We were there, walking the streets and parks of Glasgow – until the Monsoons came and discretion became the better part of valour at which times the words of Doctor Samuel Johnson have never rang more true;
‘There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.’
Especially if it has an HD tele…
Here’s the VeloVeritas take on our day in Glasgow – the good and the not so good.
1. Geraint Thomas, the biggest bear
It was 2007 when we first met up with Geraint Thomas, he was 21 years-old and riding the Tour de France in Claudio Corti’s Barloworld team along with a certain Christopher Froome.
They’ve both come along way since then – Thomas has been a multiple Worlds and Olympics gold medal winner and record holder; he’s won stages in major races and established himself as one of the best Classics riders in the world – he was third in the E3, seventh in Paris-Roubaix and eighth in Flanders, this year.
And on Sunday on the streets of Glasgow he proved that his ‘grinta‘ is beyond question.
As we watched the race unfold, in our bar – and hoped that bronchitis wasn’t setting in – our hearts said; ‘Bauer’ but our heads said; ‘Thomas.’
We had thought it would be Thwaites who made the move on the long drag up Saint Vincent Street towards the West End but it was Thomas; and once he was gone, he was gone – despite the best efforts of neutral service to thwart him, but more of that later.
An Epic race and a brilliant winner – there’s little else to say.
2. Lizzie Armitstead, la course en tête
Olympic silver and now Commonwealth gold, there’s little doubt that Ms. Armitstead is now firmly established as one of the best in the world – and she won in the grand manner, alone and with no need to demonstrate her killer sprint.
3. Glasgow Skyline
In a word, glorious.
Whilst we love the hi-tech towers of the city centre there’s little to beat the splendour of the spires and sandstone of the West End – and to have so much greenery is a luxury many big cities don’t enjoy.
A fitting backdrop to a great race.
4. Ladies peloton – oh dear
But now, we take off the rose tinted glasses.
Whilst we’re constantly told that ladies racing should enjoy the same exposure, kudos and prizes as the men, on this display that’s wishful thinking.
Despite being out-classed by the World Tour mastodons the male riders from the lesser cycling nations continued to race as best they could until they succumbed or were pulled out.
The ladies peloton – we exclude the lead group from these comments – meanwhile, chatted, smiled and ambled around the circuit in what was a major shop window and advert for their sport.
If the girls in that peloton are serious about wishing to raise the profile and level of their sport then they should put on a show for their public.
And it would be interesting to hear what their management have to say; ‘well, she was saving herself for the sprint – for eighth place…’
5. Glasgow Rain
There’s rain and there’s rain.
This rain came straight from the rain forests, turned a tough day into a Norse Saga but did force us into a rather nice bar…
6. Neutral Service, dear dear
It’s a good job Geraint Thomas is a laid back character; I remember seeing a video of when Raymond Poulidor punctured a front tyre in Paris-Roubaix back in the 60’s.
Unhappy with the mechanic’s wheel change, ‘Pou Pou’ was cuffing the poor soul around the ears as he squatted in the mud and tried to adjust the quick release between dodging the blows.
We know it’s not helped by that daft UCI rule about having ‘tabs’ on the front fork ends but the wheel change Geraint was subjected to when he punctured on the last lap whilst alone in the lead really was a shocker.
7. Peter Kennaugh’s 100 klometre plus time trial
Cav reckons it was a ‘gutsy ride’ – if it was part of the Sky plan to soften the Aussies up for Geraint then that’s fine.
If not then; ‘what the hell was that all about?‘ or maybe he was training for the ‘100’ – he had enough watts to win from where we were watching.
8. Caleb Ewan, gets it wrong
It’s not often the Aussies get it wrong – but we simply could not figure out what was this very talented young man was trying to achieve.
There was no way he was going to bridge, he should have dropped back to Renshaw and Clark – but it’s always easy to direct a race in front of a tele with a brandy in your hand.
9. School of Art
So sad to see one of Glasgow and Scotland’s great buildings so horribly scarred – we hope it won’t be long until it’s restored to it’s former glory.
