If you watched Stage One of the Giro on Eurosport or GCN then you’ll have heard that someone had the great idea to recruit British professional rider, Dan Bigham to join the commentary team as a ‘chrono specialist.’ Here at VeloVeritas we thought it would be good to put to Dan all those sad questions that trouble bike obsessives like us.
John Watson started racing at 18 years-of-age in 1966, his first race was a ‘25’ which he won with a 1:00. By the following year he was National ‘100’ Champion; in 1968 he went to the Mexico Olympics; in 1969 he set a 12 hour record which stood for a decade; 1970 saw him set a ‘50’ record which sliced nearly four minutes of the previous fastest time for the distance and lasted for 13 years, win the BBAR, get fourth place in the prestigious GP de France time trial and get offered a place with ACBB.
I’ve checked the legendary Italian ‘CONI’ cyclists training manual but can find no mention of it. I’m talking about ‘Kestrel Super Lager’, 9% by volume, but that was the ‘recovery drink’ of choice of a certain Mick Bradshaw, one of the fastest time testers around in the 70’s and 80’s and 1988 RTTC 50 Mile Time Trial Champion.
British rider Sam Watson finished in seventh spot behind Michele Gazzoli of the Colpack Ballan squad in the GP della Liberazione - few top u23 races in Italy don’t have a Colpack man on the podium. Sam would be a good lad to catch up with, we thought to ourselves…
With so many tales of broken promises, teams folding and disillusioned young men heading home to Blighty from Europe, it’s good to tell a story where it all comes together and there’s a podium involved. Paul Double has been on our radar for a while, first as a ‘Zappi Man,’ a CTT Hill Climb medallist, riding for one of Italy’s top u23 teams – the mighty Colpack Ballan – then last year back as a ‘Zappi Man.’
Mick Ives won 81 British Cycling Championships in all disciplines and 19 World Championship medals, he’s the only male cyclist to represent Britain in all disciplines: road, track, cyclo-cross and mountain biking; and he held a racing license continuously from 1957 to 2019.
We were looking at the result of the u23 Trofeo Piva in Italy, recently to see how Flavio Zappi’s boys had done when a name caught our eye; in 11th spot was a certain Mason Hollyman [Israel Cycling Academy] with a little union jack beside his name. Best ‘have a word’ with the 20 year-old gentleman from the rugby Heartlands around Huddersfield and Wakefield, we thought to ourselves.
Flavio Zappi’s boys are in full effect in la Bella Italia and Scotsman Calum Johnston is turning the pedals in anger in Espana and the man who won the Memorial Zumzarren in Estella-Lizarra, Navarre, Northern Spain where Calum finished 14th recently, was an Englishman; 21 year-old Toby Perry from Ashford in Kent, by name.
Seven years ago, in 2014, we interviewed Matthias Barnet, he had just won the 2014 British u16 Criterium Championship on the technical Hog Hill circuit at Redbridge, London. Since then we’ve not heard much of the man but when we spotted that he had signed up with Flavio Zappi’s squadra for season 2021 – along with fellow Scott, Hamish Strachan, who we spoke to recently – we just had to have a word with him.
It was May 1981 when Phil O'Connor took his first race picture; Manxman, Steve Joughin winning a stage of the Tour of Britain, 'Milk Race' as it hurtled into Bournemouth - some months later he managed to get it published in a cycling magazine.
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.
It's been a while since we ranted so in this Nugget Ed offers some Mid-Winter Thoughts on Tom Dumoulin's decision to stop, the 'Cross Worlds, AG2R's New Jersey, flat-bar gravel bikes and the latest 'best rider' rankings...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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...
He looked super cool on a Fred Baker with a Western Road Club jersey on his back; plonk him atop a silver all-Campag Benotto clad in Sanson strip – complete with crumpled Oppy cap at just the right angle – and well, you were into the Simpson/Ocana/Merckx zone on the CooloMeter. Phil Edwards is that man; omnipresent on the GB amateur scene he piled up the wins then headed to Italy, made a name for himself in the savage amateur scene there before stepping smoothly up into the glamorous but cutthroat Italian professional world.
