David Rayner Fund 2018 ‘rider of the year,’ Heriot man, Stuart Balfour was busy post the 2020 ‘lock down’ and season 2021 sees him step up a level to UCI Continental team, Swiss Racing Academy which boasts former multiple World Time Trial and reigning Olympic Time Trial Champion, Fabian Cancellara as it’s patron.
There was never any doubt about Scotsman John Archibald’s talent; but we must lay aside UK results in the context of international racing, they simply don’t count with European team management. At 30 years-of-age our feeling at VeloVeritas was that John’s chances of a contract at the highest level were slim, despite his obvious class, however we’re glad to be proved wrong and John will be racing with Alberto Contador's EOLA-Kometa ProTeam squad next season.
Oscar Onley recently caught the attention of many, including Team Sunweb, with his win at Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc cycle sportive, a mountain time trial that took place on the same course as the final stage of the elite men’s race of the same name. For season 2021 Oscar will be riding with the World Tour Team’s u23 development squad.
By any measure it’s an unusual story; hard man, Robert Millar the Tour de France ‘King of the Mountains’ in 1984, second overall twice in the Vuelta, second in the Giro and fourth overall in the Tour de France transitions into female Philippa York. A factor in the story which intrigued me was that the lady who was Robert’s partner and the mother of his daughter, is still Philippa’s partner: Linda Ann.
It’s a wee while since last we spoke to Scottish ‘Zappi Man’ Calum Johnston who’s out there in Bella Italia, chasing the dream - but when we heard he was stuck on a volcano in Sicily we just had to learn more.
When I asked Drew Wilson (or 'Mr. Visualbikefit', as he’s known on social media) if he’d like to do a wee interview with us here at VeloVeritas he replied that he wasn’t sure he had enough interesting things to say? We said that we’d risk it and we’re glad we did…
The thing about being on a World Tour or Pro Conti professional team is that your fate doesn’t hang on just one ride. But it seems that it does with British Cycling. Mark Stewart, had a strong winter 2019/20 World Cup campaign, but despite those rides Stewart has been axed from the GB team on the strength of an admittedly below par 12th place ride in the World Points Race Championship in Berlin.
Last season, after the Scottish Kilometre Championship we said that not many 100 milers have become kilometre riders. We were talking about that man Kyle Gordon, and he's done it again, stepping up to Bronze in the British Kilo Championship with fellow HUUB man and Scot, Jonny Wale taking gold.
The last time we spoke to John Archibald he’d just won the Scottish Road Race Championship; since then he’s won a medal in the inaugural ‘mixed’ TTT Worlds in Harrogate, ridden well in the individual Worlds TT, enjoyed a World Cup in Minsk which saw him bested only by Filippo Ganna in the individual pursuit...
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...
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’...
With the retirement of David Miller, Scotland has just one representative left in the World Tour, Sky’s Andy Fenn; but with MTN-Qhubeka morphing into ‘Dimension Data for Qhubeka’ for 2016 and moving up to the first division of professional cycling the nation has another man at the heart of world cycling. Brian Smith is General Manager with the South African team and always happy to chat to VeloVeritas. Here’s what he had to say to us as the day before his riders Cam Meyer and Nathan Haas grabbed second and fourth behind Jack Bobridge in the Australian Elite Road race Championships in Ballarat.
Evan Oliphant's going to have not one but two new chums to chat to at Raleigh for season 2016. We've already spoken to Aberdeen's Craig Wallace and now it's time for Perth man Fraser Martin - who also pulls on the jersey with the famous name - to give us his story.
He's raced in Belgium and spent time in The Basque Nation but the pro contract for 2016 has come closer to home with Raleigh. Aberdonian Craig Wallace joins Evan Oliphant at the 'Heron squad' for the next phase of his career - here's what he had to say to VeloVeritas, recently.
Raleigh professional Evan Oliphant handled the age old dilemma of the pro racing against amateurs – if they don’t win they’re criticised, but if they do then it’s ‘expected’ – by taking the best option and winning the Gala CC’s Gordon Arms Hilly Time Trial over 20.5 cold and cloudy Borders miles in 50:06; some ways short of Mark Atkinson’s (Velo Ecosse) 1999 course record of 48:47 but enough to give him the result by 41 seconds over Carl Donaldson (GS Metro).
Raleigh's Evan Oliphant recently made some cycling history when he became the first Scotsman to win the Star Trophy - or as it's known now, 'The Premier Calendar.'
But 'Star Trophy' just sounds so much better.
The season long contest was first run in 1959 when the legendary John Perks won it the names engraved upon the silver demand respect - Les West, Hugh Porter, Phil Griffiths, Malcolm Elliott, Paul Curran and Russell Downing to name a few.
One of the biggest professional kermises in Flanders is the Gullegem Koerse, first held in 1942 when Belgian legend Marcel Kindt claimed victory. Since then it’s been won by many of the hardest kermis riders in the game – Willy Tierlinck, Wilfried Nelissen, Nico Eeckhout, Gert Omloop to name a few. Not to mention some of the best roadmen of their eras; including Nico Mattan, Peter Van Petegem and Philippe Gilbert. And for this year’s edition we can boast of a Scottish winner in Andy Fenn – well, his mum is Scottish and he rode the Commonwealth Games for us in Delhi.
We thought it would good to talk with the previous ‘Woman of the Hour,’ Ms. Bussi about her record of 48.007 kilometres set on September 13th 2018 at high altitude on the boards of the Aguascalientes velodrome in Mexico.
On a day when we watched hard men like Gran Piemonte winner, Matt Walls and Tro Bro victor, Connor Swift crack before our very eyes it was reigning champion, Ben Swift who extended his tenure in that lovely jersey from 2019 through 2020 and 2021 into at least June 2022.
Ribble Weldtite track and chrono man, multiple British Champion and aero guru, Dan Bigham [Ribble Weldtite] produced a stunning 54.723 kilometre ride on the boards of Switzerland’s Grenchen Velodrome on October 1st, breaking the British Hour Record and recording the fourth fastest World Hour ride.
We missed you last year Tour de Trossachs, so let’s begin with a large ‘thank you’ to Jason Roberts and his team for reviving this great race and organising it so well. Men of the day: Messrs. Friel, Maclean and Creber; Woman of the day: Lynsey Curran.
It’s a while since we had a rant so we discuss Patrick Lefevere's recent comments, what exactly is 'Project GO'?, the UCI getting it's claws on gravel biking, and John Purser fondly remembers Norman Hill.
In recent weeks we’ve lost three important figures within our King of Sports; Norman Hill, a man who did it all, road, the Belgian Kermis scene, Six Days, big motors, even cyclo-cross, Bernard Tapie, the man responsible for riders beginning to get paid what they were worth, and track coach Heiko Salzwedel.
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