The French have an expression for it; 'une erreur de jeunesse' - a mistake of youth. The youth in question being Grant Ferguson. When VeloVeritas saw Grant's bike at the top of the climb, we winced and advised that it disappear into the back of the family camper van, pronto - the back brake had been removed as an aid to weight saving.
"A week is a long time in politics," said Harold Wilson - even longer at the wheel of a Transit; still, I'm sure that my column in L'Equipe isn't far away, now. Lombardia was great, I love that race, and Milan - San Remo too; do yourself a favour, go and see them - you'll thank me. However, all is not well up in the land of mountains and lakes.
The Scottish Season starts and VeloVeritas begins it's coverage of the Scottish season this Sunday, with the Hugh Dornan Memorial race on the Rosneath peninsula.
We're starting a bit late but "day jobs", flu, gum surgery and Het Volk have all played their part in keeping us away from Scotland's lay-bys.
"Goodie bag!" I'm not used to "freebies;" by the time Dave or Martin and I stumble into the press room, all the goodies have gone - but we have the best sun tans. However, when Jim McFarlane mentioned "goodie bag" I was out to Livingston like a ferret. It seemed like a shame to waste a trip to Endura and not interview the main man. The timing was perfect, Jim was just back from seeing his boys in action at Haut Var.
How could I ignore my hero Serhiy here in Saint-Grégoire? If I’d had a proper thinking-head on when I did the revue of the course yesterday I would have mentioned him; ‘a strong man’s course’ I said and who’s stronger than the man who rides 56 x 11? Isn’t it a joy to see him forcing that ‘death gear’ along the road, none of that embarrassing high-revving nonsense; face a mask of pain, giving his all — awesome.
We thought that you might like to hear what it was like to be a Six Day runner back in a time when the Sixes meant more than they do now. The big road stars were in action and it was full houses all across Europe – particularly in Germany. John Purser is the man’s name and here’s his tale.
Lendelede, early afternoon, and we've missed the start - but the sun is shining and our hero, Guy Smet is riding. This is a kermesse. A criterium, like Friday night's, is usually on a circuit of one to two kilometres which is generally urban in nature, and the event will last one to two hours. A kermesse course, on the other hand, will be on a circuit of six to eight kilometres, and whilst it will start and finish in the village main street, it will be largely rural, race duration will be two to three hours.
As Dario Cioni once told us; ‘sometimes it’s nice for the big teams to get it wrong and the break to stay away.’ Big Italian Alessandro De Marchi was originally a team pursuit rider and paid his dues for three years in the low budget but big achieving Androni squad before stepping up to the World Tour with Cannondale, last year.
Florida would be a great place for time-trialling. Its pan flat. The only elevation you find are bridges. It’s flatter than both Holland and Belgium which is saying something. It’s rarely windy which means as soon as you’re out riding holding 20mph (32kph) is child’s-play. That makes riding really quite fun. Endurance rides are around 35kph and you really get the miles clocked up. Sometimes it feels like you’re in a race you’re going so fast.