In this rant we discuss Laura Kenny, Thomas Dekker, Jan Ullrich, Gianni Savio – but first: Sir Brad wasn’t even off his bike when the phone rang;
“Are you watching this?
“Isn’t it heartwarming, nostalgic?
“I’m almost in tears …”
Yes, friend of VeloVeritas Vik had just watched the finale of the Gent Six Day on the box, so did I.
For the first time in years I wasn’t there – that ‘real life’ stuff got in the way.
And Vik might have added; “isn’t Carlton’s commentary wonderful?”
All ‘de Brits,’ as the Belgians call us, could go home happy but whilst the finale wasn’t as bad as when Brad won with Matt Gilmore in 2003 – Bruno Risi was kicking back so hard we thought his chain might come off – it was not the ‘theatre’ it’s supposed to be.
When Danny Stam and Robert Slippens won in 2004, when Iljo scored his first win with Matt Gilmore in 2005 and when Michael Mørkøv and Alex Rasmussen won in 2009 the finales were brilliant – everything on the last lap.
The Englishmen had to take a lap to win – but did they have to take it so quickly and easily?
‘Back in the day’ when Bruno Risi was ringmaster they’d have been hung out there for 10 laps and made to work hard for the junction – and it would have come inside the last couple of laps.
But the Sixes have changed and I best get used to that …
12 things you didn’t know about Jason and Laura
Sticking with ‘National Treasures’, November 10th’s Cycling Weekly brought us ’12 things you didn’t know about Jason and Laura Kenny’ – to push their new book (that one I said Vik has pre-ordered the other week).
“Jason once ate four out-of-date yoghurts, despite not being hungry.
“And not liking yoghurt.”
Enough said, I think.
But Laura and Jason aren’t off the hook, oh no …
Let’s cast our minds back to British Cycling’s ‘Sexism’ scandal – those girls are serious professional athletes and should be treated as such.
They should be treated with dignity and respect – but ‘hud oan a minute!’
Did you see the pictures of Laura in her wee skin tight number and ‘kinky’ boots?
Yet again, I’m confused, serious athletes or sexual objects – which is it?
Ah yes, the ‘S-word.’
Dekker’s Tell-All Book
Small wonder that Thomas Dekker’s palmarès become a tad sketchy after 2007.
Perhaps if he’d spent less time watching porn and with hookers and more time training he’d have kept those wins coming, even after his ban.
His lurid claims may well be true but there’s little doubt he’s trying to create tabloid headlines to sell books.
I don’t know about you but I’m O/D-ed on 1990/2000’s doping stories; it was bad, we know but if anyone is daft or desperate enough to kit up now – they deserve everything they get.
Jan Ullrich still in the public eye
On the subject of ‘those who transgressed’ I see Big Jan Ullrich was in London for a Rapha gig with Ned Boulting interviewing him.
I always liked Big Jan, not least because of the impossible gears he always used to turn, but he’s from the same mould as Lance, Tyler, Floyd et al.
I chuckled when Travis Tygart told us that US Postal ran ‘the most sophisticated doping programme ever’ – like laying on the bus floor in a car park with a blood bag taped to the bulkhead?
Jan’s mob had professors in Germany’s finest universities handling their kitting.
But good luck to Jan – he’ll need the dosh, his car insurance premium must be diabolic after all those crashes.
Pay to Ride? Nothing to see here
Carrying on with the subject of ‘Monkeydom’ we have the ‘pay to ride’ scandal in Italy.
There’s nothing new about riders having to ‘bring something to the party’ – back in the 70’s it was common practice for Belgian pros to have two contracts.
One to keep the Belgian Federation happy and one which agreed how much of the legitimate salary had to be paid back to the sponsor.
The late Frans Assez of Flanders Racing fame was always keen to have riders bring a personal sponsor on board.
And I could name two Scottish riders whose ‘dowry’ to their respective pro teams was provided by a wealthy Scottish cycling enthusiast businessman.
Gianni Savio manager of Androni Giacattoli Sidermec is one of those ‘accused’ along with Bruno Reverberi of Bardiani.
I don’t know Reverberi but have spoken to Savio many a time – there’s no denying there’s a touch of the Arthur Daley’s about him but here’s the thing – if he gets sanctioned, disillusioned and quits the sport, who’s going to replace him?
Men like Savio and Reverberi with their contacts and street wise may not be in the Marc Madiot or Patrick Lefevre league but they keep an awful lot of people in jobs, give opportunities to young riders, riders in their twilight and riders who need a second chance.
In my book the sport would be the poorer without them.
And sticking with the theme of dosh, moolah, lucre – I remember when the World Tour was launched and all the criteria the UCI laid out for a race to be able to join the chosen few as part of the World Tour roster; two of the criteria were ‘historic’ – the race had to have a history behind it – and ‘ethical’ in that it had to meet high standards.
Forget all that parp, there’s just one criteria now; aforementioned dosh/moolah/lucre – the desert? No problem. Air polluted China? Sure.
Here’s our Swiss bank account IBAN number – just email when the transfer’s done…
Yes, I know ‘money makes the world go round’ what with the latest Zipps costing three-and-a-half grand and based on whale’s fins and all – but how do those East European Dudes win Flemish kermises on 1,000 Euro bikes?
To close on a positive note it’s nice to see recent VeloVeritas Irish interviewee, Conor Hennebry has signed with AN Post and will be a teammate of our own Mark Stewart for season 2017 – good to see young men realising their dream in what’s still a beautiful sport, despite Vik and my rantings.