I was chatting to a friend the other day who expressed how sad he was about the whole Lance Armstrong situation; I think that is something we can all agree on... Heroes, Heroism and Amorality. Then later in the conversation he went on to say how he hoped Sky were clean, thus setting himself up for more potential sadness and disappointment.
There is no doubt that British cycling is alive and well at the highest echelons of performance - Britons won the Tour, the world champs and pretty much the entire velodrome; there's also no doubt that British cycling is alive and kicking at the grass roots level too - membership has doubled since 2007. It makes sense to assume that all is well in between, too, right? Unfortunately not; BC is the governing body for beginner’s racing, Regional racing (2nd and 3rd cats), all levels of women's road racing, National level racing (Elites and 1st cats) and the semi professional/professional teams below Sky. All of these parts of the sport are in trouble - but particularly at the higher end.
You all know the story by now, Phil Hindes didn’t like his start in the team sprint so he deliberately fell off to get a restart. The rule exists so that if you fall off or pull your foot out you get a second shot, it’s like the second serve in tennis.
I have chronic-doping-scandal-fatigue. We always knew that Lance Armstrong literally had a never-say-die attitude. Perhaps in recent days this fact has become more abundantly clear even than when he was actually on his deathbed. He’s had a lawsuit chucked out of court within a few hours of submitting it because it was so terrible; it was for a restraining order against the US anti-doping agency. It was 80 pages long and contained “improper argument, rhetoric, [and] irrelevant material”, not my words, the judge’s. Lance Armstrong just got benchslapped.
It’s been a while since David McLean posted, he intended to do something a little more regularly but unfortunately he's been preoccupied with health problems for much longer than expected.
On Wednesday I shall be riding the UCI 2.2 Tour of Hellas which so far as I can tell is basically the Tour of Greece. There are five stages in all and they are all fairly hilly but not too steep, which is good for me (if I am riding well).
When you see riders ‘making the grade’ in France do you ever wonder how the connection was made, how they came to have a ride and a roof over their head in La Belle France? A man who’s been responsible for more than a few British riders - including Jacob Vaughan, who we interviewed recently - getting their chance in The Republic is Monsieur Christophe Andre.
Talent isn’t the only quality you need to ‘make it’ in cycling, Lady Luck plays a big part; 'right time, right place', but of vital importance is persistence. As Winston Churchill said; ‘never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never.’ Former British Junior Road Race Champion, Jacob Vaughan must have read that quotation.
In April 1978 my pal Dave and I stopped off in the north of England to watch the English pros in action at the Lancaster Grand Prix. Sitting in rare north of England spring sunshine to watch the race we were surprised and excited when Falcon pro, Nigel Dean chose our patch of grass to call it a day and sit and happily chat away to us for an age. It’s taken us a while to catch up with him again...
It was with great sadness that we learnt this week about the passing of Craig Hardie, a living legend in Scottish cycling and beyond as a successful rider, true character, and popular bike shop owner, but so much more than that too. Originally from Dalgety Bay in Fife, Craig was a long-time member and stalwart of the Dunfermline Cycling Club and enjoyed a stellar cycling career.