2014 British Cycling National Track Championships Day Two

©Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com - The Rigmar Racers' Callum Skinner wins Gold in the Men's 1000m Time Trial final.

©Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – The Rigmar Racers’ Callum Skinner wins Gold in the Men’s 1000m Time Trial final.

Results from day two of competition at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester where Jess Varnish successfully defended her 500m time trial title and Callum Skinner became national kilometre time trial champion. There were also gold medals for Jonathan Gildea in the para-cycling pursuit (C1-5 mixed) and Lora Turnham and Corrine Hall (pilot) (Matrix Fitness – Vulpine) in the para-cycling pursuit (BVI mixed).

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Women’s 500m Time Trial

Gold: Jessica Varnish (Team V-Sprint Racing) 34.419

Silver: Victoria Williamson (VC Norwich) 34.897

Bronze: Katy Marchant (Unattached) 35.012

 

Men Kilometre Time Trial

C12V9262Gold: Callum Skinner (The Rigmar Racers) 1.01.843

Silver: Matthew Crampton (Srint-Team) 1.02.636

Bronze: Matthew Rotherham (Sportcity Velo) 1.03.497

 

Para-cycling Pursuit

C1-5 Mixed

2014 British Cycling National Track ChampionshipsGold: Jonathan Gildea (Seamons CC) 4.49.589 (factored time 4.49.589)

Silver: Jaco van Gass (Team Battle Back) 5.05.162 (factored time 5.00.798)

Bronze: Louis Rolfe (Cambridge CC) 4.13.464 (factored time 5.02.433)

 

BVI Mixed

2014 British Cycling National Track ChampionshipsGold: Lora Turnham and Corrine Hall (pilot) (Matrix Fitness – Vulpine) 3.39.860 (factored time 4.17.119)

Silver: Rhiannon Henry (Abergavenny RC) and Lauryn Therin (pilot) (Bonito Squadra Corse) 3.49.629 (factored time 4.28.122)

Bronze: Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby (pilot) (Wheelbase MGD) 4.30.313 (factored time 4.30.313)

 

The championships continue tomorrow and over the weekend. Tickets are still available for a selection of sessions across Friday 26 – Sunday 28 September at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/britishcycling

 

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Ponderings from the Velodrome

Newport Velodrome – ©Dave Gratton AKA SunflowerDave (on Flickr)

For someone who always has a lot to say for himself, thinking what to write about is more difficult than I thought! I should hasten to add, that’s not because I can’t think of anything, it’s because I’ve got so many ideas running around in my head it’s so difficult to chose.

So my decision has been made for me because for the first time in weeks I have an hour or so to spare to put pen to paper (yes, I am actually writing this on paper) as I’m sitting in the stands watching my daughter Ffion take part in a Welsh Cycling youth track session. So the subject: the importance of good cycling facilities, specifically Newport Velodrome.

The difference this sporting facility has made to Wales is difficult to quantify, but if you look at the numbers of riders both before and after this facility was built who are at or on their way to the top of the cycling tree, it’s obvious that its impact has been massive! The same can be said of Manchester Velodrome and I am sure it will be the case with the Olympic Velodrome; we should also consider Herne Hill and the riders that have benefitted from that facility. What it shows it that good facilities really do make a difference to the progression of riders coming through the ranks, whatever their cycling discipline. Of course we also need champions to inspire youngsters into the sport, but we’ve got such a conveyor belt going at the moment there is no worry about these facilities being under used.

So what memories have I taken from Newport Velodrome over the last 8 or 9 years that I’ve been making the 30-minute drive from Abergavenny to get here?

Well I might as well start with my number one memory and also because “why shouldn’t women’s cycling be given priority over men’s for a change?” If I can find the photo to accompany this when I next go hunting in the attic I’ll post it at a later date, as even now I find it quite hard to believe. Picture this: a women’s keirin with six riders on the start line. In amongst the six, the current senior World Champion wearing her stripes Clara Sanchez. Also on the start line I think it was Sandie Clair. Next up to them, a few star struck young girls from the UK including two from Wales, my 13-year-old daughter Becky and Katie Curtis. I can’t recall another current senior world champion ever racing in Newport, so that line-up is implanted very firmly in my head. By the way, it was France first and second with Becky coming in third to the disbelief of the French coach, especially when finding out Becky’s age.

