Today's fifth stage from Le Cap d'Agde saw the first successful breakaway of this year's Tour. Thomas Voeckler held off the chasing peloton by seven seconds to win out of a five-man escape in the flat but windy 196.5km course from Cap d'Agde to Perpignan. Russian rider Mikhail Ignatiev also held on from the break to claim second with British sprint phenom Mark Cavendish leading the pack snapping at their heels for third.
The team time trial here in Montpellier, it’s beautiful; speed, strength, skill, trust, unity, honour — everything that makes pro bike racing special.
Mark Cavendish soared to his second straight win in the Tour de France today to La Grande-Motte, winning the sprint from a small bunch and strengthening his overall hold on the green jersey.
Mark Cavendish blasted to his first victory of the Tour today at Brignoles, a victory that also places him in the green jersey as the leader of the race's points classification, for the first time in his career.
Lance going off early in the Monaco TT surprised me, but there will be a reason-nothing happens by chance with the man from Plano. The cadence was high and he had the Jenson Button lines on the corners, but somehow he wasn't 'on it.'
Endura's Gary Hand took the July edition of the Scottish Cycling Super 6 2009 over 66 miles at a scorching Aberdeen on Saturday, beating Robin Wilkins from Stirling into second and Craig Adams from Falkirk into third with East of Scotland 'old dog' Andy Matheson grabbing fourth.
Kristian House of Rapha-Condor won, Chris Froome was man of the match and there was plenty of sunshine. That's the British Champs in a nutshell, it really was a great day.
It took Arthur Doyle (Dooleys) just 51:33 to join the likes of Billy Bilsland, Graeme Obree and Jason MacIntyre on the roll of honour for the Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial Championship on a warm but windy Sunday morning on the fast dual carriageway of the A90 Laurencekirk by-pass.
Ross Creber delivered the win for the dominating Endura Race Team in the 44th edition of the Davie Bell Memorial Road Race. Team mate and reigning Scottish Road Champion, Evan Oliphant took 2nd, narrowly edging out visiting James Sampson of the Candi TV — Marshall’s Pasta team.
"Lang Whang" is Auld Scots, it means 'long way' - it's fair to say that Endura's Gary Hand was in the break for a lang whang and he won the finishing sprint by a similar margin from wanderer returned, Alex Coutts (I looked at his jersey but the team name looked like Greek to me).
The Face Partnership, the guys behind the Revolution Series on the track, brought an evening of exciting, all-category and professional racing to Edinburgh last night, in the shape of their successful Nocturne format.
Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial Championship 2009 - Scottish time trialling came within ten seconds of a major upset on the wind swept tarmac of the A77 near Newton Mearns on Saturday morning as 45 year-old Peter Ettles (Forres) thrashed his 104" fixed gear to within that many seconds of defending 10 mile champion and current short distance king, Arthur Doyle (Dooleys).
The Trossachs in spring, a nice cup of coffee in Aberfoyle, the weather forecast is good, the Sam Robinson Memorial Road Race is always a good race to watch and...
"I hit 'em hard!" was how Pete Williams (Pinarello/Candi TV/ Marshalls Pasta) explained his race winning move in Sunday's 54th Drummond Trophy, held in bright sunshine on the sinuous back roads west of Eaglesham and the M77. With a new Scottish sponsor's name on their jerseys (Marshalls) and the commanding figure of team boss Phil Griffiths there in the flesh, there was never any doubt that Pinarello were going to win.
Ah, the Girvan-and VeloVeritas are right there, with Evan Oliphant (Plowman Craven) and Gary Hand (Endura) keeping us abreast of what's going on in South West Scotland.
Endura Racing Team's Gary Hand topped a near perfect day for the Scottish UCI Continental squad with a solo win in the second round of the Super Six Series - the Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race over 80 miles around the "Rigging of Fife." Team-mates Gordon Murdoch and Duncan Urquhart took second and fourth respectively, to make it a quality day for the men in red and white. Spoiling the party just a little was Rapha-Condor's Matt Cronshaw, who, despite a severe working-over from the winners, grabbed third place.
