It’s been a while since last VeloVeritas spoke to former ‘Man in Black’ and African Road Race Champion, Dan Craven – 2009 to be exact, just after the Drummond Trophy which Dan rode for his Rapha Condor team. With his recent hook-up with Jean Rene Bernadeau’s Europcar squad we thought it was high time we had another word with the man with the most hair in professional cycling. This season has seen a win on GC in the Tour du Cameroon in the colours of German team, Bike Aid-Ride For Help. We caught up with Dan at his new home in the Vendee to talk African Cycling, Europcar – and big hair.
One more time over some incredible hills. One more chance for the Schlecks to take seconds away from Cadel. One more opportunity for them to sap the power from his legs to minimize the damage he does to them in tomorrow's TT. 100km, three categorized climbs, 2851m vertical ascent. This stage is not as huge as last night's, but being so short and sharp, there is still enormous potential for damage to be done.
Book out the window. There was a quote one of our boys gave on a day he crashed twice in 200m: “I thought I was pretty good at riding my bike.” Upon watching the final sprints and the way our boys have set up the lead-out train in the past two days, I think I could be forgiven for thinking something similar about what I do for a job.
The Next Level. Today, TdF2010 Stage 17, was the showdown. As all who watch cycling know, any stage with a mountaintop finish is where many of the overall selections happen, and when the mountain is the Tourmalet, which is enormous both in terms of the difficulty of the climb, as well as its history, it’s all the more definitive.
Jack Bauer; tall, dark, slim, handsome, polite, grounded, friendly - it would have been so nice to add 'Tour de France stage winner' to that description. Dave and I were holed up in a nice old bar/restaurant attached to a genteel hotel in Carcassonne watching the finale of Stage 15 and willing the big man from the land of the long white cloud to cross that line first.
If we asked 'who is the current World Sprint Champion?' back in 1970 few would have had any hesitancy in saying that the amateur champion was legendary Frenchman Daniel Morelon and the Professional Sprint king was Aussie, Gordon Johnson, mounted on a British-made Carlton.
Stage one is Middelkerke (home to the Tom Boonen fan club) to Zottegem, wearing-on for 200 K, when you include two laps of a circuit in the 'bergs' near Oudenaarde. All of the hills which give Het Volk, Kuurne, De Panne and Flanders their particular character are contained within a relatively small area.
Yours truly didn’t make it to the Scottish Olympic or Ten Mile Time Trial Championships; unlike our editor, Martin who took excellent pictures at both races and framed reports. ‘I’ll interview both winners,’ said I, to make amends for life getting in the way of cycling. So my thanks extend to Chris Smart (GTR) for winning both events and making life easy for me.