Great Britain took Olympic Team Pursuit bronze in ’72; Worlds silver in ’73; tasted bitter disappointment in ’74 when on a world record ride and again took Olympic bronze in ’76. Recently we’ve interviewed three of the gentlemen who were in those teams: Ian Banbury, Rik Evans and Mick Bennett. We’ve caught up with another of the group, Mr. Ron Keeble who was in the Munich team which took Olympic bronze in 1972.
Salle de Presse, Meridien Hotel, Paris, 18.55 Sunday July 27th. We were in Etampes, and we just watched Steegmans demonstrate how to sprint, he's a much better sprinter than he is a time triallist. Sastre won his, and CSC's first Grand Tour without drama, there was the usual show boating-'Carlos with glass of champagne', it says here on this script.
Obituaries, part of the deal if you write about cycling; check their palmarès, think about when you saw them race when you were a boy then put a piece together. But when it's someone you knew, liked, laughed with, there's more to it than that - the randomness of life; one minute a friend is there and happy with a whole life to look forward to, the next, he's gone. A car crash involving a lorry and Ben Abrahams, and here I am writing this.
Today the final stage of the 2011 TDU gets underway, a desperate procession maybe, but it's devastatingly disappointing for me, but also extremely exciting considering it is Cadel Evans who will cross the line the champion today, calamitous misadventure notwithstanding. (brief pause while author touches wood.) I can't believe it's nearly over, and conversely can't believe that Gilbert's win on Stage One was only three weeks ago.
A long time ago, Dave, Victor, Ivan and I raced in Brittany; when we saw this young gentleman had two wins on roads we remember from our youth we just had to have a word. Like many of our interviewees - they are helping almost 40 young riders this year - Louis Modell is a beneficiary of assistance from the fabulous Dave Rayner fund.
It would have been his 13th Worlds; but for the first time since 1996 there will be no one from Granton-on-Spey on the British track team, when the series kick off in Manchester in a week-or-so. VeloVeritas caught up with Craig Maclean on the day 'The Guardian' told us that he won't be pulling on a GB 'speed suit' for the team or individual sprints.
Everything is irrelevant on the final night at the Berlin Six Day, except the last chase – and it wasn’t a bad one. Going in it was Kalz/Bengsch topping the board – great time trial riders and strong in the chases – but a Six is almost always decided in the avalanche of points sprints in the final laps.
Noon, local time, on the Easyjet flight out of Geneva. The race finished at midnight and we were on the autoroute for around 12:45 am - that's a record. The hotel bed in Geneva was blissful, the 'transporter pod' in the motor home is all very well, but crisp, clean sheets and a proper mattress - lovely!
If you were around British bike racing in the 70’s and 80’s then you’ll remember the name, Phil Thomas. One of those Liverpool ‘cheeky chappies’ who were so strong in British cycling back then and a prolific winner on the road and criterium scene. Thomas could win anything from a seafront criterium to the Manx International via 10 mile track races to Milk Race stages.