If you're a VeloVeritas regular you'll be aware that we take full advantage of our, "right to rant." Freedom of Speech is something we take for granted in a Western Democracy. But recent events in Paris remind us that it's a principle which people surrender their lives to uphold.
We learnt recently that Ernie Mitchell, or 'E.V.' as he was known, Scottish star of the 1950's has passed away. As a tribute to him we thought we would re-run the interview he gave us last year where he told us about being the first man in the country to break the two-hour mark for 50 miles, virtually owning the pursuit crown and motor pacing behind his brother's bus ...
I wasn’t privileged enough to call Alan Hewitt a close friend but he was certainly a pal and on the infrequent – unfortunately for me - occasions I met him in recent years he would always greet me as a long lost brother with that smile, a hearty chuckle and a big, strong handshake. Alas, there’ll be no more of those.
Matt Rendell narrates much of the Pantani, the Accidental Death of a Cyclist film – but I’m a little puzzled by his ‘Marco the martyr and victim’ stance. In his well researched book – upon which the film is based – "The Death of Marco Pantani", Rendell leaves us in little doubt that the Italian rarely raced ‘clean.’ And Greg Lemond’s pronouncements are hard to fathom; ‘even without the drugs Pantani would have been one of the best’ or words to that effect. That’s from the ‘they were all at it, so what’s the difference?’ – school of thought to which I used to subscribe. There’s a ‘but’ or two to that one, though...
The Copenhagen Six Day is a special race for us here at VeloVeritas – it was the first Six Day we worked at, nearly a decade ago. We’ve built good relationships with Danish riders over that period, especially reigning Danish Elite Road Race Champion, Michael Mørkøv who’s no stranger to our pages. Therefore it was with sadness we received an email from Mr. Henrik Elmgreen – for many years the organiser of the Copenhagen Six Day – to inform us that one of Denmark’s Six Day legends has died.
Six years ago Jason MacIntyre was fatally injured in a collision with a lorry whilst out for an easy ride around his home town of Fort William. Jason had won British Championships in a convincing manner and by doing so - and in the way he conducted himself on and off the bike - he had forced his way into the attentions of British Cycling.
It’s with great sadness that VeloVeritas records the passing of one of the cornerstones of Fife time trialling; Archibald Speed – better known as ‘Archie.’ A doubly sad situation in light of the fact that it’s only a matter of weeks since we penned our tribute to his son Alistair, the victim of a fatal rear-end impact from a Vauxhall Corsa on the Strathmiglo road, whilst out for a run on his bike.
It is with sadness that we record that Scottish Cycle Sport has lost one of it’s stalwarts. Alistair Speed - son of Scottish veteran’s 24 hour time trial record holder, Archie Speed – has died following a collision with a car on the A91 between Strathmiglo and Gateside, a road he trained and raced on many times.
Here at VeloVeritas we were saddened to hear of the recent loss of one of the names from our youth. Former French professional champion and Tour de France ace Raymond Delisle died recently at the age of 70. One of those super cool Peugeot riders from the late 60's and early 70's with names like Pingeon, Thevenet, Danguillaume, Ovion - and Delisle, they even sounded classy.
Friday 19th April was a sad day if you're a Six Day fan; Denmark's best-ever Six Day rider, Palle Lykke died in Belgium at 76 years-of-age. Born in Denmark in 1936 Lykke won 21 Six Days between 1958 and 1967 - Aarhus, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Bremen, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dortmund, Frankfurt, London, Montreal, Munster and Zürich all fell to the handsome man from Ringe.
Despite the Lance Armstrong Scandal, it’s not hard to dislike Lance Armstrong; he’s arrogant, controlling, self-obsessed, hypocritical and brought to cycling the horrors of bodyguards, blacked-out SUV windows, black socks and celebrity visits to the Tour de France.
Representatives from British Cycling, UK Sport and EventScotland visited the Belgian city of Liège this weekend for the Grand Depart of the 2012 Tour de France. With a proposal for the opening stages of the 2017 event being developed, the British partnership experienced the spectacular the Tour first-hand.
