Saturday, October 16, 2021
HomeInterviewsGary Hand - the New Scottish Road Champion 2013

Gary Hand – the New Scottish Road Champion 2013


At his ninth attempt, Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes’ Gary Hand finally ‘done the business’ in the Scottish road race championship; timing his move to perfection on the final climb inside seven miles to go and holding off a desperate chase from reigning champion James McCallum (Rapha Condor JLT) and David Lines (MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling) to win on his own.

We caught up with the man who eats the miles – but not much else – on the Monday morning after his win.

Gary Hand
Gary can’t hide his joy at finally landing the Road Race Championship.

Congratulations, Gary – give us your ‘National stats,’ please.

“Nine rides and five medals before yesterday – but no gold.”

Did you do a course recce beforehand?

“Not the main lap but we drove the finish lap in the van to get a feel for it.

“From the top of the climb to the finish is five miles – that doesn’t take so long in a van at 60 mph.

“But I can tell you, they were the longest five miles of my life!”

What did you think of the parcours?

“Good, the organisers did a really good job – there was still a big group coming in the finish lap.

“Scottish courses can be too tough for the standard of the field but yesterday was good.

“With the big laps being rolling and flat there were always guys trying to clip off the front – it was a good race.”

Gary Hand
Gary wasn’t ‘hiding’ all day – he was in the break on the second of two ‘big laps’.

We saw you go in the break . . .

“I felt good, I definitely had good legs.

“I knew after the Lincoln that I could last 100 miles, so I thought I’d go with the moves to put pressure on the other favourites.

“They couldn’t let me go in a break so I knew they’d have to counter; I wanted them to know they been in a race, before the big climb.”

Gary Hand
Gary attacked his companions on the main hill with around six miles to go to the finish.

But you made your winning move on the hill?

“There were four of us away – James, Davie, Callum Wilkinson ( and me.

“I let James and Davie set the early pace – I wanted to make sure their heart rates were up; and then I attacked at maybe 75% for 10 seconds, to see who would come with me and how my legs felt.

“James reacted and I eased – but then I gave it 100% for two minutes, full gas, as hard as I could. By the top I had 15 or 20 seconds – when we did our course recce my dad said that was the sort of gap I’d need to hold on.

“I was doing 47 mph on the descent and 27 mph on the flat – it was flat out effort to stop them from catching me.

“I glanced round a coupled of times; James was leading on one occasion and Davie on the other.

“I was conscious that if one of them could take a wee breather then they’d maybe try and take a flyer across to me.”

Did you realise how close it was at the line?

“The finish straight was a dream come true – I couldn’t believe I was going to win!

“I free-wheeled across the line so I could savour it – but I’d glanced back and knew they wouldn’t get me. All the sacrifices, all the training, the dieting, in that moment it was all worth it.

“It was an amazing feeling, my fiancee Laura was there, my dad, friends – I just wanted to enjoy it. And folk are saying that I was emotional at the finish – it was just that I’d had a fly in my eye . . .”

It must be hard work being a marked man with no team mates?

“It is what it is.

“It was the same for James and for Davie – but I have to say that it wasn’t too bad, there were a lot of guys with strong legs trying to stir things up.”

Gary Hand
Gary was digging deep to put some clear distance between himself and James McCallum, before the descent and run-in to the finish.

Was it a positive knowing that Davie was behind and might not chase you as hard as he would another rider?

“As I said, when I looked back, I saw them both chasing so I didn’t know what was going on.

“I was focusing on me!

“I won the race on the climb; after that I just held on, there was no shelter and no one to sit behind.

“If someone behind had the legs then they could try to jump across. James defended his title well, he took the race on when he went away solo; and it wasn’t an easy race – the average was 25mph.”

Did you taper for this one?

“To tell you the truth, it’s one of the few Scottish races I’ve rested going in to. The other weekend when I rode the Crow Road and Kilmacolm criteriums, I did 25 hours training in the week.

“My focus has been on the Premier Calendar races.

“But I eased off for this one; just turned my legs in the week leading up to it.”

How has your Premier campaign been going?

“I was 26th in the Reservoir, which doesn’t sound great but there were 180 starters and only 40 finishers. I felt that I was riding well – but you need that element of luck.

“I made the top 40 in the Lincoln but again had better legs than the result suggests – I was in the race and involved in breaks late in the day.

“Seeing Evan win the Reservoir gave me a lot of motivation, it lets you see what’s possible.”

How’s the Herbalife team working out?

“Very good, Neil and Linsey Taylor and Geoff Newcombe give up most of their free time to help the team.

“They can’t do enough and we’re organised in every race we ride – with designated leaders and everyone knowing their role.”

What next?

“The Beaumont Trophy Premier, that’s the week after the Nationals in Glasgow – but Sky will be there . . .

“The Beaumont is hilly and suits me – I’ve got my weight down from 67 kg last year to 63 kg, this year.

“It makes a big difference to you power to weight and I feel comfortable on climbs where I’d have been feeling it, last year.”

And victory celebrations?

“I had a few glasses of red wine in the evening – but on the way down the road, Laura, Davie and I stopped at McDonald’s.

