The Vuelta has finished, so has the Tour of Britain, the Worlds are this weekend, the crosses have started and there's a nip in the air in the mornings - autumn is here.
My favourite time of the year: in Scotland it rains less, the skies are blue, the air is fresh and leaves are so beautiful as they turn.
Barring accidents or a dreadful time trial on Saturday it looks like Alejandro Valverde has stitched up his first Grand Tour (at last!). At the end of all of the big stage races we need to ask some questions and La Vuelta a España throws up some thought-provokers!
Adam Hansen was just off the massage table when we caught up with him on Tuesday evening, we couldn't talk during massage because the masseur is a; "full on techno anthems, trance guy,"-just like Davie Urquhart, then? (Just joking, Davie!)
Talking to people who had been to the start in Holland and the stages through Belgium and Germany it was a great success which attracted bigger crowds than expected, if they could only have moved the Spanish weather there it would have been perfect.
I was coming down the 'parachutes' in the Transit on Friday - the old East 25 course - when I got the text message from Dave; 'Garcia and Hesjedal away with two K to go.'
I was talking to Ryder only last night-about his great ride on stage 9, when he was second to Simon Gerrans; then the next text came in; 'Your man has won!'
VeloVeritas first met Kiwi Tim Gudsell (Francaise des Jeux) at Ghent Wevelgem, back in the spring; he was on the way back from a bad crash in the Tour Down Under-six months later he's much further south, the hills are a lot bigger and it's much warmer as we spoke to him after the Vuelta's second mountain stage.
Christian Meier (Canada & Garmin) is a man for his stats. Monday's mountain stage breaks down like this: 4,600 metre of climbing, 5,000 kilo joules expended, that's the equivalent of 5,400 calories - that's one hard day at the office.
It was like Xmas, hustling the Transit across town to John Anderson's shop - to get my 'Vuelta presie' courtesy of Al Hamilton. The last one was my Vuelta gillet; only used abroad, somehow a Vuelta gillet doesn't work at Wallyford.
Today the 204.7km eighth stage from Azlira to Alto de Aitana tackles seven rated climbs before the finish-line summit at the Aitana climb, rated 'especial' in the Vuelta as a stage ending atop a climb.
Borut Božič, no, I didn't know much about him either, 'til I checked him out. He turned pro in 2004 with Perutnina Ptuj (Ptuj being the capital of Slovenia) and took four wins that year-a stage in the Jadranska Magistrala in Croatia; two stages in the Tour of Slovenia and a stage in the Tour of Serbia.
It was a sad day today for VeloVeritas' newly married editor Martin; he had to go back to his day job-and on the rest day! Life just isn't fair! Meanwhile we caught up with Columbia's ex Aussie Elite TT champion and twice podium finisher in the Aussie Elite road race champs, Adam Hansen, to get the story so far as the Vuelta eventually returns home.
Andre Greipel - Columbia again! It's been quite a season for the US team, the wins started and have never stopped. Andre Greipel takes another stage.That was what Adam Hansen cited as the main difference between the old T-Mobile and the new High Road-Columbia; "now, we win races!"
I've been out here for the weekend, and I thought more people would have made the easy journey from the UK to Holland for a Grand Tour depart but so far the only ones we've bumped into are Neil and Maria Martin who are here for obvious reasons.
Dave was giving me the SMS updates on stage 2; when it came together I decided that it was between Tyler and Tom - wrong again. Greg Henderson, another Columbia boy made good - how many wins is that, now? 70-odd!
A Clean La Vuelta? I hope so, but let's look at the facts: The Spanish sports papers quote Oscar Freire; "Rabobank want a stage win in Holland" and I'm sure all the other teams want the same, but the Dutch bank have spent a lot of money bringing La Vuelta a España to Holland for the race start.
Sunday, I did my hour on the bike this morning; had my shower, washed me vest and hat - time to amble down to the newsagents to pick up The Observer, just to see the prologue result in print; there might even be a paragraph or two, a mention of Iñigo Cuesta...but no - "nada."
La Vuelta a España in Holland! So, La Vuelta a España started on Saturday in the Dutch town of Assen, joining in with the other Grand Tour by starting outside its borders. The Spanish Tour has done this once before, but it was still on the Iberian Peninsula; Lisbon in Portugal.
La Vuelta; have you seen the parcours? Brutal! In my opinion, too hard; if it was Italy or Spain they'd engineer it to suit the characteristics of the 'home boy,' but in España it's one for the mountain men - maybe they forgot that Alberto wasn't riding; that we may have seen the best of Carlos; that Valverde will have a bad day and that José Manuel Fuente and Luis Ocaña have left us (God rest their souls).
Adam Blythe produced the big result and relegating Mark Cavendish to second step of the podium for the second year in succession. With the Tinkoff team folding at the end of the year this result will make his chances of a quality contract for 2017 all the more likely.
Whilst Endura have been getting all the attention recently, other Scottish riders have been looking to raise their game too. Rab Wardell is taking his talent south - to Southport's Kinesis team. We caught up with him to talk about the move - eventually. (Rab is a fan of having his mobile on 'silent' after five pm - but of course, this means he doesn't hear it when it rings!)
If there were any doubts that MTN-Qhubeka is going to be a force to be reckoned with for season 2015 they were dispelled when Steve Cummings relegated none other than 2014 world number one, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar & Spain) to the second step of the podium in the Trofeo Andratx Mirador d’Es Colomer in Mallorca, this week.
Here at VeloVeritas we try to keep abreast of what’s going on across in Europe, one result which caught our recently eye was young Mark Donovan winning the Aubel-Thimister-La Gleize junior stage race in Belgium. Never an easy thing to do against all those would-be GVA’s. Best ‘have a word.’
Girvan; who's ridden it most times? Squadra Via Manzini-Race Tool rider, Paul Coats must be in the running with 13, or is it 14 starts? Paul's not as young as he used to be at 39, so we'll forgive him the memory lapse. We caught up with him recently, to get his Girvan memories...
Het Volk... Friday, the evening before the race, as we sat in the Viadukt, our fave local bar in Ghent, we caught sight of our pilot friend who flies Belgian Air Force C130s around the world whilst in an advanced state of enebriation. He was flying to Kabul on the morrow; but tonight in the Viadukt he couldn't bite his thumb.
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