Scotland’s biggest ever cycling team arrived in Delhi on Friday, and 24 hours later the track riders were given an opportunity to ride the Games velodrome.
As well as experienced riders such as Ross Edgar, David Millar, James McCallum, Kate Cullen and Evan Oliphant, the 19-strong team includes some promising youngsters, among them 17-year old John Paul and 18-year old Callum Skinner.
Both sprinters, Paul and Skinner were among the first cyclists to ride the boards of the velodrome, and their verdicts were positive. “I’m really impressed,” said Skinner. “The venue is really nice and the track really is top class.
“The session went well and I’ve put in a few good times too which is good, especially as I only arrived in Delhi yesterday,” continued Skinner. “It’s all looking positive.”
“I’m glad we’ve finally got here and settled into the village,” said Paul. “It’s the first time I’ve been in this part of the world and it’s a bit different to what I’m used to, but it’s good.
“My last big competition was the Junior World Championships in August so since then I’ve just been trying to hold my form for the Commonwealth Games. Training has been going well and the session on Saturday was a good way of getting some of the tiredness out of my system after arriving yesterday.”
With Chris Pritchard and Kevin Stewart, and with Paul as reserve, Skinner will line up in the team sprint – the event in which Team Scotland are defending champions, with Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean and Edgar claiming a memorable gold medal in a close final against England in Melbourne four years ago.
A new event on the programme in Delhi is the women’s team sprint, where Jenny Davis and Charline Joiner will combine. Both were upbeat after their first outing on the track. “I’m feeling good after the session,” said Davis.
“I think when it comes to the track events starting – on Tuesday – the team will be in the best form possible,” continued Davis.
“The session on Saturday went really well, [it was] all personal bests for me, which is pretty good considering we only arrived yesterday. We were just doing flying hundreds [100m] today – my first effort equalled my personal best from the National Championships last week, and then my second effort took another couple of tenths off it.
“It’s nice to finally get here and feel like all the hard work is paying off. There have been plenty of ups and downs but now I’m really looking forward to competing.
“I’m in the women’s 500 on Tuesday and for me that is mostly about getting gate practice with the timer, because I need to nail that on Wednesday in the women’s team sprint,” added Davis. “If I can do that and if Charline can get on my wheel it could put us into the final.”
Joiner, meanwhile, said: “The venue is beautiful, I’m loving it. It’s my first multi-sport event and I’m really looking forward to competing in it. I can’t wait.”