I'm sitting beside the track, it's nearly 3:00 pm and last night seems like a long time ago. Gianni Meersman and Iljo Keisse are up training, they rattle past every 20 seconds - legs have to be kept loose.
Franco Marvulli, twice world madison and scratch champion, four times winner of the Grenoble six and a winner of 25 sixes in total; Jens-Erik Madsen, world team pursuit champion; Luke Roberts, multiple world team pursuit champion; Iljo Keisse, kermesse star and winner of 11 six days; Leon Van Bon, twice Dutch pro road champion and a Tour and Vuelta stage winner - that's not a bad list for starters.
Arthur Doyle (Dooleys) underlined his superiority as Scotland's short distance TT king, around the Trossachs on a glorious Sunday afternoon with a 96 second margin over Phil Brown (Velo Ecosse) to add the Scottish Olympic TT title to the 10 and 25 crowns which he already wears, and completing a second successful Trossachs campaign to follow last year's decisive win.
- by Janette Hazlett - I rode round the course for the Trossachs time trial the other day - ouch... now I'm feeling just a little bit guilty that I make them race round it! There were no crowds for me on the Duke's Pass - and I was flying up it too, honest!
Some hill climbs boast a long and colourful history, some have gruelling gradients that are talked about in revered tone throughout clubrooms the length & breadth of the country, whilst others claim to have the richest prize list in the UK.
Nationals apart, Gary Hand (Endura) has dominated the Scottish domestic scene in 2009; he continued that superiority with another win in the Super Six Series in the Tour of the Lowther today, on tough roads around Britain's highest village-Wanlockhead.
Ross Creber (Endura) added a top flight 'en ligne' result to his VTT and 'cross palmares with a fine win in the Scottish road race championships over a technical, challenging and windy-but beautifully sunny - 81 miles at Hawick on Saturday afternoon.
VeloVeritas missed the 100 Champs again-we're not men enough to disappear to the Tour for two weekends then vanish to Invergordon at 04:00 the first Sunday we're back.
And now Le Tour de France 2009 is all over; it's Monday morning and we're in a cafe at Montmartre - lucky us, I'm taking care to savour the moment. Even though the coffees are four euros each.
Bonjour! The start starts today in Montereau-Fault-Yonne, but we're not there. Usually I start the VeloVeritas diary for Le Tour de France 2009 in the morning but then have to switch to 'other work' mode for most of the day - going back to poor old VV late in the day, as Martin and I fight off le vieux homme Morpheus.
Today was the famous Mont Ventoux stage... It's 9:00 pm and we're headed for the A7 "Autoroute du Soleil," and the drive north to Paris.
We left Bourgoin-Jallieu this morning, but first a quick run through some of the teams' performances; Cervélo: their Tour has been a good one, Haussler and Hushovd have won stages and Thor has made himself a whole load of new fans by the way he has ridden in pursuit of green.
There's a little breeze fluttering the trees in Annecy, it's mild at 25 degrees but rain is forecast - chrono day. The thing about a Tour time trial is that the conditions I have just described might prevail for first starter, at 11:10, F des J's Belorussian champion and lanterne rouge (now that Kenny has gone home) Yauheni Hutarovich.
It had to be an early start, today for Le Grand-Bornand. To get down to the Bourg-Saint-Maurice start, we had to drive against a section of race route and decided to get away early to beat the closures.
Sitting here in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, perhaps I'm going to revise my opinion that l'Equipe's Tour coverage isn't as good as the Gazzetta's Giro coverage. The Gazzetta looks better, but the L'Equipe goes so deep.
"Armstrong redescend sur terre," says the headline in L'Equipe - 'Armstrong brought back to earth at the Le Tour de France 2009.' Bert dominates the front page, smiling with his "smoking gun" finger held high - VeloVeritas says; "Chapeau, Bert!"
We finished in Verbier today, but first, a little diversion; I've always admired Bradley Wiggins as a pursuiter, but as a roadman, he's never cut the mustard; the cycling saddo's bible, 'Velo' doesn't lie.
"Bonjour," really that should be the German equivalent there of, but my German is even more limited than my French. We spent the night in Freiburg here at Le Tour de France - just across the German border, the hotel room is huge, if a tad Spartan; but that didn't stop us from sleeping like bricks, before starting our day to Besançon.
