The GS Corsa Spring Bunny 25 race start was delayed as there had been an accident on the course, however once underway it ran smoothly. The course was the AB25/4 - Garlogie Torphins.
The 2007 Ingliston Criterium Series sponsored by Cycling Scotland kicked off last Thursday, the 12th April, at the Royal Highland Showground just west of Edinburgh. Now in its 9th season and this year expanded to 6 events, the series is expected to attract many of Scotland's top elite, women and junior riders.
A beautiful day greeted the 53 riders who took the start of the 56th sponsored The Drummond Trophy Road Race. In glorious sunshine the race rolled out of the small town of Strathaven, situated in the heart of the Avon Valley, Scotland. The rugged course incorporated a large loop of about 45 miles in length, and three smaller loops covering close to 15 miles.
Aidan McIlroy (Auchencrow Thistle) backed up his great ride in the recent Gordon Arms time trial to win his own club's promotion, the hilly TT - "Up The Cleugh". Second was Gary Robson, and third Jon Kelly, visiting from the north of England.
The appearance of daffodils by the roadside at the The Gordon Arms Trophy served to remind you that despite the wonderful blue sky, it is in fact only just the beginning of spring; the morning was tempered by a pretty chilly nor-easterly, taking the temperature down enough to justify at least arm-warmers for most of the field, with gloves, leg-warmers and even overshoes the choice for many riders too.
Blue skies, sunshine, daffodils and a cool easterly wind greeted a full complement of 60 riders, divided into five groups for the 35 mile Moscow APR race. Group one was given a seven minute headstart on the small scratch group which contained the veteran >50 winner from The Lake APR last Sunday, Jocky Johnstone (East Kilbride Road Club).
The result of the Tri Changing Gear CC 16ml Hilly TT. An excellent ride by Jonathan Copp to take this race, with Carlos a little unfortunate having punctured just before the start and ending up riding on someone's borrowed "winter bike" rear wheel.
The Lake APR: 63 riders took to the start on a bitterly cold - but dry - morning in the village of Bulclyvie. Split into six groups, with a fast scratch which included the previous week's Rosneath winner, Gordon Murdoch of East Kilbride Road Club, as well as the inform Paul Coates of Squadra Via Mazzini Racetool, myself: Stuart Macgregor and Edge pairing of Paul Rennie and Graham McGarritty (who won this race 25 years ago when still a junior!).
The Lake APR (Australian Pursuit Race) is a classic early season event on the Scottish road race calendar and is promoted by Glasgow Nightingale Cycling Club. The event kicks off at 10.30am on the A811 just east of Buchlyvie and the course runs anti-clockwise twice round the Lake of Menteith finishing on the A875 after an uphill final stretch north through Balfron.
Gordon Murdoch (East Kilbride RC) added the opening GP win of 2007 - in a freezing, wet and windy Rosneath event - to the 2006 season-closing Anderside GP event. Weighing a stone less than last season and with a new team providing fresh motivation, he was the most resilient rider on a day better suited to sitting by the fireside than climbing Whistlefield Brae three times.
The Sandy Wallace Cycles team of Alan Dow, Ian Black and Joe Wilson put half a minute into the boys from Aberdeen in the shape of the Granite City RT to take the honours in the Musselburgh RC 3-Up Time Trial.
The Scottish Season starts and VeloVeritas begins it's coverage of the Scottish season this Sunday, with the Hugh Dornan Memorial race on the Rosneath peninsula. We're starting a bit late but "day jobs", flu, gum surgery and Het Volk have all played their part in keeping us away from Scotland's lay-bys.
It's Leicester's Saffron Lane velodrome, August 1974. The newly crowned British 20 kilometre champion, Maurice Burton waves his bouquet. Sections of the crowd are booing. Is it because the champion rode a tactical race, not killing himself in the winning break, conserving his sprint? Perhaps, but Burton has just made history, he is Britain's first black senior champion.
It must be the end of term at Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007; "Mr. Happy", stoney-faced derny pilot and former king of the big motor drivers, Bruno Walrave was actually laughing at breakfast - hey! It's pay day today too - always good for morale.
