A TALENTED young Scottish cyclist aiming for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games has won the 2014 Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia, challenging the course record which was set by former Endura Racing rider and fellow Scotsman, Evan Oliphan, in 2011.
Tom Arnstein, who is 18 years-old and lives in Glasgow, was just one minute outside the course record of 3.27:32, set by Oliphant when he was 29 years of age.
More impressive still, the Etape Caledonia is Arnstein’s first sportive, miles away from his usual home at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow.
With over ten years age gap between Arnstein and the reigning champ, the future looks bright for the young challenger who was the 2012 National Junior Men’s Kilometre Champion and is supported by Scottish Cycling.
Arnstein’s goal now is to qualify for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, an international championship at which Oliphant – who now rides for Team Raleigh – competed in 2006 in Melbourne and finished fourth.
Speaking at the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia prize-giving ceremony on Sunday, Tom commented: “I’m really pleased with my time, although I would have loved to have beaten Evan. I didn’t go out to get the fastest time. It’s really hard work and that’s all I was thinking about.
“It would be a natural goal for me to compete at the Commonwealth Games. I’m training hard right now, but I won’t know if I’ve hit my target until March or April of next year.”
Jim McFarlane, founder and managing director of Endura, said:
“Evan is a superb cyclist and the time set on the Etape Caledonia course was a great effort for him which bodes well for young Tom who has come remarkably close. The route is not an easy one but it is stunning and very well organised and therefore inspires riders on to great times.
“We at Endura will be watching Tom with interest as his career progresses and also will have eyes on the next person to challenge records at Etape Caledonia.”
Following a successful 2013 Marie Curie Cancer Care event which saw 4250 participants cross the line, IMG Challenger World, organisers of the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Caledonia, have announced pre-registration for the 2014 event which will take place on Sunday 11th May is now open.
Applicants will get an exclusive 24-hour window to enter the event when places go on sale later this year and, with all 5,000 places selling out in just 72 hours last year, those 24 hours could make all the difference to those budding cyclists hoping to take on the 81-mile cycling challenge.
Marie Curie Cancer Care is the official Charity Partner of the Etape Series and all money raised by cyclists will enable Marie Curie nurses to provide free, end-of-life care and support to terminally-ill people and their families in their own homes or in dedicated Marie Curie hospices.
James Robinson, IMG Challenger World, said: “We are absolutely delighted with how well the event went this weekend.
“Once again, there was a real festival atmosphere at the finish line in Pitlochry and it was fantastic to see so many cyclists crossing it with proud smiles.
“Feedback has been extremely positive with everyone commenting on the stunning scenery on the route and the unique opportunity to enjoy these vistas on safe and traffic free roads.
“We’d also like to thank Marie Curie Cancer Care, Perth & Kinross Council, and the many sponsors involved in the event who contribute to ensuring it is a fantastic experience for cyclists.”
“We are already in planning for next year’s event and are excited about the future of the Etape Series of cycling events which include the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines and Etape Mercia events, both of which take place later this year.
“Etape Caledonia is now firmly established as one the UK’s biggest closed-road sportive and we expect sign up for 2014 to be very strong indeed.”
Official charity partner of the Etape Series, Marie Curie Cancer Care, had over 1,100 cyclists raising funds at Sunday’s event.
Isobel Paul, Marie Curie Cancer Care’s Scottish events manager, said:
“We have loved being a part of this amazing event and seeing all the cyclists cross the finish line. We’re especially proud of all the cyclists who have completed today’s challenge to raise money for us.
“Even though the race is now over, there’s still plenty of time for cyclists to fundraise for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
“All the money raised will help Marie Curie Nurses continue providing free end of life care to those with terminal cancer and other life limiting illnesses in their own homes or at one of the charity’s nine hospices, two of which are in Glasgow and Edinburgh.”
Meanwhile, for those participants who have firmly caught the cycling bug, there are still some general entry places left for the Marie Curie Cancer Care Etape Pennines and Etape Mercia.
Entries and expressions of interest can be made for all Etape Series events online at www.etapecaledonia.co.uk
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