I am desperate to keep this post relevant to non UK and Fenland readers. I also don’t want politics to play a part on my website.
So let’s just say that its not great that my particular part of the country is going to be classed as high risk and Tier 3 in the latest government rules.
For me it feels like an appropriate time to have another month or so on the turbo rather than out on the roads. Even though exercise is permitted, I want to set an example to my kids and exercise at home.
It’s really annoying and was mentally taxing to spend a month on Tacx before, but let’s just get on with it and get through this the best way that we can.
The three grand tours this summer/autumn/winter were very different in a host of ways.
The timing was one thing, the readiness and sharpness of the riders was another. Lots of pundits and experts were even confused by the shadows and lighting with the usual bright yellow sun and fields of sunflower for the Tour de France long since having gone over ahead of the changing colours of the leaves.
Some of the worlds biggest teams have been taking to YouTube to diarise what their experiences were and in the name of research (and to avoid watching Strictly Come Dancing at the weekend) I have studied most of them and come up with a shortlist of one film per race.
First up is the Tour de France through the eyes of the Deceuninck QuickStep team.
This was an interesting film as it covered the fast start of Julian Alaphillippe before moving on to cover the stage and green jersey winning powers of Sam Bennett.
It’s well shot and tells the story in stages, although it does miss out bits and pieces from when Alaphillippe lost a lot of time in the GC battle.
The EF gone racing series by the popular hipsters team in association with kit sponsor Rapha is seen as the benchmark of this type of fly on the wall documentary and this one is no different.
The best one they ever made was Lachlan Morton riding the GB duro gravel race and this isn’t as good. But it is still a decent watch.
The final big race of the year was the Vuelta and it featured a nervous sense that the race might not make Madrid along with some terrible weather.
Like the Tour and the Giro it featured a brilliant battle to see who would win with Primoz Roglic and Richard Carapaz going to the final kilometer of the final climb the day before the finish before we knew for sure.
After his final weekend loss of the Tour de France, the Jumbo/Visma team car is the best place to watch that GC competition play out. It’s safe to say they are nervous, all of which adds to the quality of the film.
All three are a great waste of an evening so make sure you have a watch and enjoy.
After a late reprieve the team will be rebranded as Qhubeka/Assos.
Having watched the documentary highlighting how Doug Ryder had built the team I felt invested in the team and worried for its future.
A number of their key riders have left for other teams but there is still enough quality on the roster to be successful. There are also plenty of available riders out there to sign and bolster the team. Cavendish and Aru anyone?
So in a nightmare year for sponsors and businesses and sport, this is a good news tale.
This was the grand tour that looked the least likely to run its 2020 course after a surge in COVID cases in Europe and refusals from the French authorities to let the opening weekend stages go ahead across the border.
But run its course it did and in keeping with the Tour and the Giro it was a cracker.
Primoz Roglic won riding for Jumbo/Visma after a ding dong battle with Richard Carapaz of Ineos Grenadiers with the red jersey changing hands a number of times during the race.
In the end it was time bonuses rather than physical gaps on stages that retained the race for the Slovenian ace although one particualar split that Carapaz missed was highlighted as race defining (despite the gap being only 3 seconds).
The truncated opening and full closing weeks featured terrible weather and it was an early race crash that saw Mike Woods of EF Procycling drop out of the reckoning.
That left leadership in the hands of lanky Lancastrian Hugh Carthy and he didn’t disappoint.
He won the queen stage and was still trying to get the race lead on the final Saturday of the race with an all or nothing attack in the mountains above Madrid. Carthy went on to take the final podium spot in third place.
Let’s hope its a sign of more to come!
Sam Bennett and Pascal Ackermann were the sprinters of choice in the race, dividing the scarce flat stages amongst themselves. Aside from Carthy there were memorable stage wins for Woods, who had more freedom after losing time and a brace for David Gaudu of Groupama/FDJ.
It was a fitting and excellent end to a season we will review in due course but which did so well to happen in any form.
2021 is looking to have gaps with the Tour Down Under and Tour de Yorkshire gone already. But let’s deal with next year in time.
Round 1: Klondike Grand Prix, Guisborough (18 April) Round 2: Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix, Lincoln (9 May) Round 3: Tour of the Reservoir, Edmundbyers (5 – 6 June) Round 4: Beaumont Trophy, Stamfordham (4 July) Round 5: Stockton Cycling Festival Grand Prix, Stockton (18 July) Round 6: Lancaster Grand Prix, Lancaster (15 August) Round 7: The Ryedale Grasscrete Grand Prix, Ampleforth (22 August) Round 8: South of England (TBC)
HSBC UK | National Road Series (Women)
Round 1: Klondike Grand Prix, Guisborough (18 April) Round 2: Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix, Lincoln (9 May) Round 3: The Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir, Edmundbyers (5 – 6 June) Round 4: 5th Women’s CiCLE Classic, Rutland (27 June) Round 5: Curlew Cup, Stamfordham (4 July) Round 6: Stockton Cycling Festival Grand Prix, Stockton (18 July) Round 7: The Ryedale Women’s Grasscrete Grand Prix, Ampleforth (22 August) Round 8: South of England (TBC)
HSBC UK | National Circuit Series (Men)
Round 1: Property Development Men’s Otley Grand Prix, Otley (30 June) Round 2: Barnsley Town Centre, Barnsley (9 July) Round 3: Sheffield Grand Prix, Sheffield (14 July) Round 4: Fort Vale Colne Grand Prix, Colne (20 July) Round 5: Midlands, TBC (30 July)
HSBC UK | National Circuit Series (Women)
Round 1: Pincent Masons Women’s Otley Grand Prix, Otley (30 June) Round 2: Barnsley Town Centre, Barnsley (9 July) Round 3: Midlands, TBC (30 July)