Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Bremen Six Day 2020; the First Three Nights

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.

Rotterdam Six Day 2020 Finale

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...

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 – Annemiek Van Vleuten solos to Victory in the Womens’ Road...

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.

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.’

Dylan Westley – Developing as a Rider and a Person with...

Stepping up from the Junior ranks to compete in the u23 category is a big deal for any young rider, but to combine it with moving to a new team as well as living away from home in a different country takes courage and a rock-solid belief in your ability - qualities talented 18-year-old Yorkshireman Dylan Westley has in spades.
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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?

The VV View: Young Guns, No Tears No Fears…

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...

You’re One Terrific Pursuit Rider, Filippo Ganna!

I have been hard on the Filippo Ganna, putting in print that perhaps he would never rank among the all-time gallacticos of pursuiting, but the big Italian is proving me wrong so I thought I’d go back and look at the man’s career from day one to where he is now; that’s one of the best chrono men and the best pursuit rider on the planet.

The VV View: Moolah is a Must-Have?

On social media the other day I saw someone contend that perhaps the crisis that faces time trialling – i.e. the participation age range becomes older by the season, with a case in point being the Scottish ‘25’ title: three youths, one junior – is as a result of the fact that the youngsters think that to compete on equal terms they MUST have a machine which will cost upwards of five grand.

Happy New Year 2019!

Nearly 2019, how did that happen? It seems just like last week were sitting in the Vivaldi bar in Gent having watched Dane Michael Valgreen win Het Nieuwsblad - or Gent-Gent as us auld yins would have it - but another year has indeed almost gone.

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 – Quinn Simmons Solo in the Junior Men Road Race

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.

World Road Championships – Rohan Dennis wins the Elite Men Time Trial

How did we do with our Worlds Elite Men Time Trial pre-race predictions? Well, to start with, we weren’t sure if the slim Aussie Rohan Dennis could come back from his pre-Tour time trial abandon – but it’s amazing what a couple of months with a sport psychologist can do and the tattooed chrono specialist was in a class of his own...

La Vuelta 2019 – Our Final Review

We look back at the final five stages of the Vuelta 2019, a great race with hardly a dull moment which saw the emergence of yet more tremendously talented youngsters.

George Atkins – Raleigh’s Winner of the Davie Campbell Road Race...

A familiar name cropped up to win the recent David Campbell Memorial Race in Fife, run on a tough course over the Cults Hills – that of George Atkins. Atkins spent time living and racing in Scotland a year or two ago and this year he’s stepped up from the 100% ME amateur squad to ride as a pro with the Raleigh.

Star of the Future: Sam Spokes

He's another Vik 'find.' Australia's Mr Sam Spokes, he had a good season in Belgium last year and this year he's with Etixx-Ihned Cycling Team - the QuickStep U23 feeder team. Last week he pulled off his best win in the four stage Vysocina Tour in the Czech Republic and as is our way, we 'had a word.'

Gary Hand – the New Scottish Road Champion 2013

At his ninth attempt, Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes' Gary Hand finally 'done the business' in the Scottish road race championship; timing his move to perfection on the final climb inside seven miles to go and holding off a desperate chase from reigning champion James McCallum (Rapha Condor JLT) and David Lines (MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling) to win on his own. We caught up with the man who eats the miles - but not much else - on the Monday morning after his win.

Robert Bartko – World & Olympic Champion and Six Day Star...

It's a term bandied around a lot; 'legend', too often in fact, in a world where superlatives fly around - but this gentleman really does deserve the title. Robert Bartko has been at the top of his trade for two decades and on Tuesday night in Copenhagen's Ballerup Super Arena he went out in style with his 21st Six Day win off 79 starts. It was just a matter of hours before the Copenhagen finale when his big frame filled the doorway of the VeloVeritas cabin before he sat down to chat to us about his career.

