Cycling: It all comes good for Paul despite his sprint setback

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City of Edinburgh cyclist John Paul may have surrendered the sprint trophy at the Meadowbank Grand Prix on Saturday, but the 19-year-old still had reason to celebrate as he travelled south to his base at the British Cycling Academy with a new status – Scottish All Comers’ record holder.

The silverware will also be based in Manchester although for the next 12 months it will be in the possession of Dave Daniell, who was a stylish winner on Saturday. Unfortunately, the two-day meeting was cut short when that familiar Meadowbank foe, rain, caused the cancellation of yesterday’s programme.

Paul, the double world junior champion, had not eased back on training during the week and showed that he is in good shape when he stopped the clock at 10.69 seconds to qualify as top seed and erase the previous best held by former City of Edinburgh man, Craig MacLean.

Paul then eased through his first-round match before moving into the last four when he eliminated the Spanish champion Itmar Esteban in a re-run of last year’s final. Meanwhile, Matt Rotherham was despatching Capital rider Bruce Croall in the repechage to book a semi-final clash with Paul.

In the other half of the draw, Daniell, pictured below, looked impressive as he swept into the last four, where he faced Welshman Lewis Oliva. Paul had the edge in the first ride against Rotherham, but the Englishman battled back to take the next two legs and set up a meeting with Daniell, who ousted Oliva.

While Daniell – a medallist at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi – had too much in hand for his opponent, taking the title by a 2-0 score, Paul had a similar result against Oliva, winning the second leg by a tyre’s width to seal third spot and confirm that he is on track for his main target of the year, the National Track Championships.

“I was pleased with that, considering where I am with my training. I’m not really in great shape, I’m still training quite hard,” said Paul. “To get the track record – I was happy with that. Then as the day went on, I just got tired and made a few mistakes and lost to Matt Rotherham. That’s just racing – you can’t win them all and Matt rode well. I rode well in the bronze ride-off and, for where I am in my training, that’s all right.” And the fact he had deposed MacLean was particularly pleasing: “Craig does the tandem for the Paralympics so I see him around the velodrome in Manchester from time to time and have a good chat with him. I get on well with him.” For Daniell, , who has been a regular visitor to the Capital track without previously being a titles contender, the victory was satisfying, after a spell of mixed form.

“I’ve been crawling in training lately and not going well at all for the last year basically, so it’s nice to win something and to be up there racing well. I think I raced well tactically,” he said. Croall’s qualifying time of 11.16 seconds was a personal best and he went on to beat Esteban in the ride off for fifth spot. But, despite a long day in the saddle, he saved his best until the final event, the Edinburgh Grand Prix 10 mile scratch event.

The City of Edinburgh man rode a tactically astute race, sitting in the middle of the bunch while several riders attempted to make a move, then striking out with two laps left to race and powering clear of the field to regain the title he won two years ago.

“I was just hanging in there and with two laps left I knew it was the time to go,” said Croall. “Then, when I did go, I thought I had maybe gone too soon. I was constantly looking back but I managed to hang on.”

The British Women’s Omnium competition was among the events washed out yesterday.

That was a major disappointment after several of those scheduled to participate had shown their form on Saturday in a four-event sprint omnium and hinted at what was set to prove an entertaining contest.

Welsh youngster Rachel James dominated proceedings winning all four events to chalk up the overall win ahead of a quartet of riders from City of Edinburgh. Charline Joiner headed that group, closely followed by Jenny Davis, who set a new East of Scotland sprint record with a time of 16.07 seconds.