Endura Racing tried to sign him for the coming year - they saw the sure potential, but the loyal Mike Nicolson decided to stay with Dooleys RT and took another step today towards realising that promise. Attacking early on the first circuit of this 8 lap/65 mile "A" race around the East Lothian market town of Gifford with Paul Coates (now back with Squadra Via Mazzini - RaceTool Bicycles), and joined on the second lap by Collin Humphrey (Sports Cover), Nicolson drove the collaborating trio to a maximum lead of over 3 minutes with two laps to go, before sensing Coates was weakening and Humphrey was a danger. Deciding to go it alone, Nicolson finished in glorious solitude.
On a freezing, grey, Sunday afternoon on the frost hardened grass and mud of Dundee's Caird Park, Scotland's newest professional, Ross Creber gave his sponsors, Plowman Craven their first national cyclo-cross title. The slim mountain biker was head and shoulders above the rest; a gutsy ride from Greig Walker (Edinburgh RC) gave him the silver medal ahead of junior, Kenta Gallacher (Team 777) who took bronze.
On a mild but blustery day on the north side of the Ochil Hills, Ben Abrahams (equipe Velo Ecosse - Montpeliers ) finally realised some of his potential and gave new team sponsors Harley Haddow engineering and Warners solicitors value for money with a surprise 17 second win in the Scottish Hill Climb Championship.
On a picture postcard perfect Autumn Sunday, hospital consultant Arthur Doyle (Dooleys Cycles) gave a lesson in how to ride a technical time trial with a two minute plus beating of the field in the classic Tour of the Trossachs. Ever consistent Jim Cusick (Glasgow Couriers) was second with Plowman Craven professional and Scottish road race champion, Evan Oliphant taking bronze.
The Tour of Britain's penultimate stage departed from Glasgow Green today, taking the peloton south to the beautiful setting of Drumlanrig Castle in the Southern Uplands. The Glasgow Grand Prix took advantage of the closed circuit and the watching crowds, with two events following immediately after the ToB departure.
Steve Beech has ridden two Milk Races and ten 12 hour races, so when he tells you that this year's Scottish '12' was the hardest one he's ever ridden, he knows what he's talking about. He's also held the Scottish record, with 275.258 miles - set in the Glasgow 12 in 1991, until Joe Wilson updated it; that distance is however, still the Scottish vets record.
On a day more suited to a November cyclo-cross, than a 'summer' road race, those Pedal Power boys did it again; Gary Hand topped and tailed the Super Six in taking the East of Scotland Championship at East Saltoun, having won the first round-also in East Lothian-back in the spring, whilst series leader, Gordon Murdoch built upon an already unassailable points total, in second spot.
John Kermode did what VeloVeritas expected him to, at sunny but windy Alford on Sunday afternoon and successfully defended his Scottish Vets Road Race Championship; as the football commentators say; 'it was déja vu all over again' as he beat the same man he did 12 months ago in the same race, on the same course-Dooley's Graeme McGarrity.
Despite loosing roadman sprinter, Graeme McGarrity within ten miles of the start and short distance specialist, Gary Robson thinking that the finish would never come, Dooleys RT successfully defended their Scottish team time trial title on a dry but windy Saturday afternoon in the rich farmland of Strathmore near Forfar. Scottish ten mile champion and freshly crowned European Masters pursuit champion, Arthur Doyle did much of the work in ensuring the title stayed with Bob Taylor's band; ably backed by man who knows more about team trialling than most, former British Champion in the discipline, Dave Gibson.
"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.
"Yeah, I'm happy to have won, but I'm not happy at having to go back to Yorkshire again - I just came from there, last night! And I'm sick of eating pies!" The words of Plowman Craven professional Evan Oliphant after successfully defending the Scottish road race title on a deceptively tough course over 81 miles of the beautiful rolling Borders country around historic Hawick.
"Given my record of bad luck in 50's, when I heard that the course had been changed, I expected to end up in the Cromarty Firth at the turn, checking out the dolphins!" But Mark Atkinson successfully avoided that fate to take his third Scottish 50 Mile Time Trial Championship title; leading Sandy Wallace team mates, second placed Jonathan Copp and fifth placed Ian Black, to take a double championship win on a bright but cool and windy Sunday morning on the A9 near Invergordon.
Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championship. Recording exactly the same time - 52:15 - as the last occasion he won the 25 title, in 2005, Fort William's Mark Atkinson (Sandy Wallace Cycles) regained his crown on a cool and windswept Laurencekirk by-pass on Sunday morning. VeloVeritas correctly tipped the top three, but got the order wrong. We had Mark down to win ahead of Dooley's duo, Arthur Doyle and Gary Robson, but a personal best 52:46 by Robson gave him the silver by nine seconds from Doyle.
On a dismal Wednesday night for the Eastern Promise Road Race, made even more unpleasant by Pro Tour level midges, it was those Pedal Power boys carrying on where they left off in the Sam Robinson, with Gordon Murdoch and Gary Hand scooping the dosh in the Eastern Promise road race across the moors around Gladhouse Reservoir. I haven't trained as an SC commissaire, but presumably there's a rule which says; "Pre race briefings must always be conducted outside in the torrential rain, rather than in the comfort and dry of the strip."
Sam Robinson Memorial Road Race; A top class field raced this 78 mile event, attracting the majority of Scotland's road race talent and a number of riders from North East England, including the regional champion.The 78 mile race tackled the climbs of the Dukes Pass and 'Top of the World', based around the Trossachs and two tough finishing circuits through Balfron Town.
"That was horrid", said the winner Evan Oliphant, as I asked him moments after he crossed the line at the Scottish Cycling Super 6, how he enjoyed it. "It was just like being back at the Rás, what with the rain - and those roads!". Oh! I I thought he was talking about his teammate James McCallum congratulating him with a sloppy kiss on the cheek!
On a Sunday morning as close to perfect as we'll get in Scotland, Arthur Doyle (Dooleys) did what most people had expected and took the Scottish ten mile championship over the A811, Kippen Flats, equalling Graeme Obree's 20-13 course record. If Arthur's first time trial championship win went to form, then the destination for rest of the medals was much less predictable.
"I was needing a win! I've had too many second places!" was how Gordon Murdoch (Pedal Power) explained his strongman's victory over 62 windy, potholed, crash-plagued miles in Saturday's Dooley's Grand Prix, part of the Scottish Cycling Super 6 series, high on the bleak moors to the south west of Paisley.
"I knew you'd ask that! With my team mate Gordon Murdoch in second place in the series, there's no pressure on me, and all I would say is that it'll be hard for someone to win who's not in Pedal Power!". Those were the words of Gary Hand in the run up to this weekend's race, and with Ben Greenwood (Rapha Condor-Recycling) pulling out of the second round of the Scottish Cycling Super 6 due to injury, it looked set to follow a similar pattern to the first round; being dominated by Pedal Power.
"The Girvan" stage race, based in beautiful Ayrshire and Galloway and held over the Easter weekend, has the reputation of being one of the toughest races in Britain, and it certainly does deserve it. This year the 39th edition is again being run over 3 days and 4 stages, with the 3 road stages taking the riders into wild and remote terrain, most likely in less than ideal weather, which has been deteriorating ominously during the week and with foul conditions including snow predicted to arrive at the weekend, together with over 100 of the UK's top cyclists, it should be an interesting race...
The new Scottish Cycling Super 6 series kicked off in grand style today at Gifford in beautiful East Lothian, with Gary Hand taking a well-executed and deserved solo win in the 'A' Race, in a superbly organised Edinburgh Road Club event.
Craig Hardie (Dunfermline CC) disproved the old adage that; "a good big 'un, will always beat a good little 'un," when the 37 year-old from Dalgety Bay left his much-taller rival Dan Whitehead several lengths back to win the Scottish Cyclo-Cross Championships 2007 on a snowy and technical circuit at Plean Country Park.
Not many riders throughout the History of the 52 years of the Bec CC Hill Climb event get to wear the mantle of 'Doing the Double' by winning both the Catford CC Hill & the Bec C C Hill Climbs. Dan Fleeman, Blue Sky Cycles, who until today was a 'Hill Climb Virgin', in his first attempt at this discipline, not only won both events, but also broke the 12 year old Bec C C Hill Record of 1.44.4 set in 1995 by Gary Dodd, Kingston Phoenix RC with an incredible 1.43.02.
