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Tag: Stars of the Future
It’s that time of the year again; when young men cross the North Sea to the Flatlands, full of dreams of pro contracts, flowers and kisses from pretty podium girls. It doesn’t always work out like that for all of them but one young English rider has made a very strong start to 2020 with excellent early results; young Mr. Ollie Robinson.
Despite the fact David Bolland is only 23 years-old he’s been involved in the sport for some 17 years. 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.
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.
Trinity Racing Team’s young Scot from Linlithgow, Cameron Mason recently finished eighth in the UCI u23 World Cup in Nommay, Eastern France. Cameron spoke to VeloVeritas from his base near Brussels in Belgium the other day to talk mud, tyre pressures and wash days in The Flatlands...
Spanish development team Equipo Lizarte held its team presentation this weekend in the outskirts of Pamplona. The outfit confirmed a 20-rider roster featuring Dylan Westley, a British prospect coming from London-based junior squad HMT Hospitals Cycling Team.
It was this time last year when we last spoke to Ross Lamb; he told us he was going to be enjoying a change of scenery in 2019, to the Toulouse suburbs to race with GSC Blagnac–Velo Sport 31. Nice, we thought – but as oor Rabbie said; 'the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley'. In modern parlance; ‘s##t happens!’
The year 2019 is almost behind us, who are the young guns who are going to be making the international headlines in 2020? We’ve picked out our ‘baker’s dozen’ of the best of the best youngsters around, we’ve set the age limit at 23 so that excludes phenomena, 24 year-old Mathieu Van Der Poel and 25 year-old Wout Van Aert...
Scottish professional bike riders are a bit thin on the ground so when we heard that 20 year-old Fifer, Joe Nally - who’s the youngest man ever to win the British Elite Points Race Championship - had signed with Vitus Pro Cycling for 2020 we thought we best ‘have a word.’ We caught up with Joe recently at his training base in Tenerife where he was on a two week block of base rides.
But we’re pretty sure that no 100 mile time trial champion has ever been on the keirin podium? Enter, that man Kyle Gordon – quality time tester, ever-improving pursuiter and now sprinter. We caught up with the man from Alness just before he jetted off to Australia and a round of the UCI Track World Cup.
Craig Grieve is the man at the helm of Spokes Cycles, with branches in St. Andrews and Dundee, and manager of the successful junior Spokes Racing Team through which so much talent has passed. Craig raced ‘back in the day’, paying his dues in Belgium and The Netherlands in those 240 rider, warp-speed criteriums.
It’s not long since we since we spoke to young Scot, Alfie George who’s making a name for himself on the international junior stage. Another young Scotsman who’s doing the same is Oscar Onley who recently landed himself a ride with French ‘feeder’ team, Van Rysel – AG2R La Mondiale. Best ‘have a word’ we thought...
Adding his name to the u23 Gent Six Day roll of honour is Scotland’s Alfie George; the young Scot ran out winner just a few weeks after his fine seventh place in the Junior Worlds Road race in Harrogate and a season which saw him fifth in the junior Paris-Roubaix.
It’s not just any youngster who gets a ride with the Dutch SEG Racing Academy but ‘Brit’ Harrison Wood, who recently finished a solid top 10 in the Chrono des Nations, will be riding in SEG colours for 2020.
Perhaps it was the ‘Scottish’ weather at Harrogate which made the Scots perform so well at the recent World Road Championships? Stuart Balfour spent much of his u23 Championship ‘up the road’ to help set up GB team leader, Tom Pidcock for his eventual bronze medal; Balfour finished in 39th spot.
Alfie George took a fine seventh spot in the Junior Men’s World Championship Road Race just 12 seconds away from the bronze medal. We let the 18 year-old from Dundee thaw and dry out after his Harrogate epic then had a word with him about a season which has also seen him place highly in the Junior Paris-Roubaix and win a European title and three British Championships.
It’s been a big week for 20 year-old Oxford man, Charlie Quarterman; he won the British 10 mile time trial championship, promoted under Cycling Time Trial rules and just days later it was announced he has a stagiaire ride with Trek Segafredo for the remainder of 2019 running through into a two year contract.
Six seconds, that was the margin between five times previous champion, gold medal winner and former World Hour Record Holder, Alex Dowsett [Katusha] and silver medallist, Scotland’s John Archibald [Ribble Pro Cycling] in last week’s British Cycling Time Trial Championship in Norfolk. There's a 'but'...
It feels like I only arrived in France a few weeks ago, yet the summer has started now. The weather and racing has been heating up, I've raced the UCI 2.2 Tour de Mirabelle and plenty of other events. Here's the story so far...
When we’re not keeping an eye on what’s happening in Northern Europe we have a peek at what’s happening down in la Bella Italia. A young man by the name of Tim James has been posting some solid results down there in the hard fought u23 classics as part of that enthusiastic and characterful man Flavio Zappi’s team.