Bonjour! It's that time - there's only one game in town and it's called, 'Le Tour'. Ken Livingston's ego trip and the stages Viktor calls; "watchin' paint dry!" are behind us, so are the Alps. Tomorrow it's the first time trial then it's the Pyrennes; sprinter and transition stages; the final tt and Paris. God-willing, we'll be there all the way. We arrived at Perpignan around 6.00, local time, it's nearly 9.00 now and we've still got our accreditation to collect at Castres. Wheels for the trip, is a Renault Clio, the air-con and stereo and iPod work, that's all you need really.
The Amstel Gold Race normally signals the start of the Ardennes Classics and the climbers come out of the woodwork. Raced over the hills, dales, and forests of south eastern Holland, the course selects its own worthy winner. Twenty-five years ago it was Mauro Gianetti who was making the news.
Sometimes even we get it wrong with interviews, take this one with London Olympics team sprint champion, Philip Hindes. We caught up with Philip prior to the Worlds In Paris and thought we’d be clever, holding on to the piece ‘til post Paris so as we could announce the interview as with; ‘recent Worlds medallist, Philip Hindes.’
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’...
You've Bloody Done It. Stage 5 of the Eneco Tour had the race heading back into the bumpy territory that did so much damage on Stage 3, this time on similar roads to those used in the Amstel Gold spring classic.
A day or two after the dust from the ’25’ Champs had settled on the A71 and A78, VeloVeritas caught up with the gold and silver medallists to get their in depth comments on the race. We had expected a four way battle between Iain Grant (Dooleys), team mate Arthur Doyle, Ben Peacock (Paisley Velo) and Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace). We got some of it right; Iain did indeed win and Paisley Velo were in the frame – but not with Ben; Messrs Peter Murdoch and Chris Smart took silver and bronze respectively. Peter Murdoch shared bronze with Sean Childs in last year’s ‘25’ title race but this year made silver his own.
Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage 5. Greipel again – as we said yesterday, sprinting is as much a mental game as it is physical one. Greipel and his team had good morale and they exploited it – and of course they had that bit of luck which comes when all the stars align, staying clear of the crash which saw poor Tyler Farrar losing even more skin.
And too much can’t be read into Cav’s defeat, he hit the deck at 60 kph the day before and whilst he has grinta aplenty, the human body knows when it’s time not too goo too deep – yesterday was one of those times where’s Cav’s engine management system took precedence over the driver’s wishes.
Wick's Evan Oliphant carried on for his Plowman Craven team where Tony Gibb left off at last week's Eddie Soens' Memorial Race, by winning the second stage of the Bikeline two day in North Wales yesterday, and finishing up the two-day race in second overall today. The man in pink and blue won the stage yesterday despite the presence of three of the Rapha team in the finale. VeloVeritas spoke to Evan shortly after his win, and again today once the race was finished.
David Rayner Fund 2018 ‘rider of the year,’ Heriot man, Stuart Balfour was busy post the 2020 ‘lock down’ and season 2021 sees him step up a level to UCI Continental team, Swiss Racing Academy which boasts former multiple World Time Trial and reigning Olympic Time Trial Champion, Fabian Cancellara as it’s patron.
It was Sean Connery's character in the film "The Untouchables" who suggested you don't bring a knife to a gun fight and it was clear that the weapons of choice at the opening classics weekend in Belgium would contribute to the outcome and individual's performance. Having wandered around the teams at both the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne it became clear there was a lot of nice kit being readied to race.
Kris maybe summed it up best; 'it felt like a Monday night at any another Six Day.' There was none of the tension or expectation which usually precedes the final chase in a Six. Granted, we weren't looking after riders who were in the mix for the win but it was indeed, 'just another chase.' Maybe it was because it was clear from the start that Terpstra was the strongest man on the track and there was only going to be one winner.