Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeInterviewsGeorge Atkins - Raleigh's Winner of the Davie Campbell Road Race 2014

George Atkins – Raleigh’s Winner of the Davie Campbell Road Race 2014

-

George Atkins
George Atkins. Photo©Martin Williamson

A familiar name cropped up to win the recent David Campbell Memorial Race in Fife, run on a tough course over the Cults Hills – that of George Atkins.

Atkins spent time living and racing in Scotland a year or two ago riding for the Velo Ecosse team.

This year he’s stepped up from the 100% ME amateur squad to ride as a pro with the Raleigh.

He first appears on the palmares lists with a bronze medal in the British Youths Pursuit Championship in 2007, taking the same colour of medal in the Junior Pursuit Championship one year later.

He really ‘arrived’ in 2009 however with wins in the National Junior Road Race, Madison and Pursuit Championships.

In Commonwealth Games year he won the British Elite Points race and took silver in that discipline in Delhi.

In 2011 he took a break but was still runner-up in the British U23 Time Trial Championship.

He repeated that achievement in 2012 and added the British Scratch and Team Pursuit titles to his swag bag.

Last year he won the madison Championship with Jon Mould and took arguably his best result ever in winning the British Elite Criterium Series.

He spoke to VeloVeritas soon after he’d conquered Cadgers, Porters and Langside Braes en route to his win in the Davie Campbell Memorial.

The Davie Campbell road race – how did that fit in, George?

“I didn’t make the Raleigh team for the Rutland so the Davie Campbell was best replacement for me – doing the race meant I could see a few friends back in Edinburgh and get some good riding in with the local bunches too so it was a no brainer!”

How does Scottish racing compare to down south?

“In my opinion it’s very different – quite unorganised and could be described as negative, a bit more of a slog than a tactical battle at times but no less hard than racing down south – equally as hard just in a different way – I like racing up in Scotland, the courses are always decent and seemingly traffic-free!”

Raleigh – how did you get the contract?

“I think my ride in the crit series was probably what got the contract.

“I’ve been on Cherie’s (Pridham, manager at Raleigh, ed.) team in the past so already had a good relationship – I know Evan Oliphant well and Pete Jacques too so having a few guys in your corner always helps.”

George Atkins
George chose to turn pro for a UK-based team. Photo©Martin Williamson

Why not try for a ride in Belgium/France?

“I never really considered it – looking at guys like Erick Rowsell and Scott Thwaites going to Pro Conti set ups from UK based outfits shows it’s possible to move up from the UK.”

100% ME to Raleigh – what are the main differences?

“With 100% ME the winter was mainly track based whereas with Raleigh I’m on the road.

“I was the eldest guy on the team last year, now I’m the youngest this.

“There are a few differences with travel too, with 100% ME the team lives together so got picked up and ferried to races as a squad; whereas with Raleigh people are based in France, Wales, Scotland and England.

“It’s your job to get to a race or get halfway to a race – I really like having to be organised and am pretty easy on travel – it can be physically tiring at times though.

“On 100% ME you train as a group – with Raleigh you’re under your own steam.”

Tell us about your winter training, please.

“Last winter wasn’t great, I had a fair bit of illness and a few niggles with my knees, it could have been worse though!

“I spent a lot of the winter on the road then rode a track league before the Spadgers Six ran by Jacquesy (Pete Jacques, ed.).

“It was nice to show the stripes (British Champion’s madison champion jersey, ed.) there and get the win.

“After that I had a low key festive period due to ice so did a bit of turbo then headed off to Spain in early January.”

How were the Tour of the Med and Haut Var for you?

“They went OK – I got through the Med in decent shape.

“I didn’t have any racing in the legs before it so was a bit nervous but felt I got by okay.

“I got ill soon after that though so Haut Var was a write off.”

Will there be other Continental races with Raleigh in 2014?

“Hopefully yes, I’m not too sure at the moment though – our next main target on the horizon is the Tour series – that’s the only thing in mind for the moment.”

George Atkins
George switched to Raleigh from the BC-funded 100% Me. Photo©Jean Bollaerts

Are crits the big ‘thing’ for 2014 for you?

“Yes – road racing hasn’t gone greatly so far however I’m hoping to remedy that.

“But I’ll be showing what I can do in the crits – the whole team is really up for the Tour Series so we’ll see how it goes!”

Does the team run two parallel programmes – crit and road?

“No – we’ve got a squad of 10 guys so we’re just concentrating on one thing at a time – I quite like that because it keeps you hungry.”

What’s your programme after the summer crits?

“We’ve not got anything definitive at the moment, the Tour of Britain will be my biggest goal after the crits.

“Looking at guys like the Yates brothers and Tom Moses seasons so far really makes you think; ‘what’s stopping me?’”

How about your track ambitions?

“The Commonwealth Games track would be great to go back to and have another crack at the Points – If I do a few ‘rides’ in the Tour series I think I’ll have a good argument.

“I’ve proven myself before so yeah, I’d love to go.

“After that, I’m not sure; I’d need to show I can ride team pursuit.”

How has the ‘Retro Raleigh’ look gone down?

