Saturday, September 25, 2021
HomeInterviewsJack Carlin - "It’ll be a great honour to represent Scotland"

Jack Carlin – “It’ll be a great honour to represent Scotland”

-

Continuing with our series of interviews with the Scottish riders who we hope will be making the headlines on The Gold Coast in Australia come the spring, in this article – our 2,000th on VeloVeritas! – we speak to 20 year-old Paisley rider, Jack Carlin who’s rapidly making a name for himself in that shortest but most savage of disciplines, the team sprint.

I believe you came in to cycling to rehabilitate from sports injuries, Jack?

“I broke both ankles messing around on the playing fields so I took up the bike as active recovery.”

And the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014 were a big inspiration to you?

“Yes, I watched the racing from the stands and thought; ‘that’s what I really want to do,’ I’d trained with the Scottish team as a junior.

“My progression really began from there, I went from the Scottish Junior Performance Squad to the GB Olympic Development Programme to the Podium Programme where I am now.”

How/why the track?

“Originally I was into mountain biking then I started to ride the tarmac, unbanked track at Bellahouston.

“The first real track I rode was Meadowbank in Edinburgh – and of course, when the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome opened in Glasgow I began to ride there in the track league.”

Do you remember the first time you began to think that you could make the grade?

“I suppose that would be at the Scottish National Track Championships where I took two silver medals in the u16 sprint event.

“From there, Kevin Stewart took over coaching me – he’s now coaching with British Cycling.”

Was there a particular ride or rides that got you on to the GB squad?

“That’s not really how they view it, rather than results what they’re looking at is your potential – what they think you may be able achieve if they take you on and develop you.”

Jack Carlin
Jack seems to thrive under the BC pressure. Photo©PA

When Craig Maclean was ‘doing the business’ in the sprint events we spoke to him regularly and he mentioned the constant pressure to produce the required times when you’re on the squad.

“I wouldn’t say that I feel under pressure to perform; if you’re an elite athlete then the pressure to perform comes from within – you want to be the best you can be.

“And we’re only halfway through the Olympic cycle so much of what I’m doing is still a learning experience.”

How do you feel about not actually racing very often?

“As sprinters, particularly my role as ‘man one’ in the team sprint you have to spend a lot of time in the weight room to get the power and strength to weight ratio to be competitive – you have to be strong but you can’t be too heavy either because you have to accelerate your mass of the line very, very quickly.

“The training means that you can peak once, maybe twice each season – you’ll ride other races but still be training in the gym, you’re not realising your full potential – but we have to accrue World Cup points to qualify for The Worlds.

“As well as weights there’s a lot of technical work in training, particularly working on our starts, getting out of the gate as fast as possible.

“The other thing you have to remember is that these days there aren’t that many track competitions to ride.”

Your major palmares:

  • 2015
    • 3rd European Junior Team Sprint
  • 2016
    • 1st European u23 Team Sprint
    • 2nd European Elite Team Sprint
    • 1st Glasgow World Cup Team Sprint
    • 1st Apeldoorn World Cup Team Sprint
  • 2017
    • 1st European u23 Team Sprint
    • 1st European u23 Keirin

Have I missed anything?

“Yes, the recent World Cups in Poland and Canada – we were third in the team sprint in Poland and then in Canada we were second; and I took third in the individual sprint in Canada.”

Jack Carlin
Jack has come a long way in a short time. Photo©British Cycling

Are the keirin and individual sprint events you’d like to ride more of in the future?

“One hundred percent!

“The team sprint is the priority but for the Olympics you have to ride one other discipline so whilst the main focus is the team race I have to develop in those disciplines too.”

The Commonwealth Games – the individual sprint and keirin will be your events on the Gold Coast but can Scotland field a team sprint squad? You, Callum Skinner and Jonny Wale perhaps?

“The keirin and individual sprint for sure; as for the team sprint, Scottish Cycling might or might not field a team.

“From a technical perspective both Callum and Jonny have the physiology to be ‘men three’ for a team sprint whilst I can take the role of man one or two – but it’s getting someone to take on the man two position…”

Is the kilometre something you’d like to develop?

“I’m not really a kilometre rider, I’d be OK for the first two laps but after that…

“That said, I believe the kilometre will be the final event at The Games and each nation gets three riders per discipline so it’s possible.”

The Worlds are in Apeldoorn at the end of February/beginning of March then The Games are at the start of April; two peaks, close together – tricky?

“Yes, we have around three weeks between the two competitions; but I think you have to view it as one peak which you maintain form through – I think it might work out well.”

Jack Carlin
Thumbs up from Jack. Photo©British Cycling

What’s 2008 about for you?

“The Worlds team sprint and riding the Commonwealth Games for Scotland – selection in January permitting – the individual sprint, keirin and perhaps the team sprint.

“It’ll be a great honour to represent my country, I’ve never represented Scotland at senior level, I have as a junior in Revolution meetings but this will be my first time as a senior.

“I’m looking forward to it.”

