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Viktor’s View – The Edinburgh Nocturne 2009


Edinburgh Nocturne

The Edinburgh Nocturne, Scottish cycling’s finest hour of the year?  Or an unexciting, unprofessional procession?

You may have heard about our friend Viktor, we rely on him to voice the more traditional viewpoint, shall we say.

Nevertheless, he’s a man who has hung over more barriers at more kermis’s and criteriums than tongue can tell; he got in touch with us today to voice a different opinion to the ones we’ve been hearing about the Elite Nocturne race in Edinburgh last Saturday evening.

Here’s what he had to say on…

Edinburgh Nocturne
We daren’t ask Viktor about this. Photo©Danny McClure

…The Circuit

“That circuit was too tough, you don’t stick a mountain into a criterium.

“It was guaranteed to break the field up; it’s supposed to be a spectacle, and it’s the sight of a bunch hurtling round on a circuit that creates spectacle, not little groups of two and three riding to not get lapped.

“The circuit needed a big bunch whizzing past the crowd; not umpteen knots of guys riding around.

“Victoria Street is a nippy hill, it shouldn’t have been included. They should have kept it in the Grassmarket – flat and fast.”

…The Event

“The presentation was generally good; but what was that roller racing about?

“Did they have roller racing at the start of the Giro stages, Ed?”

Edinburgh Nocturne
The bunch wrestle their way up Victoria Street. Photo©Danny McClure


“Phil Griffiths gets 10 out of 10 for presentation with Pinarello, he has the cars, the bikes, the jerseys; he understands that it’s about colour, glamour, spectacle.

“Look at the new Cipollini-designed ISD strip for the Giro, garish, yes – but it’s colourful and gets noticed.

“There was: a pro team at the Nocturne whose sponsor supplies car parts, and they roll up in ‘British Cycling’ cars – how is that professional?”

Edinburgh Nocturne
Did Dave make it look just a little too easy? Photo©Danny McClure

…How Dave won

“If that race had been properly ‘arranged’ beforehand, then the likes of Bob Hayles (who’s been a World Champion) and Kevin Barclay (who’s the current Scottish Criterium Champion) wouldn’t have been spat out the back in the first few laps.

“It’s disrespectful and unprofessional to do that to fellow pros, and it would never happen on the continent. There, you have a chat about how the race will go before the start and agree the script – then you give the public a great show.

“Millar could have ridden away with ten minutes to go. The result would have been the same, but it would have been a far better show.

“The public don’t know what speed to expect the bunch to be going at; part of the job when you’re a pro is to put on a show – blowing it to pieces has neither rhyme nor reason to it.”

Edinburgh Nocturne
Millar and Meyer ripped the race to bits. Photo©Danny McClure

…The Garmin boys

“I left after 15 minutes; Millar and Meyer were clearly head and shoulders above the others, but did they need to prove that so viciously?

“They didn’t make it look good at all.

“Millar only did a part of his job – winning, but not the other parts; he didn’t put on a show and he didn’t respect his fellow pros.”

Phew. Anything else Viktor?

“Aye – where did Millar get those socks?!”

Well, it’s certainly a contentious view, and if all this has got you thinking, why not contribute to the discussion by commenting below?

We can feel a regular slot coming on….

Thanks to: Danny McClure for the photos.

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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