Thursday, September 20, 2018
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Giving It A Go In Belgium

In part four of our (irregular) series on racing as an amateur in Belgium, VeloVeritas own web manager and editor, Martin, talks about when he had some time in the mid-80's between completing a college course and starting a new job, and decided to head off to Flanders for the season...

If I Were A Guy I’d Ride The Tour

- By Rachael Aulich - This is no feminist rant about the Tour de France for Women, nothing like that, it's about love, actually. I stood on a hot street today, a long but tight curve, in Arles, for Stage 3. My first ever live stage of the Tour. I was hoping for the penultimate 'Ventoux' but with two small kids in tow, there's a give and take, and so Arles it was.

Endura Racing Team Launch 2009

Endura Racing Team launch... "Hi Ed, I've finally heard from Cycling Weekly - they want 300 words, but also if you want to do "Minute With" interviews with some of the riders, that'd be good also." Jeez! Work from "The Comic" and a brief too.

Our 2008 Review

It's tacky, it's clichéd, but we have to do it-Review of 2008. VeloVeritas didn't manage to get to every big race in Scotland in 2008, but we didn't do too badly.

An Incredible Day – on the Col d’Aubisque, Tour de France 2007

It was completely surreal. It was the 26th of July last year, and we were in Lourdes, sitting in a neon-lit, scruffy, greasy-spoon café at 1:00 in the morning. Our pizzas were cooking in the oven, but we weren't really that hungry anymore. We had travelled to the summit and back down again today, both literally and metaphorically; we'd had a wonderful day working on Stage 16 of the Tour de France which took the race to the ski station, 5,600 feet high, at Gourette - Col d'Aubisque in the Pyrenees, and it had been turned completely on its head.

Unlucky Team Liquigas at Paris-Roubaix

Lady Luck certainly wasn't on Team Liquigas' side at last Sunday's Paris-Roubaix, as things went from bad (even before the race) to worse! Still, Manuel Quinziato, Murillo Fischer, Filippo Pozzato and the guys in green gave it their all at the world's toughest race. So, here is a list of 10 things you may not have seen from Paris-Roubaix coverage elsewhere...

Rock Racing’s solid performances at the Tour of California

Michael Creed's extraordinary ride yesterday capped an impressive performance for Rock Racing at the Amgen Tour of California. Attacking from the start of the 93-mile (150 km) stage, Creed played an instrumental role in a pair of breakaways that stayed clear of the peloton on a rain-soaked, bone-chilling ride from Santa Clarita to Pasadena. Aggressive to the end, Rock Racing nearly scored its second podium finish of the race when Creed attacked inside the final mile and finished fourth in a five-up sprint in front of the Rose Bowl.

Team Astana Training in Spain

On a cold morning in the town of Javea on the East coast of Spain a bunch of cyclists look at their new bikes for the coming year. This group are a mix of Team Astana and Discovery Channel riders that next season will become the new Team Astana and the man at the helm, Johan Bruyneel, has the job of welding these two distinctly different elements into one super team and with Tour winner Alberto Contador leading the charge it should be another successful season for the man that was behind Lance.

When Scotland had a National Stage Race: Part 2 – The Pro-Am Years

In Part 1 of "When Scotland had a National Stage Race" we saw the domination of the East Europeans that ended with the introduction of Professionals in to the Scottish Milk Race. The first year it was the British based pro's, then the big boys in the shape of the Belgian Isjberk-Gios team arrived in 1978 and set fire to the race, so instead of an East European domination we now had a Continental Pro domination, but they had something the Czechoslovakians, Poles, East Germans or Russians didn't have: style; class; and that "Pro-appeal".

“The Flying Scotsman” by Graeme Obree-Putting the Record Straight

Let me first say this is firstly a review of the Graeme Obree autobiography, the book - not the film - "The Flying Scotsman", and also my version of the events at the world cycling championships in Sicily in 1994. I was the Great Britain team mechanic for those championships, but Mr. Obree didn't remember to mention this fact in his book. You could call this the bitter out-pouring of a man scorned, but rather it's just my memory of what happened.

Marchas, Fondos & Sportifs – what’s the deal?

"Fondos" they call them, in Italy; in France it's "Sportifs" and in Spain it's "Marchas". The cycling press is full of them, VeloVeritas decided to take a look at these increasingly fashionable "mass participation events." Who better to ask then, than Paul Coates - as well as hurting everyones' legs in the first half of the Scottish road season, Paul is one of the top protagonists in French Sportifs. We also speak to Adam Syme and Dave Chapman about their experiences in these events too.

When Scotland had a National Stage Race: Part 1 – The Amateur Years

In a recent article about the Tour de Trossachs I became side-tracked onto the year 1978 and mentioned, amongst other things, the Scottish Milk Race - back when Scotland had a National Stage Race, and for quite a few years before and after. Here I have a look at a few editions of the Milk Race and the Scottish Health Race, where Scotland managed to have a home win with Jamie McGahan in 1983.

