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Scott Auld – “if you are a good bike rider you can do well in Belgium”

"To be honest I just love racing hard and Belgium is perfect for that."

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When friends of VeloVeritas Dave and Vik – both devotees of Belgian palmarès websites tell me there’s a young British guy I should be speaking to then I take notice!

Scott Auld is the man, with an ever-growing list of podium finishes in the Flatlands.

We caught up with him recently:

You were Dave Rayner Fund man Scott, do they still support you?

I was supported by the Dave Rayner fund in 2015/16; in 2017 I was supported by the Lewis Balyckyi trust fund, however this year I was without support.

“Thankfully my family supported me a lot and I managed to get some money from my team also.”

Scott Auld
Scott Auld. Photo©Martine Verfaillie

And you were a Zappi rider – how did you find that experience?

“I loved being a Zappi rider, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but also a really incredible experience. 

“I learnt so much on and off the bike and it definitely made me a stronger rider mentally and physically. 

“Looking back it definitely changed me a lot as a person. 

“I’ll always be grateful to Flavio for his help and giving me the opportunity to race some of the biggest u23 races in the world.”

I read though that you found la Bella Italia a ‘little lumpy’ for you?

“Yes, this time last year I had got it into my head that the longer climbs and hillier races were not suited to me. 

“But when I look back I’m not sure if that is the case, I’ve had results in some very hilly races – but when it came to Italian UCI’s I was never quite there. 

“Who knows why, but the amateur scene in Italy is not somewhere I would like to race again.”

VC Touchy, how did that ride come about and how well does the team support you?

“I wanted a change of scenery and my friend and ex-team mate Owen James of Cote d’Amour put me in touch with Jean Vantalon.

“He runs Cyclingnews website and also acts as kind of a rider agent for foreign riders who want to ride in France.

“In terms of team support, it was great for the first few months unfortunately there were a few dodgy dealings with the DS and the team was left with an insufficient budget for the final half of the season.

“It’s a real shame as I was just starting to find my rhythm in France and was aiming for a big block of UCI’s and stage races in July of which we didn’t get to do any.”

Scott Auld
Scott (3rd left) and his VC Touchy teammates. Photo©supplied

Where’s ‘home’ over there?

“Along with two foreign team mates I lived in the team house which was in Toucy itself. 

“It’s around 150km south of Paris, a very small town with not much going on.”

How about the boring stuff – cleaning, washing, cooking?

“We are left to our own devices, I learnt how to look after myself on Zappi’s so it wasn’t much of a problem. 

“Everyone has to pitch in and it makes things a lot easier.”

A French team but your best results are in Belgium?

“Maybe you’ve only heard about my results in Belgium? 

“I finished second on GC at the Tour of Ulster in Ireland as well as picking up the points competition. 

“I also finished second in a stage race in France in July. 

“I would say I am better at stage races but to be honest I just love racing hard and Belgium is perfect for that. 

Joscelin Ryan once said to me that if you are a good bike rider you can do well in Belgium regardless of what ‘type’ of rider you are.”

Tell us about your recent win.

“That was only a small race in the U.K., but a win is a win right? (he chuckles).”

Scott Auld
Scott is a regular on the podium in Belgium. Photo©supplied

And the four second places on the bounce…

“Yes I seemed to have come to grips with how to ride a kermis and have hit some good form. 

“I just haven’t quite been good enough for the win, twice I was a bit unlucky with riders up the road; the first one I just wasn’t fast enough in the sprint and was beaten by the champion of West Flanders – and the crit was my own fault.

“I underestimated the other guy. 

“I also finished third today, two guys were up the road, 

“I tried to get across with another five guys but that didn’t work. 

“Then I attacked with 800m to go when there was a slight lull in the peloton and just stayed away till the line.”

Why do you think you’re coming good now?

“Like I said, I have been strong earlier in the year but there was a lull mid-season due to the uncertain circumstances with the team.

“But at the start of the year I managed some high places in UCI’s including 23rd at Paris-Troyes which had four pro conti teams in attendance.

“I was placing second in the Tour of Martinique, winning young rider and mountain jerseys until a large crash on the penultimate stage took me out the race.

Scott Auld
Scott follows the ‘Sean Kelly training principal’. Photo©supplied

Do you have a coach? – what’s the training philosophy?

“I am helped by David Morton, a guy from the north east who has known me since I started riding, he knows exactly what kind of rider I am and knows me very well personally – which I think is important.

“I mostly decide myself what I am going to do training wise but he helps me out if I’m stuck and helps me mostly over winter.

“As for the philosophy, I think if you want to be good you have to do more than the other guy.

“I think you obviously have to get a good number of hours in but if you want to improve you need to do a good amount of varied intervals.

“At the start of the year we never set a number on the amount of intervals, it would just be ‘as many as you can until you can’t go over whatever amount of watts’ with the previous statement in mind I can always squeeze out one or two more.

Scott Auld
Scott on the podium. Photo©supplied

Hows the Vlaams/Francaise coming along?

“Dutch is very hard, but the French is coming along quite nicely. 

“You pick it up quickly when you’re surrounded by French team mates. 

“They were great, always teaching me things and answering any questions I have about the language.”

Are there many English speakers near you to train with?

“I lived through the year with my Estonian team mate Siim Kiskonnen and my Irish team mate Jake Gray.

“We all kept each other just about sane.

“But you would be surprised how little cyclists there are around where we were based.

“I think the whole time I was there I didn’t see any more than maybe 20 cyclists out.”

Scott Auld
Scott has enjoyed a great season in 2018. Photo©supplied

Are there still many races for you to ride this season?

“I have just the one race left this season before I head home for winter.”

What’s the plan for 2019?

“2019 should be a very interesting year, that is pretty much all I can say on that…”

A wee bit cryptic at the end there, we like that. Wishing Scott ‘all the best’ in his final race and for season 2019 when we hope to hear more from him.

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.

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