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Here at VeloVeritas we keep clear of politics but this seemed like a worthwhile cause to us: the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham BUT the track cycling events will take place in London. It didn’t seem right to us and we spoke to campaigner for a track in Brum, former racing cyclist, Dave Viner about the situation...
We’d expected to be able to hang this interview on another English team pursuit gold in Glasgow – but not so. And for the first time since 2009 the GB team failed to make the podium in the track Worlds back in the spring – probably no big deal in the overall scheme of things where The Olympics are what really count to BC these days. How times change. The GB team pursuit Renaissance began in 2000 in Manchester, and Bryan Steel was an important part.
We were there, walking the streets and parks of Glasgow - until the Monsoons came and discretion became the better part of valour at which times the words of Doctor Samuel Johnson have never rang more true; 'There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.' Especially if it has an HD tele.
Essex boy Alex Dowsett proved that there is life after Sky with a brilliant time trial win in the Commonwealth Games event to add to his 2013 TT stage in the Giro, beating Aussie race favourite Rohan Denis into second and Wales Sky flyer Geraint Thomas into third on a blustery sunny Thursday afternoon around ‘The Dear Green Place’ that is Glasgow.
Many times present on a major championship podium but never on the top step, New Zealand's Linda Villumsen finally claimed her first gold medal today with a six second margin over former World Champion at the discipline Emma Pooley (England), riding her last time trial as a pro cyclist. The bronze medal went to the German-born professional with Orica-AIS Katrin Garfoot, riding for Australia.
Despite being one of the youngest riders in the field, 19 year old New Zealander Anton Cooper proved to be the strongest and the savviest by surprising the two riders still with him heading towards the finish with a sudden and sharp acceleration off the front of the string to go clear with just a few hundred uphill metres remaining. Teammate Samuel Gaze (himself only 18 years old) reacted quickly to pass Daniel McConnell (Australia) to take second place just three seconds behind Cooper.
Three times the cross country mountain bike event has been in the Commonwealth Games (introduced in 2002, it didn't feature on the programme in Dehli four years ago) and three times Canada have topped the womens' podium. This time it was the turn of Catharine Pendrel, who took control of the race midway round the first of five laps and wasn't challenged again, soloing to a 70 second win over her teammate Emily Batty, with Australian rider Rebecca Henderson third a further 12 seconds back, after a race-long battle with Batty.
Australia had another great day at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome, collecting another five medals to add to the previous two days haul of ten, putting them top of the cycling table with six more than any other country. For the second day in a row, the Men's Para Tandem provided one of the most memorable moments. This time it was the Sprint competition and again it was the Scottish pair of Neil Fachie and Craig MacLean, winning the final two-matches-to-one and celebrating with their families whilst the crowd joined in singing to them, who brought the proceedings to a halt.
Highlight of the day at the Commonwealth Games 2014 velodrome was without doubt the gold medal won by Neil Fachie and Craig MacLean in the Para B2 Tandem Kilo Time Trial. Going off last and fastest at every check, the pair were carried along by the enormous, ear-splitting roar from the full-capacity crowd, with lots of Scots but also a fair percentage of other nations too all voicing their support for the effort and spectacle.
It's the first day of competition in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the chat in the riders' enclosure before the start of the first track cycling session was that Australia and New Zealand had brought a team at the top of their game - and it didn't take long to become apparent this was true. Australia dominated the first day in a packed Sir Chris Hoy velodrome in Glasgow, taking six medals back to the athletes' village just down the road; two golds, a silver and three bronzes.
Brian is the man who won Scotland’s first cycling medal back in 1970 when the Commonwealth Games came to Edinburgh for the first time. Australia and England were the top cycling nations in the competition with riders like Englishman Ian Hallam (who won the pursuit) and Australian John Nicholson (who won the sprint) and were expected to dominate the 10 mile; but a break comprising Vernon Stauble (Trinidad), Jocelyn Lovell (Canada) and Temple sneaked away from the Big Guns and stayed away.
Soup for breakfast? Welcome to the Peace Race. Ivy CC stalwart Ken Clark took time to talk to VeloVeritas, and our resident Peace Race expert Ivan, about what it was like to ride the 'Communist Tour de France.' It was quite an adventure...
We left our Tour of Britain 'catch up' with Evan Oliphant until after the British track champs, on the off chance that he might break the BC/Sky/100% ME grip on affairs - fat chance.
We make no apology for featuring Endura Racing again - they're out there, getting on with the business of pro bike racing. The Tour of the Med, Haut Var, Murcia and now - Singapore. We caught up with former British criterium champion and reigning British omnium champion, James McCallum to get the low down on one of the richest crits around - (he was on the way to the supermarket when we spoke to him, but don't tell anyone, those glam pros aren't supposed do the 'trolley thing.')
Ex-British Criterium Champion and Commonwealth Games track medalist James McCallum has recently returned from a few months racing and resting in the antipodes, and is looking forward to getting stuck into the new season with his re-vamped Endura Racing team. We met James for a good old chinwag this week over lunch: he turned up at the restaurant looking hungry, and with a huge Endura team bag over his shoulder...
Viktor calls; "That home page on the site hasn't changed for days. There's a Scottish pro called Alex Coutts out training in Spain, trying to get ready for the season, why aren't you talking to him?" Just one of the things that bugs about Vik, is that he's actually right a lot of the time!
Here at VeloVeritas we think that Scotland's great performances at the Commonwealth Games Velodrome didn't get the attention they merited. In order to set things right we decided to catch up with as many of our medallists as we could and learn a bit more about them and their medal-winning rides. James McCallum came back with a bronze medal from the 20 Kilometer Scratch, making a mockery of those who felt he wasn't worthy of selection.