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With the retirement of David Miller, Scotland has just one representative left in the World Tour, Sky’s Andy Fenn; but with MTN-Qhubeka morphing into ‘Dimension Data for Qhubeka’ for 2016 and moving up to the first division of professional cycling the nation has another man at the heart of world cycling. Brian Smith is General Manager with the South African team and always happy to chat to VeloVeritas. Here’s what he had to say to us as the day before his riders Cam Meyer and Nathan Haas grabbed second and fourth behind Jack Bobridge in the Australian Elite Road race Championships in Ballarat.
Evan Oliphant's going to have not one but two new chums to chat to at Raleigh for season 2016. We've already spoken to Aberdeen's Craig Wallace and now it's time for Perth man Fraser Martin - who also pulls on the jersey with the famous name - to give us his story.
He's raced in Belgium and spent time in The Basque Nation but the pro contract for 2016 has come closer to home with Raleigh. Aberdonian Craig Wallace joins Evan Oliphant at the 'Heron squad' for the next phase of his career - here's what he had to say to VeloVeritas, recently.
Raleigh professional Evan Oliphant handled the age old dilemma of the pro racing against amateurs – if they don’t win they’re criticised, but if they do then it’s ‘expected’ – by taking the best option and winning the Gala CC’s Gordon Arms Hilly Time Trial over 20.5 cold and cloudy Borders miles in 50:06; some ways short of Mark Atkinson’s (Velo Ecosse) 1999 course record of 48:47 but enough to give him the result by 41 seconds over Carl Donaldson (GS Metro).
Raleigh's Evan Oliphant recently made some cycling history when he became the first Scotsman to win the Star Trophy - or as it's known now, 'The Premier Calendar.' But 'Star Trophy' just sounds so much better. The season long contest was first run in 1959 when the legendary John Perks won it the names engraved upon the silver demand respect - Les West, Hugh Porter, Phil Griffiths, Malcolm Elliott, Paul Curran and Russell Downing to name a few.
One of the biggest professional kermises in Flanders is the Gullegem Koerse, first held in 1942 when Belgian legend Marcel Kindt claimed victory. Since then it’s been won by many of the hardest kermis riders in the game – Willy Tierlinck, Wilfried Nelissen, Nico Eeckhout, Gert Omloop to name a few. Not to mention some of the best roadmen of their eras; including Nico Mattan, Peter Van Petegem and Philippe Gilbert. And for this year’s edition we can boast of a Scottish winner in Andy Fenn – well, his mum is Scottish and he rode the Commonwealth Games for us in Delhi.
Nostalgia: “describes a sentimental longing for the past” defines the dictionary. I’m not one to sit and say that everything was better when I was a youngster – bikes certainly weren’t; much of the equipment available was scrap and would get laughed out of court in 2013. Cycling clothing was horrible and cycling shoes were positively medieval. Albeit cars were cooler, music was better and so was the cycling scene.
Kristian House of Rapha-Condor won, Chris Froome was man of the match and there was plenty of sunshine. That's the British Champs in a nutshell, it really was a great day. But as well as our VeloVeritas hats, we had on our "Supporter Hamish Haynes" bonnets too.
"Hi Ed, I've finally heard from Cycling Weekly - they want 300 words, but also if you want to do "Minute With" interviews with some of the riders, that'd be good also." Jeez! Work from "The Comic" and a brief too-I'm so used to rolling up at races with a camera, pencil and notebook then just doing what I want, that I'd forgotten about that word count stuff. Maybe if I make a good job, I'll get to do Girvan again; they haven't forgiven me for last year, when I forsook 'Com one' at Girvan for a team car at Milan-San Remo.
Here at VeloVeritas we felt that those Endura Racing boys would be giving us plenty to write about in 2009, so we thought we'd better sit them down with them and have a few words. As well as Jonathan McBain (owner of Pedal Power Cycles) and a lean and fit looking Gary Hand, a keen as mustard James McCallum was there too; so it turned into a lot of words!
"It is quite noisy when your head's scraping along the ice !" Craig Maclean's answer to our question as to whether it's noisy in a two man bobsleigh. What's the former World Team Sprint gold medallist and Individual Sprint silver medallist doing in a bobsleigh? Read on!
We've been stalking him since Beijing; and at last, we've cracked him - Chris Hoy, Olympic gold medallist in the team sprint, keirin and individual sprint. We've heard that he now retains Max Clifford, "PR guru to the stars," as his agent, so we decided we'd better check out the financial aspect of the interview, first.
Nine World and Eight Olympic titles; that's Team GB's haul for 2008 - so far, that is. That kind of excellence doesn't 'just happen,' who's behind it? The GB head coach is Aussie, Shane Sutton - he was still in Beijing the day after his squad's triumphant campaign ended, when we spoke to him.
Craig Maclean has nine golds and two silvers. That's what Team GB took away from the Manchester World Track Championships, back in April. A repeat performance in Beijing is entirely possible. How does British Cycling do it? One of the reasons is that their selection criteria is ruthless; past glory counts for nothing.
He's won the World Kilometre Championship four times, the World Team Sprint Championship twice, the World Keirin Championship twice, and now he's completed an unequalled sprinters' "quadruple" by winning the World Individual Sprint Championship...Oh - and he's the reigning Olympic Kilometre Champion as well! He's Scotland's Chris Hoy, and after we'd told him how proud we are of him, he took time to answer our questions.
"I knew that if I was second or third round the last corner then nobody would beat me." And so it proved, as James McCallum added British Criterium Championship gold to Commonwealth Games points bronze, last night in Otley. VeloVeritas spoke to James just hours after his win.
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.
After a year at DFL, 23 year-old Scottish professional Alex Coutts from Gorebridge, has renewed old sponsorship links with Flemish bike concern, Flanders. We caught-up with him recently at mentor John Anderson's Edinburgh shop, the Bicycleworks. Coutts was just back from a training trip to Spain and is already looking like he is ready for action.
July 1960, the GB Tour de France team hotel somewhere in France. Britain's white hope for Tour de France glory, the late, great Tom Simpson is discussing the events of the day with team mate, Brian Robinson. Simpson had punctured during the stage and one of his GB team domestiques had brought him back up to the bunch; "I'll tell you what, Brian - that John Kennedy is strong, he was riding like ten men today when we were coming back from that puncture."
Forget the super fast boards of Manchester. Imagine a track meeting whose roots go back to the year 1314; where the track is only 200 metres and one of the straights is bordered by a burn (that's a stream in Queen's English)... a track meeting which goes ahead even in a torrential rain - welcome to the world of the Highland Games, and one of Scotland's greatest exponents of the form; John Hardie.
We caught up with Evan after he secured another medal at the British level, this time on the track in the Points Race Championship. Read on to hear Evan's thoughts on his achievement, and whether he's coming back to race on the grass too...
Kate Cullen's decisive victory in the British Track Championships is the strongest indication yet that those, including the selectors of the WCPP, who had written her off as 'too old', will have to reappraise her situation. VeloVeritas talked to her when she got back from Manchester.
It's been another successful British track championship for the Scottish contingent with two of the blue riband events coming north of the border, the Kilometer to World Champion Chris Hoy and the Sprint to World's Silver Medalist Craig Maclean. In addition, Ross Edgar, Kate Cullen and Evan Oliphant all "medalled" - as the Americans would say. VeloVeritas spoke to Craig MacLean a few days after his win.