In the searing heat on day two of the Bahamas 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, Dylan Hughes rode to silver in the Men’s Time Trial and into the history books as Scotland’s first ever Youth Games Cycling medallist.
Following a six-year absence for the sport from the Youth Games, all eyes were on the Bahamian roads as Scotland’s three athletes took to their bikes, buoyed by a pre-Games message of support from Glasgow 2014 competitor and Olympian Grant Ferguson, who began his own Commonwealth Games journey at the Isle of Man Youth Games in 2011.
Rhona Callander was the first of Scotland’s athletes to go against the clock. She started the race with a strong opening ride but lost some time in the middle section of the course to record a time of 14 minutes and 35 seconds, resulting in a fifth place finish.
Upbeat about having another opportunity to race at the weekend, she said: “I went out a bit hard, and I know I always go out too hard so I am a bit disappointed. I don’t have a great Time Trialling history so I am a lot more excited about Sunday’s Road Race.”
Attention then turned to the Men’s race with Stephen Dent first up for Scotland. Stephen, a sprint specialist, found the pace of such a strong Time Trial tough, placing 16th but will be back for the Road Race and aiming for a higher placing.
It was left to Dylan Hughes to put in the top performance of the day, handling the conditions well with a confident ride throughout to post an impressive time of 12 minutes and 18 seconds.
Hughes’ strong final straight ensured the youngster from East Lothian would go on to secure the first ever medal for Scotland in Cycling at a Youth Games, finishing just 12 seconds behind the eventual winner Matthew Oliveira of Bermuda for silver.
An excited Hughes spoke after his race and said: “It was so hot out there today, I am so pleased to be coming away with a medal after a solid ride today.
“I didn’t realise Cycling hadn’t won a medal before but it’s nice to be the first and hopefully not the last of this Games. The other two guys are going well as well so hopefully we can get another couple of medals between us.
I am relatively inexperienced in this field; I have done bits in Europe but today I was just coming in here looking to do my best. I am happy to be coming away with some good numbers on the bike and the silver medal.”
All three cyclists will return to action in Sunday’s Road Race which will take place over seven laps of 5.8 miles for a total race distance of 40.6 miles.