From my last post from the Tour Down Under to here in Oman a lot has happened. I traveled From Australia, then to Cairns for one night at my mother's place, then to my home in the Czech Republic for a nice short week, enjoying the lovely snow - I love it. I did some good training there before heading to Belgium for the team's presentation.
From the massage table here in Australia, I've finally found time to write this first blog for the year... We had it moving in the one and half laps to go before the finish at the pre-TDU Criterium! We spoke in the team meeting about the ideal situation and it was just that.
Dear VeloVeritas readers, tables have turned in Omega Pharma Lotto: we have had some success already in the season. Three wins is nice for the team at this early stage in the season - two with Phil [Gilbert, the 1st Stage of the Volta ao Algarve and the recent Montepaschi Strade Bianche] and one with André [Greipel, Stage 4 of the Volta ao Algarve]. André also bagged third in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne last week, and so the team's moral is much better than last year at this time.
Dear VeloVeritas Readers, Sorry for the radio silence recently - I went off-grid a little, needed it after the Tour Down Under, and caught up with the family in Australia. After the TDU I headed from a sunny Adelaide to rainy Cairns before leaving for my home in the Czech Republic - the place to be. It was quite a journey to get home... Cairns to Darwin, Darwin to Singapore, Singapore to Paris, Paris to Prague and Prague to Ostrava, then a short drive to Frydlant nad Ostravici...
Hello to you VeloVeritas readers! Thanks for checking out my blog here - I'll be updating it with news, what I'm up to, and where I'm doing it throughout the season. First thing to tell you is that I met up my new Omega-Pharma Lotto teammates for the first time here in Australia, for the Tour Down Under. We received lots of nice things from the team and our sponsors: Nike gear, Rudy Project glasses for racing in and for casual use, and loads team kit for racing and training - all nice. I also got my new Canyon race bike - it's superb, we're all very impressed by it - and with the wheels too; Mavic have been really good to us. We went for a nice five hour ride the other day on our new bikes and I was surprised how different it is to the older model I've been training on. Super nice. Better than my legs from the Aussie Nationals at any rate, which were still a tad sore!
“Goin’ back to my roots,” says the Odyssey song – and so it is with Mr. Daniel Holloway, former ‘Crit King’ of the USA. But he’s now back on the boards in a big way with a World Cup omnium win in Chile and a memorable win in the 300 lap, 75 kilometre handicap Madison in the Copenhagen Six Day. It was 15 years ago, in 2003 when the man originally from Morgan Hill, California won the novices 500 metres at the US track national championships.
Jacob Vaughan is arguably the most successful of the Rayner Clan, this year with his move to the Lotto-Soudal U23 team. A solid first year U23 in 2017 was capped with an excellent win in the Guido Reybrouck Classic. We caught up with him prior to his first big get together with the team.
Third in London with Moreno De Pauw; winner in Gent again with De Pauw; encore in Rotterdam with De Pauw; the win in Bremen with Home Boy, Theo Reinhardt; second in Berlin with De Pauw and looking well on the way to the top of the podium here in Copenhagen with Michael Morkov – it can only be Topsport and Belgium’s Mr. Kenny De Ketele.
In a classic Six Day finale points shoot-out with the result not confirmed until the finish line, classy Home Boy Michael Mørkøv paired with the current Capo of the Six Day boards, Belgium's Kenny De Ketele to land his seventh Copenhagen Six Day at midnight on Tuesday on the wide boards of the 250 metre Ballerup track.
Daniel Holloway does the countdown in his Californian-Swedish, ten down to six; the crowd takes over from five down to one, the cannon report just about bursts everyone’s ear drums, then there’s the smoke. For a split second nothing happens, everyone is too stunned by the noise and reek of gunpowder. But there’s the bongos – and Paul Delicato’s velvet voice; 'Cara Mia mine, must we say goodbye...' It can only be the Copenhagen Six Day 2018 !
It's hard to believe it's nearly five years since we sat down with David Walsh and chatted about Lance Armstrong, his dogged pursuit of the American's own doping and team-enablement, and the recently-published USADA "Reasoned Decision" to ban Armstrong for life and to strip all seven Tour de France wins from his palmarès. David had been in Edinburgh to give a talk in the city's Lyceum Theatre as part of his speaking tour on the subject, and we took the opportunity to spend a few hours with him the following morning at his hotel. Our interviews with David are our pick for the year 2013 in our "The First 11 Years of VeloVeritas" series - they represent one of the - if not the - most significant and turbulent times in our sport.