I've arrived; Matt Gilmore said "hello" to me today here at the Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007 - wow! It's the Chocolate Jacques team presentation during the six tonight and Matt is here as part of that gig. "Rambo" is here too - Niko Eeckhout, last June in Antwerp at the Belgian elite champs he was in the break with Boonen; the Tomeke fans had their man as a cert to win.
Kris was just telling us that oxygen cylinders are banned from track centres under UCI regulations. Marc piped-up; "that's a pity, I could have done with a cylinder strapped to my back on the first night!" He's one of the boys now, amazing how much difference a couple of days can make to relationships. It's wet outside and very warm in here, there was a big junior and ladies programme in the morning, complete with the usual crashes. Belgian junior track racing is not for those of a nervous disposition.
Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007. It's 18.00, the juniors are up and keeping the red cross busy. At a time when any sensible person is contemplating a movie then a nice pasta and bottle of red at their favourite Italian restaurant in the company of their sweetheart, we're just about to start work.
"Aint go bump no mo' with no big fat woman!" Seventies disco and six-day racing - Hot Chocolate, Van McCoy, Cool and the Gang and Joe Tex; the biz! It's 19.35 and the theme from Chariots of Fire is blasting-out, Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007 and we're off!
Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007. Kris picked me up at Dusseldorf Weeze airport at tea time yesterday (Wednesday), it's actually only about two kilometres from Holland so it wasn't long before we found a frites stand. Hasselt is in the Limburg region of Belgium, Flemish speaking and with a population of about 70,000. The local tourist office brochure tries hard to talk the town up but there's not much to say - a nice-enough place though.
The Copenhagen Six Day 2005; Danny Kaye is telling me over the public address that it's "Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen". I'm not so sure: it's gone 1.00 am and we have 18 Lycra jerseys; 18 under-vests; six pairs of chamois-lined cycling shorts; six pairs of socks and six pairs of track mitts to hand wash, spin dry and hang up to dry in our 'cabin' in the bowels of the stadium. Welcome to the glamorous world of Six Day bicycle racing.
The last day at Grenoble Six Day 2006 isn't too hard for the riders, there's a points race, a time trial and then the big chase - 180 laps of the 210 meter track. I did hear guys complain though that the lack of warm-up races made for sore legs early in the Madison.
It's 9.30 and I'm just up, Kris sleeps in the camper van. He says it's more comfortable, but I think it's because I snore so badly. It was interesting at breakfast today; the guys were talking about what they did before they were full-time pro cyclists.
It was musical jerseys last night, Franco & Alex Aeschbach took over in the lead, Michael & Alex Rasmussen swopped the leader's jerseys for the points leaders maillot vert but Jozi & Martin lost the combine jersey to DeFauw & Van Mechelen of Belgium.
Sometimes, you wonder why you are doing this - OK, it's great being around guys like Franco Marvulli and having an insight into the inner-sanctum, but it's hard work, often boring and stressed guys aren't fun to be around.
Some times it's difficult to get an interview, especially if your target is World Road Race Champion, Paolo Bettini. He has a Quick Step entourage with him and he's testing his new Specialized road bike for 2007. But us VeloVeritas guys are persistent, and after stalking him all afternoon I was granted just five minutes of his precious time.
Grenoble Six Day 2006. 17.45: Where did the day go? They are playing Puccini over the stadium PA, the folies girls are rehearsing their routine, you would have to be here to appreciate it, but it's awesome.
11.20: Picked-up the Danish guys, Alex Rasmussen and Michael Mørkøv at Lyon airport. It's a hassle because it's hard to park the camper and security is tight. Alex looks slimmer than last season whilst Michael is still skeletal. We have to drive all the way back to Grenoble now. At least the sun is out and the scenery is good.
Six Day races; they're all fixed, aren't they? Yeah, for sure... all you have to do is take a lap from Bruno Risi and Franco Marvulli when they are at 97.5 % instead of 'full-gas'. That's maybe 57 kph instead of 58 - Easy! That'll be how then-reigning World Champions, Bob Hayles and Mark Cavendish, were 34 laps down at Ghent last year: because it's so "easy". The truth is that the Sixes are 'choreographed', but if you don't have the legs, you can't win.
