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Olympic years 1980 and 1984 were fallow ones for the GB Olympic track squad. The team pursuiters had performed with honour in ’72 and ’76, bringing home bronze for their efforts. But whilst Seoul in 1988 was no ‘Beijing Gold Rush’ the performances of the GB riders opened eyes and proved that Olympic medals weren’t just a pipe dream. A young Englishman called Colin Sturgess narrowly missed bronze in the pursuit and a Highlander called Eddie Alexander took fourth in the sprint. Here at VeloVeritas we felt that a ‘catch up’ with Eddie was long overdue . . .
Garmin’s Ryder Hesjedal came out of the Giro in shape of his life, with his morale sky high after his historic win. He rested well after Italy, resumed training and was in great shape for the Tour de France. He rode strongly in the prologue and managed to keep out of trouble – until stage six. The tall Canadian went down in the huge crash which marred the sprinters’ stage from Epernay to Metz, losing 13 minutes after hitting the tar hard at high speed. But the big Canadian was soon back on the bike and building up for the autumn. A top dozen ride in Piedmont was followed by sixth in the Tour of Lombardy – boding well for his next race, The Tour of Beijing. Hesjedal took time to speak exclusively to VeloVeritas about his crash in the Tour, his return to form and his hopes for the future as he waited for his flight to China at Paris airport.
‘Perkins’ is a famous name in Australian cycling; back when I was a boy, Daryl Perkins was a top performer on the tracks, winning medals at national and Commonwealth level. He passed those good genes down to son Shane, who recently took individual sprint bronze in London behind Messrs. Kenny and Bauge. Perkins has been a major force on the world track sprint, team sprint and keirin scene for a number of years, despite the fact that he’s still only 25 years-old.
We left Colin in Part One telling us about his time as a teenager racing in the Commonwealth Games and in the Olympics, and turning pro for the Belgian team ADR. In Part Two we chat with Colin about his time with the top pro team Tulip Computers, his feelings about the emergence of the peloton's use of EPO, fighting his way back into the highest levels of world pursuiting, his retirement and emigration, and his subsequent comeback with a number of British squads in the 90's.
Colin Sturgess exploded on to the UK cycling scene in the 80's - within a couple of seasons he was world professional pursuit champion. But his enormous potential was never full realised. As part of our series talking to Olympians past and present, we bring you part one of 'The Colin Sturgess Story.'
Continuing with our series of interviews with Olympians past and present, we talk to New Zealand's tenth place finisher in the London road race - Jack Bauer. This season saw Bauer an integral part of the Garmin squad which guided Ryder Hesjedal to Giro triumph. We caught up with him at his Girona home as he prepared for the final phase of his season - which started way back at the Tour down Under.
One of the men who enlivened the race amidst what was a pretty dull GC battle in this year’s Tour de France was Saxo Bank –Tinkoff Bank rider, Michael Mørkøv. The Dane wore the leaders’ jersey for the king of the mountains during the first week and was in the breakaway more than 800 kilometres during le Tour. But Mørkøv's roots stretch deep back into the timber boards of the velodrome and within days of finishing the world’s toughest stage race, he was lapping the London velodrome in that fastest and most skilful of disciplines – the team pursuit.
Well, the women's omnium is in full swing. Laura Trott has won the flying lap, a great ride, I'm not entirely sure where she was for the points race, I think team GB put someone up in her place, maybe she was getting her hair done or something, all I know is she didn't show up! Clearly, she returned from her appointment elsewhere to dominate the elimination race, flirting with danger hitting the front from the back to end up fighting it out for the win with Sarah Hammer of the USA.
Track world cups last three days, occasionally four, the world championships last five days, and at those we have the five Olympic events plus a scratch race, individual pursuit, kilo/500 tt, men's Madison, so why oh why has the Olympic schedule taken six days? The sessions have been short, very short. I just think we could have had had it all wrapped up a bit quicker, and quite a few of the riders that I have spoken to feel the same.
Well no rubbish today about my trip to the track or my run is with a black cab driver, today is simply about the bike riding. Put simply, GB were unstoppable! Vicky Pendleton won the Keirin with a dominance I have never seen her show before, and with such power, speed and superior tactics it was a joy to watch. She moved women's racing on to a new level today - utterly fantastic, and with her confirmation that retirement is just days away, yet while in this form it seems a waste but understandable given the years of commitment. In the men's team pursuit this night was all about the 'old firm'.
