Sunday, July 25, 2021
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World Road Championships 2006 – Day 1: Getting there


It was a 04.00 alarm job to get ready to leave at 06.00 and I hadn’t had time to pack the night before. I’m off to the World Road Championships 2006. It’s always the same driving to Prestwick — you think you are making great time until you get to Stepps and the vast car park that is the M8 during the rush-hour.

Check-in at Prestwick wasn’t too bad but the Colgate had to go — I wouldn’t mind but it drives me crazy not knowing how to convert it into an explosive device.

I had a long wait at Stansted for my connection to Salzburg but had committed to writing a preview of the elite time trial. I thought I would have nothing better to do than grab one of those trendy ‘buy time’ computer stations, but at a quid per ten minutes I thought better of it.

World Road Championships 2006
Austria, Hitler’s birthplace…

They’ve thought of everything; there isn’t a USB on any of the terminals so you can’t produce your copy on the laptop, transfer it to memory stick then attach it to an email.

It was a BlackBerry job then -That’s a great wee tool for keeping in touch with your emails, but for high word-count it’s quite hard work if you have big paws – so is the unpalatable fact that despite your vanity your eyesight isn’t what it used to be.

I guess I’m going to have to do something with the results from that eye-test soon. Reviewing the test got me thinking about who is going to win.

Way back when Fabian Cancellara first signed with Riis at CSC I remember thinking: ‘that’s the World Test Champs won then!’

World Road Championships 2006
…and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Despite David Millar’s past I have soft-spot for him. I know all about his past but he has come back with dignity and most people cannot imagine how hard it is to win a pro race, never mind a major Tour stage. That Vuelta test win was sheer class but I couldn’t help but think he shouldn’t have gone all the way to Madrid.

The Vuelta finished on Sunday and the test is Thursday with a lot of traveling in between. I still thought he could get a medal though and my top three are Cancellara, Millar and Gonchar.

The check-in queue was horrific; the security queue was dire and it took almost two hours from first joining the throng to sitting down in the departure lounge.

The flight was grim, full of Austrian school kids who were out of control, their teachers huddled at the back hitting the trolley bar hard no doubt. It was such a stramash at Salzburg that it was easy to slip to the head of the immigration queue and I sprinted-out through the ‘nothing to declare’ door.

I could see the customs guys behind me trying to get a handle on the little horrors with no success. I couldn’t face any more mass transportation and grabbed a cab.

World Road Championships 2006
Dave Miller’s Scott Carbon.

The driver was a chatty, eccentric lady who recognised my Scottish accent.

It transpired that she loves the place and a map of old Scotia quickly appeared from her glove box.

I had to dutifully point-out Kirkcaldy on the map as we drove through the streets of Salzburg. The hotel was basic but clean and the bed looked great.

I needed some fresh air and a beer so I slipped-out into the cool air, a hotdog and a beer at a stand over-looking the floodlit city was just the job. It must have taken all of one minute to fall asleep.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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