Women's racing on the up

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Women's racing on the up  

Two riders in the top 15 at the British Road Race Championships, a Scot heading the British Road Race Series and enough riders to justify a separate event at the Masters and Women's event in Dundee.

Add in several new faces on the track, a growing number of females at kids clubs - not to mention three riders competing on the continent - and it's clear that the future for ladies cycling in Scotland has rarely looked so bright.

Few clubs epitomise that growth more than Sandy Wallace Cycles (SWC) who underlined their growing strength at the recent Scottish 25 mile time trial championships

Reflecting on the current boom, newly crowned 25 mile champion Mari Todd of SWC gave her views on the growth in popularity of women's cycling and the improving performances of riders from North of the Border when she said "I think our results show that standards are getting higher and people will have to take races seriously if they want to win.."

With the first three in that event dipping below an hour, it's difficult to argue with her viewpoint.

Living on the Black Isle and bringing up two children as well as holding down a job means that competitive racing requires a big time commitment from Todd.

She added, "Just like other mums, I live life mostly at full speed ahead, dashing

from one thing to another and squeezing in a few days work a week too. Riding to and from work helps a bit too, as does the fact my husband works early or late shifts which allows some time to train during the day."

Underlining her obvious enthusiasm, she added, "Racing is always great fun. I'll still be racing something when I am in my eighties."

Todd is clearly relishing a return to the sport she first enjoyed in the 1990s before taking time out to star a family then returning in 2006.

Her success this season has been helped by the support and passion for the sport of Sandy Wallace himself. And the SWC women's squad has had a fruitful first half of the season, with Fiona Duncan and Tory Hunter linking up with Todd to smash the long standing Scottish team record at the 25 mile championships. And with several other successes this season it's little wonder that the mood in the SWC camp is high at present.

Meanwhile, Claire Thomas and Anne Ewing of Edinburgh RC showed their mettle at the British Road Race Championships in Abergavenny when they mixed it with a top class field in an event where world and Olympic medallists occupied the three podium spots. And Thomas has underlined her status as one of the leading racers in the UK by holding pole position in the British Cycling Road Race Series. And their colleague Jessica Wilson-Young has come agonisingly close to medal in British time trial events on several occasions.

At the current rates of progress it is surely only a matter of time until Continental teams come looking for more Scots to join Kate Cullen Pippa Handley and Eileen Roe who are all currently racing for Dutch squads. 

The Sandy Wallace ladies in action at the women's and veterans' road race

Photo courtesy Emma Parsons