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...
From the very first chase there was little doubt about who was in charge of the Copenhagen Three Day 2020; Dutchmen Jan Van Schip and Yoeri Havik were the strongest men on the track. In the recent UCI World Cup in Milton, Canada Van Schip won the Omnium then teamed up with Havik to win the Madison – so we knew they were on form.
‘Easy like Sunday morning,’ said the Commodores – you got that one wrong guys. The racing here at the Bremen Six Day 2020 finished at 02:00 am with the guys back on those nice new boards at 12:35. In the meantime, the pee pails have to be emptied and disinfected; the washing done for four guys – each with shorts, three under vests, three jerseys, socks and mitts – then dried, folded and laid out...
Patti Smith is telling me at pain threshold levels; ‘because the night belongs to lovers.’ No girl! It belongs to that bed in the camper van which I’m using my last dregs of energy to reach. The racing may be over for the night at the Bremen Six Day 2020 but the party is 100% ON, Bremen isn’t called the ‘Party Six’ for nothing.
Ed parachuted in to the Rotterdam Six Day 2020 on Tuesday afternoon to help Kris break camp and load the camper in anticipation of driving up to Bremen and the Six Day which started there on Thursday evening. When you wander up the tunnel stairs and into the track centre at Rotterdam with the u23’s hurtling round, the lights blazing and the PA pumping it’s still damn cool...
If you read the recent, ‘Vik Rant’ we ran the other day, you’ll be aware that the VeloVeritas answer to Nostradamus is a disciple of a certain Mr. Hambini, purveyor of tools, small parts and bottom brackets and also Facebook and YouTube Videos about the quality of bicycle frames and componentry. We thought it would be interesting speak to the man.
‘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.
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 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.
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?
The year 2019 is almost behind us, who are the young guns who are going to be making the international headlines in 2020? We’ve picked out our ‘baker’s dozen’ of the best of the best youngsters around, we’ve set the age limit at 23 so that excludes phenomena, 24 year-old Mathieu Van Der Poel and 25 year-old Wout Van Aert...
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.
Annemiek Van Vleuten crosses the line after a 60 mile solo – local legend, the late, great Beryl Burton would be proud of this ride on her Yorkshire roads. The Orange-woman is immediately mobbed by a pack of feral photogs, but instead of being led away by the UCI podium guys, she effects a tricky clamber over the barriers and into the arms of mum and dad for a huge embrace.
There was controversy today; none of us – including Pidcock – knew that the ‘jury was out’ on big Dutchman, Nils Eeekhoff’s ‘victory.’
A cracking ride from 18 year-old bearded American Quinn Simmons, a barn door of a man who goes to World Tour team Trek Segafredo for 2020. We were roadside to take in the action.
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"Lang Whang" is Auld Scots, it means 'long way' - it's fair to say that Endura's Gary Hand was in the break for a lang whang and he won the finishing sprint by a similar margin from wanderer returned, Alex Coutts (I looked at his jersey but the team name looked like Greek to me).
The last time that VeloVeritas spoke to Irish trackman Martyn Irvine, the news was all good – he’d just won two silver medals in the Glasgow World Cup and signed a nice crisp contract with US Pro Continental squad, United Healthcare. And life just keeps improving for the Irishman; it can’t really get much better than a world title – unless you’ve already just taken a World’s silver medal minutes before you grabbed the rainbow jersey, that is.
Well It's been on the cards all season and last weekend in the town of Ghoy I took my first win in Belgium. Like always the attacks came from km 1 and I managed to get away midway through the first lap - and this was to be the move that stuck.
On a day more suited to a November cyclo-cross, than a 'summer' road race, those Pedal Power boys did it again; Gary Hand topped and tailed the Super Six in taking the East of Scotland Championship at East Saltoun, having won the first round-also in East Lothian-back in the spring, whilst series leader, Gordon Murdoch built upon an already unassailable points total, in second spot.
You all know the story by now, Phil 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.
Le Cap d’Agde and we're puzzled. We've steadfastly avoided getting involved in speculation over the ‘d-word’ – if you regard yourself as a serious journo, you have to be able to distinguish between factual information from a good source and wild speculation on twitter from individuals who may well have never seen the race, let alone spoken to anyone on it. Maybe it's because we've been on le Tour during the Ulrich, Basso, Mancebo, Bottero, Landis, Morreni, Rasmussen, Contador - and if we forgotten any, sorry - 'affairs.'
Ryan Mullen’s (Ireland & AN Post) progress through the sport has been little short of meteoric. Mullen won a superb silver medal in the Worlds U23 TT in last year's Championships in Ponferrada with only a heartbreaking 0.48 seconds behind Aussie winner, Campbell Flakemore – who’s now with BMC. We caught up with the Irish flyer early in the New Year as he returned from stocking up at the supermarket in Mallorca where he’s training with the Irish track squad.
We’ve spoken to Dan Bigham more than once this year, he won eight British Championships this year, against the watch and on the track. But there’s more to Bigham and his KGF team than domestic success; they’ve been riding the UCI World Cup series and in December rode international track meetings in Portugal and Switzerland with strong results.
