Tuesday, January 18, 2022
HomeNuggetsThe VV View: Lefevere's Comments, UCI and Gravel Bikes, and more...

The VV View: Lefevere’s Comments, UCI and Gravel Bikes, and more…

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It’s a while since we had a rant – let’s start with a man who as well as being the most successful manager in professional cycle sport in recent years is a master of the art of the Rant, with a capital ‘R.’ Patrick Lefevere of Deceuninck QuickStep inspires admiration and criticism, perhaps in equal measure?

Some of the comments from Lefevere are just a tad too close to the bone for many but much of what he says – no examples will be given – only articulate what many of us think but can’t say for fear of being branded the dreaded ‘un-PC.’

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Patrick Lefevere enjoys another successful team day. Photo©supplied

I responded to some keyboard warriors who were ‘dissing’ Lefevere as a team manager by asking them to name me one rider who had gone on to greater things after they left him.

No one could.

And one thing that the ‘experts’ who slag the man can’t argue with is Lefevere’s team’s 65 victories this year…

With the pinnacle as Julian Alaphilippe’s ‘death or glory’ Worlds victory – wondrous to behold in a world of calculating bike racers.

But as our buddy, Ivan suggested, perhaps the Worlds should be in Flanders every year – what about those crowds?

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Continuing on the subject of professional racing, if you’re from my generation who grew up watching Merckx, De Vlaeminck and Maertens in the 70’s then it’s easy to wax lyrical about those days and how present day riders are cosseted and soft.

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Sonny Colbrelli is barely recognisable after a horrendous day on the pavé. Photo©espanol.news

Paris-Roubaix 2021 put us old boys right on that one – CHAPEAU, Sonny and to everyone who finished on that epic day

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In our Tour of the Campsies report I displayed my ignorance regarding the names of current race teams – Bonnyrigg CC and Kirkcaldy & District CC spoke for themselves; but ‘Vanelli-Project Go?’

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Andy Bruce of Vanelli – Project GO at the Scottish Road Race Championships earlier this year. Photo©Martin Williamson

Mark McGhee of the Press Room put me right; 

“Last year they raced as Bioracer-Moriarty Bikes but Vanelli are the new co-title sponsor.

“Vanelli is a cycle apparel company owned by Matt Ellis and Hans van Nierop, both good riders back in their day.

“The team also carries the name Project Go which is a charity related to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a cause close to a number of riders on the team…so helping to raise their profile.

“The other sponsors are The Mortgage Hub through the generosity of Wilson Kane, Mule Bar and The Press Room.”

‘Thank you,’ Mark.

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No rant would be complete without us having a pop at the UCI; who have now latched on to gravel bikes with an ‘offical’ World Championship. 

Anyone who was around the MTB scene before the UCI got their claws into it will tell you how much fun it was back then, with minimal rules, no ‘janitors’ and barbies and beers the norm.

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UCI Commissairaires check a TT bike for “legality”. Photo©VeloNews

Look forward to blazers, communiqués, obscure qualifying protocols, minimum weights, maximum tyre widths, I could go on…

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Finally; the ‘net has downsides, there’s spam, trolls, keyboard warriors, phishing attempts and smug ‘experts’ on any subject you care to name. 

But on the plus-side it enables one to reach, then keep in touch with people one might not easily have been fortunate enough to contact without email and/or social media.

The late Norman Hill was such individual, I never met the man but I interviewed him about his varied and interesting career as a professional bike rider – road, kermises, Six Days, big motors and even cyclo-cross.