In the language of the Gael, Glasgow is, ‘The Dear Green Place,’ on Sunday for the European Road Race Championship it was certainly ‘green’ – we’re not do sure about ‘dear’ though; it was grey, miserable, and wet – just plain DREICH.
But we still love the city – last time we went west for the Commonwealth Games Road Race, this time we decided to get soaked in the East End.
I hope you like my (dull grey) pictures from our wander round the east end of the circuit.
Lap one and first man to ‘honour the race’ was JLT Condor’s Irishman, Robert-Jon McCarthy who’s a double stage winner in the Ràs.
Big Ian Stannard wasn’t looking like he was enjoying things and all those Buchanan Street buskers wouldn’t be chuffed about losing their pitch for the day.
The Kristoff fans were out in the drizzle but it wasn’t to be a repeat, the reigning champion and Tour de France last stage winner was just one of scores of DNF.
And here’s the man himself, before he ‘chucked it’ – if you’re as old as me then you’ll remember the Kellogg’s City Centre Criterium winging through that arch back in the 80’s.
I tried for an ‘arty’ shot here with the seven man break which had formed around McCarthy cresting the hill – not sure it worked, the Glasgow weather and my Nikon just weren’t getting along.
And even this early in the day the Italians were present at the head of the peloton.
“My gears are slipping, honest!” – but you only get away with that the one time.
Remember the tall skinny guy who attacked on the Poggio in The Primavera, giving Nibali the stepping stone to his beautiful victory?
Krists Neilands, Israel Cycling Academy, is the man; this year he successfully defended his Latvian Road Race Champion status and won on the tough gravel roads of the Dwars door het Hageland in Belgium, he’s a coming man.
Here he leads the break into the top turn at the Cathedral.
And those I-talanz, as Sean Kelly calls them, were still to the fore, not too much slack cut by these boys.
And not one rider even stole a glance at the beautiful cathedral in front of them.
An appropriate street sign on a day of constant greyness and drizzle.
My amigo from the Six Day races, Vojtech Hachecky (Elkov Author & Czech Republic) was another man not looking like he was having fun as the bunch streamed down into the heart of the city.
His ex-pro brother, Martin is Eurosport’s answer to Brian Smith in the Czech Republic.
Sorry about the weather, my friend.
And aren’t those murals wonderful?
Remember 70’s/80’s TI Raleigh super domestique and former Netherlands Professional Road Race Champion, Henk Luberding?
This was his bike; it lets Laurence Morgan look after it…
Opening time and a man can get down to a few tins and a game on the box, never mind all this bike carry-on.
Glasgow’s oldest bar but no one is stopping for a look – and they’ll miss the 4:00 pm sing song…
Peter chases to get back after a puncture but it wasn’t his day, another DNF.
The break drops down to Glasgow Cross with the gap shrinking with every passing kilometre.
Down at the Cross it’s a great vantage point (or ‘hing spot’ as we say in Fife) because you can see then riders coming from two directions.
Adam Blythe tries in vain to bridge to the front half of the split – the break just lines in a notebook now – and we’d be disappointed if he was wearing black shoes; our Adam loves his ‘bling.’
And still the Azzuri were on point, no doubting their intentions on this day.
Sagan was out by now, his bike on the roof of the car.
Welsh Tour hero, Luke Rowe (Sky) would end the day as best GB finisher in 15th spot; the Sky jersey wasn’t best suited to this day.
A man you have to respect is Big Roger Kluge, just a few days ago he was taking silver in the Madison – a few years back in the Giro we watched as he hauled that big body of his over the Colle Della Finestre – respect.
The Slovak fans were on a big downer when they realised their man was ‘hors de combat’ – proving that even Peter is human.
Just like us, big Lithuanian former Kermis King, Gediminas Bagdonas NEEDED A DRINK.
Meanwhile, Anthony Turgis of France called it a day; he’d been on the deck and that diesel in his cuts was no fun.
And another to call ‘time’ was Irish Champion and former Rutland winner, big Connor Dunn.
And I finally got the shot I’d been chasing all day, the ‘tech’ moto – no, not a representative of the UCiI Technical Committee; rather, a boy on a scooter with a Besom.
Exiting the Green was the final selection – Belgies there but Lammertink would bite the dust.
The Peoples’ Palace – are The Big Yin’s banana wellies still in there? – we thought it appropriate to show the Russian team car in front; ‘solidarity’ Comrades.
And if you’re at the Peoples’ Palace you can’t miss the glorious Doulton fountain from way back in 1887 to honour the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, not forgetting the glorious Moorish palace which is Templeton’s carpet factory, in the background.
It’s easy to love Glasgow.
Albeit the ‘Jobsworth’ made it awkward for us to get from here to the finish straight.
We were at around 250 to go and if Matteo Trentin was the winner, he owed much of his victory to selfless team work from Cimolai who lead him out from the last roundabout.
Cimolai is that rare bird, an Italian on a French team – they don’t come more French than Marc Madiot’s FDJ – a handy track rider and Laigueglia Trophy winner in the past.
You can never tell what’s going to happen in a sprint but Trentin looked a winner all the way to us – and so it proved.
It’s not been his best year thus far, his last win coming in the 2017 Vuelta but the European title isn’t a bad race to resurrect oneself in.
But the future surely belongs to those ‘angry young men’ (reads better than two ‘cross’ men, I thought) VDP and WVA who saw off some of the toughest characters in the peloton in foul conditions.
And respect to little French fast guy Bryan Coquard who honoured the race by riding in to finish way down for little gain.
And that was that, time for the train – after for a large glass of red at Babbity’s…
British, Commonwealth, Europeans – hope I live to see the World Championships in The Dear Green Place.
Thank you again, Glasgow.