Dave Dungworth was just a little before my time but when I got into the sport back in 1970 his name was spoken in hushed tones as a twice holder of the ‘Holy Grail’ record in time trialling - the ’25.’ He was also twice a 30 mile record holder and twice a double champion, winning both the ‘25’ and ’50’ titles for two consecutive years.
Remember Peter Murdoch? He raced at a high level as a junior on the road. In those days he roomed with a guy named Bradley Wiggins, whatever happened to him? Peter runs Blanca Bikes, providing the full package for those who want some serious training in the sunshine – or who just want to potter ‘sans thermals’ and enjoy a beer and some tapas with that vibe that you only get in those old Spanish bars.
Kiwi’s in the peloton are no rarity these days; George Bennett, Shane Archbold, Paddy Bevin, Jack Bauer are all well-known figures on the World Tour but the spiritual Godfather of these men whilst as Kiwi as they come was actually born in The Netherlands; Mr. Tino Tabak is definitely old school 70’s and ‘tells it like it is.’
I know, I had a ‘pop’ at ‘Everesting’ in a recent rant but when AN Post Flatlands veteran, Ronan McLaughlin contacts me to tell me he’s just broken the Irish record with 8 hour 09 minutes, the fifth best time in history behind Bert Contador’s 7:27, I have to pay attention…
Professional triathlete Joe Skipper, making up for the disappointment of ‘turning short’ and being technically "DNF" in last year’s CTT 12 hour championship has recorded the first 27 mph 12 hour time trial - 325.5 miles in the CC Breckland event in Norfolk. Here’s what Joe had to say just two days after his historic ride.
How many juniors do you know who train three times every day, clocking up 1,000 kilometres each week? That’s what it took to make Nikolai Razouvaev World Junior Team Time Trial Champion in 1984.
We’ve been big on the ‘retro’ lately – for obvious reasons – but with the season starting to come back to life we’ve been speaking to one of the ‘men of the future’, Lewis Askey. Askey is just 19 years-old and probably best known for winning the 2018 edition of the junior Paris-Roubaix; for season 2020 he’s with Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ, based in Besancon.
If we asked 'who is the current World Sprint Champion?' back in 1970 few would have had any hesitancy in saying that the amateur champion was legendary Frenchman Daniel Morelon and the Professional Sprint king was Aussie, Gordon Johnson, mounted on a British-made Carlton.
Mara Abbott is twice a winner of the overall GC in the Giro Rosa, picking up seven stages along the way not to mention two second places, a fourth, a fifth and 10th on GC. Abbott retired from the sport after finishing fourth in the Olympic Road Race in Rio, 2016. She took time to speak to us not long after her retirement; here’s what she had to say.
There have been an AWFUL lot of crashes in the mere couple of weeks since racing resumed – Kruijkswijk out of the Tour, Roglic out of the Dauphine, Jakobsen pole axed in a Polska finale, Remco over a bridge – and we could go on. When we saw this piece on the website of our amigo, ex-World Junior Team Time Trial Champion, Nikolai Razouvaev aka ‘The Russian Crank’ we thought he made some interesting points.
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 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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We finished in Verbier today, but first, a little diversion; I've always admired Bradley Wiggins as a pursuiter, but as a roadman, he's never cut the mustard; the cycling saddo's bible, 'Velo' doesn't lie.
If you're a VeloVeritas regular you'll be aware that we take full advantage of our, "right to rant." Freedom of Speech is something we take for granted in a Western Democracy. But recent events in Paris remind us that it's a principle which people surrender their lives to uphold.
Ola! Wee bit Spanish there in honour of Carlos, a great ride-one that puts him up with the legends. But?... Is it enough to win him the 2008 Tour de France? We'll find out on Saturday, in the chrono; Cadel has to be the favourite though. It's 9.00 pm and we're still in the Salle de Presse on L'Alpe D'Huez, another long one, but they all are. We spent the night in Pra Loup, a word of advice, do not visit the Club du Soleil les Bergers hotel, it's not the answer!
That man John Archibald is back in action again – and with a 48 minutes and 13 seconds ‘BANG !’ down on the Westferry course in the CTT ‘25’ Champs on Sunday past. It gave us a good excuse to catch up with the Commonwealth Games individual pursuit silver medallist and see what he’s been up to since The Gold Coast and what’s next on the agenda for him?
Ryan Mullen’s (Ireland & AN Post) progress through the sport has been little short of meteoric. Mullen won a superb silver medal in the Worlds U23 TT in last year's Championships in Ponferrada with only a heartbreaking 0.48 seconds behind Aussie winner, Campbell Flakemore – who’s now with BMC. We caught up with the Irish flyer early in the New Year as he returned from stocking up at the supermarket in Mallorca where he’s training with the Irish track squad.
"Lang Whang" is Auld Scots, it means 'long way' - it's fair to say that Endura's Gary Hand was in the break for a lang whang and he won the finishing sprint by a similar margin from wanderer returned, Alex Coutts (I looked at his jersey but the team name looked like Greek to me).
It’s a while since VeloVeritas last spoke to Steve Skuse; Vik and I used to bump into him on our trips to the kermises. Steve got in touch the other day to tell us about another young man he’s looking after and who’s pulled off that difficult trick of winning a kermis in the Flatlands. And the better news is, he qualifies to ride for Bonnie Scotland... Jez McCann is the man; 19 years-old, raised in Gravesend, riding for Richardsons-Trek.
Silas Golsdworthy put the disappointment of not being part of the Scottish Commonwealth Games team firmly behind him by taking victory in the country's 50 Mile Time Trial Championship today with a stunning 1:43:48, the second fastest 50 miles ever ridden in Scotland and only 45 seconds off Graeme Obree's 21 year old record.
We hope you enjoyed our series of interviews with Scotland’s medal prospects for The Gold Coast – we certainly enjoyed speaking to such talented and highly motivated young men and women. But let’s not got too cocky...
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.
I remember the first time I met Dan Fleeman; 2007 in the days before Twitter, The Shack, LanceGate, the slick marketing of the ‘Flanders Classics’ and the World Tour. Vik still used to go to pro races; before he was too badly scarred by the World Tour – the Tour of Beijing was the last nail in the coffin.
Gary Clively rode two-and-a-bit seasons for Magniflex in the mid 70’s, turning pro on the back of a brilliant fourth spot in the 1975 amateur Worlds road race. By the end of that season he was grabbing top ten placings in Italian semi-classics like the Coppa Agostoni. The ’76 season saw a whole raft of good performances; seventh in the Trofeo Laigueglia, second in the GP Camaiore, third in the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria, third in Sassari-Cagliari and a ride in the Giro. His stand out result in ’77 was seventh in the Vuelta, one place behind Michel Pollentier. We left Part One of our interview with Garry where he'd just signed with Magniflex,and was getting to grips with life as a professional cyclist...
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...
"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglay," Rabbie Burns must have had a premonition about the Giro when he wrote that. It should have been a short hop over the Pordoi Pass from the digs to the start at Arabba to Marmolada. The jobsworth policeman at the top of the Pordoi settled our hash though; "No, you stop now, road closed, no journalists, only team cars!" Aye, cheers pal, you'll soon get that job you want in the riot squad, bludgeoning students. Sorry..., I was ranting, wasn't I?