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A year or two ago I was fortunate enough to interview Steele Bishop, World Professional Pursuit Champion in 1983; and then, earlier this year I reviewed his autobiography, 'Wheels of Steele'. When I saw he was competing at Manchester in the 2019 Veteran’s World Track Championships I resolved to keep an eye out; I knew he wouldn’t be there to make up the numbers.
I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Steele Bishop back in 2017, at which time he told me he was writing a book about his career: ‘Wheels of Steel.’ The book takes us from his first tentative rides right up to the current day by way of his amateur and pro careers and goes into the fascinating ‘small print’ of his three big bids for the Worlds, culminating in his Zurich success.
did the last day of the Berlin Six Day, this year and one of the riders I was looking after was Australian Stephen Hall, son of former British Madison Champion, Murray Hall. It transpires Stephen is no mean wordsmith; we thought you might like to read his "Rules for Racing in Belgium" - whilst they're from an Aussie perspective so much of it is rock solid advice irrespective of your nationality, based on experience.
VeloVeritas first spoke to 24 year-old Aussie Jordan Kerby three years ago; he was 2010 world junior points and team pursuit champion but then turned to the road. Success came quickly and he won the 2013 Australian U23 Road Race Championship. There followed a forgettable spell with Michael Rasmussen’s ill fated Christina Watches team before he moved back to Australia, winning the 2014 Australian U23 Time Trial Championship. We caught up with Jordan shortly after his Worlds success where he rode the third fastest time ever in qualifying then beat reigning world champion Filippo Ganna of Italy in the final.
It’ll be nine years, this January since we ran our Gary Wiggins obituary. Wiggins, father of Knight of the Realm, current World Hour Record holder, reigning Olympic Team Pursuit Champion and former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, died in hospital in Newcastle, New South Wales the day after an ‘incident’ in Muswellbrook the previous day.
Dean Woods won Olympic Gold while still junior (U18) rider and went on to become one of the world's premier individual and team pursuits. In Part One of our interview published past week Dean spoke about how he got into cycling and who inspired him as a youngster, what it was like racing at the LA Olympics in 1984 and the sound-breaking carbon bikes he road which were actually made in a team official's garage. In Part Two we hear how Dean trained with the Australian Institute of Sport, rode the Commonwealth Games and Olympics a few more times and turned pro for Deutsche Telekom's first incarnation, Team Stuttgart.
When we asked Aussie pursuit star of the 1980’s and 90’s, Dean Woods if we had his palmarès correct; he got back to us with his own list. It rather speaks for itself. Without further ado let’s hear what one of the finest pursuit riders of his generation had to say to VeloVeritas, recently ...
He’s back; IAM’s Heinrich Haussler was ‘quiet’ last year but in January he grabbed the first major result of 2015; the Australian Elite Road Race Championship. IAM stepped up to Pro Tour status for 2015 and this season could hardly have started on a higher note for HH, with a win in the Australian Elite Road Race Championship – never an easy race to win given the number of Aussies in the Pro Tour and the high standard of their domestic racing. He followed his win up with a whole host of top ten stage placings in the Tour Down Under and in the Tour of Qatar.
Two decades, twenty years, it's a long time - especially to ride a bike at world level. But it was 1994 when Australia's Luke Roberts won his first world title in the junior team pursuit. The following year he twinned another victory in the team event with the world junior individual championship for good measure. Two Commonwealth, three world and an Olympic team pursuit title followed. He's ridden Pro Tour with CSC, Milram, Saxo, the Grand Tours, Classics and just about everything there is to ride - including the Six Days.
The Six Days of Amsterdam kicks off next week, the first race of the 2014/15 winter season. The programme until Christmas makes sad reading with few ‘names’ in Amsterdam; tales of crooked promoters souring things there and in Rotterdam; possibly the last race in Grenoble - and it's down to just three day; Zürich only four days and only Gent going from strength to strength.
