Monday, September 20, 2021
HomeInterviewsMark Stewart - a Key Part of the British U23 World Championship...

Mark Stewart – a Key Part of the British U23 World Championship Team in Bergen

-

The U23 Worlds in Bergen; a great race with a great finale with GB well there – Ollie Wood in fourth and our very own Mark Stewart a key part of the team which got Wood into a position to sprint for the bronze medal.

Gold went to AG2R and France’s Benoit Cosnefroy, silver to Lennard Kamna (Germany & Sunweb) – the two having slipped the peloton – with bronze to Michael Carbel Svengaard (Denmark & Veloconcept) who narrowly pipped Wood in the mad bunch charge for the line.

We just had to ‘have a word’ with Scotland’s own double European track champion, Mr. Mark Stewart:

Mark Stewart
Mark in a two man break with Gorka Izagirre during Stage 8 of the Tour of Britain.
Photo©Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Nice ride Mark, what was the GB game plan?

“Originally we were going to ride for Chris Lawless but he was ill; so it was pretty open on tactics – just go out and ride and have fun!

“It was actually late in the day when we committed to Ollie.

“I did some big spells on that last lap but was really only helped by one of the Danish guys, it was the usual, no one would commit – I think if we’d had one more guy working properly we’d have brought Cosnefroy and Kamna back.”

What are your thoughts on under 23 World Tour guys like those two getting to ride the U23 Worlds?

“Yeah, it’s a funny one – Kamna came in off the Vuelta which has to be a big advantage.

“But on the other hand, who can blame him for wanting to take up the opportunity to win a rainbow jersey?”

What did you think of the parcours?

“The hill was manageable, there were 40 guys got over it together on that last lap, it was only three or four minutes duration.

“The descent was fast but with technical parts – there were guys getting dropped down there because they couldn’t get the cadence.

“I think it’s a course for Michael Matthews, Greg van Avermaet or Peter Sagan – or Ben Swift if he’s on his game.”

How was the distance for you, 191 kilometres is a long way for a track rider?

“It was no problem; there was one stage of 220 K in the Izoard and Paris-Arras was 200 K then I had the Tour of Britain stages.

“The first half of the race wasn’t too bad, it was controlled – the second part was very hard, though.”

Mark Stewart
Mark has been racing for months – here he’s finishing Stage 1 of the Challenge Mallorca into Campos in January. Photo©Martin Williamson

Scott Davies looked good in the move with Sivakov.

“To be honest, I thought that might be the winning move but the Spaniards brought it back, they had fast finishers; Garcia Cortina was fifth in the last stage of the Vuelta.

“Scott rode ‘on one,’ he was in the break then rode that second last lap on the front for Ollie.”

What was the finale like?

“Savage!

“Not just the last lap, the last two laps were very hard.

“I had to move up with two to go and it wasn’t easy, the climb was down as 1.5 kilometres but it dragged up into it and the legs were hurting going into the climb.”

Was Ollie happy with fourth spot?

“I think he was happy, yes… You have to be realistic, there was nothing to suggest in his road results this year that he’d be contesting the sprint for a podium spot so he has to be content – albeit a podium would have been fabulous.”

Before we move on, how was Bergen and are the prices as brutal as we’re told?

“It’s a pretty cool place and the scenery out of town is amazing – and the locals were very friendly.

“But the prices are ridiculous, £9:00 for a pint of beer in our hotel and £70:00 for a 20 minute taxi ride.”

You’ve been a busy boy since last we spoke after The European U23 Track Championships.

“Pretty much nonstop – the Tour of Alsace, home, training camp, the Tour de L’Avenir then the Tour of Britain.”

Mark Stewart
Mark is hoping to stay with the team. Photo©Photoreporter Sirotti

How was L’Avenir for you?

“I was well rested into it but I’m not sure that’s the best thing for me – it took me a day or two to find my legs but the second half of the race I was feeling good.

“The Tour of Britain was good too although I have to say it was a wee bit boring; the break goes then you have three uncomfortable hours on flat roads and sometimes horrible weather until the finale.”

What’s next?

“The track Euros are in Berlin starting on 18th October, I’ll be riding the individual and team pursuits.

“I have the L’Avenir and Tour of Britain in my legs so my core strength should be improved – I had a 4:18 in the Europeans but I’d like to improve on that.”

When do you get a break from racing?

“It’s been a bit ridiculous but I’m taking a week to 10 days off, now.

“That’ll give me a couple of weeks before the Europeans; it doesn’t take me long to get back to speed after a break.

“That’s five months racing with hardly a break; riding a good World Championships was a nice way to end my road season.

“After the Euros there’s the London Six which starts on the 24th – I’ll be riding that with Ollie.”

Mark Stewart
Mark with Scottish Cycling’s Alasdair MacLennan at the Tour of Britain Stage 1 start in Edinburgh.
Photo©Martin Williamson

Will you be the same team colours for 2018?

“It depends how the team does in attracting a new sponsor, as you know, AN Post are pulling out. I can only sing the team’s praises, they’ve been great with me and the programme has been first class.

