With the depths of the winter storms of Dudley, Eunice and Franklin all hitting Scotland over the last few days, several Scots managed to escape them for the sun of the Mediterranean. A Scottish national squad started their MTB XC season by riding the UCI event - Internacionales Chelva XCO - while a brace of Scots were also in road action in France.
Isla Short flew the flag for Scotland and showed off her British Champs bands in style by riding to a great fourth place finish in the Elite Women’s event at the UCI Internacionales Chelva XCO. Starting 15th on the grid, the Hunt Bikes Wheels rider was one of the quickest riders on course, working her way through the field, and finding herself in seventh by the end of the opening lap.
Short, slowly picked off further riders before holding position in fifth, before a brilliant final lap saw her nip past Greta Seiwald on the line to come home in a very strong fourth, with her final lap being third fastest on course.
When asked on how she felt afterwards, Isla quipped:
“Warm. Tired. And I’ve got a dusty throat!”
The blue and white Scottish Cycling kit was donned by Anna Flynn and Elena McGorum in the Women’s Under-23 event, and with a starting positions of 12th and 13th respectively, the two Scots had to fight their way through the field.
McGorum had the better start running in seventh by the end of the second lap, with her teammate clipping at her heels. Flynn overtook McGorum early on lap three, as she produced her fastest lap of day but McGorum passed Flynn again on the final lap of five, to see the pair finish seventh and eighth respectively.
A quartet of Scots lined up for the Men’s Under-23 race with Corran Carrick-Anderson (who we spoke to last week) best of the bunch riding to a strong sixth place, after starting in eighth – an exceptional start to his Under-23 career on the MTB.
There also was a brilliant ride from Cameron Mason, who was one of the quickest riders on the course. After starting well down the field in 59th, the Linlithgow rider had to come from nearly two minutes down on the leading ten riders, due to traffic. The Trinity Racing man then held and bettered the leaders’ pace as he quickly worked his way through the quality U23 field.
Finishing his race with a sixth and final lap, the joint-quickest of anyone on course, Mason battled to a ninth-place finish. A great start to the MTB season for Mason, who like Carrick-Anderson is converting his CX form to the XC stage.
Charlie Aldridge followed the West Lothian rider, coming home in 12th position, with another gutsy ride from Rory McGuire in 20th completing the Scots business in Valenciana.
The septet of Scots will now head to Girona for a week’s worth of training before the UCI Coppa Catalana in Banyoles awaits them next weekend.
While Spain may be the location for road training and MTB exploits, the road season kicked off in France with both Alfie George and Morgan Bown in action.
Abernyte’s Alfie George, now riding for Vendee U23, finished sixth on Stage 4 of the Circuit des Plage stage race in the Vendeé region, before leading his team to win the Team Time Trial the following day. The Scot finished eighth in the Overall Classification – which was done via points method rather than by time.
Fellow Rayner-funded rider Morgan Bown is also racing in France this season, with is team EC Saint-Etienne Loire. A solid 10th on Stage 3 at the elite French race, Boucles de Haut-Var, before a day in the break at the Elite National GP Puyloubier being the highlights of a strong start to his 2022 campaign.