Every now and again we get ‘tip offs’ about riders who are showing promise and who someone thinks we should keep an eye on.

Jack Bauer and Ben Swift are just two of the men we spoke to well before their World Tour careers kicked off.

Darren Howitt contacted us the other day and told us that we should be keeping an eye out for a certain David Bolland.

Despite the fact Bolland is only 23 years-old he’s been involved in the sport for some 17 years.

Originally from Liverpool he now lives in Scunthorpe, and he’s done most things; ridden UK road races, won a British Grass title, jousted with the Kermis Kings in the Flatlands and East European hard men in Polska – most recently he’s ridden the British Points Race Championships, finishing not so far from the podium in fifth spot.

Darren reckoned Bolland was a favourite to win the traditional British road season opener, the famous Perf’s Pedal Race on February 9th, but the event was cancelled due to the weather forecast and safety concerns about ‘Storm Ciara’.

We ‘had a word.’

David Bolland.
David Bolland was the National Grass Track Champion in 2017. Photo©Richard Howes

What tempted you onto the Manchester boards, David?

“Riding the British Champs was to give me a carrot to aim at through the winter.

“I did some pretty intense training for it but was surprised I did so well in the Points Race.”

You were coming back from injury?

“That hit me in June; I did a bike fit back in December when we found out that I have one leg two millimetres longer than the other and the problem stemmed back to that.

“I couldn’t do much training for a bit, just easy runs – I got it sorted out with the help of an osteopath.”

David Bolland
David Bolland on the boards. Photo©Gary Main

Are you still working in the steel works?

“Yes, but I’m not doing 40 hours like I was before, that made fitting in training difficult; I was painting and labouring, hard work.”

How did you get into cycling to start with?

“When I was six I used to hack about on a little bike, I broke a crank or something and my dad took me to the local bike shop.

“They had this little Peugeot ‘Tour de France’ gas tubed replica bike and I said to me dad; ‘I want that!’

“I’ve still got it, could never part with it.”

You were with Schils, last year?

“Yes, mostly UK races, I wasn’t so interested in continental races last year.

“It costs a lot of money to live and race abroad.

“I started the season riding National B races and did OK but Premier Calendar races are tough if you’re on your own with no team and I didn’t get the results I wanted.”

David Bolland
David Bolland rode with the Kingsnorth International Wheelers in Flanders. Photo©Bart Devriese

You were a ‘Kingsnorth Man’ in 2018 though?

“Yes, with Staf Boone and Ian Whitehead who do a great job looking after their riders.

“I had a few podiums out there but I rode for top 10 placings, that means you’re in the money – trying to win enough Euros to eat!

“I didn’t chase the primes because there are a lot of guys doing that.

“It was hard, I raced every other day, I loved it but it’s not something you can do indefinitely, it’s very fatiguing.”

I believe you rode well in a historic kermis?

“Yes, the one where Mario Willems scored his 400th win.

“I was off the front thinking I was chasing the break – I must have been away for 40 kilometres – and I could see what I thought was the break ahead of me but it was actually lapped riders; I was off the front but didn’t realise!

“Eventually Mario and a rider from Shifting Gears got up to me – Staf Boone was in the car behind us and making all sorts of noise in support but on the last corner I clipped the kerb with a pedal, didn’t fall off, mounted the pavement and finished third.

“Quite an experience.”

David Bolland
David Bolland, full gas in a kermis. Photo©supplied

And you rode a stage race in Poland whilst with Kingsnorth?

“Yes, one of the guys on the Kingsnorth management organised a composite team for that; it was a good experience and we were riding against some handy East European teams, Elkov Author, CCC, Dukla.

“On the last stage CCC had it lined out coming into the finish, we had a Norwegian lad in the composite team [Sindre Bjerkestarnd Haugvaer, small wonder David couldn’t remember his name, ed.] who had been top ten on the first two road stages, I saw him way back the bunch in about 60th place and shouted at him to grab my wheel.

“He did, I dragged him up past the CCC guys and he got fourth place.”

David Bolland
David Bolland (r) celebrating his Grass Track National Championship win with Darren Howitt. Photo©supplied

You’ve been a British Champion on the grass too…

“Yeah, that was 2017 – the 8,000 metres championship at the Heckington Show, the largest village show in England and that was the 150th edition.

“It was my first time on grass, so a bit of beginner’s luck!

“It was a devil to get the day off to ride and then I was up at 04:00 am next day to go the works.”

David Bolland
David Bolland rode with success for Neon Velo a couple of years ago. Photo©supplied

Spirit Tifosi for 2020?

“Yes, the team has been around since 2010 and is very successful, they had around 40 wins last year and have raced in Poland, Czech Republic, The Netherlands and Belgium.

“We have a 12 rider squad; the Tour of Rhodes is coming up in early March and we’ll also be riding the Dutch National League races as well as the Premier Calendar races at home.

“In the Dutch series we’ll be up against the likes of the Lotto u23 squad so it’ll be hard racing.

“We’ll be on Tifosi Auriga frames with Campag Chorus groupsets.”

With you coming from Liverpool will we see you in the Eddie Soens Memorial at Aintree?

“Unfortunately not, that’s when Rhodes is on – it’s a shame, I used to live a mile away from the course, I’ve ridden it before and been top 10 there.”

VeloVeritas will be keeping an eye on Dave’s results throughout the season and thank him for his time with this interview.