Thursday, April 18, 2024

Mark Stewart – In the medals at the World Track Championships


HomeInterviewsMark Stewart - In the medals at the World Track Championships

VeloVeritas has spoken to Katie Archibald and Jack Carlin – but our review of Scottish medallists at The Track Worlds in Apeldoorn wouldn’t be complete without speaking to Mr. Mark Stewart, bronze medal winner in the points race behind that remarkable Aussie, Cameron Meyer who took his fifth points title with big Dutchman, Van Schip taking silver.

Congratulations Mark; I think it’s fair to say the British Track Championships didn’t go the way you would have liked – how did you lift yourself for The Worlds?

“I had a tooth abscess and after a week on antibiotics I found myself getting dropped in the team pursuit warm up session!

“We were in Mallorca after I came off the antibiotics and for a couple of weeks I really suffered but I kept plugging away, I knew I was going to The Worlds and was counting down the days.

“We realised that the team pursuit wasn’t happening for me so decided I’d concentrate on the bunch races and slowly things began to turn for me.

“I did a team pursuit training session on the Tuesday where I wasn’t going well but the next day I did five hours and felt good.

“The week before The Worlds it was just eat, sleep, train and stretch – I knew I’d come good eventually.”

Mark Stewart
Van Schip, Meyer and Mark with their points race medals. Photo©British Cycling

You did a nice job coming late in the points race.

“I’ve watched it on video a couple of times since.

“It’s a long race and after halfway you usually have three or four guys who it’s between – you can always do damage late if you’re patient and have the legs.

“I had a vague kind of plan to ride it that way – I decided that everyone would be going for the double points on the last lap so I’d nab my points on the second last sprint and that’s how it turned out.”

How to beat Meyer?

“He’s so impressive isn’t he? if he need a lap he just takes it.”

The Madison, you and Ollie Wood just one point off the podium…

“We’ve had a good look at the video analysis; our game plan was to score points and be at the front, we did that but Kluge was just at a different level – but we clawed our way back from nine points off a medal to just one point, at the death.

“A medal would have been great but if you look at it realistically, last year we were DNF and this year we’re just one point off the podium – it’s good progress and next year we’ll be a year stronger.”

Big Roger and Reinhardt winning was a bit of a surprise – and the Aussies weren’t really in it, albeit they got bronze.

“Roger Kluge is so strong, he’s a Giro stage winner after all – in the Six Days Theo Reinhardt isn’t at Kluge’s level but he was holding his own in Apeldoorn.

“As for the Aussies I think Scotson was just wasted trying to keep up with Meyer!”

What have you been up to since The Worlds?

“I moved house, I’m staying with Jack Carlin now, which is good and I’ve obviously been training for The Games – but I toned it down a wee bit then lifted it back up.

“I’ve been training on the Glasgow velodrome and feeling a wee bit tired – but I don’t want to be flying right now, I want to go well in the Gold Coast.

“I’ve been enjoying riding the Glasgow Track League, good fun, a nice atmosphere.”

Mark Stewart
Mark rocks the Points Race with Jan Willem van Schip of The Netherlands glued to his wheel. Photo©

And a famous name on the skinsuit?

“Yes, Billy Bilsland Cycles will be supporting me this year, for which I’m most grateful.

“I’m with the GB squad but I need a bike and support for the Revolution events, National Championships and criteriums so Bilsland have fixed me up with a nice bike and nice wheels so I have good kit, good bikes and the freedom to ride what I want.

“I’m going to pursue my track ambitions this year and do a lot of work in the gym to build strength – after it’s all down to stomping on those pedals!

“I’ll return to the road after The Games but I want to do a big block of core/gym training through the summer – take advantage of all the expertise that British Cycling offers.”

What will you be riding at The Games?

“The individual pursuit, scratch, points, road race and … the time trial – why not?”

No Scottish team pursuit squad? 

“No, being realistic it’s going to take a 3:55 to win a medal with England, the Aussies, New Zealand and Canada all there.”

What’s the itinerary now?

“We head out to Sydney for a week of training then up to the Gold Coast where we get some track time before the competition starts.

“We’ll get two or three training sessions in there before the racing starts – and that’s about the usual for big international competitions.”

What about your team pursuit and omnium ambitions?

“They’re shelved for the moment but I hope to come back to the team pursuit stronger than ever after the summer.”

Mark Stewart
Mark made his medal bid on the second-last sprint. Photo©BritishCycling

What are the goals after The Games?

“The European Championships are in Glasgow this year so that’s obviously a major ambition.

“Then the 2019 Worlds – the selection process for the Tokyo Games starts this year so every result is important; World Cups, European Champs, they all account.

“And selection gets harder all the time with all these fast young guys coming through; I’m 22 years-old and I’m the oldest one there!”

Try being 62 years-old, Mark my boy!

With thanks to Mark for always having time for us and wishing him – and the entire Scottish squad – all the very best for 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.