With thanks to Jack for his time – and as with all the Scottish squad, VeloVeritas wishes him well for Apeldoorn and 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

Jonny Wale – “It’s time for us to shine”

Yes, Scotland has two Olympic champions on the Commonwealth Games squad for The Gold Coast; Katie Archibald and Callum Skinner. We also have double European U23 champion, Mark Stewart and World Cup gold medallist, Neah Evans. But there’s another name which isn’t so obvious, that of 26 year-old Jonny Wale – born and raised in Scotland, British team pursuit champion and author of a 1:01.1 kilometre. We caught up with Jonny recently to get his story. He’s recovering from a training crash which resulted in a broken collarbone but hasn’t kept him out of the gym or off the turbo – the man wants to get to the Gold Coast, real bad!

Oscar Onley – Racing in 2020 with Van Rysel – AG2R La Mondiale

It’s not long since we since we spoke to young Scot, Alfie George who’s making a name for himself on the international junior stage. Another young Scotsman who’s doing the same is Oscar Onley who recently landed himself a ride with French ‘feeder’ team, Van Rysel – AG2R La Mondiale. Best ‘have a word’ we thought...

Tao Geoghegan Hart – The New u23 British Champion

It was the end of 2013 when we last spoke to Tao Geoghegan Hart (Axeon Hagens-Berman). He has a name that's hard to miss, Tao Geoghegan Hart; with 2013 results to match - two of Europe's premier junior stage races and a podium in the junior Paris-Roubaix. Since then a lot of races have flowed under the bridge and he’s had strong results in more than his fair share of them. Sunday saw him take arguably the biggest result of his career; finishing sixth behind Messrs. Blythe, Cavendish, Fenn, MvNally and Thwaites in the British Elite Road Race title event – and taking the U23 jersey champion’s in the process.

Hamish Strachan – “I thought Italy would play much better to my strengths”

You may have read our recent interview with Senor Flavio Zappi here on VeloVeritas? This season the Zappi Racing Team will have strong Scottish representation with Messrs. Hamish Strachan and Matthias Barnett quitting Bonnie but chilly Scotland and the brooding, icy waters of the North Sea for La Bella Italia and the more benign waters of the Adriatico.

Ethan Vernon – Part of the Welsh Team Pursuit Squad “hoping to go sub-four”

There’s a new kid on the Team Pursuit block, 17 year-old winner of three national championships in 2017, author of a 1:02 kilometre and in the Welsh team which twice recorded 4:01 rides in the recent Commonwealth Games, Mr. Ethan Vernon - another man to benefit from riding with Dan Bigham’s KGF track squadra. Here’s what he had to say to us just the other day...

Ollie Robinson – Racing season 2021 with Ukrainian team Lviv

The top 20 of the recent, hard fought GP Monsere in Belgium saw a name familiar to VeloVeritas but unsung in the UK take a fine top 20 placing in the company of top opposition: Ollie Robinson, who we interviewed last year. He’s now with a Ukrainian UCI continental team, Lviv Continental so we thought a catch up chat was well in order.

At Random

The VeloVeritas Years – 2013: The David Walsh Interviews

It's hard to believe it's nearly five years since we sat down with hime and conducted the David Walsh Interviews, his dogged pursuit of the American Armstrong's own doping and team-enablement, and the recently-published USADA "Reasoned Decision" to ban Armstrong for life and to strip all seven Tour de France wins from his palmarès. David had been in Edinburgh to give a talk in the city's Lyceum Theatre as part of his speaking tour on the subject, and we took the opportunity to spend a few hours with him the following morning at his hotel.

Inbetween Days, Rotterdam to Bremen

It's an easy life on the sixes; we bailed out of the truck stop at around 10:00 then drove for four hours to Bremen airport to collect 32 year old American rider Bradley Huff - he's one of our riders for the Bremen Six Day.

Dan Bigham – HUUB-Wattbike Track Team 2020 Plans, and more…

Englishman Dan Bigham is the man behind the highly successful HUUB-Wattbike track team; HUUB manufacture specialist clothing for cycling and triathlons whilst Wattbike manufacture ‘smart’ bikes and indoor trainers. We caught up with Dan just after the HUUB team’s 2020 season launch.

Scottish Vets Road Race Championship 2008

John Kermode did what VeloVeritas expected him to, at sunny but windy Alford on Sunday afternoon and successfully defended his Scottish Vets Road Race Championship; as the football commentators say; 'it was déja vu all over again' as he beat the same man he did 12 months ago in the same race, on the same course-Dooley's Graeme McGarrity.

Chris Smart – Scottish Olympic and 10 Mile TT Champion for 2016

Yours truly didn’t make it to the Scottish Olympic or Ten Mile Time Trial Championships; unlike our editor, Martin who took excellent pictures at both races and framed reports. ‘I’ll interview both winners,’ said I, to make amends for life getting in the way of cycling. So my thanks extend to Chris Smart (GTR) for winning both events and making life easy for me.

Etoile de Bessèges 2010

It was Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis), who 24-hours earlier was relegated for missing out a part of the route, who claimed the GC win. Race leader Arnaud Molmy (Roubaix Lille Metropole) and many others failed to start the last day after a stomach virus spread through the bunch overnight.