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Tour de France stage winner beaten by 15-year-old “future Mathieu van der Poel”; Train user accused of “outrage signalling” after blasting cyclist with bike in priority area; Not Near Miss of the Day; Spain boss talks cyclocross + more on the live blog

It’s a chilly Tuesday on the live blog, so Ryan Mallon’s here to warm you up with all the latest cycling news and views
06 December 2022, 08:56
15-year-old beats Dylan Groenewegen in cyclocross race (screenshot, NH Nieuws)
Five-time Tour de France stage winner Dylan Groenewegen beaten by 15-year-old “future Mathieu van der Poel” in cyclocross race

Ah, cyclocross, the great leveller.

While freaks of nature like Mathieu van der Poel can simply breeze in after a month on the sun lounger and blow away the off-road specialists, it seems that other WorldTour stars – even those who have tasted glory on the Champs-Élysées – can be humbled by the sight of a knobbly tyre and a muddy field.

On Sunday, as MVDP romped to his second cyclocross World Cup of the season (from two attempts, mind you) in Antwerp, over 100 miles north near Amsterdam, five-time Tour de France stage winner Dylan Groenewegen was forced to settle for second at the Amsterdam Cross Competition, held in Het Twiske, just north of the city.

Dylan Groenewegen, Amsterdam Cross (screenshot, NH Nieuws)

The BikeExchange sprinter, who secured a redemptive win at this year’s Tour in Sønderborg, two years on from being blamed for causing that horrific Tour of Poland crash with Fabio Jakobsen, was even put to the sword by a 15-year-old (15!) kid already dubbed the ‘next Mathieu van der Poel’.

Michiel Mouris, the current U16 Dutch cyclocross champion, managed to stay with the WorldTour star in the early stages, before surging clear on the course’s technical sections (you need more practice, Dylan!).

Mouris, whose 19-year-old brother Wessel rounded off the podium (there’s a photo for the mantelpiece), managed to hold off a late Groenewegen surge for a memorable win.

Michiel Mouris beats Dylan Groenewegen (screenshot, NH Nieuws)

“It's very special to beat Dylan here,” the 15-year-old, who has recovered from heart problems earlier this year, coolly told NH Nieuws after his big win.

“In the beginning I was in his wheel for a while, because Dylan rides very fast, of course. On the technical parts I always went in front and I was able to make a gap.

“It went really well. I started all the way at the back, but luckily I was able to move forward quickly. I didn’t expect to win this morning, because Dylan is of course riding very fast. He got close to me in the last part of the race but it’s special that I beat him”.

As for Groenewegen himself?

“At least I got a bunch of flowers. And I trained well,” he said after the race.

“Of course you always do your best. But if someone else is better, then so be it. It went well, although I said in advance that the technical parts with all those corners are a bit less for me. The straights and slopes went well, but in those technical parts I always lose ten metres to those young guys.”

15-year-old beats Dylan Groenewegen in cyclocross race 2 (screenshot, NH Nieuws)

When asked about his teenage conqueror, the former Tour of Britain stage winner said: “He rides very fast and could hold it for an hour. He did that very well, I couldn’t get him back.

“He is Dutch champion with the youngsters and they are already racing so fast these days. That shows that he’s a very great talent. Now comes the time when he has to be serious about his sport.”

And, most importantly, does he think young Michiel can become the ‘next Mathieu van der Poel’?

“Let’s hope so. Although that is still very early to say, of course.”

Michiel Mouris, remember the name...

06 December 2022, 11:59
“This is what privilege looks like”: Train user accused of “outrage signalling” after criticising cyclist with bike in priority area

The lack of space for bikes on trains in the UK is a subject we’ve covered frequently here at road.cc, from Cycling UK’s dismissal of London North Eastern Railway’s storage provision in October 2019 as “downright dangerous” to editor Jack Sexty’s rather blunt critique of GWR’s offering on a special edition of the live blog later that month.

Even LNER’s upgraded bike racks, unveiled earlier this year, aren’t to everyone’s tastes, with words like “problematic” and “rubbish” still being thrown about.

> Doctor thrown off train because he hadn't reserved space for bike - even though there were four available 

But, instead of banging on about the limited storage space for bikes, today we’re going to be exploring the other side of the debate...

Last week, one cyclist on board a train out of Liverpool Street station was accused of exercising his “privilege” – by keeping the priority seat beside him reserved for his folding bike:

After being inundated with replies, the Twitter user who posted the image on Thursday night (and who describes herself as a cyclist) wrote: “It’s amazing how this one tweet has managed to grab the attention of so many.

“Is it because London has become so increasingly divided? Interesting range of responses. He definitely registered me standing. Unbeknownst to him, I was only going two stops. What it signifies upset me.”

