I’m delighted that Graham and Sibbald are supporting me for another year. Your contribution makes a massive difference. The financial support helps with daily expenses and it allows me to solely focus on riding my bike and training to get faster every day. It’s also great to know that all of the Graham and Sibbald staff are behind me. It meant an awful lot to see some of you at the Glasgow Revolution cheering me through the competition. The enthusiasm and support I receive from you all is fantastic and really inspirational. I’ve also found great opportunities to learn from those of you I have met. A lot of the problems you may face in business aren't always too dissimilar from what I may face in cycling. Our partnership really is a great way to learn from one and other.
As its now the end of the 2014/15 season i thought it would be a good idea to give you a bit of a season review, looking back over the last 8 months.
What a season its been! I must admit it was a bit of a slow start (never good in my sport). The Glasgow Commonwealth Games was an amazing learning curve and i learnt a lot. However to come away with a 5th place was very disappointing.
Since Glasgow my form really seemed to come along. I had good results in Germany, (the heartland for my sport) picking up my first win and a podium after a few years of little success.
This acted as a bit of a springboard onto what was an amazing British Championships. I became the first male sprinter ever to win all four events in a single championship. Most of all it felt great to have my sprint title back having lost it the year before.
Following nationals it was off to the European Championships on the Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe (France). The long flight was definitely worth the trip when i picked up my first European title winning the 1km Time Trial! Targeting the Kilo was a new approach for this year. Many current and previous world champions including Chris Hoy have used the Kilo as a development pathway for success in the other events. Its a savage event that treads the line between sprint and endurance. Having success in this event is a great step in the right direction in the long term.
Less than an month and it was time for another hop across the Atlantic, this time to Mexico. Guadalajara was the host for the first of the World Cup series. This time the stakes were higher than ever. I had been given a chance to ride the team sprint with the ‘A team’ consisting of Olympic Champions Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny. I was keen to impress and try to cement my new spot in the team as its the best way to get to the Rio Olympics. It couldn't have gone better, we won the Team Sprint!
From this point on my form began to dip as illness, fatigue began to play their part. This came to a head when i had to withdraw from the London World Cup. From then on with my new coach I decided to focus all my efforts on the World Championships in a few months time.
It was fantastic to finally have my World Championship debut. I have been fighting to gain selection for the last few years and i was very thankful to finally be given a chance. However the length of the season had started to take its toll. I was lighter than i had been in three years and i felt burnt out. I gave the best performance I could but it was only good enough for 8th in the team sprint and the Kilo. Hopefully the worlds was just a bit of a speed bump. I had beaten many of my competitors in the Kilo at the Europeans and as a team we had beaten all of the other teams at the first World Cup.
As the season drew to a close we met our ultimate target of maintaining top 5 in Europe in the Team Sprint. This meaning we are on track to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
Overall its been a break through season. Over the next few months with my coach we are looking forward to continued success and hopefully a better plan to see that it lasts longer!
After taking a short break i’m now back to full training having just completed a warm weather camp in Valencia a few days ago. Don’t be too jealous, it rained the whole time! I’m now based in Manchester for a month or so with the prospect of some early season racing coming up in Adelaide.
I've been back from Mexico World Cup for a few days now. This was a great opportunity for me as it was the first time i have been slotted into the 'a' team at a major event. I'm really happy to tell you that we won. The first time GB has won a world cup in 4 years. Check out the video bellow of the Gold, Silver ride off with Germany.
Last weekend it was a great privilege to attend the annual Braveheart Cycling fund-raising ride and dinner. They have been very supportive of me for many years. They also continue to support the best up and coming Scottish cycling talent and cycling teams so its a fantastic cause. I was also happy to be able to make it this year. Two years ago i planed to attend but ended up breaking my collarbone on the afternoon before the dinner! Luckily no misfortune this time around. This year was special as i received the Braveheart Rider of The Year award. The only cyclist to have received it twice. It was a great honour as so many of the other funded athletes have had great results.
Skinner celebrates his wins with announcement of new Graham + Sibbald Rising Star sponsorship
• Callum is second young athlete to benefit from the Graham + Sibbald scheme in conjunction with Red Sky Management
Rising Star Callum Skinner (22), a talented cyclist tipped for the top by none other than Sir Chris Hoy picked up four gold medals at the British Championships just days ahead of being named as the Graham + Sibbald recipient of this year’s sport sponsorship.
The grant will assist Callum with travel costs of participating at home and abroad and allow him to compete at a higher level and develop his performance skills on the cycling track.
Iain Leighton, Senior Partner and a keen amateur cyclist, said: “Our continued support for Scotland’s Rising Stars enters its second year with this support for Callum. We know that our sponsorship previously helped young swimmer Craig Benson in his preparation for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and we hope that Callum will be able to further develop his cycling skills over the next 12 months. This sponsorship is a great fit for our Scottish firm and here’s hoping that some of our staff will be getting more involved with the sport of cycling this year as we encourage Callum in his career.”
Callum Skinner said: “I am very excited to be the next Rising Star ambassador, particularly as I have seen how much of a difference it made to Craig’s performance. It is great to know that everyone from Graham + Sibbald will be behind me at major competitions. Plus, with this support I will be able to do a lot more racing abroad, something which is crucial to ensure that I am ready for the Rio Olympics in 2016.”