Bonjour from Colmar! A couple of unrelated items first: I just noticed that the Rolex ad on the back of yesterday's L'Equipe is a picture of Turnberry, with Ailsa Craig in the background - ah! the Auld Country!
Tour de France! Ca va? What does the '0' stand for in 02:30 ? "Oh my God, it's early!" Four hours sleep, as Barry White would say; "it's just not enough!" It's 14:19 and we're on the motorway, near Metz; we just got lost - no excuses, but the signage is grim. Destination Vittel.
'Cav sez; "Gotcha!" to Baz', as the Sun might say if it were to cover Le Tour de France, and today's stage into Saint-Fargeau. It took Barry Hoban a whole career - two decades - to notch up eight Tour stage wins - but they didn't all come from bunch gallops.
I didn’t think that Cav could win the Primavera now, after today's display in Limoges, I think that he can do pretty much anything he puts his mind to within the scope of his physical characteristics. He can win the green jersey on the Champs Elysees in Le Tour de France, Paris - Tours and the Worlds too-when the parcours suits him.
'Armstrong admits "there is tension at Astana's table" - says The Guardian headline today; I'd never have believed that!
As Jean Rene Bernadeau kissed Pierrick Fedrigo after the sharp featured former French champion took the second Bbox stage of the 2009 Tour, from Saint-Gaudens to Tarbes. I think what he said was; “well done son, we’ve all got a job, next year!”
Off no.45, Michael Nicolson (Dooleys RT) never looked like being beaten in the Scottish 50 Mile TT Championship 2009, but a but a clutch of riders fought it our for the minor placings in the mens competition, whilst Jessica Wilson -Young (Edinburgh RC) took a comfortable win in the women's race.
Clever and strong, Luis Leon Sánchez won this afternoon in Stage 8 from Andorre-la-Vieille into Saint-Girons, adding this to his win at Paris-Nice earlier this year.
Neo-pro Brice Feillu (Agritubel) proved the strongest rider today from a group of nine riders who reached the Andorre Arcalis climb together after being at the head of the race for nearly 200km.
Less than one week into its debut Tour, the Cervélo Team scored a sprint victory today with Thor Hushovd in the 181.5km sixth stage to Barcelona. Hushovd battled through rain and slick roads that saw team captain Carlos Sastre fall without major consequences.
Today's fifth stage from Le Cap d'Agde saw the first successful breakaway of this year's Tour. Thomas Voeckler held off the chasing peloton by seven seconds to win out of a five-man escape in the flat but windy 196.5km course from Cap d'Agde to Perpignan. Russian rider Mikhail Ignatiev also held on from the break to claim second with British sprint phenom Mark Cavendish leading the pack snapping at their heels for third.
The team time trial here in Montpellier, it’s beautiful; speed, strength, skill, trust, unity, honour — everything that makes pro bike racing special.
Mark Cavendish soared to his second straight win in the Tour de France today to La Grande-Motte, winning the sprint from a small bunch and strengthening his overall hold on the green jersey.
Mark Cavendish blasted to his first victory of the Tour today at Brignoles, a victory that also places him in the green jersey as the leader of the race's points classification, for the first time in his career.
Lance going off early in the Monaco TT surprised me, but there will be a reason-nothing happens by chance with the man from Plano. The cadence was high and he had the Jenson Button lines on the corners, but somehow he wasn't 'on it.'
Endura's Gary Hand took the July edition of the Scottish Cycling Super 6 2009 over 66 miles at a scorching Aberdeen on Saturday, beating Robin Wilkins from Stirling into second and Craig Adams from Falkirk into third with East of Scotland 'old dog' Andy Matheson grabbing fourth.
Kristian House of Rapha-Condor won, Chris Froome was man of the match and there was plenty of sunshine. That's the British Champs in a nutshell, it really was a great day.
Gavin Shirley (Nevis Cycles RT) made the trip to the Scottish Borders today, and went away with the win in the Edinburgh Road Club promotion, the Lothian Flyer Road Race, narrowly edging out two fast Vets, Chris Brown (Stirling BC) and Steve Nutley (Fife Cycling 2000).