As noted by the original poster, the photo proved the catalyst for a wide-ranging debate, featuring a host of ‘Why didn’t you tell him to move his bike?’ tweets to, naturally, sweeping generalisations about cyclists (it is the internet after all):

However, others claimed the train photographer was simply trying to stir up hatred against people on bikes, with one cyclist accusing her of “outrage signalling”:

And right back to our original point about bikes on trains: 

06 December 2022, 17:50
The live blog kiss of death: Probably should have spent more time practising penalties and less time watching cycling, eh Luis?

Just hours after featuring on the live blog, Luis Enrique’s cycling holiday/World Cup campaign came to an abrupt end, as his Spain side crashed out on penalties to Morocco in their last 16 tie this afternoon.

Well, at least he’ll be able to watch the rest of the cyclocross World Cup uninterrupted this winter. Silver linings, and all that.

06 December 2022, 16:57
Reader reaction: Trains, double white lines, and shrinking Strava artwork

Responding in today’s comments section to the saga of the “privileged” cyclist on the train, road.cc reader Oldfatgit, sharing his own experience of travelling with his bike on public transport, astutely noted the assumption at the heart of the photographer’s apparent ‘gotcha’ post:

One thing I really love about the commute is the look of confusion that obviously able-bodied people get on their faces when they point out that I’m in a disabled seat on the train, in cycle gear and that I should get up and let someone else have the seat. (By someone else, they mean them).

I used to argue with them... now I just point to the walking stick that’s strapped to my crossbar, point to the sign advising priority seating and say, ‘feel free to get the guard’.

Tends to shut them down quite quickly.

It’s not understood by many able-bodied people that it’s perfectly possible – and in many cases recommended – to be able to ride a bike while being unable to walk very far. It seems to be beyond comprehension to some that this is possible.

It is, and without my e-bike I’d be pretty much housebound and not able to get in to work.

Brooksby also described the photo as “equivalent to someone putting their bag on a seat so nobody can sit next to them.  Does this woman post photos and snarky comments about them?

“And – my own opinion – wouldn’t the folded bike, rucksack and helmet take up far more room on the train if he blocked the aisle with it?”

Onto the wide passing lorry driver now, who seems to have divided opinion. A1white says that the cyclist “shouldn’t really have posted that video on social media (especially tagging the police and the company), as technically [the lorry driver] broke the law with the overtake.

“You said thanks to him, for giving you lots of room and he acknowledged it, that should be the end of it.”

Steve K, however, wrote: “I’m generally quite relaxed about motorists going over solid white lines to overtake me on my bike, provided they can see it’s clear. 

“I’d much rather they did that than try and squeeze past me, or, even, be stuck behind me for some way. My assumption is that solid white lines are put in when, say, it would take too long to overtake safely with a 10mph differential in speed. But chances are overtaking me the speed differential is going to be much higher, so the overtake time and distance will be much less.

“The proviso, though, is that the motorist can clearly see it is safe.”

Meanwhile, JustTryingToGetFromAtoB shared his own pleasant driver story:

I had a nice one yesterday. Short road with cars parked both sides. I’m usually prepped to hug in before I get flattened by a motorist pulling what I now refer to as ‘the slam it at a school kid’ dick move.

People carrier turned in as I was heading up. It paused at the top before the parked cars. I had ear-marked my pull in space, but the driver motioned for me to continue before they moved.

Good man! Not my usual experience of people carriers and not my usual experience of that road.

And finally, Grahamd had a few questions about Colin Turner’s, ahem, interesting Strava art:

Strava art live blog comments
06 December 2022, 16:15
Rapha’s Festive 500 beckons
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rapha (@rapha)

It’s that time of the year, when the temperatures plummet by the day, the lights go up, capitalism runs rampant, and everyone looks forward to that one week where we can all get together and celebrate what really matters.

Yep, that’s right, it’s almost time for the Rapha Festive 500!

Now 12-years-old, the Festive 500 challenges riders to complete 500km between Christmas Eve and New Year, and it’s a great incentive to head outside into the wintery bittering to get in some solid base kilometres or completely fry your legs (delete as appropriate).

This year, you can join the fun on Strava (or else it didn’t happen, right?) for a chance to win a brand new Open U.P. bike while, as usual, lots more prizes are up for grabs in Rapha’s annual Spirit of the Festive 500 awards.

So, if you fancy taking on everyone’s favourite yuletide challenge for the first time this Christmas, check out our 15 tips to complete the Rapha Festive 500 and knock off the kilometres with ease, while also having a nosy at five cool things you may need (or at least tell yourself that you need) to see you through the long, cold miles…

Nothing like an early Christmas present to yourself, eh?

