Englishman Steve Penny is a long time track enthusiast and writer - this will be his 17th consecutive edition of Flanders' mythical Six Day. Here's his take on the 72nd edition of what is now unquestionably the hardest six day race on the calendar. VeloVeritas will be there for Sunday afternoon's Grand Finale. Champions of the World, or The Prodigal Son - that's the question which can only be answered on the steep bankings of the Kuipke velodrome.'
The World Ports Classic is making its debut on the international cycling calendar on August 31, when it begins its two-day trek from Rotterdam to Antwerp and back. Several great riders who thrive in windy conditions and sprints have already included it in their programmes, including a three-time stage winner in the first two weeks of this Tour de France, André Greipel, and the hero of this year’s spring classics, Tom Boonen.
Like it or not, the sport of professional cycle racing is largely defined by one race – the Tour de France. To aficionados the Primavera, Ronde, Hell of the North and Classic of the Falling Leaves are eagerly awaited then devoured and endlessly analysed. But mention any of these races to the ‘man in the street’ and you’ll be met with a blank stare. The Giro and Vuelta will elicit a similar response - Paris-Nice? Forget it. But tell a ‘lay person’ you’re going to the Tour de France and in response you’ll get; ‘Lance, Cav, yellow jersey’ – and ‘drugs,’ naturally.
Fast and furious street racing for a summer evening in Peebles. It’s really three events in one – first the families (and anyone with a bike who wants to join in riding round the course for a ‘victory’ lap), then a full-on women’s race, before the headline men’s racing kicks off. The circuit is short and spectacular, with high speeds and tricky corners for the top riders, and big crowds and a party atmosphere to shout them on. It’s run as a Belgian-style Kermesse event, with lots of the community involved.
Rapha-Condor-Sharp rider James McCallum has pledged his intention to defend his title at the South Carrick David Bell Memorial, a 'monument' of Scottish cycling aspiring to join the Premier Calendar series in 2013. The promoting club, Ayr Roads-Harry Fairbairn BMW have already secured 'National A' status for the 47th running of the 100mile event to be held on Sunday June 10th 2012, guaranteeing the best possible line up of British professional and elite cyclists.
On Tuesday 14th of June we have a major new event for a summer evening in Peebles, in the Scottish Borders. For the first time, a major new road event will be taking place in the town centre: a Belgian-style kermis event with lots of the community involved and pubs and restaurants along the circuit. The circuit is short and spectacular, with high speeds along the Main Street and sharp descent, and tricky corners with a short uphill to test the lungs each lap.
The best cyclists in Scotland will descend on South Ayrshire this Sunday, the 5th of June, as Ayr Roads Cycling Club/Harry Fairbairn BMW play host to round four of the Scottish Power Renewables SuP6R Six series at the 2011 David Bell Memorial Road Race. The event has attracted a full field for the first time in over two decades, with the riders lining up to complete the gruelling 120km marathon over the hilly roads around Straiton. Chris Johnston, a member of the race's organising committee, sent us his diary of the week before the race. As we can see, it's not just a case of rocking up on the morning and opening the HQ...
Balfron in Stirlingshire will host Vortex RT's promotion of the 2011 Scottish Cycling Road Race Championships on Sunday 22nd May. This year's event will be based on a challenging circuit of approx 11km, which will have a race run on it for the first time. As tradition demands, the ladies go first, and their race will be 67km long, six full laps of the circuit starting at 9:30am.
A Scottish team has again been invited to ride the end of season event in France — the 14th International Critérium de Levallois - which will take place on Sunday 17th October. As always the race will be 60 laps of a 1.8 km circuit, a total distance of 108 kms (approx. 70 miles).
Promoted by Sandy Wallace Cycles, the Scottish Hill Climb Championships 2010 takes place on Sunday on the Purrin Den ascent in Fife, and around 35 hardy souls are preparing to put themselves through the seven minutes (and more) of pain it'll take to see the relay station at the finish...
Although the start sheet for the Tour de Trossachs is still to be finalised, it's looking to be a very interesting race - the field has been extended to accommodate 140 because the race is proving to be popular with riders of all abilities, and sees National Champions and World Champions taking part, as well as newcomers interested in trying out this classic course. Arthur Doyle (Dooleys RT) will defend his title for the third time, but the big question is will he manage to beat both the hill climb and course record set by Jason McIntyre in 2007...
We're pleased to help announce the launch of the 2010 British Downhill Series (BDS), the only National race series in the World with UCI ranking points, £10,000 in prize money and over :£15,000 in prizes. Formerly the NPS the "British Downhill Series" is the new name for the Nationals. A new Decade and a brand new race series for you to get your tyres dug into.
The La Vuelta a España 2010 presentation was in Sevilla this year (normally Madrid), the start town of next year's race. Some of the old stars of cycling where in attendance; Thevenet, Olano, Hinault and introducing the show Pedro Delgado. Hinault pointed out that one of his hardest day on a bike was the stage to Avila in 1983 which he won stage and overall.
- by Janette Hazlett - I rode round the course for the Trossachs time trial the other day - ouch... now I'm feeling just a little bit guilty that I make them race round it! There were no crowds for me on the Duke's Pass - and I was flying up it too, honest!
Some hill climbs boast a long and colourful history, some have gruelling gradients that are talked about in revered tone throughout clubrooms the length & breadth of the country, whilst others claim to have the richest prize list in the UK. Well, the Bec CC Hill Climb can claim to have all three of those, plus - and it's a big plus - it has probably the most enthusiastic hordes of spectators that will ever be found at any Hill Climb event, including the Nationals, if comments from past riders and spectators are anything to go by.
