David Rayner Fund 2018 ‘rider of the year,’ Heriot man, Stuart Balfour was busy post the 2020 ‘lock down.’
The Bourg-en-Bresse Ain-Credit Mutuel rider took two top 10 stage places and a seventh on GC in the highly rated UCI 2.2 Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc; then a stage win and second on final GC in the GP Pays de Montbeliard – both race taking place in la Belle France.
As a junior, Balfour competed at the highest level in Europe, riding events like the Bernadeau Junior in France and Three Days of Axel in The Netherlands.
The three seasons prior to the 2020 one of ‘strange days’ saw him in GB colours as well as those of French Division One team, Cotes d’Armor riding races like the u23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the savage Kreiz Breizh in Brittany, Paris-Tours Espoirs, Tour of Brittany, Baby Giro, Tour de l’Avenir and the current incarnation of the Peace Race.
In 2019 he was part of the GB u23 team which put Tom Pidcock on the podium of the u23 World Championships on a tough day in Harrogate; riding hard in the break all day to keep the pressure off Tom Pidcock in a race that would inevitably end with a sprint.
Season 2020 saw him leave Cotes d’Armor and rainy Brittany and head further east, right across France to Ain, on the Swiss border where the parcours were more suited to his talents, riding for Bourg-en-Bresse Ain-Credit Mutuel.
But season 2021 sees him step up a level to UCI Continental team, Swiss Racing Academy which boasts former multiple World Time Trial and reigning Olympic Time Trial Champion, Fabian Cancellara as it’s patron.
We caught up with Stuart in between his rides in the Tour des Alpes Maritime et du Var and the Faun Ardeche Classic where he was one of the animators.
The first question with a Dave Rayner Fund man always has to be; are you still supported by them?
“No, I’m no longer under 23 and am now supported by the team – but I’ll always be grateful for the help the Dave Rayner Fund gave me over the last few years.”