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.’
I forgot to turn off the message alert on my BlackBerry and it started beeping away just before 04:00 am – it didn’t matter, I was awake anyway. The aphids had breached my defences and the irritation of the bites had wakened me.
The French, Danish and Netherlands teams all showed themselves in the Junior Road Race – as Androni manager Gianni Savio always says; ‘you must honour the race!’ – with Franck Bonnamour away with Colombian Martinez in the closing stages.
The much debated percorso has me in two minds – there’s a part of me which says that it’s not as tough as I’d thought it would be – but the other part says; ‘but what about after ten times!’
I walked down the Salviati today and it’s a stinker, no question, but not that long. I also walked down around 60% of the Fiesole, all of which is just a drag; albeit I think it kicks up steeper beyond where I descended from. The descent off the Fiesole leads straight into the Salviati but it’s fast all the way off there to the line with just one ‘bump.’ But maybe it’s too fast for an organised chase?
Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 21: Versailles > Paris Champs-Élysées, 118km. Marcel Kittel Wins a Fourth (0)
Saturday night was sore – 4.5 hours on the road after the race then straight into the best of two falls or a submission with the motel wi-fi. However a chance meet with the night porter and we were ‘in’ on the staff password – words and pics all safely on their way.
We realised a dream yesterday; our very own barbie on a mountainside – it was just ‘the biz’. We had a wee bit of a ‘stramash’ with some Belgian journos who practically parked on our bonnet – but in the interests of EU harmony we bunged them a sausage and a kebab off the barbie and harmony reigned.
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 20: Annecy > Annecy – Semnoz, 125km. The Bigs Battle It Out
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 19: Bourg-d’Oisans > Le Grand-Bornand, 204km. Rui Costa in the Monsoon
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 18: Gap > Alpe-d’Huez, 168km. Riblon Saves AG2R’s Tour
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 17: Embrun > Chorges, 32km ITT. Froome From Bert
It seems just like yesterday we were asking James McCallum if he’d ever consider turning pro – but that was back in 2006 after his second Commonwealth Games and a bronze medal in the scratch race. The following year he did indeed turn professional for Plowman Craven and since has ridden for Endura, Rapha Condor; and for 2014 he joins new – and much talked about – NFTO.
‘Not For The Ordinary’ is an outdoor clothing company based in Hereford with ex-military man John Wood behind it. Wood has numerous business interests, including a bike shop and his team already have their clothing and bikes – always the sign of a good set up. We spoke to ‘Jamesy’ soon after the birth of Penelope, the new Miss McCallum was four days early but weighed in at a healthy three kilos. Our first question had to concern her arrival.
If you were on the cycling scene in Scotland in the early 80′s then you’ll be familiar with the name of Finlay Gentleman.
A precocious talent, winning the Tour de Trossachs whilst still in his teens then the Scottish Road race Championship and a member of the Scottish team which won the British 100 kilometre Team Time Trial Championship.
A move to France to catch the eye of one of the professional teams and ‘do a Robert Millar’ was the next step.
And then . . . .
Glasgow’s Katie Archibald has gone from ‘good Scottish rider’ to British championship medalist to European Champion and world team pursuit record holder – and now double World Cup medalist in a matter of weeks.
We thought it was high time to have a word.
The U23 World Road Championships race threw up a number of surprises; all of the big name Belgian, British, French and Italian favourites failed and Slovenian Matej Mohoric moved seamlessly up from junior to U23 Champion of the World.
In second place was a young man who chased the Slovenian all the way to the line and once again reminded us that African cycling has to be taken seriously. Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka and Republic of South Africa) kept the African Pro Continental squad’s dream of a season rolling with the silver medal.
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.
It’s Lombardia and the Trossachs today; that means just one thing – it’s almost time for the Six Days. It looks like VeloVeritas won’t be emptying any ‘you know what’ pails this year – but you never know . . . We will be at Gent, however – my liver gave a twinge just there – as fans.
De Karper, The Hotel Adoma, Bar Vivaldi, the ‘cross up at Koksijde – I can’t help but smile at the thought. But we thought that you might like to hear what it was like to be a six day runner back in a time when the sixes meant more than they do now. The big road stars were in action and it was full houses all across Europe – particularly in Germany.
John Purser is the man’s name and here’s his tale.
When do the boys at VeloVeritas stop thinking about the Six Days? When we’re sleeping; but sometimes we dream about them . . .
A man who we’ve had the pleasure to work with and who impressed us with his speed and spirit is America’s Guy East – and he’s crazier than us about the Sixes. We thought we’d give him a shout and see how he’s coping with a world of sunshine, no Euro pop, real food and proper toilets.
As the Pros battle it out across Flanders, the young men who aspire to do the same in the future are locking horns in another famous name from the history of warfare – Normandy. Le Tour de Normandie is one of the premier events on the calendar for men on the way up – Viatcheslav Ekimov, Thor Hushovd and Samuel Dumoulin are among the riders who have won the race.
This year’s winner was a man who’s already proved his worth on the track; 22 year-old Swiss rider Silvan Dillier of the BMC Development Team took the GC by a scant three seconds from 2011 winner, Alex Blain (France & Raleigh). VeloVeritas spoke to Dillier the day after his Normandie triumph.
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.
If you’re in love with the sport, sometimes it breaks your heart. I can remember sitting in my living room watching Bjarne Riis and Luc Leblanc squabble by the road side about whether the race should continue during the ‘Festina Tour’ – a race ultimately won by Marco Pantani.
Tears were close; ‘what are they doing to the Tour?’ I remember thinking. Riis, Leblanc and Pantani – God rest his soul – have all since been proved to be cheats on a monumental scale. And it’s my sincere wish that Mr. Riis has taken a trip to Damascus since those horrible days and that his modus operandi are very different from those of 15 years ago.
‘Naturellement’ says the headline in L’Équipe. It’s ambiguous, to say the least. Does it mean that the Ventoux was always to be the place where Froome was going to place his stamp on things? – after all I wasn’t the only one who tipped him or Voeckler for the stage win.
Or does it mean they think he’s ‘clean’ – natural? Or are they being sarcastic, meaning that his performances are anything but natural? It’s hard to tell; but the paper is owned by ASO who run the Tour.
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 15: Givors > Mont Ventoux, 242km. Froome Stamps.
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 14: Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule > Lyon, 191km. Trentin Takes It
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 13: Tours > Saint-Amand-Montrond, 173km. Saxo Bank’s Ambush
- Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 12: Fougères > Tours, 218km. Kittel’s Third Win!