Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Steve Taylor – Hanging out the ANC team car roof at the Tour

The legend of the ANC team and participation in the 1987 Tour de France - the story continues. Our man in Shropshire, Martyn Frank said to us recently; ‘you should speak to Steve Taylor, he was a mechanic with ANC.’

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.

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.
My Best Ride

A Reader Writes: My Best Race

It was the best event VeloVeritas Reader John Day had ever been in - or would ever be in. It had been full-on for the last 45 of 100 miles, a true classic...
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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.’

Tour de San Luis – prequel

After an eight hour car journey, fourteen hours in planes and a lot of hanging around, came the bus ride from Mendonza to San Luis. Mendonza is a wine producing region and is heavily farmed. For hundreds of kilometers there are well arranged crop and dispersed housing, like an endless suburb. It's not picturesque.

Berlin Six Day 2012 – John Young’s Photo Album

The Berlin Six Day finished with a win for the Aussie World Champions Cameron Meyer and Leigh Howard (wine gum thief), we hope you enjoyed our daily diaries from the inside.

Le Tour de France 2011, Stage 10 – a little tourisme

Yesterday we arrived in Rodez as planned, picked up the hire car without any bother, and got ourselves, eventually, after getting lost a couple of times, to the hotel - one of these typical French 'pod' rooms, but it's okay with it's bunk beds and little shower room / toilet. A drive up to the Permanence, aka the Press Headquarters, to pick up our race accreditation, and we'd be all set for a pretty cruisy Rest Day. Only, the Permanence happened to be over two hours drive away, and once there, we found that only Ed's 'creds' were ready - mine hadn't been "approved by Julia" (the head ASO cred issuer).

Volta a Portugal 2012 – Stage One: Termas de Monfortinho –...

The day started with a long transfer from our hotel in the magnificent town of Covilhã, Termas de Monfortinho, situated at the foot of Serra da Estrella. We’ve been run of our feet with with reconaisance, various signings on and parading around the palce...

Ian Banbury – ‘Kamikaze’ for whom Olympic bronze wasn’t good enough!

We’ve opened the ‘Whatever Happened To’ file again; and this time it’s Ian Banbury; twice British Junior and once Senior Professional Pursuit Champion, British Junior and Professional Road Race Champion not to mention Olympic team pursuit bronze medallist. We opened by asking Ian about his training in those days...

Rotterdam Six Day 2018 – Kenny and Moreno win by four...

Forgive me if all I do these days is moan about Six Day finales. But ... As Chelsea Dagger by the Fratellis booms out of the PA the scoreboard tells me Kenny De Ketele and Moreno De Pauw are FOUR laps clear in the last chase at the Rotterdam Six Day 2018. It's a real cliff hanger ...

Ricky Garcia – Remembering Liverpool’s Mercury and Kirby Club Rivalry

The 70’s; great music, great cars and great riders – Merckx, De Vlaeminck, Gimondi, Thevenet, Raas, Knetemann, and the biggest rivalry British cycle sport has ever seen – Liverpool's clubs, the Kirkby versus the Mercury; their rivalry was anything but friendly. In conversation I mentioned Phil Thomas who had left the Kirkby to join the Mercury; the room went quiet, Matthews fixed me with a stare; ‘we don’t talk about him in this house’. I nodded and changed the subject, quickly.

World Road Championships 2012 – Day Three; U23 Time Trial World...

The party’s over at the U23 Time Trial World Championship, there’s no more nice wee room in Valkenburg and ambling down for breakfast, with the patron asking if you’d like a fried egg to go with your rolls, cheese and ham.

Book Review – “World’s Ultimate Cycling Races”

The new book by respected cycling journalist Ellis Bacon may help - the "World's Ultimate Cycling Races" is an eclectic mix of facts and stats about events all over the globe, from Pro level races such as the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana to MTB races, Gran Fondos and Sportives that anyone can take part in.

Welcome to the New VeloVeritas Design!

find it hard to believe, but VeloVeritas is three years old today, and so to celebrate, I've carried out a complete overhaul of the site over the last number of months, bringing the design more up-to-date, and changing the layout to make it much easier for you to find the articles you're looking for, or discover something of interest whilst you're just browsing. Welcome to the new VeloVeritas Design! For us though, one of the biggest things is that we're now able to update the site from wherever in the world we happen to be - which means you'll be reading the same timely updates that we've always tried to deliver, but we will be much less fraught in bringing them to you!

Le Tour de France 2008 – Day 3: Rest Day

Ciao! It was gone midnight when we hit the hay, last night. There was no thought of food, just sleep, it seemed to take an age to get off the mountain at Pratto and get to our digs at Racconigi - maybe it was just because we were so tired. Breakfast was chronic, stale bread, no cheese, no ham and everything else in polythene wrappers. First mission of the day was to meet Stuey O'Grady at the CSC press conference. He's a buddy of Martin's pal, Pete Jacques.

Le Tour de France 2012 – Stage 9: Arc-et-Senans – Besançon...

I guess I have to face up to it: it’s a black and blue – and yellow, world. I best get the hand of this ‘box ticking’ thing, then.

La Vuelta a España, Stage 16: Shooting the Breeze in Gijón

Santander airport, the queues are horrible and we'll have another one for the Stansted to Prestwick flight, no doubt. After yesterday's grim weather we're bathed in beautiful sunshine today. The stage start was in Gijón so we rattled up from Cangas de Onis for our last look at the 2010 Vuelta.

Coming Close in Merelbeke

Best part of 200 riders, good crowds, the music playing, the beer flowing and the kermesse burgers cooking... all the elements of a typical kermesse here in Merelbeke, Belgium. I made the point of being on the front from the start here, knowing like usual it would explode from the off and not wanting to be caught too far back when it did. Not long into the frist lap and I found myself in the first move off the front but this was to be pulled back only a few kms later. After a few laps in the bunch I thought it was time to try again...

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...