When I was a younger man my 'Mr Motivator' was a certain man from the West; Willie Gibb. I recall battering myself on a training ride alone thinking "Willie Gibb would be going faster" invariably in the races he was and I have no recollection of ever having beaten my one time motivator. I got in touch with Willie to find out more about his story and as it transpired find his palmarès was something else again...
On Tuesday morning we awoke to the sad news that North of Scotland stalwart, Ivor Reid had died at just 57 years-of-age. Tragic. I wasn’t privileged to call Ivor a close personal friend but I knew the man for a long time; from the early 80’s and when we met there was always a warm hand shake and some good chat. When I saw pictures of him racing as a ‘Master’ on the track I always had to smile; the gear was always the best and right up to the minute - be it aero helmets, ‘keirin’ gloves, wheels, shoes, his enthusiasm and love for all things track cycling shone from those images.
VeloVeritas first got to know Neah Evans (Storey Racing Team & Scotland) at the Berlin Six Day, a year or two ago, since then she’s built an impressive track palmarès with success at national, UCI and Commonwealth levels. And now she’s added Britain’s toughest road event to her roll of honour; the CiCLE Classic at Melton Mowbray, also known as ‘The Rutland’.
We spoke to Scotland’s Stuart Balfour at the start of the season but word has been trickling back that 21 years-old from Heriot who is a Rayner Fund rider with Cotes d'Armor-Marie Morin Veranda Rideau, ‘en France’ has been ‘doing the biz.’ Best have another word, we thought to ourselves...
That man John Archibald is back in action again – and with a 48 minutes and 13 seconds ‘BANG !’ down on the Westferry course in the CTT ‘25’ Champs on Sunday past. It gave us a good excuse to catch up with the Commonwealth Games individual pursuit silver medallist and see what he’s been up to since The Gold Coast and what’s next on the agenda for him?
Another sprint silver medal for Scottish track star, Jack Carlin. The man is making a habit of it. In the Worlds it was to big Australian power house Matt Glaetzer; this time, at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, it was to crafty Kiwi Sam Webster.
Continuing with our series of interviews with Scotland’s Commonwealth Games cycling medallists, VeloVeritas chats to Neah Evans who returned from the Gold Coast with two medals from the points and scratch races, despite illness prior to The Games. Although she prepared specifically for the track events she also rode the individual road time trial and road race. Despite this she brought home two top 10 finishes.
VeloVeritas has already spoken to brother John about his men’s individual pursuit silver medal and now it’s time to hear what sister Katie has to say about her Games campaign where there was women’s individual pursuit gold in a Games record, points race silver behind Wales’ Elinor Barker and rides in the women’s scratch – where she finished fourth behind Amy Cure of Australia – and on the road in time trial and road race.
‘The best Commonwealth Games performance ever by the Scottish cycling team’ – that’s for sure. VeloVeritas hopes to speak to all of the athletes concerned and we’re proud to start with individual pursuit silver medallist, John Archibald.
Eight Cycling Medals for Scotland at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games; Scottish cyclists hit the jackpot with gold for the inimitable Katie Archibald in the pursuit and for Mark Stewart in the points race.
VeloVeritas has spoken to Katie Archibald and Jack Carlin - but our review of Scottish medallists at The Track Worlds in Apeldoorn wouldn’t be complete without speaking to Mr. Mark Stewart, bronze medal winner in the points race behind that remarkable Aussie, Cameron Meyer who took his fifth points title with big Dutchman, Van Schip taking silver.
Scotland had an exceptional World Championship in Apeldoorn with Mark Stewart and Jack Carlin both on the podium; Stewart in the points race and Carlin in the individual and team sprint – both boding very well for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in ‘24 days 09 hours and 55 seconds’ at time of writing. And there was that that remarkable young lady, Katie Archibald taking team pursuit silver with the GB squad and Madison gold with Emily Nelson.
It was 1971 when I first joined a cycling club; Kirkcaldy & District CC with their red, yellow and black strip. One of the coolest guys in the club was Dave Gardiner, a signwriter to trade so whilst we rode somewhat mundane Mercians, Robertsons, Andy McNeils and Flying Scots his bike would be liveried up in proper red and white Faema trim, a la Merckx, right down to the little Duomo motif on the head tube.
He may be best known as a cross country MTB man but on a course at Hetton Lyons Country Park, Sunderland which included a little of everything, not so far from his Peebles home in the Scottish Borders, 24 year-old Grant Ferguson ran away with the British Elite Cyclo-Cross championships. Beating into second place the man mostly closely associated with the title in recent years, five times champion, Ian Field. The look on Field's face reflected the fact that a British champion's jersey is worth around 1,000 Euros in start money in any big continental 'cross.
This 23 year-old is a force of nature and has to be one of our best medal hopes at the Commonwealth Games; she’s been rampant recently in the European Championships and World Cups; Ms. Katie Archibald recently kindly took time to speak to VeloVeritas about her autumn adventures and her future ambitions:
The last time we spoke to 22 year-old Scotsman Mark Stewart he’d just ridden a cracking U23 Road Worlds in Bergen – cue total contrast from big blue skies, solitude, fjords and fresh air to The Kuipke with light about as artificial as you can get, wall to wall people, scary steep boards and the smell of burgers frying ... and Jupiler pils.
Mark’s partner for the six nights of Europop and autograph requests was Worlds U23 road race fourth placed man and GB team mate, Ollie Woods. The interview was conducted in the authentic but cramped surroundings of his trackside cabin at the Kuipke.
Yes, Scotland has two Olympic champions on the Commonwealth Games squad for The Gold Coast; Katie Archibald and Callum Skinner. We also have double European U23 champion, Mark Stewart and World Cup gold medallist, Neah Evans. But there’s another name which isn’t so obvious, that of 26 year-old Jonny Wale – born and raised in Scotland, British team pursuit champion and author of a 1:01.1 kilometre.
We caught up with Jonny recently to get his story. He’s recovering from a training crash which resulted in a broken collarbone but hasn’t kept him out of the gym or off the turbo – the man wants to get to the Gold Coast, real bad!
It was at the Berlin Six Day a few years ago that we first saw Neah Evans in action on the boards. She’s made a lot of progress since then and the 27 year-old was recently part of the successful GB team pursuit squad at the Manchester World Cup. High times we ‘had a word.’
The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next year is an interesting proposition for Scotland, with Katie Archibald and Callum Skinner now Olympic champions, Mark Stewart a double under 23 European Champion and Neah Evans on the top step of a World Cup podium - and don't forget 'left fielder' Jonny Wale, reigning British team pursuit champion and 1:01 kilometre man. VeloVeritas spoke to all of them about their 2017 seasons and prospects in Australia come the spring, and we start with Callum Skinner...
Let’s start with the price of wheels; £3,300 for a pair of Lightweights – as Woody Allen might say; ‘what ! are you crazee ?’ Men are winning kermises every day in Belgium on thousand euro bikes; if you’re a Grand Tour rider looking for every advantage on some horrible mountain stage – yes. If you’re riding Ingliston criteriums – NO!
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.