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.
Harry Tanfield signed a two year deal with World Tour outfit Katusha Alpecin at the start of last season and raced from the Mallorca ‘training’ races in early February through to the Tour of Guangxi in late October but the team folded at the end of 2019 with Tanfield moving across to French World Tour team AG2R-La Mondiale.
It occurred to me that VeloVeritas had never spoken to the man who won the last edition of the famous Tour of Britain Milk Race back in 1993; Chris Lillywhite. A quick message to our friend Martyn Frank, who was on management with Chris on the late, lamented Wiggins team and we were in touch.
A cold Friday night during the winter of 1971/72. My Kirkcaldy & District CC club mate, Rab Speirs and I are walking up the A93 near the infamous ‘Devil’s Elbow’ hairpin en route the Braemar youth hostel. Behind us we hear the sound of bike tyre on tarmac, two figures totting enormous saddle bags heave past us; Mr. George Berwick, who was reigning Scottish 12 Hour Champion at the time....
That Matt Rendell bloke, who’s on the tele, always asking folk questions? Isn’t it time someone asked him some questions? Especially since he’s got a new book out about one of his passions; Colombian Cycling – ‘Colombia Es Pasion’...
At the time I set off for Flanders in 1973 to live at Mrs Deene's, I only knew two people who had raced there – one of them being Stan Butler’s son Keith - who had done well enough that he had become a professional - so it was entirely word-of-mouth, a case of asking for whatever advice people could offer and setting off on the cross-channel ferry, hoping for the best.
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...
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?
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.
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.
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A Great Result. After all of my brash talk about Garmin's cherry having been popped, and Tyler thus being assured of the win on Stage 3, it was so exciting to see the result this morning! The race wasn't quite the shootout I'd anticipated, but Garmin executed their final kilometres brilliantly, and if there ever was a deserving winner of a stage, it is Ty Farrar.
Californian Daniel Holloway, aka ‘Hollywood’ was a surprise addition to the ranks of Raleigh, this season. Known as a man who likes to have fun, his jokes and vast array of "Oakleys for every occasion" disguise the fact that the 24-year old is a quality athlete.
Not much exciting so far at the World Road Championships 2006 and its gone 2.00 pm. I awoke to the bells at about 7.30 and was first in the shower room. Breakfast was fine, but there's still no small-talk in there; it's not a bad thing I guess-you are out the door pronto. I was sat in the press centre immediately it opened at 9.00 and I've been writing ever since. I did my piece about Vino, Zabriskie and Cancellara plus their respective bikes and since then I've been getting the old VeloVeritas dairy up to date.
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.
It’s been branded a ‘tame’ version of the Classicissima but we’re all still talking about it days later. Bouhanni didn’t sleep for two nights after dropping his chain in the finale and losing what for many looked like the win, Gaviria crossed the line in tears, a moment’s inattention wasting seven hours of being in the right place at the right time. And the ‘Démare Affair’ has split the pundits down the middle; some want him DQ-ed and others say there’s not enough evidence – and even if it did happen, the commissaires didn’t see it so it didn’t happen.
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.
In Part One of our interview with Sandy Gordon, we heard about his horror crash at the 1966 Tour of Austria and missing the Jamaica Commonwealth Games, helping Brian Temple secure a silver medal at the 1970 Commonwealth Games and racing in the Tours of Scotland, Czechoslovakia - and getting banned for racing in South Africa at the Rapport Toer. We continue the chat by finding out more about Sandy's other overseas races and his many domestic successes...
The appearance of daffodils by the roadside at the The Gordon Arms Trophy served to remind you that despite the wonderful blue sky, it is in fact only just the beginning of spring; the morning was tempered by a pretty chilly nor-easterly, taking the temperature down enough to justify at least arm-warmers for most of the field, with gloves, leg-warmers and even overshoes the choice for many riders too.
As Dave said during the Tour de Suisse; ‘Sagan’s winning just for fun.’ And that’s how it looked today. It’s not just his speed in the sprint and up the inclines; it’s his ability to read the race - he didn’t waste himself by marking Chava but was on Cancellara like a ferret. Add to that the confidence which enable him to ignore Capo Cancellara’s flicked elbows and switches and you have all the ingredients off the most exciting prospect cycling has seen since V de B.
