Published: 26th Feb 2024 Images: Scottish Cycling

What a Medal Holl for Jenny in Manchester

We’re sure Lauren Bell and Jenny Holl are among the Scots that are having Happy Mondays after they both claimed a brace of British titles on the boards in Manchester.

There was one star of the bunch events and that was Jenny Holl, after claiming silver in the Kilo Tandem with stoker Sophie Unwin on Friday morning, the Scot was in full flight in the both points and scratch races.

Friday’s scratch race saw a thrilling end with Holl chasing down and passing fellow Scot Eilidh Shaw (Alba Development RT) in the final laps to ride to a marvellous solo victory. It was a great ride from Shaw who came home in fifth respectively.

Holl (Loughborough Lightning) secured her second title of the weekend in the women’s points race to round off a dream weekend in front of the sell-out crowds at the National Cycle Centre.

The Stirlingshire native finished in fantastic form after a surprise attack that saw her hold on to take the win solo, as Kate Richardson (Lifeplus-Wahoo) secured second in a tight sprint finish.

Richardson too was in the elite list of riders who claimed a brace of titles in Manchester. The Scot dominated the individual pursuit, setting a new PB of 3:29.255 in qualifying. The gold medal final saw the Lifeplus-Wahoo rider show no quarter and was up two seconds at the halfway point. She made the catch with a lap to spare.

It was a similar story in the team pursuit where Richardson was part of the Lifeplus-Wahoo quartet that powered to victory. A word too for Solas Cycling, who claimed bronze in their first proper outing as a junior team.

Lauren Bell (Team Inspired) was undefeated in the women’s sprint in order to take the British title in style.

After qualifying fastest in a time of 10.845 – the only rider to dip under 11 seconds, – Bell sailed through her opening rounds to reach the semi-finals, where she took two wins.

Facing 2022 champion Rhian Edmunds (Team Inspired) in the final, Bell continued to show off her sprinting prowess to outpower her teammate and take the title as Edmunds settled for silver.

Iona Moir narrowly missed out on the bronze medal, after a strong showing throughout the competition.

Bell took her second win of the weekend on Sunday as she was crowned the women’s keirin champion. A thrilling final included fellow Scots Moir and Kirsty Johnson (Edinburgh RC), with three more in the top 12 to show the strength in depth of Scottish sprinting. But it was Bell who edged out teammate Edmunds again by a whisker to take her second title.

Michael Gill was on fire on Friday in the individual pursuit, claiming his first British title in a time of 4:09.400, two seconds quicker than his first round time.

Speaking on his first British title, Gill said:

“In qualifying, I was just trying to put a ride together, really. I’m not really sure where I was. Going into it, I hadn’t really done an individual pursuit. I was mainly focused on the team pursuit.

“I just wanted to build on that and put a good ride together, so I’m pretty pleased to come home with two personal bests.”

The team from Glasgow Track Racing Club were well represented across the sprint events and it was great to see Niall Monks claim a brace of medals over the weekend. He scored silver in the Kilometre TT with a 1:02.31 on Saturday afternoon, before replicating that feat on Sunday in the keirin.

Monks was on the outside of a three-way throw for the line in the final, but narrowly missed out by a tyre width to Hayden Norris (Team Inspired).

We are coming up to six months to go until the Paris Paralympics and only a few weeks until the Para Track Worlds, and we saw Neil Fachie and Matt Rotherham, in their rainbow skinsuits, secure the gold medal in the men’s tandem B kilometre TT, putting out a powerful performance to take the win in 1:00.764 on Friday afternoon, before following it up with sprint silver on Sunday.

Fin Graham (Para-T) bounced back from injury to also get involved in the medals, he claimed individual pursuit gold and silver in the kilometre TT in the Men’s C3 category.

Callum Deboys was part of The Justice League squad that defeated The Incredibles in the C1-C5 para sprint to claim bronze.

There were dozens of other performances over the course of the weekend to highlight too, with a number of riders including Anna Birrell and Rhys Edwards (Trainsharp) making their British debut, and Ross Birrell (Mini Discar) and Lucy Grant (Peebles CC) making their returns to major competition after long spells on the sidelines with injury and delivering solid efforts.

On the road, it was the first Belgian Classic of the year with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Flanders. Sean Flynn (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL) managed to escape into the key break of the day along with 30 other riders including Tom Pidcock (Ineos) and Wout van Aert (Visma-LAB).

With 50km to go on the Wolvenberg the group split, with Flynn missing the next split, and came home in 57th place, but an excellent effort by the Edinburgh RC alumnus in great company.

Over in the desert, the UAE Tour can gain a bit of reputation as a drab and dull affair beyond the Queen Stage to Jebel Hafeet, but Mark Stewart (Corratec-Vini Fantini) was on a mission to dispel that notion by making the break on several occasions to sweep up the Sprints and Points Classification.

His attacking riding saw Stewart take the Sprints jersey overall and finish second behind Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step) in the Points competition.

Closer to home, Logan Maclean (Project1) launched his season with the new Elite Development Team Project1 with a second-place finish at the Clayton Classic in Lancashire.

There was also a brace of junior races in Europe that saw Scots excel, with Elliot Rowe (Fensham Howes) claiming seventh at the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne Junior race, after making the correct moves in the Belgian classic, and at the Mapei Classic Ahron Dick (Academy Region Sud p/b Giant) claimed fifth in the Haute-Garrone department of South-West France.

A number of young Scots were over in Banyoles to race the UCI MTB Super Cup in Catalonia as part of a joint Scottish Cycling-Great British Cycling Team camp.

Keep your eyes peeled for a longer piece about the camp in the coming weeks, but Corran Carrick-Anderson (T-MO Racing) rode to an impressive 14th place finish in the U23 field, with Rory McGuire coming home in 28th place.

There was a great ride too from Innes McDonald (Scotia Off-Road Team) to climb from the back of the field all the way to 22nd in the Junior race, showing excellent nous in his foreign racing debut.

Now for something completely different, the Red Bull Hardline Tasmania took place this weekend, with Lou Ferguson absolutely smashing it to take second place, despite two crashes down under. Here’s her GoPro footage from the event: Warning! It’s not for the faint-hearted.