Published: 20 June 2012
Article by: Paul Newnham, Scottish MTB Coach
Scottish Elite riders took full advantage of racing on home soil at the weekend.
After an early season World Cup campaign plagued with illness and injury Lee Craigie (Lapeirre UK) has bounced back to full fitness with an emphatic win in the Elite Women’s race, on the technical and physically demanding course.
From the off Lee took the race to the rest of the field leading up the first single-track then slowly pulling out a 30 second gap by the end of the first lap. She built on this on every lap to finish nearly 2 minutes up on second place. This gave her ample time to savour the victory, punching the air as she took the line. This strong showing from Inverness based Craigie now puts her in pole position in the British series and gives her a excellent confidence boost as she heads out to the USA for the next two rounds of the World Cup. Katy Winton also rode a strong race in her first season as an elite rider coming back from a puncture on the first lap to ride 7th position.
After Lee’s fantastic win the onus was on the Elite men to step up the mark. With Kenta Gallagher and Grant Ferguson away on international duties it was up to Gareth Montgomerie (GT Racing UK), Dave Henderson (GT Racing UK) and Rab Wardell (Alpine Bikes Racing) to fly the flag for Scotland on home soil and they did not disappoint.
All three riders were in the mix from the start and were engrossed in a fantastic battle all race for the top 6 places.
On the tricky course it was a case of riding fast but trying not to make mistakes. With positions changing every lap it came to a last lap to sort it out, with Dave Henderson driving for home with a lap to go and securing 3rd position. (a career best finish for Dave) Dave was followed home closely by Gareth in 5th and Rab Wardell in 6th.
Dave will now head out to the US for the next two rounds of the World Cup whilst Gareth and Rab will focus on a block of training leading up to round five of the British series and the National Championships in mid July.
Paul Newnham (Scottish MTB Coach) was in buoyant mood after such a strong showing by Scottish riders and commented:
“This is a fantastic result for the Scottish Elite riders and testament to the hard work they have all put in recent months. With the 2014 Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow on the horizon it is very encouraging to see such great results for Scottish riders.
Scottish Cycling’s performance team has already commenced training for the qualification period, beginning January 2013, which we anticipate will provide a competitive team for Glasgow 2014.”