Seven years ago, in 2014, we interviewed Matthias Barnet, he had just won the 2014 British u16 Criterium Championship on the technical Hog Hill circuit at Redbridge, London. Since then we’ve not heard much of the man but when we spotted that he had signed up with Flavio Zappi’s squadra for season 2021 – along with fellow Scott, Hamish Strachan, who we spoke to recently – we just had to have a word with him.
The top 20 of the recent, hard fought GP Monsere in Belgium saw a name familiar to VeloVeritas but unsung in the UK take a fine top 20 placing in the company of top opposition: Ollie Robinson, who we interviewed last year. He’s now with a Ukrainian UCI continental team, Lviv Continental so we thought a catch up chat was well in order.
20 year-old Sean Flynn from Edinburgh; four times a British Champion at youth and junior level, is on the SEG roster for season 2021, which is an achievement in itself.
You may have read our recent interview with Senor Flavio Zappi here on VeloVeritas? This season the Zappi Racing Team will have strong Scottish representation with Messrs. Hamish Strachan and Matthias Barnett quitting Bonnie but chilly Scotland and the brooding, icy waters of the North Sea for La Bella Italia and the more benign waters of the Adriatico.
We recently ran or tribute to the late, great 'Big Bert' Oosterbosch. It was so well received by our readers that we thought we should re-run a piece from a few years ago which pays tribute to another Dutch chrono and pursuit king - the late, great Roy Schuiten.
Flavio Zappi plays down his own career on the bike but in a time and place where it was hard to get a pro contract and then sometimes even harder to achieve contract renewal after one season, if the results weren’t there or your face didn’t fit, he rode numerous seasons at the highest levels of Italian cycle sport.
World Team Time Trial Champion, World Professional Pursuit Champion, Tour de France stage winner, ‘chronoman,’ prologue specialist par excellence and winner of nigh on 100 races, Bert Oosterbosch was straight out of the top drawer.
There I was, researching Peter Doyle’s palmarès for his recent interview with us, checking out his big French win, in the Essor Breton. I was looking at the race’s roll of honour and was surprised to see that Englishman, Jonathan Dayus had won the race twice.
It was May 1981 when Phil O'Connor took his first race picture; Manxman, Steve Joughin winning a stage of the Tour of Britain, 'Milk Race' as it hurtled into Bournemouth - some months later he managed to get it published in a cycling magazine.
Covid having put paid to her 2020, ‘End to End’ bid after her brave but ultimately unsuccessful 2019 attempt, Christina Mackenzie (Stirlingshire Bicycle Club) had to re-focus and made the CTT 12 Hour Championship her goal for the year. ‘Mission accomplished,’ winning by some 12 miles with a provisional 251.64 miles on a tough course in equally tough conditions.
It's been a while since we ranted so in this Nugget Ed offers some Mid-Winter Thoughts on Tom Dumoulin's decision to stop, the 'Cross Worlds, AG2R's New Jersey, flat-bar gravel bikes and the latest 'best rider' rankings...
As the sleeping beast that is the 2020 cycling season stirs after it’s long snooze, we thought it would be good to look at how Scotland’s ‘Young Turks’ spent lock down and what their plans are for the rest of this strange year.
It's been a while since we ranted, so in this edition of the VeloVeritas View we offer a thought or two on Strava, Zwift, Everesting and other Covid-19 aspects of cycling - as well as whether we consider jockey wheels for a grand a good deal...
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.
‘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...
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.
I thought I’d check out what where the expression, “awa’ the Crow Road” came from before Davie and I headed for the Tour of the Campsies; ‘Crows take your soul to the hereafter it’s thought in many cultures and superstition.’
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.
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...
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.
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).
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.
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Daniel Holloway and Colby Pearce are regulars on the Six Day scene, and this season we've been helping to look after two other young American riders at the races; Jackie Simes and Brad Huff. US riders win classics and Grand Tours and there are US Pro Tour teams. It was different in 1970 though, with not one single US rider holding a professional licence — enter Jackie's dad, Mr. Jack Simes.
That Kyle Gordon character is threatening to take over our website; what with his Commonwealth Games adventures, ‘25’ championship win, ‘50’ championship win and competition record - and if that wasn’t enough he’s gone and won the ‘100’ championship too, taking 10 minutes off competition record with a dazzling 3:36:10 ride - some 16 minutes clear of silver medallist, Stephen Williamson.
"What’s he playing at, riding like that in the valley? He’ll get eaten up on the climb" as the winner De Gendt on the Passo dello Stelvio climbs... so said our friend Vik. Even Sean Kelly didn’t think it was a good idea. Dave and I weren’t so sure – De Gendt is a hardy pup.
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...
The phone rings – it’s Viktor, VeloVeritas’ resident sage, critic and general cycling Nostradamus. I steel myself; ‘Happy New Year’ I say. ‘Aye, Happy New Year to you, too – here, have you been watching the live stream from Rotterdam, it’s brilliant!’ and that’s how I came to be speaking to Mr. David Harmon...
Dewey has hit the ground running in France, with wins in the 138 kilometre/198 starters Etoille De Tressignaux – and you have to check out their website, the accordion music is cool – a stage win plus the GC in the two day Fleche d’Armor and a stage win and spell in yellow in the Tour de Lesneven. We caught up with Douglas on a trip back to Blighty to have a minor injury checked out.
Great Britain took Olympic Team Pursuit bronze in ’72; Worlds silver in ’73; tasted bitter disappointment in ’74 when on a world record ride and again took Olympic bronze in ’76. Recently we’ve interviewed three of the gentlemen who were in those teams: Ian Banbury, Rik Evans and Mick Bennett. We’ve caught up with another of the group, Mr. Ron Keeble who was in the Munich team which took Olympic bronze in 1972.
I've been in Belgium for a week now, but to be honest I feel like I've never been away with the same routines already re-emerging into the day. It is really good to feel like a full time racing cyclist again as after months of spreading myself thin over winter, all I have to think about is riding my bike. I arrived a week past Tuesday, the 1st of March, which was simply a date plucked out of the air to maximise winter earning time, but get here in time for the start of the season proper.
With little to write about in terms of current Scottish racing we’re staying on the Retro Trail; going back a little before even my time – to the 60’s and Mr. Tony Mills who’s still involved in the sport, helping Dave Rayner Fund riders find their feet in La Belle France.
Adding his name to the u23 Gent Six Day roll of honour is Scotland’s Alfie George; the young Scot ran out winner just a few weeks after his fine seventh place in the Junior Worlds Road race in Harrogate and a season which saw him fifth in the junior Paris-Roubaix.
So I've been meaning to put together a blog post of my latest experiences of life here in Flanders. This season has certainly had its ups and downs, but all this seems rather irrelevant after the events of this week. Cycling indeed has its fair share of tragedies and the death of Wouter Weylandt in Stage 3 of the Giro this year is another one added to that list.
It's our last stage today, it's Friday morning and we're in Tivoli, headed for Spoleto. Yesterday was an up and down sort of day, although by the sixth grappa last night it seemed fine. We left our hotel (as featured in George A Romero's movie - Zombies, Dawn of the Dead) and headed for the stage start at Teano, we would never have found it if we hadn't tagged-on to the Mavic neutral service cars.