“I think it’s well-liked! I’ve not heard many people not liking it.

“I guess knowing what the T.I stuff looked like makes it cooler too.

“There’s a lot of cool team kit out there this year!”

George Atkins
George sporting the famous Raleigh red, black and yellow. Photo©Martin Williamson

2014 will be successful, if …

“I get to October and I’m not riding Hill Climbs!”

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

Organising the 46th Davie Bell Memorial Road Race

The best cyclists in Scotland will descend on South Ayrshire this Sunday, the 5th of June, as Ayr Roads Cycling Club/Harry Fairbairn BMW play host to round four of the Scottish Power Renewables SuP6R Six series at the 2011 David Bell Memorial Road Race. The event has attracted a full field for the first time in over two decades, with the riders lining up to complete the gruelling 120km marathon over the hilly roads around Straiton.

A Look Back at theBicycleWorks 2012 Season

Just a small look back at the 2012 season and its up's and downs for theBicycleWorks Team. The 2012 season has came to end for us as a team with what can only be described as a season of two halves.

Scottish Road Race Mens Championship 2016 – Magnificent Seven for Evan Oliphant

A clean sprint and Evan Oliphant bags win number seven in the Scottish Road Race Championship. I suspect it wasn’t coincidence that he was assigned number 7 as his race number today, a nice touch. The result had a familiar ring to it though, if you were to look at the past ten years of championship results. Don't however, be deceived into thinking this was anything other than a very well organised race on a very demanding circuit and what was lacking in glamour was more than made up for in grit shown by the riders on a day of mixed weather on bleak moorland roads.

This Sunday: the Scottish Road Race Championships 2011

Balfron in Stirlingshire will host Vortex RT's promotion of the 2011 Scottish Cycling Road Race Championships on Sunday 22nd May. This year's event will be based on a challenging circuit of approx 11km, which will have a race run on it for the first time. As tradition demands, the ladies go first, and their race will be 67km long, six full laps of the circuit starting at 9:30am.

The 1962 Usher Silver Tankard Road Race

Usher Silver Tankard Nostalgia: “describes a sentimental longing for the past” defines the dictionary. I’m not one to sit and say that everything was better when I was a youngster – bikes certainly weren’t; much of the equipment available was scrap and would get laughed out of court in 2013. Cycling clothing was horrible and cycling shoes were positively medieval. Albeit cars were cooler, music was better and so was the cycling scene.

Eastern Promise Road Race

On a dismal Wednesday night for the Eastern Promise Road Race, made even more unpleasant by Pro Tour level midges, it was those Pedal Power boys carrying on where they left off in the Sam Robinson, with Gordon Murdoch and Gary Hand scooping the dosh in the Eastern Promise road race across the moors around Gladhouse Reservoir. I haven't trained as an SC commissaire, but presumably there's a rule which says; "Pre race briefings must always be conducted outside in the torrential rain, rather than in the comfort and dry of the strip."

At Random

Preview: the South Carrick David Bell Memorial Road Race

It might be the middle of crit season, but the organisers of this Sunday's South Carrick David Bell Memorial in Girvan are delighted to have secured the strongest lineup in the race’s history.

Dan Patten Blog: The Storm is Over (I Hope)

So my latest update on the Dan Patten Blog tells about the run of bad luck which continued through July and into August, including a collision with a car and less than a week later getting taken down by a bidon during the third stage of the Ronde van de Provincie Antwerpen.

Oscar Freire Starts The Show

The Big Gorilla didn't pack his climbing legs for this year's TDU. Translation: Andre Greipel couldn't stay with the peloton as it went up the very tough Mengler's Hill at warp speed. Oscar Freire, however, did, and he led a good-sized bunch over the line in Tanunda today. It was a very good result for the race as much as anything: processions tend to put the fans off.

Jakob Fuglsang Takes Us Inside His Spring Classics Season

In English we’d say, ‘Birdsong’ – in Danish it’s ‘Fuglsang.’ Despite the fact that he seems to have been around for a long, long time, Jakob Fuglsang is still only 28 with his best years as a stage race rider surely yet to come. We felt we needed a proper look inside an Ardennes Classic; so who better to speak to than Amstel top 20 finisher, said Mr. Fuglsang?

Fedor Den Hertog – Amateur Colossus, Rest In Peace

Less than a month after the death of Peter Post, Dutch cycling has lost another of its 'Greats' with the news that Fedor Den Hertog succumbed on Saturday 12th February, after a long battle with illness. For anyone involved in cycle sport in the late 60's and early 70's, amateur Den Hertog's name was as well known as any of the top professionals.

La Vuelta 2010, Stage 16 – VV Selects

The Vuelta starts in a few day's time and so in this week's 'VV Selects' we look back at our last day covering the race nine years ago, when the stage began in Gijón. We conducted the now-popular 'chat at the team buses' to hear some thoughts from DS's Gert-Jan Theunisse, Dimitri Konyshev, Hendrik Redant and Rik Van Slycke, and various riders such as on-form Carlos Barredo, Greg Van Avermaet and the late Wouter Weylandt.