Sunday, November 28, 2021

Diaries

Kasper Keeps Cool in Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2020

I love the drive from Gent up to Kuurne for the Kuurne Brussels Kuurne semi-classic... staring out of the car window at the fields, the canals, tree-lined avenues, the steeples, tiny concrete roads that would be great to explore on the bike. There was a little rain on the way up but by the time we got to Kuurne it was a mild, sunny morning; ideal for wandering down the main drag where the busses line up and checking out 2020’s new hardware.

Roadside at Het Nieuwsblad 2020

We're roadside at Het Nieuwsblad 2020; since the race went World Tour the start just isn’t the same; the buses used to line up in the street, you could look at the bikes right until start time and brush shoulders with the riders as they pedalled to the sign-on. Not now, whilst some of the buses park up outside, the majority park in the huge 30’s exhibition hall adjacent to the Kuipke Velodrome in Ghent...

Havik and Van Schip top the Copenhagen Three Day

From the very first chase there was little doubt about who was in charge of the Copenhagen Three Day 2020; Dutchmen Jan Van Schip and Yoeri Havik were the strongest men on the track. In the recent UCI World Cup in Milton, Canada Van Schip won the Omnium then teamed up with Havik to win the Madison – so we knew they were on form.

Bremen Six Day 2020; the Second Half

‘Easy like Sunday morning,’ said the Commodores – you got that one wrong guys. The racing here at the Bremen Six Day 2020 finished at 02:00 am with the guys back on those nice new boards at 12:35. In the meantime, the pee pails have to be emptied and disinfected; the washing done for four guys – each with shorts, three under vests, three jerseys, socks and mitts – then dried, folded and laid out...

Bremen Six Day 2020; the First Three Nights

Patti Smith is telling me at pain threshold levels; ‘because the night belongs to lovers.’ No girl! It belongs to that bed in the camper van which I’m using my last dregs of energy to reach. The racing may be over for the night at the Bremen Six Day 2020 but the party is 100% ON, Bremen isn’t called the ‘Party Six’ for nothing.

Rotterdam Six Day 2020 Finale

Ed parachuted in to the Rotterdam Six Day 2020 on Tuesday afternoon to help Kris break camp and load the camper in anticipation of driving up to Bremen and the Six Day which started there on Thursday evening. When you wander up the tunnel stairs and into the track centre at Rotterdam with the u23’s hurtling round, the lights blazing and the PA pumping it’s still damn cool...

World Road Championships – Mads Pederson surprises to win the Elite Mens’ Road Race

Denmark’s Mads Pederson drops to the wet Yorkshire tarmac, a hundred metres past the finish line, he can’t take in what he’s just accomplished. He has out-sprinted one of the foxiest and fastest men around, Matteo Trentin of Italy - the hot pre-race favourites for the title on this horror of a day.

World Road Championships – Annemiek Van Vleuten solos to Victory in the Womens’ Road Race

Annemiek Van Vleuten crosses the line after a 60 mile solo – local legend, the late, great Beryl Burton would be proud of this ride on her Yorkshire roads. The Orange-woman is immediately mobbed by a pack of feral photogs, but instead of being led away by the UCI podium guys, she effects a tricky clamber over the barriers and into the arms of mum and dad for a huge embrace.

World Road Championships – Controversy at the U23 Men Road Race as Nils Eeekhoff DQ’d

There was controversy today; none of us – including Pidcock – knew that the ‘jury was out’ on big Dutchman, Nils Eeekhoff’s ‘victory.’

World Road Championships – Quinn Simmons Solo in the Junior Men Road Race

A cracking ride from 18 year-old bearded American Quinn Simmons, a barn door of a man who goes to World Tour team Trek Segafredo for 2020. We were roadside to take in the action.

World Road Championships – Rohan Dennis wins the Elite Men Time Trial

How did we do with our Worlds Elite Men Time Trial pre-race predictions? Well, to start with, we weren’t sure if the slim Aussie Rohan Dennis could come back from his pre-Tour time trial abandon – but it’s amazing what a couple of months with a sport psychologist can do and the tattooed chrono specialist was in a class of his own...

