Sunday, October 17, 2021
HomeInterviewsMark Stewart - This Young Scot is British Points Race Champion 2014

Mark Stewart – This Young Scot is British Points Race Champion 2014

-

At the next Commonwealth Games there’ll be no David Millar or ‘Jamesie’ McCallum and even the perennial Evan Oliphant might not make it to Gold Coast City, Australia in 2018.

But Dundee’s Mark Stewart should be there; at just 19 he took sixth place in the 20 K Scratch Race in Glasgow behind New Zealand’s World’s Omnium medallist, Shane Archbold with the distance being covered in 22:43 @ 52.819 kph – that’s quick.

And even more recently he landed the British Points Race in front of riders of the quality of Raleigh’s Mark Christian and NFTO’s Jon Mould.

Mark chatted to VeloVeritas after his latest success and on the day British Cycling announced his recruitment onto the national U23 Olympic Academy …

Mark Stewart
Mark has become a formidable track rider. Photo©Martin Williamson

Congratulations on your British points race win, Mark – what was the game plan?

“I was definitely riding to win, there was no one like Chris Newton riding who was going to control it; my strategy was to go for points from the start.

“I won the first sprint and kept that momentum going; the way the race developed you could see that no one was going to take a lap – it was all going to be about the sprints.

“I knew Christian and Mould were the guys to watch – they’re high calibre riders who compete at the highest level in World Cups.

“I knew I had to sprint with them and score if I was to win.”

And you rode 4:26 in the pursuit 5th/6th match – but it doesn’t show on the official result?

“That’s because I caught my opponent – but I rode in to finish on 4:26, I was a bit disappointed that the official result didn’t show my time.

“I qualified in 4:29 which put me outside the medal rides but then I did the 4:26 in the fifth place ride off – that time was worth a medal but nobody saw it because of the ‘catch.’”

And a nice ride for sixth in the Games scratch race.

“I went in to the Games with ambition and whilst it was nice to be up there in the scratch, I was disappointed only to do 4:32 in the pursuit qualifying; I think I was capable of 4:28.

“In the scratch maybe I should have geared a bit higher, I was on 94.5 whilst the likes of Tom Scully were on 97/98 – but I’m in no rush to go on to massive gears …”

Mark Stewart
Mark in action at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Photo©Martin Williamson

Is the British points your best result to date?

“Yes, definitely, I’ve won a half dozen Scottish junior champs but the win in the British tops that.”

How did you get into cycling?

“I come from a sporty family, my dad’s done a full Ironman Triathlon and I started competing when I was seven.

“I rode at Meadowbank and progressed; then I did the road – I’m not best at that yet but I will get good at it.”

I read you did a triathlon at seven years-old?

“Yeah, but it was just a short thing, one lap of the Commonwealth Games Pool in Edinburgh and bit of running and cycling in the park near the pool.”

Do you have a coach?

“Mark McKay of Scottish Cycling looks after me.

“I love to train, especially ‘double days’ where I’m doing two sessions – and I love doing five/six hour runs on the road.

“I often do two or three hours on the road in the morning then train on the track in the afternoon – that’s a good day’s work.

“I live in Glasgow now, I’ve left Abertay University and moved near to the Chris Hoy Velodrome but I’ll be moving to Manchester soon.”

Caird Park track in Dundee to the Chris Hoy Velodrome – a bit of a leap …

“They’re two different worlds, the Glasgow track is so fast and the facilities are so good.

“But Caird Park does an awesome job in starting riders off in track cycling and getting them into competition.”

Mark Stewart
Mark got some attention from New Zealander Tom Skully in the Games Points Race. Photo©Martin Williamson

I heard a bit of gossip that you’d been approached by pro teams?

“Yes, but not professional teams just a couple of the bigger amateur teams – it’s not a factor for me at the moment though.”

What’s the biggest goal for you?

“The Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, I’ll still only be 24 and until then I’m going to focus on the track but there’ll be stage racing in my programme as part of my build up.

“You need that road core to be able to ride four minutes very fast on the track.

“I’ll concentrate on the bunched races and want to get involved in the team pursuit – and I’d love to try the omnium but would need to develop more power for the kilometre and flying lap elements.

“When I was 10 my dad said to me that I have to set goals, first to be the best in the Dundee area; then the best in Scotland; then in Britain, Europe and ultimately the world stage.

“After the Olympics I’d like to ride more road but ‘til then it’s the track which I’ll concentrate on.”

And if you could win just one race?

“That’s a tough one; the Worlds Points or Olympic Omnium.

