Top flight racing in Edinburgh

In the past week or so, we had the news that Edinburgh will host the Red Bull Hill Chasers series and a round of the Tour Series of criterium races in 2014.

The Red Bull Hill Chasers is a Hi-NRG hill climb eliminator, which was run last year up the cobbles of Cockburn Street, with competitors encouraged to use any bike.

Pursuit

The event will take the stage on April 14th this year up the Mound, possibly the first time Edinburgh has seen bike racing up The Mound since 1989, when the Kellogg’s city centre crits visited the city?

Robert Millar, The Mound, Edinburgh 1989

Robert Millar, The Mound, Edinburgh 1989

The Tour of Britain also set off from Scotland’s capital city in the 1980s and the pictures below come courtesy of blog reader, glassmaker and cyclocrosser Gordon Watt. The Milk tRace was an amateur event until 1984 and  the ANC-Halfords team was created in 1985, when, to get around domestic rules that limited teams to 6 riders, there were several divisions including Lycra-Halfords and ANC-Freight-Rover.

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If you are a flickr user, comment if you recognise any riders. Are Malcolm Elliott, Adrian Timmis, Paul Sherwen and Graham Jones in there?

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Back to the present: the Tour Series of criteriums will visit Edinburgh this year, which is a great boon for Scottish cycling fans after we learned the Kirkaldy round would not take place. Edinburgh Tour Series 2014 route map is currently showing the Colchester route, but I understand that the race will use the course used for the Nocturne Series in 2009 and 2010 – up Victoria Street, past Greyfriars Bobby, back down Candlemaker Row and down the Grassmarket before a hairpin bend takes the riders back up the cobbles.

Cam Meyer smashed the field for David Millar in 2009 in a one-sided race dominated by the two Garmin riders. The course, very difficult for a short crit circuit, exposed the difference in level between continental pros and the UK based riders.

In 2010 Millar was at the Tour Grand Depart, but Meyer was present again, reeling in local breakaway hero Evan Oliphant with Kristian House. Rapha-Condor’s House took the top step with Oliphant hanging on for a podium spot in what was a more exciting race.

Cam Meyer, Victoria Street, Edinburgh Nocturne 2010

Both years, support races gave local choppers amateur riders a great chance to test themselves on the same course the pros would race on, and I’d expect this again with the Tour Series.