The Scottish cycling squad who will face the world's top international teams in the UK's premier cycling race, the Tour of Britain, was announced at Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries & Galloway. Four Scotland team positions have been confirmed with a further two still up for grabs.
The confirmed Scottish places will go to Alex Coutts (21), from Gorebride who races with the Belgian Pro team, Flanders, Gary Hand (23), from Livingston who is part of the Pedalpower racing team; Evan Oliphant (23), from Wick, who races for the UK Pro team, MC Reclying.co.uk and Duncan Urquhart (33), from Tiree who is in the army and lives in Hampshire.
"All four are proven international riders and all will also be racing to secure places in next year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne," Scottish National Cycling Coach, Graeme Herd, said. "All these riders rode exceptionally well in last year's Tour of Britain and will be looking this year to emulate the success of team mate Duncan Uquhart's podium position after last year's first stage."
The Scottish squad riders vying for the final two places are Gareth Montgomerie, from Castle Douglas; Stuart McGregor, from Motherwell, James McCallum, from Uddingston, Dave Smith from Thurso and Robert Palmer, who qualifies via parentage.
Two of the Scottish squad were in training today in the grounds of Drumlanrig Castle which is one of the most scenic parts of the course. said: "I am training hard to secure a place in the Scottish team," Gareth Montgomerie said while training in the grounds of Drumlanrig Castle, one of the most scenic parts of the Scottish course of the Tour of Britain. "It would be great to be racing at this kind of level up against some of the world's best riders on roads that I have cycled on all my life."
"The competition is going to be really tough to beat, but it will be great to be racing in Scotland with a Scottish jersey on," Evan Oliphant added, who was traniing with Montgomerie. "The Tour of Britain is the only major UK competition offering British cyclists the opportunity to compete on home ground and it's really great that we have been able to extend it by a day this year and have it beginning in Scotland," added Tony Doyle MBE, Tour of Britain Event Director and twice world pursuit champion.
"Over sixteen of the world's top teams will take part, we are still confirming the line up, but have just heard that the Danish team, CSC, who won the first stage of the Tour de France, will be entering a team along with American based Navigators Insurance Cycling Team. Other favourites have to be last year's winners, the Belgian team, Chocolade-Jacques. The Recycling.co.uk/Litespeed team is also fielding a strong line up with three World Champions and three Olympic silver medalists," Doyle said.
A complete list of teams is not yet available but will include Quickstep-Davitamon, Barloworld-Valsir and T-Mobile. The Scots will also as be up against, national teams from Great Britain, Ireland and Wales.
The Tour of Britain will arrive in Scotland for the first time this year on Tuesday, August 30 for the start of the six day race. The 115-mile Scottish stage will begin in George Square/Glasgow and finish in Castle Douglas, passing through East Kilbride, Strathaven, Muikirk, Cumnock, New Cumnock, Kirkconnel, Drumlanrig Castle, Conehead, Dumfries, New Abbey, Dalbeattie, Craignair.
Details of the Glasgow Grand Prix which will take place in George Square at 7pm, Monday 29 event were also revealed today. George Square will be closed to traffic to allow over fifty elite riders to compete in the hour long fast and furious race on a closed one-kilometre circuit. The Grand Prix forms part of British Cycling's Elite Criterium series where riders are awarded points for each Grand Prix. This will be the penultimate event before the final in London.