We were there, walking the streets and parks of Glasgow – until the Monsoons came and discretion became the better part of valour at which times the words of Doctor Samuel Johnson have never rang more true; ‘There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.’ Especially if it has an HD tele . . .
Here’s the VeloVeritas take on our day in Glasgow – the good and the not so good.
Essex boy Alex Dowsett proved that there is life after Sky with a brilliant time trial win in the Commonwealth Games event to add to his 2013 TT stage in the Giro, beating Aussie race favourite Rohan Denis into second and Wales Sky flyer Geraint Thomas into third on a blustery sunny Thursday afternoon around ‘The Dear Green Place’ that is Glasgow.
They say the watch doesn’t lie in a time trial but it can mislead you; Rohan had bested early leader Dowsett at the final time checks but as Dennis did his best Serhiy Honchar charging water buffalo impersonation and bludgeoned a mega gear home, losing seconds on every corner, sleek Walthamstow greyhound Dowsett kept the gears down and flew into Glasgow Green like a kermis king to grab gold.
Many times present on a major championship podium but never on the top step, New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen finally claimed her first gold medal today with a six second margin over former World Champion at the discipline Emma Pooley (England), riding her last time trial as a pro cyclist.
The bronze medal went to the German-born professional with Orica-AIS Katrin Garfoot, riding for Australia, who held off the strong late challenge from Kiwi Jaime Nielson by 16 seconds. In fifth place only one second further back was Scotland’s Katie Archibald, the 20-year-old showing her adaptability after racing last week on the track in the endurance events.
Despite being one of the youngest riders in the field, 19 year old New Zealander Anton Cooper proved to be the strongest and the savviest by surprising the two riders still with him heading towards the finish with a sudden and sharp acceleration off the front of the string to go clear with just a few hundred uphill metres remaining.
Teammate Samuel Gaze (himself only 18 years old) reacted quickly to pass Daniel McConnell (Australia) to take second place just three seconds behind Cooper, while it became clear the apparently still strong McConnell (who is currently fourth in the UCI MTB rankings) was in fact too tired to fight any more and he seemed happy enough to take the bronze.
- Commonwealth Games 2014 – Cross Country Mountain Bike, Elite Women. Pendrel Takes Gold
- Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 21; Évry – Paris Champs-Élysées, 136 km. Kittel’s Fourth
- Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 20; Bergerac – Périgueux (ITT), 54 km. Tony Martin Of Course
- Commonwealth Games 2014 – Track, Day Three
Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 19; Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour – Bergerac, 208 km. Navardauskas Solo (0)
There’s always drama when you work le Tour. We’ve followed Tour time trials for years; roll up at the start, tell the dude which rider you’re following, they give you a windscreen sticker, marshall you into position at the appointed time and off you go.
This year, however we were notified that we had to attend a meeting on Friday evening at the Permanence after the stage if we wished to follow a rider. Fair enough – but then they changed the venue a few hours before the meet was due.
Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 17; Saint-Gaudens – Saint-Lary-Soulan Pla d’Adet, 125 km. Majka Confirms (0)
Another great stage yesterday – Peraud takes a giant step, Majka confirms, Nibali consolidates, Konig stumbles… After breakfast we had a wander round Lourdes; it’s one weird place – but I said that yesterday.
We decided against the finish col to Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet – dead end climbs are nitemares to get off after the stage and we figured that the action might just start on the Col de Val Louron-Azet. We got up there in plenty time, claimed our spot and waited ’til it was time to grab our caravan swag.
We’ve left Carcassonne and heading for Bagnères-de-Luchon. But first, our favourite picture of the Tour so far ? L’Équipe’s shot of F des J manager Marc Madiot kissing Arnold Jeannesson after Stage 16 for all the good work he did for Pinot during his six-and-a-quarter hour 16 shift.
Some folks poke fun at Madiot; we like his style – committed, passionate and outspoken. As a rider he was brilliant; a French Pro champion, two wins in Paris-Roubaix and top tens in Flanders – he’s got the T-shirt, in our book.
