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Perhaps VeloVeritas sage and mentor, Viktor summed it up best; ‘he was the coolest – nobody looked better on a bike than Grant Thomas, he was everything I wanted to be in a cyclist.’ We thought that we should share more of the tributes which have been paid to the man.
Following the sad passing of former British Amateur Road Race Champion and road track star Grant Thomas in The Netherlands we received many words of tribute to the man who defined ‘cool’ on a racing bike. Mr. Paul Kilbourne has featured on our pages before, reliving his memories of his time with the now legendary ANC team, gave us a lovely tribute to Grant, which we publish with pride.
It’s not every year there’s a Grand Tour taking place at the same time as the European Cyclo-cross Championship but this is ano 2020 and the ‘new normal’ is upon us. The podium places contained more cheer for us ‘Anglos’ with bronze going to Scotsman, Cameron Mason and silver to Englishman, Thomas Mein.
Englishman Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) took his first Grand Tour win on Stage 12 of La Vuelta a España yesterday, attacking just outside the final kilometer of the legendary Alto de l'Angliru, soloing to the finish in a fantastic display of measured, determined riding.
Given events in Milano today we thought you might like to see what the man in the final Giro d'Italia pink jersey, Tao Geoghegan Hart had to say to VeloVeritas some seven years ago... For 2014 the 18 year-old from London was off to follow the path trodden by his mentor, Movistar’s Essex chronoman, Alex Dowsett; heading for the USA under the tutelage of Axel Merckx at Bissell – formerly Trek/Bontrager.
The Kazemaatenstraat is part of 70's cycling legend, a condemned cul-de-sac in Ghent where penniless 'Anglo' cyclists could have a cheap roof over their heads as they pursued their (mostly lost) cause to make it big and become a ‘Kermis King.’ Manchester's Bernie Nolan was one of those riders and has kindly agreed to share a few reminiscences with us...
Mark Walsham, one of the “Crit Kings and Men of the 80’s” - there can only be one first question: How many wins in total is it, Mark? "Just over 200 all included."
In Part One of our interview with Bob Cary we covered that part of his career up to his third year with TI Raleigh and the end of 1976. For 1977 he was back in the UK with the Carlton-Weinmann team alongside riders like Olympic team pursuit medallists, Mick Bennett and Robin Croker not to mention British pro scene stalwart, Reg Smith.
In Peter Post's TI-Raleigh squad everything mattered; the bikes had to be the best, the clothing had to look the most stylish and fit properly, the cars had to look stunning. Winning was everything. Post was completely in charge and German ‘Golden Boy’ Dietrich Thurau was on board but still with a smattering of GB riders. By 1976 the team had gone ‘total Euro’ save for two names, Dave Lloyd and one Bob Cary. We spoke to Bob to hear his story.
In recent years John Herety is best known for his work as manager of the various incarnations of the popular and successful Condor continental team. But he’s a man who’s ‘got the T-shirt’ – British and French amateur Classic wins, a Peace Race stage, a year with ACBB, three years with Coop Mercier, the British Professional Road Championship, the GP Pino Cerami (nearly) and a stage in the Tour of Britain Milk Race (eventually).
In Part One of our interview with Shaun Wallace we covered up to the end of his international pursuiting successes. But there were more honours to come on the big stage before he slipped the tyre covers on for the last time...
Shaun Wallace was a multiple British champion, twice Worlds silver medallist and three times a Commonwealth Games silver medallist as well as a world record holder on two occasions. High times we caught up with the man; he was at home in San Diego where he settled 22 years ago to ‘escape the winters.’
Dave Akam is best remembered as the first man to crack the 30 mph barrier for a 10 mile time trial, recording 19:50 on the Portsmouth Road in 1980 in the colours of the Gemini BC. But there’s a wee bit more to the man than that, like wins in the British Pursuit Championship, the amateur Trofeo Baracchi in Italy; French chrono classics the Grand Prix de France and Chrono de Herbiers, not to mention the prestigious GP Timmermans time trial in the Netherlands and a shed load of road wins in France and The Netherlands.