I was on a high from last week’s success before the Ronde des Combattants, a race with four stages over three days in Verdun. Teams were competing from Luxemburg, Germany and even a team from the CCM (UCI World Cycling Centre) in Switzerland (who host riders from poor countries without the support of large national federations).
Irish professional, 23 year-old Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes) took third in the UCI 1.1 French Cup, Classic Loire-Atlantique behind French riders, winner Rudy Barbier (Israel Cycling Academy) and man-on-form, multiple recent podium finisher, Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ). We caught up with Rory to hear his tale, before he won the East Cleveland Klondike GP and - just today - finished third in the Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic...
Apologies for my silence on the James McKay Blog for the last six weeks. If you had read my last blog post, you would know that my start to the season has not been brilliant. In just my first week of racing in France, I crashed and broke both my finger and wrist. Since then I’ve had more hospital visits than outdoor rides but I am delighted to say I’ve just completed a week of riding outdoors again, and have placed on the podium too!
It’s been a year since we last spoke to Jake Stewart, he’d just finished second in the u23 Gent-Wevelgem and taken third spot in the Italian Trofeo Piva; since then he’s been round the u23 ‘Peace Race,’ ridden the Ronde de L’Oise, Tour Alsace, Tour de L’Avenir, jumped ship on British Cycling programmes, joined the Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ and already won a race in France.
Hello and welcome to the new James McKay Blog! Over the past three years I balanced the life of a university student and bike racer, albeit unequally! But after graduating last summer, I decided to take 2019 as a year to solely pursue my cycling obsession and race for a team full-time. I had my degree now, and with my 22nd birthday on the horizon, time is ticking on my cycling career.
Filmmaker James Poole made the Team KGF documentary after following the team (now re-launched as Team HUUB Wattbike) for a year on their journey from shock national champions through to World Cup and World Championship success, to create a film which presents the amateur riders' debut season which shook up the track cycling world as they self-funded and out-thought their way to the top.
One of the big success stories of 2018 was that of 22 year-old Welshman, Stevie Williams who returned stellar u23 results and netted himself a World Tour contract with Bahrain-Merida alongside the likes of Grand Tour ‘triple crown’ and Primavera/Lombardia winner, Vincenzo Nibali and World Time Trial Champion, Rohan Dennis.
We caught up with Joe after his Boxing Day training ride (I can just about remember those, up into North Fife with Dave Chapman for a couple of hours then home for steak pie at Mum’s)... Here’s what he had to say:
It doesn’t seem like it but it was season 2017 when last we spoke to Ross Lamb, a David Rayner Fund man ‘doing good’ in The Flatlands. Flanders gets under a man’s skin so we were surprised to hear he was moving to La Belle France – that said, times are tough with teams folding everywhere from the UK to Columbia and all points in between. But that was our first question...
Stuart Balfour’s win in the supporting u23 race to the GP Ouest France Plouay, one of the most prestigious amateur in France, was special. The Dave Rayner Fund thought so too and made him their ‘Rider of the Year.’ As well as his Plouay success he won in Montpichon and at the Ronde Briochine; he was top 20 in the tough Kreiz Breizh UCI stage race and top 10 in the Tour de la Manche.
Up there on the list of ‘cult’ races is the GP Plouay, now known as the Bretagne Classic Ouest France; not a race that’s high in the cycling public’s consciousness outside of Brittany but always hard fought on a tough parcours by a quality field since 1931. This year the winner was Belgian hard man Oliver Naesen (AG2R) who shrugged off the rain and took the laurels.
Ashton Lambie recently slashed three seconds off Jack Bobridge’s Pursuit World Record at Aguascalientes on 31st August of this year in the Pan Am Championships with 4:07:251. His progression is an interesting one – from ‘ultra distance’ to gravel racing to grass track and now, the fastest track endurance rider in history. Here is his tale...
In the car on the way down to Irvine on Sunday morning it never occurred to VeloVeritas editor Martin and I that we’d soon be witnessing anything other than Marcin Bialoblocki (NOPINZ) making it a clean sweep of RTTC titles from 10 to 100 miles. Not for the first time, we got it wrong. Commonwealth Games pursuit silver medallist, John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling) relegated the big Polish power house to second place by three seconds with a sparking 18:18 – Big Marcin looked a tad stunned when the news broke that we had a Scottish winner of a British title on Scottish roads.
The last time we spoke to Callum Johnston he’d just completed his first season in Italy under the tutelage of that colourful gentleman, Flavio Zappi. This year Callum has stepped up a level on squadra Zappi and was Scotland’s sole representative in the ‘Baby’ Giro d’Italia – a race which boasts on it’s role of honour names like Carlos Betancur, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni and Marco Pantani. We caught up with Callum after his ride to get the insider story of what is, along with the Tour de L’Avenir, the biggest u23 stage race in the world.
We spoke to Scotland’s Stuart Balfour at the start of the season but word has been trickling back that 21 years-old from Heriot who is a Rayner Fund rider with Cotes d'Armor-Marie Morin Veranda Rideau, ‘en France’ has been ‘doing the biz.’ Best have another word, we thought to ourselves...
