Sunday, December 5, 2021
HomeDiariesDooley's RT at the Tour Nivernais Morvan 2009 - Day 1

Dooley’s RT at the Tour Nivernais Morvan 2009 – Day 1


In March Alistair Forbes (Living in Paris) received an invitation from the race organiser to enter a team in this year’s Tour Nivernais Morvan, a 4-day stage race in central France.

The event consists of a long team time trial, two hilly stages, a mountain stage, a “flat” stage to finish, and lots of transfer between stages.

– Reported by Paul Coats –

Back home I coordinated a Scottish squad who could represent well in what was known to be a very difficult race. Dooleys RT were contacted, and it was agreed that Paul would guest for the team.

The team being Paul Rennie, Michael Nicolson, Graham Mc Garrity, Stuart McGregor, Arthur Doyle and me as a guest.

This was the first time a Scottish club team has raced at this level. The field was made up of French Elite 2 teams, (elite 1 being the full pros we see on the telly) almost all composed of full time bike riders with a sprinkling of ex-pros, plus two Dutch teams.

The star team is Creusot Cyclisme, led by reigning French RR and Time trial Champion & Olympic silver medallist Jean-Christophe Peraud. This guy can really motor – he put 10 seconds into Sylvian Chavenal in the French TT champs.

Thus the boys were in for a kicking… but they were all up for it. The final team changed slightly because sadly Big Arthur couldn’t get away from work.

We were all gutted and at very short notice wee jocky Alastair Kay (now alias Piepoli) was in. The team was being directed by Alistair Forbes and supported by Cammy Fisher and Graeme Ward. Arthur back at home won the national 25 today, so he kinda made up for missing the race in a way.

Tour Nivernais Morvan

The route includes a short team time trial plus 4 road stages, one of them “mountainous” – having said that, this area of France is what is called “medium mountains” which means there aren’t any major cols, but the area is without a metre of flat road.

The list of previous winners of this race is impressive, with many Tour de France stage winners and yellow jersey wearers among them.

Likely favourite is local rider Benoit Luminet (CR4C Roanne), an ex-pro who has won over 200 races in his time. The result of the race in 2005, won by Luminet, makes interesting reading – Christopher Sutton 16th, Geraint Thomas 50th, Matthew Goss 55th, Mark Cavendish 73rd and Ed Clancy 74th (out of 75 finishers).

Another well known name is Mark Scanlon, former World Junior Champion, who was 7th in the race in 2002.

Tour Nivernais Morvan
Dooley’s work well together in the TTT.

* * *

Stage 1, Cercy la Tour – Cercy la Tour, 29km Team Time Trial

Our first impression was the sheer scale of the event, way beyond anything in the UK, both in terms of organisation & in terms of competition.

All the stages were much faster than even the organisers had predicted.  At some points, especially the stage finishes, the crowds were of TdF proportions.

Forgetting the ferocious competition the race got off to a bad start very high temperatures and fatigue from the long journey.  On reflection we should have gone out a day earlier; Coats had driven 850 miles through the night the day before and every one else who flew was up at 4am; bad move.

During the TTT of 29kms we had a mechanical incident which cost us about a minute.

Our plan was to wait for any rider in trouble before 20km where other teams didn’t do that, so we lost out. We were gutted when we saw how much we were beaten by but on reflection it appears much worse than it really is.

We had never practiced a TTT, the course was lumpy and we had some trouble too not to mention not having the French TT champ, 2nd in the Olympics driving the train.

Tour Nivernais Morvan
This race is very well organised.

* * *

Stage 2, Varennes-Vauzelles – La Machine, 97km

Later today day there was a very hilly road stage and Paul Rennie was simply overcome by the heat (over 30° C at the start) and had to abandon.

Then I was delayed behind the only bad crash of the race. I got back onto the convoy and for 10km tried to bridge the last 200 meters the commissaries were holding between the cars and the peloton. I just couldn’t do those last few metres and eventually blew.

The speed was phenomenal. Michael and Alistair finished well in the main bunch and the rest of the guys finishing behind.

Tour Nivernais Morvan
Stage Winner Jean-Louis Paiani.

Stage 97.9 km (62.5 miles); 43.858 km/h (27.4mph) 1 PAIANI Jean-Lou  02H13’56″00 (27.4mph) VELO CLUB LYON VAULX EN VELIN 2 LEFRANCOIS Olivier  02H13’59 @03 U. V. AUBE 3 LE HYARIC Steven  02H14’06 @10 VELO CLUB LYON VAULX EN VELIN 4 DE VECCHI David  m.t. ” FRANCE POLICE 5 HALLEGUEN Mathieu  m.t. ” CÔTES D’ARMOR – MAITRE JACQUES 6 BOURDILLAT Nicolas  m.t. ” CREUSOT CYCLISME 32 KAY Alastair  02H15’18″00″ @ 1.20 DOOLEYS CYCLES RT 72 NICHOLSON Michael  m.t. ” DOOLEYS CYCLES RT 87 COATS Paul  02H19’09 @ 5.13 DOOLEYS CYCLES RT 89 MALLET Tony  02H30’18 @ 16.22 V. C. ROUEN 76 90 MC GARRITY Graham  m.t. DOOLEYS CYCLES RT 91 MC GREGOR Stuart  02H36’44 @ 22.48 DOOLEYS CYCLES RT With day one over we are on the way to the hotel very tired and with sore legs. Day two can only get better!

