Thursday, July 2, 2020

Andy Hillman – Soigneur to the WorldTour Stars

There are no palmarès to check for this guy, he’s one of cycle sport’s back room, ‘unsung heroes’ – but he’s worked with some of the sport’s biggest names; he takes us behind the scenes to look at the life of a soigneur in modern cycling. Mr. Andrew Hillman, aka ‘The Hillmanator.’
Mara Abbott

Mara Abbott – “I’ve always been very determined to forge my own path”

Mara Abbott is twice a winner of the overall GC in the Giro Rosa, picking up seven stages along the way not to mention two second places, a fourth, a fifth and 10th on GC. Abbott retired from the sport after finishing fourth in the Olympic Road Race in Rio, 2016. She took time to speak to us not long after her retirement; here’s what she had to say.

Mick Bennett – “I’d take that rainbow jersey in a heartbeat!”

Mick Bennett is well known these days as head of Sweetspot Management and Race Director of the Tour of Britain, but as an athlete in the '60s, '70s and '80s was a formidable track and road rider and was part of the Team Pursuit quartet which refused to take their rightful World Championship title. Here's his story.

Norrie Drummond – Reminiscing with Quality Trivia

It’s hard to believe but it’s now 13 years since VeloVeritas’ Belgium and East Europe archivist, Ivan and I drove through to Strathaven to meet Mr. Norrie Drummond, former racing cyclist of note in Auld Scotia and Belgium and patron of the Drummond Trophy Road Race, one of few remaining ‘landmark’ races in Scotland. We chatted to Norrie recently to hear some more stories about the old times...

Marianne Berglund – “Winning the Worlds really launched me in the USA”

She only started cycling to connect with a cute guy… that never happened but she did go on to win a World Road Race Championship and more than 100 races. Swedish-born but now a resident of the USA, Ms. Marianne Berglund took time recently to speak to us.

Rik Evans – Part Two; “It was a win that lost me my job”

Rik Evans continues telling his story, from giving away a Worlds title to Commonwealth Gold medal, top club 34 Nomads and his slide out of cycling but into depression. Evans has now settled in Australia and cycling has come back into his life.

Rik Evans – Part One; Declining the Rainbow Jersey

You students of track cycling out there, which was the year the mighty GB squad won their first team pursuit world title. Did you say, 2005? Then you’d be wrong. The GB team pursuit squad won the event some 30 years earlier, in 1973 but ‘gave away’ the title. This is the story of one of the team and that huge decision to let a world title go; from the precocious talent that was Rik Evans.

Mark Walsham – “It still irks that I never won the National Road Champs”

Mark Walsham, one of the “Crit Kings and Men of the 80’s” - there can only be one first question: How many wins in total is it, Mark? "Just over 200 all included."
Bob Cary

Bob Cary – Part Two; Life After TI-Raleigh

In Part One of our interview with Bob Cary we covered that part of his career up to his third year with TI Raleigh and the end of 1976. For 1977 he was back in the UK with the Carlton-Weinmann team alongside riders like Olympic team pursuit medallists, Mick Bennett and Robin Croker not to mention British pro scene stalwart, Reg Smith.

Lorena Wiebes – “I want to step up to the highest...

Lorena Wiebes is just 21 years-old but is already shaping up to be the next Dynamic Dutchwoman. We caught up with her recently, soon after she joined Dutch [where else ?] ladies team Sunweb at the start of June.

Billy Bilsland – Peugeot’s Scotsman

Billy Bilsland – ‘legend.’ An over-used word but entirely appropriate when speaking of this man; here’s one from our vaults we thought you might like to read.
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Your Comments about Mrs Deene, George, and their cyclists’ Guesthouse

The piece we ran recently by reader John Day about staying with Mrs Deene in Belgium aroused a lot of interest on social media but it was spread over a number of different pages and apps. We thought it would be a shame to let some fascinating and funny comments go to waste so we pulled a selection together for you.

The VV View: Our Top 12 British Classics Rides

‘Cycling Weekly’ printed a list of their ‘10 best Classic Races of all time.’ It’s not the usual time of year for ‘retro’ pieces, the Classics should be in full swing but Covid-19 has blown apart a lot of well laid plans this spring. So here’s our top dozen British Classics Rides, in what we see as order of merit...

Viktor’s View – Rants of Love for Cycle Sport

Folks say to me that Viktor, "VeloVeritas's answer to Nostradamus" doesn’t exist, he’s just a vehicle for me to express extreme view points. They’re wrong. The man actually lives and breathes – and mostly for all things cycling and the Coronavirus crisis has seen him at his ranting best.

The VV View – All Set Up and No Race to...

It’s a fair old trek from Manchester to Fife after there was no race to watch, so what else was I going to do as I sat in the passenger seat but RANT! Let’s start with the only topic in town: Corona Virus and me...

The VeloVeritas Style Guide

The bike cost more than the car did and 300 dollars/euros/pounds shoes don’t faze you. But you still don’t feel you’re cutting it in the Sunday run posing stakes? Perhaps it’s time you had a style make over... But we warn you, some of what you’re about to read in our Style Guide might hurt.

The VV Review of 2019

It’s almost time for the VV Review of 2019, to file the season under ‘Nostalgia’ and look to season 2020, which will make it half a century I’ve been a fan of cycle sport. I can still remember watching Hugh Porter win the 1970 world professional pursuit championship under the spotlights at Leicester, on our tiny black and white tele. Where did those years go?

Kasper Keeps Cool in Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2020

I love the drive from Gent up to Kuurne for the Kuurne Brussels Kuurne semi-classic... staring out of the car window at the fields, the canals, tree-lined avenues, the steeples, tiny concrete roads that would be great to explore on the bike. There was a little rain on the way up but by the time we got to Kuurne it was a mild, sunny morning; ideal for wandering down the main drag where the busses line up and checking out 2020’s new hardware.

