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.
Team Wiggins ? Fear not, VeloVeritas is on the case. Our man in Gent, Ian Whitehead informed us that his amigo of some 25 years, Simon Cope is ‘Chat Show Sensation’ (it says here) Wiggins’ DS for the new venture. We checked Mr. Cope out and he’s got the T-shirt, the DVD and the box set – originally a 34 Nomad before he turned pro and a British champion on road and track.
When you talk about Orbea bicycles and the Euskaltel team, it’s about more than light alloy and carbon; it’s about people, national identity, unity and pride. We look at Samuel Sanchez's Orbea Orca now. On the Tour, many of the teams will have the team vehicles parked ‘wagon train’ style or have ‘crime scene’ tapes to keep the civilians at bay. Not at Euskaltel.
Stage 13 took things back up a level but on a parcours which didn’t make for ‘The Bigs’ to do anything but mark each other. Unlike the Tour de France where there have been years where the honour of France has been saved by a single stage win by the likes of Sandy Casar, the Vuelta has always inspired it’s children with Spaniards well to the fore. When it comes to stage wins the ‘Home Boys’ always reach deep into their top hats to find a rabbit with Daniel Navarro at last giving Cofidis something to smile about.
We spoke to Dan Patten a couple of times last year, when he was a member of the Magnus Maximus team. This year, he's off in search of cobbles, riding for a famous name - ASFRA-Flanders, the team started by the late and sadly missed, Frans Assez.
Rio is his eighth Olympics; and there are six Commonwealth Games and ‘over 30’ World Championships in there too – and whilst we’re talking chiffres (as the French call figures) how about 60-odd Scottish Championships including 14 Scottish Hill Climb Championships and nine Tours de Trossachs? Yes, it’s that man Sandy Gilchrist, who, along with Robert Millar was Scottish Cycling in the 70’s and into the 80’s. He rode the Peace Race, Tour de L’Avenir, Milk Race and World Championships in a long and varied career which continues to this day as he just keeps on wielding those spanners at the sport’s highest levels.
In the recent Scottish 50 Mile Time Trial Championships the names in first and second spots were ones we’ve spoken too many times on VeloVeritas – winner Silas Goldsworthy and silver medallist, Alan Thomson (both Sandy Wallace Cycles); but the bronze medallist, Tom Gordon of Dooleys was new to individual TT honours.
The Tour of the Med, a nice way to ease into the season; a big bunch floating along under early sunshine with a bunch sprint at the end? Not quite! How about 95 K in 1:45 with the peloton ripped apart from the gun and conditions so cold that the contents of your bottle are frozen solid in five minutes?
Degenkolb made it five; it was no surprise - we all knew the break was doomed. But it was good for the estimated 100,000 spectators around the course - and for the TV. It's never a chore to watch the best riders in the world set off from Cercedilla and hammer round the streets of a beautiful city.