It was a good week for Scottish cycling, in the same week that David Millar (Saunier Duval) won the British elite road race title; at the other end of the spectrum, 14 year-old Patrick Galbraith took two stage wins and the overall win in Eire’s Kerry Youth Tour.
The Kerry Youth Tour is one of the largest events of its kind in the world; comprising four stages over three days – two road races, a circuit race and a time trial.
In Patrick’s category, 55 riders finished, with riders from Belgium, South Africa, Malta and all the ‘home’ nations.
Patrick travelled to Southern Ireland with the Scottish youth squad, thinking he would be riding with the under 16’s and would be there to watch and learn.
However, the organisers thought differently and wouldn’t let Patrick compete against the older riders, and as Patrick explained;
“I had thought that I wouldn’t be under pressure to perform, with the under-16’s, but when I realised that I would be riding under-14, I wanted to do as well as I possibly could.”
The first stage was a 14 mile road race, Patrick explained;
“On the first stage, nobody knew who was who, I felt under a bit of pressure because I wanted to do well and I was getting marked, probably because I was the tallest rider there. At the finish, I was second, my sprint is something I have to work-on.”
The next day had two stages, Patrick takes-up the story;
“There was a two mile time trial first and I won it, in fact, my time was faster than the best under-16 time. I got the yellow jersey after the time trial and wore it in the afternoon road race; where I was fourth, like I said, I need to work on my sprint.”
On the final day, a rival made a mistake, which Patrick was quick to capitalise upon;
“There were two of us away in the five lap circuit race and the other guy asked me not to go through so hard, or he would go-off; my next spell I went through as hard as I could, dropped him and won on my own in the yellow jersey!”
Patrick’s next target for the year is the British under-14 pursuit championship at Manchester (ages are taken as at January 1st).
He has already been doing track work at Meadowbank and recently set a under-16 Scottish record for the 2000 metre distance, with 2-33.
The British championship for his age group is over 1500 metres and his time at that distance en route to his Scottish record would have seen him among the medals in Manchester in 2006.
Asked about long-term goals, he explains;
“I just want to go as far as I can, in road racing and pursuiting.”
With O-levels still a year or two away, Patrick has plenty of time for training and his school are very supportive;
“I get Tuesday and Thursday afternoons off to train.”
Even at 14, he knows the right things to say;
“If it’s OK, I’d just like to say ‘thank you’ to my mum and dad for all their help and support. I’m also grateful to my sponsors; Rudy Project, Giant, Continental and Warners Commercial…”
Somehow I felt I’d lost control of the interview at this stage! Patrick has promised us another chat after the British pursuit champs; let’s hope he has a jersey to show us then.