10. Poncho Envy
Callum and I were ashamed of ourselves, but we did suffer from ‘poncho envy’ when we saw these Tunnock’s Tea Cake ponchos.
Castelli thermal tops?
Keep them, just give us the tea cake jobs!
11. Arnold Clark
But that said, grateful thanks to Mr. Arnold Clark and the lovely young ladies who dispensed free ponchos to us – we’d be in intensive care if it wasn’t for your generosity.
12. No Mean City
If you want to know what Glasgow was between the wars then read, ‘No Mean City’ a harrowing but painfully truthful account of the city’s darker side.
And sometimes when you look along those dark alleys, just off the glamorous boulevards…
13. Shane Archbold, hero
He’s another of the ‘good guys’ unaffected by his abilities and successes as a bike rider – he goes away from these Games with a gold from the scratch, bronze from the team pursuit and perhaps the ‘man of the match’ award in the road race for setting things up perfectly for Jack Bauer when the conditions were at their absolute worst.
14. Scott Thwaites, coming man
Second in the Ronde Van Drenthe, sixth in Nokere Koerse it’s only a matter of time before Thwaites lands a big win.
If we’d been in the team car we’d have instructed fewer, shorter and less intense spells on the front – and just maybe then he could have gone with Thomas…
15. Jack Bauer, good guy
‘Our boy’ – we were heart broken when he was caught in the closing metres of Stage 15 of the Tour; today we couldn’t be sad, silver was a great ride and Thomas was more of a bear on the day.
A great, honest ride by the Kiwi – that New Zealand post-Games party should have been a good one.
16. Russell Downing, never say die
There’s not much Russell hasn’t done on a bike; World Cups, Grand Tours, kermises, Classics, Worlds – my favourite Russ Downing quote is the one James McCallum gave us; ‘I’d hate to fight Russell Downing, he never gives up, you’d have to shoot him!‘
That about sums the man up – a great ride, especially at 35 years-of-age.
17. David Millar, thank you
There was never going to be enough racing in David Millar’s legs to enable him to challenge the likes of Bauer, Clark, Renshaw and Thomas all with a Tour de France in their legs.
And on such a day it would have been easy to slide quietly into the pits – but he didn’t; 11th from 12 finishers and 139 starters.
Respect Mr. Millar, we’ll miss you.
18. Pub TV’s
There comes a time when it’s just daft, you’re drenched, the camera stops working and you’re worried your BlackBerry is going to short circuit.
A big tele, friendly staff, warming brandy and hot food – sometimes you just have to ‘wimp out.’
Another great day in The City By The Clyde – thank you for having us.
Result: Commonwealth Games 2014 - Road Race, Elite Men
2 Jack Bauer (New Zealand) 0:01:21
3 Scott Thwaites (England)
4 Russell Downing (England) 0:04:29
5 Mark Renshaw (Australia)
6 Luke Rowe (Wales) 0:04:32
7 Greg Henderson (New Zealand) 0:05:15
8 Peter Kennaugh (Isle of Man)
9 Dan Craven (Namibia) 0:09:03
10 Scott Davies (Wales) 0:10:10
11 David Millar (Scotland) 0:10:21
12 Caleb Ewan (Australia) 0:11:22
Sean Downey (Northern Ireland)
Simon Clarke (Australia)
Grant Ferguson (Scotland)
Thomas Moses (England)
Thomas Scully (New Zealand)
Owain Doull (Wales)
Shane Archbold (New Zealand)
Tobyn Horton (Guernsey)