Enjoying the Tour of Lombardy 2007

I remember, in 1992, watching Clas' Tony Rominger win the Tour of Lombardy, churning a huge gear along a straight, flat road to the finish for kilometre after kilometre; even Duffers was lost for words. Like that font of cycling wisdom Viktor would say; "Watchin' paint dry!" It's different now - the finale is frantic. Ghisallo, Civiglio, Battaglia... there's no room for error and no time to relax.

Tour de Trossachs: 1978 Remembered

When Ed Hood said he and VeloVeritas editor Martin Williamson were going out to watch the Tour de Trossachs it brought back my memories of watching the race for the first time in 1978. When I started my reminiscences it was going to be all about the Trossachs, but one thing led to another and now we are looking at the early career of Robert Millar and Scottish cycling in 1978.

John Lelangue joins the BMC Racing Team USA as Directeur Sportif Belgian

John Lelangue officially announced today from the Tour of Missouri that he will join the BMC Racing Team in 2008 as Directeur Sportif. The BMC program is currently applying for Professional Continental team registration with the UCI, and will be seeking invitations to numerous prominent events in Europe and America during the 2008 season.

Under-23 Het Volk 2007

Continental TV may be dire, but there's a good choice of radio stations; Percy Sledge is telling us about "When a man loves a woman", as we jump back into the VW after paying homage at the Karl Buyse monument in sleepy Wontergem, heading for the Under-23 Het Volk 2007. Buyse was a son of the Flanders sod who won the Tour de France in 1926. A long time ago maybe, but not forgotten here in the heartland.

Incredible Mauricio Soler Wins Tour’s Ninth Stage for Underdog Team Barloworld!

Team Barloworld's Colombian climber Mauricio Soler won stage nine of the Tour de France today, taking his fourth and most important victory of his short professional career. "It was an incredible win, something I never expected to achieve. But with some great team work it all worked out fine," Soler, 24, told reporters. The Barloworld rider was awarded by the new President of French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, who followed the race on the Tour de France director's vehicle.

Grote Prijs Gemeente Beveren 2007

It's long been a puzzle to me - who actually works in Flanders? It's 11.30am at Beveren Waas on a Monday, two hours until the start and the Grote Prijs Gemeente Beveren race HQ is already heaving. Officials from the federation and all the participating clubs, mechanics, masseurs, mums, dads, girlfriends, sponsors and of course, riders; 196 of them. People have their priorities right here, and work isn't one of them - it comes somewhere after bike racing, family and doing what you enjoy.

Belgian National Championships 2007

The Belgian championships are special: as with the Worlds, there's just such a sense of occasion and expectation. There are a lot of ladies present, all immaculately presented. This is on the principle of, 'go to the race, or sit in the hoose!' The organisers are expecting 30-40,000 fans today...the bar-owners are rubbing their hands. There's only one man going to win the right to wear that red, yellow and black jersey for the next twelve months.

Lendelede Kermis 2007

Lendelede, early afternoon, and we've missed the start - but the sun is shining and our hero, Guy Smet is riding. This is a kermesse. A criterium, like Friday night's, is usually on a circuit of one to two kilometres which is generally urban in nature, and the event will last one to two hours. A kermesse course, on the other hand, will be on a circuit of six to eight kilometres, and whilst it will start and finish in the village main street, it will be largely rural, race duration will be two to three hours.
Tony Bracke.

A night at the races – Belgian style!

Friday night, at this time I'm usually battling to get over the Forth Bridge before the traffic goes critical mass. Not tonight though, we may be battling through the tail-backs, but it's on the motorway out of Ghent, headed for a night at the races, Oosterzele and a 70 kilometre criterium. And besides, the reverend Al Green is on the car stereo telling us that; "Love is the message!" For sure, Al.

Danilo di Luca, to the victor, the spoils…

When Sci'Con set out to celebrate the victory of Danilo di Luca in the 2007 Giro d'Italia, what better way than with an all-pink Aerotech Evolution Art. 70 rigid bicycle case, produced as a single specimen colored to match the Giro d'Italia winner's jersey.

Team Barloworld accepted as a wildcard entry in Le Tour de France

South African-sponsored professional cycling outfit, Team Barloworld, today received and accepted their wildcard invitation to ride the most prestigious cycle race in the world, the Tour de France, in July 2007. Entry into the Tour de France is extended by invitation only to the best of the world's professional cycling teams. Team Barloworld have had a phenomenal start to the 2007 cycling season, and are leading the 66 team UCI Professional Continental rankings.

Danilo Di Luca Scores Again at Montevergine and Reclaims Pink

The Giro's pink and Liquigas' green - that's the gaudy colour combination that characterises this first week of the Giro d'Italia. "The Killer", Danilo Di Luca's strong sprint took him to Giro success again in yesterday's Stage 4, finishing at Montevergine di Mercogliano.