I just received an email from Rapha; "The New Tweed Softshell and City Riding Collection" - that's exactly what I need, tweed. Set a new trend at the Kuipke. We're here for the Gent Six Day 2010.
How are the mighty fallen? We had to double check the number – but ‘yes’ it was Tejay, way off the back and just ‘riding in’ on the Col de la Forclaz – well, we got that one right, we said he do nothing in this race. But we did also say that Nairo Quintana would win it – but that was more out of hope than anything else but it would be tall, skinny Russian Ilnur Zakarin who would take the day, eventually.
"Entrepreneurs on the Saddle" is the first of several excerpts from my book "The Cycling Professor", to give you a flavour of the topics I discuss in it. Thanks to the guys at VeloVeritas for the opportunity to do this.
We're pleased to help announce the launch of the 2010 British Downhill Series (BDS), the only National race series in the World with UCI ranking points, £10,000 in prize money and over :£15,000 in prizes. Formerly the NPS the "British Downhill Series" is the new name for the Nationals. A new Decade and a brand new race series for you to get your tyres dug into.
The result may have been predictable, but Evan Oliphant (DFL) only took home the gold medal in a sodden Scottish Road Race Championships 2007 after an incident-packed four hours. Taking a well-deserved silver medal and 'moral victor' of the championship was pre-race favourite Raymond Wilson (Dunfermline CC).
As the Worlds memories begin to fade and thoughts turn to the late season classics in northern Italy and France, VeloVeritas takes a last look back at the Cauberg. But this time through the eyes of a man who rode that beast of a hill all 11 times on Sunday, Ireland’s Ronan McLaughlin.
The Tour of the Med, a nice way to ease into the season; a big bunch floating along under early sunshine with a bunch sprint at the end? Not quite! How about 95 K in 1:45 with the peloton ripped apart from the gun and conditions so cold that the contents of your bottle are frozen solid in five minutes?
With Robbie winning the first stage of the Tour today into Canterbury, we dug out an interview from the recent Giro with the woman behind his shoes! Whilst running-down another set of camera batteries, taking endless pictures of time trial bikes before the stage one ttt at the Giro, VeloVeritas bumped into the lovely Rosella Signora of Sidi.
Peter Sagan is a breath of fresh air, the accent, the sense of humour, the hair, the bike handling, the speed, the versatility – third behind Cav and Kittel then beating Alaphilippe and Valverde. There’s no one more deserving of the maillot jaune – with all mention of the ‘curse of the rainbow jersey’ forgotten.
George Edwards? The name might not mean much to you but along with Brian Smith, Robert Millar and David Miller he’s one of few Scotsmen who have won the British National Road Race Championship – in his case the BLRC version in 1946. George passed away in 1992 at the age of 68 but Harry Tweed connected us with George’s son who shares the same Christian name and now lives in the Netherlands. Here’s what George had to say to VeloVeritas, recently.
The Lake APR (Australian Pursuit Race) is a classic early season event on the Scottish road race calendar and is promoted by Glasgow Nightingale Cycling Club. The event kicks off at 10.30am on the A811 just east of Buchlyvie and the course runs anti-clockwise twice round the Lake of Menteith finishing on the A875 after an uphill final stretch north through Balfron.
On a dismal Wednesday night for the Eastern Promise Road Race, made even more unpleasant by Pro Tour level midges, it was those Pedal Power boys carrying on where they left off in the Sam Robinson, with Gordon Murdoch and Gary Hand scooping the dosh in the Eastern Promise road race across the moors around Gladhouse Reservoir. I haven't trained as an SC commissaire, but presumably there's a rule which says; "Pre race briefings must always be conducted outside in the torrential rain, rather than in the comfort and dry of the strip."
Three times the cross country mountain bike event has been in the Commonwealth Games (introduced in 2002, it didn't feature on the programme in Dehli four years ago) and three times Canada have topped the womens' podium. This time it was the turn of Catharine Pendrel, who took control of the race midway round the first of five laps and wasn't challenged again, soloing to a 70 second win over her teammate Emily Batty, with Australian rider Rebecca Henderson third a further 12 seconds back, after a race-long battle with Batty.