“For the start of 2018 though, I have a big commitment to the track with the Worlds in March and Commonwealth Games in April. With that in mind I want to put in a good winter. In the Worlds, ideally I’d like to ride the individual pursuit, team pursuit, omnium and madison – but that’s optimistic at World Championship level, I’d be spreading myself too thin.

“In the Commonwealth Games there’s no omnium or madison so it’ll be individual pursuit, scratch and points which is a much more realistic programme.

“After the Worlds I’ll have a bit of a break then it’ll be training camp for the Commonwealth Games where hopefully I can beat that 4:18!”

We’ll be seeing Mark again at the London Six Day, the first stepping stone towards The Gold Coast.

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

Tha’ Knows! Volunteering at the World Road Championships

"In Spring a young man’s fancy..." Well, this Spring, being no longer young, my fancy turned to applying for volunteering at the World Road Championships on the "Yorkshire Team", the events being held 22st to 29th September in Yorkshire, where I have been living for the past eleven years.

World Road Championships 2012 – Junior Womens’ Road Race

When you write and then put your words out there into the ether, you set yourself up. Whilst there’s nothing better than someone taking the time to say that they like your work...

World U23 Road Race Championship 2011 – A Young Braveheart in the Medals

Braveheart rider Andy Fenn took an excellent bronze medal in the World U23 Road Race Championship 2011 on a windy but dry day in the northern suburbs of Copenhagen. The French team proved best motivated and organised with a dazzling one-two. Let's hope that Arnaud Demare doesn't go the way of so many French amateur and U23 champions in the past - big hype, big contract then a gradual slide in to obscurity.

World Road Championships – Mads Pederson surprises to win the Elite Mens’ Road Race

Denmark’s Mads Pederson drops to the wet Yorkshire tarmac, a hundred metres past the finish line, he can’t take in what he’s just accomplished. He has out-sprinted one of the foxiest and fastest men around, Matteo Trentin of Italy - the hot pre-race favourites for the title on this horror of a day.

World Road Championships 2011 – Day 2

World Road Championships 2011 and it was wearing on for midnight when we pulled in to the truck stop in the north of The Netherlands; hundreds of artics lined up, many with refrigeration units chugging away on the cab roofs - how do the drivers sleep? You have to think it would be more environmentally friendly to haul all that freight by train? Anyway, 'Green Ed' what a thought that is.

World Road Race Championships 2011 – Cavendish Celebrates

World Road Race Championships 2011 - Cavendish and the whole team were brilliant, full stop. There can be no 'buts' or 'maybes' - his team...

At Random

Reg Barnett – 1970’s World Class Pro; “a sprinter’s speed in a road rider’s body”

The 70’s are the ‘decade that taste forgot’ according to the Media; which is strange because I remember the era as having the best cars, music, films – and bike riders. On the continent the exploits of Sercu, Ocana, Merckx, Hoban, Gimondi, Verbeeck, Thevenet, De Vlaeminck and all the rest of a ‘Golden Generation’ of hard men made the disappointment of ‘The Comic’ being late once again all the harder to bear.

Dooleys Cycles at the Tour Nivernais Morvan – Day 2

After yesterday's baptism of fire in 35 degrees heat, the Scots boys were more at home today in the Tour Nivernais Morvan; the temperature had fallen to 15 degrees and it was pouring with rain.

Conor Henry – no one expected the 21 year-old from Belfast to win the 1992 Milk Race

The 12 day, 13 stage British ‘Milk Race’ of 1992 was a pro-am affair with Belgian hard men Collstrop – who won four stages including the opening TTT; talented home pros from Banana-Met; the Danish National squad; the Belgian National team; a squad form CIS, the Commonwealth of Independent States – formerly the Soviet Union and the Netherlands National team to name but seven. And a team from Ireland; but no one expected 21 year-old Conor Henry from Belfast to defy some of the best riders in Europe to take final victory. Here’s his story...

Trinidad & Tobago – Day Ten, Dwight Yorke Stadium Criterium

We race at the Dwight Yorke Stadium today. "Abraham takes on the world," said the headline in Thursday's paper; USA, Canada, Jamaica, Argentina, Germany, Austria, Switzerland - that's not a bad cross section. But did he beat the world here in Trinidad & Tobago? All will be revealed.

Scottish Cycling Super 6 Series – Event 4, Leven

"That was horrid", said the winner Evan Oliphant, as I asked him moments after he crossed the line at the Scottish Cycling Super 6, how he enjoyed it. "It was just like being back at the Rás, what with the rain - and those roads!". Oh! I I thought he was talking about his teammate James McCallum congratulating him with a sloppy kiss on the cheek!

The VV View: Cervélo , Contracts and Consumerism

Cervélo , Contracts and Consumerism. It’s not until you go to a big Fondo, Marca or Sportiv that you’re able to figure out how the likes of Cervélo can sponsor a pro team. On the start line you’ll see hundreds of Looks, Colnagos, Treks and — Cervélos; all sold at full price.