On a windswept day for the strong of leg and heart on the Ayrshire coast it was last year’s silver medallist, ‘fresh’ from that toughest of races, the RAS, Peter Murdoch (Neon-Velo Cycling Team) who’s 52:13 was 22 seconds too quick for deposed reigning champion, Iain Grant (Fullarton Wheelers) and 49 seconds faster than bronze medallist and another former ’25’ champion, Arthur Doyle (Dooleys).
You forget how gruesome the climbs are here in Italy; I’d never been over the Mortirolo before but it was an eye opener – 11.9 kilometres (that’s more than seven miles) with an AVERAGE gradient of just under 12% and a maximum of 18%.
Lance reckoned it was the toughest climb he ever raced and ‘Bert’ was on 34 x 30; ’nuff said !’
On most of the big climbs there are sections where it eases a little; not on this swine, it’s unrelenting and unforgiving – ask Fabio Aru …
On a dour, grey morning by the banks of a brooding River Clyde Iain Grant (Fullarton Wheelers) reminded us why he’s Scotland’s short distance king with a stunning 19:38 in the Scottish National 10 Mile Mile Time Trial Championship on a sodden, cold Westferry course.
Second in 20:13 was ‘new kid on the block’ Harry Bulstrode (VC Edinburgh) with Sandy Wallace Cycles ever consistent Alan Thomson third in 20:32; just one tick of the second hand ahead of Billy Bilsland’s Ben Peacock in 20:33.
- Chris Smart – Tour of the Meldons 2015 Winner
- Tour de Trossachs 2014 – Golds for Chris Smart and Lynsey Curran
- Ponferrada World Road Championships 2014 – Elite Men. Michal Kwiatkowski Times it Perfectly
- Ponferrara World Road Championships 2014 – Juniors & Women. Jonas Bokeloh & Pauline Ferrand-Prevot
- Ponferrada World Road Championships 2014 – U23 Men, Sven Erik Bystrom Takes it Solo
Ca va, ca va !
Friday, en route the Stage 19 start and it’s been hectic.
We arrived on Sunday afternoon but by the time we got to Valance, the Press Centre was closed – so it was ‘Plan B,’ go to the finish at Gap the next day and uplift them.
Vital bits of plastic duly collected on Monday morning we headed off up the Col de Manse which is just behind Gap for Stage 16.
Giro d’Italia 2015 – Stage 21, Turin – Milan; Eeeel-yoh! (Comments Off)
Well, as our amigo Dave is won’t to say at this stage; “our creds are no good to us now.” Just a curiosity on the windscreen; the Giro is won and lost, Contador confirmed as one of the all time great stage racers – he’s won all three Grand Tours – one of only six men in history to do so, along with Nibali, Gimondi, Anquetil, Hinault and Merckx, and now stands fourth in the all time Grand Tour winners list.
The route from Torino to Milano today was as bland as you could get but Radio Nostalgia was cool and our coffee stop was a cracker. The Milano circuit was similarly bland and it’s one aspect where the Giro doesn’t quite get it right but Iljo Keisse and Luke Durbridge delivered an exciting finale as you get.
It was a privilege to be there and great to be part of it all on Stage 20; a marvelous spectacle on the ‘sterrato’ without doubt – but is it sport or simply a circus? The cameras love it and it’s great copy – maybe I’m being too harsh? Paris-Roubaix throws back to the old days so why not have stages like this, many would say?
Albeit I still say there were too many mountain days in the race, just too hard. The Giro is a marvelous race but it’s not the Tour – nothing is, can or will ever be. The Italian race organisers have decided that if they can’t match/best the French race on organisation, prestige and scale then their race will be the toughest around.
They’ve achieved that.
- Giro d’Italia 2015 – Stage 19, Gravellona Toce – Cervinia; Aru Takes His Gift
- Giro d’Italia 2015 – Stage 18, Melide – Verbania; Gilbert Takes His Second
- Giro d’Italia 2015 – Stage 17, Aprica – Lugano; Modolo’s Second
- A Look at the Eddy Merckx and Jacky Ickx Exhibition
- Gent Six Day 2014 – One of the ‘Straightest’ Sixes We’ve Seen
Alan Thomson – Scottish 50 Mile TT Champion 2015 (Comments Off)
VeloVeritas didn’t make it to the National ’50’ but we did pick up the phone and ring the winner, Alan Thomson. We asked if it was a tough shift up there in the North East;
“Nuts! The course rolls and there were spells of brutal headwind where I was down to 19 mph then you were back up to 30 mph and sections you thought would be fast were slow. It was a day where you really had to concentrate and think about what you were doing.”
A 19 minute ‘10’ is pretty rapid by any standard – but how about stringing together 10 of them, back to back?
That’s exactly what 44 year-old Richard Bideau (Pendle Forest CC) a self employed potter from Burnley did in his first hundred; recording 3:18:54 in the Stockton Wheeler’s event a week past Sunday to slice a stunning 3:51 from multi-BBAR Kevin Dawson’s 12 year-old competition record.
We just had to; ‘have a word.’
By the mid-70’s Belgian, Eddy Merckx was well established as the “Cannibal”, an insatiable creature for whom only victory satisfied the hunger. In 1975 a handsome, smiling Frenchman ended Merckx’s reign of fear in one of the all-time great Tours.
Bernard Thevenet is older now, but still handsome and affable, he took time-out from his role as “chef de piste” at the Grenoble Six Day race a year or two ago to talk to VeloVeritas. The interview was conducted in his office, he brought his chair round the desk so there were no barriers between us; I couldn’t help but notice that he had his shoes off…
- Peter Murdoch – Scottish 25 Mile TT Champion 2015
- Dean Woods – Part 2; More Olympic Medals and a Road Career in Europe
- Steven Lawley – The New Scottish Road Race Champion for 2015
- Dean Woods – Part 1; The Aussie World Champion and Olympic Gold Medallist whilst still a Junior!
- Mike Kluge – Three Times World Cyclocross Champion and the Man Behind Focus Bikes