In what many pundits describe as the best Madison they’ve ever witnessed, Michael Mørkøv and the man with whom he won the world title in the discipline, Lasse Norman Hansen, beat the cream of the world’s track riders to the top of the podium.
Robbie Mitchell (Auchencrow Thistle CC) does things the hard way; he’s never ridden a 12 hour time trial but jumps right in at the deep end – a 24 hour time trial. And not just any old 24 hour time trial, the CTT National Championship; oh yes, and then he goes and wins the thing…
‘Sorry, I fell asleep, I need my afternoon nap after one of Flavio’s training sessions – a 90 minute chain gang then six laps of a circuit with a steep ‘kicker’ in it.’ That was Hamish Strachan explaining to us why he’d missed our call – good to hear that the young man is back in the groove after a difficult start to his year.
It was 2019 when we last spoke to Iain Macleod - he was with Aberdeen Wheelers then but is now with Kelpie Racing - he’d just won the SC 50 mile championships and the man is making the headlines again; a couple of weeks ago he took the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial title and before that recorded the fastest 100 mile time trial ever ridden on Scottish roads.
The Ribble ‘Ultra Aero’ is a beautiful piece of machinery and in the manner of the best British speed machines – Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lotus, Norton – pulls off that trick of looking very quick even when it’s standing still. We caught up with Ribble CEO, Andy Smallwood and ex-pro and DS, Jamie Burrow, Ribble’s head of product development; here’s what they had to say.
Congratulations are in order as Christina Mackenzie became the fastest-ever woman to traverse the largest of the British Isles from it’s south western to north eastern tips. Christina, originally from the Isle of Lewis but now Stirling-based took time to speak to VeloVeritas a day or two after her epic ride.
The 2021 CTT Scottish ‘50’ title race took place on the fast dual carriageways north of Dundee with GTR Return To Life rider, Chris Smart winning in a stunning 1:40:36 with veteran team mate Dougie Watson a scant six seconds back in the silver medal position.
With the news that the mighty INEOS Grenadiers will ride Bioracer clothing from 2022 for at least three seasons we thought it was time to introduce you to the innovator who formed the company back in the 80’s, Mr. Raymond Vanstraelen – but his search for cycling perfection isn’t just about clothing…
Once again the CTT 25 Mile TT honours came north for 2021, thanks to John Archibald’s (EOLO Kometa) successful defence of his 2020 title, this time on the L2529 Bassenthwaite Lake, Keswick to Cockermouth course. John kindly consented to speak to us just a day or two after his successful defence.
David Duggan, I know that name, wasn’t he the guy that Dave and I watched win that Dunfermline ‘mud fest’ cyclo-cross the other year? That’s him – and now he’s gone and won the Scottish Road Race Championship on that tough old course up in the North East which included five ascents of Stuie Hill. We thought we better find out a little more about this ‘DD’ fellow…
The last time we spoke to young Scot, Calum Johnston was after his sterling 12th place in the 2020 ‘Baby’ Giro riding for that ‘Man of Cycling,’ Flavio Zappi’s Holdsworth team. The man is back on his best game; we spoke to him soon after his first win, in the Trofeo San Jose-Iberdola.
Just turned 19 years-old, Louise Garbett finished the biggest race in the world on the Champs-Élysées in Paris and was escorted to the podium along with Laurent Fignon and Greg Lemond to receive the overall White Jersey for the first ever Tour de France Feminine.
With few Scottish events to choose from, Kyle Gordon decided he should take things into his own hands and travel a bit to get a race – but maybe he took things a bit too far? Saint Petersburg, formerly ‘Leningrad,’ Russia on the Baltic Sea’s Gulf of Finland…
British rider Joss Lowden who rides for Drops Le Col, on the sea level Derby track in England rode 48.160km in 60 minutes - 153m further than the current distance - in an ‘unofficial’ one hour ride and will be going for the official UCI record in Switzerland later this year.
Ribble Cycles launch the all-new Ultra Road following the brief to develop the world’s most aerodynamically advanced road platform. The Ultra Road is designed to be superfast, following an extensive and ground-breaking R&D process of market-leading CFD, Wind Tunnel testing and Real World Analysis.
Jo Patterson – who has just won the CTT 100 Mile TT with a stunning 3:42 ride in Wales, riding for The Independent Pedaler-Nopinz - has represented Ireland internationally and was born in England but she lives in Scotland and works in Wishae – that’s ‘Wishaw’ to non-natives… ‘good enough for us,’ we thought to ourselves.
With le Grande Boucle set to depart on Saturday June 26th from Brittany – which shares Celtic culture with Scotland - we thought we should have a look at the Scottish riders who have participated in the biggest race on the planet, over the years.
Brexit, Covid, desperate weather, it’s been a long hard winter and we're still in what might be termed the Bleak Mid-Winter, made even worse by the sad news that former Scottish cyclo-cross, grass track and MTB Champion Craig Hardie has lost his fight with cancer. VeloVeritas offers deepest condolences to his friends, supporters and family.
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.
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...
