Dozens of SMS and emails flash up on my BlackBerry each day, most are chaff and get deleted after a quick glance — but when one comes in to tell me that ‘Michael Mørkøv excluded from the Vuelta by WADA’ that makes me take notice.
La Vuelta a España 2008. The last day for us, but the sun was out, Cudillero and Asturias was looking at it's best and Bill Medley and Jennifer Warne were on Kiss FM; "I've had, the time of my life," - damn right! Cudillero is a nice spot, not unlike one of the 'smugglers villages' in Cornwall, piled high into a steep cleft in the cliffs. We were there before the teams and had time for a wander, a coffee and to buy an Asturias T-shirt, I'm 53, it's sad, I know.
The weather was glorious on Sunday morning in Oviedo. After liberating the car from the car park - at huge expense - we were off, and stumbled right onto race route. The direction arrows made life very easy as we followed the whole 100 mile parcours. Race route ran through El Padrun, a tiny hill top village, in fact it was the first classified climb of the day. Four years ago, Davie and I stumbled upon El Padrun whilst searching for the Angliru.
Hola! It's 15.10 Saturday and we're two kilometres from the finishing line of the Angliru - it's cold, nippy hand, freezy feet cold. It's been glorious weather until now, but low cloud has descended and we're a wee bit panicky about photography, albeit there's around two hours 'til race time. Davie had us up early, we got lost trying to exit Oviedo in the correct direction, but on the second pass we picked up the A630, hung a right to El Foz and in no time were drinking café con leche in a café at the foot of the Angliru.
Hola from Comillas! "Adios Valverde" - so says the sports paper AS in response to Alejandro dropping 3' 23" yesterday in what should have been an innocuous transition stage - those Spanish journos aren't shy. Sleep came easily last night; but I was on the laptop for 07.00 to get my Angliru piece written.
There's gas in the car, the sun is out, we just had Donna Summer on Kiss FM and we're en route Comillas to pester the Astana mechanics about what gears Bert and Levi will be riding tomorrow - what more could you want out of life? I wasn't so chirpy at 04.45 yesterday in the Days Inn at Stansted when the alarm rang.
It was 2019 when we last spoke to Iain Macleod - he was with Aberdeen Wheelers then but is now with Kelpie Racing - he’d just won the SC 50 mile championships and the man is making the headlines again; a couple of weeks ago he took the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial title and before that recorded the fastest 100 mile time trial ever ridden on Scottish roads.
It was ironic that Chris Anker Sørensen’s life should end doing what he had become known for after his career as a professional cyclist was over – preparing meticulously for his role as a TV race commentator, out riding the parcours of Sunday’s World Individual Time Trial Championship in Flanders.
We liked our jaunt to the Tour of the Campsies last year and feel at home among the rolling countryside and green hills there so we headed west, first of all paying our respects to the Robert Millar mural at the foot of the Crow Road; when you watch Roglič take the Lagos di Covadonga stage in the Vuelta it’s difficult to imagine the wee fella from Glasgow winning that stage – but win it he did.
We had a look around Hawick as the 2021 Tour of Britain race carnival hit town, we caught up with friends then headed out on the course, hiding from the wind on Wanside Rig to see the peloton as it headed towards Gifford...
With victories already this season in various time trial distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles (with a two mile hill climb win too), Iain Macleod (Kelpie Racing) added the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial 2021 title to his growing palmarès.
The Ribble ‘Ultra Aero’ is a beautiful piece of machinery and in the manner of the best British speed machines – Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lotus, Norton – pulls off that trick of looking very quick even when it’s standing still. We caught up with Ribble CEO, Andy Smallwood and ex-pro and DS, Jamie Burrow, Ribble’s head of product development; here’s what they had to say.
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