Dozens of SMS and emails flash up on my BlackBerry each day, most are chaff and get deleted after a quick glance — but when one comes in to tell me that ‘Michael Mørkøv excluded from the Vuelta by WADA’ that makes me take notice.
As the Giro battles raged from Scandinavia down to the Mediterranean, the next generation of Giro stars went about their business. Take 18 year-old Kiwi, James Oram – in 2011 he won the ‘junior Tour de France,’ the Tour de l’Abitibi in Canada. The likes of Steve Bauer, Laurent Jalabert, Bobby Julich and Andy Hampsten have all ridden in Abitibi so it’s a good indicator of potential.
Team Sky’s Ben Swift seems to have been with us a long time but the fact is he’s that he’s still only 28 years old, just coming into his prime as a rider. And if any of us thought his third place in the 2014 Milan-Sanremo was a fluke we had that notion debunked when the man from Rotherham stepped up one place on the podium to second spot behind controversial winner, Arnaud Démare (F des J & France) in this year’s race – Démare having been accused of taken pace from his team car on the Cipressa climb whilst coming back from a crash.
I didn't manage to see stage seven to Rocca di Cambio - it fell on 'D minus one' for the VeloVeritas annual excursion to Italia. The loose ends were many and instead of having plenty of time to pack my bag and watch the Giro, I was 'running aboot daft' in the van.
And Saturday evening rituals still had to be observed - a wee bite to eat and a movie. It's not as if you can say; 'I'm off to Italy the morn love, so we're no' going out tonight - I have a bag to pack and a Giro stage to skek !'
We were there, walking the streets and parks of Glasgow - until the Monsoons came and discretion became the better part of valour at which times the words of Doctor Samuel Johnson have never rang more true; 'There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.' Especially if it has an HD tele.
The last few weeks have been reasonably uneventful so what to write on the Tomás Swift-Metcalfe Blog? We had a heat wave which was wonderful, but which only lasted a week. The team did a few races in Spain (I was resting) and won a stage in Vuelta as Asturias, which was excellent. I once did that race and it was probably the hardest I ever did. The weather seems to change from valley to valley and the place is very mountainous.
This year Marcin Bialoblocki has turned his attention to the 100 mile TT distance, winning the national title before setting out specifically to break competition record in Norfolk, last Sunday, bringing the record close to the scarcely believable 3 hours 10 minutes barrier with a 3:13:37 ride; that’s 31 miles per hour average on a course with 42 roundabouts.
The current state of British cyclo-cross is perhaps similar to how the road scene was before the days of Peter Keen, lottery money, 'the Plan,' David Brailsford and Sky came along. No real development system, just the odd talented individual who forces their way through but the rider who perhaps aroused the most excitement was a tall young man called Chris Wreghitt.