We headed to Bourg-les-Valence today, but first, Big Macs... they may pig you out towards an early grave, but damn, the wi-fi is good in there! Thursday was hectic, finished off with a train journey via Carstairs - I was a bit worried they might grab me - to Penrith, where I was meeting Dave to head to Stansted and La Belle France.
It couldn't go on like that. Men can only 'death race' for so long and then they need a 'blaw.' Today, on the stage out of Chambery, they took the chance to lean on their shovels and left the minnows to grab the glory. I really didn't expect to see the finalé but when the box kindled up, there it was - with 12 K to go and a race average of 34 kph.
Before we talk about today’s stage from Morzine-Avoriaz, let’s spare a moment to remember the man who died on this day, July 13th 1967 on Mount Ventoux, Provence — world champion, winner of Paris - Nice, Milan — Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders and the Tour of Lombardy. Tom Simpson is sadly missed but a legend, never to be forgotten.
Dear VV readers, we present our TdF2010 Rest Day Rant. It started when Vik phoned; "Have you seen the Sky website? "Bradley was limiting his losses, ho, ho, ho!"
Great racing today to Morzine-Avoriaz, and whatever Astana pay Paolo Tiralongo (Italia) and Daniel Navarro (Espana), it's not enough. Tiralongo has been around a long time, third in the Baby Giro in 1998 he turned pro in 2000 and arrived at Astana this year after three years with Fassa, three with Panaria and four with Lampre.
Chavanel! A great day for him and QuickStep - their second stage, the maillot jaune regained and the polka dot jersey retained in gallant fashion.
We're in Montargis today, talking about Mark Renshaw; he has some nice wins in his palmares; the 2006 Tro Bro Leon, a stage in the 2008 Franco Belge and a hand in shattering Garmin's dreams to win the TTT in the 2009 Giro.
Nice to have to you back, Mark! Columbia didn't dominate the finale here at Le Tour de France Stage 5 - Garmin did that - but the men in white and yellow did a huge amount of the work in the last hour. Renshaw was brilliant, not afraid to exchange bumps with Hushovd and weaving through Hunter and Farrar with ease, taking time in the chaos to calmly look back to check that Cav was where he was meant to be - ice cool!
Le Tour de France Stage 4 from Cambrai and Dean was good, very good, team mate Hunter finished fastest, swooshing clear of them all - but after the line. Garmin sprinter patron Tyler Farrar sat up to peer over the sea of heaving numbers to see how his boys had done.
That's better! Hushovd gets his revenge through Arenberg, heroics from Hesjedal, great team work from Saxo and Cervelo, Andy Schleck stops being a mummy's boy, Geraint under scores his arrival and gets a Skoda Yeti and a white jersey, Contador does just fine for an 'ineffectual Spanish climber' and a bad day for Lance.
Le Tour de France 2010 'Ride to rule,' 'rider protest,' or 'strike' - file all under, 'PR disaster.' Once again it was Viktor with the quote of the day; 'Tour Feminine.' Dave Chapman only needed one word; 'farce!'
Today's stage leaves from Rotterdam... but first; I didn't used to be a fan - but I guess that was just because he was one of the few who could beat my idol, Super Mario - but now I'm a confirmed Ale Jet admirer. Depending on which reference site you chose he's had 156 - or is it 169 wins?
We have a look at the Edinburgh Nocturne in this article, but first, once again VeloVeritas finds itself in the ‘emperor’s new clothes’ situation — last year at the Worlds, we were about the only ones to point out that Brad heaving his bike after a mechanical in the TT was not particularly good patter.
Another race, another Endura clean sweep on a glorious day for the David Bell Memorial Road Race at picturesque Straiton; Evan Oliphant winning solo from team mates Ross Creber and Gary Hand; these two crossing the line hand in hand to remind us of their team's spirit - as if we'd forget?
Arthur Doyle, (Dooleys) comfortably retained his Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championship 2010 title with 52:54 on a cool but mostly dry Sunday morning around the verdant Howe of Fife, second was the man on the big fixed gear who was the surprise of the 2009 ten mile champs, Peter Ettles (Sandy Wallace Cycles) with 54:07-surprise this time was Philip Kelman (Deeside) with 54:44 off an early number 45 start. VeloVeritas didn't arrive until number 92 was on the line, so apologies to Mr. Kelman for the lack of photographic evidence. However, we were up at 06:00 am on Sunday to edit yesterday's road race pictures; we weren't slacking...
Evan Oliphant (Endura) lead his team to a whitewash of the Scottish Road Race Championship 2010 on Saturday afternoon over a sunny but windswept course near Eaglesham. Track and criterium specialist, James McCallum was second with the man who so much wanted to win - Gary Hand, in third spot.
