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!
Stuart Balfour’s win in the supporting u23 race to the GP Ouest France Plouay, one of the most prestigious amateur in France, was special. The Dave Rayner Fund thought so too and made him their ‘Rider of the Year.’ As well as his Plouay success he won in Montpichon and at the Ronde Briochine; he was top 20 in the tough Kreiz Breizh UCI stage race and top 10 in the Tour de la Manche. Nice results in what is still one of the sport’s Heartlands and races are hotly contested. We thought we best have another word with the 21 year-old from Heriot in Scotland.
We recently spoke to 15 mile, 100 mile and 12 hour record holder, Alice Lethbridge and now to ‘complete the set’, here's what 10 mile, 25 mile and 50 mile record holder, Hayley Simmonds (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) had to tell us.
‘Well Phil,’ the words that we all remember so well, used by Paul Sherwen when he was about to put co-commentator Phil Liggett right about something during one of the hundreds of Tour de France stages the pair covered for TV networks from England to Australia via the USA. Sadly, we’ll hear that catch phrase no more, the 62 year-old Briton having passed away in his sleep at his home in Kampala in his adopted nation of Uganda on Sunday.
We caught up with the man behind the team and the holder of the record for most British titles won in one season – eight – Dan Bigham, after he returned from a successful foray to Canada where round two of the Tissot World Cup took place on the boards of the Milton Velodrome in Ontario where the men in black came away with silver.
Here at VeloVeritas we’re pleased to inform you that we’ve hooked up with ace cycling snapper, Gary Main. You may already have seen some of his images in our Mark Stewart and Dan Bigham interviews? We thought it might be a good introduction to his work for our readers if he picked out some of his favourite shots for us - over to you, Mr. Main...
He’s been quiet, that man Mark Stewart, Scotland’s reigning Commonwealth Games Points Race Champion. But he’s back with four World Cup medals on two continents within a matter of days. Best ‘have a word’ we thought to ourselves...