What was that earlier about capitalism…

06 December 2022, 15:33
B&B exodus begins as Sinkeldam and Koretzky find new teams

The writing may have been on the wall for a few weeks concerning the future of the team hitherto known as B&B Hôtels-KTM, but the message was certainly underlined at the weekend, after team boss Jérôme Pineau informed riders and staff that they should looking for new employers for 2023.

> Mark Cavendish’s future uncertain after team boss tells riders to look elsewhere

With the French team – the victim, it seems, of Pineau’s overly ambitious plans to elevate the squad to the WorldTour via a significant funding boost, which have since collapsed like a house of cards – now seemingly destined to spend next year as a reduced, third-tier Continental outfit, two of their contracted riders have been on the ball and have already announced deals for 2023.

33-year-old Dutchman Ramon Sinkeldam, who was only set to join Pineau’s project from Groupama-FDJ next year, was the first to announce yesterday that he had boarded a lifeboat courtesy of Alpecin-Deceuninck, while mountain biker Victor Koretzky, a relative latecomer to the road having only turned pro with B&B this year, has been snapped up by Bora-Hansgrohe.

Meanwhile, riders still struggling to fill the ever-diminishing spots on leading teams – or, to retain their place on B&B’s hastily reduced line-up – have criticised the lack of communication from Pineau, as well as the former pro’s last-minute announcement that the required funding was not forthcoming.

Speaking to Het Nieuwsblad, Jens Debusschere and Eliot Lietaer also confirmed that Mark Cavendish was present at the October meeting where Pineau outlined his plans for the year ahead.

“Somehow I was glad that I heard the whole story for once, but at the same time you have to say: not telling everyone until December that 24 riders are suddenly free, that is actually not done,” former Belgian champion Debusschere said.

Lietaer, who noted that there was still hope within the squad that it can continue on, at least at Conti level, added: “In any case, the team will not continue in the form he had foreseen… I didn't see it coming at all.

“Pineau has been a racer himself. I thought he must have a plan B somewhere, something he kept in reserve. Apparently not.”

“I also hope that Mark Cavendish, for example, finds a solution for next year. That he can at least go for that record victory in the Tour,” Debusschere, speaking for Cav fans everywhere, concluded.

06 December 2022, 14:56
More football meets cycling content… kind of

I can almost hear Roy Keane now… 

06 December 2022, 14:24
Entry Hill (via StreetView)
Bath Bike Park plans shelved due to rising costs

Plans for a Bike Park in Bath have been abandoned due to concerns over rising costs after a funding bid failed.

The park, a proposed 30-acre facility situated on the grounds of the city’s former Entry Hill golf course, was set to feature five kilometres of purpose-built mountain bike trails, a pump track, skills and learn to ride areas, a bike shop and coaching services, as well as free-to-access walking, running and family cycling paths.

The plans had received widespread support from residents, though local golfers had previously led a campaign to save the two loss-making golf courses at Entry Hill after Bath and North East Somerset Council revealed that each round played cost taxpayers £8.

One golfer complained that the first public consultation on the future of the site was taken over by a ‘cycling lobby on steroids’ after 78 percent of respondents expressed support for turning it into a cycling centre.

Despite this (relatively benign) opposition, final draft designs – by Bristol-based cycling group Pedal Progression, who last year won the tender process to create the bike park – were completed at the end of June.

The Bike Park was originally due to open by the end of 2022, but due to various challenges this was pushed back to Spring/Summer 2023.

> Final designs for Bath Bike Park, which will replace a golf course, set to be completed this month

However, Bath and North East Somerset Council revealed last week that the plans have been abandoned altogether and that the site would remain as it is “for the short term”.

Councillor Mark Roper, the cabinet member for economic development, regeneration and growth, told Somerset Live: “The council’s intention for this project was to fund it through capital and a mix of external funding, as is common for these types of schemes. However, as costs have risen and external funding has proved difficult to attract, the council has made the decision not to progress the planning application.

“The site will remain as it is for the short term. Valuable work has been undertaken on ecology, ground condition and heritage value which will inform the council on its future sustainable use.

“Mindful of both the climate and ecological emergencies a range of outdoor leisure activities including walking, running and adventurous play, as well as a Forest School, remain possible.

“The council will pause work on any schemes for the site until later in 2023/4 when economic conditions and financing will hopefully become clearer. Any further proposals for the Entry Hill site will be developed in consultation with users and residents.”

"This project has been close to our hearts for nearly four years, and a dream for much longer,” added Pedal Progression’s founder Matt George.

“We are disappointed that it’s not been possible to deliver what would have been an incredible recreational asset for the people of Bath and North East Somerset but we understand the reasons behind the decision that has been taken.

“Thank you to those who showed such incredible support and enthusiasm for the project over the last few years and we look forward to working with the council on projects in the future.”

