I wasn’t privileged enough to call Alan Hewitt a close friend but he was certainly a pal and on the infrequent – unfortunately for me - occasions I met him in recent years he would always greet me as a long lost brother with that smile, a hearty chuckle and a big, strong handshake. Alas, there’ll be no more of those.
Matt Rendell narrates much of the Pantani, the Accidental Death of a Cyclist film – but I’m a little puzzled by his ‘Marco the martyr and victim’ stance. In his well researched book – upon which the film is based – "The Death of Marco Pantani", Rendell leaves us in little doubt that the Italian rarely raced ‘clean.’ And Greg Lemond’s pronouncements are hard to fathom; ‘even without the drugs Pantani would have been one of the best’ or words to that effect. That’s from the ‘they were all at it, so what’s the difference?’ – school of thought to which I used to subscribe. There’s a ‘but’ or two to that one, though...
The Copenhagen Six Day is a special race for us here at VeloVeritas – it was the first Six Day we worked at, nearly a decade ago. We’ve built good relationships with Danish riders over that period, especially reigning Danish Elite Road Race Champion, Michael Mørkøv who’s no stranger to our pages. Therefore it was with sadness we received an email from Mr. Henrik Elmgreen – for many years the organiser of the Copenhagen Six Day – to inform us that one of Denmark’s Six Day legends has died.
Glasgow 2014 today revealed the routes for the Commonwealth Games Cycling road events that will see elite athletes from across the globe race through the heart of Glasgow and beyond. The excitement of the Games will reach audiences in towns and villages around the city as riders battle against the clock during the Time Trial event on Thursday 31 July, while Glasgow itself becomes the race track on Sunday 3 August with the fastest riders chasing each other through the city’s streets for the action packed Road Race.
Six years ago Jason MacIntyre was fatally injured in a collision with a lorry whilst out for an easy ride around his home town of Fort William. Jason had won British Championships in a convincing manner and by doing so - and in the way he conducted himself on and off the bike - he had forced his way into the attentions of British Cycling.
With Xmas rapidly approaching I was recently emailed to ask if I’d like to receive a Hinault, Kuiper, Lemond or Coppi fine bone china mug as a gift. They were all really nice but there’s something magical about that gorgeous Bianchi ‘celeste’ colour, so that’s what I’ll be drinking my Xmas coffee from – maybe with a shot of grappa in there.
It’s with great sadness that VeloVeritas records the passing of one of the cornerstones of Fife time trialling; Archibald Speed – better known as ‘Archie.’ A doubly sad situation in light of the fact that it’s only a matter of weeks since we penned our tribute to his son Alistair, the victim of a fatal rear-end impact from a Vauxhall Corsa on the Strathmiglo road, whilst out for a run on his bike.
I spotted the advert for KAPZ custom headset caps in the magazine, and out of curiosity switched from Adobe Lightroom to Chrome browser to have a look at their website.
It is with sadness that we record that Scottish Cycle Sport has lost one of it’s stalwarts. Alistair Speed - son of Scottish veteran’s 24 hour time trial record holder, Archie Speed – has died following a collision with a car on the A91 between Strathmiglo and Gateside, a road he trained and raced on many times.
Here at VeloVeritas we were saddened to hear of the recent loss of one of the names from our youth. Former French professional champion and Tour de France ace Raymond Delisle died recently at the age of 70. One of those super cool Peugeot riders from the late 60's and early 70's with names like Pingeon, Thevenet, Danguillaume, Ovion - and Delisle, they even sounded classy.
Friday 19th April was a sad day if you're a Six Day fan; Denmark's best-ever Six Day rider, Palle Lykke died in Belgium at 76 years-of-age. Born in Denmark in 1936 Lykke won 21 Six Days between 1958 and 1967 - Aarhus, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Bremen, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dortmund, Frankfurt, London, Montreal, Munster and Zürich all fell to the handsome man from Ringe.
Italian professional Marco Pinotti's new book, "The Cycling Professor" isn't so much a classic biography as a collection of anecdotes and experiences.
The new book by respected cycling journalist Ellis Bacon may help - the "World's Ultimate Cycling Races" is an eclectic mix of facts and stats about events all over the globe, from Pro level races such as the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana to MTB races, Gran Fondos and Sportives that anyone can take part in.
It’s not hard to dislike Lance Armstrong; he’s arrogant, controlling, self-obsessed, hypocritical and brought to cycling the horrors of bodyguards, blacked-out SUV windows, black socks and celebrity visits to the Tour de France. He scarcely bothers to conceal his contempt for journalists, but used them to ‘spread the gospel’ when it was convenient. But on the other hand, it’s hard to dislike Michael Barry – smiling, polite, helpful, intelligent and grounded; a pleasure to meet and interview. But here’s the rub – they both regularly ‘kitted up’ as part of their stage race regime. So how come one is a ‘monster’ and one is a ‘victim?’
Representatives from British Cycling, UK Sport and EventScotland visited the Belgian city of Liège this weekend for the Grand Depart of the 2012 Tour de France. With a proposal for the opening stages of the 2017 event being developed, the British partnership experienced the spectacular the Tour first-hand.