The AIGCP complain to the Giro organisers

The AIGCP (Association Internationnale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels), headed by Patrick Lefevere, formally complained to the Giro organisers today, regarding the hassle that pretty much everyone had in getting away from Sardinia, as Ed aluded to in his diary.
Di Luca

Liquigas in pink: First Gasparotto, then Di Luca, then Gasparotto again

The "Green Machine" took first place in last Saturday's team time trial that opened the 90th edition of the pink race. The first to cross the finish line in La Maddalena was the ex-Italian National Champion Enrico Gasparotto who took an unexpected pink jersey.

The Killer Danilo Di Luca Takes Liege

Danilo Di Luca rewarded his hard-working teammates in the best way yesterday (Sunday) by racing a tactically perfect Liege-Bastogne-Liege and taking the win in front a first-class field. "I've been dreaming of winning this race for nine years. This is the most beautiful and most difficult race that I have won" exclaimed Di Luca post-race.

Milan – San Remo 2007 – a dream come true

07.00, Saturday, San Remo - a dream come true. I've been to, I can't remember how many Tours, a clutch of Vueltas and Giros, but there's something special about wakening-up here. The Via Roma is just two streets away and the Poggio is a five minute drive - all those boyhood hours spent staring at pictures of Eddy Merckx notching-up his seven wins - and here I am.

Tomeke takes Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2007 at a canter

Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2007. The portents for Sunday were better: we weren't hung-over; the sun was out; and we got up to the start at Kuurne without one wrong turning. The chemists were shut though, so Pozzato couldn't buy his hair gel. The start at Kuurne is always a real, "organised chaos" job, there's a riders enclosure but somehow, some riders get mixed up with the crowd and can't get back in to the start enclosure, so have to wait on the roll-out beginning, then cajole their way through the sea of people so as they can go to work.

An Italian with blonde curls wasn’t in the Het Volk script

Het Volk... Friday, the evening before the race, as we sat in the Viadukt, our fave local bar in Ghent, we caught sight of our pilot friend who flies Belgian Air Force C130s around the world whilst in an advanced state of enebriation. He was flying to Kabul on the morrow; but tonight in the Viadukt he couldn't bite his thumb.

So what was Nicholas Parsons doing at the Shay Elliott Memorial race in 2005?

Truth be told it wasn't him but his double, Paul Tabak, manager of Dutch outfit BRC Kememesland-burgundy blazer, black gingham shirt, grey flannels and shades-dapper guy! Dead ringer for Nicholas. A tad incongruous among the club jerseys, tee-shirts and fleeces at the managers' meet though. The UCI guys were really nicely turned out in blue, logo-ed shirts and body-warmers, so now you know where all that money goes.

Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor announce sponsorship deal with Edinburgh Road Club

The Hilton Edinburgh Grosvenor has announced that they will sponsor Edinburgh RC/The Bicycleworks, one of the UK's biggest cycling clubs. The sponsorship deal will see the hotel's logo appear on the club's kit, website and race support vehicle.

John Kennedy – Helping Simpson in Le Tour

July 1960, the GB Tour de France team hotel somewhere in France. Britain's white hope for Tour de France glory, the late, great Tom Simpson is discussing the events of the day with team mate, Brian Robinson. Simpson had punctured during the stage and one of his GB team domestiques had brought him back up to the bunch; "I'll tell you what, Brian - that John Kennedy is strong, he was riding like ten men today when we were coming back from that puncture."

Three Days of De Panne 2004

Continuing our look back at Classic, Belgian RockHardMan, Enthusiast-tastic races, to get you into the mood for the upcoming Continental Classics, we bring you the story of our trip to the 2004 edition of "De Panne", a stage race based around the province of West Flanders. Enjoy!

John Hardie – Grass Track Star!

Forget the super fast boards of Manchester. Imagine a track meeting whose roots go back to the year 1314; where the track is only 200 metres and one of the straights is bordered by a burn (that's a stream in Queen's English)... a track meeting which goes ahead even in a torrential rain - welcome to the world of the Highland Games, and one of Scotland's greatest exponents of the form; John Hardie.

Phil Young – A Tribute

I didn't make it up to the Phil Young memorial race this year, work got in the way. I need to get my values sorted out. I should put the memory of a friend before commercial activity, but when you are under client pressure to get a job finished, it is difficult. Phil had his priorities right, though: "the bike" was number one, and everything else was organised around that.

Featured

11 Years of VeloVeritas – 2015: Un Grande Giorno sulla il Colle Delle Finestre!

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...
a Believer

The VV View: Are you still a Believer?

‘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.
Ethan Hayter

Ethan Hayter – World Team Pursuit Champion at 19

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.
John Archibald

John Archibald – CTT 25 Mile Champion with a 48:13

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?
John Archibald

John Archibald – “My Games Pursuit was a Dream Ride”

‘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.
Willie Gibb

Willie Gibb – Seven-time Scottish Road Champion, over 20 years!

When I was a younger man my 'Mr Motivator' was a certain man from the West; Willie Gibb. I recall battering myself on a training ride alone thinking "Willie Gibb would be going faster" invariably in the races he was and I have no recollection of ever having beaten my one time motivator. I got in touch with Willie to find out more about his story and as it transpired find his palmarès was something else again...
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