Soigneurs; they shouldn’t be too young – they have to have lived a bit; they should be mysterious; surrounded by an aura of camphor and early season changing rooms; of few, gruff words; have hands like shovels... but blonde, cute, smiling, chatty, cheerful, Californian – and a woman? That was – and is – Ms. Shelley Verses, the first female to break into the closed world of pro cycling as a soigneur with Motorola, La Vie Claire, Toshiba and TVM.
Joe Nally is a resilient lad. He's gone out and got himself a ride with French Division Two équipe, Team Elite Restauration 89 based in Toucy for season 2021. Not a bad move in our opinion; the French scene may not be as strong as it once was but it’ll certainly provide more and better racing than Joe would have access to in the UK.
‘Glass ceilings;’ they’re there to be broken through. England’s Cherie Pridham becomes the first female sport director in the World Tour; she’ll be with Israel Start-Up Nation for season 2021.
Harry Tanfield is good at Snakes and Ladders; he went up the ladder from UK continental team Canyon Eisberg to World Tour team, Katusha Alpecin, but that folded. However, he grabbed another ladder to go to French équipe AG2R, there was no contract renewal at the end of season 2020 though, then came the snake as he slid back down to another UK continental team, Ribble-Weldtite, just for a week or two. Now, he’s gone and grabbed a rung again, this time with South African squad Qhubeka-Assos.
It was Keirin and Sprint legend Koichi Nakano’s birthday the other day, 65 years-old. His huge claim to fame is that he won 10 consecutive World Professional Sprint titles. Mention of his name got us thinking that he didn’t really win those titles straight and to find out more we spoke to Gordon Singleton of Canada…
When last we spoke to Mark Stewart, back in April, he’d just been cut adrift from the GB track squad on the strength of an admittedly below par ride in the World Points Race Championship, despite an excellent series of World Cup results over the winter. The other day, when we rang Mark we were back to speaking to ‘our Mark of old’, the new 2020 New Zealand Omnium Champion, full of enthusiasm for life and his sport.
There was never any doubt about Scotsman John Archibald’s talent; but we must lay aside UK results in the context of international racing, they simply don’t count with European team management. At 30 years-of-age our feeling at VeloVeritas was that John’s chances of a contract at the highest level were slim, despite his obvious class, however we’re glad to be proved wrong and John will be racing with Alberto Contador's EOLA-Kometa ProTeam squad next season.
Oscar Onley recently caught the attention of many, including Team Sunweb, with his win at Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc cycle sportive, a mountain time trial that took place on the same course as the final stage of the elite men’s race of the same name. For season 2021 Oscar will be riding with the World Tour Team’s u23 development squad.
Joshua Shubert, on a blowy Monday at the start of November under the strict conditions which apply to RRA record attempts, dipped under three hours for the RRA 100 mile ‘straight out’ time trial, averaging a staggering 2:57:38 - that’s 33.6 mph or 54 kph.
Velodromes, I love them and never cease to be fascinated by the men who create them. Last year we spoke to Czech Maestro, Peter Junek and this time we hear from another man who conjures up those speed bowls where history is made; Dutchman Sander Douma.
Cameron Mason is back in action for the 20/21 'cross season, recently scoring his best result to date – a bronze medal in the European u23 Championship in s’-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands behind World Champion and ‘home boy’ Ryan Kamp and fellow Brit, Thomas Mein.
It’s not every year there’s a Grand Tour taking place at the same time as the European Cyclo-cross Championship but this is ano 2020 and the ‘new normal’ is upon us. The podium places contained more cheer for us ‘Anglos’ with bronze going to Scotsman, Cameron Mason and silver to Englishman, Thomas Mein.
It was two years ago when we first interviewed Bath solicitor, Andrew Feather as CTT National Hill Climb Champion. In 2018, his Championship win was his 12th hill climb success off 15 starts - impressive. But not as impressive as this year with his Championship win the now 35 year-old’s victory was his 15th hill climb win off 15 starts.
Brian Robinson was 90 years-old on November 3rd – here at VeloVeritas we thought we should honour the great man’s anniversary by recalling a couple of interviews we did with him a year or two back.
Harry Tanfield has been prominent in a couple of stages at La Vuelta and rode well to finish last on the Angrilu on Sunday. To celebrate Harry's accomplishment on this hardest of stages and because it's interesting to see the mindset of aspiring riders making good, we present again our chat with him from six years ago when he was making a name for himself in Belgium's kermises.
Englishman Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) took his first Grand Tour win on Stage 12 of La Vuelta a España yesterday, attacking just outside the final kilometer of the legendary Alto de l'Angliru, soloing to the finish in a fantastic display of measured, determined riding.
With little to write about in terms of current Scottish racing we’re staying on the Retro Trail; going back a little before even my time – to the 60’s and Mr. Tony Mills who’s still involved in the sport, helping Dave Rayner Fund riders find their feet in La Belle France.
The ‘Giro Ciclistico d’Italia’ (or ‘Baby Giro’ as it’s popularly known) along with the Tour de l’Avenir and Giro Ciclistico della Valle d’Aosta, is one of the most important stage races in terms of a u23 rider wishing to ‘step up’ to a pro continental or World Tour team. In a sterling 12th overall in this tough race was Scotland’s own Calum Johnston riding for the Holdsworth Zappi Team.
Given events in Milano today we thought you might like to see what the man in the final Giro d'Italia pink jersey, Tao Geoghegan Hart had to say to VeloVeritas some seven years ago... For 2014 the 18 year-old from London was off to follow the path trodden by his mentor, Movistar’s Essex chronoman, Alex Dowsett; heading for the USA under the tutelage of Axel Merckx at Bissell – formerly Trek/Bontrager.
Cameron Richardson ‘crossed over’ from duathlon to cycle racing a couple of season ago, recently won the Tour of the Campsies and recorded a '49' for his first 25 Mile TT. It seems fair to say that this chap has potential…