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Ben Swift launched a monster kick, leaving Scot, John Archibald to the bronze then zooming past teammate Ian Stannard on his blindside in the streets of Norwich to arrive at the line in solitary splendour and unleash a mighty roar of triumph and relief. We caught up with him at his Isle of Man home on the Tuesday after his win...
He’s been CTT 10, 25, 50 and 100 mile champion, he’s been British 25 and 50 mile record holder; he’s been away but now he’s back. When we saw he’d recently won the Eddy Soens Memorial Race some 20 years after he’d first won it, we thought to ourselves; ‘maybe need to have a word with old Mister Matthew Bottrill, aka ‘The Flying Postman, it’s been a year or two since last we chatted’
VeloVeritas caught up with Harry Tanfield a few days after his move to the Swiss/Russian squadra Katusha hit the browsers. The thing about a Harry interview is that no matter how big the result he never gets too excited - and signing with a World Tour team for two seasons doesn’t seem such a big deal for the 23 year-old from Great Ayton in north east England.
With all the recent exposure Philippa York has had we recently came upon a mention of a man who trained and raced with York in his days as Robert Millar. Wayne Bennington is the man; he rode for Systeme-U and ‘Z’ – both big players in the day who didn’t dispense contracts to just ‘any’ rider. We spoke to Wayne a year or two ago but this piece has never before run on Velo Veritas, here’s his story.
‘When I were a lad’ next to the Milk Race the biggest deal in UK cycling was the BBAR (Best British All Rounder) to find Britain’s best ‘tester’ – over 50 and 100 miles plus the 12 hour. The competition still exists but do you know who the BBAR is? Me neither. Yorkshire’s Peter Hill won the BBAR twice in the 60's but instead of going for his ‘hat trick’ he completely changed direction and headed across the English Channel to France and established himself as one of the world’s leading amateur time trial exponents before turning professional with Peugeot - but in those Machiavellian days it didn’t work out. Here’s his story...
We first spoke to Harry Tanfield a couple of years ago having seen him ride well in the Gordon Arms time trial – most recently we spoke to him after he won the David Campbell Memorial road race in Fife back in the spring of 2016. So when we opened this week’s ‘Cycling Weekly’ and there he was spread across two pages as the UK’s number one rated Elite rider we thought we best ‘have a word’...
It was the end of 2013 when we last spoke to Tao Geoghegan Hart (Axeon Hagens-Berman). He has a name that's hard to miss, Tao Geoghegan Hart; with 2013 results to match - two of Europe's premier junior stage races and a podium in the junior Paris-Roubaix. Since then a lot of races have flowed under the bridge and he’s had strong results in more than his fair share of them. Sunday saw him take arguably the biggest result of his career; finishing sixth behind Messrs. Blythe, Cavendish, Fenn, MvNally and Thwaites in the British Elite Road Race title event – and taking the U23 jersey champion’s in the process.
Steve Cummings? He’s the real deal; a world champion on the track in the team pursuit; he paid his dues with Landbouwkrediet and Barloworld; rode for the ‘mega’ teams, Discovery, Sky, BMC; was part of that famous team which carried Cav to a rainbow jersey in Copenhagen but now he’s found his true niche – with South African squad Dimension Data. Last year the team raced as MTN-Qhubeka with Cummings netting a brilliant stage win in le Tour; this year the squad, with new sponsors has taken Cav on board and moved up to the World Tour.
Buoyed by the great reception our piece on Shane Sutton received - Darryl Webster branded it; "utter garbage" - we thought we'd fire off a few more opinions on what's been happening recently in our 'King of Sports.' Sky finally got their Monument, not from a 'Brit' though; Lowlands hard man Wout Poels was first into that most unglamorous of Monument finishes - the retail park in Ans.
Hugh Carthy took his finest results yet, winning the Young Rider classification ahead of Cannondale’s Davide Formolo (already a Giro stage winner) in the Volta Ciclista Catalunya and finishing ninth overall in a field which would have done justice to any Grand Tour, including riders of the quality of Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador, Dan Martin, Richie Porte and Romain Bardet.
Florida would be a great place for time-trialling. Its pan flat. The only elevation you find are bridges. It’s flatter than both Holland and Belgium which is saying something. It’s rarely windy which means as soon as you’re out riding holding 20mph (32kph) is child’s-play. That makes riding really quite fun. Endurance rides are around 35kph and you really get the miles clocked up. Sometimes it feels like you’re in a race you’re going so fast.
It's been a while since we last spoke to Englishman Matt Green at the tail-end of 2011, when he was off across the pond to ride in the 'States, and a lot has happened to him since then - not least of which a very serious accident which kept him out of action for most of last season. Matt's recovered from his injuries now, is back on the bike and back in training, with a contract to race again for a fourth year with the US team Astellas Professional Cycling - plus a new blog recording how his year pans-out starting soon, right here on VeloVeritas! Let's catch up with Matt and hear about what's been happening...
If there’s one negative you can fire at British Cycling’s hugely successful track cycling campaign over the last decade it’s that perhaps the young talent hasn’t come through as fast we’d expected but this season team pursuiter and now World Cup omnium silver medallist, Chris Latham has shone. VeloVeritas caught up with after his return from New Zealand...
The summer is coming to an end so it must be time for Madison-Genesis rider Mark McNally to come to form... McNally is a product of the British ‘cycling academy’ system and was a member of the winning team in the European junior team pursuit championship in 2007 and European U23 team pursuit championship in 2008.
