It was December when we last spoke to Paisley’s fastest man, Jack Carlin about his hopes for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia – that was before a successful British Track Championship where he came away as Sprint Champion then an excellent Worlds campaign which saw him land two silver medals.
His team sprint medal perhaps wasn’t too much of a surprise given GB’s pedigree in the event but his silver medal to big Aussie speed beast, Matt Glaetzer was and produced some classic and highly entertaining ‘old school’ sprinting.
Jack took time out from his Commonwealth Games preparations to tell VeloVeritas about his Apeldoorn campaign.
Congratulations on two sterling performances, Jack – I noticed when the team sprint medals were handed out that GB had five on the podium?
“Thank you, yes, you can perm three from five riders but I rode all three rounds – there’s a qualifying round then a semi then the final.
“And from the qualifying round you could see that the Dutch were going to be hard to beat.”
You’re ‘man one,’ that means training on a lower gear for the fast start – but I believe that can put you at a disadvantage when you have to go up to the ‘mega’ gears for the sprint qualifying?
“It’s true that man one is a highly specific role and the training is very focussed – and the gear is lower.
“However, I don’t want to be pigeon holed, my interest in the individual sprint means that I also train for that and do work which means I can handle the qualifying gears and go ‘long’ if I have to.”
The team sprint final, any ‘what ifs?’
“No, the Dutch outclassed everyone, they were setting times which were very hard to beat so no complaints.
“It’s not just the speed it’s the fact that you have all three rides in the one day and that takes it of you.
“We have five guys, six if you count Callum Skinner, who are all highly capable riders so we have strength in depth and can share the work load.”
Given you ride the team sprint, individual sprint and keirin there must be a lot of different gear ratios involved?
“In the team sprint the gear is relatively small to get us off the line whilst in the sprint qualifying these days you have to ride a big ratio.
“For match sprinting I rode a smaller gear than I would in qualifying because if the gear is too high it means you can’t ‘jump’, whilst the gear for the keirin is larger again than that you would use in the match sprint.”
The Apeldoorn track had a reputation as ‘slow’ but it certainly didn’t seem like that for the championships?
“I think if that track was in Glasgow or Manchester it would be really quick but where it is the air pressure is usually high; however over the weekend of the champs the air pressure was freakily low and that’s reflected in the times.”
Can we ask about the ‘top secret’ GB Cervélos?
“What would you like to know?
“They’re very quick and faster at the top end than the UKiS ‘stealth’ bikes; I like the feel of them beneath you, they’re solid and move very well at high speed.
“I like the UKiS bike for starting though, it accelerates very well and it’s very rigid, I rode mine all through the team sprint tournament.
“Having said all of that, I think now that every bike being ridden at world level by all the teams will be a good machine.”
We liked you ‘old school’ tactical sprinting with Glaetzer.
“I had to keep him close, on my hip, stop him from winding up that big gear, I knew I couldn’t give him any space and was conscious not to let him come over me, get ahead and use his speed.
“But he was just that wee bit quicker than me.”
Great experience for The Games though?
“Yes, although I’ve been a bit sick this last week with a cold and a cough – hopefully that will be all cleared up for The Games though and my sprinting in Apeldoorn has given me a lot of confidence for The Gold Coast.”
Will Scotland have a team sprint squad for The Games?
“No, I’ll be riding the individual sprint and keirin.”
The keirin, you made the final – looking back would you ride it differently?
“I rode good races in the first round and semis but I messed up in the final, got myself boxed and couldn’t get out.
“At that level the strong guys just sit on the outside and stay there so you can’t get out.
“The Columbian who won was a big unit, very strong – but any one of the riders in the final could have won, they were all strong, fast guys.”
Which medal gives you most satisfaction, team or individual sprint?
“Both but in different ways.
“The team sprint was what I was there for and our goal was to get on the podium, which we did so there was no pressure on me at all for the individual sprint.
“And it was great to win a medal with the guys I train with day in and day out.
“The individual medal was a bit of a surprise, I’d hoped to make the last eight but not to get silver.
“The team sprint was the best we could do on the day but in the individual sprint you can’t help but think; ‘could I have maybe got a bit closer?’”
Have you had a lot of media interest?
“Not really, some here and there but I’ve had a lot of support from friends and family, lots of messages of congratulation.”
What’s the itinerary now, Jack?
“This week [post Worlds] in Scotland to train with the other members of the Scottish Games team then we’re out to Sydney for the 22nd to get used to the time zone and climate change.
“I’ll be going back into the gym as well – The Worlds was the main aim but I’m hoping to hold my form through to The Games; those performances in Apeldoorn have given me a lot of confidence.”
And so they should, VeloVeritas wishes Jack and all members of the Scottish Games squad every success in Australia and will be keeping as close an eye on proceedings as we can from the other side of the world.