Evan Oliphant’s Tour of the Med, Part Two

Tour of the Med Stages one and two were a whirlwind of snow, wind, attacks from the gun, echelons and pain - but the inner chain rings enjoyed the rest! Were days three, four and five any easier? VeloVeritas' man in the peloton, Endura Racing's Evan Oliphant was there 'til the bitter end.

La Vuelta 2019 – Stage 1; Salinas de Torrevieja > Torrevieja...

VeloVeritas is back at a Grand Tour, La Vuelta 2019. This year it kicks off with a super-fast team test around the salt lagoons of Torrevieja before heading straight into the mountains on stage two - no 'easing in' to this race. Martin and Ed have taken advantage of the hospitality of VV amigo and local resident, Al Hamilton - formerly of the Dear Green Place that is Glasgow - to catch the primero quatro tappas.

David Walsh – Part 1, “We know what you did Lance....

Chief sports writer for The Sunday Times, Irishman David Walsh is best known in cycling circles for being one of the people who have doggedly sought out the reality of Lance Armstrong's Tour de France victories, not believing the "fairy tale" that defined the American's recovery from cancer and record series of wins in the world's toughest race. The award-winning journalist is the author and co-author of a number of books on the shamed American rider's career and his subsequent fall from grace, the most recent being "Seven Deadly Sins" which Walsh describes as 'more light-hearted' than the others!

Andy Schleck: Down to Two

Two nights ago there four men still in contention, then Contador was out of the race. Yesterday saw the end of Frank Schleck's chances, and tonight will see the demise of the final contender for the Tour. Andy Schleck will hope to defend his 57sec lead over Cadel Evans tonight, and will certainly fancy his chances. The last time he was in this position, Cadel just didn't have enough in the tank to overhaul Carlos Sastre back in 2008.

Robert Smail – Winning Belgian Kermises and Top Three in InterClubs

It was last Autumn when we last heard from Robert Smail, one of those ‘forgotten men’ out there jousting with the Eeckhouts, Willems, Smets and Caethovens of this world in the land of the frites, cross winds and kermises. High time we had another word...

Saunier Duval Team Launch – Day 3

Saturday, and it's official Saunier Duval launch day. The TV cameras are gathering, the cars are being polished and the riders are playing musical clothing with one-another: the full delivery of kit hasn't arrived from Castelli yet. On the big run yesterday there were still plenty of "Prodir" logos, despite the fact that the Swiss pen manufacturers are no longer a sponsor. So, it's not just those British clothing suppliers who get the deliveries wrong.

Callum Macgregor – organiser of the Duncan Macgregor Memorial

Last weekend saw the Duncan Macgregor Memorial road race take place in Fife. The race almost didn't happen, so we thought we'd ask organiser, Callum Macgregor what the story was.

Grote Prijs Gemeente Beveren 2007

It's long been a puzzle to me - who actually works in Flanders? It's 11.30am at Beveren Waas on a Monday, two hours until the start and the Grote Prijs Gemeente Beveren race HQ is already heaving. Officials from the federation and all the participating clubs, mechanics, masseurs, mums, dads, girlfriends, sponsors and of course, riders; 196 of them. People have their priorities right here, and work isn't one of them - it comes somewhere after bike racing, family and doing what you enjoy.

Scottish National 25 mile Time Trial Championship 2012

On a grey, damp but mild and fast Sunday morning on the roads around Blairdrummond near Stirling, Dooleys' Ian Grant added the '25' title to the '50' with a fine 52:26; besting Sandy Wallace's Silas Goldsworthy - whose fight back over the closing miles hauled back a 17 second deficit on Grant down to six at the line. Last year's '50' champion Alan Thomson, took another medal for Sandy Wallace with bronze in 53:09. The event was not without controversy, however.

Philipp Walsleben – “To be successful in cyclocross you have to...

There’s a man from Berlin who has to be viewed as a podium possible for the 2014 Worlds in Hoogerheide; 26 year-old Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus). This winter has seen him consistently on the podium in the World Cups, rubbing shoulders with the very best – Nys, Albert, Van Der Haar and all the rest. Philipp took time out from the hectic Xmas/New Year ‘cross frenzy’ to talk to VeloVeritas.

