Exciting young Old Dalby rider Tom Chandler capped his move to Melton-based elite cycling team Metaltek Kuota with a national gold medal.
The 18-year-old joined the ambitious team, run by Melton businessman Andrew Swain, earlier this month, joining fellow new recruits Bertie Newey and ex-Team Raleigh rider George Pym.
It was a major boost after a difficult road season which had promised much.
He had been scheduled to ride some of the top junior classics on the Continent, but a bout of glandular fever wrecked much of his season.
But within weeks of joining Metaltek, Chandler was on the podium at the Scottish Track Championships.
Having placed in the top 10 as an individual in the points, scratch and individual pursuit, he then went in the senior madison race.
Locked in a battle for gold in this two-man event against a Team Raleigh pair, Chandler and his partner held a narrow lead going into the final race.
Chandler said: “We went into the last sprint with 19 points with Raleigh on 17, but unfortunately I only scored a point on the last sprint and the Raleigh riders scored three.
“We were tied on points, but because we were beaten in the final sprint we had to settle for silver.”
But the position was good enough for gold medal in the junior event which was run concurrently.
“It was a great way to finish off the weekend and I was well pleased with the result,” he added.
It followed on from an unforgettable experience at the international London SixDay event at the Olympic velodrome where he competed for the 1878 Cup, a madison event for leading under 21 riders.
Chandler said: “We were still there or thereabouts on the last night so we attempted to take a lap and try and gain a lead, but the tactic didn’t work and we finished 10th.
“It was a disappointing result, but competing in such a big event with sell-out crowds was an invaluable experience and something I won’t forget.”
Chandler, who has ridden internationally for Scotland, is taking a year’s sabbatical to concentrate on cycling before applying for university.
Next up for him is the National Madison Championships on Saturday, December 17 where he pairs up with Zach May, another promising young rider in the Metaltek stable.
The signings were made following the departures from the team of Adam Kenway, the reigning CTT National Hillclimb champion, and Ryan Perry who have signed pro contracts with Raleigh.
Metaltek have launched an appeal for new sponsorship as they look to consolidate their status as the UK’s leading non-UCI squad and ultimately become a fully professional outfit.
* For more details, visit the Metaltek-Kuota Facebook page.