Paul hoping for race of his life in Glasgow games

Paul Oldham
Paul Oldham

Trawden mountain biker Paul Oldham’s Commonwealth Games odyssey began on Wednesday.

And he can’t wait to get his teeth into the final course at Cathkin Braes Country Park in Glasgow on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old, who works at Hope Technology in Barnoldswick, arrives in Scotland as one of the best all-round riders in the UK - a four-time National Cyclo-Cross Trophy Winner, and the 2011 National Cyclo-Cross champion.

This year he has also earned his first-ever win in a National MTB Series event at Redruth, been best-placed Brit at three of the World Cup series in South Africa, the Czech Republic and Germany, and been the dominant UK rider in the British National Series.

In the National Cross-county Championships in Hopton Woods on Sunday, Oldham was third behind reigning champion Grant Ferguson of Superior-Brentjens MTB RT and Liam Killeen.

But his goal this year was to make the Games, and the Team Hope Factory Racing rider has put in the miles to be ready come next week.

Paul said: “I’m going to be part of things in the athletes’ village and I’m getting nervous now, it’s getting real!

“I need to pull my finger out now!”

And while not setting any specific targets, he hopes to do himself justice in the final: “I was third at the National Championships at the weekend, and that is a decent indicator.

“In theory it should be a reasonably close race.

“There will be a couple at the front, but I could be near the medals if things go well.

“If they don’t, I could easily be out of the top 10.

“But this has been my goal for the year - it’s my last chance really to do anything like this, I’m getting on a bit now!”

Paul will be backed by his wife and children, mum and dad and bosses from Hope - as he says: “I’ll not be short of support!”

The final on Tuesday is at the very precise time of 2-01 p.m.

Paul isn’t the only local cyclist in action in Glasgow, of course, with “Colne Cyclone” Steven Burke part of England’s track endurance squad, racing yesterday evening.

Burke was looking to add to his medal haul havin won bronze in Beijing 2008 in the individual pursuit, and gold in London in the team pursuit, as well as World Championships gold in the team pursuit in 2012 in Melbourne.