European Track Championships
Apeldoorn in the Netherlands played host to the European Track Championships this week, with four Scots competing for continental supremacy.
With the Olympics around the corner in Paris this August, it is one of the final opportunities for riders to secure their place in France, which added to the usual high stakes that the European Championships offer.
It was exciting start to the week for Neah Evans, who claimed silver medal as part of the Great Britain Team Pursuit squad on Wednesday evening.
Evans joined the squad for qualifying , which saw them take third place, before Jess Roberts replaced Evans for the final, in order for the Scot to rest prior to her busy schedule. The team delivered, securing silver in the medal races.
There was to be more success for the Scot in the omnium, the Aberdeenshire native starting strongly in the opening scratch race of the women’s omnium, controlling the race well to finish fourth, before gaining another fourth place in the tempo race.
An exciting elimination race saw Evans stay in the mix throughout, showing some fantastic speed to sprint and maintain her place in the closing stages. Evans gained height on the track in a bid to make some room for an attack but ended up being boxed in and settling for yet another fourth place.
That meant Evans went into the final points race in second position on 102 points. It was an active race from the start, with riders in the lower half of the standings gaining laps and sprint points. Lara Gillespie of Ireland managed to move herself up to second position on 103 points, giving Evans the initiative to attack with two others, which set her up well to claim a medal. A fantastic dash to the line saw Evans cross the line in (you guessed it!) fourth place to take the silver medal overall on 136 points.
The week was rounded off with disappointment in the Women’s Madison, an event that Evans and partner Elinor Barker are world champions in, as after winning the first sprint, Barker came down in a crash. After receiving medical attention, the Welsh rider was advised not to continue in the race and Great Britain left the race after 12 laps.
In the sprint events Jack Carlin and Ali Fielding were representing the Scots, with that duo joined by Hamish Turnbull for the Team Sprint on Wednesday evening.
The trio had a confident qualifying ride, going third fastest with a time of 43.240, which they backed up by going faster in round one against the Czech Republic to race for the bronze medal.
In an explosive bronze final against Poland, Great Britain started incredibly strongly and continued to lead, creating a 0.326 second gap until, with just half a lap to go, Poland managed to bridge the gap and just pipped the Brits to the medal, leaving them in fourth place by just 0.028 seconds. Plenty of encouragement to take for Paris none-the-less.
In the Keirin, Jack Carlin rode through the first round in a second-place photo finish before being knocked out of the second round in fourth. The Scot rode a dominant race in the 7-12 final, leading from the front and holding off his competitors to finish seventh place overall.
Meanwhile Dundee’s Mark Stewart teamed up with GB teammate Ethan Hayter for a solid ride in Thursday’s Madison, where they would finish in seventh. After a steady start, the Stewart-Hayter pairing got stuck in to rack up the points in the first few sprints and sit comfortably in sixth place. With 110 laps to go, Hayter followed the wheel of the Danish rider to take three points and move up into fifth.
Coming into the final quarter of the race, Stewart claimed three more points and pushed on with Belgium in an attempt to gain a lap, but with the Belgian rider unwilling to push, the duo was reeled back into the peloton. The penultimate sprint saw the Brits gain two more points and move up to seventh, where they ultimately finished on 19 points.
British National Cyclo-Cross Championships
In case you missed it – the British National Cyclo-Cross Championships made a long overdue debut in Scotland with Callendar Park in Falkirk delivering two fantastic days of cyclocross racing.
Local favourite and defending champion Cameron Mason (Cyclocross Reds) and Corran Carrick-Anderson (T-MO Racing) were big winners on Saturday, you can read the full report here.
While the young under-14s of Guy Rorke (Peebles CC) and Olivia Poole (Deeside Thistle) claimed national titles on Sunday. Full round-up of Sunday’s action here.
Cameron Mason didn’t wait long to break into his new, or rather retained, national champions kit, with an excellent ride on Monday at the Otegem Cross in Belgium to come home in second place behind Belgian champion Eli Iserbyt, only 22 seconds behind the World Number #1.
Tour Down Under
Despite it being absolutely freezing in this part of the World, the road season has officially kicked off with the Women’s Tour Down Under and Kate Richardson, donning the very impressive Lifeplus-Wahoo kit, spent approximately 12km of it before launching an attack.
The Scot, who comes off the back of some strong track performances, spent a long portion of stage one in a Potato Chase, chasing down the break and eventually joining them on the road to Campbelltown (no, not that one). Richardson summited the Kenton Valley Climb, before the one of her breakaway compatriots attacked solo over the top of the climb with 35km left. A mechanical for Ragusa saw her rejoin the peloton, leaving Richardson chasing out ahead with Grainger, before being caught with 24km remaining.
A strong start to the road season for the Scot in her sophomore season at UCI level.
The Men’s Tour Down Under starts this week, but in the “pre-season friendly” that is the Down Under Classic criterium round the streets of Adelaide, Oscar Onley (dsm-firmenich PostNL) picked up an excellent sixth place riding in the break.