Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Callum Skinner – “I’ll be doing what I can to keep that man three position”


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The Track Worlds have come and gone; but before we’re into the Classics – and soon after that all roads will be leading to le Tour – we thought we’d have a quick word with Scotsman Callum Skinner about this Worlds.

His GB team had a disappointing sprint campaign with nada results in any discipline, team sprint, keirin or individual sprint – the only bright spot being Skinner’s 1:01:07 in the kilometre to give him seventh spot.

Callum Skinner
Callum is lead by his sprint team-mates Jason Kenny (centre) and Philip Hindes at the World Championships . Photo©PA

Were you happy with your build-up to Paris, Callum ?

“It was better than the London World Cup but not ideal.

“I picked up a throat infection after the Glasgow Revolution and that seemed to coincide with my wisdom teeth coming through and causing some bother. All of those issues cleared up ten days before Paris.

“The most important thing was being able to race without any issues.”

The team sprint qualifying didn’t go as well as planned – what happened ?

“It was a bit of an odd one.

“For the first 50 meters it was looking really good but then Philip and Jason just got away from me.

“I’ve proven in the World Cups and Nationals that I can get on.

“The coaches and I have a few ideas of the specifics of what went wrong on this occasion.”

You did an excellent ride in the kilometre but I believe there’s no team focus on it because it’s not an Olympic event – so how do you prepare ?

“There is a bit of a focus on it, I’d say it’s the most strongly targeted non Olympic event that we compete in.

“It can give good indications of how a man three may stand up when slotted into a team.

“So it can help riders break into the team sprint or justify their place within it.”

Is training for the kilometre compatible with team sprint training ?

“On the whole yes, man three has quite similar characteristics.”

You beat team mate Kian Emadi in the kilometre in Paris, that must endorse your selection for the team sprint ?

“Possibly, Kian is a very strong Kilo rider and man three.

“I’ll be doing what I can to keep that man three position.”

What gears do you ride in the team sprint and kilometre ?

“I don’t want to say too much, not massive or tiny, in the 100′-110’ range for both.”

What was the Paris track like – fast ? safe ?

“The track was very good, grippy, tall, fast.

“If the roof stops leaking it’ll be perfectly safe!”

Callum Skinner
Jason got on to Phillip but Callum didn’t quite make it. Photo©PA

After the team sprint was there a de-brief – and if so, any conclusions ?

“Not a massive de-brief at the time as there were other events I had to focus on at the time.

“We will have a big debrief and the coaches will be doing some analysis in the next few weeks.”

Was New Zealand getting DQ-ed in the final anything to do with them beating the French team in France ?

“The illegal change was pretty clear.

“In training we focus on changes a lot.

“More often than I would like we get it wrong, so it’s an easy mistake to make; but focusing on it a lot in training makes it easy to spot it on video.

“I think the rule is clear and better than the vague old rules.

“I do have sympathy with the Kiwis, it was a storming ride even with the illegal change.”

The UCI rules seem to get ever more petty each year ?

“I thought they were okay this year. They have relaxed enforcing rules such as riders creating a gap between man one and the Derny in the keirin, resulting in less restarts.

“Staying with the keirin I think they could have let Stephanie Morton ride the final.” [She punctured in the first part of the final and before the derny swung off, ed.]

Was the crowd totally partisan or did everyone get encouragement ?

“It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

“The contrast between the noise of having a French rider on the track compared to another nation was comical.

“I’d like to think the British crowds are a little more supportive of other nations; I’d have to ask some of my competitors if I’m possibly bias in thinking that way.”

Callum Skinner
Callum Skinner. Photo©British Cycling

How did your sprint campaign go – are you happy with it ?

“Not particularly, my sprint outings have been a little disappointing this season.”

I think you were against Bauge in a round – what was that like ?

“Interesting – he was just too fast on this occasion, obviously as he went onto win it, he had tremendous form.”

What’s your favourite discipline of the three ?

“Probably still sprint.”

What now for the track squad and you ?

“Some down time, I’m off on holiday with Kian Emadi and Philip Hindes.

“Then a bit of a training camp to do the all important early season work.

“For the sprint squad it’s exciting times, Justin Grace is still implementing changes.

“A job advertisement for a sports psychologist was recently posted after six months-ish of that position being vacant- and interviews are happening soon for a new head sprint sport scientist.”

With London the next track Worlds venue, Rio on the horizon, and the French, Aussies and Kiwis all flying, it’s going to be a busy year for Callum and GB – VeloVeritas will be watching with interest.