The Dundee 2-day stage race, promoted by Dundee Thistle is one of the next big events next weekend. Coming after a few months of hard racing, there will be some riders in form and others perhaps with tired legs. But the stage format gives amateur teams a chance to work as a team and propel one or two of their best riders forward in a GC scenario.
I did a preview last year, and after another 12 months of blogging and following Scottish Cycling have a better perspective for the 2011 edition.
The race starts with a lung-busting hill climb prologue up The Law in Dundee itself, a climb that has featured in pro races in the past. Fast climbers like Kristof Askness, Glasgow Wheelers (who was quickest last year) will be looking to take the race lead.
Stage 1 is mostly flat in the fertile area to the west of Newtyle. Strong riders will be looking to get away and build on their lead, and this will test the alertness of the bunch. Last year it came down to a bunch gallop though, and anyone looking for the bonus seconds would do well to check out last year’s stage 1 report to plan their sprint tactics.
Stage 2 is anything but flat and will give climbers and puncheurs a chance to regain any seconds they may have lost to sprinters or breakaway men in the prologue and stage 1. Last year the race was clinched by Peter Murdoch from a breakaway on this stage, the winning margin being only 4 seconds overall.
Ones to watch
Here I do my armchair pundit bit, with the help of David Martin, Dundee Thistle. Being one of the few Category 2/3/4 events around, Endura Racing won’t be there, so it is a great opportunity for strong cat.2’s to battle it out.
David said: “One of the key teams will be Velo Ecosse.” Rob Wilkins who won in 2009 for Stirling is now a cat.1 Velo Ecosse rider and won’t be there- he will be contesting the National 10TT championship instead. Eddie Addis is clearly on the up though, and with Phil Brown, will have expert local knowledge to hand.” David reckons Phil, a former winner, is riding in a category well below his ability following a season out due to injury.
Defending champion Peter Murdoch is another strong contender for Team Cyclelane, with his fellow Murdochs and new recruit Rich Semple riding with him.
Dooleys Cycles’ Andrew Leith finished top 6 last year as a junior and will be the team’s lead rider for the event. A strong team, including former Elite Martin Lonie, ex Scottish champ Graham McGarrity and a strong young rider in Greg Brown.
There are also a few talented riders coming from south of the border, as well as lots of other individual contenders who are strong, but they may be riding alone or with limited teammates to chase for them– the pressure to get in the break is greater.