“I love the points race and I wouldn’t mind ending up having a career like Chris Newton did …”

Mark Stewart
Thanks to Mark for his time with this interview. Photo©Martin Williamson

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

Kyle Gordon – Scottish 50 Mile TT Champion breaking Obree’s Record!

That Kyle Gordon (RT23) fella marches on; selection for the Commonwealth Games, solid performances on the Gold Coast, the Scottish 25 mile title, a close encounter with the Scottish 10 mile record – and now the Scottish 50 title in a Scottish record 1:41:16, taking 1:48 off the legend that is Graeme Obree’s time and 6:14 off his own personal best. VeloVeritas just had to ‘have a word’ . . .

“The Flying Scotsman” by Graeme Obree-Putting the Record Straight

Let me first say this is firstly a review of the Graeme Obree autobiography, the book - not the film - "The Flying Scotsman", and also my version of the events at the world cycling championships in Sicily in 1994. I was the Great Britain team mechanic for those championships, but Mr. Obree didn't remember to mention this fact in his book. You could call this the bitter out-pouring of a man scorned, but rather it's just my memory of what happened.

Cameron Mason – On the European u23 Cyclo-Cross Championship Podium

Cameron Mason is back in action for the 20/21 'cross season, recently scoring his best result to date – a bronze medal in the European u23 Championship in s’-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands behind World Champion and ‘home boy’ Ryan Kamp and fellow Brit, Thomas Mein.

Charlie Quarterman – National ’10’ Champion and a Two Year Contract with Trek Segafredo

It’s been a big week for 20 year-old Oxford man, Charlie Quarterman; he won the British 10 mile time trial championship, promoted under Cycling Time Trial rules and just days later it was announced he has a stagiaire ride with Trek Segafredo for the remainder of 2019 running through into a two year contract.

The VV View: Eight Cycling Medals for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games

Eight Cycling Medals for Scotland at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games; Scottish cyclists hit the jackpot with gold for the inimitable Katie Archibald in the pursuit and for Mark Stewart in the points race.

Katie Archibald – individual pursuit was the highest of highs for me

VeloVeritas has already spoken to brother John about his men’s individual pursuit silver medal and now it’s time to hear what sister Katie has to say about her Games campaign where there was women’s individual pursuit gold in a Games record, points race silver behind Wales’ Elinor Barker and rides in the women’s scratch – where she finished fourth behind Amy Cure of Australia – and on the road in time trial and road race.

At Random

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 14; Montélimar – Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux. Cavendish’s Fourth Stage Win!

Another criminally boring stage saved by a beautiful finale with Cav making it 30 stage wins – there are few superlatives left for the Manxman. Good to see Kristoff in second spot; the remarkable Sagan was right there in third spot and very nice to see John Degenkolb up there in fourth spot. Kittel got it wrong today and Greipel was again off the pace. And, erm that’s about it...

Ryder Hesjedal chats about his Ardennes Classics campaign

In the Flèche Wallonne - just for a few minutes, as the much diminished peloton ran in towards Huy and the final gun fight on the Mur - it looked like Canada’s Ryder Hesjedal might just steal it. The 31 year-old Garmin ex-mountain biker in company with Norwegian Sky man, Lars Petter Nordhaug blasted big gears into the foot of the hill.

James McCallum – on Fatherhood and a New Team

It seems just like yesterday we were asking James McCallum if he’d ever consider turning pro – but that was back in 2006 after his second Commonwealth Games and a bronze medal in the scratch race. The following year he did indeed turn professional for Plowman Craven and since has ridden for Endura, Rapha Condor; and for 2014 he joins new – and much talked about – NFTO.

Giro d’Italia 2011, Stage 6: Orvieto – Fiuggi 216km

Viktor wouldn't like it here, the cobbles are big flat things and the locals all dress trendily - not a pair of Belgian basket weave shoes or a tank top in sight. And the fans don't come straight up to you and ask you a string of questions, once they realise you're not a local. And wine? What the hell is that? But it has it's compensations - hill top towns, nice weather, pretty girls, pizza... and grappa.

Ron Webb

It was with sadness that we learned of the death of Mr. Ron Webb, professional bike rider, father of the modern Six Day format and track builder of renown.

Norman Hill, Bernard Tapie and Heiko Salzwedel, R.I.P.

In recent weeks we’ve lost three important figures within our King of Sports; Norman Hill, a man who did it all, road, the Belgian Kermis scene, Six Days, big motors, even cyclo-cross, Bernard Tapie, the man responsible for riders beginning to get paid what they were worth, and track coach Heiko Salzwedel.