There are no palmarès to check for this guy, he’s one of cycle sport’s back room, ‘unsung heroes’ – but he’s worked with some of the sport’s biggest names; he takes us behind the scenes to look at the life of a soigneur in modern cycling. Mr. Andrew Hillman, aka ‘The Hillmanator.’
Alessandro Valverde was hugely impressive – not the shadow of himself we saw in the last week of the Tour. It’s like Robert Millar said; ‘there comes a day when you have to stop dreaming.’ That day was yesterday for many as we were reminded of the savagery of professional bike racing at the highest levels. There were no interlopers – just the best of the best, all of the pre-race favourites trying their best to waste each other on that horrible grind to the line.
I clicked on Hamish Haynes' name on a palmares website, just to see who it is that he's beating to win these races in Flanders; 'Melle 2005' that was Steven de Jongh - twice a Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne winner.
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.
Saturday morning, 07:30 and the sunshine streams into our room in Merano. Yesterday we looked out on teeming rain; and a little later, as we drove towards the start the email arrived to inform us that the stage was cancelled. It wasn’t a big surprise, up on the valley walls the trees were coated with snow and the spikey peaks were pure ‘winter wonderland.’ It was park up and think of ‘Plan B’ time.
So, was Lance's bike nobbled in the 2003 Tour? I'm referring to the rubbing rear brake story... "Media hype, the calliper was probably bumped against a wall or another bike on the way to the start." When the man telling you this is one of Big Tex's mechanics and a no-nonsense Nottingham man to boot you cannot argue.
Eh - a Nottingham man? You thought that Lance's personal mechanic was Belgian? Only for Le Tour - the rest of the season Lance's Trek is cared for by the USPS team of mechanics under the leadership of Julien de Vries.
For 2009, our 'Kiwi discovery' was Jack Bauer - who will it be this year? Clinton Avery ? Or this man, who has a great Scottish name, but is also from the land of the long white cloud; Ruaraidh McLeod.
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.
Four Scots have been selected for the Great Britain Cycling Team heading to the UEC Junior and Under-23 European Track Championships taking place in Montichiari from 12 – 17 July. Under-23 riders Mark Stewart and Jack Carlin will be joining Juniors Lewis Stewart and Jenny Holl – who were also selected for the UCI Junior Track World Championships earlier this month.