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.
We spoke to Peter Doyle recently, the man from Wicklow who won just about everything there was to win at home, the Shay Elliott Memorial, the National Championship, the Tour of Ireland, the Rás and a raft of other single day and stage races.
Having moved from London in 2016 to Casale Volpe, a small, secluded cycling-orientated B&B in Le Marche region of Central Italy, a gloriously hot July day last summer gave VeloVeritas reader Mike Curtis the chance to meet up and ride, relax and chat over lunch with local ex-pro and gregario di lusso Andrea Tonti.
David Rayner Fund 2018 ‘rider of the year,’ Heriot man, Stuart Balfour was busy post the 2020 ‘lock down’ and season 2021 sees him step up a level to UCI Continental team, Swiss Racing Academy which boasts former multiple World Time Trial and reigning Olympic Time Trial Champion, Fabian Cancellara as it’s patron.
It’s our privilege to have interviewed Mr. Ian Hallam; two Olympic Team Pursuit bronze medals, a Worlds Individual Pursuit silver, a Worlds Team Pursuit silver, two Commonwealth Individual Pursuit golds, a Commonwealth Games Team Pursuit gold, Commonwealth bronze in the Kilometre and 20 Kilometre, and 25 British track titles.
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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‘Enfin un Francais!’ – ‘At last a Frenchman!’ said the caption on French EuroSport. And a highly deserving one – Blel Kadri won in the grand manner; in the break for most of the day; dissolving the partnership with his companions when they were no longer of any use to him then holding off the maillot jaune group to win ‘en seule’.
Tom Pidcock’s stunning performance to win the ‘Baby’ Giro - with three stage wins along the way - over-shadowed a very promising ride by his Trinity Racing team mate, Thomas Gloag, the young man from London getting stronger as the race progressed.
We last spoke to up and coming 23 year-old Swiss star, Silvan Dillier back in the spring after his win in the Tour of Normandie; since then he’s been a busy man. There was stage win in the hotly contested Triptyque Ardennaise in Belgium, a win in Cham-Hagendorn in Switzerland and stage in the Fleche Ardennaise in Belgium. Then came a ride as a stagiaire with the BMC World Tour team – and an excellent win in Stage Two of the Tour of Alberta.
It was good to see Andre Greipel, ‘Le Gorille’ back and his relief at winning was palpable. The huge disappointment in the Lotto car when the big German crashed out of Gent-Wevelgem was forgotten after a stage win which effectively means Lotto’s Tour is a success, irrespective of what Jurgan Van Den Broeck can pull out of the hat.
A 19 minute ‘10’ is pretty rapid by any standard – but how about stringing together 10 of them, back to back? That’s exactly what 44 year-old Richard Bideau (Pendle Forest CC) a self employed potter from Burnley did in his first hundred; recording 3:18:54 in the Stockton Wheeler’s event a week past Sunday to slice a stunning 3:51 from multi-BBAR Kevin Dawson’s 12 year-old competition record.
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.
Evan Oliphant isn't the only Scotsman who's been winning races in the US of A. - up-and-coming under 16 rider, Patrick Galbraith recently scored a criterium win in Rocky Balboa's home town - Philadelphia (what do you mean "it's just a movie!?)...
The ANC saga continues, albeit Mr. Vern Hanaray maintains that he wasn’t really the mechanic with the team, he ‘just washed the bikes then passed them to a real mechanic.’ But before he donned his Wellington boots and picked up a sponge he wasn’t at all bad on a bike himself; three times champion of New Zealand and a winner of major events in the UK, Netherlands and Belgium.
At the Rotterdam Six Day 2011 and I'm sitting next to this chap, drinking my coffee, eating my Vacansoleil cookie and thinking; 'I should know who he is, he's the double of Ezequiel Mosquera.' Then the penny dropped; it was Old Zeke, in person, my - now tarnished - hero from the Vuelta.
With just about everything on ‘hold’ awaiting le Tour kicking off in Yorkshire, we thought we’d slip back through the decades to a different era. One where the ‘big motors’ were still the thing; Six Days packed them in and pave didn’t just come in two kilometer packages. You may not have heard of Englishman, Norman Hill – but he has the T-shirt, video and DVD as a ‘stayer,’ Six Day man and kermis rider on the hard roads of Flanders and The Netherlands.
The 2006 edition of the Bec CC Hill Climb was absolutely remarkable on several fronts. Firstly, for the very first time in the history of the event we had a dead heat for 1st place. Gary Dodd of Sigma Sport, and Bill Bell of the Gemini B.C. battled to the line, in atrocious weather to both record a time of 1.49.17. Neither of these 'Kings of the Hill' have, as yet, stuck their heads above the turret for this years event, and neither have they been spotted out reconoitering White Lane in prep for another crack at taking the honours.
Coronavirus, it’s the only topic in town right now and if, like me, you can’t imagine life without cycling then it has much to answer for; not to mention the drastic effect it’s having on people across the world. We caught up with professional James Shaw who rides for the Danish Pro Conti Riwal Readynez Cycling Team to ask about how it’s affecting him as a pro with his season just getting into its stride then having the rug pulled from under him.
Scottish Time Trial Championships in April? But like Dylan said; ‘The Times They are a Changin’... Sunday was horrible, wind, rain, cold – just what my bad throat and chest didn’t need. Step forward our Editor, Martin who, despite having been riding in the storm all morning to help with filming John Anderson's Tour o' the Borders sportive, braved the ghosts from the biggest Iron Age in Scotland, which sits up on the 1400’ White Meldon to brandish the Nikon into the gale force storm.