‘Legs’ they called him, on account of those massive thighs, but he was christened ‘Keith Lambert.’ And the triple British Professional Champion recently gave freely of his time to take a wander through his career with VeloVeritas.
“There is life after The Flatlands.” The Worlds, Harrogate last month, and I’m ‘poaching’ those ‘just-past-the-finish-line’ pics that I like to nab. ‘Hey Ed!’ hollers an Irish voice. It’s Ronan McLaughlin.
As VeloVeritas pundit and critic, Viktor said after the Bergen World Championships; ‘where would we be without him?’ Peter Sagan. Cipo had it, Boonen had it, Peter has it – but Vik and I are both worried about who can pick up the ‘cycling’s showman and charismatic star’ baton when he finally hands his in.
Sometimes you time an interview just right and your subject goes out and does something big right after it. Take British cyclo-cross champion Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) – or should that be, ‘Field de Brit’ as they say in the Flatlands. We spoke to him on Wednesday and on Friday his coach Dan Fleeman of DigDeep Coaching called us to tell us that he’d pulled off a ‘biggie’ – 13th in the Koppenbergcross after leading for the first two laps and a puncture with two laps to go.
I could never be a ski bum, 60 Euros per night for the room here at the top of Alpe-d’Huez - but you have to pay extra for sheets - and towels - there's no toilet paper - then you have to clean the place at the end of it. A bit like borstal really, with off-hand, condescending staff.
In English we’d say, ‘Birdsong’ – in Danish it’s ‘Fuglsang.’ Despite the fact that he seems to have been around for a long, long time, Jakob Fuglsang is still only 28 with his best years as a stage race rider surely yet to come. We felt we needed a proper look inside an Ardennes Classic; so who better to speak to than Amstel top 20 finisher, said Mr. Fuglsang?
There's a 'new wave' of US riders on the way up, we've already spoken to Messrs. Dombrowski and Boswell, who'll bolster Team Sky for 2013. But BMC too are taking advantage of the new talent from the New World: 22 year-old Larry Warbasse from Dearborn, Michigan has just stepped up from the Swiss team's US development team to the World Tour squad.
Young Sky star, Alex Dowsett's early season was compromised by a bad crash in the Three Days of West Flanders - but he's come back strongly. He took eighth in the World Elite TT champs, rode strongly in the Tour of Beijing, aiding team mate Boasson Hagen on to the podium and closed his season with second place with Luke Rowe in the Duo Normand two-up time trial.
As the Worlds memories begin to fade and thoughts turn to the late season classics in northern Italy and France, VeloVeritas takes a last look back at the Cauberg. But this time through the eyes of a man who rode that beast of a hill all 11 times on Sunday, Ireland’s Ronan McLaughlin.
Garmin’s Ryder Hesjedal came out of the Giro in shape of his life, with his morale sky high after his historic win. He rested well after Italy, resumed training and was in great shape for the Tour de France. He rode strongly in the prologue and managed to keep out of trouble – until stage six.
It's no surprise that Endura Racing's 'man of the year' Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has today signed for Team Sky. Anyone who thought that Englishman’s top six GC placing and King of the Mountains win back in the 2011 Tour of Britain was a freak result had their eyes opened this spring when the 27 year-old from Plymouth won the first stage, fourth stage and GC in this season’s Tour of the Mediterranean – a race dating back to 1974 and which boasts Eddy Merckx as one of its winners.
The ‘best world championships ever’ the organisers are saying – but I guess they would say that? The Mens Road Race was certainly a good race; and if last year’s race in Copenhagen was a model of GB team work for Cav, then this year was all about Belgium and ‘Phil.’
It's a nice afternoon in Limburg for bike racing, the sun is out, there's not a lot of wind and The Netherlands' Olympic road race champion Marianne Vos has just bridged up to the break in the Womens Road Race; so the crowd is happy.
There are time trials – and then there are time trials. this is the Mens Time Trial 2012. Dual carriageways with high traffic counts on balmy Essex afternoons are one thing; Limburg in the autumn rain with a parcours which includes the Cauberg is another.
The party’s over at the U23 Time Trial World Championship, there’s no more nice wee room in Valkenburg and ambling down for breakfast, with the patron asking if you’d like a fried egg to go with your rolls, cheese and ham.
The beer's not cheap on Grotestraat in Valkenburg, at two Euros a pop, but with Dario G's 'Sunchyme' banging out, you can't complain. It takes me to Copenhagen and the 'balustrade sprints' at the Six Days. But that's not 'til next year - and we still have this year to put to bed.
In the Flèche Wallonne - just for a few minutes, as the much diminished peloton ran in towards Huy and the final gun fight on the Mur - it looked like Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal might just steal it. The 31 year-old Garmin ex-mountain biker in company with Norwegian Sky man, Lars Petter Nordhaug blasted big gears into the foot of the hill.