Organiser Isobel Smith is certainly hoping the recent run of fine weather continues for her race on Sunday morning, the Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championships. Promoted by Aberdeen & District CA, and held on the fast AB25/8 course, with Arthur Doyle (Dooleys RT) and Peter Ettles (Forres CC), first and second at the recent 10 Mile Time Trial Champs competing, chased by fourth-placed Mark Atkinson (Sandy Wallace Cycles) it looks like it'll be a good contest.
A phone call from Craig MacLean the other day; "I'll be up in Edinburgh on Monday morning, to do some promo for the Edinburgh Nocturne races at the end of the month, fancy catching up?" For sure mate. And so I pottered along to the press launch of the Nocturne event today, which centered around an exhibition of roller racing, with the wonderful backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
The only thing that is certain about Sunday's Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial Championship, is that there will be a new champion. Reigning champion, Jason Macintyre was snatched from us before we saw the very best of him; we miss you, Jason. Sunday morning's championship is organised by Isobel Smith on the rolling dual carriageways of the A90 near Strathcathro Services between Dundee and Aberdeen. The start is near Fordoun, just a mile or two from Arbuthnott - Lewis Grassick Gibbon country.
The Scottish Cycling Super 6 Duncan McGregor Memorial races will start with 5 or 10 minute gap between them. Race A off first. Both races will tackle the climb to Largo Ward which will prove a challenge, race B have a prime the first time up the climb with race getting a lap to warm up before the first prime points are fought out.
Gary Hand (Pedal Power), race winner at Gifford in Round 1 carries his Scottish Cycling Super 6 Series lead into Round 2 at Scotland's highest village of Wanlockhead on Saturday. The village sits at 467 metres (1531 feet) and used to be known as 'God's Treasure House', due to the local mineral wealth.
Rob Wardell emailed to tell us about the first round of the Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike Series which is due to take place in less than 3 weeks' time, at Laggan Woftrax. Online entries are now being taken at EntryCentral. Riders who enter online at EntryCentral will also receive a :£5.00 discount over postal entries and entries on the day.
Snowdrops by the roadside, fluffy white clouds scurrying across a blue sky, bright sunshine requiring the Ray Bans to get dusted-off, and a breeze that was fresh but not chilling-has Spring arrived in Gifford on this February Sunday? Nah! It'll be snowing, tomorrow! Still, it was a lovely day to recce the course for the first of James McCallum's 'Super Six' series; the timing was perfect, organiser Chris Harney pulled-on the brakes of his Orbea outside Gifford town hall, just as I stopped the Toyota beside the village green.
The 2006 edition of the Bec CC Hill Climb was absolutely remarkable on several fronts. Firstly, for the very first time in the history of the event we had a dead heat for 1st place. Gary Dodd of Sigma Sport, and Bill Bell of the Gemini B.C. battled to the line, in atrocious weather to both record a time of 1.49.17. Neither of these 'Kings of the Hill' have, as yet, stuck their heads above the turret for this years event, and neither have they been spotted out reconoitering White Lane in prep for another crack at taking the honours.
Fullerton Wheelers present the Scottish Olympic Time Trial Championships 2007 this weekend, with double British TT Champion Jason MacIntyre (Edge RT) starting number 39 and last off, in a small field which all the same contains a lot of quality riders.
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.
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.
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.
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!
John Pierce is one of the world’s great sports photographers, he’s a friend of VeloVeritas and in our site’s best tradition, the man can RANT about the sport he’s been a part of for 50 years. We had a good long chat with John about his racing and photography careers - here in Part One, John tells us about his early successes and how he became interested in photography, his first equipment, his travels and adventures.
It’s not just the boys which the Rayner Fund supports, the young ladies get their opportunities. Here’s what 19 year-old Miss Henrietta Colborne from the north of England had to tell us...
Steve Cummings? He’s the real deal; a world champion on the track in the team pursuit; he paid his dues with Landbouwkrediet and Barloworld; rode for the ‘mega’ teams, Discovery, Sky, BMC; was part of that famous team which carried Cav to a rainbow jersey in Copenhagen but now he’s found his true niche – with South African squad Dimension Data. Last year the team raced as MTN-Qhubeka with Cummings netting a brilliant stage win in le Tour; this year the squad, with new sponsors has taken Cav on board and moved up to the World Tour.
If there’s a rider more closely associated with a city than Iljo Keisse is with Gent then I can’t think of it. Born and bred in the capital of East Flanders, raised on the boards of the Blaarmeersen velodrome, the Gentenaars love him and he loves them. Iljo's dad, Ronie Keisse owns the legendary Café de Karper, a favourite student haunt in Gent, just a five minute walk from the Kuipke and the only place to be on a November Sunday evening when the Six Day finishes, so we sat down with Ronie on the Monday morning after the Six to discuss the life and times of his boy, one of the very last real ‘vedettes’ – star Six Day men.
The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next year is an interesting proposition for Scotland, with Katie Archibald and Callum Skinner now Olympic champions, Mark Stewart a double under 23 European Champion and Neah Evans on the top step of a World Cup podium - and don't forget 'left fielder' Jonny Wale, reigning British team pursuit champion and 1:01 kilometre man. VeloVeritas spoke to all of them about their 2017 seasons and prospects in Australia come the spring, and we start with Callum Skinner...