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The Girvan Three Day; a Scottish Easter racing institution but now late lamented – sunshine, ice, snow and everything else in between but whatever the weather it was never a race for the faint-hearted. Some of the biggest names in British bike racing have won over that tough South West Scotland parcours. Let’s go back to 1986; aforementioned Paul Curran is after his third win in the event – but Scotland’s Martin Coll has other ideas... We recently caught up with Martin at his home in Arizona to ‘talk a little Girvan’ and - the Peace Race.
We're off to the first edition of the Tour Doon Hame. I grew up with 'The Girvan' - in fact, it took me a long time to stop myself from referring to it as the 'Grant's of Girvan.' Ronnie Boa won it way back when; Henk Lubberding won a stage, Sean Yates, Dave Lloyd, Tony Doyle, all famous names to associate with Girvan.
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...
"The Girvan" stage race, based in beautiful Ayrshire and Galloway and held over the Easter weekend, has the reputation of being one of the toughest races in Britain, and it certainly does deserve it. This year the 39th edition is again being run over 3 days and 4 stages, with the 3 road stages taking the riders into wild and remote terrain, most likely in less than ideal weather, which has been deteriorating ominously during the week and with foul conditions including snow predicted to arrive at the weekend, together with over 100 of the UK's top cyclists, it should be an interesting race...
Ailsa Craig is lost in the low cloud, visibility isn't much beyond the breakwater. The rain is a fine, freezing, stinging mist - it's a perfect day for the last stage at The Girvan 2007. We've just agreed that the guys from Bike&Run London, with their cool all-white kit and matching Looks, opened the curtains and began packing the car for the trip home immediately.
Sunday stage on the The Girvan 2007 started at 12.01am in the Roxy, Girvan's answer to Stringfellows. We drank cocktails, there was Bobby Darrin on the sound system, and the talk with the Prada-clad lovelies was of moving to Saint Tropez for the Spring.The scent of Chanel filled the air. Na - you know what it was really like; but we only had three beers, so there are no war stories.