06 December 2022, 13:36
An evening with Sean Yates

Tour de France stage winner and former British champion Sean Yates will be appearing live on YouTube this evening, where he will be discussing his career and decades-long association with frame builder Mark Reilly.

Expect plenty of chat from ‘Seen Yah-tes’ about life in the peloton and guiding Bradley Wiggins during his annus mirabilis of 2012 (though probably less about certain aspects of his spells at Motorola and Discovery Channel, if we’re honest).

And, if you can make it down to TrainSharp Cycling in Lewes by 7pm tonight, you can even catch the conversation live by contacting the team on WhatsApp.

06 December 2022, 12:40
Spain manager Luis Enrique casually chats cyclocross, Tom Pidcock, and Mathieu van der Poel during World Cup

Seriously, are all the national team managers at the World Cup huddled together in a Doha hotel room watching the cyclocross?

Last week on the live blog, we found out that Saudi Arabia manager Hervé Renard, a big cycling fan, compared his side’s monumental victory over Argentina to a smash-and-grab breakaway win against Van der Poel, Pogačar and co. at the Tour of Flanders or Milan-San Remo.

> “It was like a classic, and we were with Van Aert, Van der Poel and Pogačar”: Saudi Arabia manager compares historic victory over Argentina to pro cycling 

Now, Spain boss Luis Enrique has said that he’s been keeping up to speed with the other big World Cup going on at the moment – the cyclocross one, that is – in between training and matches in Qatar.

Former Barcelona player and manager Enrique, who is currently preparing for his team’s last 16 clash with Morocco this afternoon, is well-known for his love of all things two wheels, and in September even announced his squad for the upcoming Nations League fixtures with a homage to the Vuelta.

And now, in his nightly briefings from his gaming chair (yes, really), the 52-year-old revealed that, when he’s kicking back and relaxing between endless tactical analysis meetings, he sticks on the GCN app and keeps track of the progress of Tom Pidcock, Mathieu van der Poel, and Fem van Empel on the muddy fields of northern Europe.

What else have we learned from Enrique’s PS5 debriefs? Well, his favourite rider is, perhaps surprisingly, Movistar sprinter Iván García Cortina, while he also has a soft spot for the recently retired Alejandro Valverde and fellow Spaniards Marc Soler and Luis León Sánchez. Beyond that Spanish Armada, Van der Poel, Wout van Aert, and (former footballer) Remco Evenepoel round off Enrique’s dream team.

> Footballers who cycle XI — the World Cup stars who love life on two wheels

When he’s not watching the cyclocross (and managing one of the favourites for World Cup of course), the Spain boss has also been getting in the miles on his bike, and regularly posts videos of his spins on Instagram.

“There’s a cycle path that leaves from the university [where Spain are based],” he said a few days ago.

“It’s the longest in the world, 33 kilometres in one direction and 33 kilometres back. There’s a good temperature, 24 degrees. It’s a smooth ride.”

Anyone up for a post-World Cup Keirin between Enrique, Renard, Neil Warnock, and Roberto Mancini?

Despite Enrique’s obvious style, my money’s on Colin, bulldozing his way through…

06 December 2022, 11:39
“But it’s electric...”
06 December 2022, 10:57
Don’t say we didn’t warn you: More NFT weirdness from the Giro

> Wout van Aert is selling his three biggest wins – as NFT digital assets

Wout van Aert NFTs.PNG

 Alright, hands up – who owns Wout van Aert’s 2020 Strade Bianche win as an NFT?

Meanwhile, over at RCS Sport:

Some people will never learn, eh?

06 December 2022, 10:27
The level of maturity we strive for on the live blog…

This one’s for the GCSE students about to head into double Maths:

06 December 2022, 09:58
Not Near Miss of the Day

As our Near Miss of the Day series rumbles on, hopefully hitting its aim of holding the authorities to account when they fail to protect vulnerable road users, sometimes it’s important to highlight the kind of driving that we hope will someday make that particular collection of close passes and scares a thing of the past.

So, this morning on the live blog, we thought we’d mix things up a bit with the latest instalment of NMOTD’s more wholesome, friendlier younger brother: the very originally titled ‘Not Near Miss of the Day’!

Today’s NNMOTD (I’m sure it will catch on) features a safe, wide passing lorry driver and a nice friendly exchange between two road users. Ah, bliss:

However, just like the last time we featured a Not Near Miss of the Day on the live blog, some Twitter users were keen to split hairs over the driver’s decision to overtake just before the end of the solid white lines.

According to the Highway Code, “you may cross the line if necessary, provided the road is clear, to pass a stationary vehicle, or overtake a pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle, if they are travelling at 10 mph (16 km/h) or less.”

What do you think? Was our lorry driver committing an illegal overtake or exhibiting the kind of safe, considerate, and patient driving we always say we want to see more of?

06 December 2022, 09:43
You know it’s cold when…

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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