"What a difference a day makes," as Esther Phillips once sang. Tuesday afternoon, Charleroi, Belgium and it's cold, grey, wet and windy. We're on our way to the Grenoble Six Day 2006. It has taken us nearly ten hours on the motorway to get to Lyon having been battered by cross-winds and cut-up by manic East European truckers.
Jason MacIntyre made it a neat half dozen Scottish individual titles for 2006 with a 16 second winning margin over fast-improving Irishman, Raymond Wilson (Dunfermline CC) in the Scottish Hill Climb Championship on the Bonnyton Moor climb near Eaglesham on Saturday afternoon.
Who else but Jason MacIntyre ran out the winner of this year's Tour des Trossachs classic time trial, held around Aberfoyle, Scotland. A solid minute and a half space between him and Evan Oliphant, with Ray Wilson in third a further minute back.
The Dunfermline team of I. Condie and R. Wilson won the Phil Young Memorial GP Des Gents time trial by nearly a minute on actual time, meaning that they also won the race on handicap, but only by a small margin: eight seconds.
Jason McIntyre continued his domination of time trialling with an emphatic win over Arthur Doyle and Berry McGurk in the Tour of the Campsies, over two an a half minutes clear.
The A C Yule Trophy, awarded to the fastest rider from the organising club (Aberdeen Wheelers), was won by veteran roadman Bob Cowie in a time of 25min 13secs. The event was won by Dave Black (Sandy Wallace Cycles) from Forres, in a time of 22min 26secs, beating Tri-changing Gear's Sean Monaghan into 2nd place by a mere 6secs. Sean's Tri-changing Gear team-mate, Colin Duncan was 3rd in 22min 45secs.
The results of the "Rising Westerly" 100 Mile Time Trial held on the Aberdeen/Stonehaven/Deeside course, and organised by GS Corsa. Carlos Riise (Shetland Wheelers) made another successful "air"“raid" on mainland cycling by comfortably winning the "Rising Westerly" by over 14 minutes from Granite City RT's Norman Skene. Sadly, Scottish 12hr Champion, Joe Wilson (Sandy Wallace Cycles) crashed at Aboyne and was forced to retire. Carlos reported that Joe was probably just over a minute up on him at the time.
Barry McGurk of the Glasgow Couriers ran away with the Johnstone Wheelers CC 25 Mile Individual Time Trial, nearly two minutes ahead of second placed Alan Dow, with Billy McFarlane third.
Jason MacIntyre followed his outstanding win in the British 25 mile TT Champs with an equally fantastic result in the British Time Trial Championship 2006, taking some superb scalps such as Michael Hutchinson, Jonathan Dayus, and Stuart Dangerfield.
‘The best Commonwealth Games performance ever by the Scottish cycling team’ – that’s for sure. VeloVeritas hopes to speak to all of the athletes concerned and we’re proud to start with individual pursuit silver medallist, John Archibald.
‘I’m a Believer,’ a great song, the Monkees had the hit back in 1968. I used to be a ‘Believer’ and can remember the sense of relief when we discovered that Lance’s Tour ‘positive’ back in 1999 was all a big mistake; those tricky corticosteroids had been in a cream he used to treat a saddle sore and he had a TUE to cover it. What a relief.
That man John Archibald is back in action again – and with a 48 minutes and 13 seconds ‘BANG !’ down on the Westferry course in the CTT ‘25’ Champs on Sunday past. It gave us a good excuse to catch up with the Commonwealth Games individual pursuit silver medallist and see what he’s been up to since The Gold Coast and what’s next on the agenda for him?
In 2016 in Belgium Ethan Hayter won the tough junior races, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, GP Serge Baguet, De Klijte-Heuvaelland, was in the winning team in junior European team pursuit champs and was British Madison champion with Joe Holt. Last year he won the u23 Berlin Six Day with Matt Walls, took a medal in every British track championship he rode and was part of the winning u23 Europeans team pursuit squad. This season he began training with the senior team in January and was world champion within weeks, at 19 years-of-age.
Sometimes on the big tours you have to change plans; road closures, janitors, barrier crews, motorway crashes can all influence your 'best laid plans.' At the end of the day you may not have missed deadline - we rarely do - but there'll be that feeling that you could have done better. Then there are days when you have to struggle then struggle some more but eventually it comes together, you get to where you want to be and get those special pictures.
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.