Jack Bauer; tall, dark, slim, handsome, polite, grounded, friendly – it would have been so nice to add ‘Tour de France stage winner’ to that description.
Dave and I were holed up in a nice old bar/restaurant attached to a genteel hotel in Carcassonne watching the finale of Stage 15 and willing the big man from the land of the long white cloud to cross that line first. It wasn’t to be – and our red wine fuelled chat died away as we watched the images of a heart broken Bauer sitting on the ground in tears as his team mates tried to console him.
The famous mullet may be gone – but unlike Samson, the strength has remained. Kiwi flyer, Shane Archbold was one of the ‘Men of the Games’ – medalling (God ! I hate that expression) in the team pursuit and scratch before setting Jack Bauer up for silver in the Vietnamese Rainy Season Sunday which hosted the Games road race.
Last season saw in the colours of AN Post a crop of New Zealand track medals and a stage win in the Ras. Before his Games successes in 2014 he’s obtained top placings in races as diverse as the Ras and Tour of Azerbaijan.
Shane kindly took the time to answer VeloVeritas’s questions about his own and the New Zealand squad’s great performances in the Commonwealth Games.
Yes, it’s another Katie Archibald interview; but as the winner of Scotland’s only cycling medal – disabled events excepted – we thought we should have a chat with the lady who posted top seven finishes across five different disciplines.
Le Tour, The Commonwealth Games, The Tam Gordon interview – there’s just been so much going on at VeloVeritas recently that we must have missed something?
Ah yes, of course, Edinburgh Road Club’s Matthias Barnet winning the British Under 16 Criterium Championship on the technical Hog Hill circuit at Redbridge, London in July, for one thing.
The 2014 Giro was a brilliant race, so good in fact that a lot of good racing came to be ignored. Take ex-Raleigh man, and six day rider Daniel Holloway’s (Athlete Octane & USA) setting fire to the Speed Week criteriums series in the USA.
‘Hollywood’ first caught the eye as US Novice 500 Metre Time Trial Champion on the track in 2003; by 2005 he’d won a stage in the Canadian Tour de l’Abitibi – ‘the junior Tour de France.’
Our pal Craig Geater works as a mechanic for the Orica GreenEDGE team, and is putting in the hard shifts at the Tour de France.
Like everyone involved in the race, he’s very busy, but when he has his iPad or phone in hand he’s been taking a moment or two to snap some images, and fire them over to us.
This time last year I was traveling the world, sourcing suppliers for a new Planet X clothing range.
One year on and we have made some giant steps forward. Not only has all the hard work paid off, with the new Planet X 365X clothing range now available both in store and online, we are also proudly supporting the Danish Professional cycling team Christina Watches – as official technical sponsor.
There have actually been quite a few new developments over the past few months, and many a tale to tell!
I haven’t raced since September 1st. I’ve been working hard though, on Swift Momentum Sports (SMS), and restoring an old building and of course, some training. SMS is doing pretty well. I’m glad to have shown people some fantastic cycling and running, as well as to have trained some very good athletes. My professional cycling career, however is pretty much over. I wasn’t renewed for the 2014 season.
The past year, I and my colleagues signed up to pretty bad working conditions, but this sacrifice allowed the team to continue. The oldest supposedly professional team in the world. Last season I had a couple of doors open to go else where, nothing brilliant, but new opportunities. Hanging on at Tavira felt kind of good though, like the work had a higher purpose. I’m not averse to risk nor struggle and working on such a project is tantalizing. Mid-season a sponsor came along with the ‘old’ management and the new team was killed off effectively…
So its been a few months since my last blog posting but now a week into my off-season its time to put some words together and sign off on this 2013 season.
Having stepped on the plane to the USA way back on February 4th and now already in November its been a busy nine months; five months in the USA to start with and four months between USA/Belgium/UK is a lot of km’s covered… by plane, car, boat and of course by bike!