John Paul is a track rider you should know about. Although he isn’t a household name yet, he is up and coming and has a chance to get on the full British Olympic programme.
Cracking image of David Millar in Scotland colours, riding to time trial gold at Delhi 2010. He may be something of an adopted Scot but he certainly flies the flag for us and seems proud do do so. How many other top pros do you see turning out for the Commonwealth Games?
The image is © – Phil Walter/Getty Images AsiaPac. This shouldn’t be reproduced without proper licensing but I try to skirt around it by doing a screenshot of the site and linking back so you can click through to view the full size for yourself.
The original was found on Zimbio- there are several more of him there, both on the podium and out on the course., 128 David Millar images on Zimbio last time I checked. That should be more than enough for any professional media outlet or publisher looking for quality shots of him.
There hasn’t been much news about Millar so far this season- last year he was prominent on GC in Paris-Nice for several days, but this year he has pulled out ill. I read that he was targeting certain classics, particularly the Tour of Flanders, after last year’s strong showing.
Chris Pritchard rides track for Scotland and competed at the Commonwealth games this year. After a tweet today, I was re-alerted to his ongoing battle to compete at the highest level without much support or sponsorship.
I wrote a post about Chris earlier in the year, after hearing he was doing flying 200m laps that weren’t far off Olympic qualification, without even a sponsor.
Now track website Velodrome.org.uk has taken up his cause, publishing an interview about his battle to get into the British Cycling system.
There’s a bit of soul searching there, as Chris tries to get to the nub of why he is snubbed by the BC academy- talent, hard work, performances all seem to be up to scratch. The discipline and work ethic to get to a level where you can beat BC academy athletes on only a shoestring is pretty impressive. At 27, his age might be working against him, but as he tells Velodrome.org, there are far older athletes that look like they have several years left in them.
Check out the interview on Velodrome.org.
Chris is looking for sponsors.
Chris Pritchard on twitter
Pictures courtesy of Chris Pritchard
Kevin Stewart is a Scottish track rider who competed at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi 2010. Scottish Cycling coach Mark Young has an interview with him here in his Delhi Vlog.
The picture above is a take on the Chris Hoy on Mons Meg shot for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. As triumphant as that image was, and as positive as the future is for Stewart, looking to Glasgow 2014, the Dundee photo has a darker backstory.
The image was shot by David Martin as part of a series for a charity Dundee Cycling Calendar. It’s a really fantastic photograph, but to see it you’ll have to buy the Calendar. It is part of a bigger drive to raise funds for Steve Donnelly, who was paralysed after an innocuous fall while riding in June 2010. I’ll share more information about him in a future post.
Please please please buy a copy of the calendar – the chilling thing about Steve’s freak accident is that it could have happened to any cyclist. He will have to rebuild his life- find new accommodation and adjust to a future in a wheelchair. This must be a massive challenge mentally, but the financial pressure can’t be ignored either, so make a small contribution and buy the calendar.
Scotland’s elite coach Mark Young, put together a video log during the Delhi 2010 trip, that celebrates the medal successes and explores the experience of the athletes.
It’s a nice lo-fi piece with some candid interviews of athletes like silver medal winners Jenny Davis and Charline Joiner, and Kevin Stewart.
Mark Young was there as part of the Achieve 2014 programme to give future athletes and coaches the opportunity to see a major Games for themselves.
There is some interesting stuff and people behind the scenes, and there is clearly a big focus on planning and building impetus for Glasgow 2014.
In October I gave a quick rundown of the Scottish Men’s Commonwealth cycling team and there were one or two names I was not familiar with. One of those was Andy Fenn. So time for a bit of Google journalism…
He’s young, born in 1990, and although it’s dangerous to trust Wikipedia I have no reason not to believe he was born in Hertfordshire and now lives in Kent. He must qualify for Scotland via parentage. As with riders like David Millar and footballlers like Bob Wilson, we’ll have him!
He’s been on the British Cycling Academy Programme since the age of 16 with names like Alex Dowsett, Tim Kennaugh and Luke Rowe. He has been a good rider for a while now- his wikipedia page lists a series of wins on the track at U16 and Junior level.
One result stands out though- 1st place in the 2008 Junior Paris-Roubaix. He has did not let this out of proportion though , which can be seen from a very down-to-earth interview with Cycling Weekly. It’s the sort of headline-grabbing result that press and fans latch onto and use to raise expectations, which doesn’t help the rider. He did beat Peter Sagan, though, a rider who got a lot of press in early 2010 for stage wins in Paris–Nice and the Tour of California.