Cycling’s world governing body Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), have today announced that Glasgow’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome will host a round of the 2012/13 UCI Track World Cup series, which will see British Cycling deliver an event in which the world’s best riders compete at the venue for the first time.
It might be the middle of crit season, but the organisers of this Sunday's South Carrick David Bell Memorial in Girvan are delighted to have secured the strongest lineup in the race’s history. Felix English heads a full Rapha-Condor-Sharp team against Ben Greenwoods’ Vanillabikes.com team and Robbie Hassan’s Herbalife Leisure Lakes squad in the 100mile event.
You'll have seen the adverts on various websites for Vanilla Bikes, inviting you to have a look at their on-line shop and their top quality - if a little unusual - product lines, and when we spotted that the shop team was beefing up it's roster for the coming season, we thought we better find out a little more about this young company.
World Champion and new Team Pursuit World Record holder, Geraint Thomas MBE, returned to Wales to take on the route of the Etape Cymru yesterday. Thomas took on a 30-mile section of the closed-road cyclosportive’s route, including the Panorama and Horseshoe Pass climbs. The event will be held on Sunday 9th September 2012.
In what has been a hugely progressive winter for the Matrix Fitness-Prendas team where new partners have seen the potential of the all female squad, Hargroves Cycles have become the latest addition to the team's list of sponsors.
The University of Lincoln continues its support for the ever popular Lincoln Grand Prix Cycle Race by extending its previous year supporting sponsorship to become the event's main sponsor in 2012, for the 57th edition of the event on Sunday the 13th of May.
We're pleased to be able to present our relaunched site, now renamed "VeloVeritas" (ie. the truth about cycle racing and racers). We aim to provide you with truthful, accurate, unique and informative articles about the sport we love, and we'll do that by covering all aspects of cycling by being there, in the mix: from the local "10" mile time trial to the world-famous professional "monuments" - classics like Milan-SanRemo and the Tour of Lombardy, to the World Championships, the winter Six-Days and the Grand Tours - the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España.
Wouter Weylandt tragically lost his life today, in a crash on the twisty, steep dangerous descent of the Passo del Bocco climb, about 12.4-miles from the finish of stage three of the Giro. The briefest of pictures of the scene were shown on live TV before the broadcasting director wisely stopped showing any more, but that was enough to be able to tell that the situation was grave.
To appreciate how big a deal it was for Luis Alberto (Lucho) Herrera to win the 1987 Vuelta, it's best to read the passage in Lucy Fallon and Adrian Bell's book, 'Viva la Vuelta' where they talk about the closing stage into Madrid.
Less than a month after the death of Peter Post, Dutch cycling has lost another of its 'Greats' with the news that Fedor Den Hertog succumbed on Saturday 12th February, after a long battle with illness. For anyone involved in cycle sport in the late 60's and early 70's, amateur Den Hertog's name was as well known as any of the top professionals.
T-Mobile, Slipstream and HTC stalwart Adam Hansen; a key cog in the 'Cavendish sprint machine,' surprised many when he decided to leave the US team and follow HTC's 'other sprinter,' Andre Greipel to Lotto. But that's not all!
With the news on Friday that Peter Post had died in Amsterdam at the age of 77 the sport lost one of it's Colossi. Born in Amsterdam in November 1933, the son of a butcher, he had a hard childhood growing up in Nazi occupied Holland. He turned professional in 1956 for Legendary Amsterdam bicycle makers RIH Sport; he would remain in the peloton until 1972 having ridden for some of the most famous teams in the history of cycle sport-Flandria, Faema, Solo-Superia and Willem 11.
Here in the UK we've been hammered recently by the weather; for the last few weeks Scotland in particular has resembled an Arctic landscape, with blizzards, white-outs, and motorways frozen closed for days - any bike riding that's been done has been in the garage on the rollers, or spinning down the at the gym. The last few days however, have seen a significant rise in temperature and the resultant thaw has us getting the overshoes looked out again, and the lights back on the bike, ready for recommencing the daily commute, training, and some off-road night riding too.
Given that Shimano's Di2 system has been commercially available for quite a while now, it could be argued that Campagnolo have taken their time to get to market with electronic gearing, but they're obviously focused on getting it all perfect before launching, as it's nearly four years ago that we spoke to Predictor-Lotto's Bert Roesems, who had been singled out by the Italian company to use their electronic components in the toughest test arena of them all - the Spring Classics.
'Unluckiest man of the race was Laurent Fignon (Renault) who escaped alone on the climb of the Cote de la Madelaine, only to crash when leading by 37 seconds with only 18 kilometres to go.'
When you talk about Orbea bicycles and the Euskaltel team, it’s about more than light alloy and carbon; it’s about people, national identity, unity and pride. We look at Samuel Sanchez's Orbea Orca now. On the Tour, many of the teams will have the team vehicles parked ‘wagon train’ style or have ‘crime scene’ tapes to keep the civilians at bay. Not at Euskaltel.
We're very pleased to announce that Garmin Transitions physiotherapist Toby Watson will be contributing articles to his new VeloVeritas blog.
