It’s tacky, it’s clichéd, but we have to do it — Review of 2008. VeloVeritas didn’t manage to get to every big race in Scotland in 2008, but we didn’t do too badly.

2008 Review
The great Jason MacIntyre. Photo©Ed Hood

But before we look at where we were and who did what, I want to mention one sad day in January. Jason Macintyre: the year started in tragic fashion when we lost ‘our hero,’ as Bob Taylor called him; if you’re like me, you’ll be missing him.

* * *

Gifford Super Six

The new series was sent off with a flourish in this superbly-well organised race. The Pedal Power boys showed that they meant business, by forcing the race pattern early, and placing five riders in the top ten. Gary Hand put time into everyone and soloed across the line, followed by Gordon Murdoch and Ross Creber – who showed good form from the start of the year to the end.

2008 Review
Gary Hand and Gordon Murdoch. Photo©Martin Williamson

* * *

The Girvan

<p “>We only managed the last stage, this year — Ed had to decide between Girvan and Milan — San Remo (in a Saunier team car); it was a tough choice! Kristian House was a classy last stage winner and it was only that terrier toughness of Russell Downing’s that saved the GC from slipping to the swarthy Rapha man. As James McCallum said of the Downing brothers; “If you were in a fight with them you’d have to shoot them, they never give in!

2008 Review
Russell Downing – showing the strain. Photo©Ed Hood

* * *

Wanlockhead Super Six

Gary Hand reckoned “It’ll be hard for someone to win who’s not in Pedal Power!” but in the event Dooley’s Arthur Doyle survived the pot-holes, crashes and attacks to take the win ahead of Phil Brown and Micky Mallen. Best Pedal Power was 9th, but ride of the day went to Dean Martin – in his fist year as a junior and only just coming back from a broken collar bone – finishing on the wheel of round one winner Gary Hand to take the Junior prize.

2008 Review
Arthur Doyle. Photo©Martin Williamson

* * *

Greenacres Super Six

Gordon Murdoch was in full ‘Beast’ form for that one, but Arthur Doyle made it a good race to watch. We liked the ‘Hell’ section and the crashes were spectacular — no injuries, so it’s OK to joke.

2008 Review
Gordon gets up the climbs ok for a big guy. Photo©Martin Williamson

* * *

The 10 Champs

It was Arthur again, on the Kippen Flats, winning despite an illness the week prior — if he’d been in full effect, it would have been below the magic 20 minutes.

2008 Review
Arthur nearly on the boil.

* * *

Giro d’Italia

We spent a week working at the Giro – and what a week; a finish at the top of the Alpe di Pampeago where Simoni took the race by the scruff of it’s neck 5 years ago; the next stage had no less that 6 serious climbs including the Passo Fedaia where it’s the first time a stage finished at the summit. These were followed the by an outrageous mountain time trial with nothing but uphill; a couple of “easier” days, and the second last stage was an awesome 224-kilometre run over the Passo Gavia, the very steep Passo del Mortirolo and the infamous Aprica, before arriving in Tirano and a time trial. Contador stamped his class all over this race.

2008 Review
Dave Millar.

* * *

Leven Super Six

Callum Wilkinson (thebicycleworks.com) lead on his own for a third of the race, but professional Evan Oliphant (Plowman Craven) outsprinted consistent Ross Creber (SIS— Trek) on the quiet country lane towards Cupar, the two of them had escaped the field on the 3rd – and last – ascent of the difficult, draggy Prime Hill towards Largo Ward.

2008 Review
Evan Oliphant and James McCallum. Photo©Martin Williamson

* * *

The 25 Champs

The ‘pusher off’ dropped Mark Atkinson at the start of the 10; but he got his own back in the 25. The ‘tester’s tester’ gave a demonstration of brute strength on the dual carriageways south of Aberdeen to take the Blue Riband of time trials.

Mark Atkinson.
Mark Atkinson.

* * *

The 50 Champs

Mark again, on the windswept tarmac around the Cromarty Firth, with a nice performance from Jonathan Copp for silver — then the long drive home down the A9!

2008 Review
And again.

* * *

Lang Whang Super Six

On a summer’s day more akin to October, with a strong wind bringing the rain in at 45 degrees and the temperature barely above zero, two riders jumped the race-winning break and shared the work equally to the finish. The more experienced Gordon Murdoch pulled away from Michael Nicolson to win and increase his lead in the overall series.

