The UCI have been at it again, messing with the format of what was the track “World Cup;” with trade teams no longer eligible it’s now the “Nations’ Cup.”
There will be three rounds across three different continents in season 2021: Newport, Wales on 22nd to 25th April; Hong Kong on 13th to 16th May and Cali, Colombia on 03rd to 6th June.
The good news is that Scotland is eligible to field a team and encouragingly, we have around a dozen riders vying for the Newport ride.
One of those on the squad is 19 year-old Matti Dobbins from Bridge of Weir, who as a junior was a Scottish track champion across multi-disciplines and has been trialling with the GB squad at Manchester, focusing on making the GB and Scottish Team Pursuit squads.
He rides for RT23 and has no plans to move – unless he gets that GB spot, of course.
How did you get into the sport, Matti?
“Originally I saw a triathlon on the TV and I thought; ‘I’d like to do that.’
“That lead me into cycling and I joined the Johnstone Jets; it was a good time to get into track cycling because the Chris Hoy velodrome had just opened and I was able to get my accreditation.”
You had a very successful first year junior track championship campaign.
“Yes, I won the Scratch, Pursuit and Madison.”
And you’re Scottish Junior three kilometre Pursuit record holder.
“Yes, with a 3:18 ride, the previous record was a 3:25 and my previous best was a 3:27 so I was pleased with that ride.”
And you were in the team which set the Scottish record for the four kilometre Pursuit.
“Yes, with Alfie George, John Archibald and Kyle Gordon, we did a 4:09 on Manchester.”
What’s your best for an individual four kilometre effort?
“I did a 4:24 in qualifying for the British this year but feel that I could have done better than that; but really my focus is on the Team Pursuit.”
Is the Scottish squad in serious preparation for the UCI event at Newport?
“Yes, Evan Oliphant is our coach and we started training for it as soon as the lockdown ended, the training is varied but there’s a major push on building the strength you need to get the bigger gears that are part and parcel of the event now off the line.”
[Denmark’s world record of 3:44:672 was set on what we believe were gears of 58 x 13 – or 120” in old money. Experts on the event will tell you that the starting lap is one which should receive most focus as the one where substantial gains can be made ed.]
“That involves gym work; I’m fortunate in that I enjoy gym work and have found it beneficial.
“Right now I’m on an endurance block, clocking up the kilometres; you can see the snow on the hills from Bridge of Weir but so far the roads are OK for riding.
“Our training obviously involves a lot of technique work and I think I’m on top of that, but of course we’re locked down again so I don’t know when we’ll be able to resume training at the velodrome.”
Is it a committed group?
“So it won’t be easy to make the final line up.”
You were silver medallist with Alex Haines in the 2019 British Madison Championship, is that a discipline you enjoy?
“I do, it’s a lot of fun but I think that the Team Pursuit is a very rewarding discipline too – there’s a lot of satisfaction in being part of a successful team.
“That said, I’ve only ridden one competition and that was when we set the record time.”
Your best known as a track rider but do you enjoy road racing?
“I have more affinity with the track but I do miss road racing, this season I only managed one road race before lockdown; that was the early season Gifford event.”
How was lockdown for you?
“I don’t usually have a problem training on my own, it’s what I usually do anyway but when you don’t get to meet other riders at races or training sessions training on your own continuously means you can struggle with motivation.”
It’s good to see that Scotland has such talent on hand for the 2021 Nations’ Cup and 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The Team Pursuit is a tough discipline at Commonwealth level with three of the world’s very best teams on the start sheet – England, Australia and New Zealand, but any journey starts with a single step and that has certainly been taken by Scottish Cycling.
In addition, Messrs. Archibald and Gordon have their experiences with the HUUB track squad to draw upon which should make a massive contribution to the project.
VeloVeritas wishes them well.