La Vuelta 2019 – Stage 4; Angel Madrazo flies to El Puig

As a wise man once said; “all good things must come to an end,” and the salida of Stage Four was our last couple of hours on the 2019 Vuelta. We’d planned a certain ‘shape’ of piece, which finished with a fantastic win for Angel Madrazo, but events of that stage and Thursday’s Stage Six rather over took our plans as abandons dominated the news.

La Vuelta 2019 – Stage 3; Ibi > Alicante, Sam Bennett Storms In

Stage Three heads back into the hills; Ibi to Alicante over 188 kilometres, not as tough as Stage Two but with two third cat. climbs, the Puertos de Biar and Tibo – due to the geography of the stage we chose the latter.

La Vuelta 2019 – Stage 2; Nairo Quintana Escapes into Calpe

Today’s stage started in Benidorm, not beside the sea but on the north side of town, away from the football strip clad, burnt red, stag and hen madness and the karaoke bars. We caught the action at three spots before Nairo Quintana stormed into Calpe for a tremendous win.

La Vuelta 2019 – Stage 1; Salinas de Torrevieja > Torrevieja TTT

VeloVeritas is back at a Grand Tour, La Vuelta 2019. This year it kicks off with a super-fast team test around the salt lagoons of Torrevieja before heading straight into the mountains on stage two - no 'easing in' to this race. Martin and Ed have taken advantage of the hospitality of VV amigo and local resident, Al Hamilton - formerly of the Dear Green Place that is Glasgow - to catch the primero quatro tappas.

Milan – Sanremo, 10 Years Ago…

Hard to believe but it's 10 years ago that we popped over to Italy to cover Milan - Sanremo. The day before the race we visited Ciclismo Masi in his workshop under the famous Vorelli Velodrome banking, we spoke to Lance Armstrong at his press conference, ate amazing pizza. Then on race day-morning we watched with interest as Dave Brailsford met Ernesto Colnago for a coffee and a chat about supplying equipment to his fledgling new team, Sky Pro Cycling and chatted to riders including eventual winner Mark Cavendish at the buses...

Bob Jungels Solos Victorious in Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2019

Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne UCI 1.1 HC is the bridesmaid to Het Nieuwsblad’s UCI WT bride but it’s a race with a long history dating back to 1946 and has some interesting winners including Roger De Vlaeminck, Patrick Sercu, Johan Museeuw, George Hincapie, Cav – and a certain Patrick Lefevere in 1978.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019 – Zdeněk Štybar Solos In

It is pretty cool to watch the team wagons roll in for the start of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019, very military - but the diesel fumes aren’t so much fun. The teams do their best to keep saddos like us away from the bikes with those tapes they use outside night clubs – no creds for us for this race, we’re just fans – so you have to make do with the ‘B’ bikes on the team car roofs for...

Flatlands Friday – Preparing for Het Nieuwsblad 2019 and KBK

It's the start of the season proper with UCI World Tour Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday and UCI 1.1 HC Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday. It was a tad savage when the alarm blasted at 03:10 on Friday but on the other side of the scales we were on Belgian soil bright and early.

Copenhagen Six Day 2019 – Nights Four, Five and Six

Just about everyone – except us – was late to the track on Sunday afternoon for the Copenhagen Six Day 2019; no surprise after a late Friday, early Saturday then late Saturday. There was a definite lethargic vibe in the cabins not helped by us losing Achim to a bad throat – he came in to see the doctor and organiser but looked terrible and Kris took him back to the hotel.

Charlie Quarterman – National ’10’ Champion and a Two Year Contract with Trek Segafredo

It’s been a big week for 20 year-old Oxford man, Charlie Quarterman; he won the British 10 mile time trial championship, promoted under Cycling Time Trial rules and just days later it was announced he has a stagiaire ride with Trek Segafredo for the remainder of 2019 running through into a two year contract.