2008 Review
Gordon enjoys another win. Photo©Martin Williamson

* * *

Le Tour de France

We were lucky to be able to work on the last half of this year’s race, and saw Sastre take command on L’Alpe D’Huez, possibly not the game plan that CSC had envisaged. On the way we travelled with the race into Italy and back; saw Oscar Pereiro crash out; interviewed loads of riders and photographed tons of bikes; gawped as the race went over the Bonnet-Restefond and hurtled down the other side to Jausiers trying to keep up with the autobus; we followed the Lampre team – pushing an injured Cunego at 30mph – for 100 miles!; spent a stage on an official race motorbike; watched riders in the time trial from our car right behind them; and travelled into Paris in the publicity caravan!

2008 Review
Final Stage winner Steegmans.

* * *

National Road Race Champs

Back in the old country again, the scenery was just as great, the sun came out and the organisation was good – Pedal Power tried hard; but that Oliphant character has world champion’s legs — they’re hard to beat at the end!

2008 Review
Evan controls the race.

* * *

The Team Time Trial Champs

Arthur was the man of the moment, spending one heck of a lot of time at the front of the victorious Dooley’s squadra; despite loosing Graeme McGarrity ‘early doors,’ — but was Graeme saving it for the vets road race, the next day?

2008 Review
Dooley’s Cycles take the TTT.

* * *

The Vets’ Road Race

McGarrity may have been saving himself, but John Kermode still beat him in the sprint; that was no surprise, the Dundee taxi driver had been third in the National senior road race champs.

2008 Review
John Kermode leads the bunch.

* * *

The 100 Champs

It was at Invergordon — again — and we couldn’t make it; but managed a chat with Jim Cusick after the event, he was a pub in Evanton. Next year we’re going to try and do more pub-based interviews!

2008 Review
Jim Cusick.

* * *

East Saltoun East District Champs Super Six

Those Pedal Power boys were just too strong for everyone — Gaza and Gogza finished it off with a classy two-up on a freezing day in East Lothian.

2008 Review
Gaza and Gogza.

* * *

The 12 Champs

Third placed Steve Beech has ridden two Milk Races and ten 12 hour races, so when he tells you that this year’s Scottish ’12’ was the hardest one he’s ever ridden, he knows what he’s talking about. Winner Carlos Riise agreed;”It was a hard windy day, not sure if I’ve recovered yet. Though I was surprised with my distance, I guess I must have gotten the position right on the day.” His distance of 268 miles, putting Kenny Kentley into silver, would certainly verify that.

2008 Review
Carlos Riise.

* * *

La Vuelta a España

Cycling fans were waiting 6 years for the controversial climb of El Angliru to be included in the Vuelta; a climb that, after having appeared only three times before was already a living part of cycling history. Contador added his name to the list of previous winners; José María Jiménez, Gilberto Simoni and Roberto Heras, the only three riders to have won on the Asturian climb so far, and we were there to watch the action, but first there were mechanics to annoy.

2008 Review
Sastre leads Leipheimer on the Angrilu.

* * *

The Criterium Champs

Once again, the Pedal Power team showed their strength by dominating a championship – this time their Kevin Barclay beating team-mate and fellow-escapee Scott Macrae into second, with Dooley’s Paul Rennie third in a cold and wet dash around Glasgow Green.

2008 Review
The Pedal Power boys rip it up.

* * *

The Trossachs

There’s no better race, a real classic, we love it. ‘Man of the season,’ Arthur was too strong for everyone; and the sun was shining — perfect.

2008 Review
Arthur Doyle gives it laldy with a couple of miles to go.

* * *

The Hill Climb Champs

We’ve whinged enough about the organisation, so let’s be positive — it was good to see Ben Abrahams ‘doing the biz;’ let’s hope for more of the same from him in ’09.

2008 Review
Ben Abrahams.

* * *

The ‘Cross Champs

Scotland’s newest pro ran away with it on a well designed course — but jings! it was cold!

2008 Review
Ross Creber.

* * *

Sir Chris Hoy

Winner of, well everything he entered this year really, including those three fantastic Olympic titles, following three World Championships and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year topped off with a Knighthood. Chapeau neebz!

2008 Review
Chapeau!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our rantings this year; we’re going to try to give you a bit more next year, meanwhile we hope 2009 is all you want it to be, for you and yours.