Saturday is traditionally a football day in Scotland and nowhere more so than in Glasgow and the East End is home to Celtic Park. But right across the street from the football ground is the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome (and Sports Arena). And it was there I was heading last Saturday for the final instalment of the Revolution cycling series.
It’s not the first time I’ve been to the Sir Chris Hoy.
I was able to attend a couple of sessions of the UCI Track World Cup held there in November. I’ve also been lucky enough to ride a lap on the track itself over the last few months. It’s a stunning venue and I get shivers every time I go there. It has been built for the Commonwealth Games, to be held in Glasgow in 2014, but this venue has been fully embraced by the cycling community and is a real asset to the city.
There have been several events held on the track already, but the Revolution is the most recent. This is a series of four meetings held during the winter months (the previous three in Manchester) and each meet takes on a kind of team omnium format. Pairs of riders gain points based on their positions in a number of events such as the flying lap, scratch & points races, devil take the hindmost and the ever-popular Madison 1000m time trial. Points are carried over from each round to determine the series winners.
On Saturday night the series leaders, Rapha Condor JTL, were represented by Olympic Gold Medallist Ed Clancy & Commonwealth medallist (and Scot!) Jimmy McCallum. Other top names included Andy Tennant & Steven Burke (gold medallists) Dutch Madison Champion Raymond Kreder and Paralympian Jody Cundy. In between the elite Revolution races, supporting races were held including boys & girls future stars races and a team sprint competition. In other words a full card of racing entertainment.
There was some top racing from the Rapha boys, with Ed Clancy continuing to dominate the flying lap, as he had done in previous meetings. Clancy also bossed the points race, where he was ably assisted by team-mate Jimmy Mac. They were pushed all the way in every event by the German duo Chrisian Grassman & Nico Hesslich of Rudy Project RT, who were second in the series standings. The Germans posted a great time in the Madison 1km against the clock, but the roof nearly came off when Clancy and McCallum rode to a quicker time to take this event. The Rud(e)y boys hit back in style to take 1st and 2nd in the Elimination to McCallum’s 3rd for Rapha.
The series was resting on the final event, the 10km Scratch Race and right from the gun Team Rudy were looking hungry. Hesslich and Grassman were taking it in turns to hit up Clancy & McCallum, who both seemed to be tiring. But Jimmy Mac shut down a few attacks and as the race wound up Clancy lifted the tempo several notches to keep the Rudy boys in sight. In the end Big ‘Ed finished ahead of both Germans to secure Rapha’s lead and series victory.
The youth races and team sprint competitions were no less exciting and contributed to a fantastic night’s entertainment.
The atmosphere in the ‘drome was electric all night and the hubub of chatter and cheering made me think of an excellent article in Rouleur about Magnum Photos legend Henri Cartier-Bresson. He captured the atmosphere of velodrome racing in Pre-war Paris in bewitching fashion and I felt a real link back to those old days.
Maybe that’s the romantic in me…
You can see some fine pictures of the night here.
And full results here.
And this revolution will be televised.