If you’re a regular VeloVeritas reader then you’ll be aware of top Scottish time trial rider, Silas Goldsworthy’s quest to qualify for the individual pursuit in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
We’ve just written about his victory in the classic Scottish event the Tour des Trossachs, but Silas’ most recent opportunity to dip under the qualifying standard for the Games came in that Mecca for Six Day racing – Gent.
But not on the tiny 167 metre Kuipke Velodrome where Sercu, De Wilde and Keisse have ruled down through the ages; but on the 250 metre covered track in Gent – scene of the ‘International Belgian Open.’
Those UCI rules just keep changing; and now riders have to qualify individually just to ride World Cups, never mind World Championships.
We spoke to Silas after he’d had a chance to gather his thought about his excursion to VeloVeritas’s favourite city.
What was the meeting, Silas?
“The International Belgian Open; the last chance to qualify for the World Cup in Manchester in November.
“It was a pukka UCI qualifying event; that was why Cav was there – you now have to qualify individually for the World Cups and Worlds.
“I’ve heard that Cav would like to ride the team pursuit in Rio – he seemed very focussed.
“It was through Scottish Cycling, they organised it – I knew a few folk were going over and asked if I could go to see if I could get my qualifying time.”
Who else was over?
“James McCallum and Ross Edgar were over for the scratch and points.
“James rode the madison with Jonathan Dibben – it wasn’t a big field for the madison but it was quality with Cav riding with Owain Doull and Kenny De Ketele up there, too.”
Tell us about the track.
“It used to be outdoors but they roofed it over – the GB and Irish guys were saying it was a slow surface.
“I’m not skilled enough at sussing that kind of thing out but that seemed to be the general consensus.”
How did it compare to Glasgow?
“It was similar but seemed to have longer straights – but the boards were almost black making it hard to see the lines.”
Was there a decent crowd?
“It wasn’t full but there were more fans there than I expected and a good turnout of photographers and journalists – but then Cav is a big draw.”
Did you get a chance to have word with the great man?
“No, like I said, he was very focussed; but I did get the chance to speak to Rob Hayles and Martyn Irvine.
“They’re both nice guys and happy to give advice – you’d never think that Martyn is a world champion; he’s so down to earth.”
Remind us of the Scottish Cycling qualifying standard for Glasgow 2014.
“It’s 4:30 – I did a 4:39 at Gent.
“It was one ride situation with placings decided on times – I was first to ride and when I saw my time my immediate reaction was one of disappointment.
“But it’s my first pursuit in year and you learn every time you ride on – I was trying to ride to schedule but it takes a lot of experience to be able to stick to it.
“You have learn how to gauge the difference between a 16.8 and a 16.2 lap and how to stick to that tempo.
“I expected faster and I don’t think it’s the ride I’m capable of – but when I consider that there were some quality riders on the track and only three were inside 4:30 then I don’t feel so disappointed.
“I still think I’m capable of 4:30 once I have my pace judgement sorted out.”
What gear were you on?
“I’ve been trialling between 98” and 102” but went on 100” in Gent – it’s something I’ll have to do more trials with.
“It was a solid try out and with the British Champs coming up soon, at the end of September it was good to make my mistakes in Gent, not Manchester.
“It was very helpful just to be there and going through the process of a pursuit competition.
“There’ll be another opportunity to get a time in the Scottish Champs but they’re not until the end of October and that’s a long time to try and hold form.”
What did your coach, Peter Ettles say about the ride?
“He was pleased with the ride – the gaps to big names weren’t so big.
“Next season I need to do more on the road though, build core strength…”
And finally, any free advertising you’d like us to do for you?
“I’ve been getting a lot of help physio-wise from Space Clinics in Dalry Road, so I’d just like to say a big ‘thank you’ to them.
“And PowerBar sports nutrition have been very helpful – if you could mention them too and express my thanks, that would be great.”
It’s all part of the service, Silas.
Our man on the Cervélo reported from Manchester from the British Championships – we’ll keep you posted soon, but the first post we received from him told of his superb 4:32 pursuit ride in the qualifying round, meaning qualification for the minor final and the ride-off for the bronze medal, eventually ending up fourth after being caught by Joe Kelly.