Published: 30th April 2013
Photos: Andrew Whitehouse
Mountain Biking is going from strength to strength in Scotland with a fantastic infrastructure of natural trails and trail centres. Scottish athletes are now leading the pack on the British scene with standout performances at the second round of the British Mountain Bike Series Cross-Country Series near Redruth (Cornwall) last Sunday.
Scottish Elite riders Grant Ferguson (Superior Brentijens MTB), Kenta Gallagher, (Superior Brentijens MTB), Rab Wardell (Trek UK) and Lee Craigie (Cannondale UK) all made it on to the winner’s podium this weekend and this was backed up by outstanding performances from Scottish up and coming Junior and Youth riders.
It was all go in the Elite men’s race with Ferguson the 19-year-old Scot, from Peebles, crossing the line just ahead of team-mate Kenta Gallagher in who came in second followed by Wardell in fifth place.
Ferguson got off to a fast start and Gallagher took control of the race in a lead group of 4 riders with Wardell just off pace riding in 6th place just behind “MTB legend” Oli Beckinsale. With one lap to go Grant attacked and managed to get a good gap that he held to the end. Ferguson conserved his energy for the sprint to the finish line out sprinting his breakaway companion to finish a strong second.
In the Elite Women’s race Lee Craigie, from Inverness, crossed the line just behind Dorset’s reigning World Endurance Champion Sally Bigham, to securing her Second place on the podium. This result will now see Lee move into the series lead as they head into the third round of the series in Ludlow this May.
In the Juniors Iain Paton (Ben Wyvis CC), who is currently studying Astrophysics in Edinburgh, and Isla Short (WXC World Racing), also from Peebles, finished second and third respectively whilst the youth boys showed strength in depth with three Scottish riders in the top five with Calum McGowan (Alpine bikes) third, Lewis champion (Bicycles.com) fourth and Mark Maguire (bicycles.com) fifth.
Speaking to British Cycling, Champion Grant Ferguson said: “I started quite well then Kenta got a gap a gap and it split quite a lot, but then came back together with the four of us.”
“I knew I didn’t want it to come to a sprint so I wanted to try and go early, so I went on the climb up to the finish, got a bit of a gap and then held it. It’s the first time I’ve won an elite race, so it’s super!
Paul Newnham, Scottish Mountain Bike Coach added, “It is great to see Grant get his first Elite Win as a young developing Elite rider he has been going from strength to strength recently. I am sure this will give him extra confidence as he heads back to Europe to tackle the Under 23 World Cups in May.”
Scottish Cycling’s Elite riders will be competing at national and international races through May and June as they build up to a major target of the British National Cross-Country Championship, taking place at the 2014 Commonwealth Games course at Cathkin Braes, Glasgow on the 21th of July.
For more information on the Scottish Cycling’s Cross Country Mountain Bike Performance Programme – Please click here
Full results, images and race report can be found at www.britishcycling.org.uk