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Racing with Axeon for 2015 is Kiwi, James Oram who we first spotted when he won the 2011 Tour de l’Abitibi in Canada – the ‘Junior Tour de France’ with Bobby Julich, Tyler Farrar and Taylor Phinney all on the roll of honour. Later that year Oram took silver in the Junior Worlds TT and for the last three seasons has been with Merckx. Last season he cracked the top ten in the Tour of Alberta and World U23 TT Championships and he’s kicked off 2015 in fine style with a win in the New Zealand U23 TT Championship – we had a word soon after his Kiwi win.
The last time we spoke to Justin Grace – the Kiwi who’s coaching skills had much to do with turning New Zealand into one of the world’s major cycling sprint nations – he’d just left his role at the Land of the Long White Cloud and signed up for – La Belle France. Perhaps it was no surprise to hear that Grace is now with British Cycling as sprint coach – with New Zealand and France among his toughest opposition.
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.
It's almost time for Nys, Albert, van der Haar, Meeusen - and not forgetting Ian Field of course - to chuck the 'cross bikes in the coal shed for the summer and head for the beach. We thought we might have one last look at this highlight of the 'cross season through the eyes of a man who was right there in the mud of Hoogerheide - New Zealand's Angus Edmond - before we draw the curtain on another great winter of cyclocross.
In the ‘old days’ it used to be that the ‘smaller’ and emerging cycling nations would rely on expertise from the ‘Old World’ – European coaches could be found all over the world. But these days it’s all different; and perhaps the biggest surprise in the past year has been first division track nation, France taking on a New Zealander as their coach. Justin Grace is the man, here’s his tale...
Tim Gudsell was originally a track specialist but the Kiwi landed a contract with F des J for season 2007 after a 2006 stagiaire ride gained by winning the 2006 Tour du Haut Anjou - he stayed with the French equipe for four subsequent seasons. But it’s fair to say that the French squad never saw the best of him during a career which was compromised by injury but still saw him ride two Giros and a Vuelta.
We talk to Shane Archbold about the Fiorenzuola Summer Six Day. My favourite Shane story is the one where I pulled him in off the track at Copenhagen during the Six Day.
A few years ago, Vik and I were hanging over the barriers at a Friday night kermis near Gent; ex-pro Tony Bracke was Hoovering up the primes but one of the Kingsnorth Wheelers guys was catching our eye, Christopher Macic.
With all the recent transfer news about who is going where in the ProTour, or UCI World Tour as it will soon be known, certain 2011 signings of interest seem to have slipped under the radar. One which caught the attention of VeloVeritas was with Team Radioshack's U23 feeder team, Trek-Livestrong. After another stellar season for Trek with at least five riders moving up to top UCI World Tour teams; including Britain's Alex Dowsett who's making the step up to Team Sky. These moves leave spaces to be filled and one of the riders moving into the top American U23 line-up is New Zealand's up-and-coming star George Bennett.