Wanside Rig and the wind is whistling down the prime hill, good news for Cav and the other non-climbers in the 2021 Tour of Britain peloton, the stone wall headwind will keep the speed down.
That wind also keeps us in the car, warm it is not but a half-decent crowd is assembling.
It was four hours ago we arrived in Hawick and there was a nice shot of Ken Laidlaw, Tour de France hero and home boy; ‘he lived just round the corner from here,’ a lady tells us.
Across the road there’s a shop window display honouring the legendary Bantel professional team from the 70’s, the company’s HQ was here in Hawick – perhaps someone could have set that team bike up a tad better though?
My first cycling hero, Hugh Porter is well represented in the display; Pursuit King and road man of quality.
As John McMillan once told me
“If you were in the break, looked back and saw that Hughie was at the head of the chase then you knew it was all over.”
It was surreal to see a Tour de France style convoy thread into a Borders town – and there’s Silvan Dillier’s nice Swiss Champion liveried Canyon on the roof of the Alpecin Fenix team car.
The buses and cars park up and the mechanics start to lay out the hardware – Wout Van Aert’s Cervélo also pays homage to it’s master’s national maillot.
No track pumps or clumsy big vehicle mounted compressors for the Jumbo mechanics, just neat hand-held compressors.
And on the subject of ‘gizmos,’ VeloVeritas mentor and soothsayer Vik was in Hawick, his first race start for a while. He was amazed at the ‘tech’ in the team cars; iPhones, laptops, tablets, radios… ‘too much, bike racing reduced to a computer controlled video game!’
He’s not the only one who thinks that race radios should be done away with…
Nice blue anodised over-sized derailleur rollers may not save as many as the 2.5 watts the manufacturers claim – Dan Bigham reckons it’s more like 0.5 – but they do look damn cool.
And whilst the vast majority of the field are now on disc brakes, the blue jersey and his squadra aren’t among them.
We chatted to an old friend who’s on the race as a mechanic and when we mentioned discs, he simply rolled his eyes…
Julian Alaphilippe’s Specialized 2021 colour scheme is much easier on the eye than the original, ‘explosion in a paint factory’ job.
Stevie Cummings – Dave and I have been stalking him since his Discovery days through Barloworld, Sky, BMC, MTN/Dimension Data days and the man always has time for us.
He’s moved from his beloved Italy back to the Wirral as a DS with INEOS and is enjoying the fresh challenge, looking as lean and mean as he ever did.
Orange bikes aren’t to everyone’s taste but I like them and the Rally team’s Felts are cool – it’s been a good race for the US team with Carpenter’s stage win.
Ribble’s ‘splatter’ jersey, modelled here by Matt Gibson, ‘rad’ or dog’s breakfast?
Answers on a postcard please. It reminds Vik of the old Le Groupement maillot…
And what did we do before we had smartphones – with the Canyon boys all, ‘eyes down, look in’?
Dave was telling me that Dan Lloyd in his race commentary mentioned that in ‘his day’ there would be good banter on the team buses after a race – now everyone sits mesmerised by their devices.
Meanwhile, their u23 World Cup ‘cross winning team mate, Thomas Mein displays a fine selection of duelling scars.