It's not often that the Comic [Cycling Weekly magazine - editor] inspires me, these days-they don't care, they get my subscription cash-but when I saw the 'minute with' ex Lance team mate and Fondo star Jamie Burrow, I thought; "there's a man I've been stalking, I need to get a grip of him!" His win this year in the Maratona delle Dolomiti was big news in Italia. Here's what he had to say...
Brian Smith has been helping put the 2010 Endura Racing squad together - we spoke to him yesterday and here's what he had to say.
Cervelo's Dan Fleeman first came to our attention when he won the 2008 Tour of the Pyrenees; we've kept in touch with the 26 year-old Englishman ever since; through Langkawi, Paris-Nice and into the Ardennes classics.
Adam Hansen was just off the massage table when we caught up with him on Tuesday evening, we couldn't talk during massage because the masseur is a; "full on techno anthems, trance guy,"-just like Davie Urquhart, then? (Just joking, Davie!)
VeloVeritas first met Kiwi Tim Gudsell (Francaise des Jeux) at Ghent Wevelgem, back in the spring; he was on the way back from a bad crash in the Tour Down Under-six months later he's much further south, the hills are a lot bigger and it's much warmer as we spoke to him after the Vuelta's second mountain stage.
Christian Meier (Canada & Garmin) is a man for his stats. Monday's mountain stage breaks down like this: 4,600 metre of climbing, 5,000 kilo joules expended, that's the equivalent of 5,400 calories - that's one hard day at the office.
It was a sad day today for VeloVeritas' newly married editor Martin; he had to go back to his day job-and on the rest day! Life just isn't fair! Meanwhile we caught up with Columbia's ex Aussie Elite TT champion and twice podium finisher in the Aussie Elite road race champs, Adam Hansen, to get the story so far as the Vuelta eventually returns home.
"A Dog in a Hat," has to be one of the best books about pro cycling ever written. Author Joe Parkin took some time to talk to VeloVeritas about life, bike racing, his next book-yes, and Lance!
Here at VeloVeritas, we encourage you to submit your race results and stories to us, and young Tom Copeland recently did just that.
"Ed! All this Tour de France nonsense - you should be talking to Mario Willems, he's the top man in the Flanders kermis' right now!"
VeloVeritas missed the 100 Champs again-we're not men enough to disappear to the Tour for two weekends then vanish to Invergordon at 04:00 the first Sunday we're back.
Michael Nicholson's (Dooleys) first '50' was a 1:51 and it took him to the Scottish title on a wind swept Saturday night along the banks of the Cromarty Firth. We thought we'd better have a word with the man.
Continuing our series about racing in Belgium, we had a chat with Tom Murray last week, who is back racing on the continent after the Plowman Craven Madison team ceased operations.
Scottish bike racing; let's face it, no matter how well you do in the Super Sixes, or how quick you can go around West Ferry, you're going nowhere if you stay in Auld Scotia.
This is the first in a series of articles in which we explore racing in Belgium, and chat to a few guys that "have done it the hard way", outside of "The Plan", and on their own. To kick us off, we caught up with Rapha Condor star Dean Downing between Tour Series criteriums.
It's not everyday that we have the African champion racing on Scottish roads so when we met Dan Craven of Rapha/Condor after his fine third place at the recent Drummond Trophy, we thought we'd better make the most of it.
What's happening at Plowman Craven, but I guess we should say 'Madison', now? With Scots professionals Evan Oliphant and Ross Creber on their books, we thought we'd best find out what's going on.
Giro or not, we had to do our final catch up with a man who doesn't just talk about racing - he's in the saddle, jousting with old war horses like Kirsipuu and Eeckhout; Rab Wardell. As we approached the Monte Petrano climb, yesterday I caught up with Rab, back in the Old Country, via the wonders of digital technology.
We last spoke to our two men inside the Ras after stage three on Tuesday evening; with the toughest stage of the race to come the next day. It was Friday when we spoke again; we hadn't had a chance to check the results for the day, so that was our first question.
Whilst the world goes 'Giro crazy,' other races that don't involve pink jerseys go on their way without Lance and all the hype-the FDB Insurance Rás is one of them. When Viktor and I heard that Nico Eeckhout, Jaan Kirsipuu and Bert Roesems were riding, we nearly hopped the ferry to Ireland there and then.