Lots of photos of Andy Fenn can be found in google image search, mostly linking to BC race reports, showing his performances in the National Championships. In 2009 he rode an aggressive race but lost out to Pete Kennaugh for the title, finishing 12th overall. But in 2010 he went one better and took the U23 British Road race championship.
Today Craig Hardie drew my attention to An Post’s new signings for 2011. Exciting times ahead as Andy steps up from British Cycling ‘s U23 Academy 100% ME team to a fully pro team.
Millar, although born in Malta, and raised in Hong Kong, Scotland and England, declares himself proud of his heritage and was delighted when Scottish Cycling asked him to compete. Following a 2-year suspension some years ago, you’ll still find a broad and robust range of opinions on him on any forum or social media.
He had a good early season with a win in Three days of De Panne (overall), a strong Tour of Flanders and Criterium de Dauphiné, but there then followed a difficult Giro and Tour de France. He has come good again in the late season with silver at the Worlds TT, bronze in the Commonwealth Games road race and another chance for a medal in the TT. But individual glory aside, I feel recognition should go to the Scotland team, who worked hard for him to earn the Commonwealth bronze.
Millar was well supported with a full complement of six Team Scotland riders in the race, and he paid tribute at the finish to the work done by his teammates. In the first half of the race it was David Lines, James McCallum and Ross Creber, while Evan Oliphant and Andy Fenn were the riders assigned to support him – and be in the mix themselves – in the second half of a 168km race run off in 41-degree heat.
“I really enjoyed racing with this jersey and with this team,” said Millar. “Three of the boys were looking after me in the first half of the race, and it was Evan and Andy’s job to follow the attacks when they started coming in the second half.
“They all excelled – they were as good as my pro team. They were all very motivated and I think motivation has a big effect. I wouldn’t have got the medal without them and I’m proud of them all.
I raised an eyebrow at the ‘pro team’ comment- I believe (although I may be wrong) that Oliphant and McCallum are full-time professionals, both being experienced domestic riders of some years. Maybe he said ProTour Team and was misquoted. Nonetheless, some of the other riders are amateurs and it was a heroic performance to bury themselves in the heat of Delhi.
HATS OFF TEAM SCOTLAND
Just a quick rundown of the Scottish men’s team for Delhi, with a few links thrown in. Please share any useful links or info you may have!
Ross Creber, former Scottish road race and MTB champion and Endura Racing rider. GB academy 3 years.
Andy Fenn, young rider I don’t know much about. 1st in the Under 23 national road race and 1st in the junior Paris-Roubaix.
David Lines, former Scottish MTB and cyclocross champion, and represented Scotland on track and road.
James McCallum, experienced pro and former UK National crit champion. Scratch race bronze medallist Melbourne 2006. Raced for Scotland Manchester 2002. Just joined Rapha Condor Sharp.
David Millar, former British TT, road and pursuit, stage wins in the Tour de France, Vuelta and Giro (TTT).
Evan Oliphant, four time Scottish road champion (current holder). 4th points race Melbourne 2006.
As well as Lines, Mccallum, and Oliphant (as above) there are:
Ross Edgar, Gold team sprint Melbourne 2006, Bronze Manchester 2002. Numerous medals at World, European and National level championship.
John Paul, National team sprint silver medallist. Young up and coming rider.
Chris Pritchard, sponsored by SIS, was riding and training on his own for a while so has done well to make the Delhi team. 3rd in this year’s national keirin.
Mark Young is a Scottish cycling coach but he is also Scottish Cycling coach.
How did you first get into cycling?
I have been cycling since 1984; I did BMX freestyle till 1991. Once when I was riding an MTB between work I stumbled across a time trial. I did TT’s and road racing mostly, in the era when Graham Moore (former VC Olympia, now Stirling Bike Club vet) and Neil Cameron (Falkirk BC, former Scottish Champion) were top dogs.
What were your best results?
My personals are 21.53, 54.01, 1.51.30, and 4.07.59. Best results in road racing were a stage win in the Forres Easter stage race and two 5ths in the Tour of the Kingdom and Speyside – always up a hill!!
What led you to coaching then?
In 1999, with marriage and children taking more of a priority, I decided to find ways of making more of my training time. This led me to coaching, and after reading Joe Friel’s Training Bible, I wanted to learn more. I took the British Cycling Club coach award and was subsequently asked by Graeme Herd at SC to work with some of the Under 23s; Gary Hand and Dave Smith come to mind.