We liked our jaunt to the Tour of the Campsies last year and feel at home among the rolling countryside and green hills there so we headed west, first of all paying our respects to the Robert Millar mural at the foot of the Crow Road; when you watch Roglič take the Lagos di Covadonga stage in the Vuelta it’s difficult to imagine the wee fella from Glasgow winning that stage – but win it he did.
We had a look around Hawick as the 2021 Tour of Britain race carnival hit town, we caught up with friends then headed out on the course, hiding from the wind on Wanside Rig to see the peloton as it headed towards Gifford...
With victories already this season in various time trial distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles (with a two mile hill climb win too), Iain Macleod (Kelpie Racing) added the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial 2021 title to his growing palmarès.
We used to have Brian Blessed as the voice on the satnav. Today however it was Daffy but even with our little American Black Duck guiding us it’s a fair old hike from Peebles to Bridge of Alford to watch the Scottish Road Race Championships 2021.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have had that last Strega on top of the Erdinger, Malbec and Grappa last night? But when we got an invite to the Loch Ken Round of the Merlin Cycles Classic TT Series from the organiser and he takes the trouble to send you the start sheet and rider information sheet, hangovers must be ignored.
Defending champions and race favourites, Ribble Weldtite with strong men Dan Bigham, James Shaw and Simon Wilson took the CTT Team Time Trial Championships title on a cool, damp but still morning at Irvine on the west coast of Scotland, with a time of 54:01, averaging 55.9 kph to best their own ‘B’ team by 2:32, the line up there being Zeb Kyffin, Joe Wilson and Matt Gibson.
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).
To paraphrase the late, great Donna Summer; ‘they work hard for the money.’ Those Sky boys. Perhaps Henao had a few mountain days where Sir David and Le Chien Froomey didn’t think the Columbian did enough graft – he made up for it on Stage 19 though, riding tempo remorselessly on the front of the peloton. Spectacular? No. Damn hard work? For sure.
Before ‘The Plan,’ Britain had a sprinter who looked like he was the real thing. He had the bulldog build, the aggression and fast twitch muscles; but most importantly - the stopwatch confirmed that he was seriously quick. It wasn’t until the likes of Craig Maclean and Sir Chris Hoy came along that Paul McHugh’s British 200 metres record was beaten.
It's an easy life on the sixes; we bailed out of the truck stop at around 10:00 then drove for four hours to Bremen airport to collect 32 year old American rider Bradley Huff - he's one of our riders for the Bremen Six Day.
Tony Martin was impressive, so was Chris Froome – Cadel Evans, Pierre Rolland, Nairo Quintana, Tejay van Garderen and a whole host of others, weren’t. Bonjour, from the Balladins Motel, ville de Tours, from Martin and Ed!
After a quieter spring than he’d perhaps have liked, and the disappointment of not making the Saxo Tinkoff Tour de France team, Michael Mørkøv bounced back in the best way possible with a stunning victory in the Danish Road Race Championships on Sunday.
With all the recent exposure Philippa York has had we recently came upon a mention of a man who trained and raced with York in his days as Robert Millar. Wayne Bennington is the man; he rode for Systeme-U and ‘Z’ – both big players in the day who didn’t dispense contracts to just ‘any’ rider. We spoke to Wayne a year or two ago but this piece has never before run on Velo Veritas, here’s his story.
On a dour, grey morning by the banks of a brooding River Clyde Iain Grant (Fullarton Wheelers) reminded us why he's Scotland's short distance king with a stunning 19:38 in the Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial Championship on a sodden, cold Westferry course.
Here at VeloVeritas we rate 21 year-old Englishman Hugh Carthy; not for him a ride with a team where the lingua franca is his native tongue – no sir, Spain’s only Pro Continental team, Caja Rural is who he signed with after his excellent Tour of Korea win for Condor, last season. He’s had a busy baptism of fire - the pre-season Mallorca races; Ruta del Sol; early season hard man’s races in Belgium and France; the Pais Vasco; Trentino, Beauce, the Volta, a strong ride in Colorado then some good late season form in France and Italy.
Apologies for my silence on the James McKay Blog for the last six weeks. If you had read my last blog post, you would know that my start to the season has not been brilliant. In just my first week of racing in France, I crashed and broke both my finger and wrist. Since then I’ve had more hospital visits than outdoor rides and some Manic Zwiftingbut I am delighted to say I’ve just completed a week of riding outdoors again, and have placed on the podium too!
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.
I'm sitting in the press room at the World Road Championships 2007, sharing a table with my boyhood hero, Hugh Porter, four time world pursuit champion and on the podium in that event for seven years straight-he'll need to get interviewed, I can't let that opportunity go! We're here for the Worlds in Stuttgart, the Under-23 time trial was this morning and ladies time trial was this afternoon. I was lucky-enough to follow the Latvian rider, Gatis Smukulis in the test.
There's gas in the car, the sun is out, we just had Donna Summer on Kiss FM and we're en route Comillas to pester the Astana mechanics about what gears Bert and Levi will be riding tomorrow - what more could you want out of life? I wasn't so chirpy at 04.45 yesterday in the Days Inn at Stansted when the alarm rang.