Roadside at Het Nieuwsblad 2020

We're roadside at Het Nieuwsblad 2020; since the race went World Tour the start just isn’t the same; the buses used to line up in the street, you could look at the bikes right until start time and brush shoulders with the riders as they pedalled to the sign-on. Not now, whilst some of the buses park up outside, the majority park in the huge 30’s exhibition hall adjacent to the Kuipke Velodrome in Ghent...

Dunfermline Cyclo-Cross, Scottish CX Round 5

We took a trip to watch the Dunfermline Cyclo-Cross. It’s a wee while since we’ve been to a Scottish cyclo-cross race and the sport has changed beyond all recognition from the early 70’s when your ‘cross bike was your winter bike with the muddies removed.

Kyle Beattie takes the Scottish Hill Climb Championship 2019

On a dry morning with little wind and a temperature which varied from mild to chilly depending on how the clouds whirled into the Lomond Hills, 23 year-old Kyle Beattie (Cairngorm CC) took the Scottish Hill Climb Championship 2019 north with a 7 minutes 43 seconds ride; a margin of 12 seconds over Fife rider Robin Downie (Team Andrew Allan Architecture) who put a single second into bronze medalist, Tom Merry (Edinburgh University).

World Road Championships – Mads Pederson surprises to win the Elite Mens’ Road Race

Denmark’s Mads Pederson drops to the wet Yorkshire tarmac, a hundred metres past the finish line, he can’t take in what he’s just accomplished. He has out-sprinted one of the foxiest and fastest men around, Matteo Trentin of Italy - the hot pre-race favourites for the title on this horror of a day.

World Road Championships – Controversy at the U23 Men Road Race as Nils Eeekhoff...

There was controversy today; none of us – including Pidcock – knew that the ‘jury was out’ on big Dutchman, Nils Eeekhoff’s ‘victory.’

Ryan Oelkers – “I wouldn’t have changed a thing”

With the World Track Championships only a few weeks away, we thought we'd talk to some top riders who you may know not much about, guys with interesting stories to tell, our "left-field' stars. Here's Ryan Oelkers tale...
Wilson Renwick

Wilson Renwick – The Pro Jockey Who’s a Talented Cyclist Too

"One guy worth keeping an eye on is Wilson Renwick from Hawick. He's a pro jockey and an amazing talent by all accounts. He won the Gordon Arms in March and has been injured since but produced an impressive result in a flat TT yesterday which is probably not his strength. As I say, defo one to watch!" So said the text message from Jim Cusick the day after the National ‘10’ Championship. And, always on the lookout for a good interview we tracked down 33 year-old Mr. Renwick – with a little help from Hawick’s Stuart Smith – and here’s what he had to say to VeloVeritas.
Tomás Swift-Metcalfe

Tomás Swift-Metcalfe Blog – Good news comes to those that wait

I haven't written on this blog for a while. The reason for this was that I was kind of getting tired of whining on about bad luck, hard times and other problems. No one wants to read that and no one cares. So I decided to keep calm and hang tight till good news come along. Writes Tomás Swift-Metcalfe.
Riders can look forward to some brand new road surfaces.

This Sunday: the Scottish Road Race Championships 2011

Balfron in Stirlingshire will host Vortex RT's promotion of the 2011 Scottish Cycling Road Race Championships on Sunday 22nd May. This year's event will be based on a challenging circuit of approx 11km, which will have a race run on it for the first time. As tradition demands, the ladies go first, and their race will be 67km long, six full laps of the circuit starting at 9:30am.
Harry Tanfield

Tour de Yorkshire 2018 – Stage 1 Wrap Up; Harry Tanfield’s Seated Acceleration!

Yorkshire has a new cycling hero – and Harry Tanfield can’t quite believe it. Never before had a local won a Tour de Yorkshire stage but with one superb breakaway and one big push to the line, this 23-year-old from Great Ayton had the Doncaster crowd rocking, to take stage 1 of the Tour de Yorkshire 2018.

Katie Archibald – European Individual and Team Pursuit Champion 2014

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...

Reflections on the World Time Trial Championship 2009

Fabian Cancellara is a wonderful athlete, class personified. He looks at one with the bike and he's quite fearless; it's hard not to gasp as he blasts along at his 60 kph average (take out the corners, roundabouts and the climb, and that's the speed he's sitting at), skiffing walls and flicking that Specialized through narrow village streets like a kermesse king - a pleasure to behold.
Stephen Hall

Stephen Hall – the Tasmanian Christmas Carnival Series

Aussie all-rounder, Stephen Hall took part in the famous Tasmanian Christmas Carnival series with some success; he gave us this insight from the other side of the globe...
Marcel Kittel

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 3; Armagh – Dublin, 187 km. Marcel Kittel’s Second.

Today’s stage Stage Three was a re-run of Saturday’s with Marcel Kittel proving again that he’s not just quick but very, very strong. Again he was out of position but with the strength of a bull he came over everyone from well back to win. The press always want to attach labels; ‘fastest man in the world’ to sprinters – and whilst it’s never as simple as that, the big German is certainly impressive. His manner is good too with a smile never far away.
Second climb of the Tourmalet.

The Next Level: TdF2010 Stage 17 (mountaintop)

The Next Level. Today, TdF2010 Stage 17, was the showdown. As all who watch cycling know, any stage with a mountaintop finish is where many of the overall selections happen, and when the mountain is the Tourmalet, which is enormous both in terms of the difficulty of the climb, as well as its history, it’s all the more definitive.