Nationals apart, Gary Hand (Endura) has dominated the Scottish domestic scene in 2009; he continued that superiority with another win in the Super Six Series in the Tour of the Lowther today, on tough roads around Britain's highest village-Wanlockhead.
Endura's Gary Hand took the July edition of the Scottish Cycling Super 6 2009 over 66 miles at a scorching Aberdeen on Saturday, beating Robin Wilkins from Stirling into second and Craig Adams from Falkirk into third with East of Scotland 'old dog' Andy Matheson grabbing fourth.
"Lang Whang" is Auld Scots, it means 'long way' - it's fair to say that Endura's Gary Hand was in the break for a lang whang and he won the finishing sprint by a similar margin from wanderer returned, Alex Coutts (I looked at his jersey but the team name looked like Greek to me).
Endura Racing Team's Gary Hand topped a near perfect day for the Scottish UCI Continental squad with a solo win in the second round of the Super Six Series - the Duncan MacGregor Memorial Road Race over 80 miles around the "Rigging of Fife." Team-mates Gordon Murdoch and Duncan Urquhart took second and fourth respectively, to make it a quality day for the men in red and white. Spoiling the party just a little was Rapha-Condor's Matt Cronshaw, who, despite a severe working-over from the winners, grabbed third place.
Endura Racing tried to sign him for the coming year - they saw the sure potential, but the loyal Mike Nicolson decided to stay with Dooleys RT and took another step today towards realising that promise. Attacking early on the first circuit of this 8 lap/65 mile "A" race around the East Lothian market town of Gifford with Paul Coates (now back with Squadra Via Mazzini - RaceTool Bicycles), and joined on the second lap by Collin Humphrey (Sports Cover), Nicolson drove the collaborating trio to a maximum lead of over 3 minutes with two laps to go, before sensing Coates was weakening and Humphrey was a danger. Deciding to go it alone, Nicolson finished in glorious solitude.
Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage 5. Greipel again – as we said yesterday, sprinting is as much a mental game as it is physical one. Greipel and his team had good morale and they exploited it – and of course they had that bit of luck which comes when all the stars align, staying clear of the crash which saw poor Tyler Farrar losing even more skin.
And too much can’t be read into Cav’s defeat, he hit the deck at 60 kph the day before and whilst he has grinta aplenty, the human body knows when it’s time not too goo too deep – yesterday was one of those times where’s Cav’s engine management system took precedence over the driver’s wishes.
The crowd is good, the riders' contracts have been paid, there's one more procession, one last picture of the Folies girls, I've polished the bikes of Jens and Franco Marvulli, most of the stuff is out of the big cabin, the strongmen are going through their routine and there's a buzz in the air.
Le Cap d’Agde and we're puzzled. We've steadfastly avoided getting involved in speculation over the ‘d-word’ – if you regard yourself as a serious journo, you have to be able to distinguish between factual information from a good source and wild speculation on twitter from individuals who may well have never seen the race, let alone spoken to anyone on it. Maybe it's because we've been on le Tour during the Ulrich, Basso, Mancebo, Bottero, Landis, Morreni, Rasmussen, Contador - and if we forgotten any, sorry - 'affairs.'
These last few winters we’ve tracked down some of those colourful British cyclo-cross stars of the 70’s and 80’s – Keith Mernickle, Eric Stone and Chris Wreghitt have all told their stories to VeloVeritas. But perhaps the most colourful of them all was the man with the ‘George Best Look’ and the lightest of bikes – Barry Davies.
Great racing today to Morzine-Avoriaz, and whatever Astana pay Paolo Tiralongo (Italia) and Daniel Navarro (Espana), it's not enough. Tiralongo has been around a long time, third in the Baby Giro in 1998 he turned pro in 2000 and arrived at Astana this year after three years with Fassa, three with Panaria and four with Lampre.
Alberto Contador's withdrawal was a huge shock to the Tinkoff team and immediately after it Michael Rogers said; “It’s the first stage without Alberto, and the sadness is not just something we can leave at the rest day hotel. But we have a strong team and we’re all in a good condition. So we’ll be setting new goals and ambitions and shift our focus to taking home stage wins. Cue Rafal Majka.”
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