You all know the story by now, Hindes didn’t like his start in the team sprint so he deliberately fell off to get a restart. The rule exists so that if you fall off or pull your foot out you get a second shot, it’s like the second serve in tennis. The trouble is there is another rule that effectively says you are not to abuse this privilege, on pain of disqualification, from the round or the entire competition depending on severity. Since it’s usually impossible for the commissaire to judge with 100% certainty if it was an accident or not (however obvious it is) the rule has (to my knowledge) never been enforced.
As I sit in the brothel that is Terminal 3, Heathrow, I can’t believe that my direct involvement with the London Olympics is done. When did that happen? It felt like forever when I was first nominated to be physio, and still forever when I was confirmed. All of a sudden I was in London which was in the midst of cycling hysteria as Wiggo and Froomey had confirmed that they would be atop the podium at the Tour, and the Olympics were about to start.
Tony Gibb; So the first day of track competition, and I am buzzing! It's all hit home, I'm here, at the Olympics, it weird, being so close, knowing all the people involved. After an early morning training spin, followed by late brekky, Dave wants to head to the track early and wants to try the javelin train from kings cross, so after a 20 minute walk in the sun, a 8 minute train journey, and another 45 minute walk through the park we arrive at a very VERY warm track. Now I understand why everyone wants it hot but you walk through the first air tight door and one of the 75,000 purple t-shirt brigade will not let you walk through the next air tight sealed door until the first one is closed.
So, the track cycling competition has not even started yet and I have some great stories! Eurosport, my very kind and generous employers for this particular gig have booked me in to the Bloomsbury hotel! Now, without meaning to bore you with logistics I live a one and a half hours ride from central London. I want my bike with me so I can train, but I also have my warfare bike to get up there so I can ride to and from the track, and ten days worth of luggage and kit...
What was it like being in that break in the Olympic road race? Who better to ask than one of the men who animated the race and did sterling work in the service of his team – United States elite road race champion, Timothy Duggan? The Liquigas, 29 year-old pro has come a long way back from that day in the 2008 Tour of Georgia when he hit the tarmac at 100 km/h and was left with life-threatening injuries.
We have arrived! Well, to be honest, it’s been a few days now, but the dust has only really settled enough to write anything as of today. We’re staying a little out of town, allowing us the opportunity to train without the stress of dealing with the traffic of London, the slog of battling other athletes for everything in the Village, and the chance for the boys to decompress, relax and recover after the Tour.
As the world is gripped by Tour Fever, it’s easy to forget that just days after the Champs Elysees protocols are done and dusted, it’ll be time for the Olympic Games, in London. VeloVeritas was lucky enough to get an interview with a lady who’s been an integral part of the dominant GB ladies team pursuit squad.
For the Beijing Olympics in 2008 it was the kilometre which got the chop. For London 2012 the axe is bigger and sharper – the individual pursuit, points and madison all become historical footnotes. Apparently we need ‘gender parity’ – so how come the girls don’t ride the same distances? – and we need to be ‘Mondialised’ and if this means that the best nations in the world don’t get to ride because they happen to be on the wrong continent, well, the UCI and IOC know best, don’t they? We caught up with New Zealander Shane Archbold to discuss this, the Olympics, and more...
When Taylor Phinney crossed the finish line at the end of the Giro prologue, a big sigh went up here at VeloVeritas – ‘there goes our Giro prologue winner exclusive!’ Sky's Geraint Thomas had been top of the leader board until Phinney used those amazing genes of his to great effect and the Weshman had to make do with second place. It’s hard to believe, but Thomas is still only 25 years-old.
'The goal for the Russian team is to break the 3:50 barrier in the London Olympics.' The words of Heiko Salzwedel-over the last few years it's looked as if the 2012 Olympic team pursuit final would be a straight shoot out between GB and Australia. But when German, Salzwedel decided to leave his Manchester office at British Cycling and take a plane to Moscow, those 'in the know' realised that another horse would be coming under starter's orders.
The National Cycling Centre in Manchester was completely sold out as Olympic hero Sir Chris Hoy ramped up his preparation for the UCI Track World Cup at the new London Olympic velodrome. Hoy qualified fastest in the morning session, but lost out on the initial face off against Jason Kenny and was unable to get the better of some of his sprinting rivals. With the test event just two weeks away and the Olympics only six months down the line, the Revolution provided a perfect backdrop for some serious sprinting competition.