"Do you remember the James Cambridge boy we were talking to at that kermesse in Sersekamp, four or five years ago?" says Viktor. "Red Specialized, great tan, pro's legs and a cool Craft under vest?" I reply.
It's not every day that a GB rider wins a Netherlands amateur classic; but that's exactly what 19 year-old Welshman Luke Rowe did recently in De 'arjaan De Schipper Trofee'-to give it the full Dutch treatment - a race won by a certain Fabian Cancellara, a few years ago.
In our Girvan interviews with Evan Oliphant, Gary Hand and James McCallum, we mistakenly referred to Callum Wilkinson as 'best Scot at Girvan,'-we got that one wrong! We thought we'd best set things to rights with the man who actually was, 'best Scot at Girvan'-26 year-old Gareth Montgomerie of the Sigmasport-Specialized-Sportful Cycling Team.
Girvan; who's ridden it most times? Squadra Via Manzini-Race Tool rider, Paul Coats must be in the running with 13, or is it 14 starts? Paul's not as young as he used to be at 39, so we'll forgive him the memory lapse. We caught up with him recently, to get his Girvan memories...
Martin: "Here! Ed! Shouldn't we be doing a piece about the World Track Champs?" Ed: "They've never been the same since Daniel Morelon retired and Hughie Porter had that crash, then they ditched the big motors and..." Martin: "Hold on - go and speak to Craig Maclean!" Ed: "Aye, right, he'll know a bit, being an ex-world champ and all..."
Kristian House (Rapha Condor & GB) is one of those riders who 'looks the part,' dark skinned and stylish, he just looks like he can win races. When we heard about him riding very strongly in the pre season Bay Criterium Series in Australia, we thought we'd better 'have a word.'
Amore & Vita, the sunshine and glamour of the Italian pro scene; scorching Australian road race championships; Girvan on a cold April Monday afternoon - Tom Southam has seen it all. We caught up with the man with esoteric musical taste on a cold February afternoon-after he'd just done three hours.
The "Chris Hoy effect," is Scottish Cycling capitalising on it? We decided to speak to British Cycling's new Olympic talent scout for Scotland, Mark McKay.
He seems to have been part of the continental professional scene forever; but all good things must come to an end and Garmin & Sweden (or is it Wales?) strong man Magnus Backstedt has decided it's time to come out of the 11 sprocket for good. Magnus's retiral from top line racing was recently announced by his manager, friend and business partner, Martin McCrossan.
In the 70's, very few British riders graced the Euro peloton; this year there are four just with Cervélo alone. VeloVeritas caught up with the latest young Briton to cross the channel, Southend's Daniel Patten, who has signed with Martin McCrossan and Magnus Backsted's Team Cyclesport.se -MagnusMaximusCoffee.com for season 2009.
It's been a long time coming, but the Vikings from the north are finally starting their comeback tour of the World! Team Cyclesport.se is the brain child of Dennis Nystrand who has worked tirelessly for five years to bring Sweden its first professional team of the modern era, and to do so he's enlisted the help of UK based sports management company Sprocket Promotions to bring in some sponsors, which lead ultimately to a new partnership with Sprocket owner Martin McCrossan.
He's a part of triathlon history and has contributed back to the sport he loves in many ways. Frank Day is the inventor of PowerCranks, one of the most effective ways to improve your cycling efficiency, with dividends paid off in the form of faster cycling and running times.
At the start of the 2008 season we hadn't heard of Chris Froome, but all of a sudden his name was everywhere-including le Tour. We thought we'd better have a word with the man who has to go training at 5.00am to beat the Johannesburg traffic.
Whilst Endura have been getting all the attention recently, other Scottish riders have been looking to raise their game too. Rab Wardell is taking his talent south - to Southport's Kinesis team. We caught up with him to talk about the move - eventually. (Rab is a fan of having his mobile on 'silent' after five pm - but of course, this means he doesn't hear it when it rings!)
It's the 2007 Three Days of De Panne, stage one, hilly, windy and there are men dying out there. But at the front a powerful figure attacks constantly into the wind which scythes in off the North Sea-and he doesn't quit his huge 'digs' until the race defining break has formed around him.
"Ride a bike, ride a bike, ride a bike," the words of 'il Campionissimo'-'champion of champions,' Fausto Coppi when asked to give advise about training. The same advice holds still holds good for the 21st century, but it's a tad more sophisticated in these cyber days.