Before we go any further with the Cycling Scandals and Gossip, our apologies for the lack of words and pics on the National road race - the VeloVeritas team were all too busy with that 'life stuff' this week, sorry. However, we'll run them post Tour; to help ease that PTSF - 'Post Tour Stress Disorder.'
VeloVeritas is heading down to the British National Elite Road Race Championship on the 27th of this month. We thought we'd check in with 'our' boys, Hamish Haynes, Dan Fleeman, Dan Patten and Tom Copeland to tell them we'd be around to pester them, and to lend a hand with bike prep, feeding and anything else they might need. Here's what Tom Copeland had to say to us, in reply.
Ed and I spent a week recently working on the Giro d'Italia, and after doing quite a few trips like this we have our routine down to a tee; we always travel light, just carry-on baggage, it makes getting through airport security checks and moving around in a hire car for a week or two far easier. Fortunately, just before leaving, we got our hands on some of the new T-shirts by Peloton Racer, which we were happy to put to the test on our travels.
Joe Parkin - "Come and Gone" chronicles the rebirth of pro bike racing in America, it's his sequel to the highly praised memoir, "A Dog in a Hat".
The death of Richard Russell leaves a large gap in the Lothians CTC. Richard was an important figure on the Scottish cycling scene, following his father into the Cyclists' Touring Club, the Edinburgh Road Club and the Scottish Road Records Association. One of his earliest memories was of sitting in a small wicker seat on the back of his parents' tandem on trips around East Lothian, an area he always loved.
It's that time of year; the teams all have their riders signed and gathered at camp (or, "rosters filled" as our North American chums would say), and presentations to the press abound, giving us the chance to see the stars in their new kit for the first time. We've brought together some of the more controversial, recently announced team kits, which are dividing opinion up and down the land, and asking the question: Cycling Kit Designers - what are they thinking?
It's easy to write an obituary when one of your heroes dies - probably more so if you don't know them well. There's just the legend, palmares, anecdotes and the sadness. But I knew Dimitri De Fauw, not well, but I worked at maybe half-a-dozen Six Day races where he was riding.
As the first Briton to win 3 Olympic golds at the same Games since 1908, Scotland's Chris Hoy has become a beacon for British sporting achievement. This autobiography charts his life from 7-year-old BMX fanatic, supported by a devoted dad and local cycling club, through paralysing self-doubt and a major career overhaul, to the sport's holy grail.
"RIP VDB" said the text from John Stollery, waiting for me, when I woke up; there were others too, from Dave and Stevie all expressing sadness - for all his faults, he was a hard man to dislike.
Boy Racer steps behind the scenes of the Tour de France. It unmasks the exotic, contradictory, hysterical and brutal world of professional cycling from the compellingly candid viewpoint of someone right in the thick of it.
Here at VeloVeritas, we encourage you to submit your race results and stories to us, and young Tom Copeland recently did just that.
find it hard to believe, but VeloVeritas is three years old today, and so to celebrate, I've carried out a complete overhaul of the site over the last number of months, bringing the design more up-to-date, and changing the layout to make it much easier for you to find the articles you're looking for, or discover something of interest whilst you're just browsing. Welcome to the new VeloVeritas Design! For us though, one of the biggest things is that we're now able to update the site from wherever in the world we happen to be - which means you'll be reading the same timely updates that we've always tried to deliver, but we will be much less fraught in bringing them to you!
The Edinburgh Nocturne, Scottish cycling's finest hour of the year? Or an unexciting, unprofessional procession? You may have heard about our friend Viktor, we rely on him to voice the more traditional viewpoint, shall we say.
A Dog in a Hat is the remarkable story of Joe Parkin. In 1987, Parkin left the comforts of home to become a bike racer in Belgium, the hardest place in the world to be a bike racer.
Hugh McGuire, who has died suddenly of a heart attack aged 71, was the Glasgow-born Scot who became one of the top UK cyclists in the 1960s, representing both Scotland and the British Army. He took part with the best of GB riders in the Tour of Britain / Milk Race era, winning stages - and in so doing following the wheels of a slightly older top gun, Jimmy Savile. McGuire became noticed, and in 1962 and 1963, was selected to travel behind the Iron Curtain to participate in the annual Berlin-Warsaw-Prague road race, the co-called Peace Race designed by the Soviets to bring together the world's top cyclists in reconciliation between Warsaw Pact countries and the West.
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.
It's a year since Jason MacIntyre died; just like I can remember where I was when JFK was shot, I can remember receiving the call from James McCallum as I drove through Cramond. Jason was a special rider, I loved to watch him in a time trial; to me he was poetry in motion.
In Part I on Tuesday, we learnt how recent Tour of Britain winner Marco Pinotti, one of Cadel's lieutenants at Silence-Lotto Dario Cioni, and English Pro winning in Belgium Matt Brammeier, discovered PowerCranks and how they got in with them during their first rides. Here in Part II, the Pros let us in on how they integrate the cranks into their daily routines, and how the cranks can greatly help with rehabilitation after an accident.