Viktor has barred us from attending any races which are patronised by Graham Baxter Tours, this means that the Tour of Flanders is out. The next-best thing therefore, is Driedaagse van De Panne. It covers many of the roads that Flanders does, the 'Flanders fever' is in full flow but the security is non-existent so you can skek bikes and annoy mechanics to your heart's content.
Historically cold, wet wintery nights meant just one thing in cycling, Six Day racing. In recent years that has really only meant the ‘Zesdaagse Vlaanderen-Gent’ (Six Days of Flanders-Ghent). This great race has continued to be successful during years when many of the other ‘classic’ Six Day races of Europe left their buildings, literally, for the last time to drift into cycling history.
It’s always good to see fellow Scots doing 'the business', especially when it involves bringing home a nice new national champion’s jersey. MTB cum hill climb star Grant Ferguson was the man on this occasion; he took time to talk to VeloVeritas about his winning ride in the British U23 Cyclo-Cross championships. He did get his Worlds ‘cross tip wrong, though – but so did most of us.
Sky did well to pull Wiggins out of the race when they did, starting Stage 14 today could have seen him contract pleurisy if he’d ridden. There’s still a long way to go but Nibali looks like it’s his race to lose. However, the ‘Forum Dwellers’ are at it already; when I was looking on CN for the full stage result I stumbled upon the forum bittie at the bottom.
Late June 1972, Loch Lomond and history is made as Sandy’s Gilchrist and Gordon tie for the Scottish ‘50’ mile time trial title with 2:01:46 whilst Ron Gardner is third with 2:05:15. My part in this historic day on the old road which tracked every curve and bump of those bonnie, bonnie but tough banks? I was caught by both winners on my way to some ignominious time which I now no longer remember but which would have been closer to 20 mph than 25 mph...
Organiser Isobel Smith is certainly hoping the recent run of fine weather continues for her race on Sunday morning, the Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial Championship 2009.
Welcome back, hopefully I’ll manage to keep this month’s blog post update reasonably brief for once as there’s no real drama to talk about. Instead, I’ve just had a solid month of pretty consistent training and racing, with one or two decent results thrown in for good measure. The form has been a little bit patchy, with a handful of days of slight fatigue balancing out periods where I had great legs, but on the whole it has been a relatively successful month.
Peter Schep / Wim Stroetinga win, Franco and Mouris second, Stam/Havik third - a result which everyone is pretty happy with. The Dutch winners are the classic Six Day combo - big, strong, mature, silky smooth Peter Schep and the younger, smaller, more erratic but rapid Stroetinga.
It’s not long since we since we spoke to young Scot, Alfie George who’s making a name for himself on the international junior stage. Another young Scotsman who’s doing the same is Oscar Onley who recently landed himself a ride with French ‘feeder’ team, Van Rysel – AG2R La Mondiale. Best ‘have a word’ we thought...
After a gruesomely boring stage where one man – albeit latterly assisted by Tommy V – held off the pack for 200 K it was another day of joy for Dimension Data’s Mark Cavendish; just too quick for Greipel, Coquard and Sagan on a slightly uphill finish into Angers. Kittel looked to be well placed at the red kite but got it wrong on the final right hander to finish well out of it. Greipel reckoned maybe he was one cog too high in the finish on 54 x 11 – Cav’s choice of gear was just fine though.
Here at VeloVeritas we pride ourselves on always getting ‘a word’ with the new British 25 Mile Time Trial Champion; the late, great Jason Macintyre, Michael Hutchinson, Joe Perret, Matt Bottril, Ryan Perry, Dan Bigham have all taken time to speak to us. In joint silver medal slot at the recent British 25 Mile Time Trial Championships was Chris Bartley (AS Test Team), former World Rowing Champion and Olympic silver medallist.
There’ll be a popular name missing from the Six Day lap boards come the winter of 2020/21, that of Belgium’s Moreno De Pauw, at just 28 years-of-age he’s decided to call ‘time’ on his career and join the police. Over the years he’s been a prolific collector of championship medals – 28 Belgian titles and too many Belgian championship silvers and bronzes for us – or him - to keep track of.
It's 10:00 pm and we've just finished dinner in our 'local' at Cangas de Onis, we were here last night too. The Mahou is cold, the food is good and the wi-fi is free. It's a working dinner, words and pictures get dealt with in between patatas bravas and chorizo. 'Lagos de Covadonga' - one of the Vuelta legends.
The Tour of Flanders 2008, What does the 'oh' stand for in oh, four, forty five ? "Oh my God it's early!" That's an old Robin Williams joke, from Good Morning Vietnam, but I like it. I managed a shave without removing any skin, packed my case and stumbled out of the room, all the while making a mental note that when I met Big Bert, I'd get some free samples of his sponsor's 'Silence' anti-snoring preparation for Greg.
Back in 1972 when Edinburgh's Meadowbank Velodrome was still a thing of beauty and not kindling-in-waiting, the British Madison Championships were held there. The men who won that day were the young Australian rider, Murray Hall – then riding for Croydon Premier - and his compatriot, Tom Moloney. We caught up with Murray recently during our researches about the Six Day races of old - he has a good tale to tell.