It’s taken a wee while to organise the meeting but as befits a man with a lifetime of experience in managing others; teaching and in cycling management, he walks in the door of Starbucks bang on time. Belying his 74 years, Ivy’s Ian Thomson could get away with saying he’s 10 years younger.
It’s almost time for the VV Review of 2019, to file the season under ‘Nostalgia’ and look to season 2020, which will make it half a century I’ve been a fan of cycle sport. I can still remember watching Hugh Porter win the 1970 world professional pursuit championship under the spotlights at Leicester, on our tiny black and white tele. Where did those years go?
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.
Perhaps it was the ‘Scottish’ weather at Harrogate which made the Scots perform so well at the recent World Road Championships? Stuart Balfour spent much of his u23 Championship ‘up the road’ to help set up GB team leader, Tom Pidcock for his eventual bronze medal; Balfour finished in 39th spot.
This Sunday is another edition of the famous Tour de Trossachs time trial based in Aberfoyle, with a scenic and testing course using national parkland and quiet lochside roads. We've covered many of the recent editions and we'll be attending this year too, but for this week's "VV Selects" we thought you'd like to read Al Hamilton's piece from 12 years ago, in which he reminisces about the first time he saw the race on the Duke's Pass, a mere 41 years ago...
Six seconds, that was the margin between five times previous champion, gold medal winner and former World Hour Record Holder, Alex Dowsett [Katusha] and silver medallist, Scotland’s John Archibald [Ribble Pro Cycling] in last week’s British Cycling Time Trial Championship in Norfolk. There's a 'but'...
VeloVeritas caught up with Kyle Gordon on the Tuesday after his splendid 48 minute ride to the top of the Scottish 25 Mile TT Championship 2019 podium on Sunday at Forfar on a miserable but rapid morning. We chatted about his training, race plans and what it's like to be on the Scottish Cycling programme.
Gary Hand used to be a regular on the pages of VeloVeritas, he raced in France; he was always in the mix in Scottish road races; he was the driving force behind the formation of the powerful Endura team in 2009 and in 2012 achieved a long held goal of winning the Scottish Senior Road race Championship. And he’s back, at the helm of Gran Fondo Scotland.
Here at VeloVeritas whilst we have the utmost respect for John Archibald and his performances we didn’t seek any pre-Worlds interviews from him, his sister Katie, Neah Evans or Mark Stewart. We felt that the ‘they just need to turn up and ride then bring home the rainbow jerseys’ vibe was putting them under pressure – of which they would experience more than enough in the cauldron of Pruszkow. We let the dust settle post-Worlds, gave John a call and found how it went...
Drew Wilson’s ‘Robert Millar Appreciation Group’ has generated a lot of interest on FaceBook, with 1,185 members - by now everyone must know he was Britain’s greatest stage race rider until Team Sky and their marginal gains came along – we had another name for that ‘back in the day’...
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.
One of the things that’s good about FaceBook is seeing those old pictures from the 70’s when cars, music and especially bike racing were all cooler than they are today. Recently, there have been some nice pictures of those Regent boys and that got me to thinking about the omnipresent Clan McGinty. A quick message to Steven of that ilk followed and we hope you like what he had to say as much as we did...
Stuart Balfour’s win in the supporting u23 race to the GP Ouest France Plouay, one of the most prestigious amateur in France, was special. The Dave Rayner Fund thought so too and made him their ‘Rider of the Year.’ As well as his Plouay success he won in Montpichon and at the Ronde Briochine; he was top 20 in the tough Kreiz Breizh UCI stage race and top 10 in the Tour de la Manche.
He’s been quiet, that man Mark Stewart, Scotland’s reigning Commonwealth Games Points Race Champion. But he’s back with four World Cup medals on two continents within a matter of days. Best ‘have a word’ we thought to ourselves...
Our first question to Grant Ferguson, perhaps better known for his mountain bike and cyclo-cross (he’s reigning British Elite Cyclo-Cross champion, don’t forget) adventures, following his win in this year's Scottish Hill Climb championships was "did you have a back brake this time, Grant?"
Maurice Laing won the Scottish school boy road race and time trial championships, made the podium of the junior and senior road race championships; won the Davie Bell, Sam Robinson and Trophy Pernod; rode the Milk Race and performed with distinction in France.
In the car on the way down to Irvine on Sunday morning it never occurred to VeloVeritas editor Martin and I that we’d soon be witnessing anything other than Marcin Bialoblocki (NOPINZ) making it a clean sweep of RTTC titles from 10 to 100 miles. Not for the first time, we got it wrong. Commonwealth Games pursuit silver medallist, John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling) relegated the big Polish power house to second place by three seconds with a sparking 18:18 – Big Marcin looked a tad stunned when the news broke that we had a Scottish winner of a British title on Scottish roads.
An RTTC championship in Scotland? VeloVeritas couldn’t miss that – on the way down I was thinking about opening lines; ‘Marcin Bialoblocki gives himself as a birthday present a clean sweep of all CCT titles from 10 to 100 miles' but John Archibald was having none of it and pulled off the testing surprise of the year.
VeloVeritas is sitting down at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome with Mr. McGhee to apologise for pillaging the chicken in 1972 and to reminisce about his career, which included three National Road Race Championships, over a coffee.
That Kyle Gordon (RT23) fella marches on; selection for the Commonwealth Games, solid performances on the Gold Coast, the Scottish 25 mile title, a close encounter with the Scottish 10 mile record – and now the Scottish 50 title in a Scottish record 1:41:16, taking 1:48 off the legend that is Graeme Obree’s time and 6:14 off his own personal best. VeloVeritas just had to ‘have a word’ . . .
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.