Sunday, October 17, 2021
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Hindsight is 2020

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What was it Oasis sang about hindsight? ‘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.

hindsight
Home boy and multiple winner and podium finisher in the Six Day at Copenhagen, Michael Mørkøv – paired with rising star in the Danish heavens, Oliver Wulff Frederiksen, made up ‘Par #7’. Photo©Ed Hood

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. 

hindsight
We saw Mads Pederson win his World Championship in Harrogate and wear it on a few occasions, here in Het Nieuwsblad in early March. Photo©Ed Hood

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.

Neah Evans, Laura Kenny, Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald celebrate taking Gold on the podium during day two of the 2018 European Championships at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow. Photo©John Walton/PA Wire

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!

Anna Shackley. Photo©Team 22 WRT

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.

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Christina Mackenzie during the Scottish 25 Championships a couple of years ago. Photo©Martin Williamson

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.

John Archibald. Photo©SWpix

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.

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Kyle Gordon, locked down on Mount Tiede. Photo©supplied

We even managed to get along to a Scottish race, the Tour of the Campsies on a glorious day with Cameron Richardson running out best man on the day.

Shortly thereafter the former World Junior Duathlon Champion rode his first 25 mile time trial – recording a 49 minute ride. Enough said. 

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Cameron Richardson. Photo©Wagner Araujo

And a ‘first’ for Scottish cycling recently with Mark Stewart winning the New Zealand Omnium Championship. Strewth! 

Welcome back, Mark.

Mark Stewart. Photo©Cullen Browne

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.

Cameron Mason, riding for Tom Pidcock’s Trinity team took bronze in the European u23 Championship behind Dutch World Champion, Ryan Kamp and talented Englishman, Thomas Mein

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Cameron Mason Photo©TrinityRacing

2021?

It’s too early to tell; travel bans, ‘spikes,’ Government regulations will all play their part in how the year pans out.

Our nation has many talented young riders, apart from the names mentioned above; Joe Nally, Matti Dobbins; Alfie George, Oscar Onley, Daniel Kain, Alex Dent.

But they need racing; let’s hope they get some…

Alfie George at the World Championships in Harrogate in 2019. Photo©Martin Williamson

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. 

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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