Wiggo’s fairytale finish
It wasn’t just Vik and I who thought the Gent Six Day finale was a tad too obvious to be true – “a Fairtytale” Cycling Weekly said, they got that right – we’ve had feedback from two men who were there.
Our man who lives in Gent said;
“It was without a doubt the most historic Gent Six I’ve attended and I don’t think we’ll see another in our lifetime ( I did say 10 years ago or so that there will never be a British winner of the Tour – what do I know).
“It was however the most blatantly fixed Six Day I’ve seen.
“C’mon, Kenny and Marino are by far the most well-knitted couple on the Six scene at the moment, winning in London; then Wiggo and Cav in Ghent – which coincidentally was to be their swansong as a pair – in Sir Bradley’s place of birth, at the most iconic of track meetings.
“Like I said, what do I know?”
Our other observer, who’s seen many a Six Day, just shook his head.
Staying with things Brad for a moment we read the transcript of the post-race interview with the winners.
The ‘F word’ is a part of our culture and I’m no prude but there’s a time and place – and the winners’ post race interview is not one of those times or places.
However, Sophie Hurcom in Cycling Weekly cheerily informs us;
“…ending his answer to a question about his legacy with “f##k it” before dropping the microphone … it was a vintage Wiggins performance in front of journalists, littered with swearing…”
No, Sophie, it’s not ‘vintage’ – it’s appalling, unnecessary and unprofessional.
And during his post-race prognostications our Knight of the Realm modestly compared himself and Cav to Merckx/Sercu and Clark/Allan as a Six Day pairing.
According to my stats, the best Six Day pairing of all time is Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart on 37 wins off 130 starts.
Risi also has 19 wins off just 37 starts with Franco Marvulli – joint third in the all time rankings.
Merckx/Sercu and Clark Allan both have 15 wins, the Belgians off only 28 starts, the Aussies off 71 starts.
I make Wiggins/Cavendish one win off two starts – a good percentage, granted but still a wee ways to go in terms of quantity, Sir Bradley.
Hill climb hauteur
And another comment we couldn’t help but ‘bite’ at was that of recently crowned British Hill Climb Champion, Adam Kenway.
He’s turned professional with Raleigh-GAC for 2017 and is looking forward to the Tours of Yorkshire and Britain where;
“I’d love to smash my home roads up, make the continental pros sore!”
We’ve heard that Niki Terpstra and Tom Dumoulin have stepped up their training in the face of this threat …
Professional Track Riders?
Sometimes it’s hard having Vik as your guru; it means that I’m personally responsible for statements that appear in the likes of cyclingnews.com.
Take the announcement by GB team sprint specialist, Matt Crampton, who is retiring. Crampton’s a handy boy, British and European Champion and a Worlds medallist, but where he incurs ‘The Wrath of Vik’ is that the English sprinter describes himself as a ‘professional cyclist.’
Vik is indeed perfectly right in saying this is an incorrect use of the term ‘professional.’
That would imply that he rides for a team or has personal sponsors – as Bruno Risi and Franco Marvulli had when they were ruling the roost on the winter boards – but that’s not the case with Crampton.
He’s actually one of those chaps we all used to get so upset about when the Soviet Bloc countries had them in the 70’s and 80’s – a “State Sponsored Amateur.”
He can’t go and get another sponsor because none are interested and there are no longer the Grand Prix events of Paris/Brno/Milano/Aarhus et al. that there used to be for a track rider.
The track scene is dominated by the World Cups, the Six Days and the ‘Revolutions’ – and as for the latter we note that the Paris round was cancelled. That wasn’t because it was a sold-out house.
The French had their spell at the top of the track tree – just like the Aussies – and now the Parisian fans aren’t going to flock to see German ‘Pedal Pushers’ or English ‘B’ riders.
Gone are the days of Rousseau, Tournant and Ermenault – and Bauge, Pervis and Sireau aren’t the men they were.
But back to point; “Vik, I’m sorry CyclingNews referred to Crampton as a professional, I’ll try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
That’s not an end to Vik’s contribution for this rant, on no …
The Pay to Ride non-scandal
Remember the Italian ‘pay to ride’ scandal – where riders have to pay to get a pro ride?
Vik reminded me about GB stalwarts Ian Stannard and Steve Cummings; when they rode for Landbouwkrediet team, the Belgian Media made a heck of a fuss; “why should these English guys get a ride when there are young Belgian riders trying to get their feet on the ladder?”
Landbou had to reveal that both riders’ wages, clothing and bikes were all paid for by British Cycling.
Like we said, it’s not a new phenomenon.
One Pro Cycling Press Relations
And on the subject of Division Two teams, One Pro Cycling drop back to Continental from Pro Continental.
The story we heard is that when Matt Prior’s chums in The City heard he was contemplating putting a cycling team together and asked how much he’d need dosh-wise, telling him that as long as it was less than four mil. then they’d fund it.
You’ll notice that the jersey is not ‘sponsor heavy.’
All we can say is that we twice requested an interview with Mr. Prior; twice we were told that it could and would happen and twice – despite ‘chase ups’ – nothing came of it.
Similarly, when Martin Mortensen won the Tro Bro Leon we asked him for an interview, he told us we’d have to go through the team press folks – despite several emails and promises again, nada.
We might be wrong but it looks to us like the City Boys and their dosh have gone – maybe now that they’ll need sponsors the team will be keener and more professional about getting free exposure in the Cycling Media?
OK, it’s time for my medicine …