Monday, July 26, 2021
HomeInterviewsPaul Rowney - A Top Aussie in Scotland

Paul Rowney – A Top Aussie in Scotland

-

An Aussie winning Scottish cyclo crosses; what’s that all about? VeloVeritas went walk-about and tracked Paul Rowney down for a billy-can of tea beside the billabong.

Paul Rowney
Paul in the aussie MTB series this year.

What brings you to Scotland, Paul?

“My ‘trouble and strife’ is from Scotland, she’s an artist, I met her in Australia, but now we’ve moved over here. When I talk about, “going home” to Australia, she just looks at me and says; ‘We are home!'”

How are you coping with the weather?

“I have a bit of a dicky knee – too much smashing-away at the 11 and 12 cogs over the years – and it reacts badly to the wet and cold. All that said, I feel rejuvinated here, the traffic is a lot lighter here than it is Sydney and there’s so much variety in where you can ride your bike.

“There are still quiet roads to be found and plenty of opportunity for you to ride the mountain bike or cross bike off-road. In Sydney, you have to go out at six in the morning and be back for nine, or it’s just too-crazy with the traffic.”

Australia’s not renowned for producing ‘cross riders?

“I’m not a cross rider, I’m a mountain biker; I’ve ridden and won three crosses in Scotland, so far, but the first two I was on my mountain bike. My latest win was the first time I’ve raced on a ‘cross bike. It was interesting, definitely faster than the mountain bike on that course.

“In UCI category A crosses you’re not allowed to ride a mountain bike, but Scottish crosses aren’t UCI categorised, so it’s OK to ride the old VTT.”

Word is, you weren’t a bad rider back in Aus?

“Yeah, I was Australian elite mountain bike champion three times, I retired to manage the Yeti team and we got some results. I’d become a bit disillusioned with racing; I could see that a lot of riders were suddenly going a lot faster.

“But I came back and raced again, as a vet in 2007; I won the Aussie vets title and entered the elite short track event. I got in the break with the reigning U 23 and elite champions, they were stepping it into me and I thought; “bronze, that’ll do,” but a couple of laps later, I thought: “**** it! I’m gonna win this!” and I did!”

Paul Rowney
Paul’s MTB skills transfer to ‘cross well.

What do you rate your best-ever ride?

“Tenth in the Sydney Olympics, in front of the home crowd, that was pretty special. It was eye-opener too, though. I rode so hard on the last lap like you can’t imagine, I was turning myself inside-out, but still lost a heap of time.

“I realised then that there was something different going-on, some of the other guys were so unbelievably strong. (Miguel Martinez won, he would become a Phonak rider – like Floyd and Tyler . . . ).

“I also had around 20 podiums in the NORBA (US elite mountain bike races) series, they were pretty cool results.”

You were a full-time pro, then?

“Yeah, I was with the Haro, Giant, Cannondale and Yeti teams during my career; I rode the Worlds nine times.”

Did you ride the road much?

“I was primarily an off-road rider, but I rode things like the Tour of Tasmania and a lot of criteriums – they are great training for the mountain bike.”

Your mountain bike career would overlap Cadel and Rasmussen’s?

“And Landis, too! I know Cadel very well, we were both on the Australian Institute of Sport/Giant programme at the same time. Rasmussen was the same as a mountain biker, he would do nothing all year, then come out and ‘boom!’ at the Worlds, no one could live with him.”

Paul Rowney
Riding in the MTB World Cup for SRAM.

Who were your role models, as a young rider?

“The main guy was John Tomac and I was lucky-enough to involved with him at Australian Institute of Sport/Giant. He’s a really good guy and I learned a lot from him.”

Will we be seeing more of you?

“Yeah, I have a British and Aussie passport, so I’m thinking about riding the British cyclo-cross champs. I’ll be the guy with the sun tan!”

Any cycling regrets?

“No, my aim was to to be a pro; I did that and made a fair living, so no complaints.”

VeloVeritas would like to thank Paul for taking time out to talk to us.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Dan Fleeman – New MTB Team; Forme Coaching-Pactimo-Cannondale

I remember the first time I met Dan Fleeman; 2007 in the days before Twitter, The Shack, LanceGate, the slick marketing of the ‘Flanders Classics’ and the World Tour. Vik still used to go to pro races; before he was too badly scarred by the World Tour – the Tour of Beijing was the last nail in the coffin.

Rab Wardell – A Trip Into The Unknown

Whilst Endura have been getting all the attention recently, other Scottish riders have been looking to raise their game too. Rab Wardell is taking his talent south - to Southport's Kinesis team. We caught up with him to talk about the move - eventually. (Rab is a fan of having his mobile on 'silent' after five pm - but of course, this means he doesn't hear it when it rings!)

Paul Rowney – at the British Elite Cyclo-Cross Championships

'Scottish Aussie,' Paul Rowney (Velo Ecosse) rode Sunday's British Elite Cyclo-Cross Championship; we caught up with him [hands"“free, of course] as he chased the cat's eyes north after the race.

The 2008 Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike Series

Rob Wardell emailed to tell us about the first round of the Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike Series which is due to take place in less than 3 weeks' time, at Laggan Woftrax. Online entries are now being taken at EntryCentral. Riders who enter online at EntryCentral will also receive a :£5.00 discount over postal entries and entries on the day.

At Random

La Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 20; Santo Estevo de Riba de Sil – Ancares, 163.8 km. Contador Dominates

Samuel Sanchez summed it up best in the BMC press release for Stage 20 to Ancares; "To understand how was hard it was, you only have to look at the riders' faces." That was certainly true of Chris Froome, his face ashen, skin tight on his skull, eyes popping, gasping for air like a dying fish.

Roubaix, Baixby! The Queen of the Classics

Paris-Roubaix. Hell of the north. The Queen of the Classics… Roubaix, Baixby! There is a great deal of hype out there about the latest and greatest event taking place. When it comes to Roubaix, the expectation and the event itself meet. This is a brilliant bike race!

Le Tour de France – Day 2: Stage 15, Embrun to Prato Nevoso

Follow the road until further instructed... Hurray, the satnav is working again! Ahh ! pardon, bonjour mes amis en Ecosse, bienvenu au 15eme etape de la Tour de France avec l'equipe VeloVeritas a Prato Nevoso.

Off-Season Report – So Far! Dan Patten’s Blog

It's Christmas time, which means the first half of the off-season is coming to an end. Time has flown by since finishing up my season in Belgium mid-October. The body was certainly in need of recovery, after hitting the ground too many times in the second half of the season. Not least because on two occassions I was hit by cars, with the last time coming just a week before the end of the season...

The VV Review of 2019

It’s almost time for the VV Review of 2019, to file the season under ‘Nostalgia’ and look to season 2020, which will make it half a century I’ve been a fan of cycle sport. I can still remember watching Hugh Porter win the 1970 world professional pursuit championship under the spotlights at Leicester, on our tiny black and white tele. Where did those years go?

Grant Thomas

It was with much sadness that VeloVeritas heard of the passing of 70’s legend and former British Amateur Road Race Champion, Grant Thomas. As our tribute to one of the coolest men ever to throw a leg over a racing bike we’d like to re-run our interview with the man. RIP, Grant.