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James McCallum – Too Strong for the Rest at the Rosneath Super Six

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‘Man in Black’ James McCallum – Rapha Condor Sharp was too strong for the rest in the second round of the Super Six at Rosneath on Sunday, showing the full field of 80 how it should be done when you’re a full time bike rider.

The former British criterium champion outsprinted Liam Cowie (Endura/Pedal Power Development Team) and Rob Wilkins to take the honours.

James took time to talk to VeloVeritas about his performance, on Sunday night.

James McCallum
James took his first win for Rapha-Sharp. Photo©Alister Watt

Tell us a little about the race, James.

“It was a typical frustrating Scottish race; some elements of the field were riding in a very negative fashion — the ‘messing around’ should be at the finish, not the start.

“Evan Oliphant (Endura) and I tried to race early in the day but there were a lot of people happy to follow but not contribute — very negative.

“Four of us eventually got away — me, Liam, Rob and Dave Henderson the mountain biker – with a lap-and-a-bit to go; I actually punctured whilst in the break, at Rosneath, but managed to get back up and won the sprint.

“I think a lot of riders would get a shock if they went to race in England — it’s just so much more aggressive.

“The organisation was very good though, Janette did a great job; the strip was good and the NEG motorbike guys made sure it was a safe race.

“Janette even organised proper Rosneath weather — at one stage the hailstones were bouncing off me!”

What was race distance?

“It was supposed to be 65 miles but I think it was nearer 75 — that’s about right for Scotland.

“Its speed you need to ride road races — you don’t get dropped because you haven’t done enough miles, it’s because you’re not going fast enough!

“Anyone can plod round 100 miles; but that’s no good if you haven’t got the speed.”

James McCallum
James ‘puts the hurt on’. Photo©Alister Watt

Is your form where you want it to be?

“Aye, it’s pretty good, I rode the Tour of Taiwan but had a wee bit of sickness — the last stage finished with a 15 kilometre climb so that was pretty rough.

“But the team did well, we were unlucky not to win stages — we had a second, two thirds and a fourth.

“It was a hard race for the Europeans and Americans — the Asian guys are all flying.”

Are you full time with R apha Condor Sharp?

“Oh yes, when John Herety (Rapha manager) approached me, he made me a good offer.

“Sometimes I’ve heard folks says ‘this’ or ‘that’ about the Rapha team but I think a lot of it is jealousy; it’s a very well organised set up when you see it from the inside.

“I’m happy I’ve made the right move.”

James McCallum
James looking serious. Photo©Alister Watt

Why Rapha Condor Sharp?

“I’m friendly with Deano Downing and he asked what I was doing for this year and was I thinking about a move?

“John Herety spoke to Kristian House and they made me an offer — it was all done and dusted before the winter.

“It actually helped my motivation a great deal — my enthusiasm to train was high despite the severity of the weather.”

And are you good at resting?

“Yes, I’m really good at ‘daen nuthin!’

“My wife, Pamela works from home so it means that once I’ve done my two hours or six hours or whatever we can spend time together.”

No renewal at Endura?

“No, I wasn’t offered and I wasn’t really happy there, anyway.

“I decided not to ride the Tour of Britain last year and went to Holland to train on the track for the Commonwealth Games, instead.

“When we were discussing that, I said that it looked like I was getting kept on – I wasn’t contradicted.

“I had a couple of offers from abroad — one from a Dutch team and one from the Palmans team in Belgium.

“But I didn’t think it was the best idea; just married then disappearing to the continent for six months!”

James McCallum
Despite the apparent, James loves crits. Taiwan, 2011. Photo©Wei-Ting Tsai

You rode that big money crit in Singapore.

“The OCBC Pro Criterium – first prize was 12 grand!

“The Italian Omar Bertazzo from Androni Giocatolli won but we were second with Dean Windsor (Australia) which meant we didn’t do too badly financially.

“It’s funny with Dean, we didn’t used to get on when we were on opposing teams but now we’ve bonded.”

James McCallum
James and his Rapha-Shar