Updated: Wednesday, 22nd November 2017 @ 5:30pm

European Championships: Manchester-based cyclist Skinner looks forward to Glasgow home comforts

European Championships: Manchester-based cyclist Skinner looks forward to Glasgow home comforts

| By Katie Falkingham

From the pressure to not let anyone down, to the expectations of leading from the front, Callum Skinner is prepared to take everything in his stride in the pursuit for further glory.

The Glasgow cyclist became a double Olympic medallist at Rio 2016, with his gold in the team sprint ensuring a third successive champion tag for Great Britain in the event.

But having joined up with Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny as the Olympic rookie of the team, 2017 has seen the 24-year-old taking his place at the front of the pack.

That saw the individual sprinter as a favourite to replicate his Olympic silver display for the Track World Championships in Hong Kong, only to fall to a disappointing second-round exit in April.

Two months on and Skinner has had time to reflect, aware preparations were not what they could have been – offering plenty of lessons to learn for the next 12 months.

“You look towards a World Championships as something you prepare for for 11-and-a-half months of the year,” he said. “But it was more like three months with the Olympics, so we weren’t able to fully capitalise on the steps forward we’d made at the Games

“Sometimes setbacks can be useful, it lets you know where you are and that’s one of the great things about my sport in particular, everything is closely monitored in training and competition and you know where you stand against your opponent.

“There was a lot of pressure before the Games in terms of doing my teammates proud. I was with two reigning Olympic champions and I was the third, untested man, looking to do what I could to make them first.

“That was where the pressure came from, now it’s shifted after the Games. There is more expectation from other people because you have those results behind you.”

Whatever the rest of the year holds for Skinner, much of his attention will turn to switch his focus to next year’s European Championships, heading to the familiarities of Glasgow.

For the first time ever, a new multi-sport event will combine the existing European Championships for aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon, along with a new golf team championships, between August 2-12 in Glasgow.

The 2018 European Athletics Championships meanwhile will be held in Berlin from August 7-12.

More than 3,000 of the continent’s finest athletes will descend on the Scottish city over 11 days of action for the biggest sporting event in the country since the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, with tickets now on sale – and Skinner can’t wait for the action in a velodrome that holds a special place in his heart.

“I always love competing at home. As a venue, when I was growing up there was only one velodrome and it was outdoors, and we’ve always fought for an indoor facility like we have at Glasgow,” he added.

“To have that for Scottish kids to develop is amazing in itself, but to get the opportunity to compete there is an added bonus.

“It’s a venue that means so much to me, I know how much it means for the kids to have an indoor facility, and to have the home crowd is really special.

“I don’t get to go home as often as I’d like, but Glasgow is a city that has a great affinity for me, and you always know you have that extra support in the city.

“It’s new and exciting, and it’s always good to see if a multi-sport can add a new dynamic to spectators so I think it’s a great thing with plenty of sport to see on your doorstep.”

Tickets for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships – an exciting new multi-sport event bringing together some of the continent’s leading sports – are now on sale at www.glasgow2018.com/tickets starting at £10 for adults and £5 for under-16s and over-60s.

Image courtesy of Philip Hindes via YouTube, with thanks.