Extracted from: http://www.g-s.co.uk/News/2475/Rising+Star%3A+Callum+Skinner/
I'm really please to say that i'm European Kilo Champion 2014. This result came as a bit of shock to me as the field was full of quality riders. The track was also unusual for a few reasons. Firstly the comp was no where near mainland Europe but instead in the French territory of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. Some of you will also be aware that it was the tail end of hurricane season combined with the climate of sweltering 40'+ tropical heat. Then there was the track, an outdoor 330m concrete. This is in stark contrast to the UCI standard; an indoor, wooden, 250m track. However as a junior i used to train at Meadowbank, an outdoor velodrome in Edinburgh where the climate is also less than ideal but usually more on the cold end of the spectrum! So thats the quirky facts out the way! Saying that i really enjoyed it! It was nice to get a little variety plus i would take the Caribbean any day over Beijing or Moscow! In terms of the other events i competed in is still work but its good to see i still have decent speed and endurance going into the rest of the season. Next for me is World Cup 1 in Guadalajara, Mexico starting on Friday the 7th of November and running over that weekend. I'll be sure to update you with the results.
Last week i had the most successful British Championships of my career and the most sucsessful of any British Male Sprinter in the history of the championships.
Day 1: It started with Thursday where i won the 1KM Time Trial by 0.6 seconds and posting a massive improvement on my previous P.B. Find the video here. I was really happy to have won Kilo is something that i have been targeting for a few months so it was great to reap the rewards.
Day 2: It was Keirin today. Out of all the events this was the one that i felt least confidant of coming away with a good result. The Keirin is always fast and uncontrollable due to the number of riders on the track. Having picked up two wins in round 1 and the semi finals i earned a place in the final. The final had a very high standard of riders. For the first time in a few years all six were made up of professional squad riders. The race started and it was very dynamic, before i launched my attack i'm sure i saw the front, middle and back of the pack as everyone jostled for position. After finding myself at the back with 1 and 1/2 laps to go i knew i had to attack. Luckily i got round everyone in that time to finish first! My second title in as many days! Find the video here.
Day 3: Today it was the Sprint. I had previously won the sprint back in 2012 my only other senior title previous to this championships. Qualifying got off to an okay start, ranking 1st with an okay time of 10.19, a little off my best. I progressed through the day. The first real battle was with team mate and Olympic Champion Philip Hindes. Luckily at the semi final stage it was best of three as i lost the first ride. After adjusting my tactics i came back to finish a very tight second and third deciding ride. In the final i met Matt Crampton. This was never going to be easy as Matt nearest to me in the time trial earlier that morning. I won the first heat. In the second i lost and once agin it came down to a deciding third ride. After a very close photo finish i had won and with it title number 3!
Day 4: Today was the last day and the day of the Team Sprint. To say i was tired would be an understatement. However i was handed a great opportunity, to ride man 3 behind Olympic champions Hides and Kenny! After Lewis Oliva rhode the first heat i was chosen to ride the semi final. It went really well i was clearly on Jason's back wheel and delivered an okay lap myself. In the final i had a chance to make some micro changes to try and clean my ride up a little. This was the first time i had ever ridden in this team. In the final we won by a healthy margin. That made it title number 4.
The prospect of winning 1 title in the championships would have been amazing but its hard to put into words how happy i was to make it 4. I looking forward to riding the revolutions in the winter in the champions stripes! Next up for me is hopefully europeans in a few weeks. I will keep you posted to see if i can build on this momentum!
At the beginning of the month i flew to Dudenhofen, Germany with the GB team for some final qualification points. Following my London Keirin victory two weekends previous i knew i had some of the form i had been missing at the Commonwealth Games.
Dudenhofen is now a familiar track, this was my second time there this year. It is quite a unique track as it is an outdoor concrete 250m. Concrete is not my best surface but luckily things seemed to together this time. I qualified 4th in a what was a very well attended event. From the start of the competition at 12am i grafted all the way to the final at 10pm where i met Jeffrey Hoogland from the Netherlands. As it was a final it was the best of three. In the first match i won by a healthy margin. However in the 2nd heat it came to a down to a photo finish. It was very close but i managed to come away with my first win ever in Germany!
I’m pleased to announce that I have been selected to represent Team Scotland at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. I could not be more excited and proud to represent Scotland at a Home Games. I was born in Glasgow and my father lived there until my early teens so I have a great affinity to the city. What’s more it was the Commonwealth Games that inspired me to take up cycling in the first place. So the importance of the games in my race calendar cannot be understated, I’ll be doing everything I can to get the best results possible.
This will be my 2nd Commonwealth Games I’m looking forward to build on my results in Delhi. Looking back I’m a different athlete than I was in Delhi. As those four years have passed I’ve made great steps forward since becoming professional athlete on the GB cycling team in late 2010.
There is not much time until Glasgow and my preparation is going really well. Next week I’m off to Drei Bahnen Tournee in the west of Germany then following that I have some races lined up in Cottbus in the east of Germany. In total I will be away for around three weeks with seven days of racing looking to sharpen up and get race ready. Then for the final few weeks I will join the Scotland team in Manchester.
The rest of the Scottish Sprint Team looks very strong. Expect a bit of a show down in the Team Sprint many of us are still vying for one of the three positions available. But this internalcompetition is often healthy and should push us on the extra mile. The other big changes are that Kevin Stewart who was my teammate in Delhi is now the sprint coach. I know Kevin very well and I have got to know many of the new faces following the Scottish warm weather camp early this year. I can’t wait to meet up with them in Manchester and compete with them in Glasgow.
Unfortunately I could not make the team announcement today. With travelling to Germany next week and being in a very heavy training block in Manchester this week to get the best out of my preparation I decided with my coach that it was best not to attend.