Happy New Year, it’s nearly 2019 – how did that happen?
It seems just like last week were sitting in the Vivaldi bar in Gent having watched Dane Michael Valgreen win Het Nieuwsblad – or Gent-Gent as us auld yins would have it – but another year has indeed almost gone.
Let’s get the sadness over early; we lost top Six Day men Dieter Kemper and super-cool Andreas Kappes; pursuit and coaching legend Norman Sheil; eccentric, colourful Armand de las Cuevas, ‘voice of cycling’ Paul Sherwen and much closer to home, Ivor Reid and Lewis Oliphant left us before their time.
Rest in peace, gentlemen.
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It’s been a while since I mentioned the legend that is Vik – if you’re a regular then you’ll know he’s my mentor and well in to the top 10 of the world’s grumpiest men.
As you can imagine he fairly revelled in a family Xmas with the grandchildren…
But as usual, among the gloom and doom there are some serious points.
He happened to see some soccer on the tele and was shocked to hear that the players on the bench – never mind the pitch – were worth over £100,000,000.
He pointed out to me that back in the 80’s Greg Lemond landed the first $1,000,000 contract in cycling – that was thirty years ago.
How many riders in 2018 are on seven figures?
Froome, Thomas, Sagan, Nibali, Valverde, Bouhani and perhaps GVA?
Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling is reputed to be on £300 K per WEEK at Manchester United – as Vik says, “our sport sells itself short.”
The answer? On a post card please…
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Vik’s other rant – and I’m 100% behind him on this one – a Zwift British Champion?
You even get that beautiful white jersey with the red and blue hoops – but can wear only it in the hoose in front of your computer monitor.
I actually thought it was April 1st when I read about it.
I accept that I raced back when dinosaurs roamed the earth – but even back then there were ‘turbo kings’ who’s domain was the garage.
I just loved getting out on the bike into the countryside and the sweet Fife air, not sitting in a van or an office – no speed traps or ringing phones.
But the sport has moved on into the cyber age – I guess that’s why there are so few road races in Scotland and the UK these days.
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Enough moaning; let’s talk about the Commonwealth Games, as we wrote at the time;
‘This year the jackpot was well and truly hit with gold for the inimitable Katie in the pursuit and for Mark Stewart in the points race.
Silver medals went to Katie’s brother, John in the individual pursuit, Jack Carlin in the sprint, Katie in the women’s points race and Neah Evans in the women’s scratch.
And there were two bronze medals, one for Neah in the women’s points and one for Callum Skinner in the kilometre.
Eight medals – a wonderful performance from all concerned.’
The great rides on the indoor tracks by Scots have continued into the UCI 2018/19 World Cup season, not least from Mark Stewart and that man John Archibald.