Het Hieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne are the first opportunities for northern European fans to check out the new hardware.
Our trawl always starts on the Friday evening at the Holiday Inn, Ghent where F des J, Cofidis and Rabobank (now Belkin) set up shop for the first ‘real’ races of the year.
The Copenhagen Six Day follows straight after Berlin; the trip isn’t fun – load the camper after the midnight finish in Berlin, drive through the night to the ferry at Rostock, sleep in the camper for an hour or two at temperatures well below zero, hop the ferry across the Baltic, then drive up through Denmark to Copenhagen through the snow and wind.
Watched by 75,000 spectators over the course of the event in the velodrome Landsberger Allee, Andreas Müller and Kenny de Ketele won the 103rd edition of the Berlin Six Day. On the last day and the last race they overtook the long-time leaders Leif Lampater and Jasper de Buyst with a race winning attack – exciting stuff. Third place went to Robert Bartko, which was his last time in Berlin at the Six with his young partner Theo Reinhardt.
VeloVeritas were at the race, working for the young American pairing Guy East and Daniel Holloway – here’s Ed’s look back at some of his favourite moments…
Just about everyone named Rodriguez, Valverde, Nibali, Sagan, Gilbert and Cancellara as favourites – but I didn’t see one mention of Portugal’s Rui Costa’s name before the race.
But he was there with the best at the death and played his hand as coolly as Paul Newman in ‘The Sting.’
- Junior & Womens’ Road Races World Championships 2013 – van Der Poel & Vos
- U23 Road Race World Championship 2013 – Mohoric Takes the Title
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 21: Versailles > Paris Champs-Élysées, 118km. Marcel Kittel Wins a Fourth
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 20: Annecy > Annecy – Semnoz, 125km. The Bigs Battle It Out
It was last September when we last spoke to Aberdonian rider, Craig Wallace about his adventures in Flanders. But the man has itchy feet and he’s off to another of VeloVeritas’s favourite spots for 2014; The Basque Country – Euskal Herria.
Diet-wise moving from Flanders to The Basque Country all you have to do is substitute cider for pils and tortilla for frites – but perhaps not if you’re trying to win bike races. We caught up with him recently and his first sentence contained some good news.
Back in 1972 when Edinburgh’s Meadowbank Velodrome was still a thing of beauty and not kindling-in-waiting, the British Madison Championships were held there.
The men who won that day were the young Australian rider, Murray Hall – then riding for Croydon Premier – and his compatriot, Tom Moloney. We caught up with Murray recently during our researches about the Six Day races of old – he has a good tale to tell.
It’s almost time for Nys, Albert, van der Haar, Meeusen – and not forgetting Ian Field of course – to chuck the ‘cross bikes in the coal shed for the summer and head for the beach.
We thought we might have one last look at this highlight of the ‘cross season through the eyes of a man who was right there in the mud of Hoogerheide – New Zealand’s Angus Edmond – before we draw the curtain on another great winter of cyclocross.
Steve Cummings has finally landed a stage race win, the Tour of the Mediterranean – he won the stage 3b time trial to go top on GC then hung on to his lead on the nasty slopes of Mont Faron to beat AG2R hard man, Jean-Christophe Peraud to the overall honours.
We spoke to him a day or two after his triumph.
Bremen used to be the ‘Party Six’ and whilst it’s still a fun gig with beer halls, restaurants, discos and live music, the crowds ain’t quite like they used to be.
Our man in the middle of those steep 167 metres of boards was the perennial Kris; here’s what he had to say to VeloVeritas on his return from the Fatherland…
This Six Day season marks the end of an era. Depending upon which source you consult, Franco Marvulli of Switzerland has ridden somewhere between 112 and 117 Six Days, this makes him the most prolific rider on the circuit by a considerable margin – Robert Bartko for example has ridden 75, Iljo Keisse has 72 starts.
Marvulli has won 32; not to mention four world titles – two in the scratch and two in the madison and Olympic silver in the same discipline. So how come his ‘goodbye’ isn’t a bigger deal?
A pictorial summary of the Gent Six Day and our trip to the Koksijde Cyclocross race in the beach dunes of Flanders.
At the track, it took me back to the days when I stood on the apron, bottles at the ready for Kris to hand up – but not too much in them so they don’t splash when the rider grabs them – just taking in the speed, noise, music, heat, people and that Gent buzz – high as a kite on the Gent Six Days.
For the first time in many a year VeloVeritas didn’t make it down to Grenoble for the Four Days on the battle scarred boards of the winter track where Post, Merckx, Sercu, Clark, Moser and Thevent have all lifted the laurels.
How I miss Bar Clemenceau, Pizza Natalie and the wee bakers where the baker always give me extra croissants ‘for luck.’
‘New Wave’ French strong men and World Madison Champions Morgan Kneisky and Vivien Brisse took the honours from tough Spaniards Muntaner & Torres with Iljo Keisse limbering up for Gent in third spot with countryman De Buyst.
As the storm clouds grew over the Wallace Monument the anticipation increased ahead of “Up the Kirk 2013″ which had the honour of incorporating the Scottish Hill Climb Championships. The volunteers of the host club, Stirling Bike Club, got the course set up as a few nervous riders did some last minute reccies and stressed about gear ratios and tyre pressures.
King Arthur was crowned and took the title of Scottish Men’s Hill Climb Champion 2013, with Kerry McPhee riding for local shop based team, Rock and Road Cycles winning the women’s section.
Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace Cycles) added his name to the list of Scottish cycling greats – Steel, Bilsland, Millar, Obree and MacIntyre – who have won that Classic chrono the Tour de Trossachs, with a 1:07:29 ride on a ‘four seasons in one day,’ Sunday over the glorious countryside around Aberfoyle and Callander.
Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 19: Bourg-d’Oisans > Le Grand-Bornand, 204km. Rui Costa in the Monsoon (0)
First we had Siberian snow at the Giro – and now, Rangoon rain at Le Tour. It’s never boring with VeloVeritas on the Grand Tours.
But first – a rant! Sodden, tired and in need of victuals the VV crew inched down through the traffic jams off the Col de la Croix Fry towards our inn for the night. Smiling, we present ourselves to our hostess;
‘Twin room?’ – ‘non! double!’
‘OK, but we can eat here?’ – ‘non!’
‘Oh well! wi-fi?’ – ‘non!’
And that’s how we first came to be in here McDonald’s ‘til chucking out time, last night.
I could never be a ski bum, 60 Euros per night for the room – but you have to pay extra for sheets – and towels – there’s no toilet paper – then you have to clean the place at the end of it. A bit like borstal really, with off-hand, condescending staff.
If you were there ‘with the boys’ to watch the race that would be fine but not when you’re working. All that said, it was a nice place to be, high in the Alps, the shop was well stocked and you could get L’Equipe with a two minute walk.
It’s edition 21,551 of L’Équipe today and they carry a big feature on Froome and whether his performances are ‘coherent.’
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 17: Embrun > Chorges, 32km ITT. Froome From Bert
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 16: Vaison-la-Romaine > Gap, 168km. Solo Win for Rui Costa
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Rest Day Two, Vaucluse. Moules and Interviews
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 15: Givors > Mont Ventoux, 242km. Froome Stamps.