"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.
Jason McIntyre (The Edge RT/Dooleys) successfully defended his Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial Championship 2007 on the A77 near Glasgow on Saturday morning; that's the 'who', 'what', 'where' and 'when'. In time-trialling though, the real information come from the watches, with no superlatives or flowery prose.
Paul Coats (Squadra Via Mazzini Racetool) showed that he had the legs to match his cool suntan with a fine win in Sunday's David Campbell memorial race over 80 cold and hilly miles around Fife's Cults Hills.
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.
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 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!).
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.
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?
‘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.
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. This day was such a day; lost, lost again, a massive detour through the mountains - against race route to the top of the Colle Delle Finestre - but we really enjoyed our pizza after this one...
‘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.