Published: 9 July 2013
Report: Scott Hobro
Callum Skinner wants to make up for lost time at the Under 23 European Track Championships as he pursues a place in Great Britain’s team sprint line-up.
The British sprint champion suffered a fractured collarbone last October during the Scottish Track Championships at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
Despite returning at the January round of the Revolution Series the Scottish rider missed out on selection for February’s track world championships in Minsk but is aspiring to make amends in the 2013-14 season.
“It’s been a break (from major competition), I guess, since the senior Europeans last October,” said Skinner, who has contested the 3-Bahnen Tournee and Dutch Summer Trophy this summer.
“It was quite annoying, I snapped a collarbone at the opening of the Glasgow Velodrome at the show event so it wasn’t the best place to do it in that sense, it wasn’t a do-or-die race, it was quite frustrating.
“To be honest I was really disappointed to miss out on the worlds. I did have some good form there and it would have been good to get to go but again it was probably a bit too early and my start wasn’t as good as it needed to be.”
Skinner is set to race in the sprint, keirin and kilo in Portugal alongside teammate Kian Emadi though the pair have been focusing on the team sprint man three position in training, with Matthew Crampton and Lewis Oliva also vying for the role.
Emadi took on the position in February’s world championship alongside Olympic champions Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny, finishing sixth.
“The aim is get fast enough to stay on the team sprint and that’s where my focus lies at the moment,” Skinner said.
“This year my speed may suffer a little bit, my endurance might suffer a little bit but if I can get on that team sprint then I’ll be in a good place.
“There’s no point in working on speed and endurance if you can’t get on (the wheel) in the first place, so we are just going to work on the starts and we’ve been making really good progress.
“Hopefully by the time it comes to winter and we enter a team sprint in a world cup or Europeans, or hopefully world championships I will be a part of that and produce a good performance at the end of it.
“There’s really heavy competition which is good because it pushes us all on, it’s a healthy competitive relationship.”
But Skinner did add that he still has aspirations in the individual disciplines. “The sprint has gone really well this year.
“Obviously on the back of being national champion in the sprint I think that’s something I’ve homed in on last year and hopefully this year. I think it is one of my strongest solo events.”
Beyond Portugal, 23 July marks the one year countdown to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which takes on extra significance for Glasgow born Skinner.
With Sir Chris Hoy retired, Skinner could be Scotland’s best hope of a track medal in the velodrome named after the six-time Olympic champion.
It was Hoy’s Athens Olympic kilo gold that inspired Skinner to take up track cycling back in 2004.
“I’ve not got the best reputation for crashing at Glasgow,” Skinner joked. “But it’s going to be incredible. The Commonwealth Games is a big target, it’s kind of another home Games and it’s not far away, it should be a great event,” he said.
“Glasgow is my birth town as well, there’s quite a big connection there. I think it really does feel like a home Games.”