‘Glass ceilings;’ they’re there to be broken through. England’s Cherie Pridham becomes the first female sport director in the World Tour; she’ll be with Israel Start-Up Nation for season 2021.
Harry Tanfield is good at Snakes and Ladders; he went up the ladder from UK continental team Canyon Eisberg to World Tour team, Katusha Alpecin, but that folded. However, he grabbed another ladder to go to French équipe AG2R, there was no contract renewal at the end of season 2020 though, then came the snake as he slid back down to another UK continental team, Ribble-Weldtite, just for a week or two. Now, he’s gone and grabbed a rung again, this time with South African squad Qhubeka-Assos.
It was Keirin and Sprint legend Koichi Nakano’s birthday the other day, 65 years-old. His huge claim to fame is that he won 10 consecutive World Professional Sprint titles. Mention of his name got us thinking that he didn’t really win those titles straight and to find out more we spoke to Gordon Singleton of Canada…
When last we spoke to Mark Stewart, back in April, he’d just been cut adrift from the GB track squad on the strength of an admittedly below par ride in the World Points Race Championship, despite an excellent series of World Cup results over the winter. The other day, when we rang Mark we were back to speaking to ‘our Mark of old’, the new 2020 New Zealand Omnium Champion, full of enthusiasm for life and his sport.
There was never any doubt about Scotsman John Archibald’s talent; but we must lay aside UK results in the context of international racing, they simply don’t count with European team management. At 30 years-of-age our feeling at VeloVeritas was that John’s chances of a contract at the highest level were slim, despite his obvious class, however we’re glad to be proved wrong and John will be racing with Alberto Contador's EOLA-Kometa ProTeam squad next season.
Oscar Onley recently caught the attention of many, including Team Sunweb, with his win at Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc cycle sportive, a mountain time trial that took place on the same course as the final stage of the elite men’s race of the same name. For season 2021 Oscar will be riding with the World Tour Team’s u23 development squad.
Joshua Shubert, on a blowy Monday at the start of November under the strict conditions which apply to RRA record attempts, dipped under three hours for the RRA 100 mile ‘straight out’ time trial, averaging a staggering 2:57:38 - that’s 33.6 mph or 54 kph.
Velodromes, I love them and never cease to be fascinated by the men who create them. Last year we spoke to Czech Maestro, Peter Junek and this time we hear from another man who conjures up those speed bowls where history is made; Dutchman Sander Douma.
Following the sad passing of former British Amateur Road Race Champion and road track star Grant Thomas in The Netherlands we received many words of tribute to the man who defined ‘cool’ on a racing bike. Mr. Paul Kilbourne has featured on our pages before, reliving his memories of his time with the now legendary ANC team, gave us a lovely tribute to Grant, which we publish with pride.
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.
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...
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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In Part One of our interview with Shaun Wallace we covered up to the end of his international pursuiting successes. But there were more honours to come on the big stage before he slipped the tyre covers on for the last time...
The Kazemaatenstraat is part of 70's cycling legend, a condemned cul-de-sac in Ghent where penniless 'Anglo' cyclists could have a cheap roof over their heads as they pursued their (mostly lost) cause to make it big and become a ‘Kermis King.’ Manchester's Bernie Nolan was one of those riders and has kindly agreed to share a few reminiscences with us...
On a rain sodden but mild and fast Sunday morning on the A90 Dundee to Aberdeen dual carriageway, starting and finishing at Forfar, Kyle Gordon (RT23) added to his Scottish 10 Mile TT Title with a rapid 48:53 to win the Scottish 25 Mile TT Championship 2019 crown from jockey-turned-bike-rider, former Olympic TT Champion, Wilson Renwick (Java Partizan Pro Cycling Team) on 49:16 and former Hill Climb Champion, David Griffiths (Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes) with 49:24.
Trinity Racing Team’s young Scot from Linlithgow, Cameron Mason recently finished eighth in the UCI u23 World Cup in Nommay, Eastern France. Cameron spoke to VeloVeritas from his base near Brussels in Belgium the other day to talk mud, tyre pressures and wash days in The Flatlands...
'First race today, took it pretty easy, finished 14th - feel good.' Yes, Hamish Haynes is back to start his 10th season in the flatlands. No World Class Performance Plans, no Lottery funding, just hard graft and dedication. Haynes came late to sport but has been racing and winning in the Flanders since 2003.
‘Rivers of Babylon’ by the Melodians, now there’s a tune to fold jerseys by — until the guy in the cabin next door hops on his rollers, that is. And there was me looking for some peace on a Saturday morning — a split day today with afternoon and evening sessions at the Copenhagen Six Day.
The Saturday gig for Paris - Roubaix 2007 was to do a piece on the velos, so it was down to the start at Compiegne, and collect our creds. ASO didn't let us down; "I have credentials for you, but not your driver!". I won't bore you, but it was several hours and more of that patience-stuff later before we got the vital bits of string and plastic.
Britain’s last representative in Motor-Paced racing, a highly specialised branch of the sport – which is still very popular in Germany and Switzerland in particular – was Paul Gerrard. Gerrard is still active in the sport, chaperoning young GB riders to the six days which have junior and U23 competitions.
Evan Oliphant's going to have not one but two new chums to chat to at Raleigh for season 2016. We've already spoken to Aberdeen's Craig Wallace and now it's time for Perth man Fraser Martin - who also pulls on the jersey with the famous name - to give us his story.
Carlos Barredo's grandmother wells up, 'my God, my God' she keeps repeating as Carlos's amigo hugs her - the man himself hurtled past just seconds ago to join the immortals as a winner on the Lagos de Covadonga. They're standing beside us at the 150m to go mark, and in the mist and cloud once again, QuickStep have done the job. The break survivors limp by before a snarling Ezequiel Mosquera flashes past, intent on putting as much time into the other 'heads' as he possibly can.
The 70’s are the ‘decade that taste forgot’ according to the Media; which is strange because I remember the era as having the best cars, music, films – and bike riders. On the continent the exploits of Sercu, Ocana, Merckx, Hoban, Gimondi, Verbeeck, Thevenet, De Vlaeminck and all the rest of a ‘Golden Generation’ of hard men made the disappointment of ‘The Comic’ being late once again all the harder to bear.
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).
After her win in the recent Trossachs classic time trial at Aberfoyle, we thought it was about time that we chatted to Pippa Handley, one of the Edinburgh Road Club's top women riders, a voracious trainer and top 10 place-getter at the British level.