The Rás. A race to strike fear in the strongest heart; huge fields, big hills and mad uncontrollable stages with fearless Irishmen continually firing off the front in death or glory bids. High times VeloVeritas 'had a word' with Mr.McGahan..
Giro or not, we had to do our final catch up with a man who doesn't just talk about racing - he's in the saddle, jousting with old war horses like Kirsipuu and Eeckhout; Rab Wardell. As we approached the Monte Petrano climb, yesterday I caught up with Rab, back in the Old Country, via the wonders of digital technology.
Whilst the world goes 'Giro crazy,' other races that don't involve pink jerseys go on their way without Lance and all the hype-the FDB Insurance Rás is one of them. When Viktor and I heard that Nico Eeckhout, Jaan Kirsipuu and Bert Roesems were riding, we nearly hopped the ferry to Ireland there and then.
One of VeloVeritas’ functions it seems is unlocking the memories of those stalwarts – like our own mentor and soothsayer, Viktor and indeed, our editor Martin - who beat a path in the 70’s and 80’s to the legendary Mrs. Deene’s boarding house in Gent (and later in Zomergem) to show those Belgies how it should be done. The latest epistle which came our way was from Norman Gower.
When Scottish Cycling Endurance Coach and seven times Scottish Road Race Champion, Evan Oliphant gets in touch to tell us there’s a junior rider named Callum Thornley that we should be speaking to, we snap to attention.
When Jos Ryan of the David Rayner Fund gets in touch then we know it’s not just to ask how we are. ‘Have you been keeping up with our rider, Toby Perry’s performances in Spain, he’s just had his second win?’ Fortunately for us, we could reply in the affirmative.
If you watched Stage One of the Giro on Eurosport or GCN then you’ll have heard that someone had the great idea to recruit British professional rider, Dan Bigham to join the commentary team as a ‘chrono specialist.’ Here at VeloVeritas we thought it would be good to put to Dan all those sad questions that trouble bike obsessives like us.
John Watson started racing at 18 years-of-age in 1966, his first race was a ‘25’ which he won with a 1:00. By the following year he was National ‘100’ Champion; in 1968 he went to the Mexico Olympics; in 1969 he set a 12 hour record which stood for a decade; 1970 saw him set a ‘50’ record which sliced nearly four minutes of the previous fastest time for the distance and lasted for 13 years, win the BBAR, get fourth place in the prestigious GP de France time trial and get offered a place with ACBB.