John Watson started racing at 18 years-of-age in 1966, his first race was a ‘25’ which he won with a 1:00. By the following year he was National ‘100’ Champion; in 1968 he went to the Mexico Olympics; in 1969 he set a 12 hour record which stood for a decade; 1970 saw him set a ‘50’ record which sliced nearly four minutes of the previous fastest time for the distance and lasted for 13 years, win the BBAR, get fourth place in the prestigious GP de France time trial and get offered a place with ACBB.
Great Britain took Olympic Team Pursuit bronze in ’72; Worlds silver in ’73; tasted bitter disappointment in ’74 when on a world record ride and again took Olympic bronze in ’76. Recently we’ve interviewed three of the gentlemen who were in those teams: Ian Banbury, Rik Evans and Mick Bennett. We’ve caught up with another of the group, Mr. Ron Keeble who was in the Munich team which took Olympic bronze in 1972.
You students of track cycling out there, which was the year the mighty GB squad won their first team pursuit world title. Did you say, 2005? Then you’d be wrong. The GB team pursuit squad won the event some 30 years earlier, in 1973 but ‘gave away’ the title. This is the story of one of the team and that huge decision to let a world title go; from the precocious talent that was Rik Evans.
How long a career do you need to have to win 10 [yes ten] World titles? US ‘chrono girl,’ Chloé Dygert Owen has won that many and she’s still only 23 years-old; and there are two Pan Am golds and an Olympic silver in the dresser drawer too. High times we ‘had a word’ with the young lady out of Indiana.
Multiple Danish Champion on the track, European Champion and now three time World Champion; Michael Mørkøv has always been happy to give of his time to us and we had to catch up with him after his latest triumph in the Madison.
We didn't realise when we made our way to the Civic Hall in Leeds for the sign-on of the 2019 Elite World Road Championships just what an epic day we were in for; emergency purchasing of umbrellas in the local outdoor centre didn't quite cut it as the deluge lasted almost the entire race.
"In Spring a young man’s fancy..." Well, this Spring, being no longer young, my fancy turned to applying for volunteering at the World Road Championships on the "Yorkshire Team", the events being held 22st to 29th September in Yorkshire, where I have been living for the past eleven years.
Denmark’s Mads Pederson drops to the wet Yorkshire tarmac, a hundred metres past the finish line, he can’t take in what he’s just accomplished. He has out-sprinted one of the foxiest and fastest men around, Matteo Trentin of Italy - the hot pre-race favourites for the title on this horror of a day.
Annemiek Van Vleuten crosses the line after a 60 mile solo – local legend, the late, great Beryl Burton would be proud of this ride on her Yorkshire roads. The Orange-woman is immediately mobbed by a pack of feral photogs, but instead of being led away by the UCI podium guys, she effects a tricky clamber over the barriers and into the arms of mum and dad for a huge embrace.
How did we do with our Worlds Elite Men Time Trial pre-race predictions? Well, to start with, we weren’t sure if the slim Aussie Rohan Dennis could come back from his pre-Tour time trial abandon – but it’s amazing what a couple of months with a sport psychologist can do and the tattooed chrono specialist was in a class of his own...
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...
As VeloVeritas pundit and critic, Viktor said after the Bergen World Championships; ‘where would we be without him?’ Peter Sagan. Cipo had it, Boonen had it, Peter has it – but Vik and I are both worried about who can pick up the ‘cycling’s showman and charismatic star’ baton when he finally hands his in.
VeloVeritas resident prophet and Guru, Viktor is in Spain just now. His old bones can't handle the Scottish weather these days - a nice wee apartment in Benidorm. There's a Belgian and a Dutch bar, both within crawling distance and both with big TV's permatuned to sport, often bike racing. He has his bike out there and is about as happy as Vik ever gets. I rang him the other day to ask if he'd seen Etixx-QuickStep's beautiful ride to win the Worlds TTT...
Sometimes even we get it wrong with interviews, take this one with London Olympics team sprint champion, Philip Hindes. We caught up with Philip prior to the Worlds In Paris and thought we’d be clever, holding on to the piece ‘til post Paris so as we could announce the interview as with; ‘recent Worlds medallist, Philip Hindes.’
Martin: "Here! Ed! Shouldn't we be doing a piece about the World Track Champs?" Ed: "They've never been the same since Daniel Morelon retired and Hughie Porter had that crash, then they ditched the big motors and..." Martin: "Hold on - go and speak to Craig Maclean!" Ed: "Aye, right, he'll know a bit, being an ex-world champ and all..."
It wasn't until the Belgian guy pointed it out to me today, but it wasn't the friendliest of championships, the World Road Championships 2007... The Press Centre you expect to be a clique-ridden, unfriendly, verging on hostile place. I think it's because a lot of those that work there are freelance and any new face could be taking work from them. But even in the 'real' world, if you don't speak first, no one will talk to you.
It was warm today at the World Road Race Championship 2007. It's a cliche, but what a difference nice weather makes. The ladies race was on first: I have to rant, I'm afraid. What is Jeanie Longo doing? What is the French Federation doing? What is the UCI doing? It's not good for the sport for a woman who looks about 60 to finish in the bunch; she's a remarkable athlete, no doubt. But that's not the point, it's time to stop, Jeanie. Now! OK, I feel better now.
I got my Hugh Porter interview here at the World Road Championships 2007, it's not often that you get the chance to meet your hero, sometimes they disappoint, not Hughie, a cool guy who certainly doesn't live in the past, like many old pros do. Today was "course preview" day, I had hoped to borrow a bike, but eventually I thought; 'ach, I'll just walk!' for the first couple of hours this was fine, especially since there was lots to see; not least 'still banned' Danilo Di Luca, training with the Italian team.
Jo Patterson – who has just won the CTT 100 Mile TT with a stunning 3:42 ride in Wales, riding for The Independent Pedaler-Nopinz - has represented Ireland internationally and was born in England but she lives in Scotland and works in Wishae – that’s ‘Wishaw’ to non-natives… ‘good enough for us,’ we thought to ourselves.
When Sasha Castling of Ribble Cycles contacted us to ask if we’d be interested to hear more about the company’s decision to run a TV ad. campaign promoting their wares during the Tour de France, we took the opportunity to ask the man behind the company, Mr. Andy Smallwood a wide range of questions about his business, the sport and that, ‘tech stuff.’
To celebrate the 2021 Tour de France, Continental has today announced the return of the cream sidewall Continental Grand Prix 5000 road tyre, which joins the transparent sidewall and traditional black tyres to form the new colours range.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have had that last Strega on top of the Erdinger, Malbec and Grappa last night? But when we got an invite to the Loch Ken Round of the Merlin Cycles Classic TT Series from the organiser and he takes the trouble to send you the start sheet and rider information sheet, hangovers must be ignored.
Bernard Burns got in touch with us recently to share a bit of cycling history and to comment on what today’s champions put back into a sport that has given them so much. But we felt that Bernard’s career both as a rider, manager and coach was also well worth looking at...
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