We’ve previewed Saturday’s second round of the Super 6 here, so we thought we’d better have a word with the Series leader, Gary Hand of Pedal Power.

How many seasons is this you’ve been racing, Gary?

“This will be my seventh season.”

You’re performing at a higher level this year, why?

“I’ve been training hard, but I’ve always been a ‘miles man.’ I think a lot of my improvement this year is down to the set up with Pedal Power, the morale in the squad is great. Of course there’s pressure on you to get a result for the sponsors, but at the same time it’s a laid back atmosphere and it’s getting the best out of us.”

Gary Hand
We’ve previewed Saturday’s second round of the Super 6 here, so we thought we’d better have a word with the Series leader, Gary Hand of Pedal Power.

There aren’t too many chiefs?’

“There’s no conflict at all, just as long as we’re getting a result for the jersey – the sponsors aren’t concerned which rider wins, as long as its a victory for the team. I’d be delighted to see Gordon Murdoch or any of the other guys win.”

Gary Hand
Gary makes the winning solo move in the last lap of the Super 6 Round 1 at Gifford, and heads for home.

How was your training over the winter?

“I’ve always been someone who does a lot of miles, but this season I’ve cut back and done more ‘top end’ work. Now I feel I’m going in to races fresh, not with 400 miles in my legs. I think its down to understanding my body better as I get more experience. I still did a lot of base mileage between October and January, but from then on it’s been quality work.”

Do you have a coach?

“Mark Young gives me advice, I don’t have a set plan; I train according to how my body feels. If I feel tired, I’ll cut the session short, I recognise the signs from my body now.”

Gary Hand
Gary and Duncan Urquhart in the Agisko Team of old.

Why did you leave KFS?

“I left on good terms, it was just that Robin Sharmann left the squad in October and then there was a lot of uncertainty about sponsors for this season. The mood in the squad was very deflated, so I decided to go. I didn’t want to be left high and dry if they didn’t get anything organised. I talked to Jonathan McBain at Pedal Power and we began to put the squad together.”

And it’s worked out well?

“Yes, apart from Jonathan and I, there’s Oliver Fox and Greg Byron involved. We have a team car, Cervelo have supplied the frames and Endura have supplied the clothing. We have a good set up.”

Gary Hand
Gary on the podium at the Girvan as Mountains leader.

Were you happy about how Girvan turned out for you?

“With the benefit of hindsight, I probably took too much out of myself defending the King of the Mountains jersey early on. On the last stage I just didn’t have the legs to go with the move of the day. It was disappointing to loose the jersey on the last day.”

Our spies were saying you rode a strong Tour of the Reservoir.

“Yeah, It was good to be in the main chasing group, contributing – not just hanging-on.”

Goals?

“This season I’ve set my target as a podium in a Premier Calendar. The Lincoln Grand Prix is a race that I really like, two years ago I was in the move of the day and my chain broke – so it’s important to me to do well there and I’m pretty focussed on that. Long term

“I have to be realistic, I’m 26 now and a pro career like you see in the magazines isn’t a possibility. But it’s attainable to think about going to the Commomwealth Games and being competitive there. For the team, long term we’d like to ride the Tour of Britain.”

Gary Hand
Riding for EC Clermont-Communauté, Gary enjoys the spoils of victory – this time it’s La Course de Montboudif Souvenir Georges Pompidou, July 2004.

You tried the continent, didn’t you?

“I raced in France for two seasons and it was an eye opener! My first race, I got dropped after two kilometres; as the convoy went past, I saw my DS looking at me from the car, he was probably thinking; “what have I done taking this one on?” But you persevere and you get into the swing of it.

“It was a great experience, but I think that a better way of getting into a pro career would be through a pro team in the UK, then trying to get yourself noticed in the Tour of Britain. If you are in France, you can be ‘out of sight, out of mind.'”

Gary Hand
In the polkadots at the Girvan.

So who’s gonna win on Saturday?

“I knew you’d ask that! With my team mate Gordon Murdoch in second place in the series, there’s no pressure on me, and all I would say is that it’ll be hard for someone to win who’s not in Pedal Power!”

After our interview was finished, I received an email from Gary, he thought I might need some additional information.

Winning isn’t about one big thing, it’s about getting lots of smaller things right – it looks to us like Gary is a rider who understands that:

Bio – Gary Hand

DOB – 01/09/1981 (26yrs old)
Town: Livingston
Height: 187cm
Weight: 64kg’s
Part time job – PedalPower Cycles, (51/53 West End West Calder 01506 873123)

Mountainbiking

  • Riding the bike for mostly fun.  1997 – 2001

Road Racing

  • 2002 PedalPower RT
  • 2003 PedalPower RT
  • 2004 Entente Cycliste Clermont Communiate (France)
  • 2005 Entente Cycliste Clermont Communiate (France)
  • 2006 Agisko / Dart / cycling.tv “Continental” (Italy & UK)
  • 2007 KFS Special Vehicles / Sunday bicycles
  • 2008 pedalpower.org.uk / Endura Race Team

Future Ambitions

  • 2009 Qualify for the 2010 Commonwealth Games
  • 2010 To represent Scotland in the Commonwealth Games and gain a medal in the Road Race.

As I said to Gary; “very professional.”

VeloVeritas wish Gary and the team all the best for Saturday and for the rest of the season.