This Sunday sees some of Scotland’s best riders descend on Lochgelly’s Fife Cycle Park for the 2021 Scottish National Senior Criterium & Youth Road Race Championships.
The championships will be raced over the full 1.6km loop of the Fife Cycle Park, with the races for Youth A, Bs and Cs lasting 30 minutes each. The women’s race will last for 45 minutes, with the men’s the full hour. There are also non-Championship races for Cat 3/4 riders and Youth D&E riders.
In the senior events, the white, blue, and purple stripes will be heading to a new home as reigning champions Sarah Walker and Martin Lonie will not be defending the jerseys won at Lochgelly just over two years ago.
One likely contender however is Rab Wardell, runner-up in the men’s race in 2019, with the multi-discipline rider expecting to have a busy week, as he told Scottish Cycling:
“I'll be racing on Sunday after hopefully finishing the British MTB Marathon Championships on Saturday, so that’s where my focus will be. Saying that I'll see how my legs are on the day and if there is an opportunity to do well, I'll take it.”
This year’s championship, much like the road race last month, are being organised by Robbie Brown of Spokes RT, without whom many events this season would not have taken place. The facility at Fife Cycle Park is also becoming somewhat of a hub for criterium racing in Scotland as Wardell noted:
“I think that the closed road circuit in Fife is a great facility and I hope to see more of these established across Scotland. There have been a number of races in Fife this year, which has been a great way to return to racing during the pandemic.
Previewing the actual racing Wardell suggests that the team that animated the racing at the road race last month will be the favourites again in the criterium:
“The riders from Wheelbase CabTech Castelli have to be the favourites, as they have some top riders - if they lose I’ll be shocked. Andy Brown would be my pick for an upset. He’s riding well at the moment.”
The Women’s race is poised to be an interesting contest, with some riders absent due to UCI commitments, however a name to look out for is 2018 Scottish Criterium Champion Anna Fairweather (RT23). Of the quality of racing and her chances this weekend, Fairweather commented:
“The women's field in Scotland is getting stronger all the time, so even without some of the big hitters there, there are still some really strong women on the start sheet. Beth MacIver was second at the road race champs, so is obviously really strong, but Heather Elder, Arianne Holland, Kate Richardson and Anna Flynn have all been at the front end of crits this year as well. I'm hoping for a really fast, competitive race - if it is, the podium could be anyone's for the taking.”
Regardless, we are very much looking forward to what should an enthralling day of racing, with nine National Champions to be crowned on Sunday 8th August.
Keep your eyes on the Scottish Cycling social media channels for live updates of all the action.