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Tag: Great Scottish Riders
It was 1971 when I first joined a cycling club; Kirkcaldy & District CC with their red, yellow and black strip. One of the coolest guys in the club was Dave Gardiner, a signwriter to trade so whilst we rode somewhat mundane Mercians, Robertsons, Andy McNeils and Flying Scots his bike would be liveried up in proper red and white Faema trim, a la Merckx, right down to the little Duomo motif on the head tube.
He may be best known as a cross country MTB man but on a course at Hetton Lyons Country Park, Sunderland which included a little of everything, not so far from his Peebles home in the Scottish Borders, 24 year-old Grant Ferguson ran away with the British Elite Cyclo-Cross championships. Beating into second place the man mostly closely associated with the title in recent years, five times champion, Ian Field. The look on Field's face reflected the fact that a British champion's jersey is worth around 1,000 Euros in start money in any big continental 'cross.
2006 in Bonnie Scotland we had a lot to cheer about as the late, great Jason Macintyre had a fantastic season, winning the British Circuit TT Championship and the 'Blue Riband,' the British 25 Mile TTl Championship to join the likes of Alf Engers, Sean Yates, Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree on the roll of honour.
This 23 year-old is a force of nature and has to be one of our best medal hopes at the Commonwealth Games; she’s been rampant recently in the European Championships and World Cups; Ms. Katie Archibald recently kindly took time to speak to VeloVeritas about her autumn adventures and her future ambitions:
The last time we spoke to 22 year-old Scotsman Mark Stewart he’d just ridden a cracking U23 Road Worlds in Bergen – cue total contrast from big blue skies, solitude, fjords and fresh air to The Kuipke with light about as artificial as you can get, wall to wall people, scary steep boards and the smell of burgers frying ... and Jupiler pils. Mark’s partner for the six nights of Europop and autograph requests was Worlds U23 road race fourth placed man and GB team mate, Ollie Woods. The interview was conducted in the authentic but cramped surroundings of his trackside cabin at the Kuipke.
Yes, Scotland has two Olympic champions on the Commonwealth Games squad for The Gold Coast; Katie Archibald and Callum Skinner. We also have double European U23 champion, Mark Stewart and World Cup gold medallist, Neah Evans. But there’s another name which isn’t so obvious, that of 26 year-old Jonny Wale – born and raised in Scotland, British team pursuit champion and author of a 1:01.1 kilometre. We caught up with Jonny recently to get his story. He’s recovering from a training crash which resulted in a broken collarbone but hasn’t kept him out of the gym or off the turbo – the man wants to get to the Gold Coast, real bad!
It was at the Berlin Six Day a few years ago that we first saw Neah Evans in action on the boards. She’s made a lot of progress since then and the 27 year-old was recently part of the successful GB team pursuit squad at the Manchester World Cup. High times we ‘had a word.’
The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next year is an interesting proposition for Scotland, with Katie Archibald and Callum Skinner now Olympic champions, Mark Stewart a double under 23 European Champion and Neah Evans on the top step of a World Cup podium - and don't forget 'left fielder' Jonny Wale, reigning British team pursuit champion and 1:01 kilometre man. VeloVeritas spoke to all of them about their 2017 seasons and prospects in Australia come the spring, and we start with Callum Skinner...
Let’s start with the price of wheels; £3,300 for a pair of Lightweights – as Woody Allen might say; ‘what ! are you crazee ?’ Men are winning kermises every day in Belgium on thousand euro bikes; if you’re a Grand Tour rider looking for every advantage on some horrible mountain stage – yes. If you’re riding Ingliston criteriums – NO!
In Part One of our interview with Sandy Gordon, we heard about his horror crash at the 1966 Tour of Austria and missing the Jamaica Commonwealth Games, helping Brian Temple secure a silver medal at the 1970 Commonwealth Games and racing in the Tours of Scotland, Czechoslovakia - and getting banned for racing in South Africa at the Rapport Toer. We continue the chat by finding out more about Sandy's other overseas races and his many domestic successes...
Late June 1972, Loch Lomond and history is made as Sandy’s Gilchrist and Gordon tie for the Scottish ‘50’ mile time trial title with 2:01:46 whilst Ron Gardner is third with 2:05:15. My part in this historic day on the old road which tracked every curve and bump of those bonnie, bonnie but tough banks? I was caught by both winners on my way to some ignominious time which I now no longer remember but which would have been closer to 20 mph than 25 mph...
