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It's almost time for the Commonwealth Games again, this time around they're being held in Australia's Gold Coast, on the eastern edge of the country and this edition will be the first time the men and women compete in the same number of events. In 2014 though, all the excitement was around the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the third time Scotland had played host to the huge number of athletes from around the world. VeloVeritas were there with our cameras to cover the largest multi-sport event ever held in the country.
‘Back in the day’ when he was World Team Sprint Champion and a silver medallist in the World Individual Sprint Championship we used to speak to Scottish fast man Craig Maclean on a regular basis. Since then he’s gone on to be a successful tandem pilot on the paralympic scene and, he’s gone into coaching – as well as ‘playing in the band.’ High times VeloVeritas ‘had a word.’
As the Commonwealth Games fade in our memory to be replaced by The Vuelta and Worlds we thought there should be a ‘last word’ on the biggest week of cycle sport in Scotland’s history. And who better to provide it than Scottish Cycling President, Alasdair MacLennan who kindly agreed to share his thoughts with VeloVeritas.
The famous mullet may be gone - but unlike Samson, the strength has remained. Kiwi flyer, Shane Archbold was one of the 'Men of the Games' - medalling (God ! I hate that expression) in the team pursuit and scratch before setting Jack Bauer up for silver in the Vietnamese Rainy Season Sunday which hosted the Games road race.
Yes, it's another Katie Archibald interview; but as the winner of Scotland's only cycling medal - disabled events excepted - we thought we should have a chat with the lady who posted top seven finishes across five different disciplines.
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.
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.
VeloVeritas has just about caught up with merry-go-round of new teams and transfers for 2014 – and one of the rotations we noticed is that former Scottish Criterium Champion, Davie Lines moves from the baby blue of MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling to the more aggressive red and black of Starley Primal Pro Cycling. Here’s what he had to say to VeloVeritas just the other day...
One man we can’t ignore is Orange Monkey’s Rab Wardell; he understands that as a professional athlete you have to engage the Press, keep them on side and make it easy to write about you. And that’s how we came to be sitting down with him in the Cafe of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, recently.
It’s not along since we interviewed Katie Archibald – as a member of the GB team which took the world record for the ladies four kilometre team pursuit at the World Cup in Mexico at the end of last year. We make no apology for speaking to her again – but this time we speak to her as world champion in the discipline.
Glasgow 2014 today revealed the routes for the Commonwealth Games Cycling road events that will see elite athletes from across the globe race through the heart of Glasgow and beyond. The excitement of the Games will reach audiences in towns and villages around the city as riders battle against the clock during the Time Trial event on Thursday 31 July, while Glasgow itself becomes the race track on Sunday 3 August with the fastest riders chasing each other through the city’s streets for the action packed Road Race.
John Lewis has been unveiled as the ‘Official Department Store Provider’ of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The partnership will see the retailer provide bedding and white goods for the Athletes’ Village. Glasgow 2014 merchandise is also available to buy on johnlewis.com now, and, later in the year, dedicated Glasgow 2014 shops will open within John Lewis’s Scottish shops, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
It seems just like yesterday we were asking James McCallum if he’d ever consider turning pro – but that was back in 2006 after his second Commonwealth Games and a bronze medal in the scratch race. The following year he did indeed turn professional for Plowman Craven and since has ridden for Endura, Rapha Condor; and for 2014 he joins new – and much talked about – NFTO.
Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 today announced a family-friendly Glasgow Commonwealth Games Tickets strategy focused on delivering packed stadia and a ‘Games for Everyone’. The Organising Committee unveiled that access next year to sporting events at one of the world’s greatest multi-sports Games will start from just £15 for adults.
One of the stars of the Glasgow World Cup endurance events was Martyn Irvine. Although better known as an omnium specialist, the 27 year old took silver medals in the scratch and pursuit. Altogether a good week for the Irishman - having also just signed a pro contract with big winning US team United Healthcare. Irvine took time to talk to VeloVeritas as he caught his breath after Glasgow...