Our recent chat with 70’s pursuit king, Hugh Porter having been well received we thought you may like to hear what another ‘man of the 70’s’ - Les West had to say to us a year or two ago. "West is best!", that's what his fans used to say and most of the time they were right; twice British amateur road race champion and twice British professional road race champion.
The 70’s are the ‘decade that taste forgot’ according to the Media; which is strange because I remember the era as having the best cars, music, films – and bike riders. On the continent the exploits of Sercu, Ocana, Merckx, Hoban, Gimondi, Verbeeck, Thevenet, De Vlaeminck and all the rest of a ‘Golden Generation’ of hard men made the disappointment of ‘The Comic’ being late once again all the harder to bear.
The ride of the Commonwealth Games for me? Russ Downing's fourth place in the road race - 'grinta' is the man's middle name. As the World Tour stars headed into the pits, Russ just kept riding through the wind and rain - the man is dogged. His name featured in a recent press release we received from the Luxembourg/Danish Continental squad Cult, they're going Pro Continental for 2015 and yes, Mr. Downing is on board.
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.
As Sky and Cav grab the headlines in the pre-Tour roster debates and the ‘glamour races' as VeloVeritas sage and soothsayer Viktor would describe them, the ‘real’ world of cycling – without which there would be no top tier – carries on. It may be lost in the chat about Brad’s ambitions for this July or the Team Pursuit in two years' time and that dodgy Italian Viviani having the nerve to beat Cav a couple of times; but those Rapha Condor JLT boys just get on with the job.
VeloVeritas didn’t make it to the recent Drummond Trophy, for which we offer our apologies to Mr, Norrie Drummond, one of the sport’s staunchest supporters and a former competitor himself – you can read of his Flemish exploits ‘back in the day'. It would be rude of us to let ‘The Drummond’ pass without a mention, so with the aid of ex-Cervelo and Raleigh professional, not to mention friend of VV, Dan Fleeman we got in touch with the 2014 Drummond’s winner – English professional Dave Clarke (KTM Cycling Team).
Rapha-Condor-JLT’s 21 year-old ‘Yorkshire man in black’ Tom Moses has been making the headlines these last few weeks. In the opening race of the British Cycling Elite Road Race Series (what was wrong with ‘Star Trophy?’) recently, the Tour of the Reservoir, Moses tried to steal the second stage victory and overall GC with a late attack but was ridden down by Scotland’s Evan Oliphant (Raleigh). This year he’s moved across to John Herety’s team with the ambition of catching the eye of a Pro Continental squad for 2015. We spoke to him between his Normandie and the Reservoir results...
A nice result we spotted recently was Raleigh’s Mark Christian taking a top ten on stage two of the tough Tour du Haut Var. We decided to have a word with yet another product of that sea air on the Isle of Man.
The last time we spoke to NetApp-Endura’s Scott Thwaites was in the spring of 2013, just after he’d finished in fifth place in the Handzame Classic and seventh spot in le Samyn – both hard races in brutal conditions. For 2014 he’s already back in the groove again with a podium place on stage one of the Three Days of West Flanders.
Steve Cummings has finally landed a stage race win, the Tour of the Mediterranean – he won the stage 3b time trial to go top on GC then hung on to his lead on the nasty slopes of Mont Faron to beat AG2R hard man, Jean-Christophe Peraud to the overall honours. We spoke to him a day or two after his triumph.
He has a name that's hard to miss, Tao Geoghegan Hart; with 2013 results to match - two of Europe's premier junior stage races and a podium in the junior Paris-Roubaix. And for 2014 the 18 year-old from London is off to follow the path trodden by his mentor, Movistar's Essex chronoman, Alex Dowsett; heading for the USA under the tutelage of Axel Merckx at Bissell - formerly Trek/Bontrager.
With the recent appointment of Gary Coltman as Head of Performance at Scottish Cycling, VeloVeritas thought it would be interesting to learn about the man and his plans – here’s what he had to say to us:
The recent UCi 2.1 Tour of Taiwan was a good one for ex-Raleigh riders; Bernie Sulzberger backed by his strong Australian DRAPAC team took the overall win. Whilst former team mate, Englishman Liam Holohan now with the Madison Genesis team took ninth on GC, a slim 15 seconds from the overall podium. On his return to UK, Liam took time to tell VeloVeritas about Asian racing, the return of steel frames and the UK race scene.
It was back in April when we last spoke to ‘Our Man in Oudenaarde,’ we said; ‘It seems as if English pro James Spragg’s luck has finally turned.’
It was back in the spring when we last spoke to Douglas Dewey; he’d just won Gent-Staden, the first big race on the Belgian amateur calendar. Since then he’s ridden a very varied programme, including stage races in France and Belgium, hard fought kermises, a silver medal in the British Elite TT Championships and bronze in the British Pursuit Championship.
Matt Green’s is a typical story, a young Englishman who gets into cycling, trudges the well trodden path to the Flatlands of Flanders, gets a contract on low budget teams – Cyclingnews, Cinelli, Marco Polo – and then... The progression stalls; but rather than bang his head against the combines in Flanders for another year, he’s decided that there’s a New World of cycling for him – across the pond in the USA. He’s secured a private sponsor to pay his wages and all he needs now is a team – here’s his tale:
‘Burrows, le Pantani Anglais,’ said the French papers - when VeloVeritas saw that le Plateau de Beille climb was to be included in the 2011 Tour route we decided we had to have a word about it with the man who once held the record for the tough 10 mile ascent. Jamie Burrow was rated number one under-23 rider in the world, he turned pro for US Postal and despite some very promising rides in the pro ranks he never scaled the heights expected of him.