Jason MacIntyre Wins the Scottish Hill Climb Championship 2007 - It took Jason MacIntyre (Edge RT) just 3 minutes and 37 seconds to win his fifth Scottish individual time trial championship of the 2007 season; at Bonnyton Moor on a dreich Sunday afternoon, the hill climb was duly added to the 10, 25, TTT and circuit TT, in the bleak country above Eaglesham.
Tour de Trossachs 2007 Mile zero: 09.54, and Alastair McNicol of Kelso Wheelers is on the line. Off No.1 at 10:01, he's not going to miss his start. It's six degrees, there are just wisps of cloud in the sky and Scotland has never looked better. Ferns, conifers and beech, lime green to dark brown form the backdrop for the timekeepers; to the north, the hills of the Trossachs wait quietly for the onslaught.
The recent Phil Young Memorial TT was a tremendous success. The weather was a bit cold and damp but it certainly didn't dampen the enjoyment of the field. Every rider in the race got a prize, and it was really nice to see the expression on the face of riders who have never won a prize before.
Showing he's lost none of the form which would have kept David Millar (Saunier Duval) in Slipstream Argyle pattern - rather than the red and blue hoops of British champion -- in time trials next year (had the Fort William man's front tyre not exploded), Jason MacIntyre (Edge RT) put more than four minutes into second placed Arthur Doyle (Ivy CC) in Sunday's Scottish Olympic Time Trial Championship 2007 over 27 technical miles at Irvine.
It was like one of those American cop movies, where the old detective takes the young buck under his wing and together they buck the system - veteran Andrew Davies (the bicycleworks) and junior Hamish Creber (Sandy Wallace) rode away from the field in the opening laps of Saturday's Scottish criterium championships at Glasgow Green, with the wily Davies taking the gold medal, one hour later, in front of a big crowd, there to see the finale of the Tour of Britain.
When it became apparent that the Scottish Vets' Road Race Championship 2007 - over 65 wet and hilly miles at Alford - would end in a sprint finish, most bets were on fast-finisher Graham McGarrity (Edge RT); John Kermode (Dundee Thistle) had other ideas however and McGarrity had to settle for second. Kermode was, understandably; 'delighted', whilst McGarrity: 'hates to lose a sprint, especially in vets' race!'
A chilly, breezy but rapid Sunday morning on the roads alongside the Cromarty Firth saw Shetland's Carlos Riise reclaim the Scottish 100 Mile Time Trial Championship 2007 title he last won in 2004, with a personal best 3-51-43. This was Carlos's eighth hundred title, the man who ended his run of seven straight wins and who took the title in 2005, Jonathan Copp (Deeside) was not riding, neither was last year's champion and current record holder, Mark Atkinson (Sandy Wallace).
On a day when the Northern skies and the Cromarty Firth conspired in a sullen, grey partnership, Jim Cusick's (Glasgow Couriers) winning 1:51:36 in the Scottish 50 Mile Time Trial Championship 2007 around Invergordon, shone like a beacon. Revelling in the cold, wet conditions, Cusick (above) beat another hardman, Carlos Riise (Shetland Wheelers) by nearly two minutes, the islander recording 1:53:20.
Jason Macintyre (Edge RT) made it a 'double-double' on Sunday morning as he successfully defended his Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championship 2007 with 51:58 on a sunny but airy Irvine by-pass, the win coming just two weeks after he retained his British 25 mile title.
The result may have been predictable, but Evan Oliphant (DFL) only took home the gold medal in a sodden Scottish Road Race Championships 2007 after an incident-packed four hours. Taking a well-deserved silver medal and 'moral victor' of the championship was pre-race favourite Raymond Wilson (Dunfermline CC).
Raymond Wilson (Dunfermline CC) at last had Lady Luck on his side as he scored a well-deserved win in Sunday's Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race over 75 hilly and airy miles around the 'rigging' of Fife.
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.
‘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.
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.
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?