Advent Calendar 2015

A new photo added every day until Christmas eve, to review what has been one of the most successful years ever for VCL! Curated by Sam, Jordan, Josh, Charlotte and Jason.

1. We’ve had the most national champions ever this year – 5! It’s even more special to get two together. Here’s Fred and Ethan racing in January’s Revolution Future Stars event, showing off their national champion jerseys. In the current 2015/16 season, Fred is leading the Future Stars competition and Ethan is now riding in the Elite category.

2. For the second day we move into a different discipline – good ol’ cyclocross. VCL’s very own dreamboat Phil Glo getting some mad air in this muddy cross race back in January shows the VCL dominance in races across the spectrum.

3. VCLs flying start to the year continued in the Newport Icebreakers, with podiums for Innes, Fred, Finley and Becky, who stepped up to the U14s seamlessly, taking a superb 2nd place in the Girls B Omnium.

4. Door four and onwards to March. George Jary and Ethan Hayter raced the first round of the National Junior Road Series in Powys, Wales. George unluckily suffered a mechanical. But Ethan attacked early on the final climb, smashed away from the others and crossed the finish line first. Handsssss upp winnneeerrr.

5. There are other youth clubs in London although you would not really know it looking at these photos from the first round of the London Regional Omnium series at Welwyn. There were an incredible thirty seven (!) VCL youth riders racing. Of the seven categories, VCL won six of them with four second places and three thirds. Here is Oscar leading Finley N and Thomas in the U14 boys elimination, with Finlay J and Finlay W also getting involved.

6. Another one from the Welwyn Youth Omnium. Down to the final five in the U16 girls elimination, with four of them being VCL, namely: Charlotte, Kate, Louise, Rachel.

7. For the 7th day, we say hello to May, sunshine and late spring breezes. Or so you might’ve thought. 10 VCL youth and junior riders made the journey across land and sea for the Isle of Man Tour. The second day was reportedly ‘the coldest race ever’ but despite the horrific conditions, the kids of the club delivered as promised. Over 3 stages, the boys and girls came back with 17 top tens, 6 stage wins and 3 overall wins out of the 7 categories in which they competed. Here’s Mattie Dodd on the freezing, wet and windy second stage, after an impressive start with 9th in the prologue as just a first year U12.

8. As we open the 8th door, we continue with youth tours, this time on our own island. The North West Tour back in May saw 9 VCL kids racing on the flat, speedy circuits of Preston. A mixture of impressive, race-winning attacks, speedy bunch sprints and wild crashes from our riders didn’t take away any merit from the particularly impressive performance by Louise in the A girls. Louise snatched 2nd on the fourth and final stage which was enough to place her 5th overall. An incredible performance proving Louise’s ability to smash it on the national scene; here’s she is off the front in one of the stages.

9. Another National event and another dominant VCL display. The roundabouts of Milton Keynes proved no match for the best of Velo Club de Londres in the National Youth Series, with Fred, Becky and Isabella all winning their age categories. Billy Bancroft took a superb 3rd in the U10s and was a clear winner when it came to owning the podium!

10. The third annual FHHV Youth Team Champs proved a great success, with squads from throughout the UK battling against the best of the South-East. The programme, organisation and fantastic atmosphere did Herne Hill proud, as did the numerous VCL Teams involved. Rachel, Charlotte and Louise – in action below – put in a great team performance, scoring in every event, to grab bronze in a hotly contested Girls category. VCL went to town in the Under-12s Omnium, taking 6 of the top 8 places, including 1st, 2nd and 3rd for Innes, Natalie and Isabella.

11. Not wishing to be outdone by the Girls, the VCL A Team of Gaby, Jacob, Boru and Fred – pictured below – put in a storming display, winning the Individual Pursuit, Devil and Team Pursuit to inch out a strong Speedflex team by a single point to take the Boys Team title. The VCL Red and Blue teams also rode well, finishing in 7th and 8th respectively, to demonstrate the depth of talent in the VCL Youth ranks.

12. On the twelfth day of Christmas (behind door twelve of our calender) is this photo of Innes Harvey and Billey Gillbey from the Youth Omnium final in Wolverhampton in July. Innes came fourth and Billey Gillbey first in the under 12 boys category doing VCL very, very proud. In fact VCL had a pretty fantastic day at the Wolverhampton Omnium. Smashed it.

