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!
Our first question to Grant Ferguson, perhaps better known for his mountain bike and cyclo-cross (he’s reigning British Elite Cyclo-Cross champion, don’t forget) adventures, following his win in this year's Scottish Hill Climb championships was "did you have a back brake this time, Grant?"
The other day we were congratulating ourselves on the fact that we’d spoken to every CTT competition record holder from 10 miles to 12 hours, including Stuart Travis’s recent blitzing of the ‘30’ record. However, we were reminded that all of those were men’s records and we should pay attention to the ladies. Enter Ms. Alice Lethbridge, competition record holder at 15 miles, 100 miles and 12 hours – not to mention a member of the record breaking teams at 15, 25, 50 and 100 miles.
It was back in May 2015 when Jim Cusick told us about the professional jockey who was riding time trials. Since then Wilson Renwick has swapped equine saddles for the narrower models you find on time trial bikes, winning the Scottish 'Olympic' Time Trial Championship back in the spring of this year and has just added the classic Tour of the Trossachs to his palmares. We caught up with him the day after his epic ride on what was the toughest day most can remember for the event.
On a day of relentless rain which couldn’t decide whether it was apocalyptic or biblical, former jockey and reigning Scottish Olympic Time Trial Champion, Wilson Renwick (RT 23) was the man who coped best with the drastic conditions. Last man off and former Trossachs top dog, Chris Smart (GTR – Return To Life) finished second with 1:09:57 to Renwick’s 1:07:47. Last place on the podium went to Scottish Hill Climb Champion, David Griffiths (Bioracer-Project GO) with 1:10:23.
The 30 Mile TT Record was held by Michael (Doctor Hutch) Hutchison with 55:39 but was smashed recently in the Leo Road Club event by Stuart Travis, with 53:44. The record actually fell before the Team Bottrill man finished with Gary Chambers (NOPINZ) clocking 55:09 before Travis depth charged that with his 53 minute ride. Travis also led his team to a new team record by a remarkable 10 minutes. Here’s what Mr. Travis had to say to VeloVeritas a day or two after he put his name on the same page in the CTT record book as some of the greatest short distance time trial riders the sport has ever known.