Kristian House of Rapha-Condor won the British Road Championships 2009, we gave Chris Froome our “man of the match” award and there was plenty of sunshine.
That’s the British Champs in a nutshell, it really was a great day.
We thought we’d bring you a photo-rich piece from the race, since we took so many pics, and because over 11 hours in a car in one day has somewhat dulled our senses!
But in addition to our VeloVeritashats, we had our “Supporter Hamish Haynes” bonnets on too.
Hamish lives the dream, a wee house in the wilds of Belgium, slugging out it with the big hitters of he kermesse world, week in, week out.
He’s had some big wins out there, but ploughs-on, largely forgotten here in Blighty.
For the last few years we’ve helped Hamish out with race food and drink – the man who rides for Yawadoo and has earned the right to wear the red, white and blue stripes of a former British elite road race champion around his shorts and jersey.
Hi-5 and Cliff Bar were the precious cargo we carried and Hamish will be advising us how he’s getting on with them, as the season progresses.
Hamish gave us his take on the day;
“The Tumble climb was a kilometre too long for me – all my training is geared towards courses like the finish circuit is here – I just couldn’t stay with the leaders over the top, but I was riding strongly on the circuit.
“It’s difficult for the ProTour riders to get a result on a day like today; there’s so much weight of expectation on them.
“I knew Kristian was very well prepared, I saw that he had been getting good results in the Tour of Beauce in Canada – and that’s a hard race.”
As well as Hamish and the top four we grabbed a few words with some of the other names who mattered in Sunday’s epic.
Steve grabbed two big wins in Italy last year, this season it’s obvious that his morale isn’t the best – which is a shame; this is a man who Alberto Contador rated as a top team rider when they shared their tenure at Discovery Channel.
Barloworld has the reputation of not being the best organised of teams, Steve has just one race on the calendar for July and 11 for the whole of the rest of the season.
Next year will be better, Steve – maybe the Sky will be the limit.
Alex was down with his dad for the day and did well to finish; he’s not had the racing required to build the form to go jousting with the ProTour boys;
“it was a hard race, The Tumble was tough, I tried to go with the front group but started to go backwards when I was three quarters of the way up!”
Ross was one of those who suffered when Plowman Craven joined the long list of “imaginary pro teams” that have caused us to shake our heads, over the years. Now an Endura man, he took time to chat as he wiped away that Welsh dirt from his legs;
“I crashed before The Tumble, I got back but the birds had flown. I was 30th and top ten in the Under 23’s, so it wasn’t a bad ride; but I had a better one in me.”
Big hero of the day for Scotland was another ex-PC man gone Endura, Evan Oliphant.
” James McCallum looked after me until the Tumble; there was a split just before it but we saw it coming and James ripped me right up to the front; I freewheeled into the lead group!
“Wiggins and Millar smashed it on The Tumble but I rode within myself and stayed close to Dan Lloyd and Roger Hammond; I knew they’d be a safe bet to get back on.
“We drove hard down off the Tumble; I only had a ’12’ and was revving-out.
“When House went, I hesitated, I thought Wiggins and Cav would bring him back. On the last lap, I attacked but Cav and Hammond countered and I couldn’t hold them when they came back at me.”
If we were rating Evan out of 10, Gazzetta style; we’d give him 8.5.
And finally, Kristian House’s manager, John spoke to us.
“Our early plan went a little astray; we had Tom Southam and Chris Newton down as leaders with Kristian and Simon Richardson as “floaters” – meaning that they would either adopt a supporting role for Tom and Chris or fall into a leadership role themselves.
“Half way up The Tumble it became “everything for Kristian” as we saw how things were going. He read the race perfectly; he’s been try so hard to get a win – too hard.
“He’s been so frustrated at the lack of results; in that respect it was a classic national championship – a good rider who’s off the radar comes along and wins it!”
VeloVeritas knows that self-praise is no praise, but we spotted Mr. House’s form way back in March, that’s why we interviewed him; and even back then, notice he spoke about winning today. Job done.
Ed and Martin, our top team! They try to do the local Time Trials, the Grand Tours and the Classics together to get the great stories written, the quality photos taken, the driving done and the wifi wrestled with.
Giorgio Moroder's 'The Chase' from Midnight Express pumps out across the Civitavecchia sea front. A huge fibre glass sculpture of a nurse succumbing to the charms of a sailor - 'Unconditional Surrender' it's titled - towers over us. The whole scene is surreal, topped off by Pippo ambling past in shorts and T-shirt. He broke his hand yesterday and is out - but he still looks cool.
Utter madness! That’s all you can say about the finale, with no team really able to control it, the finish straight was a scene of complete chaos. Kittel and QuickStep blew it and were nowhere - it looked like just perhaps Cav was going to be the man as he let a gap open on his lead out men then jumped Demare’s wheel as the French champion roared by him.
It’s been branded a ‘tame’ version of the Classicissima but we’re all still talking about it days later. Bouhanni didn’t sleep for two nights after dropping his chain in the finale and losing what for many looked like the win, Gaviria crossed the line in tears, a moment’s inattention wasting seven hours of being in the right place at the right time. And the ‘Démare Affair’ has split the pundits down the middle; some want him DQ-ed and others say there’s not enough evidence – and even if it did happen, the commissaires didn’t see it so it didn’t happen.
Six millimetres; that’s less than quarter of an inch – the difference between reading headlines ‘Eddy avenges Cav’ rather than ‘Kittel takes his third’... But it’s been Kittel’s week; and when a sprinter’s head is right – as Kittel’s obviously is – even Lady Luck is carried along with them. The big German has more than justified whatever Patrick Lefevre is paying him at QuickStep; three stage wins in the Tour is something most sponsors would give their eye teeth for.
Diego Ulissi (Lampre & Italy); if the broader world of cycling didn’t really know who he was before this Giro – they do now. His first win on Stage Five wasn’t a surprise if you were aware of his terrific end to last season - Milano-Torino, the Coppa Sabatini and the Giro dell’Emilia. Three Italian semi-classics - all very desirable and hard fought – ‘tough and hilly’ is right up his street. But Saturday was different, the real deal, first and second cat. montagnes; and just look at who he beat – Evans, Uran, Quintana, Pozzovivo... As Kris said, it restores your faith in bike racing.
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.
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