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James McCallum – A Professional Approach

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The 2006 season was a great one for James McCallum; it’s not every year you win a Commonwealth Games medal. It seemed like it would take a lot to top 2006; how does the 2007 British Criterium Championships and the most glamorous crit in Britain sound?

James McCallum
British Champion! How d’you like that?!

Another great season, James.

“The last two years have been weird, my Games medal was a big surprise to a lot of people and so was the British Criterium Championship, but when I won the Smithfield nocturne, I think it consolidated things; showed my two big results weren’t flukes.”

What’s happening at Plowman Craven for 2008; will it still be baby blue and pink?

“PCA will have nine riders, there’s me plus Gibb, Millard, Gaywood and Richardson from last year and four more, still to be announced.

“We’ve had a briefing, so I know who they are, but can’t say too much at the moment.

“We’re not making any claims about wanting to, “go Pro-Tour”, but we hope to participate in some smaller European stage races to prepare us better for the 2008 Tours of Ireland and Britain – they came as a bit of a shock to system, last year!

“And pink works; it gets a lot of people talking about us, so it’ll be staying for 2008.”

What are your personal goals for 2008?

“I’d like to win criteriums in my National Champion’s jersey, and progress as a rider. I’m never going to be a Pro-Tour rider, but I’d like to realise my potential.”

James McCallum
Winning a race in a champion’s jersey has got to feel special. Here, James takes the inaugural Smithfield Nocturn.

Any regrets in 2007?

“The ankle injury I picked-up was very disappointing, it totally compromised my rides in the Tours of Ireland and Britain. I had to take four weeks off training.”

How’s the new job?

“Good, my title is events co-ordinator, with Scottish Cycling. I’m trying to apply a rider’s perspective to the calendar.

“The “Super Six” series is my ‘baby’; on the first weekend of each month, there will be only be one major road race on the calendar.

“That will run from March to September, the exception will be the national champs, which are in August. In this way we want to attract the best possible fields in terms of quality and numbers.

“When you are talking to local authotities and the police, decent numbers of competitors holds sway.

“The courses won’t be savage or race distances over-long; it’s speed we’re looking for – that’s what wins races.”

So, it all kicks-off with Rosneath, in March?

“Not for next year; if we want to have a professional approach, there have to be deadlines for information being submitted.

“It’s only November and we have the calendar sorted-out, but if deadlines aren’t met then we have to move on.”

James McCallum
James is a handy track rider too, as his medal at the Commonwealth Games demonstrates.

How was Scottish Cycling able to afford you?

“One of the reasons is that Gary Willis, who is in charge of youth and junior coaching, is on the British Cycling payroll now and allowed moneys to be made available for this position.

“As I said, the calendar is going to be a lot more professionally managed from now on.”

VeloVeritas wish James every success in his new job and will make sure we’re at the new “super-six” series to keep you posted on how it works out.

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.

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