Scotland doesn’t get too many World Cycling Champions — so when John Paul won the World Junior Sprint Championship, it was something special.
‘Juniors?’ I hear you say…
The team pursuit in the Junior Worlds was won by Australia in a time of 4:02 and the man Paul beat in the sprint semis, Max Niederlag of Germany did 9.899 in qualifying.
Those are seriously quick times.
Paul also won the European Junior Sprint and Keirin titles in Portugal just one month prior to the Worlds.
We recently caught up with the man originally from way up there in Lybster, Caithness in the far north east of Scotland.
Congratulations, great ride — but Niederlag 9.899 in qualifying— a big mental hurdle for you from the off?
“Absolutely — when I saw it at first I was apprehensive; but I’d beaten him in
the European Champs in Portugal so I knew we were at a similar level.
“His 100 metre time was the same as mine but he didn’t die in the second 100 — when it came to acceleration I knew I could beat him.
“In the semi it was one each, but in the third race it was a drag race to the line, shoulder to shoulder – he flicked me and was disqualified; it’s maybe not the way I would have wanted to win but the rules are the rules.”
Is the Moscow track as fast as we’ve heard?
“It’s something else!
“At 333 metres it’s huge compared to the 250 metre tracks were used to — and it’s very high, 9.5 metres.
“The transitions are very fast — it’s a