13. It’s easy to get carried away with the fantastic performances of the youth riders but the seniors had a great year too – especially at local track events. For the second year running both the senior men and women’s teams won the Herne Hill team championships, which was also organised by many VCL members through the Friends of the HHV.

14. Today we take you back to Wolverhampton. We’ve got this photo of Finley Newmark and Oscar Nilsson-Julien racing hard at the Youth Omnium Final. Both boys put in stellar efforts in the U14 category, Oscar placing 12th and Finley placing 17th. Nice work dudes.

15. In one of the busiest months of racing(August), it is hard to pick out just two highlights. However, having ten or so riders racing (and winning) at the final round of the Herne Hill women’s track league is pretty amazing. From right to left: Isabella, Kate, Hannah, Celeste, Christine, Sarah, Jordan, Charlotte

16. August was topped off with a host of great performances, a few medals and a stripy jumper at the National Youth and Junior Track Championships. Here is Ethan on his way to winning the Junior pursuit title.

17. 2015 was a crazy year for kit, with VCL riders sporting different shades of red, orange, blue and pink. Needless to say, a great job done by Cris Aniszewski ensuring we received our kit could do the club proud racing in the multitude of colours. A new addition to the kit in 2015 was the personalised Madison shorts, coordinated and designed by Andrew Bradshaw. The shorts made their big debut at the Dave Creasy 6 in September. Here they are modelled wonderfully by Iain, Euan and less visibly so, Phil. I think this is definitive proof that we are basically a Belgian 6 day team in disguise.

18. A huge event for VCL in 2015 – helpers and riders alike – was the Dave Creasy Memorial 6. This year the big step was made to make it a two day event, with the first being an evening session at Lee Valley and the second returning to its roots at Herne Hill. This greatly furthered the success of the event with riders showing up from all around the country (and Europe, for that matter), to test themselves against our very own. VCL riders delivered, as usual, in every category. But the big well done should go out to the helpers, volunteers, and indeed organisers of the DC6. Months and months of planning and meetings and emails went into organising the event. The volunteers on the day and leading up to the event did us proud too, most certainly ‘working their socks off’, for lack of a better phrase, and sacrificing their weekends and most probably their sanity to aid the two youngsters who were organising. Today’s picture showcases one of the many reasons VCL is so great, thriving in all aspects of the cycling world. A massive thank you and well done to Josh and Andrew who enjoy a last free beer before heading off to uni and suddenly realise you have to pay for things in the real world. (Also happy birthday to Josh for today).

19. On we go to door number 19, behind which we find a display of no-handed trackstanding the like of which might never be seen again! Well, until next years track league finale, when someone will attempt to wrestle the no-handed one-legged title from this years victor, Euan. Poise, balance, grace and focus…even with HHV’s favourite paparazzi scuttling around, on the hunt for some cheeky close-ups! Bravo VCL!

20. October brought six day racing to London for the first time in (most people’s) memory. While it wasn’t quite as rowdy as Ghent, as it was inevitably compared to, it still had it’s own good atmosphere and exciting racing. The junior racing also gave 5 VCL riders the chance to race for 3 days in front of the crowds. Fred and Ethan came 2nd overall. New recruits this year Jacob and Georg came 8th overall, with Max and his partner finishing just behind in 9th.

21. As well as the junior racing, and of course the elite men, the London 6 featured 3 evenings of women’s racing. As the figurehead of VCL’s recent success and growth of women racers, Christine was selected as one of only a handful of domestic riders. It was a genuinely international field featuring reigning Olympic and Paralympic champions Dani King and Sarah Storey. Christine put in a great performance, especially considering she was in the middle of a cold, and the only competitor to still have to do a day’s work, before racing in the evening!

22. In November Hayden Cassidy raced at the eighth round of the London Cyclo Cross League held at Penshurst. Looked muddy and gritty and hardcore and we have this excellent action shot of Hayden as proof. Alas Hayden suffered a mechanical during the race and wasn’t able to finish but from the lap times it looks like he was definitely putting in a solid effort.

23. Euan had a great comeback year this year after a few years out, including 3rd overall at Herne Hill Track League, and even a surprise (to him and everyone else) 1st in the regional pursuit. While he couldn’t retain the most coveted of titles, club hillclimb champion, he did take first prize in the senior* and raceface categories.

*coming behind the junior and U16 winners.

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