Pro Vision’s David Griffiths successfully defended his Scottish Hill Climb Championship on the tough Stow climb recently – VeloVeritas caught up with the bearded winner not long after his success to ‘have a word.’
The 12 day, 13 stage British ‘Milk Race’ of 1992 was a pro-am affair with Belgian hard men Collstrop – who won four stages including the opening TTT; talented home pros from Banana-Met; the Danish National squad; the Belgian National team; a squad form CIS, the Commonwealth of Independent States – formerly the Soviet Union and the Netherlands National team to name but seven. And a team from Ireland; but no one expected 21 year-old Conor Henry from Belfast to defy some of the best riders in Europe to take final victory. Here’s his story...
We pick up our chat with John Mangan after discussing his 'adventure' at the Munich Olympics which involved hiding in the woods, the riders he respected most, how most of his 156 wins came through pure power, and of course, why the 'Rider Mafia' simply had to let him in.
John Mangan won 156 continental races not to mention a raft of races in his native Ireland before he headed for France and huge success. Such was his strength both on and of the bike that for a decade he was head of the ‘Brittany Mafia’, the group of riders which controlled racing in the West France racing Heartland. He would tell me; ‘I think that in all the years I was there we only let two wins slip away from us.’
It’s 30 years since Stephen Roche’s historic ‘treble’ of Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and World Professional Road race Championship. But who was Roche’s mentor? A fellow Dubliner called Peter Crinnion is the man. Crinnion wasn’t of the current generation of watts/turbo trainer coaches with a college background. He’d walked the walk, having ridden many of the races Roche would compete in, almost 30 years earlier...
It was the Giro made Austin Walsh do it. Do what? Invest so much time and money into his collection of cycling memorabilia which now threatens to overwhelm his bike shop, Quay Cycles. The Italian race started on the Emerald Isle in 2014 and Austin was so smitten by ‘The Pink Race’ that he decided to turn the bike shop which he’s run since 1995 into a bike racing shrine...
If you’re a VeloVeritas regular then you’ll have seen our interview with Flavio Zappi, the man who transforms promising U23 riders into World Tour performers. Will Scot, Callum Johnston be pulling on a QuickStep jersey in a year or three?
The U23 Worlds in Bergen; a great race with a great finale with GB well there – Ollie Wood in fourth and our very own Mark Stewart a key part of the team which got Wood into a position to sprint for the bronze medal. We just had to ‘have a word’ with Scotland’s own double European track champion, Mr. Mark Stewart...
‘You need to talk that Flavio Zappi boy, his lads are racing all over Europe and getting good results!’ As often happens with VeloVeritas it’s our spiritual guide and fiercest critic, Viktor who gives us inspiration on who we should be speaking to. But there’s also the aspect that QuickStep new recruit James Knox, who we interviewed earlier in the year was a ‘Zappi Man’ so yes, times we had a word with Sen. Zappi.
Here at VeloVeritas we try to keep abreast of what’s going on across in Europe, one result which caught our recently eye was young Mark Donovan winning the Aubel-Thimister-La Gleize junior stage race in Belgium. Never an easy thing to do against all those would-be GVA’s. Best ‘have a word.’
A long time ago, Dave, Victor, Ivan and I raced in Brittany; when we saw this young gentleman had two wins on roads we remember from our youth we just had to have a word. Like many of our interviewees - they are helping almost 40 young riders this year - Louis Modell is a beneficiary of assistance from the fabulous Dave Rayner fund.
The last time we spoke to Dan Bigham (Brother NRG Wattshop) there was just a chance that he’d have to line up for the hill climb championship to net a record breaking EIGHTH British title of the year - to go with the kilometre, pursuit, team pursuit, team time trial, CTT 25 mile title, CTT 50 mile title and CTT circuit time trial title. But on the tough Cockermouth 10 mile time trial course, the day was saved when the CTT ‘10’ championship went his way too – so that’s title number eight!
The last few weeks we’ve been catching up with the young men who are out there in the Heartlands across Europe ‘doing it’ – Brittany, Lombardy and of course, Flanders. Englishman Ross Lamb – another man supported by the stalwart David Rayner Fund – has been notching up the results in the Flatlands: 4th in Heusden-Zolder, 2nd at Pulderbos, 2nd at Booischot, 3rd in the Memorial Vanconinsloo, 3rd at Huldenberg, 2nd at Geetbeets and 2nd in Linden Lubbeek.
If you’re like us, you thought the Scottish Road Race Championships at Kennoway in Fife over much of the old Dave Campbell Memorial Race parcours would be pretty much a formality for ‘10’ and ‘25’ mile time trial Champion, John Archibald (Pro Vision). The best view from the podium went to Mark Robertson (Army CC); the man who’s based in the north east of England beat Fraser Martin (Raleigh) into silver and aforementioned John Archibald into bronze. Best ‘have a word’ with Mr. Robertson we decided...