Thursday 11:00 pm and the Giro is just a memory. Reality, work, bills and the Transit; tomorrow, Dan Fleeman is coming up for the Sam Robinson - best grab some sleep. Friday 07:00 am - where am I?
Stuart Moran (Perth United) made it a successful trip to East Lothian for the Humbie Mountain Time Trial 2010 today, taking the win over a hard two-lap circuit by 20 seconds.
On a lovely sunny afternoon, Arthur Doyle (Dooleys Cycles) rocketed around the Scottish Championship 10 mile course at Corpach outside Fort William to take the gold medal for the third year in a row. Arthur also won the fabulous Jason MacIntyre Memorial Trophy, awarded in memory of Jason who was tragically killed just over two years ago and who was the winner of 'the 10' himself four years back.
James Cusick (Glasgow Couriers) showed the rest of the field how to ride a hilly, chilly 20 mile time trial, this one around the picturesque Tour of the Meldons 2010 in the Scottish Borders.
"I didn't have good legs," said Tyler Farrar after his surprise victory in the Scheldeprijs today,"but my team did such a great job that I felt I had to give something back in the sprint."
We're off to the first edition of the Tour Doon Hame. I grew up with 'The Girvan' - in fact, it took me a long time to stop myself from referring to it as the 'Grant's of Girvan.' Ronnie Boa won it way back when; Henk Lubberding won a stage, Sean Yates, Dave Lloyd, Tony Doyle, all famous names to associate with Girvan.
Alan Thomson (Glasgow Couriers) was run pretty close by his teammate Barry McGurk for the win in the Gordon Arms Mountain Time Trial, a hilly time trial run by the Gala CC near Melrose in the Scottish borders. With Euan Pope backing them up in fourth place, the team prize was never going anywhere else.
Fabian Cancellara rode a clever race to take his first Ronde van Vlaanderen this afternoon, making sure he was always in the important part of the peloton, biding his time perfectly, and attacking with such force that only Tom Boonen could go with him.
The first Super Six of the year was held at Gifford on Saturday, to our shame, VeloVeritas were not in attendance. But we've tried to make amends by interviewing third placed Rab Wardell.
Kazakh rider Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) could barely raise an arm in victory at the Montepaschi Strade Bianche, after a crash earlier in the day, and five hours of hard racing over the Tuscan dirt roads. Thomas Löfkvist (Team Sky) attacked the remains of the front group of 11 men as they got to within 6km of Siena, knowing that a good placing in the final few corners were vital if he was going to repeat his win of last year.
Revolution: In a full programme of racing, Sir Chris Hoy showed he's ready for the forthcoming World Championships and happy with his form by posting the fastest 200m time, and then beating Jason Kenny in the final of the sprint, but, as he told us, he "had to pull his ring out" to do so. The pair nearly took each other out with several no-nonsense switches.
Robbie Mcewen, Oscar Freire, Linus Gedermann, Rui Costa, and Andre Greipel took the five one-day races that make up the Challenge Ciclista a Mallorca, which suffered from the weather like other events around the Med. Great to see Jens Voigt back in action and winning a competition too.
Wednesday morning in the camper van, long straights of grey motorway tarmac through a flat, snow blanketed landscape, minus three, no sunshine, just more grey above us; in all the times I've worked at the Copenhagen Six Day 2010 Six, I don't think I've ever seen the sun.
There I was, sitting track side at the Copenhagen Six Day 2010 getting my copy up to date and the BlackBerry rings - Viktor. "I've just seen the stage from Qatar; Boasson Hagen punctured and the rest of them are nowhere to be seen!"
I decided not to mention the demise of Franco Ballerini in my reports; a Six is a joyous thing and it's hard to write about a tragic death and be upbeat. All I would say is that he was a man; any Italian who can come to the North and win the biggest races, has my respect. His work as Italian boss was excellent; probably the best drilled national team in the World.
My buddy, John Hardie is a 65 time Scottish grass track champion; his hero 'back in the day' was Danny Clark. When he heard that 'Six Day King' Danny Clark and me were breakfasting together at Copenhagen, it wasn't long before the email arrived with the questions he wanted me to ask the great man.
Maybe it was all those minds thinking; 'I hate split sessions' that made the access panel in the track jam? In fact, it was an electrical fault, caused by someone who didn't understand the procedure for shutting the big sliding panel in the track's back straight that meant the Saturday afternoon session was cancelled.
It was Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis), who 24-hours earlier was relegated for missing out a part of the route, who claimed the GC win. Race leader Arnaud Molmy (Roubaix Lille Metropole) and many others failed to start the last day after a stomach virus spread through the bunch overnight.
