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When Martin suggested we use the RIP Wouter Weylandt obituary as our 2011 article in our 'The VeloVeritas Years' series it stirred memories of such a sad day. It's not something I've mentioned to many but on that day of despair I had been waiting to speak to Wouter at the Leopard-Trek bus before the race - but with the depart looming we had to vamoose and get a head start on the peloton. I sometimes wonder that if we'd waited a little longer, met Wouter and spent even a few moments with him then perhaps it may have changed the whole dynamic of his day?
So I've been meaning to put together a blog post of my latest experiences of life here in Flanders. This season has certainly had its ups and downs, but all this seems rather irrelevant after the events of this week. Cycling indeed has its fair share of tragedies and the death of Wouter Weylandt in Stage 3 of the Giro this year is another one added to that list.
Wouter Weylandt tragically lost his life today, in a crash on the twisty, steep dangerous descent of the Passo del Bocco climb, about 12.4-miles from the finish of stage three of the Giro. The briefest of pictures of the scene were shown on live TV before the broadcasting director wisely stopped showing any more, but that was enough to be able to tell that the situation was grave.
Less than a month after the death of Peter Post, Dutch cycling has lost another of its 'Greats' with the news that Fedor Den Hertog succumbed on Saturday 12th February, after a long battle with illness. For anyone involved in cycle sport in the late 60's and early 70's, amateur Den Hertog's name was as well known as any of the top professionals.
With the news on Friday that Peter Post had died in Amsterdam at the age of 77 the sport lost one of it's Colossi. Born in Amsterdam in November 1933, the son of a butcher, he had a hard childhood growing up in Nazi occupied Holland. He turned professional in 1956 for Legendary Amsterdam bicycle makers RIH Sport; he would remain in the peloton until 1972 having ridden for some of the most famous teams in the history of cycle sport-Flandria, Faema, Solo-Superia and Willem 11.
On a lovely sunny afternoon, Arthur Doyle (Dooleys Cycles) rocketed around the Scottish Championship 10 mile course at Corpach outside Fort William to take the gold medal for the third year in a row. Arthur also won the fabulous Jason MacIntyre Memorial Trophy, awarded in memory of Jason who was tragically killed just over two years ago and who was the winner of 'the 10' himself four years back.
The death of Richard Russell leaves a large gap in the Lothians CTC. Richard was an important figure on the Scottish cycling scene, following his father into the Cyclists' Touring Club, the Edinburgh Road Club and the Scottish Road Records Association. One of his earliest memories was of sitting in a small wicker seat on the back of his parents' tandem on trips around East Lothian, an area he always loved.
It's funny how things work out, Alberto Contador signs a contract with Specialized bikes for 700,000 euros last week. So will he be riding for one of the teams who ride on Specialized bikes; Quick-Step or Saxo Bank? Ah! Then Quick-Step announces that they will no longer be riding on Specialized, but will be on Eddy Merckx bikes.
It's easy to write an obituary when one of your heroes dies - probably more so if you don't know them well. There's just the legend, palmares, anecdotes and the sadness. But I knew Dimitri De Fauw, not well, but I worked at maybe half-a-dozen Six Day races where he was riding.
Hugh McGuire, who has died suddenly of a heart attack aged 71, was the Glasgow-born Scot who became one of the top UK cyclists in the 1960s, representing both Scotland and the British Army. He took part with the best of GB riders in the Tour of Britain / Milk Race era, winning stages - and in so doing following the wheels of a slightly older top gun, Jimmy Savile. McGuire became noticed, and in 1962 and 1963, was selected to travel behind the Iron Curtain to participate in the annual Berlin-Warsaw-Prague road race, the co-called Peace Race designed by the Soviets to bring together the world's top cyclists in reconciliation between Warsaw Pact countries and the West.
It's a year since Jason MacIntyre died; just like I can remember where I was when JFK was shot, I can remember receiving the call from James McCallum as I drove through Cramond. Jason was a special rider, I loved to watch him in a time trial; to me he was poetry in motion.
Jocky Allan has passed. Life is strange, sometimes. Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine, we got round to talking about cycling, and with a far away look in his eyes, he reminisced about his first bike; "my maw pushed the boat out and bought me this beautiful red racer, it had white wall tyres and white transfers on the tubes - JB Allan."
The tall, rawboned rider ambled across to the barrier; Gary Wiggins was broad and square across the shoulders, big-thighed and walked with a loose-limbed gait. His long legs made easy work of straddling the steel fence which separated the riders' enclosure from the paying public at the Gent six, back in the early 80's.
It's drizzling in Kirkcaldy at 06.15, mild, damp, depressing. The 07.50 train to Edinburgh and no one speaks, not a word. I'd sooner be in the old Transit, with Terry Wogan prattling-on about sausages. The carriage rocks past the Forth Bridge approach road at 08.10 and like Talking Heads would say, the tailback is "same as it ever was". We're on our way to say goodbye to Jason MacIntyre.
British 25 Mile Time Trial Champion, Jason Macintyre (Edge RT) died this afternoon, after being involved in a collision at 13.34 GMT with a Highland Council truck which is believed to have turned left across his path as it entered the council yard on the northern outskirts of Jason's home town of Fort William. The 34 year-old multiple Scottish champion was returning from a training run in the Spean Bridge area when the tragedy occured at a spot known locally as Carr's corner on the A82 road.
The recent Phil Young Memorial TT was a tremendous success. The weather was a bit cold and damp but it certainly didn't dampen the enjoyment of the field. Every rider in the race got a prize, and it was really nice to see the expression on the face of riders who have never won a prize before.
I didn't make it up to the Phil Young memorial race this year, work got in the way. I need to get my values sorted out. I should put the memory of a friend before commercial activity, but when you are under client pressure to get a job finished, it is difficult. Phil had his priorities right, though: "the bike" was number one, and everything else was organised around that.
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