As for other memories of female competition in Newport, between 2006 and 2007 the Youth and Junior Track National Championships had such strong fields the racing really was fantastic to watch. Seeing Becky, Lizzie Armistead, Joanna Rowsell, Jess Varnish, Laura Trott, Dani King…(I could go on) racing against each other with Hugh Porter getting very excited on the microphone really was brilliant. Looking back now I honestly think you could see then who was going to make it to the top and they weren’t all winners. The look of determination in a rider’s eyes is something I believe is what sets them apart and that is something you can spot at a young age. If someone happens to win a Youth National Championship on the way to the top that’s nice, but ultimately you need to look at the bigger picture and remember it’s not a sprint, it takes a lot of time and effort to win at elite level. And that’s what people will remember; senior champions not 11-year-old ‘superstars’!

On that last point, some really bad memories for me have been watching young girls of Under 12 and Under 14 level attempting to break a National Record as if it was the be all and end all. They have been all kitted out with the best equipment money can buy and their parents have been shouting so loudly at them as if they were doing it themselves, but why? Many of those I have watched are either no longer riding or just riding now and again. And why provide the best equipment at such a young age? Good equipment yes, but keep the very best as a reward and as an incentive when they are racing at international level. I really would like to see some sort of equipment specification cap on all youth riders to make it more of a level playing field and to give them something to aim for.

While I’m in the process of airing my concerns, the other thing that really worries me is that young riders seem to be specialising on one cycling discipline at ever-younger ages and training to the detriment of their education. Youth sport should not be like that. If I could single out one young rider who has got the balance right and sets an example for other to follow it is Elinor Barker and look where she is now! Elinor has given most forms of cycling a go, but over the time I’ve known her and the family her education has come first. She’s obviously had coaching, but it has been Elinor’s drive and determination to succeed that has won her the Junior World Time Trial and of course her supportive parents (I believe there could be another reason and the same applies to Becky as well; both Graham, Elinor’s dad and myself are ardent Newcastle United followers and maybe it’s because the girls have never seen us celebrate the winning of a trophy that they are doing their bit to cheer us up!).

On the male side of things, at the same time as that outstanding crop of girls I mentioned the boys’ fields were also amazingly strong and they provided fantastic racing to watch. Jason Kenny, Peter Kennaugh, Alex Dowsett, Luke Rowe, Adam Blythe, Andy Fenn…(once again, I could go on) are just a few of the names that cycling fans would recognise from the Olympics and pro-peloton this last year. Despite many outstanding races and individual performances the one that stands out still after these years is Andy Fenn’s Youth 500 metre time trial. Here was someone mixing it up with the best youth riders this country had to offer in all the circuit races around the country and he was winning the endurance and pursuit events on the track. In the 500 metre time trail he was up against all the best youth sprinters in the country including current BC Academy sprint member Peter Mitchell. I can still picture him going around the track now. I seem to recall I was sitting in the stands next to Iain Dyer, National Sprint Coach and Trevor King, father of Dani and a few others and the first thing that came to my mind was that here was the person to follow in Jason Kenny’s footsteps. Well I was wrong on that front, but I really think he has the potential to be the next big road sprinter from GB. I am not saying that Andy will be another ‘Cav’, because I am not sure there’ll be another in my lifetime, but I am sure that he’ll be winning many races and stages over the next few years. Another rider I’ve watched in Newport in a similar mold to Andy is Sam Harrison, although he’s got a few years to catch up yet.

As recent as last winter I was sitting in the stands of Newport Velodrome watching the annual ‘Winter Track League’, which mixes all abilities up into different races, both male and female. In Wales we are very lucky indeed to not only have Elinor Barker coming up into the senior ranks, but we also have Amy Roberts. To see both Elinor and Amy mixing it up with the men in the ‘A’ league really is a great sight and I am really excited about the prospect of those two girls representing Wales and GB around the world over the next few years. The girls often found themselves riding in amongst elite men, well not just elite, but professional riders. Last year watching Luke Rowe, Magnus Backstedt, Jonny Bellis and many more on a Tuesday night with the rain hammering down on the velodrome roof, whilst sipping a cup of tea, is fascinating, enjoyable and a relaxing time in amongst my hectic lifestyle.

