The Suie climb lived up to its fearsome reputation today as it decided who would wear the coveted Scottish Champions’ jerseys as the winner of the Scottish National Road Races, the premier event on the calendar now that racing action is once again underway.
In the women’s race, which got proceedings underway, the cream rose to the top, as Becky Storrie (Brother UK – Cycle Team OnForm), Beth Maciver (Torvelo Racing) and Beth Morrow (Storey Racing) left the rest of the peloton as they came off the Suie for the first time, going clear to battle for the honours on offer.
The trio worked well together, building a bigger lead as the mist-enshrouded landscape shot by. The finish was at the top of the Suie second time around and the watching spectators waited to see who would clear the fog first in the dash for the line. In the end it was Storrie who came into view all on her own, having distanced her companions on the climb. She had time to cross the line and sit by the side of the road before Maciver made it to the finish to claim silver, with Morrow completing the podium in third.
On her victory, Storrie said:
"I am really chuffed. I reccce'd the course yesterday and I knew it was one that suited me as a rider as I love a climb. Any opportunity to go that hard I was going to relish it. I wanted to attack with [Morrow and Maciver] as I knew they would be the strongest riders in the field, I know Beth Morrow quite well from the National Series races and Beth Maciver as she is my teammate on Zwift for Movistar."
Just as the women’s podium presentations had been completed the sun made an appearance, very quickly burning off the last of the mist, as the men’s race got underway. Jason Roberts (Vanelli-Project GO) attacked from the get-go, taking two other riders with him and set about gaining a lead. It was a day for the veterans, certainly to begin with, as David Lines (Wheelbase Cab Tech Castelli) also fancied his changes in the break, escaping the main bunch and bridging to the leaders.
First time up the Suie climb, with Lines now in the breakaway, the bunch was chasing, with Cameron Richardson (RT23) pulling and Tom Merry (Vanelli-Project GO) and Finn Crockett (Wheelbase Cab Tech Castelli) covering because they had riders up the road.
Next time around it was down to Lines and Roberts out front, as the climb took more riders every time around; in fact pretty soon Lines was out on his own. He was being chased by the Vanelli duo of Roberts and Richard McDonald, as well as Ewan McDougall (Perth United CC).
Andy Bruce (Vanelli-Project GO) was pulling the bunch with Gavin Dempster (Torvelo Racing) right behind him and looking very ominous. And so it proved as coming off the climb for the penultimate time, Lines had been caught and passed by his teammate David Duggan and Dempster. The bunch was chasing though and those watching wondered if they would make the catch or if the lead duo would stay away on the summit top finish.
Ultimately it was Duggan who cleared the crest with a considerable lead to take the win, the medal and the jersey presented by Scottish Cycling President Tom Bishop. Dempster came towards the line but he was being chased hard by Alexander Gibb from the host club Spokes RT, Gibb ultimately getting the better of him in the dash for the line, the Torvelo rider settling for third. Dempster had started the final climb level with Duggan but unfortantely saw his legs cramp up and come to a standstill with just 1km of climbing left.
A delighted Duggan, who thanked organisers, and officials for putting the race on, said:
"I'm pretty delighted to be honest. It's been a goal of mine for a long time, but I knew it would be very difficult to achieve, and I was never that sure I was going to achieve it. It was draining from every aspect, the heat and trying to get enough fluids on board, and eat enough food so I was always on the back foot trying to stay fuelled with it being such a long race."
From here the riders came home in ones and twos after an attritional day out, completing a marvelous day as Scottish Campionship racing returned – huge thanks to organisers Spokes RT, who have been instrumental in the return to racing. Next up is the Omnium Championships in a couple of weeks’ time.