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.
Silas Golsdworthy put the disappointment of not being part of the Scottish Commonwealth Games team firmly behind him by taking victory in the country’s 50 Mile Time Trial Championship today with a stunning 1:43:48, the second fastest 50 miles ever ridden in Scotland and only 45 seconds off Graeme Obree’s 21 year old record.
Goldsworthy’s Sandy Wallace Cycles teammate Alan Thomson took the silver medal with 1:47:09, and of course the club took the team prize too – veteran Steve Beech providing the important third counting time of 2:02:25.
Alberto Contador’s withdrawal was a huge shock to the Tinkoff team and immediately after it Michael Rogers said; “It’s the first stage without Alberto, and the sadness is not just something we can leave at the rest day hotel. But we have a strong team and we’re all in a good condition. So we’ll be setting new goals and ambitions and shift our focus to taking home stage wins.”
10 years ago we’d have been knocked out by Nibali’s riding – now we question. It’s not a case of cynicism or love of the ‘D-word’ gossip, it’s just that we were fooled for so long and so comprehensively that if a rider is dominating in the fashion of ‘The Shark’ then one does wonder – it’s impossible not to.
That said there’s another parallel track in my brain which runs along the lines of the fact that the man has slowly been coming to the boil for a dozen years, since the days of his win in the Italian Junior Road race Championships in 2002.
- Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 12; Bourg-en-Bresse – Saint-Étienne, 183 km. Alexander Kristoff Takes His First
- Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 11; Besançon – Oyonnax, 186 km. Tony Gallopin Encore.
- Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 10: Mulhouse – La Planche des Belles Filles, 161 km. Nibali Wins, Contador Crashes
- Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 9; Gérardmer – Mulhouse, 166 km. Tony Martin Solo
Welcome to VeloVeritas’ coverage of the Tour de France 2014. Stage one looked like a “truce” to VV – except for that finale, of course. We give our views on Cav and a few other aspects of the 2014 “Grand Boucle” (with a bittie to Yorkshire tacked on, that is.)
You’d have to be devoid of a soul not to feel sorry for the man – even more so when he puts his hand up and says; “my fault!”. Last year he wasn’t at his best in le Tour, despite the stage wins. He’d finished a very hard Giro – aren’t they all ? – and then rode the Tour.
There can only be one winner and that was Enrico; but there were other men who were outstanding on the day.
Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R & Italy) is looking more dangerous by the day, his team is committed and strong and he looks the least stressed of the ‘Bigs’ – and that mountain time trial must have a big red ring around it on his programme.
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.
He’s one of the men to thank/blame for the current plethora of facial hair in the pro peloton; add to that a dazzling array of pained expressions and you have one of the most photographed professionals around – Dutchman, Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin).
The 33 year-old from Zuidwolde in Groningen has been on the scene for a long time but it’s only in the last few years he’s emerged as a man whose name is mentioned in connection with the GC of Grand Tours.
Dan Fleeman has been British National U23 Road Race Champion and twice British Hill Climb Champion; and now he’s gone and won another national title – the British Cross Country Marathon Mountain Bike Championship. We’d been meaning to speak to him about his new title for ages but needed our memories jogged; so he came up with eighth place in the Beaumont Trophy road race putting him among the UCI Euro Tour points.
And then – he placed 14th in the British Elite Road Race Championship.
It’s been a while since last VeloVeritas spoke to former ‘Man in Black’ and African Road Race Champion, Dan Craven – 2009 to be exact, just after the Drummond Trophy which Dan rode for his Rapha Condor team. With his recent hook-up with Jean Rene Bernadeau’s Europcar squad we thought it was high time we had another word with the man with the most hair in professional cycling, and we heard all it in Part One of our interview with Dan yesterday.
In Part Two here, the conversation turns to Dan’s home country of Namibia as we find out about the country and it’s cycling, the growth of the sport on the African continent and we learn a little more about his previous teams.
It’s been a while since last VeloVeritas spoke to former ‘Man in Black’ and African Road Race Champion, Dan Craven – 2009 to be exact, just after the Drummond Trophy which Dan rode for his Rapha Condor team.
With his recent hook-up with Jean Rene Bernadeau’s Europcar squad we thought it was high time we had another word with the man with the most hair in professional cycling. This season has seen a win on GC in the Tour du Cameroon in the colours of German team, Bike Aid-Ride For Help. We caught up with Dan at his new home in the Vendee to talk African Cycling, Europcar – and big hair.
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!
I want to continue racing, I’ve got a lot to give and a lot to improve. If I can’t race, working within the sport would be fantastic too. I would be good in many roles within the sport. Maybe if all goes arse-ways and I have to leave I’ll set up my own team some time into the future.
The fact I feel tranquil now is the fact I’ve got an education, a business and I have lived my dreams as a cyclist. I’m looking forward and I’ll keep riding my bike. I love cycling.