Spokes Team Launch 2017(Comments Off on Spokes Team Launch 2017)
Saturday night saw Dave and I make our way to the Spokes Limits team presentation for 2017. It was deja vu with the weather and the venue. The presentation of riders however showed a significant change from last year. There were fewer riders and a number of new faces. Most noticeably Grant Martin having moved on to join his brother at Raleigh GAC.
Another major success for a team designed to foster talent and enable them to transition to the next level. It was less clear where some of last year’s riders had gone to pursue their cycling dreams. What wasn’t in question was the impressive list of results achieved in the previous twelve months. Arriving uncharacteristically early provided the opportunity to find out more about the Limits, the power meter company and their product, who are one of the principal team’s sponsors.Full Story»
Mark Stewart – “I realise AN Post is ‘the real deal'”(Comments Off)
The last time we spoke to Scotland’s top endurance track rider, Mark Stewart he’d just added to his growing medal collection at the European Championships with bronze in the team pursuit and silver in the scratch.
Some nice road results in the Ronde van Oost Vlaanderen followed where he made his breakthrough from riding as a domestique and/or ‘getting round’ to being a serious contender for stage and overall honours.
But it wasn’t long before he would be back on the boards – he is a trackman, after all.
John McMillan – Reminiscing about the “Okolo Slovenska”(Comments Off)
VeloVeritas interviewed Scottish Legend John McMillan, last year – doing some research into the ‘Peace Race’ recently we asked John if he’s ever ridden the Warsaw-Berlin-Prague. He said he hadn’t – but he had ridden the Okolo Slovenska, the seven day Tour of Slovakia, which in 1965 was part of Communist-controlled Czechoslovakia and which had the aim of celebrating the liberation of Slovakia by the Red Army in 1945.
The Scottish Team received invites to ‘Iron Curtain’ countries because the President of the SCU, Arthur Campbell, was a committed Communist, and used the races to further his contacts within the various East European countries’ cycling bodies; Arthur always had two suitcases; the second was full of duty-free whisky for his buddies…
Merckx Machines, Present and (Recent) Past(Comments Off)
As we said the other week, it’s always nice to get feedback from readers – even when we get slapped wrists.
One of our Scandinavian readers wasn’t happy that in our ‘Six Day Hardware’ piece we missed out the frames of a certain Baron Merckx.
We hope the following rectifies things as we look at Merckx machines present and recent past.
Cycle Sport magazine run an article a few months ago, ‘The 25 Most Stylish Riders of all Time’ – Giovanni Battaglin, Roger De Vlaeminck, Francesco Moser, all fair enough. But Tafi? Lizzie Armitstead? Cancellara?
And there were some glaring omissions, Tom Simpson, Ferdi Bracke, Ole Ritter and the big blond Dutchman Roy Schuiten, who in 1971 took silver in The Netherlands amateur pursuit championships. A year later it was gold and there was a third place in the amateur Grand Prix des Nations. Roy Schuiten, ace pursuiter, consummate chronoman and stylist may you rest in peace – you’ll always be one of the very coolest for us at VeloVeritas.
Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne Bikes(Comments Off)
It was Sean Connery’s character in the film “The Untouchables” who suggested you don’t bring a knife to a gun fight and it was clear that the weapons of choice at the opening classics weekend in Belgium would contribute to the outcome and individual’s performance.
Having wandered around the teams at both the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne it became clear there was a lot of nice kit being readied to race. Weapons of choice? Well the pro’s do get paid to ride them so ask a pro what’s the best bike he has ever ridden and common sense will normally dictate they confirm it’s the one they are currently riding. Sensible response, however what about the weekend warriors or those who like to have the show pony even if it’s not being tested to the max, what would you choose?
Spokes Racing Team Launch, 2016(Comments Off)
We headed to the launch of the recent 2016 Spokes Racing Team, the freezing weather failing to curb the enthusiasm of 120 supporters who had all paid £30 per head to attend the event, held in the Old Manor hotel in Lundin Links, Fife.
Spokes team owner owner Craig Greive and director sportiv Blair Whiteside had put together quite an evening with guest speakers including former pro and now DS at One Pro Cycling James McCallum (who’s still looking fit), the Lord Provost of Fife and Director at Dunfermline Football Club and quite the celebrity and public speaker, Jim Leishman.
