National Champion of two different nations at the same time? Is that possible? If your name is David Solari then the answer is ‘yes’ – and the man made six Worlds podiums in four different disciplines to boot.
Trinity Racing Team’s young Scot from Linlithgow, Cameron Mason recently finished eighth in the UCI u23 World Cup in Nommay, Eastern France. Cameron spoke to VeloVeritas from his base near Brussels in Belgium the other day to talk mud, tyre pressures and wash days in The Flatlands...
A young man we’ve been meaning to speak to for a while, ‘but never got round to it’ is Aberdonian, Daniel Kain. He can do it all - time test, ride the boards, circuit and road race.
If you look at those sharp black and white cycling pictures from the 70’s and 80’s on social media, beside or behind the featured star rider there’s often an uncredited figure – as likely as not that’ll be the rider’s soigneur. And in the case of some of the biggest stars of the eras from Eddy Merckx to Bradley Wiggins that soigneur is liable to be the gentleman we’re about to present to you; Mr. Pierrot de Wit from Brussels.
It was this time last year when we last spoke to Ross Lamb; he told us he was going to be enjoying a change of scenery in 2019, to the Toulouse suburbs to race with GSC Blagnac–Velo Sport 31. Nice, we thought – but as oor Rabbie said; 'the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley'. In modern parlance; ‘s##t happens!’
It’s taken a wee while to organise the meeting but as befits a man with a lifetime of experience in managing others; teaching and in cycling management, he walks in the door of Starbucks bang on time. Belying his 74 years, Ivy’s Ian Thomson could get away with saying he’s 10 years younger.
Our old friend and former Six Day man, ‘Brit,’ Norman Hill suggested to us that we should ‘have a word’ with the man who was his Six Day ‘runner’ on the winter boards circuit back when there were up to 17 Six Day races every winter, Marvin Smart, who was also an innovator in the field of advertising on the actual track surface – such an important factor in a Six Day organiser’s budget plans.
Scottish professional bike riders are a bit thin on the ground so when we heard that 20 year-old Fifer, Joe Nally - who’s the youngest man ever to win the British Elite Points Race Championship - had signed with Vitus Pro Cycling for 2020 we thought we best ‘have a word.’ We caught up with Joe recently at his training base in Tenerife where he was on a two week block of base rides.
It’s the stuff of cycling folklore; the year was 1987 and a British trade team lined up in Berlin for the start of the world’s biggest bike race. ANC-Halfords was the name on the jersey and the team's presence was largely down to Mickey Morrison, a good amateur rider in the 70’s who brought major sponsors into UK cycling but who’s contribution is largely forgotten...
The new Bahrain McLaren team colour scheme for the team’s jerseys and bikes is hard to miss; but it was the little ‘le col’ logo that interested us. ‘Le Col’ is the clothing company founded and run by British ex-pro, Yanto Barker. We found out more about outfitting a World Tour team and the man behind the brand.
But we’re pretty sure that no 100 mile time trial champion has ever been on the keirin podium? Enter, that man Kyle Gordon – quality time tester, ever-improving pursuiter and now sprinter. We caught up with the man from Alness just before he jetted off to Australia and a round of the UCI Track World Cup.
A year or two ago I was fortunate enough to interview Steele Bishop, World Professional Pursuit Champion in 1983; and then, earlier this year I reviewed his autobiography, 'Wheels of Steele'. When I saw he was competing at Manchester in the 2019 Veteran’s World Track Championships I resolved to keep an eye out; I knew he wouldn’t be there to make up the numbers.
Craig Grieve is the man at the helm of Spokes Cycles, with branches in St. Andrews and Dundee, and manager of the successful junior Spokes Racing Team through which so much talent has passed. Craig raced ‘back in the day’, paying his dues in Belgium and The Netherlands in those 240 rider, warp-speed criteriums.
Felix English gets embarrassed by the memory but he is one of the few men to beat Chris Hoy in a match sprint -back in 2010, in the 1/16th finals of the European Track Championships and now he’s popped back up as a World Cup winner again; in Glasgow he beat some very tasty opposition to take the scratch race.
If you check the palmares websites, Neah Evans' name first pops up in 2015 – just four years later and she’s performing at world level in ladies track cycling as part of the GB ladies team pursuit squad; with her most recent successes coming in the European Team Pursuit Championships and Glasgow World Cup where her squad took gold on both occasions.