I wandered down to Meadowbank the other Saturday, I thought it was for the ‘closing gala’ or some such but apparently the Track League can go on for another year? It was a disappointment to all those looking for coffee tables. The 1970 Commonwealth Games were just slightly before my time to spectate but I did read about them at the time; however I did witness the 1986 Games events and did a few laps of me own in anger round those boards.
It’s hard to believe that since I started cycling in 1971 nearly four minutes have been hacked off the Scottish 10 mile time trial record; when I started it stood at 22 minutes and 14 seconds: 1971 P.Templeton (Dundee Thistle R.C.) 22 mins 14 secs. It now stands at 18 minutes and 38 seconds thanks to that man John Archibald (Pro Vision) - a time he achieved this morning on the fast dual carriageway tarmac beside the River Clyde at Westferry.
It’s not a lot of time is 12 seconds; around 250 metres at the speeds they go at these days; but that’s what separated Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Champion, John Archibald from the podium of the CTT National 25 mile championship in Wales on Sunday. That had to be the first question VeloVeritas asked; "Could you have found those seconds, John?"
Season 2016 saw John Archibald record times of 50:07, 50:04 and 50:03 for 25 mile time trials - so a big goal for him was to dip below the magic 50 minutes. On Sunday past on the rolling dual carriageway between Brechin and Forfar he didn’t just dip inside the 30 miles per hour standard, he left it way behind with a stunning 47 minutes and 57 seconds ride. In the process he took 46 seconds off Graeme Obree’s 1994 record of 48:43; we just had to, ‘have a word.’
Once again we’re proud to bring you an exclusive interview with Olympic Team Pursuit Champion, Katie Archibald where she tells us about her latest triumph, in the World Omnium Championship – and puts us chauvinists at VeloVeritas securely in our box! But we still respect and love the lady.
‘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.’
If you had to name one man who single handedly changed the face of Scottish time trialling? The man who made sure a ‘59’ wasn’t going to win you the ‘25’ champs anymore... Dave Hannah is the man; VeloVeritas caught up with him recently at his home in Shieldhill for a long overdue chat.
When VeloVeritas was at the Copenhagen Six Day last month, we witnessed a successful attempt on the Danish Hour record by Martin Toft. It got us thinking; ‘is Jim Gladwell still the Scottish Hour record holder?’ And indeed he is – ‘best have a word,’ we thought to ourselves...
George Edwards? The name might not mean much to you but along with Brian Smith, Robert Millar and David Miller he’s one of few Scotsmen who have won the British National Road Race Championship – in his case the BLRC version in 1946. George passed away in 1992 at the age of 68 but Harry Tweed connected us with George’s son who shares the same Christian name and now lives in the Netherlands. Here’s what George had to say to VeloVeritas, recently.
Only once has an English speaker won the Peace Race – in 1952 Scotland’s own Ian Steel took the honours. We were fortunate at VeloVeritas to interview the great man before his death, last year and before we’re done we’d like to speak to all surviving Scots who’ve participated in this historic event. Sandy Gilchrist, Jimmy Rae, Martin Coll and Ken Clark have all been kind enough to give of their time to us; next on our agenda is former Scottish 50 mile record holder, Velo Sportiv stalwart and all-rounder, Mr. Ron Gardner.
The last time we spoke to Scotland’s top endurance track rider, Mark Stewart he’d just added to his growing medal collection at the European Championships with bronze in the team pursuit and silver in the scratch. Some nice road results in the Ronde van Oost Vlaanderen followed where he made his breakthrough from riding as a domestique and/or ‘getting round’ to being a serious contender for stage and overall honours.
The Rás. A race to strike fear in the strongest heart; huge fields, big hills and mad uncontrollable stages with fearless Irishmen continually firing off the front in death or glory bids. High times VeloVeritas 'had a word' with Mr.McGahan..
In part one of our interview with Martin Coll we discussed his career – but any chat with Martin wouldn’t be complete without mention of the times he spent with his brother-in-law; the legend that is Graeme Obree. Martin became The Flying Scotsman’s manager, confidante, driver and personal assistant during the period when Graeme and ‘Old Faithful’ were much in demand on the continental boards.
The Girvan Three Day; a Scottish Easter racing institution but now late lamented – sunshine, ice, snow and everything else in between but whatever the weather it was never a race for the faint-hearted. Some of the biggest names in British bike racing have won over that tough South West Scotland parcours. Let’s go back to 1986; aforementioned Paul Curran is after his third win in the event – but Scotland’s Martin Coll has other ideas... We recently caught up with Martin at his home in Arizona to ‘talk a little Girvan’ and - the Peace Race.
