We recently ran or tribute to the late, great 'Big Bert' Oosterbosch. It was so well received by our readers that we thought we should re-run a piece from a few years ago which pays tribute to another Dutch chrono and pursuit king - the late, great Roy Schuiten.
Flavio Zappi plays down his own career on the bike but in a time and place where it was hard to get a pro contract and then sometimes even harder to achieve contract renewal after one season, if the results weren’t there or your face didn’t fit, he rode numerous seasons at the highest levels of Italian cycle sport.
World Team Time Trial Champion, World Professional Pursuit Champion, Tour de France stage winner, ‘chronoman,’ prologue specialist par excellence and winner of nigh on 100 races, Bert Oosterbosch was straight out of the top drawer.
There I was, researching Peter Doyle’s palmarès for his recent interview with us, checking out his big French win, in the Essor Breton. I was looking at the race’s roll of honour and was surprised to see that Englishman, Jonathan Dayus had won the race twice.
We spoke to Peter Doyle recently, the man from Wicklow who won just about everything there was to win at home, the Shay Elliott Memorial, the National Championship, the Tour of Ireland, the Rás and a raft of other single day and stage races.
Having moved from London in 2016 to Casale Volpe, a small, secluded cycling-orientated B&B in Le Marche region of Central Italy, a gloriously hot July day last summer gave VeloVeritas reader Mike Curtis the chance to meet up and ride, relax and chat over lunch with local ex-pro and gregario di lusso Andrea Tonti.
David Rayner Fund 2018 ‘rider of the year,’ Heriot man, Stuart Balfour was busy post the 2020 ‘lock down’ and season 2021 sees him step up a level to UCI Continental team, Swiss Racing Academy which boasts former multiple World Time Trial and reigning Olympic Time Trial Champion, Fabian Cancellara as it’s patron.
It’s our privilege to have interviewed Mr. Ian Hallam; two Olympic Team Pursuit bronze medals, a Worlds Individual Pursuit silver, a Worlds Team Pursuit silver, two Commonwealth Individual Pursuit golds, a Commonwealth Games Team Pursuit gold, Commonwealth bronze in the Kilometre and 20 Kilometre, and 25 British track titles.
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...
Back in 2017 we had the pleasure of interviewing former six time British Motor Paced Champion, Roy Cox who despite his results not actually showing it was one of the best in the world behind the big motors. It escaped our notice that we had lost Roy, he passed away in 2019 but our friend and contributor, John Purser decided that Roy’s passing should not go unnoticed and helped us with a tribute to his friend and club mate.
In Part Three of the Tim Mountford story we learned what is was like to travel around Europe as part of the Stayer circus, racing behind the big motors as high speeds. In this final, Part Four of Tim's interview, he tells us about some of the secrets to securing race contracts in the European Six Days, his favourite memories of top level track racing, some of the characters he conspired with, deciding to retire and open a chain of bike shops in Silicon Valley, and his induction into the US Cycling Hall of Fame.
In Part Two of the Tim Mountford story we heard how he received his first professional contract on the famous Kuipke boards in Gent, to landing a contract with Peter Post and his TI Raleigh squad, eventually retiring and setting up a bike shop business. Here we roll back a couple of years to find out more about his experiences behind the 'big motors'...
The good news is that Scotland is eligible to field a team in the UCI Track Nations Cup events and encouragingly, we have around a dozen riders vying for a ride. One of those on the squad is 19 year-old Matti Dobbins from Bridge of Weir, who as a junior was a Scottish track champion across multi-disciplines and has been trialling with the GB squad at Manchester, focusing on making the GB and Scottish Team Pursuit squads.
In Part One of the Tim Mountford story we heard how the eighteen year-old Tim was living on his own, sharing a flat with another rider, working at a local bike shop and training for the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, as well as being creating and being the chief editor of a cycling magazine titled the "Southern California Cycling Journal". Tim went on to race in two Olympic Games and competed at world level in the tandem sprint before turning to the Professional Six Day scene and working his way up through various sponsors and contracts to land the biggie; a place on the famous TI Raleigh team managed by the legendary Peter Post.
Tim Mountford was one of the pioneers of US professional cycling in the 60’s and 70’s; he recently gave freely of his time to tell VeloVeritas about his adventures in what was a golden age for European cycling.
When a man named Merckx emails us from The Netherlands and tells us that he likes our website and that he has a collection of 2,300 plus cycling jerseys, we have to pay attention, right?
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.