If you were a student in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it’s possible that like many of us at road.cc, you’d have tuned into ITV on a Sunday afternoon to catch the cult darts-based quiz show, Bullseye (before younger readers start laughing, we only had four channels back then and streaming was what your eyes did when Bambi’s mother died in the film).
Besides “You can’t beat a bit of Bully” and “Stay out of the black and into the red, nothing in this game for two in a bed,” a catchphrase of host Jim Bowen when a contestant failed to do enough to secure the star prize – often a speedboat, as parodied on social media during the recent flooding in Yorkshire – was “Let’s take a look at what you could have won.”
It was in a rainy and in some places flooded Yorkshire, of course that Rohan Dennis retained his men’s elite time trial title at the UCI road cycling world championships in September – and he did so not on a bike provided by the sponsor of his then Bahrain-Merida team, but on a BMC Time Machine, the same model he had ridden 12 months previously to his first rainbow jersey in the discipline.
Unsurprisingly, the Australian and his team parted company a couple of weeks later – although his departure had been widely anticipated ever since he abandoned the Tour de France midway through a stage in the Pyrenees the day before an individual time trial stage that he was one of the favourites to win after rows over the bike and kit he was expected to use.
Dennis resurfaced this week when it was confirmed that he was joining Team Ineos, their innovative approach to time trialling being a big part of the attraction for him; the fact he was presented as a new recruit in a world champion’s skinsuit and with a Pinarello Bolide adorned with the rainbow bands tells you that the deal had been concluded some time before it was officially announced.
All of which is a very long-winded way of saying that today, Merida has today unveiled the Time Warp time trial bike that Bahrain-McLaren’s riders will be racing on against the clock next year.
In the words of Jim Bowen, “So, Rohan, let’s take a look at what you could have won” – or rather, could have been riding next year.
A speedboat it isn’t; a speedbike? We’ll find out in 2020.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.