‘Tis the season for ‘Top 10’ style lists, so here’s a brief rundown of some of my highlights of 2011 where Scottish racing is concerned. I certainly haven’t watched everything closely- these are just the things that stand out, off the top of my head. Please contribute your own ideas in the comments.
in no particular order
Arthur Doyle’s 19:45
Arthur is pretty much the best time triallist around, particularly in 10s and 25s and this blistering time at Westferry at the end of August was brilliant. Check out this discussion on Braveheart which looks at other 19 minute rides.
I noticed a few shots of Andy Fenn in the Tour of Britain time trial for An Post, taken by Nick from Vulpine CC. It’s a blog for now, but soon to be a clothing brand. Thanks to Nick for letting me use the pics.
Andy was being referred to as a sprinter by the commentators in the ToB, and took 3rd in the U23 worlds road race. Cycling Weekly has more on that. Although I haven’t seen him race there seems more to his game than the fast finish- he is a junior Paris-Roubaix winner and the Northern Classics are a stated aim.
There were a few sniffy remarks from down south about him not being a ‘real Scot’- he was born down South and qualifies for Scotland through his mother. He competed for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games though, so one presumes he feels more than a small amount of affinity for the country!
I did a blog post on him earlier this year and I enjoy following the progress of a rider like Fenn who is less-well known amongst the masses. Thanks to Velo Club Don Logan podcast for giving that post a mention.
Having had a successful racing season so far, with strong results at international as well as national events, Endura Racing are now in the final stage of their preparations for the Tour of Britain which will start in Peebles, Scotland on September 11th.
I’m disappointed not to be watching the Scottish stage of the ToB this year, having enjoyed being a roadside spectator in 2008 and 2009, but the start in Peebles is sure to be a spectacle, with the borders town having fully embraced the race over the past few years.
Endura’s Jack Bauer, former NZ champ
It’s been a while since I covered Scotland’s pro team, Endura Racing, and there has been lots of action in recent months with the team continuing to step up the level of performance.
A team time trial win in the Czech Cycling Tour, Scott Thwaites’ win in the U23 category in the British Championship road race, or the same riders’ win at the Lincoln GP are a few of the stand-outs.
Jack Bauer’s win in the Tour of Utah’s second stage in Provo on Thursday came as he jumped clear to surprise the sprinters with 500m to go, powering all the way to the line. The former New Zealand road race champion’s impressive attack opened up a clear gap in just a few pedal strokes and Elia Viviani (Liquigas Cannondale) and Jake Keough (UnitedHealthcare) were unable able to catch the charging Kiwi at the end of the 160km stage.
David Millar sported an aero helmet on the final stage of the Tour de France. I’m far from a gear expert but I thought I’d bring together a few thoughts on it.
pic © Team Garmin-Cervélo
click through for their flickr photos of the Tour
The helmet caused plenty of reaction on twitter, initially with people wondering who the rider was and whether it was an aero or track helmet – “WTF?”, if you like. Screenshots from Eurosport and itv4 were posted.
Even amongst pros, one of the prevailing feelings is that out-and-out aero kit during a road stage is not the done thing. “Like turning up to an amateur race in a skinsuit and not even getting in the break” someone said.
I’ve been Scotia-centric for the past few weeks on the blog, and after a wee while out of the game completely, I thought it’d be nice
I listened to last week’s Carrément Vélo podcast while hacking back the jungle, I mean cutting the lawn, and there was a great interview with French rider John Gadret who finished fourth at the 2010 Giro d’Italia.
I have done a fairly comprehensive (but not exhaustive) review of cycling podcasts over the past few years, and Cyclingnews was one that I liked, although it did have its critics.
It usually takes a hiatus in the off-season, but as the early races kicked off and the classics got underway, it still hadn’t re-emerged. I spoke to Daniel Benson, editor of Cyclingnews.com and got the lowdown.
A sneak peek of the unofficial Scottish champion’s jersey to be presented to the winners of the Road Race championships this weekend.
It has been designed by Tom Worthington, including all the details down to the blue piping on the stitches. The Saltire is subtly included, but the design veers away from overt National flag motifs as these are already present on quite a few club jerseys. The top band is blue, and the bottom band is much more purple than it appears in the photo. See the design artwork below for a better idea of colours- the purple (in real life) is similar to the Scottish Commonwealth Games kit.
The design went through a few phases and then reverted to a classic champions style with horizontal bands- a timeless design.
The Scottish Cycling Road Race Championships are this Sunday 22nd May 2011, with Race HQ based in Balfron.
Vortex Race Team is organising its first Scottish Championships and it looks to set a new standard. The ‘Endrick Valley’ circuit will be used for the first time, a course befitting a Scottish championship, located around the historic town of Balfron which lies between the Campsie Fells and the Trossachs.
Rene Mandri is one of Endura Racing’s new recruits for 2011 and I have been keeping an eye out to see what type of rider he is. After the Tour of Bretagne, I’m still not quite sure, but it’s clear he is stong enough to get in a break and stay away, as well as to win a sprint from a small group. Below is a press report from Cyclevox about his recent 2nd place in the Breton stage race.
After a string of high-profile performances in Europe over the last few weeks, Endura Racing are beginning to find their footing as a team that can deliver results and mix it with the best pro cycling teams in the world. Estonian Rene Mandri capitalised on this rich vein of confidence running through the squad to take a stage win and second on GC at last week’s Tour de Bretagne – Trophée des Granitiers in France.