Scotland’s top female cyclists continue the road to Glasgow 2014 at Newbattle Abbey

Scotland’s top female cyclists have tackled a gruelling four-day training schedule in Midlothian as they bid to win a place at Glasgow 2014.

Local hopefuls Claire Thomas, who took part in Delhi 2010, and Jenny Taylor, the reigning Scottish Road Race champion, were part of the ten-strong training squad based at Newbattle Abbey for intensive workouts on Midlothian’s roads ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games.

The performance athletes are part of Scottish Cycling, the national governing body for cycling, and trained in and around Newbattle due to its central location and because Midlothian boasts terrain that allows cyclists to undertake a variety of testing training rides.

Thomas, who now lives and trains in Belgium but whose parents still reside in Edinburgh’s Barnton area, was pleased to come ‘home’ to train.

She said: “Staying at Newbattle Abbey with the Scottish Cycling Performance squad was brilliant. The food was excellent, the accommodation was great, and most of all the training routes we used were fantastic, relatively traffic free and quiet. They also had great bike facilities and storage. I am originally from Edinburgh so it was great area, just outside of the city, to be based in for four days.”

Thomas is just one of many athletes hoping for success in the Glasgow 2014 selection process, co-ordinated by the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland, in May.

Newbattle Abbey is a stunning ‘A’ listed building located just outside Edinburgh and regularly hosts weddings, corporate events and residential meetings. This is the first time the Abbey, which functions as an adult education residential college, has hosted a sports team in training.

Newbattle Abbey College Principal Ann Southwood said: “We are delighted that this group of talented cyclists has chosen to stay at Newbattle Abbey whilst completing their training in Midlothian. Next year will prove to be very exciting for Scottish athletes and we are pleased to have played our part in the preparations being made.”

Scottish Cycling’s Endurance Coach, Mark McKay says: “Next year presents a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of our elite athletes to represent Scotland in the Commonwealth Games on home soil. Our performance coaches are currently working hard with a pool of talented cyclists with the aim to select the most competitive Scottish team possible and it’s great to be able to use Newbattle Abbey as a training venue leading up to the games selection as the venue has all the essentials needed for a good training camp: hot showers, good food and, best of all, great road training circuits.”

Scottish Cycling has 154 clubs with 8000 members and promotes some 627 events per year.