Back in the 70’s when ‘The Comic’ was virtually the only source of information on bike racing during the winter there were comprehensive reports on ‘cross and the Six Days over the winter months. There was a man whose face graced the magazine most weeks during the 'cross season – Eric Stone, a wiry ex-runner who made the top 20 in the Worlds six times including a top ten result.
It’s two years since Jim Cusick first tipped VeloVeritas off on the fact that there was a top jumps jockey riding bike races in Scotland. Wilson Renwick (RT 23) was the man and in the recent Tour of the Meldons the 37 year-old originally from Hawick but now based in the Highlands won his first Scottish title, the ‘Olympic Time Trial.’ It was his first Scottish medal in only his third Scottish Championship ride; previously he had ridden the ’10’ champs at Bishopton and also contested the ‘Olympic’ TT on one previous occasion.
No appraisal of Scotland’s cycling medal hopes for the 2018 Commonwealth Games would be complete without speaking to multiple Commonwealth, Worlds and Olympic visually impaired tandem champion, Neil Fachie.
Here’s what the man had to say to VeloVeritas, recently:
We last spoke to our two men inside the Ras after stage three on Tuesday evening; with the toughest stage of the race to come the next day. It was Friday when we spoke again; we hadn't had a chance to check the results for the day, so that was our first question.
In the overall scheme of the world’s current predicament, guys not being able to race their bikes doesn’t even register but if you’ve been training all winter to realise goals you set yourself for the season and overnight they’re plucked from your grasp it’s not easy to handle.
We spoke to one of the most respected coaches in the area, Jody Warrington about how riders can cope with ‘lockdown.’
Like it or not, the sport of professional cycle racing is largely defined by one race – the Tour de France. To aficionados the Primavera, Ronde, Hell of the North and Classic of the Falling Leaves are eagerly awaited then devoured and endlessly analysed. But mention any of these races to the ‘man in the street’ and you’ll be met with a blank stare.
The Giro and Vuelta will elicit a similar response - Paris-Nice? Forget it. But tell a ‘lay person’ you’re going to the Tour de France and in response you’ll get; ‘Lance, Cav, yellow jersey’ – and ‘drugs,’ naturally.
"Everything is good?" I say to the bonnie Spanish lass who checks the Yaris back into the hire-bay after the Saunier Duval Team launch; "Yes, have a good trip," she smiles. "Thank you", I reply, patting the trusty can of cutting-compound in my bag as I skip towards the terminal. She wouldn't have said that if she'd seen it after the boy skelped it with the Jeep on Tuesday.