There’s a new kid on the Team Pursuit block, 17 year-old winner of three national championships in 2017, author of a 1:02 kilometre and in the Welsh team which twice recorded 4:01 rides in the recent Commonwealth Games, Mr. Ethan Vernon - another man to benefit from riding with Dan Bigham’s KGF track squadra. Here’s what he had to say to us just the other day...
You ride your first race in March 2015 and by 2017 you’ve won the U23 Gent-Wevelgem. Promising? Yes, that’s what we thought. Jacob Hennessy is only 21 years-old and has left the shelter of the British Cycling plans and programmes for the rough and tumble of the Continental Teams and the UCi Asia Tour. Mitchelton-BikeExchange is his home for season 2018.
‘Jake Stewart, Great Britain?’ Second in the u23 Gent-Wevelgem and third in the Trofeo Piva in Italy, strong results – but we know that name... Ah! Yes, he and Fred Wright won the Berlin Six u23 race in 2017 and VeloVeritas was their official photographer for the day best have a word with the man...
It was the end of 2016 when we last spoke to Gabriel Cullaigh, he’d just signed up with top Dutch development squad, SEG Racing. We’d expected great things after a 2016 season which saw him on the podium of the u23 Gent-Wevelgem and fifth in the u23 European Road Race Championship but his season petered out mid-summer due to health problems. But he’s back, with Team Wiggins and just days after he spoke to Velo Veritas he won Stage One and took the yellow jersey in the Volta ao Alentejo in Portugal.
In 2016 in Belgium Ethan Hayter won the tough junior races, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, GP Serge Baguet, De Klijte-Heuvaelland, was in the winning team in junior European team pursuit champs and was British Madison champion with Joe Holt. Last year he won the u23 Berlin Six Day with Matt Walls, took a medal in every British track championship he rode and was part of the winning u23 Europeans team pursuit squad. This season he began training with the senior team in January and was world champion within weeks, at 19 years-of-age.
We caught up with 18 year-old Killearn man, Lewis Stewart at the Bremen Six Day - one of the rare occasions when the sprint academy riders actually get out to race. The Bremen Six Day fans – as with those in Berlin and Rotterdam – like their sprinting with match races, keirins, flying laps and team sprints all included for the big guys. Despite me almost dropping Lewis as I held him up at the start of one race, he still took time to speak to VeloVeritas about being a young sprinter in the GB ‘system.’
Time for VeloVeritas to catch up with Scottish, David Rayner funded rider, Stuart Balfour. It's been a year since last we spoke to Stuart so a wee bit to catch up on.
The David Rayner has been helping young riders realise their continental dreams since 1995 with David Millar one of the first to benefit, and Theo Hartley from Bolton in Lancs will be one of the grant recipients in 2018. He'll be joining the Belgian Illi Bikes squad, run by long term Six Day soigneur and track aficionado, Etienne Illegems and his son Ken who was for a time a mechanic with Team Sky but could get round a tough kermis on his good days.
It’s not just the boys which the Rayner Fund supports, the young ladies get their opportunities. Here’s what 19 year-old Miss Henrietta Colborne from the north of England had to tell us...
He may be best known as a cross country MTB man but on a course at Hetton Lyons Country Park, Sunderland which included a little of everything, not so far from his Peebles home in the Scottish Borders, 24 year-old Grant Ferguson ran away with the British Elite Cyclo-Cross championships. Beating into second place the man mostly closely associated with the title in recent years, five times champion, Ian Field. The look on Field's face reflected the fact that a British champion's jersey is worth around 1,000 Euros in start money in any big continental 'cross.
John Archibald has proved to us during season 2017 that he’s the fastest man in the country against the watch with fastest rides ever at 10 and 25 miles in Scotland. With a series of quality four kilometre rides in Portugal and Switzerland, Archibald has proved that he can indeed adapt to the boards, bankings and all that time sitting about waiting...
Continuing with our series of interviews with the Scottish riders who we hope will be making the headlines on The Gold Coast in Australia come the spring, we speak to 20 year-old Paisley rider, Jack Carlin who’s rapidly making a name for himself in that shortest but most savage of disciplines, the team sprint.
The last time we spoke to 22 year-old Scotsman Mark Stewart he’d just ridden a cracking U23 Road Worlds in Bergen – cue total contrast from big blue skies, solitude, fjords and fresh air to The Kuipke with light about as artificial as you can get, wall to wall people, scary steep boards and the smell of burgers frying ... and Jupiler pils. Mark’s partner for the six nights of Europop and autograph requests was Worlds U23 road race fourth placed man and GB team mate, Ollie Woods. The interview was conducted in the authentic but cramped surroundings of his trackside cabin at the Kuipke.
If you’re a VeloVeritas regular then you’ll have seen our interview with Flavio Zappi, the man who transforms promising U23 riders into World Tour performers. Will Scot, Callum Johnston be pulling on a QuickStep jersey in a year or three?