He’s at it again – more pictures! This time John Pierce has sent us some of his favourite images of British track stars of the present and recent past; we hope you like them as much as we do.
Looking back at the 75th Gent Six Day(Comments Off)
Coming to Gent to watch the Six Day, as I have for 20 years, is like meeting up with an old friend, a friend you see just once a year but when you meet you are familiar and easy in each others company. Most familiar is the velodrome, Het Kuipke that hosts the Six Days which has, barring a few upgrades in the bar areas, changed very little during the time I’ve been coming.
Importantly, it still feels like a bike race rather than a show or party – although the later does have its place here. The fans who come to the event year after year know and respect the tradition that makes this a classic and, really and truly, the last remaining Six Day that has had no identity crisis during these austere times.
My eyes snap open to golden dappled rays silhouetting pine branches above – beneath me a pillow of twigs and earth, nearby a lake nestled between snowy peaks shimmers enticingly. My legs are in a tent, my body protruding out. I think I’m naked.
I used to be a cyclist but you’d be forgiven for not knowing it. Six months ago I was living in a room in France, riding for a division one team – Nantes Atlantique – and racing some of the highest level amateur events in the country. I dreamt of being Bradley Wiggins or Fabian Cancellara; now I only dream of being myself. How did I go from aspiring to the World Tour to touring the world?
I am staying at my in-laws in Brittany, as I do every summer since I got married and every two or three years it is my base for watching the Tour on the ground. This year things couldn’t be better, with a stage start about 40 minutes east in the city of Rennes and the finish accessible about an hour to the west.
I have enjoyed looking at the team cars, buses at the start in previous years so my plan is to find the ‘paddock’ and see how close I can get. With journalists, soigneurs and directeur sportifs all around, the fan can feel part of the event.
Rohan Dennis, the Tour de France’s first Maillot Jaune(Comments Off)
Stage One of this year’s Tour looked tailor made for Tony Martin (Germany & QuickStep); or just maybe rising Giant home boy chronostar Tom Dumoulin? – but a name which kept appearing in the Australian press as Le Tour loomed large was that of BMC’s 25 year-old South Australian rider, Rohan Dennis.
Dennis was happy to admit he’d been prepping specifically for the stage and that he was, ‘feeling great’ about a parcours which played to his strengths. Martin struggled in the heat of Utrecht – not an issue for Adelaide boy Dennis – and the distance was too short for the German’s ‘big diesel’ capability. Dumoulin fell short whilst Cancellara proved there’s life in the old … I can hardly bear to say it … “Gladiator,” yet.
Remembering Wiggins’ Tour de France(Comments Off)
Don’t worry! You’ll get no lectures or swear words from me; just one old cycling lover’s random personal remembrances of another wonderful two weeks spent in La Belle France… is it really just three years since the memorable famous first British victory in the race for Bradley Wiggins? Can Chris Froome take the country’s tally to three in a month’s time?
A Look at the Eddy Merckx and Jacky Ickx Exhibition(Comments Off)
The Monday after Kuurne can be a bit of a downer, most of the bike shops are shut and you know that reality is just one sleep away but not this one; first up we had an interview with Rudy Pevenage – strangely, there were no scales, horns or tail on view and rather than being the devil incarnate we met a man who – like so many others – ‘did what he had to do’ in era where the UCI as much as invited you to kit up.
But this isn’t a D-word rant, it’s a look at a beautiful exhibition dedicated to two of Belgium’s finest sportsmen on the year of their 70th birthday; Motorbike, Formula I, Endurance and Rally Raid star, Jacky Ickx; twice a runner-up in the Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship, six times a winner at Le Mans and a champion in Paris-Dakar. He was as famous, versatile and brilliant as the other man whose career gets a spotlight shone upon it – a certain Edouard Louis Joseph, Baron Merckx.
Het Hieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne are the first opportunities for northern European fans to check out the new hardware.
Our trawl always starts on the Friday evening at the Holiday Inn, Ghent where F des J, Cofidis and Rabobank (now Belkin) set up shop for the first ‘real’ races of the year.