Here at VeloVeritas we felt that those Endura Racing boys would be giving us plenty to write about in 2009, so we thought we'd better sit them down with them and have a few words. As well as Jonathan McBain (owner of Pedal Power Cycles) and a lean and fit looking Gary Hand, a keen as mustard James McCallum was there too; so it turned into a lot of words!
"It is quite noisy when your head's scraping along the ice !" Craig Maclean's answer to our question as to whether it's noisy in a two man bobsleigh. What's the former World Team Sprint gold medallist and Individual Sprint silver medallist doing in a bobsleigh? Read on!
Former British pro champion and team-mate of Lance - that's Brian Smith? Apparently he's a dad now, and has been spotted running marathons in the states? - we needed to find out more!
We all dream about it (or have dreamt about it) but 20 year-old South Quensferry man, Ross Creber has done it-put pen to paper on a pro contract, with Plowman Craven. VeloVeritas were on the phone, before the ink was dry...
In winning the Tour of Thailand, Alex Coutts joined an elite club - British riders who have won an overseas national tour. A couple from the memory banks are: in 1965 Vin Denson won the Tour of Luxembourg and in 1988 the hugely under-rated Cayn Theakston won an epic 19 stage Tour of Portugal - but there aren't many more. We caught up with Alex, just after the Scottish hill climb championship.
We've been stalking him since Beijing; and at last, we've cracked him - Chris Hoy, Olympic gold medallist in the team sprint, keirin and individual sprint. We've heard that he now retains Max Clifford, "PR guru to the stars," as his agent, so we decided we'd better check out the financial aspect of the interview, first.
Hamish Haynes is one of British cycling's 'forgotten men.' Whilst Cycling Weekly tells us about the successes of the U23 Academy riders in Italy, ex-British Elite Champion Hamish just gets on with the job, competing against some of the best riders in Belgium week in and week out. His recent win in the prestigous Reningelst event went unrecorded. Pete Slater at SIS has been helping Hamish with nutrition this year - no 'freebees' though, even Daniel Bennati pays for his 'Go bars' - we thought it would be a good topic to discuss with a man who regularly pushes his body to it's limits.
How do you become a pro? If you’re lucky enough to have some talent and you’re born in England, then you might just end up taking the same road as 20 year-old Ben Swift; he’s won three U23 ‘biggies’ in Italy this season, so we thought we better have a word.
Nine World and Eight Olympic titles; that's Team GB's haul for 2008 - so far, that is. That kind of excellence doesn't 'just happen,' who's behind it? The GB head coach is Aussie, Shane Sutton - he was still in Beijing the day after his squad's triumphant campaign ended, when we spoke to him.
"Cheers Ed! In pub at Evanton and had a few. Brought up touring bikes and off to Ullapool then Hebrides for a week. Reception poor but give it a try..." That was Jim Cusick's (Glasgow Couriers) reply to our congratulatory text message and interview request after he had just won his first 100 mile title on the familiar roads (if you're involved in Scottish testing) around the Cromarty Firth.
Craig Maclean has nine golds and two silvers. That's what Team GB took away from the Manchester World Track Championships, back in April. A repeat performance in Beijing is entirely possible. How does British Cycling do it? One of the reasons is that their selection criteria is ruthless; past glory counts for nothing.
Eufemiano Fuentes, Jesus Manzano, Operaciõn Puerto, Alejandro Valverde, Alberto Contador... and now Manuel Beltran. All Spanish, all hot topics - but what's the buzz in España? We turned to VeloVeritas Iberian correspondent Al Hamilton for the low down, and asked him some questions on just what the current Spanish perspective is.
Scottish rider, Alex Coutts, who is a regular interviewee on VeloVeritas, has been riding in Asia this season for the Giant Asia Race Team; it's now been five months since his season started in the Tour of Langkawi. As "The Burntisland Buzzard" is training again in Spain for a hard six week period of racing in China, Japan and Korea, we thought it was about time we got an up-date on life competing in the UCI Asia Tour circuit.
Evan Oliphant isn't the only Scotsman who's been winning races in the US of A. - up-and-coming under 16 rider, Patrick Galbraith recently scored a criterium win in Rocky Balboa's home town - Philadelphia (what do you mean "it's just a movie!?)...