It’s not long since we since we spoke to young Scot, Alfie George who’s making a name for himself on the international junior stage. Another young Scotsman who’s doing the same is Oscar Onley who recently landed himself a ride with French ‘feeder’ team, Van Rysel – AG2R La Mondiale. Best ‘have a word’ we thought...
Adding his name to the u23 Gent Six Day roll of honour is Scotland’s Alfie George; the young Scot ran out winner just a few weeks after his fine seventh place in the Junior Worlds Road race in Harrogate and a season which saw him fifth in the junior Paris-Roubaix.
He’s been quiet, that Commonwealth Games Points Race Champion, Mark Stewart lad. But he’s back with a bang - a World Cup Points win in Minsk and a World Cup Omnium silver in Glasgow. Best ‘have a word.’
Peter Junek is a designer and builder of perfect velodrome track surfaces and geometry, such as Cochabamba in Bolivia and Mexico’s Aguascalientes Velodrome. We thought a chat with Peter would be interesting...
25 year-old Ed Laverack [SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling] was the fastest man up Haytor on Dartmor in the CTT National Hill Climb Championship relegating Italian continental Colpack team roadman Paul Double - in the colours of VC Venta - and former champion, Richard Bussell [Aerocoach] into second and third spots respectively.
Paul Double raced with his Italian Colpack team, one of Italy’s strongest continental teams, and yet here he was on Dartmoor securing the silver medal in the British Hill Climb Championship. We heard the story...
“There is life after The Flatlands.” The Worlds, Harrogate last month, and I’m ‘poaching’ those ‘just-past-the-finish-line’ pics that I like to nab. ‘Hey Ed!’ hollers an Irish voice. It’s Ronan McLaughlin.
It’s not just any youngster who gets a ride with the Dutch SEG Racing Academy but ‘Brit’ Harrison Wood, who recently finished a solid top 10 in the Chrono des Nations, will be riding in SEG colours for 2020.
Englishman Dan Bigham is the man behind the highly successful HUUB-Wattbike track team; HUUB manufacture specialist clothing for cycling and triathlons whilst Wattbike manufacture ‘smart’ bikes and indoor trainers. We caught up with Dan just after the HUUB team’s 2020 season launch.
23 year-old student Chris Fennell [Team Independent Pedaler] is the new British 25 Mile Time Trial champion, beating Phil Williams [Liverpool Phoenix CC] by 26 seconds with regular on Scottish roads, Adam Wild [GS Metro] third with 46:57. In true VeloVeritas tradition we ‘had a word.’
Gordon Macrae messaged me the other day to say that he’d seen an interview with Scottish grass track star Charles Fletcher, and whilst it was OK for a lay person to read, perhaps Mr. Fletcher need to be asked some VeloVeritas questions...
Perhaps it was the ‘Scottish’ weather at Harrogate which made the Scots perform so well at the recent World Road Championships? Stuart Balfour spent much of his u23 Championship ‘up the road’ to help set up GB team leader, Tom Pidcock for his eventual bronze medal; Balfour finished in 39th spot.
Alfie George took a fine seventh spot in the Junior Men’s World Championship Road Race just 12 seconds away from the bronze medal. We let the 18 year-old from Dundee thaw and dry out after his Harrogate epic then had a word with him about a season which has also seen him place highly in the Junior Paris-Roubaix and win a European title and three British Championships.
The 2019 Race Across America (RAAM) was won by a man who’s already won it five times previously – the undisputed king of the ultra-distance riders, Austria’s Christoph Strasser. We caught up with Christoph a week or two after his epic ride – by his own admission, the hardest RAAM he has ever participated in.
Two British Veterans’ Championships - and recently the Scottish Criterium championship too - this year? Best ‘have a word’ with that man Martin Lonie...
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.
We spoke to Graham Kemp (Team Bottrill) who recorded 544.32 miles to win the national 24 hour championship, eclipsing Andy Wilkinson’s 2011 total of 541.17 miles.
There’s been a ‘changing of the guard’ in Scottish middle distance time trialling in 2019; Iain Macleod [Aberdeen Wheelers] in the '50' and now the ‘100’ with Andrew Underwood [Carse of Gowrie Velo] topping the podium he stood on a lower step of last year.
This year Marcin Bialoblocki has turned his attention to the 100 mile TT distance, winning the national title before setting out specifically to break competition record in Norfolk, last Sunday, bringing the record close to the scarcely believable 3 hours 10 minutes barrier with a 3:13:37 ride; that’s 31 miles per hour average on a course with 42 roundabouts.