Steve Jones is one of the ‘forgotten men’ of 70’s and 80’s cycling but he was British Junior 25 Mile Time Trial Champion - a Dutch Champion too, a serial winner as an amateur on the roads of Belgium and The Netherlands, an Olympian, winner of the amateur version of the Trofeo Baracchi, a team mate of some of the sport’s biggest names and a professional for a decade. Oh yes, and he rode for Mr. Capper’s ANC team.
We’ve opened the ‘whatever happened to’ file again and this time it’s Liverpudlian gone Flatlands native, Mark McNally. It was VeloVeritas mentor and expert on all things Belgian, Viktor who suggested that we contact the man originally from Liverpool but who has now made Belgium his home.
Harry Tanfield signed a two year deal with World Tour outfit Katusha Alpecin at the start of last season and raced from the Mallorca ‘training’ races in early February through to the Tour of Guangxi in late October but the team folded at the end of 2019 with Tanfield moving across to French World Tour team AG2R-La Mondiale.
It occurred to me that VeloVeritas had never spoken to the man who won the last edition of the famous Tour of Britain Milk Race back in 1993; Chris Lillywhite. A quick message to our friend Martyn Frank, who was on management with Chris on the late, lamented Wiggins team and we were in touch.
In Part Two of our interview with British professional legend, Sid Barras we discuss the race he was favourite for every year for a decade but which it took him 10 years to win; the British Professional Road Race Championship.
‘Super Sid’ was what they called him; his tarmac graffiti artist fans used to paint; “screw ‘em Sid!’ on any suitable stretch of road surface. Sidney Barras was his Sunday name and few people have won more bike races than this man. A fixture on the British professional scene for 18 years from 1970 onwards, it was high time we caught up with him.
The ‘Pocket Rocket’ they called him; British Junior Road Champion, twice winner of the season-long Star Trophy, winner of just about every major amateur race in Britain and twice British Professional Road race Champion – the Isle of Man’s own Mr. Steve Joughin. High time we caught up with him.
Coronavirus, it’s the only topic in town right now and if, like me, you can’t imagine life without cycling then it has much to answer for; not to mention the drastic effect it’s having on people across the world. We caught up with professional James Shaw who rides for the Danish Pro Conti Riwal Readynez Cycling Team to ask about how it’s affecting him as a pro with his season just getting into its stride then having the rug pulled from under him.
It’s that time of the year again; when young men cross the North Sea to the Flatlands, full of dreams of pro contracts, flowers and kisses from pretty podium girls. It doesn’t always work out like that for all of them but one young English rider has made a very strong start to 2020 with excellent early results; young Mr. Ollie Robinson.
Canyon dhb p/b Soreen rider, 23 year-old Max Stedman won the UCI 2.1 Tour of Antalya in Turkey, fending off the likes of World Tour team Israel Start-Up Nation, Italian Pro-Conti Giro-tempered Bardiani, East European hardmen Adria Mobil as well as Belgium’s perennial Vlaanderen Pro-Conti foxes...
It’s been a big week for 20 year-old Oxford man, Charlie Quarterman; he won the British 10 mile time trial championship, promoted under Cycling Time Trial rules and just days later it was announced he has a stagiaire ride with Trek Segafredo for the remainder of 2019 running through into a two year contract.
Ben Swift launched a monster kick, leaving Scot, John Archibald to the bronze then zooming past teammate Ian Stannard on his blindside in the streets of Norwich to arrive at the line in solitary splendour and unleash a mighty roar of triumph and relief. We caught up with him at his Isle of Man home on the Tuesday after his win...
He’s been CTT 10, 25, 50 and 100 mile champion, he’s been British 25 and 50 mile record holder; he’s been away but now he’s back. When we saw he’d recently won the Eddy Soens Memorial Race some 20 years after he’d first won it, we thought to ourselves; ‘maybe need to have a word with old Mister Matthew Bottrill, aka ‘The Flying Postman, it’s been a year or two since last we chatted’
VeloVeritas caught up with Harry Tanfield a few days after his move to the Swiss/Russian squadra Katusha hit the browsers. The thing about a Harry interview is that no matter how big the result he never gets too excited - and signing with a World Tour team for two seasons doesn’t seem such a big deal for the 23 year-old from Great Ayton in north east England.