I have never been in Newport Velodrome with a full stand of spectators, but with the success of this last season and the accessibility of cycling stars to the general public I think I might get to see that over the next couple of years. What Newport needs is the right event to fill the stands, something that has got my mind running wildfire again! Now, if that event gives equal precedence to the women riders or better still star billing, wouldn’t that be amazing?

…Next time, whenever that will be, I’ll probably write about organising my first ever hill-climb and also about the importance and thrills of cyclocross.

Thanks for reading.

David James

Twitter: @Dai_Cwmheulog
 
 
 
 

Jody Cundy to Ride for Bronze

Jody Cundy will ride for bronze in the Men’s C4 4km Pursuit Finals this afternoon after qualifying third with a new personal best time of 4:42.005.

After being denied the chance to ride in the 1km Time Trial yesterday, Jody was determined to give it his all on the track today and vowed to show his fans what he could really do.

He was cheered on by the fiercely patriotic crowd who were relieved to see the 33 year old looking focussed and putting in maximum effort to get away from the starting block cleanly. Jody had a phenomenal ride in an even that he has not previously competed in at the Paralympics. He’ll be hoping to take bronze in the 4km Pursuit final tonight as he did at the World Championships in LA earlier this year.

Jody’s Paralympics Schedule

Jody Cundy – ©Christina Kelkel

 

Jody Cundy MBE (Cycling, Track):

31/08/12 – C4/C5 1km Time Trial Final
01/09/12 – C4 4km Pursuit Qualification in the morning and Final in the
afternoon if qualified
(02/09/12 – C1-5 Mixed Team Sprint Qualification in the morning and
Final in the afternoon if qualified. Please note that Jody is currently
reserve rider)

 

Ahead of the opening ceremony this evening, Jody is more excited and focussed than ever at the prospect of achieving his Paralympic dreams. Jody’s first event will be the 1km Time Trial on Friday and he’s eager to jump on the velodrome boards.

“I’m in great form at the moment and I can’t wait to get out there and race in front of a home crowd! The support has been incredible so far and I think London 2012 will provide an opportunity for the public to really appreciate Paralympic sport, as we train just as hard and put just as much effort in as the Olympic team. It’s fantastic to see everyone really getting behind ParalympicsGB, it really means a lot.”

The London 2012 Paralympic opening ceremony will begin this evening at 8:30pm, but the decision to attend is made by both the athletes and their coaches depending upon their racing schedule. “Of course it would be great to attend, but I’ve not been to an opening ceremony since I have joined the cycling team, as it’s also important to prepare correctly for your competition and sometimes that means you miss out on things. That’s something we are used to as athletes.”

Catch up with all the latest results via the JAC Sport website and follow me (@christinakelkel) and @jodycundy on twitter for updates from track centre.

 

 

Lancashire Hills with Lucy Martin

Lucy Martin Reaching Summit of Shayley Brow Training for 2012 Lotto-Decca Tour – © Paul Francis Cooper

 

On the first Sunday of the London Olympic Games, years of anticipation, hope and preparation came to fruition for Lucy Martin. As a member of Great Britain’s Women’s Olympic Road Race team, with Emma Pooley and Nicole Cooke, she gave her all on a treacherous, rain soaked, Box Hill Circuit, delivering a well orchestrated plan to help the team’s fourth member, Lizzie Armitstead, to take silver on the Mall and Great Britain’s first medal of the Games.

 

In so doing, she became the second cycling Olympian from her hometown of Widnes, Cheshire, since John Geddes secured bronze on the Melbourne track as part of a GB team pursuit team, which included Mike Gambrill, Don Burgess and nineteen-year old Tom Simpson in the 1956 Olympics.

