It’s a sad day; VeloVeritas has lost our man in the Flatlands front line – Michael Nicolson.
He’s back in the UK for 2014 and signed up with new team, Starley Primal – new home too for fellow Scot, Davie Lines.
We thought we’d best have a word…
This interview was conducted before the Scottish team for the Commonwealth Games was announced.
Why leave the flatlands, Michael?
“Quite simple, I’d had enough.”
I believe it was pretty feral in the peloton at the end of 2013 with the five big teams folding?
“I didn’t really notice; lots of friendly/chatty riders if that’s what you mean.”
How was the Doltcini team in 2013?
“Pretty much a standard Belgian outfit; an ace program of races, good group of riders, maybe a few problems but overall decent.”
What was your best performance in 2013?
“My 14th place in Zottegem.”
[That’s the tough GP Stad Zottegem over 182 kilometres; 2013 winner was Slovenian hard man Blaz Jarc (NetApp-Endura) with Vacansoleil duo Wouter Mol (The Netherlands) and 2012 Paris-Tours winner Marco Marcato (Italy) third and fifth respectively. The race is UCI 1.1 and was first held in 1934. The race is also known as the Dokter Tistaertprijs after the legendary figure – known as ‘The Father of the Young Flemish Riders’ – of the same name who as well as dispensing free medical care to young riders had a hand in the organisation of the first edition of the race back in 1934. Ed.]
And the toughest day of 2013?
“The Ronde Van Zeeland Seaports (UCI 1.1). [Won by Lotto’s Andre Greipel from Ramon Sinkeldam and Kenny Van Hummel. Ed.]
“I can sum it up in two words: Wind. Cobbles.”
You’re with Starley Primal for 2013; tell us about the team, please?
“I’ve only met the team once – at the bike show.
“The team is from the south west but has a strong Scottish link with Scottish riders on both the men’s and women’s team.”
How did you get the ride?
“They had a rider pull out around Christmas and Jack Pullar recommended me.
Isn’t going to be tough adapting to the UK scene, again?
“Yes, for sure.
“The level is high and the race formula is different but I’ll just try my best and see what like.”
How has your winter gone?
“I’ve had no illness or injury so I can’t complain.”
What’s the programme looking like for 2014?
“The Premiers and the Tour series – Scottish races otherwise.”
Are you full time?
“Yes, for the time being.
“I’m on the lookout for a job to use my degree in (Electronic Engineering) or I would really love to have a job in sport. If something combined the two then that would be brilliant.”
Have you been riding the track?
“Yes, it’s decent for keeping the legs flapping over during Scottish winters.”
I’m presuming The Games is a big goal – road or track?
“I suppose but I’m not really sure if it’s likely.”
What are the selection criteria?
“Top three placings in Premiers, or UCI points, or something.”
Has a ‘long’ squad been announced, yet?
“No idea – I think it’s a “keeping cards close to the chest” type of affair.”
What did you think of the Games Road Race course?
“If it’s the exact same as the British Champs course then I like it.
“There are a few horrible sections but it takes the race to the public and shows off the city so no complaints from me.
“Also it’s like a kermis and I’m used to that type of race – so I think I could do a good job in it.”
What do you think you’ll miss most about Flanders?
“Colruyt supermarket – where I got a free lunch (food samples and coffee) for three years.”
No nostalgia or nonsense from Our Michael, but he’s been there and done it – respect.