British Cycling National Track Championships Debut
Fresh from their recent exploits in Apeldoorn, Rowe, Salter, Cosgrove and Fisher made their way to the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales in Newport for the British Cycling National Track Championships.
The riders have recently stepped up from Youth racing to Junior racing and would be racing against Elite track cyclists from all over the UK for the first time. This didn’t seem to phase the riders and they were really excited about the prospect of racing against the likes of Will Perrett and Will Tidball.
This weekend wasn’t necessarily about winning or getting on podiums. It was more about gaining experience and seeing how our young riders compared against the serious talent that was on show.
Qualification for the Kilo started on Thursday with strong rides from Fisher and Cosgrove. However, with a qualification time of below 1 minute 6 seconds required to progress, they both narrowly missed out. Up stepped Will Salter – now this rider is seriously quick and has one of the fastest standing laps for his age. He flew out of the gate and qualified with a quick time to make it to the final, which was due to take place on Friday evening. Job done! Saturday started with heats for the Points race. All the riders raced intelligently and were active throughout proceedings. Salter qualified and edged out Cosgrove in the process. In the next heat, Fisher and Rowe qualified. The final took place over 120 laps and saw the riders in amongst the action. They acquitted themselves well.
Qualifying heats for the 4km Team Pursuit took place on Sunday and this saw Rowe and Cosgrove riding for Team Scotland in a four-man team comprising of Rowe, Cosgrove alongside Calum Moir and Ahron Dick. The team hadn’t practiced this event that much, but their coach had them well drilled and they qualified in 5th with a time of 4 minutes 15 seconds.
Team Wales was off next with Will Salter and Sam Fisher (powered by Super Noodles) making their way to the start line. The Welsh lads have been practicing the TP since they could ride bikes, so it was no surprise to see them qualify in 4th with a slick performance from Salter, Fisher, Tarling and Codd.
The next race was the qualifying heats for the Scratch race with Salter and Cosgrove putting their Anexo kit back on. Now this was a seriously fast heat with all the big guns making the race as difficult as possible. The first eight riders out of 24 would qualify for the final. Cosgrove narrowly missed out, coming over the line in 9th and Salter did the same. Maybe their efforts in the 4km Team Pursuit had left them a little jaded. Fisher and Rowe were up next. After picking up several National Track titles last year Fisher rode the scratch cleverly and positioned himself on the hip of a rider in 3rd place and qualified without expending too much energy. Rowe, was positioned slightly further back and immediately after the race it wasn’t obvious if he had qualified. However, once the Commissaires rechecked the final sprint it was confirmed that he had qualified in 8th. The boy from Banchory just squeezed in for his 2nd final of the weekend.
The temperature in the track centre had increased since the morning session, which only meant one thing – we would be looking at some quick times in track cycling’s blue-ribbon event, the 4km Team Pursuit. Qualification had gone well but the Team Pursuit is all about the quickest time you can clock and how fast you can go as a quartet. Team Scotland took to the start line against Toufauti Everyone Active. Rowe was man one and he started well and after two laps Cosgrove took over, delivering a couple of strong laps with good lap times. In no time at all they had established a significant gap over Tofauti, and they came over the line with a new personal best of 4 minutes 11 seconds, only 2 seconds off the Scottish National Record. Team Scotland definitely ones to watch for the future.
Team Wales were up next against a very strong Fensham Howes team who are all a year older. Salter was man one and as usual he flew out of the gates and set up Team Wales for a very impressive start. However, Fensham Howes proved too strong, putting Team Wales in 4th with a time of 4 minutes 9 seconds.
All in all, it was a really successful weekend for our first-year Juniors, who held their own and were not overwhelmed by the competition. This all bodes well for the season and the Junior National Track Championships which will take place later in the year. That’s the end of the Track Cycling Season for Anexo Group Race Team. After a 10-day training camp in Mallorca the team will be making their Junior road race debut at Kuurne Brussel Kuurne #WhereHeroesAreBorn. To say we are excited is an understatement.