It’s hard to believe that since I started cycling in 1971 nearly four minutes have been hacked off the Scottish 10 mile time trial record; when I started it stood at 22 minutes and 14 seconds: 1971 P.Templeton (Dundee Thistle R.C.) 22 mins 14 secs. It now stands at 18 minutes and 38 seconds thanks to that man John Archibald (Pro Vision) - a time he achieved this morning on the fast dual carriageway tarmac beside the River Clyde at Westferry.
It was back in July when we first heard about 21 year-old George Woods (Richardson’s Trek Racing Team) ‘doing the business’ in Belgium, we ‘had a word’ with him but with all that Tour carry-on we didn’t get round to writing the interview up. Then the other week we saw he was in the frame again, winning a 114 kilometre kermis at Deinze. High times we gave ourselves a shake and got the piece published!
What’s the best thing an aspiring world class athlete can do? Pick their parents carefully, of course. The hottest U23 property in the world right now, Pavel Sivakov did that very thing; dad Alexei was a pro for 10 years with Roslotto, BigMat, CCC and Auber 93. As an amateur he won the Tour of Serbia and as a pro the Circuito Montanes; he rode the Vuelta and three Tours de France.
It’s not a lot of time is 12 seconds; around 250 metres at the speeds they go at these days; but that’s what separated Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Champion, John Archibald from the podium of the CTT National 25 mile championship in Wales on Sunday. That had to be the first question VeloVeritas asked; "Could you have found those seconds, John?"
We’re proud of our record here at VeloVeritas; we’ve interviewed every British 25 mile time trial champion since 2005. Michael Hutchinson, Jason MacIntyre (rest in peace), Joe Perrett, Matt Bottrrill, Ryan Perry - and this year is no exception with Dan Bigham (Brother NRG Wattshop) taking time to chat to us about his seventh British title of the year [adding to CTT ‘50,’ CTT Circuit TT, TTT, kilometre, individual pursuit and team pursuit] and his ambitions for the future.
Italy’s Bassano-Monte Grappa U23 Classic has been around since 1930 and lists Italian Legend, Gino Bartali as a winner in 1934; with Leonardo Piepoli, Giro winners Ivan Gotti, Gilberto Simoni and Damiano Cunego, not to mention Fabio Aru all on the more recent role of honour. It’s a beast of race, flat then rearing up the feared Monte Grappa climb – of Giro fame - to finish at over 1700 metres.
Le Tour, it’s so big that we tend to forget that there’s a lot more to cycling than Froomey breaking a spoke and Louis Meintjes, Simon Yates and Rigoberto Uran getting towed around France. Races like the Under 23 European Track Championships in Sangalhos-Anadia in Portugal where Scotland’s Mark Stewart grabbed not one but two titles – the individual pursuit and omnium.
If you’re a sad old tester like me you’ll remember that wonderful day back in 1978 when ‘King’ Alf Engers discovered the Holy Grail – it took 49 minutes and 24 seconds. The first 30 mph 25 mile time trial. Hard to imagine that Alf’s time would only have given him joint 21st position in the Lea Valley CC ‘25’ on the E2/25 a couple of weeks ago – some four minutes behind the winner, John Dewey of Team Bottrill/HSS Hire.
After his win in the British Time Trial Championship, here’s what Dimension Data’s Steve Cummings told us when we asked him about his chances in the British Road Race Championship: "I’m not at 100% so don’t believe I have the condition to win the road race – it’ll be perhaps another 10 days before I come into my best shape." Despite that, two days later he was topping his second Isle of Man podium as British Elite Time Trial and Road Race Champion.
Steve Cummings, he’s the real deal. Dues fully paid at low budget Landbouwkrediet and Barloworld, he’s also ridden with some of the biggest teams in the sport; Discovery, Sky and BMC - before finding what is the ideal squad for him, Dimension Data where letting him ‘do his own thing’ has paid off for both parties in spades.
Biggest news of the weekend? Spilak wins overall in Suisse - and the Russian team takes the GC at ZLM too with Goncalves; Dillier wins the Route du Sud for BMC or Cav shows form in Slovenia to get the Dimension Data management team off the Valliums? Nope - Richard Bideau. Adam Duggleby’s (Vive le Velo) 3:16:51 to break the British 100 mile time trial record on the e2/100, Newmarket course is the ride which has tongues wagging on this side of the Channel and North Sea. Peter Harrison (AS Test Team) 3:18:58 was also inside the old mark; as was the man we interviewed two years ago when we all thought he’d nabbed the record with his 3:18:54, reigning BBAR Richard Bideau – until the course was re-measured and found to be ‘short’ by 0.2 miles. We caught up with Bideau two days after his ride...