Whilst we reported the men’s race, VeloVeritas didn’t make it up to Alyth in time for the Scottish Ladies Road race Championship on Saturday – ‘real life’ stuff got in the way. Sorry ladies. But we did catch up with winner for the second year, Jennifer George (Torelli-Assure-Madison) a day or two after the race; here’s what she had to say to us.
Iain McLeod? Yes, the new Scottish 50 Mile Time Trial Champion from Aberdeen Wheelers. VeloVeritas caught up with the man the day after his win.
Scottish cycling’s super fan and grass track aficionado, Harry Tweed posted some pics of a gentleman named Cedric Sachet racing on the grass track with a bottle cage and Garmin at Ceres Highland Games, the other week. Purists like me were horrified.
Ben Swift launched a monster kick, leaving Scot, John Archibald to the bronze then zooming past teammate Ian Stannard on his blindside in the streets of Norwich to arrive at the line in solitary splendour and unleash a mighty roar of triumph and relief. We caught up with him at his Isle of Man home on the Tuesday after his win...
Six seconds, that was the margin between five times previous champion, gold medal winner and former World Hour Record Holder, Alex Dowsett [Katusha] and silver medallist, Scotland’s John Archibald [Ribble Pro Cycling] in last week’s British Cycling Time Trial Championship in Norfolk. There's a 'but'...
James MacDonald holds the Lands End to John O'Groats AND BACK record, and recently attempted the 24 Hour Record on a velodrome. It didn't quite go to plan...
The weekend after she’d annexed the Scottish ‘25’ title at Forfar with a sparkling 55:02 ride, just 10 seconds off competition record, Catriona MacGillivray (RT23) sliced 1:06 off the oldest ladies record on the books, Andrea Pogson’s 1998 ‘50’ time of 1:58:33 with a cracking 1:57:27 on the Invergordon course.
VeloVeritas caught up with Kyle Gordon on the Tuesday after his splendid 48 minute ride to the top of the Scottish 25 Mile TT Championship 2019 podium on Sunday at Forfar on a miserable but rapid morning. We chatted about his training, race plans and what it's like to be on the Scottish Cycling programme.
Gary Hand used to be a regular on the pages of VeloVeritas, he raced in France; he was always in the mix in Scottish road races; he was the driving force behind the formation of the powerful Endura team in 2009 and in 2012 achieved a long held goal of winning the Scottish Senior Road race Championship. And he’s back, at the helm of Gran Fondo Scotland.
The pursuit race is the ultimate battle of man against the clock and, in the end, man against man. Once upon the time the pursuit champion was the king of the boards and everyone would know his name. Australian Steele Bishop was one of those men of the '80s.
Former World Scratch and Madison Champion, rapid roadman sprinter, not to mention Berlin, Bremen, Copenhagen, Ghent and Grenoble Six Day winner, Denmark’s Alex Rasmussen happens to be Zwift’s ‘man in Scandinavia’ – no-one better to ask about e-racing.
When we’re not keeping an eye on what’s happening in Northern Europe we have a peek at what’s happening down in la Bella Italia. A young man by the name of Tim James has been posting some solid results down there in the hard fought u23 classics as part of that enthusiastic and characterful man Flavio Zappi’s team.
VeloVeritas caught up with that versatile man, newly crowned Scottish 10 Mile TT Champion, Kyle Gordon [RT23] the day after his near 30 mph ride on the exposed dual carriageway west of Dundee on a bitterly cold Sunday morning.
Two course records obliterated within days of each other over the Easter weekend? It could only be that man John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling). It’s good to see he’s put a disappointing Worlds pursuit behind him - and the margins he’s breaking course records by takes VeloVeritas back to those ‘Obree Days’ when every weekend produced another ‘wow!’
Irish professional, 23 year-old Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes) took third in the UCI 1.1 French Cup, Classic Loire-Atlantique behind French riders, winner Rudy Barbier (Israel Cycling Academy) and man-on-form, multiple recent podium finisher, Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ). We caught up with Rory to hear his tale, before he won the East Cleveland Klondike GP and - just today - finished third in the Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic...
Christina Mackenzie is holder of the British ladies veteran [41 years-old] 24 hour record with 431.64 miles – and she’s currently preparing for an attempt on the End to End, or LEJOG (Lands End to John O’Groats), all 874 miles and 10,373 metres climbing of it. We got in touch to find out more...