Tom Chandler targets Commonwealth Games after first senior title

Chandler will ride for Melton-based semi-professional team Metaltek Kuota for a second season in 2018 EMN-171122-154219002
Chandler will ride for Melton-based semi-professional team Metaltek Kuota for a second season in 2018 EMN-171122-154219002
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Tom Chandler has one eye on the Commonwealth Games after scorching to his maiden senior national title on the track.

The 19-year-old university student swept to the 1km time trial gold at the Scottish National Track Cycling Championships in Glasgow.

Chandler is cherry picking his track events to save energy for the road next year EMN-171122-154208002

Chandler is cherry picking his track events to save energy for the road next year EMN-171122-154208002

Chandler had gone into the event targeting a podium finish in the 4km individual pursuit, but had to settle for an agonising fourth place after losing the bronze-medal race.

The Old Dalby rider then showed admirable strength of character to bounce back in the final event of the championships.

“The 4km pursuit was my main focus going into the championships and I was a little disappointed to miss out on the bronze,” he said.

“I’d qualified third and the rider I faced in the race had been two seconds slower.

“It would’ve been quite easy to get down after the pursuit and lose focus for the other events, but I put it behind me and focussed on the kilo.

“I’m a better starter so it suited me; I was really pleased to get the title.”

It is a big year in Chandler’s fledgling senior career as he juggles the workload of a first-year economics degree course at Reading with the dual cycling disciplines of track and road.

Having agreed to race a second road race season with Melton-based semi-pro team Metaltek Kuota in 2018, Chandler is managing his track schedule carefully to ensure he is fresher for next spring and summer.

He added: “I haven’t got another race for nearly three months so now I’ve got time to review my performance in the pursuit and put the work in for the national track championships.

“Last year I was racing once every three to four weeks in important races and found out that I was sometimes racing for the sake of it.

“But this year I want to focus just on the big events and that will help me for the road season.”

Life as a student will give him a longer Christmas break than most, but when he returns home to Leicestershire early next month, a substantial chunk of his holidays will be spent with coach Paul Bennett at Derby Velodrome.

Restricting his schedule does not equate to limiting his ambitions.

“My goal for the track season ahead is to meet Scottish Cycling’s criteria for the Commonwealth Games and see where we go from there,” he said.

“If I do well at the national track championships I could have a chance of going to the Commonwealths, but it will be very limited how many riders they can take because it’s in Australia.”

And the former Melton Times Junior Sportsman of the Year is keen to learn from past mistakes and concentrate first and foremost on performance at the nationals.

“I’ve been in touch with the Scottish team and I’m aware of the times I need to get to be considered for selection,” he added.

“But I could get too hung up on qualification and not the championships themselves.

“It’s important to put my focus on the results and any selection will come as a bonus.”

The outcome of this track season may have a big bearing over which of the two disciplines he one day chooses to specialise in.

His second campaign with Metaltek may also help channel his thoughts after a steep learning curve on his first season among the tough senior circuit.

“I learned a lot from him (team owner Andrew Swain) and the team last year so I’m looking forward to putting what I learned into practice next year,” he said.

“It was a big step-up for me, but hopefully next year I can take on a more important role in the team.

“Having the more experienced team-mates around you it has definitely helped me to get a good idea of what the race scene is like. It’s very competitive in this country.”