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I know we're a hard-core bike racing site, but bear with me - Scotland doesn't produce too many world champions - and of those, none I can think of ever came from Kirkcaldy. Jocky Wilson was a legend and to hear of his death made me very sad - believe it or not, I always wanted to interview the man from the 'China Town' area of Kirkcaldy.
British 25 Mile Time Trial Champion, Jason Macintyre (Edge RT) died this afternoon, after being involved in a collision at 13.34 GMT with a Highland Council truck which is believed to have turned left across his path as it entered the council yard on the northern outskirts of Jason's home town of Fort William. The 34 year-old multiple Scottish champion was returning from a training run in the Spean Bridge area when the tragedy occured at a spot known locally as Carr's corner on the A82 road.
"Elusive cyclist (Robert Millar) is rediscovered as 'queen of the mountains' "- so says the headline in the Sunday paper, The Star? The News of the World? The Sport? No, it's our "quality-read" for the sabbath - Scotland on Sunday. Whilst George Best drank himself to death, and as "Hurricane" Higgins trots down the same trail, many of the gentlemen of the press struggle to conceal their admiration for these 'lads'.
It's just under two weeks now until the 2007 European season starts with the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise in the south of France on February 6th. The first major tests come a few weeks later though, on the first weekend in March, far from the Mediterranean, to the north, in Flanders. Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne are true classics in all but UCI category, albeit shorter than the Tour of Flanders with which they share many kilometres of parcours.
I didn't make it up to the Phil Young memorial race this year, work got in the way. I need to get my values sorted out. I should put the memory of a friend before commercial activity, but when you are under client pressure to get a job finished, it is difficult. Phil had his priorities right, though: "the bike" was number one, and everything else was organised around that.