Courtesy of the Legend of North East Cycling that is Ms. Isobel Smith, here’s the lowdown on the 2015 Scottish 100 Mile Championship. "With six miles to go it was all done bar the shouting; Stephen Williamson was looking strong and had increased his lead to 3.39 over the Deeside rider with last year's winner now having to settle for bronze."
On a windswept day for the strong of leg and heart on the Ayrshire coast it was last year's silver medallist, 'fresh' from that toughest of races, the RAS, Peter Murdoch (Neon-Velo Cycling Team) who's 52:13 was 22 seconds too quick for deposed reigning champion, Iain Grant (Fullarton Wheelers) and 49 seconds faster than bronze medallist and another former '25' champion, Arthur Doyle (Dooleys).
Sportsmen in general, and cyclists are no different in this respect, are a superstitious lot. So it goes without saying that good omens are often looked for when we set out to the first race of the new Scottish season. Sunday morning dawned bright, clear and sunny as sixty teams of two warmed up for the Fullarton Wheelers Ice Breaker 2-Up Time Trial on the outskirts of Irvine, and the unseasonably favourable weather was the omen that most had looked for.
In a day of torrential downpours Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) secured his place in the history books as the first Spaniard to win the Giro di Lombardia, with a beautiful solo victory ahead of Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky).
Francesco Chicchi (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) started his season well with two stage victories at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina in February and the opening road Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen last week, and he continued his great form with a superb sprint victory in Nokere - Koerse 2012 today
From the point that his Sky Procycling teammates took up station on the front of the peloton with 60km to go in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, Mark Cavendish never looked like losing today, and so it proved as he swept to an easy bunch sprint win over FDJ-Big Mat's Yauheni Hutarovich with Vacansoleil-DCM's Kenny Van Hummel in third.
Sep Vanmarcke instigated the main splits of the day in the Het Nieuwsblad 2012, survived the many crashes on the slippy roads, rode strongly in the breaks and the final winning move, foxed and feigned heavy legs beautifully in the last couple of kilometres and finished the day with a fine accelerating power-sprint win over Tom Boonen and Juan Antonio Flecha.
If it's the first weekend of the month and the snow drops have burst through - it must Scottish Super Six time. VeloVeritas caught up with the first Super Six winner of the year, 19 year-old Dumbarton man Robert Hassan (Endura/Pedal Power Development Team) the day after he'd triumphed over 65 miles of beautiful East Lothian countryside in the Edinburgh Road Club promotion at Gifford.
Sky Procycling just missed the win yesterday with Flecha finishing second in Het Nieuwsblad, but the team stepped it up a notch today, setting up Chris Sutton perfectly for a superb win in the bunch sprint at Kuurne - Brussels - Kuurne.
On a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon in Gent, Rabobank's Sebastian Langeveld took the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2011 victory by inches from breakaway partner Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky Procycling and the winner last year), with another Sky rider Matt Hayman third.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Sunday, Stage 15 and VeloVeritas’s last shift on Tour - so we headed for the biggest hill we could find to remind ourselves how special and beautiful France and this race really are. Today we’re in the heartland, perhaps not deepest agricultural ‘France Profonde;’ the rural, simple, beautiful heart of the nation, not with the gorges and cols - but it’s quiet, lovely and some of the simple, striking images surprise as you drive the parcours.