It took Arthur Doyle (Dooleys) just 51:33 to join the likes of Billy Bilsland, Graeme Obree and Jason MacIntyre on the roll of honour for the Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial Championship on a warm but windy Sunday morning on the fast dual carriageway of the A90 Laurencekirk by-pass.
Ross Creber delivered the win for the dominating Endura Race Team in the 44th edition of the Davie Bell Memorial Road Race. Team mate and reigning Scottish Road Champion, Evan Oliphant took 2nd, narrowly edging out visiting James Sampson of the Candi TV — Marshall’s Pasta team.
Organiser Isobel Smith is certainly hoping the recent run of fine weather continues for her race on Sunday morning, the Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial Championship 2009.
Iain Sim (Glasgow Couriers) took a good win today ahead of some very fast riders who are building form for the forthcoming National 25 Champs. A relatively small field this evening at the Bishopton Community Hall, with quite a few riders deciding not to start - most likely due to the unsavoury weather conditions and a major delay on the M8 westbound.
"Lang Whang" is Auld Scots, it means 'long way' - it's fair to say that Endura's Gary Hand was in the break for a lang whang and he won the finishing sprint by a similar margin from wanderer returned, Alex Coutts (I looked at his jersey but the team name looked like Greek to me).
The Face Partnership, the guys behind the Revolution Series on the track, brought an evening of exciting, all-category and professional racing to Edinburgh last night, in the shape of their successful Nocturne format.
A phone call from Craig MacLean the other day; "I'll be up in Edinburgh on Monday morning, to do some promo for the Edinburgh Nocturne races at the end of the month, fancy catching up?" For sure mate. And so I pottered along to the press launch of the Nocturne event today, which centered around an exhibition of roller racing, with the wonderful backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial Championship 2009 - Scottish time trialling came within ten seconds of a major upset on the wind swept tarmac of the A77 near Newton Mearns on Saturday morning as 45 year-old Peter Ettles (Forres) thrashed his 104" fixed gear to within that many seconds of defending 10 mile champion and current short distance king, Arthur Doyle (Dooleys).
The Trossachs in spring, a nice cup of coffee in Aberfoyle, the weather forecast is good, the Sam Robinson Memorial Road Race is always a good race to watch and...
"I hit 'em hard!" was how Pete Williams (Pinarello/Candi TV/ Marshalls Pasta) explained his race winning move in Sunday's 54th Drummond Trophy, held in bright sunshine on the sinuous back roads west of Eaglesham and the M77. With a new Scottish sponsor's name on their jerseys (Marshalls) and the commanding figure of team boss Phil Griffiths there in the flesh, there was never any doubt that Pinarello were going to win.
Ah, the Girvan-and VeloVeritas are right there, with Evan Oliphant (Plowman Craven) and Gary Hand (Endura) keeping us abreast of what's going on in South West Scotland.
Endura Racing Team's Gary Hand topped a near perfect day for the Scottish UCI Continental squad with a solo win in the second round of the Super Six Series - the Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race over 80 miles around the "Rigging of Fife." Team-mates Gordon Murdoch and Duncan Urquhart took second and fourth respectively, to make it a quality day for the men in red and white. Spoiling the party just a little was Rapha-Condor's Matt Cronshaw, who, despite a severe working-over from the winners, grabbed third place.
Endura Racing tried to sign him for the coming year - they saw the sure potential, but the loyal Mike Nicolson decided to stay with Dooleys RT and took another step today towards realising that promise. Attacking early on the first circuit of this 8 lap/65 mile "A" race around the East Lothian market town of Gifford with Paul Coates (now back with Squadra Via Mazzini - RaceTool Bicycles), and joined on the second lap by Collin Humphrey (Sports Cover), Nicolson drove the collaborating trio to a maximum lead of over 3 minutes with two laps to go, before sensing Coates was weakening and Humphrey was a danger. Deciding to go it alone, Nicolson finished in glorious solitude.
Alcazar's 'Crying at the discotheque' may have been the soundtrack to Alex Rasmussen's huge attack in the closing minutes of the 2009 Copenhagen Six Day; but the only tears shed some 17 laps later were those of joy as home boy, 'Razi' and his Denmark and Saxo Bank 'other half,' Michael Mørkøv sent the full house home happy from Ballerup Super Arena.
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.