Redding on track to Stoke Tour Series fire

Mike Williams on his way to second place in the veteran 50 race last month. Picture: Neil Marshall (171322-123)

Wheelers prepare for Wessex war

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Sam Redding has warmed up for his Tour Series debut with a brace of medals on the track.

The 22-year-old, from Horndean, hit the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow for the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) track championships last weekend.

And in his first indoor competition for five years, the Spin Rotor Primal C-Originals (SRPC) rider took a silver in the elimination race and bronze in the 30km points competition.

Redding also came seventh in the kilo and individual pursuit, fourth in the team pursuit and fifth in the team sprint on a superb return.

It was a perfect confidence-booster ahead of round three of the Tour Series in Stoke-on-Trent tonight.

And while the fast and furious scrap around the city streets is something quite different from his fixed-gear battle on the track which will be used in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, he is relishing the experience.

‘I haven’t raced track for ages – but I really enjoyed it,’ said Loughborough University student Redding.

‘I was pretty much making it up as I went along – there were a few times I wanted an extra gear!

‘But I finished with a silver and a bronze medal, so I was quite happy with that.

‘And it was quite good training for tonight, especially the points race.

‘The Tour Series is a pretty exciting opportunity – I love riding races where I am really pushing myself.

‘I prefer to do the bigger events like this to see what I can do. I find it gets the best out of me.

‘The whole atmosphere around the Tour Series is really exciting.

‘I used to do quite a lot of cycling in Belgium with my last road team.

‘And the atmosphere of the Tour Series is like the big races there.

‘I find that helps me step up a level.’

Redding will join team-mates Colin Parry, Antoine Gaudillat, George Pym, who was crowned south west regional champion on Sunday, and James Williams on the start line in Stoke tonight.

Newcomers to the full series this term, SRPC are currently propping up the 10-team table after the first two rounds – in Kirkcaldy and Durham.

Team Raleigh head the rankings, which are calculated by each side’s first three riders across the line.

Redding, who began racing for Portsmouth-based i-team, is under no illusions about the size of the task facing his team – an amateur squad in a field of professionals, which include Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy.

But he remains focused on delivering the best result he can.

He said: ‘I’ve managed to catch a bit of the first two races and I’ve spoken to my team-mate Chris Nicholson.

‘He said they go off really, really quick, so the closer to the front you are the better it is.

‘Towards the back of the group you can get in trouble, so position will be a big thing, particularly early on.

‘At the back you are going to be behind riders who are beginning to struggle.

‘As soon they let go of the wheel in front it is so hard to make the extra effort to get back on when you are already on the limit.

‘It’s going to be a little tricky coming in for the third round as well.

‘A lot of the riders will have done the first two.

‘Sometimes it can take a couple of races to get into something like this.

‘But I’ll just try to stay near the front – that will be the key and will make it a little easier for me to stay with the group.’

Redding will also represent SRPC in Aberystwyth in round four of 11 on Friday night.