The last time we spoke to Scotland’s top endurance track rider, Mark Stewart he’d just added to his growing medal collection at the European Championships with bronze in the team pursuit and silver in the scratch. Some nice road results in the Ronde van Oost Vlaanderen followed where he made his breakthrough from riding as a domestique and/or ‘getting round’ to being a serious contender for stage and overall honours.
VeloVeritas interviewed Scottish Legend John McMillan, last year – doing some research into the 'Peace Race' recently we asked John if he’s ever ridden the Warsaw-Berlin-Prague. He said he hadn’t - but he had ridden the Okolo Slovenska, the seven day Tour of Slovakia, which in 1965 was part of Communist-controlled Czechoslovakia and which had the aim of celebrating the liberation of Slovakia by the Red Army in 1945.
As we said the other week, it's always nice to get feedback from readers - even when we get slapped wrists. One of our Scandinavian readers wasn't happy that in our 'Six Day Hardware' piece we missed out the frames of a certain Baron Merckx. We hope the following rectifies things as we look at Merckx machines present and recent past.
Cycle Sport magazine run an article a few months ago, ‘The 25 Most Stylish Riders of all Time’ – Giovanni Battaglin, Roger De Vlaeminck, Francesco Moser, all fair enough. But there were some glaring omissions, Tom Simpson, Ferdi Bracke, Ole Ritter and the big blond Dutchman Roy Schuiten, who in 1971 took silver in The Netherlands amateur pursuit championships. A year later it was gold and there was a third place in the amateur Grand Prix des Nations. Roy Schuiten, ace pursuiter, consummate chronoman and stylist may you rest in peace – you’ll always be one of the very coolest for us at VeloVeritas.
It was Sean Connery's character in the film "The Untouchables" who suggested you don't bring a knife to a gun fight and it was clear that the weapons of choice at the opening classics weekend in Belgium would contribute to the outcome and individual's performance. Having wandered around the teams at both the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne it became clear there was a lot of nice kit being readied to race.
We headed to the launch of the recent 2016 Spokes Racing Team, the freezing weather failing to curb the enthusiasm of 120 supporters who had all paid £30 per head to attend the event, held in the Old Manor hotel in Lundin Links, Fife. Spokes team owner owner Craig Greive and director sportiv Blair Whiteside had put together quite an evening with guest speakers including former pro and now DS at One Pro Cycling James McCallum (who's still looking fit), the Lord Provost of Fife and Director at Dunfermline Football Club and quite the celebrity and public speaker, Jim Leishman.
He’s at it again – more pictures! This time John Pierce has sent us some of his favourite images of British track stars of the present and recent past; we hope you like them as much as we do.
Coming to Gent to watch the Six Day, as I have for 20 years, is like meeting up with an old friend, a friend you see just once a year but when you meet you are familiar and easy in each others company. Most familiar is the velodrome, Het Kuipke that hosts the Six Days which has, barring a few upgrades in the bar areas, changed very little during the time I’ve been coming.
My eyes snap open to golden dappled rays silhouetting pine branches above - beneath me a pillow of twigs and earth, nearby a lake nestled between snowy peaks shimmers enticingly. My legs are in a tent, my body protruding out. I think I'm naked.
I am staying at my in-laws in Brittany, as I do every summer since I got married and every two or three years it is my base for watching the Tour on the ground. This year things couldn’t be better, with a stage start about 40 minutes east in the city of Rennes and the finish accessible about an hour to the west. I have enjoyed looking at the team cars, buses at the start in previous years so my plan is to find the ‘paddock’ and see how close I can get. With journalists, soigneurs and directeur sportifs all around, the fan can feel part of the event.
Stage One of this year’s Tour looked tailor made for Tony Martin (Germany & QuickStep); or just maybe rising Giant home boy chronostar Tom Dumoulin? - but a name which kept appearing in the Australian press as Le Tour loomed large was that of BMC’s 25 year-old South Australian rider, Rohan Dennis.
Don’t worry! You’ll get no lectures or swear words from me; just one old cycling lover’s random personal remembrances of another wonderful two weeks spent in La Belle France... is it really just three years since the memorable famous first British victory in the race for Bradley Wiggins? Can Chris Froome take the country's tally to three in a month's time?
The Monday after Kuurne can be a bit of a downer, most of the bike shops are shut and you know that reality is just one sleep away but not this one; first up we had an interview with Rudy Pevenage – strangely, there were no scales, horns or tail on view and rather than being the devil incarnate we met a man who – like so many others – ‘did what he had to do’ in era where the UCI as much as invited you to kit up.
This time last year I was traveling the world, sourcing suppliers for a new Planet X clothing range. One year on and we have made some giant steps forward. Not only has all the hard work paid off, with the new Planet X 365X clothing range now available both in store and online, we are also proudly supporting the Danish Professional cycling team Christina Watches - as official technical sponsor.
Glasgow 2014 today revealed the routes for the Commonwealth Games Cycling road events that will see elite athletes from across the globe race through the heart of Glasgow and beyond. The excitement of the Games will reach audiences in towns and villages around the city as riders battle against the clock during the Time Trial event on Thursday 31 July, while Glasgow itself becomes the race track on Sunday 3 August with the fastest riders chasing each other through the city’s streets for the action packed Road Race.
We often hear about how the riders at the Tour de France study "the Roadbook" to learn the final kilometres of a particular stage, or to identify which stage may be "the one" to go for, but what exactly does the Tour de France Roadbook contain, who uses it, and how useful is it, really? Published by ASO each year a few weeks before the Prologue and in several languages, the Roadbook is also known as the race "bible".
John Lewis has been unveiled as the ‘Official Department Store Provider’ of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The partnership will see the retailer provide bedding and white goods for the Athletes’ Village. Glasgow 2014 merchandise is also available to buy on johnlewis.com now, and, later in the year, dedicated Glasgow 2014 shops will open within John Lewis’s Scottish shops, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
If you’re a regular VeloVeritas reader then you’ll be aware of top Scottish time trial rider, Silas Goldsworthy’s quest to qualify for the individual pursuit in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. We've just written about his victory in the classic Scottish event the Tour des Trossachs, but Silas' most recent opportunity to dip under the qualifying standard for the Games came in that Mecca for Six Day racing - Gent. But not on the tiny 167 metre Kuipke Velodrome where Sercu, De Wilde and Keisse have ruled down through the ages; but on the 250 metre covered track in Gent – scene of the ‘International Belgian Open.’ Those UCI rules just keep changing; and now riders have to qualify individually just to ride World Cups, never mind World Championships. We spoke to Silas after he’d had a chance to gather his thought about his excursion to VeloVeritas’s favourite city.
Have you been clearing out the loft, found an old race programme or finishing sheet and wondering what to do with it? Fire it off to VeloVeritas – we love the smell of the old paper, those names that we’d just about forgotten and remembering that British Cycling did actually exist before Sky came along. Kris, my Six Day boss sent me a photocopied sheet from the past the other day – it’s not the best print job but it’s just about readable; the Crystal Palace Grand Prix...
The roofs outside our hotel window were steaming in the morning sun when we opened the shutters on Sunday morning. Much as we felt we'd been part of something special on Saturday in the blizzard on the Tre Cime - it was nice to see a clear blue sky and feel the warmth of the sun on our skin. The Hotel Trieste is well up the 'Fawlty Towers' rankings; it was built by the old patron's grandfather - and hasn't been painted since - hot water was at a premium and outside our room, the place was freezing. But the beds were clean, the room was cosy and the wi-fi was A1.