Sunday, December 5, 2021
HomeInterviewsOscar Onley - "I can get on with the business of training,...

Oscar Onley – “I can get on with the business of training, racing and seeking to improve”


We recently ran an interview with a young Scotsman who’s ‘just doing it,’ over the in Heartlands of Flanders, France and The Netherlands – 21 years-old Mr. Sean Flynn. Another even younger Scotsman who’s out there in the similar arenas, not to mention Norway, is 19 years-old Oscar Onley. 

We last spoke to Oscar back at the end of last year with him looking forward to joining Development Team DSM.

It hasn’t been perhaps the year he would have liked due to injury but DSM are happy with the man, having renewed his contract until 2023.

His bronze medal result in the British u23 Time Trial Championship caught our eye and then we witnessed him put in a solid ride at a savagely hard British Road Race Championship in Lincoln – time to, ‘have a word.’

Oscar Onley
Oscar Onley. Photo©AT Photography

That was a nice ride in the British Time Trial Championship, sir.

“I wasn’t expecting that result, I’ve only ridden one team time trial this year and not spent too much time on my time trial bike, although I did ride it for all my training rides the week before the race.”  

The Road Race Champs looked full-on throughout, your ride was a solid one.

“It was brutal, full gas; I was 21st overall and ninth in u23 category, I missed a couple of moves and had to chase back with my DSM team mate, Leo Hayter who eventually took the u23 bronze.

“I was feeling fine until the last lap; I didn’t find the Michaelgate climb to the finish too bad it was more the four kilometres which came after it, it wasn’t flat, dragging up, a very tough section of the parcours.”

Oscar Onley
Oscar Onley (r) on the Time Trial podium at the British Championships. Photo©supplied

You’ve been based in The Netherlands with DSM this year?

“Yes, in Sittard in Limburg most of the year, to start with it was difficult because of the 90 Day rule, however I have my visa and class now as an employee of DSM, who pay me a wage, and can stay as long as I want.”

I was checking your palmarès for the season and you began by posting a few DNF’s in April.

“Those were in UCI 1.1 races like GP Monsere and Cholet Pays where we were in with World Tour teams. 

“Merlier won Monsere from Cav and Elia Viviani won Cholet Pays.

“I only raced once in 2020 with all the races that were cancelled due to the pandemic so it took me a wee while to find the rhythm of racing again.” 

Oscar Onley
Oscar Onley rode against World Tour teams a few times this season. Photo©supplied

And you had time out due to injury?

“I broke my collarbone in May then my first race back was abandoned after 30 minutes due to flooded roads so my first ‘proper’ race back was the Giro Ciclistico della Valle d’Aosta, a hard u23 stage race in Northern Italy.

“I crashed on Stage One and landed on a rib which I’d damaged in the crash where I broke my collarbone.

“That was a hard day, physically and mentally – chasing on my own, I made the time cut by 23 seconds!

“But after that I felt OK on the climbs, it’s my descending which requires a bit of work – but that and improving my positioning in the bunch are both down to practice.”

Oscar Onley
Oscar Onley, down but not out. Photo©Gussev Photo

What would say were your toughest races of the year?

“The races in Belgium don’t suit me so well due to the nature of the parcours so they’re hard.

“The stage races we rode in Brittany were tough; the four stage Kreizh Breizh has finishing ‘local laps’ which are very fast – and in the seven stage Tour de Bretagne the roads are very small, you have to make sure you position yourself well, near the front.” 

Oscar Only
Oscar Only made the time cut – just. Photo©supplied

Which of your results gave you most satisfaction this season?

“Probably my bronze medal ride in the time trial championship but I was also pleased with how we all rode as a team in the Tour de Bretagne; we messed up on Stage One and lost time but we came back to win Stage Two with Leo Hayter and also the last stage with Tobias Lund Andresen, that was a satisfying performance.” 

So the DSM team experience is a good one?

“Definitely, everything is provided; we have our coach, a dietician, masseurs, mechanics, advice on the aero aspects of the sport… it all means that you don’t have to think about these things, all you have to do is concentrate on your racing.”

Oscar Onley
A great study of Oscar Onley psyching himself up before a race. Photo©supplied

How about your ‘numbers?’

“My 20 minute power is the same as it was last year but all other aspects have improved, I’m still a climber but my ability to ‘kick’ out of corners and accelerate is much better.” 

A two year renewal with DSM, that must provide peace of mind?

“Exactly, there’s no pressure on me, I can get on with the business of training, racing and seeking to improve.”

How much time off are you taking before the hard work starts again?

“I’m on the second week of my three week break, I’ll start slowly, a bit of MTB riding and hiking – I don’t like running – and gym work, we do core gym work all year, right through the season.

“I won’t be doing anything intensive until January, the team’s first camp will be then, usually down in Calpe in Spain.

“But I’m also hoping to ride Glasgow track over the winter to keep the rhythm of racing, as I said earlier it took me while to get back into that at the start of this year.

