Here at VeloVeritas we still get excited about competition records so it’s only proper then that we should ‘have a word’ with 33 year-old Adam Duggleby (Vive le Velo), who recently in the Farnborough & Camberley CC National 12 Hour Championship in Hampshire recorded 322 miles (the official distance not yet available), adding around four miles to Andy Wilkinson’s (Port Sunlight Wheelers) 2012 record of 317.97.
He’s been CTT 10, 25, 50 and 100 mile champion, he’s been British 25 and 50 mile record holder; he’s been away but now he’s back. When we saw he’d recently won the Eddy Soens Memorial Race some 20 years after he’d first won it, we thought to ourselves; ‘maybe need to have a word with old Mister Matthew Bottrill, aka ‘The Flying Postman, it’s been a year or two since last we chatted’
‘Sprinter stages,’ why are they so dull? Albeit ‘Bison’ Bodnar (Bora hansgrohe & Poland) did a job of enlivening the last wee bittie of yesterday’s procession. Maciej Bodnar ended the day on top. Firstly, the GC teams won’t go in the break, they’re there to look after their team leader; mountain stages are different where they’ll put men up the road so as the team leader can bridge up to them.
Alex Kristoff wins in the town which used to be the heart of the French bicycle industry – St. Etienne. We also managed to get our paws on L'Équipe, again - for the day of Nibali's second coup, on La Planche des Belles Filles. The front page features a satisfied Nibali, a devastated Contador as well as Bardet and Pinot - at last French guys with realistic GC ambitions. C'est bon!
Coming to Gent to watch the Six Day, as I have for 20 years, is like meeting up with an old friend, a friend you see just once a year but when you meet you are familiar and easy in each others company. Most familiar is the velodrome, Het Kuipke that hosts the Six Days which has, barring a few upgrades in the bar areas, changed very little during the time I’ve been coming.
Final Defense. The final road stage of the Eneco race was again lumpy, this time including roads from the Amstel Gold spring classic. In particular the Mur de Huy, a nasty climb that starts on an increasingly steep grade until a left turn kicks the road up to around 20%.
Kristoff was no surprise to us – especially with Paolini as his wingman; Cancellara – enough said. But the man on the third step of the podium was a big – and it must be said, pleasant – surprise, Sky’s Ben Swift, back from the wilderness. Last season was compromised by injury picked up in 2012 and subsequent surgery but there were green shoots of recovery to be seen at the start of this season – two podiums and a top ten in Nokere.
Third in London with Moreno De Pauw; winner in Gent again with De Pauw; encore in Rotterdam with De Pauw; the win in Bremen with Home Boy, Theo Reinhardt; second in Berlin with De Pauw and looking well on the way to the top of the podium here in Copenhagen with Michael Morkov – it can only be Topsport and Belgium’s Mr. Kenny De Ketele.