With all the recent exposure Philippa York has had we recently came upon a mention of a man who trained and raced with York in his days as Robert Millar. Wayne Bennington is the man; he rode for Systeme-U and ‘Z’ – both big players in the day who didn’t dispense contracts to just ‘any’ rider. We spoke to Wayne a year or two ago but this piece has never before run on Velo Veritas, here’s his story.
‘When I were a lad’ next to the Milk Race the biggest deal in UK cycling was the BBAR (Best British All Rounder) to find Britain’s best ‘tester’ – over 50 and 100 miles plus the 12 hour. The competition still exists but do you know who the BBAR is? Me neither. Yorkshire’s Peter Hill won the BBAR twice in the 60's but instead of going for his ‘hat trick’ he completely changed direction and headed across the English Channel to France and established himself as one of the world’s leading amateur time trial exponents before turning professional with Peugeot - but in those Machiavellian days it didn’t work out. Here’s his story...
We first spoke to Harry Tanfield a couple of years ago having seen him ride well in the Gordon Arms time trial – most recently we spoke to him after he won the David Campbell Memorial road race in Fife back in the spring of 2016. So when we opened this week’s ‘Cycling Weekly’ and there he was spread across two pages as the UK’s number one rated Elite rider we thought we best ‘have a word’...
It was the end of 2013 when we last spoke to Tao Geoghegan Hart (Axeon Hagens-Berman). He has a name that's hard to miss, Tao Geoghegan Hart; with 2013 results to match - two of Europe's premier junior stage races and a podium in the junior Paris-Roubaix. Since then a lot of races have flowed under the bridge and he’s had strong results in more than his fair share of them. Sunday saw him take arguably the biggest result of his career; finishing sixth behind Messrs. Blythe, Cavendish, Fenn, MvNally and Thwaites in the British Elite Road Race title event – and taking the U23 jersey champion’s in the process.
Steve Cummings? He’s the real deal; a world champion on the track in the team pursuit; he paid his dues with Landbouwkrediet and Barloworld; rode for the ‘mega’ teams, Discovery, Sky, BMC; was part of that famous team which carried Cav to a rainbow jersey in Copenhagen but now he’s found his true niche – with South African squad Dimension Data. Last year the team raced as MTN-Qhubeka with Cummings netting a brilliant stage win in le Tour; this year the squad, with new sponsors has taken Cav on board and moved up to the World Tour.
Buoyed by the great reception our piece on Shane Sutton received - Darryl Webster branded it; "utter garbage" - we thought we'd fire off a few more opinions on what's been happening recently in our 'King of Sports.' Sky finally got their Monument, not from a 'Brit' though; Lowlands hard man Wout Poels was first into that most unglamorous of Monument finishes - the retail park in Ans.
Hugh Carthy took his finest results yet, winning the Young Rider classification ahead of Cannondale’s Davide Formolo (already a Giro stage winner) in the Volta Ciclista Catalunya and finishing ninth overall in a field which would have done justice to any Grand Tour, including riders of the quality of Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador, Dan Martin, Richie Porte and Romain Bardet.
Florida would be a great place for time-trialling. Its pan flat. The only elevation you find are bridges. It’s flatter than both Holland and Belgium which is saying something. It’s rarely windy which means as soon as you’re out riding holding 20mph (32kph) is child’s-play. That makes riding really quite fun. Endurance rides are around 35kph and you really get the miles clocked up. Sometimes it feels like you’re in a race you’re going so fast.
It's been a while since we last spoke to Englishman Matt Green at the tail-end of 2011, when he was off across the pond to ride in the 'States, and a lot has happened to him since then - not least of which a very serious accident which kept him out of action for most of last season. Matt's recovered from his injuries now, is back on the bike and back in training, with a contract to race again for a fourth year with the US team Astellas Professional Cycling - plus a new blog recording how his year pans-out starting soon, right here on VeloVeritas! Let's catch up with Matt and hear about what's been happening...
If there’s one negative you can fire at British Cycling’s hugely successful track cycling campaign over the last decade it’s that perhaps the young talent hasn’t come through as fast we’d expected but this season team pursuiter and now World Cup omnium silver medallist, Chris Latham has shone. VeloVeritas caught up with after his return from New Zealand...
The summer is coming to an end so it must be time for Madison-Genesis rider Mark McNally to come to form... McNally is a product of the British ‘cycling academy’ system and was a member of the winning team in the European junior team pursuit championship in 2007 and European U23 team pursuit championship in 2008.
