Hope rider Paul’s Glasgow dream nearing reality

On target: Paul Oldham pictured with David Cameron at the Prime Minister's recent victory to the Hope factory at Barnoldswick
On target: Paul Oldham pictured with David Cameron at the Prime Minister's recent victory to the Hope factory at Barnoldswick

Trawden’s Paul Oldham was 58th in the third round of the 2014 MTB Cross-county World Cup in Nove Mesto, in the Czech Republic.

And he goes again in round four in Albstadt, Germany this weekend.

In almost perfect weather conditions, in front of almost 20,000 spectators in Nove Mesto, the Hope Technology rider did his Commonwealth Games hopes no harm whatsoever by finishing as the top Brit - as he did when taking 41st in the first World Cup of the year in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in April, which was his best World Cup finish to date.

Nino Schurter (Scott-Odlo) claimed his third victory at Nove Mesto in 1:28:33, with Oldham, 36, 0:08:40 adrift in 58th.

After enhancing his hopes of reaching Glasgow, Oldham expects to find out next month whether he will make the team - Oldham’s event wasn’t held in Delhi four years ago, having been on the schedule at Manchester and Melbourne, he is determined to compete this time around.

He said last month: “I’m getting too old now though and want to compete at a Games - the chances of doing that are getting shorter, so it’s all or nothing.”

“The hard work has been done now, in terms of training, it’s just a case of keeping myself fresh for races and keeping my form.”

And this weekend is his last big race before finding out whether he has been selected.

Earlier this month, at the British Cycling MTB Cross-Country Series second round at Wheal Maid in Cornwall, Oldham took his first ever National win in the Men’s Elite, after some close racing on a technical course between himself, Steven James (Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant/Next) and Grant Ferguson (Betch.NL Superior Brentjens MTB race team).

Ferguson, third in the Under 23 World Cup in South Africa, had started as favourite, but on the fourth lap, the young National Champion had a blow out, and James and Oldham sped past.

Ferguson was able to fight his way back onto the podium, finishing third, while Oldham climbed clear of James, with fellow Hope rider Michael Thompson fifth.

Oldham said after the race: “I was really pleased to take my first national win, on a good fun course and a really well-organised event - well worth the trip!”