Tag Archives: France

Scottish Tribute To Laurent Fignon

Laurent Fignon died today aged 50, of cancer. Tributes have been made all across the world.

I wanted to look at Fignon’s greates achievements from a Scottish perspective, and his 1984 Tour win stands out- because it was the year in which Robert Millar won the polka dot jersey.

Below you can see Fignon celebrating winning the yellow jersey, and Robert Millar just on the edge of the shot. The image links to l’Equipe’s photo tribute to Fignon’s career -click on it for 24 brilliant images.

Edmond Hood writes an account of the 1984 King of the Mountains on Pez Cycling News, where Millar’s closest challenger for the polka dot jersey was Fignon himself.

[edit 01/11/10]
I couldn’t really claim to have watched Fignon when he was racing, so last night I was searching for any interviews where Robert Millar comments on Laurent Fignon. This morning Cyclingnews got his thoughts, and he provides a fitting tribute to the man and the sportsman in the link above.

Pic of the day: Marmotte/Galibier

Further to my post about sportive hardman Paul Harradine’s monstrous hill repeats up the Bealach-na-ba, I can report on how his Marmotte went. Photo taken by Paul from Col du Galibier (about 2700m) recce a few days before La Marmotte.

Completed La Marmotte on Saturday. 173km over Col du Glandon, Telegraph and Galibier finishing with climb to Alpe d’Huez. Ridiculous temperatures (36C), 5000m of ascent. Still feel like I was beaten with a hammer. Time 7h46min which is probably in top 5% of finishers so pleased. Did 100km today, legs still not working.

I was proud of myself getting into the top 10% of the Bealach-na-ba, but top 5% in the Marmotte? CHAPEAU

Interview: Jack Barrett

It’s happening embarrasingly frequently at the moment, but I was inspired by a post on Veloresults again- an interview with Glasgow Wheelers rider Dougie Young, who is going to Belgium for 9 weeks this summer. A rider I know a little more closely, Jack Barrett is also racing abroad this summer so I thought he deserved a bit of exposure too.

How old are you now- have you left school?
I’m 17. I’ve just decided to stay on for 6th year. It’ll give me a bit more stability, and also I will be quite flexible with my time so will be able to train.

You’ve improved a lot this year- how did you manage it with school?
In the winter when it was dark, I was getting up early to spin on the turbo in the morning- which meant I was falling asleep a bit in class in the afternoon! Other than that it was just long winter runs, training with the fast guys in Stirling Bike Club, and then chaingangs and lots of racing.

Jack Barrett, 18th- Super6 Sam Robinson

So what are your plans for the summer?
I’m away too do a French Stage race a week on Friday (the Tour Valomrey) – I got selected to go as part of a Scottish junior team. It’s a four-day stage race in the Rhone-Alpes. It’s very hilly, each stage is 100k and there are some 1st category and hors category climbs in it.

Which other riders are on the team?
Matt Hamilton, Grant Ferguson, James Smith and Taylor Johnson. It’s an U18 team and selection was pretty close, so I’m really pleased to be going.

Were there any results in particular that qualified you for the team?
No- it was a bit of everything really. I enjoy getting in breaks and taking part in the race, even if the final result doesn’t always come off. Scottish Cycling look at your motivation and teamwork as well as your actual results. Your mental approach is important too.

Chasing breaks for Stirling BC contender Rob Wilkins, Dundee Stage Race

What’s your best result so far though?
Probably last weekend at the Arthur Campbell, where I got top 10. It was on the Anderside course that is used for the national championship.

Back to the French race: what are your expectations and goals? It sounds really tough!
First of all, just to finish really, but I’d like to take part in the race, work well with the team and help Grant, who come from a mountain biking background and is a strong climber. He rides for Dooleys and was 12th in the Davie Bell the other week.

The Tour Valromey in the Rhone-Alpes: proper mountainous country

Stage 2 profile: 100km and two big climbs

Then you’re going to Belgium?
I’m getting dropped off in Belgium after the Tour Valromey and staying in a youth hostel there from July 15th till about the 31st, not far from where Dougie and Finlay are staying.

After that some of us are going to try and join a Scottish track training camp in Alkmaar. We’re hoping to get a ride if we ask nicely! I don’t know too much about it but I expect guys like Evan Oliphant and James McCallum will be there trying to hone their track form for the Commonwealth Games.

Have you done much track then?
Not a huge amount but I’d like to get into it. I’m doing the track championships later in the year down in Wales- the pursuit and the scratch race or the points race. After that I’ve got the Tour of Wales- it’s really busy but I’m excited about it.

Jack racing in a team of Scottish Juniors in Tour of the Isle of Man

I was going to ask you about cyclocross but it sounds like you’ll need a rest in the winter!
Yes, I’ll probably have quite a quiet winter, take a wee while off and maybe do some cyclocross later on.

Plans for next year?
Just more of the same, and move up a level!

Review of cycling podcasts: Carrément Vélo

The Tour de France approaches, so for my latest podcast review, it’s time to cover something French.

It’s a French cycling podcast from commercial radio station RTL-l’Équipe, and the quality of the show is what you’d expect- no sound issues for example. In addition to the download, the show is broadcast live and online every Monday 11am-12pm, and repeated again on Monday afternoons. It may be showing off a bit to declare that I listen to this- I can pick up most of the discussion, although inevitably quite a bit passes me by. If you can understand French though, I’d rate it as must-listen.

The show is expertly chaired by RTL host Emmanuel Barth, who manages the various personalities well and gets the best out of them, fostering at times heated debate about the professional road racing scene. This typical French polemique, the kind you’d find in the bar or around the dinner table, is imbued with a passion that can put British discussion to shame at times.
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