“There’s also the social aspect, it’s nice to see people and interact with them.”

Oscar Onley
Oscar Onley. Photo©Gussev Photo

Season 2022, The Commonwealth Games are in Birmingham, is that an objective and what other thoughts do have about next year?

“Yes, it’s in my mind, I’ve seen the race routes and whilst they’re not ideally to my strengths as a rider, whatever the parcours it’s all about riding a bike, isn’t it?

“At the Games I feel I could provide good support for the more experienced riders on the team.

“And hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to ride a few more time trials, races like the Chrono des Nations; I rode the junior edition in 2019 and finished fifth, so I’d like to go back there.” 

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

Ruaraidh McLeod – First Win in Belgium

It’s been a month or two since we last spoke, and it’s nearly time for Ruaraidh McLeod to head home to land of the long white cloud - but we thought we’d best say ‘congratulations’ on his first win (and see if he’s crossed paths with those Scotsmen that are also over there in Belgium).

Katie Archibald – Top Seven across Five Commonwealth Games Disciplines

Yes, it's another Katie Archibald interview; but as the winner of Scotland's only cycling medal - disabled events excepted - we thought we should have a chat with the lady who posted top seven finishes across five different disciplines.

Wilson Renwick – The Pro Jockey Who’s a Talented Cyclist Too

"One guy worth keeping an eye on is Wilson Renwick from Hawick. He's a pro jockey and an amazing talent by all accounts. He won the Gordon Arms in March and has been injured since but produced an impressive result in a flat TT yesterday which is probably not his strength. As I say, defo one to watch!" So said the text message from Jim Cusick the day after the National ‘10’ Championship. And, always on the lookout for a good interview we tracked down 33 year-old Mr. Renwick – with a little help from Hawick’s Stuart Smith – and here’s what he had to say to VeloVeritas.

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.

Jack Cousins – Planning to ‘come back stronger and come first’!

It was Vik (for those who don't know, our pal pedalled the hard roads of Belgium in his day, still trains hard and is our outspoken elder statesman, observer and 'critic in chief') who was first to spot the Kiwi’s potential as his name edged up the results in the heartland's kermises. So the call came; ‘you should be talking to that Manchester laddie, Jack Cousins, he’s doing well!’

Dylan Westley – Developing as a Rider and a Person with Equipo Lizarte

Stepping up from the Junior ranks to compete in the u23 category is a big deal for any young rider, but to combine it with moving to a new team as well as living away from home in a different country takes courage and a rock-solid belief in your ability - qualities talented 18-year-old Yorkshireman Dylan Westley has in spades.

At Random

Rik Van Linden – One of the 70’s Fastest Men

The word ‘legend’ is over used these days; but today we bring you an interview with a man who firmly deserves the title – Mr. Rik Van Linden of Belgium.

Paul Double – 2nd in the Giro di Romagna

With so many tales of broken promises, teams folding and disillusioned young men heading home to Blighty from Europe, it’s good to tell a story where it all comes together and there’s a podium involved. Paul Double has been on our radar for a while, first as a ‘Zappi Man,’ a CTT Hill Climb medallist, riding for one of Italy’s top u23 teams – the mighty Colpack Ballan – then last year back as a ‘Zappi Man.’

Steve Cummings – the Pro’s Pro

When Steve Cummings rode for Discovery Channel in 2007, he was in the service of Alberto Contador. 'Bert' told the Disco mechanic Allan Butler; "when you ask Cummings to ride on the front-he rides, I'd have him on my team any time!" Praise doesn't come much higher. We caught up with Steve just before he jetted off to the Far East for the new Beijing WorldTour race, to talk Cav, his move from Sky to BMC and-Liverpool FC.

David Walsh – Part 2, “My motivation will always be to protect the guy who doesn’t want to dope”

In part one of the interview respected and award-winning Irish journalist David Walsh discussed his interest in Lance Armstrong's motivation, his willingness to take part in a lobby of Irish cycling clubs to call for an EGM so that Pat McQuaid's nomination for a third term as UCI President was not backed, and recounted some startling stories including Johan Bruyneel shooting up with cortisone just for fun. Here in part two Walsh tells us about his time spent with Team Sky during their training blocks in Tenerife, what's happening with the action group "Change Cycling Now" and exactly what he thinks about Garmin rider Dan Martin's win in Liège last Sunday...

Grenoble Six Day 2006 – Third Night and Franco Marvulli is stressed

Sometimes, you wonder why you are doing this - OK, it's great being around guys like Franco Marvulli and having an insight into the inner-sanctum, but it's hard work, often boring and stressed guys aren't fun to be around.

Contingencies & Champions (Worlds 2010)

Contingencies & Champions. The world road champs were held in Australia for the first time ever, and by lucky happenstance we had an Australian defending champion going into the race (Cadel Evans), and an Australian bronze medallist coming out of the race (Allan "Alby" Davis).