“I’ve not had one for ages – and when you’ve been having guilt trips about whether or not to put butter on your bagel, a Big Mac tastes amazing!”

Gary Hand
Gary was rightly chuffed with his ride yesterday.

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

Scottish Hill Climb Championships 2013 – “Up The Kirk!”

As the storm clouds grew over the Wallace Monument the anticipation increased ahead of "Up the Kirk 2013" which had the honour of incorporating the Scottish Hill Climb Championships. The volunteers of the host club, Stirling Bike Club, got the course set up as a few nervous riders did some last minute reccies and stressed about gear ratios and tyre pressures.

Scottish Road Race Championship 2013 – Gary Hand at Last!

On a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon in North East Scotland, Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes' Gary Hand finally took the Scottish Road Race Championship after a blistering attack on the main climb of the day took him clear of 2012 champion, James McCallum (Rapha Condor JLT) and Davie Lines (MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling) over the top of the hill.

Scottish 12 Hour Time Trial Championship 2008

Steve Beech has ridden two Milk Races and ten 12 hour races, so when he tells you that this year's Scottish '12' was the hardest one he's ever ridden, he knows what he's talking about. He's also held the Scottish record, with 275.258 miles - set in the Glasgow 12 in 1991, until Joe Wilson updated it; that distance is however, still the Scottish vets record.

Scottish Road Race Championships 2018

Mark Robertson (Army CU) who successfully defended his 2017 title, confirming that he’s ‘not just a sprinter’ and giving lie to suggestions that his win last season was a ‘fluke.’ VeloVeritas hasn’t been to the Scottish Road Race Championship for a year or two but when we heard it was in Cromarty, one of favourite places on the globe there could be no excuse for absence.

Graeme Obree & Jason MacIntyre – discuss the 25 Champs postponement

It was to be the big one, the Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championship this Saturday, June 17th at Irvine. The British 25 Mile TT Champion, Jason MacIntyre versus the man who ran him to within 13 seconds in the Scottish 10 Mile TT Championship the previous week-former double World Pursuit Champion and World Hour Record holder, Graeme Obree (Fullarton Wheelers).

Stephen Williamson takes the Scottish 100 Mile TT Championship 2015

Courtesy of the Legend of North East Cycling that is Ms. Isobel Smith, here’s the lowdown on the 2015 Scottish 100 Mile Championship. "With six miles to go it was all done bar the shouting; Stephen Williamson was looking strong and had increased his lead to 3.39 over the Deeside rider with last year's winner now having to settle for bronze."

At Random

Tim Mountford, Part Two – Finally, the First Professional Contract

In Part One of the Tim Mountford story we heard how the eighteen year-old Tim was living on his own, sharing a flat with another rider, working at a local bike shop and training for the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, as well as being creating and being the chief editor of a cycling magazine titled the "Southern California Cycling Journal". Tim went on to race in two Olympic Games and competed at world level in the tandem sprint before turning to the Professional Six Day scene and working his way up through various sponsors and contracts to land the biggie; a place on the famous TI Raleigh team managed by the legendary Peter Post.

Hamish Haynes – Letters from Belgium #1

Hi folks, Hamish Haynes here. Let's bring you up to speed with my season so far: In mid-February, just before returning from winter training in Spain I picked up a hamstring strain; at that moment it wasn't clear what had exactly happened. I assumed it was a minor niggle that would quickly recede, within a few days I realized a scan was necessary, fortunately it revealed only a minor muscle elongation.

Edinburgh Nocturne Criterium – Preview

A phone call from Craig MacLean the other day; "I'll be up in Edinburgh on Monday morning, to do some promo for the Edinburgh Nocturne races at the end of the month, fancy catching up?" For sure mate. And so I pottered along to the press launch of the Nocturne event today, which centered around an exhibition of roller racing, with the wonderful backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

World Championship 2010 Training Camp

It’s been a cool experience jumping off of the Garmin-Transitions train and into the Australian team for the past week, for the World Championship 2010 Training Camp.

Omloop Het Volk & Kuurne Brussels Kuurne – Day 1

You know you're in Belgium at the Kuurne Brussels Kuurne when the barman is Iljo Keisse's dad - and when there are posters for bike races in the loo! But I'm getting ahead of myself; "live cargo", that's how the airlines refer to their passengers. And that's how we feel: the flight is two hours late and we're sitting on the floor at Prestwick Airport, or 'Glasgow South' as Ryanair would have it, despite the fact that we're 50 kilometres from the city on the Clyde.

Matt Gibson – UCI European U23 Scratch Race Champion 2015

Le Tour is like Pac-Man, it gobbles up every bit of attention there is in the world of bike racing; the Tour of Austria runs concurrently but you wouldn’t realise. For the record, Victor de la Parte of UCI Continental Team Voralberg won it; beating six World Tour and seven Pro Continental teams in the process. In addition there were the UCI European U23 Track Championships in Athens – stand out rides were a sub four minute team pursuit by the GB squad to win and a win in the scratch race by one of the pursuit team members – Matt Gibson.