 

Representing her country in the home Olympics marks the highest point so far in Martin’s cycling career, which started when she was fifteen years old, her potential spotted by British Cycling’s talent identification team on a visit to her secondary school. Although she had competed as a club swimmer and school runner, she had never before been involved in cycling, and, doubting that she could meet British Cycling requirements, almost missed the vital assessment session because of a timetable clash with another subject.

 

Recruited into the junior talent development team, she joined the Olympic Development Programme after winning the National Junior Road Race Championship in 2008.

 

Now an established professional women’s road racer based in Girona, Spain, with what she describes as the dream-like experience of taking part in the home Olympics behind her, she is very aware that the time is right to focus on new athletic and career targets.

Image © Paul Francis Cooper

 

I joined her on Lancashire’s lanes whilst she was out on a training ride in preparation for last weekend’s Belgian three-day stage race, the Lotto-Decca Tour. And she told me. “My three-weeks in the Olympic village were amazing – I had to pinch myself as I rubbed shoulders with the world’s greatest, like Usain Bolt. The crowds and excitement of the road race, and Lizzie winning the medal will stay with me forever. But coming home to my family in Widnes has been a really welcome chance to calm down and plan for the future.”

 

The third stage of the Lotto-Decca Tour involves two ascents of the Kapelmur Cobble, infamous as a regular feature in the Tour of Flanders. And Lucy’s training session took in an impressively fast ascent of Billinge’s Shayley Brow, which, with its 14% maximum gradient, is also a regular lung-tester for St Helens pro-rider Jonny McEvoy (Endura Racing) and Liverpool’s Mark McNally (An Post Sean-Kelly), regular winter training partners of Lucy when the three friends are home from racing and training abroad.

 

And her work on Shayley Brow went to good use in the tough final stage of the Lotto-Decca on Monday. Chasing an early break, she pulled hard at the front of the bunch for much of the stage, providing strong support for her team’s sprinter, Holland’s Kirsten Wild, who narrowly missed a podium placing with a bravely contested, but frustrating, fourth general classification position.

 

In career terms, Lucy’s next major target is to negotiate a new professional contract, having learned recently that her current team, AA Drinks-Leontein.nl, (which also includes  Lizzie Armitstead, Emma Pooley and GB National Road Race winner, Sharon Laws on its team-list) will lose its sponsor at the end of the season.

 

Eyeing a number of options for 2013, she is hoping for greater interest in women’s cycling and the personal opportunity to switch from her current, mainly support, position to a team role in which she will be able to chase her own podium places more regularly.

 

 

 

Para-Cycling World Championships – Day 2

Mark Colbourne - UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships Los Angeles, USA - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel

Mark Colbourne
Today saw Mark racing in the 1km Time Trial, after he managed to take his first ever Para-Cycling World Championship Gold in his first International track competition! As a track debutant, Mark had to go off as one of the first riders with 10 more riders to come after his heat. Motivated by yesterday’s success, Mark rode a very controlled and fast kilometer finishing in a time of 1:19.380, only 1.163 seconds off the current WR time and good enough to take the lead at that point. However, the race still was not over and Mark had to watch his competitors trying to beat his

Mark Silver Medal - ©Copyright Christina Kelkel

time whilst warming down in track center. With only the defending Champion and WR holder Rodrigo Fernand Lopez (ARG) to go, Mark was still in the lead and guaranteed a Silver medal. Lopez started his time trial almost a second faster than Mark in lap one, but as he continued his race Lopez’s lead started to decrease more and more. In the end, he crossed the line in a time of 1:19.102, only .278 ahead of Mark who had to settle for Silver.

After the race Mark said “I felt very confident and mentally ready after the Gold medal win yesterday, even though my legs felt slightly heavy when I was warming up. This only was my second kilo in 4 months so I am really happy to be quite close to the WR, especially as I rode a 5 second PB. I got into a nice rhythm straight from the start but after 2 tough rides yesterday, my legs tightened up in the last lap.”

 After the Para-Cycling Track World Championships, Mark will now focus on his preparations for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Mark said “We have learned a lot from these World Championships and will now work on the bits we need to improve for London. We will be doing a lot of work on the road in the build up to the Games as the Road Time Trial is one of my main targets as well as the 3km Pursuit and the Kilo.”

 

Christina
 
 
 
 
 

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