James McCallum has warned competitors in tonight’s Pearl Izumi Tour Series third round of the perils lurking around Edinburgh’s streets as the event returns to the city after a year’s absence with the race starting at 7.30pm.
McCallum featured in the 2011 title winning JLT Condor squad – the English outfit also leads this year’s 12-leg series after victories in the opening two events.
The team’s Jon Mould, winner in Edinburgh two years ago, proved that he is in good form when he took the honours in Motherwell on Tuesday.
The revamped circuit for tonight’s race covers 1.6 kilometres around the Grassmarket area. The gruelling climb up Victoria Street remains a feature but, whereas in previous years the riders have turned right, this time they will go left into Lawnmarket and Johnston Terrace before returning to the Grassmarket via West Port.
The race will be contested over one hour plus five further laps and McCallum, who is delighted to see the city back hosting the event, advises caution.
“Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities you can race your bike in so it’s a real privilege to have an event here, it’s really something quite special,” he said before casting his expert eye over the route.
“It’s one of these courses that has a bit of everything, a cobbled climb, a descent; so you’ve really got to look after yourself and not go into the red too soon, or you’ll never come back out of it. The changes they have made to the course this year are great and will make the race even more competitive. It’ll be a better race to race, and an even better race to watch.”
While not on the list of competitors, McCallum will be taking a keen interest in tonight’s proceedings. Next month he will attack the record for the Scottish North Coast 500. He is undertaking that challenge in memory of his sister-in-law and raising funds for the Thrombosis UK charity. Tonight’s support race, a corporate pro-am relay, which gets underway at 6pm, will raise money for the cause.
Local interest tonight will centre on Team Raleigh’s Evan Oliphant, who is hoping to put on a show for his supporters. “It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to have a top race on my doorstep and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in front of friends and family,” he said.