Tour Nivernais Morvan
A taste of continental racing will do the lads a world of good.
Martin Williamson
Martin is our Editor, Web site Designer and Manager, and concentrates on photography. He's been involved in cycling for over 42 years and has raced for many of them, having a varied career which includes time trials, road and track racing, and triathlons. Martin has been the Scottish 25 Mile TT and 100 Mile TT Champion, the British Points Race League Champion on the track, and was a prolific winner of time trials in his day, particularly hilly ones like the Tour de Trossachs and the Meldons MTT.

Related Articles

Dooley’s RT at the Tour Nivernais Morvan – Day 3

The fourth stage of the Tour Nivernais Morvan was the queen mountain stage, a very tough 161kms of narrow winding roads. With three major climbs each around 10km long and many short 1-3km climbs not classified a hard day was on the cards.

Stuart Balfour – Taking it One Race at a Time

Dave Rayner Fund 2018 ‘rider of the year,’ Heriot man, Stuart Balfour has been busy, post-lock down. There have been two top 10 stage places and a seventh on GC in the highly rated UCI 2.2 Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc; then a stage win and second on final GC in the GP Pays de Montbeliard – both race taking place in la Belle France.

Dooleys Cycles at the Tour Nivernais Morvan – Day 2

After yesterday's baptism of fire in 35 degrees heat, the Scots boys were more at home today in the Tour Nivernais Morvan; the temperature had fallen to 15 degrees and it was pouring with rain.

Dooley’s RT at the Tour Nivernais Morvan – Day 4

On the home straight now! 80 something miles and 3 category three climbs today! Not too hard we hoped, especially after the last few days. But boy were we in for a surprise, here at the Tour Nivernais Morvan!

Jonathan Dayus – “I just rode without asking myself too many questions”

There I was, researching Peter Doyle’s palmarès for his recent interview with us, checking out his big French win, in the Essor Breton. I was looking at the race’s roll of honour and was surprised to see that Englishman, Jonathan Dayus had won the race twice.

14th International Critérium de Levallois Preview

A Scottish team has again been invited to ride the end of season event in France — the 14th International Critérium de Levallois - which will take place on Sunday 17th October. As always the race will be 60 laps of a 1.8 km circuit, a total distance of 108 kms (approx. 70 miles).

At Random

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 8: Dole – Station des rousses, 187.5km. Lilian Calmejane ignores the cramps and takes the solo win

It’s not often you see Direct Energie’s main man, Jean-René Bernaudeau in tears – unless someone spills something nasty on those John Wayne cowboy boots he always wears. But there were red, puffy and wet eyes for him yesterday as he hugged his big boy Lilian Calmejane at the Station Des Rousses high in the Jura mountains.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011 – Day Five, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

At the Rotterdam Six Day 2011 and I'm sitting next to this chap, drinking my coffee, eating my Vacansoleil cookie and thinking; 'I should know who he is, he's the double of Ezequiel Mosquera.' Then the penny dropped; it was Old Zeke, in person, my - now tarnished - hero from the Vuelta.

Laurence Morgan and the TI Raleigh Vintage Cycling Club

Laurence Morgan from Perth was a team TI Raleigh fan back in the 80’s having fallen in love with a 753 Raleigh he saw at the 1982 Scottish Health Race. It’s been an enduring love affair and this year he started the TI Raleigh Vintage Cycling Club – good timing with ‘retro’ the word of the moment. At VeloVeritas we like a man who’s obsessed with 70’s and 80’s bikes and riders; we decided we’d best ‘have a word...

World Road Championships 2009 – Spain Did OK, No?

Some cycling pundits (aye, you Ed) have said that the Spanish team had a terrible World Championships - well bronze, a fourth, ninth and fifteenth is better than any other country than I guess Australia and Russia, although Russia only had two riders in the top twenty.

The famous Tour de France Roadbook

We often hear about how the riders at the Tour de France study "the Roadbook" to learn the final kilometres of a particular stage, or to identify which stage may be "the one" to go for, but what exactly does the Tour de France Roadbook contain, who uses it, and how useful is it, really? Published by ASO each year a few weeks before the Prologue and in several languages, the Roadbook is also known as the race "bible".

Star of the Future: Luke Rowe – Already a Winner

It's not every day that a GB rider wins a Netherlands amateur classic; but that's exactly what 19 year-old Welshman Luke Rowe did recently in De 'arjaan De Schipper Trofee'-to give it the full Dutch treatment - a race won by a certain Fabian Cancellara, a few years ago.