Vic Haines - does the name ring a bell? If you're into time trialling you'll know him as a long-term sponsor in English cycling and a multiple tandem time trial record holder. Closer to home you'll recognise him as the man who organised Graeme Obree's successful Hour Record attempt in Hamar, Norway. But his controversial 'split' with Obree came not long after the Scottish phenomenon had eclipsed Italian legend, Francesco Moser's record - with, according to Haines, the new Ayrshire Hour Record holder due him a lot of money. We thought a chat with the man might be worthwhile...
It’s not often we have a professor in the pages of VeloVeritas but that’s exactly what Richard Davison is; as well as Assistant Dean (International) at the University of the West Coast of Scotland. He was also instrumental in the setting up of British Cycling’s current coaching system and does ‘one on one’ coaching with riders. Richard was also a successful rider on the Scottish scene a year or two back – and that’s where our interview starts...
He’s been a busy boy, that Mark Stewart, since last we spoke with him back in June - first there was success in the Euro U23 track champs in the scratch and team pursuit. Both events where he’s building a solid reputation; as well as in the points race – another of the Dundee man’s strengths.
At an Edinburgh Book Festival event last week Chris Boardman was asked about his experiences commentating at the recent Olympics, and his standout moments and riders. Chris mentioned that he spent some time with one of the riders who he reckons is an amazing woman and a very interesting character. We've spoken to her enough times to agree with that and to add that she's also an incredible bike rider - and we had a feeling she'd do the business in Rio... of course, we're talking about Ms. Katie Archibald, Olympic Team Pursuit Champion.
VeloVeritas interviewed Scottish Legend John McMillan, last year – doing some research into the 'Peace Race' recently we asked John if he’s ever ridden the Warsaw-Berlin-Prague. He said he hadn’t - but he had ridden the Okolo Slovenska, the seven day Tour of Slovakia, which in 1965 was part of Communist-controlled Czechoslovakia and which had the aim of celebrating the liberation of Slovakia by the Red Army in 1945.
Rio is his eighth Olympics; and there are six Commonwealth Games and ‘over 30’ World Championships in there too – and whilst we’re talking chiffres (as the French call figures) how about 60-odd Scottish Championships including 14 Scottish Hill Climb Championships and nine Tours de Trossachs? Yes, it’s that man Sandy Gilchrist, who, along with Robert Millar was Scottish Cycling in the 70’s and into the 80’s. He rode the Peace Race, Tour de L’Avenir, Milk Race and World Championships in a long and varied career which continues to this day as he just keeps on wielding those spanners at the sport’s highest levels.
It’s wee while since top Scottish trackman, Mark Stewart featured in our pages but he was home recently from GB squad duties and his base in ‘la Bella Italia’ for his brother’s wedding and has been taking in a few local time trials in preparation for next Thursday’s British Cycling Time Trial Championships at Stockton-on-Tees. We thought we best ‘have a word’ before he’s off around Europe, again.
Yours truly didn’t make it to the Scottish Olympic or Ten Mile Time Trial Championships; unlike our editor, Martin who took excellent pictures at both races and framed reports. ‘I’ll interview both winners,’ said I, to make amends for life getting in the way of cycling. So my thanks extend to Chris Smart (GTR) for winning both events and making life easy for me.
We were chatting about the Scottish Hour Record the other day and it got us to thinking about Roddy Riddle’s 1995 ride of 46.570 which broke Graeme Obree’s 1990 ride of 46.390 - and lasted one year until Jim Gladwell established the current best of 46.650 in 1996. ‘What’s Roddy up to now?’ we mused - the last we heard he was running across the Sahara in the Marathon des Sables. Transpires he’s participating in the 6633 Ultra. The what? Best ask him...
We learnt with sadness yesterday that Scottish rider Ian Steel had passed away, at the age of 86. Ian became national champion in 1952 and rode and won the famous Peace Race by taking the lead on stage eight of twelve as his British team won both the individual and team titles. We thought readers would appreciate revisiting out interview with Ian from a few years ago.
Last year it was the British points race jersey which Mark Stewart came away from the National Track Championships with; this year he was runner-up in the event – but he did win the scratch race and was in the winning team pursuit squad - so not a bad old ‘British’ for the Dundee man.
