On a freezing, grey, Sunday afternoon on the frost hardened grass and mud of Dundee's Caird Park, Scotland's newest professional, Ross Creber gave his sponsors, Plowman Craven their first national cyclo-cross title. The slim mountain biker was head and shoulders above the rest; a gutsy ride from Greig Walker (Edinburgh RC) gave him the silver medal ahead of junior, Kenta Gallacher (Team 777) who took bronze.
On a mild but blustery day on the north side of the Ochil Hills, Ben Abrahams (equipe Velo Ecosse - Montpeliers ) finally realised some of his potential and gave new team sponsors Harley Haddow engineering and Warners solicitors value for money with a surprise 17 second win in the Scottish Hill Climb Championship.
The Tour of Britain's penultimate stage departed from Glasgow Green today, taking the peloton south to the beautiful setting of Drumlanrig Castle in the Southern Uplands. The Glasgow Grand Prix took advantage of the closed circuit and the watching crowds, with two events following immediately after the ToB departure.
Steve Beech has ridden two Milk Races and ten 12 hour races, so when he tells you that this year's Scottish '12' was the hardest one he's ever ridden, he knows what he's talking about. He's also held the Scottish record, with 275.258 miles - set in the Glasgow 12 in 1991, until Joe Wilson updated it; that distance is however, still the Scottish vets record.
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.
Despite loosing roadman sprinter, Graeme McGarrity within ten miles of the start and short distance specialist, Gary Robson thinking that the finish would never come, Dooleys RT successfully defended their Scottish team time trial title on a dry but windy Saturday afternoon in the rich farmland of Strathmore near Forfar. Scottish ten mile champion and freshly crowned European Masters pursuit champion, Arthur Doyle did much of the work in ensuring the title stayed with Bob Taylor's band; ably backed by man who knows more about team trialling than most, former British Champion in the discipline, Dave Gibson.
"Cheers Ed! In pub at Evanton and had a few. Brought up touring bikes and off to Ullapool then Hebrides for a week. Reception poor but give it a try..." That was Jim Cusick's (Glasgow Couriers) reply to our congratulatory text message and interview request after he had just won his first 100 mile title on the familiar roads (if you're involved in Scottish testing) around the Cromarty Firth.
"Yeah, I'm happy to have won, but I'm not happy at having to go back to Yorkshire again - I just came from there, last night! And I'm sick of eating pies!" The words of Plowman Craven professional Evan Oliphant after successfully defending the Scottish road race title on a deceptively tough course over 81 miles of the beautiful rolling Borders country around historic Hawick.
"Given my record of bad luck in 50's, when I heard that the course had been changed, I expected to end up in the Cromarty Firth at the turn, checking out the dolphins!" But Mark Atkinson successfully avoided that fate to take his third Scottish 50 Mile Time Trial Championship title; leading Sandy Wallace team mates, second placed Jonathan Copp and fifth placed Ian Black, to take a double championship win on a bright but cool and windy Sunday morning on the A9 near Invergordon.
Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championship. Recording exactly the same time - 52:15 - as the last occasion he won the 25 title, in 2005, Fort William's Mark Atkinson (Sandy Wallace Cycles) regained his crown on a cool and windswept Laurencekirk by-pass on Sunday morning. VeloVeritas correctly tipped the top three, but got the order wrong. We had Mark down to win ahead of Dooley's duo, Arthur Doyle and Gary Robson, but a personal best 52:46 by Robson gave him the silver by nine seconds from Doyle.
The only thing that is certain about Sunday's Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial Championship, is that there will be a new champion. Reigning champion, Jason Macintyre was snatched from us before we saw the very best of him; we miss you, Jason. Sunday morning's championship is organised by Isobel Smith on the rolling dual carriageways of the A90 near Strathcathro Services between Dundee and Aberdeen. The start is near Fordoun, just a mile or two from Arbuthnott - Lewis Grassick Gibbon country.
On a Sunday morning as close to perfect as we'll get in Scotland, Arthur Doyle (Dooleys) did what most people had expected and took the Scottish ten mile championship over the A811, Kippen Flats, equalling Graeme Obree's 20-13 course record. If Arthur's first time trial championship win went to form, then the destination for rest of the medals was much less predictable.
‘Sorry, I fell asleep, I need my afternoon nap after one of Flavio’s training sessions – a 90 minute chain gang then six laps of a circuit with a steep ‘kicker’ in it.’ That was Hamish Strachan explaining to us why he’d missed our call – good to hear that the young man is back in the groove after a difficult start to his year.
It was 2019 when we last spoke to Iain Macleod - he was with Aberdeen Wheelers then but is now with Kelpie Racing - he’d just won the SC 50 mile championships and the man is making the headlines again; a couple of weeks ago he took the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial title and before that recorded the fastest 100 mile time trial ever ridden on Scottish roads.
It was ironic that Chris Anker Sørensen’s life should end doing what he had become known for after his career as a professional cyclist was over – preparing meticulously for his role as a TV race commentator, out riding the parcours of Sunday’s World Individual Time Trial Championship in Flanders.
We liked our jaunt to the Tour of the Campsies last year and feel at home among the rolling countryside and green hills there so we headed west, first of all paying our respects to the Robert Millar mural at the foot of the Crow Road; when you watch Roglič take the Lagos di Covadonga stage in the Vuelta it’s difficult to imagine the wee fella from Glasgow winning that stage – but win it he did.
We had a look around Hawick as the 2021 Tour of Britain race carnival hit town, we caught up with friends then headed out on the course, hiding from the wind on Wanside Rig to see the peloton as it headed towards Gifford...
With victories already this season in various time trial distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles (with a two mile hill climb win too), Iain Macleod (Kelpie Racing) added the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial 2021 title to his growing palmarès.
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