Scottish Cycling Elite Racing Round-Up
July has been a busy month for Scottish Cycling Squads, with athletes competing around Europe and the UK with their racing season in full swing. Scottish Cycling supported athletes have been competing in stage races, cross country, downhill and track.
Scottish Juniors Take On the World
Seven Scottish Junior riders will be representing Great Britain in 3 different disciplines this year at the Junior World Championships. With the teams just released for the Junior World Championships in Track and Mountain Bike, Scottish riders will fill seven places in the disciplines of Track Sprint, Mountain Bike XC and Mountain Bike DH. Trying to emulate Sir Chris Hoy in the sprint disciplines will be City of Edinburgh Riders Callum Skinner and John Paul who are both members of the British Cycling Olympic Development Programme (ODP) have showed their class this year with strong consistent results cumulating in 1st and 2nd place in the last round of the British Sprinters League.
The Track World Championships are taking place in Montichiari, Italy from 11 – 15 August, and results can be followed on the British Cycling Website. From the smooth boards of the velodrome to the rough and tumble of World Championship Mountain biking Kenta Gallagher and Grant Ferguson will represent GB in the Olympic discipline of Cross Country. Again Kenta and Grant are members of the British ODP and have been riding the World Cup Series all year with their best results being 6th and 4th respectively. On the gravity assisted side of Mountain biking Scottish Cycling investment in a Downhill Academy programme has paid off. With Coach Chris Ball’s guidance three junior riders will head to one of the worlds most technical tracks at Mont St Anne Canada to do battle with the world’s best.
Leading the charge will be Innerliethen local Lewis Buchanan whose recent 16th Overall at the last World Cup singles him out a strong contender to follow in fellow Scot Ruaridh Cunningham’s foot steps and become World Junior Champion. Ruaridh himself has been selected to ride the Senior World Championships and will hope to retain his current excellent form that has seen him gain a top 10 result at the Champery round the World Cup. The World Championships can be watched live on Freecaster TV via the British Cycling Website. On the success of selection over three different disciplines Scottish Cycling’s Performance Manager, Gary Willis commented:
"sportscotland have continued to support Scottish Cycling through their investment, in the development of a performance pathway for the sport over the last 4 years. sportscotland's contribution has been further bolstered by sponsorship from Scottish Power Renewables, who have contributed to the investment in the Downhill academy and in increasing competitive racing opportunities for youths. The majority of the Junior riders competing at the Worlds have come through the Scottish Power Renewables Youth Series".
Keith Anderson, Managing Director, ScottishPower Renewables commented:
"We are delighted to see so many young cyclists making the transition from the Youth Series to competing at such a high level. Our support of the Youth Series always had the aim of growing the sport and the development of young riders and it is very rewarding to see our sponsoring having such a positive effect."
Scottish Cycling's Downhill Academy athletes had their main training camp of the season in Champery, Switzerland. The camp was an opportunity for the athletes to practice on the World Cup course that would be used in 2 weeks time. The Champery World Cup was a major target for riders aiming at World Championship selection.
The week was spent doing cross country rides in the morning and downhill training in the afternoon. Champery is an excellent location for the athletes to train with an excellent ski lift network allowing a lot of Downhill runs in a short period of time.
Mountain bike Talent Coach Paul Newnham ran a pre-nationals camp for young riders competing at the British Championships. Holding the camp in the Peebles area Paul was able to put the riders through their paces. The camp centred around how to fine tune training and to taper for a major goal in the season. At talent level the focus of Scottish Cycling's training camps is on learning to train and race.
Valromey Alps Junior Tour
In partnership with Braveheart fund Scottish Cycling sent a Scotland team to compete in the Valromey junior tour in France. This event was on the UCI Juniors calendar. The squad was made up of:
- Grant Ferguson
- Matthew Hamilton
- James Smith
- Taylor Johnstone
- Jack Barret
Team Manager - Mark Young
Team Support - Scott Couch
The race had 21 junior teams made up of 5 riders. The racing was extremely strong and had a challenging route that included a number of mountain passes used in the Tour de France.
Grant Ferguson rode to a strong 7th position overall. This included 2nd in the KOM competition and 2nd in the 1st year junior category. The rest of the squad worked well together to support Grant in the overall category and Team manager Mark was extremely happy with their performance as a squad as a whole.
Champery World Cup
Former World Junior Champion Ruaridh Cunningham produced an excellent performance on a demanding Champery course to claim 10th in the Elite class at the World Cup.
With a steep and challenging course made harder by torrential rain during qualifying, Ruaridh posted a time that had him claiming the hot seat from fellow Scottish Cycling Academy rider Ben Cathro. Ruaridh's time would see him sit in the hot seat for a long time such was the strength of his ride.
In the Junior Cross Country race Kenta Gallagher and Grant Ferguson produced outstanding performances. Riding together in 4th and 5th place going into the lap and closing in on a tiring French rider in third it looked set to be a moment when the two young Scottish riders achieved their finest performance in a world ranking event. Unfortunately an untimely heavy crash by Kenta on the last technical section saw him have to pull out of the event. Grant managed to pull time back on 3rd place but ultimately finished an impressive 4th as a first year junior.
British MTB Champs
The home advantage of the British Championships being in Scotland in 2009 was well and truly reversed this weekend, as 29 Scottish riders made the 500 mile trip to the south coast to compete in this year championships. Pre laps on the course on Saturday revealed a tough course with some very fast fun descents and some hard climbing, but everybody came back positive and ready to race the next day.
In the youth, juvenile and junior categories, the riders (and parents) commitment was apparent as 23 riders made the trip south making up over 20 percent of the field proving what great strength in depth has been developing in Scotland in recent years. Standout performances from Katy Winton and Lucy Grant came in the juvenile and junior categories with them both bringing home the British Champs Jersey.
Other superb efforts came from Callum McGowan and Tom Van Holten in the juvenile boys winning the silver and bronze medals at their first attempts. In the junior boys Grant Ferguson had an exciting finish sprinting against Steve James but on this occasion missed out. In the elite men's race the heat and tough course took it's toll with only 16 riders finishing on the same lap as commonwealth champion Liam Killeen, whilst Scottish champion Dave Henderson battled through for a fine 4th place.
Full results can be viewed here
Mayo Youth Tour
Double success for Scottish teams in Irish stage race.
Scottish Cycling youth teams scored two notable successes in the Mayo Youth Tour three-day event in the west of Ireland from July 31 to August 2.
Facing competition from Ireland, England, Germany and the Isle of Man, Tom Arnstein won two stages and was the overall winner in the under 16s age group, while Louise Borthwick was the leading female rider in the under 14s event.
Arnstein took the yellow jersey on day one after winning the 60-kilometre first stage in a mass sprint that involved most of the 67-strong field.
Next morning he stormed to victory in the 4km time trial, winning by a margin of four seconds to extend his overall lead to 10 seconds.
Aided by some excellent team work, Arnstein defended his yellow jersey through a 72km road stage and 45-minute Criterium to clinch overall victory.
Meanwhile, Louise Borthwick finished 17th in the overall mixed results and was the leading girl finisher, with Hannah Ferguson, Jenna Fenwick and Flora Gilles finishing 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.
The race was excellent preparation for the two teams' participation in the UK School Games later this month.
They were accompanied by coaches Brynley Davies and Rachel Henderson. Davies commented: "We're here for proper road racing practice. Everything went very much to plan; they all did a good job."