When Belgium’s biggest fan of Aussie bike racing, Mr. Dirk Van Hove asked us to publish his interview with Australian ladies’ champion Amanda Spratt there was no way we could refuse. He’s chaperoned us around Het Nieuwsblad given us some of our best Aussie contacts and most importantly, introduced us to ‘Orvelo’ beer – and a fine brew it is.
Here – with just a little editing from Ed Hood – is Dirk’s interview with Amanda.
VeloVeritas recently took time to talk to the man from Devon who is setting the early season roads of Southern France aflame – Endura’s Jonathan Tiernan-Locke.
We spoke to him soon after took his fourth and fifth wins of the season-the second stage and the GC in the tough Tour Cycliste International Haut Var.
‘First race today, took it pretty easy, finished 14th – feel good.’ Yes, Hamish Haynes is back to start his 10th season in the flatlands. No World Class Performance Plans, no Lottery funding, just hard graft and dedication. Haynes came late to sport but has been racing and winning in the Flanders since 2003.
In the last decade the 37 year-old Haynes has ridden for the DFL, Cyclingnews, Maestro and Jartazi pro teams, but more recently with solid Belgian amateur and Continental teams such as Yawadoo and Colba-Mercury.
VeloVeritas spoke recently to Commonwealth Games Team Sprint Silver Medallist Charline Joiner after her ride at the Rotterdam Six Day.
Who makes sure the wheels turn smoothly during a six day race? The mechanics are the men who change the gears, stick on the tyres, endlessly polish the paintwork and pick up the pieces after crashes.
They arrive first to build the bikes up and leave last after having stripped the bikes down for transit. What makes a man want to roam Europe, often driving a thousand kilometres through the night to get to the next race – or to get home? We spoke to circuit spanner man, Dirk Dekeyser at the Grenoble Six.
‘The goal for the Russian team is to break the 3:50 barrier in the London Olympics.’ The words of Heiko Salzwedel-over the last few years it’s looked as if the 2012 Olympic team pursuit final would be a straight shoot out between GB and Australia.
But when German, Salzwedel decided to leave his Manchester office at British Cycling and take a plane to Moscow, those ‘in the know’ realised that another horse would be coming under starter’s orders.
Daniel Holloway and Colby Pearce are regulars on the Six Day scene; US riders win classics and Grand Tours, there are US Pro Tour teams.
It was different in 1970; with not one US rider holding a professional licence-enter Jack Simes.
We spoke to the man who was the first US rider to turn a pedal on the Six Day tracks for nearly 20 years and who hopes to bring the sport back to its spiritual home in the USA.
Erick Rowsell is a name which seems to have been around for a long time; maybe because he was winning British medals five years ago-in 2007 he took bronze in the junior road race and individual pursuit as well as gold in the junior time trial.
The following season saw him with strong placings in continental road events; win the junior Tour of Wales and the British junior road race championship – whilst on the track he took two junior European silver medals, in the individual and team pursuit.
When we heard on Sunday that our blogger Ian Field had won the British Cyclo-Cross Championship on a dry and sunny day in Suffolk, we wanted to celebrate that win with a chat.
Ian hadn’t stayed in England long – heading back to his Belgian home immediately after the race, to prepare for another event the following day, but we caught up with him today and began by asking him about the weekend.
One man who’s more relieved than most about the new season is VeloVeritas regular, James Moss-let go by Endura after two seasons and very happy to have a contract for 2012.
In this ‘winter of discontent’ with teams folding, teams merging and many riders still without a contract it’s nice to get some good news.
He’s more Australian than most folks from ‘Down Under’ – despite the fact that he’s from Gent in the heart of Flanders.
He’s currently writing a history of Australian cycling, he’s the Drapac team’s European Co-ordinator, he’s a photographer at the Gent Six Day, and he’s VeloVeritas’ biggest asset and chauffeur at Het Nieuwsblad.
He’s Dirk Van Hove.
During the entire history of the Peace Race from 1948 to 1989 there were few Western winners, and no English speaker ever won – except one that is, in 1952: Ian Steel of Scotland.
The story that the East European propaganda machine circulated after that edition of the Peace Race, 60 years ago, was that the “Westerner” winner Steel had been approached by his country’s intelligence agency before he travelled to the race and was asked to; ‘keep his eyes open’ whilst behind the Iron Curtain – to spy, in other words.
The rider declined and received a telegram from his employer on the day he won, firing him from his job. All nonsense, of course.
Last July, Jérémy Roy (FDJ) was becoming well known to followers of the Tour de France, his attacking style gathering him lots of attention and admiration in this, his fourth participation, despite the big win in the biggest race eluding him thus far.
In his ninth year as a Pro, but not a regular winner, Jérémy was one of the heroes of Friday’s Stage 12 from Cugneaux to Luz Ardiden, having been in the break of six riders which escaped soon after the start and remained in front most of the day.
When Steve Cummings rode for Discovery Channel in 2007, he was in the service of Alberto Contador. ‘Bert’ told the Disco mechanic Allan Butler; “when you ask Cummings to ride on the front-he rides, I’d have him on my team any time!” Praise doesn’t come much higher.
We caught up with Steve just before he jetted off to the Far East for the new Beijing WorldTour race, to talk Cav, his move from Sky to BMC and-Liverpool FC.
It hasn’t been the best of summers for going fast on a bicycle, but the last day of August saw the Westferry ’10′ course in a benign mood – Arthur Doyle (Dooleys) dipped under the magical 20 minute barrier with 19:45, not so far away now from Graeme Obree’s 19:29 competition record.
But the ladies’ record did fall, with Jessica Wilson-Young (Edinburgh RC) updating the Scottish ladies mark by four seconds to 21:42.