Cycling has fast become one of the most exciting sports on the Games programme and all eyes will be on the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Delhi this October in the hope the cyclists selected today (Wednesday) for Team Scotland can rise to the occasion and can come back with some medals.
This will be the first multi-sport Games for cyclists since Sir Chris Hoy’s three gold medals in Beijing 2008 made him Scotland’s most successful Olympian. Hopes are riding high that despite Chris being unavailable to compete, continued investment over recent years will enable some of the more experienced athletes in Ross Edgar, James McCallum, Kate Cullen and David Millar to lead from the front and support the young up and coming cyclists to grasp the opportunity for Commonwealth Games success.
The cycling events in Delhi are in track and road disciplines. Scottish Cycling has been working closely with the sportscotland institute of sport to provide the best possible support for the cyclist’s competing for Team Scotland. Extensive work has gone into power training and acclimation strategies to provide athletes with a highly specific training programme to meet their event needs while being able to train in very similar climatic conditions to those in Delhi.
Scottish Cycling has been supporting its endurance athletes throughout 2010 by creating a high performance base in Holland. Here the athletes have been able to access top international competition on a regular basis on the same type of terrain they will encounter in Delhi. One athlete to benefit from the base in Holland is 2006 bronze medallist Kate Cullen. Kate and her team mate Eileen Roe were both targeting the points race on the track hoping to support Kate in her quest for another medal. However, January saw the announcement that additional women’s events would be introduced to the track cycling programme to bring more equality and balance to the medal opportunities available at Commonwealth and Olympic level. Kate and Eileen will now focus on both the points and scratch races in Delhi, two events where endurance and speed are crucial.
Another new opportunity that presented itself with the new women’s track programme was the introduction of the women’s team sprint. Two athletes Charline Joiner and Jenny Davis will compete in women’s team sprint.
The cycling team selected as part of Team Scotland in Delhi is the biggest squad ever at 19 athletes – 8 female and 11 male. The team will compete in both sprint and endurance events on the track and for the first time ever men’s and women’s road race squads will be competing. The average age of the squad is also encouragingly young and should serve as the basis of Commonwealth squads in the future.
Michael Cavanagh, Chairman, Commonwealth Games Scotland, said: “Cycling has been an extremely successful sport for us in recent years and despite Chris Hoy’s absence we hope we will have inspired others to step up to the plate and enjoy similar success in Delhi. I am delighted to welcome the biggest ever cycling squad to Team Scotland, however making the team is just the first step on the journey, now will come the real test for the athletes of performing to their potential in Delhi. With just 46 days to go until the start of the Games I wish everyone all the very best with their final preparations and I look forward to watching them in action in October.”
On behalf of Scottish Cycling, the governing body of cycle sport in Scotland, Chief Executive Jackie Davidson said: “It’s a great credit to the athletes, coaching team and volunteer support to see so many of our athletes qualify for the Games. Cycling is continuing to grow in profile and the success of our ‘Champions’ of the sport can inspire so many to actively participate. The pathways now in place within Scottish Cycling demonstrate an increased inclusiveness, whether that is as a recreational cyclist or someone aiming for success at the highest level.”
Scottish Cycling’s Performance Manager, Gary Willis, further commented: “It is immensely encouraging to see such a talented group of Scottish cyclists targeting medals in Delhi. Scottish Cycling has been working closely with sportscotland and its high performance staff at the sportscotland institute to identify new athletes and support our existing athletes in targeting medals. The excellent work done by our coaches in developing female athletes is of particular note and to nominate such a strong women’s team in events we’ve traditionally never competed in shows that no stone has been left unturned as we strive to help this Scotland team be as successful as possible.”
CYCLING (11 MEN + 8 WOMEN = 19)
ATHLETE EVENTS SELECTED FOR BORN / LIVES
Ross Creber Road Race Edinburgh / Kirliston EH29
Ross Edgar Track Sprint Events Newmarket / Newmarket
Andy Fenn Track Endurance & Road Race Birmingham / Maidstone
David Lines Road Race Falkirk / Falkirk
James McCallum Track Endurance & Road Race Bellshill / Edinburgh EH10
David Millar Road Race & Time Trial Malta / Girona
Evan Oliphant Track Endurance & Road Race Thurso / Edinburgh EH6
John Paul Team Sprint Wick / Wantage
Chris Pritchard Track Sprint Events Sheffield / Sheffield
Callum Skinner Team Sprint Glasgow / Edinburgh EH10
Kevin Stewart Team Sprint Dundee / Dundee
Jane Barr Road Race Dunfermline / Cambus
Kate Cullen Track Endurance & Road Race Redruth / Edinburgh EH30
Jenny Davis Team Sprint Dechmont / Edinburgh EH7
Anne Ewing Road Race Perth / Edinburgh EH9
Pippa Handley Road Race Cuckfield / Oban
Charline Joiner Team Sprint Dunfermline / Dunfermline
Eileen Roe Track Endurance & Road Dunfermline / Dunfermline
Claire Thomas Road Race Edinburgh / Edinburgh EH13