I was chatting to a friend the other day who expressed how sad he was about the whole Lance situation; I think that is something we can all agree on. Then later in the conversation he went on to say how he hoped Sky were clean, thus setting himself up for more potential sadness and disappointment. I’ve already written about how to be a cycling fan recently but I feel obliged to continue my teachings in light of increasing revelations. I need to keep you all on the straight and narrow and not get too disappointed in the future. A few riders, ex-riders and bigwigs; some disgraced, others deified and the rest somewhere between those two extremes have been saying things that make me concerned that not only will pro cycling not change, it’s fans won’t either. Fear not people, I am here to save you and help you appreciate cycling for what it is.
There is no doubt that British cycling is alive and well at the highest echelons of performance - Britons won the Tour, the world champs and pretty much the entire velodrome; there's also no doubt that British cycling is alive and kicking at the grass roots level too - membership has doubled since 2007. It makes sense to assume that all is well in between, too, right? Unfortunately not; BC is the governing body for beginner’s racing, Regional racing (2nd and 3rd cats), all levels of women's road racing, National level racing (Elites and 1st cats) and the semi professional/professional teams below Sky. All of these parts of the sport are in trouble - but particularly at the higher end.
You all know the story by now, Hindes didn’t like his start in the team sprint so he deliberately fell off to get a restart. The rule exists so that if you fall off or pull your foot out you get a second shot, it’s like the second serve in tennis. The trouble is there is another rule that effectively says you are not to abuse this privilege, on pain of disqualification, from the round or the entire competition depending on severity. Since it’s usually impossible for the commissaire to judge with 100% certainty if it was an accident or not (however obvious it is) the rule has (to my knowledge) never been enforced.
I have chronic-doping-scandal-fatigue. We always knew that Lance Armstrong literally had a never-say-die attitude. Perhaps in recent days this fact has become more abundantly clear even than when he was actually on his deathbed. He’s had a lawsuit chucked out of court within a few hours of submitting it because it was so terrible; it was for a restraining order against the US anti-doping agency. It was 80 pages long and contained “improper argument, rhetoric, [and] irrelevant material”, not my words, the judge’s. Lance Armstrong just got benchslapped.
It’s been a while since I posted, I intended to do something a little more regularly but unfortunately I’ve been preoccupied with health problems for much longer than expected. Since around March my power values haven’t been increasing the way I was expecting them to. I didn’t panic though, I knew I was behind and that my form might come a little later than usual because of an interrupted winter.
On Wednesday I shall be riding the UCI 2.2 Tour of Hellas which so far as I can tell is basically the Tour of Greece. There are five stages in all and they are all fairly hilly but not too steep, which is good for me (if I am riding well). This year I am mainly racing in countries that are fiscally in trouble it seems, Italy, Greece and Serbia – (although I think I might be racing in Slovakia instead of Serbia now). The main news however is that I will be riding for Davide Rebellin!
“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.