The Glasgow-Scotland UCI World Championships drew to a close last weekend, the biggest cycling event ever staged and it was right here in the UK.
And Scotland delivered. There were a few doubts expressed in advance regarding the multi-discipline format – not to mention the twisty-turny Glasgow road race finishing circuit – but few complaints once the dust had settled. The racing was fabulous, the crowds fantastic.
Hats off to Scotland. Above and beyond. Here’s our favourite moments. Enjoy!
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Van Der Poel takes sensational men’s road race
Conventional wisdom dictates that with a gruelling 270km taking over six hours to complete, TV viewers can safely catch the first hour to get some flavour, go and cook – and eat – Sunday lunch, then check back in for the final hour or so. Not with this race. It was drama from start to finish, including a lengthy stop due to climate change protesters blocking the road between Edinburgh and Glasgow, merely adding to the unfolding drama. And once the city centre finishing circuit was reached, it produced an epic battle between three of the absolute finest men’s road racers in the world. Mathieu van der Poel, Tadej Pogačar and Wout van Aert were all on their knees. But the Dutchman committed to an all-out attack, got the gap, and triumphed despite a hair-raising crash that broke his shoe, but not his determination. One of the all-time great World Championships road races, no doubt.
Hats off to Hatton
Be honest, was Charlie Hatton on your cycling radar until last week? The 25-year-old from the Forest of Dean surprised the world – and possibly himself – by smashing the treacherous downhill course at Fort William. It was sopping wet, more slippery than a bag of eels in an otter’s pocket and, it turns out, right up his street! Cue wild scenes in Fort Bill. You love to see it.
Blimey, it's Reilly!
The 22-year-old from Gateshead blew the place apart with his stunning gold medal-winning ride in the Freestyle BMX. So good! He invented the triple flair, in case you weren’t aware. Check this out. Next stop: Paris Olympics. You got this, Kieran.
Super Beth, Super Cross
We suspected our Cycle Show star would do the business and sure enough, Bethany Shriever smashed it in the BMX Super Cross to become the first woman to hold both Olympic and World titles at the same time. And just look at what it means to those kids in the crowd. Wonderful stuff.
Barker is back!
Did you see Elinor Barker and Neah Evans’ action-packed thriller of a gold medal ride in the Madison? Absolutely nail-biting and no mistake. That’s how you return from maternity leave, Elinor. Respect!
Afghan women represent in Glasgow
For all the medal-winning heroics of the established cycling nations, the fact that Afghanistan had a team in Glasgow at all was remarkable – much less a team in the Mixed Relay TTT. Fariba Hashimi, Yulduz Hashimi and Zahra Rezayee – we salute you. As Razayee commented: “All Afghan women should have the ability to do what they want, to follow their dreams and if they feel free, if they can go to university and have a job, they can be powerful women in the world.”
King of Glentress
Tom Pidcock wins stages of the Tour de France, cyclo-cross world titles, the 2023 Strade Bianche and Olympic gold too. Now he’s added an MTB world title, and in dominant fashion to boot. Slipping gears and a potentially embarrassing tangle with a flag on his celebratory run-in to the line could not stop the Yorkshireman, surely the most complete bike racer in the world. We just need to book him for the 2024 Cycle Show now… Watch this space.