Graham Webb

The sad news came through from Belgium on Sunday morning that Graham Webb, British World road champion in 1967, had passed away. Our condolences go to his family and the many friends and fans he had in the cycling community. A great champion and a wonderful guy. Ed interviewed Graham back in 2009, and we thought that reproducing the interview now would be a good tribute to the man. In memory of Graham; his views on the sport back in 2009. 'Former World Road Race Champion,' yes, that would be nice to have that after your name!

Paul Sherwen

‘Well Phil,’ the words that we all remember so well, used by Paul Sherwen when he was about to put co-commentator Phil Liggett right about something during one of the hundreds of Tour de France stages the pair covered for TV networks from England to Australia via the USA. Sadly, we’ll hear that catch phrase no more, the 62 year-old Briton having passed away in his sleep at his home in Kampala in his adopted nation of Uganda on Sunday.

Franco Marvulli – On His Last Season Before Retirement

This Six Day season marks the end of an era. Depending upon which source you consult, Franco Marvulli of Switzerland has ridden somewhere between 112 and 117 Six Days, this makes him the most prolific rider on the circuit by a considerable margin – Robert Bartko for example has ridden 75, Iljo Keisse has 72 starts. Marvulli has won 32; not to mention four world titles – two in the scratch and two in the madison and Olympic silver in the same discipline. So how come his ‘goodbye’ isn’t a bigger deal?

John Archibald – “I’d love to show up at the British...

John Archibald has proved to us during season 2017 that he’s the fastest man in the country against the watch with fastest rides ever at 10 and 25 miles in Scotland. With a series of quality four kilometre rides in Portugal and Switzerland, Archibald has proved that he can indeed adapt to the boards, bankings and all that time sitting about waiting...

Dan Fleeman – About his Biological Passport

Oh no! Not another drugs article! Yes, but this one is positive - ah, no, not that kind of a 'positive!' Dan Fleeman texted me the other day to tell me that he'll be getting a bit of an airing on the Bike Pure site, due to his decision to continue with UCI Biological Passport level blood testing with Raleigh - at his own expense.

Giro d’Italia 2010 – Day Four, Nae Middle

Ciao from il Giro d'Italia 2010, amici! I was saying to Martin that I'm a bit worried, I've been wakening up feeling great - always a bad sign. The trouble with my usual Giro partner in crime, Dave being back in Scotia and suffering from Giro withdrawal symptoms (he's coming to le Tour, though) is that everything we write and photograph is subject to close scrutiny.

La Vuelta a España 2012 – Stage 1: Pamplona – Pamplona,...

The Rabobank boys sat on their "hotseats' in Pamplona for over 30 minutes, as team after team came close to their time of 19 minutes and 1 second for the opening stage of the 2012 Vuelta, but failed to surpass it.

Keep Racing on the Roads. Please

There is no doubt that British cycling is alive and well at the highest echelons of performance - Britons won the Tour, the world champs and pretty much the entire velodrome; there's also no doubt that British cycling is alive and kicking at the grass roots level too - membership has doubled since 2007. It makes sense to assume that all is well in between, too, right? Unfortunately not; BC is the governing body for beginner’s racing, Regional racing (2nd and 3rd cats), all levels of women's road racing, National level racing (Elites and 1st cats) and the semi professional/professional teams below Sky. All of these parts of the sport are in trouble - but particularly at the higher end.

The VV View: How a Positive Could be Buried

We've all been hearing recently about the riders who showed questionable figures in their Biological Passports but who have escaped any sanctions so far, their positive could be buried, whilst certain others have been lambasted, suspended, and are facing the possibility of - or are currently serving - lengthy bans.

Emile Abraham – Trinidad & Tobago’s Multi Champion

Trinidad and Tobago’s Emile Abraham has been on the international pro scene for a long time; 2013 will be his 12th season.