What was it Oasis sang? ‘Don’t look back in anger.’
I look back on 2020 not with anger but with sadness; I was a sceptic to begin with – ‘it’s just the flu!’ quoth yours truly.
But as I saw more friends and colleagues touched by the evil finger of Covid, I had to revise my opinion on that ‘just the flu’ diagnosis.
If you or your friends, colleagues or family have had the misfortune to encounter Covid then you have our commiserations.
And on the subject of commiserations, we extend ours to Tom Clark on the sad loss of his lovely wife, Elizabeth.
A cruel year made even worse for Tom and his boys, David, Graeme and Douglas to whom we extend our deepest sympathies.
The VeloVeritas year?
We got to the Six Days – but they’ll be our last for a while – so that was a bonus.
And to the Opening Weekend in Flanders – always a highlight of our year – and were treated to two good races.
But the ‘closing’ came soon after the ‘opening’ with Paris-Nice curtailed and, ‘the lights going out all over Europe.’
It wasn’t so bad for me in ‘lockdown,’ it was a nice spring and early summer so the garden door was open most of the time and I pestered more folks than ever for interviews over the phone.
What it must be like for someone with a couple of kids stuck in a tower block, I can only imagine.
And much as we’ve poked fun at Zwift in our pages, it was a lifeline to many – we just become ratty when it gets above itself…
Eventually the season stumbled back into life and Scots did not at all badly with them Archibald siblings at the forefront.
Katie took silver in the Worlds Team Pursuit before the world went completely mad; then gold at the European Championship Team Pursuit once things got back under way, she added the European Points Championship for good measure.
And before someone reminds me, it seems incongruous to mention CTT performances in the same paragraph as European and World medals…
When one looks at her burgeoning palmarès it’s hard to believe she’s still only 26 years-old.
I was a tad surprised that she didn’t get a mention in the Cycling Weekly magazine’s ‘Female Rider of the Year’ feature.
Another Scottish lady who was passed over by the aforementioned English magazine was Neah Evans; she’s only European Individual and Team Pursuit Champion.
Chapeau! to both ladies.
Not forgetting Lusia Steele who was in the ladies silver medal winning GB Team Sprint squad in Bulgaria.
One lady who did get a mention in the ‘Rising Star’ category in the mag was Glasgow’s Anna Shackley, perhaps one day she’ll grant us an interview?
Season 2021 sees her with top road squad SD Worx and a team mate of double World Champion, Anna Van Der Breggen. Wow!
Away from the glam of the velodrome and trade teams, on the ‘alone and un-paced’ front it was Christina Mackenzie winning the CTT 12 Hour title with 251 miles on one hard day at the coal face.
All part of her mile eating preparation for a 2021 tilt at the Land’s End to John O’Groats record.
And nice to see Fife lass, Mhairi Laffoley getting some recognition for all her efforts for the sport, in the Cycling Weekly ‘Local Hero’ feature.
What about the boys?
Let’s start with Mr. John Archibald; the British Individual and Team Pursuit title went his way plus three time test titles, not least of which was a stunning 44:50 to win the CTT 25 Mile Championship, the Blue Riband of racing against the clock in the UK.
We felt that despite his obvious gift for speed he was too old at 30 to get picked up by a professional team; once you leave the u23 ranks, continental team management becomes progressively less interested in you as each year passes.
But the Legend that is Sean Yates has decided that he can put John’s speed to good use and season 2021 will see the man from Glasgow in the colours of Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso’s EOLO-Kometa ‘ProTeam’ [formerly Pro Continental] squad where Yates is a DS.
Alness’s finest, Kyle Gordon made it a Scottish 25 & 50 double in CTT Championships, despite spending some time on his bum in the road, taking the title with a sparking 1:36 ride on a far from float course with 27 roundabouts at Cramlington.
Shortly thereafter the former World Junior Duathlon Champion rode his first 25 mile time trial – recording a 49 minute ride. Enough said.
And a ‘first’ for Scottish cycling recently with Mark Stewart winning the New Zealand Omnium Championship. Strewth!
Welcome back, Mark.
There was another ‘first’ this season with a Scot well to the fore in cyclo-crosses at a high level before a crash and a broken collar bone curtailed his season.
It’s too early to tell; travel bans, ‘spikes,’ Government regulations will all play their part in how the year pans out.
But they need racing; let’s hope they get some…
We’d like to thank you for tuning in to VeloVeritas this year; we hope all our readers had a great Christmas and that 2021 is all you would like it to be.
Martin & Ed.
With thanks to Harry Tweed for his assistance with this article.