Paisley Velo’s Chris Smart joined the likes of Ian Steel, Billy Bilsland, Graeme Obree and Jason MacIntyre on the Tour de Trossachs roll of honour with a fine 1:08:10 winning ride on a cool, grey morning which favoured the strong men.
Last year’s winner, Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace Cycles) was second with 1:09:29 and fast pedalling David Griffiths (Glasgow Wheelers) third in 1:09:47.
VeloVeritas drove the whole course and snapped about every rider…
Ponferrada World Road Championships 2014 – Elite Men. Michal Kwiatkowski Times it Perfectly (Comments Off)
Spanish sports paper, Mundo Deportivo says; ‘El Tigre, en la Lieja-Ponferrada-Lieja’ comparing the race to an Ardennes Classic. ‘A complete cyclist with a brilliant future,’ they say of the 24 year-old Pole. Despite a tiny box on the front cover, the race gets two-and-a-half pages with nice colour pictures.
The second of the Nation’s four sports dailies, Marca concentrates on Valverde’s medal, ‘El hombre de bronce,’ again with colour photography and two full pages – if back on page 40. AS too goes with Valverde, ‘La sexta de Valverde’ – his fourth bronze and two silver medals take him two medals clear in the tables of seven riders on four podiums: Freire, Binda, Van Steenbergen, Lemond, Van Looy, Darrigade and Poulidor. Albeit all of them save Poulidor won the race at least once…
Ponferrara World Road Championships 2014 – Juniors & Women. Jonas Bokeloh & Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Comments Off)
I hate to keep moaning about these Worlds, but … There’s no way you can get from the two K to go sign at the foot of the final descent and up onto the climb. Barriers, tapes, police, volantarios (volunteer janitors) – grim! A man who can’t walk the course ends up in too many bars.
The junior race was mad – crashes aplenty but a good finish with the big German lad too fast for everyone. The wee Russian lad who was second looks ‘well hard’ he’d get no lip from anyone in a chip shop in Whitburn.
Well, if there’s a pizza place in Ponferrada, we can’t find it. It’s rude to criticise your host’s abode but we’re mystified by how the Worlds came to be here. The communications are terrible, it’s four-and-a-half hours by road or rail out of Madrid or get transfer flights up to the North West and more driving.
The town is ‘any town Spain/Italy’ and with the exception of the beautiful Knights Templar Castle there’s very little which is photogenic. It’s ‘just a town,’ like Broxburn or Kelty – which is fine but maybe we’re looking for more from the biggest week of racing on the planet ?
- La Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 21; Santiago de Compostela (ITT), 10 km. Adriano Malori Home and Dry
- La Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 20; Santo Estevo de Riba de Sil – Ancares, 163.8 km. Contador Dominates
- La Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 19; Salvaterra de Miño – Cangas de Morrazo, 176.5 km. Adam Hansen Takes the Win!
- La Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 18; A Estrada – Monte Castrove en Meis, 173.5 km. Fabio Aru with Froome Calling the Shots
Amsterdam Six Day 2014 – Part Two; a Race and Rider Review (Comments Off)
Kris maybe summed it up best; ‘it felt like a Monday night at any another Six Day.’ There was none of the tension or expectation which usually precedes the final chase in a Six.
Granted, we weren’t looking after riders who were in the mix for the win but it was indeed, ‘just another chase.’ Maybe it was because it was clear from the start that Terpstra was the strongest man on the track and there was only going to be one winner.
It’s my first time at the Amsterdam Six Day – Kris (the soigneur I’m working with) said I needed to attend so I can say I’ve been at every one of the current winter races – and initial impressions aren’t bad; it’s a nice wee track in a good location, the old village of Sloten, a suburb of Amsterdam.
The first night I was just finding my feet but my second night (the fourth night of racing) I was in full effect doing all that ‘runner stuff.’ It soon comes back to you, the rituals, the chores, when to have a joke and when to keep schtum. And on that subject I’ll do that right now and be back in a day or two to tell you about the final two days. And just as I sign off, Claude François comes on Radio Nostalgie; ‘C’ést la Même Chanson’ – quality!
If you rode the Tour in the colours of Lampre you’ve got €9,830 coming your way – but don’t get too excited, that’s to be split between nine coureurs and the staff. And if you then remember that’s for one month’s work – the shine comes of things a wee bit.
However, if you were one of Vincenzo’s hard working storm troops then you’d be splitting €539,330 with the Capo not taking his share. That’s better !
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
- Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 16; Carcassonne – Bagnères-de-Luchon, 237 km
- Le Tour de France 2014 – Second Rest Day; Catching up with Jack Bauer
- Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 1; Leeds – Harrogate, 191 km. Kittel from Sagan!
At the end of 2012 young American Joe Dombrowski had the world at his feet; he’d won the Baby Giro – ahead of a certain Fabio Aru – and placed fourth and tenth respectively in the Tours of Utah and Colorado – and there was a nice crisp Sky contract to be signed.
But his two seasons with Sky didn’t pan out as most had expected – with the reason finally tracked down to an iliac artery problem which he’s now had surgery on. And he’s moving on from the British team to a new US amalgamation, Jonathan Vaughter’s Cannondale/Garmin team.
Joe gave VeloVeritas of his time to talk about his health issue, time at Sky and the future.
The 70’s are the ‘decade that taste forgot’ according to the Media; which is strange because I remember the era as having the best cars, music, films – and bike riders. On the continent the exploits of Sercu, Ocana, Merckx, Hoban, Gimondi, Verbeeck, Thevenet, De Vlaeminck and all the rest of a ‘Golden Generation’ of hard men made the disappointment of ‘The Comic’ being late once again all the harder to bear.
One of my personal favourites was Londoner, Reg Barnett who was one of the top ten track sprinters on the planet in the late 60’s but then turned his hand to the road where as well as the inevitable seafront criteriums he could win stages in the tough stage races of the day. He’s a man I’ve long wanted to quiz and last week over the course of an hour long phone call, I got my wish.
The Six Days of Amsterdam kicks off next week, the first race of the 2014/15 winter season. The programme until Christmas makes sad reading with few ‘names’ in Amsterdam; tales of crooked promoters souring things there and in Rotterdam; possibly the last race in Grenoble – and it’s down to just three day; Zürich only four days and only Gent going from strength to strength.
After the turn of the year things improve with Rotterdam, Bremen, Berlin and Copenhagen all in good to robust health – but it’s a far cry from the 21 Six Days that winters in the 70’s enjoyed. A stat which speaks louder than any words is that of the top 50 Six Day men of all time only one – Iljo Keisse – is currently active.
This interview takes us back to the Golden Years of the 70’s and Merckx, Sercu, Clark, Allan, Renz, Bugdahl – and Graeme Gilmore.
At the next Commonwealth Games there’ll be no David Millar or ‘Jamesie’ and even the perennial Evan Oliphant might not make it to Gold Coast City, Australia in 2018. But Dundee’s Mark Stewart should be there; at just 19 he took sixth place in the 20 K Scratch Race in Glasgow behind New Zealand’s World’s Omnium medallist, Shane Archbold with the distance being covered in 22:43 @ 52.819 kph – that’s quick.
And even more recently he landed the British Points Race in front of riders of the quality of Raleigh’s Mark Christian (# link ? mind we interviewed him ? #) and NFTO’s Jon Mould. Mark chatted to VeloVeritas after his latest success: