Friday, November 27, 2020
Home The VeloVeritas Years

The VeloVeritas Years

For over 14 years we’ve been bringing you our thoughts and diaries on Pro and local racing, coverage from the Grand Tours, World Championships, Classics and Monuments, as well as the grass-roots time trials and national road races. In this section, we’ve selected one piece for each year which together sums up our ethos and ethic, and hopefully gives a taste of VeloVeritas and how much we love this sport.

We didn't realise when we made our way to the Civic Hall in Leeds for the sign-on of the 2019 Elite World Road Championships just what an epic day we were in for; emergency purchasing of umbrellas in the local outdoor centre didn't quite cut it as the deluge lasted almost the entire race.
A National Champs in Scotland? We weren't going to miss that! Together with the strong possibility that one of our 'own', Ribble's John Archibald could take the win in the RTTC '10' Championships on roads we know so well meant that we were up and out early to be able to catch the early starts as well as the 'bigs'. This day exemplifies what VeloVeritas is all about - standing at the roadside with cameras and stopwatches, discussing form and equipment, weather and traffic volumes, capturing the effort and bringing the day to our readers, and is our pick for 2018.
We've been covering the Tour de France for many years, and like most people who love cycle racing, it's one of the highlights of the year. Bastille Day at Le Tour is special, and the pressure on the French riders to perform is intense - we were lucky to be on the race when Warren Barguil took a fantastic win ahead of Nairo Quintana and Bert Contador. Fantastic weather, great racing, a change to catch up with old pals Adam Hansen and Jack Bauer, meant July 14th was a memorable day for both of us and is our pick for a highlight for 2017.
You're in the form of your life, you've breasted the biggest climb of the race with the 'Bigs' and there's just one mountain stage to go before you become that rarest of birds, A Grand Tour Winner. But you lose concentration for a moment on the descent, smack a snow bank and come down hard...
Sometimes on the big tours you have to change plans; road closures, janitors, barrier crews, motorway crashes can all influence your 'best laid plans.' At the end of the day you may not have missed deadline - we rarely do - but there'll be that feeling that you could have done better. Then there are days when you have to struggle then struggle some more but eventually it comes together, you get to where you want to be and get those special pictures.
It's almost time for the Commonwealth Games again, this time around they're being held in Australia's Gold Coast, on the eastern edge of the country and this edition will be the first time the men and women compete in the same number of events. In 2014 though, all the excitement was around the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the third time Scotland had played host to the huge number of athletes from around the world.
It's hard to believe it's nearly five years since we sat down with hime and conducted the David Walsh Interviews, his dogged pursuit of the American Armstrong's own doping and team-enablement, and the recently-published USADA "Reasoned Decision" to ban Armstrong for life and to strip all seven Tour de France wins from his palmarès. David had been in Edinburgh to give a talk in the city's Lyceum Theatre as part of his speaking tour on the subject, and we took the opportunity to spend a few hours with him the following morning at his hotel.
VeloVeritas mentor and soothsayer, Viktor maintains that if it's a 'road race' then it should be just that - a public highway, not a concrete track to nowhere. And the Bola Del Mundo certainly goes nowhere, there's nothing to do at the top but come back down again. But when you're up there, the sun is out, the fans are going crazy and you could reach out and touch Alberto as he grimaces past, you can't help but get bound up in the sheer wonderful madness of it all...
When Martin suggested we use the RIP Wouter Weylandt obituary as our 2011 article in our 'The VeloVeritas Years' series it stirred memories of such a sad day. It's not something I've mentioned to many but on that day of despair I had been waiting to speak to Wouter at the Leopard-Trek bus before the race - but with the depart looming we had to vamoose and get a head start on the peloton. I sometimes wonder that if we'd waited a little longer, met Wouter and spent even a few moments with him then perhaps it may have changed the whole dynamic of his day?
VeloVeritas's soothsayer Viktor would say; 'It's just a big hill!' But if you've ever been up at the Lagos de Covadonga then you'll know there's much more to it than that. High on the bleak moor which is skirted by the parcours, back in the year 722 AD the Asturian King, Pelagius defeated the hitherto invulnerable Moors (Arabs we'd call them now) who ruled Spain at that time at the Battle of Covadonga.
You know when you're getting old when 'young guys' you were with on their first race come round to retiring. At the Copenhagen Six Day 2009 we saw Danes Alex Rasmussen and Michael Mørkøv take their home Six for the first time. I was lucky enough to be working for them as their 'runner'... Let's look back to 2009 and some great memories.
Shane Sutton is a man who divides opinion; he's either a messianic coach and mentor - or a crude, sexist, bully of a man. For our part he's only ever been polite, friendly and helpful. Given the near hysteria surrounding the mention of the man's name and as part of our 'The VeloVeritas Years' series of 'look-backs'  we thought you may like to see an interview we did with him after his GB track squad's triumphs in Beijing in 2008.
A decade?  Surely not? But it was 2007 when we met up with Dave Chapman in London and VeloVeritas headed for the ferry to the 'Hell of the North.' Most of the names we mention have gone from the peloton - Flecha, Boonen, Cancellara, Stuart O'Grady, Backstedt - but Pippo just keeps going, looking little different from how he did on the sunny Sunday, 10 years ago. Have a wee wander down memory lane with us we continue our 'Best of VeloVeritas' Years in The Saddle.'
2006 in Bonnie Scotland we had a lot to cheer about as the late, great Jason Macintyre had a fantastic season, winning the British Circuit TT Championship and the 'Blue Riband,' the British 25 Mile TTl Championship to join the likes of Alf Engers, Sean Yates, Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree on the roll of honour.

Featured

Bremen Six Day 2020; the First Three Nights

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.
Marvin Smart

Marvin Smart – Track ‘Runner’ and Ad Signage Guru

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.

Yanto Barker – the Man Behind the Le Col Brand

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.

Neah Evans – European Team Pursuit Champion

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.

Alfie George – On Winning the u23 Gent Six Day!

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.

Dan Bigham – HUUB-Wattbike Track Team 2020 Plans, and more…

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.