'For me, that was the hardest chase of the winter!' The words of Franco Marvulli as he flopped onto the bench in his track side cabin, after he'd just won the night's closing 60 minute madison with Bruno Risi, here at the Copenhagen Six Day.
It's 01:41 Day One at the Copenhagen Six Day 2010 and I've decided to rattle off a few lines before I succumb to the coma that surely awaits me. It wasn't vintage racing tonight; there wasn't much of a crowd, the whole bunch looked like it was pedalling in mud and Franco said he'd never seen Bruno struggle the way he did in the first chase.
On my way to the Copenhagen Six Day 2010 and Scotland was beautiful this morning, the views from the window of the British Midland jet were stunning, the Pentlands covered in snow, the 'terriers head' of Fife framed by the Forth and Tay; the Isle of May seeming to hover in the air, guarding the mouth of the Forth.
We're pleased to help announce the launch of the 2010 British Downhill Series (BDS), the only National race series in the World with UCI ranking points, £10,000 in prize money and over :£15,000 in prizes. Formerly the NPS the "British Downhill Series" is the new name for the Nationals. A new Decade and a brand new race series for you to get your tyres dug into.
The La Vuelta a España 2010 presentation was in Sevilla this year (normally Madrid), the start town of next year's race. Some of the old stars of cycling where in attendance; Thevenet, Olano, Hinault and introducing the show Pedro Delgado. Hinault pointed out that one of his hardest day on a bike was the stage to Avila in 1983 which he won stage and overall.
There was no partying at Iljo's dad's bar, De Karper - which is just along the road from the Gent track - for us tonight; we had a ferry to catch. I didn't have time to put together a Day Five piece, today. We were up at 09:00 for the 13:00 start; usually I spend the early afternoon writing, but today I couldn't, although I did manage to get the Day Five pictures away as the under 23 lads prepared for action.
Viktor has been keeping in touch, he was going to come over but couldn't get a flight. 'Is that Bruno's wee brother's bike he's on?' He does have a point, with carbon frame manufacture, one of the biggest costs is to produce the moulds.
The Belgian papers are something else. Whilst you do get superb cycling coverage; in yesterday's 'De Gentenaar' we had to endure a colour photograph of a fatal road accident, complete with burnt out car and mangled push bike; a racist photo manipulation of Michelle Obama as a character from Planet of the Apes and images from a slaughter house, including a cow getting it's head chopped off - I'll stick with the Guardian.
It's different here; the butcher asks you how Keisse is doing in the six and the local paper has Iljo in full colour, on the cover. In the same paper - De Gentenaar - which is a local 'rag,' there's a two page guide to track racing and two pages of stats on the 2009 season.
It was 1975 when Dave, Don, Ed the Pole and yours truly first climbed the concrete stairs to get our first sight of the legendary boards of Gent velodrome. I still remember the smells; derny exhaust, pee, frying food and beer! Having spent my formative years riding time trials and road races (badly !) in the wilds of Scotland, with sheep as the main audience, I was fascinated by the spectacle.
Compared to the wide open 210 metre pastures of Grenoble, at 166 metres, the Gent track does look tiny; the bankings aren't really steep enough and you can't ride the top 400 mm of the track, because the crash barriers overlap the boards by that much.
It's easy to write an obituary when one of your heroes dies - probably more so if you don't know them well. There's just the legend, palmares, anecdotes and the sadness. But I knew Dimitri De Fauw, not well, but I worked at maybe half-a-dozen Six Day races where he was riding.
Noon, local time, on the Easyjet flight out of Geneva. The race finished at midnight and we were on the autoroute for around 12:45 am - that's a record. The hotel bed in Geneva was blissful, the 'transporter pod' in the motor home is all very well, but crisp, clean sheets and a proper mattress - lovely!
Bar Clemenceau was open again today, for our afternoon 'snifter.' The bar tender must have had a heavy Sunday session, he was asleep at one of his own tables. I went for a Ricard today; it reminded me of the time John and I were in the Bar Britanique on Alpe d'Huez. We drank so much pastis that we only just made it outside in time to catch Pantani on his way to the stage win - those were the days!
The cheer from the cabin next door to ours - below the Grenoble velodrome - told us that the result Flanders had been holding it's breath for, had arrived. Belgium's number one Six Day man, Iljo Keisse's 'positif' in the 2008 Gent six day race has been dismissed on the grounds of 'insufficient evidence.' "Cathine was not found in the 'B' sample and HCT was there in quantities so small as to have no effect on performance."
I had a great dream last night after day four; I won a mountain stage of the Tour, I was on my way to the press conference when I woke up - maybe just as well, knowing my luck it would be one of my ex-wives asking the questions. Four days down and two to go, the racing wasn't too intense; there are a lot of 'tired laddies' on that track.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.