Here at the Rotterdam Six Day 2011 the buzz off iljo's rollers fills my ears as I write this; despite the best efforts of the UCI, he's still here and looking sharp. My amigo, Dirk the mechanic was telling me that Iljo is retaining two of the three best lawyers in Belgium - I'm glad I'm not paying the bills.
Despite being one of the youngest riders in the field, 19 year old New Zealander Anton Cooper proved to be the strongest and the savviest by surprising the two riders still with him heading towards the finish with a sudden and sharp acceleration off the front of the string to go clear with just a few hundred uphill metres remaining. Teammate Samuel Gaze (himself only 18 years old) reacted quickly to pass Daniel McConnell (Australia) to take second place just three seconds behind Cooper.
A day or two after the dust from the ’25’ Champs had settled on the A71 and A78, VeloVeritas caught up with the gold and silver medallists to get their in depth comments on the race. We had expected a four way battle between Iain Grant (Dooleys), team mate Arthur Doyle, Ben Peacock (Paisley Velo) and Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace). We got some of it right; Iain did indeed win and Paisley Velo were in the frame – but not with Ben; Messrs Peter Murdoch and Chris Smart took silver and bronze respectively. Peter Murdoch shared bronze with Sean Childs in last year’s ‘25’ title race but this year made silver his own.
As with last year when he was jousting with the pave specialists in the first week, Chris Froome again confounded his critics, descending like a man possessed, leaving the demon descenders glued to the macadam, taking all the risks - but more importantly taking the stage and maillot jaune. A terrific ride, no question, no caveats. But the dreams end for GVA, Bert and Pinot; no jaune for Yates but he consolidates blanc - whilst our friend Michael Mørkøv climbs into the team car.
Amore & Vita, the sunshine and glamour of the Italian pro scene; scorching Australian road race championships; Girvan on a cold April Monday afternoon - Tom Southam has seen it all. We caught up with the man with esoteric musical taste on a cold February afternoon-after he'd just done three hours.
On a balmy Sunday afternoon in quaint Stamfordham, Sky and Bradley Wiggins did 'what England expected' and grabbed the first four places in the British elite road race championship over 197 hard Northumbrian kilometres; and the skeletal Bradley Wiggins will start the Tour in the white British champion's jersey after jumping his team mates on the run in; defending champion Geraint Thomas took silver, Peter Kennaugh was third and Ian Stannard fourth.
Monday night, 24 hours until the 70th Gent Six Day 2010 commences. The Derny exhaust fumes are sweet and sickly, like the stench from the Grangemouth chemicals plant on a bad day, the cold air makes them all the more pungent. Five or six riders sit behind the little bike, loosening off stiff legs, dull after hours sitting in aeroplanes or cars.