Our recent chat with 70’s pursuit king, Hugh Porter having been well received we thought you may like to hear what another ‘man of the 70’s’ - Les West had to say to us a year or two ago. "West is best!", that's what his fans used to say and most of the time they were right; twice British amateur road race champion and twice British professional road race champion.
The 70’s are the ‘decade that taste forgot’ according to the Media; which is strange because I remember the era as having the best cars, music, films – and bike riders. On the continent the exploits of Sercu, Ocana, Merckx, Hoban, Gimondi, Verbeeck, Thevenet, De Vlaeminck and all the rest of a ‘Golden Generation’ of hard men made the disappointment of ‘The Comic’ being late once again all the harder to bear.
The ride of the Commonwealth Games for me? Russ Downing's fourth place in the road race - 'grinta' is the man's middle name. As the World Tour stars headed into the pits, Russ just kept riding through the wind and rain - the man is dogged. His name featured in a recent press release we received from the Luxembourg/Danish Continental squad Cult, they're going Pro Continental for 2015 and yes, Mr. Downing is on board.
We’d expected to be able to hang this interview on another English team pursuit gold in Glasgow – but not so. And for the first time since 2009 the GB team failed to make the podium in the track Worlds back in the spring – probably no big deal in the overall scheme of things where The Olympics are what really count to BC these days. How times change. The GB team pursuit Renaissance began in 2000 in Manchester, and Bryan Steel was an important part.
As Sky and Cav grab the headlines in the pre-Tour roster debates and the ‘glamour races' as VeloVeritas sage and soothsayer Viktor would describe them, the ‘real’ world of cycling – without which there would be no top tier – carries on. It may be lost in the chat about Brad’s ambitions for this July or the Team Pursuit in two years' time and that dodgy Italian Viviani having the nerve to beat Cav a couple of times; but those Rapha Condor JLT boys just get on with the job.
VeloVeritas didn’t make it to the recent Drummond Trophy, for which we offer our apologies to Mr, Norrie Drummond, one of the sport’s staunchest supporters and a former competitor himself – you can read of his Flemish exploits ‘back in the day'. It would be rude of us to let ‘The Drummond’ pass without a mention, so with the aid of ex-Cervelo and Raleigh professional, not to mention friend of VV, Dan Fleeman we got in touch with the 2014 Drummond’s winner – English professional Dave Clarke (KTM Cycling Team).
Rapha-Condor-JLT’s 21 year-old ‘Yorkshire man in black’ Tom Moses has been making the headlines these last few weeks. In the opening race of the British Cycling Elite Road Race Series (what was wrong with ‘Star Trophy?’) recently, the Tour of the Reservoir, Moses tried to steal the second stage victory and overall GC with a late attack but was ridden down by Scotland’s Evan Oliphant (Raleigh). This year he’s moved across to John Herety’s team with the ambition of catching the eye of a Pro Continental squad for 2015. We spoke to him between his Normandie and the Reservoir results...
A nice result we spotted recently was Raleigh’s Mark Christian taking a top ten on stage two of the tough Tour du Haut Var. We decided to have a word with yet another product of that sea air on the Isle of Man.
The last time we spoke to NetApp-Endura’s Scott Thwaites was in the spring of 2013, just after he’d finished in fifth place in the Handzame Classic and seventh spot in le Samyn – both hard races in brutal conditions. For 2014 he’s already back in the groove again with a podium place on stage one of the Three Days of West Flanders.
Steve Cummings has finally landed a stage race win, the Tour of the Mediterranean – he won the stage 3b time trial to go top on GC then hung on to his lead on the nasty slopes of Mont Faron to beat AG2R hard man, Jean-Christophe Peraud to the overall honours. We spoke to him a day or two after his triumph.
He has a name that's hard to miss, Tao Geoghegan Hart; with 2013 results to match - two of Europe's premier junior stage races and a podium in the junior Paris-Roubaix. And for 2014 the 18 year-old from London is off to follow the path trodden by his mentor, Movistar's Essex chronoman, Alex Dowsett; heading for the USA under the tutelage of Axel Merckx at Bissell - formerly Trek/Bontrager.
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