Nathan Haas (Australia)
Michael Hepburn (Australia)
William Routley (Canada)
Jake Kelly (Isle of Man)
Connor McConvey (Northern Ireland)
Svein Tuft (Canada)
Paul Oldham (England)
James McLaughlin (Guernsey)
Roger Robert Aiken (Northern Ireland)
Till Drobisch (Namibia)
Jesse Segent (New Zealand)
Peter Hawkins (Northern Ireland)
Adrien Niyanshuti (Rwanda)
Nicholas Hamilton (Canada)
Suleiman Kangangi (Kenya)
Ed Veal (Canada)
Janvier Hadi (Rwanda)
Richard Loning’o Laizer (Tanzania)
Dominique Mayho (Bermuda)
Fraser Duncan (Northern Ireland)
Marios Athanasiadis (Cyprus)
Yannick Lincoln (Mauritius)
Christos Loizou (Cyprus)
Loh Sea Keong (Malaysia)
James McCallum (Scotland)
Michael Northey (New Zealand)
Samuel Harrison (Wales)
Matthew Osborn (Guernsey)
Geron Williams (Guyana)
Jamol Eastmond (Barbados)
Marlon Williams (Guyana)
Alanzo Greaves (Guyana)
Gerhard Mans (Namibia)
Heiko Redecker (Namibia)
Anim Samuel (Ghana)
Jeevan Jayasinghe (Sri Lanka)
Gasore Hategeka (Rwanda)
Agorir Ngasike (Kenya)
Jyme Bridges (Antigua and Barbuda)
John Muya (Kenya)
Muhammad Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi (Malaysia)
Andrew Fenn (Scotland)
Mark Christian (Isle of Man)
Alex Dowsett (England)
Dennis Rohan (Australia)
Raynauth Jeffrey (Guyana)
David Njau (Kenya)
James Roe (Guernsey)
Jordan Lebon (Mauritius)
Teboho Khantsi (Lesotho)
Evan Oliphant (Scotland)
Jack Pullar (Scotland)
Andrew Roche (Isle of Man)
Elliot Baxter (Isle of Man)
Costa Seibib (Namibia)
Remi Pelletier (Canada)
Emmanuel Philimon Mollely (Tanzania)
Michael Serafin (Guernsey)
Aaron Bailey (Guernsey)
Robert Barnes (Jamaica)
Arvind Panwar (India)
Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (Rwanda)
Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwanda)
Valens Ndayisenga (Rwanda)
Jonathan Mould (Wales)
Morgan Rudd (Swaziland)
Ara Mondjem (Swaziland)
Orano Andrews (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)
Cameron Adams (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)
Buddihika Warnakula Sooriya (Sri Lanka)
Edward Pothin (Seychelles)
Chris Germain (Seychelles)
Antoine Arrisol (Seychelles)
Loto Petrus (Namibia)
Sebastien Tyack (Mauritius)
Mike Cong Chin (Mauritius)
Leonard Tsoyo (Malawi)
Missi Kathumba (Malawi)
Richard Tanguy (Jersey)
Amit Kumar (India)
Muhammad I’Maadi Abd Aziz (Brunei Darussalam)
Ron Vasquez (Belize)
Gregory Lovell (Belize)
Giovanni Lovell (Belize)
Joel Borland (Belize)
Jay Major (Bahamas)
Marvin Spencer (Antigua and Barbuda)
Anthony Colebrook (Bahamas)
Chad Albury (Bahamas)
Danny Laud (Anguilla)
Anthony Muite (Kenya)
Oneil Samuels (Jamaica)
Marloe Rodman (Jamaica)
Ian Stannard (England)
Michele Smith (Cayman Islands)
Zachary Bell (Canada)
Andre Simon (Antigua and Barbuda)
Phetetso Monese (Lesotho)
Manjeet Singh (India)
Moses Sesay (Sierra Leone)
Suresh Bishnoi (India)
Scott Savory (Guyana)
Deangelo Stirrup (Bahamas)
Roy Colebrook Jnr (Bahamas)
Sebastian Kigongo Semakula (Uganda)
Leon Matovu (Uganda)
Abdul Umar (Ghana)
Mohammed Osman (Ghana)
Anthony Boakye Dankwa (Ghana)
Kris Pradel (Anguilla)
Sherwin Osborne (Anguilla)
Joseph Kelly (Isle of Man)
Jesse Kelly (Isle of Man)
Shreedhar Savanur (India)
Christian Spence (Jersey)
Benjamin Philip (Anguilla)
Justin Hodge (Anguilla)
Philip Lavery (Northern Ireland)
Christopher Symonds (Ghana)