You seem to have got the coaching bug pretty quickly…
I gave up my job as a manager of a Ceramic Tile Store and went full-time doing coaching. I had paying clients and the rest of my wage was from the SC work. Now this is where things get interesting, since I was looking for some coach admin software and stumbled across TrainingBible.com. The long and the short of it is, that I became friends with Joe, Joyce and Dirk Friel, and have even had Joe and his wife over to Scotland for some coaching work. I still keep in touch with them even after 6 years or so.
When I first met you, you were a development coach- how did that come about?
In 2006, Graeme Herd left the SC and it was all change in the direction of the funding. An opening in development came up and I grabbed the opportunity. This is where my work with Donald Maclean and the merry band of volunteers began, and Wallace Warriors was born.
But then you moved towards working with the top athletes?
With Dehli 2010 looming large, in 2009 the Elite Athlete Programme was restarted, Graeme Herd once again at the helm. I applied for a support coach role and restarted my working relationship with Herdy once again. The support coach role is a secondment, and in October (post Delhi I think), unless funding is forthcoming, I will once again become a Regional Development Coach.
The Warriors are a strong part of Stirling Bike Club- any thoughts on the local and youth scene?
The future for the kids in Wallace Warriors is looking good, they have an excellent coaching team, and with talent like Jane Barr, Jack Barrett, Rob Wilkins and Eddie Addis, SBC is well represented in the ranks of the elite. I do hope that funding will make it possible to support an extended programme of support for the Jnrs (u23s and women would be nice too), and with initiatives like the Braveheart Fund, it will be possible to help our boys and girls reach their potential.
Dehli 2010: what do you think Scotland can achieve?
The cycling team for the games is huge, possibly the biggest ever assembled to represent Scotland. With previous medallists and current top performing elites the potential for medals in Delhi is there, however, lets not forget that the Games have countries like Australia, Canada and England to name a few who will make the standard of competition extremely high. Our medal haul from Melbourne was the best we have had so far and it will be a tall order to match or exceed this. Personally I think a few surprises may be on the cards.
Many thanks to Mark for this interview.
You can connect with him on Twitter
edit- in November 2010 I posted Mark Young’s Delhi video log
In the March 11 issue of Cycling Weekly, an article by Chris Sidwells was published about a sprinter called Chris Pritchard. Pritchard is Scottish on his mother’s side, and although he was born in Sheffield, he is aiming for the Scotland Commonwealth squad for Dehli 2010. Despite only being two or three tenths of a second shy of the British track squad, is battling along with his training and racing, entirely self-funded.
Sidwells writes: Meeting Chris lifted the lid for me on what it is like to be a track racer just outside the incredible British Cycling system. His 10.5 200 metre best is world class, especially considering that he has only specialised in the event for a year, but in a country where the Olympic gold and silver medallists, Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny, rule the roost, Chris Pritchard doesn’t get a penny of support. He’ll improve this year, hopefully getting the 10.3 he needs to get into Scotland’s Commonwealth Games squad, but he’s doing it on a shoestring, and his dedication is astounding. “I don’t go out, I don’t do anything but train and my whole life is about do I have enough money for petrol to get from Sheffield to Manchester track an back,”. (from www.chrissidwells.com)
In the Cycling Weekly article, I realised how close the fight for places at the top level of track racing is. There aren’t pro teams like in road racing- it’s the national team or nothing.
I mentioned the Braveheart Fund to Chris Sidwells and asked him to pass it on to Pritchard. Braveheart is run by former Scottish pro Brian Smith, and supports young talent and elite cyclists from Scotland. It raises money from donations and fundraising events. The Wallace Warriors, the junior section of my own club, Stirling Bike Club, is one of the largest youth cycling clubs in Scotland. They have benefited from the Braveheart fund and used the money to buy high-powered floodlights so the kids can ride and train through the winter.
Pritchard was knocked back by British Cycling, but it wasn’t really explained why in Cycling Weekly. The system is based solidly around science and ‘the numbers’, but Brailsford also places lots of importance on personalities too, as evidenced by his chimps and ants theories.
I haven’t heard Chris Pritchard’s name before and thought a rider with his ability should be a bit better known. It’s hard when Scotland has had so many world-class track riders in recent times. Good luck to Chris, The Drum-Up is rooting for you for Dehli 2010 and beyond.
As the tweeter known as 39teeth wrote recently on his inner ring blog, there can be more to turning pro than just performance. I don’t mean to cast aspersion’s on Chris Pritchard’s character by linking to that post- I just found it interesting that languages, the ability to adapt to different training regimes and diets, a willingness to work for other riders (admittedly not a big concern on the track), and simply who you know, are also important.
I found this info on the website of cycling author and journalist Chris Sidwells- http://www.chrissidwells.com/ and in the March 11 issue of Cycling Weekly.