Friday, November 18, 2016
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Been bust adding, updating, re-vamping www.thesoftsaddle.com over the past couple or three weeks. There's loads of new projects, reviews, galleries, stories, and journeys too - take a slow ride over if you fancy it - and be sure to check out the sweet & (system) sour story from Adam Hansen in the words section.
at 1:21 AM
Saturday, October 08, 2016
Been busy adding web galleries and content at www.thesoftsaddle.com, head over for a peep if have time. meanwhile here's a gallery of mono cycling images from my recent Cappadocia trip, link bellow.
at 11:44 PM
Sunday, October 02, 2016
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
It's strange how some things linger in your mind - and how certain stories are seldom told. As the World Road Race Championships come around I was reminded of this extract from a story I wrote a couple or more years back, where I got to ask Jock Boyer what exactly happened on that day back in 1982 when to all intents and purposes his teammate - Greg Lemond seemingly scuttled his chances of becoming World Champion.
A few weeks back I met Jock, so it gave double cause to re-wire the story..
The Americans have of course already bagged 3 Elite Men’s world titles; through Greg Lemond in 1983 & 1989 and Lance Armstrong in 1993, which was the last time an American rider stood on the podium at the race. But, there was one very memorable championship race that could have, probably even should have given them another rainbow jersey – and their first.
Back in 1982 the world championships took place in the UK, on a tough route based around the Goodwood motor racing circuit. Although Britain’s Mandy Jones took victory in the women’s road race this was very much the pre-Brit pack era, and the home nation didn’t have any realistic chance of finishing a rider in the top 10, never the less it was a big occasion for us island based bike racing fans. Back then we all assumed that it was a once in a lifetime occurrence, seeing these great riders close up on British roads; but needless to say things have change some since then.
Our adopted Brit for the race was Sean Kelly, with Phil Anderson playing the role of second cousin. Kelly was very much at the top of his game, and had started as odds-on favorite for the race, along with Italian Giro champion Giuseppe Saronni.
As the final lap bell chimed a large lead group had formed, and Spanish tough guy Marino Lajeretta was whittling things down with a series of defiant attacks. At this time I was a young teenager, and was stood in the roadside crowd, about 800 meters or so from the finish line, which came just over the top of a long draggy climb; the climb that has shaped the race.
Suddenly the crowd closed in and the road thinned down, a huge roar went out and I remember seeing this blurry American jersey tearing past, one rider racing flat out and alone, and looking to become a surefire world champion. That rider was Jock Boyer, the first American ever to ride the Tour de France, who was a true pioneer and a classy rider. The year before he’d finished 5th in the race, and so had credible chances of taking the victory.
Just seconds later the chasers came through, with Greg Lemond in full pursuit of his teammate, and within site of the finish line. Now, Lemond was a superb rider and a very decent sprinter too, but he’d got Kelly and Saronni tucked in safely behind him, two of the fastest sprinters in the world.
I couldn’t quite reconcile with this; what the hell was going on? Lemond was chasing down his teammate. Boyer was caught just meters from the line, and Saronni zipped past to take the title from Lemond, with Kelly in third place.
Later I watched the whole race again and again on video, and it still didn’t add up. Phil Liggett was commentating, and was in a state of near disbelief too. My assumption was that it was some form of bridging tactic aimed to take Lemond clear, and little was ever really written about it.
Ever since that day I’d wondered what the real deal was. I’d met and ridden with Greg a few times, and admired him as a great champion; but that one thing always niggled away at me.
A couple of days’ back I was working on a story about African cycling, and once again came too be in touch with Boyer, who is now spearheading the Team Rwanda project. Being some 31 years later and on the eve of the world’s it seemed like a fitting time to ask what happened on that day. This is what Jock said; “Odd that you should ask, as I was just looking at a letter written to me by Jean de Gribaldi (former pro team manager of both Boyer and Kelly). He said that Greg had stolen the win from me, and that Kelly told him that they would never have chased me down if it hadn’t been for Greg – and that I’d have won the race.”
Surely there must have been some kind of tactical agreement between the 2 Americans? “I asked Greg about it at the finish, and he told me that he didn’t care who won, as long as it wasn’t me – as I didn’t deserve it.”
For me it was strange to hear this, a question I’d wanted to know the answer to for most of my life had been answered in a way I didn’t really expect, and given the post career downer Boyer suffered I can’t help but wonder just how differently his life might have played out had he been “allowed” to win that day.
at 4:40 AM