It was a great World Track Championships for Scotland with Katie Archibald coming home from Hong Kong as World Omnium Champion. But not such a great Championships for Dundee’s Mark Stewart who was competing in the team pursuit and madison. Unfortunately GB missed out on the bronze medal in the team pursuit to Italy whilst Mark and partner Ollie Wood were DNF in the madison. We caught up with the AN Post professional a week or so after the Worlds, back in his Italian base...
Season 2016 saw John Archibald record times of 50:07, 50:04 and 50:03 for 25 mile time trials - so a big goal for him was to dip below the magic 50 minutes. On Sunday past on the rolling dual carriageway between Brechin and Forfar he didn’t just dip inside the 30 miles per hour standard, he left it way behind with a stunning 47 minutes and 57 seconds ride. In the process he took 46 seconds off Graeme Obree’s 1994 record of 48:43; we just had to, ‘have a word.’
The sad news came through from Belgium on Sunday morning that Graham Webb, British World road champion in 1967, had passed away. Our condolences go to his family and the many friends and fans he had in the cycling community. A great champion and a wonderful guy. Ed interviewed Graham back in 2009, and we thought that reproducing the interview now would be a good tribute to the man. In memory of Graham; his views on the sport back in 2009. 'Former World Road Race Champion,' yes, that would be nice to have that after your name!
A few weeks ago saw the last of the Spring Classics with ‘La Doyenne’ – Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the oldest and arguably toughest of them all with barely a metre of flat road in it’s 258 kilometres. Before that, the U23 version of the race took place over 166 kilometres but taking in many of its famous big brother’s climbs, such as La Redoute. Our colleague from the Six Days, soigneur Martyn Frank put us in touch with James and here’s what he had to say to VeloVeritas.
Perhaps you’ve seen them on TV when Eurosport used to cover the Berlin Six Days – or maybe you remember them at Leicester, ‘back in the day?’ The ‘Big Motors.’ Germany, along with The Netherlands were always the ‘Heartland’ for the motor-paced aspects of the sport but in Britain back in the early 70’s we had one of the best in the world in Roy Cox. Cox was six times British Champion, won big on the German ‘stayer’ circuit, rode four World Championships and made the Worlds final in his home Worlds in 1970 – the first British amateur to do so in 70 years.
Once again we’re proud to bring you an exclusive interview with Olympic Team Pursuit Champion, Katie Archibald where she tells us about her latest triumph, in the World Omnium Championship – and puts us chauvinists at VeloVeritas securely in our box! But we still respect and love the lady.
A 19 minute two-up ‘10’ in February, a solo 19 minute ‘10’ in March, Gifford, The Gordon Arms, The Tour of the North and now The Tour of the Meldons incorporating the Scottish National ‘Olympic’ Time Trial Title – that John Archibald (ProVision) laddie is on fire; better have a word...
Alejandro Valverde winning his fourth Doyenne as last Sunday’s hi-lite? Well, we were expecting that – the Movistar Spaniard and Sky’s Polish flyer Kwiatkowski were ‘super favourites’ and delivered two of the three podium places. But what we weren’t expecting was the phone call from VeloVeritas soothe sayer and mentor, Viktor on Sunday evening; ‘your man Dan Fleeman’s just won The Rutland!’ Now, that was a surprise!
VeloVeritas first spoke to 24 year-old Aussie Jordan Kerby three years ago; he was 2010 world junior points and team pursuit champion but then turned to the road. Success came quickly and he won the 2013 Australian U23 Road Race Championship. There followed a forgettable spell with Michael Rasmussen’s ill fated Christina Watches team before he moved back to Australia, winning the 2014 Australian U23 Time Trial Championship. We caught up with Jordan shortly after his Worlds success where he rode the third fastest time ever in qualifying then beat reigning world champion Filippo Ganna of Italy in the final.
Despite his flyweight 56 kilos Eddie Dunbar has already established himself as one of the worlds' best U23 riders with top ten finishes in the European and World U23 Time Trial Championships - and riding for the Irish team rather than his usual US Axeon Hagens Berman team he took Ronde victory in that bike riders’ Mecca, historic Oudenaarde.
‘When I were a lad’ next to the Milk Race the biggest deal in UK cycling was the BBAR (Best British All Rounder) to find Britain’s best ‘tester’ – over 50 and 100 miles plus the 12 hour. The competition still exists but do you know who the BBAR is? Me neither. Yorkshire’s Peter Hill won the BBAR twice in the 60's but instead of going for his ‘hat trick’ he completely changed direction and headed across the English Channel to France and established himself as one of the world’s leading amateur time trial exponents before turning professional with Peugeot - but in those Machiavellian days it didn’t work out. Here’s his story...
