Outdoor Track Season

The last few months tends to be the outdoor track season in Europe to coincide with summer. As summer is drawing to a close i thought it would be best to do a little summary of how things have gone.

First up was a trip to Australia in May for some indoor races. This trip was going to be a tight schedule, after arriving on the 21st we had racing planed for the 23rd in Melbourne then another flight to Adelaide for another four days of comps then straight back to Manchester. However the volume of racing and different competition to what we are used to in Europe would hopefully make the trip worth while.

The first ride in Melbourne went quite well after qualifying first it was good to know I had some good form after the long flight.

Things started to go wrong by the semi finals. After a bit of contact with another rider I fell off my onto my left side. Falling left opposed to right on a velodrome is never a very good idea as you have much further to fall due to the angle of the bankings. During the crash i took a bit of a knock to the head. After being quite confused after the crash it became clear I was concuss. After getting the all clear for anything serious from the hospital it was time for a few days rest. I was still hopeful we could salvage the last few days racing in Adelaide.

After a few more days of not really thinking straight and headaches it was time to get a check up from a sports doctor in Adelaide. After failing the concussion test i deemed not fit to race. I was advised to have more rest. Overall i was quite disappointed it was a long way for what was in the end little gain.

After a few more weeks of recovery it was time to go back out and race again. This time it was the Dublin GP. This was a good race to start back with as the competition was not as fierce as it normally is. Still i was really happy to come away with a first in the Kierin and a second in the Sprint. It was a nice confidence boost before moving on to the harder competitions.

The next competition on the schedule was the Derby Revolution. However due to the importance of this race for the endurance squad it quickly became known as the Derby Olympics. This was the first time this season that i was going to be able to do a Kilo in competition. The field on this occasion was quite heavily stacked with World Champion Francois Pervis in attendance. I’m happy to say that i won in a time of 1.01.1 just one tenth of a second off my P.B. I was really happy to take the win and also see i had some good form. With the British Champs a month or so away I was feeling good about trying to retain my British Title. In addition to the Kilo i also won second in the Sprint.

For the last race of the season it was off to Dudenhoffen in Germany. I was happy to be returning here, i won the sprint last year so i was feeling good about my chances. The first sprint session on the Friday was a bit of a wash out but after a four hour delay the weather improved we finally got on with racing. After qualifying fourth it wasn't really the best start but i did well to improve on my qualifying and win for a second year in a row. I was very pleased with this result of all the competitions over the winter this one had some very high quality riders competing. To top off the win in the sprint i also picked up a second in the Kierin. So it was great to win the sprint for a second year in a row but also improve on my result in the Kierin last year.

Next up is the British Championship where i will have quite the task defending four titles. However with the results we have had during the outdoor season i think i should be in a good place to defend the titles.


Graham and Sibbald

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.

14/15 Season Review

Hi Everyone, 

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. 

On the boards at Glasgow Commonwealth Games

On the boards at Glasgow Commonwealth Games

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. 

The British Champions Jersey

The British Champions Jersey

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. 

Post Kilo lie down.

Post Kilo lie down.

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.

A chilly 12 degree swim at Valencia Beach. Kian Emadi, Callum Skinner and Justin Grace (new coach).

A chilly 12 degree swim at Valencia Beach. Kian Emadi, Callum Skinner and Justin Grace (new coach).

World Cup Leaders

Hi everyone,

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. 

Four Times British Champion

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! 

Racing in Dudenhofen

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! 


Glasgow 2014

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.