It’s that man Ferguson again, not content with winning the last U23 MTB World Cup of the year he’s gone and taken bronze in the U23 Worlds in Andorra – we had to have ANOTHER word or two with him...
Scotland’s British Points Champion and World Cup Team Pursuit medallist, Mark Stewart was in action in the recent Tour de Yorkshire, building endurance for his next track campaign which centres round the European U23 Track Championships in July. We thought we’d best have a word with the man ...
On a dour, grey morning by the banks of a brooding River Clyde Iain Grant (Fullarton Wheelers) reminded us why he's Scotland's short distance king with a stunning 19:38 in the Scottish National 10 Mile Mile Time Trial Championship on a sodden, cold Westferry course. Second in 20:13 was 'new kid on the block' Harry Bulstrode (VC Edinburgh) with Sandy Wallace Cycles ever consistent Alan Thomson third in 20:32; just one tick of the second hand ahead of Billy Bilsland's Ben Peacock in 20:33.
The Track Worlds have come and gone; but before we’re into the Classics - and soon after that all roads will be leading to le Tour - we thought we’d have a quick word with Scotsman Callum Skinner about this Worlds. His GB team had a disappointing sprint campaign with nada results in any discipline, team sprint, keirin or individual sprint – the only bright spot being Skinner’s 1:01:07 in the kilometre to give him seventh spot.
The press release said: “Spokes Racing Team: It was officially announced today by British Cycling that Kirkcaldy based Spokes Racing Team will host a round of the British National Junior (under 19) Road Race Series in 2015. It will be the first time in around 25 years that a Junior National race will be held in Scotland and a first for Fife."
Grant Ferguson is better known for his cyclo-cross and MTB activities but he took an excellent 13th place on GC in Australia’s oldest stage race – The Herald Sun Tour which was won in it’s 62nd year by Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE. Ferguson was just one second behind Serge Pauwels (MTN) in 12th place and seven seconds away from former Italian Champion Franco Pellizotti (Androni) in ninth spot. The Peebles man stayed on ‘down under’ for some warm weather training but gave us a shout when he got back to his base in tropical ... Sheffield.
If there were any doubts that MTN-Qhubeka is going to be a force to be reckoned with for season 2015 they were dispelled when Steve Cummings relegated none other than 2014 world number one, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar & Spain) to the second step of the podium in the Trofeo Andratx Mirador d’Es Colomer in Mallorca, this week.
Picking up the baton of Scottish international success from Katie Archibald in the pursuits and Callum Skinner in the kilometre, British Points Race Champion, Mark Stewart came away from the recent UCI World Cup in Cali with a bronze medal in the team pursuit. Riding with Germain Burton, Chris Latham and Matt Gibson the GB Academy team rode a 4:03 in the second round to set a new record for an Academy squad. We had a word with him when he got back to the UK...
We learnt recently that Ernie Mitchell, or 'E.V.' as he was known, Scottish star of the 1950's has passed away. As a tribute to him we thought we would re-run the interview he gave us last year where he told us about being the first man in the country to break the two-hour mark for 50 miles, virtually owning the pursuit crown and motor pacing behind his brother's bus ...
Unfortunately, VeloVeritas didn’t make it to the 2014 Scottish Cyclo-Cross Championships; it took that nice big colour shot of Rab Wardell (Orange Monkey Pro Team) in ‘Sportivs and Lance DVD Sales Weekly’ (aka 'The Comic' - or Cycling Weekly) to remind us of the error of our ways. We soon had the man who’s forsaken tarmac for mud and single track on the end of the phone...
Katie Archibald has been at it again; winning major championships. This time it’s the European Individual and Team Pursuit Championships in... Guadaloupe? Those French...
I wasn’t privileged enough to call Alan Hewitt a close friend but he was certainly a pal and on the infrequent – unfortunately for me - occasions I met him in recent years he would always greet me as a long lost brother with that smile, a hearty chuckle and a big, strong handshake. Alas, there’ll be no more of those.
At the next Commonwealth Games there’ll be no David Millar or ‘Jamesie’ and even the perennial Evan Oliphant might not make it to Gold Coast City, Australia in 2018. But Dundee’s Mark Stewart should be there; at just 19 he took sixth place in the 20 K Scratch Race in Glasgow behind New Zealand’s World’s Omnium medallist, Shane Archbold with the distance being covered in 22:43 @ 52.819 kph – that’s quick.
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