Everything fell into place perfectly for SCS’s trip to round 2 of the Revolution Track Cycling competition. The icing on the cake being a guest appearance by none other than ‘Cav’, the 2011 UCI Road Race World Champion. It promised to be a great night of cycling.
Velomihotties in tow, and having completed pre event hydration in Fallowfield, @SJ1202 and I headed off to the Manchester Velodrome. Walking up the stairs to the entrance, I began to think just what’s been achieved by British cyclists since this venue was built back in 1994. The list goes on and on. On the track, on the road, and even on the BMX track, we really are living through a golden age of British Cycling.
We arrived just as ‘Cav’ was being introduced to the crowd and the atmosphere was electric. What a year it’s been for Cav. After a difficult start, he’s just gone from strength to strength. Two stage wins in the Giro, five stage wins as well as the Green Jersey in the Tour, two more wins at the Tour of Britain, and then the big one, the World Road Race Championship. Our first world champion since 1965. It ever there was any doubt, 2011 has really cemented Cav’s place at the top table of world cycling. Bring on 2012!!
It was a sell out crowd, and we watched the first few races at the barrier as the riders came into the last corner. The sheer speed of the riders was amazing. It also meant were we ideally placed to be reminded of the dangers of track cycling. During the boys race a fall towards the front of the pack triggered a series of riders to go down. Most got up pretty quickly but a couple of the lads sustained significant injuries, and at least one looked to have popped their collarbone. Ouch.
Behind our initial vantage point us was a bookstall, featuring a signing by an author and journalist that I greatly admire, William Fotheringham - @Willfoth to tweeters out there. If he hadn’t been such a miserable git I may well have purchased another of his books. I guess we all have off days.
I was somewhat surprised, as well as pleased, to see that Cav was riding in the World Champions jersey. My understanding is that you’re only allowed to where the jersey in the discipline in which it was won, and as such Cav was bending the rules a little. Cillian Kelly’s http://www.irishpeloton.com/ has got an excellent piece on this very subject. Check it out if you get the chance.
As mentioned earlier, it’s the sheer speed of the riders that I find so impressive, and this was never more in evidence than during the 200metre sprint races. After a couple of laps gathering speed at the very top of the banking, the riders swoop down and cross the start line in a blur. The start of the 200m is midway round turn 1, and from then on it’s a full bore, eyeballs out sprint for the line. Seeing riders clocking low 10s was impressive, and then we were treated to a sub 10s run. This equates to an average speed of over 70km/h! Unreal!
One excellent event followed another, and the quickfire nature of track cycling meets meant that there was always something going on.
My only regret was that we missed possibly the highlight of the night when Cav outsprinted the field to take the final event of the evening, the men’s scratch race. We made an early escape and were off to our old stomping ground of Didsbury to quench our thirsts…..
All in all a great night out, and I’d recommend Revolution to anyone.