It was last year when our man Dave Chapman first spotted Aussie Luke Davison doing the biz in the Flanders kermises; but it was 2007 when he first came to Aussie national prominence as part of the winning squad in the National Team Sprint Championships. Rolling the momentum into 2014 he’s taken Australian, World - and now Commonwealth team pursuit titles. And that’s not to mention fitting in a win in the 200 K UCI 1.2 Omloop der Kempen in The Netherlands in his Synergy Baku colours.
Gary Clively rode two-and-a-bit seasons for Magniflex in the mid 70’s, turning pro on the back of a brilliant fourth spot in the 1975 amateur Worlds road race. By the end of that season he was grabbing top ten placings in Italian semi-classics like the Coppa Agostoni. The ’76 season saw a whole raft of good performances; seventh in the Trofeo Laigueglia, second in the GP Camaiore, third in the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria, third in Sassari-Cagliari and a ride in the Giro. His stand out result in ’77 was seventh in the Vuelta, one place behind Michel Pollentier. We left Part One of our interview with Garry where he'd just signed with Magniflex,and was getting to grips with life as a professional cyclist...
One of the men who has helped a lot of top Aussie riders progress is a certain Dave Sanders – but Mr. Sanders isn’t just a man who has read a lot of books and can work a laptop. He was a hard riding man in his day – back in the 70’s he raced in the UK in the Archer Road Club’s famous ‘Aussie Squad’ with Bradley’s dad, Gary Wiggins and recent VeloVeritas interview subject Murray Hall. Here’s his tale...
Back in 1972 when Edinburgh's Meadowbank Velodrome was still a thing of beauty and not kindling-in-waiting, the British Madison Championships were held there. The men who won that day were the young Australian rider, Murray Hall – then riding for Croydon Premier - and his compatriot, Tom Moloney. We caught up with Murray recently during our researches about the Six Day races of old - he has a good tale to tell.
Season 2014 is the first since 1999 that Victorian, Baden Cooke won’t be pinning on a number; after 14 seasons as a professional he’s called ‘time’ on what was a highly successful career to move into rider management. And whilst he’s not yet through his exams and officially a UCI Agent, he’s already enjoyed success in the role unofficially ‘helping out’ with placing Chris Horner at Lampre when things were beginning to look bleak for history’s oldest Grand Tour winner.
As we’re all too well aware, the sport has lost five top line teams for 2014 with no new teams coming in at Pro Continental or World Tour level to replace them; a sad state of affairs. But bucking the trend and moving up from Continental to Pro Continental level – the only team to do so - is Australian outfit, Drapac.
GreenEDGE - pectations... oh yes. How about THAT for a play on words! 2012 is here and I’ve managed to get a blog post going in the first week of the year. Two New Years resolutions in one; get a blog post a fortnight out there, and at least make it past January 10th prior to failing at keeping to all resolutions.
f you know your Six Day stats then you'll be aware that the Australian pairing of Danny Clark and Don Allan is the ninth most successful ever, based on wins, with 15; but fifth most successful ever based on points from top four finishes - 15 wins, 15 second places, 11 third places and 12 fourth places.
A man who caught the tail end of the Golden Age of sprinting wave back in the 60’s was Australian Ron Baensch. Ron was born in 1939 but still rides his track bike twice each week; "Us old guys ride a 40 lapper!" he delights in telling us.
My buddy, John Hardie is a 65 time Scottish grass track champion; his hero 'back in the day' was Danny Clark. When he heard that 'Six Day King' Danny Clark and me were breakfasting together at Copenhagen, it wasn't long before the email arrived with the questions he wanted me to ask the great man.
For once, Adam Hansen isn't burning up the tar at the Aussie champs, he's off shore in the Med, getting ready to try and help HTC-Columbia top a remarkable 2009 season. Worried that he may be getting bored, VeloVeritas flashed him 20 questions - here's what the big man had to say...