We hope you enjoyed our series of interviews with Scotland’s medal prospects for The Gold Coast – we certainly enjoyed speaking to such talented and highly motivated young men and women.

But let’s not got too cocky, endorsing what Katie said in her interview we’ve heard again that the Aussies are prioritising the Commonwealth Games – on their home ground – above The Worlds.

‘Lighter’ than normal teams have been representing them at the World Cups and it’s all about peaking early April for them.

We’ve warned you…

Blandford
The latest Team Sky / Chris Froome problem stinks to high heaven.

Froomey

It all tumbled out before we put this piece together, but we best say a word or two about it.

On the one hand there are the Froome/Sky haters; this is meat and drink to them.

‘Told you so’ and unbridled joy.

Then there are the ‘believers’ who grasp at the social media posts which explain it all deftly away.

And besides, we know Chris is such a nice guy, he’d never take drugs.

Tyler Hamilton is the nicest man you could ever meet…

The bottom line is that this mess stinks.

There’s something not right.

What troubles us is that if Sky and Froome were, ‘doing the right thing’ then they’d have pulled Froome from competition as soon as the test results were released.

This would have demonstrated transparency and on a practical note would have meant that any suspension would have been back dated to when he ‘pulled’ himself.

Instead, Froome – for no doubt big bucks contract fees – swans around the Orient and just days ago confirms his appearance at the Giro’s ‘Big Start’ in Jerusalem.

It looks very much to us that is the Guardian and Le Monde hadn’t broken this story then it would have been buried – how else should we view Froome’s nonchalance?

And why is it only now that he’s putting a legal team together?

Why didn’t that process start as soon as he received the test results?

We may never get to the bottom if it all but for Sky, a team which prides itself on attention to detail, it beggars belief that they should find themselves in this predicament.

Sky and Froome may wriggle out of this but the team’s credibility is shot.

It’s not a matter for rejoicing at Sky’s misfortune or criticism of the UCi/WADA rules and protocols.

It’s a time for sadness that the team which brought us GB’s first Tour de France win will now forever be mentioned in the same breath as Gewiss, Festina, Telekom, Phonak and Postal.

 

Blandford

Men can be such BITCHES

Let’s continue with a word of caution for the ladies; if you’re going to kit up then don’t let your boyfriend do the Ferrari/Fuente gig for you.

Because if you have a lovers’ tiff then he may well grass you up, Cycling Weekly tells us;

Jenna Blandford, who won the US Masters National Marathon Mountain Bike Championship in 2016 (a title that she will now lose as part of the ban), was found to have used testosterone, human growth hormone (HGH) and oxandrolone last year, with a four-year ban imposed following a hearing at the American Arbitration Association (AAA).

The case came about after Jeff Miller, Blandford’s ex-boyfriend, had reported her to the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and cooperated with its investigations, accepting that he would also receive a four-year ban for doping offences.”

Blandford
Chris Froome happy at La Vuelta. Photo©CyclingWeekly

Vik’s Pressies

Vik’s back from Spain and as you can imagine he’s loving the weather.

He brought me back a pressie, the Alberto retirement special edition of one of the Spanish magazines, loads of colour pics and stats – nice.

Think what you like about Alberto but he was a racer – at VeloVeritas, we’ll miss him.

In another mag which Viktor gave me there’s a big feature on a man you may remember – Chris Tonge who raced as a professional in Belgium in the early part of the millennium for Flanders and Endura.

Chris lives in Spain now and rode the entire route of the 2017 Tour de France, three days in advance of the actual race.

He did this for charity, and wait for it – on fixed wheel.

Going up those cols is one thing, coming down them on fixed wheel is another…

We’ll probably not be hearing too much from Vik for the next few months – he’s doing a lot of preparatory work on his royal wedding scrapbooks…

Cycling Plus Models

For reasons I won’t bore you with, the Cycling Plus magazine has been dropping on my mat each month despite my best efforts to prevent this phenomena.

On one of the product review pages – that’s most of the magazine – there’s a piece on the new Zipp (whale fin) wheels at £3,700 a pair.

Immediately below is a mention of the new Campag disc gruppo, similarly labelled at £3, 443.

Seven grand and we’ve not even got round to a frame yet…

And on the subject of C+ why do all the models look like they have constipation?

The Spanish mags do it so much better with the riders’ poses looking so much more natural.

Blandford

Back to Moolah

Word is the Giro is getting 10 million euros from Israel to hold the first three stages there – and Sky/Christopher are rumoured to be on a further two mil.

However, you may have observed that the venue for Stage One is no longer ‘West Jerusalem’ but now simply ‘Jerusalem.’

The Israeli’s negotiating stance demonstrated their usual lightness of touch; ‘change it or the deal is off.

As you may be aware, the Israeli’s annexed East Jerusalem, which was actually the Palestinian capital, during the ‘Six Day War’ in 1967.

In a unanimous General Assembly resolution, the UN declared the measures trying to change the status of the city invalid and the matter of the Holy City’s sovereignty remains unresolved.

Donald Trump’s announcement that the US embassy is relocating from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem must have delighted the Pink Race team when they read that over their first espresso of the day.

The chances of the Giro stages in Israel passing without incident?

Nil.

But on to what’s of real import in this crazy world – what of Our Wiggo?

And we thought he’d retired?

Nope, he’s rowing now and looking more like Chewbacca’s secret love child every day…

Thanks Barry

Whilst on the subject of ‘dodgy substances’ I read the new book, ‘The Ascent’ by Barry Ryan t’other day.

VeloVeritas is flattered; we get a name check in the acknowledgements for source material.

BlandfordHowever, the main thrust of the tome is that Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche were both well kitted up.

The big questions are;

“Who cares?”

And

“Who wasn’t kitted up, in those pelotons?”

Still, it was a good read and also drew my attention to the fact that whilst Paul Kimmage was a world class cyclist, he is also a world class practitioner of the ‘F’ word.

Reading so much of what Kimmage had to say and the references to ‘A Rough Ride’ his ‘drugs expose’ book, which is actually kindergarten stuff compared to Tyler Hamilton’s book, inspired me to re-read his ‘spitting in the soup’ book.

It was sobering to read inside the front cover that Martin (our Editor) bought me it for my birthday 27 years ago, but anyway…

Re-read it I duly did.

When you read how hard Kimmage found it in the pro ranks, particularly Le Tour it’s a wonder anyone could resist dabbling.

And remember that Kimmage was top six in the Amateur Worlds and came very close to winning the Milk Race.

In Kimmage’s day at his level it wasn’t just hard, it was savage.

When we look at the drastically reduced number of race days the pros have in 2018 and the fact that few ‘roadies’ ride the Six Days anymore we should be relieved – because to race the number of days they used to and then a winter season on top of it simply isn’t feasible on bread and water.

And to close?

Blandford
Jamie McGahan was one of several top class Scottish riders in the 70’s and ’80’s. Photo©John Pierce/PhotoSport International UK USA Asia

The Good Old Days

Our pal Stevie McCaw asked me the other day if I could help him with the top 10 finishers in the 1978 British Amateur Road Race Championship.

I’ll spare you that.

But the top five makes interesting reading:

  1. Robert Millar
  2. Steve Lawrence
  3. Des Fretwell
  4. Sandy Gilchrist
  5. Jamie McGahan

Three Scots in the first five.

And the chances of that happening nowadays are … ?