Pro cyclist interview: Glasgow gold medallist Tom Scully keen to prove himself at RideLondon
New Zealander relishes racing in the capital as Madison-Genesis continue to grow
A feast of big-name riders, boasting world, Olympic and Commonwealth Games titles between them, are set for the RideLondon-Surrey Classic start line on Sunday.
Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), the former world road race champion, tops the billing alongside 2012 Tour de France champion Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky).
And among the other medal-winning riders on show will be newly-crowned Commonwealth Games points race champion Tom Scully – who followed world championship silver with gold in Glasgow.
Scully, a former stagiaire at Garmin-Sharp, joined Madison-Genesis from Team Raleigh this season and is one of two New Zealanders in Roger Hammond’s squad alongside Mike Northey.
Both will be in action in Sunday’s race, fresh from last weekend’s brutal Commonwealth Games road race, as will team-mate Tobyn Horton who rode for Guernsey in Glasgow.
Alex Peters, Tom Stewart and Matthew Holmes complete the Milton Keynes-based team’s six-man line-up and Scully believes the race will be a huge chance to make their mark.
For any rider on a UCI Continental team, to race alongside WorldTour riders is a great opportunity. One good performance could change your career.
“For any rider on a UCI Continental team, as most of the British teams are, to race alongside the WorldTour riders is a great opportunity," he told RCUK.
“These are the best riders in the world. One good performance could change your career. It fuels the fire and the desire for wanting to do well.
“There will be a lot of riders from the UK sides pushing hard and looking for a result come Sunday.
“We haven’t discussed anything tactics-wise yet. We usually discuss that as we get into the race and can see how all the riders are feeling.
“We’ll have a little team meeting the night before to find out who’s good and who’s not good but I’m sure we’ll hunting out that early breakaway and then seeing how the race pans out. Hopefully we’ll have something for the finish as well."
Scully’s signing in the winter was one of a number of eye-catching deals done by Hammond and his team, with the New Zealander having been in good form in 2013.
And Scully has no regrets about making the move from Raleigh to Madison-Genesis as he and the team continue to enjoy a hugely productive 2014 season.
“It’s been great being at Madison-Genesis," Scully admitted. “It’s fantastic. Rog is putting together an awesome team and the support we’ve got from Madison is just unreal.
Roger Hammond is putting together an awesome team and the support we've got from Madison is just unreal.
“They are a huge company and have got a lot of resources. To have that sort of support and the bosses involved in it – they know what’s going on and can ride the highs and lows with you – it’s pretty cool.
“You get a real feeling of them wanting you to do well."
Though he is fast making a name for himself on the track, Scully – at 24 – has also shown great talent on the road and a great head for racing.
And he believes the transition between road and track has been an easy one to master this season, particular given the nature of Britain’s domestic scene.
“We had a camp in Bordeaux in July with New Zealand, not quite four weeks, and then we came to Glasgow.
“The hard work we had put into Bordeaux paid off once we got there. But racing the criteriums and those sort of events around the UK helped too – there are a lot of similarities in the profiles of a criterium and a points race.
“I do find it quite a natural transition. I’ve always loved racing on the track and over the [New Zealand] summer a couple of friends talked me into riding the Oceania Championships, where I qualified a spot for the Worlds.
“When the Worlds came around it was a little earlier in the season than Madison-Genesis started. It was a bit of a juggle, preparing for the Worlds and for the road season, but we managed to fit them both in.
I do find it quite a natural transition between track and road. I've always loved racing on the track.
“It’s a different profile to riding on the road, but to have that short, sharp stuff on the track – I think it crosses over really well."
In addition to his points race successes, Scully has also enjoyed podium places at Rutland-Melton and two rounds of the Tour Series this season.
And with his team also enjoying plenty of success, such as Alex Peters’ Tour of the Reservoir win, he is pleased with the progress made since joining Madison-Genesis.
“My season so far has been pretty good," he said. “The main focus for us was the Tour Series and I think as a team we rode really well.
“Though I didn’t reach the top step of the podium myself, that wasn’t really the goal with the Tour Series – it was more about the team wins. We got a lot of team wins and to my team-mates up there on the top step of the podium was pretty cool as well.
“It’s been a good, long season so far but we’re not done yet obviously. There are a few things coming up."
First among those will be RideLondon before the Tour of Britain, invite pending, and Scully is relishing his return to the capital after a baptism of fire in last year’s race.
RideLondon is a long, hard, fast race. The last 30-odd kilometres into the finish is one of the fastest run-ins you will do.
“RideLondon is a long, hard, fast race," he admitted. “It’s one of the biggest ones in Britain as a one-day race.
“I do remember last year, riding the last 30-odd kilometres into the finish is one of the fastest run-ins you will do and the people out there as well on the side of the roads, with people lined all the way along, was amazing.
“To finish in the middle of London in a bike race, it’s becoming more and more and I think that’s pretty awesome for one of the biggest cities in the world to run a bike race through the middle of it."