By Gerry McManus in London
Malcolm Elliott (Pinarello RT) may have been one of the elder statesmen of the British pro peloton this year, but age was no barrier for the experienced professional from Sheffield. Elliott finished fifth in the British Cycling national individual ranking tables and fifth in the BC criterium series. The 46-year-old Pinarello rider took his best victory of the year in Britain's only UCI ranked one day event at the Cicle Classic – Rutland to Melton race. Elliott was on the Yellow stand at the London Cycle show in London's fashionable Earls Court talking about his eventful year on the bike.
"To look back on the season now gives me a warn glow now," said Elliott. "At times this year I was quite concerned about my results and I was getting into a bit of a panic. It began with early season building up, getting good form and winning the Shay Elliott and Rutland to Melton within a week of each other and then I went a bit wobbly and off the boil. Then I picked up a chest infection a couple of weeks later which trailed on for a lot longer than I expected. I missed quite a few training sessions and that dragged my form down in June and July and all that torrential rain that we had didn't help either."
"I had to sit back and work on a period of rehabilitation," continued the former Tour de France and Tour of Spain rider. "Gradually I got my act together and I could feel things coming back together at the end of July and the beginning of August although the national road race championship is a race probably best forgotten."
"But generally the trajectory was upward again," said the Yorkshireman as he developed a broad smile. "And then I picked up four consecutive wins which I don't ever remember doing before. There was a race out near Blackpool and before that there was an elite race in Cheshire. Then I won the Newport nocturne criterium race and that's the race which everyone watches and remembers. It was a fantastic one to be able to win."
A bit of what if
Elliott took his fourth consecutive win in the London Grand Prix in front of thousands of people ahead of the prologue of the Tour of Britain at Crystal Palace. He was very thoughtful when asked if he had thought about what it would be like to ride the British tour.
"I admit that I had thought about what it would have been like to ride the Tour of Britain," continued Elliott. "I wonder how I would have got around and how well would I have done. We really don't know and in some ways I wonder if I really want to know. I might have got a right pasting and some things are best left unanswered."
British crowds would have been thrilled to see Elliott bumping shoulders with Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) in the bunch gallops on the British tour.
"Mark's results have been something else this year," said Elliott praising the 22-year-old Manxman. "It would be interesting to compare outright speed but to be honest I would be a little scared in the situations he finds himself in," said Elliott laughing.: "I remember some of the hectic run-ins from years ago. You would be shoulder to shoulder coming downhill at some impossible speed and all going into a corner. No one wanted to be the first to brake and we all knew that we all weren't going to come out the other side. The one who brakes first loses."
Elliott finished off the season with third place in the Warwick Town Centre criterium and third overall in the Bermuda Grand Prix won by fellow Brit Russell Downing. He goes into 2008 with the same passion for the sport as he has always had but with a greater capacity for training.
"I have never been a great one for getting out of bed and going training in the rain but I can face long training rides now which is something I was not very good at before. I can get the work done and handle a big chunk of training. Recovery takes longer. Training can take a lot out of you and you can't be up for every race."
"There are a lot of things being looked at for the Pinarello team next year but nothing has been decided yet. There are a couple of key developments planned with the team and we are awaiting final decisions at the moment."