Tom Chandler earns Scottish Cycling call-up

Tom Chandler celebrates his victory in Wales during the National Series EMN-150917-090256002
Tom Chandler celebrates his victory in Wales during the National Series EMN-150917-090256002
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Tom Chandler is set to make his international debut this weekend after Scottish national coaches staked their claim on the up-and-coming young rider.

The exciting Old Dalby talent will ride for Scotland in a four-strong junior team pursuit squad at the Senior Open National Track Championships in Manchester later this month.

The 17-year-old was invited to Glasgow to join a five-day training camp after competing at the National Track Championships in August.

There Chandler secured his place in the squad with a brilliant ride in the Scottish Junior Road Race Championships where he claimed the silver medal.

He said: “I was approached by the Scottish Cycling coach. He knew I was of Scottish descent and was interested in having me in their junior team pursuit squad for the senior national track championships.

“So I returned home from Wales on the Bank Holiday Monday and two days later went up to Glasgow for training with their junior team.

“I learned a lot from them and I’m looking forward to ending the season representing Scotland.”

Chandler has caught the eye this season with several gutsy performances in the British Cycling Junior National Series, including victory in appalling conditions in round eight, at Stewkley, near Bath.

In the final round, the five-stage Junior Tour of Wales, Chandler showed plenty of character to battle back to finish an excellent 16th overall and eighth in the young riders classification.

The prestigious Tour boasts an impressive alumni including Mark Cavendish, Team Sky riders Geraint Thomas, Luke Rowe, and Peter Kennaugh, and multiple British time trial champion Alex Dowsett.

Chandler faced top international prospects from Europe, the United States and Australia at the five-stage race held over three days.

“The organisers said this year’s field was the toughest-yet with a record 250 entries which they had to narrow down to the best 100,” he added.

“So I knew it was going to be a tough event!”

He kicked off with 17th place in the 4.5-mile TT, but struggled on the second stage and lost valuable time to the leader.

Chandler knew stage five, with a finish on the summit of Tumble Mountain, would be his big chance to attack and recoup time.

Following his strategy, he positioned himself in a 19-strong breakaway which stayed clear to the finish.

“My plan was to build up a buffer on the peloton leading up to the climb and it worked perfectly,” Chandler said.

“We hit the bottom of the climb with a two-minute lead so we knew the stage winner was almost certain to come from our group.

“Three guys went early into the climb, but I waited in the group to conserve my energy for the sprint to the top.

“We brought one of the riders back and I outsprinted what was left of the breakaway to take third on the stage.”

The result helped recover some of the damage inflicted on stage two, propelling him from 41st to 16th in the general classification.

He added: “It was a tough race, but I was pleased to turn it around with a decent stage result on the last day.”

Last weekend, Chandler was in action in France, riding for VCUK, one of the UK’s leading junior teams, before heading back to the national velodrome for his Scottish bow.