Cavendish Masterclass

25th June 2013

Millar, Cavendish and Stannard on the podium

Want to know my most recent moment of sporting embarrassment, of which there have been many over the years? Read on…

In the meantime, back to the latest blogging…
Despite the rise and rise of cycling on these shores, opportunities to watch top level professionals “in the flesh” are relatively few. The Tour of Britain – coming to Cumbria the day after the Rivers Ride – is, of course, one. The National Championships, which were held over the weekend in Glasgow,
are another.

The road race took place over a tight city centre circuit and three quarters of the Moss family were persuaded to make the trip. Not that this member of the family took any persuasion.
Notoriously unsporty Mrs M travelled as did daughter Rebecca. Both enjoyed themselves. Or so they told me.

Scattered through the field were a series of riders just days away from the Tour de France – three of whom, Mark Cavendish, Ian Stannard and David Millar – were the three podium finishers. I was among the crowd six deep at the finish and caught the briefest of glimpses of a high speed Cavendish, alarms aloft, celebrating his moment of doing what Cav does better than anyone else.

When anyone asks what was the greatest sporting moment I’ve seen, the answer is that it was Jimmy Glass’ moment of glory. The goalkeeper scoring in the last minute of the last game of the season to see Carlisle United avoid being relegated from the Football League. These moments are rightly rare – the powerful additive drug that pulls us back to sport. That briefest flash of flying Manxman wasn’t too far short of “the Jimmy Glass moment” on my personal “Mossometer”.

Yes, I was a bit excitable. I had been throughout the afternoon. In fact, discerning that I knew more about cycling than at least some of those watching, I committed the sin of cockiness, by offering opinions and analysis to anyone who would listen. I even recognised the riders well enough to shout out their names. Not that I did, until the moment Team Sky’s Ben Swift , riding solo, swept past. I wanted to encourage the lad. I did. Loudly. “C’mon Ben, keep it up”.

Great. Apart from the fact that it was actually Luke Rowe, Ben’s Sky team-mate. He must have heard me. By this time he was way down the road and I had no opportunity to make good. My face matched the pink of the Giro d’Italia cap I was wearing. (Pretentious moi?). Scanning the watching spectators, it didn’t appear as though any of them could tell their Lowes from their Swifts either. But I kept quiet after that. For a while.

Why's my name not on the list of riders?

As to my own cycling accomplishments – using the term in the loosest conceivable sense – this weekend will be the third century ride of the year. May brought the Drumlanrig Challenge and the Fred Whitton. On Saturday we have the Virgin Money Cyclone in Newcastle. While the Fred is reckoned to be just about the toughest, this is one of the biggest. Naturally unsociable (my wife tells me), I don’t really like lining up with thousands of others, but once you’re out in rural Northumberland, the constantly rising and falling route soon breaks things up.

After last weekend’s return to cool temperatures and strong winds, surely we’re due a decent day….surely..