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Scott Auld on the British National Championships

Last weekend Lincoln hosted the British National Championship Road Race. The race was packed with action, with numerous break aways and attacks from the World Tour level riders, which resulted in a fierce final battle between Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh in the final stages of the race. In the end the race was Kennaugh’s, beating Cavendish in the final meters of the infamous Michaelgate climb. Here at Planet X the race was equally as exciting for us given that our sponsored Under 23’s team, Zappi’s Pro Cycling, were taking part in the race. After the race we caught up with Scott Auld of Zappi’s Pro Cycling about his experience of the race and what it was like to cycle against some of Britain’s best cyclists.

The National Championships on Sunday was a big race for you, can you tell us how you found the experience of riding with World Tour Pros?

It was very daunting beforehand looking at the line up, however I'm not one to shy out of a challenge. I managed to get myself into the move which split during a 1-2 mile crosswind section, unfortunately I didn't feel like I had brilliant legs on the day and after doing maybe a bit too much work I lost contact first time over the Michaelgate climb. It's a bit disappointing as I feel if I had the form I have had so far this season, with that opportunity of being in the break, I could have a much better result.

 

It’s a shame, but a great performance none the less. Was the Michaelgate climb as tough as it looked? How did you prepare for a race like this?

Well I actually rode the junior race last year and got second so I knew what to expect when it came to the Michaelgate, however what I didn't expect was the speed the World Tour riders would take up straight from the gun. A lot of people said nothing will go until the race got to the first climb of Michaelgate, so I think that it took a lot of people by surprise when we hit the crosswinds in the first 5km and the race was blown to pieces. To prepare for the race we rode a lot of cobbles this year starting in Portugal earlier this year and then in the last few weeks we went to Belgium to sample some of the fine cobbles climbs round there such as the Koppenberg.

 

So the atmosphere of the race was pretty aggressive from the off?

Yes it was very sketchy to begin with and I can understand why the world tour boys wanted to split it as soon as possible. The first ten minutes in the break was brutal and I didn't think would be able to last as long as I did. They got rid of people at every given opportunity, sprinting full gas out of corners and putting you in the gutter in every crosswind. After a while though we settled into a good rhythm and worked well together, however there was no place to hide, if you sat at the back the world tour boys wouldn't hesitate to come and tell you to do your turn or go away.

 

Really? That's interesting to hear especially since we saw some of them refusing to go on the front in the chase to Stannard and Kennaugh.

I think once the break was established after 100km or so you could skip a turn or two, but I myself knew they wouldn't let you just sit in, especially after getting a shouting at by Pete Kennaugh and Luke Rowe.

 

So the communication with the pros was definitely racing talk then. You mentioned about the training you have done in Belgium and Portugal, this is part of the training and race preparation offered by Zappi's Pro Cycling. Can you talk me through what's offered to you as a member of the team and tell me how beneficial it has been for you to develop your cycling at a young age.

So as a Zappi's rider you are based in Europe, living with the team for the whole season. We race some of the top UCI under 23’s races on the calendar whilst we are out there, as well as training in some amazing scenery. I feel for myself as I rider I am pushed to my very limits every day and it has improved me immensely. And it's not only the training it's the whole lifestyle that shapes and moulds you into the best rider you can be. It's the perfect stepping stone for an under 23 rider to reach their maximum potential and go on to whatever level they are capable of going on to whether it be world tour, pro continental or just continental.

 

It sounds like you are getting a really solid foundation to your career. What’s your focus for the rest of this season and do you have any goals beyond that? Your strong performance in the first half of the race this weekend and other good results this season must be a great driving force

Yes I really believe if you want to make it to the top, but you don't have the track background the academy requires then this is the way to go. This year for me was all about gaining as much experience as I could and hopefully get some results on the way, so far I have managed to get a couple of top 20’s in the Italian Nationals, which has really motivated me to push on, in the latter part of this season I would love to get some top 10's and really show my face in the prems whilst I am back home. When we go back to Italy it will be my aim to get a top 10 again and then I can go from there next year to hopefully try and get some serious results.

 

It all sounds very positive. Planet X currently sponsors Zappi's Pro Cycling how do you like the RT-90 you race on?

Yes Planet X have been really good to us supplying us with some fantastic kit. The RT-90 is a very good looking bike, it's stiff, light and very nice to ride. Couldn't ask for much more

 

Is there anything else you want to add while you have the chance?

Just a big thanks to Planet X for all their support.

1 July 2015