My eyes snap open to golden dappled rays silhouetting pine branches above - beneath me a pillow of twigs and earth, nearby a lake nestled between snowy peaks shimmers enticingly. My legs are in a tent, my body protruding out. I think I'm naked.
The last time VeloVeritas spoke to Douglas Dewey was at the British National Time Trial Championships in Scotland back in June where he finished fourth. But it wasn’t all places of honour for the Surrey man; there were six good wins in France, too. And some UK wins as well – but ‘they don’t count.’ The six wins obviously counted with French Division One team, Union Cycliste Nantes Atlantique, his équipe for season 2014.
Dewey has hit the ground running in France, with wins in the 138 kilometre/198 starters Etoille De Tressignaux – and you have to check out their website, the accordion music is cool – a stage win plus the GC in the two day Fleche d’Armor and a stage win and spell in yellow in the Tour de Lesneven. We caught up with Douglas on a trip back to Blighty to have a minor injury checked out.
It was back in the spring when we last spoke to Douglas Dewey; he’d just won Gent-Staden, the first big race on the Belgian amateur calendar. Since then he’s ridden a very varied programme, including stage races in France and Belgium, hard fought kermises, a silver medal in the British Elite TT Championships and bronze in the British Pursuit Championship.
Vik's latest nod to us is regarding an Englishman, Douglas Dewey. Douglas won the British U23 time trial championships last season, but the other week he pulled off a major win in Belgium-Gent Staden, the first major amateur classic of the year.
If you’re a sad old tester like me you’ll remember that wonderful day back in 1978 when ‘King’ Alf Engers discovered the Holy Grail – it took 49 minutes and 24 seconds. The first 30 mph 25 mile time trial. Hard to imagine that Alf’s time would only have given him joint 21st position in the Lea Valley CC ‘25’ on the E2/25 a couple of weeks ago – some four minutes behind the winner, John Dewey of Team Bottrill/HSS Hire.
Some folks say that last is the worst place to finish in a bike race, others say second place is the heart-breaker. For me it would be fourth place - so near to a medal but so far. And fourth spot was where our boy Douglas Dewey finished in the British Time Trial Championships 2013 at Stewarton on Thursday night.
With our Flatlands boys Douglas Dewey and Llewellyn Kinch heading south to race in France for 2013 we decided we’d best have a word with Rayner Fund rider Joshua Cunningham to see what’s happening in Belgium?
Stuart Balfour’s win in the supporting u23 race to the GP Ouest France Plouay, one of the most prestigious amateur in France, was special. The Dave Rayner Fund thought so too and made him their ‘Rider of the Year.’ As well as his Plouay success he won in Montpichon and at the Ronde Briochine; he was top 20 in the tough Kreiz Breizh UCI stage race and top 10 in the Tour de la Manche.
There was an unexpected but nice result recently from a man who’s better known as a Flanders flat lands protagonist, AN Posts’s Mark McNally - his winning the King of the Mountains in the Tour of Britain. With the Vuelta dominating and the Tour of Britain news more focussed on what Cav didn’t do; Alex Dowsett’s brilliant ride to grab – but subsequently lose - yellow; and Wiggins’ fast - but not fast enough - time trial, McNally’s ride was over shadowed.
Kristoff was no surprise to us – especially with Paolini as his wingman; Cancellara – enough said. But the man on the third step of the podium was a big – and it must be said, pleasant – surprise, Sky’s Ben Swift, back from the wilderness. Last season was compromised by injury picked up in 2012 and subsequent surgery but there were green shoots of recovery to be seen at the start of this season – two podiums and a top ten in Nokere.
What have Geraint Thomas, Adam Blythe and new sprint star – he was only narrowly beaten by Boonen at Kuurne – Moreno Hofland all got in common? There’s a clue above in the place name: they’ve all won the junior Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. And adding to that illustrious list is another Englishman; 17 year-old James Shaw from Heanor in Derbyshire, he rides for HARIBO Beacon Cycling Team in the UK and took the honours with a perfectly timed move in the finale of one of the world’s premier junior races.
Many of you will have been there and will have your own race report inside your head but just to remind you:
“Stannard and Fenn go clear on lap one; Millar, Kennaugh, Swift and Cavendish chase and eventually bridge up; those six are the race; Swift and Fenn run out of gas and slide off; Kennaugh gets dropped on the last lap; Cav leaves Stannard and Millar in his jet wash over the last 350 metres in Glasgow Green to be crowned British Champion.”
Here’s the VeloVeritas take on our Sunday in the City by the Clyde, or as it goes in The Gaelic, 'The Dear Green Place.'
Dan Patten has been a regular blogger on our site over the years. Dan came late to cycling, a talented runner but a niggling injury saw him turn to the bike. His first race was in July 2006, it took him 10 races to get his first win. We’ve always respected his single mindedness in pursuing his ‘Flatlands Dream’ – but for 2013 it’s ‘all change’ for the man from Essex.
Despite the fact David Bolland is only 23 years-old he’s been involved in the sport for some 17 years. He’s done most things; ridden UK road races, won a British Grass title, jousted with the Kermis Kings in the Flatlands and East European hard men in Polska - most recently he’s ridden the British Points Race Championships, finishing not so far from the podium in fifth spot.
Where do the World's Top Riders come from? It creeps up on you, the need, nae, the burning desire to rant. The last straw was Chris Froome's comments about the Tour organiser's intention to include cobbles in the 2014 race. Chris isn't keen - he wants just long, flat time trials and mountain stages; but we guess he's OK with the sprinter stages. too?