‘Back in the day’ when he was World Team Sprint Champion and a silver medallist in the World Individual Sprint Championship we used to speak to Scottish fast man Craig Maclean on a regular basis. Since then he’s gone on to be a successful tandem pilot on the paralympic scene and, he’s gone into coaching – as well as ‘playing in the band.’ High times VeloVeritas ‘had a word.’
If you had to name one man who single handedly changed the face of Scottish time trialling? The man who made sure a ‘59’ wasn’t going to win you the ‘25’ champs anymore... Dave Hannah is the man; VeloVeritas caught up with him recently at his home in Shieldhill for a long overdue chat.
When VeloVeritas was at the Copenhagen Six Day last month, we witnessed a successful attempt on the Danish Hour record by Martin Toft. It got us thinking; ‘is Jim Gladwell still the Scottish Hour record holder?’ And indeed he is – ‘best have a word,’ we thought to ourselves...
George Edwards? The name might not mean much to you but along with Brian Smith, Robert Millar and David Miller he’s one of few Scotsmen who have won the British National Road Race Championship – in his case the BLRC version in 1946. George passed away in 1992 at the age of 68 but Harry Tweed connected us with George’s son who shares the same Christian name and now lives in the Netherlands. Here’s what George had to say to VeloVeritas, recently.
We recently ran an interview with Liverpool Mercury stalwart, Ricky Garcia; we’re sure that Ricky would agree that perhaps the best rider The Mercury ever produced never really realised his full potential. His name is Dave Rollinson; twice British Amateur Road Race Champion, Tour de L’Avenir stage winner, French amateur Classic winner and twice a Worlds top 20 finisher.
Only once has an English speaker won the Peace Race – in 1952 Scotland’s own Ian Steel took the honours. We were fortunate at VeloVeritas to interview the great man before his death, last year and before we’re done we’d like to speak to all surviving Scots who’ve participated in this historic event. Sandy Gilchrist, Jimmy Rae, Martin Coll and Ken Clark have all been kind enough to give of their time to us; next on our agenda is former Scottish 50 mile record holder, Velo Sportiv stalwart and all-rounder, Mr. Ron Gardiner.
We first spoke to Harry Tanfield a couple of years ago having seen him ride well in the Gordon Arms time trial – most recently we spoke to him after he won the David Campbell Memorial road race in Fife back in the spring of 2016. So when we opened this week’s ‘Cycling Weekly’ and there he was spread across two pages as the UK’s number one rated Elite rider we thought we best ‘have a word’...
He's been one of the outstanding track riders of the last decade, world champion four times across three disciplines - scratch (twice), madison with Michael Mørkøv and team pursuit. There's been a raft of national, European and World Cup titles and podiums not to mention an Olympic team pursuit silver. On the Six Day scene he's won in Berlin, Bremen, Copenhagen, Ghent and Grenoble. And that's before we mention his road palmarés - two stages in the Dunkirk Four Day, the GP Herning, Philadelphia... But Alex Rasmussen has called 'time' on all of that and will race this season on a low key domestic programme.
Following in the footsteps of Scottish track stars Mark Stewart and Katie Archibald, we believe Scotland’s Joe Nally to be the youngest ever winner of the British Senior Points Race Championship at just 17 years-of-age. The race was held at the Manchester Velodrome but Nally is another product of Glasgow’s beautiful indoor track; taking bronze in the team pursuit to go with his points gold. ‘Best have a word with the man,’ we thought ourselves here at VeloVeritas.
The last time we spoke to Scotland’s top endurance track rider, Mark Stewart he’d just added to his growing medal collection at the European Championships with bronze in the team pursuit and silver in the scratch. Some nice road results in the Ronde van Oost Vlaanderen followed where he made his breakthrough from riding as a domestique and/or ‘getting round’ to being a serious contender for stage and overall honours.
The Rás. A race to strike fear in the strongest heart; huge fields, big hills and mad uncontrollable stages with fearless Irishmen continually firing off the front in death or glory bids. High times VeloVeritas 'had a word' with Mr.McGahan..
Young Scot, Stuart Balfour is off to France again for season 2017 – VeloVeritas decided we needed to hear this young man’s story...
In part one of our interview with Martin Coll we discussed his career – but any chat with Martin wouldn’t be complete without mention of the times he spent with his brother-in-law; the legend that is Graeme Obree. Martin became The Flying Scotsman’s manager, confidante, driver and personal assistant during the period when Graeme and ‘Old Faithful’ were much in demand on the continental boards.
The Girvan Three Day; a Scottish Easter racing institution but now late lamented – sunshine, ice, snow and everything else in between but whatever the weather it was never a race for the faint-hearted. Some of the biggest names in British bike racing have won over that tough South West Scotland parcours. Let’s go back to 1986; aforementioned Paul Curran is after his third win in the event – but Scotland’s Martin Coll has other ideas... We recently caught up with Martin at his home in Arizona to ‘talk a little Girvan’ and - the Peace Race.