Fin Graham and Jenny Holl added to their 2023 UCI Cycling World Championship medal tallies on Thursday as the para-road action moved to Dumfries and Galloway.
Strathpeffer’s Fin Graham stormed to a silver medal in the first race of the day in Dumfries on Thursday morning, delivering the second fastest time of 22:52.65 over the 17km course, missing out on the gold medal by an agonising 1.98 seconds.
Having had to settle for silver by 0.8 seconds 12 months ago, it was once again a case of so close, but yet so far for the multi-medallist. None the less, he could be pleased with another silver medal, this time in the Men’s C3 Time Trial, taking his collection for the week to five.
Afterwards he said:
“After last year with such a close margin I really wanted this one, but it’s not to be. It was a good ride by the German rider [Schindler] – I could see from all the training he was doing that he was going well and he wasn’t doing the track, so obviously he was focusing on road, so again, you’ve always got that to beat when we’ve come off the track and have got the fatigue in the legs.
“But I gave it everything I could and it just wasn’t to be. I feel that distance kind of suits me, but I just didn’t have it in the legs, and sometimes that’s just the way. I didn’t feel like I could’ve ridden it any better. It’s nice to have got a medal, but after being so close last year it would’ve been nice to make the step up on the podium, but I look forward to the road race on Sunday and hopefully I’ll retain the title from last year.”
It was a similar story for Jenny Holl and Sophie Unwin in the Women’s B Tandem Time Trial, as they climbed onto the second step of the podium after leaving it all out on the roads in the South West.
20 seconds down at the first time check, they were still in the mix, but that went out over the remaining two thirds of the course, the Irish clearly on a phenomenal day as they took victory by a full minute.
Of their efforts, Holl summarised:
“We put in the best ride we could possibly have done today, and I think we can be so proud. Anyone who saw Sophie at the finish could see how much effort she put in, and I’m over the moon with how I rode personally too; ultimately the Irish were just better today. The produced an incredible ride, but we can absolutely be happy with second.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s road race and a potential fifth medal of the Championships, she added:
“That would be nice! Five out of five would be pretty good and we’re defending silver medallists so to go one better is the dream – hopefully we can finish off on a high.”
It was a busy day down in Glentress, with the Junior Men and Women in Cross Country action, before the Elite Short Track (XCC) races took centre stage on a muggy evening in the Tweed Valley.
After contesting the MTB Marathon on Sunday, Isla Short looked to find some speed as she geared up for the Olympic distance on Saturday and she certainly did! Gridded near the back of the field, the pocket rocket from Peebles rode a beautiful race, slowly but surely moving through the field. Come the last couple of laps she pounced on those ahead of her, to cross the line punching the air in 13th place.
In the Junior Women’s XCO Emily Carrick-Anderson and Daisy Taylor were among the Brits on the start line, both turning in performances to be proud of. Riding together for large parts and making the most of home advantage, with so many people cheering them on, they both posted top 30 positions.
Coming home 28th, Emily said:
“I’m super happy and pretty chuffed with my result. It was an awesome atmosphere out there, with so many people I knew. It was super tough, and last lap I definitely felt like I cracked a little bit, but I got what I wanted and it was super fun.
“Loads of my school friends are here, I had some teachers here, basically my whole family is here, and all the volunteers are local and so know me as well – so everywhere it was just people calling my name and it definitely pushed me on.”
Daisy crossed the line two places further back in 30th, the Royal Albert rider with a bright future ahead of her, considering she is at the bottom end of the age group.
Reuben Orr and Ben Allan were the Scots lining up in the Junior Men’s race, with Allan, like Carrick-Anderson, a local rider and so willed on by so many people. Reuben crossed the line in 50th place, second Brit home, whilst Ben finished really strong to take 63rd in his first outing at this level.
Finn Johnstone flew the flag for Scotland in the Trials, contesting the Men’s 20” Junior event on Glasgow Green. The competition was tough, and it wasn’t to be Finn’s day, as he wasn’t quite able to produce the performance he had hoped for, but he will have learnt an awful lot from the experience. In the end he finished in 27th spot.
Tomorrow it’s all eyes on Glentress for the U23 races, with Anna McGorum toeing the line in the Women’s race and a quartet of Charlie Aldridge, Corran Carrick-Anderson, Rory McGuire and Sam Clayton-Chisholm in action in the Men’s equivalent.