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Reader’s Rant: The Death of Michele Scarponi (Comments Off)

April 29, 2017 • by VeloVeritas

Last Saturday I, like many others, was stunned by the news of Scarponi’s death, and every day I’ve become increasingly saddened, indeed, angered by it. I don’t know why his death should affect me this way and not any other cyclist’s needless demise on the public road and I’m writing not only in the hope that I’ll get it out of my system, but to make some observations I believe need making.

The regular reporting of the vulnerability of cyclists, traffic incidents involving injury to or death of cyclists, seems to be creating a climate of apathy towards these events.

‘Oh, well. Can’t be helped. The driver probably didn’t see the cyclist. Maybe cyclists should be made to wear helmets and wear high visibility clothing.’

However, in this case the cyclist was a professional, expert bike rider, riding on a country road he must have known like the back of his hand, at a time and on a day when the volume of traffic was negligible, but I can’t find any publication, either in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy or anywhere on the web that is posing questions or making editorial comment that may help to explain how the incident happened and what can be learned to help other cyclists avoid this fate.

The VV View: To Team Sky; “if in hole, stop digging” (Comments Off)

March 10, 2017 • by Ed Hood

It’s that time again when I go from being that old weirdo who’s always going to bike races no one has heard of to the ‘go to guy’ (I do hate that expression) – yeah, you’ve guessed; ‘Brailsford, corticosteroids, package, Sky, Wiggo’…

I’ve lived through all the doping scandals; Festina, Riis, Pantani, Lance, Tyler, Floyd and the fact is that just like that 1976 disco classic by Bugatti and Musker contends, ‘Ain’t no Smoke Without Fire.’ The pattern is always the same, revelation, vehement denial, steady drip of more damning facts and finally there’s a tearful confession or a ‘guilty’ verdict.

Can you remember one ‘doping scandal’ which ended with vindication and media apologies? Me neither.

The VV View – The Select Committee Question OBEs and a Knight (Comments Off)

December 26, 2016 • by Ed Hood

“A Team Sky spokesman said they remained fully behind their team principal (Sir David) despite the claims in the Daily Mail and his admission to the select committee on Monday that he had made mistakes.”

If you’re a soccer aficionado you’ll know that if Sky was a football team Sir Dave would be out by Tuesday after a message of support like that from the Board. But word is that if Dave goes then Sky pulls the plug.

And by the way, did you see Sir Brad’s ‘coming out’ as a Scotsman on Instagram, complete with ‘Braveheart’ face paint?

Diaries»

Scrapbook: Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne 2017 (Comments Off)

March 4, 2017 • by Ed Hood

Ghent, or rather ‘Gent’ we love it; the bars, the people and the fact you can walk into a filling station and there are six quality cycling magazines on the shelf to chose from, and you have to love a city where they have taps to discharge the rainwater. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the first real races of the year – Down Under, the Desert races, Langkawi? Come on!

Inside the Berlin Six Day 2017 – the Final Three Nights (Comments Off)

January 26, 2017 • by Ed Hood

The wee small hours of Wednesday morning, heading north out of Berlin, en route Rostock, the ferry across the Baltic and Denmark for the Copenhagen Six Day. I wish I could say that Berlin had an epic finale – but I can’t, it was dire. Processional, flat, uninspired with no tension, no theatre, no drama.

Kris reckons it’s the worst Six Day he’s ever seen – he’s seen many, many more than me and I wouldn’t argue with his judgement. The root of the problem is that in the Madison Group Six Days the riders are on reduced contract fees with the rest of their earnings in prize money. ‘Fair enough’ I hear you say. Trouble is that it’s not – because the riders are all busy trying to hold their place in the standings it breeds very negative racing.

Inside the Berlin Six Day 2017 – the First Three Nights (Comments Off)

January 21, 2017 • by Ed Hood

You’ve got to get here first, right? Even by Ryanair punishment flight standards, it was a sore one. The lady in front of me, I’m sure was taking her kids to audition for; ‘Devil Spawn of Berlin, The Revenge’ – they’ll get the parts, no problem.

I felt like a native buying my S Bahn train ticket from the machine and riding into town with the rush hour commuters – damn cold though. It’s ‘all change’ at the velodrome, the pits have been moved into the centre of the track, divorcing us from the action and meaning we can’t push riders ‘in’ or offer them a hand to save them from kicking back on sore legs when they come in. The programme is different too with the big motors not coming out to play until after the last chase in the Six Day – happy days, so nice to walk out of the hall and leave the noise and exhaust fumes behind.

Interviews»

James Knox – Second in the u23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Comments Off)

May 22, 2017 • by Ed Hood

A few weeks ago saw the last of the Spring Classics with ‘La Doyenne’ – Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the oldest and arguably toughest of them all with barely a metre of flat road in it’s 258 kilometres. Before that, the U23 version of the race took place over 166 kilometres but taking in many of its famous big brother’s climbs, such as La Redoute.

Second on the day was 21 year-old Briton, James Knox (Wiggins) – pipped on the line in the velodrome finish by Lotto-Soudal U23 team Belgian rider, Bjorg Lambrecht. And just after his wonderful ride when James spoke to us, his name popped up again on Stage Two of the Tour of Croatia; top 10 right among the big hitters in a mountain top finish – just 26 seconds behind home stage winner Kristijan Durasek (UAE), and finished the race in 8th place on GC.

Our colleague from the Six Days, soigneur Martyn Frank put us in touch with James and here’s what he had to say to VeloVeritas.

Roy Cox – Six Times British Champion; a Career Behind the Big Motors (Comments Off)

May 19, 2017 • by Ed Hood

Perhaps you’ve seen them on TV when Eurosport used to cover the Berlin Six Days – or maybe you remember them at Leicester, ‘back in the day?’ The ‘Big Motors.’

Germany, along with The Netherlands were always the ‘Heartland’ for the motor-paced aspects of the sport but in Britain back in the early 70’s we had one of the best in the world in Roy Cox. Cox was six times British Champion, won big on the German ‘stayer’ circuit, rode four World Championships and made the Worlds final in his home Worlds in 1970 – the first British amateur to do so in 70 years.

VeloVeritas recently caught up with him to discuss his career behind the big bikes.

Katie Archibald – the new World Omnium Champion! (Comments Off)

May 9, 2017 • by Ed Hood

Once again we’re proud to bring you an exclusive interview with Olympic Team Pursuit Champion, Katie Archibald where she tells us about her latest triumph, in the World Omnium Championship – and puts us chauvinists at VeloVeritas securely in our box!

But we still respect and love the lady.

It Looks Bad, Brad

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Here at VeloVeritas…

...we reckon cycling matters. We aim to provide our readers with truthful, interesting and unique articles about the sport we love.

We cover all aspects of cycling by actually being there, in the mix: from the local "10" to the famous WorldTour "monuments" - classics like Milan-SanRemo and the Tour of Lombardy, the World Championships, the winter Six Days, and of course the Grand Tours.

We attend many local races as well as work on the professional circuit - and we do it all with a Scottish accent.

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