Firstly we have to thank the lady and gentleman who told us that the Women’s Tour of Scotland had been stopped due to the flooding on the south Loch Leven road – elsewise we’d still be up there at Cleish with the clouds and sheep.
I guess hunters would have found us in the spring?
We drove up to the Cleish hill prime from the Dunfermline side and up near Loch Glow there were floods with a lot of gravel and soil washed on to the road, so the cancelation was no surprise, really.
But our intrepid editor, Martin had been all the way up to Dundee to see the start…
And on a day such as this there was plenty of ‘hot stuff’ being applied.
VeloVeritas has never seen so many motos – 32 police bikes plus National Escort Group bikes – but we’re told that the Tour of Britain has twice as many of the beasts.
Former double British Criterium Champion, Scotland’s Eileen Roe was on hand to carry out PR duties.
The Lotto team with Katie Archibald representing Scotland lead the minute’s silence for the Belgian team’s compatriot on the World Tour team, young Bjorg Lambrecht who died as a result of a seemingly innocuous crash during Stage Three of the Tour of Poland.
Then it was time for the roll out on a day which worsened by the minute.
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Any excuse to head up to The Trossachs is a good one and the big squall which blew through before the race arrived was the only rain we saw.
Some folks had taken to the hills to get a better view as the team vehicles hurtled up The Duke’s Pass.
After what seemed like every motorbike in Scotland had roared past us the lead group of 10 came up with four Bigla’s at the head of affairs.
Queen of the Mountains from Stage One – where the organisers took a leaf out of the Tour de France book and honoured primes won prior to the race being curtailed – Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla Pro Cycling & Denmark) was a little of the back, regaining her composure, having nabbed the mountains points with the prime line not at the top but on the false flat further down the climb.
Also not so far of the back of the group was Scot, Anna Shackley and very much looking the part.
There were no Scots in the second group but number three, Scottish Ladies Road Race Champion, Jennifer George was there in the third group.
Group four had Aberfoyle sprint winner, Neah Evans and Katie Archibald there, sampling the rough chippings of ‘The Dukes’ rather than the Siberian pine which is their more usual surface.
Jenny Holl was in a wee group a little further back and Sofie Lankford on her own but with girls behind her.
Number 113, Ms. Hyunkyung Kang wasn’t enjoying The Dukes either but wasn’t last on the road, that honour went to one of the Jadan Weldtite girls.
At the Perth finish the groups had come back together with 44 riders within three seconds of each other and 30 year-old Canadian, Alison Jackson [Team TIBCO SVB] taking her second UCI win of the year and the leader’s jersey.
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Sunday and we were back to rain – Martin caught the race on ‘The Granites’ climb
These hard roads have long been a feature of Scottish road sport in the northern Borders both for race days and ‘hard man’ training jags.
And it was those Bigla girls on point again, leaving no one in any doubt who was in charge of this peloton.
Behind them with the weather doing it’s best to compete with Friday’s apocalypse as the field battled on through the murk.
Last on the road was 19 year-old English girl Marie Lynn (Jadan Weldtite) who unfortunately wouldn’t see the finish on this dreich day.
Meanwhile, I forced marched up Arthur’s Seat in the rain, complete with my dayglow orange workie waterproof – clearly visible from orbiting satellites.
The youth’s race rather caught me off guard, it was meant to be five laps but was shortened to four then three – two Edinburgh Road Clubs and an Aberdeen Wheeler in the break but no results guys, sorry.
That Ludwig lass took the Queen of the Mountains points again first time up Arthur’s Seat.
And I’ve included a picture with the word ‘summit’ just to prove I was up actually there in the miserable drizzle.
Poor Jenny Holl had that horrible experience of the sag wagon chugging along two feet behind her – perhaps next time brief the driver to give the lass a bit more breathing space; it’s bad enough being back there never mind with a big diesel rattling in your ear.
Pavement artists – just like the Giro, well…
The second lap and Ms. Ludwig was first up again.
A sodden peloton didn’t seem too interested in bringing her back just yet.
Sophie Lankford lead a little group a ways back, all just wanting it to be over and get some dry clothes on.
Jenny continued her solo penance
‘Laatste ronde’ with the Belgian Lotto team driving through the gloom.
And good to see Scotland’s Anna Shakley in the thick of it in the lead group.
Behind the girls weren’t chasing, just riding to put an end to the misery.
Meanwhile, Bigla’s US rider Leah Thomas took the sprint on the roads way below us with Anna Shakley finishing 13th on the stage and on GC, earning some precious UCI points.
And ‘respect’ to Jenny Holl on finishing on a day where there were 17 DNF.
And we’ll leave our picture of Silvia Pollicini (Valcar Cylance Cycling & Italy) to sum the day up.