycling we’ve recently seen, helping all cyclists keep safe on the roads.”
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.