Although the start sheet for the Tour de Trossachs is still to be finalised, it’s looking to be a very interesting race – the field has been extended to accommodate 140 because the race is proving to be popular with riders of all abilities, and sees National Champions and World Champions taking part, as well as newcomers interested in trying out this classic course.
Arthur Doyle (Dooleys RT) will defend his title for the third time, but the big question is will he manage to beat both the hill climb and course record set by Jason McIntyre in 2007.
Alistair Robinson (Team Leslie Bike Shop) who was 2nd to Matt Bottrill at last week’s Rudy Project race in North Yorkshire will be hoping to improve on his position of 9th last year and looks to be a man with some good form.
Simon Baxter (Adept Precision RT) is visiting Scotland again and hoping to improve on his already impressive performance last year – more so when you consider he didn’t know the course, and those who have ridden it will agree it helps to know the twists and descents on the hill as well as being prepared for the undulating nature of the course.
With some of Scotlands’ riders away on Commonwealth Games duty, it’s satisfying to see that we still have a healthy number of our top Scottish roadmen keen to take up the challenge of the Trossachs; last year’s 3rd place rider Callum Wilkinson, Robbie Hassan (Glasgow Wheelers) tackles the course for the first time as does Rob Wilkins (Stirling Bike Club). Rob has already put in some top time trial performances this year and was hoping nobody noticed!
The Ladies’ field looks just as varied, with Jane Kilmartin (Cult Racing) who was 2nd at last week’s event in North Yorkshire travelling across the border. Mari Todd (Sandy Wallace Cycles), the course record holder, will be there to defend her title and add to the numerous National titles she has won this year. Christine McLean (Shetland Wheelers) will give her a run for her money.
Anne Plant, the World Masters Road Champion is also visiting Scotland, and we have a 2008 Age Related World Champion Triathlete riding Vicky Begg (Johnstone Wheelers). The Scottish Ladies’ Road Race Series winner Jay Burgess is also riding and hoping to make good use of the good form she brought back from the Irish Rás na mBan, where she finished a fantastic 8th overall.
Race organiser Janette Hazlett is delighted to have this year’s Tour de Trossachs as round seven of the eight part Rudy Project series, and she’s chuffed to have as many as 16 riders travelling from south of the border to see what the fuss is all about – the race has a long history and will always be run on the 1st Sunday in October, so it’s always there if you want to come and have a go.
The first rider starts at 10.00 am on Sunday 3rd October and Janette is hoping that it will prove to be a noisy race with lots of spectators coming out and cheering the riders on, especially on the grandstand corner up the Dukes Pass where crowds traditionally meet and catch up with the cycling gossip in between riders struggling past.