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The splendidly named ‘Bugatti and Musker’ released a disco classic in 1976; ‘Ain’t no Smoke Without Fire,’ it’s about a guy who's worrying that his girl is straying. ‘Please don’t do nothin’ to make me ashamed of you . . . when I heard the news it broke me in two... But it could just as well have been written about cycling’s problems...
It's no surprise that Endura Racing's 'man of the year' Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has today signed for Team Sky. Anyone who thought that Englishman’s top six GC placing and King of the Mountains win back in the 2011 Tour of Britain was a freak result had their eyes opened this spring when the 27 year-old from Plymouth won the first stage, fourth stage and GC in this season’s Tour of the Mediterranean – a race dating back to 1974 and which boasts Eddy Merckx as one of its winners.
It was a Saturday night in the summer of 2009 and I was driving ‘up the Town’ to the movies. I pulled the car over, answered the mobile and had my first chat with the man. VeloVeritas's pundit in residence Viktor had spotted this New Zealand laddie who was burning up the Flanders kermis scene in the colours of Anglo/Belgian team, Kingsnorth Wheelers – Jack Bauer.
VeloVeritas recently took time to talk to the man from Devon who is setting the early season roads of Southern France aflame - Endura's Jonathan Tiernan-Locke. We spoke to him soon after took his fourth and fifth wins of the season-the second stage and the GC in the tough Tour Cycliste International Haut Var.
For those of you who don't know me - and I imagine that is most of you - my name is James Moss and I am about to begin my third season as a full time professional. After two enjoyable seasons riding for Endura Racing, I am pleased to say that this year I will be pinning numbers onto the jersey of a new team, Node 4 - Giordana Pro Cycling.
Erick Rowsell is a name which seems to have been around for a long time; maybe because he was winning British medals five years ago-in 2007 he took bronze in the junior road race and individual pursuit as well as gold in the junior time trial. The following season saw him with strong placings in continental road events; win the junior Tour of Wales and the British junior road race championship - whilst on the track he took two junior European silver medals, in the individual and team pursuit.
In the autumn of 2009 James Moss was still a surveyor and a 'weekend warrior' on the bike-within weeks he was a full time pro with Scotland's Endura team, duelling with the Pro Tour squads in the Tour of the Mediterranean and Tour of Murcia. We thought we'd catch up for a 'Xmas end of term report` on his first Pro season with the 25 year-old from Newcastle.
When Cofidis slid from Pro Tour to Pro Continental, they shed a few riders; it looked like it was the end of his pro career for Alex Blain. Enter Brian Smith and Endura - followed by some strong performances from the man from the South. He spoke exclusively to VeloVeritas after his excellent ride in the Tour of Murcia.
Our man in the peloton - Endura's Evan Oliphant - took us through the rigours of The Med and Haut Var. Murcia may have been no cake walk but it had a happy ending for Endura - taking the sprints jersey and numerous top ten finishes. Here's what Wick's finest had to say...
"Goodie bag!" I'm not used to "freebies;" by the time Dave or Martin and I stumble into the press room, all the goodies have gone - but we have the best sun tans. However, when Jim McFarlane mentioned "goodie bag" I was out to Livingston like a ferret. It seemed like a shame to waste a trip to Endura and not interview the main man. The timing was perfect, Jim was just back from seeing his boys in action at Haut Var.
Two years ago, Ross Creber was a mountain biker, last year he won the Scottish road race championship. And this year he's part of Endura Racing's continental adventure; he rode the savage Tour of the Mediterranean, sat out Haut Var but will back behind the oars, ankle chains and all, for the Tour of Murcia. However, when we spoke to him, he was just back from a three hour coffee run from Nice to Monaco and back - beats the snow, ice, cross winds and F des J stamping on the 53 x 11's.
Down in the South of France it was AG2R and F des J reminding us that the French teams work hard in the winter, too. Long term 2009 Tour yellow jersey wearer, Rinaldo Nocentini took stage one and the man with the lucky four leaf clovers on his tricot, Christophe Le Mevel took stage two and the GC. Endura could have done with some of the luck from those F des J clovers; Evan Oliphant was there to witness the punctures and crashes that blighted the second race of the Scottish team's continental adventure.
Stages one and two were a whirlwind of snow, wind, attacks from the gun, echelons and pain - but the inner chain rings enjoyed the rest! Were days three, four and five any easier? VeloVeritas' man in the peloton, Endura Racing's Evan Oliphant was there 'til the bitter end.
The Tour of the Mediterranean; a nice way to ease into the season; a big bunch floating along under early sunshine with a bunch sprint at the end? Not quite! How about 95 K in 1:45 with the peloton ripped apart from the gun and conditions so cold that the contents of your bottle are frozen solid in five minutes? Endura Racing's Evan Oliphant is no stranger to hard races; he rode with DFL in Belgium - when he says it's 'tough,' you best believe it! We caught up with him after a frozen second stage...
Endura Racing 2010 was today unveiled to the UK press, media and special guests at the Porsche Human Performance centre at Silverstone. The launch followed months of hard work and dedication from the whole of the Endura Racing set-up, and culminated with many of the attendees leaving with a sense that this team are on the cusp of a great season in 2010.
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...
It was Vik (who else?) first spotted the man; 'there's a New Zealand rider winning a lot of races for Kingsnorth Wheelers in Flanders just now, you should get hold of him!' he told me, last summer. We duly tracked down Jack Bauer and have been keeping an eye on him and talking to him, ever since. The season total was eight wins in Flanders; then we picked up on his good ride in the Southland Tour in New Zealand - but by the time we got hold of him, he'd even topped that.
He started making shorts on the kitchen table, his suppliers used to manufacture his products inside out; but he's just recruited double world champion, 'Big Bob' Hayles to ride for and manage his UCI Continental team - things have come a long way for Jim McFarlane! It's November, and even though they've had plenty of wins this season, Jim's Scottish-based Endura Racing team is putting this year behind them, and making plans for next term. We thought it was about time that we found out a bit more about the team plans, and its title sponsor.
Brian Smith has been helping put the 2010 Endura Racing squad together - we spoke to him yesterday and here's what he had to say. "Jim McFarlane from Endura first approached me at the Tour Series criteriums; he was a little disappointed with how this year has gone for Endura. A month or two after that, we began to talk in more depth, Jim said that wants to do it right for 2010; he has a new line of top line clothing coming up-l'Equipe range - and he wants a team to promote it.
The Trossachs in spring, a nice cup of coffee in Aberfoyle, the weather forecast is good, the Sam Robinson's always a good race to watch and... What's that? Julie's son's christening, Sunday morning-no, no, I didn't forget, darling, of course not... And that's why weren't there; but we did talk to a few guys who were...
"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-I'm so used to rolling up at races with a camera, pencil and notebook then just doing what I want, that I'd forgotten about that word count stuff. Maybe if I make a good job, I'll get to do Girvan again; they haven't forgiven me for last year, when I forsook 'Com one' at Girvan for a team car at Milan-San Remo.