Cycling’s world governing body Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), have today announced that Glasgow’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome will host a round of the 2012/13 UCI Track World Cup series, which will see British Cycling deliver an event in which the world’s best riders compete at the venue for the first time.
It might be the middle of crit season, but the organisers of this Sunday's South Carrick David Bell Memorial in Girvan are delighted to have secured the strongest lineup in the race’s history.
World Champion and new Team Pursuit World Record holder, Geraint Thomas MBE, returned to Wales to take on the route of the Etape Cymru yesterday.
The University of Lincoln continues its support for the ever popular Lincoln Grand Prix Cycle Race by extending its previous year supporting sponsorship to become the event's main sponsor in 2012, for the 57th edition of the event on Sunday the 13th of May.
We're pleased to be able to present our relaunched site, now renamed "VeloVeritas" (ie. the truth about cycle racing and racers). We aim to provide you with truthful, accurate, unique and informative articles about the sport we love, and we'll do that by covering all aspects of cycling by being there, in the mix: from the local "10" mile time trial to the world-famous professional "monuments" - classics like Milan-SanRemo and the Tour of Lombardy, to the World Championships, the winter Six-Days and the Grand Tours - the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España.
Wouter Weylandt tragically lost his life today, in a crash on the twisty, steep dangerous descent of the Passo del Bocco climb, about 12.4-miles from the finish of stage three of the Giro. The briefest of pictures of the scene were shown on live TV before the broadcasting director wisely stopped showing any more, but that was enough to be able to tell that the situation was grave.
Less than a month after the death of Peter Post, Dutch cycling has lost another of its 'Greats' with the news that Fedor Den Hertog succumbed on Saturday 12th February, after a long battle with illness. For anyone involved in cycle sport in the late 60's and early 70's, amateur Den Hertog's name was as well known as any of the top professionals.
Grant Ferguson is better known for his cyclo-cross and MTB activities but he took an excellent 13th place on GC in Australia’s oldest stage race – The Herald Sun Tour which was won in it’s 62nd year by Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE. Ferguson was just one second behind Serge Pauwels (MTN) in 12th place and seven seconds away from former Italian Champion Franco Pellizotti (Androni) in ninth spot. The Peebles man stayed on ‘down under’ for some warm weather training but gave us a shout when he got back to his base in tropical ... Sheffield.
It’s that time again when I go from being that old weirdo who’s always going to bike races no one has heard of to the ‘go to guy’ (I do hate that expression) – yeah, you’ve guessed; 'Brailsford, corticosteroids, package, Sky, Wiggo'... I’ve lived through all the doping scandals; Festina, Riis, Pantani, Lance, Tyler, Floyd and the fact is that just like that 1976 disco classic by Bugatti and Musker contends, ‘Ain’t no Smoke Without Fire.’ The pattern is always the same, revelation, vehement denial, steady drip of more damning facts and finally there’s a tearful confession or a ‘guilty’ verdict.
The Friday evening prior to the Grand Depart at Mont-Saint-Michel, we're in the Amritsar Indian restaurant in Kirkcaldy – Callum, Dave and I agree that Cav has won his last Tour de France stage, Kittel and Greipel will be the men, and that the 32 stage wins record of Merckx is safe – as is Hinault’s second spot on 28 stage wins. Mark will have to be happy with his 26 bouquets. Not for the first or last time, the little chap from the middle of the Irish Sea made us eat our words; "Cav can never win Milan-Sanremo..."
Nico Mattan was in the DFL team car with Evan at the Tour of Britain 2007, having his first taste of Kendal mint cake when I rang on Friday; we'll hear more wisdom from Nico later, but he did like the mint cake. Nico does love his beer. He DNF'd today, so will likely be home enjoying a lovely cold Leffe Blonde as you read this.
South African-sponsored professional cycling outfit, Team Barloworld, today received and accepted their wildcard invitation to ride the most prestigious cycle race in the world, the Tour de France, in July 2007. Entry into the Tour de France is extended by invitation only to the best of the world's professional cycling teams. Team Barloworld have had a phenomenal start to the 2007 cycling season, and are leading the 66 team UCI Professional Continental rankings.